Chasing the Sky: Best of GR
I’ve had more opportunity than most to witness how uncompromisingly awesome the Grand Rapids music scene is. Those hours when I’m not scrawling notes behind a desk in a GVSU class room, or half-assing my way around a bass guitar fretboard, I write about West Michigan entertainment. This month I got to cover one of our city’s most successful bands, La Dispute, who have toured with Thursday and Thrice and are now on their own nationwide headlining tour. But there are also plenty of other artists in the area who haven’t yet gotten the recognition they deserve. Here are just a few I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I only had room for three, so expect more later.
I may be biased when it comes to this band. Trevor Atkinson (the sleek, sexy front man/guitar god) and Cassidy Warner (that awkward nerdy chick behind the keyboard) perform in Chasing the Sky as well. But don’t let that fool you. JuxTApose sounds nothing like CTS (and I’m not going to lie, they’re 100 fold better). Imagine Maroon 5 injected with Jimmy Hendrix. Throw in some hyperactive keyboards and bass lines that on their own make bassist Jared Williams the sexiest man alive (not to mention that jaw line and cold, stern James Bond attitude). They recently released their debut EP, “World of Trouble.” Quite possibly the best thing you’ll hear coming from GR.
Christopher Andrus/Bless You Boys
Even before I was in the studio recording my parts for Chasing the Sky with Chris Andrus as producer, he probably the local musician I idolized most. His former band, Bless You Boys, kicked out two incredible albums (“Armed to the Teeth” and “The Still Life,” with the former being my favorite.) I’ve never heard anyone with a voice more suited to carry high-energy, arena-rock ballads. Hell, I’ve never met anyone with a more suitable voice for any sort of music.
Heavier Than Air Flying Machines
On listening to HTAFM’s debut album, “Siam,” you may think it’s members are absolutely out of their minds. The album is much like Christmas with your extended family — noisy and utterly chaotic. Maybe it’s punk. Maybe it’s hardcore. I heard a guy call it nu-punk. So I guess we’ll go with that. The bass is constantly grabbing your attention by the throat and holding it within inches of suffocation. Vocalist Jaymes Pyne shouts and wails his over-the-top lyrics (“The equinox is heightened at the zenith of a paradox”). Oh yeah, and he sometimes sings too. Oh yeah, and these guys actually aren’t crazy. They’re pretty nice dudes. At least I haven’t seen them try to stab anyone yet. Buy “Siam” on iTunes. It’s worth it. Oh, you should listen to Chasing the Sky too. I hear that band’s great, even if they’re complete jerks.