Showing posts with label 12xu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 12xu. Show all posts

Jul 13, 2014

OBNOX "Louder Space" LP

     How do you top one of the best albums of last year?
     Obnox's 2013 album, Corrupt Free Enterprise has been a constant listen in my world since I first dropped a needle on it last year. Well, that is until their latest, Louder Space landed on my stereo.
     Masterminded by Lamont "Bim" Thomas, who's been making noise for over two decades in Ohio bands like The Bassholes and This Moment In Black History, the name of the game with 'Nox has always been a thick and harsh clash of smashed up, feedback slathered weirdo punk and old school rap straight out of a moldy walled basement and set ablaze, tinges get down/get high soul music, deep funk wiggliness and an ear bleeding bang that industrial music had before the disco beats and sampled heavy metal guitar riffs became de rigueur.
     In the past though the records were usually recorded on equipment of varying (and, at times, very questionable) degrees of quality in rooms to match. This time around Obnox found a "louder space" indeed by using a studio which cats such as Guided By Voices, the New Bomb Turks, Times New Viking, Great Plains, the Cheater Slicks and even Bone Thugs-n-Harmony have used through the years; Musicol Studios in Columbus, Ohio. Stacked with vintage mixing tools and mics, the tubes got hot, the ribbons vibrated and the self described “sheets of rhythm” formed layers of dense thump with a sheen of grand style that may have been overlooked before.
     "Prime Time Sister" kicks the album off with splatters of blood and mud roar that sets a tone for the ride ahead. It, along with cuts such as the wolf howl crooned "Raindrops", "Riding Dirty" sounding like a pop hit fighting it's way out of a maelstrom of lighning bolts, the punk rock blues/grindcore mutation that's "Time Of My Life", the backyard BBQ party getting set on fire then pushed over a cliff pace of "Bitch! Get Money!" and "Who Needs You" resembling what it's probably like living inside a stainless steel bong at Blue Cheer's crib are all comparable to waking up a radioactive monster by having 500 kids who just discovered guitar feedback practice Jimi Hendrix's version of the "Star Spangled Banner" at the same time.
     On the more hip-hop tip of the record the promise to bring BRING THE NOISE is honored most surpassingly most likely since when Chuck D first asked how low can the bass go. Clipped drum loops form block rocking beats underneath a heavy bass wah wah pedals that shoot lasers on "Molecule", "How To Rob (The Punk Years)" is a loaded with braggadocio (or at least calling out those who are doing things half ass while claiming otherwise) over singular bass string pops and acid funk guitar, a mildewy and humid sounding organ gives the pulse for horns to blasts and six sting freakouts to slither and slice on "Red 1" and the album's closer, "Feeling Real Black Today", is like a midnight love jam by Isaac Hayes being introduced to trip hop before taken down to the 7th ring of Hell.
     In an interview with Pitchfork last year, when asked about the state of music, Thomas comment “Rock and roll could stand some more brothers right now, some more swagger.”
     Yes, it really could! Til that happens again though it's reassuring to know there's cats like him holding down the fort.
     Obnox, along with Radio Burns and Dale Beavers, will be playing live at Port Huron's Roche Bar on Saturday, August 30th.    

Apr 12, 2014

BURNT SKULL "Sewer Birth" LP

     High tension wires start to snap. They hit the ground a caustic slime to ooze up through the dirt.
     Electronics surge causing a blinding blue light that makes eyeballs pop out and then explode.
     Contraptions go haywire tearing the limbs from their operators.
     With a cranium crushing pummel of martial and murderous drums, a molten roar of guitars hopped up on electrical shocks and thirty for blood while a shredded vocal chords garble incantations of disgust and vileness Austin, Tx. band Burnt Skull provide the soundtrack if such is the fate for the planet's final days.  Featuring members of Total Abuse, Cruddy and Best Fwiends the band deal harsh waves of sound akin to Godflesh hopped up on bathtub crank pushing lawnmowers over the hills of hells acres and Big Black taking band saws to 100 guitars wallowing in feedback.
     The relentless noise may vary from track to track but it all will cause toxic sludge to bubble up through the soil that eats away brain matter at first whiff and encourages rats dwelled in the darkness of the most poisonous of gutters and trash strewn alleys to come out into the light and spread vermin to those who that they were safe.
     In it's wake all that is left for evidence is scorched earth splattered in blood and caked in guts.

Dec 29, 2013

Smashin'Transistors Fave Albums of 2013

I know there wasn't a whole lot of WRITING about records in this place again this year. I can put the blame on distractions, a major change on the domestic front and life in general getting in the way. I did LISTEN to bunches of music both new and old this past year though. After mulling over the tunes that passed through my ears in 2013 here's a list of the most enjoyed and often played albums at home, in my car and on my radio show for the year (in alphabetical order.)


BAD NOIDS "Everything From Soup To Dessert" (Katorga Works) Ragin' and retardo, ugly and nasty. Old school sick kid hardcore. There's some toxic things still along the Lake Erie coastline!
Bad Noids on Facebook

BARDO POND "Peace On Venus" (Fire) Guitars that sound like electrical storms cutting through a dense damp fog while voices teeter between the ethereal bliss & indecorous pain. Flutes get pushed through whirling effects while the rhythm section thumps some swing into a sludge beat.
Bardo Pond on the web

BLIND SHAKE "Key to a False Door" (Castle Face) A musical head space where weirdly tuned silt punk goes out on dates with surf music to watch people go-go dance into a chasm of barbed wire and broken glass.
Blind Shake's website

CATHOLIC SPRAY "Earth Slime" (Born Bad) Freaky frogs doing  LSD fried and cheap beer sauteed post-whatever VU boot lickin' garage punk. Wig out while stomping daisies in a black light room.
Catholic Spray on Bandcamp

COUNTER INTUITS s/t aka "Sheets Of Hits" (Pyramid Scheme) A king of atonal rock woe, Ron House sets up camp around a tape machine with a prince of tin sheeting put to a belt grinder pop, Jared Phillips of Times New Viking. The results are like fetching a Swell Maps record out of a running garbage disposal with your bare hand. 
An interview with the Counter Intuits

MIKAL CRONIN "MCII" (Merge) Introspective singer-songwriter coyness, brash guitar fuzz freak outs and things like strings and woodwinds making appearances are all parts of the recipe here. The result is some of the most glimmering pop songs to sugarcoat ears this year.
Mikal Cronin on Bandcamp

The FEELING OF LOVE "Reward Your Grace" (Born Bad) Shoegazing gets tribal. Psychedelia gets stripped bare then chrome plated. Monochromatic drones intertwine themselves with technicolor swirls. Taste the strychnine rainbow.
Feeling of Love on Facebook

The GO "Fiesta" (Burger) If late 60's era Beach Boys moved to Michigan, spent all summer in a resort town riding bicycles, hanging out at the arcade, trying to find someone to buy them beer (or sell them doobies) and striking out when talking to chicks. Then spent cooped up in a Michigan winter to write songs about it
The Go on Bandcamp

The GOSPEL TRUTH "A Lonely Man Does Foolish Things" (12XU) In some universe a swamp country soul band detours into Birthday Party territory and play at the most surly pig roasts for miles around every weekend. If that universe doesn't exist yet-the Gospel Truth are at working on it.
The Gospel Truth on 12XU

The HUSSY "Pagan Hiss" (Southpaw) Heather singing like a girl group gone bad and bashing the drums like a ton of bricks. Bobby making tantrums of psych-punk noise on guitar and blurting things in a nasal tone. Their best record yet.
The Hussy on Bandcamp

HUMAN EYE "4: Into Unknown" (Goner) Laser guns get put into some mischievous hands after a space punk UFO crash lands into ruins and rustbelt rock-n-roll. Feel the ultraviolet slime ooze out of the speakers. 
Goner Records

MORDECAI "College Rock" (Richie) Mangled and out of sync trash rock/art punk that somehow locks into a groove of cohesive chaos. The most glorious and loudest wreck to come of out Butte, Montana since a six hour loop of Evel Knievel greatest wipe outs.
Mordecai on Tumblr

OBNOX "Corrupt Free Enterprise"(12XU) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

OBLIVIANS "Desperation" (In The Red) Reunion albums by legendary bands are normally a big letdown. With tunes that go well at a backyard BBQ/Dance Party or cruising the streets looking for trouble and possibly a knife fight though Desperation isn't! Older, wiser but still packing plenty rock-n-roll firecrackers.
The Oblivians Facebook page.

OOGA BOOGAS s/t (Aarght!) This is like one of those "everything but the kitchen sink (for the lack of a better coin) "New Wave" fun party records of the mid 80's. Downstroked & elastic guitar rock-n-roll chuggers peppered with horn sections. Pub rock slathered in cheezy synths. Sing-a-long anthems with all of the above.
Ooga Boogas Bandcamp page 

PAMPERS s/t (In The Red) Blues punk (or at least a Scientists/Cramps/"Dial M" era Pussy Galore) gets spun like a top before being severely beaten by deviant art misanthropes swinging red hot tire irons. It's then set on fire and placed by some gas station pumps. The explosions are deafening.
Pampers page on Bandcamp

PSYCHIC ILLS "One Track Mind" (Sacred Bones) Chill out boogie for bikers? Spacemen 3 cruising in a brand new Cadillac through the a wildflower filled countryside? Music to burn a j while sitting under under a big shade tree at the beach? Yep, Something like that.
Psychic Ills place on the web

PURLING HISS "Water On Mars" (Drag City) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

SATANIC ROCKERS "Fu Kung" (Alberts Basement) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

WHITE FENCE "Cyclops Reap" (Castle Face) Syd-esque crumbling apart folkie rock gets a bunch of glitter dust tossed at it. Be the songs sound like acid country rock, glam pop played on household items or a heavily medicated Creation playing Byrds songs (or vise-verse) wiggly acoustic strums and big fuzz wails get their equal amounts of attention.
White Fence on Facebook

And with that-let's kick 2013 to the curb. On to 2014!

Oct 2, 2013

OBNOX "Corrupt Free Enterprise" LP

     Whatever happened to the brutha as a rock-n-rolla?
     I'm not talking the calculated bullshit "I don't care what people think as long as every move I make gets me the gossip headlines and trending on Twitter" things that Kanye West does so he can declare himself a rock star in those very same gossip rags.
     Declaring yourself a rock star doesn't not equate a rock-n-rolla.
     I am talking about a brutha that actually does not give a fuck but other than rocking out when it is called for. One that isn't doing what he does in hopes that Entertainment Weekly will declare a genius because everything else they had to review for the week was albums from TV talent show winners or adult contemporary artists disguised as a modern county entertainers. One that is out to blow out eardrums as well as minds. One that is actually playing something that is loud, obnoxious and, yep, punk rock music instead of just wearing some goofy shades so the pop press can mention a nod to "punk rock style" the dude is sporting while walking down the red carpet at an awards show.
     Being declared a rock-n-rolla is something that is bestowed on someone. Described in a recent article/interview in Consequence Of Sound as "the only black 41-year-old single father DIY garage rock drummer/singer from Cleveland" the brutha behind Obnox, Lamont "Bim" Thomas, is a #1 Rock-n-Rolla, and has been for many years with his time behind the drum kit in bands such as Bassholes and This Moment In Black History.
     While those bands had him working within what others may have had in mind-Obnox is his own deal. A loud, thick, abrasive thing of beauty deal the mashes many different worlds of sound but doesn't sound like some mutli-culti NPR bullshit at that.
     Like Chrome's Half Machine Lip Moves wound way to tight riding a spaceship through some urban wasteland inhabited Spector Wall of Sound zombies and the best weed punk rockers can never afford growing wild through sidewalk cracks-the album wastes no time taking a hammer to the eardrum and making blood rush to the head with opener "By Myself". This initial blast off helps propel other feasts of burning noise filled with dangerous fumes such as it's follow up, the sex jam in the middle of a fire-fight basher "(I Want To) Fuck You Like A Puma".
      Cop era Swans discover the blues after meeting some street preachin' rapper who's so underground his address is a sewer who's idea of a beat is a locked groove is the best to describe hypnotically woozy rhythm that Bim busts some rhymes over on the lolloping glitched soul of "Deep In The Dusk" and the mangled street beat/shout out to the hometown harsh out hip-hop that's "Being Cleveland". The latter is not the only bit of local pride/contempt either as Obnox also out noises the Cheater Slicks at their own game on his take on their "Ghost" and his revisiting his past with a version of the Bassholes "Swimming Bues".
     The magic of hypnotism through bleats of guitar feedback get worked over on the soul falsetto being abused by dentist drills on the take of Tom Waits "Way Down In A Hole" and pleading for love (or most likely and, simply a piece of pussy) "Home".  The pleading is given the same treatment again and then run through the ringer once more on the rudest take one will probably ever hear of the Eddie Floyd song "Good Love/Bad Love".
     It's highly doubtful that TMZ will ever be falling over themselves to document ever off the wall ass thing Bim might ever blather when paparazzi and press corps are around and it's hardly unlikely that MTV will be calling saving a seat at their stupid awards shows (especially after they hear about him lighting up a joint at a college radio station and then getting kicked out of the studio) but he is a for real Rock-n-Roll brutha and Corrupt Free Enterprise is all the proof one needs.

Jun 13, 2013

SWEET TALK "Pickup Lines" LP

     Whenever I put on a record that has a bit of a "fizzy pop" thing to it and particular friends are hanging out they will make some comment about me playing some "pussy getting music" and then scoff. Then I get all analytical of if things that can get tagged power-pop or whatever people want to call it ever succeeded for many at landing a bunch of tail.
     Sure, most of those bands were singing about girls, cruising around town looking for girls, wanting to walk in the park or go to the amusement park with girls and wanting to talk to the girl that works behind the counter at the record shop or convenience store but are too shy. It seemed for the most part it was not music that was guaranteed to get young, horny guys into some nubile lasses tight jeans as much as it was about how much they wish they could.
     There were others though, such as Cheap Trick, who could take the bright, big and glittery sound of power chord hooks, pen words about unsavory things and wrap them into a melody that kids on the junior high school bus could sing along to (well, on the bus I rode we did at least. And a good chunk of years before "The Flame" and Elvis covers.)
     Then I discovered punk rock (or at least what I thought was punk rock) and a lot of the skinny ties and poofy hair sugary coatings gave way for something a bit more bitter, hot and not wrapped in plastic as far as my musical tastebuds were concerned.
     With members ranging from speedy hook merchants Mind Spiders along with cats of more raw weirdo punk combos such as the Wiccans and VIDEO, Austin's Sweet Talk should come with a label bragging that this record contains no high fructose corn syrup.
     Anchored by dual loud guitars throwing down sheets of chords this record roars even on the tinniest of transistors speakers. More in it's bag of trick than jubilant power (pop) chords-the six strings also careen, chop and bob at the right moments. Solos are hit-n-run affairs here. Quick & to the point then straight back the churning the motor. Vocals are an earnest cocky whine that when it sneers and yearns is sincere and not just for a video shoot.
      The records opening shot, "Put You Right Back", starts off like something Thin Lizzy with no exposure to Irish folk chords and not a chance being declared  the next Van Morrison or Springsteen, then builds into the kind of rock songs the alleged alternative rock stations should play for the boys who want to turn it up loud and play air guitar too while the girls shake their hair loose. Sadly it wont happen because it would make some of them realize that 30 Seconds To Mars kinda suck and it would also cut in the amount of time those stations can play the Lumineers and "classics" like "Enter Sandman" by Metallica before another 20 minute non interrupted block of commercials. 
      A early 70's glam boogie under the carnival ride lights rubbing itself all over later in the same decade small town America worshippers of the Buzzcocks feeling is all songs like "Find You", "No Vacancies", "Live To Die" and the title track.
     Tunes like "Stop In Line" and "Who Are You" would be anthems in a more perfect world and not just because they sound really BIG. Also, "Danger" shows that when poppy rock boys get some action they have just as much swagger as David Lee Roth claimed to have cornered the market on.
     Though this record came out in mid spring this year-it is gonna find a lot of time being blasted out of my car speakers this summer.        

Mar 12, 2013

RATSAK "20th Century Bricolage" 7inch EP

     Taking their name from a popular brand of rodent poison in the land down under seems pretty obvious without even giving the record a listen that this Aussie band isn't gonna sound like the aural version of a warm and cuddly teddy bear. Especially when it is taken in consideration that it features members of thrash-n-burn Bloody Hammer and Circle Pit.
     Blown gasket 80's hardcore (which means without the, thank goodness, fat bald guy with a goatee palm mutes) is given a good work over of with bits flying of the rails garage punk wiggliness in the guitars, an unhealthy dose of the Confederacy of Scum dirtbagging (like there is a healthy dose of it) minus the that joke wears thin fairly quickly "we're redneck and proud" antics in the rhythm section, some twisted pieces of 70's hard rock and a singer who sounds like he eats a roll of pink insulation when he wakes up and then spends the rest of the day body slamming cows, buses and old folks that get in his way.
     Four songs in eight minutes so it's a perfect record to play when plotting throwing bricks through windows and speeding off for no other reason than general thrill and juvenile delinquency.

Nov 27, 2011

CRUDDY "Negative World"

    As people get older their musical tastes, like most other things, tend to get set in their ways. I have one particular friend who is a prime example of that but perhaps not in the usual way.
      Y'see, with him, it seems that he is flipping out a little bit that he is not getting any younger. He's always listened to a wide variety of music but over the last couple years or so he's worried that if he gets caught listening to something that could be considered mellow or toe-tapping catchy he's gonna called out on it and sent to pasture.
     Whenever he stops by my house to hang out in my basement he wants me to play him the latest and most "punk" rock thing I've listened to lately. Usually, what I land on him is "way not punk rock enough" and then talks about the days of when we "listened to Black Flag and Crass and smashed stuff" (I listened to lots of Black Flag...Crass-not so much, and I only smashed stuff on a very rare occasion. He feels the need to romanticize it all though I guess. Maybe he was off smashing stuff and listening to Crass when he wasn't hanging out with the rest of us). There are those rare occasions with him now though that I'll put something on that makes him act a fool, knock over his drink (usually breaking the glass on the basement floor) and waking up my wife and kids who are two flights up by turning the stereo up as loud as it will go when I turn my head for a second.
     Big on Black Flag disgust for almost everything, Germs glorious ineptitude and Urinals minimalistic jitter skronk this Texas trio's slab of two minute or less rusty steak knife stabs sound as if they're about to fly off the rails but at the last minute grabs on tight and scream bloody murder. Strangulated vocals that sounds like it eats pieces of roll insulation for breakfast, guitars that buzz like a hornets nest at times, slither like agitated snakes at others and drums that play straight on and simple bash & thrash beat. It's all right up and in your face and doesn't give itself or you a chance to ever catch your breath. Along with their own blasts of rage they give the Suicide Commandos "Burn It Down" a well deserved roughing up too.
     This IS HARDCORE! Y'know, like the old "I'm a reject and I don't need your stupid world" hardcore before all the meathead jocks and palm muting metal dudes starting coming around and stinking up everything.
     Since the first time I listened to this album a couple weeks back I have thought about calling him up, inviting him over and watch him loose his mind. First though I think I should probably move everything breakable out of the room (and out of his sight) because I believe it will make really want to smash some stuff. I mean, I don't want to deny the guy going through his 2nd childhood or anything but I'd rather have him smash his own stuff and, besides, I'm the one that is going to end up having to sweep broken glass of the floor when he send his drink tumbling to the floor anyway.
     He wanted punk rock. This punk rock is going to kick him in the face. If it doesn't-I'm gonna call his "I just want to be punk rock again" thing just bullshit talk.