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  • 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.

  • 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.

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Spun

Rusty, not busty, and a fresh free tune

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

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Photo: N/A, License: N/A


Ashton

Shepherd

Where Country Grows

MCA Nashville 


Ashton Shepherd is a 24-year-old rugged country girl, lives in Alabama, and sounds like she'd kick your ass for looking at her the wrong way. Like Miranda Lambert, Shepherd has a deep drawl and a bullshit detector set to 11, and on her second album she lets you know she ain't taking crap from anybody, even on the ballads. Following her strong 2008 debut, Sounds So Good, this one picks up the pieces of a broken relationship and moves on. "The word is 'faithful,' look it up,” she sings on the opening "Look It Up.” "The word is 'over,' look it up.” Shepherd lets down her guard occasionally: The I'm-movin'-on declaration of "I'm Good” barely hides her heartbreak, and the catchy "Rory's Radio” is a nostalgic look back at simpler times. But this is mostly tough twang, in a voice made for wide-open spaces. —Michael Gallucci



Old 97's

Grand Theatre Vol. 2

New West


On the ninth album by alt-country heroes Old 97's, Rhett Miller strains through a song about an actor doing "what he feels like his character would do.” He should relate; right down to its slapdash cover, the release seems designed to court the outlaw-country cultists who have been protesting his band's power-pop direction since 1999's Fight Songs. But by far the most compelling song on Grand Theatre, Volume 2 is Murry Hammond's closing "How Lovely All It Was,” pure melodic pop from the heart. They're great at this, so why are they so hesitant to embrace it?

Their recaptured country is growing stale, all labored rawness and riff retreads, with once-masterful lyricist Miller roughly drawling feel-good nonsense like "Perfume” he could write in his sleep. After a few more "Timebomb” retreads, Old 97's will barely be a step up the ladder from Mike Love singing "Fun, Fun, Fun” at 70. What hurts most is, as "How Lovely” and the earlier record's "The Beauty Marks” prove, the group is still capable of brilliance; out of eagerness to please, one of America's finest bands seems to have stagnated. —Nathan Phillips


motor city 5

Bettye LaVette 


To learn how Bettye LaVette gives dead George Harrison goose bumps, listen to her version of his "Isn't It a Pity,” a lovely tune that is, in her hands, a torching soul ballad, like the last tune at last call on our last day of existence. 

And if you're one who thinks music didn't exist before Run DMC or Radiohead's third album, you need to hear LaVette's '62 debut "My Man — He's a Lovin Man,” or the late '60s scorchers she recorded for Silver Fox, or 2005's Joe Henry-produced I've Got My Own Hell to Raise, released just after her "comeback,” which saw the saucy R&B singer rise from the "dirty end” of the bar at the Locker Room Lounge on Livernois to the Kennedy Center Honors. Good thing she's back home this week and ready for public consumption. Here LaVette gives us her five — well, six — favorite songs ever. —Brian Smith


1 "Lush Life” — Johnny Hartman: Because the song is so difficult to sing and Johnny Hartman does it perfectly.


2 "Don't Go To Strangers” — Gloria Lynne: It's the first "standard” that I ever learned, and it helped to teach me phrasing.


3 "Giving Up” — Donny Hathaway: Because it always brings me tears.


4 "These Arms of Mine” — Otis Redding: Because it is so pitiful.


5 "I'm Losing You” — The Temptations: Because it is David Ruffin at his very, very best.


6 "Guess Who I Saw Today” — Nancy Wilson: Because only Nancy Wilson can sing it.



Sunday, July 17, at the Concert of Colors, at the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit; concertofcolors.com; admission free; see the listings for more info.

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