12 (West) Michigan Acts Paste Magazine Should Listen To Now

March 1, 2012

Made In Michigan

Posted by Aaron Geer

Paste Magazine did their Michigander part on Tuesday by posting an article revealing their choice for the twelve best bands from Michigan  their readers should listen to now. We decided to make a list of our favorite West Michigan musicians that everyone should listen to.

 12. Birdfingers (Kalamazoo)

Bennett Young has the voice resembling a Civil War veteran, cooing his baritone against soft-spoken guitar. Think Smog and Matt Berringer from The National giving birth to a country boy. That’s Birdfingers, an expanse of melodious songwriting.

11. Shores (Grand Rapids)

There’s nothing like the feeling of mellow, and there’s nothing more enjoyable than the synesthesia of listening to it. Shores sound like an absence of sleep out of choice, when relaxation for relaxation’s sake is pleasurable.

10.Minutes (Kalamazoo)

Like a trip back in time, Minutes are fun, exciting, loud, and make unique punk rock music. Their self-titled LP is one of the best Michigan full-length releases so far this year.

9. Matt Black (Kalamazoo)

 Matt Black lit up a basement party with 90s music last year. Okay, it was my basement, but that’s not important. This producer/rapper is a refreshing voice in hip-hop. He knows his music, and he’ll take a request if you have one, but he’ll keep you satisfied, nonetheless.

8. Fiona Dickinson (Kalamazoo)

Though she likes to be known from Britain, singer/songwriter Fiona Dickinson is Kalamazoo’s most talented songstress. An ethereal blend of spooky songs, her album Duende sounds like a Halloween party gone wrong, and is one of the best albums to listen to before the sun rises.

7. Ghost Heart (Grand Rapids)

One of the most eclectic Grand Rapids outfits, Ghost Heart’s Halfway House Session was one of the staple videos for the talented, progressive four-piece.

Ghost Heart – Sick Black Lung – Halfway House Sessions from Halfway House on Vimeo.

6. Haunted Leather (Grand Rapids)

It’s easy to lose yourself in a Haunter Leather song. They have a sound unlike anything Michigan has to offer, and their psych jams are such a breath of fresh air it’s like they skipped generations and sprouted from the same tree as the acid rockers from the 60s.

Haunted Leather “Sun at my Heels” from Scopitone VidBox on Vimeo.

5. Nathan Kalish & the Wildfire (Grand Rapids)

Describing themselves as “music for the modern American farmer,” Nathan Kalish & the Wildfire taste so organic that every time I see them live I feel like I should grab a Budweiser, put an unfiltered cigarette in my mouth, light it up, and punch the bouncer in the face who tells me I’m not allowed to smoke inside. Why? Can’t you hear this? It’s Tom Petty meets Neil Young meets The Hold Steady meets the American dream: rock ‘n roll, distorted guitars, partying, raging choruses.

4. Lasso (Kalamazoo)

Lasso’d was our favorite Michigan release last year, an album so ingenious that I’m honestly surprised, and shocked that this was made in Kalamazoo. An 8-piece of such talented musicians any city should be so lucky to have.

3. The Go Rounds (Kalamazoo)

I’ve never been more interested in where sound was actually coming from than when I was watching The Go Rounds. They create pure atmosphere, and have one of the most talented bass players I’ve ever seen live with Tod Kloosterman.

2. The Reptilian (Kalamazoo)

The Reptilian do this better than anyone in the state: constant raw, energetic live shows that reveal how much this 3-piece loves what they’re here to do. I’m never quite sure what to watch, Russ on the guitar, Dan on the drums, or Jon on the bass. They could easily be one of the tightest bands not just in Michigan, but around anywhere.

1. Petals Rang the Bell (Grand Rapids)

There’s something unique about Petals Rang the Bell. It might be the lyrics and voice of Shane Tripp. It might be the guitars that play so well off each other. It might be the rhythm section. It might simply be the bass. It might simply be the drums. But whatever it may be, this band bleeds music with influences so diverse, so spectacular, that to put your tongue on exactly what Petals Rang the Bell make you feel is merely alive, so alive you want to jump, and when you jump, you’re holding someone, and that someone is just that, a someone, and whoever it is they’re in it with you, and the band, and it’s all of a sudden an ecstatic orgy of smiles and sweat, and everyone’s wearing their clothes, except that one guy, that’s another story.

[Comments and other suggestions encouraged]

Aaron Geer is the founding editor of Phiendly. He’s lived in West Michigan his whole life: 430 years. 
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3 Comments on “12 (West) Michigan Acts Paste Magazine Should Listen To Now”

  1. Shane Says:

    Also, check out Pistolbrides, Minnesota, and Astrobats, some of my other favorite bands from Grand Rapids.


    • Phiendly Says:

      Thanks, Shane! I’ve never seen any of the three live – which, I guess, is a damn shame. However, I’ve only heard good stuff, which is the applicable thing to say in situations such as these.



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