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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

City Slang: Weekly music review roundup

Posted By on Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Remember – if you send it, it will get reviewed. That’s the City Slang promise. It doesn’t matter what genre the music is – as long as it has a Metro Detroit connection, it’ll get in. Preferably, we’d like to concentrate on new releases but, while we’re getting warmed up here, feel free to send back catalog material too. Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, City Slang, Metro Times, 733, St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 46226. Email MP3s and streaming links to

The best release this week by a country mile comes courtesy of House Phone, whose Gift Catalog (Checkers) EP has been released on cassette, which seems to be a bit of a thing to do right now. Fortunately, I still have an old Walkman. It is tremendous, with songs like “Smokey Robinson” highlighting the band’s rock ’n’ soul style, and “1000 Years” letting rip a little. One of our fave bands around right now.

Country Youth Association are less impressive. Their song “My Country”, self-released on a one-track CD, is a clumsy attempt at outlaw country patriotism that comes across more David Allan Coe than Merle Haggard. Even the detestable Coe can play better though, so what we are left with is unlistenable musicianship and lyrics like “my colors don’t run when I’m toting my gun”. Course, they’ll probably call me a commie hippie (or worse) for writing this. One can only hope so.

After that, thank God for Nadir, who sent us his two albums from 2004 (Distorted Soul 2.0) and 2008 (Workin’ For the Man), both released on Eclipse America. Yep, the music is old but the albums were well worth discovering and, if you aren’t familiar, go check him out. Like a rougher-round-the-edges Lenny Kravitz who retained his soul instead of blowing corporate America, Nadir’s funk rock is, at times, spectacular. Even when it doesn’t reach those heights, it’s fascinating.

Talking of fascinating, one of the oddest little packages we ever received came this week from a guy named Brick Marunich, who produced a single with Mitch Ryder back in ’87. He sent us the 45 and the CD, and both are scratched to fuckery, but fortunately the CD plays fine. It makes for interesting listening and it certainly gives a glimpse of where Ryder was at the time. He’s not at his best songwriting-wise, but the voice is there, and so is Johnny Bee’s drumming. Thanks Brick.

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