The Southern Gentleman
Like a ballistic missile, MiAPOLLO's The Southern Gentlemen goes into orbit before delivering its warhead. The band has all boosters on go: Dual guitars spark the jet fuel, spacey bass undulates on re-entry and explosive drums burst upon impact. Meanwhile, singer-bassist Brandon Wirtz sneers, "Going back to Ohio, well, I never wanted to burn," on "American Sex Machine," one of five firebombs on the Warren quintet's EP. From "I'm Not Bitter, I'm Practical" to "Stepping Stones," the band blasts a polished rock sound you'd associate with Glassjaw's alkaline emo or Alice in Chains' metallic grunge. - Keith Gribbins
MiAPOLLO performs with Down Broadway, La Verite and My Mouth Is the Speaker at 6 p.m. Saturday, February 28, at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., 216.321.5588). Tickets: $5.
Death of a Man, Rebirth of a King
(King Ape/Lightyear Entertainment/EMI)
"Mama raised me a saint/the world raised me a sinner," sings Youngstown's Pryslezz on Death of a Man, Rebirth of a King's confessional opening tune, "Reborn (Me)." Much like the late, great Tupac Shakur, Pryslezz is both tough and tender. Prsylezz, who had a chart-topping hit with last year's "More than a Love Song" (which is included here) also benefited from a high-profile tour with Wu-Tang Clan, Common, Slum Village, Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Nas. Death of a Man, which features appearances by Grammy-nominated R&B singer Raheem DeVaughn and critically acclaimed Detroit rap ensemble Slum Village, doesn't disappoint. Whether rapping about the "hood life" on "Neva" or taking a more sensitive tone on "Take You Home," Pryslezz is equally capable of delivering hard-hitting hip-hop and smooth R&B ballads. - Jeff Niesel