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  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editor twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday evening. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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The Gift Guide

Season's greening!

Suggested ways to replace your cash with gifts for the holidays

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The Gift Guide

A groundbreaking historian of topics from labor to black liberation movements, Kelley is all about context, and if ever a musician's life needed context it's Monk's. And not just the context of his fellow musicians that Monk's life requires — Dizzy and Miles, Sonny and Trane are all here, as well as promoters, producers, publicists, record execs and the like. As Kelley makes clear, Monk's achievements are virtually unimaginable but for the supportive circle of the close-knit mother-headed family he was born into, a family that expanded with his marriage to his hard-working working-class wife, Nellie. Later came the well-heeled Baroness (seriously) Pannonica de Koenigswarter, whose closeness, too, made her, for practical purposes, family as well. The Monk family gave Kelley unparalleled access, and he's rightly made the book very much about them as well.

Monk may have marched to his own drummer, but it took this village to enable him on the road to brilliance (and ultimately success), what with clashes with cops, jail time, jobless stretches, house fires, and the obstinacy of Monk himself ... and then there's the mental illness. One of Kelley's constant balancing acts is in dealing with Monk's eccentricities, press and press agents prone to magnify them (and trivialize the man), and dealing with the fact that, through much of his life, Monk was, indeed, deteriorating mentally. (Bipolar disorder seems the most likely culprit, but a clear diagnosis was never rendered.)

Casual jazz fans recognize Monk's classic — written when he was in his early 20s — "Round Midnight." Moderately serious jazz fans know Monk as the music's second great composer after the Ellington-Strayhorn team, and that the estimation rests on a mere 70-odd songs to their thousands. Monk's improvisational style was as powerful as his compositional pen, and both profoundly influenced the course of jazz. Given Monk's import, this won't be the last word on interpreting his life and art — and sometimes one wishes Kelley would give us more synthesis for the mass of details — but it seems clear that those who follow will be riffing on Kelley's research for a long, long time. Released in hardcover last year, it has now been reissued in paperback. (And the book site monkbook.com, by the way, is far more than a promotion site, and a true resource worth the time of anyone interested in Monk or the book.) —WKH

Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series
BBC

Sci-fi fans love this British TV show about a time-traveling doc and his hot companion. And it's easy to see why: plenty of in-jokes, apocalyptic storylines and mind-warping theories about busting through the time-space continuum. This six-disc set includes 13 episodes, plus extras (like outtakes) that will have geeks drooling all over their space modulators. —MG

George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I
by Miranda Carter
Knopf, $30, 500 pp.

Nowadays, we take the irrelevance of monarchy for granted. Miranda Carter's George, Nicholas and Wilhelm looks at pre-World War I Europe, a time of yet some influence of the English king, and the Russian and German emperors. The three were cousins, each a grandson of England's Queen Victoria. Their cover photos show (as Carter says of King George) "melancholy, direct stares and unflinchingly upright deportment." The three dabbled in diplomacy and politics, though only the temperamental Wilhelm did so willingly.
One message of the book is how ordinary people (the royals) found themselves over their heads as "superior, high-bred" royalty. And their aides fed their illusions to maintain their own positions. The mystical, withdrawn Nicholas ended up with Rasputin as a guide. George loved nearly full-time shooting of birds and stamp collecting. Hence the irrelevant monarchy.

In July 1917, George changed his German-sounding surname, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, to the neutral, made-up Windsor (then enjoyed some freedom fries?). George is credited with remaking the British monarchy into a domestic, ceremonial, symbolic institution.

Carter is thorough, some have said scholarly — the book front includes four pages of the overlapping family trees of the European monarchies — but she's also modern, with knowing, flip comments on many absurdities of the royals. Details on controversies, wars and nationalism of the time maintain interest because of the personalities involved. These monarchs often co-operated and opposed each other to fulfill their desires ... to preen in military uniforms: British naval, Royal Dragoons, Scottish army duds (with kilts!). They loved 'em.

Imagine the three on the paparazzi TV show TMZ: George in his favored naval uniform and hard stare, Wilhelm, alternately cloying and conspiratorial, and Nicholas, a country bumpkin type, but with regal calm. Disbelieving comments are provoked. Rolling of eyes is assumed.

Reality hit the three with the progress and end of World War I: Nicholas killed gruesomely in 1917; Wilhelm fleeing to neutral Holland; George's face lined and bagged with care, his stare ubiquitous. Fifteen pages of minute synopsis on the start of the war explain events and connections for baffled history buffs. And, once again, we can say, "Never again."—DS

Leica D-LUX 5
Digital Camera
$799

No doubt, this is a big-ticket item. To put it in economical perspective, you could buy this classically styled yet state-of-the-art digital camera with HD video capability, or you could jump on the chance to scoop up a 1985 Chevy Celebrity wagon with 90,000 miles, new head gaskets and a relatively clean interior (well, at least you could find it on Craigslist the other day). But think about it: To the tune of 800 bones, you have an artistic tool almost 100 years in the making. Since 1913, Leica has produced innovative cameras with particularly magnificent lenses — that's a hot piece of glass. The aptly titled D-Lux is a slick digital single reflex (d-slr) camera. It's also notably compact for a camera that produces such high-quality photos. Rivaling professional DSLR cameras, the D-Lux shoots 10.1 megapixels, with an über fast f/2-3.3 DC Vario-Summicron 24 to 90 millimeter lens (equivalent to 35mm) lens, with an ISO as high as 12800. If those specs mean nothing to you, just know they're awesome enough to those in the know. The camera has also garnered high marks for a very bright, high resolution, three-inch LCD display. And if this baby weren't already sexy enough, Leica is throwing in Adobe Lightroom 3 for processing. If you got the dough, look no mo'. —TW

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