Here are four new singles chipped off the block of Detroit's Cass Records, run by drummer and current Nashvillian Ben Blackwell. Renowned for scooping up picks of the local litter in garage and psych-rock — the label this year went techno!
Moon Pool and Dead Band "Patsy b/w Patsy (Jack Ruby Version)" — Take a noise-noodler (Wolf Eyes' Nathan Young) blended with an adroit percussionist (SSM's Dave Shettler) and a groovy techno-revival trip seems inevitable; cardio-kickin' beats keep the hips swiveling while keys and pedals offer an atonal opera of buzzy drones. Derrick May considered techno to be like computers talking to each other; here, these computer-y characters sound like they're about to get into a heated argument, but it's the beat that mediates — ideal for black-light-blazed Halloween dance parties.
Mahonies "Eat 'Em All" This track blends the weirdly charming, playful pop of the Ramones to the sweat-and-spit aesthetic of hall-wrecking L.A. hardcore punkers in the '80s. And even that's overelaborating — a couple of these songs are just the titles ("Where the fuck are my keys?") screamed successively in 29-second bursts of guitars and drums. "Surfin Hardcore" is, exactly, that.
Ben Blackwell "Bury My Body At Elmwood" b/w Brendan Benson "Last Night in Detroit" — Back to the Halloween dance party: Bring Blackwell's out for a somewhat spooky, brooding, fuzzed-out tumbler of riffs and roars from the guitar-vocalist as he conjures the ghosts (Coleman Young, Lewis Cass, Fred "Sonic" Smith) of those buried at Elmwood Cemetery. Benson, meanwhile, bums us out with an almost "fuck all of you" blues twanger, scratching nostalgia like zits ("Devil's Night, coney dogs") and toasting a farewell to the D with an embrace of Nashveel, Ten-I-See.
D. Watusi "Slave Walls" b/w "Lilly's Lament" — Might be the winner of the batch, (too bad, just like bygone Benson, they belong to Nashville) marrying prickled, tinny sitar with psych-scorched guitars, while "Lilly's Lament" could be an Internet generations's version of Santo & Johnny's "Sleep Walk," a moon-gazing, lapsteel-whinin' waltz.