Most mornings, my alarm goes off every 12 minutes for about, let’s say, two-and-a-half hours — yes, I have a problem. I fade in and out of restless sleep to the sweet sounds of R. Kelly sippin’ Hennessey, freaky things being kept between me and you, and apologies to Ms. Jackson. It’s oddly comforting to hear the caffeinated crew of WJLB-FM 97.9’s “Mason and Company” singing along to the end of the same 10 songs every morning. I actually don’t even think about stepping out of bed until I hear that “cha cha” song. The problem lies in the scarcity of Detroit-based hip-hop or R&B artists being played on the station. This really is a shame, considering the wealth of talent the programmers could be drawing from and supporting right in their own neighborhood. Some artists, promoters and DJs in the area, known as the Detroit Hip-Hop Coalition, are peeved with the lack of local airplay and have organized a boycott-protest of the station to take place from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Jan. 19 at the Penobscot Building, Suite 633, corner of Griswold and Fort in Detroit. Mark this date on your calendar. If there’s a big enough turnout, maybe the programming will change and it’ll inspire me to get my ass out of bed earlier. Call 810-394-7014.
Remember my semi-ode to Ann Arbor musical offerings a few weeks back? It’s time to turn the attention on East Lansing’s Marvel Lanes (2120 E. M-78, East Lansing — 517-337-7000). On Jan. 11, everyone will be marking strikes to the emo-rific sounds of Small Brown Bike, Casket Lottery and Cursive, a band that’s on a super-sweet Nebraska label called Saddle Creek. Fill up the gas tank and put on your best pair of bowlin’ socks, kids. This is going to be a fun one.
In other green-and-white news, a few former East Lansing-ites got the hell out of town and where did they go? Well, Chicago of course! The expatriates, otherwise known as The Silver Measure, will be back on this side of Lake Michigan to play free and improvised music rooted in jazz, Jan. 13 at Entropy (10338 Jos. Campau, Hamtramck — 313-874-2639). Doors are at 8 p.m. and music starts at 9 p.m. Check out the band’s release, Four My Sake, if you want an idea of what you’re getting yourself into.
Here’s the dilemma: Should you take in two doses of crazy testifyin’ Americana from American Mars and Chris Mills on Friday, and Slim Cessna’s Auto Club and Blanche on Saturday at the Gold Dollar (3129 Cass, Detroit — 313-833-6873)? Or should you make it a double take of wacky indie pop from Climax Divine and Judah Johnson on Friday, and Red Shirt Brigade, Document and Mock Heroics on Saturday at the Magic Stick (4120 Woodward, Detroit — 313-833-9700)? Here’s one suggestion: Wait until Sunday to see Slim Cessna at the Halfway Inn at the corner of Hill and Church in Ann Arbor when the guys play with Cash O’Riley & the Down Right Daddies (doors: 6 p.m. — call 734-669-0135). This gives you a few hours to work with, non?
Hop on it
A crew of hip-hop artists from Pontiac has made the long-overdue jump from local to national prominence with two recent releases. Binary Star, the duo which dropped the critically acclaimed New Hip-Hop EP two years ago, finally quenches fans’ thirst with the widespread release of a full-length LP, Masters of the Universe, through TRC Distribution. Decompoze, the producer-MC who appears on the Binary album, has released a 12-inch single on the prestigious Fat Beats imprint. “Decompoze Presents,” featuring Chicago’s J.U.I.C.E., is the first dosage of the project of the same name, which will feature MCs rhyming over Decompoze’s beats.
Both releases are just a taste of the intelligent, heartfelt hip hop on the way from Subterraneous Records, which Binary Star’s One Man Army describes as more of a community than a label. “We’re trying to reinforce Michigan’s hip-hop scene, while taking it to another level. Subterraneous is a movement that anyone can be a part of, as long as they promote positive hip hop.” Hit www.subterraneousrecords.com and be on the lookout for the Waterworld Too album and the One Man Army solo project. The Subterraneous crew will be hosting an MC battle at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, Jan. 31, and performing with Atmosphere and S.U.N., Feb. 12, also at the Blind Pig.Luke Forrest contributed to In One Ear this week. E-mail In One Ear at firstname.lastname@example.org