Tuesday, February 20, 2007

So it begins: High Strung's Detroit

The High Strung (out of Detroit) are one of my favorite bands in the entire Midwest. Incredible songs, amazing melodies and they tour like mutherfuckers. The band is starting a mini-tour in support of the re-release of its second record, MOXIE BRAVO, which came out on Feb. 13 in stores everywhere. They also appear to be doing numerous other dates with Sun Volt (but just in the south, so far). My hope is to start defining the Detroit music scene now.
I have always thought of The High Strung as kind of like the Kinks on speed. Check them out. They get a lot of love on Sirius Satellite radio's Underground Garage channel. With the recent XM Satellite radio merger pending, hopefully it'll mean more listeners for The High Strung.
In my quest to get to know every city in the Midwest, I am now venturing into the Detroit music scene. So I started with High Strung bass player Chad Stocker for help.
What are some great bands that currently make up the Detroit music scene?
The Muggs, The Singles, The Paybacks, SSM, and i like this little band I saw once called Kiddo.
What are some great venues bands should look at if they come through town?
Not too many of 'em out here. The Lager House is like home, I love it there, the sound isn't perfect, but the feel makes up for it. The Magic Stick is great all around. Everything else is good, but i prefer these two.
What would you recommend to a band from some other town do if they are trying to get a show lined up in Detroit?
Check on line for booking agents names, and call them, hound them, hound the local weekly music mags too, and the public radio station, they play rock sometimes, not just jazz, make friends some how with a band from around town, that always helps, a little. It's hard to get people out to shows around here, for bands they don know, just how it goes... I know a lot of touring bands that skip us. It's a shame.
How would you define the current "Detroit Sound," if there is one?
Well the sound used to be dominated by garage rock, and it should be, we have great garage bands out here, but i think the the bands aren't all doing that anymore, there are some more indie-pop and indie dance bands showing up and making a lot of fuss!
I suppose I would historically say that the defining sound to come out of Detroit has always been a kind of angst-driven garage rock. It's probably the most stable "sound" in the Midwest. In the 90s I suppose it became a bit more dark and heavy. Why do you think that Detroit music is so akin to a kind of brutal power? Even you guys have a kind of Super Kinks vibe.
I don't feel like we have too much angst, at least not overtly! But i agree that we listen to quite a bit of The Kinks. Brutality? I dunno, it's more of a blues fascination around here. There are great blues bars around, there has always been blues coming from the streets of Detroit, and I think that has a lot to do with Detroit's tone. Also, that faster, more heavier sound comes maybe the industrial side of things. But then you have bands who are super conscious of chords and melodies, like Outrageous Cherry, Pas/Cal, who have studied not only the Motown (because who hasn't) but also the smaller bands from the 60s who mixed the soul and psychedelic into their blues.

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