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.

Rock ’n’ Roll Monkey is, as we’ve said before, the best band name in the world. The band’s new album (or perhaps it’s a double mini-album) is called Rocket Trash/Strings & Traps (self-released), and it’s wonderful. The band sent us over the vinyl version, which adds to the trashy, new wave-meets-surf vibe. There are elements of Wire on here, a touch of Specials-esque ska and a dab of the Barracudas. Rock ’n’ Roll Monkey isn’t afraid of electronica either, mixing classic surf guitar with some pulsing beats. Plus, in “I Really Like You”, they compare a girl to Ramen noodles.

Haskins is a mellow, middle of the road rock band from Plymouth. There are likeable, musically praise-worthy elements to the five-track Vol I: Firsthand Fiction EP, but it also veers dangerously towards Hootie & the Blowfish waters. It’s nice enough but it washes over without leaving the slightest dent in the psyche.

Angela Predhomme knows exactly how to write a song that is both relaxed and powerful. The songstress is in sparkling form with her new album, Let it Fall, apparently floating on a cloud of sweet melodies, sugary harmonies and the occasional soulful wail. The album is pop, make no mistake about it. But it isn’t in the least bit disposable or trite. The songwriting is exemplary, and the tone is both joyous and poignant.

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