Jan. 5 2011 12:00 AM

Record labels, venues keep on rockin’

Courtesy Photo/Frontier Ruckus


Another year is gone, leaving behind a trail of DIY records and rock shows only Lansing could produce. Aside from slabs of vinyl and compact discs, new venues, artist collectives, and a local music TV website also appeared in 2010.

One band making noise nationally and overseas is The Cheap Girls, a Lansing alt-rock band that released a split 7-inch vinyl with a band called Above Them on All In Vinyl (a UK Label) in October. The band is getting set for a United States tour with major label punks Against Me! in January.

Frontier Ruckus, an indie/folk band, has also continued making waves far beyond Lansing. Since it formed at Michigan State University in 2003, the band signed to Ramseur Records (which has also released Avett Brothers records), and continued a rigorous tour schedule. The band’s latest album, “Deadfalls and Nightmalls,” was released July 20. As for 2011, Frontier Ruckus has already booked another tour across the U.S., which started this week.

The People’s Temple (Lansing psychpunk) has released three 7-inch records, on three different out-of-state punk labels over the past two years, the latest being “Make You Understand,” released in May on HoZac Records — the same label releasing “Sons of Stone,” the band’s first full-length, which is set for early 2011. Goodbye Boozy, an Italian garage-punk label, will release another People’s Temple single in 2011.

John Krohn, a local producer and musician, kept busy with his label Lower Peninsula Records. The label released two vinyl LPs: “How Does It Know?” by Sunil Sawani on May 19, and “Proud Flesh” by Husband & Wife University in 2003, the band signed to on Dec. 18. As for 2011, Krohn said he is focused on a promising new wave/post punk group.

Bermuda Mohawk Productions, a Lansing punk/rock label, released nine albums in 2010 — which bumped the label up to 53 releases.

Thunderbird’s “…How to Talk to Kids About Robots” was released in
January and kicked off 2010 for BMP. A month later BMP released “Bow
& Quiver” by imadethismistake. After a few months of behind the
scenes work, BMP released the Natural Disasters self-titled album and
a To Fear the Wolf/Dead North split CD in June. The debut EP from
Lansing favorites Frank & Earnest dropped in July and Fisher King’s
“Forget It” followed in August. The label’s 50th release was the “BMP
2010 Sampler: BMP5 is Alive! Nifty at 50...releases,” which hit its
online store in October. Rounding out the year for BMP was “Get Busy
Dying” by Tin Horn Prayer and “Art” by Lenin/McCarthy, both released in

BMP founder Cale Sauter said intimate shows in grimy basements are the best part of local music.

personal Lansing music highlight of this year — and any year from about
1999 on — has been yelling along to the chorus of one of my favorite
songs by my favorite local bands in a sweaty basement,” Sauter said.
“Though house-show spaces are fleeting, and 2010 hasn’t been a great
year for them, it happened a handful of times, and all of them served to
remind me why I do this year in and year out.”

Time Gang Recordings, a local indie label and recording studio operated
by members of The Plurals and The Break-Ups, released a pile of DIY

Tommy McCord
of GTG, who said he is “forever writing songs and recording bands at
the GTG House,” also said his label’s 2011 itinerary is already filling
up.: “Myself, Hattie Danby, Nich Richard and Timmy Rodriguez are
continuing to organize and help raise the profile of GTG. It’ll be a big
focus in 2011. The Plurals are in the middle of recording a new
full-length record and booking a West Coast tour for the
spring. Drinking Mercury is also in the middle of recording a
full-length record, with plans to finally release that in 2011.”

music in Lansing is also booming these days. The birth of Neon Tuesday
(a weekly dance night at Mac’s Bar) showed the demand for live techno in
the capital city. Along with that came the formation of Lansing
Electronic Artists Kollective — a team of DJs including: Noah Desmit,
Andy Lynch, Rob Perry, Beatloaf, Jeff Hoisington and GK. The group hosts
shows periodically at Club X-Cel and continues to host Neon Tuesday.

was formed by Dewitt music fans Sean Bradley, Casey Cavanaugh and
Austin Howard. The website posts video interviews with local bands and
rappers, exclusive acoustic performances and show footage. The site also
occasionally posts record reviews of local releases. To date, the site
has posted nearly 20 episodes.

Mac’s Bar, (SCENE) Metrospace, The Loft, The Green Door, Ten Pound
Fiddle, The Pump House, Level II, and Basement 414 continue to book
shows, a few newbies popped up in 2010. Uli’s Haus of Rock gained
momentum in 2010 and continually has a full roster of shows. Leroy’s Bar
& Grill began booking legit blues, jazz and soul acts in November
and plans to continue into 2011. The newly opened Blackened Moon Concert
Hall, a venue with a 400-plus capacity, has mainly acted as a metal
venue, but it’s already booking a variety of other genres, including
acoustic/solo shows.