RELATIVES IN DESCENT release show
Protomartyr, METZ, ADULT. Preoccupations, Tyvek
625 West Congress St
Detroit, MI, 48226
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
I asked Joe Casey once why he chose to start his first band with a group of guys roughly ten years his junior. His answer was simple: He needed them, needed this, needed Protomartyr. He didn't want to end up singing classic rock covers in a carport or dive bar one night a week. At 35, with no musical background and crippling stage fright, he needed friends who were young and hearty enough to want to write and record and practice and tour and be heard as badly as he did then. He'd just lost his father to an unexpected heart attack, and his heartbroken mother to the beginnings of Alzheimer's shortly thereafter. He'd come to understand, all too intimately, how brutal and finite a life can be. Consider then the urgency with which he joined his bandmates—guitarist Greg Ahee, drummer Alex Leonard, and bassist Scott Davidson, fellow alums of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy—for thefirst time, in a basement full of unsuspecting onlookers. Consider the urgency with which they've approached everything since—three albums in three years, each more extraordinary and rewarding than the last. This music is inherently, unassumingly high stakes. I can think of no other band that moves me like they do.
This October marks the release of The Agent Intellect, their third and finest work to date. Named after an ancient philosophical questioning of how the mind operates in relation to the self, it's an elegant and oftendevastating display of all that makes Protomartyr so vital and singularly visceral an outfit. Over the courseof several months, Ahee waded through more than a hundred song fragments until he reached the bottomless melodies of "I Forgive You" and "Clandestine Time", the inky depths of "Pontiac '87" and titanic churn of "Why Does It Shake?" Lyrically, Casey is at his most confident and haunting. He humanizes evil on "The Devil in His Youth," and, amid the charred pop of "Dope Cloud," he reassures us that nothing—not God, not money—can or will prevent our minds from unraveling until we finally fade away. We are no one and nothing, he claims, without our thoughts. It's a theme that echoes through the entirety of the record, but never as beautifully as it does on "Ellen." Named after his mother and written from the perspective of his late father, it's as romantic a song as you're likely to hear this or any year, Casey promising to wait for her on the other side, with the memories she's lost safely in hand.
I remember a story he told me in Detroit. A few months earlier, he'd been driving with his mother as a Protomartyr recording played on the stereo.
"Joe," she asked him. "Who is this?"
"This is us, Mom," he told her. "That's me."
"Oh!" she said, "This is very good."
—David Bevan, July 2015
METZ is a Noise Punk / Grunge band from Toronto (Ontario), Canada, formed in 2008.
As Detroit continues its seemingly irreversible slide into the tar pits of economical despair, new traditionalists Tyvek have unashamedly taken the reins and harnessed the ambition to keep their slurred and manically refreshing noise pop bouncing around the skulls of everyone still breathing in the real, uncategorizible fumes of the original new wave. With an already impressive trail of essential releases left behind them, including last year's debut album and an infinitesimal stream of "tour-only" CDRs, the band seems to always be evolving, yet never straying far from the original cacophony that earned them a spot in the hallowed halls of modern punk's elite erratics.
And as dynamically diverse as Tyvek's recordings have become, their live set also seems to shift dramatically with each new appearance, ranging from a monstrous five piece to the currently stripped-down three-piece that easily gets the job done without sacrificing any of the intensity or brazen brevity that's earned them their fanatical following. With relentless touring, razor-esque songwriting and the ability to adapt to their surroundings without resistance, it's no wonder why they're so adept at captivating the off-center sounds of bygone-era DIY scrapings and spinning it into gold, all without ever really showing any influence of the Detroit "sound" that's known the world over. This trait alone deserves massive respect and forges their creativity in a unique light, as pioneers and as individuals who set forth to create their own thing in their own time, and in essence, are clearly executing some of the most exciting sounds in underground music today.
It’s been a while since the world heard any recordings from Detroit electropunk pioneers Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus, it’s true, but that’s because the restlessly creative duo have been busy with other projects: a film trilogy, a soundtrack and an epic home renovation. Since the world last heard an ADULT. record 2008’s Let’s Feel Bad Together EP the duo have been exploring the audio/visual aspect of their work, creating a 113-minute trilogy of horror films called the Three Grace(s) triptych. The films were completed in late 2010, screened at the Distrital Film Festival in Mexico City and the CIMM Festival in Chicago, and the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Anthology Film Archives. It’s notable that the duo’s interest in audiovisual work grew out of the evolving visual aspect of ADULT. They collaborated on several music videos, which led them to experimenting with short films and 2012 sees them come full circle back to the studio: they have a double A-side single of cover versions due out November 6th and more new material in the pipeline. Still, Miller’s keen to note that this isn’t the only music they’ve been making. “We’ve always been recording music,” he says. “Our films have original soundtracks from start to finish: that’s a total of 1 hour and 51 minutes of music for the three films we have made in the last four years. And these soundtracks are recorded, they are just not released yet!” At the same time, though, he’s happy to be back to focusing on putting out records as he explains, “What brought us back to music releases was the simple fact that we finally got our visual side and our audible sides balanced again.” And with everything in equilibrium again, we’ll be hearing a lot more of ADULT. in the near future.