Local Singer-Songwriter BillMike Taps Into 'Poppier' Side for New EP

Over the course of two full-lengths and a split and a third albums, the local rock band Forgotten Souls of Antiquity established itself as torchbearers of SoCal punk and straight-up psychobilly.

The band did a reunion last year, but doesn’t play together frequently anymore.

“We still jam, but we’ll move in different directions,” says band leader BillMike. “We were together for about ten years.”

In the absence of any touring or recording with Forgotten Souls of Antiquity, BillMike has recorded a solo album, Modern Sounds in Pop Music.

Album opener “Miles Away” features gritty guitars and hoarse vocals as BillMike balances his pop and punk sensibilities. The hard-rocking “Floor of Glass” recalls Bob Mould’s best solo efforts, and BillMike effortlessly switches gears for the stripped-down ballad “The Stone,” a song that starts slowly but gradually builds into something majestic.

BillMike recorded the album while under quarantine.

“I have a home studio, so I’ve kind of been in a self-imposed exile for a few years,” says BillMike. “I hammered it out in a couple of weeks back in April. It took two weeks to record and another two weeks to do the mixing. It’s just me playing all the instruments. I’m the only one to blame for anything. The songs on this one are a little poppier. I don’t write a lot of stuff in that vein. I figured I would record all of them that had that time. I thought a couple of them sounded a little like [the now defunct local act] Quazi Modo. I was a big fan of that group, and a few of the tunes on the album sound like them. I’m alright with that.”

The album officially comes out on Saturday, but it’s currently streaming on Bandcamp.

BillMike says he hopes the songs from his solo album will find their way into sets when he begins to play live again.

“Whenever all this craziness subsides, myself and the Forgotten Souls guys will play some shows, either in Cleveland or regionally,” he says. “I haven’t done too much touring recently, but I’ll absolutely include some of these songs.”

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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