Joe Casey talks like the smartest guy at happy hour. He watches the news playing above the bar, breaking down the bullshit story by story for other patrons. Casey is the vocalist of Detroit rock act Protomartyr, and a lot of those observations spawned lyrics for Under Color of Official Right, the band's sophomore album, named for legal jargon about former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's corruption charges. Wrapped up in wordplay and rolled out in a flat, sometimes caustic monotone, Casey's delivery rides atop the skittish grooves and taut riffs of a band chiseled by frigid weather in a weary city. In this discussion, Casey explains why Protomartyr is not the sound of Detroit, commends the allegorical accuracy of the film Brick Mansions, and exposes the politics behind city's near-sale of its modern art collection. Protomartyr performs Friday, May 23, at the Hemlock Tavern with Synthetic ID, Life Stinks, and Meercaz.
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