City Slang: Weekly music review roundup

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 [email protected]

When listening to The Dayton Family’s’s Charges of Indictment (Psychopathic / Hatchet House) album, you find yourself praying that, with the lyrics, they’re joking or are in character like Eminem. If they were serious, then the Flint trio would be guys you would want to avoid at all costs. Lyrics like, “Bitch I’m gonna fuck you up, then I’m gonna cut you up” (or words to that effect) make you seriously wonder. The press release that accompanies the CD does seem to take joy in explaining that two of the three have done time. Still, it’s all so slasher movie that it’s very hard to take them seriously on songs like “Prostitute Killa” and “Blood on my Knife”. Also, take into account the fact that they’re part of the ICP Psychopathic family, and it’s fair to say that the Dayton Family are, like their clown friends, a horror movie in rap form. They just happen to be a very good, disturbing one. The rhymes are tight and, honestly, a lot of fun. The choruses could use some work – they tend to just repeat the same line over and over (for example, “Wanna play, with the prostitute killa, prostitute killa, prostitute killa”), but overall this is a record which, once you’ve gotten over the fact that the Dayton Family aren’t gonna kill any hookers, is full of laughs.

This week, City Slang received a decent amount of hip-hop, which made for a nice change of pace. Butter Made Records sent a couple of great discs over. Stoopz N Breeze’s Turn Up the Smooth (Butter-Made) is a couple of years old now, but it’s still a beauty. Whereas the Dayton Family like to big up the gnarly, these guys are as smooth as a cold beer on a hot day. Like a Miami cop movie filmed in Detroit, the old school vibe is strong and welcome.

Blake Eerie & Hugh Whitaker’s The Lateef EP (Butter-Made) never actually got a release thanks to legal issues arising from samples from Yusef Lateef’s Detroit record. That’s a shame and hopefully one day the parties will work something out, because it really is a smart and sharp hip-hop record. Summer screams out of the disc, with the sax loops and chilled vibe.

The Lion of Judah Hath Prevailed (Temple Gong) sees Detroit reggae band the Process teaming up with English vocalist Ghetto Priest, and this disc sees that title track getting a whole shit-load of remixes. Actually, it’s a pretty cool tune that sounds great when the sun’s shining, and yet Priest’s vocals spit attitude.

Trinidad native Etienne Charles is the current assistant professor of jazz trumpet at Michigan State University and, after listening to Kaiso (Culture Shock), it’s safe to say that the students over there are in good hands. Charles practically makes his instruments sing.

Carradine’s new full-length record, In Case I Lose it, We Both Have it will get a full release at the Atlas Bar in Hamtramck on July 16. Let us assure you that it’s well worth checking out. With the fuzz of Dinosaur Jr and the pop sensibilities of the Pixies, the tunes are awesome and the attitude is pissed. Fucking great stuff.

Grommet is an aggressive yet funny and technically gifted three-piece hard rock / metal band and the guys sent City Slang a decent portion of their back catalog this week. Antiverse (self-released) was recorded and mixed at Rustbelt Studios in Royal Oak back in 2009 and, while the band has since said that the vibe at Rustbelt studios was too challenging, engineers Al Sutton and Eric Hoegemeyer did a stellar job. Opening track “Gap-Toothed Succubus” has a Primus vibe, and it only gets better from there. A year later, the band recorded Crisis Du Jour (self-released) at Woodshed Studios in Oak Park, presumably a more relaxed establishment. The band is certainly wittier this time around, with songs like “Invasion of Personal Space”, “Fattie” and “Shit Holmes” coming over like a bluesy Gwar. The band recorded the Carpe Noctem EP (self-released) earlier this year, and the four tracks on it might be their best yet. “Cats” is about, well, cats and it details the behavior of said felines with anger and enthusiasm. “The Psychedelic Cult of the White Sheil Nala Relhar” is as impressive as the title suggests. Fabulous. Finally, the Live at the Atlas Bar in Hamtramck Michigan DVD was recorded exactly where you’d guess from the title, in February of this year. A French guy follows the three Grommet dudes around with a hand-held camera as they eat at the Polish Café in Ham-Town (and piss off the people that work there), before playing at the Atlas. The camera work is shaky and the audio is terrible, but there’s something very charming about this live “home video”.

Ill-it Beatzsent three new tracks over to City Slang this week and all are tight, phresh and phat. Yup, that’s what I said. I’m probably not getting the most out of them when I’m sat in front of my computer writing. Rather, I should be dancing like a loon. But I enjoyed them anyway.

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