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As we all know, it’s impossible to keep track of all the incredible music being released on a regular basis, even on a local scale. Instead of focusing on one particular release, I wanted to do a roundup of some seriously solid Detroit artists who released music in June & July. This list spans all genres and shows the deep complexity of Motown’s musical landscape.
Soviet Girls – Filled Up With Nothing EP
This local indie-rock outfit – comprised of Anna Baghina (vocals/guitar), Jonathan Franco (vocals/lead guitar), and Devin Poisson (drums) – released their first set of songs this July and it is a goddamn treat. Teetering somewhere between garage rock and the bright, smart songwriting of the ‘60s (think Beach Boys, early Jonathan Richman), Filled Up With Nothing is a collection of masterfully simple songs, encapsulating the emptiness that lost love, adulthood, and, well, just plain old life can bring, but somehow makes it sound…fun? Enjoy.
Nebr, The Tiger – “w&b”
Detroit hip-hop artist Nebr, the Tiger released an escapist anthem called “w&b,” which stands for “weed and brews.” Sure, it may not be the most cryptic song on the planet, but it’s obviously fuckwithable. Who couldn’t use some weird and a nice brew in THIS economy?
Saajtak – Hectic EP
Consistently impressive art rockers Saajtak offered up their Hectic EP, and it is nothing sort of a sonic masterpiece. Lead vocalist Alex Koi gives a transcendental performance with her ethereal vocals, bending between operatic and punk rock. The title track evokes the mood of its namesake and meditates on the tumult of undying, unhealthy love. “If You Ask” incorporates heavily syncopated beats a la the band’s drummer, Jonathan Taylor. The 7-minute opus is a gorgeous and haunting journey through a myriad of emotions.
Mango Lane – El Diablo
Superfunky indie new-wave group Mango Lane shared single “El Diablo,” a couplet of FTW tracks that will save any shitty day. Its A-Side is a catchy, meaning-fits-all song impossible not to sing along to. The B-Side, “Vacation,” has the same weightless beat with a more grounded theme – wanting to enjoy a vacation but being mentally plagued by responsibilities.
JMSN – “Talk Is Cheap”
Christian Berishaj, a.k.a. JMSN, is a rare and underappreciated jewel of Detroit’s R&B/funk scene. “Talk Is Cheap” is a clap back at all the bullshitters that waste our time – in work, love, friendship, whatever. Berishaj’s no-bullshit message could be easy to miss when delivered by his sweet-as-sugar falsetto, but sinks in deep to anyone who is truly listening.
Summer Like The Season – “Wakey”
Writer, drummer, producer, and all-around talent Summer Krinsky captures restlessness on “Wakey.” What started as a solo effort in 2014 has blossomed into a beautifully balanced quartet complete with Tasha Peace, Scott Murphy, and Sam Naples. The group makes what they coin as “indie art rock bizarro pop,” and I couldn’t describe it better myself. Treat your anxiety-ridden insomnia with “Wakey.”
Legume – Shrug LP
Shrug is a summery, light-hearted, and freaking cute record from local indie-outfit Legume. Channeling some vintage Fleet Foxes vibes, Liam McNitt joins forces with Arman Bonislawski, Paige Huguelet, and Alex Murphy to craft the windows-down sunshine record of choice.