PLAYING DETROIT: April Releases Flaunt Detroit’s Musical Depth

COLUMNS|Playing Detroit

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Photo by Landon Speers

The past week has been a prolific one for Detroit artists, with singles being released from all sides of the genre spectrum. Instead of highlighting just one, I decided to choose a few of my favorites. From Virginia Violet and the Rays’ punchy “Modern Motown” to Tunde Olaniran’s “soft femme trap anthem,” these songs model the deep talent and vast diversity of Detroit’s music scene.

“Vulnerable” – Tunde Olaniran

Flint, Michigan native Tunde Olaniran has proven himself to be an absolute force of nature over the last few years, and “Vulnerable” is no exception. Following in the vein of 2017 releases “Hunger” and “Symbol,” the newest track is an empathetic, empowering ode to self-love, delivered with a sharp tongue and set to a dreamy, danceable beat. Repeating the mantra “What love can I give if I can’t love myself / Go in and go out of this world by ourselves / I just wanna be vulnerable,” Olaniran harps on the importance on discovering your true self and sharing it with the world. And with a voice like Olaniran’s, it’s hard not to be convinced.

“Apartment Fire” – Moon King

Moon King, a.k.a Daniel Benjamin, adds to his euphoric, funk-infused body of work with “Apartment Fire.” Combining ‘80s inspired deep synths with ‘70s funk guitar patterns and a silky sweet falsetto, Benjamin creates a languid, decade-defying sound. The song’s infectious beat and mesmerizing vocals can persuade anyone to move their hips, whether they can understand the song or not. This is a plus for Benjamin, who’ll be heading out on a lengthy European tour this spring.


 “Go on Without Me” – Virginia Violet and the Rays

Virginia Violet and the Rays’ high-charged single “Go on Without Me” puts a soulful spin on the classic Bonnie and Clyde narrative. Virginia Violet uses her robust vocals to tell the story of a lovers’ heist that goes from enthralling to fatal. Her blustering eight-piece band plays an equal hand in spinning the narrative, with Tommy Porter’s apprehensive guitar riffs and a screeching four-piece horn section (Garrett Gaina, Adam Dib, Chris Kendall and Dave Vasella). It’s the perfect song to blast when you’re stuck in rush hour traffic but pretending you’re involved in a high-speed chase. 

“Haunt” – Alexander Lynch

Detroit via Grand Rapids via Norway, Michigan artist Alexander Lynch has a penchant for making sultry songs that make you want to text your ex at 11:00 am on a Tuesday. “Haunt” is one such of those songs. Co-produced with Jon Zott, “Haunt” is a weighty, synth-driven track that accurately captures the feelings of longing and infatuation. While the song’s heavy bass and synth elements recall Flume and Chet Faker, Lynch’s strong, emotive vocals place him on the border of electro-pop and R&B.



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