Jun 30, 2008

New Holland Dragon's Milk Oak Barrel Ale

Though I still don't put New Holland in the same top shelf category of other fine Michigan micro upstarts like Founders and Dark Horse do to some what I considered less than amazing takes on some beer styles here and there but when they do something good-It's REALLY GOOD. For that reason whenever something by them shows up on the shelves of this cowtown that I haven't tried before it's always worth giving at shot.
Very dark in color. Not pitch black or anything but it does look more like there's cola in the glass than beer. Minimal head but a consistant collar and spotty stick lacing. Roasted malts, vanilla and slight tinge of oak age bourbon in the scent. These aroma's show are very present in the taste too along with hazelnut and caramel floating around too. Beer Advocate lists this is an American strong ale but it tastes, looks and smells like a well crafted Imperial Stout meets a slightly less boiterious scotch ale done with a Great Lakes slant. Not as thick feeling in the mouth as was anticipated from it's color and scent but it's far from thin. A cream feel in the finish leaves a chocolaty coat down the throat but not much of an alcohol burn or too much of a boozy taste despite it packing over a 9% abv.
I just finished mowing the lawn and though something a little more seasonal and crisper would've been more appropriate than something as dark and full as this. When the winter months roll again though this'll be something to turn to for a warming effect.

Jun 29, 2008

LOVE BOAT "Love Boat Song" 7inch

"Dun-Da-Da-Da-Da! LOVE! Exciting and new!"
What?!?! This isn't Jack Jones nor the lounge orchestra that backed him up?!?! Set for adventure? A mind on a new romance?!!
This love boat song is a KK&BBQ version of a riff borrowed from Melanie's "Look What They've Done They've Done To My Song" sauteed in an iron pan of a paticular tripped mushroom and red wine over a campfire at a folky and total boozed sing-a-long sleepover. Flip the record over and they've got a rooster doing a dance on a high voltage wire.
"Ooh La La La/Ooh La La La" abounds!

Jun 27, 2008

VIVIAN GIRLS "Wild Eyes" and "Tell The World" 7inches

Spinning this on my radio show a couple a days ago the phones started to light up. Granted, in this cowtown lighting up the phones normally means 4 different people called within an hour and none of them were that one guy who dials the place 10 times a day requesting the same damn Mars Volta song or "some classic stuff from Taking Back Sunday" (seriously I'm not making this up. The best part is hardly anyone ever fills his suggestions but he still calls like clockwork each and every day) but I took more than several calls in succession asking about who was the band I was playing?
"Is this some unreleased Shop Assistants stuff?"
"Frances McKee of the Vaselines has a new band?"
"Where can I get this? Oh, it's only on record? Why don't you ever play stuff that is available on CD?"
The "Wild Eyes" single is two songs of shimmery guitar blur-n-growl frosty girl voices. "Wild Eyes" puts DIY fingerprints all over a classic girl group sound while "My Baby Wants Me Dead" updates Ride's shoegazing in feedback finest moments with something that sounds like flowers in bloom than leaf bare trees.
The tracks from Tell The World single are taken from recordings made before the Wild Eyes stuff. It's a bit more choppy, angular and dingy but the sweetness-n-light still shine through.
Album out on In The Red in the fall.

Jun 18, 2008

ALIENS "Head First" LP

Smashing Pumpkins. Jimmy Eat World. Fugazi. Unwound. I hear them all here. A studio project. He knows how to get a decent recording. His family probably consider him a genius. Sorry folks but geniuses need to hold your attention. The bands I mentioned had songs that went somewhere. These take forever and when they get there it's not all that exciting.

Jun 16, 2008

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

Ever wonder if there's some kind of "My dad can beat up your dad" competition on who can top each other in the world of wood casked beer brewing's? "We aged some in a oak barrel?"
"Just one oak barrel. Pfft. We've got two of them."
A third voice says "So what. We've got 3 oak barrels plus one made of applewood and hickory two". On and on it goes. Before one of them can try to pull out a zinger like "We cut down a 200 year old redwood for ours" along comes Dogfish with something so outrageous it has to be true.
Aged in a 10,000 gallon tank made of Palo Santo wood from Paraguay and at a 12% abv it possibly will be one of future legends.
Damn! This is some thick looking stuff or what? Ain't no light getting through this at all. We're talking the looks of motor oil. Thin head fades pretty quick but a quarter in cap sticks around for quite a bit of the duration. A mellow roasty wood smell with notes of chocolate, coffee and molasses.
For as thick as it looks it's has a nice body. A creamy fluff in the mouth. The alcohol content in this a very deceiving because the brew has such a mellow taste. Slow roasted coffee with a hearty amount of vanilla and a dash of maple syrup. A kiss of hops in the finish and a nice warming in the chest as it goes down. There's quite a few levels of complexities from start to finish so the high end booze content is hardly noticed but watch out cuz it will sneak up behind ya.
Dogfish Head has already discontinued this round and it's anyone's guess when it will be back again. I've cellar stuff just here and there. I haven't made much of a habit yet but these are the perfect kind of brown bottled elixir for such a thing. I laid two down on their sides in the little corner of the basement that seems the most conducive for such a thing and will go over to crack one of these when the lean, mean, cold winter months set in.

Jun 12, 2008


Growing up in pre-internet small town America-any music that wouldn't normally be heard on the radio was taken as a revelation. A second generation copy of NME's cassette compilation C86 scored from an overseas penpal was treated as some kinda holy grail to a point where there a probably still a couple of 3 and 4 generation dupes of it sitting in boxes stashed in closests, basements and attics around this county and the one north to us. To a brain like mine it was a logical extension/diversion of things that did hit our hamlet's record store who buyer was heavy on the Factory records tip. Somewhere in New York City there's seems to be a warp bubble of that era that the Crystal Stilts live in.
Rainy day sparkles from street lights refractions off heavily misted windows. The guitars have a crystalline jangle that recall the type of chord progressions Johnny Marr nudged a million kids into trying out. A joyous celebration of sunshine wrapped in melancholy feeling like frosting laced with fiberglass blanket. The bass lines change notes when they have to but ride a right spot rumble while a simple percussion snap proves one foot can do a Mo Tucker beat than any drum machine ala Psychocandy. The singing is a disaffected & solemn croon yet unlike many an attempted Ian Curtis spirit raising doesn't sound embarrassed if caught cracking a smile.

Jun 10, 2008

DEAD GHOSTS "What To Do" 7inch

Two tunes from a Vancouver combo that travel down a rocky road of folksy jangle punk. "What To Do" is a catchy number about boredom that drips of Black Lips Let It Be-isms along with some Spaceshits snot and drunken doo-wop woo-oh-oh's thrown in for good measure. "God Only Knows" (not the Brian Wilson composition) also leads people to grab for a B'Lips comparison especially when they do that thing that sounds like they're recording of a room of pea soup thick cannabis smoke but then have them being dragged down a dusty trail by horses rode by the Demon's Claws when they're in one of their cocaine cowboy moods.

Jun 9, 2008

the UNHOLY TWO "Kutter" 7inch

The first half of "Kutter" sounding like a Godflesh outtake getting cut into tiny bits with a band saw before it lands head first on it's noggin. Then it then screams and yells about who knows what (but whatever it is-I'm sure as hell it ain't all about sunshine and puppy dogs) over noise resembling a Brainbombs tribute to biker rock face planted face first in a pile of crank. It's b-side, "Porkys", may or may not be a tribute to the film where a lot of kids growing up in the 80's saw their first naked boobs on film but with a unstable rat-ta-tat-tat beat, raw throated barking and guitar noise that sounds like a 100 Shop-Vac's run through a distortion pedal playing the guitar solo from the Stooges "TV Eye" any drive in that would show it would be running a river of spilled blood halfway through the opening credits.
To get a little more inside the Unholy Two's mind check out this interview.

Jun 7, 2008

BLANK DOGS "In A Web" 7inch EP

Gurgling and sub-atomic sounding most folks have already drawn a line in the sand on how they feel about these misplaced spacemen. Sounding like the moment was captured on a taped over 10 times chrome cassette that could easily be confused with a recording of someone playing Crispy Ambulance and Devo demos on a distant AM station. Bouncing off the ionosphere with that vibrating wow's and buzzing flutters due to sunspots and other faraway broadcasts breaking in between the waves. It's either music to the twisted ear or makes 'em cover them cuz they were hoping for something a little more "normal".

Jun 6, 2008

Stoudt's American Pale Ale

Nice color of the hazy copper kind. Decent head that dies down quick though there is an even lacing on the sides of the glass throughout. There's a bit of skunk in the hops but not dominant because of a sweet malt aroma that smooths it all out. Tastewise it's pretty solid as far as an America Pale. The hops are tart. A medium body with not much of pine needles or grapefruit thing that one usually finds in a pale but more of a tangerine flavor that's complimented by warm brown sugarish undertones that hangs around down the throat but doesn't feel too sticky. A little bit of a hop and alcohol (weird because this is only 5% abv) burn in the aftertaste though the dry sweetness tames it before a hotness gets to be too much for some. A nicely balanced and smooth drinking American Pale.

Jun 4, 2008

BAD SPORTS "All The Time" and "No Rest For The Wicked" 7inch EP's

Two sweets slabs of loud rock-n-roll songs that once are in your head will get stuck and stay there for days if not weeks or months.
Another Denton, Texas band featuring TV's Daniel at the helm these two records land somewhere in between the short bus genius of his stuff in the Wax Museums and the hot rod dirt eating that is the Pumpers. It hits the ground in a ball of fire and is off running.
The Boom Chick single's a-side, "All The Time", is a mod punk rave up take on junkshop glam turned up to ten and cranked through a pair of blown out headphones. On the flip "Hey Ok" is loud lunkhead punk that recalls the Damned and the Pagans but if both did records for Rip Off and "Asshole With The Girl" snags a bubblegum guitar lick, drags it through the dirt and drops it off all bruised and battered on it's porch step when it's done.
"No Rest For The Wicked" kicks off the Big Action single with a large dose of '70's Lone Star punk followed by "Oh Oh Oh" which has more than a whiff of the Wax Museums with it's retardo back-up voices in the chorus and cat fight guitar solo. The b-side's "No Good" takes a surf run, puts through an obnoxious flange pedal here & there and makes it drink battery acid. It ends with "Hand It Over", a song about school bullies stealing lunch money, which is like a lost Teenage Rejects classic someone found on a cassette underneath the seat of someone's car.

Jun 1, 2008

YOKOHAMA HOOKS "Cleveland French" 7inch EP

Take the Vice Squad, the Avengers and the Crass singer from Penis Envy and play them all loud at the same time. Get people who are into sick stuff like old AmRep shit to play the music. Let the singer be more dramatic and evil than most things from the past 20 years. Make a recording loud and not as shitty as any of the previous things mentioned. This sounds like the feeling of accidentally stepping on a bare wire with a full 440 volts running through it. REAL PUNK ROCK!