So I figured I’d belatedly start this new year, sans-massive-site changes, with a new feature I’m gonna keep going for a few posts, and then probably forget about. This one’s local. Here’s the thing about being a site that’s identified with a certain city/region; things get complicated
You say you’re an Oklahoma City blog and suddenly you find yourself at the crappiest all ages punk shows in the Oklahoma City suburbs on a wednesday night, or you say you’re a Saint Louis blog and two weeks later find yourself really depressed that you can’t find more good acts to cover. It’s even tougher in the region I would be covering, because that region happens to be southeast Michigan. I live in Ann Arbor, but go to shows in Detroit to hear bands from Ypsilanti sing lyrics about Dearborn. Because Detroit is such an economically depressed place with such a decentralized population base and such a disenfranchised remaining population, its cultural scene is pretty fragmented (but interesting and creative as all getup), and also because I live half an hour outside of Detroit, I’m basically hearing about all of it second hand, and writing about it third hand.
So I’m starting up a column about music I like, old, new, otherwise, from the 734, 313, 248 and hell, if I can find anything, the 517 and 989. The column is called “Don’t Forget The Motor City” which is a tossed off line from the song “The New World” by the band X. not all of these bands will be from detroit, and when i try to write about detroit, it must be filtered through the observation that i live in a satellite garden city, and so therefor am, at least partially, full of shit, but that’s it’s name and that’s its purpose.
Detroit in winter is the sound of old chains falling off of pickup trucks into potholes. It is the sound of plastic bags spilling crushed sleeping pills into cluttered car trunks. It’s a whole lot of things, but it always involves cars. Black Milk lived through Detroit Winters more than I have, so Hell Yeah feels right. It’s a I’m hot shit track, but it is the kind of i’m hot shit track that comes out of a place as bruised and cracked as Detroit. This song doesn’t have a melody. It has, if anything, an anti melody, a bunch of sounds that are loud and seperate and don’t sound all that nice. The whole song sounds factory assembled at unnegotiated union waged and frigid. There isn’t even anger when the only description Black Milk can give to his home is “Church Church Liquor Store.” There’s no pride there, but there’s this defensiveness. It’s like Eminem’s final battle rap in 8 mile (listen, I liked that movie.), he’s ripping the shit out of the place before you get the chance. He’s entitled to do it, you’re (read: I’m) not. “Hell Yeah” is a Detroit winter the moment you wake up. And “Reppin For You” is the bus out of New Center at 7:45.
And then also there’s prussia, also from detroit, who are the pleasure you get from ripping open a scab, day after day. They’re this great pop group, except their singer is awful. He is awful and he is loud and he absolutely knows that he cannot sing, because he cannot sing at about as loud a volume as one can possibly not sing. But those lyrics are smart ass enough to just be classified as smart and that music is enough to dull that voice. I hate that voice so much, i’m starting to love it.
I don’t have their album yet, but here’s the link to their Daytrotter session.
AND because she’s Neko Case and some money will be donated to an animal shelter if I repost it, here’s Neko Case’s excellent new song.