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.

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Andre Williams’ new album, Life (Alive) is absolutely stunning. It really doesn’t matter how old this guy gets, he will always sing about the glory of the beautiful woman (“Heels”, “Shake a Tail Feather”), being down on his luck (“Don’t Kick My Dog”, “Money Ain’t Got No Loyalty”) and, best of all on this record, current affairs (“Blame it on Obama”). A backing band featuring Matt Smith, Jim Diamond and Dave Shettler only helps enhance Williams’ dry, witty, deadpan delivery. Just wow.

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There’s really nothing wrong with Matt Austin’s six-track, self-titled mini-album if you like clean-cut, chart-friendly radio country. And there are millions of people who love that stuff. For me, Austin’s take on country is far too clean cut, with production so polished it’s chrome-shiny. The former Paper Street Saints rocker would do well to inject some Detroit grit into tunes like “Big Black 4WD” and a syrupy ballad like “That’s What Love’s Made Of”. Anyway, you should still get yourself to his show at the Magic Bag on September 21, because he has the Deadstring Brothers and Jennifer Westwood & the Waycross Georgia Farmboys opening.

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Erstwhile singer and guitarist with manic, nay, insane garage punk duo the Real Spicolis Jeffrey Freer has just put a full-length solo demo called Hangover on Bandcamp and, while there are some similarities between this stuff and his work with his band, particularly the apparent lack of any production at all (which, here, is a great thing), tunes like "The Machine" are far more laid back than the Spicolis. The gear isn't getting trashed, this is just Freer wearing his heart on his sleeve and then licking it off.

Local rapper Boldy James has a new video for his track “For the Birds” and, as an Englishman, I can appreciate the use of the word “birds” as an alternative for the fairer sex. James has a thing for Salt, Pepa AND Spinderella, which is also very cool. James has a delivery that it is so chilled, it’s practically asleep, but it sounds awesome, and his lyrics are sharp. The video, featuring street scenes of Detroit, is cool bot not original. Great tune though.

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