So, first things first, listen to this song.
Eat This City reminded me of these guys, and after buying and listening to their album, I’m pretty shocked. Shocked because it got slept on by just about everyone including myself, shocked because it goes from coked up travel narrative (the track I gave you) to sleazy rabid Slow Jam (the awesomely named“Bonetrees and a Broken Heart”) to a few tracks which have the feeling of classic rock radio heard through a wind farm, shocked because despite not holding together in the slightest, i’d still absolutely recommend it.
Also I saw Chris Bathgate perform with a buncha other local bands at this weird fair in Ypsi last week (“how weird,” you might ask? “weird enough that there was a petting zoo with, in one giant pen, a tortoise, 6 chickens, an alpaca, baby goats that kept escaping, a few sheep that were losing fur, a cow, and in the middle in a cage so small they couldn’t move, two rabbits so big they looked stuffed. It was called the lakeshore festival, but I couldn’t find a lake anywhere.”), and it made me realize that, shit, i’ve never written about Chris Bathgate.
Chris Bathgate’s a season: There is something wintry about the man. His songs breath cold, they walk carefully because of the sleet beneath their feet, and then warm themselves up to stay alive. Even seeing him on a muggy summer day last week felt wintry to me. Maybe it’s because everything seems quiet and dead on winter mornings, and that how a lot of Bathgate’s song’s start.
Maybe better, he’s Roanoke, his songs are CROATON carved thick into that tree, they’re both the desire to leave a message, and also the stubbornness to leave that message as ambiguously as is possible.
Probably best, he’s southeast Michigan. These songs are rooted here like the trees or the highways. Bathgate’s every car stuck under an ugly underpass on 94. He’s the gold on the frame of the plaque celebrating the 1,000,000 box of Jiffy Cornbread Mix sold in their factory in Chelsea. He’s the rumbling of the steam-powered distillery of someone who insists on making their own booze which they sell under the table at the farmer’s market. He’s Ypsi, alright, and he’s Ann Arbor, and he’s Dearborn and Detroit, too. He’ll surely, absolutely, and totally be the soundtrack to my memories of this place when I take off in a few weeks. For that, among the many, many other reasons, I suggest we band together to make this man at least half as popular as these songs demand to be.
He’s somebody I’d love to interview, and, keep in mind, I hate interviewing people. Chris, if you’re reading this, I’d ask good questions, I promise.
Finally, techno covers of Springsteen. This here shows the mutability of youthful restlessness (Springsteen), the pure joy that well utilized electronic can provoke, and that good enough backing music can distract you from a singer who, honestly, can’t sing that well. Remember when Primal Scream tried to do blues? and sucked? These guys are a whole lot better than that. Certainly some of the most fun techno i’ve heard in a while.