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.

White Shag is an awesome band. Led by the unpredictable, awesome, hypnotic Laura Mendoza, the band ropes together everything that was great about the ‘70s and ‘80s – the substance is there but they’re not afraid of a little style either. The tunes are hooky as fuck on the four tracks that make up this self-titled EP, and the riffs are massive. Think the Darkness with a magnificent Detroit chick up front. What could be better?

del Brutto is a far more laid back proposition than da Shag, but they’re still pretty exciting. The band recorded the Greenhorn Circus and the “Michigan” single at Double Phelix Studios in Kalamazoo and played last year’s Ham-town Labor Day fest but they’re hoping to get to Detroit more often and that would be great because songs like “Michigan” and album opener “Lakeview” hint at some fascinating, contemporary Americana that I’d like to hear live. For now the records will have to do.

Two new releases from Mack Avenue Records this week. The first is from Aaron Diehl. The keen-eyed among you will recognize that name as the drummer of local indie-pop band Lightning Love (and brother of singer Leah Diehl) but this is a very different person. This Aaron Diehl is a jazz pianist who earned first place in the Cole Porter fellowship in Jazz Competition of the American Pianists Association. His The Bespoke Man’s Narrative album is a lively little beast that showcases exactly why.

Kevin Eubanks is a tremendous jazz guitarist with an amazing jazz quartet (Billy Pierce, Rene Camacho and Marvin “Smitty” Smith), who has the gift of playing expressively and skillfully without feeling the need to widdle like Steve Vai. The whole of the The Messenger album sounds like a very cool movie score, and that’s no bad thing. The tunes blend seamlessly, and the whole thing meshes together like funky classical music.

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