Nov 30, 2010

The Holiday Sonance

The first Sunday of every month Mr. Franck and yours truly drop the needle on some tracks at the Raven Cafe in downtown Port Huron. People come in to listen and enjoy the food, drinks and folks while they are there. Conversations, fun and games always happen. Our next one is on December 5th. If you're in the area stop on by and say "Hi"
More info at

Nov 15, 2010

Hue Blanc's Joyless One "Live On WSGR" (10/26/10)

A few weeks back Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones came through Port Huron and did a live set on WSGR. Here is all it's glorious red lining glory. I did absolutely nothing to sweeten or trash the recording. This is how it sounded going over the air. Two mics in a room about the size of a walk-in closet.

Nov 5, 2010

Dogfish Head Olde School

Ohhhh man. Barley wine! They're a rare treat around here in Smashin' Transistors land. One reason is that they're not something you see just at any random store. Another reason is that they're usually an occasional or season thing for most breweries. Usually packed with sweetness and a high alcohol count they can be thick and syrupy laying down some major hurt the next day. Moderation is the key as usual but doubly when it comes to them.
When it comes to suggesting a barley wine to a first timer Olde School from Dogfish Head is always at the top of my list. It is sweet but not way to syrup like, packs a 15% abv and sports one of Jon Langford's country music art pieces on it's label (which makes it 100% more bad ass than any other barley wine out there just based on it's cool factor alone). We're talking on of the kings of the style here.
Deep and clear amber color and a fizzy head and some serious lacing clinging to the side of the glass all the way through. Quite a few levels in the aroma. Apricot, green apple, toffee, sweet malts, some piney hops and, yes, many an alcohol fume on the nose. Reminds me some really fancy brandy or something like that.
The thing that jumps out the most on an initial sip is a bittersweet sting and a whole lotta warmth that doesn't seem to come from the alcohol but from the blast of flavor that comes out all the way through the glass. When it's cooler malt, caramel and sour fruits lays it down heavy then as it warms it takes on more of a dark fruit and spicy, hinting at a Belgian Quad ale or almost a cognac, flavor. It's finishes full and bold but it's stickiness doesn't coat the tongue and the back of the throat too thickly. We had a slight bit of snow flying around this evening. I'm looking out the window, sipping this and smiling because even if the heat wasn't turned on this is keeping me warm.

Nov 1, 2010

the MENTHOLS "Michigan Works" LP

Space rock? Nah, that doesn't sound right. Saying space rock makes people think things that is, well, spacey. Floating off and all that. Hmmm. Space Punk? Yeah! That's might be a little more fitting to describe what these Kalamazoosters are up to here. It doesn't go drifting through a weird galaxy much as it does swirling through some non gravity place lit by balls of fire in whatever the space version of a oil leaking, exhaust spewing battered but still (somewhat) reliable mid 80's Econoline is. It's not a jet age smooth ride. It can be somewhat bumpy but when as it picks up to wanted cruising speed it's a lumbering might that gets things to move out of it's way.
If Lemmy would've forced Dave Brock out of Hawkwind (instead of vice-versa), brought in a couple dirtbags with a penchant for a chug-chug-chug velocity instead of navel gazing wandering, burned the Michael Moorcock books and replaced them with written works Stan Lee, baseball card stats and Penthouse Forum for lyrical themes-the Menthols would have all the albums in their collection.
Cuts like the smeared with a "Land Of A Thousand Dances" flammable goo opener "B-OK", the mutated borrowings of 70's FM Rock riffs (think ZZ Top jamming-as in around the time Deg├╝ello came out NOT something like "Rough Boy"- with Evol era Sonic Youth)"Long Time Coming" or in a sorta same but different thing "Loose Lips" sounding like the Wooden Shjips gone full tilt chooglin' and "Between The Dots" and the album's final track, the ring modulation orgy called "Fire, Fire, Fire" fade in and then take off to weird parts of the head. Others, such as "That's All You Got" and "Don't Give Up Yours" hammer out things like Feedtime hanging in a cold & damp Michigan basement where they depend on Little Caesars $5 Hot-n-Ready Pizzas and cans of Four Loko for nutrition.