May 4, 2015
If we are, it's as easy to say with a wave of a hand that Milwaukee's Slow Walker are in the process of scaling a mountain of contaminated soil to plant a grease stained flannel flag at it's peak. Fuzz-n-Wah are used brazenly, a fat bass bottom and drums with a particular boom waste no time in getting right down business with opening track, "Dog Meat", sounding like it should be used for the soundtrack for a film of nitro burning funny cars bursting in to actual flames.
Listening to the album though the thing is with these guys, unlike, say, the Ramones Jr. bands that became a bane some time ago, the band doesn't stick straight to a grunge template. They dig deeper to find out where the sound they're going for got its sound from as well as they places it has went since and, all the while, avoiding the plastic alternative rock ghettos.
"Too Much" takes a Black Lips bounce and injects it with David Allan practicing speed metal riffing, the hazy day feeling of "Never Coming Back" is something like Feelies stripping the Shocking Blues "Venus" of all its proto-prog jazz adornments and making things much straight forward as a result and songs like "Sight In Mind" and "Stale Heat" have a backstreet proto-metal/hesher punk clobbering groove that should be cranking from a weed dealer's El Camino.
Throw in some summer stroll feelings on "Dawn At Sunrise" and "Losing It" along sounding like Spacemen 3 being locked in a closet with some Kyuss albums on "Bathroom Tile" and you've got a meal almost as well balanced as Mudhoney's finest hour Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge.
A couple of my Milwaukee bud's (who have some pretty good bands themselves) have told me this is the favorite band from town (and not just because they did a Saints tribute set last Halloween.) Jamming the album a bunch of times now I have no reason to doubt them.
Apr 28, 2015
|Flyer design by Smashin' Transistors|
Down but not out, main Mangler Ted Tarka eventually crawled from the wreckage and, along with the band's original drummer Brian, started to build a bigger, stronger and even more bad ass version of the combo. Grappling the stealth and swift of attacks of Metal Matt on guitar and Metal Mary on bass into the gang the band is now even more of a force to be reckoned with than ever before.
If Kalamazoo's No Bails were a pizza instead of a band they wouldn't promise you a 30 minute or less delivery guarantee. What they would be able to deliver is that it would be loaded with fat helpings of greasy toppings. If the Cosmic Psychos had kids that they abandoned at a Chuck E. Cheese to learn how to fend for themselves, No Bails would be the one's who would show them how to turn the ball pit into a wrestling ring of televised on WTBS in the 1980s proportions.
Plenty of people in the Port Huron bars can yammer on and on about what is punk rock is and isn't. Al of the Failures is the one to tell them to shut up. Or, once him and his band hit the stage, they shut them up with a street level blare of three chord rock-n-roll detonations.
Not just anyone can be a Midnight Mayor. It's a whole 'nother set of rules than what it is for the one who's at city hall for the day. A midnight mayor isn't elected. Hell, a midnight mayor is even appointed. A midnight mayor is someone who declares themselves the one in charge and everyone else has to deal with it. Dale Beavers is Port Huron's Midnight Mayor.
Find out more at the Facebook event page.
Apr 8, 2015
|Obnox photo by Dale Merrill|
That was a questioned posed at the party at the Smashin' Transistors commorancy to Obnox's Lamont "Bim" Thomas following the gig they played here in town last summer concerning the rave reviews the band's records had been getting.
"You mean am I getting rich?" Lamont laughed then added "I'm just trying to get as much music out there as I can before I die."
With a couple decades of making music with a bunch of different combos under his belt such as the Bassholes and the Puffy Areolas one may figure he's already achieved leaving an indelible mark on the punk rock scene but with him being in the drivers seat with Obnox he's making sure of it.
Like the two full lengths that have preceded it, Boogalou Reed, the first of three 'Nox albums planned for 2015 (and who knows how many EP's and singles along the way) is bursting at the seams with tumult but also again manages to cover different ground instead throwing rocks through windows of the same places over and over again.
Rolling in like a venomous sludge, the album opens with "Wonder Weed." The song's (credited to Stevie Wonder but unknown to this writer where it has appeared on any of his records) caterpillar that weighs a ton guitar crawl and cosmic organ that obscure Bim's voice in the mix act as an roller ascending effect for the album. Slowly leading the head to the top of a peak and building anticipation for slamming on the g-forces and whatever unexpected twist and turn that are to follow.
Equipped with a super rock riff that's made air guitar thrashing and beat swings jazz cat showing every hardcore rat-ta-tat-tat drummer what's up those g-forces first kick in on the next track "Cynthia Piper At The Gates Of Dawn." Fifties rock gets spun in to a dizzying three chord blur on the celebration of Saturday Night (and perhaps jab at the squares that don't "get" what Obnox is getting at) "Too Punk Shakur."
While the album is full of plaster cracking action like hesher rockin' and name droppin' Johnny Cash & Jimi Hendrix jam "Slaughter Culture", the warp speed space truckin' with no seat belts on rides of "Marinol", "I Climbed A Mountain" and "Protopipe", the fist in the air ode to the ones with good taste on the decks "All Hail the DJ" and a cover of CSN&Y's "Ohio" who's torrential downpour of guitar noise conveys a sense of unrest and disorientation that Neil Young was probably attempting to get across but them damn hippies he was working with were just to mellow, the album is not all about getting the feeling of plummeting into the earth at 90 miles per hour.
The album's title track takes trip-hop on a whole trip with a washes of feedback and reverb, a tumbling rhythm that has a bass drum and snare that thumps at the temples and Bim singing like he's kicked back on a big red velvet couch. Along the same lines is the shoegazing if pasty Brits had better hip-hop beats "Empire." The centerpiece of the tracks that have that sorta vibe going on though is "Situation". Intergalactic funk finds a cloud (consisting of sativa smoke, of course) to float on while wiggly guitars squiggle groovy squawks that would have Ernie Isley nodding in approval and a psychotropic beat reverberates the room.
While down Texas way to play at 2014's SXSW, Lamont found a diversion to keep his needing to make up a new song mid occupied when not playing on stage. Making contact with OBN III's Tom Triplett and Orville Neeley, the trio went ended up in Neeley's practice spot where there was a "four-track up and gear in place, not to mention a gang of joints and a bottle of Wild Turkey."
With Lamont behind the kit and a mic in his face and Tom and Orville armed with guitars to split skulls open, the trio crank out four massive blocks of pinned in the red noise. Opening track "Blaxxx" rumbles and roars in a way to make sure everything is on its way to be reduced to rubble and "Cut 'Em Down" sounds like Blue Cheer and Funkadelic dueling each other in a garage disposal. Side two starts with Lamont giving a quick sermon about the bullshit music business before the band fires up sonic bulldozers to slowly plow such bullshit. "Get A Hold Of Your Life" serves up finishing moves that makes the Stooges Metallica KO sound like Frampton's Comes Alive in the best, most funked out punk rock way possible.
Apr 4, 2015
No, I am not making mental notes of what I have to add to the homemade spaghetti sauce I have stewing on to stove. Nor am I reciting some lyrics to one of the Simon & Garfunkel songs that hippie chicks involved in community theater know all the words to even today.
Dogfish Head's collab with the Stone and Victory Brewing companies, Saison du BUFF Ale, contains those very four spices though.
Slightly clouded ash blonde in color and a soft pour into a tulip glass brings that brings out very little head (though a little cap does form as the brew sits and breathes which, in turn, leaves a good but of lacing going on.)
Of the four things that are the bragging point of what they've included in this, the sage is the most prominent on the nose. Scents of peach, lemon, white pepper, fresh mowed grass and honey are also duly noted in the aroma. A bit different aroma that that of a usual saison as their normally a lot more funky and musty smelling, this has a cleaner, crisper redolence to it.
Feeling very light in the mouth a blast of lemon tartness is very pronounced in the front followed by a Belgian yeast and fresh baked bread sweetness. The parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme come out in the middle in floral and herbal flavors but they intermingle together in a nice blend so not one of them dominates the taste. They add a different character than what is usually expected in a beer of this style. Definitely an interesting twist on it Things finish with a mix of crisp citrus tartness, grainy yeast sweetness and earthy spices. A bit of pepper hangs on in the aftertaste for a little bit but then fades into something clean.
Apr 2, 2015
Taking up the entire A-side of of this 12inch EP is the 11+ minute "Cokesmoker." The song rolls in like bad weather. Squalls of biker rock wah-wah guitar glissade over a coarse rhythmic throb while voices, sometimes resembling a bad drug Nick Gilder and at others a smashed mumble, intone ominous thoughts. Feedback piles up building a thick wall of psychedelic caterwaul that is not a a bunch of swirly colors but a bright, blinding white light that guides the spaceship which starts starts honing in for a place to land toward the tail end of the song.
On the flip, "Out Of Design" pumps like the beat of the heart mic'd and run through a bit of gain. Sounds resembling snippets of bluesy guitar twang and ghostly voices promenade to the tension. "Dark Afternoon" gurgles and blurts like things left on the Silver Apples cutting room floor being reassembled randomly.The weird trip ends where it started with a reprise of side one's maelstrom.
No need to warn anyone about not operating this under heavy equipment as it IS the heavy equipment.
Mar 30, 2015
After packing it in nearly 20 years ago, Aussie primeval merchants of meat grinding sounds feedtime toured the US for the first time in 2012. Now, a couple years later, the world has gotten a new dispatch of their guttural compounds with these two song in 7inch form.
From it's first clanging notes of bass and slide guitar lines that sound like they are being done with a rusty and dripping with scrub bull guts, "flatiron" alerts the ears that the two decades gone haven't done anything to satiate the band's taste for skin blistering pork fat with a shot of claret on the side. Backed by a beat that's like a demented shuffle taking a job as a conductor of a hellbound steam train, the maniacal two chord blues oozes til the room is knee deep in pus.
"stick up jack" strips things down even further with the guitar and bass locked into a constant one chord pummeling and the drums just adding to velocity while rick rants like an old school wrestler about to literately rip someone's head off.
Mar 25, 2015
|Flyer design by Smashin' Transistors|
From Ohio, Hot Love will be getting up to get down and shake some rock action that is one part space cased new wave, one part basement party garage rock groovin' and 100% a blast.
Fueled by caffeine, fried chicken and beer, Port Huron punk rock desperado's the Failures will be revving up their engine and firing on all 8 cylinders all in the name of having a good time.
Find out more by checking the Facebook event page.
Mar 19, 2015
"The dual chambers cool it way down too meaning maximum expansion."
"The carbon filter does an stellar job on keeping it gunk free too."
On and on I could hear the technical jargon going on between two fellow students sitting behind me in during a science class in my high school years. It sounded like some serious modifications.
Assuming their were talking about some project happening in their Auto-shop class I asked them what kind of motor they were working on.
The one dude laugh "Brah, we ain't doing much in auto shop class since that one truck caught on fire. We're building a bong!"
"We even have the sweet jams planned when we fire it up."
Now, granted this was not the coolest/hippest town to grow up in. Wasn't expecting the two dudes to drop names like Hawkwind or Sir Lord Baltimore but when they rattled off the "sweet jams" that would be crankin', "Y'know, some Styx, some Journey, some REO...", a person couldn't help but wonder how if they even knew what the purpose of a bong is for AND how shitty would the grass be that they were going to smoke through it.
If it was Fogg being overheard having the same discussion, there would be no doubt of about the engineering of the smoking apparatus, the quality of of what would be smoked and especially the choices of music that would be turned up while the toking would going down.
After gurgling from the terra firma with a swell of feedback "Time Ride" starts to slither across the surface like a thousand slimy night crawlers in the grass after a midnight rain.
Next the band drops two heavy doses of Blue Cheer with "Rainbow" and "Fried Cheer". The former lollops like a electrified calliope with guitar/bass interplay acting as nails pounded into a doorjamb to keep jackals from tearing things from the hinges. On the latter it sounds as if the levee is starting to break. The type of rattled and shit fidelity proto-punk fuzz that is all over things like the MC5's Kick Out The Jams album when it procreates with slabs of doom.
Psychedelia flourishes come into play heavily on sprawling "Wings Of Death", which starts out as some introspective meandering before kick starting the engine and twisting the throttle, and the classical interlude that's "Hair Temple" but both are more about colors browns and greys and dead flowers than swirling fluorescent hues and putting daisy in your hair.
The squishy, rubbery wah-wah that permeates "Tongue Melts", the primordial man plays funky drummer beats on "Merlin Power" and the bulldozing your bones into a mound of glowing ooze vibe on "Reaper" would all fit in at a biker barbeque where the pig is soaked in Old Crow before roasted over a fire of gasoline and brimstone.
With all the lo-end rumbling it was only a matter of time before this would cause an avalanche rolling down from dotted with poppy field mountains. The two closers that to happen in (slow) motion. "Sludgemother", squirms like a luded out Mudhoney handing a teenage warlock the mic. Then a drum solo kicks in. As well all should know by now the only two places drum solos ever make sense and work are on stuff like this or some prime 60s jazz so it's all good here. "Womb To The Tomb" completes the comedown with droopy eyed guitar explosions and sounding a bit like some nephews of St. Vitus cutting classes and chasing bong rips with Mountain Dew.
Mar 16, 2015
|Photo: Daniel Hofmeister|
The swarms of feedback that invade the opening of "The ID" push it to a point to make where almost skin crawls. Right before everything is going to snap the song dives head first into a trash bin of Sci-Fi Budget Rock and strangled saxaphone dance numbers.
Starting off with bass line that sounds like it was taken from third generation duped cassette recording of some old new wave band's demo things turn bloody on "Elevators and Escalators" fairly quickly. Two guitars snarl band saw sounds at each other that may stem from an argument about whether it's Sonics or Swell Maps records sound even better played at 78 rpm's.
Feb 28, 2015
Like many other people for the ages it was the first place a person in Michigan drank legally anywhere on the planet. Someone only has to be 19 years old there. Here it is 21. That means to many the first place of a beer oasis was discovered. It sorta shaped a whole outlook of what suds should be. Yep! Cue the tape and join with me into a rousing version of Oh, Canada.
When craft beers starting rolling along, Canadian beers took a backseat quickly. Some small batch and specialty breweries started to appear but some of them seemed unsure of branching away from certain ingredient profile that seemed to be a thread that ran through the most beers available in the country for eons. Sure I tried some that were decent but there was always "what's up with them always having that same aftertaste every Canadian beer has?"
The folks at Refined Fool in Sarnia, Ontario knew what was up. The town is only ten minutes away (if the bridge isn't busy) so they did their research over here quite often before opening shop. I had a chance to enjoy a handful of their beers but this is my first go 'round with the Ripsnorter Bourbon Porter. Did I mention that it's been cellaring for for a few seasons now?
Burnt burgandy in color that isn't gonna let any light in at all. A moderate pour brings out a rocky chocolate malt looking head that melts fairly quickly. Chocolate and espresso beans come out first on the nose. There's smokey and woodsy elements to it as well which bring out maple and bacon.
Slightly bitter Cocoa and sweat cream play the first fiddle from front to end here but there are little details throughout. Dark cherry tartness zig zags its way around. Tobacco makes an appearance. Charred wood stop in to say high. A fun gathering of things that seem to enjoy each other vibe.
And the finish and aftertaste? No, it doesn't taste like Burton Cummings mixed some perfume, pine needles and club soda together, smiling while serving it up and asking you if he once dated your aunt. It is a nice throat coat of chocolate and dark fruit though.
Now I just gotta figure out a way to run a pipeline through the water from their brewery directly to my house.