Jan 31, 2013

CHEATER SLICKS "Reality Is A Grape" LP

     When first started telling pals and associates that there was a new Cheater Slicks album coming out a lot of them shrugged and wondered what the hell I was even talking about. Others said "Fuck Yeah" or "It's about time."
     I will leave the shruggers be. If they don't know/don't care about the Cheater Slicks it's their loss. I  am not going to go out of my way to explain the ugly awesomeness of  the band to them. This album was super-rare the day it came out due to the LP pressing run being only 500. It was luck that I was able to get an ACTUAL copy of in my hands because they went fast. The shruggers don't deserve such things.
     With "It's about time" folks it's like "C'mon, man. Are you for real?"
     Sure, it has been a few years (2007) since the band release a full NEW album of "proper songs" (Not to discount 2009's Bats In The Trees in any way as it was quite the ear drum basher but it seemed to be more of a concept album of freeform freakout jams) but it's not like the Slicks are spring chickens or anything.
     Most bands in the frame of age would have packed it in (and one of them would probably put together a blooze or classic rock cover band that plays in bars on the weekends to help pay child support of some shit.) Making their own kind of gnarled, sick Rock-n-Roll noise is in the Cheater Slicks blood but they aren't going to simply crank out a record every year just to make the market happy and they ain't gonna pack in the van for 6 weeks to just sleep on peoples floors at the end of the night. For fans of the bands the record every few years and the slight chance of them playing close by is a rare, cherished even. Basically, as you get older and have learned anything useful-Quality over quantity reigns anyway.
     One thing that has always stood out about the Cheater Slicks sound is for being a very treble friendly band (two guitars, drums and no bass player) is how, as a trio, the mud thick feeling and absolutely disturbed vibe they give off.
     Sounding like something off Iggy & the Stooges Raw Power encased in ice and being chipped away at by an undertaker with a hatchet in his hand the albums title track kicks off manners with an obvious chilling effect. Shards fly stabbing the eardrums while a frigid blast dries, cracks and peels the skin.
     In the hands of a lot of bands the two or three chords would sound like can rock out and all that but in the world of the Cheater Slicks those same chords sound like the guitars are fighting for their lives under stranglehold grips.
     When it comes to cheating songs they are usually some kind of cry in your beer kind of thing. In the case of "Love Ordeal" it sounds more like rage swinging sledgehammers at gnarled guitar strings that some woe tale. "
     Hold On To Your Soul" gives good advice ("If you never want to grow old") but there is something way sinister sounding bubbling to the top.
     If you've ever wondered what Hawkwind would have sounded like if Lemmy was never kicked out of the band but he in turned kicked all the hippies out of the group and then buried the amps in a landfill for a month before making a return for the studio "Half Past High" may very well be the answer.
     Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but looking past the ragged blaring of the noise that surrounds "Current Reflection" there is something quite pretty laying beneath.
     Most bands don't last into a third decade of making music. Most of those that do usually end up giving diminishing returns, sound like they are phoning it in with hopes of getting another paycheck or embarrass themselves trying to stay modern losing touch with what made them so great in the first place. The Cheater Slicks are one of those rare bands that not only still GOT IT but are making even better records than they did in the past while staying loyal to what people dug about them in the first place.
http://cheaterslicks.tumblr.com

Jan 7, 2013

Kuhnhenn 2012 Wheat Wine Ale

     First things first. There is nothing better than aging a barley or wheat wine. Letting them sit in a bottle, condition and come back to it a year or so later and see what crazy things the sugars and fermentation will do. Usually, from most of the ones I have experienced it is more times than not complete beer bliss. The thing is though it is best if you have two bottles so you can get a taste of it fresh and then one down the road to compare notes.
     THIS is something I should have put in the cellar. I only have been able to get my hands on one so far and there is was teasing me and calling my name. Everything Kuhnhenn's brews is in small, small batches and what ever they make is always epic, over the top and pretty much amazing. I tried to resist. I really did! It's kept calling my name though so I could not resist.
     OK, enough hype here and I haven't even popped the cap off it yet.
     Pouring opaque brown in color til held up to the light where it gives off some ruby red shimmers my curiosity doubles. The shades of barley and wheat wines are always interesting as they vary from one brewers secret to another. The head is minimal and melts fast but does leave a slight cap behind and a constant ring making a thick lace all the way through the sipping.
     The aroma of this is huge as partially leaps out of the glass. A large malty backbone gives off a mix of molasses & caramel which is then wrapped with the scents of concord grape, vanilla and notes of tropical fruit. Interestingly enough for the big 11% abv it packs-the boozy qualities are quite muted on the nose.
     First thing that comes to mind on tasting this is how soft it feels in the mouth and on the tongue. Not bubbly or light but very fluffy. Then the flavors kick in and, my oh my, do they. Quite big some somewhat grape on the front. That is followed by a bit of wheat spiciness. The layers keep coming as there is a bit of smoky caramel next, some dark cherry tartness, brown sugar and clean not to sticky finish of deep lemon. As this brew breathes in the class all these complexities grow much more pronounced but never boss each other out of the way or turn into just to mushy muck of flavors. The alcohol IS there in the flavor but is well hidden though it does bring a tingle to the body letting a person know that even though this is a gentle giant it would get the best of you if you sat down and decided to have session as it would turn into a tussle of trying to walk a straight line after a couple
     Yep, I should have saved this to see how it aged but, like I said, I have only been able to get my hands on only one so far but Boy! Oh Boy! it is sure dang delicious.
www.kbrewery.com

Jan 5, 2013

PINK REASON "Ache For You" 7inch

     Given the adventures he has had and a quite sordid past (see the Smashin' Transistors "Classic Interview" below to get a gist of that) bets were probably placed that Pink Reason's main brain, Kevin De Broux, would not live past the age of 25.
     Not only has he beaten the odds but has kept his band of revolving musicians together, got married and has a kid (who he is holding on to on the front sleeve of this record).
     There's a belief by some that once someone becomes a parent they get all soft, mellow out and, if keep diggin' rock music, it's some kind of Dad Rock. Then again, most people that think that don't have any kids of their own and probably even have a hard time getting a 2nd date.
     Earlier Pink Reason releases had some Skip Spence on a total death trip and signed to 4AD vibe to them. They were haunting and, to a large extent, seemed like the were covered in permafrost. Their records of more recent vintage still have a dark, gothic (but not fruity "goth") tinge to them but the unsettling artiness has made room for a more full on punk rock battering. So much for that Dad Rock theory.
     "Ache For You" is akin to something from Iggy Pop's The Idiot with it's weird squiggly effects making guitars sound like dope fiend elephants trumpeting. Then it's run through a blender of blurt that made Psychedelic Horseshit's crown jewel Magic Flowers Droned (which makes sense as I believe a couple of those cats are Kevin's partners in noise here) so awesome to those that enjoying pissing off perfectly EQ'd audio dinks that whine about tape hiss and insist pro-tools is the best innovation to happen to music since the introduction of the headless bass.
    
The flipside's "Darken Days" starts out sparse and slow then builds up adding layers of menace possibly reminding the listener of something like Neil Young and Crazy Horse if they all stopped smoking weed BUT replaced it with more really, really bad and dangerous drugs.
https://www.facebook.com/pinkreason