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Five Black Rock Albums from Detroit Bands

Check out these head bangers.

Black rock in Detroit isn’t exactly a movement, but it does live in the city, which becomes evident if you look for it. But where can you sample this work? The list below is not meant to be a comprehensive roundup of black rock albums from Detroit artists, rather, think of it as an entry point – a gateway, an invitation – to go off exploring the talent right in our backyard. If you love Jimi Hendrix’s work, Lenny Kravitz, Living Colour, or Gary Clark Jr., you’ll find something exciting to unpack here.

Blackmail – Sonic Rendezvous 

Looking for energy, rebellion, tongue-in-cheek fun? You can’t go wrong with Blackmail. Guitarist and bandleader Mike Brooks has been on the music scene awhile, bringing with him the strong roots of hard rock at its finest. “Sonic Rendezvous” is a nice intro to the band’s creative aesthetic. For a sample of Blackmail’s upcoming project, check out the single, “Pimps in the Pulpit.”

IS Evolution – 2nd Hand Smoke 

Keeping the tradition of the lady-lead rock group alive, frontwoman (and Pontiac-native)

Inohs Sivad has an alto voice that drives every song. Their soon-to-be-released offering, “2 nd Hand Smoke,” is according to band, “a 5-song EP that probes the ins and outs of relationships, hitting pause when life becomes too much and offers a key to success, is a milestone in our Evolution.” Adding: It’s the band’s “first collaborative work of original tunes.” Check out the sample track, “I Won’t Be Satisfied” to get a taste of IS Evolution’s musical heat.

Raven Love and the 27s – Shameless 

Raven Love and the 27s’ “Shameless” has everything you want in a rock album with moods shifting from contemplative to exuberant. Raven’s voice immediately captures the imagination. “Not My Heart” is something truly evocative of the diversity – and many faces – of rock ‘n’ roll.

Roxolydian/Deekah Wyatt – Insidious Pleasures 

Deekah Wyatt (featured on BLAC’s September cover) is a hard rocker through and through: she encapsulates the riotous spirit of the music. As the founder of the annual Cosmic Slop Festival, which features rock bands of color, Wyatt tends to support her community as well as other artists, but make no mistake about it – she can rock. Her band Roxolydian is a fine example of what black rock can be, that is to say, limitless. Her first EP, “Insidious Pleasures” is due out next spring. In the meantime, you can watch a live performance of “We Can’t See,” which is definitely a standout track from the upcoming EP and a searing performance – especially the guitar solo at the 3:00 mark.

Scientific Sunshine – foibles 

Jordan Sunshine once fronted a punk band and still loves rock, but many of her compositions lean toward the electronic music side, what she describes as “dream pop.” Take, “foibles,” for example. This ephemeral exploration into places explored (and unexplored) is the perfect album to throw on some noise-cancelling headphones and get lost in the sonic sea of Sunshine’s voice and sparse production.

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