Ford Lake Frozen Leap


January 2, 2012

“But We’re Here…” – Rounding Up Unusual Suspects and Singles

nathan k

The end of the year has meant I’ve finally found some time to stop running… to sit, and to listen.


Nathan K. has embraced feedback, reverb, and static-spotted, space rock. Reading back the epitaph on his current bandcamp page rings a sombre tone and it’s thus understandable that his lyrics are so austere on these tracks. Beyond that, his music hasn’t necessarily gotten darker, but the shades are drawn, the sad stars are out, the air is chilled but its not stopping him from affecting a fine soundtrack for late night walks of heart-wringing contemplation.

Listen: Nathan K. – “If I Die”

Now, two-ish years ago he was honing more of a romantic bard-like busker air, twanging out heart-on-the-sleeve neo-Americana; but now, you want me to spin cliches of it ‘sounding-like-an-entirely-different-band/songwriter’ blah blah blah?? – well, yeah -essentially, yes; I mean, dig those punchy sequenced-beats shimmying along under that purring synthesizers in “When I Was Young,” or the bristling, busted fax-machine gurgles fuzzing up the otherwise dreamy new-wave shuffle of “Good Natured Son.”

Life’s full of many unanswered questions and Nathan K.’s charting a few of the heavy ones  out into these lyrics, some of the vocal delivery bedazzled-and-blurred; but it seems he’s finding catharsis in a bit of measured noise-pop – soothe your world-weariness and unresolved frustrations through fuzz-fogged scrapes and ghostly feedback echoes…


For a couple days or so, I”ll admit, I had hesitated opening up Team Ethic’s bandcamp page for their most recent single, “Out On Bail,” based upon how disturbing I found their freaky fabricated “album art”…

I regret that it took me until just before the dawn of X-mas-madness to dig in… But, like I said, I finally found some time to stop running…

But running is exactly what “Out On Bail” inspires, what with it’s whirling riffs and rousing organ’s jittery tap, building you up, making you wanna stretch your limbs a bit at those few fleeting bars before the chorus, with the feathery coo of the organ being bulled over by those propulsive drums and tumbling bass booms.

Team Ethic – “Out On Bail”

Those rollickin’ rhythms shunting the shimmering intertwining zooms of delicately-fuzzed guitars and warm organs were the Team Ethic signature on their EP from a year ago (see: “All Your Friends Are Quitting“) - and while “Bail,” with its charmingly sardonic portrait of love-gone-wrong, they’re stoking the fires of indie-power-pop, it’s merely a preview of where the band’s headed, with a proper full length coming out any-month-now…


“Well… …we are going to give it our best shot, man…”

Behold the power of the Jesus Lizard… This Ypsi-group formed from the flaming embers flicked up by a Halloween-inspired cover-set performance of the legendary pummeling-noise-punk group. Those songs of that renowned, hyper-raucous Chicago group sufficiently inspired the chaps who formed the tellingly-titled Lizerrd, a magnificent, menacing, rock monstrosity made up of members from shred/scream/slam/stomp-digging collective of musicians known as The Ghost Family.

Listen: Lizerrd – “Do It Again”

Yes, you can hear beer cans popping-open before the song “One Of Us” properly begins; consider that a charming, wink-and-nod harbinger of the tumult that lies ahead… Ferocity aside, consistent with bands of Ghost Family, JWPP, Err… or Sharky, there’s still plenty of heartening sentiment to be mined in the lyrics and from the palpable chemistry of the players involved.


I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting quite a while for something, anything, from Lightning Love. The songs that this Ypsi-based minimalist-sweet/sour-pop trio have been cooking up were being discussed over an almost-forgotten interview that I conducted with them back on Valentine’s Day of 2010…

Here we are… an EP will be out in a matter of weeks and a full length album will be out come spring time!

Just before X-mas, the band put out this single (Listen: Lightning Love – “Deadbeat”), to give us a taste of the forthcoming Girls Who Look Like Me (coming on Quite Scientific).

Aerodynamic in its simple design, Lightning Love have the hook, the stomping rhythm, and Leah Diehl’s wispy vocals – that’s really all you need, it works – you swoon. Blooming out from this delicate and demure aesthetic, their characteristic lo-fi decor allows for a disarming amount of goosebump-popping poignancy to pulse through that b-section where Leah’s hands dance up and down the keyboards with this dreamy lilt, while the synthesized strings start humming louder and louder like computery-church-organs in the background, swelling up with the cymbal crash and those steady guitars.

Let’s hear more!


Jeffrey Freer finally worked himself into a hangover…a demo hangover… Dude’s been writing too much, not that that’s a bad thing.

Freer recorded and toured with his brother (Jeremy, of the Juliets) with a band bearing their namesake, through 2007-2009, touring here and there, putting out an LP and an EP, but eventually fizzling away thus that older brother went all baroque-pop on his current trip and the younger, Jeffrey, fully utilizing the opportunity to find and flourish his own voice – initially a Brit-pop strutting jangle with Hallway, but now getting a bit more moodier, ponderous and prog-rock-teasing, off on a piano-lead, spacey-lounge trip with Jet Freer. (There’s videos via his collaboration with Alexander Thomas, a series titled Cactus Pantry).

Listen: Jet Freer – “First Round”

About the Author

Jeff Milo
Jeff Milo
Jeff, the newest member to the iSPY team, has a vast knowledge of the local and not so local music scene. Keep a look out for plenty of album and band reviews as well as blog posts, interviews and more! We're excited to have Jeff as a part of our team. Reach out, say hello, offer suggestions, get your band featured with iSPY!

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