I've neglected this blog for quite some time. There's really not much reason for me to maintain it, I mean no one really reads it (apart from maybe Walters) but I've decided to give blogging another shot. I like to write and this is as good of an outlet as any for that love so I figure why not. Who care's if no one but a couple friends see it? I'll get some kind of satisfaction out of it.
I figure that I might as well start my "return" with what I do best, or at least what I love to do best. Writing about music. I want to write about a few Michigan bands and musicians that I feel deserve more attention, even if it is just by me blogging about them. The word needs to be spread!
I'm going to come right out and say it: in my extremely humble opinion I believe that Fernando Solis is the resurrected spirit of Elliott Smith. The soft gentle tenor vocals, acoustic finger picking, careful harmonies, introspective lyrics. All of it is there... and it's terrifically executed. On top of that, Fernando doesn't just have a dedication to his music but to music as a genuine art form. It is both laudable and enviable.
It's difficult for me to talk about music for too long without drifting into that Pitchfork area of pretentious over writing so I think that I'll leave my review of the music at that.
Fernando Solis just recently released his EP, "Fernando" which you can get digitally on his Bandcamp or you can get a physical version, along with other merchandise, in his webstore. In addition to the record Fernando also co-wrote and stars in a short film that serves as a companion piece to the album. The film functions beautifully as a mate to the album. You can purchase a copy of that (which I highly recommend) HERE.
It will probably seem disingenuous for me to write objectively about Jory Stultz's music because he is a pretty close friend of mine. But it is important to note, though, that I befriended Jory after I became a huge fan of his music. Seeing him play live still remains an almost religious experience for me. He bleeds sincerity and seeing him play songs like "Starshine Kids" and "The Lone Astronomer" seem to take me to another place.
Jory has one of the single most unique voices that I have ever heard. I once read a description of a singer somewhere that referred to the singer's voice as a "guttural colossus" and that description is what comes to mind every time I hear Jory sing. Nothing feels more appropriate than that to me. His voice is one part rock, one part soul, and one part indie. The only thing I can think to compare him to is Daryl Palumbo's work with Head Automatica (with A LOT more soul), some David Bowie, and a little bit of Andrew McMahon of Something Corporate (although I may just be drawing that conclusion because they're both pianists) but I still think it's a sound comparison.
The music is driven by piano as the primary instrument. It's very pretty and spacy underneath Jory's loud passionate vocals although he's not afraid to pound the keys when he needs to. He plays wherever he can and I HIGHLY recommend trying to catch a live show. He's releasing his debut EP in October and you can listen to or download the first single, "Starshine Kids", on his Bandcamp.
Currently the only permanent member of Commodore Cosmos is lead singer and songwriter Jon Mickelson and every time I see him perform I fall more and more in love with his sound. Now, his style of music is a little bit difficult to describe since in blends so many other genres together and does it so coherently that what you're hearing feels so smart and fresh that finding a way to accurately pin it down is hard. He's described his music as "thought-pop" in the past and I think that's a really apt label. He blends elements of indie, punk, garage, avant-garde rock, and pop perfectly and beautifully. Thoughtful lyrics interlaced with that perfect blend make for a fantastic genre all it's own.
He's recently finished recording a full length record and intends to release it soon so keep your ear to the ground. In the mean time he has 6 songs available on his Bandcamp page in the form of two EP's that I recommend to you with the highest praise.
I know that I ALWAYS write about music in this blog but I PROMISE you that a concentrated effort will me made in the next few entries to write about other things. Stay tuned.