1st Review – Island Moon Newspaper – by Ronnie Narmour – 6/26/2010
Transistordale (San Antonio/Sisterdale, TX) played Neptune’s Lounge in Port A on July 23rd. This was only the fifth gig that this band has ever played together. They are the off shoot of a very popular San Antonio funk band called Dog Men Poets. The Poets actually won “Best Band” in the San Antonio Current’s reader’s poll for multiple years and opened for such acts as the Black Eyed Peas, The Pussycat Dolls and Fallout Boy. They broke up when the band’s front man, Michael Brouillet, relocated to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. Enter Transistordale. This three piece ensemble consists of Greg “Smiles” Layne on guitar and lead vocals, B.J. Shuler on drums and vocals and Spence Thompson on bass and vocals. Layne was recipient of the “Best Musician” accolade in the Current’s 2008-2009 reader’s poll. Their name, Transistordale, is a play on words that involves the bass player’s hometown and the drummer’s fetish for radio towers.
I was very impressed with Transistordale. They are truly original and have a very unique, sexy sound that combines a blend of outlaw country with undercurrents of alt-rock, reggae, Latin and blues. It’s sort of like Chris Issac meets Cross Canadian at Robert Cray’s house. They have a tight three-part harmony with moody layers that pull you in as they jump around genres. Their beat is infectious. Also, their lyrics on such songs as Games People Play, Man In My Dumpster, Bustin’ Out, Reynosa and Fat Girl (Swimming in the Water) are witty and hilarious. I think these guys are really on to something big. Layne puts it like this, “We’re trying to present Country and Blues in a “primal” manner, which we hope will entice our listeners to gyrate uncontrollably and seek romantic gratification”. They’ll be back in town to play the Tarpon Ice House on August 27th.
San Antonio Express News Announces CD Release – by Jim Beal – 1/7/2011
While we’re on the subject of change, a couple members of Dog Men Poets have made a considerable change, jumping from the Dog Men’s funk/hip-hop/etc. to Transistordale, a trio that plays country/blues/rock, original and otherwise. The band’s songs, such as “Man in My Dumpster,” “Bustin’ Out” and “Right Wrong Guy” lean toward the humorous but all too true. Greg “Smiles” Layne (guitar, lead vocals), BJ Shuler (drums, vocals) and Spence Thompson (bass, vocals) will celebrate the release of their debut CD, “Transistordale” at The Mix on Friday. The Girls of S.A.S.S. will share the night. And yes, Transistordale wins band name of the week. Jim Beal 1/6/2011
San Antonio Current Reviews Transistordale CD – by Enrique Lopetegui – 1/12/2011
The worst thing about Transistordale is that name, for God’s sakes. It was inspired, so to speak, by bassist Spence Thompson’s ownership of the Sisterdale Bar and drummer B.J. Shuler’s “fetish for radio towers,” according to bandleader Greg “Smiles” Layne. Both Layne and Shuler are former members of Dog Men Poets and this debut is, simply put, the local album of the year so far. Of course, we’re only a few weeks into it, but it will be hard to match Smiles’ terrific alcohol-and-nicotine-stained singing (imagine Joe Cocker channeling Doug Sahm), his tasteful guitar solos, the band’s three-part vocal harmonies, and the overall solid songwriting. Transistordale’s rootsy, bluesy type of Texas country-rock is far from innovative. But singing about how you think your girlfriend is even better than your mother, and then clarifying in the chorus that “that was before she did me wrong/that was before I wrote this song,” and following up with a superb mid-tempo track (“Games People Play”) and an even better ballad (“Rain On Me”), is a refreshing lesson on the most difficult art: how to write simple, direct, clever songs. by Enrique Lopetegui LOCAL REVIEW