Tag Archives: Lower Leisure Class

New Lower Leisure Class video: Oxygen

Video: Lower Leisure Class – “Oxygen” (Tiny Desk Contest)

Stories from the Lower Leisure Class is out now on Leppotone.

FULL DISCLOSURE: My old college band, The Vantrells, is reuniting to open for The Lower Leisure Class. So, you know…I’m obligated to say nice things about them.

When Jake decided to go to Kalamazoo College, I was skeptical. I had never been to Kalamazoo, despite growing up just 45 minutes north on US 131. Being a terrible student in high school, my undergrad fortunes were primarily tied to my better friends and I was angling for a free place to crash at the University of Chicago.

But then we discovered Leppotone Electrical Recordings, a collective of friends who banded (literally) together to create their own scene. The Lower Leisure Class is the latest product of that union and is made up of members from the most influential bands of my youth, including The Sleestacks, The Sinatras, Twister, Triplemint and King Tammy. The result is somehow, incredibly greater than the sum of its parts.

“Oxygen,” recorded for the Tiny Desk Contest is a prime example of why I love this band. Ron Casebeer is a short story writer with a knack for melody. He tells stories about neighbors and neighborhoods and the relationships we make and maintain, trivial and profound. He makes me cry a lot. To see this group shape their music around those stories is where things take off. There’s a joy in being together and playing together. There’s a power in being creative in your basement. It feeds your soul, it keeps you alive. It’s your oxygen.

And Ron’s just one of the songwriters. The combination of these bands and talents creates a unique sound they’ve dubbed “Michicana,” which I love. It’s new, but steeped in nostalgia and references any good midwesterner will recognize.

And so, after nearly 20 years being away, I am back in Michigan and excited to be reuniting with old friends to play some old songs. Who says you can never go home?

Lower Leisure Class: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Lower Leisure Class video: 7 x 7 = 49

Video: The Lower Leisure Class – “7 x 7 = 49”

From Stories from the Lower Leisure Class, due November 9 on Leppotone.

One of the luckiest things to ever happen to me was when Jake decided to go to Kalamazoo College. As his ne’er-do-well pal, I was not really in contention for higher education upon high school graduation and so was pulling for Old Man Brown to choose the University of Chicago and the hi-jinks a big city promises.

But K was the perfect choice. Not only because it provided a safe atmosphere in which we could explore and ultimately reject our hobo interests (in the confines of a mini-Harvard), but because Kalamazoo in the early 90s had an amazing music scene. At the center of it all (for my pals and I), was Leppotone Electrical Recordings, a consortium of local bands who pulled together into a musical co-op to share expenses and promote their scene. I’ve written about my beloved Sinatras at length, and two of them (or three when you count sometimes fourth member, Nathan McLaughlin) make up the latest Leppotone creation, The Lower Leisure Class. And it’s so good.

I’ve mentioned many times that I am a nostalgic fellow and one of the reasons I relate so well to The Sinatras’ music is their hinting at the edges of nostalgia while not being complete sad bastards. Songwriter Ron Casebeer often brings me to tears, even when in the middle of a thrash, and “7 x 7” is classic Casebeer.

“I’ve got a good feeling I ain’t had in such a long time…”

God, I just know I’ll be yelling this out through a choked up throat when they release this album this Friday, November 9, at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe.

I owe so much to Kalamazoo and the bands and people I met there. They not only inspired me to write my own music, but to also get my shit together and finally get through college so I could have a decent job that allows me to continue to make music to this day. If anyone should be singing “I need you, I need you, I need you,” it’s me.

The Lower Leisure Class: web, twitter, fb, bandcamp.

New Lower Leisure Class video: The Great American Witch Hunt

Video: The Lower Leisure Class – “The Great American Witch Hunt”

Single out now on Leppotone.

The Lower Leisure Class is a brand new band from Kalamazoo, Michigan. In fact, they are a supergroup of superstars from the fabled Leppotone roster of recording artists: Ron Casebeer and Karl Knack from the Sinatras, Chris Simons from King Tammy, and Nathan McLaughlin, Mark Peeters, and John Kasdorf from the Sleestacks.

Casebeer tells me they just finished mixing their album, which will be released digitally and on vinyl this summer, but “The Great American Witch Hunt” will not be on it. This is a one-off single. The album features great songs and “tons of vocal harmonies.” I can’t wait to hear it.

I’ve known these guys for more than half my life. Many of the highlights of my college years were soundtracked by their earlier bands. I spent a lot of sweaty nights at Club Soda with Xes on the back of my hands, having my mind blown by how good they are. I haven’t had the chance to see the Lower Leisure Class live yet, but I have no doubt that they’re still capable of blowing minds.

Together we’ll remember
just who we used to be.
History has made up her mind

The Lower Leisure Class: web, twitter, fb, bandcamp.

Continue reading New Lower Leisure Class video: The Great American Witch Hunt