City Slang: Weekly music review roundup
Remember â€“ if you send it, it will get reviewed. Thatâ€™s the City Slang promise. It doesnâ€™t matter what genre the music is â€“ as long as it has a Metro Detroit connection, itâ€™ll get in. Preferably, weâ€™d like to concentrate on new releases but, while weâ€™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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
What a way to start the week! A new 7â€ť single from hardcore titans the Bill Bondsmen is always going to be welcome and â€śOvercrowded Controlâ€ť kicked this writerâ€™s ass all over my laptop, as did the untitled b-side. The riffs are characteristically complex, which can surprise newcomers. Tony sounds like a large dog is chewing on his sack while he wrestles with his words. And itâ€™s all very, very heavy. I canâ€™t quite figure out whatâ€™s pissing them off this week, but it sounds mighty important. Love it.
As good as the Bondsmen single is, it canâ€™t compete with Theandric for weirdness. The local duo has recorded a tongue in cheek to their favorite band, Iron Maiden, called â€śUp the Ironsâ€ť (self-released) that fans of the band will enjoy, and people who hate them will feel reaffirm everything theyâ€™ve ever said. Lines like â€śRepeat the same four wordsâ€ť, â€śThis songâ€™s so longâ€ť, â€śWest Ham Uniiiiiiteeedâ€ť, and â€śChange key hereâ€ť, sung over an operatic Maiden style song, are funny for those in on the joke. It might be a joke with a short lifespan, but for in the short-term itâ€™s a good laugh.
Thereâ€™s much to enjoy on Daniel Harrison & the $2 Highwayâ€™s Humidity (self-released) mini-album. The Detroit alt-country scene seems to be flourishing right now, with more and more talented honky-tonkers crawling out of somewhere. Harrison has the gift of telling his life stories and personal psalms with grit and authenticity. It gets a little â€śBon Joviâ€ť from time to time, which is fine if youâ€™re ok with olâ€™ Jon, and the bongos get a little annoying. But overall, this is a fine effort, packed with fine songwriting.
Treatment Boundâ€™s excellent Another Round (Homeless Ramblings) fits perfectly between the Supersuckers and Nashville Pussy. As the title suggests, this is drinking music for the hardened rocker. Itâ€™s for dudes who wouldnâ€™t dream of waxing their hairy backs, for men who wear leather vests with biker patches on the back. But then they throw us a curveball by writing a song called â€śKerouacâ€™s Ghostâ€ť. See kids, you can be a rebel and an intellectual at the same time. Just ask old Jack.
Ellen Keyt is a local acoustic singer / songwriter type, and she has been playing locally with people like Katie Grace and Audra Kubat. Her new CD is gloriously titled Detroit Meadows (self-released), which I love because, if there are two words you rarely see together, it is â€śDetroitâ€ť and â€śmeadowsâ€ť. If she was hoping to merge images of English folk with Detroitâ€™s hardworking manufacturing industry, she succeeded, not least because her music is beautiful. Her voice is soothing yet sharp, like a really good primary school teacher (not in a patronizing way), and her guitar work is perfectly executed â€“ understated and gentle. Most importantly, she means every word she sings.