Great Lakes Myth Society and Northern Rock in the Free Press

Check the GLMS action in the paper today:

From Motown to jazz to rock to techno, artists have long paid musical homage to the city of Detroit. But what about the rest of Michigan? Isn’t it time the Great Lakes State received its musical due?

Great Lakes Myth Society thinks so. Billing itself as “Michigan’s Northern Rock collective,” the Ann Arbor-based quintet crafts indie folk-rock such as “Marquette County, 1959,” and “No. VI,” a song about the old train station in the town now known as Novi. An early album is titled “HOMES, Vol. 1,” HOMES being an acronym for the five Great Lakes.

The article has a weird feel. There’s definitely the text of a story there, giving the vibe that this album is an important part of a movement that may be reaching critical mass. But there’s really nothing to sink your teeth into.

One thing the article just brushes past is the richness of the music that not only layers unconventional instruments and sounds on top of more typical pop-rock instrumentation, but the instruments like the accordion (how could he not mention that?) and the glockenspiel all have their own ethnic connotations not often brought into conventional folk, pop, and rock. I’m sure anyone who’s listened to some latino music lately or even polkas or zydeco has thought “why doesn’t the mainstream pop-rock scene pick up some of this rich sound?” Again, the article makes some reference to southern rock, but what about the overriding southern tradition and roots of modern pop-rock? Why isn’t there another story there about the adaptation of another musical tradition, not just in terms of song content? I guess it’s too much to
ask of a big daily, but it’s a story that needs to be told and is one of the things I love about GLMS — not just their stories, but the way their stories play out in the music.

On the topic of the stories and content, GLMS is far superior to a band like Lynyrd Skynyrd. The opening guitar riffs to Sweet Home Alabama are awesome, but who gives a shit about Neil Young’s criticism of the South? But I’m certain if anybody hears the last lines of Isabella County at a show (“Sweetheart, the city has beautiful, beautiful snow”), there’s no way they’re not fans for life. It’s too bad that wasn’t mentioned in the article, because that may be their most evocative and forceful song in my mind in terms of the value of place in the North, but since it wasn’t about SE Michigan, I can see how it might be left out. Plus, was there no need to follow up on the fact that Fido lives in Flint? Anyway, check out the band and get the album on Sunday.

UPDATE: D’oh! The album isn’t in stores until JULY 10th, not June.