Sep 26, 2018

Oddside Ale's Laughing Clown Malt Liquor

Old English 800, Magnum, Colt 45, King Cobra, Schlitz, O'Keefe's Extra Old Stock, Crazy Horse, St. Ides and Mickey's. Especially Mickey's. I drank my share of malt liquor in my misspent youth.

The name of the game was maximum buzzage on a budget. Flavor was not a huge factor in that game at all. All of them had a skunk essence to them in the way that they tasted (and smelled), finding the skunk essence that seemed the most palatable to inexperienced taste buds was as far as any of my friends or I went when it came to that aspect of them.

Over the past few years, I've spotted a craft brewery here and there offering a malt liquor. Every time I've seen one at a market I've grinned but, now being a "mature adult with an experienced palate" (or at least that's what I tell myself), I wasn't too sure if I could, or should, dip my tongue into such a style again.

"What the hell. Go for it" I told myself as I reached for Odd Side's Laughing Clown and brought it up to the counter. I mean, if for nothing else, they are one of my most favorite home state beer makers and each purchase of their stuff I buy puts some dough back into several different sections of the Michigan economy.

A semi-hard pour brings out a finger sized rocky head on this orangish yellow brew. It holds on for a few before melting into some a few clouds as a cap through the rest of the glass. Lacing is light and spotty.

The aforementioned familiar "skunk" scent that comes with the standard 40oz offerings of malt liquor is here but it is faint as aromas of freshly baked bread, sliced green apples, ground black pepper and brown sugar take the spotlight. "Hmmm. A cheap date but cultured and refined one too" was the thought that came to mind.

Such a thought is a good way to describe the flavor too. The skunk is one similar to that of Mickey's (and to some extent Heineken for those who may know what I'm talking about) but it's around the edges and not the dominant thing here. Instead, biscuit-like grains, lemon peel and a malty sweetness are the main event. There's a bit of malt and grain brawn throughout the beer along with a hint of corn adjuncts that I suppose need to be there to remind you that, after all, this is a malt liquor. It finishes dry and earthy with grassy and slightly bitter hop notes but nothing too sticky.

Laughing Clown may not be for the coulrophobic nor is it probably named in tribute to the band Ed Kuepper formed after he left the Saints, but I could find myself crushing a few cans of this quicker than I could get through a $2.69 GIQ these days.

Sep 19, 2018

PREDATOR No Face 7inch

Photo via Creative Loafing

The martial and callous slug of the drumbeats along guitars sounding like a hoarse rasp cranked through a speaker that can't quite handle the volume "No Face" had me thinking Big Black at first.

As it kept convulsing and hammering though, it was more like if Big Black were covered in wasps and someone has decided the best way to get rid of them is to used gasoline and a match.

Instead of a slow pummel that has a sheen of chrome and characteristic for sheets of metal scraping against each other, things here are covered in snot. That doesn't mean it flays wild and randomly though as it does lock in and focus and its target, making a robot tainted by Devo explosion of punk rock scorch.


"White" is delivered at a more moderate tempo but that doesn't mean things are calm and collected. There's a paranoia that hangs heavy which appears being all twitchy and distracted yet still stabs meticulously and hard.
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Sep 8, 2018

Smashin' Podsistors 40: There are tins. There was pork. There are legs. There are sharks...


Staring out into the lake may cause hallucinations. A sure sign that's happening when you understand the voltaic incantations.


What you'll hear:
The Pop Group - Words Disobey Me
Obnox - Captain Blackeye
Roy Montgomery with Liz Harris- Landfall
The Lavender Flu - Dream Cleaner
The Deltrons - Tonya
-Dale talks-
Mudhoney - Paranoid Core
The Fatback Band - Wicky Wacky
Donkey Bugs - The Example
Pious Faults - Longevity
Giant Sand - Black Venetian Blinds
-Dale talks-
Spiritualized - On the Sunshine
Primo - Ticking off a List
Teenage Fanclub - Critical Mass
Seance Sisters - Rabid Moon
Boyracer - Denatured
-Dale talks-
Daytime Drugs - Beethoven Was A Bore
Mope Grooves - Last Seen
Flasher - Who’s Got Time?
Brian Eno - Third Uncle
Jerry Reed - Guitar Man
-Dale talks-

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Sep 7, 2018

EN ATTENDANT ANA Lost and Found LP


Seesawing betwixt bashful etherealness and a shambling pop bluster, it's hard not to be smitten by Paris, France's En Attendant Ana.

On their debut album, 2016's Songs From The Cave, the overall sound was an endearing set of lo-fi melodies. Here it's more of the same but with a brighter production gives things a bit more of a  sumptuous ring yet still keeps many of the frayed edges intact.

Following a swirling chug of guitars aided and abetted by a torrential storm of drum crashes and electrical hissing of the aptly titled opener "Intro," the band bounces directly into a sparkling pool of jagged C86 bliss that's floating on a dose of mid 60's Mod sunshine glare with "Not So Hard."



The accentuation of trumpets on the song adds something regal and hauntingly baroque on the song as it does on a smattering of other tracks too.

While the overall vibe of the record will probably get first reactions such as The Vaselines due to main singers Margaux somewhat similar (but often more soaring) voice to Francis McKee and the vocal trade-offs she does with the band's guitarist on songs like the venom wrapped in a pastry sound of "Why Is Your Body So Hard To Carry" but even if they have the recipe for that sound in front of them, they're adding their own things to cook in with it.



Things that give the impressions of being simple jangly garage-pop songs when they start, such as reverb squiggled "Night", the jittery chiming that launches off "The Violence Inside" and how the album's closer "I Don't Even Know Your Name" sounds like a child PROPERLY reared on the Velvet Underground and Stereolab all swell into their own kind of waves of majestic sonic drenching by the time the are through.





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Sep 5, 2018

PIOUS FAULTS Old Thread LP


At another location where I do a nightly music column (which is usually short and quick as far as me pontificating compared to here), I recently said that Brisbane's Australia's Pious Faults take "punk rock's hardcore form and strip it down to the rawest minimum."

While as a lure to get some to lend the band and ear it's a quick impression posing as a fair assessment but there's more to this record than just speed and rage. Any thrashing about becomes paroxysmal movements immediately once "Cope" starts things. The convulsively twitching dynamism of it and tracks like "Field" sets a tone for the addled expedition the rest of the record brings.



Tinges of late period Black Flag (I'm talking 'round 85/86. Not whatever that thing was called that Ginn put together to tour with a few years) seem to seep in on "Worship The Surface I" and "Not Me." The difference is that the jagged guitar lines and tempo of the former seems they may have more of Beefheart/Birthday Party thing on kicking holes in the brain than whatever Sonny Sharrock lick Ginn thought was a good idea to do a squishy wet noodle jazz metal emulation of over and over again while the latter takes a back to the garage basics swing, kicking the speed back up instead of making it another mud trawl.


Not stuck to one piece of pavement and not just blazing as fast as they can in a straight line, the weaving and bouncing on this record is like getting hits of fresh air courtesy of a kick in the chest.
Question your virtue at Feel It Records