Jun 27, 2016

IN SCHOOL Cement Fucker 7inch EP

     Ever wonder what it sounds like inside of a nest of yellow jackets when you take a chainsaw to it? Especially if the wasps living it are of the irritable sort (which they usually are) and return the attack in their own particular unrelenting way. They like to lay down a barrage of pain and are especially evil because they can sting more than once.
     This newest thing from NYC's In School is that sound. Hardcore that's subhuman and ooze crawling, it's basic instinct to swarm and assault. The bass rattle that opens "Bloodlust" blurps like it is about that to start a fire but it doesn't send out a warning that it's all about to burst in skin melting flames. The record's title track follows it and channels Rudimentary Peni gutting eels in the back of a garbage truck.
     Things to not let up on side two either. "You're Not That Dumb" metallic shrill is like a hundred rusty steak knifes hacking away at a steel girder with the determination of a violently obsessed surgeon and "Awakening" is grossly stained shard of a revelation that was not brought out to the surface to ease any worried minds.
thrillingliving.com

Jun 22, 2016

Old Tomorrow Monty's Golden Rye Ale

       Named after and collaborated with gold medal winning skeleton racer Jon Montgomery, Toronto brewery Old Tomorrow puts their own Canadian stamp on the aging beer with whiskey components game here.  
     This aged in Alberta rye whiskey oak brew has it own distinctions from the first sniff to the final sip. Freshly split wood vanilla and caramel take the lead roles in the aroma. The color is that of sun on the horizon topped buy a slightly bubbly head which, despite its smallness, hangs on tight for quite awhile.
     The brew itself is overall creamy in texture but not thick. A sweet malt is in the forefront but then it falls away to give first some vanilla and then some honey butter on toast some room stretch out. Giving it a chance to breathe caramel and butterscotch start stepping up more and more. It ends with more than a hint of Canadian whiskey, citrus peel and pepper.
     Interesting balances and character all around for this one. Even with the decent amount complexities this beer has it could still be the star of a somewhat sessionable day or after mowing the lawn. I don't know if I'd suggest quaffing it straight from pitcher and walking around the way Monty enjoyed a beer after his Olympic triumphs in 2010 though.

Jun 17, 2016

CUT WORMS "Don't Want To Say Good-bye" 7inch

     The blurb included with this record mentions that side one's "Don't Want To Say Good-bye" will remind people of the Everly Brothers. Having that still instilled into since probably the day I was born (the folks dug 'em bunches) and being a sucker for that sound when done right (to my ears at least) I prepared to listen intently.
     Masterminded by Max Clarke, he the one time guitar player for Chicago band the Sueves, the Cut Worms pull off the sound consummately. Close harmonies swell over an elegant sibilation of steel stringed guitars. The clean and lightly echo'd recording sounds authentic. Not so much as a direct cop but as something this has been going through their bloodstream since day one too which makes it feel more like sincere love for a long gone era of innocence rather than making people suspicious that there is some irony trip at hard or they songs are just playing dress up.
     Where the Everly Brothers inspired a lot of future folkies at the time to eventually go off on their own paths of soul bearing, side two's "Like Going Sideways" starts its journey seeming like an introspective ballad around a campfire which then meets its destination cleaning out stems and seeds at Gene Clark kitchen table with a heart yearning for more.
randyrecords.bigcartel.com

Jun 9, 2016

CITY YELPS Half Hour LP

     Leeds, England's City Yelps cassette of a couple years back, Cheap Psych, got a lot of play around the Smashin' Transistors social gatherings. When I sat down to absorb their band new record a lot of the similar impressions I gushed about that tape came to mind here. Swell Maps....double cheeseburgers...blokes who can discuss things of bookish matters (after all, Leeds has the 4th largest student population in the UK) as well as which budget lager will hurt the least the next morning and their favorite garage punk 45's. All delivered, I may add, in a northern brogue where I have to ask them to repeat it or wonder if I need a translator.
     There was a vibe on the cassette of a few friends getting together in cramped space and having a go at celebrating the sound often lost & forgotten about indie singles from the early part of the eighties. If it was all shot on film it would been composed of square format stills in faded, fuzzy black and white with streaks of glare. For this album though, the scenes set are more cinematic and wide screen.
     While the usage of colors of sound on ...Half Hour are more vivid than its predecessor the band hasn't gone day-glo or anything. Sure, there's more clarity but, as the opener "Shut Up" can attest, there's still plenty bashed up blurriness.
     Some songs, such as the disheveled clarions of  "We Like The Hours" & "Music For Adverts" and the sleet storm splatter that's all over "Music & Movements", sound like cantankerous giants chewing on copies of C-86 that were found in a compost pile behind Mark E. Smith's (Brix era) place.
     Now, I know as soon as someone throws out a C-86 reference a lot jump for joy as far as jangly and shambling pop tinged post punk goes but for others is sends up a red flag that things may just turn to milk and water. Shaun's barrel chested yowl across the songs and the way "Making Noise" throws icy daggers, the night terror space(man) trip on "The Corn" and "Now" resembles being knocked down and then covered in an avalanche assure their much more bold than that by looking things straight in the eyes instead of staring at their feet.
Find the City Yelps on Facebook     

May 31, 2016

Smashin' Podsistorscast: Sweet 16


     Away we go with our 16th episode of 20 songs. Dig some brand new things from Kid Congo Powers & the Pink Monkey Birds, Space Raft, Honey Radar, City Yelps, Spray Paint, K9 Sniffies, Sunwatchers, The Cowboys and Doctor Nod.
     We also dug out some noise of different sorts of the past from Einst├╝rzende Neubauten, The Fatals, Tubeway Army, The Thomas Function, The Fall and the Undertones.
     And a few other sounds too.

May 26, 2016

The Devotions "Same Old Sweet Lovin'"

     Ran by  Robert Eaton and Benjamin Knight (who, along with Fred Bridges, also comprised the soul trio Brothers Of Soul as well as a songwriting team that had something to do with around 50 singles that came out Detroit in the 60s and 70s) and based out of a storefront on Hamilton St in Detroit (well, Highland Park actually. They both share a zip code) the Tri-Tone label only released 2 singles.
     The first of them was The Devotions “Same Old Sweet Lovin’.” Recorded and released in 1966, the record might possibly being gunning for the same formula a lot of the Detroit labels were going trying to grab a piece of that Motown pie, but the frills free production and obviously not charm school trained voices of Ragina Wood, Rosemary Green and Bobby Hemmitt give this this record a raw street level soul thing that sounds something more akin to a female version of what the Parliaments were doing in the city around the same time than any of the seriously buffed and polished records from the House Of Gordy.

May 21, 2016

BLOODY SHOW Root Nerve 12inch EP

     Ohio's Bloody Show kingpin Jah Nada has a lot on his mind. With Laura of Raw Pony bashing the tubs and Sex Tide's Chris hard rockin' sick licks as reinforcements to his gut rumbling bass thumps, he doesn't hesitate letting people what he's thinking.
     Opening with "American Pimp" the record drops a lumbering bomb of thudding scuzz and rock-n-roll flash. Given the song title, anyone expecting some hustler jivin' to kick in on the mic are gonna be taken aback cuz Jah belts like a voice of annihilation here. While the listener is still fazed from that detonation, they get hit with a one-two clobber of the high powered Detroit proto-punk of "Magic Negro" (think The MC5 and Death playing at the same time while the most agitated soul shouter on the planet calls bullshit on several points of view) and the incensed "bell hooks", which gives a take most wont bother to discuss in some feminist theory course. Side one closes out with some Ohio punk rock history by giving Pere Ubu's "Non-Alignment Pact" a furious clobbering.
     The rumbling that kicks off side two's "Back On The Track" rolls into town like bikers fed on fuzz, swamp water and street fights. The enraged boogie "When I'm High"  is like some kinda 70's Ted Nugent party/fightin' jolt blasting out of a muscle car if Ted was a million percent less douchebag, stopped towing the Nancy Reagan line and listened to more Eddie Hazel and less whatever makes him going around claiming he's from a long spiritual line of bluesmen. The mood gets foreboding on "Fuckaround" with it's metallic tinged downcast goth chords and stoned disposition providing an icy pillar to make an inconsolable rap and bellow from.
www.heelturnrecords.com

May 11, 2016

HEAVY TIMES "Dancer" 7inch EP

     Chicago's Heavy Times have never played light music. There's always been a cloudy sky and saturnine perspective even when they're playing a bash it about punk rock numbers. It's been three years since they last released a record. Is everything bright and shiny with them now? Well, maybe but, then again, maybe not.
     The band has had an occasional new wave hue to them on previous endeavors and on this one it is practically glaring. Synth washes and a tinny computer drum lure you into a seedy neon lit mutant disco planet on "Dancer." A throaty new wave android repeatedly recites diminutive recollections of movement while a guitar line that slid itself off one of  the Ultravox record before Jon Foxx left coats a sheen of frost of the toxic sort throughout. It is followed by "Midnight Highway" which mines the same territory but also with a manner of skittish twitches, somnolent bloops and glassy 6 string flash that smears a thin and chipped line between where techno-pop ends and synth rock begins. Both cuts would sound fitting in some nightclub in a cellar when strobe lights are set to a medium pulse and plebeians reach for cobwebs as a groovy dance move.
     Then, on the b-side, the ceiling comes crashing down. "Coptic Rot" hits a pressure point that the band is known to reach. Kicking off with a drum roll that may get you thinking you're about to hear a surf song things instantaneously break into a nervous rhythm. The vocals now a bit more hoarse and ranting compared to the "getting my best Gary Numan on" of the a-side and fidgety guitars up the antsy ante. The record's final track, "Edge of The Night", reverts back to the early 80's thing. The opening reminds me of the Go-Gos "Our Lips Are Sealed" slowed down to opiate induced pace. Then a flange pedal gets treated passive aggressively and things start to sound like the ending credits of a John Hughes movie. Well, a John Hughes film if he became smitten with the Cinema of Transgression, that is.
http://randyrecords.bigcartel.com

May 4, 2016

NAMELESS FRAMES s/t LP

Nameless Frames via Shea Carley Photo
     This Texas trio knows its way around loud, brash and totally catchy hooks and there's an absolutely insolent yet risible attitude that permeates throughout this record. Yelps of recklessness on songs like tightly wound "Exploitation" and the flaying wildly "Cut Out" have a bed of jittery guitars strokes that are reminiscent of fellow Lone Star punk twisters like the Motards and the Reds.
     Where as those two bands though did there thing to get a straight ahead way to their destination (the former with headstrong impeccability and the latter seeing double or maybe even triple but some how making to it the ending the finish with rarely any meandering), these guys get mangled for a moment here and there. Though it does cause a twist to the cadence, it makes sense to the scheme of disposition than it does being a wrench thrown into the works just for the sake of making someone think "They're getting weird, man."
     If the band stuck with that formula for this entire album it would still make for an entertaining listen but judging from other things that go on the record, they need that spice of life which variety brings. That doesn't mean they pull of some Mahavishnu Orchestra bullshit or bust out banjo and start singing about how they'd ride the rails if they didn't already have a job promised to them at their father's firm after college though.
     The big bombs of fuzz that detonate on the album's opening rave up "Upstairs", the swamp dwelling"To Late To Lose" and the rumbling DIY punk bass anchored "Control" bring 60s garage rock kicking and screaming into post everything modern world."She's An Oddity" is like the Ramones guzzling jet fuel and "Put It Back" saws the top of the Replacements skull off with jagged Johnny Thunders record. Then it closes out everything with a bit of post punk blues that doesn't try to damn hard to be either and ending up failing at both with "Garage Can."
www.supersecretrecords.com

Apr 30, 2016

Smashin' Transistors #15: Counting Stones Skip

     Torrential downpours of tone to wondering if the entire band stuffed their pants with a bong.
     This one starts off with Bailter Space and ends with Frijid Pink. In between there's the new things from Space Raft, Burnt Envelope, Jack Oblivian & the Sheiks, Army of Infants, Bummers Eve, NASA Space Program and Ex-Debs.
     We hear a song from Iggy Pop that's from my most favorite solo album of his that is not The Idiot or Lust For Life. Some Funkadelic, The Hunches, Black Abba and a bunch more come along for the ride too.