More blow, please

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A sniff of Blowout

We here at MT lift a smudgy glass of Stroh's draft in salutation of our mottled livers and the myriad artists and bands in the greater Detroit area. See, our in-house Hamtramck Blowout music fest promoter, one Tony Blowout, is "announcing" the opening night pre-party bash lineup, which, you'll notice, sidles this year's Blowout "integration" theme swimmingly. There will be sordid 'dustrial PVC-tweak and literate indie punks, honky-tonkers and rappers, hippies and hipswaying soft-shoe specialists, all performing together under one roof. In other words, we got Crud with the Holy Fire and Downtown Brown at the Majestic Theatre. In the adjacent Garden Bowl there's Dorkwave (with pals), while upstairs in the Magic Stick venue, we've Raw Collection, Loretta Lucas and the Larkspurs and Johnny Headband. Eeeee-yeahhh — should be a frolicsome genre slam-the-jam, one that nicely delineates the racket mounting in Motor City streets and 'burbs. The Blowout pre-bash jump-starts at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1. The Blowout itself takes over Hamtramck for the next three nights.

Blowout wristbands, which you will need to get in to any of the 200-plus shows, including the pre-party, can be had cheap ($15) beginning Feb. 1, and are available exclusively at Wristbands go up to $20 on March 2. Got it?

For what it's worth, we're still sorting through the hundreds and hundreds of artist submissions from the Detroit area in an attempt to finalize the schedule for the three-day booze-drool.

All hail the used record-store clerk

Encore Recordings record store sits quietly behind a faded red awning on East Liberty Street in Ann Arbor, facing down the sleek monument to yuppiedom that is Borders Books & Music. Its bins tumble over with dusty LPs and discs of every musical stripe, and tufts of sheet music stick out from corners. The house hi-fi usually burbles with something ancient or experimental, and record geek shut-ins crouch in its narrow walkways, thumbing dutifully through boxes of 78s and 12-inch singles. Everything in Encore is the color of parchment, except for Carmen, the tiny watchdog-mascot, waddling by in a polite blue vest. It's the kind of record store that might seem threatening to the casual, walk-in browser, but it's also a place full of potential, and a destination for anyone with a jones for sounds from the fringe. Bringing clarity to Encore's clutter is owner Peter Dale, and a staff that includes some of Ann Arbor's most interesting and respected musicians, er, rock stars. At various times you'll find Saturday Looks Good to Me's Fred Thomas and Scott DeRoche among the stacks, as well as Ghostly International denizens Mike Dykehouse and Tadd Mullinix (aka Dabrye). Dale understands that the traditional 9-to-5 doesn't necessarily jibe with the life of a working musician, and gives his guys the time they need to tour and record in between shifts behind Encore's receiving desk.

The new compilation Encore Recordings celebrates the varied talents of the store's staff and friends, incorporating everything from cracked noise explorations and gorgeous folk-pop to audio collage and prickly Afro-funk. But it's also a collective thank-you to Dale. "We just really wanted to thank Peter for being so cool, and for his patience with our schedules," Dykehouse says, taking cover from the pattering rain underneath Encore's awning. Recordings include his "Sunset Rose," a typically Dykehouse recombination of shoegaze with an undercurrent of longing that cries out to New Order. Saturday Looks Good To Me chimes in with the pretty, appropriate "Record Store"; DeRoche surfaces in a hissy, scratch acid piece from Beak Full of Rubies called "Heavy Sky"; and Mullinix (as Cotton Hornets) contributes "417," which he refers to as a "synth-freakout on analog gear." On the weirder tip is "Space Dust" from Ann Arbor-based noise king Wade Kergan, recording with Davin Brainard as Metal Dungeon; on the softer side is "First Loves Stay in the Heart Tank" from Great Lakes Myth Society member and former Encore employee Timothy Monger. Encore Recordings' defining eclecticism gave DeRoche sequencing and mastering headaches. But the result is a compilation as ranging, intuitive and insightful as Encore Recordings itself.

Encore will celebrate Recordings with a release party Jan. 27 at the Blind Pig. Fred Thomas/SLGTM will perform, along with Mullinix (likely as Dabrye), Dykehouse, Beak Full of Rubies, Aaron Dilloway/Wolf Eyes and Metal Dungeon. The Encore crew promises a few other collaborations, as well as fun and surprises. "Who knows," ace MT photographer and Encore staff member Doug Coombe says. "Maybe we'll set up a Fred Thomas kissing booth."


From Hit Singles' Teenaged Idolatry Hits Lotto Dept.: How often does a songwriter-emcee get to hear his hero record one of his tunes on a major label? On Rev Run's latest, Distortion, Eastside's Champtown co-authored the album's opener, "I Used to Think I Was Run," a pithy homage by Champ to Run in his Run-DMC days. "Man, that was one of the best feelings in my life, to be an 8-year-old kid watching this guy perform at a Fresh Fest," Champ says. It was likewise thrilling "getting a call from him personally, saying, 'I want to use your song.' And what makes me feel really good about it is he keeps in touch with me now on a daily basis. Run was my fucking idol."

Perhaps now the publishing coin from said tune can get Champ's Straight Jacket releases out on the streets.


From our Tomb of the Unknown Songwriter Wins Sound Track Lotto Dept.: Hats off to David Manchel, an obscure local dude whose record (Welcome Back to the Same Old Me) we actually said nice things about back in '04. It appears that a song from said CD will be featured in the 20th Century Fox sure-bet-blockbuster Big Momma's House 2, starring Martin Lawrence. Listen for Manchel's surf-y "One Swell Foop" accompanying gravity-defying derrière in a beach scene. The flick opens nationwide later this month.

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