On the Download

So, flacks are always trying to get you to write about their crazy-ass clients' new half-baked projects. Such it was that I got an e-mail about just such a ka-razee new scheme the other day called secretremixes.com. It's a site where member DJs can post their mash-ups, mixes, breaks and snippets and other substantive and connective DJ-set tissue for members to snag as digital files and, hence, incorporate into their own sets. Sure, sure, it feels a little "forced viral" to be selling mash-ups at $3.99 a pop (each song includes a streamed sample, btw). But seriously, consider this: The Detroit DJs involved are pros. DJs Godfather and Mike Scruggs have each posted several bits of audio magic — from booty and party chant transition clips to full-length mixes designed to take the dancers to the proverbial "next level," etc. So there are 313 bona fides involved. Also from this area are new jackers such as Braz D (myspace.com/dj_braz_d) and Beat Molesters (mysapce.com/thebeatmolesters — that's not a URL that's likely to score you any points with work filters) who kick in mixes with awesome titles like "Let It Kid Rock," "Kiss My Sexy Back" and "Aretha Franklin Club Manager" (the latter a nod to the suburban racquet club?).

Anyhow, the D folks aren't alone. There are DJs from Paris to Las Vegas also in on it. And, you know what? The worst that could happen is that a certain litigious recording organization gets wind of this and puts this site at, like, 17,945th on its list of resolutions for 2009. In the meantime, use it, abuse it and enjoy the flow.


So, in the spirit of doing everything humanly possible to call attention to the joke that is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for ignoring the Stooges yet again — you can't put rock 'n' roll in a cage anyway, man — I spent a decent chunk of a recent lunch hour revisiting the glorious noise of Detroit's most slippery, underrated and genius rock band, the High Strung. What's that got to do with the mistake by the lake? Here's the skinny: Back in '04, the trio retired its beat-up 1988 Chevy touring van — with 318,000 miles on the odometer — at the steps of the hall, with a commemorative plaque and a letter that read:

"Dear Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — We believe rock 'n' roll can make man heroic, make man Superman, can make giants out of the audience and artists alike ... The High Strung's donation to you is a wild multicolored beast of a vehicle that, despite its age and demand placed upon it, carried us to 500 shows across America without asking us to cancel one. Oh, yeah, and don't you worry about any potential towing costs, the keys are in the ignition"

Now, that's the kind of rock 'n' roll gesture we can get behind. The kind of gesture that can only be made by a band of road warriors who craft an inspired, indescribable racket that ranges from their opening salvo power-pop perfect jam "Wretched Boy" (check the video on their MySpace page; it's low-key and rad) to the rangy, literate, biting and bashing work on their most recent opus, Get the Guests (produced by Jim Diamond). The jams on display at their page are great for streaming and to get a sense of their recent work. But to get a true sense of the twisted genius of the High Strung, hit up and download their '06 Daytrotter session at the second link below and remind yourself that real and true and hairy rock 'n' roll still walks among the people, despite the dipshits who want it under glass.


It's weird: Since the popular local music news site Motorcityrocks.com changed hands from Matt and Ryan and crew, it's gone through a gradual metamorphosis from a toothless webvomit.com (as it were) back to a reliably useful bookmark/feed source. Thanks to MCR, we've learned that the Factory is, like, totally, the new Scrummage in terms of word count on bloggage ("now with 300 percent more 'Rochester'!"). Also, though it's likely not going to return to its previously hyper-enthusiastic fan-boy awesomeness, it has lately become simply the place to find out exactly when the Von Bondies' Jason Stollsteimer finally decided between a tuna melt and Reuben for lunch. Thankfully, though, the site's relentless Von Bondies coverage serves some purpose. MCR's links provide evidence that Detroit's most loved 'n' loathed quartet haven't merely turtled up and died. In fact, they seem to have realized that the marketplace has embraced their '05 sound and they're gunning for glory with the new jams. Both "Pale Bride" (at SXSW's site) and "This is Our Perfect Crime" (at SPIN's site) highlight the "innovation-within-a-construct" goodness of both songs. "This is Our Perfect Crime," in particular, showcases a percussive dynamic that's neither Tom Waits' junkyard nor skittish break beat, but rather, a happy medium. It totally passes the five-second rule! So, thanks, MCR, I guess, and thanks, Von Bondies, for hanging in there like so many cats on a motivational poster.

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