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March 8, 2005

REMelio EstElVez.

The Blowout is an annual music fest held over a few nights in the Detroit enclave of Hamtramck. For the three nights the sleepy working class neighborhood is overrun by rock, hip-hop, country, garage, metal, rap-metal, and pretty much every other genre represented by the 400 or so bands that get slots. One reasonable wristband purchase is all it takes to club-hop the streets of Hamtramck. If you've ever been to CMJ, it's like that, only less shmoozy and more greasy.

Anyway, as co-sponsor Metro Times did a blowout of its own. It sported four different cover stories (and covers!), each highlighting one of the paper's stone cold locks for the weekend. I wrote about the Hard Lessons, one of the area's most promising young rock groups. Excerpt to follow.

"The “Feedback Loop” 7-inch was tearing up turntables in winter 2004. But it was only two songs, a double A side of hyperized dueting, cavestomp guitar and vintage-leaning soul. But now it’s time for a proper full-length, and Gasoline is that. Due this spring from No Fun, the Ann Arbor imprint that’s home to the Avatars as well as freaky, South American garage scene crazies like Manganzoides and the Butchers, the album delivers on the promise of both the 45 and the live show. “Feel Alright” and “Share Your Vanity” are wiry, needle-burying rockers in the tradition of the Castaways or the Seeds, while “That Other Girl” has an R&B shimmy thanks to Cox’s keys and soulful vocal. Her crisp organ runs and bright, bold singing play off Visocchi’s guitar and husky yell perfectly, and there’s no bass man needed when Zajac-Denek’s beat is always in the right place. The Anvil — it’s really the only nickname that’s stuck, and every kick drum bump and cymbal crash is the reason. The material from the 45 is here, but there’s also a song like “Milk + Honey,” which dynamically is much closer to indie rock than garage or punk or soul or whatever. That’s what doesn’t matter — ultimately, Gasoline is a rock ’n’ roll album with hooks and spunky attitude, the kind of record that infuses each influence or genre name drop with addictive fun."


The Hard Lessons' debut LP will be issued by No Fun this spring.


Posted by Johnny Loftus at March 8, 2005 11:57 AM