On the Download 

Before disco-damaged "Dance Commander" days of the Electric Six — when the Wildbunch were still a wild bunch of high-octane surrealists — the band's sound was damn-near defined by the fuzzed-out roar of guitarist Joe Frezza's (aka Mojo Frezzato) arena-toned riffage. Well, that sound is back at the forefront of his new outfit, Octopus. To judge solely by the two demos posted on their MySpace page, they might just give the massive psych-fuzz outfit known as Bluesong a local rawk sparring partner. "At Her Feet" is full-on fat bottomed, buzzsaw hooked swinging and gnarly-femme fronted jammery. The vocals? They come courtesy of erstwhile Deadstring Brothers singer Masha Marjieh. The pounding rhythm section, you ask? Why that's Bulldog/Rocket 455/Detroit Cobras/etc./etc. renaissance dude Kenny Tudrick on drums and Four Hour Friends leader Dale Wilson keeping down the low end. Around here that counts as a supergroup. So, if you're keeping score at home, that's former E6-er Disco (aka Magic Shop's Steve Nawara) and Frezza, now lured out of retirement. Who's gonna call Martin M and the Rock 'n' Roll Indian and make 'em an offer they can't refuse? (Octopus is playing Friday, Aug. 8, at the New Dodge in Hamsammich, btw.)


Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, the Electric Six have a new video for their song, "Formula 409," directed by local celluloid workman Anthony Garth. It involves so many low-hanging thematic fruits, including a brainwashing lizard-headed cult that, er, persuades, the E6 into "cleaning up" Detroit (Get it? "Formula 409"?) that it counts as a visual and narrative fruit salad. The jam, as the title might inadvertently suggest, is a bit formulaic. In brighter news, the video precedes the release of a new full-length titled Flashy — an appropriately eerie/creepy/funny track of situational atmospherics called "Transatlantic Flight" (sample lyric: You can use my body as a flotation device"!) can be sampled at. It seems the band is on tour indefinitely.


Speaking of alt-country ... oh, wait! Sorry. Bad segue. Anyhoo, take my word for it or test it yourself, the chorus of Flint-area/Detroit-related countrypopeclectic outfit Empty Orchestra's "Lonesome" will lodge itself in your cerebral cortex and never leave. The Empty Orchestra's skill for earworm jangle and twangle comes courtesy of leader-guy Stephen Wisniewski, who, in an earlier time (say the mid-'90s), woulda been a bona fide contender for the kind of major label bidding war that brought us such awesomeness as the Jayhawks, the Bottle Rockets and AM-era Wilco. Thankfully we've traded major label largesse for instant Internet access to jams. Fair trade in this case, I think. I'm loath to pigeonhole the goods on offer at their MySpace page, so check for yourself. I will say that there's a grand pop sense at work — a Gin Blossom-y tone, a ripping appreciation for guitar-driven roots twang. Makes sense that they're opening for Townes Earle (Steve's kid) at the Stick tonight (Aug. 6). Dig in and dig in quick!


More by Chris Handyside

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