Top 5 w/ Jeff Milo
Jeff Milo has been an integral cog in the Detroit Scene forever. Always providing positive coverage with a plethora of adjectives, he contributes or has contributed to Metrotimes, Real Detroit, Tiny Mix Tapes, Deep Cutz, and plenty of others over the years. Jeff is also a familiar face under the employ of the Ferndale Public Library where he and Kelley Bennett house a monthly concert series entitled “First Stop Fridays” which looks to merge the listeners with literature. Without further ado, here is Mr. Milo’s Top 5:
Books! Favorite and formative reads from my younger days in music journalism; a couple of which I still bring down from the shelf from time to time…
Back To A Shadow In The Night – Jonathan Cott (Music Writings and Interviews 1968-2001)
Cott, at the outset, suggests two notions, first: “that in order to meet and converse with musicians such as Bob Dylan and John Lennon, Pierre Boulez and Steve Reich, one needs to have the luck of being in the right place at the right time,” and second: “to discover inspiring works, both old and new, one should remain open to composers…different and disparate…as well as (open to) the beauty, depths and riches of non-western musical traditions…”
A favorite read is the bookended-effect of his two interviews with John Lennon, the first in the aftermath of his infamous (yet prescient?) claim about being-bigger-than-Jesus and then to the second interview, nearly fifteen years later, two weeks before his death, on the eve of 1980’s Double Fantasy. Surreal, reading/hearing Lennon talking about how excited he was for the 80’s ahead and how he’d just heard this weird new grimey dance-pop track in a discothèque the other night, what was it called again… “Rock Lobster?” Yeah, he dug it.
The Dark Stuff – Nick Kent (Selected Writings On Rock Music)
Biting, sometimes bitter, but still erudite even from the depths of the gutter; I’ve found no other writer to affect such insatiable readability when it came to that insufferably ludicrous practice of trying-to-write-about-music. Kent, a prominent music writer throughout the 1970s, captures the gloomy hangover of the Love Generation’s flower-pedaled/LSD-laced/yippie-dippie-furthur-freak-out party with acerbic elegance; keenly livening the various moods, half-mad maudlin, googly-eyed ghost-echoes of faded spotlight majesty, the distant fizzle of an A.M. radio, the twang of the C, F and G strings nauseatingly out of tune and the cymbals crashing down onto the beer-spilt floor of the practice space.
Stairway To Hell – The 500 Best Heavy Metal Albums in the Universe – Chuck Eddy
It ain’t what it sounds like – not even predominantly metal in its register – check out Sheena Teena Marie coming in at #9 and Funkadelic at #22… Eddy was born and raised in Detroit, a Creem and Village Voice alum and, with his sinewy, psychotic, dazzling drag-whip-sashay of vivid verbiage, surgically implanted new eyeballs-into-my-creative-self-specialized-for-seeing-just-how-how-HOW-to write musically-about-music – To read his review of Funkadelic’s Cosmic Slop makes me feel like I haven’t just been listening to that record hard enough (or in the right places or at the right times) but to almost any music. A new way of describing…a new way of hearing…
Please Kill Me – The Uncensored Oral History of Punk / / Love Goes To Buildings On Fire – Legs McNeil, Gillian McCain… …Love Goes To Buildings On Fire – Five Years In New York That Changed Music Forever – Will Hermes
The New York happening(s) of the 1970s – For the raw feed, the scroll of musician, fan, reporter, writer, groupie or various other wracked/rapt witnesses to the sneered, slobbered, sweat-wrung, gaunt glories of the provocative spurts of punk’s heyday, take the first one – For a consummate documentary, a well-researched, scholarly-yet-stylistic, expansive yet very heartfelt rendering of everything else that was going on, from hip-hop to avant-garde, disco to the rise of DJs and street culture, to punk, to new wave to the new weird ways of jazz, the heart of the 70’s, the more iridescent side of things (compared with Kent’s tales).
And here’s where I’m supposed to put Psychotic Reactions & Carburetor Dung –by the inimitable Lester Bangs… So, yes…there you have it. Of course, -but then, most all music journos will nod to that.
I, instead, will take this opportunity to tip to Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981 – 1991 – by Michael Azerrad – For nostalgic purposes mainly, as it’s not a book I’ve necessarily returned to often but the concept of it – laid out like a collection of a dozen short stories that tell ostensibly intertwining tales of disparate yet strangely similar characters, each flying the DIY flag from their respective tracts of the “underground,” from Black Flag to Sonic Youth, Replacements to Dinosaur Jr. “If I ever write a book…” I’ve said for years… “It would be the Detroit-version of this book…” But…we’ll see if that ever happens.
I had a tough time with this Top 5 thing… Sorry there’s no shiny / lively / flashy videos or MP3-streams to dig…
Here’s another annoying list for you: Top 5 local songs that aren’t out yet –that you should keep your ears open for…for when they do debut…which…will be…heck, I dunno…next couple-months-ish:
Mister – “Alright!” (Cooking With Que-C E.P.)
SelfSays – “Not Another Video Game Song” (7” single)
Pewter Cub – “Side Effects Include” (If You Can Hold Your Breath)
Duende – “Bleed” (Murder Doesn’t Hide The Truth)
Misty Lyn & The Big Beautiful – “False Honey” (False Honey)
That’s it… No streams… No videos… Just go to your local library and look up all those books. Then, troll the merch tables come-October, amid the stream of Halloween soirees.
Wait… it just occurred to me that I can link to a video that’d be relevant:
Jeecy and the Jungle have a release party (for their debut E.P.. Twist and Scream); it’s a Psycho Circus – featuring performances from The Crooks, Steffie & the Virgins, Phantom Cats, Six and the Sevens and an array of talented twisters, balancers, back-flippers and MORE.
Here’s a video of one song featured on said-E.P. – “Crawling on the Floor” (shot by my co-worker at the Ferndale Public Library, Ms. Kelly Bennett)
Thanks again to Jeff.