Apr 24, 2009

Abita Jockamo IPA

Is this an IPA? Well, It looks like one. Rusty orange and see through in color, decent head and an okay amount of lacing but then IPA characteristics seem to quickly diminish after that. Not much of scent really and what ya can smell is mostly malt. Not detecting much of a hop aroma at all which, for an IPA as far as this reporter is concerned, is something that is mandatory. Without it anywhere on the nose is there really much of a chance much of any on the tongue either? Most likely not and this is no exception to the rule.
Mostly metallic tinged malt taste with a bit of caramel coating in the mouth and just a slight (and I do mean slight) fruity hop bitterness. To say it's a little underwhelming in the flavor department is not an understatement. It's not gross tasting or anything but it sure is boring and lacks the things that make an IPA taste like an IPA let alone one to get excited about.

Apr 20, 2009

the HUSSY "Winter Daze" 7inch EP

"How can a band so small make a sound so big?" We've probably all seen it used how many a number of times by now when discussing a two piece band? Is it really all that puzzling? Ya turn it up and rock it out. The trick is though doing something more with it after that step to keep it from being tedious. Madison, Wisconsin's the Hussy have figured that part out.
Songs big on beats that make you want to clap along in a drunken head shake/hips sway rhythm. Bobby's bangs out '55 meets '77 rockin' guitar blang and calling out lines in a slight Sprechgesang way trading off with Heather's cheap wine soaked bad girl she-howls while she knocks hard out a beat. The energy is high through every song. Yes, they are loud...and yes, they are working from the garage punk playbook that many a band before them has done but there's a character here that makes the band burn bright with a particular charm and flair.

Apr 16, 2009

NICE FACE "Mnenomic Device" 7inch

First impressions. Is it sometimes smart just to go with them? First time through "Mnemonic Device" seemed something like the Human League with a whole lot of distortion piled on top of it and a bunch of dust on the needle. Hmmm. Is it. Second time around it doesn't sound as much like that but even something more bothersome....like, I dunno, Michael Sembello so some other 80's top 40 rock song that forsake anything rock-n-roll for synthetics that aerobics instructors would pump (if they hung out at goth clubs after work that is) but with whole lot of distortion piled on top of it and a bunch of dust on the needle. Started to worry what impressions a third time through would give off so time to flip it over and give "Situation is Facing Utter Annihilation" a listen. Things don't sound much like either Human League or Michael Sembello with whole lot of distortion piled on top of it and a bunch of dust on the needle. If the fat & fuzzy bass line didn't barrel a Dead Boys vibes headfirst into a Lost Sounds like dark place here the strangling the strings guitar solos surely do.

Apr 14, 2009

GUINEA WORMS "Lost and Found" and "I.K.W.W.F.L." 7inch

Sounding somewhere between a medicated street preacher and a philosophy professor giving a lecture that classmates are either inspired, confused or frustrated-Guinea Worms chief Will Foster has a lot on his mind. Things seem linear for minutes at a time but then the tangent shifts into a completely different direction. You never know where it's going next.
On the a-side of the Savage single "Lost and Found" asks the musical question of where to lost things go over a wrung out and spidery bit of Devo in a mudslide weirdness. The flipside's "Jeans and Heels" is akin to listening to a rave-up trying to get out of the gate but is staggering on it's feet due to a just received slow motion pummeling.
The "is it autobiographical or is parenthetical" musings of "I.K.W.W.F.L." (abbreviated form of I Know Where Will Foster Lives") is antsy and anchored by the JB's horn section if they were a 6th grade band class is side one of the latest installment of the Columbus Discount singles club. "C.H.U.D." is swamp boogie moved to a backyard of mud and a rusted out car or two.
Each record the Guinea Worms has put out has had something different to offer. It doesn't sound as if their genre hopping cuz everything they do has a particular peculiar squiggly touch that they're claiming their own. Wondering in what odd place they end up next.

Apr 11, 2009

Stone IPA

Though my beer loyalties, especially when it comes to IPA's, are with the one's made here in Michigan when it comes to ranking the top breweries in the country I never hesitate ranking San Diego Ca.'s brewery Stone way up high on the list. Hell, for making Arrogant Bastard (which, if ever in a bar with Agent L. Caution of the Black Time and they have it on tap ask him to order you one. If anyone can make the name of the beer any more full on than it already is it's his London accent) alone they deserve such honors. After that anything they brewed could be "Ehh, It's okay" and it still wouldn't discount them one bit. The thing is though that everything we've tasted in the Smashin' Transistors labs by them has been tops and being hop heads their IPA would eventually have to be discussed.
Pours a clean, clear gold in color with not a huge head but still a sticky lacing on the sides of the glass through the entire beer. Though usually a hop fiend where I have to notice a pungent floral scent jumping out at me right off the bat or I'll already start having my contentions about how good an IPA gonna be even before it's first there's something nice and different about the subdued character in the aroma of this. It smells of citrus and pine along with some malt and I'm thinking something along the lines of peach but laid back, sweet and nice instead of brassy, bold and upfront. It's deceiving though because on first sip there is definitely a sharp hop tang up front. Not all pucker power though but like the scent-crisp and citrusy with that peach thing I mentioned in the backbone. Malt shows up in the middle adding a nice balance to the the sweety tarty flavor that surrounds it. The finish is slightly dry and kinda spicy with a bit of alcohol burn but nothing that would make ya think that this is close to a 7% ABV. Lot of people who are way more schooled in the fine art of beer tasting and critiquing than myself say that this is one of the best all around IPA that American microbreweries have to offer. I'm not going to argue with them. It's considered a standard and there's a reason for that.

Apr 7, 2009

v/a "Shiftless Decay" LP

Not a week goes by where I don't have I'll be having a conversation about music and someone will wanna discuss the "Detroit scene". They'll start talking about whoever and eventually I have to interject with something like "You're hitting on things that happened almost 10 years ago now. There's different kinds of sounds happening now."
Trying to explain what those different sounds in way some such folks can comprehend isn't always the easiest thing to do. Pumping up old blues and soul riffs and revving up car motor's that was "built just up the road" are not much of a modus operandi here. As a matter of fact it's most likely the farthest thing that could be cited when the record plays.
Subtitled "New Sounds of Detroit" it's more about the sounds of pistons seizing, the crumbling of rust and playing in a wasteland of contaminated soil and strewn with broken glass and rusty nails. From the cement truck converted into a spaceship Hawkwind hiss of Human Eye, the antsy prog-thrash trash of the Terrible Twos and Heroes & Villains loaded with wobbly and unsafe undercurrents 60's pop psych to Tyvek's Pink Flag era Wire bathing in hydrocloric acid, Sesame Street on ritalin hardcore of the Mahonies and the Through the Looking Glass nightmares of belt sanders feeling from Little Claw-not only does the comp sum up the sounds within but also encapsulates an overall aura of today's Detroit. Disheveled, negleted and overgrown with ratted weeds and smelly fungus but still breathing, not afraid to fight and leaving impressions be them disturbing or oddly interesting that will stick long after the moment.

Apr 4, 2009


Sounding like an orphan who bounced between the foster homes of Billy Childish and Mark E. Smith before eventually stowing away on a ship that eventually docked in port port somewhere along the deep south in the US Dan Melchior has always found a way of doing a convincing balancing act between the abstract & arty and the down & dirty.
"Mr Oblivian" is an exercise in such an act and what a good one it is. His Medway Delta foghorn of a voice bellowing while Das Menace supply the likes of a New Orleans funeral band bent on bitterness and organ grinder music. Since there are no carnival instruments handy they emulate the sounds to the best of their ability with whatever beat up guitars and drums that were lying around. The flipside's "Piledriver Nightmare #2" slowed way down swamp rock can get some thinking the Cramps meets the Country Teasers but in the end there's a stamp (or is that STOMP...or maybe even stumble) that is Melchior's own.

Apr 2, 2009

Stone 2009 Old Guardian

Ohh man. Barley Wine. They don't mind letting you know who's boss if you aren't careful with them. Be them sweet or bittersweet or bursting with bright fruit flavor or a straight up hop sting their, if done right, well hidden high alcohol content is something that should always be taken seriously. You may think you're just sipping on some fancy made ale then BAM they'll lay some hurt down on you when you're aren't looking. The power they pack can sneak up behind you and whack the back of your noggin. I must always remind myself to proceed with caution when indulging in one which is probably the reason I only brave them a couple of times a year.
Dark orange amber in color. Dashes of strawberry, molasses and dints of medicinal alcohol in the aromas. Brown sugar malts are right up front in the flavor along with a bit of with a bit of strawberry jam and plums. The body seems a little lighter than some barley wines I tried in the past but creamy and a little sticky too. An oily pine & peppery hop bite kicks in the end contrasting the sweetness. Overall it's somewhat understated as far a barely wine is concerned but because of that a lot easier drinking than some of the others that are out there.