City Slang: Weekly music review roundup

February 28, 2012
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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 mt.cityslang@gmail.com.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Monkey and the Robots must be the best band name featured in City Slang, ever. In addition, look at the album art on Spooky Kooky Attic Static (Rock ‘n’ Roll Monkey/Motor Sounds). Tin monkeys with cymbals and old school toy robots. Fantastic. From what we can make out, these surf-ish garage rockers are based in Ypsilanti, and they have a song called “I Should’ve Stayed in Detroit”. Other song titles include “Thirsty Monkey” and “Spooky Kooky Tree”. The music is fun and ragged, though if you aren’t sold yet I can’t help ya.

Katie Grace, playing the Blowout and interviewed in the pages of the MT this week, has finally put out a solo record, and Best Bad Girl (Inside Outlaws Detroit) is magnificent. The sound is certainly alt-country, but it is also smooth and radio-friendly. At her best, as she usually is, Grace is capable of tearing your heart out of your chest and stomping on it, then dusting it off and putting it back. “Wine on the Workdays, Whiskey on the Weekends” is the best of an amazing bunch.

Kathy KosinsTo the Ladies of Cool (Resonance) is a tribute to some of jazz girl Kosins’ faves of the genre, including Anita O’Day, June Christy, Chris Connor and Julie London. It’s a suave, classy, beautiful record that features some incredible low-key musicianship and, of course, Kosins’ warm voice. The artists in question would surely approve.

We were sent two CDs from local jazz label Mack Avenue Records this week. The first is by acclaimed sax-man Kenny Garrett, a man who has played with the Duke Ellington Orchestra among many others. His playing on Seeds from the Underground is exemplary. Importantly, the tunes are totally accessible for non-jazz hounds.

The other Mack Avenue release is by Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez, whose Sounds of Space album features some magnificent keys work and production duties in part by Quincy Jones. It’s a vibrant, exciting and eminently listenable album, packed with perfect weekend tunes.

Mangoo’s Neverland is the latest release from Small Stone Records, and the retro rockers have put out one of the label’s best releases in a while. The feedback-laden guitar sound is wonderful, though the overall vibe is prog bordering on orchestral. The vocals yelp all over the top of that, creating a glorious noise. Plus, the name is funny.

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