Jul 23, 2012

WHITE STRIPES "Classic Smashin' Transistors Interview"

(Note from Dale: After over a decade I have decided to let my SmashinTransistors.Homestead.com site lapse. Due to several situations in my life at the moment, and the fact that I have using this Blogspot page more and more (when I even have the time to work on this one that is) and that site less and less, it has become an expense that I don't really find a necessity to drop the money on each year. Eventually it will be gone from the interweb and everything that was on it will no longer be able to be seen. I am going to try to farm as much as I can from it over the next few weeks and repost the stuff here. I don't know how long Homestead will be keeping the old site up so if I interviewed your band or reviewed your record and you want to save a copy of it for your scrapbook I highly suggest you go to the site in the next couple of weeks and do so.)

Lucas is 5 years old. He likes what any other five year old kid would like...Popcicles, scooters, going to the beach...He also likes the White Stripes. He listens to them whenever he's in the car with his mom. He believes that Jack White is 10 years old and is making up those songs for him and his friends. These are questions he has asked me about the White Stripes and their songs and I relayed them to the band. (this interivew is from the summer of 2002)





Lucas: Has the the Monkey stopped jumping on the bed?

Jack White: No, The monkey "Jimmy" has not stopped jumping on the bed for the last week but when he does it is only so that he  can explode things that are not the color red. It is Jimmy's only power.

Lucas: What color is the school bus?

Jack White: The bus on "Sister Do You Know My Name" is blue.

Lucas: Do you like bowling?

Jack White: Yes, I like bowling very much. I have sung about bowling or bowling alleys in the White Stripes songs "Red Bowling Ball Ruth" and "Handsprings"

Lucas: Where did you get your red  shoes?

Jack White: I got the red shoes from a fan of the band.

Lucas: Are you mad at the color blue?

Jack White: I don't hate the color blue...

Lucas:...Did you have to wear good clothes on Easter?

Jack White: Actually, I wore a blue suit on Easter when Jesus rose from the dead. Jimmy the exploder hates the color blue and anything that is not red and has the power to explode those things with his mind.

Lucas: If Jimmy the monkey wear to wear a shirt that was not the color red would he then try to explode himself?

Jack White: Jimmy only wears his pair of red overalls and nothing else.

Lucas: Does Jimmy not eat banana's because they are yellow or does he eat those fancy red ones?

Jack White: Jimmy is the only monkey that lives off of an exclusive diet of red apples.

Lucas:Okay, the bus on "Sister, Do You Know My Name" is blue but what about the bus from the "Pack It Up" song?

Jack White: The bus on "I'm Bound To Pack It Up" is grey. He's not so sure that he wants to leave.

Lucas: When the boy broke a couple of rules so that the girl would notice him-what did he do? They make you sit on the bus when it is moving. Did he get in trouble?

Jack White: He breaks the rules just by getting in trouble with the nuns who teach at his school.

Lucas: Do fifth graders like you get sad on the last day of school because you wont see some of your friends until the fall?

Jack White: On the last day of school as a boy I would go outside and kiss the ground like the pope does when he lands in a new country but all the other kids didn't know about the pope doing that so they would make fun of me.

Lucas: If you were to take Jimmy the Monkey to the lake would he try to explode it because it's blue?

Jack White:I'm not sure what Jimmy would do if we took him to the lake. He would probably drink the water, you have to remember he only explodes things that aren't red WHEN HE WANTS TO.

Lucas: How far have you ever flown on a plane? What was it like?

Jack White: The farthest I've flown is Australia. It takes a long, long time to get there but it's so nice when you finally land.

Lucas: Australia?! Woah! That would be pretty cool! Did you see any kangaroos or wombats?

Jack White: Yes, we saw a koala, a baby wombat and the best thing we saw was a
tazmanian devil which looks like some kind of pig-dog. All at the zoo in Melbourne.

Lucas: Do you have a favorite song by the Coasters?

Jack White: My favorite Coasters song is "Riot In Cell Block #9."

Lucas: "White Blood Cells"...why such a crazy name and why are those shadow people bothering you on the front cover?

Jack White: The shadow-people might be bactria coming at us and Meg and I are the white blood cells. Or maybe it means white blood "sells" and the bacteria are media and music lovers...or maybe it means nothing at all.

Lucas: Why Toledo?

Jack White: Well, Toledo has been that sought after destination point. People don't exactly go on vacation there. The girl in the song was sending me to do things for her, like run an errand to Toledo, which probably wouldn't be fun.

Lucas: If there is no true love...how did you fall in love with a girl?

Jack White: You'll find out when you get older. If I told you now it would spoil it.

Lucas: On the back cover (of "White Blood Cells") are you in red because you are standing in the water and are you helping Meg across because she's in white and standing on the dirty ground?

Jack White: Perhaps on the back cover Meg and I are blood cells...or perhaps she is on the dirty ground and I am in happiness...or perhaps I'm dragging her into a place she doesn't want to be or maybe she's pulling me out of it.

Lucas: Where you thinking of monsters like Godzilla when you sang "Aluminum?"

Jack White: "Aluminum" is about the formation of aluminum in a factory. That is what the voices are try to imitate.

Lucas: What's your favorite building (besides your house) in Detroit?

Jack White: My favorite building in Detroit is the Manoogian Mansion where the mayor lives.

Lucas: Have you ever rode the People Mover? I did with my dad but I didn't see any other people on it.

Jack White: Yes, I rode the People Mover the first week it was running and it took me back where I started riding it. Someone told me they bought it from Cedar point because nobody would ride it over there.

Lucas: Do you ever let Jimmy the Monkey do the Astro? Can I do it? how do you do it?

Jack White: The Astro is whatever you do in secret that nobody knows about. Everybody does the Astro. Jimmy does the Astro.

Lucas: Did you have a favorite bike? What color was it?

Jack White: I had a pair of matching ten speed bikes that were dark red and they were Schwinns. I rode them all over this town on them but one of the few times I cried over a possession was when both of them were stolen. 

Lucas: December?! It's cold but it's Christmas Time. Why be worried?

Jack White: December can be good or bad can't it? That goes for any month, day or year.

Lucas: My dad is showing me some guitar chords. The first one was the E. He told me all rock and rollers learn it first. Even Jack White?

Jack White: Yes, the E chord was the first chord I learned but my favorite is F because it is as low as you can go, without being E.

Lucas: I was listening to "Little Room" and I was thinking that in a little room you can have your favorite stuff and your good friends but in a bigger room you can have more stuff but more people will be in it too and you can't know them all and some of the are probably in the big room only because it is big and they think they're suppose to be there just because the room is big.

Jack White: I  think you're absolutely right about the big room. You're a pretty smart kid. It took me years to figure that out.


Jul 4, 2012

Wednesday Photo by Dale: Jack Oblivian Yarber at Donovan's in Detroit

   
     Jackie O and his band rolled through Detroit last Wednesday at Donovan's Pub. As usual it was an awesome show and the last configuration of his band is one of the most bad ass ones he has had yet.

   
      The set was, as usual, full of songs from his solo and Tearjerkers records, Oblivians tunes and a handful of cover tunes.    


     A couple special guests got up and jammed on some tunes including former southerner and current Port Huron resident Dale Beavers. Dale played with Jack on the Compulsive Gamblers Crystal Gazing, Luck Amazing album. Jack called out to him from the stage (which was actually just a clear spot of floor in the corner of the bar) asking if he remember his parts to "Wait A Minute, Joe" a song they co-wrote together for the album. Jack then turned to his guitarist John Paul Keith and said "This is gonna be FUN!"

   
     Before and after the show Jack and I got to catch up on things. It has been a couple years since we have seen each other (but that seems to be the case with most of my rock-n-roll friends as I live out in the sticks and it's more times than not a 60 mile drive one way to see any live music I want to check out. Factor also in that most of my show going pals/shotgun riders have jobs and responsibilities too heading out to a rock-n-roll show on a weeknight ain't what it used to be.)
     The first thing he said to me was "Man, You have gotten taller." One of the many other things we talked about was my currently in long hibernation  record label Bancroft which put out his "Dirty Nails" single some years back. We are making arrangements to get the original pressing plates back to him. It was one of the fastest selling records I put out but financial strains and life in general at the time kept it from seeing a repress at the time (sounds familiar as I am someone straits at the current moment too. Yep, the story of my life more often than not). Who knows, maybe he knows someone who will help a 2nd pressing see the light of day again some time.
https://www.facebook.com/jackoblivian       

Jun 12, 2012

June 23: North Lakeport's Tally Ho Goes Retro

     Franck and yours truly drop the needle on many an actual forgotten 80's classic and other obscurities from an era. Take a drive up north of Port Huron, enjoy some food, drinks, the tunes and feel the refreshing breeze coming off Lake Huron.
Go to BeatNip.Org for more info

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 29, 2012

the ENTHUSIASTS "Sinkin/Risin" 7inch

     You ever hear one of those bad ass hard rockin' classic rock songs that makes you want to roll down the windows to the car, crank up the radio loud and peel rubber on the pavement? Then when the song is over you wish they would play it again and wonder "How come there aren't any bands out there doing it like THIS any more?"
     It may lead you on a search for tips that bands that are. Or at least trying because most of the time those tips seem a little off the point and the bands sound like clowns trying to hard to sound like a bar band Foghat with a half a produce section stuffed down their pants with a dude who cites Glenn Danzig's solo albums and the dork from the Cult as his "lead vocalist" influences. Boogie with with out the sway. ROCK music without the ROLL. It sounds contrived and not like they are paying tribute to they're dad's record collection but actually mocking it.
      Then there's tunes like "Sinkin'/Risin'" by the Enthusiasts. Though first impressions from the sleeve cover and and the band name it seems the hailing an hour north from NYC's Enthusiasts have one foot planted ankle deep in lo-fi garage punk singles of the late 90's/early 00's-it's also sounds as though they have been buried neck deep in Blue Cheer and James Gang records.
     And instead of sounding like they are mining the biker bar and back water burn-out rocker sound as some backlash to whatever "war on hipster" sound they are pissed off at-they sound sincere in simply celebrating guitar solo abounds meat and potatoes (and cans of tallboys beer) rock-n-roll.
     Kicking off with a huge splat of guitar feedback the tunes gives to a big power trio pummel where 60's boogie rock gave way to something a bit more sick and spilled seeds that would lead to the roots of Heavy Metal. The guitar slingin' singer knows he'll never be some golden god so never bothered practicing trying to sing high notes so instead spent lots of time smoking brown weed and wondering what Joe Walsh would do if he was born 40 years later and being an occasional whipping boy on the Terminal Boredom forums.
     Flip it over for "Joanne" and the pace is a little slower chug starting off as it 60's psych-blues ballad before gaining momentum into some kinda '74 pre-punk blaster.
https://www.facebook.com/EnthusiastsNY     

May 25, 2012

TY SEGALL and WHITE FENCE "Hair" LP

     When it comes to making late 60's/early 70's influenced sounds Ty Segall and White Fence come at it from different directions. The former is more known for doing it all snotball; rooted in in the stripped down Back From the Grave suburban garage white boy R&B rawness and the T. Rex groover school of things. The latter a bit more frilly and baroque, touching on sounds that lead to reference points such as the Zombies and Syd Barrett.
     Things Ty Segall and White Fence have in common is a love affair for guitar distortion, a penchant for a clever twist of a musical phrase and a deep rooted belief in analog. Most importantly though is that both have taken their respective "influences" and have used them as springboard to do something different, making their own thing with the sounds instead towing some purist agenda with it. Needless to say when first hearing of a collaboration of the two I thought "Hmmm. This could be interesting."
     And interesting it is. Opening track "Time" first few seconds make one think they are gonna get some Gregorian chant butting heads with some dive bar punk band but then slides into a Neil & Crazy Horse in the desert feeling while Ty's vocal signature hoots and hollers toned into a sleepy eyed John Lennon. Towards the end it abruptly cuts from a walking dazed though a field of wild flowers into a loud and fuzzy bit that, well, sounds like a noisy and fuzzy bit of a Crazy Horse album.
     There are some other moments that, to these ears, remind me of Crazy Horse too, but not so much overtly. It's not like there's a bunch of one note guitar solos or a starving cat looking for a meal "crooning" or anything. There is a locked in looseness in parts though that harkens back to why an albums like Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and Zuma still stand up and fresh compared to many other records that one can find for a few bucks at any used record store, take home to put on the shelf and impress their friends with a huge of collections of "vinyls".
     The room for experimentation through such looseness finds itself in spades on this record, like the album's aforementioned lead off piece a centerpiece of the record is  "Scissor People". It's aberrant take on high strung post garage jitters spotlights a Byrds with no fear of a distortion pedal guitar solo before the second part of of the song bangs through several different moments invoking a sense of aural delirium, skipping records and channel surfing all at once.
     Mostly on the record though you get a the sound of things from both their bag of tricks combined together, shook up and a bending each other ears. "Ezy Rider" tosses around the same sort of melody from one of the top standout's from his Lemons album, "Lovely One", and makes it vibrate a bit more with trippy tremelo and an eye of tasty waves at dawn, "Crybaby" is blues-punk coated in sugar then rolled in shards of glass and "Tongues" is early 70's Beach Boys if someone would've turned them on Amon Duul II.
     Yes! It is a collaboration that is showing itself to be very interesting and quite enjoyable. Hoping these two do more of it in the future.
http://www.dragcity.com

May 11, 2012

Bear Republic XP Pale Ale

     Now it seems that the warm weather is gonna hang around for a bit here in Michigan it's time to start indulging again into lighter, crisper and refreshing beers. No, this does not mean that Smashin' Transistors is gonna start sipping Miller 64 (2.8 abv? Really? Why doesn't one just drink San Pellegrino with a shot of regular Listerine instead?) or some other nonsense though so don't fret.
     This bottle of pale ale from California brewery Bear Republic has been in my fridge for about a week. After a day of hard work of job hunting (Argh, don't even get me started on that what seems to be a handful of empty promises in this area that I have no other choice but to stay in for the time being) it got eyed up, taken to the porch and poured in a glass.
     Slightly hazy rich copper in color with a burst of bubbles rising to the top. Modest half finger eggshell white head that melts fairly fast, leaving a moderate amount of lacing behind. Looks nice. The malt aromas seem pretty predominant with a caramel notes on the nose. That is accented with the scents of freshly bread and a mix of fruits like strawberry and pineapple. Smells good.
     Unfortunately though the flavors don't quite meet the sight and smell presentation. There's bit of malt, a touch of hops but nothing stands out. It just tastes mushed together, lacking anything that gives it any distinction or levels of complexities. Reminds me a bit of a Bass Ale without the gazillion years of history behind it or it's slight bite.
     I really like some of the other beers Bear Republic makes but this one is bland and completely "Meh." It bums me out a little too as my brew budget is almost completely nil due to my current financial situation and I was really looking to this. It's not a drain dumper but nothing I imagine trying again.
http://www.bearrepublic.com/

May 10, 2012

May 19: Retro Flashback's at the Tally Ho in North Lakeport

     It's been since Christmas time that the crew has spun some records up at our favorite "This place could be right out a David Lynch movie" watering hole a mile north of Lakeport State Park and directly across Lake Huron. On Saturday, May 19th the trip up M-25 will be taken to indulge the country road dwellers with the boxes of records. Keep in mind that this is not your standard "80's night" where the dj just picks out songs by Culture Club, Crowded House and tracks from John Hughes movie soundtracks from an MP3 folder marked "New Wave". The record shelves at home are dug into deep in this one and the needles will be busy spinning vinyl all evening.
Go to BeatNip.Org for more info   
Facebook event page here

May 8, 2012

ALICJA POP "I Play The Fool" 7inch

     Mention that Memphis, Tn.'s Alicja Trout was a New Wave archeologist in the Clears, a duet partner with Jack Oblivian, post-punk murk maker in the Fitts, the attitude enhancer/foil to Jay Reatard in the Lost Sounds and hard rockin' lady in the River City Tanlines and you aren't even coming coming close to scratching the surface to mentioning the contributions she has has made to make record collections around the world grow.
     Do we need to mention Mouse Rocket? Nervous Patterns? Black Sunday? Her label Contaminated Records?  Etc. Etc. Etc?
     Getting the gist, right? She is always up to something worth taking an earful of.
     A couple years back she released her first single under the alias Alicja Pop! She was a new mama (as in having a kid-not the rock-n-roll sense of the term-though she is that as well) and the first record of songs she released under the name, a 7inch called Shining Apple, had a bit of a Krautrock goes, well, a kiddie music feeling to them.
     While the pop on the previous record under this nom de plume as a bit whismy and bright version of "POP!"-here there are several more weird long shadows and shades of darkness.  Synth sounds hum behind simple rhythm patterns while guitar slash at time and at others blurry. Over top of it all is Alicja's voice, multilayered and melodic, adding fire and ice dimensions to the listening experience. Think the Cars Panorama album meets that Bangles EP that had "Mary Street" on it.
http://www.certifiedprrecords.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/