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Metro-Detroit, Michigan, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | SELF

Metro-Detroit, Michigan, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2003
Solo Rock Indie




"Shoe.'s New Album, "The Speed Of Life" - Unique & Original Awesomeness"

While listening to some of the New Music that the Doobie has recently acquired, I was quite impressed by this Detroit-based band, Shoe. (the period is not a typo - it's part of their name). Their use of horns and an indie-pop chill sound is really fun to listen to, yet I'm surprised this band hasn't gotten more publicity, especially since this is their 3rd album since starting out in 2003. Shoe. is not an ordinary group, however - it was originally the lead singer, Dustin Gardner's solo project, which has since been joined by different groups of Detroit musicians to make the music you hear today. The most current incarnation of Shoe. happens to be Dustin Gardner on vocals, Sean Corcoran on drums, Jamiel Dado on bass, and Doug Smith, a new addition to their musical sound. While "The Speed Of Life" is the first I've heard of this unique band, I'm impressed with their incorporation of harmonies with various horn instruments which are interspersed into the tracks through a musical mixologist named C. Laszlo Koltay of High Bias Recordings. This is a technique that is new to me, yet I love the way this album sounds - it just has a unique feel to it. In the long run, I'm just impressed that it's not the same musicians playing every time they record an album - Shoe. is constantly evolving, which makes me more apt to look into their past music catalogue and see how they've changed since 2003. I'm going to review this album track by track, since all of the songs are so diverse in their sounds and remind me of many different bands in ways such as their harmony and format, in general.

The beginning track, "Time," just pulls you into a crazy array of horns and harmonies, reminding me of Motown songs with a bit of The Killers or The Strokes mixed in - odd combination, I know, but it definitely works for them with killer vocals in this short 2 minute, 16 second song.

The title track, "The Speed Of Life," however, has a completely different feel with more chill horns and vocals, feeling more like a slower version of the Kaiser Chiefs (with horns, that is).

"Blindsided" is a longer track that starts off with something like Church choir vocals, yet brings us into strong harmonies that begin to remind me of Guster, yet the song begins to get more pop-punk by the end with fast guitars and a more rock-like feel.

"Rainclouds" has a very folksy sound, yet has strong rock 'n roll sensibilities, as well.

The track, "Buried Alive," has a fun sing-song quality about it with echoes that definitely have a strong effect on how one listens to the song.

"Keep On Going" has some interesting strings starting the song off, while delving into Motown territory with singers in the background repeating lyrics and generally making one feel they're listening to a barber-shop quartet. Shoe.'s incorporation of rock, strings, horns, and a distinct pop-Indie sound is impressive, to say the least.

"Sugarcoat" definitely is a good track - it's a combination of everything, from rock, pop, to a bit of The Strokes coming back into their music.

"Weight Of The World" is a fantastic track that has a fun drum beat and echo harmonies toward the end of the song - it has an entrancing quality that makes me want to listen to the track multiple times.

"Places We Go" reminds me of bands like Keane and Oasis, where their harmonies and guitar sounds just fuse together for a really fantastic sound. If you really listen to it, especially at the end of the song, I can even hear a bit of Howie Day's infusion of pedal sounds to create crazy mixed sounds in the background (which makes sense, since they have a mixologist who fuses horns and effects into the music).

I especially appreciate the last song, "Stakes Were Made," as it has an old-school ballad vibe, like 80's pop or even a slight Aerosmith vibe with rock anthem rhythms. The sound is just really pleasing to the ear - this song was fun to listen to because the harmonies were on target, something I value in the music I listen to.

In general, the album is just very well done - it has a little bit of everything, from pop-punk to Motown to string and horn ensembles - I'm just impressed that they're able to incorporate so much diversity into such intriguing music. I'm definitely going to listen to their album before this new one ("Modern Days," which came out in June 2009) - if you go to theirwebsite and go to "downloads," you can download "Modern Days" for free and get a feel for Shoe.'s general philosophy, which is to rock out in their own way. Their new album, "The Speed Of Life," will be available in the Doobie station starting next Thursday when we're back from break, but definitely check out this band on their Myspace Page, which features two of their new tracks, "Time" and "The Speed Of Life." They need more recognition for the hard work they put into music in the Detroit area.

Here's a song called "I Don't Need Anything (Except You)" off of their June 2009 album, "Modern Days" (they have nothing posted for their new album on Youtube yet, but it does give a general idea of their music, which is pretty fun and unique, to say the least.) This song has more of a Motown feel, which they seem to incorporate into a lot of their songs in some shape or form. Check out the time period garb, too - very 50's. - Christie Maillet Doobie Radio 99.1fm


"The Speed of Life marks the 4th self-release from the Detroit pop-band shoe. Nine months in the making, this album is the band's biggest production to date. Dustin Gardner and company have transferred and energetic year of performances into the studio, and then brought in some of the City's best talent to transform it into a lust soundscape. Songs like 'Time' capture the raw power of Detroit rock infused with a swinging beat, while the title track incorporates Burt Bacharach style horns into a fast-paced pop ride. All of these nuances culminate into a highly theatrical piece, and an unexpected musical experience."

Cheery, upbeat, sometimes delicate, sometimes dance-y pop. For fans of Jens Leckman or the Battle Royale. Check out the in your-face opener "Time" or the tropicalia-vibed "Speed of Life," both of which are very fun. - Clara of WLUR FM


2010~ "The Speed of Life"
2009~ "Modern Days"
2007~ "shoe."
2005~ "pack me with your clothes"



SHOE. aka Dustin Gardner has independently written, recorded, and released 5 albums. His 4th album "The Speed of Life" won the 2011 Pop Rock Album of the Year honors from the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards. Last year Dustin reinvented SHOE. after discovering the Boss RC 505 Looping Station. He now performs solo using pre-recorded loops, and recording loops live on the spot. All of which you can hear on his 5th album "#1 Aaaallow Me To Reintroduce Myself" recorded LIVE in Detroit, MI.

The title "#1AaaallowMeToReIntroduceMySelf" was chosen for two reasons. The first was highlighting the reinvented sound Dustin created by performing "Re-Imaginations of songs I've written over the last decade creating a sort of best of album". The 2nd reason is all out International Alphabetical WAR.*

Halfway through the writing process for this recording, Dustin (and friends) were violently attacked in Vegas after a wedding reception. Forced to delay for a few months until after a vital surgery, he refused to be held back any longer, and is still in a prolonged recovery. "From the beginning I wanted this album to be a snapshot from this moment in my life, and even with a small mistake or two, I'm happy with the way it turned out in the end. Plus this album was my 1st show with the Looper and I'm excited to see where I'll go from here!"


Dustin created SHOE. as a solo project in Detroit, MI. in 2003, and when asked Q: Why not just change the band name? D: "I'm not even sure I personally love SHOE. as a band name and have wanted to change it over the years. But! I refuse to be beaten, especially by quitters. I chose the name mostly because it was a noun but also assumed longing for its other pair. I put a period on the end to reinforce the feeling and hopefully stand out from any other “The Shoes" that may come along in the future.â€?

shoe. (2009) New Zealand - Made Dustin change from shoe. to SHOE. to stand apart after they gave Dustin a bad review on iTunes. The NZ shoe. broke up after only 2 eps. Yet! They are still winning the Alphabetical War on Spotify & iTunes with their ep "EGG"

The Shoes (2009) France - SHOE. (2003) Detroit USA - Shoes (1995) USA - The Shoes (1974) Dutch