Apr 30, 2016

Smashin' Transistors #15: Counting Stones Skip

     Torrential downpours of tone to wondering if the entire band stuffed their pants with a bong.
     This one starts off with Bailter Space and ends with Frijid Pink. In between there's the new things from Space Raft, Burnt Envelope, Jack Oblivian & the Sheiks, Army of Infants, Bummers Eve, NASA Space Program and Ex-Debs.
     We hear a song from Iggy Pop that's from my most favorite solo album of his that is not The Idiot or Lust For Life. Some Funkadelic, The Hunches, Black Abba and a bunch more come along for the ride too.

Apr 23, 2016

Stillwater Artisanal Ales Projector Readymade

     I've been shying away from IPA's (of the regular as well as the Imperial/Double/Triple of the breed) the last year or so. I used to quite a fiend for them. A roasty malt foundation with hops bringing things like funk, flowers, tang, bitters and bite. Outside of a few amazing new (to me) one I've just haven't been feeling a lot of them. Seems they want to be hop bombs and not much else. Roasty and sweet malts being told to go hide and don't come back out. No character. No complexities. I guess chewing on nothing but grapefruit peels and pine nibs for a couple hours isn't as appealing as it once was.
     This Imperial IPA from Maryland brewery Stillwater first got my attention because of the label design. It looked more like a Crispy Ambulance record cover than a beer label. It sent me some sort of message that this was not shooting to be another "I dare you" to a beardo walking his dog down to the coffee house. It seemed to be something different.
     Pouring hazy amber in color with a modest and creamy head, aromas start wafting through the air once it settles into the glass. Tangerines and papaya come to find first. Then some peaches and cherries. There's some candied bread in there too. It's all makes for a bold but well mannered scent.
     They use 5 different hops in this. On first sip you notice the levels and what they are there for. They don't taste all mashed together in some loud blare. It's more like they're part of an flavor orchestra. They all have their parts and they play them well. Fruits like mango and oranges sprinkled with black pepper and bitters first. Next it's some raw honey. Grassy (as in the lawn, lemon and Mary Jane) earthy dankness come along closely afterwards. As it breathes the middle and towards the end cherries, some white grape dryness and a bit of lime zing become more pronounced. The malts string it all together with sweet caramel and fresh bread. Watch out though, the abv hits 9% and it keeps itself unnoticeable until it pulls a sneak attack.
     Complexities, flavors and some innovation (they use flake rice in the malting process which will probably drive some people nuts due to its adjunct history.) Stillwater whipped up great one here.

Apr 19, 2016

SPACIN' Total Freedom LP

Photo via amplitude-photography.blogspot.com
     If the Birds Of Maya are suppose to be the soundtrack for cosmic bikers to rumble in deep space zero gravity then Spacin', the offshoot combo headed up by the band's Jason Killinger, is an invitation to invite all their space' rockin' mamas to come out and boogie in a bean field while they're away.
     Moments of Spacin's first album, 2012's Deep Thuds, had a chug and choogle that would keep on' truckin' til it hit walls of squishy weirdness. There's a lot of that going on for this go-round too the hash laced brownie backbone slippin' gets a bit groovier than before while some bits of oddness get, well, odder.
     The album's opener, "Over Uneasy", is like waking up feeling hazy & grumpy but then stepping outside into a nice day. The snare snap sets a pace for walking around the neighborhood, while the fuzzy blurting of mid 70's van rockin' guitars shine down like a more than welcomed sun. It builds up like taking in the colors and smells of spring. It feels narcotic. So much so that no one at first notices the weird blistering that's caused half way through from the guitars excreting a pestilential ooze of bent notes and fried tones.
     One thing that keeps rolling through my head while the record spins is the whole "If you like ________ and __________, you'll dig Spacin'. Something like "Titchy" and the album's title track are like CCR realizing they aren't from the swamp so they score some mushrooms and go hang out at the go-kart track crossed with the Velvet Underground's Loaded if it was dressed in cut off jean shorts and hanging out at the beach. Space(man 3) expeditions are taken on "Batfolk" and "US Ruse." The former a clattery launch piloted by a goth/garage blaaaang. The latter does a epic motorik orbit around the moon gaining inertia every time it passes.
     Not every trip on here are fuel assisted though. There's the strobe light flashing midnight walk through some south Asian market square that's "Stopping Them" and "Bent Into Shape" which sounds like how it feels to walk through a foggy woods with squishy, mossy ground beneath your feet. 

Apr 18, 2016

Carol Anderson "I'm Not Worried"

     One of the things about these lost Detroit soul records of the 60′s is finding out a little history on the label and especially the singers and players that appeared on them. Little slivers of info from here and there sometimes lead into a trove of history. Other times a lot of things remain a mystery.
     Located at 5725 14th Street in Detroit, the Whip record label was ran by a fellow who’s name might have been James Davis or Jim Riley. The address was also the same for another label called Dotty’s that was owned by a cat known as Clifford Marshall. To add even more confusion both labels also used the exact same catalog numbering system and we releasing records around the same time frame. It has been speculated that they were all just the same person operating under different names for possibly different (perhaps even nefarious) reasons. The name C. Marshall appears as both a songwriter and producer here so until someone who actually knows a bit more about the whole situation comes a long (as I am just a fan really. My historian research hat only fits rarely) I am gonna assume they all different personas for whatever reason.
     Carol Anderson was the third record to come out on the Whip label. The a-side, the horn laden and smoky mid tempo’d "Taking Mind Of My Love", is no stranger to Northern Soul fans but we’re gonna listen to the flip. To me it’s just got a hotter bump to it and I dig the sass and the way she sing “Oohhh Yeah!” in it.
     In the late 60′s and early 70′s Carol also released records on the Mid Town, Explosion and Soul “O” Sonic label. It has been noted that those labels were started by her mother, Esse Anderson, who was a hairdresser as well as Carol’s manager. All three labels (as well as the hairdressing business) were based out of their home at 443 Navhoe St. in Detroit. Esse also has songwriting and production credits on the records that Carol sang on through the 70′s
     Esse passed away from a bout with cancer in 1983. Carol died just a year later.