Detroit could affectionately be known as the melting pot of music if we had things our way. The multitude of genres you can find in only a handful of zipcodes is staggering, but this makes our job even more entertaining! Take a peek at some of the artists this week as they manipulate your mind and maybe everything you thought you knew about music.
1. Lt. Bad – “Got Me Hooked”
Take a trip back to the days of mullets, neon and leg warmers. We’re not time traveling, it’s just the ’80’s beats of Lt. Bad on their groovy junior release, Electromagnetic. A mash-up of lively vocal textures and synth melodies take this electro-funk duo to new heights and reinvent dance music without sacrificing its roots. This album hosts a variety of tracks with impressive layers of sound, giving each song a full and well-constructed sound. If you’re feeling like a time warp, then look to Lt. Bad for all your groovy, electro-funk needs.
2. Alexander James Webb – “Wild and Wonder”
Taking folk to fun new heights is Alexander James Webb and his acoustic guitar. His 2013 release, Under The Tracks, is a fast-paced, energetic blues-folk album with raw and genuine vocals, introspective lyrics and subtle instrumentation to complement its stripped-down theme. Webb’s passionate acoustic ability and earthy voice remind us of the rambling nature that folk is so well known for. It’s a nomadic experience with a soul-searching element that will warm your heart without sacrificing that biting element of independence and inner turbulence.
3. Barbarossa Brothers – “Keep Us Moving”
Another folk wonder are the Barbarossa Brothers and their simplistic, yet overwhelmingly entertaining playing style. They know how to groove with jazzy guitar licks and bluesy vocals, but can also mesmerize you with what they like to call “Michigan-bred bayou folk”. They aren’t lying either, these guys are renaissance men in their genre and really know how to make music fun. You’ll hear some sick stand-up bass, jivey drum rolls and unbeatably impressive guitar solos throughout your listening experience. So don’t hesitate to check out what these guys can do, the spectrum is wide and they know how to conquer it from both ends.
4. YUM – “You’re Uh Mess”
One of the hardest rocking duos we know to date, YUM is a force beyond comparison. The guitar licks are delicious and each track features catchy hooks and choruses. They pack a major punch for their compact size. Who can jam that hard AND fit all their equipment into a normal size hoopty? Not many, that’s for sure. YUM’s 2013 self-titled release is a combination of punk-pop and grunge with a strong vocal component that balances out the fuzzy guitar and raucous drums and puts some emotion back into the chaos. They’re something else and we dig it.
5. Fake Surfers – “Cigarette Girls”
Loud, catchy, more loud…that’s Fake Surfers, of course. Their 2012 self-titled release is nothing short of headache-inducing in one of the best ways possible (too much headbanging, duh). The guitars are messy and thrashing while the drums power through each track at neck-breaking speed. Each song is just roughly under two minutes, making this a perfect listen when you really just want to power through your day with fierce intensity. The vocals are rough and jagged matching the essence of the instrumentation. It’s just a perfect, garage punk mess.
6. LXL – “Whatever”
LXL is bringing the creative and less mainstream form of traditional hip-hop alive with his track, “Whatever”. The beats are unconventional and well-mixed without stealing the show from his rhymes. This track mixes clever lyrics with humor and a stream of consciousness vibe. If you listen closely, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by their word choices and storytelling ability. It’s funny, but seriously good hip-hop with impressive beats to go with it. Their September 2015 release, Nosh Pit, is worth all your listens. Check it out on Spotify!
7. Pocket Candies – “118 North Ingalls”
Pocket Candies’ release, Caves, is an otherworldly experience with echoing and dreamy vocals, soaring synth and enveloping guitar with a mix of non-sensical sound bites. Their sound trumps any form of simplicity and really pushes the complex envelope that is electronic music. It’s experimental, ambient and industrial, with a heavy production that makes you feel like you’re falling through a rabbit hole. It’s different than anything we’ve ever heard and we can’t wait to see what’s going to come next.
8. Earth Engine – “Joy Blue”
Coming off of a recent self-titled EP, Earth Engine is taking psychedelic and hard rock to new levels by really reworking genres and methodology. It could be metal, it could be progressive rock, it could be a lot of things, but Earth Engine doesn’t need labels. They’re doing what they do best, rocking hard and creating a groovy sound for any listener. The sound is large and rhythmic with unique elements and vocal arrangements that keep the variety alive throughout the entire EP. Don’t forget those sick guitar licks and some random horns, which are really just the cherry on top of an already eclectic and unexpected album. It’s magnetizing and hypnotizing. Keep these guys on your radar, ‘cause they’re shakin’ it up.
9. Ex American – “Only A Thread”
Ex American’s self-titled 2014 release is an ’80s new wave dream. It’s experimental and unique with massive ’80s appeal. The heavy synth elements pair with dizzying vocals that seem to swim around the beat and soften the sound. Everything about this release is avant-garde and in a realm all its own. We look at Ex American as a musician, but also an artist that somehow makes painting with music a thing of now. Each track is like a brush stroke with these insanely individualistic elements all coming together to create a gallery of sound.
10. Cosmic Blaster – “Push-Pull”
Let’s visit the cosmos for a minute with Cosmic Blaster as they take us on a trip through the sounds of space. Their single “Push-Pull” is an almost meditative groove that mimics a psychedelic ride through tunnels of color. There are layers of fresh guitar and bass breaking up the smoothness of the synth beats and revving you up for an explosive hook that livens up the mood…and then drops you into a pool of electronic bliss. Are those bongos? They sure are! What can’t they do?! You’ll want to rave all night to their tracks. Seriously.
Have a local act we ought to listen to? Tell us in the comments!