"3 Bands, 3 Songs, 3 Bucks -- every month!"
"Every picture tells a story," said Roderick David "Rod" Stewart; whether that picture conveys 1,000 words is something we hope to test the limits of with this write-up for the long-awaited 3-Way Singles Club, Volume 4.
To be frank, I've been waiting to put out Vol. 4 since before the series began, when I saw the great photo of Plurals guitarist Tommy McCord taken by Erica Graham at a summer show at Lansing's Mac's Bar. Because minds can make interesting, often instantaneous associations, by that night I had formed a visual portmanteau of the photograph with the cover art of Black Sabbath's 1972 album "Black Sabbath Vol. 4." Now all I needed was some songs.
Asking The Plurals to be on board was a natural thing. Around this time of year (I think) in 2007, Tommy asked my band Stargrazer to join the GTG Recordings stable and I eagerly did just that. That explains why my own band isn't on my label -- ITAV was in a 2-year hiatus while I helmed a non-profit art gallery and GTG didn't wait around for me to sign myself!
I've watched the Plurals transform into a formidable power trio, indulging in an unapologetic love of noisy/hooky 90s-fueled pop. They've become an amazing live unit and the walking definition of a triple threat. Their newest CD "Futurospective: The Plurals Today, The Plurals Tomorrow" had barely cooled from pressing and an enthusiastic round of reviews when they re-entered the recording studio and emerged with "Neon Life."
Detroit's Terminal Girls is a 2-piece band featuring Ian Swanson and Mike Prezzato. I discovered them via Ian's artwork -- paintings, sculptures, and installation art -- of which I am a pretty big fan. A band that can pull off threatening and insanely catchy in the same song is a rarity, recalling (maybe?) bands like Brainiac or Cincinnati trio Chalk but with a whole new swing. Terminal Girls conjures an atavistic, sticky-sweet tarball of sounds; jagged angles and human sweat. It's dark and alluring, a dangerous sound walking a razor-thin tightrope above a yawning black abyss. In other words, it's great and it rubs you the wrong way so, so right. "Pink Clouds" pushes the pop buttons, but it isn't afraid of sheet-metal vocals and mock-cock-rock swagger.
Completing the three-headed, ten-horned trinity presented on Vol. 4 is Lansing dirge-psych-metal band Cavalcade metamorphosing into yet another unexpected form with the concise, psychedelic spaghetti western-tinged "Young Guns pt. V," (which will actually precede the release of "Young Guns pt. IV," Traveling Wilburys-style, for those of you keeping track at home), featuring backing vocals from Break-Ups bassist Frankie Knoch, tribal drumming, primarily acoustic(!) guitars, and Zach Warren's twisting vocal observations creating a very full, swirling 2-and-a-half minutes of bitter accusation and surgical self-reflection.
Having Cavalcade aboard allows me to pay tribute to another prong of mid-Michigan's aesthetically thriving punk/metal/indie scene, Lansing's Bermuda Mohawk Productions. Cavalcade represents a nice cross-section of personnel, from some of BMP's most active booking agents and graphic artists to instrumentalists shared with several other notable area metal and punk acts, i.e. The Cartridge Family and Genocya.
So to bring Volume 4 full circle to Black Sabbath's Volume 4, here we have a trio of dark, enticingly psychedelic post-punk bands taking their songs in three different directions, much as the album that the cover art pays homage to could go from stomping blues-metal to mellotron-laced ballads. There were some stalls in getting this edition of the Singles Club out "on time," and I sincerely thank everyone (especially the bands) for their patience with me, I think the results fit the indistinct, fuzzy dream-version I could hear (distantly) in my inner ear, perfectly.
As always, you can read more about the 3-Way Singles Club series of monthly singles at itavrecords.blogspot.com
[ If you're interested, you can subscribe to the entire 3-Way Singles Club for a one time fee. That's ALL the songs the club has already released, plus everything we'll release until the end of time. Learn more here itavrecords.blogspot.com