Out now on Checkers Records Collective, the new LP by JCM, "The Fall of Bryan Metro".

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A Jax'd up Top 100 Local Songs of 2019 List

*Since this piece is a throwback of my roasting of all things local and not fiction, pop culture, or social commentary. I have to reiterate the Lavender Blog policy that if anything is found offensive please contact me and I will remove it with an apology. Enjoy.

Hey all, Metro here. Don't get too excited. I did not actually compile a list of my favorite local songs from the Detroit area this year. Even as the preeminent local journalist I know my limits. It would have taken too long to find even 25 songs. Plus, I'm not the biggest follower of music and don't get out much because of the threats of physical violence from A.M (punching me out at Java Hutt), and death threats from Mother Love (a dumpster would be chilly this time of year). I don't mean to disappoint but keep hanging in there! In addition, I have disabled all the artificial lighting from the bedroom office (which Outrageous Dave calls "The Crypt") and that affects my hours.

Before we get to my review of someone else's Top 100 Local songs of 2019 I want to go on a short tangent. Years ago I used to like, well maybe tolerate, local act Flint Eastwood's stuff. I think my main turnoff was the silly use of someone else's name to get attention to an otherwise serviceable, yet generic, act, very much like Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr did and JCM did with Jesus. Eventually, fat boy Epstein realized the gimmick ran its course (pun intended) and had run out of gas (pun questionable) and changed the band's name to just Jr Jr and with that, people stopped caring. So now that the gimmick of the Flint Eastwood name has run its course, the artist has rebranded herself (no offense) as Jax Anderson which may be her real name, or may be one of the American Gladiators. What it actually is is an attempt to jump on the identity politics bandwagon which has worked so well for the Ghostbusters, Terminator, and Charlie's Angels franchises. I don't intend to be mean against anybody who isn't like me. I don't care. When it comes to movies, music, art in general, I just don't want to be talked down to or lectured. I just want to be entertained, not bored. I can form my own worldview on my own thank ya sai. What I don't want is somebody playing the topic of the year(s) for personal gain. Jax Eastwood's angle is one of "healing" but seems disingenuous because of the timing. Here is the clip of the single.


The chorus of "I'm alone" is hilarious because she (no offense again) has been given every opportunity to break through (hasn't really happened) and has toured all over the US and is generally widely embraced by those who enjoy her (no offense) art which is great cool and fantastic. Now that identity politics have come into vogue they are going with that angle, and life has become intolerable because of this or that despite, once again, touring the country and beyond and being widely accepted by her (no offense) fan-base.. But the bottom line is, the song sucks and the video is worse. Pandering script blurbs talking down to people like an unironic Stuart Smalley parody. Spare me. It comes off as insincere instead of inspiring. Just my take (those are still legal right?). Here's another link of rhetoric:     Pander pander pander

Okay, lets get to the Top 100 Local Songs list. I did not make a list. However, Jeff Milo did. He (no offense) even included an embed that has a 25 second preview of EACH song, which is actually pretty cool and convenient since 25 seconds is usually all I can take with most local music. I rarely post links (aside from the ones above), but I will for this. It will open in another window so you can follow along with my blurbs on each song.    Top 100 of 2019

I know some may think that judging a song by only 25 seconds may seem unfair. Take The Beatles' "Happiness is a Warm Gun" or "You Never Give Me Your Money", or The Who's "A Quick One", all personal favorites, but cannot be appreciated in just 25 seconds. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm guessing I can grab an opinion on every one of these songs in 25 seconds. I do support the local scene (in my own, sometimes cruel, way), so if you happen to dig any of these you can catch the whole song on Spotify. Also, this is not a hit job on one person's opinion. Everyone has the right to say what they want (that's still legal right?). I admit I was curious to see what 100 local acts had to offer in 2019 and appreciate Milo's effort in compiling them. So instead, this is a hit job on 100 local acts. And I really stress this: Though some of my takes may be sour or even mean ("boring awful, lame") that may cause a reader to look the group up as to why, but then really dig their stuff, thus generating a new fan. What I'm saying is any exposure is good exposure unless its indecent. I'm not sure if his list is an actual ranking or just numbers to organize them. Let me put my journalism hat on and away we go.....

1. "The Void and Me"- James Linck- I lasted 3 seconds of a 25 second preview. Everything awful about music today. I puked!
2. "Godshe"- Sisters of Sunshine Vapor- Bias alert. I like this act and they always deliver. However, the main riff is a total rip off of a JCM riff that guitarist Born Evil probably ripped off from someone else.
3. "Apples & Oranges"- Drinkard Sisters- Participation award worthy country twang. I find it ironic that their vocals have little weight to them.
4. "My Own God"- Girl Fight- I liked the energy, but ultimately it came off as trying too hard.
5. "Doesn't Matter Why"- Splitters- Annoying and forgettable.
6. "Phantom Limb"- Messenger Birds- My nickname in college! The song was good though. Our first Metro Certified cut!
7. "Who Would Want This"- The Blueflowers. Marcie's theme song. Kidding! I actually liked this. Very moody. Whoa, two in a row!
8. "Glow"- Dani Darling- I'm not sure if this is that geezer Danny Dustrod or somebody else. I think its somebody else. Either way....boring.
9. "Rehab"- Ohtis- Unoffensive twee twang. I thought this would be a hip hop track.
10. "Cruise Control"- Martez Claybren- Worse than Speed 2 (couldn't resist). Boring hip hop.
11. "A Broken Person's Game"- Primer- Florence and the Machine on Line 1!
12. "Me I Fall"- River Spirit- Pretty much unlistenable.
13. "Wishes"- Atmig- Okay I guess. The male vocalist wishes it was 2009 and he was in Interpol. Who comes up with these fucking band names?
14. "The Cover of Night"- Palaces- "Oh hey, lets be The Smiths! Great idea, but needs more New Order." Spare me.
15. "Right Back To You"- Pharsyde- Boring. Silly.
16. "Sue"- Paint Thinner- I didn't have a problem with this.
17. "Subsurface"- Adult- Pathetic.
18. "Smokers Rag"- Olivia Mainville- I really enjoyed this. It was catchy and had personality and the singer could actually sing.
19. "The Evil Behind the Eyes"- Steve Greene- I dug this one too. The 25 seconds I heard had a John Carpenter vibe to it.
20. "Sunlight"- Ronny Tibbs- I lasted 4 seconds. Very annoying voice. Some of his stuff is decent but this gave me a Migraine.
21. "Cloud"- Honey Monsoon- Generic dance stuff. The singer (Honey?) sounded like an out of breath Debbie Harry.
22. "Limbo"- Steffanie Christian- Boring.
23. "Puncture"- Matthew Milia- So annoying. Does anybody go out of their way to listen to this?
24. "This is How it Goes"- Tammy Lakkis- More generic dance, but lyric writing at its finest, but not really.
25. "Over Open Water"- Proton Candy- Dull. We are at the quarter mark and the majority of the acts thus far have female vocalists. Not a complaint at all but just an ironic observation.
26. "Over and Over"- The Go Rounds- Embarrassing.
27. "Worthless Chorus"- Bars of Gold- These geezers are still around? Worthless song.
28. "Dolphins"- Eddie Logix- You had 25 seconds to sell me on a 3 minute song and nothing happened. Fuck you Eddie.
29. "Eye of the Storm"- Virginia Violet & the Rays- Pretty good song. Great chord changes. Approve.
30. "I'd Rather Just Die"- These Are My Ghosts- See the song title, but spare the wellness checks. This is satire.
31. "Train of Thought"- Noveliss- Pretty decent hip hop.
32. "Kicks"- Pato y Pato- Boring midi music.
33. "Hit Me Now"- Clear Soul Forces- Decent hip hop. A bit generic.
34. "Parkways"- Fred Thomas- Hey lets go for the Elvis Costello demographic!
35. "St. Adailbert"- Anna Burch- She has a beautiful voice. I did not Google search her so I can keep the fantasy alive.
36. "Method Man"- Stef Chura- God awful. Annoying.
37. "Maintain"- The Band Mint- Not my thing but I respect their effort.
38. "Slow Burn"- Joe Hertler- Boring.
39. "Friends in Low Places"- JR JR- By far the worst song on the list so far. I remember the fat one mean-mugging JCM at the DMA's one year.
40. "Everything Happens For A"- Honeybabe- I didn't have a problem with this. The music offset the generic lyrics.
41. "Circles"- Michigander- Lame.
42. "Because Piano"- His Name is Alive- Two minutes and 23 seconds of His Name is Wasting My Time.
43. "Nothing Stays the Same"- Annie Bacon- Well, except for the local music scene haha. Oh the song? It was okay. Harmless country with good vocals.
44. "Over Open Water"- Proton Candy- Bwahahahahahahahahahaha, he included the same song twice (previously #25 up above and check the official link). So does that mean it drops 19 spots on second listen? Is this an audition to write for the Metro Times? I should just stop my review right now because nothing will top this. You never disappoint Detroit. As for the song? Yeh, still dull as fuck.
45. "Summer Itch"- Minihorse- Good....if you have insomnia.
46. "Jean Grey"- Tunde Olaniran- Overcooked junk. That does not make me trans-phobic, queer-phobic, or race-phobic. It makes me a music journalist. I damn well nearly threw my back out writing that blurb.
47. "Cherry Granola"- Wang Vilma- This sounds like at least five other songs on this list. Music for the electric sauna.
48. "No Worries"- Nique Love Rhodes- Dull hip hop. Also a bit whiny. #cashme
49. "The Reunion"- Prude Boys- Generic rock.
50. "Don't Wanna Work"- John Kay & Who's To Say- Hey its Chanel's theme song!! #cashme The song itself was okay and harmless.
51. "Black Jesus"- Ilajige- Somehow I don't picture Jeff Milo rocking this. Participation award hip hop.
52. "She's in Parties"- Vazum- I actually like this act despite impersonating Bauhaus at every local Halloween wankfest and a member performing with the Charisma Vacuum known as George Morris. The song title is my favorite so far.
53. "Chop Suey"- Brother Son- Insufferable.
54. "Blue Doom"- Zilched- No problem at all. The benefits of a good hook.
55. "Breathe Easy"- Frankie- Dull twee singer.
56. "No Enemies"- Extra Arms-Divorced Ryan Allen has made the same song for over a decade and not in a good AC/DC kind of way. Cringe.
57. "Hell's Bathroom Floor"- Carmel Liburdi- Dull. The song/artist took longer to type.
58. "Mercury in Retrograde"- Rogue Satellites- Didn't do anything for me. Felt empty.
59. "Dream"- Leif Erikson- My favorite hip hop track on this list so far. Well written and performed.
60. "James Dean"- Valerie the Vulture- Metric wannabees. Should have written a song about adult film star James Deen.
61. "Tiffany Skies"- Bevlove- Okay female-fronted hip hop. She does have rocking bewbs though. Hey don't come after me man, she'd be the first to tell you.
62. "MCW"- Shigeto- Beyond generic jazz. I can totally picture Milo rocking to this.
63. "Under a Bad Sign"- Kickstand Band- Good lord, they're still around too?? Generic as always, but the gal is a doff.
64. "Charlie's Glasses"- The Doozers- Melodic, yet dull.
65. "Bottled"- Valid- Boring hip hop.
66. "Taking Us For Granted"- Float Here Forever- Did whoever write the lyrics actually graduate high school?
67. "For All and None"- Jake Riley- Pedestrian.
68. "If You Wanna Roll"- High Strung- Not their best effort. Revolver-era Beatles snoozer.
69. "Cures, Diseases"- Remnose- I usually enjoy their stuff, but this one didn't click with me.
70. "Wait"- Lucid Furs- I liked it. A female-fronted Wolfmother.
71. "Incredible Killer"- Marbrisa- I have no opinion.
72. "Poisonous"- Warhorses- I guess it was good but it bored the fuck out of me.
73. "Look Good"- Jack Oats- This was pretty good and worth a listen.
74. "Sacred Space"- Anne Erlewine- I'm sure she's a great person.
75. "Own the Day"- Dude- This post just added an hour to my day because of the nap I took with this.
76. "Shake"- Mollywop- Pure garbage.
77. "Home Inside"- Joseph Dugan- Boring. Ize bored.
78. "You Shouldn't Be Here"- Those Hounds- Stupid.
79. "Soopermensch"- Jo Rad Silver- I almost completely skipped this one based on the song title and artist name. Do NOT make the same mistake I did.
80. "Mira Alrededor"- Pancho Villa's Skull- These guys are good but this isn't their best.
81. "Head of Jets"- Alluvial Fans- Boring.
82. "Scared to Death"- Jax Anderson- Hahahaha, I was waiting for it. This sucks and I mean that in the most unironic...okay, I'll just stop now. To rephrase, I did not enjoy this song.
83. "Sequenza Di Mezzanotte"- Voyag3r- Okay, this one actually sucks cock.
84. "Approaching Land"- Mister and others- Okay hip hop and harmless.
85. "Rampage"- Bad Magnets- Good god let this list end.
86. "Spiders"- Bombastic Dream Pussy- Was intrigued by the band name and naturally disappointed. Bored. Lay off the lithium kids.
87. "I'm Not Sorry"- Louis Picasso- I, however, am very sorry for sitting through this song along with this list.
88. "The Right One"- Tears of a Martian- Boring, boring, boring.
89. "Toxic Masculinity"- Career Club- The vocals weren't bad but of course it can't be 2019 without a song called Toxic Masculinity.
90. "Swim"- Century Babes- Great lyrics twerps!
91. "Sunrise"- Nolan the Ninja- Sucked.
92. "She's Waiting For Me"- Devious Ones- Didn't hate it. Good guitar work.
93. "Feel Love"- The Scrappers- Decent stuff, but why does every band have to come up with a song title and give up on writing lyrics. There has to be about 15 songs on this list that just repeat the song title over boring music.  Okay tangent time....

In 2007/08 I wrote JCM's first single "1970's High Octane Death Race". Sure the title was an obvious eye-catcher, but to this day it is the best song I wrote. The lyrics are a deconstruction of the death of the American Dream which happened in the late 60's and 70's and the dark cloud hanging over ever since, a theme I revisited for JCM's final show last year (everything has been calculated). Here are the lyrics and compare them to the fluff we have seen thus far (We haven't even gotten to the Pulitzer Prize winning "Watupdoe"):

-"New York City on a blackout night, to me baby the time is just right (Son of Sam); Post-hippie LA love-in scene, even better for a monster like me (Manson family/Altamont). Can't you see your fate tonight! Dance your final dance, baby that's right.
Late summer Texas sunset, you ain't seen nothing like it; climbing to the top of the tower, now look at who has the power (the Charles Whitman shootings).
Germany is next on the tour (WW2 duhhh), after that I'll need more. Alabama is where its at with a free reign and a baseball bat (Selma and racial violence), Dublin I can lose my reigns watching all the flames I make (IRA). LA on the Sunset Strip good place to lose my grip (Zodiac/Night Stalker).
Death Race (x 4)- (The only instance of repetition).
Detroit city is in shambles just cuz I took a gamble; people lying on Woodward Ave, someone call the Republicans (Detroit riots and the Nixon years)."

Whew, a trip down memory lane. This won JCM a Detroit Music Award, and of course that's the joke and most think the music output (and most of the writing) are as well, and you might be right but I will put that against any of the twee, poppy, and most unfortunately, SAFE songs on this list. At this point I need to stress to separate the art from the artist. I wanted to do an audio tour of some of our worst, horrific "black eyes" with the narrator being Pure (Born) Evil, maybe even the Devil himself. Now I don't want to compare myself to the Rolling Stones or "Sympathy For the Devil" (or the Stooges; Hi there -jr), but I think it is a pretty good kissing cousin. Not everything has to be happy bleeps from a laptop or positive affirmations in a harmless shoegaze (or even worse, an Extra Arms) track. While those have their merits they also betray the audience because the world can be a very dark place and has been since the beginning. That's why I feel art should reflect all spectrums. That's why songs called "Feel Love" kind of fall flat. Aside from maybe Kayne (or some Eminem who has become a charter member of Trump Derangement Syndrome), there is no edge anymore in local (or national) art. It is all "safe". I guess you can go back to blaming The Beatles with "All You Need is Love" released the same year (1967) Manson formed his "family" and two years before the Manson murders and Altamont (1969). Well, holy shit. Now THAT was a tangent.  Lets get back to the list of Top 100 Local Songs of 2019....

94. "If You Ask"- Saajtak- Stupid.
95. "Watupdoe"- Sheefy McFly- This was embarrassingly awful. Should have stuck with the DeLorean.
96. "2 Faced"- Bad Fashion- Can we coin a new genre called Twerp Rock?
97. "You Come Back When Yo..."- Trev Tochnik- More of a decade too late Interpol zzz's.
98. "The Box"- Deadbeat Beat- School of Rock level songwriting and song.
99. "Hollow"- Kimball- I don't have a problem with this act. Saw them play at a fest (they play them all), but this one is pretty boring.
100. "Pocket Knives"- Shady Graves- Its fitting to close this list with just another borefest.

That's it! I'm taking another week off to regain some braincells from this torture. I have one more magnum opus left in me that will be posted next month: my top films of the past decade. Feel free to tear it, or this, apart on your own blog/site (oh wait, you don't have one), or for your convenience the comments section below. Bye bye, see you soon!

From the Iceman Commeth,
Bryan Metro

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