Electronic Beats interviews five Detroit residents (Michael Stone-Richards, a professor in the Department of Liberal Arts at CCS in Detroit; Mike Huckaby, an internationally successful DJ and longtime producer of Detroit techno; Cornelius Harris, aka "The Unknown Writer", the label manager and occasional MC for Underground Resistance Records; Walter Wasacz; a journalist and writer based in Hamtramck, an enclave in the center of Detroit; Mark Ernestus, the Berlin-based producer, DJ and co-owner of Hard Wax record store; Mike Banks of Underground Resistance [UR]; George Clinton, the founder and leader of Parliament Funkadelic; and Samantha Corbit, who has over a decade of involvement with multiple Detroit record labels) on the past and future of Detroit, and it's (electronic) (musical) history. 72 Hours in Detroit
“Just two months ago, Detroit native Dej Loaf was a janitor at a Chrysler plant in the suburbs. She often tackled dirty bathrooms, floors and overflowing trash cans. Now she's slaying tracks as one of the rap game's rising stars.” Interview with a local newspaper, plus YouTube link to one of her videos.
While the name Michael “House Shoes” Buchanan remains unknown to most, he's been involved with the Detroit hip-hop community since '94, producing some beats for an (unreleased) EP by Elzhi in 1998, plus a few other projects in the 1990s, but he really started making noise in the 2000s, finally releasing his own album, Let It Go, in 2012, which he then offered as a free download in 2013. All the while, he's continued to act as "Detroit's Hip-Hop Ambassador to the World," promoting other up-and-coming acts through various channels, including his on-going series, "The Gift," in which he promotes new artists. [NOTE: NSFW lyrics throughout the music] [more inside]
If you're not already in the mood for bacon fat, you might find yourself craving it anyway, just as soon as it hits the pan. Cause it's a slow simmering, juicy slab of swamp doo wop just right for easing across the kitchen floor to. Or the juke joint floor. Or just about any floor. Aww, have mercy! By the way, I mean this kind of Bacon Fat. Mmmm-mmm! Hungry for more? Alright then, there's... [more inside]
Homebuilding a 474mm tall model of "Robocain" from 1990's Robocop 2, complete with a working head. Clips of Robocain and the other Robocop prototypes from the movie. All photos from the project. Bonus music link: Front Line Assembly performing the Robocop 2 sampling Mindphaser live.
Louder Than Love: The Grande Ballroom Story. While not as famous as Bill Graham's Fillmore Theaters, from 1966 to 1970, Detroit's Grande Ballroom hosted national acts such as Cream, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, and Pink Floyd. The brainchild of Russ Gibb, with help from activist John Sinclair, the Grande provided a stage for local bands like The MC5, SRC, The Rationals, The Amboy Dukes, The Frost and the The Stooges. The Grande had it's own psychedelic poster artists Gary Grimshaw and Carl Lundgren. Leni Sinclair took pictures. Local boys from the Grande that went on to national prominence included The Bob Seger System, Alice Cooper, and Grand Funk Railroad. [more inside]
DetroitTechno.org presents a documentary (1 2 3) about the history and politics of techno with a focus on the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, now called Movement, from its inception in 2000 until the most recent one in 2010. [more inside]
If you like meaty filthy 60s-70s rock by sometimes severely ripped blokes &b.b.b.babes — like I know I do — then bite on these two crispy mix streams and the extensive opinionated textual japery and idolatry from Brit musician, musicologist, Julian Cope that accompanies them. This man writes books on music. Why is he giving it away? [more inside]
DJ Assault (born Craig De Sean Adams, aka Craig Diamonds "The Street Narrator") is a Detroit-based music producer, who was part of a movement to bring ghetto-tech, aka booty house, from the urban streets of Detroit to the suburban club circuit. With his Jefferson Ave. label, he's bringing it directly to you, via the internet, for free. Four albums, 22 EPs, 11 DJ mixes, and three bonus collections of rap and "accelerated funk", all streaming and downloadable. [Warning: most music is NSFW or those sensitive to repetitive, crude lyrics]
Midwest label Suburban Sprawl puts out a CD of X-Mas music every winter. They've collected the last eight years of them here. Highlights include The High Strung, The Hard Lessons, and the common lament, "Santa Just Crashed Into My House and He's Drunk as Fuck."
Dirtbombs' drummer Ben Blackwell has created a map of Detroit of labels offering "vinyl releases throughout all eras". He also has a blog and participated in the SXSW panel "How to Make Money With Vinyl" (mp3) as an employee of Third Man Records.
Detroit's Greatest Hits (That Should Have Been) Here we've compiled our very own Top 40 list of Detroit songs or albums that were overlooked or undervalued — which naturally includes, to a lesser extent, the overlooked or undervalued artists who created them. These are songs that not only give up the goose bumps, or teach us something that we didn't already know, but records that hook us and make us want to share them.
A mixtape a week for a year... Detroit Techno, Giorgio Moroder, Quebecois Disco, Kraftwerk, Bobby Orlando, Synth Pop and loads more.
Death were a proto-punk trio of black Jehovah's Witnesses based out of Detroit back in 1974. They were almost signed to Columbia, but bailed on the label when Columbia wanted them to change their name. Instead, they self-released a 7" which is now quite a collector's item, influenced as it was by, “Iggy and Stooges, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and The Who”. But the story doesn't end there. Recently, Bobby Hackney, whose father played in Death along with two of his uncles, learned of the band and, lo and behold, his dad found the master tapes for their unreleased full-length in his attic. Is a new chapter in punk rock history about to be written?
Oakland has hyphie, Atlanta has crunk. Detroit has The Jit (more, more). Beginning in Detroit as the Jitterbug back in the '20s, the dance grew up through Detroit's Black Bottom, and was adopted by gangs like the Erroll Flynns into a battle dance with the rise of hip hop (similar to pop-locking or breaking). Similar dances have sprung up elsewhere (Chicken Noodle Soup in Harlem, B-More Club in Baltimore, Toe Wop in NY, Footwork in Chicago), but Detroit is still the best. There's even a movie in the works.
Motor City Rock 1980-1990 A great archive of Detroit's most overlooked and ignoble musical era. Highlights include Bittersweet Alley, The Trash Brats, Vertical Pillows, The Dick the Bruiser Band, and many more. Great to listen to while you read the relauched (and vaguely sad) Creem.
First wave: Juan Atkins (Metroplex), Derrick May (Transmat), Kevin Saunderson (KMS). Second wave: Eddie "Flashin" Fowlkes, Carl Craig (Planet E), Jeff Mills (Axis), Drexciya, Mike Banks (Submerge, Underground Resistance, Red Planet).... And you don't even need a turntable.