By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
Though certain of our critics insist otherwise, Radar Station can't possibly cover every local release that crosses our desk. Last time we made this observation, we were assailed by angry readers, who chastised us for suggesting that this wealth might be construed as a burden. Who are we to bitch about those teetering piles of brilliance we stumble over every morning? Because we at Radar Station are, every last one of us, capitulating, spineless bastards, we hereby revise our position: We celebrate the fecund pasture that is the local music scene. We are thrilled to be its designated beneficiary. Complaining about all the creativity bestowed upon us is as dumb as complaining that we're too rich or too thin (not the case, sadly). We sincerely regret the implication that this embarrassment of riches is in any way an inconvenience. But the fact remains, alas, that we have far more CDs to write about than we have space in which to write about them. Here are a few that caught our fancy.
This week's favorite is Doze Mary Pool, a new band that makes extravagant, soaring guitar pop, dolled-up with dreamy/dramatic Thom Yorke-ish vocal melodies and swooshy arrangements. A bit like Radiohead before they started getting too snooty for guitars or a less eccentric XTC, Doze Mary Pool go for the grand gesture -- long songs that often clock in at seven minutes plus, with psychedelic touches, pretty Brian-Wilsonish harmonies and lots and lots of chiming guitar. All we have is an untitled CD-R (no press kit, no song list, nothing), but it's competently produced and recorded; frankly, it sounds every bit as good to us as stuff they drool about in Mojothese days. Radar Station advises these guys to start shopping their stuff to labels posthaste. They came out of nowhere (well, St. Peters or some such far-flung burb), they're all ridiculously young and, truth be told, it's quite sickening that they're as great as they are. With a few gigs at Sally T's under their belt, they've recently started playing a bit closer to civilization; you should have the chance to catch them a few times around town before they're selling out stadiums in Europe (OK, we exaggerate, but barely).
A band that recently shared a bill at the Rocket Bar with Doze Mary Pool, Shelby's been around for a while, but the group has only recently solidified its lineup. Shelby started playing again in earnest early last month and soon thereafter performed live on Cat Pick's Emotional Rescue (KDHX, 88.1 FM). Steady Stars, the CD they recorded last April at Mike Martin's Broom Factory, is a nice collection of jangly emo-pop, with just enough dissonance to keep things interesting. In September, they'll open for Centro-matic at the Hi-Pointe; in the meantime, check them out at other quality neighborhood rock clubs or call in a request to one of the rock-show DJs on KDHX.
Slammy winners the Trip Daddys celebrate the release of their new CD, Hot Chicks and Fast Kicks, at the Hi-Pointe on Saturday, Aug. 4. If you already count yourself among the legions of Daddyphiles, you won't be disappointed by their latest release: no big surprises, no experimental flim-flammery, just driving rockabilly rave-ups showcasing Craig Straubinger's incendiary, virtuosic guitar. If you've never seen the Trip Daddys before, you're in for a treat, especially if you like your rock to rock, with no apologies and no fancy fillips. Our only beef with the Trip Daddys is the perverse way they form the plural of their name, as if the letter "y" were inherently more rocking than "ie"; such decisions cause untold anguish among copy editors and other sensitive souls. In any case, no one should follow in the Babys' footsteps -- in idiosyncratic spelling habits or anything else.
DJ Needles has just released a new CD, Freshmixtape #5, an eclectic, funky, frequently funny collection of hip-hop tracks that features remixed cuts from such national artists as Pete Rock, Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek alongside local talents Bits N' Pieces and Altered St8s of Consciousness. DJ Needles, an endearingly humble guy, tells Radar Station he's "one of those wannabe emcees" -- a "mere DJ" rather than a turntablist, a mixer rather than a scratcher. Whatever he calls what he does, we like it. His radio show, Fat Laces, airs on 100.3 The Beat every Saturday at 7 p.m.; he also spins live at Churchill's every Thursday night and closes down hip-hop night at Blueberry Hill after The Science (KDHX) goes off the air.
A few worthwhile shows are taking place this week. Although we can't give them the space they deserve, we urge you to head to the Way Out Club on Aug. 4 to check out Detroit garage kings the Sights, whose over-the-top, '60s-mod-inflected psychedelia is sure to find favor among fans of the new Nuggets boxed set. Polka stalwarts Brave Combo perform at Strassenfest earlier that evening (6:30-10:30), at the 14th and Market Street stage; with a little planning, you could easily catch a set or two before heading to the Way Out. Top-notch reggae artists don't grace our city very often, but dance-hall giant Buju Banton makes a rare appearance at the Galaxy on Sunday, Aug. 5. Next week: More local releases, the triumphant return of local fanzine Head in a Milk Bottle and the usual opinionated blather.