Awesome Color is a throbbing, distortion-drenched trio drawing deeply on the rich rock heritage of its Michigan home, channeling the propulsive thunder of Detroit acts like The Stooges and MC5, and blending it with the chunky crush of noise rockers, before ladling spacey, groove-addled psychedelia on top.
Although Michigan residents, the trio met and formed in New York, connecting through similar interests (skateboarding, shredding) and shared acquaintances. Somewhere along the way, the group piqued the interest of Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore, who signed the young band.
"He'd heard about us through friends and was curious," said guitarist Derek Stanton. "It was pretty flattering and nice that he reached out and found us. We thought it was a prank at first, but it turned out to be legit."
Awesome Color is currently touring as an opener for Sonic Youth, and last year joined Dinosaur Jr. on the road. The national gigs have exposed the band to bigger audiences, and they're taking advantage of it, touring almost nonstop the last three years in support of a 2006 self-titled debut, and last year's "Electric Aborigines."
Stanton credits the grimy, increasingly rundown, working-class aura of Michigan as the petri dish that incubated and influenced its music. There's just something about the place that breeds noisy, tribalistic revolutionaries " an attitude fueled by plenty of cross-pollination, and augmented by the familial nature of the scene.
"Our music embodies Michigan rock 'n' roll and that whole idea plus a whole lot of other influences, from skate rock to noise music," he said. "It's just a small scene and we're all directly involved with the noise scene "¦ that kind of leaks into our sound, and that's kind of why we're on the same wavelength as Sonic Youth."
Of course, rock has more to do with heft and spunk, which Awesome Color has in spades. From tracks like "Eyes of Light" which sounds like the aliens from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" bypassing a mountain and landing to gatecrash a Deep Purple show, to the slow-burning "Burning," whose gathering momentum and heat suggests a meteor breaking up in our atmosphere, Awesome Color offers a torrential storm of scabrous, hip-shaking rumble.
"We're finished with our third album and we're trying to figure out when it's going to come out. It was supposed to be late this year, but we had issues with mixing it and all kinds of issues that came about from touring too much," Stanton said. "We're going to push it back to next year so we'll have a little more time to prepare for touring around it and promoting it."
Awesome Color with ConvOi! and Captain Eyeball takes place 8 p.m. Friday at Sauced Annex, 2912 Paseo. "Chris Parker