Showing posts with label Texas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Texas. Show all posts

Dec 11, 2019

SPRAY PAINT Into The Country LP

The intention has been to sit down and disseminate impressions of the Spray Paint album for a bit of a spell now. Whenever attempted though, this reporter finds himself getting antsy, agitated and itchy. I do believe that has been an intention of the band since their inception and they've continued to achieve it quite well seven albums deep.

A difference with their latest, Into The Country, though is that it sounds as if they've almost found away to almost to use their spasmodic motions and sways for ways to have a bit of sick fun rather than just simply abetting in aberrant thoughts of a listener.

To an extent, that is.

The spring coiled and furious pulse of "Alcohol Surface" opens the record sounding like krautrock in a bouncy house. That someone died a violent death in.


And from there, things get more deviant.

"Keep On Googlin'" is like the reverberated sound glitch that rattles around inside a human brain that has stopped completely stopped deciphering what is fact and what is bogus, leaving all thought to be decided what comes of fits in some kook curated web search. "Death Bed" could very well resemble sounds of aggrieved calm some may hear before exited this plane.


If the taunting of impending doom by mocking it and laughing in its face hasn't become more pronounced as the record progresses, the sentiment seems more than obvious as the record ends with "Can't Help But Kill" and "Cleaning The Gun." The former with a chunk of hillbilly flesh being run through a grinder located deep in a cave guitar lick and a used car salesman meets crazy old biblical looking dude pontificating in front of the post office rant. The latter for first giving an impression of floating in some weightless netherworld and then decompression sickness kicking in.

Huff fumes at 12XU

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Oct 7, 2019

USA/Mexico Matamoros LP


Sometimes I entertain the idea of taking psychedelic mushrooms for the first time in decades. Then I start to wonder “but what if I take the trip and don’t end up returning.” As my thoughts keep pondering the subject I then ask myself "And what if it's a really bad trip on top of that."

In my youth, I often wondered this while listening to the Butthole Surfers. USA/Mexico's begetter of nepenthean beats is Butthole Surfers drummer King Coffey. Along with Shit and Shine’s Craig Clouse on guitar and vocals and When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth's Nate Cross on bass, the noise/drone/destructo-psych pedigree is of momentous scale. Joined by Spray Paint's George Dishner on 2nd guitar for the album's opener/title track, the brain fry may seem immediate with squalls of guitar feedback being the first thing to rise from the wax, but it's the rumble akin to listening to an old skyscraper crumbling to the ground after detonation played at a really slow speed where the hallucinatory trepidity really sink in.


It's followed by a reflective and nostalgic moment of sorts with "Shoofly." The "of sorts" is that the song originally appeared on Cherubs debut album Icing which was released on King Coffey's label, Trance Syndicate, in 1992. Joined by Cherubs member Kevin Whitley, this almost three-decade later take of the song somehow almost manages to outsick the original, and making it just as creepy and menacing.

 

While any given track on the album would make my grandfather come into the room, asked me if I am listening "to the soundtrack for World War III" and tell me turn it down, it's the 17 minutes of blown out rumblings and snail pace thudding of the album's closer "Anxious Whitey" that, if he were still alive, that would make him storm in, rip the needle off the record and whip it out the nearest closest window (just like he did the first time I played Throbbing Gristle's "We Hate You (Little Girls)" single on his fancy assed high-end Marantz at full blast decades ago.)
Crumble the walls at 12XU

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Nov 10, 2018

MISSING PAGES "Long Way Down" 7inch


When first glancing at the cover of the Missing Pages 7inch, something about its design had me thinking of a large percentage of "Euro-garage" singles that came out in late 90's and early 00's. Many of them had a certain look to them.

Another similarity about a lot of those kinda records had to them was that the bands had the best intentions but there was always an element lacking in their rocking which kept them in the "Ehh, they're okay I guess. They mean well" pile.

Missing Pages are not from anywhere in Europe. They're from Austin, TX. Comprised of members of Sweet Talk, Church Shoes and others, they're set into other time shifts.

1985. Reagan's in for a 2nd term. It's dark times in America. Let's say it's a cold winter college town USA city. Darker music, mostly of an English flavor in the early forms of post-punk, made its mark on some bands that played the bar with the local favorite budget beer lighted sign outside.

1985. Sounds about right. Bobby Knight threw a chair and fucking New Coke. The country was slowly starting to get out of a recession it was in but unemployment were high all over the western world.

R.E.M. released an album they recorded in England. New Order released their last decent album. The Jesus and Mary Chain's Psychocandy, Bad Moon Rising by Sonic Youth and The Fall's This Nation's Saving Grace (to name a just few) came out that year too. Rhythm sections could be heads down pounding but also sway. Guitars made a sparkly roar....or a spindly spider crawl. The highest rung of the artistic bar was brooding with hooks.

David Lee Roth also left Van Halen in 1985. That was sure sign the good times were going to go dim.

My favorite year of music in my life time? Not quite but it is in my top seven or so. These are the types of things I hear on "Long Way Down." A rock solid bottom, a hook and melody that rings classic but wrinkled into a odd pattern. A catchy glide to get caught in a thunderstorm with. There's a tinge of "art" that plays on a subtle level here where the more it is absorbed, the way a standard rock band line-up can intertwine sound takes on a colorful weave.



Somewhere between my first impression and the prattle above was, of course, my second impression.

"It like the first two Psychedelic Furs re-envisioned by the Marked Men" I proclaimed (to one of my cats who was in the room.) I said it even louder when side two's "Highlighter Piss" started blaring outta the speakers.That makes more sense once it's realized that Jeff Burke mixed this candy coated chainsaw.


This record will not end up in the earlier mentioned "meant well" pile. It will stay in my listening to quite a bit stack for a good spell though.
Get found at 12XU

Oct 12, 2018

ROCKET 808 "Digital Billboards" 7inch


When it comes to rock-n-roll John Schooley has an old soul. It's been obvious since his barely outta high school hayseed punk band the Revelators bolted from the bucking chute in the late 90's.

It's continued with each musical thing he's been part of too. Just straight up back road hollerin', stripped raw blues burnin', punk rockin' bang-n-twang. No post-punk math assignments. No mustache pondering indie rock. No digital do-dads used as crutches to soil up the sound.

His latest project is named in tribute to what is contestability the first rock-n-roll song recorded. More servings of that fine cooking he whips up right?

Well, he's now using a drum machine!!! Before you go clutching for your pearls and beckoning for the smelling salts, it's a drum machine that sounds like it was snatched out of some Silvertone electric organ that had been sitting neglected in the corner of an old folks home for a few decades now.

With it setting a beat that's as slinky as it is cheezy,  a guitar rings and roars in hillbilly from hell handlin' a hollow body style. Strings bend and blare in reverb drench but never stray into shred territory like some of the surf and rockabilly assholes of the past couple of decades stray into much too often.


While "Digital Billboards" is like sauntering through the sleaziest part of town where neon reflects in pools of spilled whiskey on the sidewalks, "Mystery Train" takes the well worn Junior Parker song down into the sewers below in search of the slimiest echo.

Blast off at 12XU

May 12, 2017

BORZOI Surrender The Farm 7inch EP

In a conversation I had with a friend recently we were thinking about which AmRep band we had each seen the most. For me, it was (the) Cows. I was then asked if remembered any of the bands they played with. I couldn't recall. Hell, I can't even recall any of the other things that happened on those evenings other than seeing the band. A Cows live show was like watching a gang of the criminally insane compose the soundtrack the Z-grade hayseed horror film where they do really messed up things in really weird smelling basement that is constantly playing in their heads.  It was always disturbing and mesmerizing. I think they did something to fry any other memories of the night out of the spectator's brains.

I have not seen ATX's Borzoi live so I cannot confirm if they have such powers on stage but on this record, they seem to have grazed through a same sort of hazardous waste meadow because they sound a similarly unsound. Thick bass slugs straight in the gut while guitar strings wrap around the throat. The drums, noticing the grasping and struggling, assist by kicking it all down the side of a mountain.

The EP's title track thrashes like a deadly barn stampede. Chickens get trampled. Goats bleed to death. At a little over a minute long though it's just a warning bell of the audio carnage ahead. The bandsaw on metal grating guitars on "Feeding The Pig-Dog" first create discomfort and tension. Just when you think it's about to drive you to the brink of mental capacities will never return, a jet engine hurricane of feedback blows through, with shards of glass and rusty nails flying around and stabbing everything in their path.

Don't think that just because they have a song called "Desert Rose" that it's going to be a pleasant and pretty picture either. It's more like some sub-human stomp that's like between something off the first Mordecai album and the noise that rings through a pile driver operator's head when deep into his work. "Millipede" is an apropos title as it is like a billion insect feet scattering over the psyche. Those insect feet aren't bare either. They're all wearing old metallic golf spikes.
Get it at 12xu.bigcartel.com

Apr 14, 2017

JAMES ARTHUR'S MANHUNT "Staring At The Sun" 7inch

When James Arthur's album of last year, Digital Clubbing, came out I was pretty dang excited to hear it. As a fan of the type of noise James has made since first hearing the Fireworks back in the mid-90's and dug everything he has been a part of since, along fact that it had been over five years since anything, you could even go as far as saying I was chomping at the bit for new music from him. And when my ears landed on the record, they were not disappointed in the least.

Then I started thinking "Is the world going to have to wait ANOTHER five years to hear more new stuff from him?" As of this moment with the release of this new single though, that seems to not be the case.

Under the knob twiddling of Stuart Sikes, who's CV includes working as the engineer on albums ranging from Loretta Lynn, The Polyphonic Spree and the Promise Ring to the Reigning Sound, the Sword and Cat Power,  James and his Manhunters blast their sonic power to higher highs and crank out two unobvious covers.

On one side, there's the Angry Samoans "Staring At The Sun." Originally appearing on an album that confused to flat out pissed punk rockers when it came out for sounding, well...a bit more "mature" than the ones before it, STP Not LSD, the song was the psychedelic jam on that record. With guitar twang specializing in slasher flick splatter, a rhythm section adept in beat downs, creepy echo'd vocals and notions of riding a rocket straight into the middle of the huge flaming orange ball, it's downright disturbing take of the song that may even get me to bust out the original and reassess my opinion on it. I mean, it's been at least 25 years since I last listened to it.

The flip finds a take on "Cherry Red" by the Groundhogs. Always a bunch more weird, off and interesting on their approach than their Brit blues rock peers of their time, covering a Groundhogs song actually makes sense for James, even if most wouldn't ever think about it else wise. Things get even more mutated on this version. Something like Hawkwind getting grounded up and mixed in with some masa flour and then fried in ZZ Top grease.
Get it at www.spacecaserecords.com

Sep 8, 2016

JAMES ARTHUR'S MANHUNT Digital Clubbing LP

Photo by Ángel Delgado-Reyes
     Since the mid-90's I have seen every band that James Arthur has been in that rolled through Michigan. The first couple of times it was just coincidental. Then it came deliberate. Fireworks. A Feast Of Snakes. The Necessary Evils. Heck, even when he was in the Golden Boys. I was always around whooping it up at the show and then talking bourbon, bikes, backwoods and whatever else afterwards.
    Since the 2010's Manhunt LP on Melbourne's Aarght! and a couple of singles though the world hadn't heard much from James. He had his reasons to go missing (you can read all about that and more in an interview he did with Ryan Leach) but now, along Orville of the OBN IIIs on drums, Golden Boys Bryan Schmitz and bassist Sean Morales, he's back to plugging things in and making noise on them.
     Like those previous records with the Manhunt name on them, there is an ambient and soundtracky vibe on tracks like on Psilocybin mushroom heaped spaghetti westerns "Blowout" and "Butcher" but Digital Clubbing isn't just a bunch of mood pieces strung together with the more meandering parts clipped out. 
     "Blackbird" and "Come Down" take Davie Allan & the Arrows fuzz down some dangerous paths. The former into a burning building full of hoarse rhythm and blues growlers, the latter tying it to the from of a truck hauling dynamite and aiming straight for a brick wall. Beating the tar out of things beyond recognition might be a thing that runs through the record though as "Wired" has a riff that boogies like a, what else, totally wired classic rock station being spun out of control and then belt sanded down to a chunky pulp and by the time "Kill Zone" finishes, a dizzying space rock high still rings even though all that is left behind is ashes.
12xu.net

Aug 18, 2016

JOHN WESLEY COLEMAN III Greatest Hits LP

     I dunno how many times I have told myself that I am gonna sit down a write a song everyday. Sure, it sounds good and impressive but it never happens. Coming up with a song everyday is not very easy.
     That is, it seems, unless you are John Wesley Coleman III. Releasing solo records as well as his playing a major role in the band the Golden Boys, Wes can pen a good a tune at a decent clip. His latest, titled Greatest Hits is not a collection of previously released songs. It could possibly be the greatest hits of the mountain of songs he most likely created fairly recently.
     On the cover of the record, Wes stand on the bow of an abandoned boat left in a field. He's dressed like a yachtsman on his way to fancy dinner party. In one pocket a flask and a dime bag in the other most likely. In some ways that conveys the moods of the record. It may be time to show some maturity and responsibility (after all, he's a dad now) but there's always going to be some scruff and rabble that comes with it.
     Actually, still quite a bit of scruff and rabble as the slightly cheesey/kinda sleazy riffed opener "Bong Song" displays. The song juxtaposes a brightly chromed and hi-performance Camaro Rock chug with drunken handclaps and a ratty buzz that sounds like it's about to get completely engulfed in corrosion. A similar sanguine unkeptness is all over the south of the border meets 70's horn driven pop "Portlandia" and "Miranda," who's rumbling bass line is straight out of punk rock song but a woozy sax and whirling organ make it seem like a carnival setting circa 2nd album Springsteen if he drank less milkshakes and smoked more weed.


     When things take on a folkier strain such "Tea and Sandwiches" and the practically lilting but darkly lit "Pick Up Your Phone" they're still frayed around the edges. Actual dirt and dust flying around where it would probably enough to send Lumineers fan back into the hiding in the corner of a coffee house and discuss the way people were dressed in the "Come On Eileen" video.
     Throw in a country weeper that feels absolutely sincere and real as should be while also sounding equally cracked in the head like "Falling Outta Love" and some downright introspective crooning about yard work called "Lawnmower Man" and you have a whole new slew of songs to pick from if and when an actual JWC retrospective does ever come out.
johnwesleycoleman.com

May 4, 2016

NAMELESS FRAMES s/t LP

Nameless Frames via Shea Carley Photo
     This Texas trio knows its way around loud, brash and totally catchy hooks and there's an absolutely insolent yet risible attitude that permeates throughout this record. Yelps of recklessness on songs like tightly wound "Exploitation" and the flaying wildly "Cut Out" have a bed of jittery guitars strokes that are reminiscent of fellow Lone Star punk twisters like the Motards and the Reds.
     Where as those two bands though did there thing to get a straight ahead way to their destination (the former with headstrong impeccability and the latter seeing double or maybe even triple but some how making to it the ending the finish with rarely any meandering), these guys get mangled for a moment here and there. Though it does cause a twist to the cadence, it makes sense to the scheme of disposition than it does being a wrench thrown into the works just for the sake of making someone think "They're getting weird, man."
     If the band stuck with that formula for this entire album it would still make for an entertaining listen but judging from other things that go on the record, they need that spice of life which variety brings. That doesn't mean they pull of some Mahavishnu Orchestra bullshit or bust out banjo and start singing about how they'd ride the rails if they didn't already have a job promised to them at their father's firm after college though.
     The big bombs of fuzz that detonate on the album's opening rave up "Upstairs", the swamp dwelling"To Late To Lose" and the rumbling DIY punk bass anchored "Control" bring 60s garage rock kicking and screaming into post everything modern world."She's An Oddity" is like the Ramones guzzling jet fuel and "Put It Back" saws the top of the Replacements skull off with jagged Johnny Thunders record. Then it closes out everything with a bit of post punk blues that doesn't try to damn hard to be either and ending up failing at both with "Garage Can."
www.supersecretrecords.com

Jan 24, 2016

FOGG "Pinko" Digital LP

     Earlier offerings from Fort Worth, Texas band Fogg doomed down like Black Sabbath, hashish brownie boogied like Foghat, cruised around town like like they were driving an El Camino built by Sir Lord Baltimore and, to make sure that they'd keep the hippies that "just want to get mellow, man" at bay, rubbed themselves in the sickly foul matter of Black Flag's My War while making unfriendly faces.
     Those things along with cannabis and jugs of California table wine seemed to be their diet of earthly delights and kept them fed. Pinko though sounds like they've embarked on a foraging adventure to regions beyond the voids of this planet to find things that go with expand their subsisting regiment. While the band has been no stranger to grooving things past six and to almost ten minutes from time to time in the past, there was always a template of straight up thing that, for the sake of not splitting to many (long) hairs, that's hard rock. The shortest of the three jams on this go round, the close to eight minute "Puff", begins by blasting asteroids with laser guided fuzz guns before drifting in some heavy atmosphere where dayglo imps thrive on oxygen that's been enriched by the Devil's lettuce.
     The album's opener, the eleven minute "Wand II", with it's mélange of quasi-exotica, guitars conveying the feeling of squishy fungus, electrofied appropriations of flutes mimicking bird calls and freak jazz making a landing on some distant planet, it's like Sun Ra and his Astro Intergalactic Infinity Arkestra taking the listener on a tour of Martin Denny's Quiet Village. It's only a quiet at that moment though because the dragons are sleeping. They awaken when they smell the fresh meat wandering about and then the chase is on.
     The sprawling "Mother Earth's Toe Jam" spins itself dizzy to several Amon Düül II albums at once in a cabbage field. It results in the largest mountain of the sourest kraut (rock) around. They feed it to the unclaimed children of Phallus Dei after they located them living at an abandoned drive in movie theater. The band then sticks around to watch scratchy and washed out art flicks edited down and repackaged as 8mm stag film loops of Uschi Obermaier boobs with them til dawn.
www.facebook.com/foggtx

Nov 6, 2015

OBN IIIs "Worth A Lot Of Money" LP

     The OBN IIIs have always brought the rock. And not just any rock either. It's a bit like the kind of rock that was heard blasting out of high school auto shop in the late 70s/early 80s. It's a bit like the kind of rock that was heard in a small town downtown on a Friday night blasting out of the cars the high schoolers were working on in said auto shop.
     It's a fist in the air, anthemic kind of rock. It's also tends to be more smart assed and clever than just straight up lunkheaded and proud about it than what a lot of people would think when describing the type of rock that it is.  Sure, it's cocky and the attitude is one of folks that don't really care if you think they play to loud and smell like bourbon sweat and cigarette butts.
     While previous records by the band hinted a little bit here and there that they weren't perhaps ashamed of rockin' out to hard rock heroes who's best songs haven't gotten played on classic rock radio in years there was always punk rock goo all over them that was fit for dingy, dank basements and humidity stricken back yard barbeques. Here, with the production of assistance of a cat who has twiddled the knobs for the likes of the ...And You Will Know Us By Our Trail Of Dead, Heartless Bastards, Spoon and Lee Ann Womack (?!?!), Mike McCarthy, some of the murk has been buffed away, exposing a bit more color than expected while still keeping the grit intact.
     The swagger on tracks like the slow burning "What Happened To You", "Let The Music", which sounds like a soundtrack for good ol' fashioned fight where guitars are flashed like switchblades, the way "The Stalker" gallops into a wall of a fire and swerving chug on the night's not over but hangover gonna be hell in the morning on "You Can Never Let Me Down" sound like the ghost of Phil Lynott are in the room. Not just in the way singer Orville Neely channels the tough guy with a tarnished heart of gold delivery but also from the doubled up guitar harmonies that peel off notes and chords like riding through peaks and valleys of Thin Lizzy badassery and the way the rhythm blast holes through any obstacles that are blocking the way for them to meet their destination.
     The rock doesn't stop just there though. "New Money", a checklist on how to blow cash fun and recklessly is like AC/DC discovering a couple new chords after falling into a fountain of youth behind the back of grease covered rib joint joint, the album's opener "New Trash" and the street level boogie on "Standing" and "I'm Done" resemble ZZ Top's Tres Hombres spun at twice the speed and illuminated by exploding flash pots.
     It's a been a common statement for years now that rock is dead. That's usually followed by a "Rock Is Back" declaration. It sounds like the OBN IIIs don't give a damn either way. They just know it feels good. 
http://12xu.net

Sep 18, 2015

SNOOTY GARBAGEMEN s/t LP

     As if being a string bender for the OBN IIIs and one of the noise bringers on the Blaxxx project wasn't already enough to satiate Texan Tom Triplett's need for loud rock-n-roll action, he also fronts up purveyors of bad attitude sounds, the Snooty Garbagemen, too.
     Unlike the shake your hips while punching you in the gut Stones/Dolls boogie slime happenings of the former or the barbed wire wrapped distortodelic funk of the latter; this gang is much more elemental with its intentions. A power trio in a most primal sense, the songs here are locked in to swift and constant rhythm pummeling, all on a conquest for the constant taste of red meat and letting most of the human race they can fuck right off.
     After introducing themselves with a flurry of psych blues slime guitar racket and the bass & drums determined to cause destruction on the instrumental "Sad Sack" the band then pushes the listener into a garage. Not one of those new sparkly garages that it seems chirpy, smiling kids with a penchant for digital reverb want people to think they bob their heads in unison all day these days but a dingy, dirty one where a bare lightbulb hangs to lights your way so you don't get tetanus from backing into some random rusty piece of oil soaked, soot coated jagged metal scattered all over the place.
     When Tom's virulent voice one ups Johnny Paycheck stupid job sentiments by ten on the Motorhead/Tad infected "I Quit" it's obvious he's had enough and doesn't know but still doesn't care how he'll pay his bills. Most likely though he and the band would just find more time to be shit kicking punk rock down the street like they do on songs like the thunderous "I Can't Find My Keys", dancing on graves to the spazzed out beat of "Apart At The Seams", trying different sized drill bits on heshers eardrums like they do on "Heavy Metal Brains" or bumming out hippies acid trips the way "Answer Your Phone" has the power to do.
     Yeah, the Snooty Garbagemen can scoff your trash. They have no need for it. They're doing just fine building a fetid, obnoxious heap of their own.
http://12xu.net

Mar 19, 2015

FOGG "Death" LP

    "The carb hole was bored out after I upgraded to an 18.8 downstem. It makes for way less drag for intake."
     "The dual chambers cool it way down too meaning maximum expansion."
     "The carbon filter does an stellar job on keeping it gunk free too."
     On and on I could hear the technical jargon going on between two fellow students sitting behind me in during a science class in my high school years. It sounded like some serious modifications.
     Assuming their were talking about some project happening in their Auto-shop class I asked them what kind of motor they were working on.
     The one dude laugh "Brah, we ain't doing much in auto shop class since that one truck caught on fire. We're building a bong!"
     "We even have the sweet jams planned when we fire it up."
     Now, granted this was not the coolest/hippest town to grow up in. Wasn't expecting the two dudes to drop names like Hawkwind or Sir Lord Baltimore but when they rattled off the "sweet jams" that would be crankin', "Y'know, some Styx, some Journey, some REO...", a person couldn't help but wonder how if they even knew what the purpose of a bong is for AND how shitty would the grass be that they were going to smoke through it.
     If it was Fogg being overheard having the same discussion, there would be no doubt of about the engineering of the smoking apparatus, the quality of of what would be smoked and especially the choices of music that would be turned up while the toking would going down.
     After gurgling from the terra firma with a swell of feedback "Time Ride" starts to slither across the surface like a thousand slimy night crawlers in the grass after a midnight rain.
     Next the band drops two heavy doses of Blue Cheer with "Rainbow" and "Fried Cheer". The former lollops like a electrified calliope with guitar/bass interplay acting as nails pounded into a doorjamb to keep jackals from tearing things from the hinges. On the latter it sounds as if the levee is starting to break. The type of rattled and shit fidelity proto-punk fuzz that is all over things like the MC5's Kick Out The Jams album when it procreates with slabs of doom.
     Psychedelia flourishes come into play heavily on sprawling "Wings Of Death", which starts out as some introspective meandering before kick starting the engine and twisting the throttle, and the classical interlude that's "Hair Temple" but both are more about colors browns and greys and dead flowers than swirling fluorescent hues and putting daisy in your hair.
     The squishy, rubbery wah-wah that permeates "Tongue Melts", the primordial man plays funky drummer beats on "Merlin Power" and the bulldozing your bones into a mound of glowing ooze vibe on "Reaper" would all fit in at a biker barbeque where the pig is soaked in Old Crow before roasted over a fire of gasoline and brimstone.
     With all the lo-end rumbling it was only a matter of time before this would cause an avalanche rolling down from dotted with poppy field mountains. The two closers that to happen in (slow) motion. "Sludgemother", squirms like a luded out Mudhoney handing a teenage warlock the mic. Then a drum solo kicks in. As well all should know by now the only two places drum solos ever make sense and work are on stuff like this or some prime 60s jazz so it's all good here. "Womb To The Tomb" completes the comedown with droopy eyed guitar explosions and sounding a bit like some nephews of St. Vitus cutting classes and chasing bong rips with Mountain Dew.
playpinballrecords.bigcartel.com

Dec 15, 2014

FLESH LIGHTS "Free Yourself" LP

     Referring to a bands sound even remotely as power-pop can garner many different reactions and opinions from music zealots. And a lot of those reactions and opinions do not fall on the pro side of the fence. Those types will bitch about the stereotypical trappings of what they think the pigeonhole sports even though they're going off something they read somewhere or basing it off scoffs they made once at the cover of a record while thumbing through a dollar bin.
     Sometimes, as a bonus, you will get the anti-Beatles rant by someone who hates the Beatles because it's a cool thing to do. They will know everything about what a band that gets offhandedly described as "having a bit of a power-pop thing happening" sound like without even hearing them.
     Whatever.
     Loud guitars, catchy melodies and choruses that'll lure the ears in is where Austin's Flesh Lights is where the power and the pop lies and those types are missing out on what was being got at, I guess.
     With no skinny ties, sugary whines or white horned rim glasses this record is about turning the volume up and having the songs get stuck in that place in your head where a bright gloss and punk rock grit compliment each other instead of fighting for the front seat. The beat battering of drummer Elissa and bass player Jeremy's full steam ahead thump lay a solid bedrock of rhythm for Max to hammer jubilant guitar blare and keep it study.
     Opening the record with a foot stomping cadency, "Just About Due" fires off without nary a warning of the need to hang on before it jettisons into a perfect piece of making air guitar windmill moves for the listener. Sounding like they were fed doses of the Ramones and the Saints since birth they don't have the time to candy coat what their thinking either. Be it calling out the oldsters who are trying to hard to look hip to prove that they (may be) still cool on "Middle Age" or mocking the rockers who tell the same story over and over again about the time they almost hit rock stardom on the hot footed Flaming Groovies like blaster "Big Break" pretty much lets everyone know they aren't about to don candy coats anytime soon. They also aren't afraid of bringing the rock action when it's called for uncoiling tasty guitar solos all over on tunes like the Cheap Trick down at the dive bar "You Might Know"and the over speed limit pace of the album's title track.
http://12xu.net

Dec 12, 2014

EX-LEGIONNAIRES "Don't Care For Crying" 7inch EP

      Most likely best known for being the one behind the incongruous pop sounds of Denton, TX based Maaster Gaiden close to a decade ago, D. A. Anguiano has kept himself busy with several projects since. His latest thing, Ex-Legionnaires, is the first one us here at the good ship Smashin' Transistors have laid our ears on since the split single Maaster Gaiden did with the Points in 2007.
     Hooking up with some Austin cats for his newest combo things get fired up cooking with bacon grease.
     Rifling around the herbs and spice racks of the Devil Dogs and whatever the Misfits used to give Walk Among Us its particular bite (a vampire pun only partially intended right there), these guys, realizing that it would be dumb to serve up a straight replication, the took bits and pieces from each of the recipe books, subtracting this (f'r instance there is luckily a lack of "Whoa-Oh-Oh" abuse that the latter practically turned into a genre of it's very own), adding that (like the amusement park organ that pumps behind the record's closer "Labor Of My Love") before tossing it on the grill to sear.
     When served these helpings of rock-n-roll, such as the blaring guitar party of the record's title track and fittingly titled "Vigorous Head Shakin'", are crispy and crunchy on the outside with a right amount of rareness found when cutting into the middle.
http://exlegionnaires.tumblr.com
       

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.
http://12xu.net
     

Mar 26, 2014

GLOW GOD "House Of Distractions" LP

GRUNGE!
     When it comes to music it's been a tainted word for about two decades now. It was once used to describe scummy rock-n-roll  music made by outsiders, misfits, rejects and stoners who wanted things loud but also murky. Who wanted glare and blare to get all explode too but also something that slithered across quicksand at a lumbering gait.
    Then, as the story goes, a bunch of dudes in varsity jackets who dreamt at night about being the next Queensryche saw that Nirvana one video on MTV. The next day they hid their fringe leather jackets adorned with tin accessories in the back of the closet, swiped a couple of their old man's shirts that he wore when raking leaves and stopped brushing their hair. 
     Oklahoma City band Glow God are so damn grunge they took their name from a song by the Melvins. But not one of those signed to a major label Melvins albums that one of the above bought at the mall. We're talking about the smelly, smoldering sludge slowly rolling down a jagged mountain, partially killer inept mess that was their first record Gluey Porch Treatments. Any band that is going to take their name from that record is most likely not thinking of making a sick and noisy sound that will help them totally fry their minds and not the stupid shit that might get them onto jukeboxes at bars where douchebags play air guitar on pool cues to Puddle Of Mudd songs.
     Tracks like the opener "Numb", which starts off like a questionably maintained jet engine firing up, the biker rock nightmare vibe on "Man Down" and the screeching wall of sticky fuzz that's "Outside My Mind" resemble Mudhoney if they were all about plunging into a heated pool of Robitussin DAC instead of having a member falling for the plunging heroin needles into his veins thing that was expected back then. It's not all "that (particular) Seattle Sound" though either as songs like as "Stuck" wrings a boogie rock rag before throwing it into a bonfire while others such as "Without" and "Taking You Down" give off the feeling of floating on a fluffy cloud right before it joins other to start a thunderstorm.
     This is the moldy basement, dirt weed, hick town kind of GRUNGE.  Not the kind that has allowed really shitty bands like Creed and Nickelback to go on to influence even shittier ones such as Saving Abel and Evans Blue.
www.playpinballrecords.bigcartel.com

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.
http://www.12xu.net/        
     

Jun 1, 2012

Southern Star Pine Belt Pale Ale

     "YOU DON'T PUT CRAFT BEER IN CANS."
     I have heard that said many times now. Sure, the belief of such is a legit one. When a person thinks of canned beer they think of beer gutted old guys knocking back clear yellow, adjunct grained, light lagers while yelling at the TV, their kids, their wives and et cetera.
     They think of shotgunning tons at underaged parties, puking their guts out and then getting grounded, or worse, by their folks the next day.
     Most beer snobs will think of many, many things when it comes to brews in a can but usually not "Oh man! That stuff is so awesome."
     Over the last few years though some breweries have been doing their best to change that assumption. Oskar Blues in Colorado comes to mind instantly though there are others that can be mentioned of course. Another one that be added to the list is Southern Star Brewing out of Conroe, Texas.
     Cloudy clover honey in color and a thick and creamy head that hangs tight for awhile until melting into sticky film lacing the glass sight along this is not some old guy beer that the corner store always makes sure it has lots of stock on when the social security and pension checks come in.
     The beers name rings true in the aroma as the hops waft with a morning walk through the pine woods scent. It's not a jump out at you kind of bouquet but is obvious as it mixes with a smell of fresh baked biscuits from the strong malt backbone.
     On first sip the malts are the first thing the tastebuds notice. A bit of toast and caramel first are then followed by a tartness that of green apple and mango. Interestingly enough though is like how the piney hop nuances where floating around in the scent of this modestly carbonated, medium mouthfeel brew but not glaring is also how they come out in the flavor. They wait to almost the finish to make their presence known bringing out some pepper and spice that becomes more pronounced with each sip. It then ends with crisp and clean with the sour fruit undertones that were noticed in the middle.
     Say what you want about beer in a can but the stigma's about it sure get a bad rap at times when it comes to companies putting things with interesting complexities such as this brew in them. Can's are just a storage and shipping vessel anyway. Pour it into a glass to drink it. While you are at it-grab and pour me another one of these too. Good stuff.
http://www.southernstarbrewery.com/

May 5, 2012

JOHN WESLEY COLEMAN III "The Last Donkey Show" LP and JOHN WESLEY COLEMAN III/FOLLOWED BY STATIC split 12inch EP

     A lot of people, including yours truly, have said "You know what I am going to do? I am going to write a new song everyday." Usually though, now matter how sincere such people's intentions are, things like life and it's responsibilities get in the way.
     Then there's cats like Wes Coleman.
     It's like he wakes up (probably around noon or later), has a breakfast of bacon, eggs, orange juice and whiskey and then not only gets down to writing a song each and every day but then lays them down to tape just minutes afterwards too.
      Slathered in greasy saxophone and whirly keyboards tracks like the "She's Like Dracula" jitteriness and the seeing double 50's rock-n-roll feeling "Animal Bed" conjure up happy memories of a summer youth misspent at beach coast amusement parks, watching dimestore E Street Band contenders and trying to chat up girls who thought they were too pretty for the local boys.
     Storefront gospel, southern soul and the ghosts of homeless Roy Orbison worshiping balladeers seem to haunt heavy on that thing that Jack Oblivian does when he does that type of think tune "The Howling" and the album's title track.
     Other songs on the album are downright pretty. "Hanging Around" country-rock lilts like one of those good songs from the Grateful Dead's Workingman's Dead or American Beauty. That is if the Dead had some punk rock records in their collection, could keep their songs around the 3 minute mark and, you know, didn't have all those pesky Deadhead's making it possibly embarrassing to be compared to. The assistance of a bit of pedal steal makes the lilting-n-weepy acoustic based "Flowers In the Dark" sound even more damn heartfelt.
    The Last Donkey Show finds Mr. Coleman in a myriad of moods. Some loud. Some quiet. All of them with a touch of booziness.
     The split single with other fellow fuzzy Texans, Followed By Static, is the first releases on the always cool Italian gal Astrid Dante of Miss Chain & the Broken Heels label Way Out There. A slight theme of metaphorical food and alliteration stands out at first gander. Both JWCIII's "Personality Pancake" and FBS's "Bacon Bear" take the cowpunk sound and kick that driving 290 Highway dust all over it. The former like the Replacements jangling along til the stumble into a nest of rattlesnakes, the latter like a Hill Country Hootenany going after a morning of a couple pots of Cafe Bustelo and mushroom hunting.
     They other 3 songs by both artist compliment each other well too with Coleman's tracks ranging from broken down robot funk ran on tubes instead of transistors, torrential waves of feedback and general Austin weirdness and Followed By Static's tunes starting out as simple, charming folk rock and finishing as large orchestrated epics.
http://www.goner-records.com/ 
http://www.wayoutthererecords.com/