Why Tyvek Rules by Mike Deane (2015)
For years I’ve been telling people that Tyvek is one of my favourite bands. This is usually met with skepticism, as the person has either never listened (or heard of) to Tyvek, or can’t possibly understand how someone would pick a contemporary Detroit punk band to be one of their faves, but my reasoning is sound. For the past eight 8 years, Tyvek has never disappointed me – I’ve been left confused, surprised and challenged, but never disappointed. They’re a band I trust 100% to consistently create amazing things that will always interest me. I understand the penchant for someone to choose (or claim) The Kinks, or the Stones, or Love, or Nilsson, or whatever as their favourite artist, but Tyvek is happening now! And there’s something very exciting about a band that is changing and evolving in front of you, while never letting you down.
I first heard them when a friend mailed me their double 7” “Summer Burns” in 2007. It came at a perfect time for me. I had kind of lost track of what was happening in punk and garage, and had opted to listen to shit like M. Ward because it was so much easier to check out the latest soft-rock-masquerading-as-indie band rather than trying to navigate the CD-R, tape and MySpace landscape of noise-pop, weird punk, or whatever other genre a band was calling itself at the time. When I first dropped the needle on “Needle Drops,” everything changed. At once, Tyvek renewed my interest in music and gave me a high water mark to which I could compare every other new band I heard. Not since I seriously started listening to the Clash as a teenager had a band changed everything for me, giving me a deeper understanding of rock ‘n roll, while seemingly dismantling everything I thought I knew about it.
Tyvek is all about Kevin Boyer’s lyrics and delivery – it can be a shambling, monotonic mid-tempo tune, and I feel like it is the most exciting song I’ve ever heard. His hooks are amazing, his song structures are deceiving, and every song has an anything goes approach. Boyer seems to deconstruct and then build back up a typical punk song structure, halting and stopping, then picking right back up. And the lyrics! There is so much made about the fall of Detroit, but Boyer’s personal take on it to it stands out from any other commentary I’ve ever read about the city. Lyrics range from capitalist critique and documenting the failure of the modern U.S. economy to situationism to songs about playing a MidWest Basement, having fun with friends, working shitty jobs, or whatever is on his mind. It’s the grand and the small, the civic and the personal that make the lyrics mean more to someone from outside of Detroit. Every song they’ve released has an urgency, too, like Boyer just can’t say enough about the matter at hand. And if that’s not enough to interest, they recorded a modern classic in their jam, “Wayne County Roads”.
When they played Calgary’s Sled Island festival in 2010, I saw them three times in as many days, and was most blown away by how this thoughtful, mellow and solid group can make music that is so powerful and affecting, seemingly effortlessly. I have not seen them since, and am not even sure of their current line-up, but I can assure you that it will still be as important and entertaining as it’s ever been, because Tyvek is a band that will never disappoint.
Mike Deane is a Co-Producer of Kazoo! Fest and Co-Manager of Montreal-based label, Psychic Handshake Recordings.