April 26, 2019

Pom Poko – Birthday – Bella Union

By Kristi Kates | March 30, 2019

From Norway hails the avant-garde indie-experimentation outfit Pom Poko, which snagged its name from a popular Japanese anime. Expect influences galore in Pom Poko’s music; the band includes everything from math-rock and West African beats to punk and groovy funk. Opener “Theme1” bellows its lyrics over precise guitar riffs, while “My Work is Full of Art” is a very apt name for the vibrant compositions this group cranks out. ***

The Gloaming – The Gloaming 3 – Real World Records
The third effort from this group of Irish and American musicians was produced by Thomas Bartlett, known for his work with St. Vincent and Michigan native-turned-indie-musician Sufjan Stevens. Recorded in NYC, it takes the best of both countries’ influences and fuses them into a contemporary mess of classical/jazz/post-rock/folk melodies. We loved the fiddle-heavy, vintage feel of “Bronwyn Leigh” and the way it blends into the complementary “Doctor O’Neil.” Other standouts include the poetic “Reo” and the spare arrangement of “Meáchan Rudaí.” ***

Norah Jones – Begin Again – Blue Note Records
Not to be confused with the Keira Knightley/Mark Ruffalo movie of the same name, the latest from jazz-pop diva Jones brings together a half-dozen previously unreleased “low pressure” (her words) tunes she recorded over the past year, including her new single “Just a Little Bit.” This is pretty much a grab bag of soulful folk and pop tracks from the singer, with a wide variety of genres and sounds sharing space, including collaborations with Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) and Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman). ** ½
James Morrison – You’re Stronger Than You Know – Stanley Park
Having already snagged a BRIT Award and a massive duo with Nelly Furtado (the track “Broken Strings”), it’s definitely time for Morrison to make a big showing with a set that showcases his personal affinity for Motown and soul music, as well as his own emotional-sandpaper vocals. With a real, open sound that’s enhanced — as opposed to stifled — by studio production, the collection includes the motorcycle-rev guitars of “Power” and the grooving “Don’t Wanna Lose You,” with its powerful female backing vocals. ** ½


Welcome to Michigan’s Most Remote Brewery

After years of planning and honing his beer-making skills, this spring, Patrick McGinnity plans to open Beaver Island’s first microbrewery. Opening a craft brewery is challenging. Opening one on a remote island in Lake Michigan that’s either a 15-minute plane ride or a two-and-a-half-hour ferry ride from ... Read More >>

Gaylord: A boomtown Up North

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CBD Laws: Dazed and Confused

The sign outside of Family Video in Kalkaska lets drivers know the store has more than just movies. The sign reads: “CBD PRODUCTS NOW AVAILABLE HERE! CHECK IT OUT.” CBD is short for cannabidiol, a kind of chemical compound that occurs naturally in hemp and marijuana plants, but does ... Read More >>

Small Up North Towns on the Rise

Spotlight on Bellaire (pictured)Seems Traverse City isn’t the only place in the region making those “Best of” lists. The Antrim County hamlet of Bellaire was recently named to the list of Best Lakeside Towns in the U.S. by Country Living Magazine, alongside the likes of Vergennes, Vermont, Greenville, ... Read More >>