Detours Out Now and Other Motion Jones Project, Graveyard Club

Though Motion JonesDetours came out last week, Michael has been busy working on a new musical project with his band mate Matthew from the White Whales.  The direction that Graveyard Club takes is a departure from Motion Jones, shedding acoustic folk for 80’s synth.  Albums from all three of these bands are available for listening and purchasing on Bandcamp.

Shortly after Motion Jones recorded Detours, he created the equally brilliant Departures.  This follow-up is a driving conclusion that wraps up his emotional journey home.  We’ll keep you posted on the release for that and Michael’s other musical pursuits.


Album Review – The White Whales' Lakestate

The White Whales' LakestateLakestate is the White Whales‘ first full-length album.  The five piece band (that includes Michael from Half Dug and Motion Jones) released this collection of  indie rock tunes early this month.  The melodious guitar hooks flow over the punchy chords, hinting at a British rock revival and post-punk/new-wave influence.  The music is clean and polished indie with simple, yet memorable lines that brighten the rocking parts and keep a positive vibe.  There are many good moments in the songs that should create a great live experience.  The drums push the dynamics and creativity with great control.  The vocals are of a confident but subdued croon that yell out at the sour moments.

This great summer album is like aural cherry lemonade — a refreshing balance of sweet and tart that leaves you wanting more.  Highlights include, “Transfiguration”, “Fake History”, “Babe the Blue Ox”, and “Lakestate”.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

New Albums From Motion Jones

Motion Jones on Stage

Michael is back in the Midwest and has been busy recording new Motion Jones tunes.  He has completed two masterfully-done albums, Detours and Departures.  These albums will be given a proper release this Autumn and Winter, respectively.

To celebrate these forthcoming releases, we’re making Finish Line – EP available for sale in Motion Jones’s store for the first time.  As an extra treat, Free Time and Baby Teeth and One Shy will be available as pay-what-you-can!  We hope these albums will hold you over.

Album Review – Plot Lines' Things You've Taught Me

Things You've Taught Me Album CoverMichael of Motion Jones formed Plot Lines in 2010.  They released their first full length album, Things You’ve Taught Me, in April 2012.  It contains a lot of the clever lyrics and good imagery — even new versions of some songs — from Motion Jones that we enjoy so much here.  It’s nice to hear Michael bring his sing-along-style to a full band and fill out his sound. He shed his bedroom folk for piano rock on this album.

The piano is a good addition for the most part.  It gives some of the songs a theatrical or show-tune-like appeal.  At its best, is adds a good layer of supporting texture.  At its worst, it comes off cutesy or complicated.  It also gives the album a bright sound, overpowering the low end.  The bass and drums give the album a kick, but not hard enough to get the songs rocking.  These songs could also benefit from more background vocals — but fewer oo’s, oh’s, and ah’s —  and dissonance to amplify the emotion of the songs.  The singing lacks the growl that the lyrics are suggesting.

Working with so many layers is a nice problem to have.  The challenge is using them effectively. This album comes very close to capturing the dynamic and engaging aspects of the tunes.  For a band that’s been around for less than two years, this is a decent first album.  Plots Lines show their best work on the short, upbeat, and straight-forward songs.

Highlights include “Red Flags”, “Mission”, and “Gravel and Grass”.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Art Appreciation – Lewis's Bearable Etsy Work

Blue & Red
First swirl series from Bearable Artwork

Last year, Lewis took some time to get in touch with his artistic side.  This was a big part of his life before he became a musician.  While he found creative expression through music, he also wanted to share a little of his visual art.  Lewis created an Etsy store under the name of Bearable, where he sells postcard-sized drawings to add a shot of color to your walls.

I have been creating art since a very young age. I took art classes throughout high school and focused on drawing. My creative focus shifted to music in college.  I have not created many pieces of visual art since.  I started making small chalk ink works that fit simple 3×5″ glass frames in the Spring of 2011. These pieces consist of  patterns inspired by graffiti-style doodles with an attention to spatial relationships and lines.  I wanted to make colorful pictures that were simple, but eye-catching.  

I chose this medium after seeing some work by a former band mate. I saw that he was selling small, gory drawings in these frames. I thought, I can do better than that.  I had a surplus of thick cards from a former job, Chalk Ink markers from drawing on shoe canvas, and a supplier of these frames in my area.  My creative process usually involves first doodling while listening to music (emo/indie/alternative — rock). I cut the paper down and then sketch out my design. I usually pick out only 2 or 3 colors and try to leave plenty of white space.  Music, art, the cityscape, and their overlap are where I find my inspiration. I hope you like what you see! I am open to suggestions and requests as well. -Lewis

Feel free to check out more Art Appreciation posts or e-mail me suggestions for artwork you’d like to see in a future post. And if you like these posts, consider buying my music.

Two Eyes for the Dead

While a lot of focus has been on Michael and his work in Motion Jones, the other two ex-members of Half Dug have gone on to form the rhythm section of the Twin Cities-based hard rock group Two Eyes for the Dead.

Two Eyes for the Dead began as a three-piece, performing improvised jams based on rock riffs and technical drumming.  Lewis joined the band in 2005 with the original bassist shifting to vocals.  He became a catalyst for more structured songs in the vain of original material.  They release Outcry in 2009 before adding Lucas to the band.

After a summer of shows around the Twin Cities, the band is ready to record a new album. They were the top rock band at the Star Bar Battle Royale and took second place overall. Be on the lookout for a new Two Eyes for the Dead album in 2011!

Free Time and Baby Teeth Cover Art

Free Time and Baby Teeth

As a little tease for the upcoming Motion Jones album Free Time and Baby Teeth, we’d like to present the cover art (above) and an unmastered version of “Jane Gallagher” (below).

We’re close to reaching our fund-raising goal thanks, but could still use your help.

Please donate now!