Summer produced a bumper crop of new CDs from local musicians this year, most of which are well worth a listen. Check out the following discs at musician-friendly venues, with many also available online from the performers websites or through cdbaby.com.
Susan Gilbert & Plastic Duck
No one in Northern Michigan outdoes Susan Gilbert when it comes to experimental music. Her Frankfort-based band employs instruments such as the musical saw, a tin can drum kit and various animal and vegetable noisemakers.
On this CD, however, the music seems more accessible than past efforts -- dare we say, even mainstream? But no more so than youd expect from the likes of Kate Bush, who offered the same sort of quirky lyrics and melodies in her 80s heyday.
Gilbert performs on keyboard and vocals, with perpetrators Richard Curtis on flute and alto sax, Nate Bynum on bass and saw, and Bill Wagner on percussion, conga and the aforementioned animal/veggie effects. Theres also an assist from Amanda Strong on harmony and Don Julin on mandolin.
This is imaginative, whimsical music, sometimes with a stream-of-consciousness sense of freedom, as on the poppy Girlfriend. And please note: sometimes experimental music types have an inclination to grind out depressing dirges, but thats not the case for Susan Gilbert; her music is upbeat and optimistic, like a bag of cheerful humor