City Slang: Weekly music review roundup

January 8, 2013
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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.

Most Wanted’s Revelation Station (Stone Alley) is the fifth full-length release from the Detroit rockers, and it’s pretty damned good. Remember when Bon Scott was still alive and AC/DC would purr through their sleazy blue collar monster tunes? These guys recall those times, when a rock ‘n’ roller would stand at a bar in blue jeans and a blue jean jacket and chat up the barmaid. It’s dated but fun, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Emilio Basa’s “Testify” is a funky little tune. It opens with a hard bass line before Basa voice pops in and then the brass section enters the game. It’s very accessible; fans of Maroon 5 will like this, but don’t let that put you off because there’s a touch of Mayer Hawthorne and Gnarls Barkley in there too. It’s anthemic and, as the title suggests, inspires from evangelical arm waving. This is the sort of tune that Basa has been threatening for a while.

Stewart Francke’s Love Implied (Blue Boundary) is an incredibly positive album. There’s nothing wrong with that at all of course, but at times it feels like we’re listening to a self-help tape set to music. Maybe that’s the point; Francke has seen his fair share of adversity and come through it smiling. He’s simply sharing his experiences through song. He’s a sound songwriter, and a great guitarist. But if you want grit and grime, look elsewhere.

The very cool Motorcity Special has put out an awesome piece of vinyl called Inside Outlaws Songwriting Collective Recorded Live at uDetroit Café, which basically does what it says on the tin. All of the Inside Outlaws are present, from Doop and Katie Grace to newcomers After Dark Amusement Park. There’s even a mega-jam at the end. The music is predictably awesome in that Detroit alt-country sort of way that seems to be blossoming at present. The scratchy cover art is equally glorious. A good job all round.

We’re sorry, we know that Christmas is done and dusted for another 12 months (if you haven’t done it already, get those decorations down – they just look tragic now), but we didn’t have a chance to review this until now. House Phone’s James Linck released a split 7” single with hip-hop legends-in-waiting Passalacqua which saw Linck crooning through a frankly awesome version of Wham’s “Last Christmas”. It’s a surprisingly straight cover too, but we’ll take Linck’s authentic soul purr over George Michael’s pomp any day. Passalacqua’s “A Very Frugal Christmas” sees the guys mix urban rhyme with a trad choral vibe. The lyrics might have been co-written by Dre and the Grinch. Who wouldn’t want that?

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