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IN THE STUDIO: | by Kevin VanAntwerpen A


FTER SEVERAL MONTHS OF playing shows and garnering praise for a unique, vocal-heavy brand of folk-rock, the members of Grand

Rapids’ The Crane Wives are about to aban- don their four track, home-recorded demos in trade for something more concrete. Last month, the band entered Sound Post

studios to record its debut album. Drummer Dan Rickabus and Bassist Ben Zito attended Grand Valley State University for sound design and will be self-producing the album. Despite the short amount of time the band has existed, the members already have clear direction for where they want to take their sound. “As a group, we want to make something that can move people,” said Vocalist Kate

Pillsbury. “Something that you can pop in your car, take a long drive, and just become enchanted with the music.” Banjo player Tom Gunnels compares

the band’s sound to a female-fronted version of Fleet Foxes, mixed with Mumford and Sons. “I think the one thing

that makes us really unique is that we have two really strong, female vocalists and a male as well,” Gunnels said. But at the core, the

“We’re going back to the heart of folk



band members are storytell- ers. The band’s name is a reference to a Japanese folk tale, which Gunnels likened to a tragic version of Beauty and the Beast.

music,” Pillsbury said. “It’s about storytelling. If you have a strong enough emotion, it’s always something that someone else is going to be able to relate to. I’d like to be the voice for people who don’t exactly know how to articulate what they’re feeling or what they want to say.” The title of The Crane

Wives’ debut album is still in the air. Pillsbury said choos- ing a title is a very important process for the band, and it

involves weeding through many possibilities. The album is slated for an early 2011 release. n

THE HEX BOMBS KEEP IT REAL AND GRITTY | by Kevin VanAntwerpen Get Back to Work was recorded at

Kalamazoo, where it has resided since 2006 in the form of The Hex Bombs. While most bands in the new


decade proclaiming to be punk are prob- ably much closer to pop (see: Blink 182), The Hex Bombs puts an emphas i s on the genre’s roots, something Guitarist Nathan Garman likens to the street punk that originated in New Jersey and Boston. “That’s not to say we don’t have

catchy hooks,” Garman said. “We focus on that but don’t overdo it. We try to keep it real and gritty.”


REAKING NEWS: punk rock, previously thought dead, has been spotted alive and well in

On Jan. 14, The Hex Bombs’ THE HEX BOMBS

CD RELEASE PARTY Papa Petes, Kalamazoo Jan. 14, 9 p.m.; $3, (269) 388-2196

sophomore album Get Back to Work will drop. Garman explained the album takes the gritty, punk elements from the band’s 2009 debut We Are Rock And Roll and polishes them to create a much more cohesive musical experience. He called the guitars “thicker” and the drums “boomier.” “As far as the

songs, I think the album flows a lot better,” Garman said. “Our first album was

kind of a mish-mash of rockabilly, Irish punk á la the Dropkick Murphys, and hardcore punk. This album is, I would say, just straight punk.”


Broadside Productions in Kalamazoo and self-produced by the band. As is traditional of the punk genre, the band wrote the songs with the common man in mind. Garman explained that

the album is rife with themes about economic hardship. The Hex Bombs will play a CD re-

lease show at Papa Pete’s in Kalamazoo to celebrate the release. n


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