Love For Peace In Pontiac

  For the quartet known as Peace, their home country of England has thrown the band a lot of love since the beginning of 2012. With UK music mainstay magazines like The Guardian and NME fawning over their debut sing, “Follow Baby”, the band landed some major exposure, signed a major label deal with Columbia, and is now starting to cash in on that early buzz. Fans have clamored for Peace’s sometimes dark and poignant lyrics and the quite skillfull vocals of Harry Koisser. Their debut album “In Love” was released in their homeland back in March, hitting the Top 20 album chart in England and the action shifts to the United States, where the band released “In Love” here on October 1st, with the CD and vinyl still an import through Amazon until the album receives a more full distribution. Whether it’s the 90’s indie rock feel of tracks like “Lovesick”, or the anthemic sounds of the first single “Wraith”, the band takes a lot from the halcyon days of 90’s indie, and a little bit of the 00’s alt-rock dance craze that took over for a bit. And if you haven’t checked out the retro kitsch of their video for “Bloodshake” (from last year’s EP), you know that there’s something catchy and fun in Peace’s music.  But the music on “In Love” should pull you in pretty immediately. The Brits are over on our side of the Atlantic right now for a tour with indie buzz band Two Door Cinema Club, which keeps them here until November 12th, before heading home for dates to finish up the...

Saint Vitus’ Detroit Doom Session

  To quote the Grateful Dead: “it’s been a long, strange trip” when it comes to discussing the longtime doom metal band Saint Vitus. The band cut their teeth in the very toxic musical environment of the 1980’s. Too metal for the popular hair metal at the time, and not punk enough for the punk rockers of the era- Saint Vitus found themselves in a bit of a quandary on their way to respectability. Undergoing several lineup changes over the years, Saint Vitus took a decade plus long break after the release of their 1995 album, “Die Healing”. The group resurfaced in 2008 with live dates at festivals in Europe. As the guys became more comfortable back in the fold of the band, they began work on their first album in nearly two decades. The band released “Lillie F-65” back in the summer of 2012, and fans have witnessed the band’s biggest exposure in a very long time for the band, and the members of the band look forward to the future and new albums. After years of sporadic dates in the Midwest over the years, the band does their first proper tour of this part of the country through the month of October, with openers like Zorosaster and Pallbearer in tow. Before the tour got rolling, I had to chat with guitarist Dave Chandler, founding member of the band. Dave discussed how the response to the band is different now, and a new concert that has seen the light of the day that was previously lost. Here’s my interview with Dave: AM: How was the response been to...

“Lux” Time For Gemini Syndrome

  During one of my more unusual concert going events during 2013, I ended up visiting a tattoo and music festival in a convention hall in Fort Myers, Florida. Mushroomhead was headlining, but I was transfixed on the people who obviously hadn’t seen a good concert roll through their city in a while, and the cast of perfect people watching at the festival during that evening. One of the bands that caught my eye during this unusual evening was the Los Angeles based band Gemini Syndrome, who had been starting to tour being their debut EP. The band’s hard rock fused with industrial sound was a major step up from the other bands on the bill, and you could tell you were gonna see these guys around the touring world in 2013. After continuing to tour with Mushroomhead, and then with Device- Gemini Syndrome release their debut full length album, “Lux” early in September and are doing what they have done best so far: tour, tour, tour. But this fall probably brings the band’s highest profile tour to date, as they open for hard rock titans Five Finger Death Punch on their fall tour. When I caught up with Gemini Syndrome frontman Aaron Nordstrom, the band were in the depths in Canada- playing Regina, Saskatchewan and Aaron had a chance to sit down and talk about the wide range of rock frontmen that inspired him, well as how the band prepared to release it’s major label debut. Here’s my interview with Aaron: AM: With all the touring for the band this year, how do you feel the band has...

Smile Empty Soul’s Chemical Balance

Plenty of bands can sit here and tell you horror stories of the music industry, and they would be completely justified in their comments. But for the California based trio Smile Empty Soul, their trials and tribulations may be a cautionary tale in why so many bands are going it alone when it comes to recording and touring these days. Things looked good a decade ago when the band was signed to the Atlantic Records subsidiary Lava and scored a gold record. But after their debut, each of the band’s subsequent records have been released on a different label. After their 2012 release “3’s” was a one and done venture with eOne Music, the guys in the band decided to venture out on their own when it came down to their next release. The band holed up in a studio and quickly began work on their next album, with the band forming their own label called Two Disciples Entertainment and working with Pavement Entertainment for the band’s latest album, “Chemicals”. “Chemicals” features the band’s signature sound that has made them one of the most sought after and respected road warriors in the rock world today.  And with any new Smile Empty Soul album, comes the lengthy tour to support it. The band is gearing up for the release of “Chemicals” with a upcoming record release party at the Machine Shop in Flint. Before the band got back on the road with tours lasting through mid-December, I chatted with frontman Sean Danielsen about the band’s journey to this point and what the new album holds for listeners. Here’s my interview...

Devildriver Killin’ It At Harpo’s

  There’s a new road ahead for the longtime metal band Devildriver. After ripping out some of the best metal albums through the past several years (“The Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand”, “Pray For Villains”, etc), the band ended up leaving Roadrunner Records after the label went through massive changes in the past couple of years. It didn’t take long for the band to find a new label, as European label Napalm Records picked the band up. With the new label home secured, the band released their sixth album “Winter Kills” back in August, and delivers the usual fury that Devildriver brings to the table. Frontman Dez Fafara brings the thrash electricity on cuts like “Ruthless” and “Desperate Times”.  On “Winter Kills”, Devildriver provides one of the more out of left field cover songs as they tackle Awolnation’s hit “Sail”. It does take a few listens to get into, but you tend to respect the song and the job done after a few songs. “Winter Kills” provides yet another strong addition to the already strong Devildriver catalog. With “Winter Kills” out now, Devildriver heads out on the road for a lengthy two month tour that will keep the band out on the road through mid-December. Devildriver co-headlines this tour with Trivium, who will be releasing their upcoming album “Vengeance Kills” on October 15th. This potent double bill will reach Detroit when they play Harpo’s on Saturday, October 5th. It’s gonna be a crazy, sweaty and moshing type of night when Devildriver arrives in Detroit very, very soon. Devildriver plays at Harpo’s on Saturday, October 5th. Tickets are $20 and...

Jonny Craig Continues Solo Living

  A longtime fixture in the emo scene, Jonny Craig had been apart of some of the more up and coming bands. In his time with Dance Gavin Dance, Emarosa the emo supergroup Isles and Glaciers, Craig has stayed one of the busiest men in the circuit, and has surprised people with his stellar vocal range. But it really wasn’t until Craig stepped away from all of the bands he was sharing time with, to step out in front and show fans where his real passion was evident. Moving away from some of the trappings of the emo world, Craig took the time of uncertainty  in his other projects, Craig focused on becoming more of a full on singer rather than a screamer. Craig’s transition period between bands and solo stuff has been a bit crazy, with the Isles and Glaciers project fizzling out, and his departure from Dance Gavin Dance- Craig figured it would be a good time to tap into the soul album again. After buying out his deal with Rise Records, Craig has enlisted the help of fundraiser site Indiegogo, to help fund his upcoming release.  Out on September 24th, his latest EP “Find What You Live and Let It Kill You”, features hooky tracks like “The Open Letter” and “The Upgrade”. After a round of shows this past spring, Craig sets out on a bigger tour, now that his EP is out in store. Enlisting former The Academy Is frontman William Beckett for direct support, Craig’s latest tour keeps him out on the road through October 26th, but the new school crooner brings his style...

Travis Stands Strong Again

Things had been pretty quiet for the English band Travis after the release of their 2008 album, “Ode to J. Smith” and fans were starting to wonder about the future of the band. With frontman Fran Healy releasing a solo album back in 2010, and a couple sporadic festival dates in 2012, something big was needed from the band and quickly. So, it was needless to say that fans of the band jumped all over the news that the band was finally releasing new material. Holing up this past winter in studios in Norway and Germany, the band released “Where You Stand” back in April. The album, which is the second album on their own Red Telephone Box imprint, features the brit-pop that listeners have come to love over the years on tracks like “Mother” and the title track. With Healy’s vocals and strong musicianship from the rest of the guys in the band, it’s easy to see that the band picks up like they didn’t miss a beat. It is vindication for the band, after the “Ode” record was not as well received as the band and their fans would have liked. Travis finally gets back over to the States as whole for the first time in several years as they have just started a fall tour that takes them through an October 6th finale in San Diego, before heading off to Mexico and Europe. Detroit has always been a sizeable market for the band, and Travis makes sure to keep Detroit on the tour itinerary as they head to the Royal Oak Theatre on Thursday, September 26th....

Flux Pavilion “Forever” Stop

  If you’ve been to an EDM show in the past couple of years, Flux Pavilion’s music has been fairly unavoidable. With his huge single “I Can’t Stop” seemingly everywhere, and his track with Major Lazer (“Jah No Partial”) is all over the place.  For the British DJ born Joshua Steele, it’s been a few crazy years inside the meteoric rise to stardom in the electronic world. Since the release of his “Boom EP” back in 2009, Pavilion has been on a torrid pace. Just as “I Can’t Stop” lit up the EDM world and lighting up commercial after commercial now, his single “Bass Cannon” hit the upper part of the UK dance chart and kept fans moving. Pavilion has kept busy since then, releasing a ton of singles with artists like Chiddy Bang and M.I.A.. But Pavilion has made his biggest output yet, with the January release of “Blow The Roof”. “Roof” is an eight song tutorial in moombahcore (think reggae and EDM mixed together) and dubstep on cuts like “Double Edge” (which will be featured in the next “Need For Speed” video game) and “Starlight”. For fans of the massive “I Can’t Stop”, he’s got a sequel with “I Still Can’t Stop”- which hits just as hard as the original. Flux Pavilion has a busy fall on tap, with tour dates that will last through a November 16th finale in Puerto Rico. But his Detroit area stop will be a big one, as he is part of the Forever Festival– which will take place at Freedom Hill on Friday, September 27th. Along with Pavilion will be EDM...

UFC 165 Preview & Fearless Predictions

UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones has done a lot in his somewhat short UFC career so far, but has racked up some of the greatest streaks in the sport’s history, and he prepares to break another record by surpassing Tito Ortiz’s number of LHW title defenses at 6 as Jones takes on the always dangerous Swede Alexander Gustafsson. For Jones, this will mark the first time that he is considered the world’s pound for pound best MMA fighter, after Anderson Silva held that title for several years before his stunning defeat in July. UFC 165 will either see a record being broken, or another in the line of stunning upsets to hit the UFC this year. Along with the LHW title fight, the Bantamweight Championship is on the line as interim champ Renan Barao takes on longtime contender Eddie Wineland. Also, sluggers Brendan Schaub takes on Matt Mitrione will see who stays relevant in that division at UFC 165. Let’s get down to the picks for the big fights taking place at UFC 165: Light Heavyweight Championship: Jon Jones (18-1) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (15-1):  For champion Jones, the pickings for legitimate contenders is starting to get slim. Outside of Gustafsson and Glover Teixiera, Jones has cleared out the remainder of the division. There’s been a lot of touting of Gustafsson’s size and comparable reach to Jones, but let’s be honest- it’s just tough to justify an advantage for the Swede against one of MMA’s greatest fighters. With wins against Shogun Rua and Thiago Silva; it makes Gustafsson a worthy contender for the title, but there is a major...

Bile Is Born To Kill

  Going against the norms of the genre and the music industry is something that has been commonplace for the New York based industrial band Bile. Formed in the early 90’s during the height of the industrial era, the band have been pumping out albums and staying active in the process through the height and the genre’s move back underground. Lead by Krztoff, who also is a part of industrial favorites Pigface, the guys in Bile deliver a sound that fits within the industrial realm, but has aspects of smatterings of different music thrown in for it’s edge. After taking a bit of a break from all things Bile, the band released their new album, “Born to F—, Born To Kill” this past year digitally- with the physical release due out sometime before the end of the year. When listening to the material, their against the grain tone can be best heard on cuts like “Remove the Head” and “The Guilt When You Are Done” gives the music a haunting, moody sonic space that harkens an golden era of music that some of us wishes were back in style. Hitting the road is not an everyday thing for the band, with the band’s upcoming tour being their first in 10 years, with Toronto band The Rabid Whole providing some crushing support for Bile. The Rabid Whole is supporting their 2012 album “Refuge”.  The tour behind the new album, with the first part of a 3 part tour beginning on September 20th in Cleveland. The band hits the Detroit area the next night when they take over the Token Lounge...