Friday Five: Scotty Karate, Nadim Azzam, Chris Purdy, Chirp, Chris Bathgate
Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.
This week features country-blues from Scotty Karate, hip-hop folk by Nadim Azzam, an uplifting dance mix courtesy of Chris Purdy, a single and video by R&B-influenced jam band Chirp, and a Chris Bathgate folk-rock reissue.
Scotty Karate, Always Honey
Scotty Karate is a name I see around town all the time on flyers. And since I like music and I like karate, the Chelsea resident's sobriquet sticks in my head. But being a relative newbie to the Ann Arbor area, I wasn't familiar with Karate or his extensive history here until I searched him up after I discovered his new album, Always Honey, which he recorded with Darrin James in Ann Arbor and released on his label, Ravine. Here's the record's press release detailing Karate's career exploits:
Proto-punk Country-Alt legend Scotty Karate was born in Oklahoma and raised in Michigan. In the mid 90’s his band the Plumbobs toured extensively and recorded a Budwieser radio commercial with their Detroit Municipal Recordings label mate, Goober and the Peas, which included pre-fame Jack White. Unique artistry and unabashed rock ability led Scotty deep into the world of Honky Tonk and Tejano around southwest Texas where he recorded his first solo demos with Grammy winner Chris Perez. In 2004 Scotty Karate moved to New York City and started Scotch Bonnet with childhood pal, Derek Stanton, of Awesome Color. Ultimately, Awesome Color was signed to Ecstatic Peace and Scotch Bonnet became a recording project aimed at creating total T.Rextasy/Bowie-esque americana. John Peel, Britian’s most influential broadcaster, played from these recordings weekly on his BBC Radio show up until his death. Awesome Color hired Scotty as a guest vocalist during U.S. tours with Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. During this time, Scotty began performing as a one man band playing his break neck paced hillbilly garage rock while keeping a live rattlesnake inside of his bass drum.Scotty Karate released his solo album, “Get in the Teepee” in 2005. Many of the songs were featured in the feature film, ‘Buster’ (Governess Films 2008), in which Scotty co-starred as a homeless street performer. Scotty has a history of outstanding dramatic performance and was a 2 time State Champion (Michigan) of Competitive Storytelling and Poetry. His high energy slurry of honky tonk influenced, punk-country performances inspired Dark Horse Brewery to create a beer in his name. Scotty Karate Scotch Ale is available in over a dozen states and winner of the silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival. Scotty is currently releasing his third album on Ravine Records, which displays Scotty’s wide range of sounds and emotions, from the raw swagger of his punky one-man-band form of honky-tonk country to the biting wit and intimate sensitivy of his beautiful balladry. Scotty has plans to resume touring Fall 2021, and he also enjoys playing and singing with the spooky Detroit bluegrass inspired band, The Webbs.
Yeah, Scotty really has a Dark Horse Brewery beer named after him! Maybe you can share one with him on Saturday, January 22, when Karate celebrates his birthday with a concert at Chelsea's Rumpus Room.
Nadim Azzam, "Don't Tell Me"
Ann Arbor hip-folk / folk-hop artist Nadim Azzam seems to be building up toward an album. The multi-talented singer-rapper-guitarist released "The Debt" single in November and a music video soon followed. Like its predecessor, "Don't Tell Me" features a similar mix of head-nodding beats and melodic earworms.
Chris Purdy, Exposure Mix 038
MEMCO member Chris Purdy writes, "This mix is a love letter to the BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix and so many artists that have inspired me over the years listening to it." Basically, if you like melodic house, drum 'n' bass, and uplifting dance music, you need to hit play NOW.
The '70s R&B-flavored first single and its accompanying music video from In Motion, the new album by Ypsilanti jammers Chirp, were recorded at Willis, Michigan's Willi Sound, which is housed in a converted church.
Chris Bathgate, Silence Is for Suckers
Former Ann Arbor singer-songwriter Chris Bathgate was an integral part of local label Quite Scientific's early years, and the label has remastered and reissued his dark and folky 2005 album on Bandcamp as a name-your-own-price release. This edition also includes a bonus track, "Auld Lang Syne." Old acquaintances, not forgotten.
Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.