Like most Detroit stalwarts, Hell City Records has an oil-and-water relationship with our town. Jason Lockwood, godfather and guru of the local imprint, knows that agitation is usually the quickest way to unity, especially when everyone's an underdog. And it's that mentality that defines the label, with the stark blacks and reds of its logo mirroring the dust in creased leather grit and general don't-give-a-fuckness that lines the repertoires of Hell City bands like Whiskey Diaries and Hadituptoheres. In anticipation of the Hell City label showcase at Northern Lights, Lockwood gives us his top five reasons why hell is the new heaven in 2007:
5. Summer movie season: I don't care how tough you are. Transformers: The Movie? A remake of Halloween helmed by Rob Zombie? Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End with a Keith Richards cameo? See you in line.
4. New year, new plan and new releases: The label's plan in 2007 includes a retooled Web site, larger distribution, more touring and new artists. Hell City? More like Hell World.
3. More pirates (no Keef cameo, though): I anticipate the 2nd annual Detroit Pirate Fest to drop anchor this August, and be bigger, better and meaner than the first. Hook for a hand, anyone?
2. Delayed, but worth it: Matt Ratza's The Stranger will finally get released in 2007. You need its odes to women and brown liquor.
1. Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll: The only cliché that never goes out of style?
Jan. 27, at Northern Lights Lounge, 660 W. Baltimore St., Detroit; 313-873-1739. With the Whiskey Diaries, Hadituptoheres, Matt Ratza and the Royal Affairs. More information: myspace.com/hellcityrecords.
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