November 20, 2018

Richard Reed Parry – Quiet River of Dust – Anti/Epitaph

By Kristi Kates | Nov. 3, 2018

Parry’s spent plenty of time working with his main musical project, the Canadian Grammy-winning indie-rock outfit Arcade Fire. But on his solo work, he’s more ’60s avant-garde than current-day dance-tronica. On his own, he shows an even deeper passion for layered harmonies and alternatively styled melody lines on concept pop tracks like “On the Ground” and “I Was in the World (Was the World in Me?)”; guests Yuka Honda, Aaron Dessner, and Bryce Dessner (of The National) add flair and even more indie cred. ***

Louis Cole – Time – Brainfeeder Records
Thoughtful pop-funk? How exactly does that work? Just take a listen to Cole, and you’ll see how he blends rhythm and ruminations into ultra-catchy tracks. Cole — primarily a drummer — sings in a quirky falsetto that’s deceptively viral in nature, but once he gets serious, it’ll draw you right in. Standout “Tunnels in the Air” features label-mate Thundercat, while Brad Mehldau steps in on jazz piano for “Real Life.” “Everytime” gets mellow and sentimental, and “Phone” twists and turns its bouncy arrangement so it never gets dull. ***

Groundation – The Next Generation – Roots
Recorded with judicious purpose on a stack of analog 1970s recording gear, Groundation’s latest melts Jamaican reggae music into jazz with a diversity unlike most other fusion outfits you’ve probably heard. Topically, they swerve from hard-sell causes (“Fossil Fuels,” “Prophets and Profit,” “The Next Generation”) to quieter, more personal topics (“One But Ten,” “Father and Child”), but it’s all delivered with purpose and top musicianship. ** ½ 

Leon Bridges – Coming Home – Sony Legacy
Getting his start at open mics, moving up to a much-talked-about spot at SXSW, and finally winding up in a studio with indie band White Denim, who helped him put his tunes to tape, Bridges doesn’t lean much on gimmicks, instead just pulling directly from the retro sounds of classic soul singers like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. His somnolent vocals anchor every track on this set, whether they’re uptempo (“Smooth Sailin’” “Flowers”), ballads (the striking “River”), or somewhere in-between (the ’50s-pop of “Better Man.”) ** 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

Gaylord native Gary Scott had moved to Indiana, where he and some partners started a business to invest in distressed properties. He was talking to a banker in Detroit about real estate in Bloomington when he asked what kind of deals might be available in northern Michigan. ... 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 >>

Ready, Set, Shop!

Looking to put some local gifts under your tree this year? Look no further: We've scoured the shops of northern Michigan to find a mix Up North classics and out-of-the-box surprises — at all price points — that'll excite everyone on your list. Behold: Our 2018 picks for ... Read More >>