Dec 18, 2016

Griffin Claw's Project Clementine

     When I saw this on the "Just In" shelf at a local beer monger I thought "What an odd time of the year to release a summery and citrusy brew." I mean, it's winter. As I type this it is 14 °F outside. It's usually dark and rich beers that may or may not be barrel aged and their warming effect that get all the attention this time of the year.
     Then I thought about. Boxes of clementines are always a gift from someone for Christmas. It started to make sense to me. And with the grey skies and painful cold blasts in the great out-of-doors, something that resembles sunshine can be very welcoming.
     The copper color reminded me of the first few minutes of sunrise. The scents of citrus and it's zests were right on top. Behind it was a sweet roasted scent and buttery toffee. On first sip, the citrus notes were very big and running neck and neck with a lot of piney hops. After letting it breath a bit, things became more well rounded with other flavors coming out. The tang took on flavors of pineapple and mango along with the obvious sweet orange flavors and the IPA backbone dialed back on being just another hop monster letting the malt come out a bit giving a fresh baked bread characteristic. Like toast and marmalade? Yeah, a bit like that. The finish is sweet and a bit tart that sticks around for a bit but not in a way that a lot of imperial IPA's stick for what seems like hours.
     The way the 9% abv goes about here is interesting. It's not "hot" or too pronounced but with each sip there is something lingering that reminds you that this isn't just some kind of shandy that can be knocked backed by the minute and still manage to walk a straight line to go jump in the lake. www.griffinclawbrewingcompany.com

Dec 15, 2016

MIDNIGHT MINES If You Can't Find A Partner Use A Wooden Chair LP

     When Black Time made the official announcement last year that they self-destructed I was a bit sorrowful. For over a decade, Agent LeMatt Caution led Jenny Too Bad, Stix and a den of other rattlemakers into the high contrast glare and blood red splattered surroundings of the psyche and spitting out a couple records upon each return.
     More often than, those records weren't never the easiest to find. Laying hands and ears on them was part of the adventure. Sure, there were a few thorns but it was still always worth rooting through the rosebed for the blue ribbons.
     Midnight Mines is Caution's latest commotion with a sonic bees nest. After expelling of ton of cassettes over the past few years, all of which had a lot moments where they seemed to be focusing on being aural punishment soundtracks for trips to both deep tragic space and the deepest pits of vipers ever, If You Can't Find A Partner Use A Wooden Chair keeps things here on earth. Given the results of elections in the western world recently, we've all learned even more that Earth can be the most fucking scary of places anyway, it's still completely incendiary.
     Copping it's title from the lyrics in Jailhouse Rock the band shows it still digs rock-n-roll. It's even nostalgic. Thankfully not in a rose tinted glasses Fonzie in a '57 Chevy at the malt shop kind of way. These lenses are cracked. Hell, practically shattered even. The beat that swings a song like "Artificial Light" can sit a hipshake in place and the broken melody is shoutable. The held long note organ blare on the song though make seem somnifacient but it's actually a lure for hurly-burly. The opening chord of "After Dark" may have some thinking they're about to enter the land of garage rock and they'll have a easy time navigating it are immediately tripping over a slothful martial beat. They'll become to distracted by that to even notice that halfway through the song switches to meat grinders are about to thrown and they're gonna be hacked to bits of ooze and pulp.
     The Creepy raga-psych of "Baptist Garden" as well as the mod basher dipped in cough syrup "Waiting In The Mist" and "Walking Down The Street Called Hate" sentiment as well as it sounds like mechanical men about the fly apart and impale any witnesses do have the apparitions of the Fall looming over them but that spectre has been common often in the Black Time days too. The something like the record's centerpiece, the 10 plus minute "Accattone", where that is all sheared down to it's skin and then elongated into motorik freak scene and the dream drone disturbance of "Hollow Sky", where those old ghosts are shoo'd away for something just as haunting.
http://midnightmines.tumblr.com

Dec 14, 2016

ROSE GRAHAM "Black Christmas"


     There no info on Rose Graham on the web. Same pretty much goes for this single even. It was released on a label called Klondike which was a subsidiary of Holiday Inn Records. Sam Phillips of Sun Records took over running the Holiday Inn label from a couple of businessmen around 1963.
     There's a Memphis thing all over this. Stax horns blast, a sweet drum break and the basslines are like proto-funk. Rose wails absolutely destitute if she can't lead the sleigh.
     Though there may be a Memphis connection this is not the same song the Emotions did on Volt in 1970. Pervis Staples wrote that song. This one is written by Vida Mays (Whoever that is. Not much coming up digging deep around the wire for the name either.)
      A cat named Don Smith also did this song. His version was released on as a single VJ International from most likely '74 judging from the catalog numbers of some other things that label released that year. Looks like it may have been his only record too. Guess what. There's not much info him to be found on him as well. Maybe this song had a curse on it or something.
      I found Rose's version on compilation record of questionable legitimacy a few years ago. Noticed the song wasn't on YouTube. Uploaded it so I can share it every year.

Dec 8, 2016

KOOL 100S Skulls, Blood, Pussy And Violence Axes Daggers Upside-Down Crosses 7inch EP

     Ever pick up a punk rock record and see the words "Play Loud" printed somewhere on it? Does putting that one there act as an instruction manual for those who may not know or something? My first reaction is usually "Yeah! No shit, dude. It's a punk rock record. Not some Yanni CD."
     This single from Kansas City's Kool 100s doesn't have such a statement emblazoned anywhere on it. Doesn't need too. Even at a lower volume this thing blisters. A twelve string guitar is used on these three songs not for some kind of folky jangle or jazzbo bullfighting themes but to reinforce the blare and to double up on the disorienting and ear scorching.
     There's hooks all over these songs but they're all covered in a napalm gel. "Slow Boat" is a sunshine pop song being played by a pack of wolverines hellbent on giving everyone rabies while "Queer For Him" and "Trainwreck" wail some like wild ass caveman rock-n-roll designed for setting fire to hornets nests to. The longest track on this record, the less than 2 and a half "Healthy Dick", is like being dosed with a hit of acid and then whacked up side of the head with a sledgehammer.
     Play loud? Yeah, no shit, dude!
www.facebook.com/Goodbye-Boozy-records-290057827714548

Dec 4, 2016

DD OWEN S/T 12inch EP

     When sitting down to type out some word about this record I was going to take the angle of something like "More often than not when an artist decides to record under has own name after being associated with others, they tend to do something a little more introspective and personal. Sick Thoughts/Chicken Chain/Gluebags dude DD Owen though has always wore his heart on his sleeve."
     After I read the one sheet to the record though I found that it was taking the same angle. That just leaves me to talk about the songs themselves.
     Yeah, that heart on his sleeve things I mentioned early? I forgot to add that the sleeve is encrusted with the dried blood the heart has spewed out as well as it being puke stained and stinking but it's worn there none the less.
     "I Should Have Been Aborted" launches things off like the Heartbeakers throwing an adenoidal conniption fits and from then on in, it's pretty much good time celebration of all kindsa things negative and depraved. Fizzy carbonated buzzsaw's like "Shattered" and "Degenerate" make a greasy mess like the Reatards hacking up the Ramones and putting them into a deep fryer, "Son Of The Devil" summons a bong packed with rat poison to be lit and Fonzie rockers may find themselves lured in by "Low Life Baby" 50's feeling only to find out their flies in a web and about to be eaten by the most repugnant spider ever. Spin this record once and feel an infection coming on. It'll be the first of many times to follow because the sickness becomes infectious.
http://12xu.net

Nov 23, 2016

COUTEAU LATEX "Hostile Enviroment" 7inch

     Sometimes when you hear about to musicians collaborating with each other, especially if their styles of music seem quite kindred, the sound of what it will sound like is already imagined in the head. When I first read that Seth of the Useless Eaters was doing a thing with Lise of Switzerland's Staches I figured it would be something a bit ansty in a somewhat trashy/most likely ratty garage rock way.
      I was a bit off in my assumptions about I was about to hear. Minimal synths bloops and a fat poly drum snap teeter between a bouncy pop ditty and Rev/Vega bad trip on "Hostile Environment." Seth lays hypnotic bass rumbles behind and Lise's processed vocals sound like a robot that got programmed to show emotions but the only two that it uses are frustration and alienation. On the flip "Morphée" it seems that the machines have now seem come also understand anxiety and paranoia. The beat is jittery, the noises harsher and the fast swirling induces an effect that is similar to having vertigo and falling down into a spiral painted bottomless pit.
www.goner-records.com

Nov 18, 2016

The MIAMI DOLPHINS Perlite 7inch EP

   Now that every schmo in who has ever had a band is going around talking about how vinyl is "back", every band in the planet is clamoring to get what would've been on a CD-R "record label" on to venerable format as their artistic statement.
     I don't know how many records the Miami Dolphins (who are actually from Minneapolis and are not dolphins but actual human beings) have released before this one but they're making sure that they get the most out of the package as far as the art side of things are concerned.
     The sleeve itself is jam packed with a bunch of stickers and everything appears to be hand designed. Inside there's a 12 page booklet that only includes the usual credits, lyrics and contact info but things like pen drawings and brain teasers.
     The music itself is a bit of a brain teaser too. The bedroom-core-fi goes full band sound makes one wonder if they're concentrating on putting on an arty psych punk Halloween party for a kindergarten kids and subliminally turn them onto Yoko Ono and Half Japanese records  ("Quail Birth" and "Piling") or, like on "Disconnected" and "Scarlette", they experienced Deerhoof have a nervous breakdown in front of them and they only way they can explain what they saw is by banging it out themselves.
www.fperecs.com

Nov 16, 2016

FUR HELMET S/T 12inch EP

     When space blues crashes back into earth it can make several different sounds. Depends one where it plummeted into and whether it explodes in a fireball or disintegrated into a gazillion pieces.
     In Fur Helmet's case it's a bit of both.
     Comprised of some of the rabble that make up NYC's band's like JJ Doll, Hank Wood & the Hammerheads and Pleasure Industry among others, the band takes the swamp punk of the Scientists and the Gun Club, kick it around until it's pocked with few new dents and ripples while staying fully aware, as the opening track "Ether" shows, that there's plenty of beauty that lies in the forefathers bent dingy grooves and negative attitude boogie .
     Eschewing deliberately lo-fi recordings that plenty of the bands that hone this sort of sound for something more sonic in adds a bit to the grit and grime trip. The swirling blare of "Void Drip" makes the brain think it is actually going to disengage from your skull and acid biker scuzz of "Lunar Tomb" will have looking over your shoulder thinking death wheelers are hot on your trail and wanting to introduce you to Satan.
     Even when the psych trip seems it is entering some type of calm after a storm like on "Curse", the skies still seem like they could start dripping with blood and needles. Things probably ain't gonna get much easier nowadays considering the way the less that 25% of this nation decided a couple weeks back so many are considering other planets. Prepare yourself for a long travel through the galaxy with "Soaked Skull" on the headphones. Just remember though, once out in the nebula the doors back into the land of gravity might be locked when you return.

Nov 14, 2016

December 3rd: Record Night At The Water Tower

     Michigan newspaper network MLive recently sent out a couple of it's people out on an adventure to find the best pizza in the state. They listed a bunch of places to nominate and for people to vote on. The Water Tower Sports Pub in just south of Lexington was not on that initial list. People started picking them as a write in and when all was said and done they ended up getting picked as #10 of the top 12 in the entire Mitten!
     Franck and I have spun records there before and it was a blast. Not only does the pizza rule but they also have a lot of other great eats on the menu along with an awesome choice of Michigan beer on tap.
     Come join us for another night of groovers, shakers and whatever else we pull off our shelves and put into the crates on Saturday, December 3rd.

Nov 13, 2016

Weyerbacher Sunday Morning Stout

     Ahhhh, Sunday mornings. Usually the only morning of the week where I can take my time to do anything that needs to be done as well as pick and choose as to what I want to do.
     Well, for the most part at least. Sunday is usually the day that my usual partner in crime have the same day off so we can do whatever we do together. It's getting to be the busy time of the year for her line of work though so that means it's up to myself to figure out what to do. I already had plans on watching and rooting for the Tiger Cats to beat the Eskimos in the CFL Eastern Semi Finals in the afternoon (what a sloppy game and poor offense game on the Tiger Cats part but that's another post for another blog) but that was still a few hours away.
     The weather was decent this morning. The sun was shining and some yard work needed to be at least considered. My secondary partners in crime, a furry beast of a feline known as the Ripperpotamus, joined me in the back forty to survey what should be done. A beverage to sip on would help with the pondering so I grabbed the Weyerbacher Sunday Morning Stout off the shelf.
     I was hoping Ripper would offer some takes to make my blogging job a little easier but other than giving it a sniff, a "That's pretty cool, bro" look and then expecting some scratching behind the ears he wasn't much help. So here's my take.
     The darkness in color was impenetrable as expected from an imperial stout. The head was study and chocolate malted in color. At first the aromas seemed subdued but after a few minutes of breathing a strong cup of morning coffee, oak smoke and vanilla came to a fore. Still not highly pronounced in the smell but much more noticeable.
     While those flavors were laid back on the nose, they were much more pronounced in the flavor. Very creamy and smooth feeling in the mouth it became all espresso bite and chocolate cake intermingling while the woodsy and vanilla bean essences gave high fives in the background. As the brew adjusted to the air temperature the bourbon barrel aging started to make it presence known adding a hotness to the proceedings. In the finish, molasses and dark chocolate made themselves known.
     After it was finished I considered opening the other one I had stashed away. Then I remembered that I still had a day ahead of me of things to do and maybe delving into another +11% abv brew so early in the day would most likely sidetrack them from getting done. What you've got here is a great take in style, flavor and and attitude of Founders KBS. That second bottle of this will serve as a good fill in when I need such a fix until the 2017 batch of that legendary comes along.
www.weyerbacher.com

Nov 7, 2016

HONEY RADAR Ignore The Bells 7inch EP

     Listening to Honey Radar is like walking through a meadow. And depending on the weather such a thing can be sunny and sublime or cold and itchy. Either way though, their ramshackle and anagogic pop always sounds its of the earth.
     On this record we get both kinds of weather. "Ink Circle" introduces itself with a guitar blare that glares like a blinding sun before settling in a hazy groove that is part blurry basement boogie and icy bedroom psych. Wah-wah oozes fluorescently while Jason Henn's voice smears a mentholated salve over a whispering ghost. Later that day, "Telephone Betty's Aneurysm" gives a farmhand a reason to shirk his field duties to zone on in the meadow and think about Mersybeat country western music.
     The sparse and wobbly choppiness of "Paper Car" has a parched feeling until halfway through when cold clangs condense a crystallized mist. "The Calvin Coolidge Clarion" closes the record with a march that heads out of spring sunset into an autumn evening.
www.chunklet.com

Nov 3, 2016

BAD NOIDS "It's A Doggie Bag World" 7inch EP

     In 2013, Cleveland's Bad Noids was one of the few bands that renewed my faith in hardcore (or whatever the kids are all it this day) with their album Everything From Soup To Dessert. It was bent, twisted and absolutely raged.
     In '14 and '15 not much was heard (at least record wise) from them. Did they rage so hard that it caused them burst into flames and/or vaporize? Well, this three song blaster out confirms that such a thing hasn't happened (yet) but their world of weirdness was off on an adventure or two.
      Some of it time traveling even. The acid punk slobberer "Into The Future" rumbles like it shoul be gurgling out of a biker club house that has members who are hell bent to run the drug trade along the asteroid belts. Subhuman wah-wah guitar heroics battle it out with rock throwing neanderthals over who gets to slither first into a bog of beef tallow, dirty underwear and kerosene.
     Whatever it was though that induced the band to take that psych trip wears off the crash is hard and the hangover harsh. The hundred tiny jackhammers in their brain cause the lash out fast and furiously. "Twelve Years Old" is something like a bunch of 8 years old were given an hour to think up the most punk rock song ever while "My Friend Greg" could be those same 8 year old thinking up a song to play while strapping their big brother's bully friend to the front of a locomotive.
www.feelitrecordshop.com

Oct 29, 2016

TURQUOISE FEELING S/T 12inch EP

Photo courtesy of Turquoise Feeling's Facebook page
     The sounds of the Rust Belt. It's brash but earnest. It's normally a bit of shambles but beneath the racket there's allurement of melodic disharmony. It's the type of sound that is often found being made by people stuck in Midwest cities that are a couple hours drive away from any place "cool" but they don't really care or in towns where there's a state college. Even in the latter instance it's not made by folks who's parents are footing the bill. It's usually guys that have to work two job and schedule any higher education.
     It's the sound of the shaggy and thoughts articulated not through grandiloquent tomes but from folks that'll lend you a smoke and then converse with you about the bullshit in the world around you both. They're the cats who when put on a bill a with some national press darlings, they will play louder and harder, bumming out the Pitchfork readers there to say "I saw them back in..." if the buzz band goes any farther. They'll also get someone who's never seen the before declaring them the best band in town halfway before their set is done.
     While the landslide of rumbling bass and blood drawing guitar scratches of  the records opener "Feverfew" make evoke thoughts of NZ's Flying Nun sound at some sort of mega-unruliness such or the way "Post Partum" could be from early 80's and much more turbulent Athens, GA, Turquoise Feelings are 100% wearing their heart on the frayed flannel sleeve Rust Belt. Them being of the Ohio chapter, noises of other denizens from the Buckeye state creep in and out of their commotion then get bent into a new directive. For instance, both the former and latter above also may prick the eardrums as a Death of Samantha being cranked through car speakers being put to use after being dug out underneath of pile of discarded and vermin ridden tires.
     More closer to their home base, the mangled jangled guitar interplay of "January Sisters In Drag" and "External Oblique" are like the Cheater Slicks getting all bent of out shape on Neil Young & Crazy Horse bootlegs which means can listen to them over and over all day and most likely will. The hyperactivity of "Dreadful Things Done By Girls" and the drunken sing-songy melody got me thinking of Gaunt without really sound like them at all.
     The one thing that all the songs in common here though is that they're all like mini epics. I didn't set a stopwatch or anything, but they all pack what they want to do and say pretty quickly and too the point.
     It's been awhile since I have gone on an ALL OHIO music jag but I think it's time to do one soon and this record is going make it place among some other records from the state I tend to listen to still on a regular basis.
www.heelturnrecords.com

Oct 24, 2016

SAVOY MOTEL S/T LP

     From the wildman rockabilly howling of his one man and the crude destructo trash of the Rat Traps to the Buzzcocks and other hooky tinged influenced blasts of Cheap Time,  Jeffrey Novak has been laying down chunks of punk rock sounds for over a decade now. The common thread that ran through all those bands was an identifiable footing planted in garage rock roots.
     His latest project, Savoy Motel (which also includes a couple folks from Heavy Cream), may throw those expecting that sort of thing shining through off. Sounding like it would make a perfect sandwich if put between the Young Marble Giants and Funkadelic, this record is all about a party but maybe not so much a party that involves spraying cheap cans of beer everywhere. Sipping colorful drinks with umbrellas in them though? Perhaps.
     Loaded with clickity-tickity rhythm boxes accents abounds, some falsetto that can get a little cheesy but not willies inducing like Mick Jagger's are on "Emotional Rescue" and enough space echo'd wah-wha guitar rips to cover an entire city in searing fuzzies, there's songs like funky southern pop groove of "Sorry People"and "Everyone Wants To Win" that can make even a dingy and damp evening feel more like an afternoon of gold (be that both of the Cuervo and Acapulco sort) sunshine that needs to be danced in.
     When nighttime rolls around, the strange new wave and jittery funk that fires up the boogie machine of "Souvenir Shop Rock", the disco record that sounds like it's being warped from being in the hands of a glitter rock band that's "Mindless Blues" and the way "Hot One" answers the question of what would happen if Devo and ABBA traded places, can get party lights to flash in an off-kilter way that'll have people making up new dance steps and their neighbor from downstairs hitting the ceiling with a broom stick to get them to calm it down.
     To say that the 70's influences are blatant is more than obvious. It's everywhere from the sound to the way the band looks. The cool thing here is though instead of absolute pastiche that would have the novelty wear off by the third listen, the band intent goes way deeper than spending a week listening to the 70's at 7 for a couple hours and then thinking they got great idea. For starters, those  don't play anything from Can's Ege Bamyasi, or The Incredible Bongo Band both of which Savoy Motel sound like the have every morning along with a plate of tropical fruit and coconut rum.
https://savoymotel.com

Oct 17, 2016

The Cheater Slicks at the UFO Factory

     I  think it is no secret that I feel that the Cheater Slicks are one the greatest American Rock-n-Roll bands ever. I'm talking about them ranking waaay up there like the Velvet Underground (yeah, I know Cale is foreigner but the band was formed in the US), the Cramps, the Stooges, the Electric Eels, the Gories, CCR and so on. I mean it too.
     I've seen them quite a few times live throughout the years but hadn't for quite a while until catching them at the UFO Factory in Detroit this past Friday. It's a little foggy as to the exact last time I saw 'em really and after talking to C'Slicks Tom after their set for a few minutes, it's still not clear as to when it was the last time either. He knows they played Detroit for sure in '94 and '96. I knew that though 'cuz I saw 'em then. I also know I've seen them a couple times in the 21st century but they weren't necessarily in Detroit and since I am crummy at keeping any notes I take around for too long of time I guess the exact dates will just have to be speculated now.

     One thing I know for sure though that it was still everything I'd want from a Cheater Slicks show. Tom's guitar making a roaring clang like an aural tornado rolling down road, rattling tin buildings and uprooting trees. His voice, one part a 1960's pop fizz and a lot of parts of bourbon and gasoline, churning up both yearning and bile out of his gut and into the mic.  

  
     To Tom's left is his brother Dave. Ancient effects pedals strewn in front of him to make his fractured Fender axe howl the freaked out free jazz runs and caveman country licks he manages to wrangle and strangle out it at the same time. Both siblings pushing their six strings volume through Music Man 130 HD heads.

 
     Anchored smack-dab between them is Dana on drums hellbent on shaking the world off it's axis with the most violent surf fills and brutal backbeats around, his head down bashing away at the kit execpt for when it is time for for us to hear his hoarse bellow which, fortunately is often.
     Blasting through their catalog with nary a break save for Dana singing the wrong song and a broken string, I wish their set could go on for hours. I've heard a few people worry that these guys may not bring it as the once did. Y'know, age and the baggage it brings can do that but that is not the case here. Hell, the band were old souls even when they were young.
     Yep. The Cheater Slicks still rule.
These photos are by me. See more of them from the night over at the Smashin' Transistors Tumblr page.

Oct 10, 2016

Stroh's Bohemian-Style Pilsner

     When the word hit the news that Stroh's would be brewed in Detroit again, you would've thought from the buzz and excitement about it all over internet that it was announced that Bob Seger was going to go door to door and hand everyone a bottle or something.
     By the time I started drinking Stroh's, the company was the 3rd largest brewery in the country but was also starting to fall apart. Their home base brewery in Detroit was closed in 1985 (and along with it, the fire brewing process they proudly boasted about on it labels) and by 1999, all the company's assets were sold off essentially making it finally really only Stroh's in name is it was brewed by contract all over different parts of the country. That version (or whatever the facsimile of it is these days at least) can be found in it's blue can in parts of the country to this this day.
     From what I remember it was fizzy, yellow barley pop. It had a bit more bite then some other macros and less of that weird corn syrup and carbonated water flavor than others. It was your standard beer but, as a Michigander, it was OUR standard. As the years went on though, whatever distinct characters it had slipped away more and more making it interchangeable with most other budget swag on the shelves.
     This new Stroh's, brewed at  Big Boy Restaurant associated Brew Detroit LLC in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood, is a bit more "grown up" than that if, at least, by a tiny bit. The abv is a little higher for starters (5.5% vs 4.8%) along with other things that are easier to detect with the eye, nose and and tongue. The color itself is a more of a gold than the faded yellow straw for beginners. The head is a bit stronger too and it holds on for more than a few seconds. Unlike smelling just like only damp saltines, there are also faint notes of honey on the nose here.
     The flavor is crisp and fresh. The malt base is sturdy (I am guessing it's the choice of Vienna malt that does the trick) instead of watered down and has a slight sweetness to it. The biggest twist from what I remember from any Stroh's I've had back in the 80's up until even more recent times at this point though is a slightly bitter but not biting to hard hop notes. Like all marcos, regular Stroh's seemed to have just enough to have them play their part in the brewing process but never a priority. Here, they are noticeable but not over the top making it taste closer to a good, solid German pilsner than whatever the really, really old coots are drinking at the down at the corner bar. As it warms and breaths a little, pine notes come a little more to the forefront as do the faint flavor of corn chips.
     It's pretty obvious that this beer is aiming for a retro-hound crowd and, like the 1960's recipe Schlitz that can be found around at some better beer stores, I think they nailed it. Don't pick this up expecting your mind to be blown but if you're looking for something that's tastes like the kind of beer our dad's and grandpa's drank when they were younger or a lawnmower beer with a little more oomph this could be your fix.
strohbeer.com

Oct 7, 2016

HEAVY LIDS We Believe In The Night LP

Photo by Gary Loverde
     Some of my favorite punk rock is the kind of punk rock that sounds like it is from outer space. I don't know the exact distance from where the Heavy Lids live in New Orleans is from outer space but judging from the rumbling & droned out ignition of the album's opener "Useless Escape" and the matter of moments it takes before the throttle is pulled for complete propulsion, it's my guess that after dealing with a little heavy traffic it's a non-stop trip into the Rock-n-Roll nebula.
     Ramoneszoid downstroke guitars are double strength laser beams on songs like the antsy "Night And Day", how "Pressure" total blares and the way "Trash And Burn" provides a simple sing along for making a mess of everything while kicking in faces.
      The trips to planets both weird and loud find themselves rattled by Z-movie sci-fi keyboard whirls and an nasally alien voice that doesn't ask "Take Me To Your Leader" (but will probably ask to be led to all the cold booze and hot drugs) on the garage psych twitch that's all over the splattering "Where Are You Now" and the mutant bop "Catatonic State" while "What Remains" sounds like it is taking credit for burning down the all the chicken coops on Mars.
     The record does end by falling to earth though as the rocket ride of "Manacles" seems to bolt at hyperspace ending like it is crashing through meteors on a voyage through more distant galaxies.
Pelican Pow Wow

Sep 14, 2016

FRIED EGG Delirium 7inch EP

     Calling Virginia band Fried Egg straight up traditional USHC is a target anyone who has heard this new record or their debut flexi single from last year can hit.
     The thing is though is that such a target is a little off the mark when it comes to being the complete bullseye. Sure, it's got chunka-grrrrr/dentist drill guitar riffs and a raw throated bellower ranting on the mic but that's just the jump off point for the band to dive into things a bit more askew and scorch the pages of rule book rote. A bare knuckled rock-n-roll blast jettisons "Mixed Feelings" a land of whirling rage while "Second Fiddle" lumbers like the Meatmen with less winking nods to to heavy metal stunts and bigger love for the sound of broken glass in a garbage disposal.
    After those three minutes are done the band is ready hit an opus point with the b-side.  Clocking in a time almost as long as the first two songs combined, "Eggshells" runs through a gauntlet made circular saws and sticks of dynamite, flipping the bird and hacking mucus all the way through.
negativejazz.bigcartel.com

Sep 8, 2016

JAMES ARTHUR'S MANHUNT Digital Clubbing LP

Photo by Ángel Delgado-Reyes
     Since the mid-90's I have seen every band that James Arthur has been in that rolled through Michigan. The first couple of times it was just coincidental. Then it came deliberate. Fireworks. A Feast Of Snakes. The Necessary Evils. Heck, even when he was in the Golden Boys. I was always around whooping it up at the show and then talking bourbon, bikes, backwoods and whatever else afterwards.
    Since the 2010's Manhunt LP on Melbourne's Aarght! and a couple of singles though the world hadn't heard much from James. He had his reasons to go missing (you can read all about that and more in an interview he did with Ryan Leach) but now, along Orville of the OBN IIIs on drums, Golden Boys Bryan Schmitz and bassist Sean Morales, he's back to plugging things in and making noise on them.
     Like those previous records with the Manhunt name on them, there is an ambient and soundtracky vibe on tracks like on Psilocybin mushroom heaped spaghetti westerns "Blowout" and "Butcher" but Digital Clubbing isn't just a bunch of mood pieces strung together with the more meandering parts clipped out. 
     "Blackbird" and "Come Down" take Davie Allan & the Arrows fuzz down some dangerous paths. The former into a burning building full of hoarse rhythm and blues growlers, the latter tying it to the from of a truck hauling dynamite and aiming straight for a brick wall. Beating the tar out of things beyond recognition might be a thing that runs through the record though as "Wired" has a riff that boogies like a, what else, totally wired classic rock station being spun out of control and then belt sanded down to a chunky pulp and by the time "Kill Zone" finishes, a dizzying space rock high still rings even though all that is left behind is ashes.
12xu.net

Sep 2, 2016

NOTS "Cold Line" 7inch

Photo by Geoffrey Brent Shrewsbury
     Because of calling Memphis home and they're records have bee released on Goner,  Nots often get the "garage punk" blanket through on them. The thing is though they don't sound like anything from Back From The Grave nor much like any contemporaries they'd get bracketed in with that comes with the tag. If there's was anything that a listener would associate with the blues on a Nots record it would be more about the band's aural darkness than something that might be heard in your average backyard on a Saturday while some cuts into a roasted pig.
     If anything, the band is much more closer to the late 70's jittery UK  DIY art-conk than what usually flows down through the Mississippi. The differences though where that stuff acted a bit demure and hoity-toity about its agitation, Nots don't mince words. They use guitars as serrated knifes to make jagged patterns and searing synths to then cauterized the wounds. Instead of offering something for the pain, drums beats rattling as the only distraction for the brain while a chorus of bawls and wails jeer.
     "Cold Line" takes the listener to a dark and damp place. It's a dampness that is not of the cold, clammy sort the we've been told in fables that the English deal with though. The goth here is of the southern type. Slathered in humid echo the song sounds as if it recorded in some graveyard where dorky psychobilly zombies get made into dust after passing through a 5 story tall grater.
     Covering a song that any self-respecting maven of weirdo music considers definitive and a touchstone for a whole form usually leads to a lot of derision. "HOW COULD THEY DO THAT?" I don't know how many times now I've heard a band do a take on "T.V.O.D."  and no matter how sincere and serious that band may have been about doing it justice, it's usually sounds like a cornball tribute or something else simply unconvincing. Somehow though when the Nots do it though it really seems like they've have been sucked in by the video addiction and are using an IV that's hooked up to cable television feed.
www.goner-records.com

Sep 1, 2016

SEXY NEIGHBORS "Live At Shea Stadium" Cassette

     Trebly guitar that sounds like rubbers stretched over the top of a metal trash can and cranked through a 20 watt Gorilla amp. Vocals verge on puberty croaking pleas at 7am on some songs, like their take on the Country Teasers "Golden Apples" which sounds like some adolescent boys trying to gross out some girls behind the garage by making snot bubble and talking about getting warts from toad piss. On others, like the remedial class Black Sabbath fuzz stumbler "On The Wire" and the spasmodic blues riffed "Sevens" they're more like heavily medicated pro-wrestler on.
     Throw in a drummer that knows two beats (actually just one but it can be played fast or slow) and NYC's Sexy Neighbors probably have more people casting away their eyes than checking out any foxiness they may have been told they have. I think they would have it no other way.
www.facebook.com/sexyneighbors

Aug 23, 2016

MUSK Musk 2: The Second Scumming LP

Photo by Corey Arnold
      There's the blues. There's also blues-rock, blues-rawk, blues-punk and, of course, the blooze. Then there's something that is much more sinister, foreboding and scary as hell. Something that may have the blues as a steady part of their diet but like water, it is just the base ingredient. Bands like the Birthday Party, the Laughing Hyenas and Chrome Cranks huffed and guzzled such concoctions in the past and California's Musk have figured out the formula for themselves too.
     After what sounds like a circus being run of out town and over a cliff by spaceships on opener "The Hidden Cost" a murder spree starts with "Wet Brain." Full of serrated guitars alternate between recklessly sawing away at tendons or blowing up a dam full of blood while a man possessed howls something that sounds somewhere between Lux Interior screaming for dear life and a snake charming preacher drunk on a serpents venom, the song is where all kinds of creepy dreams begin.
     Fuzz coated and mildew laden freak fest like "Raw Night" and the drunks fist flying boogie of "Hip Pain" come barreling out like a runaway train loaded with a raw sewage payload, smashing everything in its path. Meanwhile, a panicky "Catch And Release" kicks rockabilly music in the head with a work boot and tangles your worthless soul into a slimy and sticky web of spidery guitar lines.
     When it seems the band might play it a bit straight things are still messed up. "Weathervane" may remind some ears of Neil Young and Crazy Horse but after a minute or so in it's more like them being tied together at the ankles and then dragged alive behind the hearse that Neil wrote "Long May You Run" about. When they do a take on the Paul Anka song "Crazy Love" it sounds more like a murderer making a non remorseful but disturbing confession and their version of The Savages "The World Ain't Round (It's Square)" takes the teenage snot and rage of the 1960's original and drops into the even more brutal and bitter modern world.
     The first Musk album blew my head off. For this second go round they have decided to stomp on the grey matter and kick the bloody parts all over the walls and window.
12xu.net

Aug 18, 2016

JOHN WESLEY COLEMAN III Greatest Hits LP

     I dunno how many times I have told myself that I am gonna sit down a write a song everyday. Sure, it sounds good and impressive but it never happens. Coming up with a song everyday is not very easy.
     That is, it seems, unless you are John Wesley Coleman III. Releasing solo records as well as his playing a major role in the band the Golden Boys, Wes can pen a good a tune at a decent clip. His latest, titled Greatest Hits is not a collection of previously released songs. It could possibly be the greatest hits of the mountain of songs he most likely created fairly recently.
     On the cover of the record, Wes stand on the bow of an abandoned boat left in a field. He's dressed like a yachtsman on his way to fancy dinner party. In one pocket a flask and a dime bag in the other most likely. In some ways that conveys the moods of the record. It may be time to show some maturity and responsibility (after all, he's a dad now) but there's always going to be some scruff and rabble that comes with it.
     Actually, still quite a bit of scruff and rabble as the slightly cheesey/kinda sleazy riffed opener "Bong Song" displays. The song juxtaposes a brightly chromed and hi-performance Camaro Rock chug with drunken handclaps and a ratty buzz that sounds like it's about to get completely engulfed in corrosion. A similar sanguine unkeptness is all over the south of the border meets 70's horn driven pop "Portlandia" and "Miranda," who's rumbling bass line is straight out of punk rock song but a woozy sax and whirling organ make it seem like a carnival setting circa 2nd album Springsteen if he drank less milkshakes and smoked more weed.


     When things take on a folkier strain such "Tea and Sandwiches" and the practically lilting but darkly lit "Pick Up Your Phone" they're still frayed around the edges. Actual dirt and dust flying around where it would probably enough to send Lumineers fan back into the hiding in the corner of a coffee house and discuss the way people were dressed in the "Come On Eileen" video.
     Throw in a country weeper that feels absolutely sincere and real as should be while also sounding equally cracked in the head like "Falling Outta Love" and some downright introspective crooning about yard work called "Lawnmower Man" and you have a whole new slew of songs to pick from if and when an actual JWC retrospective does ever come out.
johnwesleycoleman.com

Aug 15, 2016

It's Gonna Be a Tower of Sound on August 27th in Lexington

     Summer is starting to wind down but the parties are still hot. No better time than to have one up in Sanilac county. Great food, a whole lot of taps of fine Michigan beer, an evening August breeze coming in off of Lake Huron and Franck & yours truly spinning blasts from the past and messages of the future for your dining, drinking and dancing pleasure.
     Come up and groove the evening away just a little south of Lexington on August 27. It's Vinyl Night at the Water Tower Sports Pub!

Aug 11, 2016

THE WORLD Managerial Material 7inch EP

     In my high school days I didn't ever really get bummed when someone referred to me as a New Waver. There was less contempt and punches in the face for such compared to the attitudes toward anyone who claimed they were a punk rocker. If the music was a bit enjoyably strange or  weird you could just call it new wave too instead of waiting for the rare cool zines to trickle in and telling what genre to consider it. It you could dance to it was a bonus.
     I know for sure that Oakland, California's The World get things like post-avant-punk-funk thrown at the but it this was 30 years ago, they would've been a new wave favorite of mine.
    Sounding like a tug of war between downtown skronk-meisters who show contempt of everything for the sake of art and suburban raised mutants who dream of hearing a song their wrote echoing off the walls of the local roller rink, the four songs here are sublimely odd. The record's lead off, "Managerial Material",  does a fidget wiggle out of the speakers and immediately entertains as well as confounds. The dual sax players, one that sounds like it has a penchant for fog horns and steam whistles and the other seemingly addled but still intent on making some "good time" music, a like a parade marching band wandering off it whatever direction they chose.
     What keeps those horns from wanted off a cliff is, is the tight and twisted band that engulfs the sound around them. F'instance, the blurts "It Takes 2" may sound like radioactive dosed goose calls but it's the A Certain Ratio type of exposed electrical wire zap groove from them that provides a thud-n-sway for the singer bark and coo and make the listener wonder whether Su Tissue and Ari Up haunt her dreams every night.
     That and you can dance to it!
www.upsettherhythm.co.uk

Jul 28, 2016

WHIPPER Shit Love 7inch EP

     Like with what it seems with many Australian bands nowadays, Whipper are made up from some dudes from other bands (this time it's Cuntz, Bits of Shit and a couple others) forming yet another bad ass unit.
     Motor City via Melbourne street sleaze strut and Telecaster splattering garage rock/proto-punk riffin' get things off on the right foot and straight into in a dangerous place to be on "Shit Love." Oozing the Aussie swagger of Hoss and Powder Monkeys but sounding like their own thing, the swamp thick bass driven "White Glove" is a bloody lunged raver of a tractor trailer careening recklessly through mountain roads proportions. By the time the pummeling "Chase The Rainbow" declares "Drop Out Of High School" it's like being surrounded by an crowd of angle dusted bikers leaving you no other choice than to do exactly that.
aarghtrecords.bigcartel.com

Jul 26, 2016

NUMBSKULL ACTION Action & Reaction Cassette

 
     Numbskull Action are from Woking, Surrey. There's only two things I know about the place. One is that it was the first place the Martians decided to land in The War Of The Worlds. The other is that is where the Jam were from.
     For the latter, the comparisons stop after citing that both are trios with a penchant for songs of the 60's. The former though it is like they were beamed down to earth by waves emanating from Planet X. They were sent, if not to cause mayhem and panic, to at least destroy and annoy.
     Recorded live on a 4 track, the lo-fi crud licks the goo that oozes out of a corroded trashcan that sits in Supercharger's back alley on lunkheaded smashers like "Bad Advice (It's Not Nice)" and "I Don't Know Your Name". "It's Alright (If You Wanna Fight)" could probably send Billy Childish searching for earplugs while shouting "This is too loud and way ridiculous."
    When the band takes a break from desecrating Chuck Berry's grave (even though he's not dead yet) by mangling primitive rock-n-roll chugs and using a third chord only begrudgingly, their cutting bubblegum with buzzsaws with "Nothing Lost" and fashioning them into shivs or, like on "4 On 1" and "TV Commercial", writing some barking answer songs to a world that didn't know Oblivians needed any.
     Needless to say, this has lately become the soundtrack in the beat up, rust bucket of a van that I drive ONLY to work and back. Send these guys some money because I don't think they can hold down job because they're keeping busy with bathing in cheap beer and irritating the neighbors.
noteenrecords.blogspot.co.uk

Jul 19, 2016

HONEY Love Is Hard LP


      When hearing the names Psychic Ills and Amen Dunes, I usually think of laid back cats who listen to the third Velvet Underground record as church service and always wondering how high it takes to get Spacemen 3 high. Y'know, something shaggy for sure and a with a laid back sway most definitely.
     Opening track "Monk" (see above) quickly throws such assumption out of the window though. A battering thwack of sound, the song is quite akin to an agitated Volcano Suns crammed into a barbed wire lined pen and being poked at with sharp sticks. Next thing you know they've broke free, cranked up "Taking A Ride", stolen your car and seeing how well the suspension holds up as they aim straight into some molten pit. That kind of hair whippin' rock action/bad scene celebrating permeates like the skunkiest of bud on the record's closer "White City" too but instead of a kicked in the face boogie it's a freaky metallic moldering.
     For anyone out there awaiting another wave of RAWK bands Love Is Hard may be, thankfully to these ears, a bit askew. While a song like "White Noise" may have a fist pumpin' foundation and an orgy of wah-wah happening, it sounds like they'd be more inclined to kick holes in the monitors than they would be putting a foot on top of them and striking a pose so people can check out their crotch. Also, when the band takes off into a space trip like on "Born" and "Comes Down", the re-entry back to this atmosphere is rough and fiery.
http://thebandhoney.blogspot.com

Jul 14, 2016

Port Huron's Getting Bloody and Raw in August

Smashin' Transistors is freakin' pleased to announce an evening of thrills and chills on Saturday, August 13th at Port Huron's SchwonkSoundStead.

Photo by Maddie McGarvey

Heavily bowled over by the hot wired and high energy sounds of Detroit, Ohio's Bloody Show rumble like the MC5 and rattle like Death. Chrome plated rock licks and punk rock patina is all over the sound of this trio and already broke again right after payday belting of bassist Jah Nada really has something to say.


 Read our take on Bloody Show's EP Root Nerve.

To say that Raw Pony sound feral would be an understatement. Feral animals just have claws and teeth to attack with. These Ohio ladies have guitars and volume and sound like they listened to Gories records played on razor wire instead a stylus! Some consider the band's sound garage rock but they're more like a building engulfed in flames.
    


Read our take on Raw Pony's 7inch "Bo Diddley."

Though Screen Names are from the local area they sound like they were raised on the corner of Minor Threat and My Bloody Valentine. Hot off the heels of a gig that they'll have played earlier in the day at Brobecue, they'll set the night off with aural M-80's.


Though this show is "free" don't be a skinflint. Toss some bucks into the collection plate and buy some of the band's stuff when you get there.

Check the events page at ye ol' book of face for the latest developments.

Jul 2, 2016

Smashin' Podsistors: There's Sure A Lot Of Songs About Being Seventeen

     For this17th episode of the Smashin' Transistors fake radio/pretend mixtape we didn't play any of them. Instead, dig new sounds from CCR Headcleaner, Bloody Show, Lumpy & the Dumpers, Honey, the Wireheads, Mountains and Rainbows, In School, 75 Dollar Bill, Zig Zags, Useless Eaters and more.
     Hear some goodies from awhile ago like the Dwarves, T Rex, Flying Saucer Attack, The Triumphs and the Exploding Hearts too.
     Along with a few other tasty treats!

Jun 27, 2016

IN SCHOOL Cement Fucker 7inch EP

     Ever wonder what it sounds like inside of a nest of yellow jackets when you take a chainsaw to it? Especially if the wasps living it are of the irritable sort (which they usually are) and return the attack in their own particular unrelenting way. They like to lay down a barrage of pain and are especially evil because they can sting more than once.
     This newest thing from NYC's In School is that sound. Hardcore that's subhuman and ooze crawling, it's basic instinct to swarm and assault. The bass rattle that opens "Bloodlust" blurps like it is about that to start a fire but it doesn't send out a warning that it's all about to burst in skin melting flames. The record's title track follows it and channels Rudimentary Peni gutting eels in the back of a garbage truck.
     Things to not let up on side two either. "You're Not That Dumb" metallic shrill is like a hundred rusty steak knifes hacking away at a steel girder with the determination of a violently obsessed surgeon and "Awakening" is grossly stained shard of a revelation that was not brought out to the surface to ease any worried minds.
thrillingliving.com

Jun 22, 2016

Old Tomorrow Monty's Golden Rye Ale

       Named after and collaborated with gold medal winning skeleton racer Jon Montgomery, Toronto brewery Old Tomorrow puts their own Canadian stamp on the aging beer with whiskey components game here.  
     This aged in Alberta rye whiskey oak brew has it own distinctions from the first sniff to the final sip. Freshly split wood vanilla and caramel take the lead roles in the aroma. The color is that of sun on the horizon topped buy a slightly bubbly head which, despite its smallness, hangs on tight for quite awhile.
     The brew itself is overall creamy in texture but not thick. A sweet malt is in the forefront but then it falls away to give first some vanilla and then some honey butter on toast some room stretch out. Giving it a chance to breathe caramel and butterscotch start stepping up more and more. It ends with more than a hint of Canadian whiskey, citrus peel and pepper.
     Interesting balances and character all around for this one. Even with the decent amount complexities this beer has it could still be the star of a somewhat sessionable day or after mowing the lawn. I don't know if I'd suggest quaffing it straight from pitcher and walking around the way Monty enjoyed a beer after his Olympic triumphs in 2010 though.

Jun 17, 2016

CUT WORMS "Don't Want To Say Good-bye" 7inch

     The blurb included with this record mentions that side one's "Don't Want To Say Good-bye" will remind people of the Everly Brothers. Having that still instilled into since probably the day I was born (the folks dug 'em bunches) and being a sucker for that sound when done right (to my ears at least) I prepared to listen intently.
     Masterminded by Max Clarke, he the one time guitar player for Chicago band the Sueves, the Cut Worms pull off the sound consummately. Close harmonies swell over an elegant sibilation of steel stringed guitars. The clean and lightly echo'd recording sounds authentic. Not so much as a direct cop but as something this has been going through their bloodstream since day one too which makes it feel more like sincere love for a long gone era of innocence rather than making people suspicious that there is some irony trip at hard or they songs are just playing dress up.
     Where the Everly Brothers inspired a lot of future folkies at the time to eventually go off on their own paths of soul bearing, side two's "Like Going Sideways" starts its journey seeming like an introspective ballad around a campfire which then meets its destination cleaning out stems and seeds at Gene Clark kitchen table with a heart yearning for more.
randyrecords.bigcartel.com

Jun 9, 2016

CITY YELPS Half Hour LP

     Leeds, England's City Yelps cassette of a couple years back, Cheap Psych, got a lot of play around the Smashin' Transistors social gatherings. When I sat down to absorb their band new record a lot of the similar impressions I gushed about that tape came to mind here. Swell Maps....double cheeseburgers...blokes who can discuss things of bookish matters (after all, Leeds has the 4th largest student population in the UK) as well as which budget lager will hurt the least the next morning and their favorite garage punk 45's. All delivered, I may add, in a northern brogue where I have to ask them to repeat it or wonder if I need a translator.
     There was a vibe on the cassette of a few friends getting together in cramped space and having a go at celebrating the sound often lost & forgotten about indie singles from the early part of the eighties. If it was all shot on film it would been composed of square format stills in faded, fuzzy black and white with streaks of glare. For this album though, the scenes set are more cinematic and wide screen.
     While the usage of colors of sound on ...Half Hour are more vivid than its predecessor the band hasn't gone day-glo or anything. Sure, there's more clarity but, as the opener "Shut Up" can attest, there's still plenty bashed up blurriness.
     Some songs, such as the disheveled clarions of  "We Like The Hours" & "Music For Adverts" and the sleet storm splatter that's all over "Music & Movements", sound like cantankerous giants chewing on copies of C-86 that were found in a compost pile behind Mark E. Smith's (Brix era) place.
     Now, I know as soon as someone throws out a C-86 reference a lot jump for joy as far as jangly and shambling pop tinged post punk goes but for others is sends up a red flag that things may just turn to milk and water. Shaun's barrel chested yowl across the songs and the way "Making Noise" throws icy daggers, the night terror space(man) trip on "The Corn" and "Now" resembles being knocked down and then covered in an avalanche assure their much more bold than that by looking things straight in the eyes instead of staring at their feet.
Find the City Yelps on Facebook     

May 31, 2016

Smashin' Podsistorscast: Sweet 16


     Away we go with our 16th episode of 20 songs. Dig some brand new things from Kid Congo Powers & the Pink Monkey Birds, Space Raft, Honey Radar, City Yelps, Spray Paint, K9 Sniffies, Sunwatchers, The Cowboys and Doctor Nod.
     We also dug out some noise of different sorts of the past from Einstürzende Neubauten, The Fatals, Tubeway Army, The Thomas Function, The Fall and the Undertones.
     And a few other sounds too.

May 26, 2016

The Devotions "Same Old Sweet Lovin'"

     Ran by  Robert Eaton and Benjamin Knight (who, along with Fred Bridges, also comprised the soul trio Brothers Of Soul as well as a songwriting team that had something to do with around 50 singles that came out Detroit in the 60s and 70s) and based out of a storefront on Hamilton St in Detroit (well, Highland Park actually. They both share a zip code) the Tri-Tone label only released 2 singles.
     The first of them was The Devotions “Same Old Sweet Lovin’.” Recorded and released in 1966, the record might possibly being gunning for the same formula a lot of the Detroit labels were going trying to grab a piece of that Motown pie, but the frills free production and obviously not charm school trained voices of Ragina Wood, Rosemary Green and Bobby Hemmitt give this this record a raw street level soul thing that sounds something more akin to a female version of what the Parliaments were doing in the city around the same time than any of the seriously buffed and polished records from the House Of Gordy.

May 21, 2016

BLOODY SHOW Root Nerve 12inch EP

     Ohio's Bloody Show kingpin Jah Nada has a lot on his mind. With Laura of Raw Pony bashing the tubs and Sex Tide's Chris hard rockin' sick licks as reinforcements to his gut rumbling bass thumps, he doesn't hesitate letting people what he's thinking.
     Opening with "American Pimp" the record drops a lumbering bomb of thudding scuzz and rock-n-roll flash. Given the song title, anyone expecting some hustler jivin' to kick in on the mic are gonna be taken aback cuz Jah belts like a voice of annihilation here. While the listener is still fazed from that detonation, they get hit with a one-two clobber of the high powered Detroit proto-punk of "Magic Negro" (think The MC5 and Death playing at the same time while the most agitated soul shouter on the planet calls bullshit on several points of view) and the incensed "bell hooks", which gives a take most wont bother to discuss in some feminist theory course. Side one closes out with some Ohio punk rock history by giving Pere Ubu's "Non-Alignment Pact" a furious clobbering.
     The rumbling that kicks off side two's "Back On The Track" rolls into town like bikers fed on fuzz, swamp water and street fights. The enraged boogie "When I'm High"  is like some kinda 70's Ted Nugent party/fightin' jolt blasting out of a muscle car if Ted was a million percent less douchebag, stopped towing the Nancy Reagan line and listened to more Eddie Hazel and less whatever makes him going around claiming he's from a long spiritual line of bluesmen. The mood gets foreboding on "Fuckaround" with it's metallic tinged downcast goth chords and stoned disposition providing an icy pillar to make an inconsolable rap and bellow from.
www.heelturnrecords.com

May 11, 2016

HEAVY TIMES "Dancer" 7inch EP

     Chicago's Heavy Times have never played light music. There's always been a cloudy sky and saturnine perspective even when they're playing a bash it about punk rock numbers. It's been three years since they last released a record. Is everything bright and shiny with them now? Well, maybe but, then again, maybe not.
     The band has had an occasional new wave hue to them on previous endeavors and on this one it is practically glaring. Synth washes and a tinny computer drum lure you into a seedy neon lit mutant disco planet on "Dancer." A throaty new wave android repeatedly recites diminutive recollections of movement while a guitar line that slid itself off one of  the Ultravox record before Jon Foxx left coats a sheen of frost of the toxic sort throughout. It is followed by "Midnight Highway" which mines the same territory but also with a manner of skittish twitches, somnolent bloops and glassy 6 string flash that smears a thin and chipped line between where techno-pop ends and synth rock begins. Both cuts would sound fitting in some nightclub in a cellar when strobe lights are set to a medium pulse and plebeians reach for cobwebs as a groovy dance move.
     Then, on the b-side, the ceiling comes crashing down. "Coptic Rot" hits a pressure point that the band is known to reach. Kicking off with a drum roll that may get you thinking you're about to hear a surf song things instantaneously break into a nervous rhythm. The vocals now a bit more hoarse and ranting compared to the "getting my best Gary Numan on" of the a-side and fidgety guitars up the antsy ante. The record's final track, "Edge of The Night", reverts back to the early 80's thing. The opening reminds me of the Go-Gos "Our Lips Are Sealed" slowed down to opiate induced pace. Then a flange pedal gets treated passive aggressively and things start to sound like the ending credits of a John Hughes movie. Well, a John Hughes film if he became smitten with the Cinema of Transgression, that is.
http://randyrecords.bigcartel.com

May 4, 2016

NAMELESS FRAMES s/t LP

Nameless Frames via Shea Carley Photo
     This Texas trio knows its way around loud, brash and totally catchy hooks and there's an absolutely insolent yet risible attitude that permeates throughout this record. Yelps of recklessness on songs like tightly wound "Exploitation" and the flaying wildly "Cut Out" have a bed of jittery guitars strokes that are reminiscent of fellow Lone Star punk twisters like the Motards and the Reds.
     Where as those two bands though did there thing to get a straight ahead way to their destination (the former with headstrong impeccability and the latter seeing double or maybe even triple but some how making to it the ending the finish with rarely any meandering), these guys get mangled for a moment here and there. Though it does cause a twist to the cadence, it makes sense to the scheme of disposition than it does being a wrench thrown into the works just for the sake of making someone think "They're getting weird, man."
     If the band stuck with that formula for this entire album it would still make for an entertaining listen but judging from other things that go on the record, they need that spice of life which variety brings. That doesn't mean they pull of some Mahavishnu Orchestra bullshit or bust out banjo and start singing about how they'd ride the rails if they didn't already have a job promised to them at their father's firm after college though.
     The big bombs of fuzz that detonate on the album's opening rave up "Upstairs", the swamp dwelling"To Late To Lose" and the rumbling DIY punk bass anchored "Control" bring 60s garage rock kicking and screaming into post everything modern world."She's An Oddity" is like the Ramones guzzling jet fuel and "Put It Back" saws the top of the Replacements skull off with jagged Johnny Thunders record. Then it closes out everything with a bit of post punk blues that doesn't try to damn hard to be either and ending up failing at both with "Garage Can."
www.supersecretrecords.com