Thursday, 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.

Saturday, 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

Wednesday, 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

Wednesday, 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

Saturday, April 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.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Stillwater Artisanal Ales Projector Readymade

     I've been shying away from IPA's (of the regular as well as the Imperial/Double/Triple of the breed) the last year or so. I used to quite a fiend for them. A roasty malt foundation with hops bringing things like funk, flowers, tang, bitters and bite. Outside of a few amazing new (to me) one I've just haven't been feeling a lot of them. Seems they want to be hop bombs and not much else. Roasty and sweet malts being told to go hide and don't come back out. No character. No complexities. I guess chewing on nothing but grapefruit peels and pine nibs for a couple hours isn't as appealing as it once was.
     This Imperial IPA from Maryland brewery Stillwater first got my attention because of the label design. It looked more like a Crispy Ambulance record cover than a beer label. It sent me some sort of message that this was not shooting to be another "I dare you" to a beardo walking his dog down to the coffee house. It seemed to be something different.
     Pouring hazy amber in color with a modest and creamy head, aromas start wafting through the air once it settles into the glass. Tangerines and papaya come to find first. Then some peaches and cherries. There's some candied bread in there too. It's all makes for a bold but well mannered scent.
     They use 5 different hops in this. On first sip you notice the levels and what they are there for. They don't taste all mashed together in some loud blare. It's more like they're part of an flavor orchestra. They all have their parts and they play them well. Fruits like mango and oranges sprinkled with black pepper and bitters first. Next it's some raw honey. Grassy (as in the lawn, lemon and Mary Jane) earthy dankness come along closely afterwards. As it breathes the middle and towards the end cherries, some white grape dryness and a bit of lime zing become more pronounced. The malts string it all together with sweet caramel and fresh bread. Watch out though, the abv hits 9% and it keeps itself unnoticeable until it pulls a sneak attack.
     Complexities, flavors and some innovation (they use flake rice in the malting process which will probably drive some people nuts due to its adjunct history.) Stillwater whipped up great one here.
www.stillwater-artisanal.com

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

SPACIN' Total Freedom LP

Photo via amplitude-photography.blogspot.com
     If the Birds Of Maya are suppose to be the soundtrack for cosmic bikers to rumble in deep space zero gravity then Spacin', the offshoot combo headed up by the band's Jason Killinger, is an invitation to invite all their space' rockin' mamas to come out and boogie in a bean field while they're away.
     Moments of Spacin's first album, 2012's Deep Thuds, had a chug and choogle that would keep on' truckin' til it hit walls of squishy weirdness. There's a lot of that going on for this go-round too the hash laced brownie backbone slippin' gets a bit groovier than before while some bits of oddness get, well, odder.
     The album's opener, "Over Uneasy", is like waking up feeling hazy & grumpy but then stepping outside into a nice day. The snare snap sets a pace for walking around the neighborhood, while the fuzzy blurting of mid 70's van rockin' guitars shine down like a more than welcomed sun. It builds up like taking in the colors and smells of spring. It feels narcotic. So much so that no one at first notices the weird blistering that's caused half way through from the guitars excreting a pestilential ooze of bent notes and fried tones.
     One thing that keeps rolling through my head while the record spins is the whole "If you like ________ and __________, you'll dig Spacin'. Something like "Titchy" and the album's title track are like CCR realizing they aren't from the swamp so they score some mushrooms and go hang out at the go-kart track crossed with the Velvet Underground's Loaded if it was dressed in cut off jean shorts and hanging out at the beach. Space(man 3) expeditions are taken on "Batfolk" and "US Ruse." The former a clattery launch piloted by a goth/garage blaaaang. The latter does a epic motorik orbit around the moon gaining inertia every time it passes.
     Not every trip on here are fuel assisted though. There's the strobe light flashing midnight walk through some south Asian market square that's "Stopping Them" and "Bent Into Shape" which sounds like how it feels to walk through a foggy woods with squishy, mossy ground beneath your feet. 
www.facebook.com/spacintheband

Monday, April 18, 2016

Carol Anderson "I'm Not Worried"


     One of the things about these lost Detroit soul records of the 60′s is finding out a little history on the label and especially the singers and players that appeared on them. Little slivers of info from here and there sometimes lead into a trove of history. Other times a lot of things remain a mystery.
     Located at 5725 14th Street in Detroit, the Whip record label was ran by a fellow who’s name might have been James Davis or Jim Riley. The address was also the same for another label called Dotty’s that was owned by a cat known as Clifford Marshall. To add even more confusion both labels also used the exact same catalog numbering system and we releasing records around the same time frame. It has been speculated that they were all just the same person operating under different names for possibly different (perhaps even nefarious) reasons. The name C. Marshall appears as both a songwriter and producer here so until someone who actually knows a bit more about the whole situation comes a long (as I am just a fan really. My historian research hat only fits rarely) I am gonna assume they all different personas for whatever reason.
     Carol Anderson was the third record to come out on the Whip label. The a-side, the horn laden and smoky mid tempo’d "Taking Mind Of My Love", is no stranger to Northern Soul fans but we’re gonna listen to the flip. To me it’s just got a hotter bump to it and I dig the sass and the way she sing “Oohhh Yeah!” in it.
     In the late 60′s and early 70′s Carol also released records on the Mid Town, Explosion and Soul “O” Sonic label. It has been noted that those labels were started by her mother, Esse Anderson, who was a hairdresser as well as Carol’s manager. All three labels (as well as the hairdressing business) were based out of their home at 443 Navhoe St. in Detroit. Esse also has songwriting and production credits on the records that Carol sang on through the 70′s
     Esse passed away from a bout with cancer in 1983. Carol died just a year later.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Smashin' Podsistors 14: Backwoods Polebarn Burnout Barroom

     On this episode we get a bit rustic..and then primitive. Some major Michigan representing goes down with things from the Mountain Babies, Clark Paterson and The Bob Seger System.
     As far as new thing we haven't played before we've got Jack Oblivian & the Sheiks, Black Mountain, En Kernaghan Band and Lysol. You'll hear classics from Spacemen 3, Mott The Hoople, Porter Wagoner, Pale Saints and Ike & Tina Turner.
     There's also some Spacin', Life Stinks, Counter Intuits, Milk Lines and more for good measure too.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

UROCHROMES S/T 7inch EP

     Ever wonder who actually buys those 3 liter bottles of budget soda? And how they drink it all before it goes flat? The six explosive blasts going on here might explain those questions.
     Two acutely addled goons from a Massachusetts village that accused one of its residents of being a witch a decade before the Salem Witch Trials make some rattled punk rock noise. Massively distorted guitars spray a foul blare over a battering ram clatter of beats right from the get go and the nasally pissed off nerdy tirade to jabber along with just makes things even more delightfully disturbing.
     Some songs like the space punk "Trapped On A Planet" and the almost straight up rock-n-roll if rock-n-roll was still played by the seriously damaged of the rattled "Country Joe" and the down in flames puke blues/it garage punk/is it hardcore pulverizations of "Two Men" and "Ugly People"  sound like they were inspired by watching an out of control freight train plow through a row of rusty cars and mow down onlookers.
     In another instance "I Don't Wanna Wanna Be Like" takes a Ramones motif and, unlike a lot of bands that do nothing more than ape it, things are much more manic and it gives the impression that these guys were pissing on an electric fence and hammering out the song at the same time while the records closer, "Beat Off The Brat", may be similar to a song title by da brudders but is way more some Alice Cooper riff inspired proto-punk sandblasted down to a bare frame.
http://spottedrace.bigcartel.com