Jan 30, 2008

WIZZARD SLEEVE "Mommy's Little Baby" 7inch

Everybody knows that goths don't fight! They run before they can get beat up. If there were any tough goths out there though I think they'd be listening to Wizzard Sleeve. It reminds me Bauhaus after a bottle of whiskey (goths usually drink those lame malt beverages or even worse SCHNAPPS so whiskey would make them fucked up and mad instead just faggy and sad) and decided to go out and beat of emo kids for being the real pussies. Sounds cool to me. Also if you do a Google image search on goth the porno pics start showing up a lot faster than when you search emo. Need I say more?

Jan 29, 2008

the GAYE BLADES "A Visit to the Man Who Invented Sexual Intercourse" 7inch

My grandma came from the world where if you can't say nice about someone don't say nothing at all. There was this totally flaming guy that lived next door to my grandparents. I don't know if she was even aware of gays and if she was did she contend with words when talking about him that were pleasant and kind. She'd refer to him as colorful, flamboyant, vivacious and full of life. My grandpa was make a crack like "Yep! He's full of something" but didn't begrudge the guy because, after all he had "the best of flowerbeds in the neighborhood and sure knows how to decorate for the Holidays." Grandma would just wondered why he never married.
This side project of the Black Lips Jared Swilley and former Lids front dude Bobby Ubangi show sympathy for such characters or at least have a delightful conversation about silk bathrobes, table linen and getting Liberace's autograph. The hazy swamp gas jangle of Jared's proper band and the swiping from girl group ideas and rolling them down a hill in a metal trash can with a Rip Offs records playing as "ACTION SCENE MUSIC" of Ubangi's old group from an bond that only a few churches in this country (and even less in their home of the south) will acknowledge.

Jan 28, 2008

MESA "Child Of Thunder" 7inch

One of things that I dug about early the Fu Manchu records is that not did they sound like they lived inside of a bong but they recorded in one too. As time went on they moved to tonier digs (dual carbs and a second cooling chamber at the least no doubt) a slapped a For Rent sign on front of the old place. Sure, it's got duct tape wrapped around a crack or two to keep it from leaking, it's caked with black goo and smells really musty. If the price is right though someone will inhabit it. It's a place where Motorcycle Metal street fighters and Backwoods Stoner Punks pack the bowl, knock back a few cases of MGD (in cans of course) and rock each others faces off. MESA (as in BOOGIE?) just moved there in from Cali...KALAMAZOO that is... and the smoke is getting thicker! Don't matter if you spill the water-no one's gonna notice the smell.

Jan 27, 2008

the BETTER BEATLES "Mercy Beat' CD

Beatles fans are freaks. Actually, strike that. It's Beatles FANATICS that are the freaks. You know the types. There the one's that'll start a conversation about Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band extolling it's "innovative ideas" "changing the face of rock music" with all the sincerity in the world. The thing is once you stumbled into their little conversation a few times you realize they a spinning a tangled web of a hungry spider hoping you'll be a stuck and passive fly.
Something as simple as "Ehhh, There's a couple okay songs on and I understand it's 'innovations' but..." is more than enough to send them into a blind fit of obsessiveness interupting you before you can finish the sentence with something like "THERE ARE NO BUTS! It's the MOST IMPORTANT RECORD OF ALL TIME!" then bring up examples of "if it wasn't for Sgt Pepper" then mention a bunch of wimpy ass non-rock & roll "rock bands" the album influenced.
Another thing those types are known for is getting all bent when someone covers a Beatles song but tweak the arrangement somehow or another. Back in my record store days I recall a time where some female jazz-pop singer CD we were playing had a cover of, I think, "I've Just Seen A Face" was on it. It started playing and out of some corner of the store an angry voice starts spouting "WHAT IS THIS?! TOTAL DISRESPECT!!" I look up as the voice gets louder and see this stout premature balding guy in a polo shirt and Dockers walking towards me.
Whoah! I was stunned for a minute wondering what the guy's deal was. In an attempt to divert his attention of me reaching for the security call button I asked "What's the problem, sir?"
I didn't and he left. A week later though he was back in the store. They always come back. There were only 2 record stores (well CD stores more or less by this time if you want to get technical about it) within a 25 mile radius. I was hunting for the CD that made him flip out the week prior but it must've already shuffled off into an employee's collection by then. Damn! Now if only I had the Better Beatles back then. It most likely would've given the guy an aneurysm.
Ten tracks recorded in '82 with only a single of "Penny Lane/I'm Down" released at the time (which caught the ears of John Peel who played it on his BBC program at the time and even requested a 2nd copy when his was stolen) this Omaha, Nebraska based band take on the Fab Four's tune probably sent a bunch of those type of serious Beatle geeks in a completely raging tizzy. The name itself reeking of sarcastic arrogance at the least and tongue in cheek at the most would be alone enough to get them pissing and whining. And if that didn't do the trick enough to send them over the edge-the now Lennon & McCartney standards-the light that is shined on them here would do the trick. A Korg MS-20 Monophonic is the lead instrument gurgling and blurting sounds that if once attempted to sound anything close to something on the original records gave up after the first run-through and instead opted for sounding something from a C-60 Gary Numan has tucked away in the back of a closet with the writing "Tubeway Army: First Practice Recording" on it. Simple one or two note bass lines keep the rhythm with a sparse and martial drumbeat. The vocals are disinterested and mono-tone like a chronically depressed female Michael Mooney who'd rather be napping than delivering the words. The 80's in the midwest was that of Styx and Journey on the radio and alienation from "the norm" could be caused by something as simple as having short hair and a one inch button bearing the name of a band that wasn't Styx and Journey on your jacket. The 10 songs on the disc show that the Better Beatles didn't fit in anywhere not only in their town but the world at large. The interview with the band conducted by Jay Hinman included on the disc's sleeve confirms that they were very comfortable with making Beatles freaks feel uncomfortable.

Jan 22, 2008

St Peters Winter Ale

This has got to be one of the big dogs of the winter ales. It sure seems like it could be. I know that the St. Peter's brewery has only been around since the mid 90's but everything from it's oddly shaped and embossed bottle to the hearty brew that comes in it, no to mention it's made in England just give off an aura of a very old world way of doing things.
Dark brown in the glass while when held up to the light it takes on a very dark and rich ruby red color. About a 1/4 inch head that fades pretty quickly. Sweet malt and chocolaty scent reminding me of something between malted milk balls and oatmeal cookies. In other words "YUM!" but a "YUM" in smell doesn't necessarily mean it's gonna be the same thing in the taste department. Luckily this does not let ya down.
A huge roasted malt warmness is right up front then followed by a tinge of fruitiness (I'm thinking berries or plums. It's either somewhere in between or I can't decide which) with a toffee smoothness in the middle. Nice medium body and light on carbonation. Though this is not as strong or heavy as I expected it's far from being thin. An alcohol pinch shows up in the throat but the balanced complexities of the malt and hops intermingle make this a nice glass of something to sip on such cold evenings such as tonight.

Jan 21, 2008

the WAX MUSEUMS "Traffic Violation" 7inch

Sounding cretinous to a tee the Wax Museums ain't gonna be getting awards given to them for writing the theme song for the Disney Channel's next 'Tween sitcom. Not unless Tween sitcoms are gonna start featuring kids with actual zits and scars and is a complete social retard offscreen and not just playing one, albeit in a wacky and lovable way, on TV. Nope, the Wax Museums sound like straight up vagrants from most rock-n-roll norms but still playing something that sounds like some kind of rock-n-roll. Songs that have one hand in a clogged garbage disposal the other reaching for the plug. BOOM! Someone cuts the power before any gore or electrical death can go on.
What's that? No one cut the power? Someone ran through the room with a baseball bat knocking everyone's lights out? When everyone came to they learned that Black Randy was the one sneaking up behind them and doing the dirty work.

Jan 18, 2008


There's always records I look forward to hearing but through the years, after many a disappointment when giving such things a listen, it's rare anymore that I wait in high anticipation of one. The couple of Psychedelic Horseshit singles that came out the past year haven't spent much time away from turntable and something/anything else by 'em was gonna be welcomed with open arms. Needless to say "Magic Flowers Drone" was one of those rare occasions.
On the surface it's seems it's all about clatter and clamour. A living room and maybe the kitchen too 4-track Tascam cassette taped hissed document of negativism and deformity loosely wrapped in a sheet of aluminum siding, hit with old shoes and scratched with nails. A just waking up in an Oxycodone'd "next Mark E. Smith...Bob Dylan for the now..." haze of a voice. Guitars which may or may not be in tune with anything else on the record sometimes chug, jangle then freak out a blurt a sick mass of harsh Velvetoid White Light/White Heat glare. Keyboards clatter and scream through out with no regard for what else is going on and leave jagged slices on the eardrum. The album opens with robotics walking a catawumpus beat drone trail of broken glass of the called "Nothing Is Revealed" then's followed by a Guided By Voices suffering from DT's so it self-administers Pere Ubu's "Modern Dance" as a nerve leveler which of course backfires if that was really the intended purpose but does in the end produces the most unglued excursions of a rock anthem that is "Portals." "Rather Dull" feels like like a lysergic dream of being tied to the tracks and hearing train whistles approach til you then realize that YOU ARE roped to the ties and here comes the locomotive. The social commentary of "New Wave Hippies" doesn't hit home per se but after associating with more than a few people depending on Youtube and Internet petitions as there main form of protesting and showing discontentment instead of taking it too the street, as well as seeing former "ravers" now slobbering over and annoying me with the talk of the "natural vibes" of Joanna Newsom (who'da thunk Marge Simpson played the harp and had a secret fantasy of wanting to be a wood nymph that likes to hang out in coffee houses, huh?) the songs makes me want to jam their inbox with the song partially for spite but mostly it would make me laugh when pushing the send button picturing their faces when the song starts. You see, they probably wouldn't get the irony, judging the song title a call to arms, not hearing the lyrics at all but getting their mellows all harshed out cuz the music sounds disrespectful to those dirty footed beardo that get on the cover of all the sub glossies. Yeah, you have dreams you were conceived at the Mars Hotel? Weird, Because I have dreams of piloting an old jet fighter and strafing the place). The next song "Crystals" could very well be a companion piece to it (you know how those hippies are about those things. Maybe the new wave hippies replaced their pacifiers for them) but it's overload of disjointed electric skronk & breaking glass scree sends everything into a netherworld of Beefheart getting hipped to Throbbing Gristle while arguing with Neil Young about hip hop records.
With an obvious nod to Brian Wilson and instrumentation that makes the Cherry Blossoms sound like Nickel Creek "Bad Vibrations" nods to a melody line from their vinyl debut on Columbus Discount, revels in awkward tape loops and takes Cowtown's skewed genius Mike Rep in thought if not physically down to the beach. "Can't Get Enough 2" is almost a swanky Bacharach tune if ole Burt always had holes in his shoes, lived off dumpster dove'd pizza and never turned down whatever flaky substances cut out on the back of a flyer for a basement punk show in a dingy bathroom instead of drinking champagne out of Dionne Warwick's shoes. "Mouth Disciples" sorta's like the Fall during their happy period. The thing is though during that period Mark E. Smith was entranced by the poon and didn't think twice when the lady told him "this will get us on American radio." Yes, the lady's plan did work but looked out how it ended. Psychedelic Horseshit is well aware that radio isn't going to touch for them for the name alone. Even if they changed it to Psychedelic Horseshit UK why bother with what's already working for them?
"Crystal Dub" is just that-a dub version of "Crystal" but next time they should hire Lee "Scratch" Perry to do it for them. Strictly filler but no big deal cuz "These Days" , a quick and nervy shambler, and the all out country clang fest getting attacked by meat starved banshees "Radar Fences Again" make up for it. "Mash Up" is just that sound like a pieces of their previous songs piled on top of each other. The difference is that I think mash Up dj's attempt SOME KIND of semblance. This tracks sounds like they don't give a damn about such details.
"What's In Store" is a perfect album ender. Like sitting around a campfire and sing along....but the fire is between a highway median.
One of the best albums of 2007 (Yeah, I know...where's my list? I'm still catching up on a record here and there! Maybe you'll get an actual thought out and re-thought out definitive list in the next few weeks. Then against-maybe not. Fuck those lists!)? Yes, yes it is!!!!
Smashin' Transistors interview with Psychedelic Horseshit

Jan 16, 2008

the PRIMATE FIVE vs. the TRADITIONAL FOOLS split single 7inch EP

Monkeys...gorillas...chimps...apes and orangutans...I have two sons. Such things are always of constant interest. You put a primate on a skateboard or on a motorcycle or going to the beach or the mall...Hell! Any time one of them is doing "something human" in a movie it'll be watched around here at least a couple of days in a row. This particular record had been sitting in my desk the past few days. Everytime my 8 year old walks by he eye's up the sleeve so today I handed it to him and ask him what he thought about the cover.
"Hmmm. I'm not too sure if they're all really primates, dad. A couple look like they might just be guys in costumes." He flips the cover to look at the Traditional Fools side "AND LOOK" he exclaims "There's a hippie with a skateboard on the other side. A HIPPIE WITH A SKATEBOARD!!! WHERE HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A HIPPIE RIDING A SKATEBOARD?? I can't say I've ever seen one."
Despite his contentions he did agree to give it a listen. The Primate Five are still up to their Budget Rock Goes Bananas thing and who would have it any other way. Sure puts all those Euro goons trying to ape the Mummies thing back in their place. The kid stops from jumping around like a chimp, picks up the sleeve, examines it closer than he did before and says "Well, maybe they all REALLY ARE gorillas and NOT just some guys in suits."
"These guys sure don't sound like hippies" he says about 30 seconds into the Traditional Fools side "but it sounds like they wipe out on a skateboard a lot but don't care." With a trash can sound that nods to Link Wray, the Mighty Caesers and the aformentioned Mummies it's a pretty spot on summation.

Jan 12, 2008

Dogfish Head Chicory Stout

Ohhh man!!! Friends and family as well as loyal reader's of this here bloggity all must know about the thing I have for Dogfish Head by now. Their 60 Minute IPA is one of the greatest and most original tasting beers ever. It's my regular beer these days and I always take it to picnics, late night records spin meetings, parties & basement/living room rock-n-roll shows and don't mind giving one to somebody who has a appreciation for the good stuff. I know once they try it, they'll be a convert and will get me one back the next time our paths cross.
A rich coffee color of the beer and a caramel tint slight head are right in check where they should be. A woodsy scent. Something similar to a pot of coffee over an open fire perhaps? Molasses and something peppery undertones in the aroma as well.
The first thing noticed in the flavor is coffee and a roasted malt tinge but with things like St. John's Wort and liquorice root added to the brewing process it's not the usual things expected in a stout's taste. Neither of them stand out in front but, along with the chicory, bring interesting balance between bitter and sweet. This medium bodied brewed finishes dry which is where the cascade hops and chicory really shine through.
Is this a stout in the traditional sense? Well....yes and no. The Dogfish Headsters know the origins and respect them but can resist tweaking it til they come up that has them standing apart from everyone else in the game. And once again the pull it off in way where it seems like it just comes natural for them.

Jan 10, 2008

DUTCHESS and the DUKE "Resevior Park" 7inch

Cuz of the band's name and that it's released by the Boom Boom empire, a label known for it's releases in the trash rock vein, I was thinking it was gonna be some bomp-a-bomp-de-bomp bomp/Hey Bo Diddley kinda thing. Previous Boom Boom records had that thing going on thought updated in a 90's garage punk way but the problem was (with the Fee-Fi-Fo-Fums and the Sultanas at least) that the line between homage and rip off (no pun intended) was on they teetered on. It was stuff worth listening to but it seemed more like a passing fancy than anything else. Y'know a couple of plays and "Well, that was fun. Back to the Mummies and Bobbyteens records". Wasn't expecting anything different but this records has stayed on my turntable for a couple of days now. It's like sunshine west coast summer of love folk pop that was already taking note of dark skies ahead. Bluesy-junkie country 'Beggars Banquet' period Stones thinking of Dylan (both Bob and Thomas) but with just an economy sized thesaurus cuz ya don't need to be all wordy to get a tale of woe to still make it's point. http://www.myspace.com/thedutchessandtheduke

Jan 6, 2008

SERIOUS "Japanese Rock and Roll" 7inch

These guys aren't from Japan. They're from Northern New York state. This sounds more like Lookout punk than it does Teengenrate or Guitar Wolf. Lots of whoh-oh-oh pop punk stuff. They sing about drinking more than they do about girls though.

Jan 2, 2008

the BLACK and WHITES "You Broke My Heart, Girl" 7inch EP

Y'know, if more of those major label power-pop band's from the 70's records you find in record stores across this once great nation had been produced with the Stones instead of the Beatles sound in mind I'd have at least hundred of them on my shelves instead of 20 or so I do. Pink colored frosting is fine on a cake at a 14 year old girl's birthday party doesn't sound so good when applied on the top of what are suppose to be rock-n-roll records. I don't want them to sound like Stones knock-offs or anything (though some of my most favorite bands ever had at least once in their careers had that pinned on them) but I want some dirt and swagger instead of just coy winks in theBurger King parking lot. Well, it's almost 30 years later and the Black and Whites must've been thinking the same thing! "You Broke My Heart, Girl" is a smoldering chunk of slashy fuzz-blues guitar garage punk melded with Cheap Trick, "Pinball Queen" curses and pays tribute to KISS in '77 when they were the hero of many a zit faced high school dude and "Cigarettes & Control Freaks", the most polite yet pissed off "Get Lost Girl" song in ages, gets me thinking Mott The Hoople and the Ramones at the same time. Unlike all those power-pop band's of yore who's record's I've passed on who knows how many times I have all the Black and Whites records in my stack and enjoy them quite a bit but this one is quickly becoming my most favorite from 'em.
Smashin' Transistors interview with the Black and Whites

Jan 1, 2008

Avery's The Czar Imperial Russian Stout

It's the first day of a new year. New plans with the intention of following through on and a new number that I will always find myself correcting when I write a checks for the next couple of weeks. It's been a crazy day. 14 inches of snow dropped on the ground. By noon (ya gotta pace yourself. Show shoveling is one of the biggest heart attack instigators in Michigan winters) our car was dug out the car and cleared a path for sidewalkers. Since it was a heavy snowfall and I'm such a nice guy grandma's and old aunties are calling in need of path clearing and wizz trails. "What's a wizz trail" you ask. Old ladies like to keep little dogs as pets. Little dogs don't tromp through the snow. You let them out in such conditions they just let their bladder splatter on the step or stoop and jet themselves back inside as soon as possible. Let's just say thanks to AWD for helping me build "nature trails" for Yorkies, Shitzus, Dachshunds, Boston Terriers, Pomeranians and Toy Poodles all over this town. 10 stops in all. Oh, All Wheel Drive, I couldn't do it without you. Hope them damn pooches appreciate it.
After all this work the thought of a big hearty stout was on my mind. It's the first day of the year and did more good deed in the last 4 hours then most of the jerkoff's in this town do in a year. I passed by the store that was open on the holiday and would have such a request in stock I skidded past when I tried to slow down before their drive way. The ABS stuttering like mad sending a jolt through my leg and into my spine. I was within the driving on snowy road basics so I took it as a sign to just get on home and enjoy that pot-roast that's been stewing in the oven. After dinner the snowfall has subsided and a friend called and ask me if I could help get his car of a snow drift. He lives right by the store I overshot earlier in the day. We made a deal. Hey, there's a time when good deeds need to be rewarded, right? And what a perfect evening to try something a bit more "royal", huh?
I just started dipping my nose and tastebuds into the Avery brands the last couple of months and so far so good. Their stout was pretty damn fine and decided to turn it up a notch with this, their Imperial Russian Stout. This is only my second foray into these type of stout and, after the first one I tried, Victory's Storm King (it's a Russian imperial stout, right?), I was expecting something a bit rowdy. The Storm King's had this bold ass attitude like "You wanna see stout? I'll show you a stout" challenging all comers by being the stoutiest of stouts around. Like I already said, I haven't delved into the imperials much yet, but Victory held the championship belt based off those qualities and bravado. It had a personality that can't be denied.
The Czar isn't about that kind of chest thumping. He's a gentle giant with all kinds of classy prowess. Yep, it's a dark beer but it let's some light through...you can spot a ruby tint when holding it up to the light. The foam rises to an amount it should. Not too much my any means, but not too little either, It fades fairly quickly but it remnants lace the glass and hold on nicely. It's a scent is that of something creamy and soothing. Toffee and molasses mainly and a subdued flits of alcohol. A mocha thing maybe? Understated but savory.
The creamy thing is right up front in the taste. A mellow roasted sweetness that is very pleasing. Almost a mocha with a dash of toffee and a splash of good bourbon (I'm thinking maybe Knob Creek more than Maker's Mark though). Full bodied not stupid carbonation (and there is a difference between stupid and the wise use of carbonation. Something I have noticed so far with my Avery excursions that they've mastered) that goes down smooth. Slight bit of hops with a muted bitterness because of the overall soothing warmth the brew pull off all the way through it.
After two rounds (I bought a 22 oz. bomber) comes the OOMPH! Here I was sizing it up then then here come the wind up I had forgotten about. 70 IBU's and almost a 12% ABV. When it landed it's punch it's straight between the eyes. Will there's be a rematch? Hell yes! Maybe a sparring partner even if not before the end of this season the next one for sure.