Jan 17, 2014

DANNY & THE DARLEANS s/t LP

     “I’m really into the idea of garage rock as folk music. It was the folk music of 60′s teenagers. Anybody can do it.”
     Anyone with more than just a casual history of of rock-n-roll could make such a statement. Especially someone who has a band that harkens back to sound of the youth explosion of nearly five decades ago. It's such a quote that could easily just viewed as some sort of idealism or romanticism of the past if said by most people.
     When such a thing is said by Dan Kroha though, who has not only been making the such glorious & soulful racket for 20 years, first as one third of one of the most influential bands of it's sort with the Gories, and then continuing to keep things just a primitive and even more sexy with the Demolition Dollrods, it's a statement of a passionate relationship for the bump, grind, grunt and wail.
     Unlike some "moderne garage" bands who record in good studio and then do things like bathe the mix in (digital) reverb and other things to make it all sound lo-fi in attempts to have the listener think that it's all being kept authentic-this album has a pure rawness that feels natural. Instead of going into somewhere fancy and then doing things to make it appear all trashy-the Darleans sound like they did the exact opposite by recording on equipment that may leave a little to be desired as far as fidelity and outdated as far as technology is concerned but making the best and most rockin' sounding record they could. The results are one rockin' house party that keeps shakin' til the sun comes up.
    The album kicks off  like a rocket shot of blaring punk rock/R&B stomp with "Don't Get In The Car". It ends twelve songs later with the flash fires of feedback on "Can't Kill The Rooster". In between those two points the 3-piece band (Kroha on guitar and vocals, along with sometime Detroit Cobras Rich Wohllfeil on skins and Colleen Burke holding down the low end) can be found mixing gasoline with Kool Aid for the handclap heavy & funky take on the Strangeloves "It's About My Baby" and the sweet tart hip shakin' hooks of "Where The Rubber Meets The Road" & "Boo-De-Lye", being forlorn and fed up on the slow burnings "How Many Times"and "You Treated Me Bad" and bouncing around in funhouse of broken mirrors take on Lou Reed's pre-Velvet Underground tune "You're Driving Me Insane."
     Garage rock as folk music? Perhaps. A record that brings on a no holds barred, no bullshit rock-n-roll party? A definite yes!      
http://www.neros-neptune.com

Jan 12, 2014

HEAVY LIDS "Gravity Reverse" 7inch

     How do spacemen crash to earth and not be detected?
     Especially when it sounds like the spaceship they arrived in was made of very tossed away cassette deck parts & discarded reels of of really low budget 60's sci-fi films and rattles louder than an old pick-up truck with no muffler and rusted out box panels.
     Featuring ex-Detonations and Static Static folks and resembling something akin to deep down south and rusty razor blade toting bastard offspring of intergalactic guitar feedback noise humpers that proceeded them in decades past-the two songs here are not like painting a room midnight blue and pasting glow in the dark stars, moons and planets all over the walls. Instead, they are like lightning flashes or chemical flares as the songs go straight to dishing out parts of the frontal lobe with a spoon and then onto probing other orifices.
     Creepy organ blow out a noxious green fog that covers the ground, electric shock guitar send a billion watts of paralyzing jolts down the spine and singing that doesn't sound like it's going to ask you to take them to you leader but is going to demand to know where the nearest power plant is.
pelicanpowwowrecords.bigcartel.com

Jan 10, 2014

VACATION CLUB "Daydream" 7inch

     When it comes to what us Michiganders call pop (you may call it soda, or, if down south "Cokes" no matter what the flavor or brand is) my tastebuds don't like it too fluffy.
     There's gotta be something something sour and gives it that particular pucker. Something that is more than just a whole bunch of frosting to cover up that the base & bulk is just another usual glob of high fructose corn syrup.
     "Daydream", a-side of Indianapolis, Indiana's Vacation Club latest single, is like lemon pop. It's crystalline and fizzy but tartness that is like real lemon instead of made in a lab and pure cane sugar for that proper hyper buzz.
     Then things get interesting. Like fresh scrubbed faces get dosed on reverb and other undisclosed things that make 'em feel all wiggly and wander down backstreets kind of interesting.
     A floor tom favoring jungle garage thump anchors boozy harmony heavy vocals while blurred guitars with a love for the solos on the Velvet Underground's "What Goes On" splatter rings of stickiness everywhere else.
     For the flip "Forest Babe" it's Saturday morning cartoons gets a snotty punkin' 'tude on. Like a wad of bubblegum on the sidewalk on a hot summer day-it's florescent & gooey and a gritty and full of insects. It ends up being in the same whimsy places some of thee Oh Sees and the Black Lips tunes go but finds it distorted view to get there. 
http://randyrecords.blogspot.com

Jan 5, 2014

Founders Brewing Comany's Imperial Stout

     The weather forecast is calling for one of the most major snowstorms the region has seen in some years. Of course though these days if 2 inches drop it causes the every area TV station to post "STORM TRACKER ALERTS" and so on causing some type of hype and scare-mania for what is just an everyday run of the mill Michigan winter snowfall.
     None the less, errands and a trek was made to the store for a few things needed in case the weather actually hindered getting out on the roads over the next few days. On my final stop I spotted these Imperial Stouts on the shelf. Knowing their powers from many past years when they make their winter appearance I know that IF we did actually get the snow the weather folk were banging out about these beers would be something to warm me as I watched a tundra happen out my windows.
     This is one of the darkest beers ever. It looks and pours pretty much like old motor oil. Save from a dark ruby color along the sides of the glass no light gets through this brew. The head is a sliver of bubbly mocha color that, though thin, leaves a fair amount of lacing behind in it's wake.
     Cocoa, coffee and vanilla notes are what comes through first on the nose. None of them come out blasting in scent. Instead, they are all mellow and roasty as they intermingle with each other. Just beneath them are hints of charred maple, vanilla and tobacco. Very warm and soothing-which is to say it is already starting to do it's trick as I am watching the snow starting to pile up and watching the thermometer dropping down.
     Tastebuds become immersed in dark coffee and bittersweet chocolate flavors at first sip. They hold strong through the soft & chewy nature of the beer but also give room for dints of raspberry, vanilla and hardwood smoke. Towards the finish, where a lot of bold stouts seem will drift off into either a watery sweetness or spent coffee, this takes a bold turn with a piney hop bite and a reminder that even though the 10.5% abv has been well hidden beneath ten varieties of malted barley it still packs a punch.
     Damn! It is starting to look really monochromatic outside. Maybe the television wasn't actually over-exaggerating the mess this storm is gonna make. Good thing I found a store with this in stock as it is one of the most hearty things ever for such weather nuisances.
foundersbrewing.com

Dec 29, 2013

Smashin'Transistors Fave Albums of 2013

I know there wasn't a whole lot of WRITING about records in this place again this year. I can put the blame on distractions, a major change on the domestic front and life in general getting in the way. I did LISTEN to bunches of music both new and old this past year though. After mulling over the tunes that passed through my ears in 2013 here's a list of the most enjoyed and often played albums at home, in my car and on my radio show for the year (in alphabetical order.)

-Dale


BAD NOIDS "Everything From Soup To Dessert" (Katorga Works) Ragin' and retardo, ugly and nasty. Old school sick kid hardcore. There's some toxic things still along the Lake Erie coastline!
Bad Noids on Facebook


BARDO POND "Peace On Venus" (Fire) Guitars that sound like electrical storms cutting through a dense damp fog while voices teeter between the ethereal bliss & indecorous pain. Flutes get pushed through whirling effects while the rhythm section thumps some swing into a sludge beat.
Bardo Pond on the web


BLIND SHAKE "Key to a False Door" (Castle Face) A musical head space where weirdly tuned silt punk goes out on dates with surf music to watch people go-go dance into a chasm of barbed wire and broken glass.
Blind Shake's website


CATHOLIC SPRAY "Earth Slime" (Born Bad) Freaky frogs doing  LSD fried and cheap beer sauteed post-whatever VU boot lickin' garage punk. Wig out while stomping daisies in a black light room.
Catholic Spray on Bandcamp



COUNTER INTUITS s/t aka "Sheets Of Hits" (Pyramid Scheme) A king of atonal rock woe, Ron House sets up camp around a tape machine with a prince of tin sheeting put to a belt grinder pop, Jared Phillips of Times New Viking. The results are like fetching a Swell Maps record out of a running garbage disposal with your bare hand. 
An interview with the Counter Intuits


MIKAL CRONIN "MCII" (Merge) Introspective singer-songwriter coyness, brash guitar fuzz freak outs and things like strings and woodwinds making appearances are all parts of the recipe here. The result is some of the most glimmering pop songs to sugarcoat ears this year.
Mikal Cronin on Bandcamp


The FEELING OF LOVE "Reward Your Grace" (Born Bad) Shoegazing gets tribal. Psychedelia gets stripped bare then chrome plated. Monochromatic drones intertwine themselves with technicolor swirls. Taste the strychnine rainbow.
Feeling of Love on Facebook


The GO "Fiesta" (Burger) If late 60's era Beach Boys moved to Michigan, spent all summer in a resort town riding bicycles, hanging out at the arcade, trying to find someone to buy them beer (or sell them doobies) and striking out when talking to chicks. Then spent cooped up in a Michigan winter to write songs about it
The Go on Bandcamp


The GOSPEL TRUTH "A Lonely Man Does Foolish Things" (12XU) In some universe a swamp country soul band detours into Birthday Party territory and play at the most surly pig roasts for miles around every weekend. If that universe doesn't exist yet-the Gospel Truth are at working on it.
The Gospel Truth on 12XU


The HUSSY "Pagan Hiss" (Southpaw) Heather singing like a girl group gone bad and bashing the drums like a ton of bricks. Bobby making tantrums of psych-punk noise on guitar and blurting things in a nasal tone. Their best record yet.
The Hussy on Bandcamp


HUMAN EYE "4: Into Unknown" (Goner) Laser guns get put into some mischievous hands after a space punk UFO crash lands into ruins and rustbelt rock-n-roll. Feel the ultraviolet slime ooze out of the speakers. 
Goner Records


MORDECAI "College Rock" (Richie) Mangled and out of sync trash rock/art punk that somehow locks into a groove of cohesive chaos. The most glorious and loudest wreck to come of out Butte, Montana since a six hour loop of Evel Knievel greatest wipe outs.
Mordecai on Tumblr


OBNOX "Corrupt Free Enterprise"(12XU) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.


OBLIVIANS "Desperation" (In The Red) Reunion albums by legendary bands are normally a big letdown. With tunes that go well at a backyard BBQ/Dance Party or cruising the streets looking for trouble and possibly a knife fight though Desperation isn't! Older, wiser but still packing plenty rock-n-roll firecrackers.
The Oblivians Facebook page.


OOGA BOOGAS s/t (Aarght!) This is like one of those "everything but the kitchen sink (for the lack of a better coin) "New Wave" fun party records of the mid 80's. Downstroked & elastic guitar rock-n-roll chuggers peppered with horn sections. Pub rock slathered in cheezy synths. Sing-a-long anthems with all of the above.
Ooga Boogas Bandcamp page 



PAMPERS s/t (In The Red) Blues punk (or at least a Scientists/Cramps/"Dial M" era Pussy Galore) gets spun like a top before being severely beaten by deviant art misanthropes swinging red hot tire irons. It's then set on fire and placed by some gas station pumps. The explosions are deafening.
Pampers page on Bandcamp


PSYCHIC ILLS "One Track Mind" (Sacred Bones) Chill out boogie for bikers? Spacemen 3 cruising in a brand new Cadillac through the a wildflower filled countryside? Music to burn a j while sitting under under a big shade tree at the beach? Yep, Something like that.
Psychic Ills place on the web


PURLING HISS "Water On Mars" (Drag City) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.


SATANIC ROCKERS "Fu Kung" (Alberts Basement) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.


WHITE FENCE "Cyclops Reap" (Castle Face) Syd-esque crumbling apart folkie rock gets a bunch of glitter dust tossed at it. Be the songs sound like acid country rock, glam pop played on household items or a heavily medicated Creation playing Byrds songs (or vise-verse) wiggly acoustic strums and big fuzz wails get their equal amounts of attention.
White Fence on Facebook

And with that-let's kick 2013 to the curb. On to 2014!

Nov 20, 2013

November 27th: Turntable Jives at the Port Huron's Roche Bar

     I normally pass on going out on Thanksgiving Eve. It's one of the busiest bar nights of the year which usually equals amateur night, herd mentality douchebags, drunks all over the roads and cops everywhere looking for those drunks. For me, these factors lead me to choose to be warm & toasty in my own digs and enjoy a tipple if a chose with people that I choose.
     Due to a change in my social & financial statuses (aka: getting divorced) though-I will be spinning my first Thanksgiving Eve set in who remembers how long it's been. It gives me a reason to kick out the jams for a bit as well as putting some much needed change in my pocket.
     Join me, Franck, Day-V and KVN for an Thanksgiving Eve of grooves, growlers, shakers and stompers at the Roche Bar located at 405 Quay St. in Downtown Port Huron.
Find out the more minute details here.

Nov 8, 2013

Saugatuck Brewing Company's Black Pearl Necklace

   
    Today is National Stout Day. Now that there is a chill in the air and some people have already got their Christmas lights and decorations up (even though it's only been a week since Halloween and we've still got 3 weeks before it's even Thanksgiving) stouts always seem appropriate so why not celebrate their dark, rich, maybe coffee, maybe chocolate goodness.
     I was about to head to the store to pick some sorta stout out, set on finding one that I had not tried before so I could tap out a few notes on it on the keyboard and then pass it off here as one of my beer "reviews." Then I remembered a month and a half or so ago I picked up one by the Saugatuck Brewing Company that had been sitting on a shelf in my fridge.
     An imperial stout aged in an oak bourbon barrel is always a fancy thing. This one reminds you of that by a bit of showboating with the wax seal. I mean, it's does give the bottle an air of sophistication which is nice when paying 15 bucks for a bottle of beer but also seems kinda silly when it is peeled all off to reveal not a cork but an every day bottle cap. I just want to get down to tasting the brew, not dealing with with some superfluous bells and whistles y'know.
     The beer pours darkand thick. No light getting through my glass at all. The two finger head is full and frothy with a color that resembles the top of a chocolate malted. Coffee and cocoa are the dominate scents backed up with a tartness of black cherry along with hints of vanilla and charred wood.
     On the front end there's a bit of a cola sweetness. A bit of bite and burn in it so that cola is a bit more like Coca-Cola in a can than a Pepsi out of a plastic bottle. That is followed by the tart sweetness that was detected in the aroma. I am still thinking black cherries along with a few raspberries and black berries thrown in for good measure. That gives way to a flavor of sweet malts, dark roasted coffee and chocolate powders.
     Nice and interesting but I after a couple of sips I really started to think to myself "where are the bourbon notes???"  After all, it was close to $20 bucks spent on this bottle and, dammit, it I want them.
     My cat was knocking at the window making his cat presence known that his furry cat ass wanted to come in because he has been outdoors for about an hour which, of course, builds up a huge cat hunger so I let him. My phone started ringing so I the call.
     All the while the beer was in the glass getting more time to breath. Taking a sip after getting back to it was "Ahhh, there's the bourbon aging thing now." Then ten or so minutes it spent getting some air really made a huge difference. Mossy oak, vanilla and coconut was now enveloping around the aforementioned flavors, tying it all together while still keeping the 8% abv very well hidden and giving the brew that little extra "oomph" it needed to make it home run.
www.saugatuckbrewing.com

Nov 6, 2013

SATANIC ROCKERS "Fu Kung" LP

     Seeking that particular record to wake up to in the morning and help rub the sleep out of your eyes? Well, keep looking.
     Seeking a record to wake up to in the morning and rolling over with the sleep still in your eyes to take a couple of bong hits then going back to sleep til well past noon having really seedy, monochromatic dreams all the while? Well, then you need Melbourne, Austraila based Satanic Rockers in your Stygian life.
     Sounding like Black Sabbath falling asleep, a 70's Saturday Morning Cartoon version drone metal and the most lackadaisical late 80's slacker rock dudes laying on a cold slab of cement quacked out on whatever pills he found while riffling through his mom's purse-the songs here start as a gurgle that turn into something festering.
     Beats that sound like they are rhythm box jacked from a broken down Wurlizter organ are buried deep in the mix of murky, grumbling guitars plugged into powered by 6 AA batteries amps do their damnedest to rumble like a lawnmower idling in the thunderstorm and squall like Canadian geese being strangled with barbed wire.
     Above those noises that may entertain the idea of reaching a mid tempo squirm before topping out and staying at a slug bait slither are dispassionate voice rambles off in a smart ass tone about being the hatred that permeates through small towns, homely siblings, boring jobs (and the jackass bosses that go with them) and the joys of war (or at least the thrill of blasting someone away with a machine gun).
      Dark humor and lost weekend booze bender doom chugging that serves as a perfect sound when thinking about getting revenge dealing with day to day dickheads.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Satanic-Rockers/175538152528809

Oct 30, 2013

North Peak Hooligan

     Traverse City's North Peak Brewing makes simple, yet solid beers. They aren't all about frou-frou-ing them with unusual ingredients or a piling on a ridiculous bevy of spices.    
     A very liberal use of hops though?  Yeah! They are all over that tip though.
     When I spotted this, labeled as a Hoppy Pumpkin Ale, of course I was curious. My gal-pal, a foodie and wine fan with still a bit of a neophyte when it comes to all the great brews out there and after having feelings of pleasant to total disappointment on some of the pumpkin beers she's tried on her own in the past, asked me to keep and eye out for ones she hadn't tried so we could give 'em a shot. Hmmm. Beer and drinking it with girls? You don't have to twist my arm.
     The brew pours a transparent and bright pumpkin copper orange. The head was very minimal save for some spotty clouds and a few bubbles around the rim. Very little lacing because of this.
      On the nose there's good chunk pumpkin meat, a large bit of white pepper and fresh mowed grass from the hops and a little flourishes of graham crackers. Different from a from a huge number of other pumpkin beers that smell like all the spices that go into a pumpkin pie but stray away from the actual pumpkin itself not to mention still being a beer. 
      The hops jump right out front in flavor. At first it seems more about being an IPA (North Peak's Diabolical in particular) with a distinctive citrus and earthy bitters along with a counter balance of sweet malts. Fresh pumpkin flavors then start to emerge adding an interesting twist in the middle. As the brew breaths and warms slightly the pumpkin comes more to the forefront, mellowing out the very big (and good) hop forward slant along with some slight nuances of nutmeg and cinnamon. The finish is slightly dry and piney like one would expect from any beer that says "Hoppy" right on it's label.
     One of the most interesting things about this beer is that, as I mentioned before, the spice is something to add some character to the taste but not the main thing about the flavor. This one depends more on the hops to give it an oomph and bite. to give a short one line description of this would be a pumpkin juice infused Michigan styled IPA. Quite interesting and much different from the many sweet spiced ones that are can be found all around this time of the year.
www.northpeak.net

Oct 29, 2013

Beat Time this Saturday at Port Huron's Roche Bar

     Join Franck, Benny and yours truly at the Roche Bar, located at 405 Quay St. in downtown Port Huron, this Saturday for an evening of all kinds of boss tunes, bad ass jams and totally groovin' tunes. They roll the clocks back an hour so there's an extra hour of rockin', drinkin' and carousing too.