Bear Lake is not a place for big names or single hits, but for memorable experiences. It is a place that changes upon each return visit; a place where no-one is pushing or shoving themself into the limelight, and where everyone contributes equally to...
Bear Lake is not a place for big names or single hits, but for memorable experiences. It is a place that changes upon each return visit; a place where no-one is pushing or shoving themself into the limelight, and where everyone contributes equally to the auditory scenery.
It is home to six lifelong friends (Jon Rice, Matt Hines, Brian Kwasnik, Steve Stetson, Erik Pederson, Keith May) who have played in shifting rock outfits, together and apart, since the sixth grade. The members took these early years to sculpt and perfect their songwriting crafts individually. Once each member had accumulated a large collection of their own songs, they knew they were ready to begin working collectively on the musical conglomeration now known as Bear Lake.
The band frequently found respite from the busy Detroit scenery in a cabin on none other than "Bear Lake," in the woods of Northern Michigan. It was here that they found inspiration in the clashing imagery of city and country life; imagery that can be felt heavily in the contexts of Bear Lake's Music; imagery that is difficult to find outside of Michigan's aquatic borders.
Bear Lake was able to turn this inspiration into art, and they quickly found themselves with a vast array of music that needed to be released into the musical stratosphere. At the hands of fate and thanks to a chance encounter, Bear Lake met Al Sutton and Eric Hoegemeyer (Rustbelt studios - Songe, The Go, Electric Six) who immediately shared their artistic vision and helped to make Bear Lake's music available to the general public.
Though they have garnered positive attention from press and local radio as of late (being compared to such bands as The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, and The Shins) Bear Lake is constantly working to break molds and diversify the skills and soundscapes they put on display.
Currently, Bear Lake is about to release their second album, “Places on the Side” to the world, as well as getting ready to go on their first major Midwest tour in January 2009. They will be coming to a place near you soon, so please come out for a night at the lake.
Reviews by RESS/REVIEWSOne listen to a song like catch the sun is enough to grab your attention. This is a band full of confidence - not the show-off confidence of some crowd of wannabes, but the quiet...
Bear Lake: Places on the Side by Metro Times BY BRETT CALLWOODNamed after the Manistee County lakeside town that the six lifelong friends in this band call home, Bear Lake first earned mass critical acclaim with its debut album, Catch the...
Reviews by RESS/REVIEWS
One listen to a song like catch the sun is enough to grab your attention. This is a band full of confidence - not the show-off confidence of some crowd of wannabes, but the quiet confidence of a band that knows how to write a great tune. Catch the Sun is one of those great American road songs - the bass and guitars propelling the listener right from the outset to the chorus, just as singer Matt Hines sings about leaving sorrow behind, in time to catch the sun. The song is spacious and optimistic, and you'd be hard-pushed to find a better song to stick in your car-stereo in the morning to raise the spirits.
Faded is another stand out track. The musicianship and production is spot on, oozing quality and experience. The chorus marks out the band's key strength - they can build a hook, both musically and lyrically, that leaves you with a clear idea to take away from the song on just one listen. The music punctuates the punchline of the song perfectly: "Patience is dangerous, when you've got shit to do".
Traverse City opens and it could be the shins, or counting crows (Sullivan Street drifts into my mind as I listen). But listening through it has it's own sound well crafted out, with gentle nostalgia washing over the listener.
The band is based around a group of friends, all in their mid 20s that broke their teeth - musically speaking - in various different bar bands around Michigan, before deciding to throw their lot in together as Bear Lake. There's a wealth of experience on display, and a maturity that adds meat to the melodies. This is a band where no-one is pushing or shoving himself into the limelight, and where everyone contributes perfectly to a rich and lush sound.
The other thing that make's you sit up and take notice of Bear Lake is the diversity on show. Many bands, when capable of writing a killer tune like Catch the Sun, presume that the next smart move is to write eight or nine tunes in a similar vein. There's a world of difference between the American rock of Catch the Sun and The Victor, which takes its signature liberally from the Beatles (respectfully done, which makes it alright), while mixing it up with a simple but clever and well-paced heavy-guitar and drum fest.
Clever, well-crafted, and original - what more do you want?
-Three Monkeys Press - Catch the Sun - Bear Lake - By Rita B. http://www.threemonkeysonline.com/reviews/bear_lake_catch_the_sun.html
This Northern Michigan-based eight-piece ensemble purveys a vibrant, pulsing rock groove, calling to mind such atmospheric collectives as The Flaming Lips (if only they were more sinister), Muse (if their singer didn't boast a boat engine vibrato) or Creeper Lagoon (if only they'd kept their lineup intact).
Lush harmonies come by way of Keith May (Bass/Vox), Steve Stetson (Drums), Matt Hines (Lead Vox), Peter LeClair (Lead Guitar/Lead Vox), Jon Rice (Rhythm Guitar/Vox), Brian Kwasnik (Piano/Vox) and Carmen Paradise (Vox/Percussion), lifting what might be ordinarily redundant tunes about city life versus nature dwelling into lulling, hypnotic opuses for pop fans.
-Synthesis Band You've Never Heard Of Band of the Day: Bear Lake
Author: ryan 13 February 2008
The 6-piece which includes the piano, organ, percussion and a rhythm guitar help the band display a full sound that seems a throwback to something from the past. The song "The Victor" could be a part of The Beatles early back catalog with its dark lyrics and jaunty beat. The song becomes the band's clear standout number. On "Brown" lead singer Matt Hines wails like a 70s rock star over a heavy guitar. Bear Lake's debut transforms them into a band definitely worth listening to.
-Bear Lake - Catch The Sun - Beyond Race Magazine
Sunday, 03 February 2008 22:59
Author: Shannon Carlin
Bear Lake: Places on the Side by Metro Times BY BRETT CALLWOOD
Named after the Manistee County lakeside town that the six lifelong friends in this band call home, Bear Lake first earned mass critical acclaim with its debut album, Catch the Sun. Since then, the band's continued to pull in new local fans at an impressive rate, thanks to its ethereal live shows.
To refer to Bear Lake as "indie rock" is accurate but it's also irritatingly lazy; the secret of this band's thought-provoking and deliciously emotional sound is that the group's not at all afraid of minimalism and, conversely, also knowing the perfect moment to fill out a song part to epic proportions. They're mildly reminiscent of Manchester bands like the Stone Roses or even the Verve in that they don't shy away from electronic toys and loops but still manage to sound very much like a rock 'n' roll band. Taking all of that into consideration, it's fair to say that Bear Lake is probably the closest Michigan gets to our own Radiohead (if Michigan indeed needs its own Radiohead).
For those that were fortunate enough to discover the band through the debut album, there will be little in the way of surprises on this disc, though that isn't to say that it isn't a hugely satisfying record. The shared songwriting has taken a dramatic leap forward, notably on songs like the title track, "The Best One" and "Where Do We Go From Here," all of which see lead vocalist Matt Hines crooning with a delicate ease and a magnificent sense of subtlety. His vocal parts find him keeping things simple, yet they also soar throughout.
The best song on the record, though, is the closing "Just Because You Can," a track that inspires the listener to shut the lights off and smoke a cigarette while simply letting the head sway. It's very much like The The or, once again, Radiohead.
The music business is notoriously unpredictable, especially these days, but, given the right backing, Bear Lake has every chance of swaying heads nationwide and beyond.