Saturday, February 28, 2015

Refined Fool Ripsnorter Bourbon Porter

     Across the river and less than a mile away from me if a foreign land. Their currency is of many colors. their football fields are longer (GO TiCATS! 2015 will be the year!!) . They had a First Lady who dallianced with the Rolling Stones. When you order poutine it is poutine and not some small dish bistro that makes you wonder if the chef even knows what poutine is. Just a few of the many things that make them different yanks.
     Like many other people for the ages it was the first place a person in Michigan drank legally anywhere on the planet. Someone only has to be 19 years old there. Here it is 21. That means to many the first place of a beer oasis was discovered. It sorta shaped a whole outlook of what suds should be. Yep! Cue the tape and join with me into a rousing version of Oh, Canada.
     When craft beers starting rolling along, Canadian beers took a backseat quickly. Some small batch and specialty breweries started to appear but some of them seemed unsure of branching away from certain ingredient profile that seemed to be a thread that ran through the most beers available in the country for  eons. Sure I tried some that were decent but there was always "what's up with them always having that same aftertaste every Canadian beer has?"
     The folks at Refined Fool in Sarnia, Ontario knew what was up. The town is only ten minutes away (if the bridge isn't busy) so they did their research over here quite often before opening shop. I had a chance to enjoy a handful of their beers but this is my first go 'round with the Ripsnorter Bourbon Porter. Did I mention that it's been cellaring for for a few seasons now?
     Burnt burgandy in color that isn't gonna let any light in at all. A moderate pour brings out a rocky chocolate malt looking head that melts fairly quickly. Chocolate and espresso beans come out first on the nose. There's smokey and woodsy elements to it as well which bring out maple and bacon.
     Slightly bitter Cocoa and sweat cream play the first fiddle from front to end here but there are little details throughout. Dark cherry tartness zig zags its way around. Tobacco makes an appearance. Charred wood stop in to say high. A fun gathering of things that seem to enjoy each other vibe.
     And the finish and aftertaste? No, it doesn't taste like Burton Cummings mixed some perfume, pine needles and club soda together, smiling while serving it up and asking you if he once dated your aunt. It is a nice throat coat of chocolate and dark fruit though.
     Now I just gotta figure out a way to run a pipeline through the water from their brewery directly to my house.
www.refinedfool.com

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

THE MORONS "Crackin' Up" 7inch EP

     With a name like the Morons no one is going be dropping the needle on this 45 and expecting this Chicago band to be laying down some introspective deep thoughts over top of some folky dewy morning acoustic instrumentation.
     No, what one expects is things to be loud and idiotic and wasting no time make a mess of everything. When it's done they want their stereo's speakers dripping with green lobs of lung gob.
     Sounding like the Cheater Slicks jumping about like they've got ants in their pants at a high school dance is how this EP's lead track, "Crackin' Up" kicks things off. "Disco Diablo" opens with a thuddin' bass line and then takes its fried to a crisp 90's garage punk and crams it into a garbage disposal.
     Flip it over and one might think from the opening chords of "Madelyn" that the band letting their guard down from being bards of brainlessness by doing a heartfelt ballad. As the song's static cling and lint covered jangle picks up steam to a boozy psychedelic sing-a-long pace though it becomes obvious though that these troublemakers need girls that are cause even more trouble. Clocking at a minute and a half the raw throated and three chord "I Can't Wait" finishes out the dalliances of dumbness that a scraped into the grooves.
     These morons actions at a keg party happening at bad pizza central could make primates hopped on cheeseburgers and blow shake their heads in disbelief of the mess that was made. Hell, the floor is all sticky and crunchy here now from beer and chips I ended up knocking all over while listening to this record.
www.facebook.com/WeAreTheMorons

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The AR-KAICS s/t LP

     Playing straight up traditional garage rock can be a slippery slope. In many cases questions get raised about if the band is delving into it from a purist stand point of sincerity or are they just playing dress up because they really enjoy costume parties.
     With the former it can get a nerdy if they are all just gear geeks that play at mid volume (because they can't turn it up too loud as it may fry out their oh so precious vintage amps) and think music died in 1967 (even if the members of said band weren't even alive yet.)
     The latter is akin to Halloween. It's fun to dress up but, unless someone is terminally goth or community theater actor weirdo, the novelty can wear thin pretty quick if mostly they got going for them is wacky schtick.
     Judging from their photos, the Ar-kaics dress in a classic style that always looks contemporary. They know that basic black and Levi jackets never goes out of style. Musically, the band floats around the party doing its best to keep both the freshly pressed shirt Nuggets crowd and the rumpled and ragged Back From the Grave fiends happy.
     Fuzz box frenzied tunes like album's opening salvo, "She Does Those Things To Me", the early period Black Lips caveman stomp of "Can't Keep Waiting" and "Sick & Tired" and the wiggly chugging of "Givin' Up", "No Good" and "Why Should I" fill a mud bog with grimy old wheel bearing grease that satiates the appetite of those hungry for dirt. For those who feed off the melancholy trips the slashing "Movin' On", the dirgy blues that vibrates off "Slave To Her Lies" and the slow crawl that's the albums closer "Cut Me Down" should be enough to flood black hearts with tears.
     It's tricky to take a definitive era of sound from about 50 years ago and stay loyal to it without making it sound too hokey but the Ar-Kaics kick up attitude and put enough sincere energy into it to pull it off pretty darn good.
www.windianrecords.com

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Leah Dawson "You Got To Change (Your Evil Ways)"


     Released as the 4th record on the Godmother of Detroit Soul's (and the first African American female to own and operate her own record label a few years before this was released with the Northern Recording Company) Johnnie Mae Matthews Big Hit imprint, this would be the 2nd single to feature the powerful voice of Leah Dawson front and center. 
     Leah was first heard singing for the Choker Campbell Orchestra's on the innuendo laden "My Mechanical Man" single on the Magic City label in 1966 but on this Sir Mack Rice written and produced track from 1968, which digs deep into the blues aspect compared to a lot of the post Motown R&B tracks that were being cut in Detroit at the time, her voice really booms. She puts the needles on the mixing board in the red as she belts out indignity of a man who has done her wrong too many times.
     This record was picked up by the Okeh label for national distribution but sadly did not become the hit it deserved to be.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

HOT LOVE "Get Back Down" 7inch

     Think if the rejuvenated by the rejoining of Phil Calvert Hawkwind Quark, Strangeness and Charm album spent more time walking the most sketchy streets of any Rustbelt town and very little time doing things like trying to get into a persona of an opium smoking fighter ace.
     Things like cracked sidewalks lit in a seedy purple glow from rusty neon signs and drink specials in the dives that those rusty neon signs are mounted too would take on much more influence in the sound. The guitars would cough out big black clouds instead of sci-fi heat waves and the ride would be a bit more bumpin' and shakin' than the super-sonic saunter.
     "Get Back Down", the a-side of this Ohio band (who may have got their name from the bad ass song that kicks off Cheap debut album) single gives off those kinda sensations.
     Two (yes, two) frontmen shake up some singing in unison rock action over a drivin' spiky fuzz fest and a tin roof rattle that is one part bong hittin' space cased new wave and the one part basement party punk rock groovin'.
    Things get a little dank and dingier with the b-side's "Trippin' Down The Hall." Dirgy guitar sustain buzzes like a wasps nest being whacked at with a flaming baseball bat. The band then runs for its life off and heads into a messed up hard boogie maelstrom.
www.facebook.com/hotlovemusic    

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Smashin Radio Transistors for January 22nd, 2015

     It's been a couple of months since I last posted one of my radio shows. After a few weeks off during the holiday break where the station was in canned/pre-recorded/automated mode I returned live to the air this past Thursday.
     The station is STILL not into the modern age when it comes to being heard outside analog broadcast nor is it properly equipped to record a crystal clear recording directly from the source. That means to share a show outside of when it happened live it has to be recorded from a remote location. Please excuse any radio snow, hiss or fuzz that the atmosphere may have caused and dig the show here.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

BAD INDIANS "Keep Losin'" LP

     It's seems anymore that once a day there is some band doing laced sugar cube psych pop vying for attention. A lot of them have a habit of drenching everything is some sort of  (digital?) reverb. This works in a lot of respects making things sound like breaking glass in an oil drum of twinkling stars.
     The problems is for some bands though is that trick seems to be what their depending on most to be their calling card. It's like if a photographer decided to shoot everything in a bokeh blur. It may look all all pretty or swirly but with no subject in the setting standing out it leaves little to focus on or to leave an impression with.
     With a handful of releases over the last half decade or so Jules Nehring, chief of Ypsilanti, Michigan's Bad Indians, has lead his charges to a way of making their sound images be decipherable through the misty aural smears.
     Taking inspiration from sources both obvious and orphic, the band reassembles the bits and pieces making something familiar yet still cryptic. Some tracks, like "Are The Bees Gonna Buzz" and "11 Leaves", take a Black Lips Back From The Grave cocaine comedown to spend time outside on a rare winter day where the sun actually comes out. Others make one wonder if the band has had conversations of different modes of outer earth travel. "Don't Hang That On Me" rides a wild surf through the Milky Way, bottle rockets boosted by weed smoke propulsion sends "Airplants" and "Walk With Me" on a mission to push their way through nebula while the eleven minute closer on the record, "Marble Orchard", wiggles away at gravity's pull til it breaks loose.
     With sagging lids to match their bloodshot eyes (but still being able to see clearly and focus at the task at hand) "Keep Losin'" finds the Bad Indians even one upping themselves above their 2012 poisoned candy apple fave around these parts album "...Are On The Other Side."
www.facebook.com/pages/BAD-INDIANS

Friday, January 16, 2015

RIP Kim Fowley


     Just read the news that THE PROVOCATEUR Kim Fowley has passed away.
     Jordan and Casey of Wisconsin band the Mystery Girls and myself had some very...umm..interesting exchanges with him when I was prepping to put out their single on my label Bancroft back in 2000.
     The conversations were posted on my original Smashin' Transistors website back then. That site is long gone and though I have the article buried in an old hard drive somewhere in this house it could have taken me who knows how long to find it and repost it.
     Thankfully Daniel James of Indonesian Junk and Ramma Lamma went to do some internet digging and found the interview over on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. You can read it in it's original badly laid out page here.

RIP you Animal Man.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Smashin' Transistors Fave Albums of 2014

     Another year, another list. Never definitive but still throwing the hate in the ring for the sake of opinion. Some I got around to write about. Others I didn't. None the less here's the 20 albums, listed in alphabetical order, that seemed to be listened to and enjoyed the most around Smashin' Transistors Ground Zero in 2014.  
-Dale


The Achtungs Full Of Hate (Going Underground) Take standout tracks from the European band KBD/Bloodstains comps and put the blender on puree. Record it all (including the sound the blender makes.)
goingunderground.storenvy.com

Apache Dropout Heavy Window (Magnetic South) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Brain Flannel Empty Set (Grave Mistake) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

DeGreaser Rougher Squalor (Ever/Never) Towering and dissonant psych. Not the flowers and sunshine psych but the kind that dwells in the darkest parts of the mind.
degreaser1.bandcamp.com

Gino and the Goons Shake It (Slovenly) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Good Throb Fuck Off (Sabermetric) Soaked in venom and full of disdain.The sound of smashing the Poison Girls albums to bits and then reassembling it's jagged shards back together in a choppy (non) fashion.
goodthrob.tumblr.com

The Gotobeds Poor People Are Revolting (12XU) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Honey Radar Chain Smoking On Easter (Third Uncle) Syd Barrett's ghost, Flying Saucer Attack's melancholy and Television Personalities whimsy leave magnetic tape dust all over the recording heads of this battered bit of 4-track know how.
honeyradar.com

Iceage Plowing Into The Field Of Love (Matador) J.G. Ballard writes a romance novel with the Bad Seeds The First Born Is Dead and a lot of heavy breathing in mind as an aural soundtrack. Then Gun Club steal the manuscript under the cover of night.
iceagecopenhagen.eu
Martyr Privates s/t (Fire) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Meatbodies s/t (In The Red) Psychedelic pop that has one foot wiggling it's toes in the sand a sunny day at the beach and the other doing kicking at neon glowing brain monsters.
www.facebook.com/Meatbodies

Mordecai Neil's Generator (TestosterTunes) The disarrayed clatter that made the messes on Mordecai's first two albums has been swept into neat piles here. The fidelity is still blown and the music still ramshackle but the concept of obvious melodies now more digestible.
paperhose.tumblr.com

Musk s/t (Holy Mountain) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

No Bails Epyx Shredder (Pelican Pow Wow) Michigan scientists conducted a test on the effects a diet of 80s basic cable, food from greasy college town eateries, cases of Keystone Light and Cosmic Psychos records would have on a person. This album is their findings.
No Bails on Facebook

Obnox Louder Space (12XU) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

PYPY Pagan Day (Slovenly) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Space Raft s/t (Dusty Medical) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

The Sugar Stems Only Come Out At Night (Dirtnap) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Vacation Club Heaven Is Too High (Magnetic South) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

The Yolks Kings Of Awesome (Randy) Read Smashin' Transistors review here.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Founders Black Rye Ale

     Originally introduced in 2006 and brewed for less than a year, it's been a long while since anyone has seen Founders Black Rye around. So much so, where even though the beer had developed a devoted who swapped legends of it and very few actually got to taste it, that Founders co-founder Dave Engbers has noted “Most people drinking craft beer and even Founders beer today have never tried Black Rye. Officially, this beer is a re-introduction. But for most, it’s a new Founders beer.”
     Being a Founder devotee for quite a long time now I am one of the many first timers when it comes to spending any amount of time with this brew.
     As far as it's color the expression "none more black" can be bandied around at first look. Held up to the light though it gives off a dark ruby hue. The tan colored head is a modest one finger, melts fairly fast leaving a constant cap that leaves a thick lace behind with each sip. A smell of dark roasted coffee is big the front followed by scents of pumpernickel bread and notes of chocolate.
     A mix of black coffee and pine resin come out first in the flavor. The hops are quite present but work well with the roasted malt nuances.  Those begin to intermingle with tobacco, baker's chocolate and a good amount of wild rye throughout the middle. It finishes with an equal amount of charred wood, grapefruit peel and just a hint of purple grapes.
     Interesting in it's complexity all the way through. Founders will be brewing this to March of 2015. If you are looking for something on the darker end of the beer spectrum but for something different than a stout or porter consider this as a choice to put on your list.
foundersbrewing.com