Music

Thursday, September 26

10:30 PM

Calcaska

Calcaska

Think of the Killers if they were still a bar band, playing their crystalline sheen of anthemic guitar-synth rock in an intimate setting. If you can picture that, you have a good idea of Calcaska, a Flint-based trio. Crammed with hooks and melodies you won’t be able to free from your mind for days (not that you’ll be trying too hard to exorcise them), the group’s songs are imbued with the frenetic restlessness of youth and the desire to hold onto it. Take the “YBYL” from their second EP of the same name, wherein frontman Jeff Gingrich proclaims, “Young blood, young love/ We got, we got/ Young blood” over shimmering instrumentation. Slated to take a hiatus before being contacted by Hell’s Half Mile, Calcaska put their break on hold to play the festival.

the-hounds-below

The Hounds Below

Howling their way from the depths come the Hounds Below. With their hellfire and blues-evoking name, the Ferndale quartet emerge from the wake cut by parent band the Von Bondies, one of the premier groups of the early 2000’s garage rock revival. From that band, the Hounds bring frontman Jason Stollsteimer’s distinctive voice and hook-laden songwriting. Their debut LP, You Light Me Up In the Dark, dropped in October 2012 and is loaded with songs indebted to the Pixies’ frenetic style, filtered through a pop sheen and a more anthemic veneer. Performing live, they employ the best of both worlds to staggering effect, being down and dirty but with a sprawling grandeur.

Friday, September 27

3:00 PM

Widely regarded as one of the area’s premier jazz guitarist/vocalists, Bryan Rombalski has been melting musical minds for decades with has overtly casual approach to delivering sophisticated, palatable, mellow and ultimately groovy compositions. Always technically superb but never over-the-top, Bryan has perfected the art of lulling all sets of ears into accepting the fluid rhythm he produces regardless of a listeners ability to understand its complexity. Bryan is a true gentleman who enjoys sharing his sounds with the public as often as possible. HHM is pleased to offer our guests exactly that opportunity. Bryan will be performing in Populace Cafe on Friday at 3:00 p.m. This engagement is completely free.

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5:00 PM

A one-man band of the variety you have likely never seen before, Morseville Bridge is sure to have onlookers listen in awe to the sounds he is able to somehow create. Ryan Gregory puts just as much passion into his music as he does his mechanically modified instruments that allow him to be heard. Armed with original compositions resembling the styles of Modest Mouse, Pavement, Califone and Built to Spill, Gregory’s energetic and inventive performance will be appreciated by all indie music fans lucky enough to witness it. Morseville Bridge will be setting up shop in Electric Kitsch at 5:00 p.m. on Friday. This is a free event.

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8:30 PM

tokyo-morose

Tokyo Morose

Airy synths, angular guitars, and flawless, unique vocals serve as the foundation of indie rock quartet Tokyo Morose’s sound. With a majority of its members hailing from independent music hotbed Grand Rapids, the band has quickly become widely recognized as one of the area’s most respected live acts. Their most recent LP, Sequence of Steps, has been received with widespread critical acclaim and has earned them the heralded “Jammy” award for Best Alternative Album of 2012 from Grand Rapids radio station WYCE. This is not the first time that vocalist Erin Lenau, percussionist Pat Wieland, and multi-instrumentalists/band co-founding members Trevor Edmonds and Tim Warren have been involved with Hell’s Half Mile. They have been featured in two HHM Indie Showcases over the past year and also performed at our Brews and Bites fundraiser in May, a relationship we are honored to further solidify with yet another impressive performance from our friends Tokyo Morose.

wild-finish

The Wild Finish

Despite hailing from Chicago, the Wild Finish has significant local roots — frontman Ryan Sias is a Midland native son, having moved to the Windy City in 2010 to start a band and returning now with momentum driving him and cohorts Evan Kalway and Mike Strub. Self-described as “adult-contemporary punk,” the trio’s songs are punchy nuggets chronicling Midwestern malaise, drunken revelry (and revulsion) and an urgent yearning to break free of the ties that bind. They deftly straddle that line of being mature without being dull, youthful without being impudent; think the Replacements from Let It Be on or the Gaslight Anthem. Their debut EP, Damn Near, dropped in April 2012, and the following month saw readers of Deli Magazine vote them as the Chicago Band of the Month. Sophomore EP The Jacket, produced by Dan Precision, formerly of Rise Against and 88 Fingers Louie, is dropping imminently.

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YUM

Guitarist/vocalist Elise Poirier and drummer Cody Marecek are no strangers to the world of music, partly because they spend a decent percentage of their conscious lives lounging on the “listening couch” in Bay City’s local record store Electric Kitsch. When they are not borderline loitering the Kitsch, you’ll likely find them whaling on their instruments, performing as the no-bologna-straight-up-punk duo YUM. Although only shaking stages together for less than nine months, these kids have amassed an impressive dedicated local following and created quite a buzz in the local scene.  Currently recording their first record, tentatively titled Dr. Bougioli’s In-store Knife Routine, the energetic young rockers are “looking forward to sweating heavily in front of as many strangers as humanly possible.”

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The Darling Oranges

For the past few years, The Darling Oranges have been touring small town taverns and makeshift stages, much to the delight of anyone within earshot of their uniquely melodic, driving brand of rock-and-roll. Now performing as a sextet, the Standish-area group is poised to showcase their talents at HHM. With a medium age of just 19, these young men tout influences as diverse as Led Zeppelin, The Clash, Radiohead and Reel Big Fish. It becomes evident when you hear them play that the great American rock-n-roll dream is still alive with these Darling Oranges. We are pleased to be invited along for the ride.

Saturday, September 28

2:00 PM

Singer-songwriter Tim Monger is perhaps best known for his work with Michigan-based indie band Great Lakes Myth Society (GLMS), of which he is a co-founding member. Over the past decade, GLMS has released two critically-acclaimed albums and hit the road on multiple national tours, including appearances at SXSW. Tim’s elegant and literary approach to writing folk songs has continued to evolve since establishing a solo career. His latest effort, The New Britton Sound, is a unique melding of pop and folk enhanced by lush orchestrations and sincere lyricism that can certainly be respected by any fan of narrative-based Americana. Tim will be participating in HHM by playing a stripped down set of wonderful tunes in an intimate setting on Saturday at 2p.m. at Populace Cafe. This engagement is completely free.

http://timothymonger.com/

4:00 PM

As guitarist/vocalist of Chicago folk-n-roll  ensemble Midwest, Nicolette will be pulling double-duty on Saturday, agreeing to play a stripped-down set for HHM festival goers prior to rocking the Masonic Temple Blue Theater stage with her band mates at Saturday evening’s feature music event. Nicolette is sure to impress listeners with her unique brand of rust belt-inspired Americana. Nicolette will be appearing live for an intimate acoustic set in Electric Kitsch on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. This is a free event open to the public.

9:00 PM

midwest

Midwest

Midwest describes their sound as “music born out of corn fields, cold winters, and rust-belt love letters.”  The Chicago-based sextet has been performing tirelessly since their inception roughly a year ago, aiming to eventually sneak through alt-country’s back door and cement themselves as stewards of their genre. After hearing them play you’ll surely agree that is a task at which they are clearly succeeding.  Vocalists Nicolette Fendon and Heather Bodie guide listeners through stories of lost loves and new beginnings by deploying beautiful, subtle harmonies and poetic earnestness. The lush folk-n-roll underpinning (violin, keyboard, harmonica, bass, drums) moves effortlessly into hooks that resonate with warmth and candor.  HHM is privileged to offer Midwest their first of what we are sure will be many festival engagements.

https://soundcloud.com/midwesttheband/near-me

flint-eastwood

Flint Eastwood

The name Flint Eastwood says it all: Michigan-bred and incendiary with a tip of the hat to the icon of spaghetti westerns. Confounding a match as it might seem, the foursome fuses dance-inciting electronic soundscapes with hardscrabble blues. Odd on paper, but on record and on stage, it works, the band crafting a foot-stomping, juke joint-rattling storm. And so help you if the eye of the hurricane, possessed frontwoman Jax Anderson, spots you in the crowd and thinks you’re not having a good time. The band in August released their debut EP, Late Nights in Bolo Ties, a title culled from their matching, Western-themed apparel. When Eastwood performs such rousing cuts as “Shotgun” or “Billy the Kid” during the festival, prepare to feel the floor and walls tremble.

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handgrenades

The HandGrenades

The catchy, up-tempo, retro rock music of Detroit’s The HandGrenades is as polished of a pop sound as can be heard anywhere else. Ever. Seriously. With three songwriting contributors in only a four-man roster, it’s no surprise their tunes are rich with three-part harmonies reminiscent of the golden age of Motown soul and British Invasion rock and roll, a trait evident in every track of 2012’s LP The Morning After. The songs speak for themselves, but when performed live they are delivered with a certain refined swagger, an undeniable coolness that must be seen to be fully appreciated.  As an added dynamic, Nick Chevillet shares the guitar, bass, and vocal duties with brothers Andrew and Tom Pawelski, while Joby Kaslowski mans the drums. Who plays what when? We urge you to join The HandGrenades to find out first hand. This will mark the second time the band has participated in an HHM event as they were featured in the most recent Indie Showcase in July. To summarize — lady killers in leather jackets with instruments who sound amazing and have a blast every show. What more could anyone ask for?

http://www.thehandgrenades.us/

WeAreHex

We Are Hex

“We Are Hex describe their sound as an amalgam of noise, dance, doom, psychedelia, 50s and 60s pop and punk. And for once, a band’s grandiose claims of musical diversity aren’t utter nonsense. They combine all of those genres into a dreamy, dark and somewhat disturbing sonic stew.” ~ (Andrew R. Fetter)  The Indianapolis-based grime rockers were a late scratch from 2012’s Hell’s Half Mile music lineup, but following a short-lived hiatus they have reemerged, emboldened and revitalized. As a result, HHM couldn’t be more excited to have them headline this year’s feature music event on Saturday night. Festival-goers can expect to have their senses pleasantly overwhelmed by frontwoman Jilly Weiss as she orchestrates the organized chaos and undeniable energy the band has consistently delivered with their live performances. With two full-length albums and three 7” releases under their belt (one of which was produced by Jack White and released on his label Third Man Records) they are again looking forward to recording new material. Call it sludge, call it goth, call it new wave…you can call it anything you’d like to. We Are Hex transcends all sub-genres; they can only honestly be described as themselves. You do not want to miss the opportunity to experience them live for yourself at Hell’s Half Mile.