Dec 18, 2016

Griffin Claw's Project Clementine

     When I saw this on the "Just In" shelf at a local beer monger I thought "What an odd time of the year to release a summery and citrusy brew." I mean, it's winter. As I type this it is 14 °F outside. It's usually dark and rich beers that may or may not be barrel aged and their warming effect that get all the attention this time of the year.
     Then I thought about. Boxes of clementines are always a gift from someone for Christmas. It started to make sense to me. And with the grey skies and painful cold blasts in the great out-of-doors, something that resembles sunshine can be very welcoming.
     The copper color reminded me of the first few minutes of sunrise. The scents of citrus and it's zests were right on top. Behind it was a sweet roasted scent and buttery toffee. On first sip, the citrus notes were very big and running neck and neck with a lot of piney hops. After letting it breath a bit, things became more well rounded with other flavors coming out. The tang took on flavors of pineapple and mango along with the obvious sweet orange flavors and the IPA backbone dialed back on being just another hop monster letting the malt come out a bit giving a fresh baked bread characteristic. Like toast and marmalade? Yeah, a bit like that. The finish is sweet and a bit tart that sticks around for a bit but not in a way that a lot of imperial IPA's stick for what seems like hours.
     The way the 9% abv goes about here is interesting. It's not "hot" or too pronounced but with each sip there is something lingering that reminds you that this isn't just some kind of shandy that can be knocked backed by the minute and still manage to walk a straight line to go jump in the lake. www.griffinclawbrewingcompany.com

Dec 15, 2016

MIDNIGHT MINES If You Can't Find A Partner Use A Wooden Chair LP

     When Black Time made the official announcement last year that they self-destructed I was a bit sorrowful. For over a decade, Agent LeMatt Caution led Jenny Too Bad, Stix and a den of other rattlemakers into the high contrast glare and blood red splattered surroundings of the psyche and spitting out a couple records upon each return.
     More often than, those records weren't never the easiest to find. Laying hands and ears on them was part of the adventure. Sure, there were a few thorns but it was still always worth rooting through the rosebed for the blue ribbons.
     Midnight Mines is Caution's latest commotion with a sonic bees nest. After expelling of ton of cassettes over the past few years, all of which had a lot moments where they seemed to be focusing on being aural punishment soundtracks for trips to both deep tragic space and the deepest pits of vipers ever, If You Can't Find A Partner Use A Wooden Chair keeps things here on earth. Given the results of elections in the western world recently, we've all learned even more that Earth can be the most fucking scary of places anyway, it's still completely incendiary.
     Copping it's title from the lyrics in Jailhouse Rock the band shows it still digs rock-n-roll. It's even nostalgic. Thankfully not in a rose tinted glasses Fonzie in a '57 Chevy at the malt shop kind of way. These lenses are cracked. Hell, practically shattered even. The beat that swings a song like "Artificial Light" can sit a hipshake in place and the broken melody is shoutable. The held long note organ blare on the song though make seem somnifacient but it's actually a lure for hurly-burly. The opening chord of "After Dark" may have some thinking they're about to enter the land of garage rock and they'll have a easy time navigating it are immediately tripping over a slothful martial beat. They'll become to distracted by that to even notice that halfway through the song switches to meat grinders are about to thrown and they're gonna be hacked to bits of ooze and pulp.
     The Creepy raga-psych of "Baptist Garden" as well as the mod basher dipped in cough syrup "Waiting In The Mist" and "Walking Down The Street Called Hate" sentiment as well as it sounds like mechanical men about the fly apart and impale any witnesses do have the apparitions of the Fall looming over them but that spectre has been common often in the Black Time days too. The something like the record's centerpiece, the 10 plus minute "Accattone", where that is all sheared down to it's skin and then elongated into motorik freak scene and the dream drone disturbance of "Hollow Sky", where those old ghosts are shoo'd away for something just as haunting.
http://midnightmines.tumblr.com

Dec 14, 2016

ROSE GRAHAM "Black Christmas"


     There no info on Rose Graham on the web. Same pretty much goes for this single even. It was released on a label called Klondike which was a subsidiary of Holiday Inn Records. Sam Phillips of Sun Records took over running the Holiday Inn label from a couple of businessmen around 1963.
     There's a Memphis thing all over this. Stax horns blast, a sweet drum break and the basslines are like proto-funk. Rose wails absolutely destitute if she can't lead the sleigh.
     Though there may be a Memphis connection this is not the same song the Emotions did on Volt in 1970. Pervis Staples wrote that song. This one is written by Vida Mays (Whoever that is. Not much coming up digging deep around the wire for the name either.)
      A cat named Don Smith also did this song. His version was released on as a single VJ International from most likely '74 judging from the catalog numbers of some other things that label released that year. Looks like it may have been his only record too. Guess what. There's not much info him to be found on him as well. Maybe this song had a curse on it or something.
      I found Rose's version on compilation record of questionable legitimacy a few years ago. Noticed the song wasn't on YouTube. Uploaded it so I can share it every year.

Dec 8, 2016

KOOL 100S Skulls, Blood, Pussy And Violence Axes Daggers Upside-Down Crosses 7inch EP

     Ever pick up a punk rock record and see the words "Play Loud" printed somewhere on it? Does putting that one there act as an instruction manual for those who may not know or something? My first reaction is usually "Yeah! No shit, dude. It's a punk rock record. Not some Yanni CD."
     This single from Kansas City's Kool 100s doesn't have such a statement emblazoned anywhere on it. Doesn't need too. Even at a lower volume this thing blisters. A twelve string guitar is used on these three songs not for some kind of folky jangle or jazzbo bullfighting themes but to reinforce the blare and to double up on the disorienting and ear scorching.
     There's hooks all over these songs but they're all covered in a napalm gel. "Slow Boat" is a sunshine pop song being played by a pack of wolverines hellbent on giving everyone rabies while "Queer For Him" and "Trainwreck" wail some like wild ass caveman rock-n-roll designed for setting fire to hornets nests to. The longest track on this record, the less than 2 and a half "Healthy Dick", is like being dosed with a hit of acid and then whacked up side of the head with a sledgehammer.
     Play loud? Yeah, no shit, dude!
www.facebook.com/Goodbye-Boozy-records-290057827714548

Dec 4, 2016

DD OWEN S/T 12inch EP

     When sitting down to type out some word about this record I was going to take the angle of something like "More often than not when an artist decides to record under has own name after being associated with others, they tend to do something a little more introspective and personal. Sick Thoughts/Chicken Chain/Gluebags dude DD Owen though has always wore his heart on his sleeve."
     After I read the one sheet to the record though I found that it was taking the same angle. That just leaves me to talk about the songs themselves.
     Yeah, that heart on his sleeve things I mentioned early? I forgot to add that the sleeve is encrusted with the dried blood the heart has spewed out as well as it being puke stained and stinking but it's worn there none the less.
     "I Should Have Been Aborted" launches things off like the Heartbeakers throwing an adenoidal conniption fits and from then on in, it's pretty much good time celebration of all kindsa things negative and depraved. Fizzy carbonated buzzsaw's like "Shattered" and "Degenerate" make a greasy mess like the Reatards hacking up the Ramones and putting them into a deep fryer, "Son Of The Devil" summons a bong packed with rat poison to be lit and Fonzie rockers may find themselves lured in by "Low Life Baby" 50's feeling only to find out their flies in a web and about to be eaten by the most repugnant spider ever. Spin this record once and feel an infection coming on. It'll be the first of many times to follow because the sickness becomes infectious.
http://12xu.net

Nov 23, 2016

COUTEAU LATEX "Hostile Enviroment" 7inch

     Sometimes when you hear about to musicians collaborating with each other, especially if their styles of music seem quite kindred, the sound of what it will sound like is already imagined in the head. When I first read that Seth of the Useless Eaters was doing a thing with Lise of Switzerland's Staches I figured it would be something a bit ansty in a somewhat trashy/most likely ratty garage rock way.
      I was a bit off in my assumptions about I was about to hear. Minimal synths bloops and a fat poly drum snap teeter between a bouncy pop ditty and Rev/Vega bad trip on "Hostile Environment." Seth lays hypnotic bass rumbles behind and Lise's processed vocals sound like a robot that got programmed to show emotions but the only two that it uses are frustration and alienation. On the flip "Morphée" it seems that the machines have now seem come also understand anxiety and paranoia. The beat is jittery, the noises harsher and the fast swirling induces an effect that is similar to having vertigo and falling down into a spiral painted bottomless pit.
www.goner-records.com

Nov 18, 2016

The MIAMI DOLPHINS Perlite 7inch EP

   Now that every schmo in who has ever had a band is going around talking about how vinyl is "back", every band in the planet is clamoring to get what would've been on a CD-R "record label" on to venerable format as their artistic statement.
     I don't know how many records the Miami Dolphins (who are actually from Minneapolis and are not dolphins but actual human beings) have released before this one but they're making sure that they get the most out of the package as far as the art side of things are concerned.
     The sleeve itself is jam packed with a bunch of stickers and everything appears to be hand designed. Inside there's a 12 page booklet that only includes the usual credits, lyrics and contact info but things like pen drawings and brain teasers.
     The music itself is a bit of a brain teaser too. The bedroom-core-fi goes full band sound makes one wonder if they're concentrating on putting on an arty psych punk Halloween party for a kindergarten kids and subliminally turn them onto Yoko Ono and Half Japanese records  ("Quail Birth" and "Piling") or, like on "Disconnected" and "Scarlette", they experienced Deerhoof have a nervous breakdown in front of them and they only way they can explain what they saw is by banging it out themselves.
www.fperecs.com

Nov 16, 2016

FUR HELMET S/T 12inch EP

     When space blues crashes back into earth it can make several different sounds. Depends one where it plummeted into and whether it explodes in a fireball or disintegrated into a gazillion pieces.
     In Fur Helmet's case it's a bit of both.
     Comprised of some of the rabble that make up NYC's band's like JJ Doll, Hank Wood & the Hammerheads and Pleasure Industry among others, the band takes the swamp punk of the Scientists and the Gun Club, kick it around until it's pocked with few new dents and ripples while staying fully aware, as the opening track "Ether" shows, that there's plenty of beauty that lies in the forefathers bent dingy grooves and negative attitude boogie .
     Eschewing deliberately lo-fi recordings that plenty of the bands that hone this sort of sound for something more sonic in adds a bit to the grit and grime trip. The swirling blare of "Void Drip" makes the brain think it is actually going to disengage from your skull and acid biker scuzz of "Lunar Tomb" will have looking over your shoulder thinking death wheelers are hot on your trail and wanting to introduce you to Satan.
     Even when the psych trip seems it is entering some type of calm after a storm like on "Curse", the skies still seem like they could start dripping with blood and needles. Things probably ain't gonna get much easier nowadays considering the way the less that 25% of this nation decided a couple weeks back so many are considering other planets. Prepare yourself for a long travel through the galaxy with "Soaked Skull" on the headphones. Just remember though, once out in the nebula the doors back into the land of gravity might be locked when you return.

Nov 14, 2016

December 3rd: Record Night At The Water Tower

     Michigan newspaper network MLive recently sent out a couple of it's people out on an adventure to find the best pizza in the state. They listed a bunch of places to nominate and for people to vote on. The Water Tower Sports Pub in just south of Lexington was not on that initial list. People started picking them as a write in and when all was said and done they ended up getting picked as #10 of the top 12 in the entire Mitten!
     Franck and I have spun records there before and it was a blast. Not only does the pizza rule but they also have a lot of other great eats on the menu along with an awesome choice of Michigan beer on tap.
     Come join us for another night of groovers, shakers and whatever else we pull off our shelves and put into the crates on Saturday, December 3rd.

Nov 13, 2016

Weyerbacher Sunday Morning Stout

     Ahhhh, Sunday mornings. Usually the only morning of the week where I can take my time to do anything that needs to be done as well as pick and choose as to what I want to do.
     Well, for the most part at least. Sunday is usually the day that my usual partner in crime have the same day off so we can do whatever we do together. It's getting to be the busy time of the year for her line of work though so that means it's up to myself to figure out what to do. I already had plans on watching and rooting for the Tiger Cats to beat the Eskimos in the CFL Eastern Semi Finals in the afternoon (what a sloppy game and poor offense game on the Tiger Cats part but that's another post for another blog) but that was still a few hours away.
     The weather was decent this morning. The sun was shining and some yard work needed to be at least considered. My secondary partners in crime, a furry beast of a feline known as the Ripperpotamus, joined me in the back forty to survey what should be done. A beverage to sip on would help with the pondering so I grabbed the Weyerbacher Sunday Morning Stout off the shelf.
     I was hoping Ripper would offer some takes to make my blogging job a little easier but other than giving it a sniff, a "That's pretty cool, bro" look and then expecting some scratching behind the ears he wasn't much help. So here's my take.
     The darkness in color was impenetrable as expected from an imperial stout. The head was study and chocolate malted in color. At first the aromas seemed subdued but after a few minutes of breathing a strong cup of morning coffee, oak smoke and vanilla came to a fore. Still not highly pronounced in the smell but much more noticeable.
     While those flavors were laid back on the nose, they were much more pronounced in the flavor. Very creamy and smooth feeling in the mouth it became all espresso bite and chocolate cake intermingling while the woodsy and vanilla bean essences gave high fives in the background. As the brew adjusted to the air temperature the bourbon barrel aging started to make it presence known adding a hotness to the proceedings. In the finish, molasses and dark chocolate made themselves known.
     After it was finished I considered opening the other one I had stashed away. Then I remembered that I still had a day ahead of me of things to do and maybe delving into another +11% abv brew so early in the day would most likely sidetrack them from getting done. What you've got here is a great take in style, flavor and and attitude of Founders KBS. That second bottle of this will serve as a good fill in when I need such a fix until the 2017 batch of that legendary comes along.
www.weyerbacher.com