City Slang: Weekly Music Review Roundup

Jul 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Remember – if you send it, it will get reviewed. That’s the City Slang promise. Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, City Slang, Metro Times, 733, St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 46226. Email MP3s and streaming links to [email protected]

House Phone’s Field Trip EP was reviewed recently, and the rock ’n’ soul band have also put out a 45, Field Trip (Little Blue Bedroom) featuring the title track and “Me and My Machine”. Both see a shit-hot band mastering the art of subtlety in the classic Funk Bothers style, while James Linck lets his all fly out of his mouth. Brilliant.

It will surprise nobody when seeing the Houses of the Holy-inspired name that rockers No Quarter are hugely influenced by Led Zeppelin. The riffs, for example, are very Page-ish, but then, if you’re gonna grab from anyone, grab from a master, right? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and there’s nothing wrong with front-gal Alena K’s powerful wail. The song writing isn’t quite there yet - there’s nothing that makes the hairs on the neck stand up like the song they are named after. For now, No Quarter is a powerful and tight live unit. Give them another year or two and who knows where they’ll be.

Black Lodge formed in 2008, gigged around Detroit and, just as they starting pulling some decent crowd split up. Go figure. Moon (self-released) is the bands full length debut album, released after the split, which is kind of irritating but also beautifully punk rock. It’s great too – arty and experimental, and as dark as hell. Let’s not compare them to the Velvet Underground or even Joy Division but, y’know.

The HandgrenadesThree Cheers For the Wonder Years (Sound Artifacts) EP was released earlier this year but it really warrants another listen. Each of the five songs on here, from the opening “So Down” to “When I Wake Up” is a well-crafted example of indie pop that is as lush as it is honest. They’re great live too.

Snakewing is, if Burn it to Stop the Bleeding (self-released) is anything to go by, a very angry group of men-folk. With a sound that perfectly straddles the line between hardcore punk and metal, the influences include (by these ears) Neurosis, Negative Approach, Mastodon and maybe even a drop of Napalm Death. Songs like “Look Into the Knife” and “Rotted Corpse” are brutal, repulsive fun.

“Swimsuits” is a new single from Detroit/Chicago rappers the Cool Kids, featuring guest vocals by Mayer Hawthorne. It’s a beauty too – the perfect soundtrack to the summer. It’s so chilled out it’s nearly asleep, and yet it’s smart, suave and, as their name suggests, very, very cool.

Com Truise is apparently one of the many aliases of New York native and New Jersey resident Seth Haley. Signed to the Ann Arbor based label Ghostly International, Com Truise has to be the best band name in some time too. The music is also excellent, like a throwback to the synth-heavy scores to ‘80s movies. Imagine if Tangerine Dream were using modern equipment when they did the soundtrack to Stephen King’s Firestarter and you’re halfway there.

Former Gore Gore Girls and Gorevette singer and guitarist Amy Gore sent City Slang three tracks from her new band, Amy Gore & the Valentines (who were called Amy Gore & the Squires at this year’s Blowout, but the new name is much better), and they’re all great. “So Lost Now”, “Fine Without You” and “Diana” all sound like lost ‘60s classics, complete with some DE-troit rock grit and no small amount of melodic pop brilliance. Jackson Smith is killing with his guitar too. Can’t wait until the album.

Jazz-funk-rockers the Science Fair’s new 4-track EP is good fun. Much like similarly minded local bands the Sugar People and the Infatuations, the Science Fair obviously have great affection for ‘70s disco and funk, and yet they keep out the cheese by allowing the riffs to hit hard when necessary. It veers a little close to George Michael territory on occasion, but overall there’s much to enjoy here.