Jul 28, 2007

Victory Hop Devil Ale

Now that Victory's seasonal run of Whirlwind and Sunrise are coming to an end and getting harder to find in a town where a decent mircobrew selection is hard to find to begin with I decided it was high time to get a taste of something else is this (so far) fine brewery outta Downington, Pennsylvania has to offer. In my book IPA's are always worth taking a gamble on because they are one of my favorite kinds of brew even though there been those times where Lady Luck has not quite been on my side. Tonight she must've went out of her way to stack the deck in my favor because this is one of the best damn IPA's that I've never tried before in quite a while.
The aroma of oranges and caramel was different than what I usually smell had me intrigued right off the bat. Neither of them overpowering the other like they are in some kind of perfect harmony. I found the darkish orange color of it interesting too. Yeah, such a shade is expected in an IPA but there is something a little more eye catching about it here.
"Oh man. If this is half as good as it smells and looks" is all I was thinking but didn't get my hopes up too much though because, as I already said, I've tasted a fair share of IPA's that command a "Yeah...we get it. They're all about the hops but come on now. Don't you think this is a little out of hand?" response (and this coming from someone who LOVES plenty a hop in his ales) or the other end of the stick where it's like "Ummm...you realize that malt talking the lead does not any kind of pale ale make." This is almost perfect. The only reason I say almost is because I am just starting to hone the craft of home brewing. I know it's gonna take me a couple of years before I'll even have an idea of what I'm really doing but a pale is probably what I am gonna focus my first mastering skills on. Hop Devil is gonna be incorporated into that template. It's bitter but not that way too much pucker, the taste of lemon peel and caramel letting it go down smooth. The hops linger leaving a nice little twang in the mouth once it's down the throat but not anything shouting too loud "I'm 6.7% abv" the way a bunch of others do. Nice medium body...not too fizzy nor too oily. The only complaint I have is the name Hop Devil itself. After all it's got a hop bud fancied as a devil's face on the label. Off the name alone I was expecting something a bit more over the top and maybe a belly ache/esophagus fire the next day like a Bell's Two Hearted Ale at first and that was what I was prepared for. I don't feel let down at all that this is a bit more mellow than that...An almost perfect mellow as a matter of fact....A mellow that I can share with friends who are even of the too much persuasion as well as those that like the bite. No matter the season either. There's something about the way these guys do things (though I'm gonna wait til the colder months roll in before I try their Storm King Stout) where I have to say Victory does it again!!!
http://www.victorybeer.com/home.html

Jul 27, 2007

HAUNTED GEORGE "Pile O' Meat" LP

Amid the Joshua trees, coyotes, diamondback rattlesnakes and bats of the Mojave desert lives Haunted George...My guess in one of it's ghost towns. Living in a decrepit old shack where the howling midnight winds scream through the cracks on a parched parcel of land where you can pump at the well all day but other than a couple drips of liquid ya most get dust. Ain't much to do out there 'cept to creep yourself with hundreds of ghost tales, munch on cactus flowers and make friends with the turkey vultures. Haunted George has been lucky/cursed enough to have a guitar powered by the devil and a radio that receives only the most demented border radio stations. Part whiskey soaked preacher and part disgruntled pig farmer the artist formerly known as Steve Pallow of Beguiled, Necessary Evils and A Feast Of Snakes fame whips up a stew of slimy entrails, damnation and the surface noise from a bunch of old scratchy 78's. Usually when I'm walking down the street and I see some crazy man standing on the corner ranting and raving to no one I'll listen in but'll still take a wide enough berth just to be out of reach in case the guy wants to hit me in the face with a bible. With Haunted George, whether it's getting all pissed off about about the lack of world peace, happily singing about digging a grave or being knee deep in blood I'd not only stop to throw a couple of bucks in his hat but might even invite him down to the bar for a couple of shots. I'd also keep one eye on the exit though cuz I have a feeling that if things started getting to rowdy he could get the place to burst into flames just by thinking about it.
http://www.myspace.com/hauntedgeorge
Haunted George's Blog

Jul 26, 2007

PINK REASON "By A Thread" 7inch EP (plus interview up over at the regular site)

I spun this on the radio show I do with a friend of mine last night and it sure caught his attention. He was more into the dark and goth thing back in his earlier days than I was. He thought I pulled out some obscure but worth resurrecting band's lone 7inch or some unheard of Love and Rockets bootleg. Eyeing the front cover, simply a grainy black and white pic of three total reject looking kids rocking out in a bedroom he knew the former was out but with the totally low budget pre-computer assisted graphic looking layout he still figured they were from sometime in the 80's and were most likely the local band that would open for bands like Echo and the Bunnymen and the like when they'd come through on a club date tour.
This is not the first time I have played someone a Pink Reason song and have gotten a reaction kinda like that. Spinning something off 'Cleaning The Mirror' one night I got asked "Is this something from the first Royal Trux album?"
In the interview (up over at Smashin' Transistors main terminal) I did with Kevin, Pink Reason's dented skull instigator, I asked him if Acid Psych was a good description to sum up the creepy, cold yet somehow intoxicating sound of the band. He replied "it's more robitussin blues" and really, I can't think of anything more appropriate.
"By A Thread" (the song I played last night) does sound like it COULD be a Love and Rockets OR Crispy Ambulance OR Jesus and Mary Chain outtake but with bad American drugs and a mile long sheet of stories about getting your ass kicked by baseball hat wearing dudes in a pickup truck than strictly just some art school wannabe poses.
"The Devil Always Wins" is nothing but a footstomp and a voice or two singing a song learned in a southern church. "Down On Me" fits right in place with "By A Thread" but a bit more quiet and...almost accessible. Why am I thinking the Monochrome Set when I hear it?
Pink Reason interview at Smashin' Transistors
An interview with a bit more of "a Russian slant" over at Perfect Sound Forever

Jul 23, 2007

the CATHOLIC BOYS "Dead Ball" 7in EP

All the best punk rock bands of all time lasted a few singles and if they were lucky-a good album or two. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule but they are few and far between. The Catholic Boys released a handful of fucking great singles and put out one of the best albums of 2004...They were way ahead of the curve. Lots of people expected such a spasmodic ball of laser guided panic attacks to combust into a billion pieces after that. Then there was talk of a second album...How would they follow it up? Would it be that rare feat...or a letdown. Well, sometime during the recording process it blew up into a million pieces. Paul and Jon decided to let those reoccurring Archies nightmares lead the way, Nickg fell under that Upper 51st poon spell that has hit many a Wisconsinner the past few years and Eric...well, I'm guessing he still is part of 32 active bands at the moment.
Well Mister Moneybags aka Vincent D'Onofrio impersonator aka Wisconsin's answer to Ahmet Ertegun 'cept with a penchant for polo shirts instead of fine Italian suits aka Todd Trickknee was not gonna let a bunch of dextroamphetamine chewing misfits get the last laugh. I dunno who he got control of the masters back but I bet it involved some knee breaking and at the least some black mail. All I know is that I'm damn glad he did.
"Dead Ball" feels like the high school gymnasium in the late spring. It's hot, dankness hangs in the air and it's a required to attend or threat of suspension and summer assembly. Then out of nowhere that group of freaks in the too tight clothes from the lunchroom crash everything! What is that they're pulling out of those bags?!
Awww fuck! Hide! I don't want my yearbook picture being shown on the 11 o' clock news with some somber music being played behind it?
What? They're pulling out guitars and drumsticks?!
FUCK YES!
They aim a flamethrower at the football team then invite all the other misfits they've never hung out with on stage to chant. Then some crazy speed metal flashback take over for a couple of seconds. Everyone left not bleeding or having blood on them start getting nervous ticks and scream in glee because of it by the time the songs ends.
"Sick To Death" is that fucked up Funk/Aerosmith/No Wave based riff these boys have mutated a couple of times in the past and everytime I dig yelling "It's that fucked up Funk/Aersomith/No Wave riff they mutate."
The first time I heard the band do a cover of "7 and 7 Is" was in Detroit. It took a litte bit of time for me to realize what they were doing. Halfway through I was like "Yes! This is a perfect song for them to cover." It's not one you'd ever think of them doing but once you hear the way they wring it out it makes perfect sense. The second time I heard it was at Richard Adventure's wedding reception a season or so later. I think they were one of the very people who weren't stoned on LSD that evening. Later in the evening I asked my better half what her take was on the Catholic Boys cover of a Love song was. She then lectured me about how whipping a BBQ beef sandwich at a wedding reception was completely disrespectful even in the middle of Wisconsin and how it could bring bad luck. Richard is splitting up with his lady now and the Catholic Boys have been lone gone for well over a year.Was she right? Am I to blame? Sorry. I didn't mean it. I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW. No one can blame it on this song though because it wasn't the one they were playing when the meat and bun went flying. Y'know though, the more I think about it...I should ask the misses what type of luck does whipping a shoe at a band while they're playing at a wedding reception brings. The band was closer to the song in their set that night when that happened. Someone from the western Michigan coastline aka not the side us more cultured folks come from might have some explaining to do then. All of that's neither here or there though right now. It may be one of the last nails in the Catholic Boys coffin but it shines bright and gold.
Todd don't have time for websites..Email him if'n yr interested about the record

Jul 22, 2007

the YOLKS "Introducing..." 7in EP

Garage rockin' fun out of Chicago. Now, just because you see the words garage and Chicago in that sentence don't be instantly thinking some kinda 'HOZAC' influenced scuzz-n-blastfest. This is much more pop and..well nerdy (as in putting on a clean shirt before going out for a night on the town instead of wearing the same grease stained, cigarette reeking one that looks like ya slept in it for the past 4 days...BECAUSE YOU DID) than something those two words might make a preconceived conjuring of. "My Baby Ain't High Class" and "I Found Love" are your standard Nuggets type redeux with handclaps, organs and 'Yeah, Yeah' backing vocals that could use a tad more OOMPH in the mastering department (the record itself sounds kinda flat.) I do dig how the singer's delivery is like a cross between a second tier 50's teen pop idol croon and a spit 'em out spat like Elvis Costello when he was still in his 'angry young man' phase though. I know from the sound of that you might be thinking it's something to pass on without even a second thought and I don't blame ya but on the other two songs "I Do What I Do" and "Somewhere New", both more along the lines of that teen jangler blow-out thing meeting pre-punk power pop, it totally works. "I Do What I Do" is the standout track on the record for sure. Kinda reminds me of one of the Libertines song I liked (but I don't why it does...there's just something about it. Way more American and no way as dingy though.There's something in 'the hook' maybe. A great hook though and I damn well know the Libertines didn't come up with it first anyways). I will be playing that song alone more than a couple times more before autumn sets upon this great midwestern region. If the band aims for more tunes in that vein down the road and move more away from the standard "garage rock" thing their batting average might become the talk of the town.
http://www.myspace.com/theyolks

Jul 19, 2007

TUNNEL OF LOVE "Rockin' Rollin' Bitches" CD

I was gonna start this review off with something like "the lost Tunnel Of Love album is available again" but then I recall hearing some decables involving plenty of those those tried to get their hands on the second album album as well. The reasons why both albums were elusive to so many are for different reason but that ain't really the point So I guess there's no reason to go through a bunch of formalites and get straight to the subject at hand.
From 2002 AD "recorded and mixed with a 4-track by Tunnel Of Love at our practice space before it burned down" you get the raw meat eating Troglodyte blues of these Brookline, Mass big wheelers of garbage can punk rock in it's earlier form. Primitive is an understatement as I think it always be when talking about the grunt-n-blaaang Tunnel Of Love make and no one would ever have it any other way. Total lunkheaded brilliance that would make the '68 era Stooges ask "What's wrong with these guys" and get the Gories thinking they sound like Sly and the Family Stone in comparison. Everyone 'cept for a lucky few missed this bus the first time it passed by but since it's coming around the block again flag it down and hop on board. Also, if they ever comes through your town do whatever you have to see them live. If it ain't a life altering experience it'll still be something you may never forget.
http://www.tunneloflove666.com
Some pics from when they played my town

Jul 17, 2007

Flying Dog Classic Pale Ale

It's brewed in Colorado (Hmmm. Possible LLC connection perhaps?) AND in Maryland...The label sports Ralph Steadman artwork (cool color inking to boot) and a quote from Hunter S. Thompson on the carrying box. So it's kinda obvious the market they are going for. They even have cursing on their website and it seems like they're more about selling their t-shirts etc than their beers there.
Not much of a smell to this one overall but I'm thinking I detect a bit of pine in what scent I find. A light amber color that's nice but nothing special. A bit watery in the mouth. More yeasty than hops in the flavor which is a let down because, after all it claims to be a pale ale...A "classic" one at that. I like my pale's to have the hops get my attention. It's the first thing I look for in them. Kind of a coffee bean, grapefruit and that pine thing I already mentioned is what popped up on the tongue but it's an odd balance that doesn't work for me. I'm all for the grapefruit thing when it comes to dry hopped ales (which is what this claims to be) and come to expect it but it's the coffee bean thing mostly that turns me off here. It's just tastes weird here and hangs too long in the aftertaste. Not much to get excited about really. If I'm over at a friend's house and I'm offered one of these down the road I won't turn it down but I don't see me picking up another six for myself again.

http://www.flyingdogales.com/

Jul 15, 2007

FUNCTIONAL BLACKOUTS/KK RAMPAGE split single 7inch EP

The last hurrah from the Functional Blackouts here and they made sure that they went out with a bang and not a whimper. A bang that leaves everything for a couple of blocks around it mangled in some type of bass-end induced dust and bleeding from some rusty steak knife stab wounds courtesy of escapees from an asylum for the criminally insane. Cops at the crime scene are astonished at how much of a mess they made in such a short period of time. Entrails are pulled out and tossed everywhere then BOOM they're gone. They speculate it's like how space aliens mutilate cows but keep it from the press cuz they know the public won't believe them.
The kingpin behind all the sickness viewed, Dr. Filth, makes the quickest get away, heads back to the loony bin and starts working on his alibi. The story he tells works to his advantage and impresses those even more unhinged than him and they decide they want to join him on his next kill spree. The result is KK Rampage. A city lives in fear of something that is even more sick and what such mangled minds are capable of. They should be too cuz the 2 songs here are disturbed enough to make the Functional Blackouts oeuvre seem like an episode of 'the Care Bears.'
http://www.bigneckrecords.com/

Jul 14, 2007

the TOUCH ME NOTS "It's Not Right But It's Okay" 7inch EP and the TOUCH ME NOTS/RED ROCKETS split 7inch EP

What the hell?!?!? Do Andrew and Kelly Touch Me Not have tunes stashed all over their home?!?! Are they stashed away in drawers? Held onto by a magnetic clip on their fridge? Lost in the recycling bin cuz they got mixed in with the newspaper? In the pocket of a jacket that's been on a hook the last few months cuz the warmest of year's weather set in??? And how is it that they have released over 20 songs to the record buying public within the last year and have a better batting average than Tony Gwynn pulled off in his best season. Granted, there were some covers peppered through the song list so far...but even their choices of those makes one wonder "How do they always pick out such charmers?"
Take the Nasty Product single for example. Two songs originally done by someone else and one credited to Andrew. Side one's "It's Not Right But It's Okay" has 5 names listed in the credits. I knew I had heard the song somewhere before but couldn't figure out where (working many a job somehow musically related over the past 100 years or so though this is not uncommon for me) At first I was thinking maybe it was some R-n-B song from a few decades back cuz if ya ever read or watched any history of Rock-n-Roll stories ya know how there was always some guy tacking their name on the song to get a piece of the royalty pie. Obviously whatever the original version sounded like it's been stripped to practical nakedness with just tumultuous drumbeats-n-impetuous guitars both there to make a point in some kinda roundabout junk food waltzbeat. Adam's voice blaring out words of getting busted for deceiving. The more I listened to the song mentions of credit card receipts and caller ID got me realizing that's the song's got to be of a more recent vintage. The better half walks through the room and see's the look of lostness of my face. "You looked too puzzled again, dearest"
"Who the hell did this song?"
She perks her ear towards the speakers waiting til the chorus comes around. "For a hint...Hmmm, think about an out of tune jewelry box music."
"What?!"
"You had stories about middle aged black ladies saying she lost it when that song came out and they were all blaming her husband. It sold okay in Europe though. I think she did the song on the MTV awards too." We've been together for eons. Every year or so there's a new twist on that same story. There's always some R-n-B (well, R-n-B as they consider it now. Not Rhythm-n-Blues music as what people should mean when they say R-n-B) singer that's crackin up..and their buying public not biting they ain't putting out the right thing. Hmmm...Husband?
"Tina hasn't been with Ike in ages darlin'..."
"No. Not Tina Turner."
We volley back and forth for about 15 minutes and I'm still stumped. She's just fed up at this point. "BOBBY BROWN! 1999! Compute it old man!" Yeah, It's her last card and she's ready to fold 'em.
At first I was gonna throw out a joke about the chick that was in Warrant's "Cherry Pie" video but I could tell she was done at playing the game. "What? Whitney? No way! I've never heard that song."
She tries to convince that I probably had a 100 times but never acknowledged it. Sure enough though-She was right. I still don't recall it but I mastered the art of blocking out music I don't wanna hear quite a long time ago now so maybe that's why I don't. I guess it was a big club hit in Europe though...but what isn't? Okay, I guess it's time to admit at once time I thought it would be funny to cover "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" but given the time frame I thought of the idea though nowadays it would be even a smaller footnote than say, some tune Seaweed or Lucy's Fur Coat contributed to a compilation/tribute CD a decade and a half or so (did Seaweed or Lucy's Fur Coat ever contribute some kinda song to the rash of such releases at the time? Fuck if I know for sure. Lots of bands from that era did...and when's the last time either of those band has came up in conversation) or these newish kiddie emo pop bands that think it's all wacky and/or ironic to cover a song by Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and so on. Ugg! No thanks, dude. The thing is though that the framework the Touch Me Nots operate in-such things don't sound corny...they end up sounding like loud and raw rock-n-roll songs. Someone should send a copy of this version to Whitney just to see what effects it would have on her cracked addled head. Maybe it would cause it to blow up. Hell! I should do it and make sure I take a camera and have of the supermarket get into a bidding war over exclusive rights to the pics. I could sure use the cash. Speaking of which-the flipside kicks out with "Bag Of Money" (how's that for a segue), the TMN's original for this little bisquit, a good little rocker about something we can all use. A take on Francoise Hardy's "Only Friends" (aka 'Ton Meilleur Ami' ) caps the record off done a way only the Touch Me Nots can pull off and get away with it.
On the split single they treat us to two of those tunes I was speculating that they have stashed all over their digs. "Life Of Crime" is one of their best one's yet. If you can't dance to it or at least want to join in singing "WOO!" the way Kelly does behind Andrew's belting I don't know if there's any help for ya. "This Kind Of Music" ain't far behind it either.
The Red Rockets have a bit of an Oblivians meet KBD thing going on. Sort of in the manner of the Strong Come Ons but not as much in a way where it sounded like the SCO's could tear your head off but ya can't knock 'em for trying. After all they're from Utah...What the hell else has Utah given the world of music but the Osmonds (and don't say "What about 'Crazy Horses' dude?" Yeah...that song is funny for the novelty aspect but that's it. One of these day all that irony is gonna kill the cat) and the Used? Red Rockets get an B+ for effort but I'll have to wait to hear what else they do down the road before I give an overall solid grade.
http://www.myspace.com/thetouchmenots
http://www.myspace.com/goredrocket
http://www.nastyprod.com/

Jul 11, 2007

the BLOWTOPS "P.S. This Is A Zombie" CD

What's going on here? I remember this band being all about feedback, screaming and sounding something like a soundtrack to a punk rock gore flick. They're still like that in a way but also they sound more together than before. The last thing I remember hearing by them was 'Blood and Tar' but that was like 6 years ago so maybe I missed the progression from then til now. The instruments sound like they want to punch you in the face instead of hacking loogies in your ear and the vocals, which used to buried under a bunch of echo, are right up front and sounding like a mix of Jon Spencer from 'Extra Width' and Rollins when he was in Black Flag. They're still all about blood, guts and gore but it's a way more coherent than I remember. Dig the Bantam Rooster cover too.
http://www.myspace.com/theblowtops

Jul 9, 2007

NIGHT OF PLEASURE "Godard vs. Trufaut" 7inch EP

Columbus Discount has been flying the freak flag really high the last year or so when it comes to their cowtown. With Night of Pleasure though it's like the built a gigantic neon sign right before the city limits, engulfed it in flames and had Night of Pleasure play on top of it while the fire licks the sky. Who knew Jim Motherfucker had a kid? Is it any surprise he's on 10x's the rocketride to fuckedupsville when his role models for his vacant parent all died too young under many a different circumstances (Do I really gotta name them? If yr reading this ya probably know the ones I refering too)? Then consider they chum around with people like Times New Viking. It's gonna be a mess but one that'll bring out the accident gawker in anyone. Fuzzed out, overdriven and on the verge of either collapsing into a pool of toxic sweat or losing it's mind (again) and taking a few out with them along the way.
http://www.myspace.com/nightofpleasure

Jul 7, 2007

Victory Whirlwind Witbier

I've been given recommendations on Victory stuff for a bit now but hadn't had any of the company's makes pass my tastebuds yet. On my last visit to the vendor of finer brews and ales in my town there was Whirlwind on the cooler shelf. I swore I heard it say "Pick me! Pick Me!" How could I refuse, ya know?
When it comes to American breweries take on wheat styles there can be a lot of fluctuation (I know I say something to that effect everytime I get to talking about wheat beers but I feel I can't stress it enough). From the flat out fakeness that is Leinekugel's Sunset Wheat (Yep. Two month's later and I'm still bent on how crappy it was. Did the people who came up with that recipe even taste that stuff after it was made? And if they did-did they shrug and say "Well, if we market it right some schmuck will think it's good stuff" then laughed maniacally about it?) and the blandness of Goose Island's 312 Urban Wheat to the consistent goodness of American pale wheat ale's that North Coast hits with their Blue Star and Bell's Oberon (both of which I already name checked in the Sunset Wheat diatribe...Sorry if yr yawning about me going over it AGAIN but I wanna make sure you are taking notes. These points will be stressed on the final exam) ya never can be sure what your getting into until you pop the top.
Victory's Whirlwind is a witbeer in the style of Belgium greats like Hoegaarden. Unlike a Hoegaarden though, which can be a bit too grainy and murky at times for the superheat the season is giving us right now, this may be unfiltered but delivers a much cleaner presentation from start to finish. Scents of citrus and bananas, a nice fizziness on the tongue with a nice balance of lemon peel and light bitter hops to keep it from being too sweet (the downfall of many an American made wheat style for me) and general earthiness. The aftertaste reminds me of something a little spicy and is that blueberries I'm thinking as well too? This is a damn good twist on the summer wheat styles. Completely thirst quenching and refreshing especially on a doing yard work in a scorcher of a day like today. If this is any indication of Victory's does with they're other brews I will be sure to try some of the other things they make soon and (hopefully) on a regular basis.
http://www.victorybeer.com/whirlwind_wit.html

Jul 6, 2007

the GOLDEN BOYS "Whiskey Flower" LP

Every couple years or so someone comes along and bestows the "High Lonesome" sound upon themselves. Most times more than not such attempts at southwestern sound invocation fall a way bit short of the mark. More emulation than assimilation. More play acting than real living. The Golden Boys call the Austin, Tx area home and have a sort of down home sound but they ain't gonna associate themselves with such silly handles. Nope, if you were to use such a term to describe them the high would be alluding to drunk & stoned mood the sound is saturated with. The lonesome part? Well, there's some heartache songs and there's some kiss off songs here too. Someone's gonna be lonesome because of it.
The five songs each from Matt and Wes, two from Nathan and one song acquired by the band from a regional craftsman Sid St.Onge all mesh and weave into not a tribute but a celebration of sounds, moods and feeling that is most likely inherent to their DNA. The live and loose like their sitting/standing/falling over in a room with a couple a mic's placed in the sweet spots recording is the only way the ramble tamble shamble that the Golden Boys make should be captured.
Matt's "Yankee Dollar" starts things off like a hoedown on magic mushrooms with an austere yet trippy guitar line and slurred southern accents hoot and hollerin' about the end of the work day and things that Coca-Cola help go down the throat a little smoother. The Wes penned "Bongo's Bongo's Bongo's" are like the demo's of some dude who could've wrote a ton of hits in the mid 60's if they were unearthed before and the unworldly noise that comes out of nowhere didn't throw it off it's tracks.
"Friday Night/Sunday Morning/What Happens In Between" is the question asks "Remember Georgia" and the dark folk-rock riding into Neil and Crazy Horse territory with a harpsichord and feedback adornments answer the song gives probably won't cheer ya up but it's intention of pensiveness is much more convincing here that 90% of the stuff that snores like Ryan Adams (the one that somehow keeps a major label deal even though he insists on releasing two or three lackluster albums a year that even his most loyal of fans yawn about and don't even drop coin on anymore. Not the one from Midwest Beat...who are deserving of a deal) constantly try to take stabs at. The high strung and jangle clanged "Never Wanna See You Again" says what most everyone thinks (well, not EVERYone but any one who knows what bullshit is loaded into the statement) when someone breaks up with you but assures "We'll still be friends". "Oohh Girl" it's like Matt takes the couple of really good songs from John Lennon's first few post Beatles break up solo albums, folds them up, puts them inside his hat, drinks and sweats all day then unfolds them just to see what happens. Some few horns are added to the proceedings to just to see what they'll do to the fermentation process. It's a pungent blend that burns and soothes. Then some kinda mutation of the Sir Douglas Quintet's "Texas Tornado" album, double vision and some old timey instruments like mandolin and Ralph White of Bad Livers fame on fiddle as well as the trumpet we heard earlier in the trip on the melodic, noisy and swirly (and song that has been stuck in my head from this album since the first time I gave the album a listen) "La La Birdie".
Accordions (or is that a pump organ...I've had a couple drinks myself this evening but I'm guessing it's one or the other) provide the feeling of a creepy gypsy carnival for Nathan's first song writing contribution on the album "Babushka". It's followed up with "Pretty Good Lookin' To Me", another revisit to kind of thing Doug Sahm and Augie Meyers did so good then accelerated thanks to a couple of white lines, a song all about the dumbshit things guys will do while trying to impress some cute girl.
"Billy Wore A Dress" is like "They Saved Hitler's Cock" and "Annette's Got The Hits" taken down some back road and given a shotgun. I would consider Sid St. Onge's "Dolly's Waltz" (where the now departed from the band James Arthur bangs the drums) the most "hard country" tune on the album but I think most purists would get a little bummed because the band doesn't try to pretend they're not half in the bag when they really are. After all..."that ain't professional! That's why Hank got kicked out of the Opry." Yeah, well...fuck those types. When I wanna hear a melancholy waltz of booziness I want something like this-not some queerbait in a designer cowboy hat and a Hollywood better half. On "Yeah, I Wanna Know" it sounds as if Wes spent the day listening to Replacements bootlegs from around the time "Hootenanny" came out along with a couple of Sonic Youth records then wondered "Ya know what this stuff needs? Some fucked up horn section" then he goes ahead and does it AND does it better than if Westerberg or Thurston Moore came up with the idea..."Lime Disease" is a mood piece that gets all disturbed courtesy of Nathan. "If I Can't Hold You In My Arms" caps off the album with it's sorta hillbilly/sorta garage smoldering tale of loneliness (which takes us back to the first paragraph I wrote here.)
I know a guy who claims to be the biggest fan of the new traditionalists of country music in the entire county that doesn't understand why I ask him questions like "You DON'T see the total pretentiousness in Hank III" then tries to change the conversation to something like his favorite Old 97's song. No, he's not the type that would get the Golden Boys because they've never been on the cover of No Depression (but if they were I'm sure he'd most likely change his tune). "Whiskey Flower" is not an album for those types but if you like a "roots" sound where the roots have been pulled and transplanted in somewhat different soil and allowed to grow a bit wild ya might just find this the best 100% completely "American music" sounding rock-n-roll of the year (or maybe the past few even.)