City Slang: Weekly music review roundup
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Luddites describe themselves as like “gypsies on Broadway,” and that pretty much hits the nail on the head. The eleven-piece acoustic band, led by the extremely charismatic, borderline hypnotic Lisa Goedert, has a very rootsy, Romany feel but it’s pumped up to the max, and exaggerated with that vaudevillian, theatrical flair. The 14 songs on Twisted In (Woven) are full of joy and impossible not to swing to. One would have to imagine that the bad is awesome live.
We received two new albums from local jazz label Mack Avenue this week. The first is from Christian McBride & Inside Straight, People Music. McBride is one of the most in-demand bassists in his genre of his generation, and he shows just why here. While jazz clichés aren’t our thing, McBride really does take his listeners on a walk round each tune. “People Music is my personal mantra as a musician,” says McBride. “Sometimes jazz musicians can get too caught up in their own heads.” Ain’t that the truth.
Cecile McLorin Salvant certainly doesn’t get caught up in her own head on WomanChild, a beautiful piece of work that recalls great blues and folk crooners as much as it does the jazz greats. The opening “St. Louis Gal” sees Salvant pouring her heart and soul into a song about a city that obviously means a lot to her. This is a woman with a deep understanding of a lot of different styles of music, and she’s not afraid to use it. Keep an eye out for her.
The last record we received this week is from a local alternative band called Irreverent Smile, an EP called Winter Session (Caveline). The band’s debut release, of which they are justifiably proud, there’s a beautifully detached, almost harsh eloquence and emotion to tunes like “Look Now, Young Lovers” and “Cold and Crisp” that recalls the likes of Snow Patrol and locals Bear Lake. Much to enjoy here.
Finally, the latest in the Rockabye Baby! series, which takes well known songs by popular bands and turns them into lullabies for babies, sees the Rockabye Baby crew take on a Detroit fave. Lullaby Renditions of the White Stripes might not be aimed at me, but my 16-month-old son Dylan seemed more than content chilling out in the back of the car while xylophone versions of “Hotel Yorba”, “Fell in Love with a Girl” and “Seven Nation Army” (Dylan’s favorite) rained down on his sleepy head. That’s a good enough review for me.