May 28, 2013

DANIEL KROHA "The Folk Blues Stylings Of..." One Sided LP

     Does Danny K. really need any introduction to the Smashin' Transistors visitors? The cat that anchored the Gories sound before it would get completely lost at sea. Fashion Icon for a special breed of Tijuana showgirls while a member of the Demolition Dollrods. Rocket 455 axe man. Driver of a rust hole ridden and lots of exhaust making yet always durable/absolutely rad early 60's Dodge station wagon.
    The past half decade or so here has been part of the bands the Readies and, his latest thing the Darleens, but he's also been out there doing gigs as a sit down in a chair solo act. With his home made diddley bow, an ancient mail order looking guitar that may be kept together with wood glue, horseshoe nails and sheer good luck, a kazoo and whatever else he may bring in a small suitcase smelling musty and of mothballs-Dan pulls up a chair, introduces himself, perhaps tries to crack a joke and then spins his take on the old, weird, scary and righteous world of music that made "America".
     Consisting of songs that have long fallen into the public domain and, according the the liner notes on the back sleeve of this one-sided 12inch, recorded on a cell phone (which, in it's way, is the modern ages cassette deck with a condenser mic)-the seven tracks here take the oodles of primitiveness, unplug from electricity and strip back to simple instrumentation and, in once case, no instruments at all other than the human voice.
     Two of the five tracks are instrumental. The first one, "Rolling &Tumblin'" starts of the slab with something that sounds like the kind of blues snake charmers would play amid some major chaos at an Egyptian street market. Unearthly yet totally natural and of the earth. The other non-vocal track on this record is a faithful take of the country blues standard "K.C. Blues" with Dan doing top ace guitar picking abounds.
     "Angels Watching Over Me" finds him unaccompanied; his voice alternating between a lady at church feeling the gospel in a belting vibrato spirit and grunts & shouts like a carnival barker. His take Kid Bailey's (or Willie Brown with Charlie Patton on 2nd guitar as many a pre-war blues habituĂ© believe) song of never settling down, "Rowdy Blues", is all about gnarled fingers banjo picking and sitting on the back porch on a humid night like tonight and letting the neighbors know that the evening is just getting underway.
     Something sounding like a ghostly sitar adds something quite sinister feeling to his take on the Appalachian standard "Pretty Little Pink" and we get taken back to church circa somewhere between the Dustbowl, the Great Depression and the Delta to think about death and redemption with "Before This Time Next Year."
     The record closes with "Run Little Children" which works up a whirling dervish of bizarre snaky slider guitar notes, Ozark harp and murmuring chants.

     I am sure that if I was to play this to a particular crowd of honky "blues" musicians and jam band folkies around this town they would probably say it is not the blues because there's no SRV sustained note jacking off or that Jerry Garcia would have recorded it better. To me that means that Kroha hits the real thing straight on target.

May 16, 2013

NO BAILS "Soundproof Room" 7inch EP

     With a bucket of mud, a bucket of scuzz and a bucket of chicken-Kalamazoo, Michigan's No Bails ooze a thick BBBUUURRZZZAHHH of distorto-chug-chug punk that'll clog the earhole and, for those who get a particular sense of "Yeah, were in a rock band but will probably never be rock stars" humor, puts a smart ass smile on the face.
     Sounding a bit like a more jovial and quicker on their feet Flipper, the Aussie punk muck bathing in whatever the cheap American equivalent of the beer they drink, and the guy who never seems able to hold down a job for two weeks that lives in their mom's basement down the road who and tries all day to get his guitar to sound like Tommy Iommi. He can't afford the right kind of equipment though because, well, he can't hold down a job for more than two weeks and lives in his mom's basement.
     "Soundproof Room" hits on a Radio Birdman vibe, minus the street surfing guitar leads but with a whole lotta greased stained wah-wah put in it's place, and lyrics that pretty much tell the college boys that think shit like Sublime is reggae that live all around in their town to get lost because they are gonna play as loud as the want.
     The b-side opener "Werther's Original" is THE most punk rock ever about the bag of candies that are found in a grandparent's kitchen (and, yes, maybe grandpa is a war criminal). "Skate or Die" three chord thud rock finishes things up with a dose of teenage boredom and the videos games that love them.  (yes, Angelfire still actually exists and that is the label's actual website)

May 10, 2013

Odd Side Ale Citra Pale Ale

     Out of Grand Haven, Odd Side Ales is another of those Michigan breweries that has had those lucky enough to try their beers singing all kinds of praises. Like all raves of beers from the Mitten State-Yes, there is a bit of bravado and Michigan pride going but, like all Michigan beers that get such hype, what's in the bottle backs it up.
     Pours hazy golden in color. A one finger head is fizzy, melts moderately and leaves a snow drift looking haze behind. The scent smells like a tropical fruit salad. Very crisp & bright and booming with grapefruit, pineapple and mango.  
     Those scents carries through in the flavor as tangy orange peels, drops of lemon and pineapple juice come out all over the citra hops on top of the first few sips. "Quite juicy" is the simplest way I can put it actually as far as a first impression goes. A lighter malt provides a background of cheesecake crust and honey that accent the citrus top end quite well. The ending is slightly oily so it hangs around for a little bit but also keeps it from being super-sticky and giving the sides of the mouth and back of the throat the impression that it has been chewing on grapefruit peels for the last hour. The very end is clean giving the beer a sessionable quality and allowing it to go well with a backyard barbeque or something to hit the spot after mowing the lawn. Some might say I am going out on a limb for saying this but it is one of the most perfect pale ales I have not tried before in a few years.
     From what I have been told Odd Side is bottling select beers in limited qualities, featuring a different one every couple of months. Last time I was in the store I picked this up at it was the getting down to the last case. Needless to say I picked up the rest that was there and keeping my fingers crossed this will see a regular bottling schedule eventually because I could see it becoming a go to brew for many times to come.