In 2009, two pairs of siblings and a street busker at the University of Arizona got together and formed a string band. Two years later, they found themselves winning the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Contest in Colorado, joining the ranks of past winners like Nickel Creek, Dixie Chicks and even Kalamazoo's own Greensky Bluegrass.
It was only a matter of time before hip hop consumed Rick Chyme's life. The rapper, (real name: Patrick Cleland) got into the genre through basketball, which he played from first grade through college at Western Michigan University.
West Michigan is known as a weekenders’ haven, an avenue for the arts and an artists’ retreat. Summer brings music festivals and an upswing in nightlife events from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids and the lakeshore. Venues such as The Pyramid Scheme and The Intersection attract national caliber rock and pop acts.
When Grand Rapids-based musician Jake Stilson decided to turn to crowdfunding as a means of recording his 2013 release, Stilson Shmilson, he found himself as one of many artists -- locally and nationally -- trying out the relatively new method.
An intriguing mix of American and Brazilian influences mark the work of singer/songwriter Mónica da Silva. A native of both Grand Rapids and Belém, Brazil (and a dual citizen of both), da Silva’s aural creations are aptly described by her as “Indie Nova”: a rich blend of traditional bossa nova of idie pop.
Muskegon’s Infinite Design is one of those bands, serving up classic technical/progressive death metal in fresh new ways. More Between the Buried and Me than Pig Destroyer, the band’s particular blend of hooky riffs, mosh-happy breakdowns and furious blastbeats have an invigorating gleam of originality to them, with a smattering of Dream Theater-style noodling and tempo shifts that keep you guessing (and impressed).
Representing Kalamazoo, Lasso serves as a sonic snapshot embodying the city and its musical direction. Lasso’s latest album, Golden Lasso, was released from Andy Catlin's Double Phelix record label, which houses a Kalamazoo-based collective of artists. On Golden Lasso, Catlin welcomes in various guest musicians to create an effortless mix of vocals and live instrumentation, ideal for a summer afternoon.
Shneal isn't just a rapper in the local Kalamazoo hip-hop scene — he's also an ambassador for the genre. The 24-year-old artist puts arguably as much sweat into growing the scene as he does his personal endeavors, and it has paid him back with an already fruitful résumé.
It's no secret that the best metal bands are apt to get rowdy both on and off stage, but in the '90s, New Orleans-based sludge metal outfit Eyehategod put other bands to shame.
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