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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Get High on Motor City: Here's Detroit Rock 'N' Roll and the Fat Buds To Go with It

Posted By on Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 4:34 PM


Hear this while high: Part 2 of Julian Cope's excessive and entirely essential Detroit rock sampler. (Click for free download.)

Behind the buzz: This second massive installment of vintage Motor City psychosis provides the Yang-like get-down-everybody's-gonna-leave-their-seat to last week's tumult. The onetime frontman for The Teardrop Explodes, himself no mean expert at designer skronk, generously appends a lengthy gonzo history lesson that attempts to distill What It All Means.

Today's dope: The last fat bud of Jellybean left in the bottle. Far from imparting the smooth and mellow buzz you see in Cheech & Chong movies, these reactor-grade heavy meds pleasantly agitate the senses. Why this state of mind is preferable will become obvious.

The opening lurch: One toke of this shit puts you over a lot of lines, so the nasty opening blast of the Stooges' "Down on the Street" is as exhilarating as Savage Grace's take on "All Along the Watchtower" is irritating. One imagines the scads of Midwestern proto-punk snotnoses who slapped down ninety-nine cents for this limp calliope down at Bad Karma Records & Tapes, only to swear a vow to do better than this shit.

Cozmic Choogle: I'd filed The Frost last week under Subjects for Further Research, and the cretin-bop headbang of "Rock 'n Roll Music" is good stoopid fun in the manner of early Alice Cooper. The shivering freight-train rush of MC5's "Borderline" nicely segues into Funkadelic's "Cosmic Slop," as we take the funky stuff out of the street and into the bedroom. (The Brother) Wayne Kramer fades back in with the gritty "Get Some," recorded in the wake of the Five's collapse. The New Order's "Declaration of War" is fine hairy proto-punk from post-Stooge Ron Asheton with lyrics made bearable by extreme low-fi murk. The lyrics on Ascension's cover of Smokey Robinson's deathless "Get Ready" are likewise smeary, but you know them already, and the chunky guitars convey the feeling with urgent precision. Destroy All Monsters' "You're Gonna Die" is a gorgeous and familiar wedge of Motor City iron tricked out with antirock styling. Niagara's doleful whine the exception to the uninterrupted run of male blues honkers.

Highs in the High Sixties: The rest of the set slopes off into the more obscure corners of late 1960s downstate Michigan psych, unwinding with the weird familiarity of somebody else's mushroom trip. Highlights include the funny prairie dada of "Psychedelic Used Car Lot Blues" by Southbound Freeway, The Unrelated Segments' oft-anthologized taunt "Where You Gonna Go?" and "Girl," a late career marvel from ? and the Mysterians. Numbered among the lowlights are Bob Seger System's boring "2+2" and Tidal Waves' lunge at the oft-covered frat-rock wallow "Farmer John." Cope ends this vast primer with The Stooges' "Asthma Attack," which is six-and-a-half minutes of Iggy unlimbering a few of his choicest Morrisonian mewls in between gusts of feedback and fits of gasping. Sick.


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