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Detroit's Hounds Below Barking Above The Fray

of the Oakland Press

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Jason Stollsteimer says things are moving “extremely fast” for his new band, Detroit’s Hounds Below. But he’s been here before — with his other group, the Von Bondies.

“It’s almost deja vu for me,” says Stollsteimer. “The Von Bondies were a band for six months when we put out our first 7-inch single. So it feels a little weird; I’ve gone through this before, at the same level.”

The sound, however, is very different. Whereas Von Bondies are a high-energy spawn of Detroit’s garage rock scene, Hounds Below mines more rootsy and soulful influences that Stollsteimer says are closer to his own fan passions.

“Even though I was in the Von Bondies for 10 years, my favorite thing to listen to wasn’t that aggressive punk rock music,” says Stollsteimer, who maintains the Von Bondies for festivals and high-profile shows. “I’ve always talked about how I love Otis Redding and love soul music, but I could never justify playing it in the Von Bondies because that was a punk, rock ’n’ roll band.

“Now I have a band where everyone is a better musician than me, and we can come closer to pulling it off, if not just doing it right our own way. I’ll never be Otis Redding or Roy Orbison, but I’m portraying that role of more of a crooner than a guitar player, and I’m ecstatic about it.”

Hounds Below has so far released one song, “Crawling Back to You,” with a second “Cumberland’s Crumblin’ ” — with a cover of the Pixies’ “Where’s My Mind” on the B-side — coming soon. Stollsteimer says the group has about 10 songs and has recorded six so far, with plans to do eight more with producer-engineer Jim Diamond in late June or early July.

“We’ve got people that want to put (an album) out, but we’re not in a hurry,” Stollsteimer says. “There’s no reason to put out a record without some kind of national buzz of people who ... know you exist.

“I’m not interested in just being a local band. I’m not looking to sell a thousand records in Michigan. I’m looking to sell some amount nationally. So we’re starting small and very, very independent and building it as effectively as we can.”

Hounds Below and Dan Kroha & Amateur Anthropologist perform today at the Majestic Cafe, 4130 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $7. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

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