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  • 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 […]

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  • 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 […]

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  • 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 […]

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  • Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now

    The schedule for Blowout 17, taking place Wednesday April 30 to Saturday May 3 in Hamtramck, Detroit and Ferndale, is available to see now. Visit to see the schedule and plan your festival. Follow @City_Slang

    The post Blowout 2014 schedule available to view now appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Trash Brats get sleazy at Small’s

    The Trash Brats hardly ever play live anymore, so each show feels like an event. Wandering around Small’s in Hamtramck late Saturday night, there’s a near-carnival atmosphere in the air. The Brats were never supposed to be taken seriously, but years on-and-off the radar have given the band the gift of respect born out of longevity. We’re not being dismissive at all. In fact, no amount of kooky faces from guitarist Ricky Rat and bassist Toni Romeo can hide the fact that these boys can play and the band writes killer bubblegum sleaze-rock tunes. The fact that the venue was packed compared to, say, a recent show by internationally known punk icons Sylvain Sylvain and Glen Matlock (which you would think would attract a similar audience) is testament to the fact that, in Detroit, the Trash Brats command a certain reverence. Before the Trash Brats took to the stage, local punks The Dives kicked off the night with a set of sincere, energetic and well-performed, if standard, punk rock. No frills (besides frontman Ron McPherson’s dapper suit), the band features members of the Junk Monkeys, the Black Mollies and the Joint Chiefs, and it drives through a set of catchy, […]

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  • Cycle 7 opens at the Red Bull House of Art

    By: Ayana Bryant-Weekes The Red Bull House of Art, a multidisciplinary and collaborative art project, relieves the stress of financial limitation or lack of tools and space so budding artists can manifest their creative dreams right here in Detroit. Six artists are selected for a three-month residency where they are provided individual studio space and materials, allowing their artistic concepts to flow freely. At the end of each residency is an unveiling and public display at the Red Bull House of Art Gallery. As show curator Matt Eaton told us in a 2013 interview, “The selection process for the current crop of artists was just the same as every round. The goal is not to find the hippest, coolest artists (though I think they are all very cool), but to find the people who may not typically have a voice.” This year, for the first time, Red Bull House of Art will showcase more than just Detroit artists. National artists from across the country in a special artist-in-residency program will have the opportunity to showcase their work to a much broader audience, and bring a national art stage to the Motor City. Since opening, 54 Detroit-based artists have been given the […]

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Cover Story

Garage Rocker Jimmy Ohio Returns to Detroit

Jimmy Ohio reforms the Ultimate Lovers.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

On Friday, San Fran veteran proto-punk band the Flamin’ Groovies is playing the Magic Stick. That, in and of itself, should result in much rejoicing. However, add much-traveled garage rocker Jimmy Ohio to the bill (plus the Sights) and the mass load-blowing can begin.

Originally from Detroit, Ohio has played with bands in New York and Chicago as well as locally. For the last five years, he was living in New York City before returning from exile to the Motor City and hooking up with some local noisemakers. 

“Jeff Meier, who plays guitar, said, ‘Jimmy, you need a band,’” Ohio explains. “I said, ‘Yeah, why do you think I’m doing this solo stuff?’ We got together and we were trying to think of who to play drums. We came up with Deb Agolli, who’s an amazing drummer. She hadn’t played in years; she was playing with Outrageous Cherry and those guys a long time ago. She kinda told us she was sitting around waiting for someone to ask her. It’s her first band in years. We’re all together and digging it.”

Years earlier, Ohio was part of two-piece Chicago-based band called the Camera Club. Following that Chicago stint, and returning to Detroit, he formed the first version of the Ultimate Lovers. That band was together between 1999 and 2003. 

“I played with Matt Blake in a two-piece called Misty,” Ohio says. “I did some solo stuff and then moved to New York where I got a backing band together, and just went under Jimmy Ohio. I played some really good shows out there. I did a European tour, flew back here and recorded an EP with Danny Kroha, recorded in a little church in Hamtramck.”

Having disappeared and returned a couple of times, Ohio is in a better position to assess the differences between the Detroit scene then and now.

“I think it’s much cooler than it was in the early 2000s,” he says. “There was a lot of ego in Detroit as it was getting more attention; it was just lame. I tried to stay out of it as much as possible. It’s cooled down now and people are just back to wanting to rock. There’s a new guard of kids who sound a little more pop-oriented. It’s taken a new direction. It’s not all cookie-cutter.”

That’s an interesting perspective, considering that nostalgia-tinted goggles blind so many musicians. Countless artists think back with longing to a time when they were young and driven by adrenaline, enjoying memories of easy late nights, and maybe some disposable income. Not Ohio. It is in this new, pop-laden musical landscape that the man has assembled this new version of the Ultimate Lovers.

“It’s a different lineup,” he says. “We do some of the songs from the original Ultimate Lovers, but it’s kind of a return to the genre of garage rock. Misty was harder, more awkward music. The solo stuff was a little different in some ways — more orchestrated. This is a return to that kind of raw garage sound.”

While Meier is the Flamin’ Groovies fan in the band, Ohio says we can expect “magic” and “a whole lot of love” from the Ultimate Lovers set. Oh, and panties too. 

“We’ve got these panties that we sell,” he says. “They have my face on the crotch and then Jeff and Deb on each cheek. We went to Canada and man, they sold out like crazy. I’m getting all these photos of girls in their underwear. It’s a wonderful and amazing thing.”

Jimmy Ohio & the Ultimate Lovers plays the Magic Stick with the Flamin’ Groovies and the Sights on Friday, Nov. 8, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700.

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