Singer/songwriter Sean Madigan Hoen has had a winding journey throughout the 2000’s after the post-hardcore trio he was in, Thoughts of Ionesco, came to an end. He moved out to the East Coast for 12 years, but returned in 2016, eventually connecting with musicians like Tom Currie and Erick Maluchnick, as well as longtime collaborator/drummer Dan Jaquint, to form Kind Beast.
While Thoughts of Ionesco’s songs and performance style could be described as as quaking, blistering and ferocious, Hoen showed a different side of himself in future acts such the early-2000s indie-rock band The Holy Fire. He continued setting himself apart from his louder punk past when he moved out to New York and released his first solo album, “The Liquor Witch,” in 2007.
Leading up to Kind Beast, Hoen released two home-recorded albums of “late-night driving,” “twilight-rock” under the moniker White Gold Scorpio, with Jaquint on drums; the most recent (Avaricia) of which was recorded in a bedroom in Ferndale, some from inside a closet. Suffering through a bout of Lyme disease, “Avaricia” is infused with Hoen’s “fever dream” state while recording.
So Kind Beast is a new quartet that continues his collaboration with drummer Dan Jaquint, growing out of the pair’s “first idea-best idea” approach to songwriting. Hoen also admits he had the urge to get back into the Detroit music scene and join a group that would be performing at local venues again. Bassist Tom Currie would join Kind Beast, along with guitarist/engineer Erick Maluchnik (who, by the way, played in Hoen’s previous project The Holy Fire and helped mix “Avaricia”).
Hoen said that when it comes to the songs of Kind Beast, the group’s “…trying to do something different.”
“I’m also noticing a lot of the lyrics are about returning to Michigan, and finding it utterly unrecognizable after 12 years away.” - Sean Madigan Hoen
“I played in a pretty rockin’ band in New York that was in-your-face, but I’m trying to give [Kind Beast] a nocturnal, croony vibe,” Hoen says. ”I want it to have that dark, night-time groove.”
“Comes The Night,” playable above, demonstrates that groove, harnessing the dark atmospherics of White Gold Scorpio, but launching out with a sleeker and even more propulsive vibe with this new ensemble of players, adding texture with Maluchnik’s guitar effusing a sheen of spacey post-rock fuzz and Currie augmenting the driving rhythms with Jaquint’s drums. Hoen’s lyrics are reflective of the weary, unvarnished observations of homecoming that soar over the top of riffs and driving rhythms.
Hoen’s last time on playing music on a stage was two years ago, the longest stretch he’s gone without playing a show since his early teen years.
“It’s been so long since I’ve played a ‘first show’ with a new band,” Hoen says. ”I’m not feeling nerves yet, but they might come as we get closer.”
And Hoen was candid about how a string of recent events led him into a “dark stretch” of “existential doubt” over his last few months of being back in Michigan. This has caused a shift in his musical output, differentiating the moody sound of White Gold Scorpio from the more rocking vibe of Kind Beast.
“Some of the earlier material [Jaquint and I] were writing was pretty depressive. I’ve noticed it getting more groovy, more rockin’, and I’m also noticing a lot of the lyrics are actually about returning to [Michigan], and finding it utterly unrecognizable after 12 years away.”
White Gold Scorpio, as a duo, will be performing songs from its first two albums tomorrow night at Cellarman’s in Hazel Park, with the Counter Elites, Tile, and Slob.
Kind Beast’s debut show will be Friday, June 14th at the Outer Limits Lounge, opening for the release party of local rock quintet 3FT, along with the shoegaze duo Dark Red. Admission is $7.