May 29, 2012

the ENTHUSIASTS "Sinkin/Risin" 7inch

     You ever hear one of those bad ass hard rockin' classic rock songs that makes you want to roll down the windows to the car, crank up the radio loud and peel rubber on the pavement? Then when the song is over you wish they would play it again and wonder "How come there aren't any bands out there doing it like THIS any more?"
     It may lead you on a search for tips that bands that are. Or at least trying because most of the time those tips seem a little off the point and the bands sound like clowns trying to hard to sound like a bar band Foghat with a half a produce section stuffed down their pants with a dude who cites Glenn Danzig's solo albums and the dork from the Cult as his "lead vocalist" influences. Boogie with with out the sway. ROCK music without the ROLL. It sounds contrived and not like they are paying tribute to they're dad's record collection but actually mocking it.
      Then there's tunes like "Sinkin'/Risin'" by the Enthusiasts. Though first impressions from the sleeve cover and and the band name it seems the hailing an hour north from NYC's Enthusiasts have one foot planted ankle deep in lo-fi garage punk singles of the late 90's/early 00's-it's also sounds as though they have been buried neck deep in Blue Cheer and James Gang records.
     And instead of sounding like they are mining the biker bar and back water burn-out rocker sound as some backlash to whatever "war on hipster" sound they are pissed off at-they sound sincere in simply celebrating guitar solo abounds meat and potatoes (and cans of tallboys beer) rock-n-roll.
     Kicking off with a huge splat of guitar feedback the tunes gives to a big power trio pummel where 60's boogie rock gave way to something a bit more sick and spilled seeds that would lead to the roots of Heavy Metal. The guitar slingin' singer knows he'll never be some golden god so never bothered practicing trying to sing high notes so instead spent lots of time smoking brown weed and wondering what Joe Walsh would do if he was born 40 years later and being an occasional whipping boy on the Terminal Boredom forums.
     Flip it over for "Joanne" and the pace is a little slower chug starting off as it 60's psych-blues ballad before gaining momentum into some kinda '74 pre-punk blaster.
https://www.facebook.com/EnthusiastsNY     

May 25, 2012

TY SEGALL and WHITE FENCE "Hair" LP

     When it comes to making late 60's/early 70's influenced sounds Ty Segall and White Fence come at it from different directions. The former is more known for doing it all snotball; rooted in in the stripped down Back From the Grave suburban garage white boy R&B rawness and the T. Rex groover school of things. The latter a bit more frilly and baroque, touching on sounds that lead to reference points such as the Zombies and Syd Barrett.
     Things Ty Segall and White Fence have in common is a love affair for guitar distortion, a penchant for a clever twist of a musical phrase and a deep rooted belief in analog. Most importantly though is that both have taken their respective "influences" and have used them as springboard to do something different, making their own thing with the sounds instead towing some purist agenda with it. Needless to say when first hearing of a collaboration of the two I thought "Hmmm. This could be interesting."
     And interesting it is. Opening track "Time" first few seconds make one think they are gonna get some Gregorian chant butting heads with some dive bar punk band but then slides into a Neil & Crazy Horse in the desert feeling while Ty's vocal signature hoots and hollers toned into a sleepy eyed John Lennon. Towards the end it abruptly cuts from a walking dazed though a field of wild flowers into a loud and fuzzy bit that, well, sounds like a noisy and fuzzy bit of a Crazy Horse album.
     There are some other moments that, to these ears, remind me of Crazy Horse too, but not so much overtly. It's not like there's a bunch of one note guitar solos or a starving cat looking for a meal "crooning" or anything. There is a locked in looseness in parts though that harkens back to why an albums like Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and Zuma still stand up and fresh compared to many other records that one can find for a few bucks at any used record store, take home to put on the shelf and impress their friends with a huge of collections of "vinyls".
     The room for experimentation through such looseness finds itself in spades on this record, like the album's aforementioned lead off piece a centerpiece of the record is  "Scissor People". It's aberrant take on high strung post garage jitters spotlights a Byrds with no fear of a distortion pedal guitar solo before the second part of of the song bangs through several different moments invoking a sense of aural delirium, skipping records and channel surfing all at once.
     Mostly on the record though you get a the sound of things from both their bag of tricks combined together, shook up and a bending each other ears. "Ezy Rider" tosses around the same sort of melody from one of the top standout's from his Lemons album, "Lovely One", and makes it vibrate a bit more with trippy tremelo and an eye of tasty waves at dawn, "Crybaby" is blues-punk coated in sugar then rolled in shards of glass and "Tongues" is early 70's Beach Boys if someone would've turned them on Amon Duul II.
     Yes! It is a collaboration that is showing itself to be very interesting and quite enjoyable. Hoping these two do more of it in the future.
http://www.dragcity.com

May 11, 2012

Bear Republic XP Pale Ale

     Now it seems that the warm weather is gonna hang around for a bit here in Michigan it's time to start indulging again into lighter, crisper and refreshing beers. No, this does not mean that Smashin' Transistors is gonna start sipping Miller 64 (2.8 abv? Really? Why doesn't one just drink San Pellegrino with a shot of regular Listerine instead?) or some other nonsense though so don't fret.
     This bottle of pale ale from California brewery Bear Republic has been in my fridge for about a week. After a day of hard work of job hunting (Argh, don't even get me started on that what seems to be a handful of empty promises in this area that I have no other choice but to stay in for the time being) it got eyed up, taken to the porch and poured in a glass.
     Slightly hazy rich copper in color with a burst of bubbles rising to the top. Modest half finger eggshell white head that melts fairly fast, leaving a moderate amount of lacing behind. Looks nice. The malt aromas seem pretty predominant with a caramel notes on the nose. That is accented with the scents of freshly bread and a mix of fruits like strawberry and pineapple. Smells good.
     Unfortunately though the flavors don't quite meet the sight and smell presentation. There's bit of malt, a touch of hops but nothing stands out. It just tastes mushed together, lacking anything that gives it any distinction or levels of complexities. Reminds me a bit of a Bass Ale without the gazillion years of history behind it or it's slight bite.
     I really like some of the other beers Bear Republic makes but this one is bland and completely "Meh." It bums me out a little too as my brew budget is almost completely nil due to my current financial situation and I was really looking to this. It's not a drain dumper but nothing I imagine trying again.
http://www.bearrepublic.com/

May 10, 2012

May 19: Retro Flashback's at the Tally Ho in North Lakeport

     It's been since Christmas time that the crew has spun some records up at our favorite "This place could be right out a David Lynch movie" watering hole a mile north of Lakeport State Park and directly across Lake Huron. On Saturday, May 19th the trip up M-25 will be taken to indulge the country road dwellers with the boxes of records. Keep in mind that this is not your standard "80's night" where the dj just picks out songs by Culture Club, Crowded House and tracks from John Hughes movie soundtracks from an MP3 folder marked "New Wave". The record shelves at home are dug into deep in this one and the needles will be busy spinning vinyl all evening.
Go to BeatNip.Org for more info   
Facebook event page here

May 8, 2012

ALICJA POP "I Play The Fool" 7inch

     Mention that Memphis, Tn.'s Alicja Trout was a New Wave archeologist in the Clears, a duet partner with Jack Oblivian, post-punk murk maker in the Fitts, the attitude enhancer/foil to Jay Reatard in the Lost Sounds and hard rockin' lady in the River City Tanlines and you aren't even coming coming close to scratching the surface to mentioning the contributions she has has made to make record collections around the world grow.
     Do we need to mention Mouse Rocket? Nervous Patterns? Black Sunday? Her label Contaminated Records?  Etc. Etc. Etc?
     Getting the gist, right? She is always up to something worth taking an earful of.
     A couple years back she released her first single under the alias Alicja Pop! She was a new mama (as in having a kid-not the rock-n-roll sense of the term-though she is that as well) and the first record of songs she released under the name, a 7inch called Shining Apple, had a bit of a Krautrock goes, well, a kiddie music feeling to them.
     While the pop on the previous record under this nom de plume as a bit whismy and bright version of "POP!"-here there are several more weird long shadows and shades of darkness.  Synth sounds hum behind simple rhythm patterns while guitar slash at time and at others blurry. Over top of it all is Alicja's voice, multilayered and melodic, adding fire and ice dimensions to the listening experience. Think the Cars Panorama album meets that Bangles EP that had "Mary Street" on it.
http://www.certifiedprrecords.com/

May 5, 2012

JOHN WESLEY COLEMAN III "The Last Donkey Show" LP and JOHN WESLEY COLEMAN III/FOLLOWED BY STATIC split 12inch EP

     A lot of people, including yours truly, have said "You know what I am going to do? I am going to write a new song everyday." Usually though, now matter how sincere such people's intentions are, things like life and it's responsibilities get in the way.
     Then there's cats like Wes Coleman.
     It's like he wakes up (probably around noon or later), has a breakfast of bacon, eggs, orange juice and whiskey and then not only gets down to writing a song each and every day but then lays them down to tape just minutes afterwards too.
      Slathered in greasy saxophone and whirly keyboards tracks like the "She's Like Dracula" jitteriness and the seeing double 50's rock-n-roll feeling "Animal Bed" conjure up happy memories of a summer youth misspent at beach coast amusement parks, watching dimestore E Street Band contenders and trying to chat up girls who thought they were too pretty for the local boys.
     Storefront gospel, southern soul and the ghosts of homeless Roy Orbison worshiping balladeers seem to haunt heavy on that thing that Jack Oblivian does when he does that type of think tune "The Howling" and the album's title track.
     Other songs on the album are downright pretty. "Hanging Around" country-rock lilts like one of those good songs from the Grateful Dead's Workingman's Dead or American Beauty. That is if the Dead had some punk rock records in their collection, could keep their songs around the 3 minute mark and, you know, didn't have all those pesky Deadhead's making it possibly embarrassing to be compared to. The assistance of a bit of pedal steal makes the lilting-n-weepy acoustic based "Flowers In the Dark" sound even more damn heartfelt.
    The Last Donkey Show finds Mr. Coleman in a myriad of moods. Some loud. Some quiet. All of them with a touch of booziness.
     The split single with other fellow fuzzy Texans, Followed By Static, is the first releases on the always cool Italian gal Astrid Dante of Miss Chain & the Broken Heels label Way Out There. A slight theme of metaphorical food and alliteration stands out at first gander. Both JWCIII's "Personality Pancake" and FBS's "Bacon Bear" take the cowpunk sound and kick that driving 290 Highway dust all over it. The former like the Replacements jangling along til the stumble into a nest of rattlesnakes, the latter like a Hill Country Hootenany going after a morning of a couple pots of Cafe Bustelo and mushroom hunting.
     They other 3 songs by both artist compliment each other well too with Coleman's tracks ranging from broken down robot funk ran on tubes instead of transistors, torrential waves of feedback and general Austin weirdness and Followed By Static's tunes starting out as simple, charming folk rock and finishing as large orchestrated epics.
http://www.goner-records.com/ 
http://www.wayoutthererecords.com/