Wanderjahr

Wanderjahr

BandRockAlternative

A 5 peice alt./psychedelic group from Michigan crafting psychedelia with a bit of pop sensibility and a strong emphasis on songwriting. A quality sonic experience that might sit comfortably between Modest Mouse and Pink Floyd in your CD changer.

Biography

Background:

The Michigan based psychedelic / alternative rock group originally formed around 1998 with four young guys in love with The Beatles and Sonic Youth deciding to make a go at their own ambitious brand of rock n’ roll. Combining elements of loud, freak-out guitar with complex arrangements and strong melody, the fledgling band quickly became a local favorite of music fans and musicians alike. There has been a stream of musicians through the band over the years, but all around the constant and core of songwriter/guitarist/singer Mike Clauwaert. Former contributors include Gary Whitmore, Chris Harden, Dan McCormick, Sam Rose, Corey Fields and Steve Knapp.

The Sound:

Nowadays, the music is decidedly trippy, but not in the traditional psychedelic sense. Instead of extended noodling and aimless jamming, Wanderjahr crafts tunes with a bit of pop sensibility and a strong emphasis on songwriting. The songs are thick with bombast, grand noise and delicate beauty, all fused into a quality sonic experience that might sit comfortably between Modest Mouse and Pink Floyd in your CD changer. To quote Aaron Bales of Lansing twang-rock favorites Flatfoot: "Wanderjahr has reached that fabled place where the record is original and deep and you discover new stuff with every listen, but the songs still translate to a great high energy live show.”

Accomplishments:

The group regularly plays live shows in several areas throughout the state (including two opening for underground legends The Frogs) and has seen it’s fan base more than double in size in the past couple of years. This success has lead to their selection for many charity and local radio sponsored events playing for as many as 200 to 400 people, and regular local gigs that draw 100+ fans (which is impressive given the relatively small size of the city and the lack of venues). In January, the band began a campaign to play regularly in the Detroit area and have since played well received shows at The Magic Stick, The Belmont Bar, The Elbow Room (Ypsi) and even a Motor City Music Conference showcase at The Labyrinth. Also very recently, a song from their new album was selected for inclusion in the soundtrack to Michigan horror impresario Jeff Burton’s upcoming film, “Dead End Road” (starring Dee Wallace Stone of “Cujo” fame). They have thrice appeared live on Michigan State University station, 88.9 The Impact, are regularly played on the local spotlight show “The Basement”, and have had their song “I Give Them a Name” added to regular rotation. The song has since been on the list of top 5 most requested songs of the day at least 3 times.

“Is to Disappear” (Self-Recorded/Produced - Self Released November, 2004):

Though it’s not their first recording effort, the album is somewhat of a departure for the band, foregoing the ‘live in the studio’ approach for a more layered, atmospheric sound. “We wanted to shoot for a more detailed, ‘headphones’ kind of record with this one” says singer/guitarist Mike Clauwaert, “...something you can explore as well as just listen to.”

And there’s plenty here to explore. Along with more intricate vocal harmony, the band has added a variety of instrumentation to the lysergic stew: banjo, cello, jaw harp, timpani, dobro, a gong, and even the sound of the skin being peeled from a tangerine.

Playing on themes of illusion, both literal and metaphoric, “Is to Disappear” conjures images of stage magic... rabbits, doves, magical hats, smoke and mirrors. All the while, the songs are actually painfully human tales of love, loss and disenchantment. It’s not all gloom though. Many of the songs are bittersweet, the dark side making the light all the more illuminating and the joy all the more palpable.

Lyrics

I Give Them a Name

Written By: Michael Clauwaert

Say, Ma... I had a helluva night
I picked up two hitchhikers, both died
Hey Ma, you gotta help your son
'Cuz I can't help myself
Pick up the phone
Call the police
I can't stop killin' in the moonlight
Call the cops
Lock me away
I can't stop killin' in the moonlight
Mama...
Good God, the house is startin' to stink
And that's twelve dead folks I must lime
Hey Mama, that's a helluva lot
And I can't help myself
Pick up the phone
Call The Fuzz
I can't stop killin' in the moonlight
Give me up
Lock me away
I can't stop killin' in the moonlight
Mama...
Hey Ma, I'm so ashamed
Of the games that I play
Before they are slain
I put them in chains
And give them a name
I call them "Mama"

Is to Disappear

Written By: Michael Clauwaert

Tell me how it is to disappear
You were just right here
But when the smoke cleared
You were gone

Now I'm sure I'll lie awake in bed
Scratchin' at my head
'Till there's holes

Who is this you've got to take yr place?
Doesn't have a soul, but it's the same'ol face
I'll have to have a seance soon
So I can get through to you
It's all so sad

Tell me when you plan to reappear
I'll wait for you right here
Among the mirrors and the gongs

And I'll comb through all this thin air
In hopes that I might find you there
Fixin' holes

Who is this you've got to take yr place?
Doesn't have a soul, but it's the same'ol face
I'll have to have a seance soon
So I can get through to you
It's all so strange

Old Hat

Written By: Mike Clauwaert (with help from Chris Harden)

The curtain lifts, the farce is fastened to your sleeve
A captivated crowd is conned into believing
For all intents and purposes, the said magician...
Wants to betray me
But I am not his fool
Whispering imps are just bullshit to me
I'm not one to fall for all that mystic trickery
These ghosts and vanishings can be explained
Ooooh...
Well, I've seen better levitations
And I was bored when he escaped them chains
The rubes are gasping, "How did he do that?"
But it's all old hat in my eyes
I used to be amazed and baffled like the rest
The right and left side of my brain started wrestling
My jaw would drop and both my eyes would bulge in wonder
Ooooh...
But now I see right through the smokescreen
And I can honestly say I'm not fooled
"How did he do that" is all old hat in my eyes
Whispering imps are just bullshit to me
I'm not one to buy into that mystic trickery
These ghosts and vanishings can be explained
Ooooh......

Discography

Is to Disappear 2004
Burn Ordinarily 2002
Pretending to Be You 2000
Early Glaciers Are Seldom Waves (E.P.) 1999

Set List

We typically play one set, usually between 40 minutes to an hour long. We only very occasionally play covers, and when we do it's likely to be something that's a little bit on the obscure side, like The Flaming Lips' "Rainin' Babies" or Pink Floyd's "Free Four".