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Ypsi-Arbor hip-hop collective KeepItG Records caps a busy 2019 with a benefit show and new album

Tue, 12/10/2019 - 2:15pm by christopherporter

Keep It G Records crew

Members of KeepItG Records this summer in Detroit. Photo via Facebook.

The Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor hip-hop scene is so prolific that it feels like there's not a day that goes by that doesn't feature a new single, video, or concert from one of its artists or collectives. From the Approachable Minorities/Northern Threat Entertainment/734 Saturdays faction and Duke Newcomb's Dojo to Louis Picasso's Hiiigherminds and numerous other associations of DJs and MCs, there's been an ongoing hip-hop renaissance in Washtenaw County the past few years.  

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High Five: Music from Louis Picasso, ZZVAVA, False Figures, Joanna & the Jaywalkers, and Mike Watt doing The Stooges

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 10:30am by christopherporter

High Five photo collage

Five Washtenaw County-associated audio recordings that have rung my ears recently:

➥ Ypsilanti rapper Louis Picasso is known for his live shows featuring a full band, The Gallery, and his tunes usually reflect this ensemble approach to making music. But for Picasso's new single, "I'm Not Sorry," he teams with Ann Arbor producer Brooklyn Beatz for a trap-influenced, studio-crafted song that shows off a bit of the rapper's singing voice during the chorus.

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"Impulse Ann Arbor" documentary explores the present and history of the town's techno-music scene

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 6:00pm by christopherporter

Impulse Ann Arbor

DJ and MEMCO member Victoria Johnson in a still from Jordan Stanton's documentary Impulse Ann Arbor.

If all you know of Jeff Hayner is that he's a sometimes controversial member of the Ann Arbor City Council for Ward 1, Jordan Stanton's Impulse Ann Arbor documentary will be an eye-opener. 

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Wisconsin indie-folk band Dead Horses look to the moon and Midwest for inspiration

Mon, 12/02/2019 - 12:15pm by christopherporter

Dead Horses

Music from the indie-folk and Americana band Dead Horses grapples with hope and pain -- how to reconcile sorrows and desires -- through both songwriting and sound. Lyrics on the 2018 album, My Mother the Moon, draw on frontwoman Sarah Vos’ life story, including experiencing an unsettling childhood and finding her way as an adult, as well as her observations as a musician. The track “Turntable” offers this image:

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Bill Kirchen reminiscences on Commander Cody, Iggy Pop, and Bob Dylan before the Ann Arbor guitar legend's Honky Tonk Holiday

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 9:00am by christopherporter

Excerpt from Bill Kirchen's Holiday Honk Tonk 2019 poster

Ann Arbor native Bill Kirchen is instrumental in creating the rootsy country-rock-blues-folk mix we today call Americana. 

Kirchen hit it big early in his career as the lead guitarist for Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen; he’s responsible for the dazzling guitar work on their enduring 1972 hit “Hot Rod Lincoln.” He’s since become known as an absolute master of the Telecaster guitar, playing with a nearly endless list of impressive names through the years. 

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Winter Breakbeats: MEMCO's recent electronic-music mixes bring the heat

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 1:45pm by christopherporter

MEMCO painted The Rock in Ann Arbor on November 4, 2019

MEMCO painted The Rock in Ann Arbor on November 4, 2019. Photo via MEMCO's Facebook page.

We all have ways of coping with the holidays.

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Africa Unite: The Voice of America's "Music Time in Africa" radio broadcasts find a home at U-M

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 12:15pm by christopherporter

Leo in an African radio station

Leo Sarkisian visiting a radio station somewhere in Africa. Photo courtesy the Leo and Mary Sarkisian Collection.

The Leo and Mary Sarkisian Collection at the University of Michigan contains a rich variety of artifacts from the longtime Voice of America broadcaster, whose creation, Music Time in Africa, is the longest-running English language radio program that broadcasts throughout Africa. There are audio recordings and documents from the Leo Sarkisian Library (on loan from Voice of America), as well as personal papers and musical instruments donated by the couple. 

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Get Away With She: Nellie McKay wants to escape from it all

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 1:30pm by christopherporter

Nellie McKay

Photo by Shervin Lainez.

This story was originally published on May 9, 2018, ahead of Nellie McKay's May 13, 2018, concert at The Ark in Ann Arbor. McKay is returning to The Ark on Monday, November 19 in support of her new 8-song EP, "Bagatelles," which you can hear below in addition to her 2018 LP, "Sister Orchard."

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Never-Ending Greatness: Bob Dylan and His Band at Hill Auditorium

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 11:30am by christopherporter

Bob Dylan at Hill Auditorium, November 1981

Because no photographers are allowed at his concerts now, here's Bob Dylan at Hill Auditorium in November 1981. Photo by Robert Chase.

On November 6, Bob Dylan visited Hill Auditorium for the 7th time as part of his Never Ending Tour -- 57.5 years after his initial performance in Ann Arbor on April 22, 1962.

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Being There: Wilco at Hill Auditorium, November 5, 2019

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 4:15pm by christopherporter

Wilco by Doug Coombe - Hill Auditorium, November 5, 2019

Wilco and special guests Deep Sea Diver played Hill Auditorium on November 5. Photographer Doug Coombe was there. See below for more of his pictures. 

Deep Sea Diver by Doug Coombe - Hill Auditorium, November 5, 2019