Hairshirt Still Fits (ReunionS) - 6.23.12

May 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I hold in my hands a SPIN magazine from 1996 (donated to the Ferndale Library recently) ...

In all its edgy '90s glory, its cover touts: "The World's Most Dangerous Band" (...that being: Rage Against The Machine) and Inside: "The Electronica Revolution"

It's surreal (maybe even upsetting on a small-ish if-barely contemplative level), to see these old and utterly forgotten articles, flaked-away writings by keep-on-keepin-along music-journos not so much unlike myself...

It gives me pause to realize I have my own long-lost articles for long-lost bands -

The thing: my articles often stay lost (they can, no one needs to read those old naive rants), but sometimes it's splendid to see ostensibly lost-bands come back.

Found again.

Like an old shirt...


I met up with Amir Husak, Michael Ventimiglia and Jeremy Stork on a late Spring's day - just about six years ago, exactly - sharing pints in the afternoon sun at the W.A.B. and talking about Iggy Pop and zealous monks and how no one in Bosnia knows what-the-hell-a-trapper-keeper-is-...!?

They, as the band--Hairshirt,- were there that day to be interviewed by me (that moment in time being my second full year in music-writing and probably only my 13th interview ever) to discuss their (new) EP Lover Politician.

(Listen to their jams via their Myspace... yes, Myspace, give it a try - it still works!)

I seemed to have lost the article. It might be on some decommissioned desktop, some old dusky dinosaur of a computer box shunted away into my basement. (Maybe folded in with my own trapper keepers)... So much for the words I wrote... (And much of their surviving MP3-streams from previous blog write-ups are now broken links)...

To make this long story shorter, this band hasn't played a show together in five years. It's a re-boot, a reunion, whatever you wanna call it...

(Photo: Shauna Ruttan)The Detroit-band (which reveled in a surfy-splashed new-wave groove shimmying, in subtle danceability, through the pirouetted hallway between shambling C-86 trips and gnarly neon post-punk), came about (02-07) during an interesting time in local music - not quite out of the Garage but not yet completely off the driveway's curb, not yet onto in gear to roll down its current smorgasbord boulevard.


Whatever Hairshirt (and Magnapop and obnoxious SPIN magazine write-ups) can teach me on this day: it's that the music, and the passion for playing-residing-in the hearts of implied-musicians, is what really survives.

It doesn't matter that I can't find that article I wrote about them and it won't matter at all if Hairshirt doesn't completley recapture, note-for-note, timbre-for-timbre, that weird Euro-tinged funk flare they rocked on those cardio-kicked fuzz parties collected on Lover Politician,... it doesn't matter. Because me showing you the old write-ups won't mean anything. Husak, Stork and Ventimiglio showing up and playing, together-again, that's what's moving, that's what's special.

It doesn't get to happen often - old friends and former collaborators coming back together and putting on the dance shoes to commence to get funky together. Like the old days.

So then maybe you've never heard them - might I suggest, then, seeing this show (June 23rd), now that you know that they have a history together - that they haven't played together or been on stage for a while;  all that nervous and nostalgic energy could swell together to affect a unique live experience.

Plus, it might be their last show -in Detroit.

Rogue Satellites, who seem to subtly get better from stream-to-lo-fi-grooving-stream, are opening things up, June 23rd @ The Old


Pre-epilogue: Soundman Brian Spencer flipped through the SPIN as it sat out in the open on my Java Hutt table...two minutes later he finally realized it's age. "What gave it away was all the advertisements with cathode-ray tube televisions..." Otherwise, he opined, it still just flipped by like the same old stuff... Surreal!


In other news:

Another longlost band revered by this writer in his younger days (and still, to this day, residing on some special place in his heart), is NY gloom poets The Silver Jews (spearheaded by baritone bard David Berman), who come back to us this month via Drag City's re-release of older, much-scruffier material on Early Times.


Out June 19, this is  a collection of songs from the late 80's (maybe 25-years-ago, I'd say); recordings featuring Pavement's Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nostanovich, weird, way-wandering avant-garde rock-ramblings of post-grad Charlottesville college boys.

Have a sampling (via DC): Listen: Silver Jews - "Secret Knowledge of Backroads"


And even more news: Ypsi's own candidate for lo-fi lordship, the psyche-leaning, pop-mutating, folk-deconstructionist Fred Thomas, has been running his current label LifeLike for a couple years now. It's high time we got a proper Compilation.

In classic Fred-esque-slyly/subtly-impressive fashion, he buries the lead, slipping some guy named Thurston Moore in at track#25). Other bands include --from the Ypsi/Arbor side of things: Bad Indians, Damned Dogs, Man The Hunter, Our Brother The Native --and meanwhile, Gardens is on there representing Detroit's noise. You can also find Fred-featured acts like Swimsuit and CITYCENTER.



Thomas, who recently wrapped a reunion-tour with his notable twee-tweaking/clattered-chamber-pop project Saturday Looks Good To Me, claims on his blog that this is an "unlimited" run of cassettes. You can paypal it, or, perhaps someday soon, find it at Cafe Ollie, nestled among many other Michigan-made releases on the Ypsi Music Shelf.