May 29, 2007

the KING BROTHERS "Sing The King" 7inch

Nope. Not the band from Japan but a 1989 recording of two brothers, ages 7 and 11, doing "Can't Help Falling In Love" and "Suspicious Minds" by the guy some people consider the King of Rock-n-Roll. Since it's on the label that gave the world Jumpin' Bean and the Moustaches et al, Ball Records out of Maine, some kinda oddness is anticpated and yeah...ya get some. Cheesy synth, drum machine, chintzy production and two kids voices in dead serious mode crooning some tunes made popular by the Big E. Maybe they recorded this for a Mother's Day gift or something...I played it for my sons (ages 7 and 10) and they said "Man, this is really corny dad" (cuz you realize that for most kids today Elvis is merely a prototype for many a cartooon character.) but I say KARAOKE ROCK forever (or at least for a couple of spins. )
Get this from Goner

May 23, 2007

MENDOCINO BREWING COMPANY "Cast of Hawks" sampler pack

I thought I had tried something by the Mendocino Brewing Company before realized I hadn't until I picked up this sampler pack. The Medocino Brewing Company started brewing beer in Hopland, California in 1983 and were apparently the state's first brewpub. The company now run's two breweries. One in Ukiah, Ca and the other in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Tuesday May 15, 2007
WHITE HAWK Original IPA: While some acquaintances of mine shy away from the hoppier end of the beer scale I am one that says "Bring 'em on. I ain't scared" so any IPA I happen across is gonna be given a fair shot. So naturally the first bottle I pulled out of the box was going to be of that style. White Hawk seems to be in a weird place as far as IPA's go. At a 6% alc. count it is in line for the style of brew it is bit there's a bit more bitterness to the hops, in both it's initial swigs and aftertaste, than what I usually look for. Different than most west coast IPA's I have tried but the batch I am trying was brewed at their Saratoga Springs, NY location (as are all the ones that came in this box) so maybe there is an east coast bent on it. I'm not really familiar with any east coast IPA's though so if anyone can point me into the right direction -please do. White Hawk would not be my first choice when it comes to IPA's but it does have enough of it's own interesting character where we might meet again some day.

Friday May 18, 2007
EYE OF THE HAWK Select Ale: Taste wise it's pretty deceiving for sporting an 8% alcohol content. Very malty and a bit of caramel in the taste with the proof kicking back once down the throat. A nice full feeling in it as it goes down pretty easy for the punch it packs but all in all flavorwise I didn't find much to get excited about. The better half, who isn't much of a beer drinker at all but does enjoy the occasional Sleeman's or Bell's concoction, had a glass of it and said she'd consider picking up a six of it for her and her friends for one of their sewing circle meetings.

Monday May 21, 2007
BLACK HAWK Stout: They're calling for temp's in the 80's tomorrow. I also have the day off. I have a shitload of yard projects plans and I hope to get one or two of them in action. I might wanna take a break a here and there. To me, stouts is not the most perfect choice when it comes to thirst quenching beer on a hot day. They're just a bit too thick for such times. I always think of them as more like an inside in the colder months kind of thing. I have this and the Red Tail Ale left to try before this sampler 12 is gone. I figure I might as well give the stout a try tonight and if the Red Tail doesn't cut it tomorrow I can always mosey on down to corner store after dinner to pick up something I can enjoy a taste of while sitting on the porch and watching the sun go down. I'm sorta up and down about stouts. I like them when they have a super molasses and/or chocolate/coffee flavor and my opinion lessens on the ones that lean to the burnt grain and/or smokey thing. Black Hawk tilts a bit more the the latter. Not enough to declare something like "I think some old used campfire wood was thrown into the vats" or anything but also not enough to entice me to pick up a six if heading over to visiting a stout liking friend's either.

Tuesday May 22, 2007
RED TAIL Ale: I wish I could say "Saving the best for last" and act like I meant it but in this case it was purely accidental. I'm not usually a big fan of red and amber ales but this 7 percenter one is damn decent. Easy drinking, a clever balance of hop & malt as well as a fruity tinge to it's flavor. Most red's and amber's are not usually my favorite of any brew family but there's something in the complexity of this to make it stand a a couple inches above most.

So to rank them in order
1st-Red Tail
2nd-White Hawk
3rd-Eye Of The Hawk
4th-Black Hawk

In postscript I have to say that while drinking each bottle I would always glace at the label and see some hawk with an intense look sorta looking back at me. Did it make me think Hawkwind? Yeah, for a second of two but then images of black velvet tapestries that a hillbilly uncle of mine who once lead a southern rock tribute band and now sings Toby Keith songs at karaoke at the bowling alley every Wednesday night has tacked up on the walls of his den.

May 22, 2007

CRIMSON SWEET "Wired" 7inch

Crimson Sweet are a band from New York City but they sound like some Canadians really into Blondie. Except for the scary screamy parts. Then they remind me of a riot grrrl band getting all tough while learning a Blondie song.

May 21, 2007

the GRAVE BLANKETS "Your Injured Ways" 7inch EP & GRAVE BLANKETS/TOUCH ME NOTS split 7inch EP

Though the Grave Blankets have an Ohio address I'd like to believe that are from some universe where Lux & Poison are the president and the first lady and since they are loved by their citizens and are immortal no one has ever cried for term limits. Also, since Mr. Interior and Ms. Rorschach once spent many a year having whatever it is about Ohio that debases minds they're giving back to the people by placing fellow Buckeyes in high powered appointed til death (cuz, afterall, ONLY Lux & Poison are immortal) cabinet seats. First they put calls out to Akron and Cleveland but learned that the people they had in mind were either dead or would have to consult with Jesus or their lawyer (or in some cases both) before they could say yay or ney. Just when they were ready to cut-n-run and look to other parts of the universe they called home at a time or again someone (I'm guessing a really devilish imp) whispered in their ear "What about Columbus?" The next thing you know the Cheater Slicks are in charge of the school lunch program and the stuff their serving the kids is causing all kinds of damage.
Post-everything noise-blues trashers is what the diet made the Grave Blankets grow into. "Your Injured Ways" is a like a blood stained oil can. All slippery & sick making you wonder "What the hell happened here". Like watching a head on crash in slow motion while a grunt-n-blare coming from inside of dumpster that 1000's of wasps are using as it's nest out in the middle of a swamp provides the audio details. "You'll Never Everything" borrows a hook from 60's garage punk handbook but it get's all pigstabbed to the point of almost beyond recognition while "Something You Say" gives off bog blast that the Lamps and the Hunches in a bloody duel over who can pummel the "driving fast down the highway" riff the hardest might come up with.
On "Foreward", their offering on the split single, the Grave Blankets play it a bit more straight but I'm using the word on a really wide curve here cuz it's still a fest of dirtball fuzz and echo. Something like a bastard child of Mudhoney and the Jesus and Mary Chain perhaps? The Touch Me Nots offer up a little social commentary on their side of the record. No, they aren't going into a Janis Ian phase or anything like that. "Cool Enough For California" is a tale of a midwest boy venturing off to make his fortune in the Golden state and leaving some bad luck behind. As usual, Andrew and Kelly put it off in that kinda coy and somewhat reckless pure rock-n-roll charm they are becoming duly noted for.
Smashin' Transistors interview with the Touch Me Nots

May 20, 2007

PINK REASON "Cleaning The Mirror" LP

Picking at the scabs of the dark and squishy recesses of one's mind and turning it into music is not an occupation many should take up (or take lightly). Many try and it may not be that they fail per se but most of the time I am left unconvinced. Sure, anyone can take a stab at playing the bedroom recording introverted genius role and fancying themselves at the next Nick Drake or David Pierce of Flying Saucer Attack but the whole persona get way deflated when ya find out Mr. Depression is a suburban kid who can only get two chubby goth girls in the lunchroom to listen to him as he talks about cutting himself & all the drugs he's gonna do some day being oblivious that they are only half-hearted paying attention and either way it still doesn't get him laid.
With a knowledge of psychopharmacology that could make shrinks and chemists show more than a little concern and some life adventure's that might even make Lord Byron blush a bit, Pink Reason's main brain Kevin DeBroux spent the last couple of years crafting something that finds a balance between stark black & burned land, bruised & battered psyche and blinding bright white light leading Casey Buhr of
Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones when asked about "Cleaning The Mirror" in a phone conversation we were having late one night (cuz it's ALWAYS late when Casey calls) to say something to the effect "sometimes things of beauty cannot be put in words."
"Goodbye" opens the album with the feeling of a dark hours summer rain. Not one of those cool refreshing ones though. Humidity brought on by elephantine acoustic strum, a cricket the size of a truck electric guitar wail and a more than simple shoebox drum beat that only band's like Royal Trux ever seem to pull off convincingly. Add vocals sounding like they were pulled from some forgotten tape Martin Hannett produced during Factory Records infancy and one has some of the most uncomfortable feelings of calm laid to tape . It's followed by "Motherfucker" where the instrumentation is stripped down even farther while the vocals get a bit of doubling up making one of the creepiest feeling "love songs" I've heard in quite a while even more creepier.
The ominous feeling of the record never breaks yet a good part of the time the aforementioned humid claustrophobia shares it's space with an icy melancholy such as the carousel organ drowning in a backyard pond at a Black Mass sound that fills the air on "Thrush" as well as the lonely banjo sound and delicately strangled sax of the record's closer "Up The Sleeve".
I've been told before that every story has Kevin has to tell does have elements of truth and occurrences of the real things that have happened to him but he allows himself to blow it all out of proportion. When I reply "Yeah, but they are such great stories" no one ever disagrees. The same goes for "Cleaning the Mirror."

May 18, 2007


Home Blitz dude and possible future governor of New Jersey Daniel Dimaggio fires up a tape machine even more ramshackle than the one used to record the HB stuff and goes searching for his inner freak folkster. Someone with Jandek on the mind falls down a flight of stairs and get's picked up and dusted off by a group of narcotized guys who kinda know a couple of old rock-n-roll songs but they don't bother to listen to each other when playing them. Overmodulated whispers then off mic screaming. Getting lost under a thick fog of confusion then following the light to a cough syrup ragga riff with enough brightness to cut glass. The glass doesn't get cut though cuz the tape get's all glitchy and hands a bit to twitchy to hold anything steady.

May 14, 2007

BE MY DOPPLEGANGER "Convertible Girls" 7in EP

"Regular guy" punk rock outta the Bluegrass state with their eyes on a hooky prize. Is that powerpop? Nah, These jakes are more about t-shirts and jeans so they don't dress the part. Pop-punk? It's a bit more gruff than what usually falls from that tree. The a-side, "Convertible Girls", an obvious paean to warm weather and chicks in cars is the winner on this hot pink single sounding something like the Leg Hounds getting drunk by breathing in the whiskey fumes that I've swore I saw rising off a Replacements record once but with a whole lot more bombast.

May 13, 2007

the TOUCH ME NOTS "Sheldon Munn" 10inch

Another helping from America's favorite husband & wife musical duo since...jeez, I dunno, George and Tammy perhaps? WHAT? The average American has no idea who Andrew and Kelly are?
Yep! It is true and it's too bad for all of them too. I see them types at the store, in their cars and at the bank. You can tell just by the looks on their faces that something is dearly missing from their lives. The constant exposure to plastic wrapped nothings and wads of processed emptiness that serve as nutrition for the heart and spirit has made them mush. The
unrefined purity of things band's like the Touch Me Nots do is too much of a shock to the system. Not a high fructose corn syrup sugar type shock either. One of grit, bone marrow, burns from splattering grease off an iron skillet and a whole lotta rock-n-roll soul.
A swampy guitar line uncoils on "Door #3" to start off this record off then Andrew whelps, Kelly puncuates it with shotgun beats and things are out of the gate. Hop in the back of an old Ford truck, a couple of old speakers wired off the tape player and run back there for some sound. They're a bit sun baked and rain rotted but what's playing is crackly and blasty and it's a perfect match. Starting out in a chicken coop then on to a gravel road, stopping at an old hotel in Ames, Iowa (the title track's "
Sheldon Munn"), maybe a shrink ("Ask Me About My Persecution Complex") and places William Bell (Their take on "Any Other Way" has been getting a lot of play around here. Dig Andrew's lung belt the vibrato and Kelly's slight off key but so sweet call and response on the chorus), the Drifters ("Drip Drop) and the Miracles "What's So Good About Goodbye" (which was, by the way, a John Lennon Jukebox favorite) haunt. No matter where they stop off to pay some respect for a song they always leave with something that of their own done in their loud-n- sticky stripped down rock-n-roll bash abouts. They've also recently released a 7inch on Nasty Product and a split single with the Grave Blankets...I'll talk about those two soon.

May 11, 2007

the NEINS "Crybaby" 7inch EP

There's some very HICK about this record. Notice I said HICK and not REDNECK. There is a difference, ya know. Rednecks always want to remind you they are rednecks. They proud of being loud and dumb and get all excited when the country station annouces "Here's a classic" then plays "Achey Breaky Heart". Hicks are a bit more laid back, possibly a bit more educated but a bit green when it comes to big city life and what all the hipsters are into and probably cringe at 95% of modern country music for being just a pandering and condesending to it's audience as much any hip-hop act Entertainment Weekly and MTV is gonna jump up and down about is. Ya know, just regular people into what their into and if yr into it too welcome on the ride. In a band situation they don't learn a Johnny Cash song, put on a cowboy hat and think they're "authentic".
Fingers go off pointing in a couple of directions when pinning a "sounds like" tag on the Neins. Bedraggled guitar blangs, some creepy organ blasts and the singing stewed in some kinda backroom wine this record summons the spirits of 60's fuzz, a bit those small town agitators types in garages and basements over the country in the mid 70's doing their damndest NOT to sound like bands that had Roger Dean do their album covers and some of that ingrained HICK zip like Gas Huffer.

May 9, 2007

LEINENKUGEL "Sunset Wheat"

If ya come across Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat pass on it. I like a good wheat beer and I'm getting the impression that they skip something in the process. Not much of a wheat taste at all, an artificial citrus hint and WAY too much of a coriander domination. I'm hoping a friend will stop by so I can pass a couple off to them to so I won't have them lingering around my fridge and reminding me of an unwise beer purchasing decision. Drinker's of Blue Moon might dig it but after developing a taste for wheat's like North Coast's Blue Star and Bell's Oberon this is just another fake assed "microbrew" where you can practically taste the chemical assisted speeding up of the aging process. Leinekugel's also have a Lemonade flavored beer this season. Are they trying to break into the Mike's Hard Ade market? When I first started getting out of the standard choices and more into the specialty and "micro" brands Leinenkugel was one of the first one's I checked out. That was many years now but I do remember liking some of the stuff they made back then. Maybe my tastes have changed a lot but for at least for the past 6 or 7 years whatever Leinie has put out on the market has left me unimpressed. Sunset Wheat just pissed me off.

May 3, 2007

MOTORAMA "Dirt Track Specialist" CD

Knuckle draggin' rawk that many a band have mined before and a whole bunch will probably do well into the future. People don't call Lemmy GOD just for shits-n-giggles-it's because they mean it. I'm sure there's a Motorhead shirt or two regularly worn in this band. The dude in shop class who always had on mud splattered jeans that bragged about a installing a t-top on a Firebird (not his of course) and would tell anyone within an earshot that he's gonna have to kick his "best bro's ass for stealing the roaches out of the ashtray" at least once a week should made something like this his theme music but he'd probably call it some "faggot punk shit" that has nothing on Ratt's "Invasion of Your Privacy."