Friday Five: Static, John Beltran, Jevon Alexander, dollyzoom:universe, Killing Pixies
Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.
This week features punk-glam by Static, techno by John Beltran, hip-hop from Jevon Alexander, electronic weirdness by dollyzoom:universe, and pop-punk by Killing Pixies.
Static, Toothpaste and Pills: Demos and Live 1978-1981
John Brannon is one of the greatest frontmen in punk-rock history. His snarl and scowl in the hardcore band Negative Approach were genuinely terrifying and he upped that a few decibels as the lead screecher for punk-blues giants Laughing Hyenas, who lived in Ann Arbor for a large part of their existence. But before those two legendary bands, high schooler Brannon was the lead singer in a glam-punk group called Static. The band never released any material, but Third Man Records has compiled Static demos and live performances into a compilation album, Toothpaste and Pills: Demos and Live 1978-1981. The sound quality is what you might expect, but the songs are straight-up garage-glam jams and Brannon's howl is already honed to perfection. <Insert heart emoji.>
John Beltran, Back To Bahia Vol. 2
John Beltran is known to the world as a leading exponent of Detroit techno for nearly 30 years, but he's an Ann Arbor guy. Brasil for Back To Bahia Vol. 2 12-inch is just the song "Ondas" plus three remixes that Beltran put together for MotorCity Wine Recordings. It's a driving, percussive, deep-house tune featuring jazzy chords and an uplifting vibe.
Jevon Alexander, "In the Dark"
Ypsi hip-hop artist Jevon Alexander released his Balance album in December 2020, but once the world started opening up again, he shot some more videos. The third clip from the record is for the introspective song "In the Dark."
dollyzoom:universe, æden ep"
I know nothing about dollyzoom:universe other than that they/he/she is from Ypsilanti. The mysterious project makes electro- and industrial-inspired electronic weirdness as heard on this debut EP.
Killing Pixies, PXIE EP
Ann Arbor quartet Killing Pixies released its debut single, "Ugly," in April and have followed that up with the PXIE EP. The group's heavy-makeup and colored-hair look remind me of the early '80s new-wave duo Strawberry Switchblade but the band's sound is pure modern-day pop-punk. Lead singer Pixie is a compelling presence and the group has jumped out of the gate with a strong collection of tunes and a fully formed aesthetic.
Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.