There’s this curious scene about 30-ish miles West of us that I used to call home: Lansing. I never stayed there long enough to put down any roots or grasp a steady musical pulse…
I have fond memories seeing Ann Arbor’s Minor Planets or Detroit’s Thunderbirds Are Now! rock their ways through the modest digs of Mac’s Bar …and those experiences just made me hungry to head over to Detroit every other weekend to keep digging further into what was going on over there instead…
But right before I left (…left Michigan State, that is,) there were a few bands that caught my ear –and one of ‘em wound up being a country-rock band. I really don’t know why, initially, as I think back on it – but maybe there was just something inherently Michigander in the twang of Flatfoot; maybe I detected charming proclivities for dashing in throwbacky-pop-rock, something of an easy-going / quasi-arty / indie-digging pop-rock enthusiast seemed to resonate in their music. This wasn’t achey-breaky pick-up truck ballads or shuffle-stomp hee-haw bullshit; and it wasn’t an overly conceptual re-working of the Americana recipe.
Flatfoot found an uncanny earnestness and the players (Amori, Aaron Bales, Tom Green and Thomas McCartan), presented it with a straightforward, just-here-to-rock kinda musicality.
Flatfoot’s got a new album of tunes, their first one in a while, titled Blue Water.
There’s brass evoking airy whirls of mariachis musing their honky bleats atop a waltzing tempo while a wispy organ flares up between twangs of warm-toned fenders feeling captured from some sunny ’62 surf-pop recording…(“Seven Hills”) There’s freewheeling verve to the tinny whipping riffs and toe-tapping beats kicking up plumes of dust for “When I Get There” while the tongue-in-cheek vocals chart a tragically funny tale of punch-drunk-love. There’s gospel-tinged crooning (those nasally vocals get nostalgically theatrical in their sensationalized serenading but those harmonies are undeniable.
Old-tyme guitar gallantry, unself-conscious when it belts out a ballad (most of which are in and out in 3 minutes) and marked, just subtly enough, with a balance of eclectic styles (the riffy pop-rock stuff to the stripped down acoustic folk) so as not to dissuade anyone like…I dunno, me?…who might have hang-ups over anything coming off too-country-ish. That ain’t Flatfoot.
Looking forward: they’ve got a show slated for December 8th @ Woodruff’s in Ypsilanti. See what you think.
Have a good rest o’ November; thanks for reading.