[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Photos by Alicia Gbur. Clockwise from top left: Christian Doble, Michael Spence, Matt Rickle, and Alicia Gbur.

Whilst record shopping, my eye caught a gig poster featuring none other than one of my longtime favorite local foursomes, FAWNN, and I thought to myself, “these assholes should take that poster down.” I figured it was old, and that the record store should be punished for getting my hopes up. To my surprise, it wasn’t old, and the show hadn’t happened yet. In fact, FAWNN joins Siamese, Odd Hours, and Tart January 30th at The Loving Touch in Ferndale.

When FAWNN formed in 2010, they were already seasoned veterans of the indie rock Detroit culture. Alicia Gbur was front woman of The Nice Device as well as a touring member of The Von Bondies. Christian Doble rocked with Child Bite and Kiddo, and later added drummer Matt Rickle of Javelins and Thunderbirds Are Now!, along with Mike Spence who was a member of the sultry pop force Those Transatlantics. With their rich musical resumes backing them and their irreverent collage of talent propelling them, FAWNN created their first LP, Coastlines, in 2012. Reminiscent of The New Pornographers’ Twin Cinema meets The Shins’ Chutes Too Narrow with a sprinkling of Surfer Blood’s Astro Coast, Coastlines fell into the category of albums that demanded an encore. Four years later, it looks as though we will finally get one.

“We’ve been recording it over the last two years and it’s finished! It’s called Ultimate Oceans and will be out on Quite Scientific in the late spring,” says friend and drummer, Matt Rickle. “We’re stoked about it. The four of us really hit a good stride.” The gap between releases was contingent on guitarist Mike Spence, who split to take a job opportunity. “We didn’t want to replace him,” Rickle said. “But now he’s back! It took a little time to get this album together. It never really felt like we stopped.”

Yes, it’s great news that FAWNN is returning. But after knowing Rickle for as long as I have and learning that he is as passionate of an admirer as I am, it was impossible for me not to mention the magnitude of our shared mourning over the loss of the incomparable David Bowie. “Ever since I discovered my dad’s copy of Young Americans 20 years ago, Bowie has been it for me. He gave me a taste of the strange early on, and my tastes went sideways ever since then,” says Rickle. “I feel like I recognize his urge to always try something different and reinvent your creativity.” I have no doubt that FAWNN’s followup will be an expression of the aforementioned reinvention of creativity, and Detroit can’t wait to hear what that sounds like.

Check out the video for “No Wave” from FAWNN’s 2012 release here:




ALBUM REVIEW: Destroyer “Poison Season”


“You could follow a rose wherever it grows/You could fall in love in Times Square,” Dan Bejar, aka Destroyer sings on the track “Times Square.” His latest album, Poison Season, constantly references itself, both musically and lyrically, but matter where one track takes you, another always leads you back to perhaps the most well-known area of New York City, Times Square; The record has three songs that include it in their title. Most New Yorkers may associate the area with crowded trains and annoying tourists more than love, but Bejar somehow makes it seem romantic and sentimental.

Called “Rock’s Exiled King” by The Fader, this is the tenth studio album by Bejar, who also plays in The New Pornographers, but strays far from the indie rock genre in his solo project.  Though Poison Season may seem like a harsh name for an album, it’s not reflected in the music. Songs are filled with sweeping (but never too sappy) strings and loose jazz saxophone. The whole album has a late-night/early dawn feel to it, recalling the 4AM epiphanies you get when you’re still clinging to your last bit of consciousness. This is especially true on the track “Dream Lover,” where he borrows the line “Here comes the sun.” But this isn’t the hopeful, cheery sun from the Beatles’ song- this sun is an interruption, signaling the end the night with a does of reality: “Oh shit, here comes the sun/Lovers on the run,” Bejar laments after an evening where “Haunted starlight gets in your eyes.” Euphoric, chaotic saxophone and a driving beat make it one of the album’s best tracks.

On “Bangkok,” the saxophones are joined by piano, giving the song the feeling of an after-hours jazz lounge. And on “Hell,” the bouncy beat begs you to snap along even as Bejar insists “It’s hell down here, it’s hell”(He also slips in a somewhat political line with “Every murderer voted out of office is sold down the river,” though he follows it up with something purely romantic).

Bejar’s voice has a whispery, spoken-word feel to it, and even during quieter moments, it’s easy to want to give his words your full attention. There are some serious moments on the album, but Bejar’s sense of humor manages to shine through. He uses the line “Bring out your dead,” which could possibly (I’d like to think this, anyway) be a nod to the Monty Python comedy The Holy Grail. And while the music video for “Girl In A Sling” is a beautiful, simple film where Bejar develops old photo negatives in what appears to be a childhood house, the video for “Times Square” is a light-hearted stop motion animation. Mossy creatures get high off of pipes and joints, a tree stump hunts for mushrooms, and a cartoon brain crawls along the forest floor.

This is definitely not the Times Square that exists at West 42nd Street and 7th Avenue, but it’s the Times Square that should.

Poison Season is out on August 28 via Merge Records. Check out the track “Dream Lover” below.