Duly is Art Fair time and you know what that means. No, not idiots in BMWs from out-of-town swarming into Ann Arbor like a plague of hungry rats, with pockets f uil of credit cards and not an ounce of taste. ("Honey - that painting of cats is so nice. Let's buy t....") What Art Fair really means is that you'll have the chance to catch the cream of the erop of local musicians on stages, sidewalks, and other locales during four days of madness. The schedule was not set at press time, but walk down any street and you'll run intodozens of examples of why Ann Arbor is the pop music Paris of the Midwest. Last year U-M had nothing betterto do than hassle performers on the Diag, issuing tickets left and right The various Art Fair boards tried to muffle tree expression of the musical kind by coming up with a Kafka-like "you need a permit to play" scenario that at times carne close to inspiring some musicians to do violence. We 'II see how it shakes down this year, but if the Ann Arbor Art Fair doesn't welcome musicians, then sit-down protests- film at 11:00- and rock and roll riots sound like an interesting option. Moreel isoneofthe best bands in the world. There l've said it Any band that comes up with a line like "Ramone wasn't built in a day" on "DD," their tribute to the washed-up rock star who slummed around Ann Arbor a couple years back, is world class. Go ahead - try and write a more classic line. You can't. Noise Floor, their new CD on the Chicago-based Choke label, is breathtaking in the same way someone kicking you in the guts and then stomping on yourchest is breathtaking. Underworldunderground, record-producing legend, Steve Albini is on hand to capture the madness and the majesty. And the quality of sound on tape is perfect You get the kickass crunch of "DD," the dropping-acid-background-music of "Cotton Club," more disjointed artwork noise on "Motorcaid" and even a Generation X bailad of sorts, on "Featherbits," that slips from laid back to roller coaster in a flash. The beauty of Morsel is that the band can do all of the above four corners of the musical universe, tie everything together into one neat package, and sound like no other band on the planet. There's one line in "Cotton Club" that hits the nail on the head - "Sparse exotic and . mad." That's Morsel and if I were you l'd light a candle and say a nightly prayer that the band continúes to make Ann Arbor their home. The new CD by local rockers, The Deterants is filled with ghosts. The 15-tune collection, How's MyDriving, is straight-up rock with a pop chaser, but the recording is haunted by spirits from the past John Lennon is the spiritual father of both the band's guitarist and songwriters Jim Chatfield and lan Trumbull, and Keith Moon has taken over the hands of drummer Jim Ayala in an other-woridly fashion. Bassist JeffAdams is cool too ( no obvious contacts with spirits here). It 's your basic two guitar-bass-drum trademark stuff with a punch that fits in well with all sorts of modern American music from the late, lamented Replacements and Soul Asylum, to the Gin Blossoms. You can feel the sweat dripping every cut, from the Clash-ish "I Don't Care" to the Johnny Rotten "make-the-eardrums-ring" joyous noise of "Gathering Alone." And while this is a heil of a piece of recorded music, the Deterants are an incredible live band. Walls shake and the earth quakes when they get a chance to show their stuff in a live setting. The next one is July 8th at the Cross Street Station. The f i ve-song tape from the Navarones (of which New Jersey-based Telstar Records is releasing two tracks on a seven-inch 45-as reported here last month) finally made its way into the AGENDAThe View from Nowhere mailbox justin time f orsummer. Frontman Dan Mulholland sings like a demon on speed. The recording sounds like it was done in a real garage or taped live off-the-air from a mid1960s AM radio. (This is a compliment) You get the Muddy Waters "l'm A Man" riff on "Without You," some Gene Vincent-sounding guitar runs on "Fire Engine Baby" and enough echo to make you dizzy on "Buzz Job." Mulholland and the boys aren't faking it here. They live, eat, and breathe this stuff, and the passion here is addicting. As we near the end of the 2Oth century, it's important someone is paying attention to what has gone before. Passionate music is timeless and so are the Navarones. ( Note to Schoolkids Records: Sign these guys up!) That's it until September. Have an amusing summer and don't forget to write, send things, comments, and other mail to: AGENDA The View from Nowhere 220 S. Main Street Ann Arbor, Ml. 48104 Morselisoneofthebestbandsin the world. There l've said it. Any band that comes up wfth a line like "Ramone wasn't built in a day" on "DD, " their tribute to the washed-up rock star who slummed around Ann Arbor a couple years back, is world class.
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