Jan 17, 2017

T-TOPS Face Of Depression 7inch EP

     You'd figure with the band's name and the cover of this 7inch featuring a Trans Am with a T-Top roof, that you might be getting some tank top wearing, porn star mustache sporting, pin doobie rolling, burning rubber down mainstreet and cranking up the Foghat 8-track loud band here.
     That's not the case though.
     If these Pittsburgh agitators are cruising in anything on city streets, it's an assault vehicle. Something lumbering and impenetrable. Something doesn't stop at traffic lights and something the cops can't shoot the tires out on. It rolls over top of anything that might get in it's way and, as the title track can attest, basks in the sound of crushing metal and broken glass.
     Heavy on an AmRep tip, anything that ever once resembled a brown weed boogie on "Dead Magician" has been boiled in lead and then anodized. If you scratch at the surface of the record's closer, "Pig Of Hell", til it is raw, you may find something bordering on straight up, old school metal but by then the infection will have already started to set in, making everything all black and oozing with pus.
T-Tops on Facebook

Jan 14, 2017

Smashin' Podsistorcast: It Took a Long Time to Turn 18

       The Smashin' Transistors fake radio show has returned! The exile was first imposed by a dying machine. Then it came a bit by choice to reconnect with the real world.
     Hear the latest from the Sueves, David Nance, the Kool 100s, the Bad Noids, Rik & the Pigs, Midnight Mines, Jeff McDonald, Writhing Squares and the Hot LZs.
     Dig it as we blow the dust off records from the Pastels, Green On Red, the Tall Dwarfs and the Godz.
     Revel in the sound of that and much more!

Jan 10, 2017

SUBURBAN HOMES ...Are Bored 12inch EP

     Anyone blow off not checking out Suburban Homes yet because their band name choice had you thinking about the Descendents and, well, something paying homage to it just didn't seem like it would move ya? I can claim ALMOST to being guilty of such a thing. I eventually came to my senses.
     What was it that brought me around? First off, this record (as well as one before it) were released on Total Punk records. Secondly, I started seeing Swell Maps comparisons being bandied around
     The latter probably just thrown because the band had a song called "Television Spies" (not "Helicopter Spies" but close) on their previous record and there's an overt bit of Brit provincial DIY weirdness going on. The sound here leans, hell, dives splat face first into the begrimed puddles of the Desperate Bicycles at some points and, at others, ransacks the Homosexuals comportment for agitational motivation but perhaps not for melody.
    Whether addressing the doldrums of  lame neighborhood mundanity by employing fidgety guitars and antagonistic disposition  on "Small Town Boredom" and "Cul-De-Sac" , questioning the illusion of romance in the modern consumer age with the help of a blared out jangle on "Barbie & Ken" or doing an deciding to do an stomp as hard as an art punk can on first world problems like "I-Phone Suicide", the band gathers up shatters and pieces them together.
     The Suburban Homes are making soundtracks for the death of the mall and not whatever the last of the mall punks are scrambling to keep alive.
Total Punk Records

Dec 28, 2016

End Of The Year

    As 2016 comes to a close I know I am once again way behind blabbing on about records that have arrived the last few months. Notes we're made on many of them and were taking form. Then things went awry often.
     In the summer the trusty old computer I had been using for almost everything crossed the digital rainbow bridge. So, I finally bought a brand new one. That one had some issues within a six weeks of getting it and I had to send it in for warranty work. That caused it to be gone for close to a month. I got it back in  late November only for it to pull some new kind of shit on me a week ago. Into an abyss of shipping it off and ambiguous customer service it has gone again.
     Sure, I have some other options I could use but typing on a phone is not the easiest for anything really long form. There's downtime at work too where I may be able to whip out some takes and opinions too but a) I don't have a turntable there, b) The squares I work with complain if I play anything a decent listening volume on my computer there because they then can't hear the Kenny Chesney or Megan Trainor they have an coming of their monitor speakers and c) I am there to work my job and not be a rock-n-roll pundit (well, at the day job at least. That's not to say I haven't tried and a few thing posted here have been done there, such as this very post. but still.)
     I suppose January will be a time for major catching up. That means also delving into some major time management too. Between two jobs (one of which will be chew a lot of free time because I will have to play catch up on a lot of work and need that machine to do so) and also valuing time with friends and family, it will be tricky but it will be managed somehow. Thanks to all who've hooked me up with tunes for this site as well as the radio show and blog.
     Normally around this time I would say I am looking forward to what the new year is going to bring. Both the challenges and the good times. With what some people voted for to take over this country though, I am not looking forward to the piles of flying and flaming bullshit that were gonna be hit with. We will (hopefully) live through it though.
     See ya all sometime in 2017.

Dec 18, 2016

Griffin Claw's Project Clementine

     When I saw this on the "Just In" shelf at a local beer monger I thought "What an odd time of the year to release a summery and citrusy brew." I mean, it's winter. As I type this it is 14 °F outside. It's usually dark and rich beers that may or may not be barrel aged and their warming effect that get all the attention this time of the year.
     Then I thought about. Boxes of clementines are always a gift from someone for Christmas. It started to make sense to me. And with the grey skies and painful cold blasts in the great out-of-doors, something that resembles sunshine can be very welcoming.
     The copper color reminded me of the first few minutes of sunrise. The scents of citrus and it's zests were right on top. Behind it was a sweet roasted scent and buttery toffee. On first sip, the citrus notes were very big and running neck and neck with a lot of piney hops. After letting it breath a bit, things became more well rounded with other flavors coming out. The tang took on flavors of pineapple and mango along with the obvious sweet orange flavors and the IPA backbone dialed back on being just another hop monster letting the malt come out a bit giving a fresh baked bread characteristic. Like toast and marmalade? Yeah, a bit like that. The finish is sweet and a bit tart that sticks around for a bit but not in a way that a lot of imperial IPA's stick for what seems like hours.
     The way the 9% abv goes about here is interesting. It's not "hot" or too pronounced but with each sip there is something lingering that reminds you that this isn't just some kind of shandy that can be knocked backed by the minute and still manage to walk a straight line to go jump in the lake. www.griffinclawbrewingcompany.com

Dec 15, 2016

MIDNIGHT MINES If You Can't Find A Partner Use A Wooden Chair LP

     When Black Time made the official announcement last year that they self-destructed I was a bit sorrowful. For over a decade, Agent LeMatt Caution led Jenny Too Bad, Stix and a den of other rattlemakers into the high contrast glare and blood red splattered surroundings of the psyche and spitting out a couple records upon each return.
     More often than, those records weren't never the easiest to find. Laying hands and ears on them was part of the adventure. Sure, there were a few thorns but it was still always worth rooting through the rosebed for the blue ribbons.
     Midnight Mines is Caution's latest commotion with a sonic bees nest. After expelling of ton of cassettes over the past few years, all of which had a lot moments where they seemed to be focusing on being aural punishment soundtracks for trips to both deep tragic space and the deepest pits of vipers ever, If You Can't Find A Partner Use A Wooden Chair keeps things here on earth. Given the results of elections in the western world recently, we've all learned even more that Earth can be the most fucking scary of places anyway, it's still completely incendiary.
     Copping it's title from the lyrics in Jailhouse Rock the band shows it still digs rock-n-roll. It's even nostalgic. Thankfully not in a rose tinted glasses Fonzie in a '57 Chevy at the malt shop kind of way. These lenses are cracked. Hell, practically shattered even. The beat that swings a song like "Artificial Light" can sit a hipshake in place and the broken melody is shoutable. The held long note organ blare on the song though make seem somnifacient but it's actually a lure for hurly-burly. The opening chord of "After Dark" may have some thinking they're about to enter the land of garage rock and they'll have a easy time navigating it are immediately tripping over a slothful martial beat. They'll become to distracted by that to even notice that halfway through the song switches to meat grinders are about to thrown and they're gonna be hacked to bits of ooze and pulp.
     The Creepy raga-psych of "Baptist Garden" as well as the mod basher dipped in cough syrup "Waiting In The Mist" and "Walking Down The Street Called Hate" sentiment as well as it sounds like mechanical men about the fly apart and impale any witnesses do have the apparitions of the Fall looming over them but that spectre has been common often in the Black Time days too. The something like the record's centerpiece, the 10 plus minute "Accattone", where that is all sheared down to it's skin and then elongated into motorik freak scene and the dream drone disturbance of "Hollow Sky", where those old ghosts are shoo'd away for something just as haunting.

Dec 14, 2016

ROSE GRAHAM "Black Christmas"

     There no info on Rose Graham on the web. Same pretty much goes for this single even. It was released on a label called Klondike which was a subsidiary of Holiday Inn Records. Sam Phillips of Sun Records took over running the Holiday Inn label from a couple of businessmen around 1963.
     There's a Memphis thing all over this. Stax horns blast, a sweet drum break and the basslines are like proto-funk. Rose wails absolutely destitute if she can't lead the sleigh.
     Though there may be a Memphis connection this is not the same song the Emotions did on Volt in 1970. Pervis Staples wrote that song. This one is written by Vida Mays (Whoever that is. Not much coming up digging deep around the wire for the name either.)
      A cat named Don Smith also did this song. His version was released on as a single VJ International from most likely '74 judging from the catalog numbers of some other things that label released that year. Looks like it may have been his only record too. Guess what. There's not much info him to be found on him as well. Maybe this song had a curse on it or something.
      I found Rose's version on compilation record of questionable legitimacy a few years ago. Noticed the song wasn't on YouTube. Uploaded it so I can share it every year.

Dec 8, 2016

KOOL 100S Skulls, Blood, Pussy And Violence Axes Daggers Upside-Down Crosses 7inch EP

     Ever pick up a punk rock record and see the words "Play Loud" printed somewhere on it? Does putting that one there act as an instruction manual for those who may not know or something? My first reaction is usually "Yeah! No shit, dude. It's a punk rock record. Not some Yanni CD."
     This single from Kansas City's Kool 100s doesn't have such a statement emblazoned anywhere on it. Doesn't need too. Even at a lower volume this thing blisters. A twelve string guitar is used on these three songs not for some kind of folky jangle or jazzbo bullfighting themes but to reinforce the blare and to double up on the disorienting and ear scorching.
     There's hooks all over these songs but they're all covered in a napalm gel. "Slow Boat" is a sunshine pop song being played by a pack of wolverines hellbent on giving everyone rabies while "Queer For Him" and "Trainwreck" wail some like wild ass caveman rock-n-roll designed for setting fire to hornets nests to. The longest track on this record, the less than 2 and a half "Healthy Dick", is like being dosed with a hit of acid and then whacked up side of the head with a sledgehammer.
     Play loud? Yeah, no shit, dude!

Dec 4, 2016

DD OWEN S/T 12inch EP

     When sitting down to type out some word about this record I was going to take the angle of something like "More often than not when an artist decides to record under has own name after being associated with others, they tend to do something a little more introspective and personal. Sick Thoughts/Chicken Chain/Gluebags dude DD Owen though has always wore his heart on his sleeve."
     After I read the one sheet to the record though I found that it was taking the same angle. That just leaves me to talk about the songs themselves.
     Yeah, that heart on his sleeve things I mentioned early? I forgot to add that the sleeve is encrusted with the dried blood the heart has spewed out as well as it being puke stained and stinking but it's worn there none the less.
     "I Should Have Been Aborted" launches things off like the Heartbeakers throwing an adenoidal conniption fits and from then on in, it's pretty much good time celebration of all kindsa things negative and depraved. Fizzy carbonated buzzsaw's like "Shattered" and "Degenerate" make a greasy mess like the Reatards hacking up the Ramones and putting them into a deep fryer, "Son Of The Devil" summons a bong packed with rat poison to be lit and Fonzie rockers may find themselves lured in by "Low Life Baby" 50's feeling only to find out their flies in a web and about to be eaten by the most repugnant spider ever. Spin this record once and feel an infection coming on. It'll be the first of many times to follow because the sickness becomes infectious.

Nov 23, 2016

COUTEAU LATEX "Hostile Enviroment" 7inch

     Sometimes when you hear about to musicians collaborating with each other, especially if their styles of music seem quite kindred, the sound of what it will sound like is already imagined in the head. When I first read that Seth of the Useless Eaters was doing a thing with Lise of Switzerland's Staches I figured it would be something a bit ansty in a somewhat trashy/most likely ratty garage rock way.
      I was a bit off in my assumptions about I was about to hear. Minimal synths bloops and a fat poly drum snap teeter between a bouncy pop ditty and Rev/Vega bad trip on "Hostile Environment." Seth lays hypnotic bass rumbles behind and Lise's processed vocals sound like a robot that got programmed to show emotions but the only two that it uses are frustration and alienation. On the flip "Morphée" it seems that the machines have now seem come also understand anxiety and paranoia. The beat is jittery, the noises harsher and the fast swirling induces an effect that is similar to having vertigo and falling down into a spiral painted bottomless pit.