A new decade has dropped and it's rolling at a furious pace for your truly (here's a lot as to why) but I'm gonna do what I can to make sure you loyal listeners can get at least one of the fake radio shows a month until everything settles.
Minor show note: The Comet Gain album is called Fireraisers Forever! and not as I absentmindedly called it Firestarters Forever! I believe I may have called it the latter in a previous episode too. I know that is not the name of the album though my brain for some reason keeps telling me to call it that.
Andy Human and the ReptoidsPsychic Sidekick LP: Listening to the Reptoids 2nd album, is like listening to a stellar comp of elsewise unheard '77 DIY arty punk singles and caffeinated but loose Krautrock. The difference is though is that they're all made by the same band. Hear tracks on Smashin' Transistors podcast episodes 46, 48 and 50.
Celebrity Handshake This Is Real Life LP plus singles: In the current world of chaos and disconcertion, Celebrity Handshake's primitive grunts and bangin' is from the smack-dab middle of the maelstrom. Hear tracks on Smashin' Transistors podcast episodes 48, 55, 56 and 58.
ChronophageProlog for Tomorrow LP: Technically this Chronophage's "official" debut album came out out in 2018 but it was literally three days before the year ended. It's decayed and wobbly lo-fi fit like an familiar sweater last winter. Equally and oddly warming as it is itchy. Hear tracks on Smashin' Transistors podcast episodes 46 and 47.
Cochonne s/t cassette: Post-punk with groove that's rubbery and capricious, Durham, NC's Cochonne often get comparisons to the Slits/Raincoats/Au Pairs camp. While dropping such names is understandable, the band sound here is not a pastiche as it is one of a group that got map references but then decided to find a path of their own to reach a desired destination. Hear tracks on Smashin' Transistors podcast episodes 60 and 61.
Comet GainFireraisers Forever! LP: Firestaters Forever lyrically takes sprightly jabs at boomers from a Gen Xer's point of view and wraps it up in a very iridescent and British indie-rock characteristic that is the very own. David Feck and co. continue to show a way on how to age gracefully while still keeping cynicism and sharp wit intact. Hear tracks on Smashin' Transistors podcast episodes 57 and 59.
Dan Melchior GroupRuins LP: Dan Melchior did three albums in 2019. Two with the Dan Melchior Band. his it's band, a trio that consists of him and Jah Nada of Bloody Show & Raw Pony. It's heavy & straightforward but still thick with that weird art garage thing that Dan executes so masterfully. Hear tracks on Smashin' Transistors podcast episodes 57, 58 and 60.
DANAGlowing Auras & Black Money LP: Dark, distorted and spiked with theramin whirrings, Columbus, Ohio's is not playing just simple space-punk. They're creating and orchestrating music for adventures in the galaxy's many black holes. Hear tracks on Smashin' Transistors podcast episodes 48, 56 and 60.
Hash RedactorDrecksound LP: Alec of Ex-Cult and Meredith & Charlotte of NOTS are in Hash Redactors ranks. Lumbering and trebly, Drecksound a dark and ominous affair as the band sounds like it's haunted by Mark E. Smith's final breaths and bourbon demons telling ghost stories of the blues. Hear tracks on Smashin' Transistors podcast episodes 49 and 50.
The Long Hots "Nickel and Dime" 7inch: The Velvetoid "Boogie Trance" of Philadelphia's Long Hots 2018 cassette Monday Night Raw became a constant play for me in my car that year. The 2019 single on Third Man became a constant on my turntable the past year too. Hear a track from the single in Smashin' Transistors podcast episode 49.
Midnight MinesCreate A Disturbance In Your Mind Double CD: What's actually a comp of their first three cassettes, Private Sorrow and Baron Saturday present of disturbing world where gnarled in a garage guitars are torched in a cauldron of barbarous dub and harsh clang. Hear tracks on Smashin' Transistors podcast episodes 48 and 61.
Mope GroovesDesire LP: Cleverly crafted bedroom pop that's way too idiosyncratic and lolloping for many to declare pop at all. Hear tracks on Smashin' Transistors podcast episode 54.
Mountain Babies s/t Digital LP: Over the past decades or so, Port Huron's Mountain Babies have evolved from a one man project led by Dave Peters in to a absolute orphic folk rock quartet. Inspired by Michigan's four seasons of vistas and the scent of Lake Huron air, The band, joined by various guests which make up a veritable who's who of local musicians, has reached a magical stride. Hear a track on Smashin' Transistors episode 53.
ParsnipWhen The Tree Bears Fruit LP: Tumble-down garage pop that's as sprightly sparkly as it is whimsical and off-kilter, Parsnip debut album delivers as its promise as their singles before it already proved they were capable. I am not telling a lie when I tell you that on a very cold, rainy and depressing day in 2019, I put this record on, the clouds parted, the sun came out and birds started singing. Hear tracks on episode 57 and 59.
ProtrudersPoison Future LP: Weird and wiggly, Montreal's Protuders vinyl debut celebrates and emulates musical forefathers that colored outside of the lines. References to Swell Maps, Hawkwind and Ubu are not uncommon when discussing the band and like those combos, they hit grooves that may not be straightfoward and "normal" but are definitely serpentine and alluring. Hear tracks on Smashin' Transistors episodes 51 and 52.
Pscience s/t LP: Synth dominated (but not completely overpowered by) and agitated new wave from members of Buck Biloxi & the Fucks, Trampoline Team etc. Catchy aberrance wrapped up in a recording that sounds like it's straight outta some cheap recording studio circa 1978. Hear tracks in Smashin' Transistors episodes 54 and 56
Red MassKilrush Drive LP: Everything Red Mass, a project from Montreal rock-n-roll legend Roy Vucino and his wife Hannah Lewis, have released up til this album was the scaling of a musical mountain. On Kilrush Drive, they've reached their Everest. Post-punk put through a grinder then reformed into something that's appropriately unpredictable and brooding for these strange days we are in. Hear tracks on Smashin' Transistors episodes 48 and 50.
Vision 3D s/t LP: Slashed up Wilko Johnson/Andy Gill guitar bangs and a whole lot of frenetic yet sing along songs, Franco-Belgian band Vision 3D's debut album seems angular and skeletal on the surface, but quickly turns inviting once it starts to seep in. Hear tracks on Smashin' Transistors episodes 57, 58 and 61.
Zurich Cloud MotorsTrail Of No Return cassette: Carrying a scuzzy proto-punk disease while also being infected with some dystopian condition that makes them seem prone to cracking open their own skull to get the bugs out, Providence, Rhode Island's Zurich Cloud Motors have a heavy burden to bear. These savants seem to be up to the task. Hear tracks on Smashin Transistors episodes 59 and 61.
Well, it's been a hectic year but somehow we made it through.
The same can be said about the Twenty-Tens too. Lots of ups. Lots of downs. Roller coasters then calm.
Now, it's time to take on a new adventure in the Twenties ahead. The next few months involve me knuckling down on a major purging of things that have been cluttering up an old house I've been dwelling for in over two decades. The reason being is that it needs to be done. It has collected a lot of stuff over the years. Much of it just...well, clutter.
That, and I am putting the place up for sale. It was left to me when my first marriage of many years dissolved. It's a house I never really wanted in the first place and it needs way too much work that I don't want to invest into it.
We are splitting not only from the house but also the city I was born and raised in (and have lived in for the majority of my time on this planet) as well as the state of Michigan.
After doing a lot of research and some reconnaissance visits to a few towns in this year past, we're are moving to the Raleigh, North Carolina area in spring of 2020.
Needless to say, I've got a lot on my plate to do my part to get this all situated.
Over the next couple of months, there will most likely be a slowdown on activity here at Smashin' Transistors until we land and settle in. I'll be keeping with putting together a podcast at least once a month and a thing here and there (I hope to have a "best of" 2019 list together in, hopefully, the next few days or so for example) but other than that, I can't promise all that much action for the time being beyond that.
At this time I would like to thank everyone for records sent, interviews granted, shows played, floors slept on, beers, shots, food over the years. Many things you've done to make life grand!
If you would like to toss some coin to help defray costs of what the future holds for
Smashin' Transistors, tips are greatly appreciated.
An earlier than usual and totally unexpected severe snow storm made things nasty on Michigan's east coast last month. I tried to embrace it but in my head I kept reminding myself "If all goes right, this is your last winter in this low wage town and in this state."
Shot on a built in '57 Zorki 2C using Kodak Vision 2 200T 35mm film.
Blaring outta Indiana, Lousy Sue is a new combo featuring Jim Kuczkowski aka The Kooch. If you're not familiar with the name but were into blown out rock-n-roll records 90's/early 00' (especially those on the Rip Off label) you may be familiar with some of his work. He was the dude who set up the mics and twiddle the knobs for full length from the Infections, The Problematics and the Marked Men. He was also the guy who recorded my favorite singles from the Mighty John Waynes and the Kill-A-Watts as well.
After a few seconds of stonerish rock fuzz, the drums count off "Katy Perrys", it becomes obvious this trio executes the same sort of wild and cranked up high as records he worked on.
The level of rowdiness doesn't wane throughout the rest of the EP and the playful obnoxiousness, especially when Jim and drummer Angie trade off vocals on tracks like "Ferma Jean" (which is about someone likes to get really obnoxious and outta control) and the in a tizzy beat that makes "Halfwit" bounce, is something that seems to be missing from a bunch of a bunch bands plying the so called garage punk trade in these days.
Not only that, they knock a faithful but amped up take of one of my favorite songs from when I was a little kid, Tom T. Hall's "Sneaky Snake" right out of the park and probably into some swimming pool filled with bottom shelf whiskey that anyone who isn't square would not have to be asked twice to dive right into.
The intention has been to sit down and disseminate impressions of the Spray Paint album for a bit of a spell now. Whenever attempted though, this reporter finds himself getting antsy, agitated and itchy. I do believe that has been an intention of the band since their inception and they've continued to achieve it quite well seven albums deep.
A difference with their latest, Into The Country, though is that it sounds as if they've almost found away to almost to use their spasmodic motions and sways for ways to have a bit of sick fun rather than just simply abetting in aberrant thoughts of a listener.
To an extent, that is.
The spring coiled and furious pulse of "Alcohol Surface" opens the record sounding like krautrock in a bouncy house. That someone died a violent death in.
And from there, things get more deviant.
"Keep On Googlin'" is like the reverberated sound glitch that rattles around inside a human brain that has stopped completely stopped deciphering what is fact and what is bogus, leaving all thought to be decided what comes of fits in some kook curated web search. "Death Bed" could very well resemble sounds of aggrieved calm some may hear before exited this plane.
If the taunting of impending doom by mocking it and laughing in its face hasn't become more pronounced as the record progresses, the sentiment seems more than obvious as the record ends with "Can't Help But Kill" and "Cleaning The Gun." The former with a chunk of hillbilly flesh being run through a grinder located deep in a cave guitar lick and a used car salesman meets crazy old biblical looking dude pontificating in front of the post office rant. The latter for first giving an impression of floating in some weightless netherworld and then decompression sickness kicking in.
I will only shoot a 57 Chevy if I spot one the in the wild. Nothing against them, it's just the Fonzie/Nostalgia/Oldies "theme" businesses that base their whole theme around that makes me not give much care in seeing them all that much.
Eric Clapton's "Rock-n-Roll Heart" is complete bullshit. That old coot had not "got off 'Screamin' Guitars'" for a good 20 years when he recorded that song.
Shot on a Lomo LCA using Lomography 400 35mm film.