This week’s playlist is brought to you by a very special Detroit music writer! There’s no doubt you’ve seen him at shows and festivals around Detroit, and we can bet that you’ve read some of his amazing album reviews on his music blog, Deep Cutz or watched his Youtube series, The Milo Show. You can also hear his segment The Milo Minute on local radio station 101.9 WDET, weekdays at 12pm during CultureShift!
Jeff Milo is a jack of all trades (obviously!) and we’re honored that he carved out some time to do an awesome guest DJ-ed playlist!
Check out Jeff’s choices below!
1. Rottinghouse – “Soft Satellites”
I’ve listened to this song about 25 times this year, already. 80’s lo-fi post-punk, electro-rock and dark-wave. Of course Joy Division lovers are going to fall for this, but there’s much more to Rottinghouse than that reductive description. This is my standout track from songwriter Jaye Thomas’ album, Patient Passenger.
2. Dropout – “Potential”
This song demonstrates Andrew Ficker’s blend of electronica, new-wave and spaced-out funk-jazz composites, with that cool mid-low vocal threading over it. This song never decelerates but it isn’t a rave; it’s just a solid summer jam.
3. Little Traps – “Mouth Full of Butterflies”
I can’t write anything when this song comes on ‘cuz I’m too busy swooning…The tones are so crisp and warm, the minimalist drums shuffling along like a grinning locomotive or a barefoot bicycle ride through the countryside. And those harmonies, the higher warbly lead and the lower augmenting accompaniment. OH, and that pedal steel! This has sunny-day-summer-road-trip written all over it.
4. Mexican Knives – “Wait 4 Ever”
This song’s got a groovy little drum arrangement that you could boogie too, but it also punches with subtle ferocity…while the kit might be hit at a running pace with the charging bass, the guitars and lead vocals create a surfy sway over top, kinda slowing things down for the melody. Until that bridge when everything pulls back…and it’s all about the foot-stomping hits.
5. River Spirit – “Winter Song”
This band defies your expectations of neo-folk or indie-pop, and creating very interesting dialogues between busy drums and languid guitars, chilly keyboards and fluttery bass. The vocals are dreamy and breathy but big and way up in the mix – and even though the lyrics are about snow and winter, it could still evoke a sufficient warm and fuzzy vibe.
6. Vespre – “Lovers”
The catchiest song of the year. The most pleasing, serotonin-surging dance-hit – full of effervescence and nostalgic vibes for 80’s new-wave. Singer Kaylan Waterman’s voice is so luminous here…
7. Virginia Violet & the Rays – “Where I Belong”
This is one of those songs you hear and it makes you want to be one of those early bandwagon jumpers who can say they knew them when…The Rays are crowd pleasers for any generation, any decade – capturing that Motown magic (and even a bit of early 70’s soul), throwing it back but keepin’ it fresh – akin to Mayer Hawthorne and other contemporary regenerators.
8. Ancient Language – “Fear For Love”
I’ve always loved this cerebral, complex strain of rock known simply as “post-rock,” but Ancient Language are doing something that elevates that…or perhaps they found some other astral dimension to blaze a trail through, blending cinematic guitars, math-rock time signatures, spacey electronica and neo-soul vocals…
9. MotorKam – “YouAintGoinNowhere”
MotorKam came to us from Kalamazoo’s scene and its adds some eccentric energy into the hip-hop scene – in fact, it’s more techno or ghettotech than anything. Then again, there’s something theatrical about his vocals, and a hint of leftfield sci-fi surreality to his production. He’s tapping into something from the late 70s or early 80s, think George Clinton or the early techno pioneers, but then stretching in to 90’s vibes a la Q-tip (aka Quasimoto).
10. Holly Bernt Band – “Some Things Never Change”
Holly’s got such a potent voice, it can cheer you up, it can break your heart, it can sound like an austere narrator or it can sound like your best friend pouring out their soul at a bar. Detroit’s lucky to have such a rich folk/Americana/roots/blues and country scene – and Bernt is a premiere component.
We want to give a HUGE thank you to Jeff Milo for taking the time to curate this killer playlist! Check back with us next week for more local tunes!