Four Quiet Acts at Satellite Records
May 15th saw four uniquely talented, honest, and shy performances at a young record store in Kalamazoo. Formerly known as The Corner Record Shop, Satellite Records rebranded and relocated conveniently to South Westnedge next to local favorites The Crows Nest, Taco Bobs, and the South Westnedge Market. If you’re bored in Kalamazoo, there’s no better place to find yourself. You can spin in a circle and decide whether to indulge in fried gizzards, breakfast, taco’s, coffee, bagels, analog audio, and, if you’re lucky, live music.
First up was brother/sister folk duo Thirty Steps to Forward. Gretchen and Seth Powers are weary and fragile and they’re not afraid to show it. Admittedly, I spent most of their set inside of an egg chair reading Scott Carrier’s Running After Antelope. Not because they weren’t good, but because they were an excellent accompaniment. I felt relaxed and incubated. Their album “Hinterland,” while generally sonically homogenous, is soft and pleasant.
Next to perform was The Hunt Is On. Connor Stratton’s solo endeavor into music carries a beautiful, youthful, and ghostly energy. His debut cassette “Friends With The Sum” carries you through the morning like a fog. The introductory track “Slow Motion Race” feels like exactly what it says it is; a leisurely guitar carries the first half of the song toward a rich stream. “Paw Paw” breaks up the album with a joyous, distraught, bouncing melody. As soon as you figure out where it’s going, it grabs you by the wrist and pulls you to a different carnival ride. The latter half of the tape reinforces my excitement for future releases from Stratton, with a maintained firm grip on style and composition, and a touch more confidence and maturity, The Hunt will truly be on.
Gitis Baggs, official baron minstrel of the southwest Michigan music community. What is there to say? I’m forever impressed. He’s prolific. All seeing. My girlfriend puts the latest Go Rounds release in her car, “This is my favorite song.” I say, “Gitis Baggs wrote it.”
My favorite quality of the evening, overall, was the number of egos checked at the door. Every performance felt earnest — without any expectation from themselves or the audience. Gitis wears nothing but sincerity and carries a remarkable repertoire of peculiar original material.
Last up to bat was Saltbreaker. An instrumental, cinematic, soundscape-y, lush, shoegaze band that I am a member of. So, I won’t say much. I’ll formally apologize for waking up the person whose foot I accidentally kicked on my way to grab my capo mid-set. I’ll formally apologize for almost falling asleep at every one of our performances, because that’s what we do — we cover everyone listening in a warm blanket of sound, and hope to release their worries, fears, inhibitions, and all neggy emotions. We just released a brand new single “Russian Blanket” on bandcamp. I love it. I hope you do, too. We’re playing at Founder’s Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids this Saturday, June 27 with some good friends.
Satellite Records is a top-tier establishment in one of my favorite locales of Southwest Michigan. They have a comfortable, well-stocked, inviting shop with knowledgable and humble employees. Keep up with them on Facebook; give them your money. It looks like they’ve got some more live music happening on July 1st with Narrow/Arrow, who I just checked out and is frickin’ sweet. God damnit, you girls and guys, we are privileged to have these places and performers. Let’s support em.