Jul 22, 2019


Last year, Richmond, Va.'s Cement Shoes bestowed their debut 7inch on the punk rock world. For many, it was quite a rager. It was probably a headscratcher to many too. Incorrigible hardcore circa say 1983 walks into a circa the same year high school autoshop class where some greasy long hairs are debating the magic of Bondo and how rippin' some Foghat song sounds blasting over the Kraco speakers they just mounted in the trunk of their '76 Cutlass.

Being a high school student of that particular time and space, the story would have, no matter how much I would root for them, would have not ended well for the punk rockers. Hell, the legends would probably still be lingering about greasy, dirty first flying and the sound of 100 pair of tan Dingo boots stomping and kicking to this day.

On this, the band's debut LP, like that single, such did not happen though. Instead, they joined together to form a maniacal force of early frenzied hardcore, guttural black metal growls and wrathful boogie.

The count off of the record's opener, "Unite The Right In Hell", may give the listener a sense of  Ramones-ish familiarity. That stops right as the "4" is shouted as a barrage of descending guitar chords drill through the skull and then down through earth to it's molten burning core, leaving the subject matter at hand where they belong for eternity rather propping up and hiding behind a bullshit image of Jesus that many a person have molded into a reflection of their true rotten selves here on earth.

While a similar thread (and sentiment) runs through songs such as how "Satanic Soul Picnic" inexorably tempo jackhammers but give space to a bong rippin' guitar solo and the absolute dervish that's "How It Is", no human can't survive on smashing and crashing alone. The diet here also consists of meat grinder funk stabs with "Mine Mine Mine" and, in the case of "Falling Man", resembling biker rock constantly battling a severe case of night terrors.

Swim with the fishes at Feel It Records
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Jul 19, 2019

Film Photo Friday No. 7: Cosmic Light Shapes

A monochromic shot of Eugene of Cosmic Light Shapes dealing out swirling psychedelic pop at the SchwonkSoundStead in Port Huron.

Shot on a Holga 120N using Kodak T-Max 400.

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Jul 17, 2019

MUSCLEGOOSE A Hot Dog Made of Us 7inch EP

MUSCLEGOOSE. Sounds like the name of a Top Fuel dragster. Or at least something a hesher neighbor would have airbrushed and pinstriped across the back of the spoiler of a Mustang Mach 1 he's been in the process of restoring for the last decade.

This Fayetteville, Arkansas band aren't either but they do burn hot and flammable enough to make either of the above engines combust. Straight off the record comes out swinging in a blind rage with "Diaper Daddy Day Care." Vicious and quick, it pretty much sets the mood for what is going to be an 80's pre-tough guy/pre-fat & bald guy with a goatee hardcore dustup for the rest of this 7inch slab.

Whether it is imagining a march on DC with a long lost and lamented soda as the leader (or at least the caffeinated catalyst that would/could/should inspire such a thing) on "Mr PiBB Goes to Washington" or the way "Are You Ain't Ever Scared Of The Dark" wings aural rocks, mud and poo at passerby's, the pummeling hardly ever lets up.

The only time it really does is the first 30 seconds of the record's longest song, the 2 and a half minute "ABBA & Elvis Costello Meet Ben Stein's Mummy." It starts out fooling listeners into thinking it might be a sludgy psych-punk trip but then explodes into a thousand pieces too.

Get it with mustard at Also Tapered records
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Jul 12, 2019

Film Photo Friday No. 6: Light Station No 1

"What is there to see? What is there to do?"
"Have you ever seen the lighthouse?"

Yeah, that is a common conversation with people that visit my hometown. I've even seen it in altered states of reality.

A multiple exposure shot on a Lomography DianaMini using Kodak Gold 200 35mm film.

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Jul 11, 2019

NO BAILS No Baios cassette

Photo by Dale Merrill
Did Michigan's dilettantes of wah-wah'd pizza party thud turn prog? It's been a few years since they last released anything so who knows, right. Perhaps they've been woodshedding or something brah.

Spotting a nine plus minute track on their latest cassette, No Baios may cause such alarm. Knowing the jokers these Michiganders can be though, a deeper investigation into such a matter needs to be conducted.

The subject in question is "Subbasement Rock." It's highly like that guys who have been sitting around studying things like the space between the notes of Rush's 2112 for decades ARE NOT going to be adding the song, a stream of consciousness featuring screeches, crashes, thumps, attempts to communicate with space aliens and, well, sub-basement jam traipses to their listening agenda any time soon.

If this tape just consisted of things such as that, Bails fans would be left scratching their heads at the very least and likely swearing off Jeno's pizza rolls too. There is very little for them to fret though. "Doin' Fine" top drawer/lo-fi Cosmic Psychos/Dwarves crud.

The song about skateboarding (as there should always be one on any No Bails release) here, "We Sk8", is gunky enough where an entire bottle of Bactine wouldn't stave off the infection from the road rash it sonically resembles. Then there's "No Thankyou Bite" which is the band getting all arty about hardcore.

Put a few extra bratwursts on the charcoal grill, stick this on the boombox and watch the neighbors give you glares of disdain.
Pop ollies over at  No Bails facebook

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Jul 8, 2019

CURLEYS s/t 7inch EP

It's no secret that the state of Florida has a reputation for having some, let's say, colorful and interesting residents. But is the whole "Florida Man" thing is an unfair stereotype? Are there really shirtless/toothless knuckledraggers and poorly tattooed and sun sagged cuckoo birds on every corner?

If trying to prove such as the above is something sets out to do, this debut single from Gainesville's Curleys will not be of results they desire. Crammed with six songs on a 7inch slab, each track is a conniption of its own wig-outness.

Inflamed with a guitar line that sounds as if it laser guided by mutants, the record's opener "Johnny" will get some listeners thinking "Is this some kind of  art trip or should I call the authorities for the sake of everyone's safety."

Slamming right into the record's next blast, "Lid's Loose", won't soothe any of those doubts either. Its choppy cadence bites hard and jagged and also resembles a tantrum inspired chant someone might stomp about to while braiding the wicks of thirty M-80's all together before sticking them into a coffee can and striking a match.

There's no letting up on side two of the record, "Bragging" launches like a nitro powered train departing berserk station. It's as if there is not really any intention of reaching a destination but throwing lots sparks off grinding rails and causing random decapitations of anything that gets in the way is. Just a couple minutes and few songs later, annihilation is complete with "Goro" splatting like a blood filled insect against a speeding semi truck's windshield.

Get tased at Total Punk

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Jul 5, 2019

Film Photo Friday No. 5: Orange's Yellow

This guy was lingering around our neighborhood for a few weeks. We could not take him in (we have three already and have plans in gear to move out of the state in the not too distant future. Finding a place to rent having three cats will probably be tricky enough. I imagine four would be a deal breaker for most landlords) but he was obviously someone's pet at one time. He was a super nice dude who loved to be sociable so we made sure to put food and water out for him on the porch and kept used to being around some friendly humans.

We did not see him for a couple of days so we figured he moved on. Then he showed back up and was roughed up and injured. We were not in a situation to help a stray out ourselves so I made a few calls to people who could. A rescue lady pulled some strings to get him into the county funded shelter even though they were full. She told me the shelter was now a no-kill and he would receive the best care available.

He is now better and up for adoption at the shelter. He will make someone an awesome friend.

A double exposure shot on a Lomography LaSardina using LomographyXpro 200 35mm film.

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Jul 1, 2019

Mixclouder of the Month: The Village Subway

Starting a new thing here on Smashin' Transistors where we spotlight on a show on Mixcloud that we dig a lot. If you are not familiar with Mixcloud it's an online music streaming service that allows for the listening and distribution of radio shows, DJ mixes and podcasts. There are tons of people producing content and uploading it daily on to the site. Actual humans putting sets of music together instead of computerized systems or algorithms. What a concept, right?

For our first voyage into doing this, we shine a light on the Village Subway.

Hosted by David Schwentker, the Village Subway originates live on Monday nights from 8-9pm on Raleigh, North Carolina's online station littleraleighradio.org

Encompassing a vast variety of loud, wild and twitchy sounds, Dave describes his musical selections as Underground Rock. There hasn't been an episode of the show yet where I haven't gotten turned on to something really good that I haven't heard before.

Jun 30, 2019

Smashin' Podsistors 52: Crawl right through your mind

Summertime and the, ummm, grass is longer. The snakes are more active because of it. Be sure to have a hammer and a jackknife handy at all times.

What you'll hear:
Squirrel Bait – Sun God
Protruders – Tax 101
Nots – Built Environment
Franky Shampoo and the City Creatures - Talk To Me
Major Stars – Out In The Light
-words from your host-
Straight Arrows - 21st Century
Lassie – Go West
Prince – Manic Monday
M.A.Z.E. - Human Brain
Eric Nervous and the Beta Blockers – Nailed To The Wall
-words from your host-
Aborted Tortoise – 20 XX
The Zits – Can't Get Smart
Primitiv Parts – bad vibes
Ice Baths – Auster
Salem 66 – Across The Sea
-words from your host-
Pinch Points – Spelt Out
Petite League – New York Girls
The Lice – So Bourgeois
Rose City Band – Fear Song
Radio Birdman - Snake
-words from your host-

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Jun 28, 2019

Film Photo Friday No. 4: Cenotaphs of the Big Three No. 1

I took my recently scored 1956 Zorki 2C rangefinder with a Jupiter 8 lens out for test run recently.

Zorki's are often called the poor man's or commie Leica (especially when paired with the Jupiter glass. The Russians took their optics very seriously.)

Using expired Astrum film from Ukraine, I went and shot some snaps American built classics.

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