Dec 18, 2015
Scorched and tormented "Are You Even Alive" opens this 6 song 12inch not by asking the question politely or slightly nudging to see if you're just sleeping. Instead they go about finding out so by running you over with a truck that is fueled by the sludge that Filth era Swans would've been baptized in had the ever attended the church of the Cramps on a day where Kat Bjelland was giving a guest sermon.
The guitars (courtesy of Chris Corbin, who did time with Geraldine and Mike Rep and occasional agent in Obnox's ear-drum rattling mission Jah Nada) slither like snakes through grass made of dagger blades in hunt of their prey on tracks like "Why Don't You Want Me", "Siren" and "Shame" and induced a sleep with one open paranoia boogie on "Cleveland Avenue" and "Neighborhood Safe Space." Above it all, singer/drummer Aurelie Celine provided a primal rhythm that is like voodoo beats thumped out by wrecking balls and brays in a way that it would take little if you wanted to convince someone that lady in town everyone thinks is a witch actually is and she has a rock-n-roll band.
Only listen this record right before bed time if you want wet dreams that involve spiders carrying buckets of napalm crawling over you.
Dec 9, 2015
As we all know Marvin was brought into the Motown stable in and, by 1962, his career took off first as a songwriter (the co-writer of the Marvelettes "Beechwood 4-5789") and scoring his first of many top 10 pop hits in '63 with "Pride & Joy."
Dubbed the Prince of Detroit, Lee didn't have it easy breaking the national charts. His first single for single for the D-Town, "Sad Affair", was released as a friendly challenge to Marvin of who could score the next hit record. The single fared decently in Detroit and landed at #10 on some local airplay charts. In 1965 though it looked like his luck would change. That was the year the single "I Want You To Have Everything", which was recorded live in a makeshift studio located in a building on Detroit's 14th St that also housed a record store, was released on D-Town Records and hit #17 on the Billboard R&B charts. Unfortunately, due to the inconsistent distribution channels of the time (and possibly some string pulling from the folks at Motown, who always seemed worried that another Detroit label would overtake their position of power in the music world, to keep record from getting any bigger) it only cracked the Hot 100 and Lee's follow up records weren't ever able to gain any traction.
One of those follow ups was "You Wont Have To Wait For X-Mas." Released in the later months of 1965, the beat swings in that way that Marvin Gaye may have copped while Lee lays down a smooth yet burning message to his love around the holiday. It one of those songs that is a must for me to break out and spin this time of the year.
Nov 30, 2015
It was either experiment with excessive amounts of Tryptophan for a long weekend or get some stuff done. I got stuff done and then I sat down to absorb some sound.
New things by WX, Don Howland, Hierophants, The Baby Shakes, Shadow In The Cracks, DRAGGS and Midnight Reruns. Some things from the gold shelves like Clock DVA, The Lurkers, Flying Saucer Attack, The Byrds and Killdozer.
Plus a whole lot of other great entrees too.
Nov 28, 2015
A slightly chopped and humanoid beat sets the tone for a fuzzy & slightly blanket of an electric piano to wrap and keep things warm while icy bloops and beeps soar around on "Light's Out." It's like that stoned in the afternoon while listening to Steely Dan vibe that Junip or Tame Impala did way too much on their last album. The difference though is that where those bands act all precious and coy, these guys are not hiding it. The occasional prog-leaning rears its head a time or two but they manage to keep it under control by not playing too many notes at once. When the echoy new wave vocals kick in the scene changes from cocaine at the martini party to a rain washed and neon lit street scene from a slightly arty 80s movie.
Imagine standing outside a really seedy hotel bar. Expecting worn red velvet upholstery and fake Tiffany lamps caked with years of cigarette smoke and dust. Hesitant to walk in in you're find that everything is shiny, silver PVC fabric and flickering fluorescent light. The band starts to play and it sounds like this record's flipside "Outer Orbit." The drinks are just well booze but you feel you may start to float in space. A jazzy space.
Nov 27, 2015
Charging right out the gate with a surf drum beat played at speed metal velocity that doesn't let up for the song’s duration, "New Flesh" builds tension up with a hammering one chord down stroke and pummeling, basic bass line foundation for the burly voice singer to bark contemptuous sentiments over. Things hit their boiling point halfway through and it burst into a faceful of searing feedback. The squalls intensify and ooze more puss on the explosively dark next track "DNA Smoke."
There are moments where the band picks up the direction bands like Fugazi and Shellac for instance took the so called "post-hardcore" movement (before the palm muting weigh lifters, fat bald guys with goatees and Amish as tattoo'd hipsters look started to infect it all with effects pedals and "emotional" screeching about the anger of being raised in a subdivision came about), like jittery and soil shaking "Vertical Gang" and the title track's feeling out aural whiplash, but it's the moments where the songs sound like a fireball ball being shot out of cannon like "Leisure Exposure" and how "Fat Kid's Wig" feels like plowing through a ten car pile up and coming out unscathed that assure the listener that the band has their own ideas how things are to be done. For instance, even if "the kids" started to think something like "Heehaw Collider" would be pit worthy the silent gaps of emptiness that dot the song would have them standing around and whining about it (and looking like the goofs at EDM shows waiting for the always now predictable bass drop) while the two close to ten minute lurching, lumbering and doom laden closers, the Big Black at half speed vibed "Knowing" and the Flipper using Black Sabbath tricks to peel paint tricks on "Pig Sweat" would send them back to get in mom's SUV a minute or so into either song.
To declare Tropical Trash UFO Rot as a punk rock record that will still sound current 5, 10 or even 20 years down the road may even confounding or preposterous to some but from where it stands now this scribe is going to make the claim. If we as a civilization are even still around in two decades we can discuss it again then.
Nov 22, 2015
Turn it up for new things from Video, the Deadbeat Beat, Wireheads, Spray Paint, Tang Soleil, Thee Mighty Domotas , What Tyrants, Rik & the Pigs and Lavender Flu. Keep it cranked for classics from the Cramps. The Patti Smith Group, Joe Clay, The Damned, Tav Falco's Panther Burns, Can and Little Ann. Blast out all the good stuff scattered around in between too.
Nov 21, 2015
It's been awhile since I've had an Arrogant Bastard of any sort, There's been so many choices of things coming out of Michigan what seems everyday now some of the older stand-by's get been neglected. When I saw that their bourbon barrel aged version on one of the most unique American Strong Ale's there is in the world though it was time to make some time to hang out again.
Luminous chestnut in color with chocolate malted colored, pinky finger thick head that takes it own sweet time melting (and not shy about leaving a thick lacing behind in its wake) it takes me back to the time when its parent brew was a major go to for me.
Giving it a sniff though I am about to get into something that is totally turned up a notch from something that already had great things cranked up. Oak, dark cherries and vanilla scents give off an sensory trigger in the brain of eating ice cream around a fireplace. The bourbon aroma hangs back in the being understated.
Wheat toast with almond butter is a thing that comes to mind on first sip. Sweet but not sugary with a warm, soothing feeling as it goes down. Cherries and plums bring a tart and earthy flavor to dance around in the middle. They then let the slightly smokey oak and the shy whiskey along with some caramel and cream take a bow in the end. Coffee and roasted malts linger around for a few minutes in the aftertaste.
This wasn't as bourbon forward as a lot of beers the sort can be but it was also interesting because it took the standard Arrogant Bastard solid flavors down a slightly different path yet kept it from getting lost in some deep woods. A nice diversion while wondering if that blanket of precipitation outside is going to stick and if I gotta break out the shovel sometime later this evening.
Nov 20, 2015
Y'know, any time a Yolks record gets put on the turntable a party is gonna start. If the party is already in effect, putting one of their records on turns the party up a north. Even as garage pop soul thrash-abouters these Chicagoland cats are though there is another side to the story. Y'know, like the types of things Smokey Robinson was talking about on "Tears Of A Clown" and "Tracks Of My Tears."
Unlike the them doing the crying though, the a-side here, "Don't Cry Anymore", asks you to wipe away your own tears. A bit different than usual Yolks fare, the band sounds like their in a bit of a introspective mood. Things are slightly folky here but with a dust riddled Rhythm and Blues bounce that wont have the ears wanting to nob out like it would while listening to some snoozy assed Bon Iver track or something. The slightly stoned harmonies sound as like they were recorded straight into the same mic with little adornment other than room echo. The voices amalgamate in a way that resembles the Everly Brothers after a weed dealer just left their living room.
After showing that hardly seen "softer" side of the band they flip the switch of the dimly lit and mellow room mood to get up because it's time to get down mode. Throwing it back to the reckless party vibe that had a feeling being all sweaty and greasy from dancing to the bustling groove and eating fried chicken at the same time that their earliest records had stamped and stained all over them, "I Wanna Be Dumb" rids the room of any Captain Bringdowner's and fills the floor with a party vibe.
Nov 7, 2015
Some of the things I cranked up can be heard now. Fresh new platters from Fuzz, the Yolks, Tang Soleil, Helen, Rata Negra, Cold Beat and Timmy's Organism. Stacks of wax from way back such as the Clean, Silver Jews, The B-52s, Opal, the Devil Dogs and Sylvie Vartan. And as usual a bunch of other tasty musical morsels for your ears to snack on placed about too.
Nov 6, 2015
It's a fist in the air, anthemic kind of rock. It's also tends to be more smart assed and clever than just straight up lunkheaded and proud about it than what a lot of people would think when describing the type of rock that it is. Sure, it's cocky and the attitude is one of folks that don't really care if you think they play to loud and smell like bourbon sweat and cigarette butts.
While previous records by the band hinted a little bit here and there that they weren't perhaps ashamed of rockin' out to hard rock heroes who's best songs haven't gotten played on classic rock radio in years there was always punk rock goo all over them that was fit for dingy, dank basements and humidity stricken back yard barbeques. Here, with the production of assistance of a cat who has twiddled the knobs for the likes of the ...And You Will Know Us By Our Trail Of Dead, Heartless Bastards, Spoon and Lee Ann Womack (?!?!), Mike McCarthy, some of the murk has been buffed away, exposing a bit more color than expected while still keeping the grit intact.
The swagger on tracks like the slow burning "What Happened To You", "Let The Music", which sounds like a soundtrack for good ol' fashioned fight where guitars are flashed like switchblades, the way "The Stalker" gallops into a wall of a fire and swerving chug on the night's not over but hangover gonna be hell in the morning on "You Can Never Let Me Down" sound like the ghost of Phil Lynott are in the room. Not just in the way singer Orville Neely channels the tough guy with a tarnished heart of gold delivery but also from the doubled up guitar harmonies that peel off notes and chords like riding through peaks and valleys of Thin Lizzy badassery and the way the rhythm blast holes through any obstacles that are blocking the way for them to meet their destination.
The rock doesn't stop just there though. "New Money", a checklist on how to blow cash fun and recklessly is like AC/DC discovering a couple new chords after falling into a fountain of youth behind the back of grease covered rib joint joint, the album's opener "New Trash" and the street level boogie on "Standing" and "I'm Done" resemble ZZ Top's Tres Hombres spun at twice the speed and illuminated by exploding flash pots.
It's a been a common statement for years now that rock is dead. That's usually followed by a "Rock Is Back" declaration. It sounds like the OBN IIIs don't give a damn either way. They just know it feels good.