City Slang: Weekly music review roundup

Aug 2, 2011 at 1:55 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 [email protected].

Frustrations live up to the name because I couldn’t find a decent image of the art to their stunning new Negative Reflections (X Records) anywhere, and my scanner isn’t big enough to scan LP sleeves. That said, it is a wonderfully messy album, and I love vinyl so they score points there. It’s arty, garage-y punk rock that assaults the senses and sounds much like the musical equivalent of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”. That is a good thing, by the way.

Battlecross are a Detroit-based old school metal sounding band that recently signed with the national Metal Blade records label. I reviewed the band’s single a couple of weeks ago, but the Pursuit of Honor (Metal Blade) album is phenomenal. Heavy, powerful and intense, songs like “Man of Stone” and “Leech” grab you by the back of the neck and shake you until you like it.

Ritual (Metal Blade) is the new album from the Black Dahlia Murder, and it’s stunning. Read the City Slang column in this week’s Metro Times to see what the band has to say, but this record sees the band grow beyond the death metal / grindcore trappings they were stuck in before. Strings, monstrous grooves, it’s all here. Enjoy.

Illy Mack’s Squirrels (Five Three Dial Tone) is the most recent single from the alt-rockers led by Jennifer David, and it’s a four-track beauty. “I’m talking with squirrels ‘coz they understand,” sings David in the lead track. I know what she means too – there’s something about those bushy tailed bastards.

Darling Imperial is playing its last ever show (at least for now) at the Berkley Front on August 13, and to celebrate they sent City Slang their two EPs for a retrospective listen. Got to be honest – I saw this band at the Blowout opening party at the Magic Stick earlier this year and wasn’t taken with them. However these two EPs, I Know Everyone You Know (self-released) and Takotsubo (self-released), the latter released late last year, are very cool in a sassy indie pop sort of way. The tunes are present and correct, and there’s a swagger to the band’s sound that will be missed. Guys, how do you pronounce “reunion”?

Ryan Dillaha’s Love Alone (self-released) album sees the Ferndale resident exploring some authentic and rootsy Americana country stuff. Best of an impressive bunch is “Detroit City”, a bitter-sweet ode to Dillaha’s hometown.

Every Avenue’s Bad Habits (Fearless) sees the band moving forward full steam ahead with their Vans-approved pop punk career. Getting signed to Fearless Records won’t have hurt them, and the fact that they’re in Alternative Press magazine just about every month won’t do them any harm either. It’s easy to see why, too. The songs are radio-friendly, over-produced and almost sickeningly slick, and yet they’re just so easy to like. No challenge, no attitude, but plenty of melody and some heart.

It’s a shame that Rick Braun isn’t from Detroit (he’s from Allentown Pennsylvania but signed to local label Mack Avenue Records), because the area is crying out for a cool, Tony Bennett style crooner. We’ll have to adopt him and make do for now, because Sings With Strings (Mack Avenue) is the perfect music to hear live in one of our casinos. Sweet, cool as hell and, yes, seductive, there will never be an era when this music isn’t ok.

Glitter Trash are the sort of band that every city needs to add color and sleaze to the scene. Like Detroit’s own Wayne / Jayne County & the Electric Chairs, Glitter Trash bends genders with glee. The Wreckage (Homeless Ramblings) album isn’t musically brilliant by any means; in fact, it’s badly produced and the songs are, well, not bad. But the band is fun and filthy. Undoubtedly better live than on disc. However, they did manage to force me to spill bits of confetti all over my carpet by packaging some loose with the CD. Fuck.

Quick note – it’s not local, but Blondie’s new Panic of Girls (Five Seven) album is their best since the reformation. It’s not Parallel Lines, but there’s a lot of great stuff on there.