Jan 6, 2016

TANG SOLEIL "Outboard Sensory Meridian Response" LP

     I first met Tang Soleil's main man Matt over a decade and a half ago. At the time he was one of the guitar playing kids in the Wisconsin teenage rock-n-roll band the Mystery Girls. At first introduction he seemed to the "quiet one" in the band.
     As a man of what seemed at the time of few words, when he would chime in though it would be something perhaps a little more acerbic or out of left field and usually funny as hell but always ponder and thought about before it was said. The age old "you know what they say about the quiet ones" adage, I guess. What was learned was that he was most likely responsible for the little twisted parts the MG's would revel in on a common occasion as anyone else in the band. 
     When the Mystery Girls packed it in in the late 00's, Matt made new surroundings in Montreal, Quebec. In the last few years he got this new rock-n-roll combo going with Ysael of the Demon's Claws and some other cats.
     Given the lineage of the band it would be to call this album a "garage rock" record and carry on from there. Unlike the current climate of what a lot of the bands that stand under that umbrella these days do though, this record doesn't play the we're acting so bashful it hurts card or spend time imagining what "Louie, Louie" would sound like if it was written by the Smiths and then ran through a bunch of digital reverb.
     After an interlude of engines revving and some broken gospel, the choppy chords of "Some Other Train" blaaang out for a few seconds before they sound like they're about to eaten by the tape machine. Composure is regained quickly and then the song channels things from the Move's Shazam without all the extra heavy frilly baggage but, with vocals wracked with frustration and wobbly string fills, possibly much more hungover. It's followed by "Tambourine Strings", a song that has that some sorta post-Mersybeat jangle/noise that Freakbeat agents specialized in, with the band pushing it's take on backmasking and hidden messages upfront and mangled center.
      Next is a cover of the Godz (the New York folk-rock weirdos of the 60's/not the hard rockers from Ohio of the the 1970's) "Ruby Red." While the original is sparse and well, weirdo folk rock, the version here is electrified with a penchant for fuzz and a desperate yearning. Oddly enough, a second cover song on the record, Françoise Hardy's "J'Ai Coupé Le Téléphone", the band stays pretty faithful to the original by keeping the baked in Wah-Wah on a summer day feeling intact but also somehow making it sound like they dealing with the heat by hanging out in a musty cellar instead of frolicking on a beach.
     While psychedelic pop is the main hue across the record the band isn't afraid of making colors clash. "Mirror Maze" and "Park and Ride" clatter and bop like bubblegum songs for little kids shows if little kids were hip to Snakefinger's Chewing Hides the Sound and both "Canadian Son (To Terry Jacks)" and "Beth's P.A." are almost like modern cowboy songs. The former forming an ill shaped waltz while the latter may someday be a smash on the honky-tonk jukeboxes of the moon.
     Then there's "the single" from the record "Spiral Horned Merino Wether." While the rest of the songs get weird but keep things efficient by clocking around the two and half minute mark for the most part, things stretch out to over four and get really, really weird. Garage punk crunch dissolve into lifting baroque passages only to be agitated by Musique Concrète movements which jostle things back into punk rock blare again. The video they made for the song is a bit of an edit so it doesn't highlight ALL the oddness going on BUT does manage to be as much of a head scratcher as the song is to absorb. 
     Yeah, I am always behind on reviews and I know it's a new year but this is one of the most essential records of 2015.
www.dustymedical.com

Dec 20, 2015

Smashin Podisistorscast #10: Not The Year End List

     It's not officially the end of the year according to the calendar. Good thing too because I'm still working on my list of favorites of 2015.
     Til then, dig some new things played for the first time on Smashin' Transistors from Sex Tide, Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones, Sros Lords, Champion Lover, Waylon Thorton & The Heavy Hands, Leaf Child, Woodboot and Psychic Blood. Blast out some things from the past by the Flesh Eaters, Loop, The Nerves, Silverhead and the Rip Offs. Don't forget the other tasty bits for your aural appetite too.

Dec 18, 2015

SEX TIDE "Vernacular Splatter" 12inch EP

     Every time it seems Columbus, Ohio is down for the count punk rock wise, the city comes back and swinging hard. In the last couple of year or so the newer sweet noise coming of the town include, but limited to, Raw Pony, Nervosas and Day Creeper. Another one to be added to that list is Sex Tide.
     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.
www.facebook.com/SexTide   

Dec 9, 2015

Lee Rogers "You Won't Have To Wait Til X-Mas"

     Legend goes that Marvin Gaye got the notion of "the beat" is what drives the kids wild from watching Lee Rogers perform on stage. The became friends in 1962 and shared a lot of the some bills such as appearing at record hops hosted by WJLB's Eddie Dunham.
     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

Smashin' Podsistorscast: Number 9, Number 9, Number 9....

     
      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

OUTER EMABSSY "Lights Out" 7inch EP

     Presided over by earthy Fender Rhodes and synths shooting for something celestial along with live drums and no guitars, this Oakland, CA combo tickers with something organic for a space age.
     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. 
https://www.facebook.com/outerembassy

Nov 27, 2015

TROPICAL TRASH "UFO Rot" LP

     To declare a record "punk rock" leaves a lot of interpretation open. People have different impression and ideas of what punk rock is about. Different reference points and rule books and so on for each and everyone. To pin down the kind of punk rock state of mind Kentucky's Tropical Trash may confound some while others will find it being a gauntlet thrown down for others to crawl outside of some predictable boxes and step up their game.
     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.
http://loadrecords.com

Nov 22, 2015

Smashin Podsistorcast 8: Sideways It's A Sign For Infinity

    
     I'm not a math wizard. As a matter of fact to get my degree(s) in college math credit is required. I kept putting it off. Took me years to finally get the diploma because, well, let's just say I put it off for a loooong time. I do remember though that an 8 sideways does look like the sign of infinity. Thank you Schoolhouse Rock.
     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

Stone Brewing's Bourbon Barrel Aged Arrogant Bastard

     The first snowfall of the season is happening here in the Great Lakes State as I type this. Seems a good as time as any to make a plate of smokey cheese, pop the top off a bourbon barrel aged brew and sip while watching the white stuff pile up outside my window.
     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.
www.stonebrewing.com

Nov 20, 2015

The YOLKS "Don't Cry Anymore" 7inch

      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.