May 23, 2017

Vinyl By Th' Slice

Spinnin' records and eatin' pizza. Two great things that go great together, right? That's exactly what Franck and yours truly will be doing a short drive up the lake on Saturday, June 10th.

The Water Tower Sports Pub in Lexington was voted one of the Top Ten pizza joints in the entire state of Michigan by the readers of M-Live. You take that fact, add in that they have one of the most awesome selections of only Michigan made beers on tap in the state and a deck where you can not also pitch some bags of Cornhole but also sit back, relax and breathe in the scent of Lake Huron which is just a few hundred yards away, you've got a perfect summer evening.

Come on out and hear us provide the ooey and gooey and hot and spicy soundtrack for the evening.  More deets at this Facebook thingy

May 12, 2017

BORZOI Surrender The Farm 7inch EP

In a conversation I had with a friend recently we were thinking about which AmRep band we had each seen the most. For me, it was (the) Cows. I was then asked if remembered any of the bands they played with. I couldn't recall. Hell, I can't even recall any of the other things that happened on those evenings other than seeing the band. A Cows live show was like watching a gang of the criminally insane compose the soundtrack the Z-grade hayseed horror film where they do really messed up things in really weird smelling basement that is constantly playing in their heads.  It was always disturbing and mesmerizing. I think they did something to fry any other memories of the night out of the spectator's brains.

I have not seen ATX's Borzoi live so I cannot confirm if they have such powers on stage but on this record, they seem to have grazed through a same sort of hazardous waste meadow because they sound a similarly unsound. Thick bass slugs straight in the gut while guitar strings wrap around the throat. The drums, noticing the grasping and struggling, assist by kicking it all down the side of a mountain.

The EP's title track thrashes like a deadly barn stampede. Chickens get trampled. Goats bleed to death. At a little over a minute long though it's just a warning bell of the audio carnage ahead. The bandsaw on metal grating guitars on "Feeding The Pig-Dog" first create discomfort and tension. Just when you think it's about to drive you to the brink of mental capacities will never return, a jet engine hurricane of feedback blows through, with shards of glass and rusty nails flying around and stabbing everything in their path.

Don't think that just because they have a song called "Desert Rose" that it's going to be a pleasant and pretty picture either. It's more like some sub-human stomp that's like between something off the first Mordecai album and the noise that rings through a pile driver operator's head when deep into his work. "Millipede" is an apropos title as it is like a billion insect feet scattering over the psyche. Those insect feet aren't bare either. They're all wearing old metallic golf spikes.
Get it at 12xu.bigcartel.com

May 10, 2017

OLD NATION M43 N.E. IPA

Y'know, every time I've declared that I will not drink any IPA of them for a particular set period of time, it always gets cut short because something will come along the pique my interest and I think "Awww, man. I gotta taste some of that."

The latest thing in the beer geek world is the "haaaaze, man." I haven't done much research where this latest unfiltered IPA trend started (apparently the Northeast as all of them carry an NE identifier on them) and this one from Williamston, Michigan beermaker Old Nation is is the first one that I've had a chance to try.

Having not tried a N.E IPA, the color and aroma of this alone would be enough to understand why some of the brewers that are making them have been taking a juice angle in their description and naming of them. This one looks like orange juice and even after a few sniffs, it still smells just like citrus smoothie. Enough so as where you could tell people it is grapefruit juice and they'd believe you.

Such things really hold over in the flavor too. The combination of hops here bring a clementine sweetness right out in the front. That's followed by a tangy juicy orange and mango tang then a grapefruit bite toward the end. The oats and the wheat in the malting process give it an earthy grain sweet pillow for the usually brazen mix of Amarillo, Citra and Simcoe hops to kick back on, making every sip of this interesting and complex without anything becoming overbearing. It's a hop bomb for sure (and at 6.8% not shabby in the ABV department either) but as where most just simply explode everywhere and wreck palates simply because they can, this is one is quite stealth in its target.

I've had plenty a beer with tropical notes or fruit infused but none of them have been as lush in flavor or a fluffy in mouthfeel as this one has. I asked myself several times if I was really even really drinking a beer. I then decided this is maybe the kind of tasty brew they not only do up in the Northeast by maybe also on fun beer planets galaxies away.
oldnationbrewing.com

May 5, 2017

SCHIZOS Fuck Iggy Pop 7inch EP

I dunno, man. Saying "Fuck Iggy Pop" in these parts could be fighting words. Michigan folks take their Michigan stuff seriously and are very protective of it. That being said though, I can understand the sentiment. I mean, can you imaging hearing ABOUT Iggy and his legend but not actually hearing of his music and then one day someone plays you something like  Party or Brick by Brick? You'd probably be bummed out or pissed off and thinking "this is the guy who invented punk rock? Man, maybe punk rock is pretty lame."

As a synth and real drum duo though maybe these guys just hate guitars and/or dudes that THINK they can play and sound like Ron Asheton or James Williamson but in reality will never pull it off. Whatever the case is, their agitated about something.

An electro-throb from the keys and a martial drums cracks provide cold and alienated core for a incensed rant of getting no love action on opener "Pounding The Pud." Clocking in at just over two minutes it's the 2nd longest song on the record. That doesn't mean the bursts of antagonism are slight of the other songs here though. The repetitive bop-bash-bop-bash on "Dog Meat" isn't some kind of hypnotic dance beat but will be unnerving for anyone who "just wants to groove" and the so exiguous it makes whatever people are calling minimal synth wave sound like the E Street Band in comparison that is "Cop Problem" is not going to be adopted by law enforcement any time soon (unless it's to be song to bash in some heads with a night stick, that is.)

You would think by using a record title as a way to talk smack about a punk rock legend that these Alabama mutants are trying to thumb their nose at history. When take the always full on loud and disturbed "I'm Not A Sicko..." by the Oblivians (which is the 2nd longest song on the record but being one second more than "Pud") and strip it down to a bare bones diatribe and make the Urinals "I'm A Bug" sound like maggots crawling into your eyes though, it's obvious their brains are coated in the kind of scuzz that could only cause stuff like this being ever being made.
Get it at Neck Chop Records

May 1, 2017

PLAYBOY Celebration 12inch EP

Bonifide freaks and scumbags have always been a part of any type of music but especially punk rock. So have people simply pretending to be freaks and scumbags. I dunno which side of the fence Montreal's Playboy actually stand on, but my ears are telling me whichever it is, they're at least waist deep in something disturbed and decomposing.

Flipper's "Sex Bomb" or the Stooges Funhouse album (if it was left in the back window of a car for a few hours on a sweltering summer day, that is) because of the strangled horn squalls that blurt and squeal all over this record but even with that taken into consideration, these merchants of noisomeness are leaving their own particular trail of slime behind them as the slither down their path.

The aforementioned combos used saxophones for setting the mood of sonic strangulation. It's all clarinets here, man. It goes beyond that simple bit of trivia (or nitpicking if you prefer.) Whereas, in the Stooges case at least, it was some kinda Coltrane/Coleman/Sanders/Ayler adulation trip that a particular type of college town boho would brandish for a freak out. I'm not even really sure if these guys, who came from a background of hardcore bands, have ever listened to Ascension, Karma and/or Spiritual Unity. Even if they have though, that's not how their freak out's go anyway. The noise the horns make may not burn a whole through your forehead so your third eye can finally see, but they can soundtrack nightmares or provide a neon illuminate a seedy side street adventure.

When the electrical wobble denotes the ignition switch has been flipped on "The Traffic" it's a wild guess if you are being blasted toward the stars or quickly submerging fathoms deep. The rubber mallet beat of a bassline churns a queasy rhythm over crashes and bump while you get ranted at by someone who has bigger issues than road rage. The same type of thing fuels "The Weather", a song that makes me leary of having any stranger wanting to engage in conversation with me about what the current temperature is because I have a feeling the talk will end up being beyond disturbed in a matter of moments.

If you are claustrophobic, listening to "Inside", which I played on my radio show last week and lead some to call and ask if I was attempting to do a Roxy Music/Revolting Cocks mash up, will not help you with your condition and may even make you fear spaces that are event tight while "Outside" has you questioning once again if you're losing oxygen because you're out of the ozone or underwater.
Get it at Negative Jazz

Apr 19, 2017

RACE CAR B.Y.O.G.K. 7inch EP

My grandparents had a 1970's Lowrey organ at their house. You know the kind I am taking about. One of those one's with the “Super Genie” rhythm box on it. My brother, sister and I would always bug my grandma to let us play it. Eventually she'd give in to our pleading under the condition that "don't turn it up to loud and bother you grandpa. He's doing paperwork and book keeping in the other room and doesn't not want to be distracted."

As soon as grandma would leave the room to go out to the garage, or yard or neighbors though, up would go the volume. Next to be cranked up on it would be the tempo on whatever built in drum pattern was playing at that moment. Eventually, my grandpa would come into the room cussing and sternly state in an agitated voice "That thing is NOT made to rattle brains!"

It doesn't sound as if Race Car are using a Super Genie for their beats but they are using a drum machine and it definitely sounds like they have it on some setting to rattle brains that would totally piss my grandpa off. Actually, everything on this 4 song slab sounds like it's on some brain rattle setting.

The turbulent blusters of "911! Dang Wolf" and "I.S.S. Is For Me" evoke the adolescent tantrums of the Reatards with the vocals drenched in echo and trashed out punk rock guitar blasts. The jarring stops and starts on the two take them out of the garage and into some mechanical lab where the robots have turned on their human programmers and are tearing them apart limb by limb on the former and the latter taking on the role of an aural pile driver.

The records other two tracks are as spazzed out but aren't all sweet and mellow either. "Government Funded Terror Lunch" has a raspy bark which commands the song to chug into, save for some synth bloops and sizzles acting as mercury lights of sound, a disturbing darkness. Also, if you're thinking that Go-Kart Rock could be a close cousin of the Surf & Drag sounds of yore, such a thing is not going to be found on "I Just Want A Go Kart." Unless knocking on a cave door only to find something resembling the Urochromes dragging a Stooges record through a broken glass covered floor is some kind of family reunion.

Did I mention that if you spell this names backwards, it's the same as you spell it forward? I may have forgot. My brain has been rattled.
Get it at Neck Chop Records

Apr 16, 2017

Smashin' Podsistors: Episode XX

We don't play any songs by the XX in this episode nor are we one X away from a dirty movie rating. It is our 20th edition of this thing.

Cheers to twenty more?!

The playlist: 

Soft Machine - Why Are We Sleeping 
Bardo Pond - My Eyes Out 
Pure Muscle - I'm A Star, Baby 
The Feelies - Gone, Gone, Gone 
Jim Nesbitt - A Tiger In My Tank 
HWY! - Jacob's Ladder 
Tropical Trash - Exit Dust 
Royal Trux - Hot And Cold Skulls 
Wicked Witch - X Rated 
Human Eye - Chew Raw Meat 
Sida - Javel 
Angel - Dye Hair (Never Feel Real) 
Thigh Master - Treehouse A.P. 
The Embarrassment - Celebrity Art Party 
Turquoise Feeling - External Oblique 
Aquarian Blood - Get Wet 
feedtime - Keep Goin 
David Nance - Pure Evil 
Mary Bell - Waste 
Alice Cooper - Livin'

Apr 14, 2017

JAMES ARTHUR'S MANHUNT "Staring At The Sun" 7inch

When James Arthur's album of last year, Digital Clubbing, came out I was pretty dang excited to hear it. As a fan of the type of noise James has made since first hearing the Fireworks back in the mid-90's and dug everything he has been a part of since, along fact that it had been over five years since anything, you could even go as far as saying I was chomping at the bit for new music from him. And when my ears landed on the record, they were not disappointed in the least.

Then I started thinking "Is the world going to have to wait ANOTHER five years to hear more new stuff from him?" As of this moment with the release of this new single though, that seems to not be the case.

Under the knob twiddling of Stuart Sikes, who's CV includes working as the engineer on albums ranging from Loretta Lynn, The Polyphonic Spree and the Promise Ring to the Reigning Sound, the Sword and Cat Power,  James and his Manhunters blast their sonic power to higher highs and crank out two unobvious covers.

On one side, there's the Angry Samoans "Staring At The Sun." Originally appearing on an album that confused to flat out pissed punk rockers when it came out for sounding, well...a bit more "mature" than the ones before it, STP Not LSD, the song was the psychedelic jam on that record. With guitar twang specializing in slasher flick splatter, a rhythm section adept in beat downs, creepy echo'd vocals and notions of riding a rocket straight into the middle of the huge flaming orange ball, it's downright disturbing take of the song that may even get me to bust out the original and reassess my opinion on it. I mean, it's been at least 25 years since I last listened to it.

The flip finds a take on "Cherry Red" by the Groundhogs. Always a bunch more weird, off and interesting on their approach than their Brit blues rock peers of their time, covering a Groundhogs song actually makes sense for James, even if most wouldn't ever think about it else wise. Things get even more mutated on this version. Something like Hawkwind getting grounded up and mixed in with some masa flour and then fried in ZZ Top grease.
Get it at www.spacecaserecords.com

Apr 12, 2017

THIGH MASTER BBC 7inch

It's only been in the last month or so that I've been hipped to Australian band Thigh Master and their 2016 album Early Times. Ever since though the record has been a constant not only at Smashin' Transistors headquarters as well as my radio show, but everywhere else I roam.This brand new single on 12XU will now be joining on such travels too.

With Byrdsian guitar jangle transmogrified into something less hippie folk rock but a lot more aberrant, vocals that manage to sound lackadaisical and exuberant at the same time and bass & drum pair that can bash their way both loudly or discreet if the moment calls for it, thought of Flying Nun bands come to mind pretty much immediately. While I think the band would not be likely to deny such a comparison, they also aren't simply just doing some paint by numbers with sound here either.

Side one's "BBC" follows a path that a band like the Clean cut but the chiming of the six strings snakes it's way through leafy brambles often, then returns back with a pounce. There's a sense of frowning at the heavy weather hanging overhead in singer Matthew Ford's voice but it also seems as if he see's a break in clouds and sunshine ahead but, for now, he's just going to keep that all to himself.

Whereas that song strolls zig zaggedly through some dew misted greenery, the flip's "Park Road Clinical"  lunges through a late night/early morning walk down a grey strip of concrete while being guided by the twinkling of colored lights off in the distance.
Get it at 12xu.bigcartel.com

Apr 5, 2017

TROPICAL TRASH Decisions Empty Nest 7inch EP

Akin to putting a human brain in a pressure cooker along with the first couple Killing Joke and Black Sabbath album and a big handful of trucker crank, Tropical Trash's debut album from a couple years back, UFO Rot, was an intense entanglement of sound.

On this one, the band has brought in Obnox's Lamont Thomas on some sonic reinforcements and everything is pushed to the limits. The tension builds instantly as the music hits on something like Krautrock for the criminally insane. Noise flies around like red hot daggers being thrown from a ball pitching machine. All thought and emotion other than the most primal are sandblasted raw by the time "Early Wish" rears its beastly head on side one.

Though it may seem like the top is about ready to blow clean off right then and there, it hasn't. It's when the record is flipped and the severe and raw beating that "Exit Dust" gives, sounding like what I wish "the kids meant when they say "post-hardcore" instead of the super pro-tooled, palm mute metal, constipated cry baby bullshit Alternative Press recycles cashes checks to rewrite press releases about, and the blood covered and thrashing violently "Trouble Shot" where the whole damn thing bursts and there's shrapnel flying all over the room.
www.sophomorelounge.com