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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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 editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. 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.



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City Slang

Punk N’ Disorderly

Low expectations and high volume, Protomartyr isn’t ‘punk by numbers’

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There was a time,before the Internet and Auto-Tune, when punk bands had to do everything themselves minus the ability to hide all of their many flaws. Rather than drown under the pressure, they reveled in it. Essentially, that DIY, “wear your shortcomings on your chest” attitude was punk. It didn’t become a Vivienne Westwood-inspired uniform until the second wave, when the Exploited and the like took plaid trousers and Mohawks and created a new fashion. The real punks were ignoring such bullshit and continuing to do whatever they wanted. By the time everybody else started wearing safety pins, Richard Hell was doing something else.

In other words, if the media is telling you what punk is, providing very clear instructions, fashion tips and artistic outlets, that thing is no longer punk. A real punk would never be told what to do. It is that very spirit that molds Protomartyr. The band, consisting of Joe Casey (vocals), Greg Ahee (guitar), Alex Leonard (drums) and Scott Davidson (bass), doesn’t give a crap what anybody else thinks they should sound like, though Casey’s apathy towards uniformity comes out with a kind of rueful shrug rather than with a snotty Stiv Bators or Johnny Rotten sneer. He’s his own man, see?

Protomartyr put out a full-length album last year on the Urinal Cake label called No Passion All Technique. It would be easy to suggest that the title is a classic punk pun, laced not so much with irony but with a whopping, bare-faced lie, but that doesn’t tell the whole story, because there is some truth in the title. The three musicians in Protomartyr are more than a little bit technically proficient, while Casey’s vocals recall the Fall’s Mark E. Smith — dispassionate and nihilistic. As the title character says in the movie We Need to Talk About Kevin, “There is no point, that’s the point.” So when the band puts “no passion” in the album title, they kinda mean it.


Protomartyr formed in 2010, when everybody but Casey was playing together in a band called the Butt Babies. “They were playing and I hung out with them, had a few beers,” says Casey. “I just thought that playing with them would be a fun thing to do. It started as a little bit of a joke. They’d play Butt Babies shows and I’d come up and sing two songs that we’d worked in halfway through the set. It’d be like a surprise, then I’d stumble off and they’d keep playing.”

The Fall reference previously mentioned hits home with Casey, though the band pulls influences from other, less obvious places. “The weird thing is, the band doesn’t really have one sound that we go for or anything that we look for,” the singer says. “I always like the Fall. Greg’s favorite guy is R. Kelly. He went to go see him when he went through town and, when the Lager House did their Halloween thing, Greg performed R. Kelly songs. He’s a super-fan.”

What could be more punk than an open, unexpected adoration of R. Kelly? “Definitely, when we started, the idea I had was that it’d be a punk band,” Casey says. “It’s funny because we just got a review of our record where somebody was saying that this isn’t, the first single is post-punk and this is post-garage, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what they meant by it. It seems like it’s a handle to say. We just say that we’re punk because I can’t really sing very well. It’s easier to say that.”

Protomartyr recently shifted over to X! Records to release the “Colpi Proibiti” (meaning “death warrant” in Italian) single. “I’d known Scott [Dunkerley, X! Records’ main man] from being around the shows,” Casey says. “He seemed like a nice guy. He put out the first Tyvek 7-inch, so I thought I’d ask him if he wanted to put something out and he said yes. I used to be a dog’s body for Tyvek, hanging with them. I have always known that it’s a good label. A lot of times, people will over-egg it. But he’s released a lot of records and done it right. I always liked that.”

The 7-inch single certainly looks awesome, the front adorned with some black-and-white religious imagery and the back featuring a Sniffin’ Glue-style choppy cartoon. The single screams out, “We did this ourselves, by hand.” “What I like and what inspired me a little bit was a collection of CDRs that came out where they took a lot of 7-inches that came out after punk in England,” Casey says. “Bands you’ve never heard of them but they had really great singles and handmade art. Nowadays, when you can do everything on a computer for free, I like the handmade aspect of it.”

Much like punk singles of old, “Colpi Proibiti” also features two songs on each side. “We’d heard that if you go over five minutes, the sound quality goes down, but basically we had recorded a bunch of songs and, especially nowadays where it’s hard to get people to buy anything, if a thing has four songs on it there’s a little bit more incentive,” Casey says. “The Detroit hardcore stuff, I really didn’t listen to much of it growing up. It’s interesting when you get a review and people say we sound like something, and a lot of times I don’t know who they’re talking about, then I go and look them up and it’s usually flattering.”

Playing the dive bars of Detroit, Protomartyr has already seen its fair share of show-time adversity. “The worst show so far was at the Majestic, I think the Fucking Awesome Fest last year,” says Casey. “They had a couple of different stages. We were the last band to play on Saturday night so it could look like we were headlining. We were playing right after Ty Segall, who is very big right now. As we were setting up, we see this huge crowd to see Segall. We knew that we weren’t headliners, we were the afterbirth. As soon as he was done playing, the whole audience kinda goose-stepped out and we played to about five people. It wasn’t pretty, in that big room. It was all open, so it was obvious that no one was here for us.”

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