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/// LOCAL MUSIC Band Spotlight:

The Mines: Fear Is Easy


HE MINES’ BRAND NEW ALBUM Fear Is Easy revolves around the theme of fear and overcoming it, and Ethan Nickerson — co- singer/songwriter of the Grand Rapids band — would know.

“Fear is always the easiest choice when you’re faced

with a struggle or a new situation,” Nickerson said. “It’s so easy to just give in and be afraid.” He likens it with his harsh struggle with anxiety and

THE MINES Frederik Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids Aug. 9, 7 p.m. Members are free, public pays general admission, (888) 957-1580

depression throughout his early to mid twenties. “It was a pretty dark time,” Nickerson said. “I didn’t know which way was up. I didn’t know if I was ever going to be a normal person again.” But instead of allowing

his problems to swallow him, Nickerson found a way to chan- nel them into his songwriting. “When I realized that I

was [going to be hopeful and healthy again], it sort of gave me a deeper will to draw from

when writing the music. In some ways, I’m writing the music to myself five years ago. This is the music I wish I had at the time.”

But that’s not to say the other three members of The

Mines didn’t have an impact on songwriting. Fear Is Easy was constructed from songs written by all four members of The Mines, and Nickerson explained the theme of fear- lessness somehow found its way into almost every track — something the members hope will impact their listeners. “We wanted to make music that will give people

hope,” Nickerson said. “That’s not new or intuitive by any means. Musicians have been doing that for years. But I can say it now with confidence, because I’ve been there. You don’t have to live every day like you’re not going to see the sun again.”

Fear Is Easy was recorded at Planet Sun studios and

produced by The Mines alongside Papa Vegas frontman Joel Fergusson. Nickerson explained that with Fergusson’s help, they’d created the most complete and stylistically consistent album in the course of the band’s nearly five- year-long career. “We like quirky things and things that are outside of the

box,” Nickerson said. “There’s been an effervescent quality to all of our albums, and this one definitely fits in really well. But it’s more mature. For the first time all the songs are interconnected, and it feels like a whole album.” n

by Kevin VanAntwerpen |

In the Studio: Chain of Lakes: Welcome to Grand Rapids

Chain of Lakes, to integrate into the music community. His sophomore album, Kind of Quiet, features appearances by several Grand Rapids music scene big shots. “One of the best things about moving


to Grand Rapids was meeting friends who were willing to participate and collaborate with my music,” Rasche said. For an artist that uses a gentle blend

of indie, folk and alternative, it seems that Rasche has indeed found the right

MEMBER OF THE Grand Rapids community for a little more than a year now, it didn’t take long for Kyle Rasche, Detroit native and lone member of

group of friends. The forthcoming album features guest appearances by the likes of local indie/folk veterans Nathan Kalish, Mat Churchill (of The Little Village) and Dan Rickabus (of The Crane Wives). Additionally, Rasche called it a “collab- orative venture” with his producer, Justin VanHaven. “My last album was basically about

making a record I could play by myself,” Rasche said. “This time, I’m just focused on writing good songs without worrying about keeping it mellow or chill. I wrote the songs and took them to Justin, then we produced them the way that seemed the most fun to play and hear.”

CHAIN OF LAKES The Pyramid Scheme, Grand Rapids Aug. 28;

Kind of Quiet is the follow up to 2010’s

Chain of Lakes, which was nominated for four Jammies, including Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist and Best Alternative/Indie Release. The album will be released on Aug.

28 with a CD release party at The Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids. Appearing along- side Chain of Lakes will be the Great Lake Swimmers and Benjamin Riley. n


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