Feb 28, 2015

Refined Fool Ripsnorter Bourbon Porter

     Across the river and less than a mile away from me if a foreign land. Their currency is of many colors. their football fields are longer (GO TiCATS! 2015 will be the year!!) . They had a First Lady who dallianced with the Rolling Stones. When you order poutine it is poutine and not some small dish bistro that makes you wonder if the chef even knows what poutine is. Just a few of the many things that make them different yanks.
     Like many other people for the ages it was the first place a person in Michigan drank legally anywhere on the planet. Someone only has to be 19 years old there. Here it is 21. That means to many the first place of a beer oasis was discovered. It sorta shaped a whole outlook of what suds should be. Yep! Cue the tape and join with me into a rousing version of Oh, Canada.
     When craft beers starting rolling along, Canadian beers took a backseat quickly. Some small batch and specialty breweries started to appear but some of them seemed unsure of branching away from certain ingredient profile that seemed to be a thread that ran through the most beers available in the country for  eons. Sure I tried some that were decent but there was always "what's up with them always having that same aftertaste every Canadian beer has?"
     The folks at Refined Fool in Sarnia, Ontario knew what was up. The town is only ten minutes away (if the bridge isn't busy) so they did their research over here quite often before opening shop. I had a chance to enjoy a handful of their beers but this is my first go 'round with the Ripsnorter Bourbon Porter. Did I mention that it's been cellaring for for a few seasons now?
     Burnt burgandy in color that isn't gonna let any light in at all. A moderate pour brings out a rocky chocolate malt looking head that melts fairly quickly. Chocolate and espresso beans come out first on the nose. There's smokey and woodsy elements to it as well which bring out maple and bacon.
     Slightly bitter Cocoa and sweat cream play the first fiddle from front to end here but there are little details throughout. Dark cherry tartness zig zags its way around. Tobacco makes an appearance. Charred wood stop in to say high. A fun gathering of things that seem to enjoy each other vibe.
     And the finish and aftertaste? No, it doesn't taste like Burton Cummings mixed some perfume, pine needles and club soda together, smiling while serving it up and asking you if he once dated your aunt. It is a nice throat coat of chocolate and dark fruit though.
     Now I just gotta figure out a way to run a pipeline through the water from their brewery directly to my house.
www.refinedfool.com

Feb 24, 2015

THE MORONS "Crackin' Up" 7inch EP

     With a name like the Morons no one is going be dropping the needle on this 45 and expecting this Chicago band to be laying down some introspective deep thoughts over top of some folky dewy morning acoustic instrumentation.
     No, what one expects is things to be loud and idiotic and wasting no time make a mess of everything. When it's done they want their stereo's speakers dripping with green lobs of lung gob.
     Sounding like the Cheater Slicks jumping about like they've got ants in their pants at a high school dance is how this EP's lead track, "Crackin' Up" kicks things off. "Disco Diablo" opens with a thuddin' bass line and then takes its fried to a crisp 90's garage punk and crams it into a garbage disposal.
     Flip it over and one might think from the opening chords of "Madelyn" that the band letting their guard down from being bards of brainlessness by doing a heartfelt ballad. As the song's static cling and lint covered jangle picks up steam to a boozy psychedelic sing-a-long pace though it becomes obvious though that these troublemakers need girls that are cause even more trouble. Clocking at a minute and a half the raw throated and three chord "I Can't Wait" finishes out the dalliances of dumbness that a scraped into the grooves.
     These morons actions at a keg party happening at bad pizza central could make primates hopped on cheeseburgers and blow shake their heads in disbelief of the mess that was made. Hell, the floor is all sticky and crunchy here now from beer and chips I ended up knocking all over while listening to this record.
www.facebook.com/WeAreTheMorons

Feb 17, 2015

The AR-KAICS s/t LP

     Playing straight up traditional garage rock can be a slippery slope. In many cases questions get raised about if the band is delving into it from a purist stand point of sincerity or are they just playing dress up because they really enjoy costume parties.
     With the former it can get a nerdy if they are all just gear geeks that play at mid volume (because they can't turn it up too loud as it may fry out their oh so precious vintage amps) and think music died in 1967 (even if the members of said band weren't even alive yet.)
     The latter is akin to Halloween. It's fun to dress up but, unless someone is terminally goth or community theater actor weirdo, the novelty can wear thin pretty quick if mostly they got going for them is wacky schtick.
     Judging from their photos, the Ar-kaics dress in a classic style that always looks contemporary. They know that basic black and Levi jackets never goes out of style. Musically, the band floats around the party doing its best to keep both the freshly pressed shirt Nuggets crowd and the rumpled and ragged Back From the Grave fiends happy.
     Fuzz box frenzied tunes like album's opening salvo, "She Does Those Things To Me", the early period Black Lips caveman stomp of "Can't Keep Waiting" and "Sick & Tired" and the wiggly chugging of "Givin' Up", "No Good" and "Why Should I" fill a mud bog with grimy old wheel bearing grease that satiates the appetite of those hungry for dirt. For those who feed off the melancholy trips the slashing "Movin' On", the dirgy blues that vibrates off "Slave To Her Lies" and the slow crawl that's the albums closer "Cut Me Down" should be enough to flood black hearts with tears.
     It's tricky to take a definitive era of sound from about 50 years ago and stay loyal to it without making it sound too hokey but the Ar-Kaics kick up attitude and put enough sincere energy into it to pull it off pretty darn good.
www.windianrecords.com

Feb 8, 2015

Leah Dawson "You Got To Change (Your Evil Ways)"


     Released as the 4th record on the Godmother of Detroit Soul's (and the first African American female to own and operate her own record label a few years before this was released with the Northern Recording Company) Johnnie Mae Matthews Big Hit imprint, this would be the 2nd single to feature the powerful voice of Leah Dawson front and center. 
     Leah was first heard singing for the Choker Campbell Orchestra's on the innuendo laden "My Mechanical Man" single on the Magic City label in 1966 but on this Sir Mack Rice written and produced track from 1968, which digs deep into the blues aspect compared to a lot of the post Motown R&B tracks that were being cut in Detroit at the time, her voice really booms. She puts the needles on the mixing board in the red as she belts out indignity of a man who has done her wrong too many times.
     This record was picked up by the Okeh label for national distribution but sadly did not become the hit it deserved to be.

Feb 3, 2015

HOT LOVE "Get Back Down" 7inch

     Think if the rejuvenated by the rejoining of Phil Calvert Hawkwind Quark, Strangeness and Charm album spent more time walking the most sketchy streets of any Rustbelt town and very little time doing things like trying to get into a persona of an opium smoking fighter ace.
     Things like cracked sidewalks lit in a seedy purple glow from rusty neon signs and drink specials in the dives that those rusty neon signs are mounted too would take on much more influence in the sound. The guitars would cough out big black clouds instead of sci-fi heat waves and the ride would be a bit more bumpin' and shakin' than the super-sonic saunter.
     "Get Back Down", the a-side of this Ohio band (who may have got their name from the bad ass song that kicks off Cheap Trick's debut album) single gives off those kinda sensations.
     Two (yes, two) frontmen shake up some singing in unison rock action over a drivin' spiky fuzz fest and a tin roof rattle that is one part bong hittin' space cased new wave and the one part basement party punk rock groovin'.
    Things get a little dank and dingier with the b-side's "Trippin' Down The Hall." Dirgy guitar sustain buzzes like a wasps nest being whacked at with a flaming baseball bat. The band then runs for its life and heads off into a messed up, hard boogie maelstrom.
www.facebook.com/hotlovemusic