Motor City Cribs

Standing at the corner of Washtenaw County's greatest strip mall-choked traffic clusterfuck — the intersection of Washtenaw and Carpenter along with the US-23 exits — it's hard to imagine old rural Ann Arbor before the advent of the automobile. But just a stone's throw away from the incessant automotive roar is an old farmhouse incongruently tucked away in a small grove — Awesome Color's guitarist-vocalist Derek Stanton's home and basement studio.

It's the perfect spot for his band to unleash its sonic assault under the cover of the commuter din without freaking out the neighbors. His mother's old brick house nestled in the woods is a far cry from his previous residence; the Ann Arbor expats of Awesome Color spent the last five years in Brooklyn, where Derek helped start Glasslands, a legendary hipster performance space and gallery that's hosted shows to the likes of MGMT, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Bon Iver. (Awesome Color still has a practice space there.)

The band has earned endless comparisons to the Stooges given Stanton's heavy overdriven guitar sound and bassist Michael Troutman and drummer Allison Busch's primal rhythms to the point where it's almost grown tiresome. "We see ourselves as more of a cross of classic Michigan rock like the Bob Seger System, the MC5 and Alice Cooper with (the) SST (label) skate rock," Stanton says.

You should know that Awesome Color's signed to Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label and spent much of '07 and '08 supporting Dinosaur Jr.

After releasing and touring behind its blistering second album Electric Aborigines last year the band returned to Michigan recently to record its third record. Stanton erected his studio in his mom's basement to work on said album as well as records by Gardens and Scotty Karate's Scotch Bonnet

"It was too expensive to live in Brooklyn, pay the rent and tour" Stanton says ruefully. "And we missed Coney Islands, the Red Wings and Vernors," cracks tomboyish drummer Busch.

Dig Awesome Color's music and learn of upcoming shows at

Scroll to read more Metro Detroit News articles


Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.