Aug 17, 2017

WOOD CHICKENS Skunk Ape 7inch EP


I had to run a search on this here thing to see the last time (if ever) I've straight up used the term "cowpunk" to describe a sound. Seems I did about five or so years ago. I then had to think back even further to when was the last time I listened to stuff that others used the same term to describe a sound. Man, I think I was still in high school. Maybe I just starting college. Either way, it was a long time ago.

On this recorded and mixed by Bobby Hussy slab from Madison, Wisconsin trio Wood Chickens, it's cowpunk all the way. Part drunken bar jangle rock sing-along, perhaps one part even drunker sea shanty and a lot of parts goofy (because we all should know that "cowpunk" is a whole lotta goofy), the record's title track tells the legend of a down south swamp creature.



It doesn't take much to gather that these guys aren't afraid of corn pone (see my goofy comment above) and, especially after listening to side B's "Third Eye Blues", would probably have me asking them if we ever crossed paths "Do you guys ever think you listen to the Dead Milkmen way too much." Sandwiched between song one and three on this EP though is take on the American hayseed standard "Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms."



Yeah, it's pretty dang goofy too but they seem sincere in some kind of cheap beer dripping from their pores way in how they do it.
Out now on Kitschy Manitou

Aug 15, 2017

SICK THOUGHTS Songs About People You Hate


There seemed to moment or two not so long ago where one might have wanted to consider making a spreadsheet to keep track of what musical things Drew Owen was working. Along with a few other names there has been DD Owen, Chicken Chain, Black Panties, LSDOGS and, of course, Sick Thoughts.

While all of them have hurled rancor and heaved malignity at the world of dolts that surround each and everyone, it's the Sick Thoughts name that has really been his calling card. Having relocated from the USA to Finland in the last year, it might be easy to assume that he has been able to free his mind of all the rabble and weariness that is going on in this country, but ire and disgust are very strong and burning emotions and they're obviously still flaming hot in his heart and his head.

Ever light a wasps nest on fire? They'll all come out and then right at you like a flying, buzzing and angry yellow jacketed stampede. Now imagine setting fire to a wasps nest the size of a minivan. And they all got guitars. It probably would sound a whole lot like the record's opening blast "I'm Going Nowhere & I Don't Care."



The Oblivians and Reatard thing that's always thrown around when talking the Sick Thoughts in general still looms large but there are quite a few times where something that's much more wound up sonically than the rickety fidelity of yore that seems quite noticable. The smashy trashy destruction that drives things like "I Do What I Wanna Do" and "When I Think About You" is more akin to driving a tank through a brick wall inspired by Motorhead and built with extremely black metalloids.



One thing that I think will never disappear in my lifetime are Ramones clones. Not bands that dig the Ramones, but those kinds of bands that think the only good bands that exist are the Ramones and the bands that sound like a convenience store version of them. They've been an ire of mind for a loooong time now. It seems even weird here in the 21st century that there are still ones popping up every day let alone me still having to take a jab at them. They should be subjected to "Need No One." It's bubblegum but it doesn't taste like strawberry Flavor Aid. Kerosene though? Yes, it does taste like that. If they refuse to chew, shove their head on the grinding that's "NFM."



In a feel bad summer situation this country has been put in, this is the feel good record about feeling bad platter for the entire bummer.
Get it at Neck Chop Records.

Aug 10, 2017

Smashin Podsistors 22: Worth A Deuce Times Two


"Get up and get your grandma outta here."

Ok. that I get that. The "he's worth a deuce' line not so much.

Luckily we don't have to figure out the cryptic lyrics of that 1974 chestnut here in episode 22. Instead, enjoy hayseed strolls and cracked sidewalk scrapes.

The Playlist
Gin Gillette - Train To Satanville
Craig Brown Band - Overthinking
Cherry Death - You And Me
Michael Nesmith - Keys to the Car
Black Lips - Lucid Nightmare
Beatniks-Broken Ear Obvious
The Fall - The Container Drivers
Schizos - Poundin' the Pud
Iggy Pop - Dog Food
School Damage - Try Something New
Obnox - Skywalker OG
Bardo Pond - Crossover
Feral Ohms - Teenage God Born To Die
Hairy Chapter - Looking For A Decent Freedom
The Fluid - Our Love Will Still Be There
Fetal Pink - The Happening
feedtime - Sister
Bad Boyfriends - Dirt Cheap
Rik & the Pigs - Don't Tell On Me
Alex Chilton - Like Flies On Sherbert

Aug 8, 2017

The Shifters "A Believer" 7inch


When throwing around references to the Fall to describe a current band, a rock-journo/music fan must do so very sparringly. There's many reasons behind it but it's mostly because some use it to describe anything that sounds a bit agitated or off balance. The other main reason is because some band will mention their into the Fall, which garners attention from dorks like yours truly only to usually be, to some extent or another, disappointed with expectations. It seems especially that when a band is consciously trying to sound like the Fall is where they (perhaps pun intended) faulter the most.

It doesn't seem that Melbourne, Austraila's Shifters are trying to consciously sound like the Fall. Because of that, this record, like their first single from a couple years back "Creggan Shops", succeeds in bending the ear and even brain patterns in a same sort of way.

"A Believer" opens with a fidgety martial drum beat that's followed by anfractuous guitar notes and a keyboard churn that form a spindly musical web that part a straight up pop song and another part lo-fi fretfulness. Thoughts of the Feelies in their rural moments and the (also often mentioned when talking about this band) contorted jangle of the Clean come to mind.



On every song I've heard by the Shifters so far it seems that when singer Miles Jansen opens his mouth he sounds like he's teetering between woebegone moodswings and memories of sunny days. It sets the band in a dark yet whimsical scene often, making the listener wonder if their jubilant or if there's some inner turmoil that their trying to hide with a smirk.



"Contrast Of Form" is a perfect example of such a thing. The handclaps make things seem that it everything's gonna be alright but there's something underlying, perhaps it's a Syd Barrett solo albums slant that I'm feeling in the song that give me that impression.

The Shifters will perhaps remind those who are listening to a thing they've heard before here and there. Some really good things as a matter of fact. They're really good at it too. And no, they really don't remind me of the Fall.
(Market Square Records)

Jul 25, 2017

FERAL OHMS s/t LP


The first two Comets On Fire records were psych punk brain burners. As they progressed though, the freakouts calmed down and they sounded more like they were taking long walks in woods and looking at fireflies. When Comets main dude Ethan Miller formed his next band, Howlin' Rain it to my ears that things were gonna be even a bit more backwater in the aural zone.


Feral Ohms are Ethan's new thing. This harkens back to those early Comets On Fire records. As an power trio things are absolutely and straightfoward. The electrified howl of feedback that fries the eardrum when the needle drops on "Love Damage" is a warning that their ready attack and ravage.

The jams are kicked much more efficiently than what they could turn out to be in other Ethan projects too. None of them clock over three and half minutes. There ain't much time to noodle off on six string soliloquies in hopes they reach planets far away when you have a mission on earth. They want to come in, blow the place up and get out to get more on!



It's all done at a super high volume too because the vinyl is mastered loud in the correct way (and is made to be spun at 45rpms), something that seems to be a bit of a lost art. That high crank level makes things much more maximized and manic. Ya got things like "Living Junkyard" and "Value On The Street" giving the On Parole Motorhead an overhaul. That stuff was hammering but still had a hypnotic haze all over it but lacked a blast in the production to truly rocket it off. Here, that type of sound is nitro-charged and leaving a mile long trail of flames behind it.


I don't know if "Super Ape" is some sort of subliminal suggestion that everyone needs to listen to more Scratch and  the Upsetters records because it's too dang hard to hear over the type of blare King Kong's biker cousin would turn up to rally his troop on the Congo mountainside to get rowdy.



It's also really hard to decipher in Ethan's bellow whether "Teenage God Born To Die" is a cautionary tale, a fact of life or a command the band wishes more people would heed. I do feel that if you had a time machine and dropped a tape of the songs into the right people's El Camino's and Torino's, there would be lots of danger on the highway.



Since the cursed never seem to rest, this record keeps a relentless taste for splatter all the way through the end. It whips sticks of dynamite into a swamp of grunge 'til the most onery and festering scuzz is cackling with approval on "Early Man."

Ending the record with a tune titled "The Glow" may give hippies wishful thoughts that its gonna be a "mellow out final jam, maaan", but it more about spewing some type of toxic audio goo that'll make a person glow green like the would in Sci-Fi comics.

Yes, through and through,it sounds like an atom bomb being drop in a building that houses a marijuana grow operation.
Get the album here.

Jun 22, 2017

ERIK NERVOUS "Ice Cream" 7inch

Oh, it's summer. That means it's a time or two to have some sweetened and flavored frozen dairy product drip down your arm, all over your shirt and mess up your car interior. Maybe even have it flop onto ground so an army of ants can be fed.

Ahh, such nostalgia even thinking about it, right. That might explain to total retro sensation that's all over "Ice Cream." A chintzy toy synth sound that probably sounds as like it is way more inspired by the music on any given ColecoVision game than anything else loops a minimal jump for Erik to whoop agitatedly. I remember as a kid I used to get annoyed to downright crabby when my scoop of Superman would all over my hand making them all sticky and weird feeling. I also may have thought once or twice about stabbing my obnoxious cousin with the cone to even some score. Thing is though, I said anything out loud about it let alone acting on it. At the least, Erik does the former here.

The stabbing isn't over there though. Starting out sounding gothy then flipping head first into some kind of puddle of muck where both Art Attacks and Jay Reatard puked in, "Children Stabbing Things" isn't gonna leave ya scratching your head and wondering if it's all metaphorical.
Out on Total Punk

Jun 19, 2017

BAD BOYFRIENDS "Cut In Line" 7inch

Bad Boyfriends
Photo courtesy of Sam Kool 100s
The way this single by Little Rock, Arkansas combo's Bad Boyfriends starts off reminds me the way me and my friends would insure (in our minds at least) that a Wiz-z-zer top would reach maximum destruction speed. Or maybe it's like yanking the cord of up an beat up and rattly lawnmower to get it firing. Either way, both require a few good, hard rips and then things get all revved up.

Yes, revved up indeed is how to describe "Cut In Line." The blang-blang-blang of the intro gains inertia then jitters itself into some road apple whippin' budget rock. The lawnmower analogy goes out the window though because a) the song is over in about a minute (no lawn is ever mowed that quick) and b) these guys would probably just set fire to the grass than having to tend to it anyway.

Ending in a sweat drenched echo of bang and the declaration of "GODDAMN!" this one sided single wastes nary a second to keep the rockin' rollin'. "Dirt Cheap" lives up to it's name. All spun up, it beats the shit out of the '77 punk rock thang. Instead of dressed in leopard print creepers and dayglo hair though, it's clad in goat pissed stained boots and mud caked denim.
Grab it at Goodbye Boozy

May 30, 2017

MACHO BOYS S/T LP


Three cats live in my house. A big calico called Clementine (but we all call her Puff) who doesn't really have time for humans as well as most other things in the world, The Ripperpotamus, a furry beast of a Norwegian forest cat who, if was a human, would most likely drive a customized van with something like a wolf wizard standing on top of a mountain made of medical marijuana and lighting a bong with a bolt of lightning as the mural on the side and a polydactyl tuxedo named Von Von that showed up in my garage a couple years ago as a kitten and has never left.

All three of them react to music in some form or another, but it's the tuxedo that seems to express it the most excitement for this, the debut album from Portland punk rockers Macho Boys. Seriously! I was playing records the other day and she was in a rare (for her) deep sleep on the windowsill. She was dead to the world and paying no mind to what music was playing. Then I dropped the needle on this. Her ears perked at the opening cymbal crashes of "Victim To Blame" and by the time singer Tekiah Elzey opened her throat up of to yowl over the breakneck din of grinding guitars and bass avalanches, the cat was zipping across the room at blinding speed.

Up the stairs then down them. Through the main floor of the house, down to the basement and back up again. She was practically bouncing off the walls. When she stopped it wasn't to wonder if a song like "Cockroach" was a metaphor for creepy humans or if it was about the actual insect, was I bummed out at "Dinosaur" because it might be ripping on oldsters and was the year I graduated high school, "The Class Of '84" as punk rock as the as movie a song on this album get it's title from (it wasn't, really...there were only just a couple of us actually), whether Madonna would have an opinion on a sequel of "Papa Don't Preach" which features a bloodstained buzzsaw, if "Slam" was a cover of the Onyx song (it's not by the way), or if pigs do sweat, does it smell like pork rinds. Nope, the only time she did stop was between each song and then she'd be a black & white blur blazing through the house.

The more I watched her the more I started thinking "Maybe she does understand every single thing that is going on here." I mean, when their ode to WWF Legend Stone Cold Steve Austin came on she started doing dives off the top of the couch and onto the floor like she was doing some cat version of the Stunner.

Get it at Neck Chop Records

May 29, 2017

Smashin' Podsistorscast #21: No Need For Fake ID


Yes. The Smashin' Transistors fake radio show/podcast has turned 21. And, no, we're not gonna buy for you.
 

The Playlist:

The Immortal Lee County Killers - Sometimes The Devil Sneaks Inside My Head 
feedtime - Thought 
HIBUSHIBIRE - Trepanation Breakdown 
Race Car - Government Funded Terror Lunch 
Boss Hog - Black Eyes 
Endless Boogie - Back In 74 
Black Sabbath - Rock and Roll Doctor 
The Gun Club - Like Calling Up Thunder 
Cherry Death - Do You Change Your Mind 
Sloan - 500 Up 
Macho Boys - Cockroach 
Dog See Ghosts - I Live In The Basement 
Slimy Member - Oceanic Feeling 
Wire - From the Nursery 
Xetas - The Future 
Gary Wrong Group - Destroy You 
Annie Anxiety - Third Gear Kills 
Skull Cult - mirror 
Messrs - Slop Meat 
Butthole Surfers - Human Cannonball

May 23, 2017

June 10th: 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