City Slang: Weekly music review roundup

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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]

My Little Life’s Angry City EP features four songs filled with lyrics describing the troubles that Detroit faces on a day-to-day basis. What’s refreshing is that, rather than wallow in the despair, these guys seem to want to rock and cuddle Detroit back to health, like a mama bear with an injured cub. The music straddles the line between jazz, R&B and blues, but it the affection for Detroit, not any sort of misery, which makes this such a like-able record.

Black Hat’s Hooray For Love (Detroit Radio Co.) sees two Wayne State University professors coming together and creating weird and whacky, jazz-rock noise. So who says teachers can’t be cool? These guys seem to listen to listen to a lot of Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, Lou Reed and maybe even the Talking Heads. It’s kinda bleak and suave, but undeniably hip. School never used to be like this.

Walter White & Small Medium @ Large isn’t the weirdest name for a jazz ensemble we’ve ever heard, but it’s a bit of a mouthful all the same. Anyway, White hails from Oak Park and the trumpeter has worked with jazz names as respected as Maynard Ferguson, Bob James, and Toshiko Akiyoshi. On Breaking Good (Brassjar Music), White is left in control and this record swings from start to finish. The tempo drops and rockets on a whim, but there isn’t a dull moment.

The End Times looks, based on the cover to the latest A Plea for Recklessness 7” single, like the band is going to a death metal outfit. Upside crosses adorn the cover, and that band name suggests something Satanic. That’s not the case though; rather, the End Times is a female-led poetic ensemble in the vein of Nick Cave or even Leonard Cohen. The title track, plus “The Drowning Waltz”, are both beautifully melancholic.

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