Written by Andrew Younker / Playlist by Jesse Taconelli
Detroit is home to a unique blend of culture and sound, from jazz lynchpin Sun Ra’s astral works to garage rock powerhouse MC5. The tangible exchange of musical culture makes the city renowned for its forward thinking and advances in the arts, especially in regards to Ann Arbor art collective, Destroy All Monsters. Their various creations, including zines, murals, records, and more, detailed a rich melting pot of influences in the experimental community and earned them cult affection far and wide in the DIY community. Destroy All Monsters early work was futurist and psychedelic, influenced heavily by Sun Ra and cheesy monster flicks and resulting in droning tracks with dense atmospheric sounds. Indirectly, modern acts like Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar borrow from Detroit jazz titans to blend with hip-hop beat culture, experimenting the same way Destroy All Monsters borrowed from proto-punk acts like the Stooges to make noise-punk records in a college dorm room. Avante-garde Detroit acts are interconnected in ways much more sophisticated than simple chord structures or genre labels, lending thought as to why Destroy All Monsters took the mystical teachings of Detroit’s jazz musicians very seriously.