Friday Five: Marc Taras & "Cuban Fantasy," Kat Steih, DJ FLP, Cowgirl, Mike C521
Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.
This week features a tribute to WEMU radio host Marc Taras, punky rock by Kat Steih, electronica from DJ FLP, Americana via Cowgirl, and hip-hop by Mike C521.
Marc Taras, Cuban Fantasy radio program on WEMU 89.1-FM.
Marc Taras has shared his love of music with Washtenaw County listeners ever since he, his brother Jeff, friend Paul Joseph Ryder, and a couple of investors opened up PJ's Records at 617 Packard Street in Ann Arbor. (The store closed suddenly in 2018.)
A year later, Taras started treating ears to his jazz show on WCBN 88.3-FM, which led to hosting a Saturday morning show on WEMU 89.3-FM in 1994 and eventually taking over the Saturday night Cuban Fantasy program from the great local percussionist Alberto Nacif. After more than 20 years of hosting Cuban Fantasy from 7 pm to 9 pm every Saturday, Taras is reclaiming his weekends and stepping away from the program—though he'll still be working part-time in WEMU's music library. His final episode of Cuban Fantasy runs Saturday, August 12, 7-9 pm.
Taras' longtime colleague David Fair—the familiar WEMU morning host who started at the station in the same year—interviewed him this week about retiring from Cuban Fantasy and his long-time career in the local music scene. You can hear Fair's interview with Taras here, and the late Linda Barry interviewed him in 2015, which you can listen to here.
Below is a random collection of Cuban Fantasy programs; you can check out plenty more on WEMU's Soundcloud page.
Kat Steih and The Ferals, "I Am Not My Self"
Ann Arbor's Kat Steih turns up the volume and tempo on her new single, "I Am Not My Self." The jazzy folk of her 2019 album Hymns of the Huron has been pushed aside and Steih builds on the more aggressive sound displayed on her three-volume 2021-2022 EP series, Songs from a Faraway Galaxy ... and West Park.
DJ FLP, Disc Replay
Ann Arbor's DJ FLP straddles 1990s ambient drum 'n' bass and the last decade of Chicago footwork—with smidges of house and techno throughout—on his new album, Disc Replay. It's smart, jittery, skittery headphone music made for the dancefloor. (There's a lot more FLP music to check out on his Bandcamp page, too.)
Cowgirl, An Ypsilanti Love Story
Anna Parker and Joel Parkkila are Cowgirl along with several friends and longtime collaborators. Parker, who plays bass in Ypsi indie-rockers Virga, and singer-songwriter Parkkila combine their vocal and compositional talents on this six-song mini album, which mostly explores country-tinged rock and Americana—save for the hardcore-punk rager "Let's Fight!" which will part your hair on the opposite side.
Mike C521, Monday Night Raw 3
Ypsi rapper Mike C521 dropped this EP a few days after he attended WWE's SummerSlam event at Ford Field on August 5. Producer Ceekret Da Trackdeala samples the D-Generation X theme on "DX," which features Flint rapper ScammLikeelyy, samples Ric Flair on "Anything You Want," and builds "Wolfpack" from the piano riff that powers the nWo Wolfpac theme for a jam that has guest spots from Michigan MC James Thee Jedi, Ann Arbor's Dre Dav, and Ypsi's J Classic. If Monday Night Raw 3 were to have an analogue from WWE history, it's most definitely the Attitude era.
Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.