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.