City Slang: Weekly music review roundup

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Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 46226. Email MP3s and streaming links to bcallwood@metrotimes.com.

Brian McCarty is the erstwhile singer with gender-bending, sleazy-as-fuck filth-punks the Trash Brats, and he’s released a split single with Snake Oil Slick via New Fortune Records. His track, “Keep the Beat!”, has a cool, old rock ’n’ roll fun vibe – think Tommy Roe’s “Dizzy” meets the Trashmen’s “Bird is the Word” (Family Guy references and all). It’s not as fuzzy, as trashy, as McCarty’s previous work – dammit, it’s a little too sedate – but the old charmer’s still got that ingredient ‘x’ in his voice. Snake Oil Slick’s tune, “75 & 94”, genuinely seems to ooze by like an oily slick – in a good way. Remember that 80’s b-movie The Stuff? This is the aural equivalent of that.

Local jazz giants the Planet D Nonet has joined forces with Michael Ray to unleash a tribute album to the late, great Sun Ra called Rays of the Sun (Eastlawn). Sun Ra, of course, had a pretty big influence on the Detroit music scene of the ‘60s and beyond, impacting the music of every jazz band in town, as well the likes of the MC5. Our contemporary jazz heroes have done a great job of paying tribute to the space jazz master – always respectful but adding their own spin. Sun Ra, a man who never allowed himself to stagnate, would surely approve.

Jackie Stahl & the White Russians’ self-titled mini-album sees Matt Stahl get together with members of the Muggs, Bixy Lutz, plus bassist Paul Randolph. The record is a very cool mix of Lou Reed-esque alt-punk, new soul and contemporary indie. The musicianship, as one would expect, is exemplary. The songs are cool and smooth, like an aged whiskey with just the one ice cube.

David Shelby’s Rust Belt Cowboy (Highway South) is a ballsy title for a Detroit country artist’s album. If you’re gonna set your stall as the region’s Stetson of choice, you’d better fucking bring it. Thank God, Shelby is very, very good. He’ll be a little polished for some, but there’s enough of an outlaw edge on tunes like the opening “Kick A Little Dirt Around” and the slightly schmaltzy “What Kind of a Kiss” to escape the rhinestone jokes. Don’t stray though, fella. Keep it dusty and gritty, no matter where the labels might try to lead ya.

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