The fake turn of the century marked a U-turn music-wise, with the Motor City once again getting caught like a deer in headlights (and loving it). Here, a few MT record reviewers help us reflect on what a year it was.
Carleton S. Gholz
Detroit’s dance scene has not always been pretty, but after this year’s DEMF, it’s clear that we are blessed with the best DJs-producers in the world.
Top 6 dance moments:
1. Derrick May opening his set with James Brown’s “The Big Payback” at DEMF’s final night
2. Minx, Mike Clark, Hannah at Johanson Charles Gallery
3. “Final” Three Floors of Fun at St. Andrews, Houseshoes presiding
4. DJ Munk Prince Party at Foran’s Irish Pub
5. Thomas Brinkman with Triple R, Clark Warner, Derek Plaslaiko at Motor
6. Random Noise Generation LIVE at Motor’s Family
Top 5 LPs:
1. Giant Sand, Chore of Enchantment (Thrill Jockey)
2. Daniel Bell, The Button Down Down Mind of Daniel Bell (Tresor)
3. DJ Bone, subject:detroitvolume2 (Eukatech)
4. David S. Ware, Surrendered (Columbia)
5. Billy Bragg and Wilco, Mermaid Avenue Vol. II (Elektra)
2000 had enough drama and trauma to keep this good man down, but these country crooners — who’d long since been there, done that and lived to tell — provided perspective to all those tears in my beer.
Top 10 countrified moments:
1. Dixie Chicks, “Goodbye Earl”
2. Shelby Lynne, I Am Shelby Lynne (Island-Def Jam)
3. Karaoke scene in Boys Don’t Cry
4. Neko Case and Kelly Hogan at Blind Pig, Ann Arbor
5. White Stripes, “Jolene”
6. Shania Twain’s “VH1 Behind the Music”
7. Warn Defever, I Want You to Live 100 Years (Lo)
8. Johnny Cash, “One”
9. Daisy Duke & Tennessee Twin at Ladyfest, Olympia
10. Various Artists, Badlands: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska (Sub Pop)
Khary Kimani Turner
Top 10 Albums (that didn’t appeal to everybody):
1. De La Soul, Art Official Intelligence (Tommy Boy)
2. Slum Village, Fantastic, vol. 2 (Goodvibe)
3. Buju Banton, Unchained Spirit (Anti)
4. Rachelle Farrell, Individuality (Can I Be Me!!?) (EMD-Capitol)
5. Confrontation Camp, Objects in the Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are (Dreamworks)
6. Common, Like Water For Chocolate (Universal-MCA)
7. Tupac Shakur, The Rose That Grew From Concrete (Universal-Interscope) In five years, we’ll be discussing this classic in classrooms, not record stores.
8. U2, Everything That You Can’t Leave Behind
9. Beenie Man, Art & Life (Universal-Interscope)
10. Lucy Pearl, Lucy Pearl (BMG-Beyond)
As more than a million of you know, last May the DEMF mothership came home to roost in Hart Plaza. Or was it here in the city all along? Here’s some stuff from the other side of consensus reality.
Top 10 moments of note:
1. COMPOSITE, Brooklyn 2000 Gallery
2. Leicester, England’s Volcano the Bear, detroit contemporary
3. Hamtramck’s Entropy Studio.
4. Grand Rapids’ LSDudes at a multimedia post-Dally in the Alley Event, detroit contemporary
5. Teach Me Tiger and ensuing soul 45-Argentinean dance party, Garden Bowl
6. Vixxen Hott, Magas, Timegate, Jean Street and ensuing fashion show-wrestling match, detroit contemporary
7. Blectum from Blechdom, Cex (that’s C-E-X!), Gold Chains, Maersk, and Kid-606, detroit contemporary
8. Ethiopiques, Vol. 8 (Buda Musique CD)
9. Pita, Fennesz, Marcus Schmickler and Jeff Karolski, detroit contemporary
10. Nostalgia for the future (tie): Ersatz Audio, Galen reunion performance
Top 10 musical vacations for the mind from gravity:
1. The prehistorically comforting percussions of drummers in an alley after Meredith Monk at the Power Center
2. Sonic Youth’s NYC Ghosts and Flowers (Universal-Geffen)
3. Arling and Cameron’s Music for Imaginary Films (Emperor Norton)
4. Ron Asheton joining Sonic Youth for the cover of the Stooges I Wanna Be Your Dog at Phoenix Plaza Amphitheater
5. Tin Hat Trio’s Helium.
6. The multiple-realm energy and sounds of the blind Turkish Sufi chanter and musicians performing with the Whirling Dervishes at the DIA.
7. Bebel Gilberto, Tanto Tempo (Six Degrees)
8. Radiohead performing songs from Kid A on “Saturday Night Live”
9. A teary-eyed trip inside and back listening to a homemade birthday CD from my brother, with “What’s New Pussycat?” (Tom Jones) to “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here” (School House Rock)
10. Finding Amazing Quintron’s Satan is Dead (Bulb Records) in the used bin.
Keith A. Owens
My top 10 ain’t necessarily yours, but so long as you’re still supporting the blues — especially on the local scene — that’s the main thing.
Top 10 blues albums:
1. Various artists, This is the Blues Harmonica (Delmark)
2. Harmonica Shaw w/Howard Glazer, Deep Detroit (Bluetrack)
3. The Butler Twins, The Butlers Boogie: Live at the Attic “Home of the Blues” (Backporch Blues Project)
4. Alvin Youngblood Hart, Start With the Soul (Hannibal Records)
5. Bob Willett and the Blues Devils, Messin’ With Your Mind (Ol’ Blue Light Recordings)
6. Jimmy Johnson, Pepper’s Hangout (Delmark)
7. Honeyboy Edwards I’ve Been Around (32 Blues)
8. John Lee Hooker John Lee Hooker: 1948-1949 (Savoy Entertainment Group)
9. L’il Brian and the Zydeco Travelers Funky Nation (Tomorrow Recordings)
10. Blues Masters: The Very Best of Elmore James, The Very Best of Jimmy Reed (Rhino Records)
Ten Y2K records which I’ll be proud to own when my son’s old enough to, you know, “get ’em.” Here’s what we’ll listen to when he outgrows his Leadbelly Sings for Children phase (thanks, Carleton!). Draw your own conclusions:
1. Primal Scream, XTRMNTR (Astralwerks)
2. White Stripes, De Stijl (Sympathy for the Record Industry)
3. Super Furry Animals, Mwng (Flydaddy Records)
4. Gravitar, You Must First Learn to Draw the Reel (Monotremata)
5. Björk, Selmasongs — sound track to Dancer in the Dark (WEA-Electra)
6. Damon & Naomi, Damon & Naomi With Ghost (Sub Pop)
7. Enon, Believo! (Seethru Broadcasting)
8. Handsome Family, In the Air (Carrot Top)
9. Mouse on Mars, Niun Niggung (Thrill Jockey)
10. Bangs, Sweet Revenge (Kill Rock Stars)
W. Kim Heron
Whether it was the car CD or the one at home, these jazz discs proved worth playing again and again
Top 10 instant replays:
1. Sonny Rollins — This is What I Do (Milestone)
2. Matthew Shipp and Mat Maneri —Gravitational Systems (Hatology): The piano-violin duets here can evoke the tension of a bomb squad at work.
3. James Carter — Layin’ in the Cut and Chasin’ the Gypsy (Atlantic)
4. Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana – Ritmo + Soul (Blue Note): Afro-Cuban meets American gospel by way of Canada.
5. Sun Ra — Lanquidity (Evidence): A ’70s reissue that still sounds like the spacey funk of the future.
6. Ernest Ranglin — Modern Answers to Old Problems (Telarc)
7. Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd — Monk’s Dream (Verve)
8. John Lindberg Ensemble — A Tree Frog Tonality (between the lines)
9. Brian Blade Brotherhood — Perceptual (Blue Note): Taking the fusion tool box to build something subtle, fresh and personal.
10. Don Byron — A Fine Line: Arias and Lieder (Blue Note)
The year 2000 wasn’t exactly a pivotal one in music. Detroit had its moments, though. Here are 10 things that gave me chills and made me content to be in metro Detroit.
Top 5 DEMF moments:
1. Vertigo from looking around the main stage amphitheater during Stacy Pullen’s set.
2. Fanon Flowers issuing props to “Detroit city USA” via record.
3. Homeless guy dancing to Aril Brikah, Time Space as a cop bobbed his head.
4. Bone’s set w/percussionist Efe and subsequent “I thank Mad Mike Banks for being my Prince, Jeff Mills for being my Jimi Hendrix, and Juan Atkins for bein’ my muthafuckin’ Juan Atkins” speech.
5. Clark Warner’s set. Delicious.
Top 5 other moments:
Although many of you know me as a tough rock ’n’ roll brute who doesn’t break for anyone or anything, I’m a sucker for mushy romantic downers that leave me sodium deprived. Here are the top songs I’ll request for clammy-hand slow skates at the Ambassador until the arthritis gets the best of me:
1. “Shotgun,” Ida, Will You Find Me (Tigerstyle).
2. “Our Way To Fall,” Yo La Tengo, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out (Matador)
3. “Come Pick Me Up,” Ryan Adams, Heartbreaker (Bloodshot)
4. “By Your Side,” Sade, Lovers Rock (Sony/Epic)
5. “The Calender Hung Itself,” Bright Eyes, Fevers And Mirrors (Saddle Creek)
6. “Spring,” Saturday Looks Good To Me, Cruel August Moon (Little Hands)
7. “Kissing Things,” The 6ths — Sarah Cracknell, Hyacinths & Thistles (Merge)
8. “Heavens Downward,” Au Revoir Borealis, Tienken (self-released)
9. “Luv,” Travis, The Man Who (Sony/Epic)
10. “Around & Around,” Mark Kozelek, The Unaccompanied Voice (Secretly Canadian)