Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Hamburglars

( The Misfits become the McFits. The Buzzcocks become the Buns-cocks. The Rezillos become the ReGrillThose. Eddie and the Hot Rods become Lettuce and the Hot Robbles. The Cramps become the Cramps-you-get-from-eating-too-many-Big Macs. See, they’re a killer punk band, who all dress up like the Hamburglar, so I’m making McDonalds puns!

Thee Tsunamis “Delirium and Dark Waters”

(Magnetic South) Classic Medium-Fi Girls in the Garage haunted house soundtrack music grown in Indiana in what must be some kind of Children of the Corn situation. Sounding as much like the sounds of a 60s playground (with bad girls playing, natch) as it does a 60s teen dance, this is so awesome that you know who LOVES this band? TsunaME!

Pork #13, #14

(internetpork.comAs I suspected, the Porkers did shoot their pork load early by having every living legend of weirdo art and sleaze featured in their first few issues, but I am having just as much fun reading up more obscure designers and rockers, and the comics, columns, and TV show/fumetti section just keep getting better! Pork is Kosher! #14 has more of my friends in it than all the yearbooks combined for my six years in high school!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Aaron Poehler & Ryan Tully-Doyle

“Dietrich” ( The ominously resonant, deep voice seems darkly scary, yet lovely as well, and the chemical makeup of the postpunk-ish musical structure has some kind of downer vibe, yet feels hopeful. Thus I find this dreary yet simultaneously hold it dear. I call it “Deary.”

Tower of Dudes “Make Your Own Culture”

( Tower of Doo Doos! I like ambitious, eclectic, gypsy punk, indie rock, whatever music as much as the next accordion enthusiast, but the clunky lyrics, abrasive singing, and overall din here does not float my gypsy boat, if gypsy’s have boats, which I guess they could. Sorry if I offended any Roma. Kinda sorry, out of courtesy, not as a reviewer who had to listen to this, if I offended anyone in the Dudes Tower.

Jeremy Spencer “Coventry Blue”

( I am not down with pretentious “fans” who insist on not liking the most popular stuff, beyond any logic or audio evidence. If you love Nirvana, yet swear “Bleach” is better than “Nevermind,” then you don’t love Nirvana or/and you are lying. There’s a thousand examples of this, but the one that I am actually most sympathetic with is the absurd argument that “Rumours” pales next to the Fleetwood Mac earlier stuff driven by Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer’s blues sensibilities. Sure, it’s hard to rank anything over “Rumours,” but I’ll be damned if I don’t kinda prefer to hear the odd play between the blues enthusiasts and the more ambitious elements of the band. While the once mysterious Green returned to the scene a few years back, Spencer remained a mystery man for decades before sticking his no-longer-long-haired head out of his turtle shell in the mid-00’s with some straight up blues, and he followed it up a couple of years back with an album that added some intimacy, folk, Americana, coffeehouse, and spiritualism into the slide guitar mix. The new album continues with more mellow, grooving, beautiful, passionate takes on American roots music. I love the fragile, yet strong and dedicated, quality of Spencer’s mature voice. And he can still play! And dollars to donuts, I bet this is better than the next Fleetwood Mac record!

Mason Summit “Absentee”

( The cover photo of an adorable teenage boy wielding a beautiful acoustic guitar and the skinniest jeans (or/and skinniest legs) ever invented seems like it could be a fake photo taken by some middle-aged band trying to represent something or another about youth, ambtion, and beauty. But when you listen to this music, despite the glossy production and mature musical sensibilities (that bounce from sunshine pop to bouncy rock to coffehouse angst to jazzy Bread-like production pop) it’s obvious that this is the product of a fresh, young talent who doesn’t yet know he’s not supposed to believe he can try and succeed with every idea he has. Summit avoids, but doesn’t reject, the gloriously worst aspects of teenage poetry, and most of his lyrics balance sincerity and cleverness like a circus juggler. If black skinny jeans will help me write songs this good I’m about to suck in my gut and going for it.

Nudie “remember this”

(MAPL) Although “Nudie” is a name that certainly brings to mind the glory days of Country and Western music, as glittering Nudie suits adorned greats like Porter Waggoner and Faron Young (and I seem to remember Webb Pierce caught in a rhinestone cobweb suit), it also invokes Nashville artifice and excess. So the fact that this Canadian country troubadour whose lyrically sublime songs seem spare, sincere, and poignant named himself after the Ukrainian sparkle-suitmaker seems odd. In fact, the sincerity of the late Canuck superpatriot Stompin’ Tom is brought to mind, so maybe Stompie would be a better moniker. But names aside, this is one of the best country albums I’ve heard in a long spell. During that brief moment in the 80s when it felt like Dwight Yoakum, Randy Travis, George Strait, k.d. lang, and Lyle Lovett might re-make the commercial country music industry to be all great again, this would have fit right in, but in 2014 it’s a revelation! Stomp on, Nudie! In fact, stomp in the nude, you earned it!

Micah “Highs, Lows, Peaks, Valleys, Rivers”

(http://micaholsan.comJazzy, eclectic, alternate-esque, world music-ish, smooth sounds…I like-ah!

Awaken! “Moksha”

( Dreamlike, but dreamlike in the sense of a dream you would have if you fall asleep with the TV on and then the clock radio came on, but tuned kinda between two stations, but you’re sleeping so hard that all this outside, dissonant audio information is being processed as a sort of blissful dreamscape soundtrack, that shouldn’t make sense mashed together, but through dream logic it’s all good. This short song suite is not quite psychedelic or phreak pholk bluesy or ambient (though it did remind me of KLF’s “Chill Out” LP at times), but rather is basically your standard sleepwalking spiritual Eastern blues jam cloud journey.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Turncoat Syndicate “Mourning Star”

( The star they are mourning is named Kurdt and the coat they are turning is plaid and dirty, and the rock they are ROCKING is vintage ’92! 92 on a scale of 100! On an amp that goes up to 100! Well maybe not all that great or loud, but honestly, it’s just nice to hear some straight up rocking out these days.

John the Conqueror “The Good Life”

(Alive) At its heart this sophomore non-slump is as good as you’d expect bluesy rock (erring on the blues side) to get. But at its fists, there’s a few tracks here that just swing, rock and pummel, particularly the grooving threat of an opener, “Get ‘Em,” and the slinky salute to “Mississippi Drinkin’.” I might have spread these two out, as there are a few long stretches of “damn it’s bluesy in here” happenin’ on the album, but you cant argue with the impact of coming out the corner with a 1-2 punch combo. Consider me conquered.

''IN FUZZ WE TRUST - 60'S Psych and Garage Legends Salute The Fuzztones”

[GUEST REVIEW BY GENTLEMAN JOHN BATTLES] (Stag-O- Lee) Here's something different: a tribute album featuring the artists that inspired the subject of said tribute! Rudi Protrudi spent ten years rounding up several of his favorite Garage and Psych legends to cover The Fuzztones' material, in their own inimitable styles. The results should stop The Fuzztones' detractors, and Garage Nazis who don't think the older guys can cut the mustard, dead in their tracks. Truth is, even if you're not a Fuzztones fan, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find fault with this album. Davie Allan, King of The Fuzz Guitar, appropriately, kick-starts this whole mess with "Avalanche,’ actually a Link Protrudi and The Jaymen track, but Davie Allan is the man with the power, and it doesn't pay to mess with the man with the power, baby. He plays this number like it was written for him. It’s a roaring, scorching fire, flippin' off the squares and stickin' it to "The Man.” The Shadows of Knight are represented by Jimy Sohns and their latter day bass player, as well as Rudi, and former Fuzztones guitarist, Elan Portnoy. "I Never Knew" is what The Shadows of Knight SHOULD sound like today. Sohns can still shout the Hell out of a good Garage Punker, with the right backing. This track, and "Me Tarzan, You Jane" (featuring Dick Taylor from The Pretty Things!!!) ooze misogyny and betrayal...the sound of a man merely reclaiming his cajones, lest anyone take it the wrong way. But, there's no shortage of balls here. Sohns is hurling Molotov cocktails, doused in piss and vinegar. "Ward 81" is a monster mash-up, performed not only by The Pretty Things, but also ably assisted by 80's Psych warriors Plasticland, and the coup of the century, legendary Horror Host, Zacherley, to perform the Preacher rap (I don't mean Hip Hop, though Run DMC were in the original video!), taken from an Oral Roberts sermon (I've been told). He’s having a lot of fun with it, diabolically dishing the drivel about the mentally ill batting for Satan's team. Phil May, The Pretties' frontman, turns in a gritty, feverish performance, while lead guitarist Dick Taylor, and even mid-period Pretties' guitarist Peter Tolsen (who hadn’t played with Taylor in over 40 years), crank out a gritty, dark din worthy of "Get The Picture," the Prettys’ acclaimed second album.  The Fuzztones have performed extensively in Israel, Rudi even recently doing a recording session, there, so, why wouldn’t he turn to The Promised Land...FLORIDA. Two original 60's Fla. Garage bands, The Tropics (who once shut down ONE THOUSAND BANDS at the 1966 International Battle of The Bands at McCormick Place in Chicago) and The Shy Guys (who actually kept on playing until 2008!), repaid a mitzvah to Rudi for covering their songs, by covering his. Both band turn in stellar performances, and each have about a year and a half to prepare for The Ponderosa Stomp. The Fuzztones back their departed friend and guru, Sky Saxon on "Get Naked" (previously released, with a cameo by Sky, on "Salt For Zombies,” but this version features him on all lead vocals, an exhortation to go wild in the streets, stark buck nekkid! Well? Come on, what's stopping you?). "All The King's Horses" features many other great friends of ours, The Electric Prunes, The Pretty Things, and the late, great Sean Bonniwell from The Music Machine, and the late, great, Arthur Lee from Love. The track originally appeared on the album "Braindrops," with guest vocals from Bonniwell and Lee, though they were buried together in the mix. On this version, their original vocals are separated for far greater clarity, giving each a "solo" vocal, tastefully done, I might add. The Electric Prunes turn in a blazing rendition that will surprise absolutely no one who's heard the three outstanding studio albums and one, equally strong, live CD that they've recorded since the turn of this century. Wally Waller and John Povey from The Pretty Things kick in with their signature "S.F. Sorrow" harmony vocals. Too many cooks? No, they're all cookin' and it's TOO MUCH. But NO ONE is so much of too much than Question Mark! " CH'EAH! KAZ, BABY!" ? and The Mysterians' "Action Speaks Louder Than Words" reeks of bad attitude at it's best. The band is playing at their peak (from which you can look down at Sherpa tribesmen and bands of Yeti), with "Q" at his arrogant best. "It's what we call "Tuff". It's TUFF, BABY !". Roctoberfreund, Gary Burger of the monks turns in a song well-suited for him, "Hurt on Hol," with an arrangement that lovingly parrots " monk time." The Strawberry Alarm Clock present a surprisingly aggressive sounding "Charlotte's Remains", utilizing the same Psychedelic studio trickery of their salad days, with more of an edge. They put out a CD of mostly remakes, recently, but, what the Hell, it still sounds great. A new CD is on the way, we're told. Gonn, one reformed 60's Punk outfit that always delivers the goods, doesn't disappoint with "Shame on You" and ''Hallucination Generation." Lead Singer Craig Moore also joins unholy forces with Davie Allan on "She's Wicked," one of several uncontested highlights of this collection. The Vagrants (minus Leslie West…there's a very funny story about that in the liner notes) sound virile enough to be the unfortunate protagonist of this song. They had a side order of Testosteroni when they dined at Vagino's Pizzeria prior to this session. The Wallflowers, featuring The Pretties' bassist and gifted Vocalist, Wally Waller, push the psychedelic envelope further on "Look For The Question Mark," but, what better way to close things than with a nod to early Heavy Rock. Confidentially, not a big fan of Vanilla Fudge. Don't hate 'em…but, Rudi warned me about their seemingly unlikely inclusion (though not if you understand that The Fuzztones are more than a "Pebbles" paint by numbers band), assuring me it was a standout track. Boy, he wasn’t kidding! "Black Box" finds The Fudge heavier, tighter, and SCARIER than any band has a right to be. If you liked "DOA" by Bloodrock, but found it plodded along too much for your taste, get a load of THIS good shit! All the spooky vibe inherent in early Iron Butterfly collides with the stop on a dime tendencies of...well, of Vanilla Fudge. Wow.

Michael Lynch “She’s On Her Way” b/w “This Girl”

(Market Square) I’m not saying this beats the Beatles at Beatleishness, but I’d rather listen to these 4 minutes of poppy preciousness 100 times in row than to have to watch another second of that sour sounding McCartney/Ringo thing on CBS last month.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Drivin N Cryin "Songs for the Turntable"

(New!) After more than a year DNC completes their quartet of themed Eps with the best theme yet...a Drivin N Cryin themed record! If you were a fan of the band's vintage melodic Southern Rock n Roll-reliant, Americana-adjacent, well crafted Kinney kuts, you will dig this slick slices of sound!

Psychic Baos “Our Friends Call Us Horse”

(Magnetic South) This lo-fi darkwave haunted house garage rock wins Baos-est in Show!

Bad People "tHE fIRST sEVEN iNCHES" cassette

(Bad People) Bad People = Good Hardcore. Sloppy, evil, occasionally thrashy/occasionally garage-y punk pus-rock that makes me want simultaneously fight and vomit. Vomit fight!

Space Wolves "The First Year"

(U-T) Fifty minute-long pop confections sung in a Morrissey vice and played in a bubblegum orgy backing band mode. Should be called Space teen Wolves, because I'm wolfin' out to this!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Starlings, TN “All the Good Times”

(Chicken Ranch) Should change their name to “Starlings, TEN” because this country gravy-slathered serving of barn rockin’ rural Americana (with tight originals that stand up to the Bill Monroe and Big Joe Turner covers) is a perfect 9.9 plus .1!

Auburn “Nashville”

(Scarlet) Both powerful and fragile, Liz Lenten’s voice is weirdly wonderful, and her band reunites the long separated cousins Americana country and spare jazz. Haunting! Seriously…like “call the Ghostbusters” haunting!

Radio Signals Music and Art Zine

( Daniel Fromberg’s zine is a spare, fresh, honest presentation of music he likes, musicians he wants to talk to and big color reproductions of art he likes. You are still being critical if you like everything!

The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad by Adam Gnade

(Pioneers Press) I suppose every book of affirmations and advice can be read as poetry, and every self-help guide is a chapbbok of sorts, but this one makes it clear that mantras like “let the assholes be assholes,” “you wont find what you need on the Internet,” “everyone good is necessary,” and “read more than you drink” belong on the poetry page as much as on the poster with a hanging-in-there kitty or the bumper sticker. Then again, maybe bumper stickers are just really thin, sticky chapbooks.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Skeletons in the Piano “Please Don’t Die”

( This sounds like a rock ‘n’ roll haunted house from the future, not because it’s futuristic, but because Tom Waits, John Doe and Tony Iommi would have to be dead and hauntin’ away to get these spooky sounds.

Mount Carmel “Get Pure”

(Alive) To play boogie so hard it sounds like hardcore you have to be some bold, badass, bombastic, boredom breaking boog-ers! They get a top rating from the BBBB The Better Boogie Bluesrock Bureau).

Under the Radar: Notes from the Wild Mushroom Trade by Oliver Matthon

(Pioneers Press) This fascinating peek inside the world of underground West Coast mushroom foraging is a stellar piece of creative nonfiction writing/investigative journalism that puts the fun in fungi by painting vivid pictures of the pickers, dealers, and connoisseurs that make this industry feel like a mix between the drug trade, the survivalist movement, and Dungeons and Dragons (the latter for the fanaticism, not the fantasy, as this is dirt-under-the fingers real). You don’t have to be a picker to pick this slim volume up and love it.

Shotgun Seamstress zine Collection: a zine by and for black punks by Osa Atoe

(Mend My Dress Press) All six issues of Osa Atoe’s short-lived/should-be-legendary zine are collected here in a handsome paperback. There are so many things I love about this zine, and the most formal and beautiful one is its pure zine-ishness. Collages…smudgy Xeroxes…typewriter action… handwritten stuff…cut-n-paste design…every article laid out in a different style…this was as pure and classic looking a zine as possible. Another amazing aspect is the way Osa combines contemporary per-zine aesthetic/content with the kind of lengthy, insightful, smart interviews that invoke the glory days of music zines (engaging with punk ‘n’ roll celebs like Mick Collins and Poly Styrene, d.i.y. superheroes like Trash Kit, and artists, fans, and best of all, a black female tattoo artist elder with a thrilling history). She also covers the history of black punk rockers with an eye towards early punk and hardcore, but also a broad, inclusive definitions of “punk” (she embraces RuPaul, Vaginal Davis, and even “black weirdos” like Sun Ra). That openmindedness is what really made this zine so magical: despite boldly tackling racial, queer, d.i.y., outsider, gender, and scene politics issues, Osa never repeats the dogma or clich├ęs of each movement. Instead, she remains her own woman, and there’s genuinely nothing more political (or interesting) than that.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Pink Frost “Sundowning”

(Smart Like Virus) Sounds like Marilyn Manson’s Sweet cover band deciding to try to get creepy again, but unable to shake the Sweet-ness.

Nate Jones Band "njb"

( Nice Jams & Beard.

Dagger #46

( Now that’s a zine! Xerox, staples, handwritten captions,interviews with rockers that (unjustly) no one else cares about. To repeat, now that’s a zine!