Playlist: 5 of Tyvek's best 'great, strange, literate punk'

Years ago, my friend Brett described a group of Detroiters as weird, working class intellectuals who know every single thing there is to know about obscure experimental punk rock from 1979. They might seem antisocial and probably drink a bit too much, but are actually really sweet when you get to know them. I realize now that Brett — who released more than one Tyvek record on his M'Lady's label, and played bass in the band for a spell — was talking about everyone who's been in Tyvek.

Since forming in 2004, this band's been a font of great, strange, literate punk in Detroit. The band's singer, guitarist and songwriter Kevin Boyer recently snuck out of town, permanently relocating to a suburb of Philadelphia. Here we celebrate them, and prepare for their show at UFO Factory on Monday, Jan. 5 with a playlist with five of their best songs.

"Mary Ellen Claims"

Tyvek's vinyl debut was a seven-inch released on X! records in 2006. Clanging, trebly, intentionally distorted, it's easy to see why the band was lumped in with the alleged "lo-fi" movement of the late 2000's.


Released on Almost Ready records' compilation series The World's Lousy with Ideas, "Flowers" is a head-nodding dirge which sets the vocal low in the mix while the three guitar tracks seem to be from entirely different songs. It's amazing.

"Wayne County Roads"

As far as the 2012 LP On Triple Beams goes, it's a toss-up between this song and "Midwest Basement" for best tune. But the cheery chorus' paean to our horrible roads nudges this into super best.

"Underwater II"

A lot of the best Tyvek songs are love songs, but you don't realize that's what they are until you've listened to them a dozen times. This song is from the 2010 album Nothing Fits.

"Frustration Rock"

Revved-up, less than two minutes long, this perfect little garage-punk number off the 2007 Fast Metabolism LP almost sounds like an attempt to make a fake Killed By Death song. It's easy to see it as an anthem for the band, and what they do. — mt

About The Author

Mike McGonigal

Metro Times music editor Mike McGonigal has written about music since 1984, when he started the fanzine Chemical Imbalance at age sixteen with money saved from mowing lawns in Florida. He's since written for Spin, Pitchfork, the Village VOICE and Artforum. He's been a museum guard, a financial reporter, a bicycle...
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