Dec 20, 2015

Smashin Podisistorscast #10: Not The Year End List

     It's not officially the end of the year according to the calendar. Good thing too because I'm still working on my list of favorites of 2015.
     Til then, dig some new things played for the first time on Smashin' Transistors from Sex Tide, Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones, Sros Lords, Champion Lover, Waylon Thorton & The Heavy Hands, Leaf Child, Woodboot and Psychic Blood. Blast out some things from the past by the Flesh Eaters, Loop, The Nerves, Silverhead and the Rip Offs. Don't forget the other tasty bits for your aural appetite too.

Dec 18, 2015

SEX TIDE "Vernacular Splatter" 12inch EP

     Every time it seems Columbus, Ohio is down for the count punk rock wise, the city comes back and swinging hard. In the last couple of year or so the newer sweet noise coming of the town include, but limited to, Raw Pony, Nervosas and Day Creeper. Another one to be added to that list is Sex Tide.
     Scorched and tormented "Are You Even Alive" opens this 6 song 12inch not by asking the question politely or slightly nudging to see if you're just sleeping. Instead they go about finding out so by running you over with a truck that is fueled by the sludge that Filth era Swans would've been baptized in had the ever attended the church of the Cramps on a day where Kat Bjelland was giving a guest sermon.
     The guitars (courtesy of Chris Corbin, who did time with Geraldine and Mike Rep and occasional agent in Obnox's ear-drum rattling mission Jah Nada) slither like snakes through grass made of dagger blades in hunt of their prey on tracks like "Why Don't You Want Me", "Siren" and "Shame" and induced a sleep with one open paranoia boogie on "Cleveland Avenue" and "Neighborhood Safe Space." Above it all, singer/drummer Aurelie Celine provided a primal rhythm that is like voodoo beats thumped out by wrecking balls and brays in a way that it would take little if you wanted to convince someone that lady in town everyone thinks is a witch actually is and she has a rock-n-roll band.
     Only listen this record right before bed time if you want wet dreams that involve spiders carrying buckets of napalm crawling over you.
www.facebook.com/SexTide   

Dec 9, 2015

Lee Rogers "You Won't Have To Wait Til X-Mas"

     Legend goes that Marvin Gaye got the notion of "the beat" is what drives the kids wild from watching Lee Rogers perform on stage. The became friends in 1962 and shared a lot of the some bills such as appearing at record hops hosted by WJLB's Eddie Dunham.
     As we all know Marvin was brought into the Motown stable in and, by 1962, his career took off first as a songwriter (the co-writer of the Marvelettes "Beechwood 4-5789") and scoring his first of many top 10 pop hits in '63 with "Pride & Joy."
     Dubbed the Prince of Detroit, Lee didn't have it easy breaking the national charts. His first single for single for the D-Town, "Sad Affair", was released as a friendly challenge to Marvin of who could score the next hit record. The single fared decently in Detroit and landed at #10 on some local airplay charts. In 1965 though it looked like his luck would change. That was the year the single "I Want You To Have Everything", which was recorded live in a makeshift studio located in a building on Detroit's 14th St that also housed a record store, was released on D-Town Records and hit #17 on the Billboard R&B charts. Unfortunately, due to the inconsistent distribution channels of the time (and possibly some string pulling from the folks at Motown, who always seemed worried that another Detroit label would overtake their position of power in the music world, to keep record from getting any bigger) it only cracked the Hot 100 and Lee's follow up records weren't ever able to gain any traction.
     One of those follow ups was "You Wont Have To Wait For X-Mas." Released in the later months of 1965, the beat swings in that way that Marvin Gaye may have copped while Lee lays down a smooth yet burning message to his love around the holiday. It one of those songs that is a must for me to break out and spin this time of the year.

Nov 30, 2015

Smashin' Podsistorscast: Number 9, Number 9, Number 9....

     
      It was either experiment with excessive amounts of Tryptophan for a long weekend or get some stuff done. I got stuff done and then I sat down to absorb some sound.
     New things by WX, Don Howland, Hierophants, The Baby Shakes, Shadow In The Cracks, DRAGGS and Midnight Reruns. Some things from the gold shelves like Clock DVA, The Lurkers, Flying Saucer Attack, The Byrds and Killdozer.
     Plus a whole lot of other great entrees too.

Nov 28, 2015

OUTER EMABSSY "Lights Out" 7inch EP

     Presided over by earthy Fender Rhodes and synths shooting for something celestial along with live drums and no guitars, this Oakland, CA combo tickers with something organic for a space age.
     A slightly chopped and humanoid beat sets the tone for a fuzzy & slightly blanket of an electric piano to wrap and keep things warm while icy bloops and beeps soar around on "Light's Out." It's like that stoned in the afternoon while listening to Steely Dan vibe that Junip or Tame Impala did way too much on their last album. The difference though is that where those bands act all precious and coy, these guys are not hiding it. The occasional prog-leaning rears its head a time or two but they manage to keep it under control by not playing too many notes at once. When the echoy new wave vocals kick in the scene changes from cocaine at the martini party to a rain washed and neon lit street scene from a slightly arty 80s movie.
    Imagine standing outside a really seedy hotel bar. Expecting worn red velvet upholstery and fake Tiffany lamps caked with years of cigarette smoke and dust. Hesitant to walk in in you're find that everything is shiny, silver PVC fabric and flickering fluorescent light. The band starts to play and it sounds like this record's flipside "Outer Orbit." The drinks are just well booze but you feel you may start to float in space. A jazzy space. 
https://www.facebook.com/outerembassy

Nov 27, 2015

TROPICAL TRASH "UFO Rot" LP

     To declare a record "punk rock" leaves a lot of interpretation open. People have different impression and ideas of what punk rock is about. Different reference points and rule books and so on for each and everyone. To pin down the kind of punk rock state of mind Kentucky's Tropical Trash may confound some while others will find it being a gauntlet thrown down for others to crawl outside of some predictable boxes and step up their game.
     Charging right out the gate with a surf drum beat played at speed metal velocity that doesn't let up for the song’s duration, "New Flesh" builds tension up with a hammering one chord down stroke and pummeling, basic bass line foundation for the burly voice singer to bark contemptuous sentiments over. Things hit their boiling point halfway through and it burst into a faceful of searing feedback. The squalls intensify and ooze more puss on the explosively dark next track "DNA Smoke."
     There are moments where the band picks up the direction bands like Fugazi and Shellac for instance took the so called "post-hardcore" movement (before the palm muting weigh lifters, fat bald guys with goatees and Amish as tattoo'd hipsters look started to infect it all with effects pedals and "emotional" screeching about the anger of being raised in a subdivision came about), like jittery and soil shaking "Vertical Gang" and the title track's feeling out aural whiplash, but it's the moments where the songs sound like a fireball ball being shot out of cannon like "Leisure Exposure" and how "Fat Kid's Wig" feels like plowing through a ten car pile up and coming out unscathed that assure the listener that the band has their own ideas how things are to be done. For instance, even if "the kids" started to think something like "Heehaw Collider" would be pit worthy the silent gaps of emptiness that dot the song would have them standing around and whining about it (and looking like the goofs at EDM shows waiting for the always now predictable bass drop) while the two close to ten minute lurching, lumbering and doom laden closers, the Big Black at half speed vibed "Knowing" and the Flipper using Black Sabbath tricks to peel paint tricks on "Pig Sweat" would send them back to get in mom's SUV a minute or so into either song.
     To declare Tropical Trash UFO Rot as a punk rock record that will still sound current 5, 10 or even 20 years down the road may even confounding or preposterous to some but from where it stands now this scribe is going to make the claim. If we as a civilization are even still around in two decades we can discuss it again then.
http://loadrecords.com

Nov 22, 2015

Smashin Podsistorcast 8: Sideways It's A Sign For Infinity

    
     I'm not a math wizard. As a matter of fact to get my degree(s) in college math credit is required. I kept putting it off. Took me years to finally get the diploma because, well, let's just say I put it off for a loooong time. I do remember though that an 8 sideways does look like the sign of infinity. Thank you Schoolhouse Rock.
     Turn it up for new things from Video, the Deadbeat Beat, Wireheads, Spray Paint, Tang Soleil, Thee Mighty Domotas , What Tyrants, Rik & the Pigs and Lavender Flu. Keep it cranked for classics from the Cramps. The Patti Smith Group, Joe Clay, The Damned, Tav Falco's Panther Burns, Can and Little Ann. Blast out all the good stuff scattered around in between too.          

Nov 21, 2015

Stone Brewing's Bourbon Barrel Aged Arrogant Bastard

     The first snowfall of the season is happening here in the Great Lakes State as I type this. Seems a good as time as any to make a plate of smokey cheese, pop the top off a bourbon barrel aged brew and sip while watching the white stuff pile up outside my window.
     It's been awhile since I've had an Arrogant Bastard of any sort, There's been so many choices of things coming out of Michigan what seems everyday now some of the older stand-by's get been neglected. When I saw that their bourbon barrel aged version on one of the most unique American Strong Ale's there is in the world though it was time to make some time to hang out again.
     Luminous chestnut in color with chocolate malted colored, pinky finger thick head that takes it own sweet time melting (and not shy about leaving a thick lacing behind in its wake) it takes me back to the time when its parent brew was a major go to for me.
     Giving it a sniff though I am about to get into something that is totally turned up a notch from something that already had great things cranked up. Oak, dark cherries and vanilla scents give off an sensory trigger in the brain of eating ice cream around a fireplace. The bourbon aroma hangs back in the being understated.
     Wheat toast with almond butter is a thing that comes to mind on first sip. Sweet but not sugary with a warm, soothing feeling as it goes down. Cherries and plums bring a tart and earthy flavor to dance around in the middle. They then let the slightly smokey oak and the shy whiskey along with some caramel and cream take a bow in the end. Coffee and roasted malts linger around for a few minutes in the aftertaste.
     This wasn't as bourbon forward as a lot of beers the sort can be but it was also interesting because it took the standard Arrogant Bastard solid flavors down a slightly different path yet kept it from getting lost in some deep woods. A nice diversion while wondering if that blanket of precipitation outside is going to stick and if I gotta break out the shovel sometime later this evening.
www.stonebrewing.com

Nov 20, 2015

The YOLKS "Don't Cry Anymore" 7inch

      Y'know, any time a Yolks record gets put on the turntable a party is gonna start. If the party is already in effect, putting one of their records on turns the party up a north. Even as garage pop soul thrash-abouters these Chicagoland cats are though there is another side to the story. Y'know, like the types of things Smokey Robinson was talking about on "Tears Of A Clown" and "Tracks Of My Tears."
     Unlike the them doing the crying though, the a-side here, "Don't Cry Anymore", asks you to wipe away your own tears. A bit different than usual Yolks fare, the band sounds like their in a bit of a introspective mood. Things are slightly folky here but with a dust riddled Rhythm and Blues bounce that wont have the ears wanting to nob out like it would while listening to some snoozy assed Bon Iver track or something. The slightly stoned harmonies sound as like they were recorded straight into the same mic with little adornment other than room echo. The voices amalgamate in a way that resembles the Everly Brothers after a weed dealer just left their living room.
     After showing that hardly seen "softer" side of  the band they flip the switch of the dimly lit and mellow room mood to get up because it's time to get down mode. Throwing it back to the reckless party vibe that had a feeling being all sweaty and greasy from dancing to the bustling groove and eating fried chicken at the same time that their earliest records had stamped and stained all over them, "I Wanna Be Dumb" rids the room of any Captain Bringdowner's and fills the floor with a party vibe.

Nov 7, 2015

Smashin' Podsistorscast: The Lucky No. 7

     They say the number 7 is lucky. Well, I've had a slew of little bad lucks following me around for a few weeks. How did I get through? Blasting music chased them away and now things are seeming to become an even keel.
     Some of the things I cranked up can be heard now. Fresh new platters from Fuzz, the Yolks, Tang Soleil, Helen, Rata Negra, Cold Beat and Timmy's Organism. Stacks of wax from way back such as the Clean, Silver Jews, The B-52s, Opal, the Devil Dogs and Sylvie Vartan. And as usual a bunch of other tasty musical morsels for your ears to snack on placed about too.

Nov 6, 2015

OBN IIIs "Worth A Lot Of Money" LP

     The OBN IIIs have always brought the rock. And not just any rock either. It's a bit like the kind of rock that was heard blasting out of high school auto shop in the late 70s/early 80s. It's a bit like the kind of rock that was heard in a small town downtown on a Friday night blasting out of the cars the high schoolers were working on in said auto shop.
     It's a fist in the air, anthemic kind of rock. It's also tends to be more smart assed and clever than just straight up lunkheaded and proud about it than what a lot of people would think when describing the type of rock that it is.  Sure, it's cocky and the attitude is one of folks that don't really care if you think they play to loud and smell like bourbon sweat and cigarette butts.
     While previous records by the band hinted a little bit here and there that they weren't perhaps ashamed of rockin' out to hard rock heroes who's best songs haven't gotten played on classic rock radio in years there was always punk rock goo all over them that was fit for dingy, dank basements and humidity stricken back yard barbeques. Here, with the production of assistance of a cat who has twiddled the knobs for the likes of the ...And You Will Know Us By Our Trail Of Dead, Heartless Bastards, Spoon and Lee Ann Womack (?!?!), Mike McCarthy, some of the murk has been buffed away, exposing a bit more color than expected while still keeping the grit intact.
     The swagger on tracks like the slow burning "What Happened To You", "Let The Music", which sounds like a soundtrack for good ol' fashioned fight where guitars are flashed like switchblades, the way "The Stalker" gallops into a wall of a fire and swerving chug on the night's not over but hangover gonna be hell in the morning on "You Can Never Let Me Down" sound like the ghost of Phil Lynott are in the room. Not just in the way singer Orville Neely channels the tough guy with a tarnished heart of gold delivery but also from the doubled up guitar harmonies that peel off notes and chords like riding through peaks and valleys of Thin Lizzy badassery and the way the rhythm blast holes through any obstacles that are blocking the way for them to meet their destination.
     The rock doesn't stop just there though. "New Money", a checklist on how to blow cash fun and recklessly is like AC/DC discovering a couple new chords after falling into a fountain of youth behind the back of grease covered rib joint joint, the album's opener "New Trash" and the street level boogie on "Standing" and "I'm Done" resemble ZZ Top's Tres Hombres spun at twice the speed and illuminated by exploding flash pots.
     It's a been a common statement for years now that rock is dead. That's usually followed by a "Rock Is Back" declaration. It sounds like the OBN IIIs don't give a damn either way. They just know it feels good. 
http://12xu.net

Oct 27, 2015

Saugatuck Brewing's 2015 Barrel Aged Neapolitan Milk Stout

     A perfect way to describe Saugatuck's Neapolitan Stout is "fun." Like the ice cream it is styled after, in Saugatuck's regular version of this milk stout you can taste the different layers of flavors as the pass through the lips, across the palate and down the throat. It then finishes in a blend of them all the same way the ice cream does if it melts a little bit in the bowl before it is all finished. Best part though? No ice cream head burn if you sip too fast (I mean, unless you serve all beer at some supercold temperature like when the mountains turn blue on a Coors Light can. You realize that is done is because the colder a beer is, the less flavors come out, right? Yep, basically the big beers have figured out if it's as close as it can to freezing without actually doing so less people will notice how lame their product really is.)
     So, what would make this beer even more fun? Well, barrel aging it of course.
     The color is almost black with a slight ruby hue surrounding it. The head is minimal and fades almost immediately, leaving slight clouds and a rim ring behind. The scent of chocolate and strawberry waft out of the glass and can be smelled even at 5 feet away once the brew starts breathing. A touch of bourbon in the aroma become detectable at that time too.
     First thing on the lips and tongue noticed is that the beer is a bit sweeter than the regular version. The chocolate is the first thing that comes to the forefront. Very rich and, to an extent, resembling "The Original" Bosco syrup in it's sweetness in the front end of it's flavor but there's also a bit of baking chocolate bitters and smoke that linger underneath. The middle brings out some faint notes of oak and roasted malts.There's some vanilla are too but is a bit muted. That seemed odd because it's one of the flavors that usually comes to mind for me when tasting a barrel aged brew. The strawberries come out huge in the finish. Almost o an extent where they're trying to push everything else out of the way.
     I will go record saying that this, like it's non aged partner, is fun to drink but felt the barrel aging didn't really add too much to it either, other than a little darkness to the chocolate, amping up the fruit notes almost a little too much (unless that was something that was done at the brewery this year for this special batch in the first place. I haven't had a regular bottle this year to see if anything about its balance has changed from how it's tasted in the past.) It lacked a bit of the complexities and didn't really seem worth the couple dollars more a bottle price point to me.
www.saugatuckbrewing.com

Oct 24, 2015

Smashin' Podsistorscast: 6...66

     Things have been a bit crazy hectic on the work and transportation front in the Smashin' Transistors world the past month or so. It's kind of distracted me from sitting down and jotting observations & opinions on records and beer that have passed through the ears and lips. I did get a new edition of the podcast together for your digital devices this week though.
     With Halloween right around the corner I did think about doing a spoooky themed show. Problem is though I'm a bit ADD and would've got distracted or bored with doing such a thing halfway through. That and there's plenty of people out there who do such things much better than I could anyway. I just blasted a bunch of tunes instead. Let new things from noisemakers such as Frau, Wand, Spray Paint, Ghastly Spats, Black Time, Cheena, Destruction Unit and the Staches infect the part of your brain that sound goes. Have things of the past from Suicide, Dale Hawkins, The Velvet Underground, Strawberry Window and Honey Bane haunt your speakers. And, course, have other sounds on this go round make their way out of your speakers too.

Oct 16, 2015

PHYLUMS "Phylum Phyloid" LP

     People could toss around the alt-county blah blah blah Americana blah blah blah Roots Music blah blah blah a billion times when taking about Wisconsin's Phylums but I still don't think they'd ever be convince them to wear such a thing as a badge. The same thing would happen if you were to drop the garage rock dime on them too.
     Comprised of guys that were in the Goodnight Loving, Holy Shit and Head On Electric, three bands that we're all very different from each other sound and approach wise, the music takes you on trip through the heartland. Yes, there will be rolling hills and probably diary cows and pretty girls but this is more than a Sunday drive to go get breakfast at some place off the beaten path. The ride may end up a little bumpy though as is also the heartland of hangovers, stupid days, working weekends to pay the bills and the many ghosts that haunt the rustbelt.
     Along with Byrds-esque sparkling in a rainstorm guitar jangle running a thread through most of the songs is here is the voice of Andy Kavanaugh. He's always had that knack from sounding wide eyed and cynical at the time same time. Like chasing a honey slide with a slug of with a bottle of middle shelf bourbon, there's a sweet earthiness to it that is equally soothing but has a bite. With the jittery exuberance put forth by the band, Phylums simply straight up music rooted in the vast and varied history of rock-n-roll.
     Starting things off with a amalgamation of the 50s, hyperactivity and brittle fuzz, "Can't Get Through" tells the tale of getting turned away at the Canadian border while trying to cross through at Detroit and then more than touches on the trails and tribulations of being unknown band on tour. Then it lyrically takes turns into a take of the messed up state of things in general. In a lot of bands hands the dour could hang over like dark clouds. The ragged harmonies and an overall "well we can't do much about it, might as well laugh about" delivery here gives the listener the feeling that's more like sitting around having a beer with friends and listening to them getting wound up while telling a story about a day nothing at all went right.
     Traces of surf music wash across along the dirt on the psych speckled love song "Bottle Of Wine", the lonely soul psychedelic noir of "Route 66" and on the solo dropped right between the folk rock standing on a trash punk foundation that's the words of warning (because it is true you can’t let your guard down when you're living on the...) on "Crummy Side Of Town."
     That reverby wetness and concrete crunch also does one of its finest balancing acts on the entire record during the tremulous cadence that stomps directly underneaths the mossy "I Gotta Know." Bubblegummy organ swirl add a syrupy and woozy feeling to morning after a long night out tale of "Cold Coffee" while another story of weighing the option of a night on town, "Go Home", feels celebratory on the thoughts of staying in.
     With no lack of melody packed choruses and hooks abounds that are simple enough to get toddlers singing along (the Bow-Bow-Bow-Bow on the high strung "Time Capsule" for instance) but still appealing to so called grown ups , don't be surprised if you find all the songs on this record worming into your ear. That goes twice if your like a sense of dark humor with a side of down home cooking.
https://dirtnaprecords.bandcamp.com/album/phylums-phylum-phyloid     

Oct 11, 2015

Smashin Podistors: The ST5 "Jam Out The Kicks"

    
     The Smashin' Podsistorscast is now five deep. Have new things from sorts such as Obnox, Uranium Club, Protomartyr, Sewers, OBN IIIs and Screature sear your ear drums. We pulled some goodies off the back shelves from Wire, Bettye LaVette, the Feelies and Huggy Bear to reminisce about as well. And, as usual, plenty of clattering and blaring in between.

Oct 3, 2015

CENTURY PALM "White Light" and "Valley Cyan" 7inch

photo by Rico Moran
     With members of bands such as Dirty Beaches, the Ketamines and Tough Age among the ranks it is safe to assume that Toronto's Century Palm take on, for the sake of using an all-encompassing word, pop music is going to be a bit skewered.
     Taking two songs that first appeared on a cassette EP last year, "White Light" and "New Creation", as their first sounds to commit to having etched in polyvinyl chloride, serves well as the bands calling card.  The former, rooted by a rhythmic charge of guitar chords and layered vocals that give it a bit on anthemic qualities to it, is a zippy bit of post new wave. "Post" in a way where some, say CMJ chart darlings for instance, decide that emulating the Heaven 17 and A Flock Of Seagulls or whatever record they found at some ridiculous mark up (y'know be cause vinyl is back so those 3 dollar standards are now 10 dollar "scores") is actually a good idea to permanently erase rock and roll from pop music all together once and for all, Century Palm do their best to be faithful to the future of the past while separating the wheat from the chaff. That isn't to say that they band is doing some "rock the fuck out thing" as there is quite a bit of an art tempered happening going on here but even in that aspect there is a sway and vibe here that is missing from a large chunk of the things that are trying to mine the same territory that being pushed in the going for adds hype sheets that flood college radio programmers mail box each week.
     The latter delves a little deeper into the atmosphere with spacey and gurgling synth notes and treated guitars hooks that touch on early era Ultravox and mid period Wire but in more of inspirational way that a direct copy.
     "Valley Cyan" gels the elements of above together and, along guitars that relay between Spaghetti western meets Joe Meek heavily reverb and electrified stabs and swirly, cosmic keyboard lines, finds the band locating a dreamscape to call their own. This also makes the the b-side, "Accept", sound like it could be from a different band all together with a gothic fog rolling in after dark sound and sax honks that sound like they were needed after a long weird night of talking about free jazz and Roxy Music albums.
www.centurypalm.com

Sep 26, 2015

Smashin' Podsistors: The 4th Form


     Since this is the 4th show we could've dedicated it to strictly four on the floor beats. That would've gotten really tedious though. Dig new things for your ears from Heaters, Century Palm, Sex Snobs and Nun. Let things from the past like Thomas Leer and Robert Rental, Cows, No Trend and Ultravox worm their way into your lobe. Of course, all kinds of gruel, gunk and goodies tossed about too.

Sep 23, 2015

Bonnie Brisker "So Much Lovin' (Deep Inside Me)"


     Like with a lot of the 60s Detroit soul records that didn’t make a dent nationally (but may have gotten some play in the Northern Soul Scene in the UK) there’s not a lot of info on who Bonnie Brisker is or if this was the only record she did. Heck, with this record even the year it was released is kinda fuzzy but judging from the catalog number it’s safe to assume it is early ‘67 (the previous catalog number, MC 002, was a “I’m Going Christmas Shopping/Santa Goofed” by Horace Williams and Choker Campbell & His Magic City Orchestra was released in December of ‘66.) 
     What is known about Bonnie is that she was the sister of Detroit saxophonist Miller Brisker who toured and played with Aretha Franklin, most notably on her Aretha In Paris album, as well as the arranger of “I’ll Be On My Way” by Bob & Fred which appeared on Big Mack, another Detroit label of the era.
     Though both sides of this record have a nice live and loud sound with some rough edges intact the a-side, “Someone Really Loves You (Guess Who)”, tends to lean a little more towards some kinda sophisticated Mary Wells territory. This b-side though gets much looser. The bass line brings everything to a boil, getting the band to lock into a total proto-funk groove and Bonnie lets everyone listening know what she has and what she needs.

Sep 18, 2015

SNOOTY GARBAGEMEN s/t LP

     As if being a string bender for the OBN IIIs and one of the noise bringers on the Blaxxx project wasn't already enough to satiate Texan Tom Triplett's need for loud rock-n-roll action, he also fronts up purveyors of bad attitude sounds, the Snooty Garbagemen, too.
     Unlike the shake your hips while punching you in the gut Stones/Dolls boogie slime happenings of the former or the barbed wire wrapped distortodelic funk of the latter; this gang is much more elemental with its intentions. A power trio in a most primal sense, the songs here are locked in to swift and constant rhythm pummeling, all on a conquest for the constant taste of red meat and letting most of the human race they can fuck right off.
     After introducing themselves with a flurry of psych blues slime guitar racket and the bass & drums determined to cause destruction on the instrumental "Sad Sack" the band then pushes the listener into a garage. Not one of those new sparkly garages that it seems chirpy, smiling kids with a penchant for digital reverb want people to think they bob their heads in unison all day these days but a dingy, dirty one where a bare lightbulb hangs to lights your way so you don't get tetanus from backing into some random rusty piece of oil soaked, soot coated jagged metal scattered all over the place.
     When Tom's virulent voice one ups Johnny Paycheck stupid job sentiments by ten on the Motorhead/Tad infected "I Quit" it's obvious he's had enough and doesn't know but still doesn't care how he'll pay his bills. Most likely though he and the band would just find more time to be shit kicking punk rock down the street like they do on songs like the thunderous "I Can't Find My Keys", dancing on graves to the spazzed out beat of "Apart At The Seams", trying different sized drill bits on heshers eardrums like they do on "Heavy Metal Brains" or bumming out hippies acid trips the way "Answer Your Phone" has the power to do.
     Yeah, the Snooty Garbagemen can scoff your trash. They have no need for it. They're doing just fine building a fetid, obnoxious heap of their own.
http://12xu.net

Sep 12, 2015

Smashin' Podsistors: Do They Really Come In Threes?


     Falling into to autumn all of a sudden with old noise from Public Image Limited, the Necros, Bantam Rooster, Cosmic Psychos and th' Faith Healers. New sounds from Dan Melchior's Broke Review, Raw Pony, Buck Biloxi and the Fucks, Flying Saucer Attack and Andy Human & the Reptoids. Other various bits of dissonance and melody tossed in for good measure too.

Sep 10, 2015

RAW PONY "Bo Diddley" 7inch

Photo by Danielle Petrosa
     Brandishing stripped to a primeval root drumbeats, guitars that whirr like shards of a beer bottle in a garbage disposal and a bass sound that's akin to a mudslide plowing down whatever is in it's way, Columbus Ohio's Raw Pony put a lot of emphasis on the RAW.
     What's starts out as a cover/homage to the song that Bo Diddley named after himself on the a-side quickly turns into something even ol' Bo couldn't have fathomed when he was trying to appeal to the young folks in the crowd that where coming to see him in the 90s by doing some cheesy, disco synth heavy rap about just saying no to drugs and yes to challenging Saddam Hussein to a fistfight. The case here is more like the Gories recounting very intense bouts of night terrors while kicking their way out of a tin shed full of hungry and feral cats in heat.
     "Shattered" (not the Rolling Stones or Exploding Hearts song) ups the cavewoman stomp by covering girl group melodies in sludge then trying sticks of dynamite to them. Light the fuse, run and then stand back to watch it splatter.
www.facebook.com/rawponyoh

Sep 5, 2015

Hideout Brewing's Batch 700: Imperial Gunman

     For many years I was serious about overhopped beers. I was all about the pine, the citrus, the weed, the bitters, the burn and so on but it was getting to a point with me where it some beers didn't even care about complexities or any other flavors. It seemed a quite a few brewers were in a contest to top each other on who could capture the flavor of spending a week having to eat yourself out of meadow and have that taste stick around for days, maybe even weeks, in the back of your mouth.
     It got ridiculous so started to keep away from the style, shifting my palate to other ones. Not because I was scared. It was simply because the antics of it all got stupid. It was gonna take something that cared something about more than being just hop juice to get me to try an IPA I hadn't before. Over the summer, Grand Rapids brewery Hideout had bottles of some of their wares (somewhat) showing up in my (somewhat) part of the state. Perusing the shelf I saw that this IPA promised heavy malting ALONG with a generous helping of hops. On the label it promised that the hop lover what they wanted but also something a bit more well balanced.
     "Hmmmm, a brewery that is making an IPA that remembers malt is still supposed to be tasted in the profile AND they're pointing out that there's more to it than just a hop explosion?" I thought to myself. "You're coming home with me."
     Pouring a musty, cloudy chestnut brown in color with a dense head that melts fairly quickly, leaving patchy lacing behind, there's a very earthy look to this beer. Smells of chocolate malt, candied fruits, dates, pecans along with lemongrass tinged hops stand out firmly on the nose, working in harmony instead of one of them feeling the need to push its way to the front.
     On first sip a slightly bitter than usual traditional barley wine comes to mind. Bakers chocolate, roasted coffee and dried figs serve as a backbone and the basic stricture that can be tasted all the way through the beer. The Amarillo and Zythos hops take steps into the limelight take solos that pay nods to black pepper, candied yams, orange peel and vanilla beans.
     The finish has a bit of bitter zing that hangs around the sides and the back of the mouth while the throat feels a bit of a warming rye whiskey and cocoa thing happening.
     With some new brewery popping up every day in this state its hard to keep track and even come close to trying everything. Hideout has been around for over a decade but just started bottling stuff the last year or so. They're a pretty small operation so their beers can be hard to find but things like Imperial Gunman along with some of the other beers they've been doing make them worth seeking out.
www.hideoutbrewing.com

Sep 3, 2015

Hot Love Returns to Port Huron's Roche Bar

     Back in April Ohio’s Hot Love came up to Port Huron and showed the city how to shimmy. Resembling a Kasenetz and Katz creation escaping the bubblegum factory and setting up camp in a junk yard filled with old stock car parts, their sound is groovy, gooey and raucous.
     The Legendary Assholes are a local supergroup of sorts. With members of the Hunting Lodge, Shame Exposure, the Feck, Skin Chiken and Forced Anger among their ranks they form a union of that have seen and heard it all and now just simply want to play loud and rock out.
     Ever heard of a prairie oyster? It’s a hangover cure made with a raw egg, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and gin. That’s what Screen Names tastes like, with a dash of sugar added. Punk for kids with feelings.
     This may be the last show I am setting up in Port Huron for awhile due to some other things I want to start working and concentrate on as well as a multiple of other reason. Come on out for the hurrah! More details over on those Facebook event thingies.

Aug 31, 2015

BIKES "Und Gut" 7inch

     Bands have emulatin' and celebratin' the laid back sleaze vibe of late 60s/early 70s Rolling Stones since, well, the Stones starting doing it. To name all the combos that have wondered what it would be like to hang out at Nellcôte and have the job of being chief doobie roller for Keith Richards and Gram Parsons would be a daunting task though. So for time's sake let's just say that Berlin, Germany's Bikes, for one side of this record at least, have scrawled their name on the list.
     "Two Mice" hazy chugs moves like the band is having a breakfast of fried chicken with a side of Chuck Berry and cocaine. It's a shabby countryfied blues groove has a certain sway but is tempered to keep from breaking too much of a sweat. If these guys ever visit New York City, they'll go on a hunt for those Puerto Rican girls they heard Mick Jagger banging on about that are dying to meet just so they can see if they really do bring a case of wine with them.
     The flip's "P.P.O.D." turns the fuzz knob up a bit, stomps the floor a bit stirs some drinks that's is ingredient thick on the Last's "L.A. Explosion" album and the first couple of Black Lips singles.
www.aliensnatch.de

Aug 30, 2015

Smashin' Podsistors 2nd Dispatch


     Another hour excursion into the music stacks here at Smashin' Transistors. This time around we have solid gold from the Swell Maps, Laughing Hyenas and Jessie Mae Hemphill. We've also got future hits from Phylums. C.C.T.V., Swiftumz and Royal Headache. A bunch of swell sounds in between too! 

Aug 28, 2015

The PACIFICS "Say You Love Me" 7inch EP

     On their Facebook page it says these guys hometown is Hamburg/Dublin. Whether they are really from both is yet to be determined but the sound they make is a cross the former, circa the hopped up on prellies Brit beat bands that played the Reeperbahn in the early 60s, with dabs of the latter's early punk rock with hooks vibe a la Radiators From Space. 
     Taking into consideration that the band's chosen name was also one that an early incarnation of the Mersybeats used, the former comes into play overall in the high geared R-n-B delivery of the four songs here but instead of, say where a band like the Kaisers did it way too purist and made me think I was listening to a rock-n-roll version of Civil War reenactors, the Pacifics seem to not worry if they get their clothes dirty and stained.
    The a-side's sprightly, floor filling pop detonation "Say You Love Me" and the garage punk stompin' "Little Girls" would sound just as in place, if not more, on the Spaceshits first album or some drunken' Real Kids live bootleg, as they would in some roots of the British Invasion documentary. 
     On the flip, "Girl, Girls Girls" wrings every bit of sweat from harmonica slathered Animals and Them songs and make something a bit more trashy than your usual juvenile delinquent 60s white kid blues in the process. They wrap up the party by trying to see if they can cause an avalanche in the Alps with the Freak Beatly/Surfish intro/screamer "Bavaria Bop." 

Aug 27, 2015

VIOLENCE CREEPS "On My Turf" 7inch EP

     This probably isn't a surprise to most but there are at least two factions of sounds declaring to be playing post-hardcore.
     The one faction dreams of playing the Warped Tour or some other big brand sponsored "fest" where getting showered in free sneakers, glow in the dark condoms and beard care products is a crucial part of their pay. The other gets kicked out of such events for carrying flammable materials and boxes of strike anywhere matches.
    The one side spends countless hours in the studio, crafting parts that sound like they are part of a math formula and then pile on a bunch of post production wizardry to convey some bullshit "we're so fucking heavy" sound. The other simply has someone set up some mics so they blasts through a few chords and full out rage all the through.
     One straight faced declares themselves post hardcore when asked what kind of music they play (probably because saying Algebra Metal with a whiny guy whining and a grunting guy grunting is too much of a mouthful) while the other probably just says they're punk rock.
     Oakland, California's Violence Creeps is in the latter group.
     The clanging chords and cardboard box drums that come immediately crashing out on the "Sex Menace" sound like nine year olds learning how to downstroke chords while obsessing over Sonic Youth's Bad Moon Rising. Then it's collapses into nervy, clunking basslines and scratchy guitars which give a sparse but harsh backdrop for singer Amber Feigel's hoarse bark to shove razor wire through the listeners ear and pull it out the other. As it heats up things start to splatter for a crescendo of striking cobras and electrical shocks. "Drop Out" then drops in for minute or so of blurry speed.
    A stuttery and stunted martial beat and a riff that resembles throwing a copy of Black Flag's In My Head on the floor so a lard slathered Ted Falconi can roll around on it. Then a ghost of someone who died of a lung infection trying to master Steve MacKay's sax lines on the Stooges Funhouse shows up with some some acid that is guaranteed a bad trip. It ends up sounding like the b-side's "On My Turf."
violencecreeps.bandcamp.com

Aug 15, 2015

Smashin' Radio Transistors Digest for August 2015


     Technology has been even more of a battle at ye ol' WSGR the last few months than usual. One of the biggest glitches has been in getting even a passable recording of my radio shows of recent vintage.
     My solution? Doing pretend ones for the internet only! Dig the first of what may become many Smashin' Radio Transistors Digest.

Aug 14, 2015

MR. CLIT & the PINK CIGARETTES "Wet Willy" 10inch

     If this Indianapolis combo had a job picking up people's trash they would not go around telling people they were sanitation engineers. They would proudly claim, in their best boozed up horror movie host tone, that they are GARBAGE (WO) MEN!
     Gurgling over with psychosis and sticky glops of camp, the bashin' about on some punk rock blues in tracks like "Be Home Before Dark" with it's hissing back up vocals seeming more like catty taunts, the spun way too tight boogie that's "Too Cute" and the reverberated head stomp that "Popping Bubbles" puts down resemble the Oblivians after spending a week hanging out with Japanese noise rock bands.
     At other times, such as squeeze box flourished chewy bop bouncer "What's Inside Your Lunchbox", the way the guitar on "Toy Gun" swirls like a thrash riff swimming in a birthday cake flavored vodka stupor and the B52s if they dug proto-metal more than surf music vibe on "Life's A Drag Queen", it's something like they're an AmRep band sustaining on a diet of cotton candy.
      Probably knowing all too well what goes on at the sideshow after the carnival closes for the evening, Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes make a filth coated cacophony that has rats thinking twice before they go sniffing around the sewer these sounds spill into.   
     Wet-Willy is going to spend at least a good few months in my "GET DRUNK AND PLAY LOUD" pile.
https://mrclitandthepinkcigarettes.bandcamp.com

Jul 26, 2015

GOLDEN PELICANS "Oldest Ride, Longest Line" LP

     Many centuries ago when punk rock arrived in my neighborhood (more than a few years after even the rest of the rust belt had an idea of what it was) those of us who got into it figured we needed to break away from the other things we had be listening up til that point. 
     Being that we intermediate school kids at the time with a flair of drama we just didn't stash them away in the back of a closet or throw then in the trash. Nope, we had to make a big deal of it. We all gathered down at the river as a group, made a little speech and then winged them into a tributary that leads into Lake Huron. 
     "Off with you" we yelled as sent KISS and other lunkheaded discs sailing into the muddy river. We didn't care about any environmental concerns that they may cause. That Eco-concious stuff was hippie shit.
     Some years later, I did wonder where those albums may have ended up. Perhaps, they reached the ocean eventually washed ashore somewhere. And perhaps this bunch of punk rock insurrectionists outta Orlando, Florida escaped town for a day or two on an Atlantic beach coast where it just so happened the waves pushed those records right to their feet. They picked them up and threw them in the back of their car because, well, they were free records. Once they got home and put them on the record player the covered in silt and fish guts and chewed and crusty from the salt water surfaces gave power chords blasts and dunderhead yowling gave off a tore up and bent sensation they couldn't resist.
     Beer soaked and stinking of the fast food sweat indigenous of the city that's the world's largest tourist trap, the Golden Pelicans punk does shy from throwing around glops hard rock mush in their world of feculence but they also manage not moving into RAWK's trailer park while doing so. There ain't no foot on the monitor to check out a stuffed crotch or hair waggin' antics going on here. Just straight up crankin'.
     Rooted in a Dictators blast of junk culture where they would live for cars and girls if they didn't have bad luck with both and who's idea of flash is shooting bottle rockets at anyone with a frown and their arms crossed at their shows, the Golden Pelicans kick off this latest slab with "Knuckle Dragger." It's primate beat stomps up dust and those knuckles aren't scraping across the dirt too long because they're now fists pumpin' in the air to accentuate their singing along to their new cretin anthem. 
     Actually all the songs, especially "Maggots" belly-smacker dive into a cesspool splash, the parched howls over super rock oozing with pus riffage on "Hog Tied Down" and "Low Falutin'',  "The Last Street Fighter" setting a scene where the Lazy Cowgirls get into a rumble with Twisted Sister and the "Having a horrible time, wish I was drunk" postcard sentiments of the title track set the mood for any keg party where a picnic table gets set on fire.
http://floridasdying.com

Jul 22, 2015

Odd Side Ales Wheatermelon

     I'm not much of a watermelon guy. It's not some I hate or anything but even as a kid when handed a slice it wasn't really my thing. Between the weird stickiness that got everywhere and having to deal with spitting out seeds it just seemed there was too much effort involved with very little reward.
     My lady, on the other hand, is a fan. Whenever she picks some up at the store she always offers me some but for the most part I pass.
     One of the many things her and I do have in common though is being fans of Grand Haven, Michigan brewery Odd Side Ales. When they announced that bottles of their wheat beer brewed with watermelon would be hitting the store shelves for the warmer months this year she would give me the occasional reminder to keep an eye of for it.
     Eventually I did spot some around. I hemmed and hawed a little bit about picking some but knew, even with me not being in the water melon fan club, bringing some home would make for a happy lady.
     Pouring hazy orange with a reddish tint in color it looks like summer. The head was very minimal and faded fast but there was a little ringleft that stuck around for the most part through the entire glass. Not much as far as lacing was concerned.
     The smell was sweet and summery. Not really blatant as far as the watermelon was concerned but generally fruity. The aromas of fresh baked bread and a hint of banana that is usually typical in a wheat beer was there.
     Though the watermelon wasn't pronounced much in the scent it does make it's presence known on the first sip. The thing is though it didn't have me making the "Meh!" face the way watermelon usually does. It wasn't over the top and bursting with that musky weirdness but it did serve its job of being more than just an flavor accent it. It, along with notes of lemon and seasonal fruits like strawberries, gave the beer a fresh summer salad type of tartness without taking over and overshadowing the wheat beer base. It finishes clean.
     If you're seeking out some big fruit and booze bomb of a beer like a Short's Soft Parade, the subtleness of the flavors and a 4% abv of this is not going to make that list. For something crisp and refreshing to slip while hanging out in the sun (now that summer seems to have finally arrived here in Michigan) this fits the bill just fine.
www.oddsideales.com

Jul 17, 2015

BLACK TIME "Aerial Gobs Of Love" LP

Black Time photo by Dale Merrill
     It's been a spell since Agent Lemmy Caution and the squad Black Time has filed a report. Had they returned to the Outlands to lay low? Maybe Professor von Braun didn't die from the gunshot after all and they took up his offer to join Alphaville?
     If the latter was the case they got handed a line of bullshit. Instead of being given the opportunity to run a galaxy they were put in clerical jobs at Grand Omega Minus, assigning those that pass through to places to cause discord, dissension and division. They decide to document the daily experiences and speculate what is going on inside the minds of the people they're dealing with. Eventually, toiling in such an environment, causes their nerves to scramble and become just like those they're sending off to encourage havoc.
     Originally recorded in 2009 but left to fester and ferment in some dark room with just a strobe light and a couple dog eared copies of Psychotronic magazine to keep it company, what all that happened can now be told.
     Right from the get go with the record's title track thing bursts into flames like a rattled spaceship co-manned by Gary Burger and Kevin Shields re-entering the earth's atmosphere. Walls of searing feedback fill the air with toxic chemical laden orange hues of color and smell. Echo drenched vocals bray above while below guitars clang and clamor like church bells hitting the ground from crumbling steeples. Later down in the album "Aeriel Dub" reassembles that rubble into a slower and more abstract structure.
     Devoted to caustic fuzz that can tear asunder ear drums and stereo speakers in moments is a calling card for a lot of bands. While some that ply such sound chose to wade through a lunkhead gutter while wearing a t-shirt that says slumming it, Black Time's acid tongued and well read without coming off too hoity-toity about it take aims to sizzle the brain first and THEN oscillates its way down to the hips. A song like primordial beat heavy "More Kicks That Pricks" and "The Winged Serpent" or the sea-sick sing-song swaying of shift work drones that goes on with "Industrial Anxiety" can make a backbone slip but also possesses petulant qualities encourages someone to find out what really happens when they take a gasoline soaked baseball bat to a wasps nest.
     While raucous clamor is abounds, the splatter does take on different settings than just painting the garage wall red with blood. "Tarzan Vs IBM" (the original working title of Godard's Alphaville) is titled apropos in a simple person getting ground to bits by artificial intelligence blips and bloops. Things can also take an acoustic turn too with the soaring free and away from a dirty swamp and, dare I say it, rejoiceful feeling of "Flakes" and channel some alternate universe where bands like Mordecai and Honey Radar rub shoulders with pop stars on "Cave Paintings."
     Since this is to be said the last record that will bear the Black Time the band closes it out with "Tolling Of The Bells" which is their final answer of what would it sound like if they REALLY wanted to do an unabashed mash up of the Fall and Can.
https://forbjudnaljud.bandcamp.com/album/black-time-aerial-gobs-of-love-ljud1201    

Jul 10, 2015

CROSSS "Lo" LP

     If a band ever had play dates as children in a coven it's most likely that Toronto's Crosss is that band.
     Sure, dark and thick guitar riffs that bounce between buzzing like a forest full of cicadas on the hottest of summer days or roll in like front a cold drizzle and slow but battering wind rattling a loose tin roof. A nasally and haunted voice that resembles an imp working on croons and the rhythm section punctuates it all with a leaded dark sludge all over the place. With that said though seems to be a naiveté in their gloom. One that makes their sound less pompous and more tenable in the moods they are setting.
     On tracks like the albums opener, the writhing and twitchy shadows casting "Interlocutor", the awakening of a grumpy giant vibe on "Golden Hearth"and the feeling of hot lava rolling down from a volcano to plow the village below that's "My Body", it's not like the band is trying to make the listener believe they are warlocks standing on a mountain peaks of purple and hairy buds where they keep fire breathing, huge horned argali as pets and have a stock pile of thunder stored in caves. What is believable though would be that after drinking the Robitussin they were using as bong water while toking down in a damp basement, they took a walk through a muddy woods at midnight and stumbled across something really spooky and disturbing.
     While gut rumbling fuzz is something that these guys deal with in bulk, they seem to know that even hemlock need UV rays to grow. A little bit of sunlight are let in through the dark clouds on "Mind" (which resembles Ty Segal not winking as much on one of his death trip rides.) There's also the acoustic creepy crawling "Dance Down" where one wonders if Vincent Price was still alive would he show up to drop a couple lines in the middle song.
     Crosss do manage to keep the songs economical. They average around 3 minutes each and don't waste a whole lot of time on way too long Nuge on Quaaludes solos. This stays true to til the end. That's when the 18 minute "Enthroning the 4 Acts" closes out things. Even then though, the band seems to be channeling noise bands after being asked to compose a new soundtrack for Nosferatu instead of trying to make people think Earth's Sub Pop albums. 
www.facebook.com/crossscrosss

Jul 8, 2015

Joan Dovalle "No Better For You"

     
     Arranged by early Funk Brothers members Herbie Williams and Joe Hunter, this Joshie Armastead &Valerie Simpson penned number was the 2nd release for the Sport Record label.
     Both songs on this record were recorded by Big Maybelle and released as a single on the Port label in 1965. In 1967, Williams and Hunter gave the song a Detroit makeover turning it into a solid dance floor rumbler packed with much more grit than what became their most well known employer’s stock and trade. Their arrangement provides a heap of funk for the husky and authoritative wail of the very little known about Joan Dovalle.
     Copies of the Big Maybelle version are fairly common on 45 and can be found for around $20. The Joan Dovalle single is a lot more rare and prices for it have hit the $400 mark in the past.  

Jun 27, 2015

Thee TSUNAMIS "Saturday Night Sweetheart"

     Sounding like a band John Waters called on Herschell Gordon Lewis to find for an upcoming film is no small feat. Sure, a combo here and there could fit such a role in the past in in the now it could be a little tricky.
     With a tough black leather exterior and heart of chewy gooey bubblegum it as if Bloomington Indiana's Thee Tsunamis were born to play the part though. Taking a girls gone bad in the garage form and giving it enough twists and turns to keep the trip interesting rather than stopping at all the same burger stands those before them pulled the car into.
     Whipping a big scuzzy ball of fuzz as introduction, lead off track "Female Trouble" is punk rock attitude, a grungy bounce and flirts with you while shoving a knife in your gut. This bad egg disposition holds its place like a beehive 'do plastered with two cans of Aqua Net on songs like the motors missing mufflers rev up at surf beach "Drag", the frat organ blurted and serpentine guitar wiggled "Skip Tracer", the Everly Brothers date daughters of the devil on "Dummy", "Shakee Jake" hopped on on Bo Diddley buzz and strychnine laced candy apple that's "Trash Talk." The already spiked fruit punch also get laced with something a bit more mind melting on"Kill Kill Kill" and the Cramps via labelmates Apache Dropout distorted roar of the album's title track
     With all this stompin' going on though even the most brassy need to let their guard down once in awhile and they don't hesitate to let the waterworks flow on "Crybaby."
www.magneticsouthrecordings.org

Jun 19, 2015

UNIFORM "Perfect World" EP

     As a little kid where you afraid of thunder? To help you get over the fear did your folks tell you not to worry as it was just the gods bowling and the sound was simply balls rolling down the alley?
     Well, if that's the case the rolling rumbles down the alley here are that of Zeus and Thor are a two man team throwing perfect games while leaving cracks and divots all over the alley.
     Comprised of The Men's Ben Greenberg and Michael Berdan or Drunkdriver, Uniform deal in, despite the record's optimistic title, a doom laden metallic industrial sound that's akin to the clamor of Cabaret Voltaire's The Mix Up and Big Black's nail gun to the cranium than it is the Motorhead goes disco workouts that Ministry filled dance floors with.
    Opening with the title track, a reverberating electronic throb pushes to the brink of pent up tension. A bass drum thump joins in which is quickly followed by dense guitar slashes that repeat chords that are like opening salvo of a fist in the air 80s heavy metal anthem and audio demonstration on how to perform a death on something by a thousand tiny cuts. When Berdan's echo laden and dripping with contempt verbal bawl appear the floor drains are already clogged and gurgling back bubbles of blood.
     The intensity doesn't wane on the next two tracks, "Indifference" and "Footnote", with the former sounding like a hatchet murder of a shoegaze band in a House of Mirrors and the latter like watching a slow motion loop of the evidence of said murder scene being destroyed by dynamite. Speaking of explosions, "Buyer's Remorse" follow and it detonates into a post hardcore blast that repeatedly slams its head against the wall in a rapid fire succession which refuses to let up for close to six minutes.
     With all this darkness going on one must wonder if a little light is ever going to be let in. "Lost Cause", a collaboration with Coil's Drew McDowell, does manage to let some in but it's a harsh white light that illuminates an autopsy room rather than sunshine to bask in. "Learning To Forget" closes out the record by moving like an iron armored caterpillar inching it's way through a maze of ice. 
12xu.net

Jun 12, 2015

LIME CRUSH "Graveyard" 7inch EP

     In a post everything world where it is said everything musical has been done it is now a great trick to find a sweet spot between a sundry of sounds.
     For Vienna, Austria's Lime Crush that place isn't sitting by Franz Schubert under a blanket of snow with a plate Wiener Schnitzel and wondering what the hell Midge Ure was going on about in the song pretty much nicked from the Walker Brothers and named after the town they live in. Instead, the band extols the virtues of ramshackle DIY and what can be done with it if some sparkles are added.
     Leading off with "Graveyard", vexatious guitars scratch until they bleed over a bouncing beat while female vox sounds awkward but sure of the intent of making the point they set out to do. Next, "Baby" starts out sounding like it is going to follow some sunshine of 60s garage pop but quickly decides to turn off on a much more bumpier path that bands like Kleenex traveled often. Things wrap up with "Honk Honk." Not wrapped quite tightly though as it's very jittery spoonful of stops and starts that, even though it sounds like pieces are peeling off it in big chunks, it reaches it's destination.
fettkakao.bandcamp.com/album/lime-crush

Jun 6, 2015

CHICKEN CHAIN "Birth Of The Googus" LP

     The written buzz around the hive about this record is that it's Drew Owen of Sick Thoughts doing hardcore. The buzzing in the ear when listening to it is because, well, it's Drew Owen of Sick Thoughts doing hardcore.
     Now, to call this hardcore one needs to specify that this isn't the macho meathead stuff that rolled in sometime during the late 80s that gets fat guys with bald heads and goatees talking about when they remember Warped Tour before "it got all corporate." This hardocore is the kind that was made by the spazzy kids that got beat up by the macho meatheads for being "punk rock faggots" or whatever the insult of choice was at the high school you were attending.
     Sounding like they landed right in the middle of midwest hardcore of yore such as Die Kreuzin and the damaged rage of more recent bands like the Bad Noids, these eleven songs clock in about twenty minutes total and not a second is squandered from smearing vitriol.  Caught on tape in scuzzed and crackled quality, guitars sounds seriously mauled as the blare and grunt, the drummer probably starts to worry that his arms are going to fly off if he's asked to play even faster and the singer probably takes a break between each song to guzzle curdled milk and swallow some gravel to keep his voice in top shape.
     It's all heads down and running straight into a burning warehouse that stores bleach and other toxic items used in households every day. Even if they come out in one piece, this is an audio equivalent of the long lasting aftereffects of the exposure to them.
www.snotreleases.com

Jun 4, 2015

Saugatuck Brewing's Starburst Wheat

     Though it is common in a lot of places that brew beer now, Michigan is one of the places that does not think twice about piling on the hops in almost every style of beer. Being a self professed hop fiend myself this has been a great thing when it comes to giving something a try. Lately though it has gotten to a point where it has become a bit of silliness.
     When perusing the beer aisles recently I spotted a psychedelic/pop art label bearing the name of west Michigan brewery Saugatuck. It caught my attention so I gave it a closer look. 
     "For real?" I thought to myself.  "Do they really need to turn up the hop volume up to eleven on wheat beers now too?"
     While mulling the though of purchasing it over I remembered that Indiana's Three Floyd's does such a thing with their Gumball. Gumball is a pretty awesome brew so I figure "Eh, what the hell" and put my money down on the counter.
     Hazy brass in color and a very slight but still rocky head from a light pour this beer instantly gives off aromas of orange marmalade and an assortment of tropical fruits before even lifting it up to the nose for further investigation. Once giving it a closer sniff notes of wheat bread along with tinges of banana and clove poke their way up through the bright tart smells that stand tall on top.
     Tangerine, mango and tart kiwi are very noticeable on the taste buds at first sip. These tangy and slightly oily bits of zest move over to the side a bit towards the middle to let some doughy yeast and coriander through. It finishes fairly clean with some citrus note lingering for a little while after.
     To say this is a Michigan answer to Gumball could be a fair assumption but it also seems a little unfair. I'm not saying that Saugatuck may have not been inspired by the idea but they have done their own take on it. Sure, maybe hopping out a wheat beer is not what is "suppose" to be done with the style but this has quite a refreshing taste. As a whole there is a funky farmhouse/saison thing going on here that could be intentional or could just be a happy accident. Add this to your rotation list of sunny day beers for this summer.

May 29, 2015

Smashin Radio Transistors for May 28th 2015

     It's been about six weeks or so since I last posted on of my weekly live and local radio shows on Port Huron's mighty WSGR 91.3fm. In those six weeks there have still not been any developments on the getting into the 21st century and having the station streaming though. So, as usual, here it is in all it's recorded off the static-n-all analog signal glory.

May 27, 2015

The TRENDEES "We Are Sonic Art"

     Back in my high school days calling someone a trendy was a blanket slam of disdain on the rich kids, the cheerleaders and anyone else that was deemed a follower or simply late to the game. Y'know, what they called in movies (though we never used the term much if at all) the Soshes.
     Us punk rockers urchins and new wave misfits did our what we could to avoid them. For the most part it was easy. We weren't invited to their parties and they kept out of the video arcade we claimed our turf in this small town.
     With vocals that sound flailing about like Mark E. Smith with his hair on fire while some guys re-imagine what Mordecai's College Rock album would sound like if they attempted to be Flipper taking a stab at doing pop songs on circular saws, New Zealand’s Trendees probably aren't getting invited to many rich kids pool parties.
     Right from go, "Power Waves", guitars caked in mud blare a feedback infested squall and drums that sound firecrackers shut inside an armored car go bang. From there uncontrollable musical spams herk, jerk and pant through cyclones of introspection like "Boring Party", rants while pissing on an electrical fence for "Small Town/Dressing Gown", drops acid at dawn on "Center Of Town" and "Concorde #3" so they can wait for a bad trip to happen and, for "Motorcycle (Make Loud Noise)", take the term Biker Rock way more literately than most by sounding like they are living right inside the tail pipe. 
thetrendees.bandcamp.com    

May 14, 2015

Belita Woods "Grounded"


     Before making a name for herself with songs such as “Lovin’ Is Really My Game” as lead singer for the Funk/Soul band Brainstorm in the 1970s and being a singer in the P-Funk All Stars in the 90s, Belita Woods first started recording in the mid 60s.
     After cutting some sides for Detroit record label impresario Ollie McLaughlin, her first single was released on his label, Moira, in 1967.
     The legend about this record is that though the sass pack floor filling groover “Grounded” was suppose to be the a-side but the pressing company went with the recording notes on the tape instead of the label’s request so the more soul ballad leaning (but still smokin’ in its own right) “Magic Corner” was viewed as the plug side. Both side of the record got a fair amount of play in Detroit but the record never broke through nationally.
     By 1969 McLaughlin was having financial problems and sold the distribution rights of his labels Carla, Karen and Moira (all of which were named after his daughters) to Atlantic Record records. In 1969, Atlantic subsidiary Cotillion re-released this single to little fanfare (and still with “Grounded” as the b-side.) 
     Belita passed away from heart failure on this day, May 14th, in 2012 at the age of 63. 

May 8, 2015

BENNY and the ROIDS 2015 Demo Cassette

     The School of  '77 English punk rock played through a USA sleaze filter. Sure, we've all head the claim. And, if you're into that kind of thing, have felt duped when a band that gets showered with such a distinction ends up just sounding like KISS without the explosions or Mötley Crüe's Theatre of Pain album but even crappier.
     Calling Los Angeles home, Benny and the Roids are in one of the epicenters where such a declared sound come from and, more often than not, wind up more like those latter examples. It seems they've made a note of such shenanigans though and chose to walk a path that's paved with rusted barbed wire and shattered beer bottles.
     Sporting four mid-tempo Humpers via Chuck Berry via the New York blast it's all about rumbly bass runs, guitars that sound distorted more likely because they are being cranked up high through a battered amp that could catch fire at any minute than any pedal that might be in use and a singer that sways between gruff slurring and a throaty bellow.
     Toss in some gang vocal choruses and keep all the songs around a minutes and you got a the fixins of sordid night out at your favorite dive bar to see a live band.
     No, these guys aren't tearing down any walls but also sound like you don't have to ask them twice to help kick some holes in some drywall.
Download the demo here or just give it a listen.

May 7, 2015

HEATERS "Mean Green" 7inch

Photo by shuttersam
     Night swimming at the lake. It's frowned upon by summer downers and fun governors due to its potential dangers. After a long day of toiling in the humidity that can dampens everything a person owns in the Great Lakes State during the summertime though those warnings are ignored. The moon light sparkling off the lake that gives off a shimmering liquid light show that only Mother Nature can produce. Cooling off the body and mind, washing away the grit that has caked both throughout the day. Many who grew up near the lakes know will take that over any warning of risks.
     The a-side of the latest record by Grand Rapids band Heaters, "Mean Green", is like a soundtrack for night swimming right before a thunderstorm rolls in. A driving surf beat agitates the motion of the water while a lustrous guitar chug joins in with a force that pushes the waves to go higher and higher and gracefully crash against the pebbles on the shore. The mashed together vocals of Andrew and Nolan echo in the distance like a calling from the beach that the weather is getting gonna get rougher but bounce and thrashing of water has become exhilarating and the risk addicting.
     It seems, at first, the storm is subsiding on the b-side's "Levitate Thigh." A trippy surf guitar line ripples along the shoreline over a easy going and hazy skip of a rhythm. Then the wind picks up and lightning throws a blinding flash in the night sky while puncturing the water. A waterspout forms and pulls everything into a whirling vortex of a violent sound storm.
     Night swimming, man. Perhaps it IS best not to do it alone.
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