Nov 12, 2018

Ellison Tiramisu Stout


Winter. It's hard for this writer to find reasons to get all excited about it anymore. One I can find though is stouts. Their roasted flavors provide some sort of psychological warmth for what will seem like endless days of monochrome views from here on into the spring.

That warming effect is pretty much instantaneous from opening the can of this offering from Lansing, Michigan brewery Ellison. Dark roasted coffee and chocolate rise from the glass immediately like welcoming you from coming in from the cold. Notes of sweet dark fruits and caramel add slight but rich details to the aroma.

While the coffee, cocoa flavors (along with a hint of smoke) are also the star of the show flavorwise, it's also where those aforementioned little details get to work some tasty magic. More than a smidgen of vanilla cream makes it place known too, really giving this stout a legit claim to tiramisu flavor. It's sweet but not syrupy. Bold but not burly. The finish is slightly sweet with enough coffee bitter to keep any sugary, weird candy flavor effect away.

I made a note that I am going to stick on my fridge. It's a list to remind me what stouts I should be sure to keep on hand once the snow starts blowing all around (and, from what I read today, that very well may start tonight.) This is one of the beers that is on it.
Pour yourself a cup at www.ellisonbrewing.com

Nov 10, 2018

MISSING PAGES "Long Way Down" 7inch


When first glancing at the cover of the Missing Pages 7inch, something about its design had me thinking of a large percentage of "Euro-garage" singles that came out in late 90's and early 00's. Many of them had a certain look to them.

Another similarity about a lot of those kinda records had to them was that the bands had the best intentions but there was always an element lacking in their rocking which kept them in the "Ehh, they're okay I guess. They mean well" pile.

Missing Pages are not from anywhere in Europe. They're from Austin, TX. Comprised of members of Sweet Talk, Church Shoes and others, they're set into other time shifts.

1985. Reagan's in for a 2nd term. It's dark times in America. Let's say it's a cold winter college town USA city. Darker music, mostly of an English flavor in the early forms of post-punk, made its mark on some bands that played the bar with the local favorite budget beer lighted sign outside.

1985. Sounds about right. Bobby Knight threw a chair and fucking New Coke. The country was slowly starting to get out of a recession it was in but unemployment were high all over the western world.

R.E.M. released an album they recorded in England. New Order released their last decent album. The Jesus and Mary Chain's Psychocandy, Bad Moon Rising by Sonic Youth and The Fall's This Nation's Saving Grace (to name a just few) came out that year too. Rhythm sections could be heads down pounding but also sway. Guitars made a sparkly roar....or a spindly spider crawl. The highest rung of the artistic bar was brooding with hooks.

David Lee Roth also left Van Halen in 1985. That was sure sign the good times were going to go dim.

My favorite year of music in my life time? Not quite but it is in my top seven or so. These are the types of things I hear on "Long Way Down." A rock solid bottom, a hook and melody that rings classic but wrinkled into a odd pattern. A catchy glide to get caught in a thunderstorm with. There's a tinge of "art" that plays on a subtle level here where the more it is absorbed, the way a standard rock band line-up can intertwine sound takes on a colorful weave.



Somewhere between my first impression and the prattle above was, of course, my second impression.

"It like the first two Psychedelic Furs re-envisioned by the Marked Men" I proclaimed (to one of my cats who was in the room.) I said it even louder when side two's "Highlighter Piss" started blaring outta the speakers.That makes more sense once it's realized that Jeff Burke mixed this candy coated chainsaw.


This record will not end up in the earlier mentioned "meant well" pile. It will stay in my listening to quite a bit stack for a good spell though.
Get found at 12XU

Nov 4, 2018

Smashin' Podsistors 42: Sizzled


Sizzle. They say ya gotta sell it. Hard sell tactics are not a strong point for yours truly. I can guarantee that there's plenty of sizzling soundwise on this latest episode of Smashin' Transistors.

Bathe in the hiss!


What you'll hear:
Fly Ashtray - The Man Who Stayed In Bed All Day 
Mountain Movers - My Eyes Are Always Heavy 
Obnox - Enter The Hater 
J.C. Heavy - Do What You Like 
Beauticians - Mouse or Man 
words from your host
David Nance Group - 110 Blues 
Monokultur - √Ąckel 
Rocket 808 - Digital Billboards 
Little Walter Trio - Bad Actin' Woman 
Water Trash - Fine
words from your host 
The Pink Noise - House Of Cards 
The Randoms - ABCD 
Jon Spencer - Wilderness 
Brandy - Throw Out My Kitchen 
words from your host
Mary Bell - Be a mom 
Lysol - Chemical Reaction
Terrestrials - Teenage Waistband
Latex Bride - Puppet Head 
Cows - Mine
words from your host

You can also subscribe to the Smashin' Transistors show on 
Apple PodcastsPodbean and Radio Mutation


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Oct 29, 2018

BLOODBAGS Sinister Deeds 7inch


The smearing of vital fluids that New Zealand's Bloodbags do all over this glob of wax is not for the chicken-livered.

Burly and brusque, slashes of jagged guitars flail and flash like a craggy blade in front of  broken down drums that sound like their being beaten with the firewood logs on "Elder Statesmen." Thoughts of Wire's Pink Flag come to mind but there is more of a feeling of having your head held down in an old metal barrel full of tiger milk. The howl of desperation in Andrew Tolley's voice does not sound like it is going to break into a dissertation of Barnett Newman's work or something of the sort either.

The ride that's "Dark Room Dick" is one on a rigid suspension, down some rocky roads that the ilk of the Honeymoon Killers and the Scientists trudged across using only the distant sound of war drums and the scent of death in the air as road maps.
Get transfused at Spacecase

Oct 12, 2018

ROCKET 808 "Digital Billboards" 7inch


When it comes to rock-n-roll John Schooley has an old soul. It's been obvious since his barely outta high school hayseed punk band the Revelators bolted from the bucking chute in the late 90's.

It's continued with each musical thing he's been part of too. Just straight up back road hollerin', stripped raw blues burnin', punk rockin' bang-n-twang. No post-punk math assignments. No mustache pondering indie rock. No digital do-dads used as crutches to soil up the sound.

His latest project is named in tribute to what is contestability the first rock-n-roll song recorded. More servings of that fine cooking he whips up right?

Well, he's now using a drum machine!!! Before you go clutching for your pearls and beckoning for the smelling salts, it's a drum machine that sounds like it was snatched out of some Silvertone electric organ that had been sitting neglected in the corner of an old folks home for a few decades now.

With it setting a beat that's as slinky as it is cheezy,  a guitar rings and roars in hillbilly from hell handlin' a hollow body style. Strings bend and blare in reverb drench but never stray into shred territory like some of the surf and rockabilly assholes of the past couple of decades stray into much too often.


While "Digital Billboards" is like sauntering through the sleaziest part of town where neon reflects in pools of spilled whiskey on the sidewalks, "Mystery Train" takes the well worn Junior Parker song down into the sewers below in search of the slimiest echo.

Blast off at 12XU

Oct 8, 2018

VIOLENCE CREEPS Nephew Melting 7inch


It is often said that it is better to go out with a bang than a whimper. In August of this year Oakland, CA's Violence Creeps played their final show and this single is their adieu to the world.

They didn't go out with a whimper. And calling this single a bang is not the right choice of words either. A torpid avalanche of bright and searing toxic sludge that engulfs everything in its path seems more apt here.

As often before, the band echoes a sludgy Flipper dirge but the occasional flourishes of melody and the random sounding bursts of avant-ism along with singer Amber's hoarse scorn of a voice, the sound resembles an ambush from all sides than it does getting run over by the slowest moving steamroller in the world.

They also didn't decide to play nice for a final salvo either. "Nephew Melting" calls out scene vampires with stupid mustaches and the privileged poser douches they do shots of Fernet with, pulling no punches in pointing out their backstabbing ways. Either that or it's about mini-MAGAt and 70's rock cosplayer Matthew Melton. Same difference.


The handclaps that start "Ford Go Bikes" had me waiting for an eroded version of Rolls Royce's "Car Wash" to kick in for a sec. Instead, it's something that one might declare having hints of Siouxie-core (if such a thing exists.) Lurching jangle, goth'd out reverberation and riddled with contempt. In its sights here is gentrification and the entitled class that is ripping the soul out parts of town and replacing it with some sort of free-range plastic accouterments.

Get broiled at Total Punk

Oct 2, 2018

Smashin' Podsistors 41: Like an emotional complex


Autumn makes hints of its arrival but never says exactly when. It may a subtle entrance. It can also crash down brazenly.


What you'll hear in this October installment:

The Necros - Peer Pressure
Pious Faults - Field
Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band - Petrified Forest
Ruby Karinto - Chikotan
P-Model - Art Mania
-words from the host-
Brandy - Life Jail
Gen Pop - Din
Stereolab - Revox
George Brigman - I've Got to Know
Terrestrials - Rings
-words from the host-
School Damage - Isn't Easy
The Uniques - You Ain't Tuff
HONG! - Maruk
Purling Hiss - Passenger Queen
Violence Creeps - Ford Go Bikes
-words from the host-
Warmest Winter - We Should Go Out Tonight
Hawkwind - Lost Johnny
Siouxie and the Banshees - Jigsaw Feeling
Mope Grooves - Here Comes Another One
Television Personalities - The Glittering Prizes
-words from the host-

You can also subscribe to the Smashin' Transistors show on 
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Oct 1, 2018

STIFF LOVE "Attitudes" 7inch

The Stiff Love single from earlier this year was one of those kinds of records that was axiomatic in its pursuit of real punk rock. This go 'round things are even a bit more raucous.

A rowdy piece 60's teenage rage immersed punk, "Attitudes" rattles quite wiggly. It's greasy clobbering that serves up that just a simple beat. Teeth gnashed and claws out it rips and tears things to bloody raw bits.


The flip, "Out Of Control" is like something from a budget beach movie. Like Z-grade one shot under a full moon at midnight. It howls at the moon in vivid Cramps amp'd gore.

 Adjust your mien at Feel It

Sep 26, 2018

Oddside Ale's Laughing Clown Malt Liquor

Old English 800, Magnum, Colt 45, King Cobra, Schlitz, O'Keefe's Extra Old Stock, Crazy Horse, St. Ides and Mickey's. Especially Mickey's. I drank my share of malt liquor in my misspent youth.

The name of the game was maximum buzzage on a budget. Flavor was not a huge factor in that game at all. All of them had a skunk essence to them in the way that they tasted (and smelled), finding the skunk essence that seemed the most palatable to inexperienced taste buds was as far as any of my friends or I went when it came to that aspect of them.

Over the past few years, I've spotted a craft brewery here and there offering a malt liquor. Every time I've seen one at a market I've grinned but, now being a "mature adult with an experienced palate" (or at least that's what I tell myself), I wasn't too sure if I could, or should, dip my tongue into such a style again.

"What the hell. Go for it" I told myself as I reached for Odd Side's Laughing Clown and brought it up to the counter. I mean, if for nothing else, they are one of my most favorite home state beer makers and each purchase of their stuff I buy puts some dough back into several different sections of the Michigan economy.

A semi-hard pour brings out a finger sized rocky head on this orangish yellow brew. It holds on for a few before melting into some a few clouds as a cap through the rest of the glass. Lacing is light and spotty.

The aforementioned familiar "skunk" scent that comes with the standard 40oz offerings of malt liquor is here but it is faint as aromas of freshly baked bread, sliced green apples, ground black pepper and brown sugar take the spotlight. "Hmmm. A cheap date but cultured and refined one too" was the thought that came to mind.

Such a thought is a good way to describe the flavor too. The skunk is one similar to that of Mickey's (and to some extent Heineken for those who may know what I'm talking about) but it's around the edges and not the dominant thing here. Instead, biscuit-like grains, lemon peel and a malty sweetness are the main event. There's a bit of malt and grain brawn throughout the beer along with a hint of corn adjuncts that I suppose need to be there to remind you that, after all, this is a malt liquor. It finishes dry and earthy with grassy and slightly bitter hop notes but nothing too sticky.

Laughing Clown may not be for the coulrophobic nor is it probably named in tribute to the band Ed Kuepper formed after he left the Saints, but I could find myself crushing a few cans of this quicker than I could get through a $2.69 GIQ these days.

Sep 19, 2018

PREDATOR No Face 7inch

Photo via Creative Loafing

The martial and callous slug of the drumbeats along guitars sounding like a hoarse rasp cranked through a speaker that can't quite handle the volume "No Face" had me thinking Big Black at first.

As it kept convulsing and hammering though, it was more like if Big Black were covered in wasps and someone has decided the best way to get rid of them is to used gasoline and a match.

Instead of a slow pummel that has a sheen of chrome and characteristic for sheets of metal scraping against each other, things here are covered in snot. That doesn't mean it flays wild and randomly though as it does lock in and focus and its target, making a robot tainted by Devo explosion of punk rock scorch.


"White" is delivered at a more moderate tempo but that doesn't mean things are calm and collected. There's a paranoia that hangs heavy which appears being all twitchy and distracted yet still stabs meticulously and hard.
Get stalked at Total Punk