September 24, 2009

The Ann Arbor Canasta Fix//Exactly What They Want, Spoon//Chicago at Night, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles//I Care About Detroit

On Jan. 1, 2004, I moved to London. It was a weird and mostly unhappy time for me. London is a fantastic place to feel alone and dour.

I didn't have many friends at the time, and spent most of my days wandering on the Thames walk, south of the river, going to underground queer parties, searching for ANYTHING that was open 24-hours (I was homesick), writing songs on my Martin backpacker guitar and visiting galleries and museums alone. Of course, I was also in school, so I did that too. My friend Ame and I also made a habit of getting quite drunk and taking insanely long walks at ridiculously late hours.

On St. Patrick's day of that year, Ame and Jen and I got very drunk on some kind of Bailey's rip-off we got at Tesco. We sat for a while, drinking, at Trafalgar Sq., where a Jamaican man kept asking us for sips. Eventually we made our way to Jubilee Gardens, near the Eye. There, Ame (who lived in Chicago at the time) exclaimed, drunkenly, somewhat ashamedly, but totally seriously, "THE MIDWEST IS HOME!" As it echoed out over the river and the cold British city, I thought, yes, the midwest is home.

And so, on that note, I'm going "home" this weekend, to play three shows in the Midwest. Each song today is a shout-out to one of the three midwestern cities we're playing in and will make us even-steven for the three days I won't be able to update OSS.

ANN ARBOR (Alias: A2, Ace Deuce, Tree Town)

Ann Arbor is where I lived for about six years, while I went to college and while I bummed around and did nothing after college.

This song is by the Ann Arbor Canasta Fix, which the riot-grrrrl inspired solo project of Shar McLeod, an (ironically) Austin, TX-based artist. Somehow Ali stumbled upon an AACF song and it ended up on a mix, many years ago. Here's a different, but equally awesome jam.

Exactly What They Want.mp3

Float like a butterfly,
Sting like a bee,
Sell your soul to Mohammed Ali!

CHICAGO (Alias: CHI, ChiTown, Chicagy)

Chicago has a high concentration of best friends and people who I think are awesome. It also serves up some mean street elotes, brunch and record shopping options.

Spoon (also from Austin) tells us about Chicago at night. I definitely have been to Chicago at night. Late, late at night. Often looking for some kind of 24-hour taco option.

Chicago at Night.mp3

But then she'd never been to Chicago at night before the fall
And it don't stop, not at all.
It falls all around
In the city, hits the ground.

DETROIT (Alias: The D, Motor City, Detroit Rock City, MoTown)

Detroit is the largest city in Michigan, although it's now a burnt-out shell of its former self thanks to 1. riots and 2. the collapse of the US auto industry. I saw many good shows and had many good times there during my time in Michigan. Highlights include: many Coney Islands, techno, Eminem, incredible street art, buildings you can actually see through and garage rock. You may remember that you should put your hands up for The D.

Here, my favorite MoTown artist Smokey Robinson tells us all the reasons to love Detroit.

I Care About Detroit.mp3

There are many reasons why one cares about a city,
Why you care about it's problems, its people and indeed, its very future
Is it friendly, warm, hospitable and are there good job opportunities, educational facilities and a cultural center?
Are you proud to call it your hometown?
When you come right down to it, I venture to say you'll all agree to a resounding yes when you're talking about Detroit.

Oh, and, our full tour schedule is here or here. Maybe we'll see you in the glorious midwest? Hope so.

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