Feb 29, 2008


In the wide and wiggly world of outsider rock there's such characters as the slightly strange and the possibly clinically deranged. There's also types such as the weekend insane. The types that are like "Wow! That's pretty weird but I can out-weird it!"
Television Ghost don't seem to have any of those latter types in their little gang. They aren't TRYING to out-weird anyone. It's a post-everything save for apocalyptic world and this band is simply preparing itself for when the looting starts and the locusts arrive.
Captured and documented by Matt of Psychedelic Horseshit in a glorious monster-fi, Television Ghost exorcize the demon's from the Birthday Party's "Prayers On Fire", drive over to a haunted house that the Country Teasers left in all kinds of disorder to rouse up any disturbed mutations that might be lingering around take all of them down to a river that catches on fire at least a couple times a year. If they refuse to swim, the band pushes them in and hold their head's underwater til they stop moving or their battered souls scream with enough blood curdling volume to shake the planet-whichever comes first-though it's fair to guess that the band prefers the second. After all, what good are lifeless carcasses when you can hotwire fried minds into carrying out an assignment of making fever dreams come to life before your very ears and eyes?
Put the needle on the record and the first thing that happens is that you are pulled in a vortex that is violently moving backwards. It throws you into a fiery pit of reverb, knocks you about with spooky vibrations, crushes and flattens the bones with some steamroller tempo's then hangs you on a meathook over a muddy hole of hungry rats only to spit you back out all. The only way the escape the torturous hallucinations of the aftermath is to jump back in where the entire process repeats itself again and again.

Feb 28, 2008

the FEELING OF LOVE "Hand Clap Girl" 7inch

Kicking it off "Hand Clap Girl", which sounds a little something like Deja Voodoo with a penchant for keeping the needle always bouncing in the red (and pinning it there for an entire duration of when the sick overdriven monster distorto-fuzz is in effect) and their mental wiring fouled up and tangled more than anyone could ever imagine probably isn't gonna help France's Feeling Of Love refurbish the ghetto that the whole "Blues-Punk" thing has created for itself since a billion dolts decided they it was their job to fill the void the Oblivians created when they decided to call it a day BUT I'm sure I'll be knocking on the door of their shack first when looking for that kinda fix these days. Following that tune up is "I'm Nothing But A Drunk Pussy" which conducts itself like a Pussy Galore track from "Dial M..." but without the scrap metal percussion and some of the ten-fold hate vibes replaced a weird desperation. The flip is a "cover" of a song that the local college radio station used to actually play as part of their public service announcement fulfillment. I never understood how a recorded piece of basketball player Michael Jordan extolling his rules on life and the game that made him a trillionare qualified as a public service announcement nor do I understand most of the French translation here. It's not because I don't have a grasp of the language more than it's rapid fire delivery and being distracted by the twisted arpeggiation of the disco synth bass loop. That's right-A SYNTH! The Feeling Of Love ain't no purists when it comes to the ways they can kick over a trashcan but they sure know how to make a mess that is all their own.

Feb 26, 2008

Stoudt's Winter Ale

Well, the Pennsylvania groundhog DID see his shadow a few weeks back which, of course, meant 6 more weeks of winter weather. Based on that there's about 3 weeks left of. I still haven't decided yet though that it's irony or intentional that the next Winter Warmer I would try would be courtesy of Stoudt's brewery located in Pa (Adamstown, wherever the hell that is, to be exact).
Cloudy and cola in color. A good amount of bubbles sticking to the side of the glass when first poured. Thin head that fades pretty quickly though a stringy lacing sticks through the entire glass. A chocolate & roasted malts are the first things that come up in the smell and a slight hop whiff. Nice balance, nothing overstated. Pleasing with the looks and scent.
A medium bodied porter slant in the up front taste. A cashew like taste sticks around beneath the tongue. Finishes with a slightly bitter cocoa taste meshing in with a caramel creaminess. I think this will be my closing winter warmer for this season (I'm hoping so at least. Nothing against the beer at all cuz it's damn good. It's more about being tired of the season itself...it always is.)

Feb 22, 2008

PIERCED ARROWS "In My Brain" 7inch

What does one do when they've been playing rock-n-roll for over 40 years and their last band, after a 20 year run, call it quits. I'm sure a majority of people at such a point in their lives would, at the least, hang up the ol' guitar, prop their well broken in boots up on the table and take a nap or at the most think "Maybe I can get a once a month gig playing acoustic down at the fish fry playing songs everyone knows and loves."
Fred and Toody Cole aren't most rock-n-rollers (of any age) though. Within 6 months of the final Dead Moon show ever they were back with a new drummer (a dude who's pop jammed with Fred back in the '70's), new songs and a new name-the Pierced Arrows. Other than that nothing much has changed soundwise and fans would have it no other way. Battered yet always stouthearted mess of jangle and drone and Fred's freak shriek that a million Roky wannabee's wish they could even come close to touching. "In My Brain" is a scary place to be. A blast of a mudlike substance that sets fire to the hairs on the back of the neck then ignite the brain. Toody does a good deal of the singing on "Caroline" and it end's up sounding like a more groovier, brooding and frightening take from something off X's Los Angeles album (though I imagine Fred and Toody were making up songs like this hanging out in their living room a few moons before John and Exene even heard of Rimbaud and Gene Vincent).
Anyone with manners have been taught to respect their elders but even those without such common sense breeding should learn that the Pierced Arrows deservedly command it.

Feb 21, 2008

MISS CHAIN & the BROKEN HEELS "Common Shell" 7inch EP

When Long Gone John annouced that Sympathy Records would be no longer I know it wasn't just me and a small group of friends who joked "Oh no. Where are all the girls rock-n-roll bands gonna find someone to put out their records?"
The thing is though was that Sympathy was GOOD at putting out such records. Full color sleeve art and all that. Some of those records were damn great but the problem ended up being though that for every one Muffs there were 15 Tuuli's.
If Sympathy was still around and put this record out I would put it in the former category. Four songs in a ragtag 60's girl group style done in a late 70's new wave meets Americana mode. Recorded in a brash and scuffy full on tube powered warmth. Sorta like if the Shivvers spent a week of dilated pupiled late night studio sessions with Nick Lowe and David Edmunds (back when they did such things, that is). There's a bash & twang and a WHOLE bunch of teenage yearn in Miss Chain's voice.
The wells of garage rock have started running real low for at least the past couple of years (and in the land of Euro-garage it's never been all that plentiful for a lot longer than that) but judging from the songs here-Miss Chain and the Broken Heels have buckets of something crisp and refreshing. Full color sleeve too.

Feb 19, 2008

1-800-BAND/SNAKES split single 7inch EP

New York City! There ain't no denying where both these bands are aiming their sights from. It's the New York City of older times though.
1-800-BAND have a walking down the street the street on a sunny day after a couple months of grey skies and slush on the sidewalk. A bounce in their step like the character Lou Reed played on Coney Island Baby sans the peroxide, cop shades and a sentiment that was really hard to believe. These songs might very well be odes to a girl or dealer. The Snakes side sounds decade later, where it was maybe even more seedy and degenerate, the sound of water damaged cassettes of No Wave bands no one hardly heard but once ten years before and dressing down cuz Neil Hagerty is playing sans Pussy Galore at an invite only party in some damp basement. Anything Big Apple post 1989 doesn't exist in either of these band's forte' and both sound fine with that.

Feb 18, 2008

Bell's Hop Slam

You got your wallops, smacks, punches, bites, pinches, monsters and things measured by minutes but there's only one slam. And that's Bell's Hop Slam! Those other moves, twist and jump about in their own special ways and do damn excellent almost perfect executions but this is the only reigning champ and legend so far to super, super hop fiends across this great country.
Dark orange and hazy in color. Small head that doesn't hang on long but a decent about of bubbles (not too many but not too little) stick around the edges and a clean even lacing on the glass. The smell is VERY sweet and sour citrusy tang, one of those marihootchie strains that's got it's own name, a walk in a northern Michigan woods on a nice late spring day and a understated malt backbone. Upfront in the taste grapefruit. Before I go any farther if you don't like grapefruit-this isn't for you. Personally though, they're part of my breakfast at least twice so I'm right at home having this as the evenings night cap. That dry sour that gives you pucker power. There's definitely a combination of at least a few different hops given this a distinct character. Crisp with a nice medium body in the mouth. Leaves a slight sting on the tongue that lingers but down the throat is smooths all out with the honey and the malt giving a warm sweetness in the finish with a bit of alcohol burn to remind you that this is over 9% abv and 106 IBU's.
A friend of mine says he wishes that Hop Slam was a year round brew. I'm sorta torn on that idea. I love when these are in season but like too much of a good thing a steady supply of these would be too much. I think Dogfish Head's 60 Minutes does a good job filling the month to month need of a grapefruity tasting hop brew (or stepping up to the 90's if I'm feeling a bit more rowdy) but Hop Slam is a special occasion seasonal. Now, that special occasion only lasts as long as the stock is around but by the time it runs out is a good time to tone it down anyways and give the innards a bit of a break. Yes, I love Hop Slam but it's much better to have it as an occasional fling because any long term relationships with it would result in who knows what kind of messes. The brewery itself warns people that this is a bruiser. I'm still sipping on the first one as I write this and starting to feel pretty well oiled already. Contemplating a second one so I better wrap this thing up before I pop another cap off, get even more oiled and start writing more run on and nonsensical sentences than usual.
Only having it around for a short time each year makes one yearn for it. Absence makes the heart grow fonder don't ya know? Same time next year? For sure!

Feb 17, 2008

the LAMPS "Tim Ford" 7inch

When it comes to combining grunt of a whacked out white boy living his sick in the head inner Howlin' Wolf fantasy (Jim "Dandy" Mangrum get's his whiskey and weed switched out for some gasoline and meth perhaps) and adding rocket speed to a Killdozer gruel the Lamps walk way with the mud encrusted and dripping with used motor oil blue ribbons.
Named after the band's bass player (and this record's cover model) the a-side, "Tim Ford", is all grind, stomp and puking like the Brainbombs if they smeared ground beef grease all over their cold black souls. The flip's a cover of Drunks With Guns "Cowboy" and is just as disturbed as the original which is not a task many can pull off.

Feb 15, 2008

the FRUSTRATIONS "Exploding Mind" 7inch EP

Try to recollect how many bands out there the have managed to detonate a surfwagon with a bunch of effect pedals, jitter-freak fanaticism and something that'll get a few in mixed company yell "AM-REP!"
Hard, isn't it. Then if you even do think of one was the explosion just some anticlimatic thing where it's some drunk guy in his backyard catching toads and stuff an M-80 in their mouth. Okay, maybe you weren't expecting the demolition of a building but some sparks maybe a quarter mile high at the most and a piece of flying stray metal or some shards of glass making people turn away and start heading for the doors. Y'know, something that has an good idea what they are doing but haven't read the safety handbook. The Frustrations cross currents and trip over wires making blinding blue sparks from time to time. Chord progression originated from 60's teen bands get dismembered just to be reattached backwards and upside down by a few kids who link laser surgery has something to do with the feedback from the Velvet's "I Heard Her Call My Name". The jagged scars might make some gasp but it functions very well in it's own disordered way.

Feb 13, 2008

DER TEENAGE PANZER KORPS (der tpk) "Harmful Emotions" LP

Every song on this record is like an extended by a minute or so (only one of the songs hits over a 3 minute mark, most of them scratch the 2 and a half minute mark and the rest clocking in at less than that) head-rush. Everything disoriented and parts blurred or sounding like they were under water. At times it's like Sonic Youth if they really did dig Venom instead of saying they did in an interview once just to be cool but without all the excessive jammy parts. Others it's like the stoner Krautrock doppleganger of Times New Viking is going 'round and pillaging villages. There's a time or two as well where you're thinking this is the sound of the most defiant of rock crooners behind the Berlin Wall circa 1978 (A couple of Suicide and David Bowie tapes were more than passed around). Then there's others where you start to wonder whether their some midnight horseman of many centuries ago who've come back to cryptically warn those who will listen of a future world that'll be worse than "the locusts and the Black Plague combined." Repetition and distortion can cause the most whirling of dervishes. Maybe der tpk are in the process of organizing some upcoming Fire Dances.

Feb 11, 2008

the GOLDEN BOYS/the LIMES split 7inch

The Golden Boys are on a roll! The 2nd album, "Whiskey Flower", was folksy (as in some kinda Texas down home living room party recording ambience-not that dude down at the coffee house who does "stripped down arrangements of tunes from Dylan's 80's albums" and sings like a billygoat) brilliance that hasn't strayed far from my turntable since it's release last spring.
Their songs here, "Metal Teeth" (I'm going with what is says on the label though the sleeve, that sports a pic of Wes and Matt's beard's intertwining like it's watching a ZZ TOP video on acid, says "Metal Touch". "Metal Teeth" is also the name of a bunch of wild kid rockers in Kalamazoo. "Metal Touch" sounds like the name of an Autograph b-side. That alone is a good reason to lean to the former than the latter. I know they say "Metal Touch" a lyric and all but...), is a bit more hopped up in the sonics department but the superpop good time of the feeling it makes sense. Equal parts amusement park corn syrup buzz, Nick Lowe brightness, Big Star 1st-isms and Donny Demin hindsight all baked under a Texas sun PLUS a guitar solo that trods all through the Keith and Woody flower patch with a bit of sci-fi whirlings dropped in the middle of it.
The Limes are a bit wiggly almost sounding like a new wave band but they only have one keyboard and it doesn't work so well so any odd and bendy sounds gotta be played on guitar. A guitar with strings covered in blood and strings. Whiskey was used to clean it off...Not the most thorough of cleaning products but it makes everything sound stinging and grumbly. The Gun Club had southern dreams and gothic nightmares. Tav Falco one upped 'em by living in Memphis. The Limes make a soundtrack for both their old black and white 8mm films.

Feb 9, 2008

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale and Raison D'etre

Dogfish Head's Indian Brown IS brown in color but a very dark one. It let's a little bit of light through but I've seen stouts lighter than this. Decent one inch head that faded moderately fast. Earthy and nutty along with coffee and hops in the aroma. There's a roasty malt and chocolate flavors at first taste. A good bodied, creamy feeling in the mouth and on the back of the throat with a hops and alcohol kick in the finish to warm you up. It does the trick right on these wintry days.
I first tried the Raison D'etre last October at a Halloween party. A few other beer aficionados were there and we got into trading mode so I only ending trying one of them. No notes were taken then and by the end of the evening I had forgotten any mental ones (after all I end up trying six different beers including this that night so I figured it would have to wait til my next go round with it. Good dark red color with a head that didn't get big at all (1/4 inch total) but held it's retention for a good long time. Brewed with beet sugar and green raisins the scent is on the slightly on the sweeter end of things but not artificial or too much of a candyness to it. It's not overbearing-You can smell the yeast and malts. It definitely smells like beer but Dogfish Head prides itself on doing things offbeat/off center and it's an usual aroma but piques the interest on how it's gonna taste.
Full bodied but not thick. The dark sugars and slightly grape flavors blend well with a malty dryness. Very smooth and not bitter-unless one is made aware that this is a 8% abv they'd never have an idea. It's a proverbial iron fist in a velvet glove story. As it warms in the glass it takes on more of a spiced wine taste but still holds a distinct character. It finishes with a creamy and caramel like flavor. I wouldn't suggest it as something when the months get warmer and the days get longer but in the cold times were in right now, this is an enjoyable beer to curl up on the couch with the wife, a big quilt and a couple of movies.

Feb 7, 2008

the SHIRLEY MACLAINES "Hey Girls" 7inch

Shirley MacLaine. Who really likes her except for some grandma's who have dreamcatchers in their kitchen windows and a couple of men in who've held some creepy crush for her since the mid 1950's and will tell you "She hasn't age a bit in all those years" (that from an actual conversation I overheard one day while drinking in an old guy bar just a little after noon time when she appeared on the TV screen talking about her brunch with martian or some shit)? Ummm...yeah, you might want to get your glasses checked ya old coot.
Maybe things are different in Austria. These Shirley MacLaine's don't look like an ole' Granny Sandalwood though I'm sure the "I've been retired for 15 years and after close to 50 years at the mill I HAVE THE RIGHT to stink like stale Blatz and Swisher Sweets if I want to" would leer at them and say something like "Why don't you move to California with all the other fruits and nuts" (though with not any irony in the statement) if you didn't too.
"Ain't no Sissy Mary here, Salty and Red. Just spying with an eye inconspicuous y'know."
Then they'd laugh in haggard bordering on a bronchitis cough, pat you on the back and offer you up for buying the next round.
Standing on a 3 pointed border of the Shaggs proto-trash gawkiness, the bubblegum chug the Donnas before Darrin R decided to change the label from Radio X to Super Teem and a piece of cement where the little sisters of Lightning Beatman frolic (Yeah, I know Switzerland and Austria are different countries but what are the borders marked by? A wall of cocoa and sausage maybe?) the Shirley MacLaines bring a bit of bright colors to a usually black-n-white xerox'd party. Not too much color though cuz that would make them power-pop or new wave. Two handheld casette recorder with a condenser mic-fi tunes-"Hey Girls" a choppy call to arms cuz it's time to party and "Television Sucks" which makes the Ramones sound like rocket scientists.

Feb 5, 2008

the MAGNETIX "Something About You" 7inch

Take the wobbly, sorta out of tune and complete lust and angst of the Keggs, put it in the seat of the Oblivians car, send the car to the salvage yard to get compressed in a car crusher then ship it off to France's wine region where a couple of people use it as something to attract hits from lightning strikes and use the electricity to power an amplifier. The Cramps never got this sun blistered cuz so much white light would make them melt. While they're milling around in their leopord skin printed velvet cave waiting for things on the stove to bubble over so they can add them to their potion of eternal wiggly life the Magnetix are wandering around with a jar with bits of Link Wray's brain matter in it and looking 'round for Jeff Evan's Cadillac so they can get a few huffs from it's exhaust pipe.

Feb 4, 2008


Named after what is believed to be Shakespeare's earliest tragedy (as well as one of his bloodiest...and yes, I didn't have to look it up. See, I've retained some things from my academic years) and a song after it as well works up thoughts of a prog rock epic. Well, there are some flutes on this record but they blend right into the slanted to one side city where slacker giants like Pavement's earliest tape machine documents, an obscure scruffy punk shambling of 1978 (maybe one with a bit of that MOD nervousness of the Jam) learn to live in a place that instead of snow or rain-grease falls from the sky. Walking is difficult. You either slip all about or always getting your shoes stuck until ya lean to walk in a certain lumber. Wait it out til they get the streets cleaned up. They use sugar instead of salt to melt it away.

Feb 3, 2008

GITOGITO HUSTLER "What's My !?" 7inch

I wonder if there's some international treaty where every few years there's gotta be a cute band of Japanese girls playing a slightly askew yet catchy sorta pop, sorta punky, sorta garage rock kinda thing. Or maybe it's some kinda Menudo meets Logan's Run thing where after they've been around for a certain period of time an obsolescence is imposed to allow another to take their place. Whatever the deal is Gitogito Hustler are IT at the moment. Three chords wonders that don't break away from the power-pop "We love the Ramones and listen to a lot of girl groups" book because it doesn't have too. They sound like a bubblegum ad in the back of the glossy color Kaiju fanzines I buy my kids sometimes. All bright colors, fun, giggly and a crazy abandon that Westerners wish they could completely understand and voices that sounds like they're coming from of those Cartoon Network shows that shamelessly bites the Japanese ways of having fun (but only get it right some of the time).

Feb 2, 2008

Bell's Winter Wheat Ale

Did Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow today? What about Wiarton Willie up in Ontario and Jimmy the Groundhog over in Wisconsin? I've been busy with family stuff and haven't been spent much time around the (free) radio or (pay) TV today to get the news. After I get done sipping on this beer and telling ya what I think about it I'll go check some news sites and get the story. I like to believe the groundhogs prognostications seem have better foresight than a lot so called those doctors of meteorology. Don't forget what Bob Dylan said about "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows". It's been a weird weather season this winter. I have a feeling it isn't over for a bit. Y'know, like the worst is yet to come.
Dark cloudy golden color. Looks like a peach dosed glass of pineapple juice, minimal head lots of bubbles at first that slow down quickly but there's a spite of them that rise around the top with each sip. Lot's of yeast in the aroma with citrus, bananas and spices around it. Think a slight heartier and well, winter version of the Oberon in the flavor. Little bit more of a Hefe slant here too. It's sparkly though a bit more bready and a ginger thing not noticed as much in an Obie. A little too lemony and coriander for what I prefer in an winter beer. A creamy banana thing on the back of the throat in the finish. Good but it just doesn't seem all that wintery. Early spring (which hopefully is not too far away) or late fall seem more approriate. It's pretty drinkable but nothing all that special.

Feb 1, 2008

the MENTHOLS "The Miracle Slip" 7inch

Here I am sitting around the house on a Friday night wondering what the hell to do. I'm guessing there's a house party somewhere but I haven't bothered to check my phone messages or email to find out. Why? Well, one reason is because I'm in the sick of winter mood. I try to keep a positive outlook through most of it but by the end of January I'm like "Get this shit over with!!!" I'm sick of scraping ice, shoveling snow, having my car finally be warm when I reach my destination point and having to dress like I'm heading out for a South Pole expedition when all I'm doing is going out to get the mail. The novelty of risking frostbite walking to the corner store and back starts to wear pretty thin. I just wanna put my headphones on a ride around on my bike. I don't want to deal with 35 mph winds coming in off the great lake from the north making it feel like it's Antartica in the fall, ice patches and snow drifts.
Another reason is that, in this town, unless it's some house I organized or it's over at Brendan's place is that the music is probably gonna be pretty lame. Now, if I lived on the other side of the state, Kalamazoo to be exact, I might be a little more inclined to check my messages and venture out.
I'd could see the Menthols a few times in a couple of months and not be sick of them. Hell, I'd even venture out on this subzero night even if they were playing on the other side of town. Primarily a midwest KBD trip of outcast dorks acting like they're fucking cooler than the "Rolling Stones, Iggy and the Sex Pistols put together" (to simplify it into the mindsets of a lot of Michigan punkers circa late 70's to mid 80's) and somehow, for at least a moment, actually are. "The Miracle Slip" comes off like a Johnny Thunders/Tyvek collaboration with the singer's voice cracking a couple of times, better "Wooo-oooo" back up vocals than either of the above and much fatter basslines. At 4 minutes and 42 seconds "Rats and Insects" is twice as long as it's a-side but still mashing the artsy with the sleeziness. Halo of Flies and Mudhoney hammering away at a Hawkwind song maybe?