Friday, August 29, 2014

Smashin' Radio Transistors for August 28th 2014

     Three big hours of listening fun from last night. The station's temporary did us fine over the summer but with the sound of an old timey air conditioner rumbling in the background and a cider block/high ceiling room who's sound would be more conducive to recording some lo-fi rockabilly record  it will be nice to be back in our old studio soon. Give a listen to the whole thing here.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Smashin' Radio Transistors for August 21st 2014

      The upgrades at Ye Ol' 'SGR are still in the budget approval stages so we still have to improvise if people want to hear them outside of our twenty mile broadcast range. After my last gadget bit the dust from A LOT of use the past gob of years I've been looking for a solution to share my shows for those who wanna give them a listen. The latest way needs a few bugs worked out but here's the show from tonight with some radio static included to, y'know, keep it real, man.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Odd Side Ale's Lucid Dreams Red Wine Barrel Aged Dubbel Ale

     In business for the last four years (and bottling a variety of their liquids for about the past two) Grand Haven's Odd Side Ales has become one of the fastest growing breweries in the state of Michigan. With the amount of beermakers there are in the Mitten now (and, it seems, a new one opening up every week) and, that Odd Side's distribution is currently kept only within state lines, they must be doing something right.
     Aged in red wine barrels, this Dubbel style ale pours a hazy firebrick red in color with a two finger fizzy, bubbly head that melts into consistent ring that hangs through the rest of it's session. The smell of fermented grapes are obvious when giving it whiff followed by currants, a dash of black pepper, some toast, vanilla and a slight nudge of oak.
     Buttery and candied malts that are common in the Dubbel style come out in the front and back of the initial sip. What those flavors surround though, such as tart cherries, a medium tannic that is found in a lot of Merlot's along with a dash of tobacco and some light pepper notes, give this creamy but quite lively to the feel brew a curveball of complexities that makes it individual and unique. The barrel aged factor of it is somewhat muted all the way through save for the when it drifts it way in at the finish amongst a blend of farmhouse ale funkiness, red wine astringents and Dubbel sweet notes in the finish.
     If you know of someone who claims to be just a wine drinker that has a tendency to turn it's nose up to beer of any kind this may be the kind of thing that changes their mind and open them up to the many different offerings, ideas and interesting things the brewmasters of this country (and especially this state) are up. It's ain't no soda pop tasting wine cooler (or whatever those bright colored "malt beverages are suppose to be.) It also goes well equally with something to sip after doing yard work or a quiet fancy dinner with the sweetheart of your choice.
www.oddsideales.com

Friday, August 8, 2014

Gwen Owens "Just Say You're Wanted (And Needed)"


    
     I was doing a little research on something totally unrelated and learned that the label this Gwen Owens single was released, Velgo, was owned by a friend of my family. This record here was a 14 year old Gwen’s follow up to her ‘67 Detroit hit “I Lost A Good Thing” (which was also on the Velgo label.)
     Not many heard this record because the pressing plant screwed up most of the copies during manufacturing making it play all warped. Most copies didn’t even make it out to stores and what was in the warehouse went to the trash.
     The family friend has been dead for some years now. Every once in awhile he would talk about his music biz days but it was mostly stories of the biggest star he worked with, Jack Scott.
     Gwen Owens had a national top 40 soul hit in 1969 with “Keep on Living.”

Saturday, July 26, 2014

SUGAR STEMS "Only Come Out At Night" LP

     When it comes to perfecting the “summer for soundtrack” album bands from the Great Lakes states seem to have a knack for it.
     Personally living in the area for ages my guess is that it has something to do an appreciation of the season and making the most of it. All Great Lakes dwellers know that the cold, blustery and, especially when taking last winter into consideration, brutal weather will take hold and the sun will be hidden being a thick mass of greyness for what may end up being 2/3rd’s of the year. The warm breezes, riding to the beach with the windows down and the smell of barbeque and the events that surround them, be it sublime or bittersweet, are to be reminisced and/or looked forward to again even if they may stir memories both bad as well as good.
     What better way to do so then set it to music, right?
     The album's opener, the wall of sound drenched "Baby Teeth", hits the girl group gone new wave thing that Blondie did so well to a point where one may be searching the record's liner notes to see if it's an outtake from Plastic Letters.
     There is a lot more going on though that straight up Debbie Harry and the band she fronted worship going on here though.
     For instance, opposed to a lot of the current crop of "Blondie influenced bands" where the singers sound like they're making their voice resemble sour apple candy and a cocaine drain while the band is shadowy illuminated by dingy street lamps, Sugar Stems Betsy singing veers towards raw honey treated husky wail on the pristine pop of "Tell The Truth" and the album's title track.
     On others like sparkling fizz of "Some Might Say", the garage rock stomp on "Run Rabbit Run" and the almost baroque closing acoustic closer "Million Miles" she puts down real classic down home drawl and soar that the vocal equivalent a Hostess Twinkie (y'know, all fluff and no natural ingredients) current crop of dirt road pop startlets on country radio can't pull off no matter how much affected twang and autotune their producers pile on.
     Add in the rhythm section of Stef on bass and Jon E on drums firing on all pistons, lead guitarist Drew's flashy (without ever being long-winded or gaudy) solos and newest member Andy ebullient keyboard lines to the confection and even your dentist will be understanding about the newest cavities you have.
www.sugarstems.com

Sunday, July 13, 2014

OBNOX "Louder Space" LP

     How do you top one of the best albums of last year?
     Obnox's 2013 album, Corrupt Free Enterprise has been a constant listen in my world since I first dropped a needle on it last year. Well, that is until their latest, Louder Space landed on my stereo.
     Masterminded by Lamont "Bim" Thomas, who's been making noise for over two decades in Ohio bands like The Bassholes and This Moment In Black History, the name of the game with 'Nox has always been a thick and harsh clash of smashed up, feedback slathered weirdo punk and old school rap straight out of a moldy walled basement and set ablaze, tinges get down/get high soul music, deep funk wiggliness and an ear bleeding bang that industrial music had before the disco beats and sampled heavy metal guitar riffs became de rigueur.
     In the past though the records were usually recorded on equipment of varying (and, at times, very questionable) degrees of quality in rooms to match. This time around Obnox found a "louder space" indeed by using a studio which cats such as Guided By Voices, the New Bomb Turks, Times New Viking, Great Plains, the Cheater Slicks and even Bone Thugs-n-Harmony have used through the years; Musicol Studios in Columbus, Ohio. Stacked with vintage mixing tools and mics, the tubes got hot, the ribbons vibrated and the self described “sheets of rhythm” formed layers of dense thump with a sheen of grand style that may have been overlooked before.
     "Prime Time Sister" kicks the album off with splatters of blood and mud roar that sets a tone for the ride ahead. It, along with cuts such as the wolf howl crooned "Raindrops", "Riding Dirty" sounding like a pop hit fighting it's way out of a maelstrom of lighning bolts, the punk rock blues/grindcore mutation that's "Time Of My Life", the backyard BBQ party getting set on fire then pushed over a cliff pace of "Bitch! Get Money!" and "Who Needs You" resembling what it's probably like living inside a stainless steel bong at Blue Cheer's crib are all comparable to waking up a radioactive monster by having 500 kids who just discovered guitar feedback practice Jimi Hendrix's version of the "Star Spangled Banner" at the same time.
     On the more hip-hop tip of the record the promise to bring BRING THE NOISE is honored most surpassingly most likely since when Chuck D first asked how low can the bass go. Clipped drum loops form block rocking beats underneath a heavy bass wah wah pedals that shoot lasers on "Molecule", "How To Rob (The Punk Years)" is a loaded with braggadocio (or at least calling out those who are doing things half ass while claiming otherwise) over singular bass string pops and acid funk guitar, a mildewy and humid sounding organ gives the pulse for horns to blasts and six sting freakouts to slither and slice on "Red 1" and the album's closer, "Feeling Real Black Today", is like a midnight love jam by Isaac Hayes being introduced to trip hop before taken down to the 7th ring of Hell.
     In an interview with Pitchfork last year, when asked about the state of music, Thomas comment “Rock and roll could stand some more brothers right now, some more swagger.”
     Yes, it really could! Til that happens again though it's reassuring to know there's cats like him holding down the fort.
     Obnox, along with Radio Burns and Dale Beavers, will be playing live at Port Huron's Roche Bar on Saturday, August 30th.

http://12xu.net    

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

SPACE RAFT s/t LP

     Space Raft does not need a laser light show. Sure, it would be cool if they had some. People could feel like they were floating in a galaxy while the band played on. The thing is though these guy don't need special effects to get the songs across.
     Fronted by Jordan B. Davis, who first arrived on the rock-n-roll scene in the early 00's as the guitar player of the Green Bay, Wisconsin band the Mystery Girls. Combining the roar of 60's proto-punk bands such as the MC5, the Stooges and Radio Birdman with the prime bloozy grooves of the Rolling Stones and giving it all a exuberant garage rock kick, the Mystery Girls released three albums and a handful of 7inch singles (including one on yours truly's label Bancroft Records) before packing in it. Jordan then spent some time in Montreal, learning French and mastering the art of poutine making before returning back to the land where the truly, actually, really happy cows live (Take THAT, California!) and forming this combo.
     Like the Mystery Girls, Space Raft do look to the past to make a sound for today. Where the former though was mining a '65-68 teenage howlin' with a tinge of weed and a drop or two of LSD, the latter borrows a bit from the end of the 60's to the mid 70's sound-wise without sounding like some band that's entire knowledge of classic rock is just the bullshit 200 songs that classic rock radio seems to think are the only ones that ever existed.
      Driven by choppy chords, the opener "Never Enough", along with swaying side to side descending grooves of "We Are Not Alone", the bittersweetness of "Evening Glow" and the driving down the highway with the windows down sparkle of "Rescue Mission" bask in a glow of Big Star fishing at night on a river on the moon (or something akin to hits an alternate universe where ABBA and the Carpenters didn't dominate the AM radio airwaves of the world but Todd Rundgren, up until "A Wizard, a True Star" at least, is a household name and Wally Bryson gets name checked much more often than Eric Carmen when discussing the Raspberries) while still being firmly placed in the now.
     The above description is fitting for all the songs on the album in their overall approach. Scratching the surface though things like Traffic sans the dudes wearing kaftans lounging around on lumpy hemp rope macrame hammocks and the long ass jazzbo jam session sections runs a thread through electric piano accented "Waves Of Frustration" organ ooze and George Harrison's All Things Must Past parred down to one solid album and the Nag Champa aroma being replaced with the smells of a backyard barbeque on "Venus In Transit." The band even tosses in a bit of a Madchaster psychedelic dance party for good measure on "Anything Is Possible"
     If I said this hasn't been the album I've been playing when heading to the beach this summer I'd be lying. Speaking of summer, Space Raft, along with Beset By Creatures Of The Deep, Silent Drape Runners and Lucas Merrill will be closing out the summer with a show on Friday, August 29th at the Roche Bar in Port Huron.
www.dustymedical.com

Friday, July 4, 2014

Jackie Lee "Anything You Want"



     Jackie Lee (Born Earl Nelson in Lake Charles, LA) had quite a career though a bit a puzzle to piece it all together.  Recording solo R&B tracks under the names Jay Dee, Earl Cosby and Chip Nelson as well as a  member of many different R&B and Doo Wop groups before settling on his most well-known nom de plum , Lee’s first hit was singing lead on Bobby Byrd's Hollywood Flames “Buzz, Buzz, Buzz” (a song that Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers covered in 1978) which went to #18 on the pop charts in 1958.
      In 1964, as part of the duo Bob and Earl, he had another top 40 hit in the charts with “Harlem Shuffle”. The song found even bigger success in the UK when it was issued there in 1969 reaching #7.
      In 1965, recording under the name Jackie Lee (Jackie was Earl's wife's name and Lee his own middle name) he hit #14 on the charts with the novelty dance number “The Duck.” This track, “Anything You Want”, was recorded in 1968 and was slated to be released on the Mirwood label under the name Earl Nelson that year didn’t see the light of day til UK reissue label released it on the The Mirwood Soul Story CD compilation in 2005.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Why have there been no radio shows posted the last few weeks.

     If you have been checking out the downloads that I have posted of the radio show I do for the past little while and have noticed that there haven't been any the past few weeks if is because we are doing upgrades from the bottom up around the station. Our budget is limited so we are trying to see what old technology we can make with the new to stretch our funding. Also, the station is at the mercy of administration, so, at many times, processes and purchases we want/need/could use move slow.
     The station is broadcasting over the air fine and dandy and our 20 or so miles of broadcast range has been doing our local listeners fine but those on the world wide web that can't check it out at the moment. In a meeting with suits earlier this week though they assured us that getting the place streaming is on a priority list but it may take a little more time for all the pieces to fall into place.
     In the meantime I am going see what else I can use or rig up to record the shows and post them here again 'til streaming happens. Also, hoping to have enough free time soon to actually sit down and write about some of the records and beer I've been checking out and digging (or not digging in some cases.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Edd Henry "You're Replacement Is Here"


   
     "No more heartaches/No more sorrows"
     Here’s a very hard to find Detroit groover from 1966 on the Big Mack label by Edd Henry. It’s a song of being done wrong and having enough of it. Recorded at the legendary United Sound with a hot band this records swings. It received no local airplay of note. Would’ve been a hit in a better world.
     The a-side of this, a soul burner in it’s own right called “Crooked Woman" (it seems Edd had his share of women treating him wrong), showed up in an episode of Mad Man some seasons back.
     The Big Mack label released records sporadically through the mid 60’s to the early 70’s. It’s offices operated at several different addresses though the years but operated out this location during the time this record was released. You can find both sides of the single and other Big Mack Records tracks on the Numero Group’s Eccentric Soul compilation devoted to the label.
     Edd Henry recorded several funk sides for the Heavy Hank label, including this sticky bop, in the late 60’s/early 70’s and released a gospel album in the mid 80’s.