ATMIG, from the metro area of Detroit, take their name from a Talking Heads song, ‘Once In a Lifetime’ – an acronym of “After The Money Is Gone”. It’s a pretty safe bet then to guess that their music is pretty quirky and definitely worth listening to – as their new track, ‘Trip’ confirms.
It also makes sense that five-piece ATMIG naturally met in an unconventional fashion: singer/songwriter Tobias found bass/chatter player Otto via Craigslist back in 2012. Four years later, in 2016, the pair booked some shows, and were joined by Otto’s long-term friends, Dave and Julia, taking drums and vocals respectively. Julia’s friend Phil joined them, playing bass, cigarbox, and mandolin, and the band recorded ‘Trip’, their first official single, on 22 April. Recorded and mixed by Tim Smith at Soundscape Studios, in Royal Oak, Michigan, ‘Trip’ has the distinct honour of being the first non-label release to be pressed at Jack White’s new Third Man Vinyl pressing plant, in their hometown Detroit.
CW50Detroit describes the band as “folky, singer-songwriter tunes with poetic lyricism and raw vocals” with “shoegaze qualities dropped in there that make this a great psychedelic-folk listen” – the sound is both loud and soft, raw and produced – while at the same time entirely from the heart. Besides Talking Heads, ATMIG cite their influences as including the likes of Death Cab For Cutie, Modest Mouse, The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, and Johnny Cash. An eclectic range of tastes for an eclectic band.
‘Trip’ is underpinned by a jangling acoustic guitar, with simple bass and drums added, pulling the whole track together. Tobias and Julia’s gentle harmonies combine to give the track a feeling of innocence, an idea which is carried further in the video.
Made by Gravity Red Productions, again in Detroit, the video tells the story of a girl who in her daydreams tries to escape her reality – her parents are fighting, and clearly she’s been in this position before. The video has a vintage quality about it, which is further emphasised by inserted footage of ATMIG performing while wearing 1950s style clothing.
The girl takes a flight in her cardboard rocket – there’s a great shot of her blasting through the roof of their house – and then it becomes a tank, which allows her to defeat her enemies. Every so often she sits up to look at what’s going on in her kitchen, where her parents are still arguing. Finally it all becomes too much, and so she leaves her rocket, puts on her coat, and walks out of her house down to a jetty on a nearby lake, where she then takes a boat and we leave her sitting in it, in the middle of the lake. It’s all too much and we wonder what happens next, hoping she’s okay.