City Slang: Weekly music review roundup

Aug 23, 2011 at 1:41 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].

Mary Cotter’s Jacob Ave (self-released) is the release of the week, no contest. We reviewed her debut EP in the first City Slang reviews roundup and that was great, but this is spectacular. It’s so unassuming, uncompromising, unique and fun, it sound like nothing else which makes it a bastard to describe. There are elements of Nico here, plus PJ Harvey and Holly Golightly. It’s great, so go listen.

Dude is the solo project of Tony De Nardo of the Muggs, and the Kid Gloves (self-released) album is obviously a labor of love. Looser and more chilled than his regular gig, Dude’s influences range between, to these ears, the Beatles, Dylan and song writers like Marshall Crenshaw. Good stuff.

Figure 45’s Summer Shift EP (self-released) is currently getting heavy rotation on college radio, and it’s not hard to hear why. There’s a jazzy folk quality that makes it a fitting summer record. Not spectacular, but relaxing and hippy-dippy in a sweet way. Expect to see them at a few festivals. If they’re not, they should be.

Mack Avenue Records sent us a couple of new releases this week, the first of which is the Christian McBride Big Band’s The Good Feeling (Mack Avenue). Leading the band from his big old double bass, McBride inspires old school big band jazz joy. Much fun to be had here.

Stanley Jordan’s Friends (Mack Avenue) sees the guitar virtuoso floating through 11 tracks that impress without ever igniting.

Dixie Witch’s Let it Roll (Small Stone) has as much to do with hard ‘70s rock as it has to do with any stoner scene. It’s crunchy and filthy, but the tunes are great and the singing is relatively clean. This Austin, Texas, band (signed to local label Small Stone, hence the inclusion) should appeal to lovers of quality rock and metal of all ages.

Bloodline Riot sent a track, “Burn”, to us via email, and it’s pretty damned good. Very “contemporary metal”, tailor made for WRIF, and there’s nothing wrong with that when the tune is this good.

DJ A.D. Cruze sent us a podcast called The Makeover that is spectacular. Cruze seamlessly blends tracks by the likes of Chris Isaak and My Chemical Romance, all with a hypnotic beat keeping the flow consistent.

Perplexa is a psychedelic rock band originally from Ann Arbor. They relocated to LA a few years ago, though let’s resist the temptation to hold that against them. Their new album, Gone Beyond (Perplexa Music / Illuminus) is hauntingly beautiful, honest and emotive (all of the things that LA isn’t, by the way). There’s an orchestral quality here, like a symphony in a trippy dream. Check it out.

Nigel & the Dropout’s debut album is imaginatively called "&" (self-released). The band consists of two local 19-year-olds, and it’s brilliant. The duo create electro musical portraits and then kind of sing / groan over it when they see fit, splashing vocal brush strokes and the odd guitar riff with free abandon. Expect big things.