Mike Frahm - 'Patterns'

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

As a professional critic, I delve into an immense variety of independent music from all around the world. In this review, however, I was met with a particularly intriguing musician - Mike Frahm. The multi-instrumentalist and lifelong drummer has been hard at work in recent years, touring very extensively and recording music of his own. (Along with some truly exceptional covers.) He’s a percussionist well-versed in nearly every genre thrown at him, so one should always bear in mind his availability as a potential session musician.

This Midwestern musician/workaholic’s new EP is ‘Patterns,’ a dynamic three song outing that delves into some compelling territory. The release is on the heels of Frahm’s endorsement deal with the Minneapolis based Risen Drums and his active tour throughout a few midwestern states. ‘Hypochondria’ dives into Frahm’s sound in a brash excursion through hard rock. The mix is interesting, because Frahm plays with the panning of his drum kit and the guitars. (In laymen terms - listen to this music with both earbuds in to enjoy the excellent production.) If anything, ‘Hypochondria’ proves Frahm a hard rocker that can superbly piece together a coherent sound that sounds a whole lot like an active band rather than a multi-instrumentalist.

The atmospheric ‘Bupropion’ boasts some mean electric guitar riffs along with some further pursuit of different production styles. I love the mid-section of the song when it drones out into oblivion before smashing its way through your speakers with some of the most infectious guitar riffs on the whole record. ‘Bupropion’ is arguably the best song of the three.

That isn’t to say ‘Mitochondria’ isn’t a killer effort, though. This song rocks harder than the other two combined, rising like a bat out of hell with attention demanding guitars, endless distortion, and explosive nature. The song is so intense, it doesn’t feel like it really finds its way as a cohesive piece - rather, it feels like an intense outro after digging through the first two tunes.

‘Patterns’ seems to be Frahm’s musical playground. It’s chock-full of experimentalism and I love that about it. All three of the tracks are lovable for their own reasons, and Frahm does an elegant job of harnessing a huge sound out of himself and himself alone. That’s an admirable effort, one that will no doubt expand into some crazy territory as he continues to experiment in the studio. ‘Patterns’ is worth the time of any rocker who enjoys some solid instrumental pieces mashed with hard rock, grunge, and prog influence.

Check out his music: http://mfrahm.com/