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Pick your poison



I probably don’t know you personally. I presume if you’re reading this, you have some sense of musical adventure. So let’s not keep this stuff to ourselves. Tell your family and friends that it’s OK to go to a non-bar music venue, stand in front of someone on stage who’s twiddling knobs and flipping switches that make grating/hypnotising/grin-inducing/”awww-yeah”/head-bobbing”/chin-stroking noises.

That’s why it’s good to be thankful for the left-field, for the out-of-the-way, for the Detroit Art Space (101 E. Baltimore, Detroit). This Friday, the Art Space hosts one of the best opportunities to catch up with your inner beast in the basement and the source of those noises that go boom-bip-bleep in the night. You won’t find it at your run-of-the-mill rock watering holes.

Take it from Brighton-based, homemade-instrument wrecker/beat-purveying funkateer Viki (who will perform at the Art Space on Friday): “What kind of freak wants to pay for overpriced beer at the Magic Stick while being subjected to idiotic conversations projected from every corner of the room? No thanks.”

Instead, this Friday at Art Space, listeners will get to join Viki and her labelmate Mammal (they both record for the fantastic Kalamazoo imprint Scratch ’n’ Sniff) as they welcome Chicagoans Panicsville and Pod Blatz for a night of the analog, the processed, the dadaist, the old-school, the random and the rollicking.

Viki promises a sonic freak-out with any and all tools at her and her cohorts’ disposal. What should you expect?

A party” yells Viki over e-mail. “I’m going to play as loud as I can and freak out. That on top of Panicsville and Pod Blatz’s killer costumes coupled with weirdo noise and Mammal’s crazy beats.”

For what it’s worth, the aforementioned crazy beats from Mammal are — if his new full-length Fog Walkers is any measure — accompanied with a kind of aural equivalent of a haunted house. That is, passages where you start to get familiar with the darkness and the ooze on the walls and then — bam! — some fucker in a Jason mask jumps out with a chainsaw. Something like that anyway.

There’ll be sounds coming from all corners of the bargain basement at this one. For more info, call 313-598-4695 or just go to the show. If you can’t, visit: or Remember, it’s OK not to get it. That’s not the issue.

Nothing says Christmas like getting wasted and laid. Nothing quite captures the holiday spirit like building a snowman in the city or letting some sort of robot inhabit your body over the holidays. And nothing, but nothing has captured the other side of Christmas these past few years like Flying Bomb’s annual Surprise Package 45s. A holiday tradition that even the most jaded of us can treasure, these records have featured Detroit and Ann Arbor’s best and brightest rock ’n’ roll talent, making light work of this heavy subject. This year, even vinylphobes have a reason to cheer. Flying Bombers’ Andy and Patti Claydon have decided to compile as many tracks as allowed under the law on one convenient, jaded-as-fuck and absolutely brilliant (and wittily titled) CD, X-Mas Surprise Package, The Collector’s Edition. (Scene watchers will note that the White Stripes’ “Candy Cane Children” and the Electric Six’s “Xmas Xorciscmus” were excised thanks to a cease-and-desist order issued by England’s XL Recordings, even though the tracks were originally released years before the bands were signed to XL … um …).

The 16 tracks that remain untainted (and the Von Bondies track was saved by the band at the 11th hour) range from deranged to disturbing, liver-pickling to po-mo ennui agitated. Highlights include the Dirtbombs “My Last Christmas”— a quieter side of the Detroit quintet that’s somewhere between a Dear Jane letter and a suicide note. There’s also Happy Supply’s lo-fi electro ennui tale “Young Snowman’s Got It Bad Cause He’s Round,” the Soledad Brothers “Hang My Star” (sounding for all the world like a Stones outtake on an ill-planned ’60s novelty record) and Akathla’s closer, “Sleighmaster” — like Bad Brains doing Sabbath under the mistletoe. It’s simply one of the funniest things you’ll ever hear on a holiday record (or any other record for that matter). To name just a few is to do this welcome holiday tonic injustice. Even if you have all the 45s (like I do — nyah-nyah!) it’s got enough extra zest to warrant picking up.

If you’re really interested in the legal SNAFUs (or want to order the comp direct), visit

Also, due to the vagaries of newspaper layout manipulation — which I can’t possibly begin to understand — information about Ghostly International’s upcoming Victoria Dark event couldn’t fit into last week’s cover story about the label. Here’s the skinny: Ghostly International presents Victoria Dark, Dec. 7 at the Shelter (431 E. Congress, Detroit). It features live DJ sets by Matthew Dear and Tadd Mullinix (with Mike Servito), plus a live performance by Kill Memory Crash and DJ sets by Todd Osborn, Kero, Kristuit Salu and Ryan Elliot. Go to or call 313-961-MELT for more info.

Chris Handyside is a freelance writer for Metro Times. Send comments to

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