To round out 2022, we’d like to highlight a few of our favorite local releases that we haven't had the chance to mention yet this year. Thank you for rocking with us in this new column as we celebrate the rich local music scene in and around Detroit. In the words of Inner City, “we’re having big fun” – see you next year!
The AM — Black Majik EP (Tresor): For The AM (real name Ann-Marie Teasley, also known as AMX), 2022 was non-stop. Her Culture Code residency at The High-Dive provided devoted techno-heads with their required monthly dose, while also playing out at high-profile events like Tresor Berlin 31 and Boiler Room Detroit. Somewhere in between all that, Teasley released two EPs of recorded material, culminating in a career-long goal to put out music on the esteemed underground techno label Tresor. Over Black Majik’s three tracks (and one swirling remix from Scan 7), The AM pushes every boundary of the classic techno sound while packing in so much personality that it never feels stale. Black Majik is the sound of Teasley's unshakeable point-of-view, as she pulls from her decades-long dancefloor pedigree and shares her glee for all of us to revel in.
dream beach — Randy’s Market (Bruiser Brigade): Released earlier this year, dream beach’s Randy’s Market continued the Bruiser tradition of slow-burning, mind-expanding hip-hop. As the first fully instrumental release on Danny Brown’s label (and also executive produced by the enigmatic rapper), the mixtape had a lot to deliver on — and boy did it. Clocking in at just under 20 minutes, Randy’s Market starts off squarely rooted in lo-fi hip-hop, with crunchy samples and loops, but quickly spins out and sheds any notion of genre. At times emotionally devastating (listen to “window shopper” into “vito”) and footwork-inducing (“salt eclipse”), I find something new to head nod to on each listen. dream beach also has tons of material on his Soundcloud, since Randy’s Market is sure to give you an appetite for more.
Honorable mentions: Although he’s found success outside of just the local scene, my favorite Detroit releases would be incomplete if I didn’t mention Quelle Chris’s DEATHFAME. I also really enjoyed Beige’s beautifully blended AMEN! Vol. 1 mixtape for Eris Drew’s T4T LUV NRG label, and the super duo Jonah Baseball and 2Lanes first installment of their Overtone Series project. My brain is still processing Theo Parrish’s monumental DJ-Kicks comp, plus Waajeed’s latest Memoirs of Hi-Tech Jazz LP and Acts of Love: Act Three EP.
Tunde Olaniran — EPHEMERRREALITY: Blink and you may have missed it, but Tunde Olaniran lowkey dropped one of the most star-studded releases of the year this past September. EPHEMERRREALITY is a trip to say the least, exhibiting unapologetic maximalism and oozing with confidence, bringing the listener through two years of work between Olaniran and collaborator Stephen Saputo. Fans of Detroit music will certainly recognize some of the names, including Supercoolwicked, Ahya Simone, Milfie, VESPRE, Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond), Bevlove, Britney Stoney, and believe it or not, even more than that. There’s even a Tune-Yards feature tucked in there, adding to the allure of one of Detroit’s most impressive and seemingly slept-on releases of the year.
Amber Chene — Golden Ratio: Detroit renaissance woman Amber Chene has had a heck of a year — fashion campaigns, running her own clothing brand, hosting parties all over the city, the list goes on. On top of all that, in February of this year she released her long-awaited album Golden Ratio, a triumph in storytelling and sonic curation that is the result of years of hard work and dedication to her craft. From the opening monologue of the title track (produced by longtime friend and collaborator Gulley and featuring vocals from Cjay Hill), Chene waxes poetic on life, love, and knowledge of self, exploring her vocal range with smooth singing parts interspersed with dextrous rap verses. If you didn’t know, now you know!
Honorable mentions: We’ve written about them before, but of course no Detroit year-end list is complete without mentioning Hi-Tech and Theo Parrish’s DJ-Kicks. I also loved Live from Nanna’s House by Toughie (formerly known as Perpetual Care), Sara Marie Barron’s Angel Numbers, and Apropos’s Black Noi$e-produced single “Simple”, to name a few more.
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