Salem > Michigan > 50 Bands / 50 States 2010 > Boston Phoenix 50 Bands 50 States

Michigan

Michigan:

Salem



CITY: Michigan
SONG TO DOWNLOAD:

Mich_Salem
CITY: Traverse City
SONGS THAT GOT US: "Frost," "Redlights"
MYSPACE ADDRESS:myspace.com/s4lem
RECORD LABEL: Iamsound

WHY THEM? Nurturing a dark and murky aesthetic that mixes smoke machines, strobe lights, ethereal female vocals, and tricksy crunk beats, Salem's music somehow conjures an image of a rave in the rain in a dense forest peopled by cloaked pale-skinned degenerates. Synth washes coat the grimy proceedings in a layer of redemptive hope, a gauzy wrap around the menacing vortex of each of their songs — which also have hip-hop mixtape feel in their underpinning beats. Of all the bands we've nominated here, Salem are the most intentionally enigmatic, with a shrouded back story that ambiguously alludes to drugs, prostitution, and homelessness (and of course there's the matter of them having an early EP titled Yes I Smoke Crack).

BONUS BIT! Most hip music types know them primarily for being the band that got booed off the stage twice during SXSW this year — perhaps because their Sisters of Mercy–ish stage show suffered in broad daylight, or perhaps because, in the testimony of many witnesses, they just weren't any good. But screw that: anything disparaged that much must be worth checking out, right?