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May 11, 2005

Caution, the moving walkway is about to end.

Southwest's Detroit Metro gates bunch at the bulbous end of B Concourse, as part of the rapidly aging Smith Terminal. My walk from the gate to the lot late on a Sunday night is long and eerie, fellow haggard travelers trudging like zombies past retail kiosks turned ghostly for the night. The stores' garish plastic signage rests, its internal neon off; rumble-gates are locked down tight, so fuck you if you want a juice.

Out at arrivals cabbies bullshit with skycaps while white people in machined jean shorts sort out which commuter van transport. The pedestrian bridge to the economy lot has a florescent hum, and it echoes with the clacking heels of the woman walking behind me. Then its opens onto an empty cement platform, and a field of available parking spaces that'd be heaven at rush hour, but right now are pretty creepy. The woman behind me is gone. It's 2am, and it's just me, a cowboy shirt, and 500 yellow lines. I trigger the ring on my phone just to hear the echo.

Now, parking structures are utilitarian spaces, so factors of functionality and efficiency undoubtedly outweigh aesthetics as design elements. Still, the enormity of Metro's blue deck, particularly past midnight, is more than a little unsettling. Not in a "Watch out for prowlers!" sort of way. It's just its sheer grey tonnage, like a gravitational grappling hook yanking on your tired traveling soul. Parallel fields of cement stretch for hundreds of yards, and the random car looks lost and alone, like a drifter about to be eaten alive by a neverending cement tenement. Steam pours of out angry little holes, and somewhere below an unseen machine squeals out mechanical birdcalls. There's no help for you here, cowboy shirt man, and all the exits are closed.

Where the fuck is my Corolla?

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Emiliana Torrini has put out a wonderfully sleepy record on Rough Trade called Fisherman's Woman. While "Iceland is a verdant land of lichen and laptops," Torrini's Icelandic/Italian roots lead her to make "folk with no heavy hand." (Check out my man Zac's review of the record, too.)

Chicago's The Zincs have put out a pretty nicely mellow record, too. "Dimmer is a gorgeous arc of restrained pop shaded with burnt sienna guitars and subtle wisps of percussion, strings and soft electronics."

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Speaking of mellow, there's also Kate Earl. Her debut on Record Collection "hits its marks wonderfully, offering grace, gravity, simplicity, and well-played, well-placed instrumentation." Another blond hippie from Alaska, she is not.

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Remember Wheatus?

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The kids are going to grow old eventually, and when they do they'll spend their money on live Wilco downloads and tickets to Coachella. But in the meantime a lot of them - a LOT of them - contribute to the punk-pop/emo/post-hardcore economy. There are plenty of grifters working that axis, from labels (major and otherwise) to bands and merchandisers, and it can be difficult to find anything worthwhile amidst all the MySpace accounts. You can disagree if you want to, but for my money the safety dance is with Fall Out Boy. Their new album is part of that shameless economy, but not; it rocks the cliches, then destroys them with cynicism. A check with the gut says From Under the Cork Tree has the intangibles.

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Chicago is so two years ago.

JTL

Posted by Johnny Loftus at May 11, 2005 10:39 AM

Comments (1)

Gary:

I lust the fact that Fall Out Boy is so tongue in cheek about using every lyrical cliche possible on that album. As far as the Hot Topic/MySpace band rush goes, they're tops.

I sure hope that Zincs album is better than the live sets. Saw the band open for Spoon in Chicago last week, and I can't remember the last time I was so thorougly disinterested in a band after only one song.