Showing posts with label Dirtnap. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dirtnap. Show all posts

Oct 16, 2015

PHYLUMS "Phylum Phyloid" LP

     People could toss around the alt-county blah blah blah Americana blah blah blah Roots Music blah blah blah a billion times when taking about Wisconsin's Phylums but I still don't think they'd ever be convince them to wear such a thing as a badge. The same thing would happen if you were to drop the garage rock dime on them too.
     Comprised of guys that were in the Goodnight Loving, Holy Shit and Head On Electric, three bands that we're all very different from each other sound and approach wise, the music takes you on trip through the heartland. Yes, there will be rolling hills and probably diary cows and pretty girls but this is more than a Sunday drive to go get breakfast at some place off the beaten path. The ride may end up a little bumpy though as is also the heartland of hangovers, stupid days, working weekends to pay the bills and the many ghosts that haunt the rustbelt.
     Along with Byrds-esque sparkling in a rainstorm guitar jangle running a thread through most of the songs is here is the voice of Andy Kavanaugh. He's always had that knack from sounding wide eyed and cynical at the time same time. Like chasing a honey slide with a slug of with a bottle of middle shelf bourbon, there's a sweet earthiness to it that is equally soothing but has a bite. With the jittery exuberance put forth by the band, Phylums simply straight up music rooted in the vast and varied history of rock-n-roll.
     Starting things off with a amalgamation of the 50s, hyperactivity and brittle fuzz, "Can't Get Through" tells the tale of getting turned away at the Canadian border while trying to cross through at Detroit and then more than touches on the trails and tribulations of being unknown band on tour. Then it lyrically takes turns into a take of the messed up state of things in general. In a lot of bands hands the dour could hang over like dark clouds. The ragged harmonies and an overall "well we can't do much about it, might as well laugh about" delivery here gives the listener the feeling that's more like sitting around having a beer with friends and listening to them getting wound up while telling a story about a day nothing at all went right.
     Traces of surf music wash across along the dirt on the psych speckled love song "Bottle Of Wine", the lonely soul psychedelic noir of "Route 66" and on the solo dropped right between the folk rock standing on a trash punk foundation that's the words of warning (because it is true you can’t let your guard down when you're living on the...) on "Crummy Side Of Town."
     That reverby wetness and concrete crunch also does one of its finest balancing acts on the entire record during the tremulous cadence that stomps directly underneaths the mossy "I Gotta Know." Bubblegummy organ swirl add a syrupy and woozy feeling to morning after a long night out tale of "Cold Coffee" while another story of weighing the option of a night on town, "Go Home", feels celebratory on the thoughts of staying in.
     With no lack of melody packed choruses and hooks abounds that are simple enough to get toddlers singing along (the Bow-Bow-Bow-Bow on the high strung "Time Capsule" for instance) but still appealing to so called grown ups , don't be surprised if you find all the songs on this record worming into your ear. That goes twice if your like a sense of dark humor with a side of down home cooking.
https://dirtnaprecords.bandcamp.com/album/phylums-phylum-phyloid     

Dec 29, 2014

Smashin' Transistors Fave Albums of 2014

     Another year, another list. Never definitive but still throwing the hate in the ring for the sake of opinion. Some I got around to write about. Others I didn't. None the less here's the 20 albums, listed in alphabetical order, that seemed to be listened to and enjoyed the most around Smashin' Transistors Ground Zero in 2014.  
-Dale


The Achtungs Full Of Hate (Going Underground) Take standout tracks from the European band KBD/Bloodstains comps and put the blender on puree. Record it all (including the sound the blender makes.)
goingunderground.storenvy.com

Apache Dropout Heavy Window (Magnetic South) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Brain Flannel Empty Set (Grave Mistake) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

DeGreaser Rougher Squalor (Ever/Never) Towering and dissonant psych. Not the flowers and sunshine psych but the kind that dwells in the darkest parts of the mind.
degreaser1.bandcamp.com

Gino and the Goons Shake It (Slovenly) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Good Throb Fuck Off (Sabermetric) Soaked in venom and full of disdain.The sound of smashing the Poison Girls albums to bits and then reassembling it's jagged shards back together in a choppy (non) fashion.
goodthrob.tumblr.com

The Gotobeds Poor People Are Revolting (12XU) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Honey Radar Chain Smoking On Easter (Third Uncle) Syd Barrett's ghost, Flying Saucer Attack's melancholy and Television Personalities whimsy leave magnetic tape dust all over the recording heads of this battered bit of 4-track know how.
honeyradar.com

Iceage Plowing Into The Field Of Love (Matador) J.G. Ballard writes a romance novel with the Bad Seeds The First Born Is Dead and a lot of heavy breathing in mind as an aural soundtrack. Then Gun Club steal the manuscript under the cover of night.
iceagecopenhagen.eu
Martyr Privates s/t (Fire) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Meatbodies s/t (In The Red) Psychedelic pop that has one foot wiggling it's toes in the sand a sunny day at the beach and the other doing kicking at neon glowing brain monsters.
www.facebook.com/Meatbodies

Mordecai Neil's Generator (TestosterTunes) The disarrayed clatter that made the messes on Mordecai's first two albums has been swept into neat piles here. The fidelity is still blown and the music still ramshackle but the concept of obvious melodies now more digestible.
paperhose.tumblr.com

Musk s/t (Holy Mountain) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

No Bails Epyx Shredder (Pelican Pow Wow) Michigan scientists conducted a test on the effects a diet of 80s basic cable, food from greasy college town eateries, cases of Keystone Light and Cosmic Psychos records would have on a person. This album is their findings.
No Bails on Facebook

Obnox Louder Space (12XU) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

PYPY Pagan Day (Slovenly) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Space Raft s/t (Dusty Medical) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

The Sugar Stems Only Come Out At Night (Dirtnap) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Vacation Club Heaven Is Too High (Magnetic South) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

The Yolks Kings Of Awesome (Randy) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Jul 26, 2014

SUGAR STEMS "Only Come Out At Night" LP

     When it comes to perfecting the “summer for soundtrack” album bands from the Great Lakes states seem to have a knack for it.
     Personally living in the area for ages my guess is that it has something to do an appreciation of the season and making the most of it. All Great Lakes dwellers know that the cold, blustery and, especially when taking last winter into consideration, brutal weather will take hold and the sun will be hidden being a thick mass of greyness for what may end up being 2/3rd’s of the year. The warm breezes, riding to the beach with the windows down and the smell of barbeque and the events that surround them, be it sublime or bittersweet, are to be reminisced and/or looked forward to again even if they may stir memories both bad as well as good.
     What better way to do so then set it to music, right?
     The album's opener, the wall of sound drenched "Baby Teeth", hits the girl group gone new wave thing that Blondie did so well to a point where one may be searching the record's liner notes to see if it's an outtake from Plastic Letters.
     There is a lot more going on though that straight up Debbie Harry and the band she fronted worship going on here though.
     For instance, opposed to a lot of the current crop of "Blondie influenced bands" where the singers sound like they're making their voice resemble sour apple candy and a cocaine drain while the band is shadowy illuminated by dingy street lamps, Sugar Stems Betsy singing veers towards raw honey treated husky wail on the pristine pop of "Tell The Truth" and the album's title track.
     On others like sparkling fizz of "Some Might Say", the garage rock stomp on "Run Rabbit Run" and the almost baroque closing acoustic closer "Million Miles" she puts down real classic down home drawl and soar that the vocal equivalent a Hostess Twinkie (y'know, all fluff and no natural ingredients) current crop of dirt road pop startlets on country radio can't pull off no matter how much affected twang and autotune their producers pile on.
     Add in the rhythm section of Stef on bass and Jon E on drums firing on all pistons, lead guitarist Drew's flashy (without ever being long-winded or gaudy) solos and newest member Andy ebullient keyboard lines to the confection and even your dentist will be understanding about the newest cavities you have.
www.sugarstems.com

Mar 5, 2011

Smashin' Transistors Fave 20 Albums of 2010

Yep. This is waaay late but, hey, life gets in the way sometimes. Because of the distractions, diversions and duties 2010 laid down on me I was not able to give a chunk of the albums listed here a "proper review" posted up even though I listened to them quite a bit. For those I jotted down some scattershot thoughts. For those I did actually manage to get something posted about in the year that just passed-follow the link the revisit the review. Now without further ado and ranked in alphabetical order here's THE 20 albums (and five honorable mentions) from 2010 that stuck to Smashin' Transistors ear holes the most.
















BESNARD LAKES - ....Are The Roaring Night (Jagjaguwar) Lushly orchestrated but not bombastic. Brooding but not alienating. The sound of angels singing above crashing waves or a unforgiving thunderstorm on a otherwise pleasant summer day.
http://thebesnardlakes.com/

















BEST COAST - Crazy For You (Mexican Summer) Loud and (even the quieter songs) swimming in echo girl voiced mid-fi pop that brings some sunshine into the otherwise long dark shadow that's been cast since the post Vivian Girls sweepstakes.
http://bestycoasty.blogspot.com/
















the BLACK ANGELS - Phosphene Dream (Blue Horizon Ventures) Though their previous album's of Roky E and Spaceman 3 worship were find and dandy for what they are-this Austin, Tx band has really hit their stride this go round. A rollercaster ride of reverberation, days in the park and spooky dark corners.
http://www.theblackangels.com/
















BLACK MOUNTAIN - Wilderness Heart (Jagjauwar) Smashin' Transistors review of it here.
















ISOBEL CAMPBELL and MARK LANEGAN - Hawk (V2) Lee and Nancy...Serge and Jane...Johnny and June. They've all been bandied around when talking about Campbell's heavy sweet cream coo meets Lanegan's parched whiskey and mud croon. With tracks ranging from dirtroad folk blues and country tinged jangle rockers to 70's style slinky and string laden RnB love jams all the descriptors fit but that's not to say these two don't have their own thing on.
http://www.isobelcampbell.com/
















JOHN WESLEY COLEMAN - Bad Lady Goes To Jail (Goner) This is the 2nd solo album from Golden Boy Wes and for those who like their reckless and weird Americana will find this just the right thing when they want it but a bit louder, looser, stripped down and loud. The album reeks of booze, weed and sweat dripping all over the tape machine it was recorded on.
http://johnwesleycoleman.blogspot.com/
















the GOODNIGHT LOVING - The Goodnight Loving Super Club (Dirtnap) To call this Wisconsin combo's sound Alt-Country seems a little short sighted. It's not like their trying to ape some "Imagine Merle Haggard fronting AC/DC" thing or sing with a nasally down south I grew up on a farm twang when they actually lived at at the end of a cul de sac in a prefabbed subdivision. Country Rock is not on the mark either because some might think they sound like the Eagles. To call them a true blue American rock band in the tradition of CCR, the Byrds, the Replacements and Big Star might work though. GnL has had a great track record so far and this is one of their best yet.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Goodnight-Loving/84398543385
My label, Bancroft put out a record by the Goodnight Loving a couple years ago. I still have a scant few copies of it. If you'd like to purchase one let me know.

















GRINDERMAN - 2 (ANTI) Most dudes hitting their mid life crisis stage usually go out and buy a hot rod or some shit to compensate. Nick Cave doesn't need all that though. With Grinderman as his time away from being Mr. Bad Seed he gets all the fulfillment he needs. Crotch stuffed raunch rock gets tweaked and mutilated into a bloodied stomp, crawl and creep with Nick the Strippers tells stories from seedy hotel rooms and brothels located between churches and graveyards.
http://www.grinderman.com/

















GUINEA WORMS - Sorcererers of Madness (Columbus Discount) People have been calling Dick Clark the world's oldest teenager for something like two hundred and forty eight years now. Is there anyone in the running for the world's oldest drunk poet college sophomore? And so-is it Guinea Worms main dude Will Foster? Lots of libido, lots of leering, lots of inappropriate pick up lines, lots of intellectual references fueled by lack of sleep and the last beer in the fridge backed by hippie blues one minute, difficult jazz punk the next and some stadium sized hip-hop damaged heavy pettin' garage punk sing-a-longs thrown in for good measure.
http://www.myspace.com/guineaworms


















IDLE TIMES - Idle Times (Hozac) Smashin' Transistors review of it here.
















JAILL - That's How We Burn (Sub Pop) A Wisconsin supergroup if you know their background or current associations but we're here to talk about THIS album. Like how some college rock bands of the 80's took a 60's feeling and sound but brought it into the now while still staying faithful to the feeling and spirit Jaill is talking their cue from those college rock bands. Not lo-fi but also not overadorned jangle and harmony from guys who can stay up til the beer and pop is all gone BUT also do smart things like read books and talk philosophies. Not to be confused with the band from Halifax, Nova Scotia that were on Sub Pop in the early 90's called Jale.
http://www.subpop.com/artists/jaill



















JOE KILE - Southern Beauty Queen (Eastern Watts) Smashin' Transistors review here.


















the MENTHOLS - Michigan Works (UFO Dictator) Smashin' Transistors review of it here.


















SCOUT NIBLETT - The Calcination Of Scout Niblett (Drag City) The much bandied descriptions of Scout's music is "the illegitimate daughter of Kurt Cobain and PJ Harvey". Though it's a lazy/easy description her songs are sparse, her guitar can be all quiet then perforate an eardrum with sick feedback and her voice goes from a cracked whisper to heartbreaking wail-it's somewhat accurate. The princess of the New Weird Blues.
http://www.myspace.com/scoutniblett

















OVERNIGHT LOWS - City Of Rotten Eyes (Goner) This is one of those punk rock-n-roll albums that flies fast out of the gate with hyperactive energy and it's 12 songs in 22 minutes don't let up til the record finishes to a dead stop. Think the Marked Men raised on a steady diet of catfish or a less nerdy and much more pissed off Wax Museums and you be coming close to getting an idea on what these Jackson, Ms. rabble rousers are putting down.
http://www.myspace.com/theovernightlows

















the PLEASURE KILLS - Bring Me A Match (Polypore) It's like the guitar player from the Rezillos never left to hang out with the Human League, Blondie decided to speed things up after Eat To The Beat instead of trying to appeal to suburban moms or the members of the Go-Gos never discovered high limit credit cards, young republican courters and heroin. Bubblegum smacking dancefloor filling new wave party rock. Seeing their full on energy live show seals the deal cuz the band plays hard and Lydia can really belt them out.
http://www.myspace.com/thepleasurekills

















the SUGAR STEMS - The Sweet Sounds of...(Dusty Medical) Another Wisconsin band who's lineage and "Featuring members of..." thing I could go on about for days but know I already have done that somewhere else in public as well as the internet so no need for that now. Glossy and sparkling bright rooted in 60's girl groups and 70's power pop and guitar solos that nod to both James Burton and Rick Neilsen at the same time.
http://www.dustymedical.com/
Betsy and Stef Sugar Stem are also in the Flips. My label, Bancroft, put out a record by them awhile back. If interested in picking up a copy drop me a line.

















SUPER WILD HORSES - Fifteen (Hozac) Smashin' Transistors review of it here.


















WHEELS ON FIRE - Liar, Liar (Alien Snatch) Smashin' Transistors of it here.

















WHITE WIRES - II (Dirtnap) During the height of the whole pop-punk explosion I wonder if the Ramones ever weighed in on their take on it and if they did were they pissed about it. I imagine Johnny was but, then again, judging from the End Of The Century doc when wasn't Johnny pissed or miffed at something. I would hope though that they'd tell all those bands to realized what the Ramones reference points were and look for those as inspiration instead of, well, just aping the Ramones (and, for the most part, not doing it all that well). It's practically impossible to doubt that Ottawa, Ontario's White Wires haven't listened to the brudders from Forest Hills albums but for them it's a jumping off point instead of having their (Converse High Top) shoes cemented in the foundation. Ramshakled but right catchy buzzsaw rock-n-roll songs that nod to good times/great oldies and the 90's garage punk and have you humming the hooks right after the first time you hear them. Their first album was a charm and this follow up is even better. This ain't pop punk. Punk pop perhaps?
http://www.dirtnaprecs.com/

Honorable mentions: Ty Segall Melted, Sleepy Sun Fever, Superchunk Shredding Majesty, Tyvek Nothing Fits and the Vaselines Sex With An X.