City Slang: Music review roundup

May 20, 2014 at 8:41 am

Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to [email protected].

Blaire Alise & the BombshellsFor My Darlin’ is, finally, the debut full-length album from the youthful rocker, and it’s been worth the (admittedly short) wait. We interviewed Alise at the end of 2013 and she told us, “This band is a labor of love. I love doing it and all the work that goes into it. It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy it. It’s my passion and what I want to pursue — being a performer and a songwriter. It’s not like a chore so I don’t have a problem with it.”
That’s the key – Alise is having such a good time making this ’60s girl group-inspired rock ’n’ roll that the sound is a blast. The fact that Alise is 17 is really irrelevant, except for the fact that there is no cynicism in her music (that might come later), just heaps of joy. She belts out anthems like “You Were Made For Me” and “I Got Something” like a Little Eva/Ronnie Spector hybrid, and a troubled-love paean like “Keep Your Hands Off My Man” displays maturity beyond her years. A killer record.

Pan’s The Slave has a cover image that sees main man John Schoenkopf (full disclosure – an MT sales rep) draped across a bed like a Bond girl. Good start. The music is impossible to pin down; experimental electronic world music is an easy string of tags but it doesn’t tell anything close to the full story. Ordered rhythms drape over disordered notes in what appears to be a haphazard manner, though on suspects that Schoenkopf knows exactly what he’s doing. This is challenging music for those in search of something completely new.