Showing posts with label UFO Dictator. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UFO Dictator. Show all posts

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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?

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

Nov 1, 2010

the MENTHOLS "Michigan Works" LP

Space rock? Nah, that doesn't sound right. Saying space rock makes people think things that is, well, spacey. Floating off and all that. Hmmm. Space Punk? Yeah! That's might be a little more fitting to describe what these Kalamazoosters are up to here. It doesn't go drifting through a weird galaxy much as it does swirling through some non gravity place lit by balls of fire in whatever the space version of a oil leaking, exhaust spewing battered but still (somewhat) reliable mid 80's Econoline is. It's not a jet age smooth ride. It can be somewhat bumpy but when as it picks up to wanted cruising speed it's a lumbering might that gets things to move out of it's way.
If Lemmy would've forced Dave Brock out of Hawkwind (instead of vice-versa), brought in a couple dirtbags with a penchant for a chug-chug-chug velocity instead of navel gazing wandering, burned the Michael Moorcock books and replaced them with written works Stan Lee, baseball card stats and Penthouse Forum for lyrical themes-the Menthols would have all the albums in their collection.
Cuts like the smeared with a "Land Of A Thousand Dances" flammable goo opener "B-OK", the mutated borrowings of 70's FM Rock riffs (think ZZ Top jamming-as in around the time Deg├╝ello came out NOT something like "Rough Boy"- with Evol era Sonic Youth)"Long Time Coming" or in a sorta same but different thing "Loose Lips" sounding like the Wooden Shjips gone full tilt chooglin' and "Between The Dots" and the album's final track, the ring modulation orgy called "Fire, Fire, Fire" fade in and then take off to weird parts of the head. Others, such as "That's All You Got" and "Don't Give Up Yours" hammer out things like Feedtime hanging in a cold & damp Michigan basement where they depend on Little Caesars $5 Hot-n-Ready Pizzas and cans of Four Loko for nutrition.

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.