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].

Mike Murphy & His Arm Band is the latest project from Murphy, erstwhile lead singer with the Space Heaters and former member of the Hysteric Narcotics, the Boners, the Murder City Wrecks and many more, and Art Pirates (Steady Boy) is the album. With that in mind, the songs on here take a kind of ‘wandering minstrel’ approach to what is undoubtedly still punk rock. The feedback might be dialed down, but the attitude is still there in droves on songs like “Black & White Movies,” “Red Rocket,” and the gloriously ludicrous “I’m a Potato”.

Under the Influence is the new album from Murphy and the Space Heaters, and it’s awesome. The fact that Bootsey X was in this band at some point is telling; Boots’ swagger can be felt all over here and so, in turn, can Iggy’s. This is sexy, sleazy, silly punk ‘n’ roll fun, and the pop hooks are infectious. Brilliant.

There are few more interesting stories in the city right now than that of Crime & the City Solution, a band born in Australia but now born again and based in Detroit. The dark, Gothic poetry of C&tCS is easily comparable to the Birthday Party and the Bad Seeds. However, the addition of Matt Smith (Outrageous Cherry, etc) and Troy Gregory (the Witches, etc) adds some welcome Motor City grease to the pudding. From the opening “Goddess”, this album creeps into the darkest corner of your mind and then sets up camp. It’s simultaneously beautiful and fucked up.

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