Oct 30, 2007

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

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

Oct 29, 2007

TUFF BANANAS "Candy" 7inch EP

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

Oct 27, 2007


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

Oct 23, 2007

the STRANGE BOYS "Nothing" 7inch

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

Oct 21, 2007


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

Oct 18, 2007

the ELECTRIC BUNNIES "Eskimo" 7inch EP

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

Oct 17, 2007

STAAGS! "Robot" cassingle

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

Oct 15, 2007

Victory Storm King Stout

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

Oct 14, 2007

X-OFFENDER "Get It Right" 7inch EP

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

Oct 12, 2007

THOMAS FUNCTION "Relentless Machines" 7inch

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

Oct 9, 2007


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

Oct 8, 2007

PLEXI 3 "Calculated Romance" 7inch

I really dug the Lookers single that Trickknee put out a decade ago...and the Kill-A-Watts were responsible for a couple of the last few REALLY good things that Rip Off Records put out.
When news got around that Wendy Looker and Ryan Killawatt tied the not, jumped over the broomstick, stomped on the chalise or what ever your beliefs may refer to it as many an eyebrow were raised.
"Talk about a match made somewhere very far from Heaven" was how I heard someone put it but then they added "There will be, at least, one interesting band to come of it."
That band was the Monitors. Yeah, they were interesting in that revival of abstract arty new wave way that was all the rage a couple of years back. They for sure weren't an easy listening experience. They had their moments where it seemed like they were deliberately trying to bogue people out or at least make 'em feel a bit uncomfortable. Because of this when a recent package from Dusty Medical came through the mail this was the one in the batch I put off for a few days saying "I'll get to it when I get to it." It's been a few days since then and I put this on the record player earlier this afternoon. Now I don't know when I'm gonna change the record to something else.

Side one's "Calculated Romance" does have a bit of a '78 DIY off-kilter/ slightly out of synchness to it but also hint of girl group pop going on as well. Damn catchy actually. On the flip they give Arthur Lee and Love's "You'll Be Following" a sunny California meets Wisconsin winter grey sky workover and do it justice-something a lot of band's have a hard time doing with Love covers (well, some bands do an okay job with such a thing but I just heard the Nuge's take on "My Little Red Book" on the classic rock station this past weekend...and yeah, I know it's a Bacharach/David song but Love did do the definitive version of it which I am sure where spedley Tedley got it from...and all I could think was "Damn. He sounds like he actually IS mentally retarded here." What? You didn't know that ted Nugent covered the song? I'm sure most people don't really but I live on the fringe of the Detroit radio market-a place where him and also rans like Sponge still get played more on a daily basis than FM standards like Zep and Skynyrd). Wendy spits out the verses in a snotty manner but then the chorus sounds like a ragtag but right choir. "Perfect Stangers" closes out the record like a 60's AM hit skidding all over a sheet of ice. Damn! Pop music? Yep! You bet. Is "pop music" a dirty word? In some cases it can be but as a fractured interpretation that Plexi 3 do with it not here.

Oct 4, 2007

Warbird Gold Ale

Okay...so I didn't really check out the packaging too much before I bought this. It was more just a glance. We were off to a bonfire and running behind schedule so it was a quick in and out at the store.
"Hmmm, what's a golden ale? Fort Wayne, Indiana...I once met a girl from there and she seemed pretty cool. I guess I'll give it a shot." It hadn't yet sunk in the company name was Warbird.
Once I start looking over the label and the carrier it came in it all makes sense. The company is into old American warplanes. The full name of this brew is Mustang Gold Ale (Mild Golden Beer). So is it an ale or a beer? I need to know...wanna have an idea of the sugars I'm ingesting y'know.
It seems more like a novelty beer that you'd buy for an uncle who served in the war and wants to try "one of the mick-ro beers". After all, the brewery's whole angle. I forgive beer makers for that stuff because everybody's got their obsessions. I'm sure if I had my own beer company people would be wondering what the hell inspired the names of the beers. Hell, Lagunitas out in California has a whole line with a Zappa motif. I'm not big on old Frank and he wasn't even a beer drinker but I'd still try a beer the he somehow inspired. Clear yellow color with lots of bubbles. Looks kinda like a High Life. A faint malt and green hop taste with a hint of honey. Aftertaste had the corn thing going on. Not much character at all, really. It's easy drinking but as when it's all said and done I gotta stick it in the boring section. It reminded of a superfresh and less oily, you guessed it, High Life at 2 and 1/4 times the price. Beer Advocate has this under the APA category on their site but that's gotta be a mistake. It reminds me more of a extra light lager crossed with a just average pilsner. The wife's 80 year old grandfather enjoys a beer a couple of times a week. He's a High Life man and did his time in WW2. I'm gonna take the rest of these over there. He'll get a kick out it but he was a Navy man so I imagine he'll ask if they make any one with ships in mind. Cool looking label though....

Oct 1, 2007


I don't get a change to make it down to Texas very much but when I do it's all about trying as many different flavors as I can. In doing so there's things that are simply amazing to "Ehh...I can do better on that broke down Webber the wife keeps threatening to set on the curb and replacing it with a brand new one." Of course then once I think that I usually go into some diatribe to whoever I'm with that goes something to the tune of "Dammit! Doesn't she understand how well seasoned Old Red is? It'll take at least a couple of years to get any charcoal grill that right again."
Usually at that point someone will say "What about propane?" and that sets me off again in some other longwinded rant about grill posers and "Yeah, dude. Hank Hill..." or some shit. One thing I have noticed about the Lone Star State is their burgers. Sure, if you ever come through my area drop me a line and I can point you to 5 to 8 different places that make the best burger around for a 30 mile radius but in Texas even the not very good burgers (outside of fast food of course...some of the slowest "fast food service" I've ever experience was in Texas) are pretty damn good. I dunno what it is but it's safe to assume it a Texas thing. They just do something to them that make them their own thing.
The last couple of split singles that have rolled through these halls happen to be from Texas. Cool y'know cuz I get a two different things to check out and that's alright with me.
At first I was thinking that Something Fierce learned how to make a Heartbreakers (Johnny's not Tom's just to clarify) style burger. There's a million places all over the world that have some kind of meat frying on their grill like that and a lot of times it sounds reheated. Bah...Leftovers. I dunno why I thought that though because any mention drops of LAMF and so on seem way off base the second listen around. I dunno what I was thinking. Hot, juicy and tasting good. The beers to wash it all down sounds like they were smuggled out of the Marked Men's cooler. Melodic jangles and pop gleamings shot through into hyperspace by a agitated punk rock cannon.
The Hang Outs play ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR! Buzzsaw punk rock but twist it a bit with a singer that that sounds like a junior high school girl with a really bad attitude. She'll either be a superstar or in jail when she hits legal drinking age.
If future travels to Tejas find me stumbling into a place where either of these bands are cooking I'll ask for a menu, pig out and will tell all my friends about how right on their food is when I get back home.