Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The GOTOBEDS "Poor People Are Revolting" LP

     Taking their name from a member of Wire has probably made it easier for some of today's rock critics to pen some words about Pittsburgh's Gotobeds. They just gotta glean some lines from some decades old reviews, find some parallels while listening to the album once (because, well, who really needs to spend more time with a record than than that if you've already have your reference points in order and a one sheet in front of you) and hit send.
    Anyone who reviews this record like that though is gonna look the lazy fool as well as missing out sounds the band is actually making.
     With a snare drum roll, "Fast Trash" barrels the album right out the gate with a electric shock chug that's spent more than just a night Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation and a melodic six string splatter which no one would doubt if it said it had the Fall circa Brix on its speed dial setting. A serpentine guitar melody wiggles it way through the song while singer/guitarist Eli Kasan voice bounce between a heartfelt bawl and a contemptuous bark. It's a formula that works well for the band and then, when adding twists like the overly antsy garage blues riff on "Rollin' Benny", the woozy tempo shifts of "To & Fromme" and the "A-ha! See! You can cite Wire's Pink Flag right there!" choppy chords moments of "Affection" and "Wimpy Garcia (Brotherfucker)", hit the euphoric smart guy punk rock/nervy pop conglomeration right on target.
     Though the raucous but clever of the songs about could find themselves worming into music part of the frontal lobe the big pick to click (if such things still exist) is "New York's Alright (If You Like Sex and Phones)", a re-recording of a song from a previous single that not only serves as a tribute/diss to some of the bands of a current ilk that the Gotobeds may find themselves lumped in with but also wrings a few Swell Maps songs of their twisted hooks for something that intoxicatingly toxic.
     The ten minute finishes with "Secs Tape" that builds up to slashing storm before descending into a collapse. Exhausted, and in need of a pick me up, starting the record over again will do the trick.
www.12xu.net

Monday, October 20, 2014

Founders Mosaic Promise IPA

   
     Brewed to benefit ArtPrize, the world's largest art completion that happens in Founders home base of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mosaic Promise is brewed with one single malt, Golden Promise, and with just one hop, Mosaic.
     This is the 2nd year their 5 year contract for creating a unique beer for the competition. Last year they brewed the pretty dang great Inspired Artist Black IPA so what they would come up with this year, like everything Founders makes, was something to look forward to giving a taste.
     Pours a rich golden slightly bordering on orange in color. It was a soft pour brought a one finger head that faded fairly quick but made a ring that left enough for spotty lacing behind through its drinking.
     Very crisp scents of grapefruit peel, lemon zest, some green bud and fresh ground pepper all intermingled on the nose in the top. The malt hold it all up in the background providing some honey and warm biscuits to the smell. There's quite a few levels of complexities actually which is interesting due to the fact that there only being one singular hop and malt used. Founders are masters at pulling every nuance out of a variety of hops they use and so far, as the smell goes at least, it they've done all kinds of magic again.
     The flavor is similar to the aroma. Lots of citrus and tropical fruit such as mango and pineapple along with a sour candy such as Spree's impart at first. Some pine qualities along with some grassy (as both in some lawn AND some primo weed), green grapes and blueberry notes then begin to waft through in the middle. If this was all the tastes the beer had to offer it would be enough to compare it to a super great harvest ale but, as a TV pitchman would put it, "Wait! There's more" as the malts come out in the end weaving things together with some fresh out of the oven wheat bread thing happening. The finish is peppery and piney but in a way that is very refreshing and not sticky.
     Of course this is a limited run and stock is running low on how much is left. I've picked up a couple six packs of it now and will continue to do so when I spot it around at stores til it's all gone. I'm not going to hoard it all though because I enjoy sharing beers with friends. Yes, this beer is for aficionados but is also a very flavorful and palatable one to turn on a neophyte to as well.
www.foundersbrewing.com

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Smashin Radio Transistors for October 16th 2014

     Recorded live from the analog signal from a receiver that should have had its reception doublechecked before tape started rolling. With just enough good ol' FM hiss, a couple of glitches and a lot of awesome bands here is my radio show from last night.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

FEATURE/SLOWCOACHES "Tourists" split EP

     Two UK trios united in a frayed and gauzy take on fried fidelity, a mutual admiration for Wire's Pink Flag and having a band member in common, take a side each to slather the ears in a exuberant DIY buzz.
     From London, Feature's (who include Sauna Youth's Jen Calleja in it's line up) two originals here, "Wisdom Teeth" and "Tourism Fiction", have my brain wanting to cite something like giving Slowdive a couple sticks of dynamite to rid them over the overdone and unneeded orchestral adornments and make things way more straight forward. The former is a down-stroked grungy grinder that finds an overall white knuckled darkness being pushed away from melodies allowing some sunlight to come through and the latter is choppy shoegazed tinged punk and loaded with head swimming harmonies. 
     Their take on on Wire's "Mannequin" stays somewhat faithful to the original's intention but at the same time gives it a different breathing space as well as tweaking the perception of the songs initial intent was for some.
     Though Leeds via Nottingham's Slowcoaches are the other side of a same sort of coin, they come at you at a much more panicked feeling. Topped off by bassist Heather Perkins (who is also in Feature) just the right discontention for punk rock vocals, the band's "Surface Observations" set off from a basement launch pad launch with high strung dose of rat poison noise pop meets Burger Records indie rock, give it a good kicking (such as the drummer pushing it all to go faster.) "Raw Dealing" keeps this manic feeling going.
     For their take on a Wire song they try "Ex-Lion Tamer" on for size and after giving a few alterations they find that it's a great fit.
www.slowcoachessux.tumblr.com

Monday, October 13, 2014

SICK THOUGHTS "Coming Over" 7inch

     On what seem to be their 100th release in the last year Sick Thoughts show no sign of slowing down soon. Masterminded by Baltimore, MD teenage Drew Owen, their songs explode with a lo-fi scuzz that splatters gooey filth over the high school halls. To cover up their tracks and keep from getting the blame of the malicious destruction the band plots a way of burning the building down.
     Because of the blown out sound and the age of the brain that is behind the bedlam the first couple of Reatards records gets bandied around often as a reference point. And sure, the adolescent ranting & raving and snotball rockin' does land them in the same camp but the late Jay isn't the only thing these malcontents have used to treat their burning itch.
     "Coming Over" blasts out of the speakers all overdriven and with enough scum to set a fire in the guts of the world's GG Allin fan. The guitar solo that sounds like it bound by barbed wire and then thrown down a hill of broken glass then comes along to aggrandize the point.
     Things then get spun up even more with "I Didn't Know" The song makes it point in less than a minute which is a good thing because it it went on any longer turntables may detonate. This record then wraps up with it's longest track, the almost two minute long "Remember", that answers the question "What if the Pagans made a single for Rip Off Records."
www.goingunderground.storenvy.com

Saturday, October 11, 2014

APACHE DROPOUT "Heavy Window" LP

     The sound of being moonstruck on a very humid night.  Over the course of three albums in the past three years, a few singles during that same period of time and a cassette from 2008) it's statement that Indiana's Apache Dropout could put on their business card and no one would even bother to question it.
     While their records vibrate with a wiggly racket of wolf call yelps, dingy fuzz guitar and a ramshackle rhythm section that likes to stomp and kick as much as it can but will also lay low and sneak up on it's prey when needed, Apache Dropout have a sound that nods the Cramps soaked in echo psychotics and the blood drenched swampiness of the Scientists, yet has become distinctively their own.
     "Sitting Around" starts the record off sounding something akin to a deranged hillbilly sitting in the passenger seat of a badly beaten pick up truck and chanting and ranting things while turning the ignition. It growls, it grinds, it spews the smell of old burnt oil. Once running the pedal is kept to the floor to hear the rotted out header pipes make a rumbled roar.
     Sounding something like getting the bed spins while waiting for a 36 hour LSD trip to wear off while people in the other room watch b-movies and play surf records at a distorted levels the album's woozy title track is next, piling up the grit and grime higher.
     Though all the songs here cram the recording tape with enough fuzz to make even a forest full of cottonwood trees during the late spring shedding season stand back and say "DAMN!", it's not all just distorto-caveman stomp going on.
     "Movie Magic" and "Crystal Ball" respectively elbow candy coated psychedelia and blue collar new wave into the nervy rattle-shakin', "Little Georgie" and "Radio Double Agent" sound like they're booming out of dive bar jukeboxes on Mars, blasted on some blown out speakers "Detective" could get dropped between a Cheap Trick and Slade song and most people would be none the wiser and the album's closer, "Space Age", takes the sound of a 50s teenage ballad and gives it a sense of pent up desperation that those oldies they heard on an uncle's console stereo when they were kids could only hint at.
www.magneticsouthrecordings.org

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Bettye LaVette "What Condition My Condition Is In"

In 1968 Bettye LaVette went into the studio to record a second set of sides with Detroit producer Ollie McLaughlin for his label Karen Record. Backed by Dennis Coffey, Ray Monette and Bob Babbitt they cut the Popcorn Wylie and Tony Hester song "Get Away" with it's intention of it being the hit side of an upcoming release on McLaughin's Karen label.

For the b-side they recorded "What Condition My Condition Is In." Written by Mickey Newbury, the song, which was actually titled "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" was a country hit for Jerry Lee Lewis in 1967 as a honky tonk oddity. A year later the song went into the Billboard top 10 as a bubblegum psychedelic tune by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition.

McLaughlin was confident in Bettye's ability to turn the song into a smoldering and funky Rhythm and Blues track and claim the song her own. Detroit radio DJ's must've thought so too because though the a-side was ignored, "What Condition My Condition Is In" hit the top 10 on the charts of the legendary Detroit R&B station WCHB in February of 1969.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Smashin' Radio Transistors for October 2nd 2014

     It's been since the end of August that I last got around to uploading one of the weekly radio shows I do in Port Huron on WSGR 91.3fm. We are still not streaming so unless you are in our 20 mile range (on a good car stereo or the right amount of copper wire as an antenna made on a stereo receiver made before the early 90's) this is the only way it can be heard. Give it a listen.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The #1s s/t LP

     The year is 1979. The violence of The Troubles in Ireland is closing in on it's second decade. Along with a very poorly managed of the economy it could be very well expected that the youth of the country would scoff at any positive proverb their grandparents may try to lay on them.
     That is not to say the kids didn't find away to get away, if only for a few hours, from the gloom around.
     In dingy youth halls and dilapidated hotel ballrooms a sound of cheerful exuberance and escape blasted from battered guitars giving those in the room, if not at least a glimmer of hope, at least a reason to flirt, chat, dance and escape from all the bullshit going down.
     Aside from The Troubles being long over and the year is 2014 not '79, Dublin's #1s sound like they could be one of those bands playing on such an evening.
     Putting loud and snarling guitars over a classic AM pop radio song structure that's is rockin' enough for the boys but catchy enough for the girls (or vice versa depending on the crowd you run with) is nothing new. The trick is though doing it right.
     Instead of relying on the Rod Stewart haircuts and skinny leather ties that have cursed the post-powerpop-whatever for ages to carry them through a plodding of lackluster songs, the #1s have paid close attention to the sounds that were being made a couple hours north on the Good Vibrations label and learning the craft on how to make tunes that may too boppy and melodic for the bottle throwing set but also a bit much rowdy for those who want their hooks homogenized.
     Including the previously released singles "I Wish I Was Lonely" and "Sharon Shouldn’t" (the former a choppy guitar and harmony laden recorded on bargain basement budget blaster that John Peel would have possibly played more than once on his show, the latter a speedy number that resembles the Undertones exuding much higher levels of testosterone) the music is reeling with ragged but right power pop gems. New songs such the candy coated very sour apple "Heartsmash" and especially "Favorite Game" harkens much gruff Exploding Hearts while "Boy" and "Anything" will have you double checking the sleeve as well as your calendar to make sure what year you are actually in.
www.facebook.com/thenumberonesdublin

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Odd Side Ale IPA and Grapefruit Wheat

 
     Odd Side's Pineapple IPA pours a rich and luminous amber in color with a minimal head that melts fairly quickly. The pineapple comes out even before the nose is near the glass. Not not overbearing and is not unlike the smell when I slice up a fresh one on a summer morning. Giving it a more investigative whiff aromas of orange peel and caramel notes of the malt sit on top of a piney hop character.
As I sit here and write this it is one of the warmest days of the year here. I also just so happens, even though most people write it all off after Labor Day, that summer ends and fall starts in two days. Seems a good time as any to compile my notes on the last strays of these two I have had on the stash for later shelf in my fridge.

     A mix of tropical fruits such as tangerine, papaya and mango come into play first in the flavor along with the pineapple which though, based off the the scent, is not as dominant as expected at first. That is followed by some toasty grains and slightly sweet malts. A hop bitterness finds itself getting comfy with some refreshing fruit juices in the finish.
     As the beer breathes and adjusts to room temperature the pineapple seems to step up it's roll as the star of the show but still doesn't hop the limelight. Due to a bit of stickiness I don't know if I would have classified this as a beach beer but, then again, the weather kinda jacked most beach days this past summer. Either way I enjoyed my share of them for the season and it worked well while out in my backyard today while doing some end of the summer work and surveying the things I gotta do before the snow starts to fly.
     Though I have been a serious IPA head for many years and plenty of times over the last year it seemed that I have gotten a little jaded on the style. I like them getting ridiculous but there's been a few where I'm like "Calm down dude" in more recent times. This is a cool twist on the style though. It's different and in no way doing it over the top just for the sake of doing so. Looking forward to having some more of these when they come around again next summer.

     Slightly cloudy and gold in color Odd Side's Grapefruit Wheat produces a small foam cap as a head which slowly melts away. The smell of grapefruit is very faint on the nose but the bready and banana like characteristics that come with along for the ride when it usually comes to wheat beers is there. Giving it a little time to breathe some fruit scents come out but it seems to me more along the lines of white grapes along with a dint of earthy raw honey.
     The taste is dominant of that of a standard wheat beer. Light and easy summer drinking in that respect. The grapefruit flavor comes out much, much more in the flavor than it does in the smell but also leans more towards the rind of it than the juice. The finish has an odd sticky bitterness that doesn't seem to work right to these taste buds though..  
     Everything I've tried by Odd Side I have enjoyed immensely but there is something missing. Not saying it struck out when it went up to bat but never got past 2nd base for me either. Worth giving a shot if somebody offers one but no worries passing on investing 10+ bucks on a six pack of it.
www.oddsideales.com