Jul 30, 2008

the FOUR SLICKS "...In Bonneville" LP

Somewhat punk rock legend and current American in France Jon Von (the Rip Offs and Mr T. Experience) dragged his Parisian bandmates across US dirt last summer in a '63 Ford Falcon station wagon and played their drunk on leaded fuel rock-n-roll from one coast to another in under two weeks. Two parking lot oil changes, one fried generator and who knows how many beers. Then back to the land of the frogs where they laid the experience to tape and this being the result.
Roots based punk rock cranked up on high. Not in the "we're like Johnny Cash fronting Motorhead" (which so many bands try to claim but ya gotta wonder what Johnny Cash and Motorhead they're listening too cuz other than some lyrics about shooting someone and a loud strictly for loud sake guitar sound they don't ever sound close to such a description) over and over and over again thing that still dots the landscape years after the Suckersuckers and Nine Pound Hammer released their best albums. Think more along the lines of Jon's tunes in the Rip Offs slicked back with a couple cans of Murrays Pomade and the Sin Alley comp's as an only constant companion for a few months. Far from trying to be some type of purist fashion show but also managing from not stepping into a pile of Psychobilly shit or some other phony Hillbilly punk shtick of these times-the Four Slicks make music that should have them booked into playing classic car cruise nights from here to Oslo, Norway. Unfortunately the organizers of such things think glorified wedding bands playing tunes from Grease and a handful of Motown covers is more appropriate.

Jul 29, 2008

the DEAD RINGERS "I Want Out" 7inch EP

'77 influenced punk rock action never really goes out of vogue as long as it's done right. Problem is that a lot of the bands that do it pick the wrong parts of the style to follow. It's becomes more about the clothes, hair and the over usage of "Whoah Oh Oh" in the choruses. The Dead Ringers got better taste than a majority of such a lot.
T-shirts & jeans is what these Dead Ringers wear and their tunage is just as simple and stripped down. A guitar sound that spits pissed balls of fire at the gasoline the rhythm section is spilling all over the stage. The snot caked voiced of a singer jumps, rolls and fans the flame. The scumbag gloriousness of the Dead Boys butts heads with the seedy suave knack for a hook of the Devil Dogs. Then all end up getting in a fight due to drinking too many 40 ouncers at an empty swimming pool where all the skater meets after listening to the Flip Tops album 8 times in a row.

Jul 28, 2008

Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA

Pop the cap and get ready to get hit in the face with a huge grapefruit. The scent jumps right out of the bottle and fills the room while pouring into a glass. Cloudy, malty orange in color with a fluffy quarter inch head that hangs tight for a bit. Even after it fades a slight foam cap sticks around leaving lace on the glass through it's entire duration. Letting it breathe a bit some honey and malt come out in the aroma but the hoppy grapefruit bang still dominates. The taste is all about sweet hop city. A mixture of pink grapefruit, tangerine and of course the expected pine are the up front flavors. A hint of apples and brown sugar come out too as the brew warms a little. Quite bold with mellow bitter but not eye watering as was expected from the smell. The beer itself has a creamy fluffiness in the mouth which is something Avery has mastered and they don't mess with that formula here at all. It finishes with a lingering hop tang in the mouth and an slight alcohol warming down the throat but at 9.6 abv and 102 ibu's surprisingly not all bossy and overbearing as it might have been if put in the hands of other brewers. No, this isn't something that one would probably ever consider a usual go to brew (unless you're of some kind of Paul Bunyan constitution) but as a special treat in superhopped out perfection it's tough to find something that tops this.

Jul 27, 2008


A Portland band that is fast, dumb and just wanting to make ya dance....or maybe make ya get in a fight....or fired from your job when ya show up smelling like vodka for the 3rd time in a week. Four Trash Fi no frills boozy punk numbers that hearken to the burning oil on a hot engine block stink sound of the Motards, Lou Reed if he somehow convinced Sonic's Rendezvous Band to let him hang around awhile and or one of those messed up kid's who put together a band together after hearing the Stooges Raw Power but almost gave up because every person he jammed with wanted to gay that shit up with some corny flash metal stylings. Finally he found the right guys to help him carry out the attack plan. Specializing in reckless speed, piss off thud and landing on their head all the time they decided to call themselves Reptilian Civilian!

Jul 25, 2008


My guess is that this Italian band took their name from the JG Ballard short story collection and not the Buggles song of the same title. Guessing this cuz it doesn't at all sound like the Buggles. Oddly enough though Ballard's usual world of Dystopia is not as glaring as usual in the characters or storyline's of that particular collection. It's much more organic but still has it's share of impersonal mechanical doubts. The Vermillion Sands sound like they were hired to have hands on the gears that move them at their own timing and pace cuz, well, they may shamble but get the job done at the end of the day.
The frilly lace fop folk of T. Rex's "A Beard Of Stars" album finds itself washed ashore. A sun kissed beach girl takes it home, nourishes it back to health on a steady diet of Jane Birkin, the Headcoatees then some Kraftwerk to balance the earthiness. Next it out to picnics in a park of rolling hills and wild flowers til finally these three songs of summer music were ready to be heard.

Jul 22, 2008


It seems that whenever I'm talking to some rock-n-roller that isn't from this fine state and they find out I'm from Michigan an eventual conversation about Bob Seger will come up. It's always stuff like "Man, Live Bullet and Night Moves are awesome but that stuff he did after Against the Wind. Pheew! What happened?"
Then they expect me to sing along with them when they break out into a verse from "Hollywood Nights" or "Fire Down Below" if it comes on the jukebox.
"Fuck that. Old grandpa Bob was on the slide down when he formed the Silver Bullet Band! Wanna hear Seger ya gotta listen to the System!" I end up blurting when it's the boiling point hits. "Unexpurgated dirty white boy Detroit soul grease! I'm talking the sweat, dirt, clang and BEAT of Motor City music! Not that car commercial and watching the sunset stuff!
Bantam Rooster frontman, one time Dirtbombs member and proud Michigander Tom Potter along with Mr. Jim Diamond and Clutters dude Fred Beldin know exactly what I'm getting at and decided it was time to show those who don't know the Seger that RIGHTFULLY gives him the title of a Michigan musical legend. Recorded in two sessions (the first one with Jim Weber of the New Bombs Turk on bass and Come Ons drummer Pat Pantano-the second Dirtys/Luxury Rides powerhouse skinsman Nick Lloyd keeps the beat) that includes takes not only on the Systems Detroit FM standards til this day "Heavy Music" and "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" and total classic "Down Home" (a song that if Seger wrote and recorded today the way it sounds then would be a centerpiece track on an album he'd release on In The Red) but even more obscuro's tunes that his band that proceeded the System the Last Herd did ("2+2=?", "Chain Smokin'" and "East Side Story"), "Get Down On Your Knees" (a song he wrote for the Underdogs in the mid 60's) and "Florida Time" originally credited to a band Seger had called the Beach Bums (who owed an obvious debt to the Beach Boys) where Jim takes the lead vocals and cool car tire spinning out sound effects. All songs here are played with a fire that equals that of the original records (if not more) just like they should. Wonder if Seger's heard this yet. Wonder if he's even remember that he wrote some of these songs.
Awesome "History Of Bob Seger" site

Jul 18, 2008


Excluding the Lamps and moments on the last Dirtbombs album this has gotta be the noisiest record In The Red has put out in quite a coon's age.
Splitting the front of the body wide with rusty iron ax, then pouring nail polish remover in the wound these French commotion traffickers then pack it full of gunpowder and ignite it with misanthropic squall. To extinguish it they bring a a nasty torrent of wind and ice so cold it burns the skin on contact.
With vocals unintelligible even if you do understand the language-it's all squawks, gurgles and screams. Sonic Youth's old nightmares reinterpret the Pixies counter melodies then send them off far away to a land where people model themselves after the Shaggs and David Yow is the emperor. Spies riffs on a train hop off and steal motorbikes and ride off into the sunset of the Xpressway to yr skull running over snakes that spit fire and barely missing turned over dump trucks spewing lava all over the roadside.

Jul 16, 2008

New Holland Sundog Amber Ale

Not to be confused with the poser Sundog Amber Wheat Ale brewed by Anheuser-Busch, Inc. (now Anheuser-Busch-InBev, Inc. or whatever they're gonna call it) this is one of the year round offerings from Michigan's New Holland brewery.
Pours a fairly clear reddish color with a decent size head and some sticky lacing. A thin aroma of some toasted malts and slight sour apple but nothing that really jumps out. Quite faint actually.
A bit of a warm & sweet malty taste up front. Nothing that jumps out at ya. It's simply mellow and just saying "Hi." Pleasant and laid back. A caramel taste in the middle then down the hatch a there's a slight bitter orange peel tasting hop warmth but nothing that would scare off the hop shy because the malt surrounds and subdues it. Nice medium body from start to end.
There's isn't really much going on in the complexities department with this (Well, it's an amber-seems most of the ones I've tried don't) but if you're in the mood for a decent balanced and easy drinking summertime beer or just wanting to try something different for a session beer this, though nothing spectacular or extreme but solid and good, is one worth grabbing for.

Jul 14, 2008

the SMITH WESTERNS "Irukandji" 7inch EP

To borrow a cliche' from all the disgruntled & divorced insurance agents and accountants that drink low rent/phony "good beer" at the fancy bar downtown "Ahh, the youth is wasted on the young" (something they always say when after getting shotdown by a filly at least 15 years younger 'em).
"Well! Of course it is" I always shout towards from my seat at the bar. "If it wasn't how would have we all got wasted as youth? That's what it's all about, right?"
These Chicagoland snots aren't wasting anytime burning the candle at both ends.
"Irukandji" is a herk-n-jerk KBD styled number with shot up slurred backing up vocals and one of the silliest guitar solos pressed into vinyl in ages. "Crabman" and "Spiritus Sanctus" are 60's folk punk headbobbers getting run over and trampled on by a bunch of junior high kids on razor scooters and skateboards. No regard for anything other than trying to find someone to buy them beer and a place where grown ups wont find them and stomp all over their buzz. That's part of being young and the Smith Westerns are right at that age and Ahhh! What an age it is.
(the Smith Westerns will be playing with Miss Chain & the Broken Heels @ the Painted Lady in Hamtramck on Aug 16th and the Cement Bar Lodge in St. Clair, Mi on August 17th )

Jul 13, 2008

ELECTRIC BUNNIES "Fantastic Metal Eye" 7inch EP

Kraftwerk has some kids living in Florida? Or are Kraut rock records from some dead or born again uncle just end up being hand me downs? And were there some crush up downers left in the gatefolds? Old drugs lose potency but can still get some kind of buzz. And that fucking shitty Neal Young Trans album being the thing they take a shine to most? One song here sounds like that. They ain't no Cybotron but I'm guessing that wasn't their intention. The other two are punk rock with a broken neck and the next prog rock dropping a tab while having broken wrists.

Jul 12, 2008

the MUSLIMS s/t 12inch EP

Making a scruffy jangle San Diego's Muslims sound is one of those that you could claim being from any year post the Velvet's 3rd album and no one would be the wiser. That's a good thing though cuz it is a sound that never loses it game as long as it is played right. From Jonathan Richman to Simply Saucer the Feelies to right up to darlings of the moment the Thomas Function and Tyvek it's been used as a springboard to try many different dives off.
Opener "Right Or Wrong" gallops out with a stoned on the range last round up with a still wet behind the ears handler in the saddle feel. Bouncing a bit high, almost falling off and overshooting the gate. Holding his ground none the less the job gets done with simplest of 3 chord skills and a surf beat played by Mo Tucker breakdown.
On the late summer at dusk highway rambler that is "Beside Myself" it's as if it was penned by Mercer and Million if they had the fire of someone years younger them when they were writing songs for the Good Earth album. Don't get me wrong-that Feelies album is in my top 25 favorite albums of all time (though it's placement where changes regularly) but "fire" isn't really a word I would use to describe that album. It's more of a smolder. Here you can see coals burning red. Side one finishes with "Call It A Day" a garage blues drone in the out of tune spirit of the Keggs, the Black Lips and the million between them that have done it too.
"Future Rock" blasts off side two with a "Foggy Notion" shake type thing then followed the Modern Lovers learning a Fall tune called "On My Time". " Religion" is all about slashed up six string blaaang, bass line repetition, an organ freak out that freaks out in some kinda "Interstellar Overdrive" way and a monotone chant. The record caps it off with "American" all slithering down a bumpy road into a dusty and blinding sunset.

Jul 11, 2008

ZOLA JESUS "Poor Son" 7inch EP

So now even the ladies are catching the weird wave. More ethereal than most of the boys drone, jerk & squall. Three moody Casio synth on the piano setting based songs that one moment start ya thinking something like Madonna getting heavy into Blues Control and making an album of torch songs under such an influence, others Suicide if Patti Smith sang and were produced by Richard Carpenter after a week long bender (Dunno if Richard Carpenter even drinks...so imagine where his mind would be at on a week long bender either way). Between side one's "The Way" (70's AM soul decaying in a crawlspace) and it's flip "Dog" (swirly and floating in space dream-pop) it's hard to call which one the sad girls of the world would warm up to first but one of them would be a hit in an alternate universe. Somewhere Ivo Watts-Russell (or Siltbreeze) is getting his ink pen that writes only in blood ready and luring Zola Jesus to sign on the dotted line.

Jul 9, 2008

FAG COP "Illuminati Dollar" 7inch EP

Distorto spazz trash punk to a tee. Vocals sound like they're from the bottom of a running blender with rocks spinning in it while some wise guy revs up a jet engine outside for additional musical accompaniment along side of the guitar snarl.
The record bolts of the gate with "Illuminati Dollar" a 90's garage-punk style rager that's akin to playing a Teengenrate 45 at 78. All buzz-n-blur and flying out of control. It's followed by "Automatic Kansas" which gives the feeling of smacking your head against the pavement while a mic buried under a ton of toxic sludge captures it all.
Side two follows the same lines. "The Hole I Put My Love" is a short and sweet raw throated smasher and "Psychic Sickness" sounding like a New Bombs Turks tune recorded in Hell's 7th level on a micro-cassette recorder.

Jul 8, 2008

Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale

To say that this brew has a bit of an attitude is quite an understatement but the name alone should give that away. The back of the bottle has a manifesto about how this beer ain't for everybody especially "sniveling yellow beer drinking wimps" and though there is quite a bit a bravado going on they aren't lying either.
Dark copper and clear in color with decent size head from a medium pour but quite a bit of lacing though out the entire sipping from the glass. It smells of smoky dark fruits (black cherry and raisin is what I'm thinking), caramel and roasty malt but for the high hop profile it has not much of 'em really show up in the aroma. The flavor is quite complex and much different from what one would think strictly based off the scent. A spicy tart hop kiss touches the taste buds first but a warming molasses & malt thing surrounds it calming down. Somewhere in the middle there's a touch of black tea too. The hops and tea thing do tend to somewhat stick to the roof of the mouth but the finish, especially in the throat, is crisp and clean with a just a slight hop burn coming up as it's down the hatch. This not not a session beer (especially for the hot summer season we're in the middle of here in Michigan) but for a special occasion or just in the mood for something different.

Jul 7, 2008

the UPTOWN BUMS "Just The Other Day" 7inch

Since this band is from Denton, Tx. I naturally assumed that there had to be a Wax Museums dude involved. After all, doesn't every band from there these days have at least one of them in the group. Apparently not this time though.
Three speedy & melodic loud pop numbers that have more than just a few stains around the cuffs. "Just The Other Day" pulls catches spit from the Jam's "This Is The Modern World" & some blood splatters from the Only Ones and rubs it all over whatever mixtape the Strokes had in their van tape deck that's runs a little too fast while lost somewhere in the deep south. On side two both tracks "Running My Mouth" and "Alvah's Ideas" are bit more in the hyper garage rock stomper vein complete with swirly keyboards, surfish guitar solos and an off kilter melody lines.

Jul 2, 2008

NICE FACE "Thing In My Head" 7inch

If the Blank Dogs are from space creatures of dour attitude and a preference for darkness then Nice Face are their happy go lucky younger siblings. The bedroom wave recording style and over modulated vocals are here but unlike the Blank Dogs reveling in a doomy/gloomy minimalism Nice Face go for a celebration of no budget orchestrations. "Thing In My Head" featured a hypnotic synth line that would do Krafwerk proud (well if Krafwerk weren't robots with no emotion that is. Nice Face sound like they don't mind partying. Krafwerk don't even smile.) and a guitar solo that sounds, well, pretty much rock-n-roll. The b-sides "Hidden Automatic" sounds like an outtake from the Cure's Faith album recorded in a funhouse full of mirrors where someone runs a Bruce Haack record through an effects modulator to capture a certain mood.

Jul 1, 2008

PINK REASON "Winona" 7inch

Unless it's by someone with a handful of Dilaudid it's highly unlikely you'll ever hear a person describe Pink Reason's sound as "feel good music."
The out of tune acoustic guitar on a morphine drip and a cheap snare drum snap set to crawl of "Winona" provides a rusty barbed wired bed for Kevin to roll around in as he tells a tale of associating with tweakers and backwoods punk rockers in a small and barren Midwestern town. Weirded out folk dirges that channel the spirits of Skip Spence aren't suppose to make you comfortable and this takes that feeling to a plateau.
Side two's "Give Yerself Away" is Velvet's chug chatter and woozy one note piano bang being dropped onto a mountain of broken glass that was built by Michael Mooney and "Letting Go" takes cabaret jazz and stuffs it in a woodchipper operated by Charles Baudelaire. Even he asks "Why the long face?"