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In one ear

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IT’S A GREAT TIME IN DETROIT!

You know, I’ve not figured out why that slogan hasn’t drummed up an avalanche of tourists in our fair city. Anyhoo ...

Oh, dear friends, there is so much we don’t know about the workings of the music biz. There’s so much activity bubbling behind the scenes of our favorite area musical conglomerations. All we have to do is lay down our $6 and enjoy their music; they have to hustle and bustle, wheel and deal to fend off the day-job blues and keep making the sonic art we know and love. Case in point is Detroit duo Paper Tiger. It seems that Detroit’s (heck, the world’s) favorite clown rappers, ICP have purchased sampling rights to the Paper Tiger song, "Sky" (which Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J heard on Paper Tiger’s unreleased demo tape). It actually makes sense when you consider ICP’s track record for supporting the Detroit music scene. From using samples of tracks by hometown ska stalwarts Gangster Fun to frequent hometown lyrical references to their DIY, homegrown-music-and-marketing empire, ICP may be more right on than you’d like to admit.

Hopefully, you’ll hear bits and pieces of "Sky" on ICP’s next full-length (and, hopefully, you’ll hear the whole thing on Paper Tiger’s as-yet-unrecorded debut full-length). How about that for dream logic?

Detroit’s dreamiest slow-fi and pop quartet, Slumber Party has regrouped after a little hiatus. The band has begun playing live shows with a lineup that’s been revamped by half (new drummer and bassist). But that’s not the most fun news to be had from the Slumber Party camp. Seems that Seattle indie Kill Rock Stars (you may know them as the home of riot grrl from a few years back, but they’ve diversified, dammit!) has released Slumber Party’s latest single and is prepping for the release of the Party’s debut full-length in a few months. The record was recorded at the White Room, produced by Outrageous Cherry-Volebeats-etc. renaissance music maven Matthew Smith and Michael Nehra. Keep your eyes and ears peeled, kids. It seems that Kill Rock Stars may have developed a little crush on Detroit, too. Besides the Slumber Party rekkid, KRS has released a single by the now-defunct pop outfit, 57 Waltz (which has a full-length coming out this month on Detroit’s Spectator Records, but I digress). In the coming months, KRS will also release a 45, "This Gun Don’t Care," by Detroit’s newest rock-and-country hitmakers, the Breakdowns (featuring former Detroit Cobras Steve Shaw and Jeff Meier, Virginia North, Jeff Klein and Ko ... you know, Ko). This vinyl gem is a rhythm rocker (and, importantly, roller) such as Detroit’s garage rock community hasn’t produced since the last Detroit Cobras record. Both Slumber Party and the Breakdowns are scheduled to rock the Kill Rock Stars label showcase at this year’s South By Southwest music confab. Aaah, continuity!

On the further business tip – according to Bruce Lorfel, head of Eternal Artist Management – there’s news afoot for two of the bands he represents. First and foremost, Detroit hard-rock quartet Factory 81 is, says Lorfel, talking to "one of the Universal labels." So, while Universal owns, basically, half the media and liquor universe, thereby making it a pretty vague statement, it’s encouraging nonetheless to know that Detroit could become another key cog in the major label hype and marketing machinery. Also coming from the Eternal stable is rock-rap hero mob Workhorse Movement. You may have seen posters promoting the Movement’s upcoming release on major hard-rock indie Roadrunner Records the past few months. Well, it seems that a spring full-length release is finally imminent.

IT’S BLOWOUT TIME!

The Blowout is coming! The Blowout is coming! I know, I know, I should’ve mentioned this a lot sooner, but, you know, holiday madness and all ...

This year’s celebration of all things great about music made in and around Detroit, the third annual Blowout (aka Hamtramck Blowout) is going to go down Friday and Saturday, March 10-11. Remember last year’s shindig: seven music joints, nearly 100 bands, 3,000 music freaks like yourself wandering blissfully between Motor, Lush, Lili’s, Paycheck’s, Holbrook Café, Attic Bar and Roadrunner’s Raft? Well, this year promises to be better than ever. I promise, I’ll give up the details as soon as they develop. Stay tuned and write the date in your datebook (in pen!)

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