Jun 30, 2007


Possessor of one of the coolest real names in Rock-n-roll, Rich Crook (he of Reatards, Lost Sounds and Knaughty Knights fame) hooks up with Greg Roberson (he of some really great Rock-n-Roll hair as well as one time Reigning Sound skinsman) get together, crack open some intoxicants and make some pop music.
"Pop music? As in some kinda American Idol shit or something?"
NO! Pop music as in Cheap Trick, Sloan (I live in a bordertown...Sloan is like water or air when it comes into tuning the FM radio...I guess I could mention the Records or something but that only good Records album has only 2 or 3 good songs, Sloan has a better track record actually) , the Ramones and a bunch of "Let's have a good time tonight" (as opposed to the "Let's see how depressed and weird we can get") new wave bands who's names are slipping my memory at the moment. Don't ya hate that when it happens? It's on the tip of my tongue but it just won't shake itself loose. No matter though cuz all they'd be is reference points. LOVER! isn't (or at least I don't think but have been wrong many times before) blatantly trying to sound like any of the ones I mentioned. It just simply reminiscent when it comes to the way the songs are put together and the guitar blast (where the Cheap Trick and Ramones names drops came from) the double upped vox (Kinda like Sloan but with a bit less of that drone they sometimes have) and a jump up and down party vibe (the new wave bands reference). A couple of songs sorta got me thinking the Black and Whites but that may be something in the BBQ sauce of the "Goner Axis". If ya dug Rich's tunes on the Knaughty Knights "Tommy Of The River" single then you should not-I repeat SHOULD NOT waste any time or hem and haw about owning this.

Jun 27, 2007


Every once in a blue moon someone will bring up the Juke Boyds to me. "You were really rallying them for a while, Dale. Do you know what ever happen to 'em?"
Well, I'm sure most of ya know that Andy is now in the Goodnight Loving. Dunno what Jeff America is up to these days. I hear a rare report here and there of him being spotted around Green Bay but that's about it. Ryan is Madison these days and is part of the Midwest Beat.
The disc's opener "J-Man's Blues" is a baroque pop (love how some of the ornamentations almost sound like a string section) jangler reminding one of Gene Clark doing a song with Raspberries but without the dark cloud feeling that looms over a good chunk of the former and the overblowness that the latter could suffer from. It's sparkly but there's also grit. Dig those harmonies. Yeah, the sweet harmonies that are all over the place on every song and these boys nail it everytime. Be it on the Mersybeat (Hmmm...Midwest Beat. Mersybeat. A play on words?) finding it's way to the
Whisky a Go Go circa '66 glimmerings of "Our Lady", the country music gone all hyperactive of "Crying Over You" & "My Love Has Gone Away" or the folky punkster of "Girl Gone West" if these songs weren't catchy and, dare I say it, at moments downright pretty just on their own them harmonies would still come along and grab ahold of ya. Hey, Midwest Beat! Why don't ya bring that stuff over to the great lake my little town rests by sometime this summer? It can be so damn downtrodden and depressed here at times. Y'all got a sound that could brighten things up even if it's only for the length of your set.

Jun 24, 2007

EL JESUS DeMAGICO "Funeral Home" 7inch EP

I've always wanted to own a hearse...and NOT because the Makers owned one either. When I was about 5 or 6 years old there was a teenager who lived a couple houses down who owned one. An old Cadillac one. A '68 if I recall correctly (It had the vertical headlights. GM changed their front end designs across the board by '69). He also wore a top hat most of the time. I thought he was Alice Cooper. If I went out tomorrow and found a cool old one for a sweet price one of the first things I would do is install a loud stereo with a CD player, burn this record to disc and play it as I drive around. It was recorded in a funeral home after all.
It's tricky enough these days to convine people that you make 'weird punk' because you are bonafied weirdos. It also ain't very easy in these times to do blues based garage punk without garnering a few raised eyebrows and some saying "Haven't we heard this all before?" Now...try to meld the two together. Yeah, good luck huh? Well, mark EL JESUS DeMAGICO down as a rare bird.
The accidental Dada of floating in space then crashing so hard to the ground that it leaves a hole 20 feet deep and quarter mile wide. The keyboards feel like gasoline laced embalming fluid, the guitars slice and serrate no longer needed vital organs before sewing eyeballs shut and wiring closed jaws to battle rigor mortis and it's crazy little pranks while vocals fizz and sibilate the place the soul recently vacated. A bit of that thing like Times New Viking have going on where there's a melody in the atonality getting adjoined with something like Clinic's mad scientists in a race for outerspace garage rock thing while Gibby Haynes and crew get an epiphany on what people mean when they say "I used to really like the Butthole Surfers" is going on here.
Over the weekend I was out with the family and stumbled upon a concert in the park thing going on. The band playing had a banner behind saying something like "Rockin' Blues In Praise Of Jesus." The guy who I once thought was Alice Cooper was playing bass (along with a couple of other old beer gutted dudes. Yep, some ponytails too. They were playing Clapton's "Bell Bottom Blues" quite lamely and worked in some line about going to church into the lyrics.) Now I'm thinking if (or should I say WHEN) I get an old hearse I will drive slowly by that guy's house with EL JESUS DeMAGICO playing real loud.

Jun 22, 2007

the CHEATER SLICKS "Walk Into the Sea" LP

Name me one currently active band that's closing in on it's 2nd decade of making music and is putting out records just as good IF NOT BETTER than what they've done in the past. I'll give ya a minute.

Okay, time's up. If you said anyone but the Cheater Slicks we can go to the judges for a decision but I'm pretty sure the odds will be in my favor. It's not that the band is covering ground that they haven't stomped on before but the way they kick it around is totally their own style that has attracted discerning people from around the world to listen in on for a many year now.
"My Opinion On Nothingness" gets things off cracking lowly and mean...three chords and serpentine. For the benefit of the kids think Mudhoney picking up the Gories hitchhiking. They're so far out in the middle of nowhere where the AM radio can't even pick up some syndicated asshole chatter like Mark Levin...Yep. Some desperate strip of hi-way. A homemade cassette comp label "BFTG BEST OF" is found under the seat amid spent Bic lighters, Rally's wrappers and a couple of empty bottles of Jack Daniels...or cough syrup. Just floor it and focus you're eyes between the moon and the white lines. When going through hell be careful where you stop for directions. Ya might find yourself barrelling into an electrically charged mudpit called "Tattoos Are Stupid." Watch out! Those horns will strangle ya. Don't get stuck in a bog. If so, slam it back in reverse hard as hell back to where you picked the hitchhikers up. "Eye" kicks 'em out of the car, screaming, cuz it can take this trip alone while "Pipsqueak" snatches the ball back from whippersnappers such as Demon's Claws and shows them that though the Slicks may be a bit long in the tooth and graying a little 'round the temples IT'S STILL THEIR GAME and challenge all comers to bring it.
How the hell could a song called "Baudelaire's Ghost" not have some type of goth vibe?!?! Drag some of them black sunshiners to a graveyard way out back behind an deep cornfield and and laugh at them in a cigarette bark everytime they complain about mud (from that electric pit none the less) on their shoes and that creepy mist that soaks to the bone. "Dead Beat" compliments it in late fall rainstorm way and, dare it say it, prettiness that romancers of tragedy may find standing close to the edge of high buildings and or driving across a high bridge.
Side two starts off with a cover of "Run, Run, Run". Not the Velvets nor the Third Rail tune but a take on the Zombies-ish folk rocker by the Gestures (which, like the Third Rail song appears on the first Nuggets boxset though the Third Rail one appeared on the original Elektra LP set and the Gestures song didn't.) Any frills from the original are torn off stripping the song to a torrential psych surf storm. It's final noises fade as the waves wash in for "Walk Into The Sea", a look at a million mile vista through bloodshot eyes while standing in the earshot of an dingy old guy bar.
"Crackin' Up" is not the Bo Diddley song but is a cover of The Wig song by the same name. It starts off as kin to the kin of the 'upbeat' (tempo wise...not necessarily the mood though) songs on side one, drops into a dirge just to pick up momentum again like an old locomotive gaining speed. "Westford Cemetery" is almost (gasp!!!) a goddamn pop song. Well, a pop song in a Flying Nun Records band getting drunk and mad in some depressed American town and pushing the volume much louder than usual. The album ends with "Dry As A Bone". It has a feeling of regret but not asking for sympathy because of it.
Before the album's title was settle on it being called "Endless Winter". A name like that carries a lot of heaviness and hopelessness around with it. So could "Walk In The Sea" though but it also gives off an idea of expansiveness and a possibility to wash some of the dirt off a soul.

Jun 19, 2007

Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale

An "urban wheat ale"?! Was the wheat grown in the city? Is it endorsed by that country singer that has a lot musically in common with John Waite and nothing in with, let's say, Merle Haggard? He married that lady who used to be married to Tom Cruise then checked into rehab...so that strikes him from the list of speculations. Nah, it's just the brewmasters down at Goose Island coming up with a clever name for their twist on the "summer wheat" style. If you've been following some of my recent adventures in beer you'll recall how pissed I got at such things after that whole 'Sunset Wheat' misfortune. Has it made me gun shy of such things now? Not really...but I'm not expecting instant out of this worldness from anything bearing another Americanized take on any kind of wheat brew.
What ya get here is a lightly carbonated and very clean (almost too clean) tasting beer with hot day summertime drinking in mind. A slight hint of citrus in on the tastebuds with a slight bready aftertaste. Not much when it comes to tasting the hops. Yeast seems to take the lead. Not even close to be an exciting beer or something I imagine I would recommend to anything but a novice wanting to try "one of them fancy beers" (312 has enough character to show the drinker of average domestics a bit of zing but still gateway/bland enough not to make them run back to their watery security blanket that comes in can) and a big let down compared to other Goose Island things I have tried.

Jun 16, 2007


Some of the Cowslingers dudes are in this band. The Cowslingers could be fun from time to time but it always got too damn goofy to listen to on a regular basis. This doesn't stray too much from that. Whiskey, weed, cars, the devil, guns and hipsters are the main topics of discussion. They're good players, the recording is totally pro and the sound does divert from the usual 'Johnny Cash meets AC/DC' thing (lounge music, Nu Country, 80's college rock AND hair metal peppered throughout) that most bands that do this type wholly rely on though. If you liked the Cowslingers you'll like this.

Jun 12, 2007

the NIGHT SLAVES "Tell On You" 7inch EP

So far Felony Fidelity releases have been something where I put it on for the first time and I think it's cool and all but then leave it in the pile closest to the record player so I can come back to it again. The second time around has been where they hit/grab/throttle/jostle me. The Howie and the Hot Knifes record especially (ya know if the pitch the speed up just a hair or two on "Want It" you've got a song that'll get the the girls up shakin' and more than a couple of people sending the dj up a shot). First time around I was like "It decent but nuthin' it ain't heard before". A few days later I gave it it's second chance and was like "THIS RECORD HAS THE DANCE SONG OF THE YEAR ON IT!!!
Well, what d'ya know?! Howie's sits the knives down for a bit and picks up some drumsticks for this newest addition to Portland sordid Rock-n-roll history. I dunno what it is with me referencing Gas Huffer lately but here's another record that gave me that first impression. Wait a minute. The other record that got the recent Gas Huffer reference was the Neins single which is also on this label. Hmmm. Is a member of the Neins in this band too? Ya know what? I'm think so and it's that guy named Joe.
Rubbery twang dirt in the guitars, the manic beat and singing that reeks of cheap beer from a can, a basement in need of a dehumidifier and burger grease. The songs sound like they were recorded in an old shack 15 minutes out from the last of city lights with rotted-n-creeky floorboards, no heat but a fridge stocked with stolen beer and venison cooking over an open fire. All in all, not bad for a first impression. It's second spin I was thinking "Y'know, Martin Savage seems to be a cool guy. He's wrote a couple of cool songs but no matter how hard he tries to sound like an American-he's still a Swede." The Night Slaves don't have to try. It's born into them.

Jun 9, 2007

KING LOUIE and the LOOSE DIAMONDS "Memphis Treet" CD

It says right on the back of the CD to file this under POWER POP and MEMPHIS GREASE. Well, I guess that's all there is to say, huh? Not with the likes of Jack Yarber, Harlan T. Bobo, That guy Chad who looks like Chris Shake and was in Kajun SS, Andrew Woodward of the Tearjerkers in the band, Jimbo Mathus pitching in a bit of guitar too AND Mr. Jim Dickinson doing the final mixing. I mean...DAMN! Ya know I'm gonna have some bit to say about the record.
Sure, it's greasy and has got it's share of powerpopness but leaving it just as that is like not sopping up all the left over gravy with a biscuit or two. Ya gotta savour all that flavor cuz it might be a spell before something of this kind of tastiness gets set on your plate again.
The "powerpop" tag here shines it's brightest on disc's opener, the bouncy "Negative Contact (10-77)", a bit of the 'Sweet Jane" vibe going on in "Fire On The Sun" (Yeah, I know most wouldn't consider the Velvets a powerpop band but there's more than a few hooks and ideas off "Loaded" that I'm pretty sure inspired at least a few such bands. What's that old saying that not many people heard the Velvet Underground when they were around but the one's who did started their own band's afterwards" or something like that), and last but not least "Gypsy Switch" were Louie takes backs "Shattered" by the Exploding Hearts, restoring lyrics that weren't it it's better known version and making it sound like something from "Like Flies On Sherbert" yet somehow more together but just as disheveled. All of the songs above though do have a whole bunch of Memphis Grease. As a matter of fact I think the "File Under:" notation it should have gotten top billing over the "powerpop" mention. Be it the Tony Joe White gone trash picking groove of "Girl In The Holler", a pretty straight if stripped down and ragged take "Montage de L'Amour" (aka "Mountain Of Love." Yes, the song Johnny Rivers made famous), breezes blowing through the sugar cane field instrumentals, the high school dance weeper feeling of "Heart" or the almost E Street Band feeling (in a good way. You Bruce haters gotta realize there was some good shit before "Born In The USA") of "She's Losing Her Hair" these diamonds put a oily southern pop flavor in every song. The past few summer's Louie Bankston put's out something just as summer starting to happen and it always finds itself spending a good amount of time on my stereo. "Memphis Treet" will be no different.

Jun 7, 2007

NECROPOLIS "Stumpf" 7inch

This is a bit different than their album from a season of ago.
"What? Did they get unweird or something?"
Nope. Nothing like that. Trust me. There's still plenty of weirdness abound on ths record but it's a more focused in it weirdness instead of the aural ping pong game of peculiarity that was "The Hackled Ruff..." Both songs recorded live to 4-track "Stumpf" reminds me of the days before Thurston Moore was claiming the year that punk broke and you could play a Halo Of Flies record, followed something by the Sonics then something from the Butthole Surfers when MTV was still afraid to say their name (but still gave them some kinda lip service CUZ people like Thurston Moore were advocating them) and no one blinked or bitched nor were none the wiser as long as the tunes kept coming and keeping their buzz going. It was a resurgence era for the psychedelic trips around this town at the time. Out of contempt for their silliness and "12 hour as a hippie" trip they were on-bummin' their trip was a hobby that a few people that would be in charge of the record player started practicing. When somebody would yell "Hey. Play something we know. This stuff is making all the chicks feel like they're gonna throw up" it would be time to go in for the kill. With it's decending bass line, pepper spray guitar bash scatter and raw throat banter "Van V. Art" is the kind of one to throw on and watch those types get woozy real fast.


Jun 6, 2007


Here's the Sympathy release from late last year finally in it's superior format. "The Flipside Kid" plays catch up (to an extent) for those who didn't act quick enough to get some of these songs when they came out on 45 the past few years (Hell, the one Bancroft released sold out it's pressing in 17 days) as well as some previous unreleased stuff and a couple a new songs recorded for the album. His "Odds-n-Sods" or "Barbed Wire Kisses" package perhaps? Maybe. Like those collections by the Who and the Jesus and the Mary Chain-Mr. Yarber and the TTJ's have made a cohesive collection with songs and packaging (Jack silkscreened the covers himself) to have it stand up as it's own album not just a collection of songs thrown together just to have something to sell for the Christmas crowd.
Opening with the title track which main hook sounds like something pulled from Kiss' "Dressed To Kill" album, cut in into little pieces along with "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)" by the Stones, it's loose scraps thrown away, the meat diced together, breaded then thrown into a deep fryer at some greasy diner with sign faded and aged by vegetable oil grease vapors and nicotine that says "The King Loved Our Double Bacon Cheeseburgers" taped on a totally smudged with fingerprints plate glass front door. The a side of the already mentioned Bancroft single (Hey! It is MY blog after all...I'm at least allowed shameless promotion way after the record is out of print, right?), the honkey tonk raunch by the name of "Dirty Nails", is sandwiched between "Til The Money Runs Out", a cowboy on the range tune finding itself featured in a full color French pop fanzine and back alley twist-n-crawl of "Golden Age." "Knick the Knife" takes us deeper in a into a swampland where there's an old barroom piano and a couple of hot rodded fuzz pedal. "Hong Kong Girl" brings some 70's TV show wah-wah, a buzzy bass line and straight forward beat. "Chill-n-Fever" from the Brown Sound single finishes out the side.

Side two kicks off with the best fucking pop song from the second half of last year, "Black Boots" (from the Shattered single). Aside from that and "I Want You" (the flipside of the Brown Sound single-which is listed as a bonus track here. I guess it wasn't included on the CD version maybe...I dunno. I don't have a copy to go check) ya get, to the best of my knowledge, 5 previous unreleased tracks including the total power pop falling down all over some rowdy country rock band sound of "I Live For Today" and a way different total jangle blues version of "John Holmes Blues".
Good interview with Jack over at TURN IT DOWN

Jun 4, 2007

Bell's Big Porch Ale

As a Michigander with an interest towards tasty suds anytime a new Bell's brand hit's the shelves my local beer monger will find me getting out my wallet for a six or two. This season they introduced Big Porch Ale to the general public. It is named in tribute to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island who are selling it as their house brand.
What you get in this amber is a very inviting, very crisp and leafy summer (the season Mackinac is known for by most people) scent, bold upfront taste of a bold hops and a bit of caramel & cream and a slight bitter in the aftertaste that reminds ya that you are drinking a Bell's but not lingering long to wear out it's welcome. I just finished up some yardwork a bit ago, went and sat on my own porch and opened one of these. It's hearty enough to get ya with it's own little kick but clean enough to hit the spot. I used to think I wasn't much of an amber fan (thought's of Killian's still dancing though my head maybe...Never liked the stuff) but I've been finding myself enjoy certain one's here and there lately. I've heard that Big Porch is just Bell's regular Amber with a different label. Ya know what though. I don't feel duped though really. It cost me the same price as any of their other ones they make (well...save for their Hop Slam and Hell Hath No Fury of course) and it's nice to know, in a way, that after this seasonal run is gone I can still go pick it up in it's regular clothes (provided it is exactly the same. Out of all the Bell's I've tried I don't believe I have ever picked up their amber...but I think that goes back to what I was saying about bad Killian memories.)

Jun 3, 2007

RAPID ADAPTOR "Live The Lie" 7inch EP

Do ya wanna hear some total worship of the Rip Off Records heyday sound? I know I throw that reference point out ALOT but, after all there are ALOT of bands in the world that totally go for that sound. Rapid Adaptor trump them all but in one of the best ways possible. No, this isn't the type of record where you think "Oh, they sound like they wanna be on Rip Off." It's more like "Rip Off is starting to release their archival recordings before any tangible formats stops selling completely." Ya get 8 songs recorded by Mr. Paul Reject (who's Teenage Rejects had their quick fling with Mr Lowery's static splattered aesthetics) in the most perfect low end be damned-let's crank the levels into the red line way since....umm...The Rip Offs perhaps? Every song blasts out quick, snotty and dumb leaving greasy junk food fingerprints all over the place, eardrums that'll need a rest to readjust after the wide open treble searing and a good damn hook you'll find stuck in your head while sitting at a stop light or standing in line at the liquor store.

Jun 2, 2007


I'm starting to think that X! Records has invented some kind of mind control through soundwave device...but when they put it together they read the schematics upside down but made it work for what they wanted to in the end. Instead of it molding thoughts into a singular and sinister purpose it makes a brain all fuzzy, scattered and weird. Hamtramck via Ypsilanti via somewhere out in the cosmo's Little Claw's offering, "Ice Age", is like a late fall evening walk through the cemetery with that cute in her own kinda way but really fucking strange girl and a couple of her friends while hearing the needle get stuck in the noisy middle part of Pere Ubu's "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" play over and over inside your head. A drone and clang collision of Pussy Galore being super moody, Lydia Lunch without all the Catholic hang up's but a twisted obsession for nursery rhymes and a couple of random wino's being brought in from the cold, handed a rock and an oil iron skillet and instructed to "bang on this and we'll give you a sandwich and some rotgut." If this sounds like it's up yr alley look for an album by these strangenik's out on Ecstatic Peace in the next few months.
For those not familiar with Michael Yonkers here's a quick re-cap. In 1968 he recorded an album, "Microminiature Love", for Sire records that got shelved and didn't see the light of day until Sub Pop released it in 2004 which received rave reviews pretty much across the board with declarations of it being a previously unheard clarion call of weirdness/genius not unlike the Stooges, Electric Eels and Chrome yet still in it's own world where it's hard to pin down. In '71 he broke his back in an on the job accident at an electronics factory, had an allergic reaction to the dye they used in the X-Ray procedure and has lived with a degenerative condition of his spinal cord lining that still stricken's him to this day (For a more complete story go here). Over 40 years later that weirdness/genius hasn't waned one bit-still being able to cite reference points yet in it's own little sonic universe. The two he offers up for his side, "I Think" and "The Drain", feature a steady bass drum thump (and not much else) as beat, freaky fuzzy guitar and a voice flushed with abasement. If the Little Claw side is cold weather-this is hope's of warm months but not much faith in them actually happening.

Jun 1, 2007

GRAFTON "Jumpstart Wire" LP

These guys have been kicking around Columbus, Ohio for over ten years now and though I've heard OF them this is the first time I've heard them. Even though their mailing address is in the southern regions of the "midwest" ya might wanna check yr map to make sure cuz Grafton do make some type of Rust Belt Rocket Racket. Granted, A LOT of dudes go out and learn a song or two off 'Raw Power', have their girlfriend carry a Von Dutch handbag, talk about taking a trip to Sweden in conversation at the bar and MIGHT (as in very rare cases) drop a Radio Birdman reference in some such conversation too but when they get done with their set a good portion of the crowd leaves thinking "Nice pose" and not much else.
It's like those accountants, real estate agents, insurance salesmen and regional director who live on the north end of town who go out and buy Harley's to get in touch with their wild side. They got the bike, the boots and the pants...oh and that CD they bought at Best Buy called "Road Songs" so they can jam out to the Allman Brothers "Rambling Man" and "Born To Be Wild" by Steppenwolf for the 100,000th time in their lives. When they pull up at a red light with decked out in their custom touring package set-up next to a bike the same model as their years but at least a decade older and stripped down as far as it can to still be considered street legal they shout over to the guy "Are you in the restoring phase?" They get a scowl and the bird flipped to them in return. Fancy bike guy thinks he got some type of One percenter approval...then it's off to the Folk-n-Blues festival (where it ain't really folk or blues) up in that summer resort town. Maybe they stand by someone who proclaims themself as the local "father of the counter culture" and he bust out some poorly rolled and crumpled pin joint, lights it up and offer then a toke. Then they'll take about toppling corporations but then get bummed cuz the nearest Starbuck's is 70 miles away.
Consider Grafton the "barely street legal ride" in such a case as the above. They burn the gunk out the carb the old fashion (and most fun) way. That's right...Running that motor fast and hot-not by spraying some stuff in there and letting it sit overnight. Hear the straight pipes make a guttural howl as these guys run it full throttle akin to the greasy t-shirt and jean blasts of hate of the Mud City Manglers, the Supersuckers if they never made another record after "Smoke Of Hell" (well...maybe not the best example. It doesn't sound like anyone in Grafton ever played in a glam-metal band before they started deciding "punk rock" was cooler) or something like Sonic's Rendezvous Band wound tighter than thought possible. Yeah, there's guitar licks abounds but not a "check out my bad ass-ness"..."I will kick your ass" is more the case. Every once in awhile they slow it down to a dustbowl crawl of contempt for assholes (ie: 98% of the people in this world) smirking while they watch it all die in in the summer sun of a once thriving industrial town wasteland but then it's back to laying rubber down on streets overgrown with weeds and the smell of desolation and exhaust in the air. It can make most cough and wheeze but with Grafton it sounds like they've been breathing it so long that fresh oxygen would have a negative effect.