Best local albums
1 The Blueflowers In Line With the Broken Hearted (Analog Terror): Simply beautiful. Kate Bush meets Joni Mitchell. Or something.
2 The Ashleys Can't Take It (self-released): Noisy, ragged and so very DE-troit.
3 Black Jake & the Carnies Sundry Mayhems (self-released): Old-time punk rockers with stunning sophomore effort. Just don't call 'em bluegrass.
4 Rogue Satellites Six Sweet Lips (self-released): Detroit's greatest pop secret, and they keep the amazing tunes coming.
5 Howling Diablos Ultra Sonic Gas Can (Funky D): Tino and company's best yet.
6 The Juliets Perfect Season (self-released): Serene, soul-stirring classical (not classic!) rock.
7 Battlecross Pursuit of Honor (Metal Blade): Let me see your horns, and leave the irony at the door. Battlecross is doing metal the correct way: heavy, fast and fun.
8 Electric Six Heartbeats & Brainwaves (Metropolis): A slight shift in direction from the Six, but still an awesome album.
9 Jehovah's Witness Protection Program The Glass is Half Full (Loco Gnosis): JWPP capture it all live on disc. Not an easy thing to do.
10 The Meltdowns Critical Mass (Neurotic Bop): Amazing surf and garage rock from Rick Mills (also of the Seatbelts, 3-D Invisibles and more).
Top 10 City Slang Moments of 2011
1 Citizen Zero uproar: Reviewing this young band's record, we said that Citizen Zero was horrible in a "Nickelback and Creed swapping riffs in Godsmack's multimillion-dollar crib" sort of way. We stand by that assessment. At the time, the band's people were up in arms, and their producer called this writer a wannabe America rocker. And we laughed.
2 Discovering dubstep: To be honest, City Slang had never really listened to dubstep music before interviewing leading local DJ Matt Clarke. We're hardly aficionados now, but it was great to discover something new through someone passionate.
3 Returns: Dick Wagner had brain surgery and then staged a magnificent comeback this year. Rocket 455 and Charm Farm also reunited for great summer shows. All three were featured in City Slang.
4 Kro-Magnon blow us away, and then go away: In one of the weirdest events of the year, the east side metal heads of Kro-Magnon stunned us with an amazing live show opening for Trixter (yes, Trixter). So impressed were we that we featured them in an early City Slang, singing their praises. Within weeks, they had broken up and were insulting each other viciously on the Web. Tsk. Damn kids.
5 Revisited: One of our favorite things to write is the weekly "revisited" blog, where we take a listen to a Detroit-area album from the past. Subjects have included Madonna, Patti Smith, the Trash Brats, Marshall Crenshaw, the Spinners, the Supremes, Inner City, Negative Approach, Iggy Pop and many more.
6 Cactus kiss and make-up: Cactus-Rockets-Hell Drivers guitarist Jim McCarty was pissed with us after we called the Hell Drivers a "bar band" in 2010. We made friends, however, following our glowing assessment of the magnificent Cactus.
7 RockStar: We couldn't resist writing about this '80s hair metal cover band after seeing them at some Garden City dive. We weren't wrong. We had some fun with them, and some of their fans took offense. But, c'mon, let's have a sense of humor about this.
8 Kory Clarke hates us: When we printed a largely glowing column on the Warrior Soul main man calling him an "amazing song writer" but under the headline "Who the fuck is Kory Clarke?" Clarke wrote us a letter calling us just about every name under the sun and using every expletive. Of course, we printed the letter and sat back, enjoying the warm glow of controversy.
9 City Slang's birth: This column and blog was born in 2011 and has never looked back. Named after the awesome Sonic's Rendezvous Band song, our quest to cover Detroit music of all genres from all eras is ongoing.
10 Dylan Callwood's birth: When this writer's son was born in November, I couldn't resist blogging it. Sorry, but even the most hardened rock music writer is allowed to get sappy from time to time.