City Slang: Weekly music review roundup

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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.

Mitten Mash is a compilation album that seems to be connected to the guys in Taozins. All of the music is kinda punk – some of it is heavy and gnarly hardcore punk (The Armed), some of it is stupid rap-punk (Downtown Brown) and some of it is ska-punk (Superdot), with everybody else covering everything else. It’s a great CD, and it’s being given out at shows so check out that Facebook link above to find out where to get one.

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TaozinsYear One (self-released) is another punk rock release. These guys are dark, crunchy and mildly nihilistic without ever sounding truly dangerous. Still, the production’s horrible and the tunes are great, so they are genuinely punk.

Chances Are is a female-led pop-punk band and they’re giving away a demo at shows, A Duct Tape Miracle. They’re not bad either, though the songs are strangely flat for a band of this type. They seem to want to grow and they are completely free of sugary sweetness, which is a good thing. There’s something here, but this is a band that needs to grow.

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You couldn’t make this up. Kyle Eastwood, son of Clint, has put out his new album, Songs From the Chateau on our own Mack Avenue Records. This just a few years after his pa made Grand Torino here. It seems the Eastwoods have a soft spot for Detroit. To be fair, Kyle Eastwood is becoming known more and more as a jazz artist of note in his own right. This is a sophisticated, enjoyable record that won’t set the world on fire, but will give it a few relaxing moments.

Jiva’s Breathe (self-released) is a record packed with radio-friendly alt-rock. A little dry, there are signs of good songs, and further signs that this band is worth keeping an eye on. They’re just not hitting their potential yet.

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Maria Rose & the Swiss Kicks have put out the best record of the week with New Direction (self-released). Gloriously difficult to categorize, there’s some Beth Orton in there, maybe a splash of Tori Amos, some Latin music, and shit-loads more. Most importantly, it’s a genuine, honest and adorable album, full of heart, soul and great songs.

Bill Makela emailed one of his songs, “Freedom Song” over to City Slang and it’s mighty impressive in a Black Crowes-y, blues-rock sort of way. I certainly want to hear more.

Matthew Dear has a new single, “Slowdance” out on the local Ghostly label and it’s a bleak, atmospheric gem. Kinda like listening to Massive Attack underwater.


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