Apr 20, 2012

Lagunita's Wilco Foxtrot Tango Ale

     Lagunita's Wilco Foxtrot Tango, known as WTF for short, is described as a "Jobless Recovery Ale". Having turned over what seems every stone in Michigan's thumb with my curriculum vitae in hand and not a lick of luck yet I know I could sure use a drink of something that makes such a claim. Never know. Anything might help at this point.
     It looks a bit cloudy and dark at first in the pour but holding it up to the light it gives off a nice translucent chestnut glow. The head on it was interesting because at first it didn't seem much from a medium pour but then slowly grew into an inch deep and thick slightly maple colored head that kept consistent with spotty lacing through the rest of it's drinking. Aromas of pine, roasted malt and leather fill the nose.
     First sips have a piquant and spiky hop characteristic up from with a bit of N├ęgrette grape middle and touch of nuttiness. As it is allowed to breathe and warm in the glass the hop bitterness mellows allowing a touch of caramel and sweeter malts come out.
     The finish is a mix of all the above with a lingering slightly sticky hop bitterness surrounded by a cocoa sweetness. I don't know if drinking this with my continuous job searching saga but it is a solid and somewhat interesting brew and, really, with job hunting seeming more arduous and labor intensive than actually working a job at the present time, it's a nice one to sip after a day of pounding the pavement.

Apr 19, 2012

Just Whistle While You (Look) For Work

     So I went into a place today that was accepting resumes. I asked if the manager was there and the person working said "No, he is gone for the day."
     I handed the guy my resume and said "Can you give this to them?"
     "What is it" he says while looking at it.
     "It's my resume."
     "What for?"
     "Your sign out front says 'Hiring. Now Accepting Resumes.'"
     Giving me a puzzled look he says "Weird."
     "When is a good time to find the manager here?" I ask.
     "I don't know. He's here sometimes but we are open a lot. Are you looking for a job? Do you want me to put this on his desk?"
     "Yes" I tell him. "That would be great."

     And I can't find job in this town because of why again?

Apr 13, 2012

GENTLEMAN JESSE "Leaving Atlanta" LP

     Maybe it's just me but judging from the cover of Gentleman Jesse's new album, Leaving Atlanta, it seems there are some changes afoot compared to his previous records.
     First off that 70's porn star mustache he was sporting for awhile has been shorn. No big deal there though because the 70's porn mustache has ran it's course and, unless one is seeking a gig in, well 70's porn or in a print ad for cigarettes, there isn't much use for one as both are either long gone except for Tumblr pages and other obscure parts of the internet.
     The thing that concerned this writer more was the dropping of "the Men". Gentleman Jesse (Smith) has established himself as a someone who can put together a catchy hook and clever wordsmith but fear struck that maybe he decided to go all singer/songwriter and had decided some kinda James Taylor thing would suit him best.
     If he did chose to go in such a direction though one couldn't really blame him though as he had gone through the past few years. Getting smashed in the face and suffering a broken nose while acting as a good Samaritan as well as having 5 friends die over the last couple of years like he did would make anyone pondering where life is leading them and consider being a bit more sedate and a lot more introspective.
     For those smitten with smiles & wrinkle free ties Merseybeat pop crispness meet the dirty & frayed cuff and scarred southern charm of his previous records need not fret. The sound of the men are gone just in name and, with the addition of the occasional electric piano/organ blips and doubled up guitar interplay, the songs sound a bit more fortified and beefed up (in a good way) than on previous outings.
     Album opener,  "Eat Me Alive", sounds like the Chords if they had had a Buddy Holly jones instead of studying the Jam's This Is The Modern World a little too much and could have gotten Richard Gottehrer to produce. Add King Louie Bankston, a guy who knows his way around a loud and catchy pop song as his time with the Exploding Hearts and last year's Missing Monuments album showed, blowing a bit of harmonica and contributing his croaky croon, to the track and the album comes out of the gate at a good pace.
     Another thing that hasn't changed is Jesse's observation of being unlucky at love (or at least just bad luck when choosing who to love) as most of the songs prove here and like the those songs from the proceeding records he may be bummed out by the situation the songs upbeat tempo's and chiming Rickenbacker sounds make it feel like everything is all easy come easy go.
     While the "...And His Men" album sounded like it was tailor made for being the opening act of a Tom Petty or Cheap Trick tour in 1978 the songs are a bit more varied here style-wise that the usual standard power pop revisionist go to tricks. While all the songs are bright and sweet like bowl full of fruit punch with a bit of spike from someone dumping a 5th of cheap ass vodka into them tracks like "You Give Me Shivers" and "Rooting For The Underdog" are pub rock you can pogo to, "Word Gets Around" resembles an outtake from Elvis Costello's RnB dabblings on Get Happy and "Covering Up My Tracks" could qualify as one of the most decent boys dream of dating Ronettes/Shangri-Las type of tune since Johnny stole Joey's girlfriend.

Apr 12, 2012

BRAIN F≠ "Sleep Rough" LP

     I was half interested and half apprehensive in checking out Brain F≠ (Or Brain Flannel if you're "in the know") at first. Mainly because I had read a few things on them describing them as a pissed off garage rock/artsy hardcore punk hybrid.
      There have been bands that I have checked out with a similar description in the past and the such a description a lot of times seemed way off the mark as what I think of garage rock (be it pissed off or not) or hardcore punk (and putting that artsy identifier in front of it can be a very slippery slope all in itself). Their were rare times where I thought "Oh yeah! This sounds cool" and would crank it up to the point where the red warning lights in my old Technics speakers were glowing bright. There were may more times where I was like "Damn, this stinks" (I could insert my absolute blighted hopes after purchasing a Fucked Up record here but will save it for some other time).
     What's going on with this album though might actually reduced the paper in my trusty old stereo speakers to confetti though if I keep blasting it out the way I have.  Sure, it is understandable where the garage rock reference gets tossed around as it is a bit trashy, filled with exuberance and whirling with negative attitude.
     The torrential downpour of noise in the guitars knocks down powerlines into pools of blood sending electric shock to the brain while the rhythm section blindsides with a relentless pounding. The boy/girl interplay vocals sound disaffected by the world around them yet aware and alive about things that both pissed them off and excite them.
     To these ears tossing out the "Hardcore influenced garage rock" (or "Garage rock influenced hardcore") DOES seem very limited to downright unfair because it sounds as BRAIN F≠ do like playing it fast, loud, trashy and nasty but sound like they would rather start their own club than being part of ones already established. They probably wouldn't be allowed into either anyway as both factions would be bummed the band doesn't give a damn about their alleged rulebooks.

Mar 28, 2012

Sex Church "Growing Over" LP (and a Wednesday Photo by Dale post rolled into one)

     If you're one of those kind of people that likes to put on trance inducing drone out music before bed time Sex Church MIGHT be up your alley. Might spelled in all caps though because if you find some certain types of that kind of music give you really messed up dreams where you end up feeling somewhat disturbed the rest of the day because of what you saw in your sleep-Growing Over is probably not the album you're going to want to put on before entering slumberland.
     References to Krautrock, and especially Neu! due to the band's use of the Motorik and/or "Apache Beat" rhythms and building bubbling tension come into play a lot when discussing Sex Church's sound but these guys weren't raised in post-war Germany and studied at conservatories majoring in some fancy pants subjects and dabbling in free jazz or abstract neo-classical experimentation. Instead it's three Canadians who have been in garage punk/full on feedback bands like Ladies Night on guitars and drums along with Wisconsin ex-pat NickG (he of Strong Come Ons, The Tears and Catholic Boys infamy) thumping on the bass strings, that were raised on junk food, weed of many different potencies and bad television.
     Don't go into this album expecting space out trips like, say Neu's "Hallo-Gallo" to serve as wall paper while making dinner, meditating and ready some intellectual literature like cuz what's etched into the grooves here won't just linger in the background. It would sneak up from behind you if you do, punch you in the back of the head, scream in your face and fling blood all over the walls.
Photos shot at the SchonkSoundStead in Port Huron, Michigan on Sex Church's fall 2011 North American tour. The band were intense, loud and heavy. Good thing the place is a solid old brick house or it may have crumbled to the ground elsewise.
More info on the band go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/SEX-CHURCH/94342673627

Mar 20, 2012

March 25: Sunday Sonance at the Raven Cafe in Port Huron

     Join Franck and yours truly for tunes, conversation food and drinks. All vinyl, all good and something to kill the boredom of a Sunday night in ol' Port Huron.

Mar 2, 2012

Tommyknock Pick Axe IPA

     When you, the dear reader, come across a beer maker you have never tried before what style of their style of their wares do you try first? 
     Nine out of ten times for me it's their standard IPA. Along with straight pale ales they were my first introductions to the world beyond the standard beer would what is now a couple of decades ago. I still stay true to trying any companies IPA first if at all possible. 
     I first got to try Idaho Spring, Colorado based brewery Tommyknocker's Pick Axe IPA almost ten years ago for the first time. I thought it was stellar and wasn't able to have another one since. You see, up until a few months ago though Tommyknocker brews weren't really seen much around Michigan. I am happy to report that that has, somewhat, changed.
     Rich copper in color with a slight amount of bubbles climbing to the top. A firm and fluffy two finger thick eggshell white head slowly melts leaving a creamy, drifting snow type lacing behind all the way down the glass. Warm toast and pineapple aromas mingle nicely together blending as one in each sniff on the nose.
     A big bite of floral and citrus notes in the front, malt backbone all down the middle and a white pepper at the end. Let the beer breathe in the glass a bit and it takes on some lemon peel and tangerine nuances and only a slightly sticky finish.
     6.2% abv and completely sessionable.

Feb 21, 2012

SUNDAY SONANCE returns to the Raven Cafe 2/26

     Well, If some of you locals were wondering where Sunday Sonance at the Raven Cafe in Port Huron went, as I know a few of you have asked me over the past couple of weeks, we have moved it to the last Sunday of each month instead of the first. We return this Sunday. I am already working on my crate of records to play. Looking forward to spinning them and seeing some of you there.

Feb 20, 2012

MUD CITY MANGLERS/PLASTERED BASTARDS "Twin Thrillers..." split single 7inch

     It's been a while since we've paid a visit to Mud City but some rumbling heard off in the distance got closer. Eventually, it got so so loud that we had to take the exit and check out what all the noise was about.
     The familiar faces may sport a couple wrinkles from hard rockin' hard livin' and there might be a slight touch of grey.
     The attitude though, is still bad. Still pissed off. Still ready to toss it's leather jacket to the ground, raise it fists and stomp suits with it's boots. That's right kids-Duck! Because the beer bottles may start flying.
    On their two songs here, the Main Mangler Ted still spits a gobby mixture of punk rock disgust and exhaust huffing bark in his voice. His guitar has always snarled like a swarm of killer bees pollinating gasoline and now that attack has been doubled, just in case the initial stings didn't inflict enough blisters, with the edition of Matt wielding a second axe of firepower. Add in Manglers stalwart Brian on drums and new bassist Mary providing a turkey drum in each hand BOOMBAST and it's something like Osterberg/Williamson's Kill City and Let There Be Rock Acca Dacca meeting in a bar. Not to fight each other but to kick in all the faces the frou-frou effects board experimentalists and bearded adventure metal muppets.
     Some years a go RAWK became a bad word. The Mud City Manglers have crawled back out the ditch again to make it DIRTY.
     If the Manglers are the ones to roam around Pittsburgh, rattling the roads on street bikes looking for bars to drink their entire Yuengling supply-the Plastered Bastards are out in the woods, jumping hills on stolen dirt bikes and hopped up on something crazy folks out on the creepy state roads manufacture. Spun tight and ready to snap their two songs take the Misfits monster punk and drag it behind them in a jean jacket that use to belong to Blag Dahlia. Then they beat it with a bike chain they stole from Venom. Amps blare and people get bloodied.

Jan 18, 2012

Wednesday Photo by Dale: The Blue Water Bridge

     The Blue Water Bridge, which connects Port Huron, Michigan to Sarnia, Ontario is one of the iconic structures of the this area. There have been countless photos taken of it from when it was built in the 30's. That was made double when the 2nd span was built in the mid 90's.
     Because of it being a constant model for who knows how many photographers it has usually not been one of my main subjects as I have chosen to usually take pictures of other things around the area. The other morning though the sun was rising and I had some time to kill before I went out gainful employment seeking and my college classes. The sky looked right, the angles caught my eye and I popped off a few photos.

     I always find it interesting how just over a few minutes the skies at dawn (and at dusk too actually) can totally change. In the winter time that effect seems even more so.
     As an added bonus Blue Water Bridge picture here's on of it from this past summer about 10 minutes before a major thunderstorm rolled in.
     I have been asked by people in the past if I have considered making prints of some of the photo's I have taken and sell them or let them be used for commercial purposes. With the economy being as tight as it is (especially in this area) and always having use for some extra income to provide for my family as well helping with my school expenses-the answer is yes. Those interested in such things can contact me at this email address