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.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Smashin' Radio Transistors for June 12, 2014

     Well, It was a Triple Whammy Full Moon Night! Luckily I had just a scant of stumbling over my tongue and hardly any glitches for a change.
     Unintentionally Philly and Aussie-centric tonight as well as the usual Michigan love. Had to shout out to Kira Roessler because it was her birthday today.
     Listen to the entire mess here.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Smashin' Radio Transistors for June 5th, 2014


     Not a cloud in the sky all day and a beautiful breeze rolled in off Lake Huron all day. Then I entered a cinderblock room with a loud fan and even a louder heat/AC register in the background at most times. Tunes jammed though as usual cuz there is a certain vibe about the fact that we're a college radio station that is still half stoneage and has that heart that college stations are suppose to have so the powers that be let us exist and fly under radar. Dig it glitches and all here

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Smashin' Radio Transistors for May 29th, 2014


     Had two weeks off to take a vacation and take a breath. Returned back to the airwaves this evening. You can listen to what went down tonight here.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Brain Flannel "Empty Set" LP

     When it comes to sounding like clutching on a piece of rope, holding on for dear life in the middle of a violent storm and enjoying the cacophony of it all-Brain Flannel (or Brain F≠ if you please) have their calling card posted all over the concrete landscape. 
     Though the record picks up where they left off with their previous singles and debut album Sleep Rough, this North Carolina combo has somehow managed to up the ante in mind wringing tumultuousness yet inching closer to something slightly more palatable along the way.
      The noise starts up simple enough with a single guitar sounding like your head is a trash can at a picnic and a few flies have started to buzz around inside it. Seconds later everything kicks in and comes crashing down like a stampede of elephants through a ceiling of glass.
     The girl/boy trade off vocals of singer Elise and guitar player Nick spit out rapid fire rants slathered in contemptuousness while the rhythm section clobber the aural senses with full force noise that smears lines of garage rock trash and artsy post hardcore bash.
     The biggest leap that the band is the way they have adjusted their angle of attack. The sound is still a giant, agitated ball of petulance but on earlier records they sounded like jittery wrecks flailing  and clawing at whatever they could draw blood from while just trying to hold on to dear life. Here it sounds like they have learned to throw a punch, slash with a knife and swing a chain knowing where it's gonna land and the damage it will make.
www.facebook.com/brainflannel

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Short's Superfluid Double American India Pale Ale


     As the debate continues about what is the difference between West Coast vs. East Coast vs. Great Lakes vs. Rocky Mountains vs. (fill in any particular region that is brewing notable brews in the style)  India Pale Ale, Bellaire, Michigan based brewery fans the flames with a bazillion variations on the style. 
     This one, Superfluid, makes a call for preservation of the state's waterways "Clean water makes better beer" statement right on it's label. It has often been wondered what makes the beer coming out of Michigan so good.
     Well, there's one thing that always makes for sure, it's the water we got here.
     Dusty gold is the color here. When held to the light is shine and even sparkles. A medium pour brought out just a minimum head but it has a cap that stays strong through it's entire session with a lacing that leaves a full ring behind.
     On the nose there are scents of apricot, honeysuckle and pine. There's a particular sweetness in the aroma but all the smells blend well together making the anticipation of tasting the beer even more.      
     Giving it a first few sips there is something very interesting in the texture. It has a creamy softness to it that is surrounded by just enough hop resin oiliness to remind you that this is more than just a standard IPA. Once getting a taste too it is learned where the "SUPER" in it's name comes from the hop profile and flavors alone. At the very opening there are grassy and pine oil notes. That quickly steps to the side to let tart and sweet fruit nuances somewhere between cherries and peaches step in and take the taste buds for a little ride. Amidst those juicy flavors a bit of oak woodsiness flits in the background. The different levels of flavor finish with a mix of white pepper, lemon peel and a splash of hibiscus tea.  The 8% adv is hidden quite well amongst all the flavors but it is still quite a fun roller coaster ride with it's curves, cuts and dips.
www.shortsbrewing.com