Peninsular Place

The Magazine

May 30, 2013

Pathetic Sounds of Detroit

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Written by: Jeff Milo
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The camaraderie is undeniable. Bands working together and supporting each other – there’s such a strong sense of community. I know you’ve heard that touchy-feely refrain in lots of write-ups in zines covering local scene, but “Pathetic Sounds of Detroit” embodies it. Succinctly put by project engineer Topher Horn, it’s “…a bunch of friends helping friends to make music and having a good time doing it.”

“Pathetic…” was envisioned by musician/songwriter Joshua Woodcock as “a compilation, an extensive look at the local music scene with selected bands recording on the same equipment with the same producer, sharing/comparing cohesive sounds.”

From August 2012 to March 2013, selected bands recorded exclusive tracks live onto one fourth inch analog reel tape and got it pressed to vinyl (notably given the supportive seal of approval from Third Man Records’ Jack White and Ben Blackwell throughout the process). It was the former White Stripe himself who organized a similar project 12 years ago. “The Sympathetic Sounds of Detroit” featured modern icons of the “Garage explosion” like the Dirtbombs, the Hentchmen, the Von Bondies and more.

“Pathetic…” features a talented circle of Detroit musicians/bands: The HandGrenades, The Hit Society, The Ashleys, Citizen Smile, White Shag and many more. Singer/bassist Laura Mendoza (White Shag) addresses any “torch passing” metaphors: “The torch got dropped and hasn’t been picked up since.” A union of the new/newer groups is vital, says the School of Rock instructor, and this comp is the first step forward.

Woodcock says the purest goal of “Pathetic” was collectively drumming up exposure for each band. And they’re not messing around just high-fiveing each other. Their hope is to get local radio station exposure, with a promotional team mobilized (even here in Ann Arbor). “Some bands expect opportunity to land in their lap rather than put in the hard work for opportunity.” The premise was purely to show bands working together “on a project that wound up worth listening to.”

It wasn’t meant to just be an awesome vinyl record comp, but “an archive,” says Woodcock, “of a certain time in Detroit music that you could see and hear.” (He filmed live recordings on DV tape. (Search YouTube to find exclusive interviews and music videos.) And see these bands LIVE at P.J.’s Lager House, split two stages between 10 (maybe 11?) bands on June 8.

About the Author

Jeff Milo
Jeff Milo
Jeff is another awesome member of the iSPY team.

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