Dec 30, 2008

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout

It's been asked that if us here at Smashin' Transistors have some kind of attitude towards Bell's Brewery. After all we're based here in Michigan and they are too but we never seem to give much space to their beers here. Let us declare that we like 'em very much and it's nothing personal. It's just that since they are found everywhere and have established themselves with even the rare occasional dabbler in craft brews (and right so we must add cuz they are very, very good at what they do) we pass over taking about them for things that are, in this part of the state at least, more obscure and not as high profile. For Christmas a couple of people gave the gift of beer to us and there were some Bells included so it's good as a time to sit and discuss one. The Kalamazoo stout is a good as place as any.
Very dark in color. Almost black but not quite. You can't see through it-that's for sure. Half inch caramel colored head that melts away quickly leaving a cloudy cap a spotty lacing. Chocolaty malts and licorice are the prominent scents.
The flavor is slightly sweet and kinda milky when it first hits the tongue. It's followed a roasted malt warmness and a slight bit off coffee bitters. It then finishes with a complete turn around with the same characteristics that were found in the front. It's light carbonation and little less than medium body make it an easy drinker.
Bell's produce 5 different kinds of stouts throughout the four seasons. This is the only one they make year round. Fine, solid and a standard others should be measured to.

Dec 27, 2008

MISS CHAIN & the BROKEN HEELS "Lies" 7inch

It's fr-fr-fr-freezing cold right outside as I sit and type but as this record plays the skies turn from their winter gray to a bright summer blue and the cold white blanket of snow that covers the ground changes into it's vibrant summer greens. Who knows how Asstrid, the Barcella brother hip shakin' rhythm section and Mr. Silva He of the Rock Action manage to do such things in the sparkle pop magic way they do but like all magic it's much more fun if you allow yourself to believe it than to be a grumpy party pooper always trying to dispel things.
"Lies" is has "Break Up Song in the classic Girl Group style" stamped all over it. All the unnecessary ruffles are done away with for something a little more simple but just as stylish. A cool hook that stands alone in the introducing then bright and banging with out being too brash midtempo dance bop joining in. Tender but tough words about boy loses girl/girl gets new boy/boy can't understand why girl left/girl tells him why. Where are the Casey Kasem's of the modern world sending this out as some sort of backhanded long distance dedication across the airwaves of the world? It's a warm up track for side two's "He's Your Boy (But Could Be Mine)", a cautionary tale to American girls (Watch out! Your boy may be next), all bouncy and featuring a Real Kids thinking about Chuck Berry type of guitar solo taken to bent string twang outer limits.
There may be another 5 feet of snow dropped on this town over the next few weeks but it's like the middle of August when ever the Broken Heels are coming over the speakers.

Dec 21, 2008

Arcadia's Coco Loco Triple Chocolate Stout & Big Dick's Old Ale

A friend of mine hooked me up with a couple of brews from Battle Creek, Michigan based brewer Arcadia's "Big Beer" series. Though sometimes Arcadia's "everyday brews" are all that to get much to get excited about I mentioned to my friend that this series has pretty impressive when he was looking for some beer recommendations for himself. Pretty thoughtful gift wouldn't you say?

Coco Loco Triple Chocolate Stout
Very dark chocolate brown in color with reddish tinted maltshop head that doesn't stay too long but leaves a healthy cap and some thick & runny lacing. Huge on the cocoa in the scent. Other aromas are of Tootsie rolls, a really warm roasty malt, more than a dash of molasses and a pinch of alcohol. The flavor and feel of this fuller end of the medium scale body wise beer is a chocolate malted. The use of lactose in the brewing process brings out a creamy quality that compliment the super huge & rich cocoa flavors melding them together nicely than just leaving each other stand apart. As it warms it does take on some bitter & dark chocolate characteristics but still has soothing texture all the way down. The aftertaste has a some warming effect from the alcohol and slight bit of a powered chocolate used in baking but has a silky feeling keeps it from lingering around too long.

Big Dick's Old Ale
Medium pour bigs out a thin head that doesn't last long and a spotty lace that sinks right back into this murky copper colored brew. The aroma is faint but what I detect is cherries, a splash of rum and raisins. There's a bit more action in the taste compared to the smell but not quite what one would expect from something that claims on the label to be a "liquid ode to Richard the Lion Heart". Y'know what I mean. Such grand statements prepare ya for something brimming with attitude in it's flavors but it almost seems that this is more talk than it is action. It's not bad though it just doesn't push it to some hearty full on floor ya type of flavorful level. Medium bodied-not too thick and not too light. Lots of malt sweetness and some dark fruit flavors on the tongue. Brown sugar notes in the back of the mouth and a bit of a brandy burn down the throat.

Dec 18, 2008

the SHIRKS "Dangerous" 7inch EP

Ya know what band it would be cool to have around still? The band from Indiana called The Problematics. Had their Rip Off single (Yes, One of the one's with the b-side) on the record player the other day actually. Turned it up and rocked it out. Played it like 4 times in a row I think. It's just one of those loud-n-speedy big hooks trash punk slabs that hits it on all cylinders.
Like all the best punk rock bands, the fuse fired quick, they blasted off fast and blaring then exploded leaving pieces scattered all over the place. Former Problematics Al Budd landed in Washington D.C. and was doing who knows what til him and some dudes got together and decided to bring some of that REV! REV! REV UP A SATURDAY NIGHT! action to a town that needs it. Well, actually every town NEEDS that stuff but some don't. With the Shirks being around the land of where epitome of "THE MAN" decides our fate everyday stalk the buildings. Three songs that don't let up in that now coined "Punk's Third Rail" world where Teengenerate adjusted our stereo settings and the Devil Dogs had a syndicated TV show that has made their faces more recognizable that Sha Na Na's. Taking all the things that make a rock-n-roll song catchy then poking it with 50,000 volts is something that these kids today (well that is the rare kids that even play something that is even anything remotely related to real Rock-n-Roll) forget to do. The Shirks sound as if they're on a mission to remind us all.

Dec 16, 2008

the WITTDRAWLS "Paranoid Delusions of Grandeur" 7inch EP

When I first saw what label this was on I thought maybe I was in a time warp. "Black Lung? The label that put out Candy Snatchers, Nashville Pussy, Hookers and Halfways singles about a decade ago?"
Yep, the same one. Seems they've been a little active of late. Given that this band (who apparently broke up right after this was recorded) includes Mark Death of the Halfways on vox & guitars and the record is dedicated to the memory of Candy Snatchers Matt Odietus who passed away earlier this year the label is reintroducing itself in a way it should.
Jabbers era GG slime singing with a bit of a '77 Brit snarl over a sick boogie of Crime/Stones affection. The Humpers Scott "Deluxe" Drake does best Johnny Thunders better than Johnny on the lead off track "Strung Out (And Left To Die") setting off this four songer into an evening of broken beer bottles, pills that get passed from pockets to pockets, ladies that are up to no good then a morning after trying to piece together that parts that've been blacked out.

Dec 15, 2008

K.K. RAMPAGE "Without Feelings" CD

I really figure this CD sucks. I can’t verify that, because it won’t play in ANY CD player in existence, a conclusion I reached after trying it in six different players and one computer. So, without anything to convince me otherwise, I assume it sucks. And I assume that not because it didn’t play, and not because it sucks to have a CD not play. No, I assume that because of the back cover art. I swear to God I’ve seen it before, and the mental picture I have of seeing it before is not a pretty one. Not a pretty one at all.
Among the relatively insignificant titles I’ve held in my life are two of the current ones, DJ and Program Director on a small college station in Port Huron, Michigan. Before I stumbled in there from the educational cold a few years ago, the station had spent a good chunk of time as the exact opposite of what a college station should be. It played easy listening and smooth jazz soul-draining crap exclusively. Because of that foray into the dark ages taken by the station, we to this day receive a plethora of CDs featuring shitty easy-listening/smooth jazz/crap so generic it could be played in a funeral home specifically to make certain none of the corpses consider waking up. Now and then, something that doesn’t fit in those categories appears, but apparently we’re not on the promo list based on music genre; it seems we’re on the list of people to send exclusively suck-filled CDs. No matter the genre, at the moment, pretty much anything that appears really does just genuinely blow.
I swear to god, this CD appeared at the station a few months ago, in the mail. It wasn’t directed or addressed to anyone there today, in the post-suck revitalized days. It was just there, spurt towards us by some diligently annoying distributor, like every pleasure-draining disc that appears.
I'm convinced of this because the back cover art looks familiar. The cover I recall was just as ugly, and the mental image scarring my mind looks just like this one. Profoundly generic as any other featuring some sort of psuedo-"edgy" abstraction by some artist that for all I know won the "who's gonna design this crappy band's cover" sweepstakes by default by being the self-tortured twat one of the guitarists in the band is currently banging. Or not. Either way, I‘ve seen it before, and I‘ve seen it in the context of being one more shitty promo that appeared in the mail…the same mail that OUGHT to bring us good music, but fails to do so regularly. Or else it just looks very similar to one of those discs of vile. Which isn’t a good thing either. Looking at it sure as hell doesn’t make me want to listen to it.
The front cover doesn't do much for me either. Generic creepy/scarry. Ah, the pain the ability to cut-and-paste sometimes inflicts on our eyes.
But none of that fucking matters, because I couldn’t listen to it, it wouldn’t play in any cd player I could find, which is doubly annoying considering I’m willing to bet it wasn’t worth that much damned effort anyhow. If I’d have heard it, well, I might say differently. But for now, I’ll assume this sucks and state such if only to save someone the pain of buying it or seeing the band play and being disappointed because no one warned them of the risk. Err on the side of caution. I guess that sums it up. If I can ever get the damned thing to actually play I’ll update.
More words on different topics, some even interesting, on my site

Dec 14, 2008

Founders Harvest Ale

If there's one way to put something in a bottle that can make someone pine for the sweetest of summer day's in Michigan looks like Founders has found away to do with this brewed in autumn brewed wet hopped ale.
Sunrise orange in color and a very, very unfiltered haze in it's look. Inch thick whipped cream looking head that fades just slightly and leaving all kinds of lace all through the glass. The scent is a BAM! of very bright grapefruit placed smack dab in the middle of a pine forest. It's bursts right out of the bottle and wafts all through the room while pouring. After it settles down a little bit it takes on a more some fresh baked bread nuances. Very floral and flavorful aroma.
The smell is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to flavorful. Quite lush in it's taste. A sweet citrus burst of crisp & clean lemony tartness wakens the first. As it coats the mouth in a full but not too thick way notes of pear, spices and warm malts make their presence known but none of them pushing their way to the front screaming "Here I am" but complimenting each other in the all kinds of magic complexities that Founders has mastered. The finish is balance of fruit juicy nectar's, class A hop bitters and a spicy malt warmth. Very drinkable all the way through.

Dec 12, 2008

the BEAVERS "Com'on let's Beav'" 10inch

Name anything that people consider garage punk and the Beavers probably has a song that sounds like. Surf but more garage punk, folk yet more garage punk, psychedelic...rhythm & blues...but more garage punk. These guys are Dutch and every Dutch band I've ever heard are missing something. Their hearts are in it but other than a certain level of garage punk production they lack any of their own identity.

Dec 11, 2008

V/A "the HARRISBURG PLAYERS: Volume One" 7inch EP

"Recorded somewhere between 1798 and yesterday by Harrisburg-area musicians and their cohorts" according the liner notes this Mike Rep & Tommy Jay involved project shines a light on some of the music coming out of a central Ohio hamlet with a population of 332 people.
Small towns always have a reputation of a breeding ground for a particular kind of weirdo and the place this music comes from ain't no different.
Tommy Jay starts off this four song EP with "No Place"- A Lou Reed acolyte in a Dylan sitting in the kitchen with a friend or two and recording it on an telephone answering machine.
The General, who plays bass on "No Place", then is backed by Tommy Jay in a vocal/guitar only duo on the Chrome goes (almost) Unplugged (almost cuz Tommy's UFO crash guitar sound has to be produced by electricity) "I Did It". Nudge Squidfish's "Jess" woozy country shambles along & lures ya in. A lullaby that take things to some very dark and creepy places. T.A. Lafferty closes the record out with "Take It To The Father". He bangs on the guitar, blows the harp and has a Lou Reed thing going on in his vocalizing too but also digs some the Move psych move's in the choruses. They're are piled up in a four track tape, decayed and degraded into into magnetic scratches. Mike Rep's on organ. Tommy Jay's on guitar & drums. I've been lost in many a rinky dink village. Hell, my great-great grandfather was one of the founders of one. No, not the town I live in. I'm talking really rinky dink ones. Never wanted to hang in them much other than people watch for a few minutes. Observing life in Harrisburg, OH might be interesting for a couple of hours though.

Dec 9, 2008

JAPANTHER/the PHARMACY split single

Poking a group with the pigeonhole "noise rock" doesn't make the impact it once did. Maybe it's because the description has been so blown wide open and left to interpretation that everything from Grandpa Lou's "Metal Machine Music" static & drone to modern prog rock bands like Battles to really loud & lo-fi pop bands like No Age & Times New Viking get pushed into standing under the same umbrella. I'm guessing it all roots on whatever the was the first Sonic Youth album first or something.
Japanther is one of those bands that get's the term pinned to them. Not being to familiar with most of their stuff though, judging for this record this reviewer would put them in the 3rd category from above. Well, maybe not at first with it's looped out snare-n-bass crackle/punk-funk fuzz bass lick pattern and sample from a film I'm pretty sure I know but can't quite pin it...then BUURRRRZZZZZ!
But not a "NOISE ROCK" BUURRRZZZ! A big, loud and overdriven ball of hiss sing-a-long clamor BUURRRZZZ! is more like it. Like bubblegum with glass slivers in it "Not A War" is all chewy but will things will probably get messy. No matter though cuz you'll be busy bopping your head to the Archies filtered through a bank of obsolete buzzy electronic gizmos chorus.
Pulling out moves like a joyous but cynical basement mod band with pocketful of pop tune tricks The Pharmacy's "WAYDWYL" is an twisted revisiting of an AM radio chestnut with a message. Further spins though mind get the mind thinking when did Warm Jet's era Brian Eno become a member of the Reigning Sound.

Dec 6, 2008

the PRAMBATH "I Will Walk My Own Way" 7inch

The record itself has gotten be one of the coolest looking ones I've seen in quite a while. It looks like splotches of pink frosting were dripped and flung the sandwiched between to slabs of clear vinyl.
The tunes kinda have a splattered with globs of pink frosting quality to them too. Then it's pressed between the same kinda of things that have give the tart carbonated blare to Japanese female membered rock-n-roll bands that have come before them like, off the top of my head, Supersnazz for example had going on.
What's that theory that everything that goes on in the western world gets put through a turbo button once it hits Asia?
The pop POPS louder!
There's bright colors even brighter and colorful!
Bass playing singer Chihiro Isadora's voice takes the speedy & squeaky silly J-Pop ditty, then rocks it out and somehow makes it sound even more unusual. Makes ya almost wanna check the pitch button on the turntable if you weren't too busy leaping around like a goofball when it's playing like my 12 & 9 year son's, cuz they lose their minds too anything "cool Japanese thing that rocks (Hey, the 12 year old was rocking out to Teengenerate when he was newborn. I'll take the blame)", do when this gets spun.

Dec 5, 2008

Dogfish Head Immort Ale

This have been "on it's side" for a few months in the little section of the basement that has been declared "the beer cellar" at Smashin' Transistors central. Seems Dogfish Head's are always proper for such things and this, an 11% abv strong ale, that according to the label is "Vast in character" and "reveals interwoven notes of maple, vanilla and oak" was a worthy candidate.
A very rich auburn in color and a head that fades quickly but leaves a constant ring around the surface. One whiff and it's obvious that this a perfect choice to let age and take bond with itself for awhile longer than when it was picked up off the store shelf. So many warm and rich aromas. Mellow bourbon, sweet maple and vanilla beans. The scent alone is something to marvel over and if the taste is even half as good as smell it's surely gonna be a winner.
First sip (and this is superjammed with flavor so it is a definitely sipper and not a gulper) warms the body nicely. Sweet maple & malts greet the tastebuds first followed by vanilla and a tinge of raisin. Pretty hearty body and full feeling in the mouth but surprising not as thick as expected when basing the myriad of flavors and complexities it is packed with. There is a bit of alcohol hotness in the end but thanks to the oak aging it has the jagged edges smoothed out and the finish is actually kinda wet.

Dec 3, 2008

the YOUNG "Get Out Of My Face" 7inch EP

Hotwired and ready to explode punk rock from the post Reds/Marked Men damaged landscape that is Texas punk rock. Yeah, It's a big state and though the two bands weren't all that close geographically there is a similar hi-powered lo-fi punk rock-n-roll threads that run through both of 'em too. The distance thing makes sense too cuz, though both have antsy elements to 'em, where the former sound very meticulous at times the Young are a lot more about no brained abandon and a heart pumpin' gasoline.
Four pissed off blasters that spew contempt & disgust in all directions. A sandblasted guitar sound that manages to throw some catchy powerpop rocks at your noggin with a rhythm section that at moments borders on thrash band concussion tempos and a singer who sounds like his whole vocalizing technique from listening to nothing but the Rip Offs during his formative years.

Dec 1, 2008

CRAPPY DRACULA "What's Going To Happen To US" 7inch EP and CRAPPY DRACULA/SONOROUS GALE split 7inch

Ya'll remember those classes from elementary school where if you and/or your clothes catch on fire you're suppose to stop, drop and roll? Well...somewhere wires got crossed and Milwaukee's Crappy Dracula misheard it as Flail, Flop and Freak is a way to make a musical fire out of household cleaning products.
At their best moments they are like Half Japanese tromping up a steep hill made of the slivers of old smashed up singles from the Bag of Hammers in search of a promised very cheap pharmaceutical drug dealer on the it's peak or more than too far gone Charm City Suicides psyching themselves to play a set that appeal to the the rednecks down at the bar but end up banging their heads against the wall to some scratchy Fall singles instead. If these guys get chicks it's not because their tunes are pulling them in cuz this is total nerd punk.
Sonorous Gale are a bass/drum duo from Buffalo, NY. Can't quite pin a stoner rock tag on them cuz they sound too broke to even afford no name brand beer, the amps more rattly instead off burping-n-booming and there's also a little too much pop melody trying to sneak through in their songs from time to time.

Nov 28, 2008


Playing the blues is a tricky thing these days. All the old guys are gone (or probably only have a few years in 'em) and then there those jokers that claim they are keeping it alive but then namecheck Clapton and SRV. A bunch of clowns in cargo pants, pastel colors and some asshole wearing John Lennon sunglasses at night ain't doing nothing to keep it breathing no matter how many times they tell themselves (in an old bluesman's voice of course) "The blues are in everybody." Oh, what's a whiteboy to do?
There is of course the "punk blues" thing but ain't just really rock-n-roll? The SRV and Hendrix corpse humpers aren't down with all that. "That ain't the blues." they'll tell ya then go off into a 20 minute version of "Sweet Home Chicago" (replacing Chicago with whatever suburb they are that evening and doing some retarded ass Frampton squawk box BS of course). "The blues are about soul. You can give it an hard rock edge but you have to do it with respect. Y'know like that tune U2 did with B.B. King"
Yep. I've had many a talk with local guitar legends...You know the one's. There's always a couple even in small towns. It's funny to tell then that you play in a blues-rock band but watch them head for the door by the second song. Shakin' their head in shame because they know there's no way the band's gonna play a cover of "Tuff Enuff". They're also the same guys that couldn't get into the jukejoint bluesmen that Fat Possum, which is the label that put this record out, released because...well, none of those guys were going to cover "Tuff Enuff" either.
Can't say that's highly likely that Oxford, MS inhabitant Mr. Barrett and his evil bass drum whips out the tune in a encore but you're not going to confuse this with some lost Junior Kimbrough tracks though either. Post White Stripes/Black Keys stripped down rock-blues in a one take/one mic/one man band situation. Swampy, stompy (but not all blown out sounding for a change) stuff powered by a bright Telecaster twang and of course, a bass drum of death (which sounds like a normal bass drum actually).

Nov 25, 2008

A couple of Michigan made Stouts (for a Michgan Winter)

It's no secret that the love that us here at Smashin' Transistors have for Grand Rapids, Michigan brewery Founders. It's more than just home state pride thing too because what they do is impeccable. This thing they call Breakfast Stout is one of the many reason's why. It's a double chocolate coffee oatmeal stout that is only brewed quarterly and in quantities limited to a point where beer sellers have to pre-order it and sit on a waiting list til it's their turn to score some. I don't how far they make it out of Michigan cuz even though I live in the same state where the beer is made I'm way over on the other side where Founder's are a rare sight to begin with and this, for obvious reasons, is even less common than that.
Dark brown/almost black in color with very little head and frosty lacing. Big French roast coffee aroma up front with whiff's of chocolate and, with a swirl or two in glass, hazelnut and vanilla character as well. The flavor is huge on the coffee tip. The flaked oats stand shoulder to shoulder with that and also pull together the semi sweet chocolate flavors in line. Every little flavor character in this brew compliments and bring a balance to each. It's finishes just a robust as it starts never once giving you the impression that this it's an 8.3% cuz it's crafted so well. Full and filling in texture this is a slow sipper but on a cold and windy winter night it's something great to spend some time enjoying while keeping warm. Truly one of the most incredible stouts around. There's also a version that Founder's makes called Kentucky Breakfast that aged in oak bourbon barrels. One of these days I will get to try one of those too.

Dark Horse One Oatmeal Stout

The first in the 5 of Dark Horse's annual stout series (one each a month from Oct. to Feb.) and, as it is every winter, always worth the wait. Very dark (almost black) and rich in color with a creamy dark red head that spots away fairly quickly and leaving a decent sized ring around the top of the brew along with a slight lace all the way through it's sipping. Huge roasted malt aromas upfront with dark coffee/chocolate and smokey wood notes along for the ride. It's those kind of smells that remind a winter holiday morning at my grandparents house. The kinds of morning where all us kids were plied with hot chocolate before we were bundled up to go out ride on the back of the snowmobile. Maybe I'm just getting a bit sentimental of days long past but this DOES remind me of that.
Very full bodied in it's silky texture with a whole lotta flavor in the mix. A robust toasted malt is the first thing noticed with a bitter dark chocolate flavor backing it up. The oatmeal sweetness surfaces next not muting the bite of the bitters but balancing them just right. The finish is warm with very laid back/almost hidden hop presence which is a good thing in such brews because it let's the oatmeal and malt characteristics do what they're suppose to do instead of getting stepped all over in the end. Such great examples of complexities to these taste buds all the way through and another gold star for one of Michigan's finest breweries.

Nov 22, 2008

The Flips 45 soon to be out on Bancroft Records (Pre-order NOW!!!!)

Band bio from their myspace page
The Flips formed from an idea born of Natalie Clark (of Tuff Bananas, The Tears) and Wendy Norton (of Plexi 3, Plastic Pets, Monitors, Kryptonite Records, Search and Annoy Zine, Lookers) at a Halloween party, October of 2007. What started as an idea for a recording project quickly morphed into a "real band" after Wendy and Natalie exchanged 4 track demo recordings of their song ideas. "This collaboration between Natalie and I was long overdue," Says Wendy, "And I could tell as soon as we started working together that this would be a really fun group. Our songs are so catchy, simple, and honest. We have a really great dynamic!" Wendy and Natalie scouted Milwaukee for it's hottest girl talent, recruiting the very talented vocalist Betsy Borst (Sugar Stems) as their lead singer, esteemed percussionist Feraim Albano (of The Riveters, My Underwear) on drums, impresario pianist Fran Switalski (formerly of Plexi 3, Jane Doe and The Cop Haters) to play Wurlitzer, and local punk babe Steph Swinney (Goibbledoimbs, Nice Outfit, Sugar Stems) on bass guitar.

Pre-order your copy of it NOW!!!! Release date late Dec./early Jan. The first 100 pre-orders will get a special prize along with the record too.

In the US & Canada paypal $6.25
The rest of the world paypal $8.00

The Flips

Email smashintransistors (at) for the price on multiple copies and distro's get in touch too.

Bancroft also has a scant few copies of the Goodnight Loving record we put out earlier in the year (as well as a couple stragglers of the Mystery Girls and Real Losers singles we did but sorry Black Time, Jack Oblivian's Tearjerkers, the Catholic Boys and the Tears records are all long gone so don't even ask)...Use same pricing as above to get it.

Nov 21, 2008

the FITT "Hawk Eyes" 7inch EP

Is this modern metal that doesn't suck or is early 90's alt-metal sound entering a Renaissance? Maybe the Fitt are leading it. They remember how gay that whole thing got so they don't sound like some prog bullshit that Tool ripped off. Earliest Helmet & TAD, Sabbath's Masters of the Universe played at 45 and the bad touches that Earache records gave me as a tape collecting intermediate school kid.

Nov 20, 2008

JAIL "Pardono" 7inch

If you've taken a shine to that folksy-pop that Wisconsin bands like the Goodnight Loving, Midwest Beat and the late, great JukeBoyds (members of the latter are part of the formers) have done so well-it would a wise bet to track down this record, the debut single, from Milwaukee's Jail. Hell, even a former and a current member of Goodnight Loving (one of them who just happens to be once a JukeBoyd) are in this band.
"Pardono" has swirly country road psych ambiance piled on top of those shambling Midwest rockers that bands like the Replacements made in cold winter practice spots decades ago.
On side two's "Always Wrong" hits a place somewhere like a neighborhood Redd Kross would've lived 6 months before they recorded Nuerotica. Boyce & Hart live next door to them and the Embarrassment rent the house across the street. Mitch Easter manages the convenience store a couple of blocks away and sells specials potions he keeps under the counter to all of them when they come to get smokes and candy.

Nov 17, 2008

ALTERED STATES of the UNITED SNAKES (AS*US) "Exectutive Suites" CD

Take of some of the drugs that Pink Reason has lived on and give them to Skip Spence when he was recording "Oar". Sure, Skip's brain was mess up on all kinda who knows what but the things people were burning up their braincells up on back then look like Vitamin Water compared to some of the toxic things people today ingest for a buzz no matter how damaging the not so long term effects . Then imagine if Neil Young heard the results of such a thing while he was on tour with Sonic Youth (the only time I've even seen Neil live but something like the 5th for SY) and the idea of putting together a rural route influenced doom rock band together.
Critics and his label would've buried the thing but eventually people like the Altered States of the United Snakes would dig it back up and declare it theirs.
Feedback gives way to tape loops that then gives way to rattly acoustic guitars and pie tin cymbal crashes. It gets noisier as it goes on culminating with AmRep recorded on one bargain priced mic slime. And that's just the first song. Calling Columbus, Ohio their place to live they fit right in in the college town that bands like El Jesus de Magico, Necropolis, the Unholy Two and Psychedelic Horseshit also lay their hat.

Nov 15, 2008

Bell's Hell Hath No Fury Ale

Out of all the limited/seasonal brews that Bell's makes this, what they've dubbed as an "American dubbel", is one of their most rare with it's approx. 4 week brewing period. It's also one of the most interesting in the long and delicious lines of the company too and as any Bell's fan knows that's saying a lot.
Dark brown in color with a pinky finger size head that doesn't stick around very long but does leave a thin frost on the windows type of lace all the way through drinking. Roasted malt, smokey maplewood and caramel are the dominant aromas with a slight nip of spicy alcohol in there as well. The texture of the brew itself is smooth but not too thick allowing all kinds of complexities to appear in the taste from start to finish. Up front it's almost like coffee but tempered with the flavors of dark cherries. Toffee and vanilla characteristics have a huge presence in the middle but are also split with a very distinct roasted malt taste. The sweet and lingering finish/aftertaste has hints of black licorice but nothing that would bum out those who don't like the taste of black licorice.
Growing up in Michigan and being planted here still now to who knows when I've gotten used to this time of the year when the signs of a snowy, long, cold & reeking havoc on my home heating bill winter is just up the block and waiting patiently to make it's presence known. Things like Hell hath No Fury make such news a little easier to take.

Nov 12, 2008

the LIVE ONES "Dirtweed" 7inch

Can't say I've kept track on how many times I've walked into a place promising live music in this stupid county then thought "Uhh. It's a bunch of old guys" when the band started to play. The thing is nowadays those "old guys" seem to be around my age. Usually they're embarrassing themselves though by playing really hack versions of current hack AOR and Young Country hits but "Hey dude. Getting paid" or thinking they're pure by playing what they think is the blues ie: Stevie Ray Vaughan and...well, Stevie Ray Vaughan. It makes ya wonder if they even care then ask yourself where's the old guys that who still get off cranking it some songs the wrote up in a neighborhood dive bar. That is unless you walk the same streets in a place where the Live Ones do.
"Dirtweed" is a 3 chord street walking bailed up in Stooges tested/Ramones approved twine vibe with cranky & somewhat disturbed singing. "Don't Look Down" sounds like Danzing if the Misfits didn't break up but he led them into the Evil Elvis thing he completely transformed into on his first couple of solo albums.

Nov 11, 2008

TUNNEL OF LOVE "Hott Radio Revenge" LP

When it comes to caveman rock-n-roll there aren't many bands that give a shot of glamor like the Tunnel Of Love. Jeanie Shrimpton on a meth binge hair-do's, striped leotards with gym shorts pulled over top of 'em, plastic tiara's and purchased from the clearance bin at a Halloween store Dracula capes It's a glamor that's vexatious to tough guys and the humorless but it's there in their thud none the less.
It's all about finding the most scuzzy of cruds then doll it up with broken, busted & bastard brain damage, soiled souls. Tunnel of Love almost take the sound of music and reduce it back to the days of cromagnum man when they just had rocks and sticks to bang against the ground and cave walls. Almost because they stop short of that because, well this ain't no hippie earth/world music jam band stuff. It's rock-n-roll. Beats of a primordial fashion on the floor tom & cymbal bashing rewire the connections of the brain which sets everything into an ooze position. A guitar that is held together but duct tape & sheer luck which may stay in tune for a minute or two blaaaangs from mostly downstroked chordal abuse through an amp that begs for mercy from eardrum fizzing feedback that happens every second when no one is beating the strings while howls of lust push it even father. All of the sounds are in competition to stomp all over each other and the assault turns into a one big nasty audio melee. It's almost like hearing a field recording of the 30's then going back to rediscover the people that recorded it are still alive and playing but despite them getting a big wad of electricity and hearing select songs from the Gories and Captain Beefheart's Original Magic Band they're still isolated from the world and regressing back to a stone age state is what you're suppose to do.

Nov 8, 2008

the PLEASURE KILLS "Mission Boy" 7inch

On this, their second 7inch slab, San Francisco based the Pleasure Kills don't stray from their Blondie gets turbocharged sound and really, why should they? It works well for them.
"Mission Boy", a girl's eye view of tragical hipsters, borrows a keyboard line reminiscent of "Dreaming" but the sound is hopped a bit more. Singer Lydiot's voice has a boom to it that the majority female "new wave" singers both old and new lacks. She's not all growly but she sure can belt and doesn't fall back on that squeaky/breathy/yelping thing too much like a lot of the others do. The guitars tick/tock then bite when they need to while the solo's pay a nod to the Johnny Thunders blare with a bit more flash (but not in that "Les Paul through a Marshall so look at me" gutter geetar hero flash thing which is breath of fresh air in such guitar solo situations). Side two's "Picture's On The Floor" could be dropped in to replace a tune that clearance couldn't be made for on a cable re-run of "Valley Girl" and no one would notice a difference. Yep. They nail the sound well.

Nov 7, 2008

Great Lakes Nosferatu Ale

It's only appropriate that a beer named after a legendary vampire would have a reddish tint to it. No, this beer isn't bloody looking or anything but it is sharp clear red in color. Once inch head that fades a bit but still sticks around pretty healthily and all kinds of thick lacing all the way through. Aroma's are subtle here. A bit of hops, a strawberry tinge and dark malts are what my this nose is noticing.
The flavors in the brew itself are much more pronounced than they are in the scent. There's a huge malt sweetness up front then a ESB like bitterness shows up soon afterwards with more that a dint of alcohol hotness in the end. Firm, creamy body but overall though not a whole lot of complexities and something seems just not there. Maybe it's the weird spicy bitters characteristics that stick around too much that are leaving me a little put off. The remaining 3 of this 4-pack will eventually be finished and though it won't prevent me from trying other Great Lakes makes (cuz I've been impressed with some of the other random samplings I've tried) but I'm just not feeling this one.

Nov 6, 2008

El JESUS de MAGICO "Unclean Ghosts" 7inch

A fuzzy two note buzz starts off a-side's "Unclean Ghost". A mesmeric boom bop beat then joins in giving signals for an Eno in the most turbulent of moods keyboard drone to meld into the sound. By the time the glassy splashes of guitar and haunting heavy echo chambered vocals come in you are already in a stupefacient daze...eyes closed (cuz they're rolled in the back of the head) with yr head swaying back to forth. Simplicity like the lure of one of those good Wire songs uses, the missing things that have puzzled me when I meet people who claim to be Discordians but haven't ever heard of Hawkwind and a part where the could've let doves out of a box but they end up being rats. No one notices the punctured skin/bite marks until a day or two later. By then it's gonna take much, much more than iodine and calamine to treat it.
All kinds of hell breaks loose when you flip it over for "Pirate Utopia". Stand back cuz they're gonna start a fire of metallic (but not METAL) grind voodoo played on a guitar that was being used as an oil drip pan underneath a bl
ock of a greasy old real engines that were made to be worked on in your driveway. Sparks fly & skulls break from the smack! pound! smack! pound! If you listen very closely rumor has it that you can hear Gibby Haynes & Peter Cushing arguing over who get's to play the lead in the movie based on the songs El Jesus de Magico write.

Nov 3, 2008

HUNX "Good Kisser" 7inch

If provocateur and friend of Tina "Boom Boom" Lucchesi Hunx was around in say 1972 the whole glitter rock thing (at least in the US) might have taken a different turn. Because of Hunx starpower Led Zep would've never take up all the table's at Bingenheimer's English Disco and if they did a piece of useless Psychical Graffiti trivial would be that "Sick Again" was written about 14 year old boys, Bowie and Bolan would've grown lumberjack beards (because Hunx already cornered the market on rockin' the cop mustache) and started lifting weights and Iggy would've accepted that bus ticket from his parents to come back home to Ypsilanti and learn to be an Optometrist. What other choice would they have? They'd have been out swaggered, out posed and out fruited.
Anchored by a stadium stamping & hip shakin' beat ala something that's really tough to do unless you're someone like the Sweet or Gary
Glitter and a post bubblegum/pre-punk guitar sounds that sounds like it made be pushed through an speaker made of lighter fluid soaked cardboard a party starts (courtesy of his Punx???) that gonna make you giggle & digging a good time, feel uncomfortable & split for the door or wanting to claw some other queen's eyes out. Hunx reedy and nasally voice taunts all the girls who's boyfriends getting stolen as he sashays in the most flamboyant of ways through a land where the Beach Boys Wilson's and Brothers Mael collaborated on a new national anthem (heavy on the girly backing vocals) and the speech the president read announced the news was written by the country's most recently named poet laureate Rip Taylor.

Oct 29, 2008

Oct 27, 2008

Founder's Centennial IPA

According to the Founder's website this Michigan made brew is benchmark brew amongst the US of A beer judges when it comes to IPA's. It's easy to understand why.
Unfiltered so a cloudy burnt orange in color even when held up to the light. A buttery toffee aroma accent the scents of grapefruity centennial hops, roasted malt and something that has this reporter thinking a dash of honey. A slight head dissipates pretty quickly, leaving a slight film at the top of the beer along with a decent amount of lacing.
A sweet yet tart hop zing is the first thing noticed in the taste. Very much citrus-like with a bunch of earthy notes. The malts follow it up with a caramel sweetness smoothing out some of the zesty bitterness with creamy qualities. Here's an IPA that ends with a dryness that is something almost wet and tart. I know that not make much sense but it's the only way I can think to describe it. The more than average ABV, 7.2% to be exact, isn't all that noticeable until it brings a nice warming effect in the finish. My love for IPA's is no secret and this, in my opinion, is one of the best ever. All in all-PERFECTION!

Oct 23, 2008


With band names that sound like a really seedy drive in double feature once again Columbus, Ohio brings more of that really odd rock loudness to the (turn) table.
Day Creeper's songs could be described as "pop" cuz it's pretty damn catchy in some of the more recent Jay Reatard kinda way and Hell, maybe even "new wave & nervy" in the same sorta way. That's not to say it sounds like some Jay Reatard knock off though. Day Creeper have their own kinda choppy and stomping damage going on. "And How" has Brit D.I.Y. tendencies stamped all over it while "My Blue Screen" touches on Devo pulling out a bit of 60's teen tragedy croon out of their hats and smothering it with total toxic organ whirrings. Both songs quick, curt and to the point but even if they lasted a little a longer it would most likely take a while for them to wear out their welcome.
In contrast to Day Creepers easy to get grabbed by hooks Night of Pleasure's "Spasm Chasm" shoves your ears in a metal trash can then pile on bags upon bags of sludge, scree, scuzz and disturbingly hypnotic repetition til yr almost suffocating and kick it all down a jagged rocky hill. When that ride finally grinds to a halt you ask if you can go again. They say no but then drag up behind a rattletrap called "Hipster Downgrade"-a clattering piece of wide open spaces guitar noise and junkyard percussion that ALMOST makes Psychedelic Horseshit sound like the Jefferson Starship in comparison.

Oct 21, 2008


Keeping in the untraditional tradition of split singles by sick geek noise bands jamming as many "songs" as they can per side Wisconsin label Trigger On The Dutendoo is at it again with two band 7inch EP.
The Raging Dickbrain side claims to sport 31 "songs" and each one of them being a mutant piano piece, clattery drums and a voice that sounds like it's impersonating all Muppet monsters as once.
Prunalogsusan 13 "songs" lean more towards a busted up tape machine version of stoner-ambient hum that's way too unsettling to get stoned to OR to put on when ya want to chill out.

Oct 20, 2008

DAVILA 666 s/t LP

Trying to think of a band that came from Puerto Rico and the only one I can recall without racking my brain too much is Puya. The only reason why I even recall them is because a record label rep that came into the record store I worked in at the time was really pushing them and one of the selling points that they were from Puerto Rico. Being in a Midwest tumbledown town stuff like that didn't matter...but the fact that they were on tour with on tour with Slip-FUCKING-knot though!
Damn! Dude!
The only thing that still rivals ICP t-shirts in this town almost a decade later from their height are Slipknot t-shirts!
That angle didn't seem to work out they way their label though either I guess. The last time I heard their name was when me and wife were at a flea market a year or so ago and she called out to me "Ever heard of this band? There's 20 promo copies of their CD in a box over here."
With that impression though Puerto Rico's Davila 666 as far as you can get from such drop tuned "everybody have a bad time and punch whoever you can" grunt. Half the of this six piece band (which include 3 guitar players and someone who's job is to shake a tambourine & maracas and to provide some back up vocals) look like wrestlers with the fashion influence of 50's bikers and the other half resembling scrawny kids that could be making noise in any garage/basement/youth hall anywhere in the world. This SOUNDS like it's all about having a good time but, just like most other average Americans, I can only guess if that's what the songs are about because I never bothered to learn much Spanish. The words I do know though and I can pick out of the lyrics it doesn't sound like they are inviting everyone to come and get bummed out with them. More like they're inviting you to come along to their party. Loud rock-n-roll guitars dominate the proceeding along with lots of scream/shout/praise/rejoice sing a-long gang chorus sounding at times the Black Lips if they dropped the jangle for a bit and went for getting James Williamson's guitar sound from "Raw Power." To switch up such straight to the hips knuckleballs every now and again they throw a curve by totally showing their love for Jesus & the Mary Chain. I mean spot on with the wide open blare, creaky whispering vocals and heavily reverberated tambourine.

Oct 19, 2008

Lagunita's We're Only In It For The Money Ale

This is what I believe to be the fourth in Lagunita's series of Frank Zappa dedicated ale's. Proceeding it was an American IPA under the name "Freak Out", an Imperial IPA called "Kill Ugly Radio", Brown Ale "Lumpy Gravy" and this, "We're Only In It For the Money", a Tripel.
Nice honey gold color with a good amount of sediment floating around. Not much of a head even experimenting with some different pours from the bomber and no lacing at all. Like the color there is a scent of honey along with prominent malt and some fruit cocktail thrown into the mix.
It's very much a Tripel in flavor. A little spicy but not the almost stinging and sweet bite that some other American takes on the style like Victory's Golden Monkey has. Peppery and banana flavors are the dominant first things in the taste, fruit & nut bread in the middle and a slight woodsy sweetness shaking hands with a hop kiss at the end. As it's warms a little some sour fruit characteristics of lemon and green apple start to come out a little bit as well. Firm bodied and other than a warming of the 8% abv as it goes down not much of a syrupy lingering too long ending that sometimes become a little too much with some Tripels.
Lagunita's is doing these in album release order with permission from the Zappa trust. That means next on the list is "Crusin' with Rueben & the Jets". Wonder what they have up their sleeve for that one.

Oct 17, 2008

the PITY FUCKS "Why Right Now" 7inch EP

Half G.G. Allin dirtbag grunt punk and half 60's organ blared garage stomp get mashed together by this Portland based band. It's hard to decide whether it would be more to throw bottles and see maybe if ya can get some kinda riot (or at least a couple of fights) started or grab some girl and convince her to start dancing on tables with you kicking over drinks and ashtrays the whole time. This is the dirty medium between the two. Or who knows-maybe that girl ya thought would dance tosses the first bottle or throws the first fist.

Oct 15, 2008

SWEET FACES "On Top Of That Girl" 7inch EP

Brian of the Fevers heads up this trio and like them the Sweet Faces deal up a tackle box fulla hooks in a power-popish vein. Unlike the Fevers though, who have a glossier sheen on their finished product, the 4 tunes here were recorded while gallivanting around Holland and have more of an stripped down immediateness to 'em.
Cool little descending guitar licks sandwiched between and or piled on top loud power chords, the occasional new wavy keyboard flourish here & there as well as choruses that nod to a billion catchy ones that have proceeded it. It's as if they took the sound from something like a Raspberries demo if Cheap Trick stole it from the Sweet's tour bus and that, my friend, is a good thing.

Oct 13, 2008

BEAST with a GUN "Wicked Ways" 7inch

With all the sub-genre's of sub-genres today sometimes it's just kinda nice to hear just a garage rock single like the kinds that dotted the 90's musical landscape from time to time. Nothing challenging or trying to be "out there" but nothing to trad or playing dress up either. Just straight up, rowdy, not all that good lookin' and smelling like cheap ass booze rock-n-roll.
Hailing from the UK seaside resort town of Great Yarmouth Beast with a Gun fit the bill with this two songer. "Wicked Ways" is a one of those based around one of those trash twang riffs that Jack "Oblivian" Yarber comes up with topped with a gruff throated holler about a lady that is oh so good at doing her man wrong. "Uh Huh Honey" gives off a vibe of some Cramps fans kicking around "Shakin' All Over" as if it's a ragged but trusty soccer ball.

Oct 12, 2008

Avery Karma Ale

According to the label spiel (Avery always has a speil about what each particular brew is about along the side of the label. Without 'em it just wouldn't be part of their charm) Karma is the union of a Farmhouse and a Pale. Big on the Belgium tip too it seems as well. Interesting idea. I like the concept of Farmhouse ales but just could not get into Avery's last foray into them with their Fifteenth Anniversary at all. Maybe pollinating such a style with the venerable pale might just work though. They only way to find out is to try it and see, right?
Dark orange in color with a cloudy clarity. The head is one of those great ones that Avery's always seen to have. About an inch deep, fluffy and thick that melts away at it's own pace leaving a hearty amount of lacing. Malt and yeasty are the main scents with slight notes of honey, pepper and green apple but none of them really jump out.
With the malt taking the lead in the taste the honeyish characteristics come out more in the flavor grabbing right on tight to it. As the beer warms touches of vanilla show up and there's a light hop and pepper qualities in the semi dry finish. As a whole a little more complexity would be cool but it has enough to make it interesting. Though this is a little lighter than most beers of a Belgium persuasion it still has decent body and goes down pretty easy.

Oct 10, 2008

ZOLA JESUS "Souer Sewer" 7inch

When's the last time where you've heard a song for the first time and the words "haunting" quickly pop's into your head?
Part sounding like girl locked away in an ivory tower with nothing but a piano to keep her company and part unpleasant dreams that go with being kept in such a situation "Soeur Sewer", side one's tune from this latest single by Madison, Wisconsin based Zola Jesus, sends all kinds of chills up this writer's spine.
Some type of mechanical hum lays a rhythm beneath a hypnotic 3 note patterns where Ms. Zola lays a plenty of layers of white girl with a actual serious scorched soul type shouting & Siouxie-like banshee wails before it all teeters into a stinging pool of of electronic hiss.
Flip it over and you find eBay heroes like Blank Dogs and TV Ghost pining over the lady in the corner who they can't seem to catch the eye of because she's got it all figured out and can do a spooky & noisy erotic type thing while she sleepwalks than they can after a week studying Serge Gainsbourg albums.

Oct 7, 2008

the STRANGE BOYS "Woe Is Me and You" 7inch

"Woe Is Me and You" is the sound of the moments right before you rub the sleep out of your eyes. The band's slumberous psych-folk hazy daze before the cobwebs get shook lose from the noggin'. When singer Ryan opens his mouth his melancholy slacker croon & squeak sounds as if it's being awoken directly out of REM sleep. And what was he dreaming about? Something that everyone with everyday problems can deal with (especially in these problematic times). Are the dreams in color? Judging from a sound that corners Syd Barrett abstractness in a basement of dingy audio aesthetics it's only safe to guess if they do it switches between washed out tones and smeared vibrancy. Their take on the standard "Baby, Please Dont Go" is far from the standard rock workout that has been crammed down throats and ingrained in many of a mind thanks to the familiar takes by Them and the Amboy Dukes for the last 100 years with their woozy and somnambulistic rendition of it.

Oct 6, 2008

PERFECT FITS "Radio Transmitter" 7inch EP and PERFECT FITS/TWINKLE VAN WINKLE split 7inch EP

PunkPowerPop cooked it Southern style. The Perfect Fits feature Memphis mainstays Scott Rogers (Cool Jerks, Dutch Masters ) & Tommy Trouble (Final Solutions, Dranks) and bring Ramones overtones to the proceedings but that thing is kinda unavoidable when doing something out of this template. It's how ya make use of that template is what the important thing is and these guys use it pretty well. They know that slinging the guitars low and wearing Chuck Taylors are part of it but it's not the only thing, y'know.
Over the last couple of weeks "(My Heart's A) Radio Transmitter" has become the unofficial opening theme songs that starts off my Wednesday night radio show. It's tough yet catchy, shiny yet glossy and packed with equal amounts of sincerity and sarcasm. The last song to get dubbed my unofficial opening theme song was "Multiple Girls" by the Black & Whites which is a tune along the same lines soundwise as this. That might have something to do with a Oxford/Memphis connection though (more on that in a few). Side two's "Songs About Girls" is asks the musical question/makes the musical statement "We know the world is in the shitter and you're really pissed off. Why not lighten up for a bit and write about something that has made billions feel better for many a year." Nope, this is not the kinda song that makes you want to mope ya dope. Take that frown, turn it upside down and jump around.
Kicking off their side of the Contaminated Records split single with Twinkle Van Winkle is "Childish Ways" a twang-banger that hops on it's Sears Spirit of '76 edition Free Spirit (yep, sissy bar and all) and pedals down to the arcade to buy some kicks off a guy that looks a lot like Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick. ""All Cried Out" pulls out Merseybeat drama roots from of Davie Allan's garden then replants them in their own Memphis backyard.
No matter how much I like their two songs on the split though (and I do dig 'em quite a bit) the Possessor of one fine honey & gravel voice Twinkle Van Winkle and her predominately Oxford, Ms. based (see I told ya there was some kinda connection) band featuring the likes of a one Mr. Tyler Keith on lead guitar (and Scott of the Perfects Fits on bass too) steamroll right over 'em. A single guitar starts off the blare before everything else kicks into a deep south beach party (okay, maybe not an ocean or one of the Great Lakes but there large bodies enough bodies of water to throw one if ya look hard enough) groove that is "Ain't Wastin' Time". Though there may be hints of vulnerability in Miss Van Winkle's voice when she lays it down and tells ya she doesn't need to spend her time with someone that treats her wrong you can bet your boots that by that tough as nails command she has in her voice she means it. "Love You So Hard" is almost like a Blondie song from "Plastic Letters" but catchier...and, thanks to a looser production (dig the loud ass and brittle guitar solo) than ANY Blondie record had, much more immediate and real. I'm thinking one of the Twinkle songs is gonna become the next unofficial theme of my radio starting TOMORROW!

Oct 2, 2008

Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale

Named after, approved by and endorsed by eccentric (to say the least) one man band Scotty Karate, Marshall, Michigan's brewers Dark Horse offer up their 9.25% abv take of the difficult to do correctly Scotch Ale style.
Pouring a very dark mahogany in color with all kinds of non-filtered sediment goodness floating around and a minimal head that's gone in seconds and lacing that is slight they're off to a good start to at least what yours truly looks for in this style. A sweet caramel & toffee scent are right up front. Yep! Big and malty! They are then complimented by some smokey and earthy undertones.
Whole lotta caramel flavor in the first sip with something like a dark roast coffee with a chocolate covered cherry soaking in it chaser right on directly behind it. There's a lot of fat end body in this brew so it coats as it goes down leaving a coffee/chocolate/cherry taste on the back of your mouth and a very warming sensation down the throat and through the body. Woo! Watch out though cuz a bit of a peppery alcohol bite snaps at you in it's finish. The sweet and bitter balances are full of all kinds of flavorful complexities. Yep! Another damn good brew from Dark Horse.

Sep 27, 2008

the LASH OUTS s/t CD

O shit! I just accidentally knock my drink all over the chick sitting next to me. Good thing she just laughed it off. After all, it is wet t-shirt night tonight so we're allowed to get loaded, tell some jokes, bitch about or day and totally act like hayseeds (not to forget checking out some cans). Stomp, yell, puke and scream. The Lash Outs been there done that. Sounds like they wouldn't have it any other way either. Hillbilly punks that wear a little makeup maybe! They should be the band playing instead of that fat ass old local bar legend supergroup that were the musical entertainment tonight.

Sep 26, 2008

QUAN & the CHINESE TAKEOUTS "Crazy Pills" 7inch

One of these days the state of California will have to pick a place to erect a statue in tribute to the Lazy Cowgirls. Or if not the the entire band at least to Pat Todd and Dee Dee Weekday. It would have to be the state that does it though cuz it's highly likely any of the bands they influenced in the post-post "Real Rock-n-Roll like the Rolling Stones" world don't have the cash to get it together themselves. It's not their fault or anything. It's just that they're out of step with what the majority of the straight world thinks is rock-n-roll. Hell, it's most likely some out there that actually think Michael J. Fox invented rock-n-roll because of what they saw in the "Back To The Future". It's a sad state of affairs but what can one do?
Unfortunately, not much so ya learn to deal with it, turn up the amps and pretend that those type of jerks don't even exist. Fed on a diet heavy on substances like New York Dolls slime, Sunset Strip sleaze and some of that white boy soul the Lyres would flirt with on more than just an occasion L.A.'s Quan & the Chinese Takeouts take their call of rock-n-roll duty very seriously. Dive bars all over the world could be shakin' to these two tunes if it was for that group of ironic jokesters that loaded 10 bucks into the jukebox so they could hear a bunch of Neil Diamond and Stevie Nicks songs. Eventually someone get's pissed, unplugs the jukebox and then waits for a fight. Of course the hipsters who thought the slew of bad songs were funny don't say a word and slip out the backdoor before things get hairy for 'em. That's then this band's cue to tune up, count off and get those in search of an actual good time to break more than a sweat.

Sep 24, 2008

Dogfish Head Golden Era Imperial Pilsner

"WHOAH!" is what I say after my first sip. Pilsner's are a beer standard and for the most part Americanized pilsners are, at the most, just average in flavor. At the least they are, as friend of mine says "Uck! They taste like cheap perfume." Some of the biggest selling beers in North America are based off the Czech pilsner example but have been adapted to the taste of the general marketplace. For example Labatt Blue is a pilsner. It even says so on the label. Crisp, dry and in the most cases for the big breweries a lot of corn, rice and a bit watery. Y'know how it is. One of those standard tastes we all probably remember when we first we trying beer back in those days when it wasn't about flavor and quality but quantity and catching a cheap buzz. Dogfish Head NEVER does anything standard though and their pilsner is no exception to the rule.
Originally called Golden Shower (the name change was a smart idea on their part. I know I've lost how many times I've heard someone like a grumpy old uncle refer to the swill he was quaffing as "Horse piss" then down another can) the color isn't really gold as it is a robust orange. Bubbles race up to the inch tall and slow fading head. A strong grain and honey scent to the nose along with a light slap of alcohol (but at 9% abv-how could there NOT be?).
A very sticky and sweet malt taste up front. It's followed by a honey-like soothingness then some crisp and dry hops show up at the end to rock the scales a little bit with a smack of (good) bitterness. Would I reach for this as my pilsner of choice when such a mood strikes? No, that's Victory's Prima. That's American ingenuity with an age old recipe and hits the bullseye. Besides, this is a bit more pricey and over the top in the booze department for casual drinking but if a special occasion called for a special pilsner this is one to go for.

Sep 22, 2008

PINK REASON "3:16" 7inch

This is the first in the series of Columbus Discount Records singles club. 250 copies on bubblegum pink vinyl. Inner sleeve liner notes written by Pink Kevin giving a little history behind the songs and why he chose them for this record (and if you've ever read/heard any of his stories you know it's a doozy).
Both songs date back to the band's inception. "3:16" is something that starts out crawling like a slug then someone gets out a salt shaker to see what happens. Eventually, the meander turn into a slashing fit. Knives and blood gets drawn. It ends up being a really messed up scene so everything gets set on fire to destroy the evidence. In one of the other sorta recent reviews we've done for a Pink Reason record it here it was mention that one particular tune was the closest they've come to working a "garage rock riff". Well, with "Sweet Sinister" (named after a substance that has kept many a contributor to the Pink Reason mission up for more days than they'd care to count) ya get the closest to a "blues rock riff" that they've attempted. Given the date the song was originally conceived and the company that was being kept at the time-having the Mystery Girls as cronies in chemical indulgence probably holds a larger influence than whatever White Stripes record was on people's lips at the time.

Sep 19, 2008

MISS CHAIN & the BROKEN HEELS "Boys and Girls" 7inch EP

Yeah, summer's over but a month ago to the day we were in the prime of it and to make things ever better us here at Smashin' Transistors were spending it with Miss Chain & the Broken Heels as they played 3 shows in the area. Such bright, sunshiny and dance along with sounds. If their single from early in the year was a little coy & unstated in it's production to some ears this one's a bit more forward and confident. Stepped up in the tracks used department and the Broken Heels more cohesive as a band unit these two songs will charm the socks off you in a way only Italians can.
"Boys and Girls" like all the good things of a summer break away somewhere when you're 15 where it's all about chatting up and fooling around as much as you can cuz you may never see the person again done in a Girl Group meets power-pop style before all the frills get added. Y'know dirty fingernails, sneaking cigarettes when the parents won't catch you, not minding your manners and a really cool guitar solo in the middle. "My Gang" invites you into the kinda of trouble Nikki & the Corvettes would've gotten into if they would've taken a trip to Nashville to hang out with Carlene Carter.
Some pics from the Broken Heels stay in Michigan's thumb

Sep 18, 2008

the EEGOS "If You Ain't Shakin'" 7inch EP

Pogo dancing. Yeah, it's gotta be one of the top 5 punk rock cliches that even great-grandmothers know but boy, when you're a kid, it was an ultimate thing to do. According to my intermediate aged son it still pisses off jocks and teachers. Portland Oregon's Eegos have made a total pogo around the room record here. It's seems a little unfair to whip out Heartbreakers, Buzzcocks and Damned or hell any general '77 reference because so many bands ape that sound so poorly these days it could almost be taken as an insult.
If you ain't shakin' you must be fakin' and these guys don't need ya around. There's a complete snot bag in the sewer rock-n-roll swagger that all those other bozo's try really hard to pretend they have. These four songs of broken beer bottles all over the stage sleaze rock it ain't trying. It their way of life. Betcha it pisses the squares off too. Squares don't like dancing and this makes ya wanna dance around like a fool.