Dec 29, 2014

Smashin' Transistors Fave Albums of 2014

     Another year, another list. Never definitive but still throwing the hate in the ring for the sake of opinion. Some I got around to write about. Others I didn't. None the less here's the 20 albums, listed in alphabetical order, that seemed to be listened to and enjoyed the most around Smashin' Transistors Ground Zero in 2014.  
-Dale


The Achtungs Full Of Hate (Going Underground) Take standout tracks from the European band KBD/Bloodstains comps and put the blender on puree. Record it all (including the sound the blender makes.)
goingunderground.storenvy.com

Apache Dropout Heavy Window (Magnetic South) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Brain Flannel Empty Set (Grave Mistake) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

DeGreaser Rougher Squalor (Ever/Never) Towering and dissonant psych. Not the flowers and sunshine psych but the kind that dwells in the darkest parts of the mind.
degreaser1.bandcamp.com

Gino and the Goons Shake It (Slovenly) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Good Throb Fuck Off (Sabermetric) Soaked in venom and full of disdain.The sound of smashing the Poison Girls albums to bits and then reassembling it's jagged shards back together in a choppy (non) fashion.
goodthrob.tumblr.com

The Gotobeds Poor People Are Revolting (12XU) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Honey Radar Chain Smoking On Easter (Third Uncle) Syd Barrett's ghost, Flying Saucer Attack's melancholy and Television Personalities whimsy leave magnetic tape dust all over the recording heads of this battered bit of 4-track know how.
honeyradar.com

Iceage Plowing Into The Field Of Love (Matador) J.G. Ballard writes a romance novel with the Bad Seeds The First Born Is Dead and a lot of heavy breathing in mind as an aural soundtrack. Then Gun Club steal the manuscript under the cover of night.
iceagecopenhagen.eu
Martyr Privates s/t (Fire) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Meatbodies s/t (In The Red) Psychedelic pop that has one foot wiggling it's toes in the sand a sunny day at the beach and the other doing kicking at neon glowing brain monsters.
www.facebook.com/Meatbodies

Mordecai Neil's Generator (TestosterTunes) The disarrayed clatter that made the messes on Mordecai's first two albums has been swept into neat piles here. The fidelity is still blown and the music still ramshackle but the concept of obvious melodies now more digestible.
paperhose.tumblr.com

Musk s/t (Holy Mountain) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

No Bails Epyx Shredder (Pelican Pow Wow) Michigan scientists conducted a test on the effects a diet of 80s basic cable, food from greasy college town eateries, cases of Keystone Light and Cosmic Psychos records would have on a person. This album is their findings.
No Bails on Facebook

Obnox Louder Space (12XU) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

PYPY Pagan Day (Slovenly) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Space Raft s/t (Dusty Medical) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

The Sugar Stems Only Come Out At Night (Dirtnap) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Vacation Club Heaven Is Too High (Magnetic South) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

The Yolks Kings Of Awesome (Randy) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Dec 28, 2014

Founders Black Rye Ale

     Originally introduced in 2006 and brewed for less than a year, it's been a long while since anyone has seen Founders Black Rye around. So much so, where even though the beer had developed a devoted who swapped legends of it and very few actually got to taste it, that Founders co-founder Dave Engbers has noted “Most people drinking craft beer and even Founders beer today have never tried Black Rye. Officially, this beer is a re-introduction. But for most, it’s a new Founders beer.”
     Being a Founder devotee for quite a long time now I am one of the many first timers when it comes to spending any amount of time with this brew.
     As far as it's color the expression "none more black" can be bandied around at first look. Held up to the light though it gives off a dark ruby hue. The tan colored head is a modest one finger, melts fairly fast leaving a constant cap that leaves a thick lace behind with each sip. A smell of dark roasted coffee is big the front followed by scents of pumpernickel bread and notes of chocolate.
     A mix of black coffee and pine resin come out first in the flavor. The hops are quite present but work well with the roasted malt nuances.  Those begin to intermingle with tobacco, baker's chocolate and a good amount of wild rye throughout the middle. It finishes with an equal amount of charred wood, grapefruit peel and just a hint of purple grapes.
     Interesting in it's complexity all the way through. Founders will be brewing this to March of 2015. If you are looking for something on the darker end of the beer spectrum but for something different than a stout or porter consider this as a choice to put on your list.
foundersbrewing.com     

Dec 27, 2014

The CONEHEADS "Canadian Cone" Cassette

     For years we've been hearing the words of warning about how technology will eventually decimate all human life. It's probably not gonna play out the way movies portray it where machines go on a killing spree though.
     What is gonna happen is most likely already happening. Phones that are way too smart. Cars that drive themselves. Hamburger being grown in a lab. EDM becoming the latest trend in country music. Never a need to think ever again. The machines have won. They're not going to destroy us with mechanical claws, balls of fire and gigantic meat grinding teeth. They'll just feed us synthetic thoughts til we're all "that kind" of Wal-Mart shoppers.
     There are hacks that came be done. Something that fools the machines into not figuring out that there are some short circuits. Indiana's Coneheads may know the code.
   Tightly wound bass blurt runs, squiggly guitar chopping and automatic rifle fire drums spit out reports of weirdos from Nowhere, America such as Dow Jones and the Industrials and Devo. A nasally voice robotically translates the data alien English. The information comes in at a ridiculously speed. Blink and you'll miss "Big City Baby" and "1982" f'r instance. Songs such as "Violence" and "I Used To Be A Cheesepuff" break the one minute point rival the Urinals in getting their disturbed point across in such a quick sliver of time. Not to mention that usually any band that covers a Talking Heads song will send me heading in another direction just to get away, the take on "Psycho Killer" here is as if the Tubeway Army got a hold of it (and 10 cups of coffee to to get the mood right.)
    Practicing curtness addled with a hyperactivity that may lead things to self destruct, these rumored to be still high school kids have cracks in their video screens. What leaks through those cracks is poison to most but serves as fuel for the Coneheads.
The Conehead releases are very hard to locate but you can cop a download of the Canadian Cone tape here

Dec 26, 2014

GINO and the GOONS "Shake It" LP

     Back in the days when variety shows were a staple on television there would be some dancer type that would come out on occasion and do some scene where their moves looked all clumsy and/or drunk. They were some pretty grand moves and were done for laughs. Watching at home there would always be a grandma who would state the obvious to everyone else who was gathered around the TV by saying something like "It is just an act but only a great dancer like himself can do moves like that to make us believe he is half in the bag and has two left feet."
     The last couple of years or so there has been a new wave of lunkhead themed punk rock bands. Simple and straight-ahead two or three chords (and a the rare fourth if the songs reaches past the two and a half minute point) and lyrics that intentionally border on being a parody of your standard punk rock song topics.
     The thing is though to pull it off and make songs that are worth repeated listens, a band has to be a quite a bit  more clever than they are letting on.
     On the surface, Florida's Gino and the Goons distilling the high points of the mid 90s to early 00s brain rattled by Chuck Berry/Ramones/Little Richard/Stones garage punk is some of the most valiant being belligerent enough to be kicked out of every in town kind of rock-n-roll since, well, the mid 90s and early 00s, fit right into that.
     The thing is though scratch at the big dummy veneer and it's learned that this isn't just another trio of lamebrains. The band totally knows what they are doing.
     Three big blasts of a power chord on the record's opener "Got The Skinny" drop you onto beer stinky  floor that makes your knees go one way and your hips go the other. Gino's raspy swagger bellowing about some of shifty folks he's met and what the world's got him doing ("not eating cuz' I'm so damn depressed") sounds celebratory in a still being able to wake up in the morning and make it through the day kinda way. His guitar blast and the Goons set down a serious beat & rhythm and drop gang harmonies and woos wherever warranted.
     Tracks like "Baby Doll", "Can't Get Away With Murder" and "Check This Out" show that the band attended multiple weekly services of the Church of Thunders at some point in their life. The first former, a way less blurry eyed and much more determined Heartbreakers blaster, takes the "my girl so fine" cliches and uses the again but they're rearranged in a cunning way that makes ya think "Damn, she must REALLY be a fine one" and a laugh to boot. The two latter are trash blues grinds that answers the question "What if someone combined the the New York Dolls with the Oblivians? And they did it right?!"
     It's should be noted that the calling out "KICK DRUM" for a break on "I Don't" has lead me to shouting the same thing anytime someone tells me a cool rock-n-roll story. The album closers with firecrackers getting thrown into a bucket of slime "Sex, Drugs & Paranoia". You'll think about it next time you're at the ATM.
www.slovenly.com

Dec 22, 2014

Odd Side Merry Elf Ale

     After a long day of making toys elves like to unwind like the rest of us working stiffs. They want kick up the heels of their curly toed shoes and enjoy a brew. It is also nice to think that they aren't just settling for some kind of elfin' macrobrew that looks and tastes like something akin to arctic fox or caribou wizz, right?
     Pouring a clouded chestnut with ruby highlights in color with minimum head from a soft pour the aromas from the candy sugar used in this brew give the malts an overall scent of caramel at first. The smell of fresh baked wheat bread, figs and orange zest (obviously from the orange peel used in the brewing process) make their rounds on the nose too as the beer starts to breath a little more in the glass.
     Both the look and scent seem to have an overall Belgian Dubbel characteristic to them. This also rings true in the flavor. A sweet malt backbone plays host to candied dark fruits that predominate in the first impression of tasting. It is followed by notes of banana bread and chocolate in the middle. The orange peel is fairly hidden til the end where it adds a little twist of sweet and tartness to an earthy and herbal finish.
     Sure, leave milk and cookies out for Santa when he is out making his deliveries this week. Back at the workshop though, the elves are knocking these back.
www.oddsideales.com

Dec 19, 2014

Your Radio Has Not Been Smashed Lately

     If one of your reasons for stopping by here is to see if I have uploaded a recent edition of my radio show on WSGR 91.3fm I apologize for there being the lack of one posted for over a month. There's been a few bugs in the wires that fouled up the works. Now with the holidays the station is on flying in autopilot mode til the new year. When the station goes back live I will start posting the occasional radio show again. Who knows, maybe the suits that call the shots as far as our budget is concerned will stop pinching pennies so hard that they're making Abraham Lincoln cry and we will finally get green lighted to start streaming.

Dec 15, 2014

FLESH LIGHTS "Free Yourself" LP

     Referring to a bands sound even remotely as power-pop can garner many different reactions and opinions from music zealots. And a lot of those reactions and opinions do not fall on the pro side of the fence. Those types will bitch about the stereotypical trappings of what they think the pigeonhole sports even though they're going off something they read somewhere or basing it off scoffs they made once at the cover of a record while thumbing through a dollar bin.
     Sometimes, as a bonus, you will get the anti-Beatles rant by someone who hates the Beatles because it's a cool thing to do. They will know everything about what a band that gets offhandedly described as "having a bit of a power-pop thing happening" sound like without even hearing them.
     Whatever.
     Loud guitars, catchy melodies and choruses that'll lure the ears in is where Austin's Flesh Lights is where the power and the pop lies and those types are missing out on what was being got at, I guess.
     With no skinny ties, sugary whines or white horned rim glasses this record is about turning the volume up and having the songs get stuck in that place in your head where a bright gloss and punk rock grit compliment each other instead of fighting for the front seat. The beat battering of drummer Elissa and bass player Jeremy's full steam ahead thump lay a solid bedrock of rhythm for Max to hammer jubilant guitar blare and keep it study.
     Opening the record with a foot stomping cadency, "Just About Due" fires off without nary a warning of the need to hang on before it jettisons into a perfect piece of making air guitar windmill moves for the listener. Sounding like they were fed doses of the Ramones and the Saints since birth they don't have the time to candy coat what their thinking either. Be it calling out the oldsters who are trying to hard to look hip to prove that they (may be) still cool on "Middle Age" or mocking the rockers who tell the same story over and over again about the time they almost hit rock stardom on the hot footed Flaming Groovies like blaster "Big Break" pretty much lets everyone know they aren't about to don candy coats anytime soon. They also aren't afraid of bringing the rock action when it's called for uncoiling tasty guitar solos all over on tunes like the Cheap Trick down at the dive bar "You Might Know"and the over speed limit pace of the album's title track.
http://12xu.net

Dec 12, 2014

EX-LEGIONNAIRES "Don't Care For Crying" 7inch EP

      Most likely best known for being the one behind the incongruous pop sounds of Denton, TX based Maaster Gaiden close to a decade ago, D. A. Anguiano has kept himself busy with several projects since. His latest thing, Ex-Legionnaires, is the first one us here at the good ship Smashin' Transistors have laid our ears on since the split single Maaster Gaiden did with the Points in 2007.
     Hooking up with some Austin cats for his newest combo things get fired up cooking with bacon grease.
     Rifling around the herbs and spice racks of the Devil Dogs and whatever the Misfits used to give Walk Among Us its particular bite (a vampire pun only partially intended right there), these guys, realizing that it would be dumb to serve up a straight replication, the took bits and pieces from each of the recipe books, subtracting this (f'r instance there is luckily a lack of "Whoa-Oh-Oh" abuse that the latter practically turned into a genre of it's very own), adding that (like the amusement park organ that pumps behind the record's closer "Labor Of My Love") before tossing it on the grill to sear.
     When served these helpings of rock-n-roll, such as the blaring guitar party of the record's title track and fittingly titled "Vigorous Head Shakin'", are crispy and crunchy on the outside with a right amount of rareness found when cutting into the middle.
http://exlegionnaires.tumblr.com
       

Dec 8, 2014

Yvonne Vernee "Just Like You Did Me"

     After being a member of the Correct-Tone label group the Donays, whose only single had the Richard Dee penned b-side“Devil In His Heart” which the Beatles covered on their second album With The Beatles,  Detroit gal Yvonne Symington got the itch to record as a solo artist. Correct-Tone owner Wilbert Golden declared that no one would remember her name so he changed her last name to Vernee and put Sonny Saunders & Robert Bateman, who were in charge Correct-Tone subsidiary SonBert, to make her a star.
     Released in 1965 “Just Like You Did Me” was Yvonne’s 2nd single for the label and her 3rd (main label Correct-Tone released “Does He Love Me Anymore” in 1964) since becoming a solo artist in 1963.
     Backed by Motown musicians at after hour session at Correct-Tone’s studio on Detroit’s 12th St, this Tony Clark written and Sonny Sanders arranged track gets cooking allowing Yvonne’s voice put the point across of what it really feels like to be heartbroken.
     Sadly, the song never became a hit but is a very sought out single with original copies selling up to the $3,000 range when they come up in auction.
After the release of this record Yvonne stepped out of the spotlight and took a day job. In 1971 she was asked to join the Elgins. She still performs with them to this day.

Dec 3, 2014

MAD DOCTORS "Snake Oil Superscience" LP

     Mashing the sounds of the post Brit Invasion/pre-hippie 60's with more than a passing fancy for the Z-grade horror and sci-fi flicks that lowest budget of UHF channels used to run on Saturday afternoons, these practitioners of trash are well prepared to crash any basement party that has revelers craving for ladles of a slimy stew of garage gruel to be flung at them.
     With the voice of guitarist Dr. Seth Applebaum, sounding something like cross between a local circuit pro-wrestling announcer and a leisure suited lounge lizard after a 4 day bender, pontificating and bellowing over top a brawling & blusey core of garage fuzz, blurred escapades are spun.
     They shoot the curl across an echo lavished Milky Way and use comets like pinball table bumpers on the album's opener "Space Woman" and wiggly "Surfboard From Hell." They spike rhythm-n-blues whiskey gets with something freaky, making the stomp and wiggle on tracks such as "Transmission Impossible" take a kaleidoscopic detour and treat the boogie on a tune like "Braindead Boogie" like IT IS a bunch of brains, which they then run lawnmower over, splattering bits all over the yard and the side of house. 
     Wrecked and wooly like a coyote fur coat dragged behind a car down a couple of alleys where the back entrances of burger joints and dive bars stand is something that New York City's Mad Doctors would proudly wear it in all it's moth eaten and weird smelling glory.
www.facebook.com/TheMadDoctors