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  • 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.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Cover Story

Top 10s of '10

Notable releases, shows and more put the year in relief

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: , License: N/A

Brian Smith

1. Lloyd Cole, Broken Record (Tapete): Record of the year, man. Rock 'n' roll pop-folk that's full-band perfect; there's sadness, joy, pure wretched heartbreak, self-loathing, drinking and, of course, the glorious piss-takes; from "Writer's Retreat!": "When you head out to the shack in the woods, I won't be there."

2. Band of Horses, Infinite Arms (Columbia): This Southern combo rose the antiquated way: making some indie albums saddled with questionable songwriting and production choices, signing to a major label — only this time for all the right reasons. Horse hit the home-is-where-the-heart-is button and created an absolute stunner that's long on image-rich storytelling and song. Hints of Music from Big Pink, Flannery O'Connor and Levon Helm facial hair are actually welcome here.

3. The Sights, Most of What Follows is True (Alive):Well, we picked the Sights to hit huge back in '05 on their major label release. Ha! In hindsight, it's easy to see how they — well, singer Eddie Baranek — often skated by on charm. Even then, we'd never imagine the rock 'n' roll to have evolved to such lengths as it has here.

4. Bill Withers, +'Justments (Reel Music): Withers' melancholic mojo wasn't easy to sustain after such empathy-rich sides as "Grandma's Hands" and the Still Bill LP, but this 1974 album nearly matched his '71 debut masterstroke, the Booker T.-helmed Just as I Am. Dude's ability to fashion a melancholic narrative into a live-band hip-shake is still unmatched in 2010. Go to the source!

5. Nat King Cole, Love is the Thing (Analogue Productions), Hybrid SACD: It's the power and the grace of the song, of Gordon Jenkins arrangements, of Nat's pure and sometimes eerily florid tone — and to discover this 1957 knee-bender in 2010 is to show you can spend the rest of your life discovering musical beauty made long before you were born. If you have SACD capability, there'll be stardust in your room.

6. Janelle Monáe, The ArchAndroid (Bad Boy): Jesus. Saw her first on TV and lifted the jaw up off the knee. Hers is true showbiz élan, with all the ear-bending sonics, pop ironics and eyebrow-raising sexual tension to match. A huge contemporary pop album to be shamelessly adored.

7. Jamm, Jammë (Now Sounds): For every bad band that's hit pay dirt there are 100 who should've, and if you list the latter from all rock 'n' roll, Jammë and its self-titled, 10-song, John Phillips-produced debut would be perched at or near the top. No joke. It has late-'60s L.A. canyon splendor, airy and suspended on harmonies, youth beat and loud, happy-wristed guitars — there are no bad songs. The quartet, which looked beautifully Dickensian in a sort of tousled, free-love glam way, had shockingly split by the record's belated 1970 release.

8. Ray Charles, The Genius Sings the Blues (Mobile Fidelity): Kudos to the Mobile Fidelity label for killing it with this Hybrid SACD audiophile-ready mono release of the Charles' 1961 classic. Untouchable.

9. Iggy Pop and James Williamson, Kill City (Alive): This hit shelves in 1977, three years after the Stooges. James Williamson's poppy riff-a-rama and Iggy's inner-carnival barker win — Ig was still hawking his own personality, but he'd mastered the essential rock 'n' roll art of self-mockery.

10. Syl Johnson, Complete Mythology (Numero Uno): The last word on career retrospectives. Look, there's four CDs and six LPs to cover a too-often overlooked (but you've heard "Different Strokes" sampled everywhere) singer-crooner, songwriter and producer. This set features Johnson's lovely, blood-pumping soul from his work on Federal, Cha-Cha, Tmp-Ting, Special Agent, and other labels. There's also a 52-page book (coffee-table sized) with a detailed 35,000-word essay on the man. This is history.


Brett Callwood - Top live shows by local bands

1. Negative Approach, St. Andrew's Hall, July 30: They don't play together often nowadays, but when they do, you can be sure they'll crush skulls. This summer evening John Brannon proved himself to be as fierce and frightening as ever, even if the crowd has calmed down a little.

2. Marco Polio & the New Vaccines, Arts, Beats & Eats, Sept. 4: A Marco Polio show is more an experience than a concert, as any unknowing festivalgoers found out in Royal Oak this year. Steve Puwalski grabbed curious onlookers and practically forced them to dance, making AB&E feel like a real festival and not a suburban street fair.

3. Don Was' Detroit Super Session, Concert of Colors, July 17: Each year, Was ropes in a selection of new artists and veterans to play his big Detroit jam as part of the Concert of Colors and, as usual, this year's Super Session was superb. The likes of Marshall Crenshaw and Andre Williams would surely be the highlight of anyone's year.

4. The Sights, Blowout, New Dodge, March 5: The double-header of the Hard Lessons and Eddie Baranek's rejuvenated Sights promised to be one of the highlights of 2010's Blowout, and so it proved to be. The Sights were simply awesome, raising the bar almost impossibly high for the Lessons.

5. Rogue Satellites, New Way, March 20: Jaye Thomas' Rogue Satellites have seen their reputation soar in 2010, and deservedly so. Of the countless shows they played in 2010, this gig at the New Way saw attendees dancing long after the music stopped, which is always a good sign.

6. Hellmouth, St. Andrew's Hall, July 30: On the night of Negative Approach's big reunion show, Hellmouth were the youngest band on the bill. All eyes were on them to see if they were up to the task of playing with the old-school champs. Of course, they demolished.

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