Oct 12, 2010

MMOSS "i" cassette

With a sound that hits more on London's UFO club circa 1967 than probably what is usually coming out of whatever rock dives they haunt in their home base of modern day New Hampshire USA-Mmoss make psychedelic music that smears that fine line of where a "normal pop sensibility" ends and the "what are these hippies experimenting with" questions begin.
With the basic guitar, bass and drum foundation being adorned by the band members multi-instrument know how of flutes, organs, cellos, glockenspiels, dul-sitars and ship bells (to name just a handful listed in the tape cover's j-card) the songs & sounds here can range from sublime and scenic to downright peculiar and stormy.
While some songs like "Grown Down", "So Below" and "Hedge Creeper" lean towards a Britania meet the Byrds in Syd Barrett's garden there's also the tinkering with Krautrock/Drone Trip on tracks like "And I Do Set My Bow In The Clouds" and "Epistle To Shon" as well as speculating on what it would it would sound like Big Star 3rd came out in '66 and had a seriously influence on the Small Faces on things like "Kitty Sorrow".
For those that find themselves playing some of the modern psych bands like the Black Angels and Sleepy Sun will be doing themselves a favor if they were to check their father's basement or thrift store for a functioning cassette player (or hell, even the junkyard so you can have one in your car) and then score a copy of this tape.
http://burgerrecords.webs.com/

Oct 10, 2010

Founders Nemesis 2010

As a music fan and working in various degrees of the business involved around it for years I used to get a laugh out of the obsessive collectors. You know the type, The ones that have to have every single released format variation of their favorite artist. Never satisfied with having the music in one form they'd have to have the 12inch, the 7inch, the import 7inch on colored vinyl, the picture disc 7inch, the 12inch with a different color variation than the other 12 inch, the CD single because the mix is slightly different than the one on the import 7inch of colored vinyl and on and on. They would haunt record stores, distributors, trade lists etc on a daily (and in some cases an hourly) basis scaring up copies. It would get to a point where you'd see them, make eye contact and just give them a nod of the head to let them "No, we don't have it yet" and save the breath of telling them so.
Nowadays, things are different. With the internet and a paypal account they can usually end up finding whatever record you're looking for and, if price is no object, possess their very own copy to add to the shrine. I was always like "Hey man, I just want it for the music. What's the big damn deal." Then I became a beer geek.....
With almost all of Founders specialty brews I scoured the county for at least one bottle of this years Nemesis. My trusted beer sellers were just as frustrated as I was about not being able to get any (because they love GOOD beer too) and then would make comments about the local distributor of Founders only being good at keeping up on things that come in cans and are advertised on the Super Bowl. I ended up scouring the next county over and following an anonymous tip rolled into a particular store. Lo-and-behold there was one lowly bottle sitting on the shelf. She's been sitting in my fridge ever since taunting me. Until tonight.
Brown/almost black in color while sitting in the glass and a deep mahogany when held up to the light I'm a little taken back because I'm am more used to barley wines looking a bit more of an amber color than this. I know they style can variate in color and all that but I guess I've just haven't seen many this dark. Very minimal head but a millimeter or so size ring hangs tight all through the glass leaving some spotty and running lacing behind.
Lots of chocolate come out first in the scent followed by aromas of date nut bread, cherries that have been soaking in bourbon for a couple of months and some slight coconut. Not much notice of alcohol to this nose which is surprise because of it hitting a 12% abv. The taste has a very interesting complexity to it. A dark like licorice and tart like grapefruit hop bite comes out that then is wrapped cozy by coffee, maple and bourbon flavors. With each sip it's the same experience-here comes this bite then it's surrounded and softened up. The finish gives the hops some hang time again with some coffee hanging in the background. Founders always does a good job covering up their higher end alcohol content and here is no exception. Very mellow. It's different than the Nemesis of the past but each year tweak has never been a sidestep. If you see one on the shelf-snatch it, sip it and savor it. It's gonna be another year til they're spotted again.
http://www.foundersbrewing.com

Oct 3, 2010

Short's Key Lime Pie

It seems that every week now there's a new limited "weird beer" (Smashin' Transistors blanket term for all the odd and interesting experimental brews that use ingredients outside of you usual hop, malts and so on) made by up-north Michigan brewery Shorts. Almost too many. It's hard for this humble reporter to even keep up at times. On the label of this one it informs the potential drinker that it's brewed with mashmallow and lactose with lime and graham crackers added. Definitely not something the average beer drinker would think is "normal" wouldn't you say?
Burnt orange in color (not lime green but then again that might just be a little too weird) and clear with average sized off white fizzy head that fades somewhat quickly but leaves fair amount of spotty lacing. Lime peel and sweet bready notes (the graham crackers perhaps?) in stick out quite a bit scent. The taste first gives off a sweet milk cream flavor up from followed by a sour candy. There is a creamy texture all the way through the sips of the brew giving it a very soft feeling in the mouth. The lime flavor is noticeable but seems to stick out a little more towards finish even though it gets enveloped again by the sweeter cream flavors. There also seems to be a slight rye tinge in the aftertaste too.
Is this one of my most favorite "weird beers" from Shorts that I have tried? Not really. My vote still goes with their Soft Parade, Nicie Spicie (which is their summer wheat which I have to say kicks Bell's Oberon butt) and Strawberry Shortcake. Is it interesting and drinkable? Yes, for a couple of bottles it is at least. Give it a shot and share it with friends if you see some around. It'll make for some interesting conversation.
http://www.shortsbrewing.com/

Sep 29, 2010

Dogfish Head Burton Baton

Ahhh, those occasional/rare brews that some of this nation's fine microbreweries produce. As a beer dork you have to get them when you see them sitting on the shelves without hesitation because who knows when they'll be spotted again. This double oak aged IPA from Dogfish Head is one of those one's where, at least in these parts, multiple 4 packs of them are purchased at once so they can cherished and sipped on while others are saying "I didn't even get to try those this year."
Cloudy amber in color and a good sized head that hangs on for quite a long while leaving a thick lace all the way though. Caramel scented malts is the first thing that tingles the nose followed by citrus, campfire smokiness and a dint of booze (but at 11% abv not as much as expected).
The mouthfeel of the brew is chewy but creamy and the flavor is packed with a whole bunch of complexities. The sweet warmth of the candied dark fruit flavored malts and tart grapefruit bite of the 90 Minute IPA are the first thing most, if they are familiar with that Dogfish Head flagship, will notice. The oak aging gives it a twist of vanilla and spices as well as a slight smokey twist. As it breathes the bitters do mellow a bit and you find yourself not believing, or at least surprised the higher end alcohol content this has....that unless you've sat down having a few and try to stand up a little to quickly.
One of the best brews of it's type and always worth waiting for it to come available again.
http://www.dogfish.com/

Sep 27, 2010

BLACK MOUNTAIN "Wilderness Heart" LP

Radio, for the most part, sucks. Yeah, it's not some great statement of any kind and it sure ain't no secret to people (or at least I hope it's not) but having not only having a LP copy of this for home and when out on DJ night missions there has been a CD copy of this album in my car for a couple of weeks now. It been getting played an awful lot when I'm out driving. Every time it comes to and end I eject it while looking for something else to pop in. Usually one of the commercial rock stations (be it the one that plays what they claim is "alternative/modern", "hard" rock or "just the best" rock). The keyword is ROCK. Downtuned and autotuned ROCK which knowledge and history of groove, feeling and structure may go back a few decades but stops at anything before Nirvana and sounds like all the other fake angst ridden douchebags that have appropriated that sound then "improved" upon it by making it more strip club and sports bar friendly. Yep, it's ROCK but it has no ROLL.
"Dammit" I yell at the radio. It's all I can do really because there's little sense in calling the station to rant on the dj because more than likely it's prerecorded voice tracked or satellite fed and even if there is someone live in the studio it's not their job to have any discerning taste or pick what to play as it is to pretend they actually enjoy playing shit with names like Hinder, Breaking Benjamin, Crossfade and on and on. I would like to think though that if they did have a choice though they would play ROCK that has some ROLL and Black Mountain would be jamming all over the nation's ROCK (and roll) radio airwaves.
A 3 way marriage of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Hawkwind happens on tracks like the album's lead single "Old Fangs" with it's hotboxed organ sound and total joyriding the country roads guitar riff (and who's title may or may not be a play on a Them Crooked Vultures tune from a year or so ago called "New Fang"), the psych-boogie of the album's title track and take the slamming pace of the Purp's "Highway Star" and headbang against some boulders on "Let Spirits Ride" (which also features some of the most sinister sounding singing co-singers Amber Weber and guitarist Stephen McBean have laid down to date in the band's 5 year career).
Other tracks like the folky but funky (as in grooving-not stinky) "Hair Song", "Way To Gone" and the campfire country finds a psychedelic orchestra tinged "Buried By The Blues" could make the an otherwise super annoying hippie party tolerable for their 4 or so minute run times. "Radiant Hearts" and "The Space Of Your Mind" have a more than a slight "Yes, Roger Waters is the brains behind Pink Floyd but I am the star" thought process that David Gilmour probably still has going though his head but greet the ear with a warm and friendly embrace than cold and overblown isolation.
Nope, Rock radio will probably not add any of the songs. Not because they don't ROCK but because they not only ROCK AND ROLL but show a whole lot more personality and ideas than what they choose to spin these days. That might challenge the listening audience...and radio programmers don't want to do that at all, do they?
http://www.facebook.com/BlackMountainOfficial

Sep 26, 2010

SUNDAY SONANCE October 3rd at the Raven Cafe in Downtown Port Huron

Join yours truly and Franck Nowak for an evening of all kinds of grooves for your listening pleasure. We had to skip last month due to the Labor Day weekend but we are back 100% vinyl spinning for 3 hours.
http://www.ravencafeph.com/

Sep 24, 2010

HUE BLANC'S JOYLESS ONES "LIVE" at the Roche Bar in Port Huron Tuesday Oct 26th


Twisted and gnarled sound blasts of two guitars and two drummers from Algoma, Wisconsin (population 3,357).

Check this interview with them
http://smashintransistors.homestead.com/midwest_gentlemen.html

Read a review of their album from a couple years back on Victim Of Time
http://www.victimoftime.com/articles/breaking-sounds-hue-blancs-joyless-ones-arriere-ga/

Listen to some of their music here
http://www.myspace.com/hueblancsjoylessones

Sep 14, 2010

DRUGS DRAGONS "DRGSDRGNS" 7inch EP and TONY SAGGER ONE MAN BAND " Lies" 7inch EP

Somewhere in the magical and mystical world called HARD ROCK LAND there's a road only marked by a weird and twisty oak tree that the largest crows ever seem like to populate. While walking up it look for the trail of crushed Milwaukee's Best Ice and Hamm's cans and chicken wing bones. They will lead you down a path populated with a crossbred plants of Venus Fly Traps and Poison Ivy. Soon the screeches and caws of the buzzards and crows is drowned out by a crunch and squall and squeal and squelch as you get closer to a cave. At first those sounds may resemble 70's FM boogie rock but only for the first few seconds. Then it starts to sound all stretched out and mangled. Sorta like they have a picture of Black Sabbath on a wad of Silly Putty and are doing all kinds of distorted things to it. It's quickly deduced that you have Drugs Dragons lair. The people of HARD ROCK LAND have run them out of town for taking butt boogie, swerving it all over the road and laughing each and every time they put it in the ditch. They have been declared pariah's for their disrespect and this is where they must dwell. The musty and damp environment is a perfect match to their sound where old AC/DC records are put through a meat grinder and cooked up on a grill by the fires of Feedtime. The Butthole Surfers stopped taking LSD years ago and the Drugs Dragons have decided they would have the acid flashbacks for them.
One of the key components in the Drugs Dragons sound is the mutilated blues licks (if "licks" is even the proper way to describe the string bending that is going on) of Mr. Tony Sagger. Here, in a very one man band (and one sided single) setting he bares heartache on the sparse "Lies" (sample lyric: "I hope you fucking die!"), does a way drunk but waits to fall apart until the very end version of the 13th Floors Elevators "You're Gonna Miss Me" and closes it out with the garage-rock having absolutely disturbed cough syrup buzzed hallucinations "I Love You".
Check out a Tony Sagger One Man Band gig here.
Find out more about the Drug Dragons over at their Myspace page.

Sep 10, 2010

Short's Hangin' Frank IPA

Short's developed this IPA for the City Park Grill in Petoskey, Michigan. The place serves some good grub but is most famous for it being a place Ernest Hemingway like to hang out/hide out at and it being haunted by a ghost named Frank who hanged himself in the cellar of the place about 100 years ago.
Short's has already made a name for itself for it's superpacked with hops flavor of their Huma Lupa Licious. In contrast to that this is a more mellow take on the style. The brew color is a nice burnt orange in color and sports a moderately sized off white head that holds on pretty tight all the way down the glass leaving a lace all over the place. Pine like hops are noticeable in the aroma but there's also a lot of fruit nuances such as pineapple and peaches that come out. It's all anchored by a sweet biscuit like smell of crystal malt.
The hops aren't as aggressive and have more of a sweet fruit flavor than that pucker up sting Huma is known for. That's not to say this lacks the bright-n-green bitters that other Short's more than hop friendly brews but this has a friendly pinch to the tastebuds more than an angry bite.
For anyone who has been considering delving into the craft beer world and doesn't know where to start (and no Leinenkugel, Blue Moon and those specialty Michelob's don't count no matter what the commercials say, how bartenders repeat what the beer salesman told them and what the guy behind me at the beer store who was behind me line was saying while I was purchasing this) here's a great place to begin your discovery.
http://www.shortsbrewing.com/

Sep 9, 2010

ALICJA-POP! "Shining Apple" 7inch

Alicja Trout has done "pop" before. To name off a bit of her musical background there's the Lost Sounds, Mouserocket and the River City Tanlines for starters. Sure, the "pop" elements may have been disguised in those projects from time to time but she's always known her way around writing something that sticks and really isn't that the basis of all good "pop" music anyway?
On this record the "POP!" on a side one's "Shining Apple" is 80's DIY pop such as the Young Marble Giants equipped with a better tape machine so they can layer some girl group harmonies while getting sidetracked by some motorik hypnotics.
Some years ago I recall reading an interview with Daniel Johnston where he was asked what his influences were and how he would describe his music to someone who may not have heard it before. His reply mentions some a contemporary bands at the time as well as him discussing his love for the Beach Boys. One thing I've learned by knowing quite a few real deal outsider musician's like him is that in their heads that is what they hear but it usually takes someone else to cover a song wrote by them to bring those kind of sounds to the forefront. Here, on the b-side's cover of Johnston's "Walking The Cow", Alicja brings them out with a 60's sunshine feel rubbing shoulders with melodic beep-beep-boop synth bits.
http://www.certifiedprrecords.com