Showing posts with label Illinois. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Illinois. Show all posts

Jun 5, 2019

BRUISED Arrow of Disease 7inch

Since 2007 Chicago based Randy Records has released slabs ranging from ringing folk jangle, gooey psych-pop and totally smoked filled dive bar white boy Rhythm-n-Blues. All of them had a healthy dose of punk attitude, but not many of them would I consider, y'know, punk rock.

That is until this, the 25th release from the label. Blurrrzztin' and blitzin', the debut single from Bruised. Battered and pulsing, "Arrow of Disease" throbs like Devo on a spaceship trip where they've hired a drunken Spits to be the crew. The spaceship in question is made of tin and is held together but some sort of glowing sludge. It's a brain rattling quest to a destination of circuitry.


If the song a blast to outer galaxies the flip, "Psychic Stain", is a rough reentry to this atmosphere. It's a quick and blunt blast of jerky hardcore that scrapes across concrete in a ferocious manner.

Get a contusion at Randy Records

Apr 16, 2019

THE YOLKS Get Back 7inch

Chicago's Yolks have always been ace purveyors of oldfangled hopped-up white boy R&B with a serious croon shaking hands with a jittery powerpop. Always clever, often sweaty and sometimes bittersweet, there have been dance moves abounds on every record they've done. The fast ones making hips shake or having them do something a bit more slinky on the more smoldery ones, but "Get Back" could even get someone to do a pogo (or whatever the kids, if they even really dance these days, call it.)

It's not that the song is more feverish than past ones as such a thing is common for the band and there has always been a punk-ish approach to how they go about playing but this one's got a bit more of a one-two punch of neanderthal rhythm than usual. The tune's general downbeat cadence and the laser beam keyboard zings may have something to do with that too.



The back side's "Vampire" slows things down a bit. The harmonies are like the Kinks singing a woozy ballad while a guitar sounds like it is jangling about in a walk-in cooler that's stocked full of brightly colored fizzy drinks.

Get it served sunnyside up at Randy Records

Aug 8, 2018

Off Color Brewing's SPOTS


While visiting Chicago a few weeks back I ended up wondering to myself "What exactly is a Tiki Weiss?"

It was not a question I've asked myself before. There I was, perusing the beer shelves looking for some things not available in my parts to bring back home. With me was a list of Illinois breweries I found interesting and are not distributed to SE Michigan. Off Color was one of the names on the top of my list. I had a small sampling of some of their wares before and was curious to try some more. I must also note that my better half also enjoyed their brews not just for their flavor but for the fact they put mice, cats both big & small and other critters into their artwork and design.

I forgot to mention that the weather during the visit was like baking in humidity city. Nothing burly and brown, nor overly sticky hop oil armaments were striking the fancy.

"Hmmm. Tiki." I thought. "Tangy tropicals. Weiss? Light and lively. This may be the thing if summer keeps up like this."

Lemon in color with a muted haze and topped with a plump head that fades fairly fast, the tiki tinges rise up to the nose through a wheat grain and pils malt foundation. It's got some zip in the smell for sure.

What is essentially a Berliner Weissbier brewed with passionfruit and grapefruit peels, Spots tiki decree really comes through in the flavor.  The passionfruit takes front and center on the tastebuds initially with a zing. The grapefruit peel adds a cool funky accent to it. Through the middle, there are flourishes of melon, peaches and pineapple. The finish brings orange creamsicle notes intermingled with a mildly astringent linger.

We brought a four pack back with us. Over the past few weeks, they have all been drunk. There's still (hopefully) good six to eight weeks of summer weather. I won't be able to get to back to Chicago until at least the autumn so I'll have to get through it without any more of these. I'll be sure to be looking for what Off Color has done with whatever the season is in mind on that visit too.
Count the Leopards at Off Color Brewing

Mar 22, 2018

AMERICAN BREAKFAST Asscube 7inch EP


In the last decade or so, a lot of what's been passed off as "straight-up garage rock action" has been questionable to being downright discourteous to anyone who in the 1990's blasted the latest new releases from a decent record stores 7inch bin at full volume.

How many times over the past 10 years now have I've read some hype and expected to get wowed by hipshakin' coup de mâitre only to hear something timid and lacking guts? Quite a few. How many times have I said "More like feeble bedroom pop encased in digital reverb?" before banishing a band from my orbit? Just as many.

Chicago's American Breakfast isn't playing such a bait and switch games though. First off there's the way French-born Laure Ellie sings. It's part Ye-Ye girl about town sass and coo's, part greasy and rowdy Rhythm-n-Blues blaring. A sweet creme brulee chased with a shot of single barrel bourbon. The band is no slouch either giving a hot and bothered wallop that's made to be heard loud in dive bars (and not just over laptop speakers) to tried-n-true 3 chord rave-up sounds like "Asscube" and blues-punk oozing "Ice Cream."



Though American Breakfast have released a couple things before, this is their debut to vinyl. Seems like a minor wrong in the world has now be righted.
Smell the bacon frying at Randy Records

Feb 23, 2018

CHARLIE REED "Love Hangover" 7inch


Chicago's Uh Bones may have packed it in a bit ago but their tattered and frayed jangle lives on with former member Luke Trible's new project Charlie Reed.

When I first played side one's "Love Hangover" I realized it was not a cover of the Diana Ross song. The second thing I learned is that Charlie Reed are not all about kicking up dust. It's a much more quiet affair here. Nylon stringed guitars move the rhythm of the song as it goes off into a baroque and blurry field of brightly colored flowers and dewy green grass. Something like Donovan song stripped down to simple basics and san all that silly affected hippie quavering thing he did with his voice or White Fence in their stoned & breezy lo-fi bedroom pop finery moments come to mind.


With it's folky fingerpicking pattern the flipside's "Just A Little" has a lightly but plesantly baked mood that's akin to some rays of sunlight poking its way through some rainclouds on an early autum day.
Feel the lilt from Randy Records

Nov 8, 2017

SKIP CHURCH Out Of Tune, In Touch With The Devil LP


Declaring yourself "America's #1 Saturday Night Band" is a pretty tall order and quite a bold claim. Any group that goes around telling people that needs to have all vibes that are expected from such a proclamation. Ya gotta be able to make people groove. It's gotta have a bunch of real soul feeling along with the rock and (especially the) roll. It's gotta make people shake off the work week grime and work up a party time sweat. It's gotta be something that makes people forget about their bills, their responsibilities and worries. It's gotta be all about having a good time.

Right off the bat, Chicago's Skip Church (the band who is making the claim) have got such things down with their name. If you're out boogying your butt off on a Saturday night, the last thing that is probably on your mind is dragging out of bed, putting on the hard and overshined shoes and having a sermon about the wages of sin recited to you the next morning.

These cats sound is made from amped up 1960's Rhythm & Blues and the 1980's brand of garage pop stock. Not deliberately lo-fi nor glossed up, this record hits right where a record of its sort should. The excitable "Hard To Meet Ya", "Then We Kissed" with its New York Dolls plundering girl group moves again and punk rock fuzzbomb that's "Smells Bad" are prime examples of how the band feel that the particular night of the week should sound.



Perhaps not everyone's idea of a good time on a Saturday night isn't three chord eternal teenage blasters though. I mean, a Saturday night can encompass many different mood and adventures, right? The band does have weepers like "Not The Boy", a soundtrack for a fight in hayseed bar with "Bad Anyways" and the small town hazed tinged psych that's all over "The Weather."



Since Skip Church dwell a train ride about seven hours away, I cannot confirm personally whether Saturday night is truly their kingdom. I do know that the next time I'mma Urbs In Horto though, I'd to see them and find out.
Dig Skip Church on Facebook

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

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

Nov 20, 2015

The YOLKS "Don't Cry Anymore" 7inch

      Y'know, any time a Yolks record gets put on the turntable a party is gonna start. If the party is already in effect, putting one of their records on turns the party up a north. Even as garage pop soul thrash-abouters these Chicagoland cats are though there is another side to the story. Y'know, like the types of things Smokey Robinson was talking about on "Tears Of A Clown" and "Tracks Of My Tears."
     Unlike the them doing the crying though, the a-side here, "Don't Cry Anymore", asks you to wipe away your own tears. A bit different than usual Yolks fare, the band sounds like their in a bit of a introspective mood. Things are slightly folky here but with a dust riddled Rhythm and Blues bounce that wont have the ears wanting to nob out like it would while listening to some snoozy assed Bon Iver track or something. The slightly stoned harmonies sound as like they were recorded straight into the same mic with little adornment other than room echo. The voices amalgamate in a way that resembles the Everly Brothers after a weed dealer just left their living room.
     After showing that hardly seen "softer" side of  the band they flip the switch of the dimly lit and mellow room mood to get up because it's time to get down mode. Throwing it back to the reckless party vibe that had a feeling being all sweaty and greasy from dancing to the bustling groove and eating fried chicken at the same time that their earliest records had stamped and stained all over them, "I Wanna Be Dumb" rids the room of any Captain Bringdowner's and fills the floor with a party vibe.

Feb 24, 2015

THE MORONS "Crackin' Up" 7inch EP

     With a name like the Morons no one is going be dropping the needle on this 45 and expecting this Chicago band to be laying down some introspective deep thoughts over top of some folky dewy morning acoustic instrumentation.
     No, what one expects is things to be loud and idiotic and wasting no time make a mess of everything. When it's done they want their stereo's speakers dripping with green lobs of lung gob.
     Sounding like the Cheater Slicks jumping about like they've got ants in their pants at a high school dance is how this EP's lead track, "Crackin' Up" kicks things off. "Disco Diablo" opens with a thuddin' bass line and then takes its fried to a crisp 90's garage punk and crams it into a garbage disposal.
     Flip it over and one might think from the opening chords of "Madelyn" that the band letting their guard down from being bards of brainlessness by doing a heartfelt ballad. As the song's static cling and lint covered jangle picks up steam to a boozy psychedelic sing-a-long pace though it becomes obvious though that these troublemakers need girls that are cause even more trouble. Clocking at a minute and a half the raw throated and three chord "I Can't Wait" finishes out the dalliances of dumbness that a scraped into the grooves.
     These morons actions at a keg party happening at bad pizza central could make primates hopped on cheeseburgers and blow shake their heads in disbelief of the mess that was made. Hell, the floor is all sticky and crunchy here now from beer and chips I ended up knocking all over while listening to this record.
www.facebook.com/WeAreTheMorons

Nov 2, 2014

The YOLKS "Kings Of Awesome" LP

     My girl and I wanted to go out on Halloween. We checked the options around town and it seemed the entire city was overrun by EDM laptop jockeys (with turntable strictly for show) or a couple of bands who have been covering the same Scorpions and Foreigner songs since they graduated high school in the 80's. And no, they don't do them ironically either. We quickly discovered that finding a rock-n-roll party where we could dance and act the fools to something get down groovy were dashed.
    In a way I blame myself for nothing worth venturing out for. I knew I should've put some kind of show together to combat the invasion of soulessness.
     Since I don't have a time machine, hiring the B-52s circa '79 was not an option. I do have a phone though so I should've been placing calls to Chicago and telling whoever answered phone at Yolks central "PEOPLE WANT TO DANCE AND YOU'RE THE ONLY HOPE!"
     Sounding like a 60's frat rock band after making it with some black chicks, the Yolks have been bringing the party (on record at least) since 2007. On their latest LP, Kings Of Awesome, the party is in the basement. The floors are already sticky from a few spilled beer and the walls are the damp from condensation even before the band plugs in. With a heartfelt croon, some science fiction reverb on the guitar and keyboard line that sounds like something from a Velvet Underground song filtered through a Friday night fish fry "There She Goes" kicks the scene into a high gear. Then, with the Television "Prove It"/1950's tinged "I Want Your Number", they take the party for a romantic walk to get some chili dogs.
     After the innuendo that's so transparent I dunno why I am even referring it an innuendo of the bacon grease blistered and having nothing to do with Freddie King or Bruce Springsteen song "I'm Going Down", the streetwise Sweet Jane feeling of  "True Love" and the smoochy acoustic touches of "Best Friend" the tubes powering the volume are burning hot. Just in time for the organ to take the spotlight and blare on the possibly weed baked soul-jazz blasted instro "Bud Heavy", taking "What'd I Say" back to a sweaty jukejoint where it always sounds best making it's 5 minute length seem half as much. It could go on twice as long as it does too cuz the room would keep shakin' their asses to it.
     The crowd is drenched in sweat but far from spent. Calling out for one more the band treats the request with the fuzzed out & funky "Stewed Tomatoes."
     Gonna tie a string around my finger to remind myself to find out what these cats are up to next Halloween.
randyrecords.bigcartel.com

Mar 2, 2014

The YOLKS "Two Dollars Out The Door" 7inch

     The Yolks shambled pop rockin' sound is something akin of Nick Lowe's Jesus Of Cool being pushed down a mountain of beer cans with a singer who sounds like he is constantly battling a deep down turmoil of whether to be a wise cracking suburban troublemaker or a velvet fogged philanderer.
     That means, around the Smashin' Transistors digs at least, their few and far between records have always been welcomed on the turntable and calling up friends to come over for a house party follows.
    This, their latest release (and the first thing by 'em to make it to vinyl since their full length LP in 2009), is no exception.
     The a-side's hyped up on sugar and rollin' in the dirt "Two Dollars Out The Door" not only gets a house party started with it's hooky bashing and smart ass Doo Wop chorus and harmonies-the mentioning of BBQing of Polish sausage and trying to talk to girls (some of who are Polish too) a backyard party that takes over the entire block could most likely ensue.
     A take on Willie Dixon's via Sir Bo Diddley "Oh, Pretty Thing" stays loyal to the tempo, beat and harmonica blaring of the original but like any backyard party that winds watching the sun rising the next day it's all bloodshot and staggering and doesn't know how to explain to the cops when they show up why all the neighbors lawn furniture ended up in the swimming pool and their pets on the roof of the garage.
http://randyrecords.blogspot.com

Jun 10, 2011

Thursday, June 30th-M.O.T.O. and the 7th Day Creeps at the Roche Bar in Port Huron

Punk pop (not pop-punk.There IS a difference) legends M.O.T.O. and local monster rockers the 7th Day Creeps. Yours truly, Dale Merrill, will spinning rock-n-roll records before and between bands. Thursday, June 30th at the Roche Bar, 405 Quay St. in Downtown Port Huron, Michigan.

Mar 1, 2011

Goose Island Pere Jacques

The first couple of Goose Island brews I tried a couple years back left me unimpressed so I laid off trying any of their other things til about a year ago when Jordan of the Mystery Girls brought over some of their saison take, Sofie, for me to try last spring. I liked it quite well and have intended on trying some of their other takes on Belgium styles but with so many other things and brews taking precedent it wasn't until tonight that I've really had a chance until tonight.
Rich ruby with gold highlights in color with a slight head that fades fairly quickly. Lots of warm dark fruits such as black cherry and raisin up front in the scent which are then followed by LOTS of caramel malts and bready yeast notes. Quite a few different nuances come out in in the flavor. Up front it has a cherry tartness along with some dates, peaches and a bit of woodsiness, towards the middle it takes on some green apple and grape nuances then towards the end a bit of cinnamon along with a touch of maple syrup. There's a bit of warmth to the end but nothing to really make one think it's over the 8% abv it sports.
None of the flavors are overbearing which makes all of it's complexities understated and interesting while working well and in tandem with each other. I'm kinda bummed I only have one bottle of this at the moment because I wouldn't mind having another as I could sip on this all evening.
http://www.gooseisland.com/

Feb 3, 2010

v/a "I'd Buy That For A Dollar" Vol. 1 & 2 7inch EP

Kalamazoo renaissance man and 3 meat pizza fan UFO Dictator found himself in a bit of a dilemma. He was hearing so many new rock-n-roll bands out there but had so little time (and money cuz after all it is Michigan and that's the story of most people's lives here anymore) to get their sounds committed to vinyl.
"Oh, what to do...what to do?" he asked himself? Then one late night it came to him and this series was born.
Kicking off volume one is garage gothsters Black Orphan. Their "Parasitic Mind" sounds like what a record would if Gary Numan moved to Michigan and collaborated with Timmy Vulgar. The Menthols are up next with a springy & spongy beat, Agent Orange like vocal parts and rockin' guitar solo that is "R Is For Russian".
Flipping the record over the hits just keep on a' comin' with The Legendary Wings "20,000,000 Miles to Earth". They usually do the young & full of desperation power pop very well but here it's a 3 chord banger of tension working some fine line between Hawkwind space travel and the trash can kicking sound of prime records from the Rip Off stable. Though this volume is all about some west coast Michigan bands it finishes with some international flavor with Spain's Los Steaks who's "Pills" is not the Bo Diddley song but a huge drunk at the amusement park organ blast backing up a Cheap Trick meets '78 punk sing-a-long.
Volume Two gets the hell out of Michigan all together (though there is a big foam finger included in back sleeve art sporting a Tigers "D" on it). Albany, New York's Cave Weddings whip up a batch artery clogging of snowbelt pop with"Just Like A Fool". It's Ramones/Devil Dogs greasy cheeseburger rockin' that smears the windshield with fingerprints of cute loud harmonies and a Back From The Grave looseness that thousands of JohnnyJoeyDeeDee try-a-likes would never understand (because their too busy practicing downstrokes and only listening to the Ramones and not any of the bands that influenced them). Next up to bat are the Useless Eaters out of Memphis, Tennessee. They don't sound anything like Elvis or Tora Tora though. "Surrounded" is a herky jerky jump arounder like a mechanical man being rewired by chimps whose actual forte is teaching the Electric Eels how to surf.
On side two Madison, Wisconsin's Gut Reactions sound like the illegitimate kids of the Cramps and some meth slinging bikers on "What Are We Doing" and Chicago's Wanton Looks "Worst Side Of Me" sounds like a white frosting covered bowl of glass. It's seems all fluffy, sweet and unassuming on the surface with it's Go-Gos with a whole more distortion going but underneath it at it'll beat you up.
http://www.ufodictator.com