Jan 30, 2016

Smashin' Transistors Fave Albums of 2015

The twenty albums released in 2015 that I ended up diggin' the most? I took the whole month of January 2016 to mull the the thing over. Now here they are in alphabetical order.

Andy Human And The Reptoids s/t (Ss Records) If Gary Numan never ditched the guitars completely
and decided that being a junk shop glam merchant was a better idea than becoming a robot. https://andyhumanthereptoids.bandcamp.com/ 
BLACK TIME Aerial Gobs Of Love (Förbjudna Ljud) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

BUCK BILOXI and the FUCKS Streets Of Rage (Hozac) Either these guys are total clever in making thinking their kings of lunkheaded high school dropout KBD trash rock or they're total lunkheads that are more clever than the teachers at their high school which they dropped out of ever gave them credit for. https://buckbiloxiandthefucks.bandcamp.com/album/streets-of-rage

CROSSS Lo (Telephone Explosion) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

DAWN OF HUMANS Slurping At The Cosmos Spine (Toxic State)  A billion suburban dudes with lumberjack beards are claiming to be post hardcore but just end up sounding like a lame Pantera tribute band that start whining during a calculus exam. Then there's these New York weirdos who are so post whatever their bash and grind sounds like some primordial take of the future. https://lavidaesunmus.bandcamp.com/album/slurping-at-the-cosmos-spine-lp

DAY CREEPER Central States (Superdreamer) Making scruffy and earnest rust belt rock-n-roll that doesn't fall into some kind of grandstanding or sounding like some fictional tale of the life of the working man that has never been personally experienced has become a bit of a lost art. Slightly boozy, usually cynical, occasionally frazzled and constantly catchy, Columbus, Ohio's Day Creeper bring the sound back to barroom poets, backyard barbecue prophets and those that gotta brown bag it because any lunch break money they may have had went into the gas tank so they can get to work and back. https://daycreeper.bandcamp.com/album/central-states-lp

DEAF WISH Pain (Sub Pop) Strange quirks and artsy brooding have always been an ingredient to what most people call post-punk and the offspring of the sort. Along with that, the darkness, disaffection and distortion that are de rigueur are all over this Melbourne foursome's fourth album. Scatterings of sparkled melodies twinkle through a maelstrom. Punk rock in fluorescent colors flays about. Deaf Wish are not afraid to open up the curtains and let some sunlight shine on a normally deathly pallor.  

GOLDEN PELICANS Oldest Ride, Longest Line (Total Punk) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

HELEN Original Faces (Kranky) Liz Harris of Grouper, Eternal Tapestry's drummer Jed and Scott Simon of Eat Skull on bass. The results is a dense and dreamlike cosmic fog of fuzz. 

JACK NAME Weird Moons (Castle Face) Clanky proto-Industrial tendencies get cozy with post-industrial acid pop. Then they go dancing under mood altering lunar cycles.  
OBNOX Boogalou Reed (12XU) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

PHYLUMS Phylum Phyloid (Dirtnap) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

ROYAL HEADACHE High (What's Your Rupture) Every couple of weeks or so I tuned by the so called Alternative Rock stations on the area dial to see what's up. Usually they were playing something from Metallica's really shitty later albums or the same three Alice In Chains songs. When they played something new it was Mumford and Sons who have apparently shifted from being a Mom Rock band with ukuleles to something Dad Rockers would listen to until a new U2 album comes out or  Nickelodeon Kid's Choice winners Twenty One Pilots. Meanwhile, these Aussies released a scruffy, high energy batch of well crafted and gruff pop rock songs. With nods to Northern Soul, the mod punks that copped ideas from the same thing, the golden ages of college rock and the hard working spirit of the folks from the land down under, this should have been heard all over the place in 2015. Either the programmers of such frequencies are just assholes who hate their listening audience so they're constantly trolling them or the listeners are just a prosaic as my neighbor who gets all excited when he hears "More Than A Feeling" by Boston for the fifth time in a day on the classic rock station. https://royalheadache.bandcamp.com/album/high/

SHAWN DAVID McMILLEN On The Clock With JJ and Mitch (12XU) I slept on this record when it came out in the spring of the year but by the time August rolled around it was getting listened to every day. Sleepy-eyed and sometimes lackadaisical, there's a laid back but clued in trance this record induces. White boy blues in a way where it's almost like wakin' and bakin' on a dewy summer morning and listening to a Junior Kimbrough record that you found in a used book store. It's not white guy blues in where some old guy in a freshly pressed jean jacket and a goatee wants to talk to you about Slowhand all night.

SLOW WALKER s/t (Stale Heat) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

SWIFTUMZ Everybody Loves Chris (Melters) Itchy power pop finger snappers and garage goth weepers to romanticism of the 90's alt-rock scene (more Dinosaur Jr and Pavement, less Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam) and fizzy New Wave boppers. Chris McVicker and his friends made something here that's like some cool compilation album while keeping a common thread strung though everything.

TANG SOLEIL Outboard Sensory Meridian Response (Dusty Medical) Read Smashin' Transistor
      review here.

TROPICAL TRASH UFO Rot (Load) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Thee TSUNAMIS Saturday Night Sweetheart (Magnetic South) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

WIREHEADS Big Issues (Tenth Court) Sometimes I'm thinking a really smeared view at the Mekons "roots" era. Other times it's the first few Roxy Music albums if they wore dirty t-shirts they picked up off the kitchen floor (which in turned ended up making them sound more like the Fall.) I really liked their album of 2014, The Late Great Wireheads, and I really, really dig the skronk and slurred sound of this. Produced by a Calvin Johnson who is not the wide receiver for the Detroit Lions.

Honorable mentions:  
Hagerty-Toth Band Qalgelbra (Three Lobbed)
Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones
Stoning Josephine (Certified PR) 
Frankie and the Witchfingers s/t (Permanent) 
Timmy's Organism Heartless Heathen (Third Man)
Uh Bones Honey Coma  (Randy Records)

Let's throw in a handful of EP's and Singles while were at it too.

BLAXXX s/t (12XU)
Smashin' Transistors review here.

EX-CULT Cigarette Machine (Castle Face) A metallic punk pummeling a la early Killing Joke records. Memphis, TN's Ex-Cult sound as serious as Killing Joke about the whole thing too but don't come off sounding like such dicks about it.

feedtime "flatiron" (Sub Pop)
Smashin' Transistors review here.

HEATERS "Mean Green" (Beyond Is The Beyond)
Smashin' Transistors review here.

Smashin' Transistors review here.

RAW PONY "Bo Diddley" (Heel Turn)
Smashin' Transistors review here.

SEX TIDE  Vernacular Splatter (Superdreamer)
Smashin' Transistors review here.

UNIFORM Perfect World (12XU)
Smashin' Transistors review here.

Smashin' Transistors review here.

The YOLKS "Don't Cry Anymore" (Randy Records)
Smashin' Transistors review here.

As usual, your results may vary. On to 2016!

Jan 24, 2016

FOGG "Pinko" Digital LP

     Earlier offerings from Fort Worth, Texas band Fogg doomed down like Black Sabbath, hashish brownie boogied like Foghat, cruised around town like like they were driving an El Camino built by Sir Lord Baltimore and, to make sure that they'd keep the hippies that "just want to get mellow, man" at bay, rubbed themselves in the sickly foul matter of Black Flag's My War while making unfriendly faces.
     Those things along with cannabis and jugs of California table wine seemed to be their diet of earthly delights and kept them fed. Pinko though sounds like they've embarked on a foraging adventure to regions beyond the voids of this planet to find things that go with expand their subsisting regiment. While the band has been no stranger to grooving things past six and to almost ten minutes from time to time in the past, there was always a template of straight up thing that, for the sake of not splitting to many (long) hairs, that's hard rock. The shortest of the three jams on this go round, the close to eight minute "Puff", begins by blasting asteroids with laser guided fuzz guns before drifting in some heavy atmosphere where dayglo imps thrive on oxygen that's been enriched by the Devil's lettuce.
     The album's opener, the eleven minute "Wand II", with it's mélange of quasi-exotica, guitars conveying the feeling of squishy fungus, electrofied appropriations of flutes mimicking bird calls and freak jazz making a landing on some distant planet, it's like Sun Ra and his Astro Intergalactic Infinity Arkestra taking the listener on a tour of Martin Denny's Quiet Village. It's only a quiet at that moment though because the dragons are sleeping. They awaken when they smell the fresh meat wandering about and then the chase is on.
     The sprawling "Mother Earth's Toe Jam" spins itself dizzy to several Amon Düül II albums at once in a cabbage field. It results in the largest mountain of the sourest kraut (rock) around. They feed it to the unclaimed children of Phallus Dei after they located them living at an abandoned drive in movie theater. The band then sticks around to watch scratchy and washed out art flicks edited down and repackaged as 8mm stag film loops of Uschi Obermaier boobs with them til dawn.

Jan 19, 2016

HALLELUJAH! s/t 12inch EP

     The volume on my stereo was cranked up pretty high because I just got done blasting something else out. I wasn't paying attention how high though. I dropped the needle on this record and it probably looked like a scene for a cartoon. My hair blowing back from the sheer volume. Hell, my entire face being blown to the back of my skull even.
     Dealing in obnoxious feedback laden, blood splattered assaults, this Verona, Italy combo like to make things super, super loud and really, really ugly! From the first searing screeches and hollering of the song that bares the same namesake as the band it is made clear that they are wielding an aural circular saw their bound and determined to use it to lob off some craniums.
     Some songs here, such as the blink and you'll miss it "Homo" and the repeatedly barreling head first into a wall of flames pace of "Red Mestro", veer towards freakcore that boil with tension til they blow their stack. Others, like the "Power Of Cin" barrels like an engulfed in flames 18-wheeler flattening everything in it's path and "Space" debunks any theory that the galaxies black hole are not silent at all but are full of brain hungry galactic beasts.

Jan 9, 2016

Smashin' Podsistorcast #11: Lucky Numbers On Powerball Night?

     The first transmission for a new year. 
     Things played for the first time on this thing include HALLELUJAH!, Peacers, Bikini Cops, Patois Counselors and Boogie Chain & The Reactions. Stuff brought up from shelves in the basement include The Bags, feedtime, John's Children, Blue Cheer and Felt. 
     Also sweetness that burns from Lavender Flu, Sex Tide, Monoshock, Fogg, Helen, No Bails and more!

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.

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.

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.