Dec 26, 2007

LEFT ARM "Dissatisoul" CD

A crappy name (unless you are a Mudhoney tribute band) and an ugly front cover but the sounds inside kick some ass! Big dumb hard rock with a totally punk rock attitude. Chicks will always treat you wrong but rock-n-roll will always save your soul! I know that so they are preaching to the choir but that's the reason I chose it as my church. I'm gonna put this in my truck's CD player and run every red light on my way to the liquor store way on the other side of town. Do you need a lift over that way? Shut up and hang on. Just remember-NO ONE RIDES FOR FREE!

Dec 23, 2007

CHARLIE and the MOONHEARTS "I Think You're Swell" 7inch EP

The type of trash-punk done only the way the Californian's can do it. Charlie and his Moonheart pals take the tempo and hit the gas harder give the sound a new kind of kick it's been in need of. Four loud and fast blasts of garagepunk that actually feels like the brashiest yet swankiest of PUNK. Guitar amp speakers sound like their gonna scream mercy at any second, a drummer who might be turning blue because he don't have time to breath cuz he's too busy knocking out a manic non stop beat and a singer jumping between a hillbilly wail, a 60's caveman grunt and a raw throated scream. Sure, there's a billion of bands still out there doing this kind of sound but by fucking with it these guys are doing it right.

Dec 22, 2007

Anderson Valley Winter Solstice

Ahhh yes! Here we are on the day of the solstice and I need to get up the gumption to head out into the cold. There's a Christmas party going down at the local brew pub and I'm one of the dj's on the bill. Now, you're probably thinking "DJing at a brew pub?! That means free beer probably, right? And you get to spin some tunes. What more incentive do you need to head out?"
It's not the incentives I'm balking at (though, to be honest with ya the beer they make there isn't that much of a selling point but that's another story for another time...good food and some of the most coolest waitstaff for at least 50 miles none the less) it's just heading out into the cold and trekking over there. Yeah, yeah. Say I'm getting lame and old...whatever. It's all about getting a few drops of oil into the moving parts and letting the motor heat up first. Like that right and rich perfect 2-cycle mix for the Ski-doo or chainsaw this Winter Warmer is doing just that.
A really nice dark red color. I don't take much into the overall of color when it comes to beer but it's attractive the way it let's the light through.
Scents of malt, vanilla and cinnamon waft from the glass underneath a modest head. First few sips are of alcohol and a bit of a creamy vanilla thing but as the chill fades and the beer the winter spiciness of woodsy cinnamon and the tang of cherry show up, bringing a stand in front of the fireplace for a few minutes warm up after being in the cold all day that let's ya know you can make it through another season of skin drying and frost biting temps as long as there is a tonic or two to help ya through. The creamy, fruity & spicy finish reminds me of a Tom & Jerry, something that, courtesy of the Brass Rail, has been a tradition in this town for something like 70 years. The better half and I have already been there for one this year but I'm going it alone tonight. It's only a few blocks away the place where the records will be spinning...a place that you'd think would have some other good mirco bottles to compliment their own brews but as I said before the beer they make is nothing to crow about and their imports go no deeper than Molson, Guinness and Becks, so they won't have anything like this. I think I'll stroll over to the Rail sometime during the night. This is like that place's winter specialty...Rich barley instead of dark rum but they'd could be sisters. Hits the spot and gets Holiday spirit going. Both will be gone by the first of the year. I'll look forward til next year again for both too.
My ride (Hell no. I ain't driving to night! Too many amateurs out there getting their drink on. A cab will get me home) is outside honking their horn...gotta slide. I think I'll play "Maggot Brain" in honor of the season...unless you have a better suggestion that is.

Dec 20, 2007

BLANK DOGS "Two Months" 7inch EP

I'm guessing my "weird punk" vocabulary is limited. I always throw out the same usual references points. Sorry, I just ain't the anthropologist (at the most) or MP3 diggers (at the least) as a ton of other interwebsters. I only have the more obivious of reference points. Sure, when listening to a Blank Dogs record I could mention a song or two of Cabaret Voltaire's "Red Mecca", the Electric Eels, say something like "'Travelogue' by the Human League getting a heavy dose of electric guitars" or my 50,000th "First two Chrome albums" reference (all of the above just because they are records I spent a lot of time with back in my high school days) but I always do that and the band blurs all of that stuff up in such a messed up where no matter what is said someone's gonna say "I don't hear that at all" then go on about some stuff no one other than those that spend 8 hours a day everyday on Soulseek go seeking out.
Mars has a transmission tower in the earth's molten core?
Tape hiss! Pinned needle blare! A spaced out and tarnished yet metallic glare! Outerspace rock without exaggerating because they aren't earthlings but really from outerspace. And in outerspace they're trying to have something in the song that catches attentions and gets people humming, mumbling or screeching along as opposed to those of this planet where they do the opposite by taking something that could be a hook and attempt a form of alienation. They say someday computers will do all of this planets thinking. Somewhere in another galaxy the Blank Dogs have already set a revolution against such things. It's not a war against the technology though but a battle of of keeping a humanoid control over it instead of vice versa.
An "interview" with the Blank Dogs

Dec 17, 2007

COCOBEURRE/CHOCOLAT split single 7inch EP

While some place's have have shown great promise when it comes to an "awesome music scene" only to loose gas or fizzle out a couple of years later-the merry makers of Montreal continue down their own path, exchanging & sharing bandmates and finding other similar hearted rabble along the way to join them on the trip. The places they end up always warrant a listening or 20.
The Del-Gators Coco Butter Khan is Cocobeurre. On "Baby Where You Gone" she is backed by here brother-Yes, the King of Khan-where they take the songs of yearning woe from a Girls In The Garage comp and stick it in a country shack. She is joined by Choyce for "Watermelon"-a Ye-Ye piece gone seriously awry ending up in a spot somewhere between the Raincoats at the height of a vibrating shambles and the Black Lips wandering around in a total daze.
Chocolat have Demon's Claws in their midst and share some of the same characteristics such as sounding like totally unwashed kids with a penchant for R&B period Stones and pills but here with ears more on Freakbeat and the catchy end of AM radio psychedelia. The vocals sung in French give it a different swing too...It's almost downright exotic (and a bit sleazy).

Dec 16, 2007

the GREAT REUNION "King Automatic...The Feeling Of Love" 7inch

Back in my record store employee days there was this old guy that would come into the shop and ask if we had a copy of the Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington album "the Great Reunion" in stock. We never did but I would tell him that we could special order it for him. "Maybe I'll stop in next week and do that but I'm in a bit of a hurry now." Then a few weeks later he would stop in, ask for it again and tell him the same thing. Finally I said the hell with and ordered the damn thing and put it out to stock figuring well, even if he is in a hurry he'll still spare the five minutes tops it would to fill out the special order card, there it would be and he could stop asking. One day he comes rolling in and I was waiting for him.
"As a matter of fact. We DO have it" walked him over to the bin and put it in his hand.
"Well, I'm a little tight on money this week but I'll be in next week to pick up." Weeks would go by before I'd see him again and everytime I did he'd say the same thing. He eventually earned the nickname (because all customers with odd quirks or particular tastes in music always got a nickname evenutally. Ask me about Thermal Man, Closed Head Injury, Canadian Maiden, Power Metal Steve, Captain Cut Out, Prince Bootleg, New Wave Cassette Jerald, Parrothead Dead and so many more the next time ya see me) "Tight Cash Week Jazzbo." None of us ever saw him by anything so we didn't even know if he was actually a jazzbo or not but based on his concern of this one particular album being in stock it was as good of a name as any.
It's safe to say that no one would confuse this great reunion as a jazzbo summit. King Automatic and the Feeling Of Love are two very noisy and trash rock one man bands outta France joining forces to see how much ear damage they can cause between the two of them. "Here I Come" has a the Crypt Style JSBX spazzy blooze punk rock-n-roll cave thump thing going on that get's set loose in the middle of an airport to kick and flail while jet engines warm up around it. "With My Ten Fingers" starts out a waaay more sparse than the a-side and works all the better for it. A choppy riff making uses out of the empty spaces between the chords (Heh...Here's a place where I can drop a jazzbo reference by mentioning the Miles Davis line about "Music is the space between notes") all high endy-n-echo'd, a pitter patter drumbeat that feels all hypnotic and funky in it's simplicity then building up into both guitars spewing up from under ground forming together and making a deadly swamp gas. The only way they want to treat is with electricity and gasoline...It's a deadly combination.

Dec 15, 2007

DIRTY CHINESE THIEVES "Jesus Hates..." 7inch EP

This record comes in the mail with no return address, no info in the envelope or on the record itself. Just the title on the front sleeve in a stencil font and sharpie scrawled songs titles on the label. There's a postmark from Canada but no city. Weird. I get mail from all kinds of weird places but there's always some city or region of orgin of where it came from stamped somewhere on ther record. All that's here is some numbers. A Google search doesn't unturn any stones either. It's like this band has almost gone to KISS before they took the make-up off type of measures to shroud themselves in some kind of mystery. The only identifier to go on was that the copy that came here was number 23 out of 25. Here I am completely on a wild goose hunt and the needle hasn't even been dropped on the record. Sure, there's been plenty a based off packaging mystery record that has passed through these rooms but usually the sender will include some type of note scrawled on the bag of an old flyer or paper bag if nothing else but here...nothing of the sort. From a post I made over at the Terminal Boredom forum I gathered the band is from the Toronto area, have played a strip bar and there set is about 10 minutes long.
What ya get on the record is are 3 adventures in in hard rock/punk rock. A big lout of a bar fly on the mic, James Williamson flash licks all oiled and loose, tempos ranging from mid to fast and big rock song endings. It's all run through some kinda retardo punk approach which saves them from being tossed onto the RAWK junkpile.
Word is this is a contact for 'em

Dec 13, 2007

the TOUCH ME NOTS "Chris Owen Said It, We Believe It...That Settles It" LP

Though I've had the honor of hanging out with Chris Owen only once, when his band Killer's Kiss came through Michigan a couple of years back, we've exchanged our share of emails and for all I can tell he's a pretty right on dude. That Andrew and Kelly Touch Me Not dedicated their debut album (after a slew a great 7 and 10 inch EP's they past year and a half or so) to him as well name checking him in it's title only confirms this....but it ain't all about Chris Owen aka the "Andy Warhol of Bay Area Rock n Roll", as he is called on the lyric sheet (or flip it over and cut out the paper doll and it's dresses if'n you aren't into reading), here. It's about what's on the record.
The Touch Me Nots are Rock-n-Roll at it's undistilled bases. Backwater rockabilly, dirt road country soul, the punk rock of a 100 VFW hall shows, foppy glamrock, bar brawlin' country, heartland storytelling poets...I know there's been a billion times where that looks good on paper but then you end up with some boring ass stepchild of Rev. Horton Heat or Social Distortion where you can call every step the band is gonna take a couple of minutes before they do it but that's not the case here.
The above sounds have passed through their ears into their brains, been sanded down to it's original grain, torn apart and put back together with only it's essentials but still gleaming with class and flair.
A Tascam 4 track direct to tape recording because duo know they don't need overdubs or 50 takes for anything. All but one of these songs have not been released before and the one that was, "Celebrity Roast", is a new recordings. Kelly swings a beat like Peggy O'Neil if she mastered the bass drum and had a snare that sounded like the snap of a whip while Andrew beats, tugs and pulls warm & reverby totally non-fake ass rockabilly grit-n-twang out of his geetar. He sings like Eddie Cochran and the Fabulous Andy G hanging out and listening to Del Shannon & Tommy James records (Andrew can sing a line "Tell all the motherfuckers to kiss my ass goodbye" and make it sound like it would not sound out of place on a Phil Spector production) and Kelly screams and coos right behind him. This record is complete fun from start to finish but more importantly the Touch Me Nots couple sound like they genuinely enjoy each other company and would be making this kind of music whether anybody is listening or not. You should be listening though!!!

Dec 10, 2007

Avery Out Of Bounds Stout

It seems that whenever a conversation about the best breweries in the USA comes up Boulder, Colorado's Avery Brewery will be mentioned. Though I am not a complete novice of the finer hops, malts and barley's out there sometimes the selection in my town is not the widest (though it is getting way better than it was...At least this place is improving at SOMETHING) so it wasn't until somewhat recently that I've had a good selection of their stuff readily available to me.
Almost black in color with waves of a ruby hue when you hold it up to the light. A nice roasted barley is the first thing that noticed in the smell followed by something like an irish cream and coffee scent. A way inviting introduction that almost instantly takes my thoughts off the cold wind I hear whipping outside. Though the scent is very appealing I'm not going to get my hopes up just yet. I fell for the trick about a week or so ago with my last delving into the stouts then got really bummed out with the taste.
No dissapointment here though. A nice dark roasted coffee taste right up with a bit of cream running through through it and some hazelnut flavor in there as well. Since this is a dry stout there is a hop thing in the end but the slight bitterness that comes from it is balanced out with the brew's initial flavors. A medium body that set it's apart from that watery backend that Guiness type darks have but not that thick neck/hairy knuckes heaviness that some of the "extreme stouts" a lot of mirco's are mixing up. I still haven't immersed myself into a many of Avery's beers yet to make the call that they are one of America's top 5 brewery's yet but everything I've tried by them so far has been something damn good.

Dec 9, 2007

NOTHING PEOPLE "In The City" 7inch

From what the crack research staff here at the Smashin' Transistors could gather on the Nothing People they hail from a farming community in northern California by the name of Orland. At first I was thinking that maybe it was a front because the band has an unearthly thing about them. Spending many a day growing up in small farmtown myself though it's easy to become disconnected from what the rest of the world has going on. Though houses may be a half mile apart from each other out there-word travels fast in the sticks. Once branded a weirdo out in the pines it's hard to shake it so might as well embrace it.
Garage-drone-noise that makes a POP crackle. Thoughts of the metallic glare of Chrome, the bad trip on a sunny day feeling of Jesus and the Mary Chain, the grunt & growl of the Necessary Evils and the "Are they stoned on drugs or just getting high off the static" question that gets asked while listening to the Wooden Shjips all run through the brain while this record plays. Like those bands though where I could make a million comparisons on what band's that came before them that they remind me of (though I admit it's a bit trickier when discussing Chrome) they still end up sounding like their own thing. Sure, people have stories of trips that remind others "of the time something like that happened to me" but they all have had different twist and ending. I sure won't mind hearing some more of Nothing People's tales.

Dec 8, 2007

CHOYCE "Won't You Come Back" 7inch EP

World Traveller and all around Renaissance man of trash-rock Choyce (Daylight Lovers, Les Sexareenos, CPC Gangbangs, Luxury Rides and a bunch more I am leaving out) gets really real gone, pretty much goes it alone (Chi of Spaceshits, Del Gators lends some noise, Scat Rag Boosters Edouard gets it all on tape) and makes just as much racket as he does in any other circumstance.
"Won't You Come back" is slide bar murder blues field recorded from a cocaine swamp. Then "One Way Ticket" runs around like a rockabilly chicken with it's head cut off inside of dilapidated barn full of spring reverb & raunchy porno while the instro "Demon Mouche" sits on the backporch watching the sun go down and awaiting on the UFO's to return to mutilate the herd with toy laser guns.

Dec 7, 2007

JACUZZI BOYS "Ghost Ghost" 7inch

With as many jokes that have been made about Florida in general through the years one has got to wonder whether a band like the Jacuzzi Boys were a secret experiment grown in a lab and now set loose on the unsuspecting citizens of the Sunshine State to scrub their ears and clean their blood from the poison's that Limp Bizkit and Lou Pearlman toxified them with.
Three tracks of acid damaged, off balanced and fried speaker folksy punk jangle that at times sounds like the Black Lips "We Did Not Know the Forest Spirit Made the Flowers Grow" era paying tribute to the Replacements "Hootenany" album in some moments and at others the Velvet Underground joining Van Morrison and Them on a stage inside an echo chamber-all of them under the influence of oxycotin and the Country Teasers first album.

Dec 6, 2007

the DAILY VOID "Mass Communication Culture" 7inch EP

This batch of former Functional Blackouts are one of those bands where what you think about them depends on the mood your in. The first time I heard them I thought "Arty, spazzing, disjointed...but ehhh, something lacking." Maybe it was because I was listening to MP3's because this record hits some nails pretty hard.
Side one's "Mass Communication Culture" is an overload of bashed out guitar chords with a bunch of other string mangling coiling and slithering under, over and around it, angry space alien barking out words topping a live fast & young-die beaten & abused rhythm.
"Mechanical Teeth" echoic pattern of harm and grunts from fiery pits of psychosis bangs into "Mind Control" which sounds like it's gonna fall off into a ravine from the high speed accident. The guard rail knocked out, people inside teetering between life and death, screaming at god and ready to lose it all in a ball of flames.

Dec 5, 2007

TYVEK/CHEVEU split single 7inch EP

Sitting at the barber shop thumbing through a magazine the other day and I see that the people at Camel cigarettes is up to a hipster's marketing campaign once again. It isn't too uncommon. Hell, there were even jokes going around that they help fund the Detroit Garage Rock Explosion (that in the end really only ended up being a stick of dynamite and a couple of well placed M-80's). They were co-oping any way they could. Napkins, ashtrays, signage and giveaways. There was even one bar I had a good working relationship with that got a monthly cash expenditure allowance from them and they would call me to see if I had any bands they could spend money on because the dough didn't rollover for the next month. It didn't even matter what kind of numbers the band would draw as long as one of the cool/retro/hip/fashionable images the cigarette company was using got lodged into their subconsciousness. Yep, subliminal adverstisment at it's most obvious.
Really, I have no problem a musician willing to endorse whatever they want. It's their trip. I can make up my own mind. And I don't think they should be the blame if one of their fans goes off the deep end. If someone is willing and not forced to do whatever it may be they've obviously made up their mind. The thing is with this particular ad campaign is that when I saw bands like Home Blitz and Tyvek (who somehow got lumped in with the likes of Boris and High On Fire which seemed "Wha? Who's behind this thing and are they sure about that?") named dropped in it I wondered if the bands were even aware of what they were being associated with. I went to the website that was listed in the ad, nothing was there and news is the campaign has been abandoned. A couple of hours later I stopped by the Terminal Boredom forum and saw a thread on the subject. What do you know-the bands did have no prior knowledge of it. Very interesting indeed and now it can only be estimated how many heads went rolling at the ad agency.
Detroit's Tyvek do what they do best on their side. BareWIREd guitar blasts and the structure of a simple yet intense take on the "Pink Flag" sound bulked up and ready to take on all challengers while keeping the particular dark sense of humor thats' wise to develop when living in the middle of a eroding and rusted out city intact. All of that and a lock groove too. Cheveu, from France, manage to excite and annoy at the same time on their side. Repetitious rhythms in a pre-techo/post synth rock beat you over the head with a rock while six string mangling throws you down the stairs just to applaud the tumble.

Dec 3, 2007

Arcadia Starboard Stout and Michigan Brewing Company Superior Stout

It wouldn't be fair to say that I got off on the wrong foot with Arcadia but let's just say it does seem like standing on shaky ground sometimes when going for something they brew. In past experiences there was their pale wheat which flavorings tasted tart (but not in a good way) and an IPA that hardly had any hop taste to it & seemed more like an amber ale than anything else. Since I am a firm believer in supporting those in the state I live in (and the state can use all the support it can get. A look at it's unemployment stats is all the explanation one needs) and the colder weather meaning it's stout season-it was a good time as any to these Battle Creek beer makers another shot.
What I thought was a soft pour was apparently not soft enough. This foamed up like crazy. Could only get about half the bottle in the glass and the head was rising up over the top of the rim and took awhile to calm down. What I could see of the beer it was the dark brown you'd expect from a stout with a (huge) chocolate malt top. Someone went a little too crazy in the carbonation department. Though this states it's an oatmeal stout the thing you smell the most is alcohol, which is weird because it's not that high of an alcohol content (5.5%), along with a bit of coffee and vanilla. Not really any oat aroma at all which I find kinda odd.
The first noticed in the taste was a kind of bitterness not usually found in stouts. A bit of the oat shows up here. You could say roasty but almost bordering on burnt than anything else. The bitterness lingers too long in the aftertaste as well. Not the most appealing stouts I've tried to say the least. It's a bummer because I would really like to get behind what Arcadia is doing but so far everything I've tried by 'em has left me, for the most part, disappointed.
With Webberville's Michigan Brewing Company's Superior Stout a soft pour didn't cause a gigantic foam explosion that the Starboard did. Hardly any head at all actually and it dissipated pretty quickly. Deep dark brown in color, espresso and a earthy malt in the scent. The scent and color is the best thing about this though. It did have a coffee thing to it like a stout should have but it was like coffee from a gas station where the pot has been sitting on the warming tray a couple hours too long. There's too much of a vinegary hoppiness all through this that steps heavily on any of this beer's "stoutness" (even if this is suppose to be a dry stout which I don't think it is) especially in the back of the throat (and this coming from a serious hop fan). Not the right balance at all. It also seemed a bit too thin and dammit, I want my stouts to be hearty and this just isn't. Something just ain't right about it but I poured the wife a glass, because of the interest she's seemed to taken in the darker beers lately, to get an opinion. One sip and her nosed turned up and I saw the look of unapproving on her face. "I take it this one is not a winner?" was all she could say. What else could I do but nod in agreement? She said in one sentence is what it took me all of the above to to sum up.
MBC is one of those breweries where if they do something right they do it at 110%, the their Celis line which are damn beautiful, but when they go for a standards they're just that...Standard and average (if you're lucky). Winter is just starting so I have more than a few months to sample some of the other Michigan (as well as other parts of the country) makers of stouts but don't go out of your way looking for these while on beer hunting adventures.

Nov 29, 2007

MAASTER GAIDEN/ the POINTS split single 7inch EP

Two side of blasty blaaangowaang from different sides of this country. From the heart of Texas Maaster Gaiden do more of a "what happened after the Ramones suceeded to fuck up kids in Suburbia yet a fair distance before you'd get kicked out of a party for not attending the church of Screeching Weasel" thing than their punk rockers in an Iroc vibe their full-length gave off.
The Points, outta Washington DC, sound like they were the ones that did kicked out of those Screeching Weasel church group parties so they'd go home and listen to Motorhead & Devo (leaning more to the Lemmy than to the Bob's in case you are footnoting) records while planning some type of revenge.

Nov 26, 2007

THOMAS FUNCTION "My Empire" 7inch

Over the last year or so the Rocket City boys of T-Func have been nothing but a hit machine. Their past three 45's all had something that, in a perfect world, would be spending months on the top 40 charts and blasting out of cars and around the skateboard parks. It's far, far, far from a perfect world though isn't it? I'm sure if I said "T-Func are pop geniuses" (albeit very oddball ones) around most dorks who consider themselves music fans they'd say "You mean T-Pain, right?" All I know really know about T-Pain his seeing his name as a collaborator in every other music review I read in Entertainment Weekly. Based off that I'm guessing he must be this season's Akon or some shit (who is another who's songs I couldn't identify if I heard one but saw the name in a lot of magazines).
With this, the 4th single in their canon, the Thomas Function aren't showing any sign of needing a hook girl, samples from an 80's pop song or a dude to provide a rap part in lieu of a middle eight. "My Empire" bounces like the Lyres yet broods like those recordings that Television made a bit of a while back before they made "Marquee Moon" but with all the excess baggage tossed out the window and waved bye-bye at. "Earthworm" is like a spaghetti western soundtrack take on a death ballad being interpreted by a dustbowl John Cale. What? That doesn't sound like pop music to you? You must be in a different universe than the one I choose to inhabit.
ps: I used the abbreviated name "T-Func" as an attempt at a joke. Please no one start to actually refer to them as that. Earlier in the week someone asked me if I heard the the new album by "The Head". I thought he was talking the Head single that Goner put out but it seemed kinda off because the person never seemed to be someone who'd ever stumble across something like that. And I was right. They were talking about the new Radiohead lp. Do people actually refer to them as that or was the guy just choosing to do it all by himself?

Nov 25, 2007

BLONDSAI/thee LEXINGTON ARROWS split single 7in EP

Two female fronted punk rock bands from the Charm City. Blondsai do it in a Joan Jett jacked up on a bunch of bombast with a singer who doesn't look like the kind who'd smokes non-filtered Camels and gargles with bourbon but when she opens her mouth she sure sounds like it. The Lexington Arrows got a former Shakedown and a Beatnik Termite in the band. It's leans more to a garage rock/surf kinda thing with a singer who at times sounds like she trying a bit to hard to sound streetwise and "real". She's doesn't have a bad voice but the exaggerated vibrato and and overemotive breathing thing she does would probably start to annoy me after 10 minutes. Good thing the side is only about 5 minutes in length then I guess.

Nov 24, 2007

Harpoon Brown Session Ale

Two assignments were given to me for my family Thanksgiving gathering (which was today, a few days later than the actually holiday thanks to the bullshit scheduling geniuses at the corporate office of my employer). One was to find a turkey that would feed four adults & four kids. The other was to get a good beer that all us adults could agree on. My place of employment gave all it's drones a bird that was way more than enough for the former. Like a 20 pounder. Yeah, It surely did the trick and all of us who were at the table will be eating who knows how many turkey concoctions over the next couple of weeks. The latter was a little trickier. The wives don't care that the colder weather warrants stouts and will say stuff like "We aren't lumberjacks" if you try to serve them one. The other guy who would partaking in the quaffing is ALMOST as much of a beer snob as beer but is more of a malt man than a hops fan. It was an assignment of considerations to say the least. I stood in front of my selections available to me almost grabbing something off the shelf then thinking "Will this be the ideal one to go with the eats as well as hearty yet smooth drinking while watching whatever is expected on TV?" It must've took me close to a half hour to decide. Not something wimpy but nothing over the top either. "Hmmm, a brown session ale. Well, if their claiming it's good for a sit down and drinking session, something which beer drinkers of all stripes usually have to discover and judge for themselves, they've taken a lot of the guess work out for me. I hope they're right."
Brown in color (natch) but a little on the lighter end of the shade. Not much in the aroma department but if ya take a big whiff some malt and caramel scents are detected. Tastewise it sorta of the same thing. A lightly carbonated malty taste in mouth and a sweet Brazilian nut thing going on in the finish. It's mild yet still a bit flavorful so I won't challenge it's claim of a session beer because they go down easy and have an appealing enough taste to please a wide range of beer drinker. That's pretty common for brown ale though, isn't it? I like things with a bit more complexity and character session or not but I'm not scoffing at this either.

Nov 19, 2007


The Sonic Chicken 4 are not an easy one to pin down. My first exposure to them was their song on Nasty Product's "Love Killed My Brain" 7inch comp. Even with heavy hitters such as the Fatals, the Mighty Go Go Players and Kung Fu Escalator on it they stole the show with a piece of Velvet Underground and Jesus and the Mary Chain get a touch of Ye'-Ye' accents called "Love Song". The next thing I laid my ears on by 'em was their second single (never have heard the first. It's long gone out of print. Would like to have one in my collection some day) and it was a bit different than what I expected judging off the one song that had become one of my favorite tunes of the last five years. Both "Don't Let Me Down" and "Sonic Night" threw me for a loop because they were highly caffeinated (or maybe under the influence of "hot drugs") maximum R&B spazzouts that could get any ol' bag of bones gyrating and shakin' all loose but trying to keep up tempo-wise might dislocate a joint or two. Then they throw in the suitcase xylophone on the latter's the Fall does some kinda mutant rockabilly wandering lost in the middle of a city where Salvador Dali once declared it's train station the center of the universe (as well as a noted wine region) that the Sonic Chicken 4 call home and you've got a band that rises a mind to take note and enquire what they'll do next.
Hitting right off the bat with Velvet's "I Can't Stand It/Foggy Notion" type chug infected with a twitchy nervous condition called "Sexiest" and a chorus that not only sticks in your head but eventually caramelizes it. It's followed by two trashy numbers wringing wet in maximum R&B, "Stupid n' Crying" which tags back and forth between and a folky jangle with full on "Woo" backing vocals & a rat ta tat tat drumbeat and "Margharita", which takes the Gories recipe and broils it to a crisp with a searing harmonica honk and a smashed up Mod guitar crashes. "Do It All Right" an impetuous collision of American country music, Jaques DuTronc's capriciousness and the Real Kids declaring elation for getting out of the folks house.
"On My Way" wiggles with a twisty duo ragga guitar lines ala the Feelies, a buzzy turnaround part that keeps popping up and bending the tune into a place different than a song like this usally goes, a melodic drone something like the Telescopes and a blast of dirty guitar to hold it all together. "Only Lose" fools you at first thinking it's gonna be some ragged teen jangler then the noise is turned wide open and it sounds like something like the Cheater Slicks kicking the shit out of some brit-pop song.
It's dark and rainy 'round here today but when "Shalalalalove" comes on it's like a summer day. A dance party on the beach, a girl group gone really, really bad and the boys that led 'em down that path and the taste of lemonade and vodka. A tart sweetness with more than a bit of spike. "Girl 66" has a bit of that Chuck Berry when he played hillbilly licks thing going on and hoping the bus across town for a bit of sugar. The bus is missing it's tail pipe so it inspires ol' Chuck to get all the guitars to sound like it. He couldn't quite do it though so he wrote it down, stuck it in a bottle and decades later the Sonic Chicken 4 stumbles across it on a riverbank a million miles away from where it was launched.
"I Had Too Much To Drink (Last Night)" takes another VU formula, feeds it's a steady diet of punk rock and drops of some type of psych-noise brain frying grease. "Creature In The Pictures" flashes back and forth between a My Bloody Valentine track peeled down to just it's meat in the middle of a torrential downpour and a walk through the park on a day when flowers are bloom.
There's been a few times through this record where I've wanted to declare a certain tune "The damn best pop song of the moment" then "The Right Side of A Woman" comes on and I wanna do it again. The right amount of everything they put in their songs all in one package. This album will not be leaving the turntable if not for any other reason than because of that. You hear the songs and find something that catches your ear making ya wanna sing along or turn up loud & jump on the couch, make you rethink the kind of distortion pedal you have and how you use it....You get the picture. Late contender for album of the year but they'll be making my 2007 list.

Nov 17, 2007


Blues Control? More like Snooze Patrol!!! Take an Andreas Vollenweider record you found at the Goodwill, run it through some effect pedals then get that weird old guy from down the road who can play some tripped out jamming on a guitar but was never in a band because he never ever listens to anybody to throw some leads over the top of it. Today outsider and weird-tomorrow the new wave of new age.

Nov 14, 2007

Anderson Valley's Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout

Ahh yes. It's offically Stout season...I know about a month or so ago we got a little teaser in Michigan of the weather to come. Then the temps crawled back into the low 70's for a couple of weeks and held off further explorations to the real dark side for a bit. Not now though.
With an elk drinking from a crisp blue lake & mountain ranges on the front label and a story on the back label that incorporates some of the local dialect-here's hoping what's inside the bottle can start up as much conversation as it's packaging.
This is pretty damn dark. Almost as dark as Victory's Storm King I delved into when I jumped the gun 30 or so days ago but really, I don't recall ever seeing something as dark as those. Colorwise it's right on hue with any previous oatmeal stout I've tried and a peanut butter colored head that faded fairly fast. A very roasted scent reminding me of an ealy winter bonfire. Warm and mellow caramel, oats and coffee flavor on the front end. Like breakfast on a cold morning where ya need something to warm your bones before you go outside to dig the car out of 8 inches of snow because even though the kids got a snowday ya have to go to work. Granted, one has to wait to the workday is done and the chillun' are in bed before relaxing with a laid back yet hearty brew but this one is a great reward. A slight bit of hops shows up in the aftertaste but it's not at all bitter because it's balanced by a smokey molasses and malt tinge strolling around through it.
The cap tells me that this is a "Solar Powered Beer." Being that it's the brewery is located in the old hippie enclave of Mendocino county if the claim was just a gimmick or catchphrase but, what do ya know, the brewery actually IS solar powered. That's pretty damn cool if you ask me. I don't what effects it might have on the brewing process, if any, but this is a very natural tasting beer and I will be on the lookout for whatever other Anderson Valley Brewing Company beers that may land on the beer shelves of this town.

Nov 13, 2007


A straight forward garage punk rawkin' trio. Four tunes dealing with living on the unhealthy side of the streets in the vein of the Mud City Manglers with less time logged listening to the Stooges and not as heavy on the throttle of a motorcycle aimed toward a wall of plate glass windows. Instead it seems as if Thin Lizzy's "Vagabonds Of The Western World" got it's fair share of spinning time on their turntable as well as some Blues comp they swiped out of their folks record collection and the occasional AM cheese chestnut while downing a bottle of Sangria.

Nov 12, 2007

the PLEASURE KILLS "Smash Up The Radio" 7inch

Will all the geeks for a loud and brash pop song raise their hands? Not necessarily power-pop geeks though. Well, power-pop geeks can raise their hands too but don't act too dorky, okay?
Yeah, I'm a sucker for a good loud and brash pop song. I think it has a lot to do with that in junior high I discovered the Knack, Blondie and the fact that maybe not all girls had cooties. I don't fawn, flip or freak over every band doing it but when there's a hook that gets stuck in the head it can't be denied.
Now throw a female singer into the equation. The girl band geeks can raise their hands now too but things get a little tricky here. Girl band geeks aren't the choosiest. I have nothing against girl bands or girl singers. I'll admit to anyone that the Go-Go's are one of my top favorite bands ever (Did I already go over this? Pretty sure I have) but a lot of dudes will like the band just because they have a chick singer. Things like actual good songs can take a backseat in a lot of those situations. "Yeah, the tunes are sorta weak and the hooks kinda dull BUT THE SINGERS GOT A NICE SET OF CANS." Such a scenario explains how a not much else going for them band like the Charms gets priority display space on the racks at Best Buy (Well, that and some money of course).
I am not by any stretch an opponent of a nice set of cans but ya better have something more than that going for you. Sure, a nice set of cans grabs one's attention but if that's all the band has to offer gawkers are only gonna get ya so far.
The Pleasure Kills seem to got it going on in the right departments though. Not a superslick production but there a sparkle and a bit of grit. A large dollop of Blondie and maybe a few dashes of Martha and the Muffins going on. There's that something going on here that would've had Rodney on the Roq playing this on the radio for weeks on end back in his early 80's heyday. If someone played me "Smash Up The Radio" and asked "Do you remember this song from the Valley Girl" soundtrack I would say no but only because between seeing in the theater a bunch of times when it came out, then it's run on HBO and spot it still holds with basic cable airings I pretty much got the film commited to memory. It's a cool little piece of day-glo earrings and checkered Van's new wave rock yet it's the flipside's "Over and Over" with it's "Bop Bop-A-Bop Bop Bop" chorus and guitar fuzz solo stirs up memories of me wanting to go to California and finding a girl who smells like a raspberry Blow Pop.

Nov 8, 2007

Avery White Rascal Wheat Ale

The constant search for the most delicious of wheat beers can be a tricky one. Some have too much of this, not enough of that... you know the drill. The too much's or not enough's usually end up being the same thing more times than not. Those are coriander and citrus. I usually don't care for the ones that have too much of a dominant taste of one or the other but I feel also the same when they lack one of the two. It's the twists or the just right balances that win me over.
A not quite clear but not too hazy color and a nice balance between the citrus, coriander and malt in the scent. The taste also equals that balance too. A slight citrus tang but not too much, a bit of spice but not too much or this or that with a clean and refreshing yeasty finish. Considering that we're into November and the temps 'round these parts are no longer what people would call warm this isn't quite a seasonal appropriate brew but when the warm months roll back around I'll be sure to have these on hand from time to time. It's surely one that'll hit the spot after some yard work.
For some reason, even with all the raves I've read about about the Avery stuff, this is the first time I've ever tried one of their wares. The take on this stuff over at Hedonist Beer Jive was an influence of led me to take the leap. It's got me wanting to give more of their stuff a shot very soon.

My favorite beer vendor ask me what I thought of them and I gave him a bit more condensed response than the one above. He then said to me "Dale, you always seem to like the things with the most sinister of looking labels." I never even thought about that til he mentioned it. Now, I must reflect....

Nov 6, 2007


Though I've found myself doing it more than a few times I do realize that putting the Wooden Shjips under the "Psychedelic" tarp is painting with a pretty wide brush. What do people think when they hear that term? I'm sure everyone has a different impression of what the word means if were talking the category in it's classic sense. On the other side of the coin there's the head music that came out years after the calico walls fell down. Y'know, like Hawkwind's disturbing cocktail of speedfreak ring modulations & LSD wah-wah squawks and the distorto-deconstruction sounds of Chrome. Neil Young and Crazy Horse's rootsy travels into the abyss. The whimsy into paranoia into space travel noodlings of Pink Floyd. The drone building to transcendence of Spacemen 3 and Flying Saucer Attack...Hell, even Kraftwerk (I dunno if they're considered krautrock or in a world only that fits only them) and Tangerine Dream (though only "the first few albums" from either of course) to an extent with some of the first trippers I ever associated with. Listening to the Wooden Shjips is like standing in the middle while all the things above circle around you.
"We Ask You To Ride" opens the album up with the band inviting you to take their trip. A hypnotic austere bass and drum pattern lays down the foundation for a part 60's arty horror flick/part 4 a.m. dancing under the streetlights on microdots organ part to swell giving way to laid back vocals awashed in rubbery echo and an electrical storm of gain knob cranked guitar scuzz. It's is followed by "Losing Time" and "Lucy's Ride." The former a blurred groove of basement fuzz blues minimalism that's would be great for driving in an at dusk rainstorm and the latter is another cruise this time through a forest of trees in another dimension in search of a place for a latenight swim.
Side two are two long pieces. "Blue Sky Bends" boils in a slow tension walking tempo all the way through while the guitar alternates between a cold sweat and hot flashes. "Shine Like Suns" vibrates like it's stayed up for 48 hours but it's the first sunrise it's watched in ages.

Nov 4, 2007


The front cover is the inside photo of the Stones "Sticky Fingers" album but they ran it through some kind digital effect. What's the name of that photoshop setting? They took the Stones back cover and did the same thing for the back too. When I put the record on is it gonna be the music off that album run through some digital filter too? That would be stupid.
It's some type of rock but not "Sticky Fingers" rock & roll though. It's as rock as you can while using mostly synths though I guess. Jay Reatard hangs out with these guys and that's enough for some people. For me? I'm not so sure yet. I recently got dragged out to goth night at a local meat market. I will say the stuff on this record is more much more convincing than any of the shit the dj played that night. I was angry there because of all the low budget horror house fashion models. This makes me angry because it's totally fucking pissed off sounding. It's a more useful kind of anger.

Nov 2, 2007

GOODNIGHT LOVING "Drafted Into War" 7inch

Recorded in Memphis earlier this year by brand new mama Alicja Trout and happy back-up harmonies provided by the ladies of Vancougar Goodnight Loving deliver another winner. "Drafted Into War" could possibly be the most subtle AND most entertaining protest song to come along since....oh...."99 Luft Balloons" maybe. 80's classic alternative rock ain't the template here though. It's sunshine pop gone way scruffy. Something like the Monkees when they were smoking lots of grass (and according to a book I read a couple of years ago-They smoked A LOT of grass. I know it was commonplace for all the musicians back then to toke a little bit but when I read the adventures it was like "The Monkees?! Really?! Wow! Damn!") set Don Kirschners wig on fire, had gotten 100% complete total control on "Headquarters" and hired Roky Erickson and Roger McQuinn to hang around the studio just for ambiance and the occasional thumbs up. "Life Ain't So Great" is has a little less ambiguous statement of life in the modern world and is a bit more dark musically then the a-side but no less infectious.

Nov 1, 2007

the PHARMACY "Abominable" 7inch EP

Lots of 80's sounding synths meets the Beach Boys but a bit of a snarky post-indie rock "Well if Modern Mouse can get Johnny Marr to play in their band let's try to get Ric Ocasek's attention" feeling to it. It's a quirky, sometimes catchy & clever. I'm sure the retro kids around their town are probably crazy about 'em because the new Interpol album sucks and they got this to grab on to. They sure gotta lotta myspace friends. Weird Pop???

Oct 30, 2007

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

A couple of years ago I could go into a beer vendor around town here and find handful of pumpkin beers when autumn would roll around. They're not something I would want to drink on a regular basis but to get in the spirit of the season I would grab a couple of singles of whichever one and be on may way. I went into the store the other night in search of that once a year taste and I swear there were at least 25 different ones on the shelf looking back at me. The place I was at sorta frowns on single bottle purchases and marks them a bit to discourage one from doing that and going for the 4 or 6 pack instead just on basis of simple economics.
"Well if they're gonna get about $10 out of me one was or another I might as well go for gusto."
It's been said here before but Dogfish Head don't mess around...sometimes they go a bit over the top. If nothing else I know it'll something interesting and won't be flavor with extracts but the real thing. Ugh! Extracts. The thing I don't dig about flavored beers.
Dark orange color. Nice, it reminds me of fall. The smell of nutmeg, cinnamon and brown sugar reminds me of my grandfolks house on a Sunday afternoon. Off to a good start.
The pumpkin and spice taste is really upfront in this medium body brew when it hits the mouth. The cinnamon lingers a bit when the malt kicks in and everything finishes with a dry & hoppy bitterness. The taste of alcohol is pretty much all over it from start to finish. Not too overbearing but there's no denying that it's there. The better half said she liked it but had her thinking that someone tipped a little bit of a nut brown ale into the pie batter. I can't say that I've ever, that I recall at least, thought about having a doughnut or a bowl of ice cream with a beer before but entertained the idea while drinking this. I'm sitting on my porch and waiting for pranksters. After all it's Devil Night in Michigan. Too cold for ice cream outside for me. I'm not waiting on the porch with a shotgun though either. Are you kidding? Rifle season is coming up soon. Do you think I'm gonna waste dirtying and powdering up the barrel on some goofs looking for some cheap fun? I've got a megaphone. Any of those street urchins try a toilet paper teepee or some eggs, shaving cream or soap antics on my property I 'm gonna shout them a warning....then shoot off the air cannon I have loaded with all four of the above in their direction. If I can sense they're even thinking about the flaming bag of animal poo-I've got another cannon loaded with the same and ready go as well. Taking it too the streets is the only way to take back the streets is what I say even if the people on my block with the McGruff the Crime Dog stickers on their screendoors disagree.

Oct 29, 2007

TUFF BANANAS "Candy" 7inch EP

One of the message boards (I believe it was Terminal Boredom) a couple of months back someone was getting bent out of shape that a couple of members of one of the greatest punk rock bands of the last decade or so were now in a bubblegum group. The punk rock band was the Catholic Boys and the bubblegum group are the Tuff Bananas. Well, those guys never denied their sweet tooth. As a matter of fact I recall hanging out with Paul at something like 3 in the morning after listening to a Buddah singles comp I have then watching some Bay City Rollers videos and half jokingly plotting how to bring a rock out and fuck with a sound like that and bring into the 21st century. Or at least I thought it was half joking...none the less the results are sugarbuzz blast.
Just in time for Halloween side one's "Candy" is a ya can't help but sing-a-long honoring of all kindsa confections with a keyboard line found at the waaay fun end of New Wave and a bit the Boys punky power pop yet situated in a place where it sounds not at all out of place no matter the decade, trend or era. There aren't many songs that you can both pull taffy or outrun the cops to but these Milwaukee excitable's not only do it but do right at the two minute mark.
The flip's "Firebug", a quick blast of love for playing with matches, and the Coasters meet the Saints on a latenight kitchen raid sound of "Refrigerator Gator" keep sweet and sticky hyperactivity way up high. If ya can't dance to this or at least crack a smile when these songs are playing ya might wanna call yr doctor because your heart has turned to stone.

Oct 27, 2007


Chicago's Cococoma and Sheffield, England's Hipshakes are kindred spirits of the rock-n-roll trio ilk. They both do trashy jump around and get stupid noise but, other than that, you wouldn't confuse them with each other even when they are doing each other's songs. Cococoma's original "Never Be True" has a Misfits going way down south and balled up in static. "Whoah Oh Oh's!" and speedy distorted twang. Their cover of the Hipshakes "Brain Numb" stomps a hole through the floor as the keyboard riff gets ya hopping up and down.
The Hipshakes drop a total teenage bombshell of wild desperation & dirty celebration with their own "Hurt My Pride". A snotty voices crackles and screams over an Oblivians meets Supercharger window breaking blast. Their take on the Cococomas "All I Give" is so damn out of control it makes their preceeding original sound behaved. A two sided party record for sure...could turn in a messy party though. Be careful of random strangers too. Ya never know when one of them will imbide too much then pass out on the couch and let their bladder loose.

Oct 23, 2007

the STRANGE BOYS "Nothing" 7inch

Using the word "strange" in the band's name is appopro here. It's guite an odd view at how a mashin of certain kinds of music should be done. Apparently some of the garage rock intelligentsia aren't digging this record. I don't know why. Maybe it's because it's weird but not "weird punk" or something. I dunno, maybe some ears aren't tuned into fix on an very odd mix of psychedelic honky tonk that slipping and sliding all over a road covered with Country Teasers ice though a Black Lips drizzle with the Pastels behind the wheel taking backseat driving directions from a sauced up Pretty Things Dick Taylor. Mine are receiving this Strange Boys record loud and clear though. Off center and slurry sound teetering between the gutter, the front porch, jail and church?!?! Texas stewed country mud stumblers slip in one of too many shots rock-n-roll shots of tequila! The shambled twang meets the god-damn it all of a double visioned stumble and crawl race to make it home before the sun comes up again.

Oct 21, 2007


What's up most cartoons that are set under the ocean having some kinda of calypso sounding song going on in them at some point? It's a tropical thing, right? Tropical oceans represent only 0.01 percent of Earth's ocean volume though. Where's the tunes that reflect the rest of the waters? Something that sounds submerged deep in a vast amount of dark blue liquid, fragmentary bits of light seeping in vibrotic waves reflecting off strange creatures colored silver, pink and green. Someone needs to phone up the Wooden Shjips dudes and give them such an assignment.
The single titled "SOL '07" (Part 1 and 2 respectively per side) in dedication to the 40th anniversary of the Summer Of Love (and proceeds from the sale of the record going to benefit the Food Not Bombs organization) is just that type of song. The bass and drums playing a repetitious, hypnotic and dance pattern boiled down to a raw essence and sounds such as keyboards and a treated trumpet bubble up and float in and out something like the Tornados "Telstar" crashed in the sea. Guitar noise whip up a riptide then ride out on the same waves the voice surges and sways upon. Side one fades out for side two's fade up where the expanse get wider and deeper into the deepest of blue.

Oct 18, 2007

the ELECTRIC BUNNIES "Eskimo" 7inch EP

PUNK ROCK IS DEAD?! PUNK ROCK IS ALIVE?! REAL PUNK ROCK?!?!?! I've been into Hot Topic. They sell a lot of punk rock fashion there. I didn't realize that the Exploited still warranted 8 different designs at a retail store but I guess they do. I didn't see any Dead Boys or Alice Cooper t-shirts the last time I was there though. Shit like that is more punk rock rock than a bunch of bad complextion mohawked fish and chips eaters will ever be. The Electric Bunnies know that too. Sick rock & roll!!!!

Oct 17, 2007

STAAGS! "Robot" cassingle

A cassette single?! Over in the FAQ section we sorta dare people that want to send demo's on that format over a CD-R if for no other reason then that we can record over it...didn't expect anybody ever really would though but this band of drunk rockers did.
Featuring Final Solutions Quinn on guitar & hootin'-n-shoutin' and Memphis' funniest long haired and bearded prog rock fan Robin aka Jack Stands on bass the STAAGS! bring a case of beer each to the party then drink it all too! Yeah, lots of dudes can do that but the band brings the ROCK! too. Hard rock, punk rock, rock-n-roll-what have you. "Robot" is a short and bitter stomper sounding something like the Dead Boys with some serious Halo of Flies brain damage sitting up in the bleachers not rooting for either side but heckling both as hard as the can. "Get Off My Lawn" is like the grumpiest of grumpy old men in any given town, backed by a totally hammered hardcore band. He's not gonna call the cops or blast some buckshot at ya his you keep riding your bikes on his lawn. He's gonna bust out a flamethrower out on your ass instead!

Oct 15, 2007

Victory Storm King Stout

It's not only proper beer etiquette but also common sense to drink the stouts when the colder weather comes through. Who wants to drink that that burly thickness on hot and sweaty days anyways? They're purpose defeaters for those times. Well, the leaves off the trees so it's time to dark cracking open a few dark beers...and when saying dark ya can't get much darker than Storm King. We're talking REALLY dark here. It's damn near black. The head was even darker that most dark beers and reminded me of a chocolate malted. The smell kinda threw me off though. It didn't remind me of any stout I've had before. Sure, it was smokey and you get whiffs of the alcohol (but at 9% ABV how could it not really) but had also had that hoppy citrus scent going on too. Ain't no doubt about it that Victory doesn't ever skimp on the hop and it's no exception here.
It's an interesting tasting one too. A roasted nutty flavor intertwines with a coffee like bitterness at first, then the malt and a bit chocolate comes through with the hops and alcohol rising up strong in the finish.
No stout is anything that I could drink on a regular basis and because of the high ABV in this I couldn't drink more than a couple in a sitting but if you looking for a very tasty & interesting American take (something Victory does with everything they brew) on stouts and well, something that'll give you a warm buzz, I highly recommend Storm King. That goes double for those looking for a different kind of black to use in their Black and Tans cuz it's not a law to use Guinness to make one. It's not like someones gonna take away you beer drinking license or anything if ya do...

Oct 14, 2007

X-OFFENDER "Get It Right" 7inch EP

Let's hear it for Michigan rock-n-roll. Nope, not just Detroit but Michigan as a whole. Then again maybe that's too all encompasing for what I'm trying to get at here. How about west side of Michigan rock-n-roll? Things have been brewing up a bit over there the last year or so. Throbbin' Urges, Metal Teeth, Tom Potter's new thing called the Chrome Spiders and these guys having been getting people to shine a light in that direction since....ummm...the Fix maybe? Has it been that long? 'Bout time again...especially with some of the sounds going down over there.
X-Offender are a punk rock trio that bring it snotty and loud. They do it with a simpleness powered by 10,000 volts that'll stick to the roof of your mouth if ya let. Lots of dirt, fuzz, obnoxiousness, chopped and treble like Rip Off Records golden era but filtered through something that can only be found in this state. Say Yes to Michigan but most of all say FUCK YEAH to the stuff like this that's coming out of Kalamazoo.

Oct 12, 2007

THOMAS FUNCTION "Relentless Machines" 7inch

The Thomas Function rolled through town last night and a good time was had by all in attendance. Being the, for the lack of a better word AND the lameness of the people around here that whine "there's nothing to do in this town" but then don't do anything when there is something to do, promoter of the show they played people would come up and ask me what I thought about them.
"I like 'em. Why else would I waste my time bringing them to town if I didn't? The question is what did YOU think of them?"
I like asking that question to the locals. Some of you reader may wonder what the hell I am thinking with some of the comparisons I make sometimes but sometimes the responses of the locals is even more perplexing. Some of the ones were obvious like the Ponys, Television and, of course the Velvets. Some guy said they reminded him alot of "the Cure. Their earlier stuff." Maybe so, I can see that I guess but his buddy INSISTED that they sounded like the B-52's.
I couldn't resist hearing one of those skewed-n-stewed PH views so I had to ask "How so?"
"Don't you hear it?!" Then he started grunting some riff. "Uh Uh Uh Umm Uh Uh." It didn't really sound like any B-52's song song I ever heard and it didn't sound like anything the band played.
"Man! How can you NOT hear it?" He then started grunting the same riff again.
I tell him that I don't think I know that one.
"Well, give a listen when you git home. You'll hear it."
I haven't listened to any B-52's since then but have given this single quite a bit of spins the past few days. It wasn't until today though that I had ever thought about the B-52's while listening to it. It's like I am trying to find WHAT made the guy think that.
Is it the vocals? Josh has a nervy yelp at times but it isn't a creepy math nerd blurt...Hmmm. Maybe he's thinking the things Kate and Cindy did? That seems too much of a reach though.
They both have some simple 3 fingered keyboard parts. The Thomas Function sound is organic and hazy. The B-52's are akin to B-movie background beeps.
Maybe it's the beat? The Thomas Function rhythm chugs and sways more than it does an antsy jitter and jump so I'm ruling that out too. It could be the bass lines. I always forget that the B-52's had a bassplayer on their more well known hit but I remember them best without one. I hope the hell the guy wasn't thinking "Love Shack" or some shit when he made the comparison. TF bassman Travis was sporting a burly mustache and Fred sported one when the B-52's were on an Saturday Night Live episode 3 decades back but that's way before they had a bass player.
Could it be the guitar parts? Maybe in a wide interpretation you could consider both band's 6 string parts mutations of 60's garage rock and surf licks but Ricky Wilson was missing a couple of strings and it was all weird dry blaaangs. There's all six being used in Thomas Function songs and it's much more wet and crystalline.I have no idea where the guy was coming from.
With that covered let me tell ya that it's been awhile since I have declared "Right now at this moment the band on stage are the greatest band in the world" but while the Thomas Function were playing I did last night.

Oct 9, 2007


Bikers. They're probably the most romanticized groups of outsiders in modern culture. Not adhering to society rules, doing their own thing and all that. In the indie/underground/garage/punk/whatever ya wanna tag it scene the one man band is the one most likely to get the outsider tag branded on them. The thing a lot of bikers gravitate to "clubs" (according to a conversation I an uncle of mine who proudly wear his colors "the word gang brings to many negative connotations to it. We still like to drink and fight though") so as travelling in packs seems to dissipate the true meanings of the word loner or outsider. "Clubs" have a leader or someone in charge and members usually go along with it.
One man band go it alone, make and set up their own contraptions and just let it fly BUT there seems to be an unwritten law concerning a 50's rock-n-roll adhering a lot of them follow. For all I know it could be written law but since I don't have a one man band no one has handing me the rulebook. There's nothing wrong with the one man band/oldies style template...but it's cool to hear it shooken up a bit too. That's when things get interesting.
The ironic thing is that when I was opening my mail the day this came Waylon's "Don't You Thing This Outlaw Bit Has Done Got Out Of Hand" was on the stereo and I started thinking "Well, This one man band thing may be getting a little out of hand". Then I notice Slow Gun Shogun covers "Lonesome, On'ry & Mean" on this disc? Hmmm...some kinda weird omen perhaps?
Other than the opener "Spinning Wheels" (with it's line "Fuck the law") and the dirgy blues pean to budget booze "Evan Williams Blues" which follow a 50's covered in mud sound some curveballs are thrown. "Ace Rudy Haightley" is like Roger Miller doing some kinda hillbilly speedball mix Xanax, weed and bourbon. "Wish I Could Fix It All (With Some Hoodoo)" and "Lying Again" have a Velvet Underground via C86 feel to them but a lot more twang. The Waylon cover closes the disc. It's a commendable take on-think Spacemen 3 doing a version but it's hard to sell me on anyone doing any song his voice once graced.
AJ, the man behind Slow Gun Shogun, looks like a biker in his pictures and sounds like he's having a good and possibly chemically altered time making his music and would be doing it whether he has other people jamming with him or not.