Mar 20, 2014

Victory Brewing Company Old Horizontal

    
     It's not uncommon for a group of us beer geeks to get together, try a few different brews and discuss them along with a billion other things beer geeks will discuss. It's not unusual for the conversation to turn to the topic of barley wines and especially barley wines we have tried before and want to try again if we ever spot them on a beer hunting adventure.
     The one that our group seems to have talked the most has been Victory Brewing Company's Old Horizontal. It had been a good few years since it has been seen on the shelves around these parts. From what we have gathered though-that was the case all around the nation as it was on a two year hiatus til it started appearing again late last year. The times I had tried it before I was always a delight but I never got around to making any notes about it. This time around I have.
     Pouring a clear burnt orange color a large, bubbly two finger tan head appears before slowly melting down and leaving rings of lace behind. The scents of fresh baked raisin bread, caramel apples and grapefruit introduce themselves almost immediately from a light whiff before they begin to intermingle with each other culminating into a sweet aromatic blend.
      Lots of buttery toffee and caramel and a very silky texture in the mouthfeel comes out in the front on the first sip. They hold strong for a moment then give way to rye toast and orange marmalade flavors in the middle followed quickly by blend of dates, blueberries and black currants along with the first initial hints of warmth from the +11% abv. Towards the end the hop characteristics come out adding a pine bite that does not push out the perfect blend of all the flavors that proceed it but adds and compliments them. The finish closes with a bit of a white pepper linger along with citus peel tang and hint of hazelnuts and dark chocolate.
     When I first spotted these around this year I bought two bottles with the intention of putting on in the cellar and one to drink. I didn't want to go all crazy and buy up every bottle because that hoarding mentality kinda pisses me off (unless they intend on sharing) and wanted to make sure that others around town who may be interested in trying it would get a chance to to grab a bottle or two for themselves. In the past they were here and gone within a couple of weeks. Luckily a few stores around these parts got enough so the bare spot on the shelf where they once were has not happened yet so I have been able to reward myself every couple of weeks with one as well as stick a few away to see how they age.
    One of my most favorite barley wines ever!
www.victorybeer.com

    

Mar 2, 2014

The YOLKS "Two Dollars Out The Door" 7inch

     The Yolks shambled pop rockin' sound is something akin of Nick Lowe's Jesus Of Cool being pushed down a mountain of beer cans with a singer who sounds like he is constantly battling a deep down turmoil of whether to be a wise cracking suburban troublemaker or a velvet fogged philanderer.
     That means, around the Smashin' Transistors digs at least, their few and far between records have always been welcomed on the turntable and calling up friends to come over for a house party follows.
    This, their latest release (and the first thing by 'em to make it to vinyl since their full length LP in 2009), is no exception.
     The a-side's hyped up on sugar and rollin' in the dirt "Two Dollars Out The Door" not only gets a house party started with it's hooky bashing and smart ass Doo Wop chorus and harmonies-the mentioning of BBQing of Polish sausage and trying to talk to girls (some of who are Polish too) a backyard party that takes over the entire block could most likely ensue.
     A take on Willie Dixon's via Sir Bo Diddley "Oh, Pretty Thing" stays loyal to the tempo, beat and harmonica blaring of the original but like any backyard party that winds watching the sun rising the next day it's all bloodshot and staggering and doesn't know how to explain to the cops when they show up why all the neighbors lawn furniture ended up in the swimming pool and their pets on the roof of the garage.
http://randyrecords.blogspot.com

Feb 25, 2014

PYPY "Pagan Day" LP

     If they were to give out an award to people who have used the garage punk springboard to bounce off into many a different direction sound wise Montreal's Roy Vucino would sport one of the biggest blue ribbons in the planet.
     From the soul sprinkled and Slade stomp of the Daylight Lovers and Les Sexareenos drunken frat rock trash bashing to the CPC Gangbangs hard rockin' action and the fever dream frazzled sounds of Red Mass there has always been that something in the projects he is part of that take things if not at least to a higher level don't just simply rehash the the obvious things within the particular genre over and over again.
     His latest thing, PyPy, continues with that.
     Starting off with a downstroked and heavily distorted chugging like a train on jagged tracks, the album's namesake builds up a head full of steam til it explodes into a mess of guitar splatter. The noise gives singer Annie-Claude DeschĂȘnes (her of Duchess Says) the cue to lure listeners in with a flirtatious sneer telling tales while the band hammers away at a calamitous Velvet Underground "White Light/White Heat" goes space rock vibe.
     Some the tracks have more than a tinge of avant funk/dub reggae reminiscent of the Slits and the No Wave scene to them. "New York" Roy and Annie trade off lines over an replete with wrung out chicken scratch guitar piece that wobbles then propels into head first in overdrive trashing for a bit before it returns to a woozy groove. "Daffodils" fools the listener at first thinking the song is simply gonna let them bob their head in some type of stoned zone til a roar similar to jet engines shreds eardrums to ribbons while "Too Much Cocaine" takes the same basic ingredients too and makes it much more antsy inducing spasmodic dance moves all over the room.
      The song most likely to appease the folks are are looking for the standard "garage rock" thing here would most like be "Molly" and "Ya Ya Ya/Psychedelic Overlords". The former is all fuzzed out guitar buzzing over the place as well as something sinister lurking right underneath the surface of Annie's voices but since it doesn't ape the Troggs or Chuck Berry they may write if off as art rock. It's their loss if they do though.
     The latter, with a sideways reference to a Hawkwind song in it's title, may go over their heads but then again I think a lot of those types are even oblivious to the fact that anymore only douchebags like Guy Fieri are ones left who wear bowling shirts with flames on them. The flames this song is about are the type a flying saucer would make after it slams into the surface of the earth taking a small town with it.
     Sure, we're only 8 weeks in to 2014 but I am going to go out on a limb and say already that this is one of my favorite albums of this year.
www.slovenly.com

Feb 22, 2014

March 8th: Marinol Nation, Radio Burns and ROWS at Port Huron's Roche Bar


Check out the Roche Bar in downtown Port Huron on Saturday, March 8th for an evening of international Rock-n-Roll

Described as "Daniel Johnston if he listened to the Rolling Stones instead of the Beatles" by fellow Sarnia compatriots the Chocolate Robots-Marinol Nation will be playing their brand of folk punk blues live in the USA for the first time.



Find out more about Marinol Nation at their Facebook page here.

Radio Burns are a Detroit Rock-n-Roll band that feature Port Huron's own Nick Lloyd (The Dirtys, Bantam Rooster) on drums.

Get more info on Radio Burns here.

Also on the bill are Sarnia indie garage blues popsters ROWS.

Listen to some music by ROWS here.

Find out more at the events page on Facebook.

Feb 17, 2014

CITY YELPS "Cheap Psych" Cassette

     What if Red Lorry Yellow Lorry first few singles were recorded at a pizza party instead of having a cinderblock cell illuminated by a 50 watt lightbulb with a layer of road salt muck all over them sound?
     Or think about the kind of record Crispy Ambulance would have made in 1981 if they were much less dour, trimmed a lot of the unneeded fat from some of their songs and played them with might like they were headed into the eye of a storm instead of moping around in a damp mist.
     Now imagine if a variation of the above (along with some Swell Maps and Flying Nun sounds thrown in for good measure) was fronted by a guy who's former band sounded like the Sonics drunk on slugging back jet fuel and their muffler completely torn off. 
     Hailing from Leeds, England and fronted by Shaun aka the Hand of the Real Losers, the City Yelps take sound of very British DIY post punk back to the basement (after kicking down the stairs most likely) where it belongs but not before slathering it with week old french fry grease then washing off the excess with Carling Lager.
     The results make the chiming guitars sting from the spikes of ice they are lobbing off while the morose vocals have more than an obvious wink and smirk to make the listener want bray along and not worry who may be watching instead of the standard going into a bedroom and hiding under the blankets while joining in with a mumble and murmur.
     While every song has an unearthed in a long misplaced box at The Cartel's mail order department vibe to it-there's also a heavy doses of twisted subterranean noise pop blurs that make the songs stand out. That sets the City Yelps apart from some of the college radio hopefuls that want everyone to compare them to Joy Division but really just sound fey synth pop bands with hissy thin guitar sounds and some dude trying to impersonate a ghost on the mic.   
http://cityyelps.bandcamp.com/album/cheap-psych      

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!