Apr 30, 2008

Dark Horse Amber Ale

I'm not the biggest advocate of amber ales. Most of the one's I've tried just haven't excited me. Sure, there's been exceptions but they haven't been very common. Because of that they aren't discussed much in this blog. Neither beer nor records are cheap in these trying times so the chances taken when you've got about an extra 15 buck in your pocket to splurge are thought out a little bit more. Better to trust instincts on what ya think ya might like than something that has left ya unimpressed in the past. These on the shelf hit me with a dilemma. Dark Horse's Crooked Tree IPA knocked my socks off a while back. I've been curious about trying other of their brews but even though they were a Michigan company there stuff was pretty hard to find in my knuckle of the thumb. When spotted these it was "Aww! Awesome! A different Dark Horse" then "Oh, It's just an amber ale." A couple of out of state brews reaching this burg for it's first time caught my attention for a few seconds here and there but it seemed that the Dark Horse was calling me.
Think of what a blood orange cream soda would look like. That describes the rusty, hearty color of this. Minimal lid of foam that faded quick and a slight lace that stuck around the edges of the beer for it's drinking duration. Very toasty malts and a big yeast scent up front. Not jump right out at you type of aromatics but quite earthy with notes of strawberries and spices.
A very full bodied yet fluffy and mellow feeling at first taste but then comes the flavor twists. Though subdued in it's scent the fruit characteristics really come out in the taste. Nothing overbearing but amidst the amber malts backbone (that actually taste full and rich in this a don't get sorta lost like some other amber's that could be mentioned) is something like strawberries with a graham cracker on the side. A slight peppery spiciness in the back of the mouth and throat going down but a clean finish.
Great in it's complexities and balance. Perfect for any occasion and easy going enough for a session or two (ice cold in the summer these would surely be a spot hitter) this is an amber that gives me faith in the style. Another winner from Dark Horse.

Apr 29, 2008

the BARBARAS "Summertime Road"

"Summertime Road" could very well be the one of the best teenaged inept coppings and combination of the Beach Boys, soul sides oldies radio forgot 40 years ago and full on guitar blur ala the Creation. A couple of former Boston Chinks aka the guys in Jay Reatard's band know how to write catchy songs that would, in a world where people actually had taste, fit perfect not only at a teen dance but also any knife fight that may go down in the parking lot. That is, I think they could but with a mix that sounds like a single mic placed in the back of the high school gymnasium you have to listen closely through the bouncing all over the cinderblock walls echo to hear how damn infectious the songs are. It's not the easiest thing to do but worth it.

Apr 28, 2008

Goodnight Loving single on Bancroft now available

This year's summer anthem of wanting and loss "Up North Girl" (produced by Greg Cartwright) and two rustic weepers is out NOW on Bancroft Records.

Goner, Florida's Dying, Revolver etc will have them in stock by the end of the week. Mailordering
folks, distros and other interested parties-Get in touch if'n yr curious about Bancroft Records stuff.

Apr 26, 2008

the MOME RATHS "Vaporized My Brain"

Supercharger influenced boy/girl garage punk. A little faster and way cleaner in the production department than them though. More family friendly than the average Supercharger song in the lyric department too. Not as much stabbing, killing and hating going on. They'd be a cool pathway band for to turn tweens on to. ANYTHING to stamp out the Jonas Brothers already! Songs about junk food, television, monsters and bowling. They could use an editor with their next release though. Just because a band has a lot of songs doesn't mean they have to put them all on one CD. There's 17 tracks on this. It starts to wear a little thin after awhile. Pare it down to 10 or 12 next time okay? Quality not quantity.

Apr 25, 2008

PINK REASON "Borrowed Time" 7inch

Wouldn't you know it. The weather has been pretty damn awesome for an early spring and then along comes reality again to remind us that not every day can be sunshiny and pleasant. Summer squalls do bring something interesting to the usual hazy and slow moving days though. There are those that can't resist watching funnel clouds form. "Borrow Time" is for when the hail starts dropping. It doesn't say anywhere on the record what rpm's to play this at I'm guessing 45 is the proper speed to play this because it sounds more proper in it's discordance. This is the closest thing to a garage rock influenced riff at punk rock tempo Pink Reason has released on record but still all icy guitar grind and bleak air. It comes in and batters hard the leaves just as quickly. At 33 it sounds something like Red Lorry Yellow Lorry but with a totally luded out Peter Murphy on vocals. Kevin can do that low shit but it sounds too low. Who know's though. I could be playing it at the wrong speed.
"Scared Shitless" is a filling the room with fog JAMC/Cramps scuzz and the voice of the most disturbed Saturday afternoon horror movie host ever doing some singing. At 33 it's still sounds like Red Lorry/Yellow Lorry though.

Apr 19, 2008

Breckenridge Avalanche Ale

As I'm sure I have mentioned here before I touch here and there on amber ale's but they're usually not high on my list. It had been awhile since I had one and even longer since I last gave a Breckenridge a shot. Figured both were due.
Good strawberry blonde color with an average amount of bubble rising from the bottom of the glass up to a quickly gone head. A faint grainy scent that smelled like a standard marco really more than anything else. Y'know the drill...not much there. It just smells like, you know, beer. Nothing off putting but lacking character or allure. The first thing I notice in the taste is, well, not very much. Just thin. Very (and I mean very) slight maltiness and what there even is of it, just add a metallic taste to what seems a murky water concoction in the first place. A hint of sour apple comes through towards the end that is, I guess for the lack of a better word, a clean finish but that finish comes from the fact that the beer is boring to begin with.

Apr 17, 2008


When the Leg Hounds announced they were no more it bummed a lot of people in this town out. They weren't from here but they were from a town just like here. The only real difference was that they faced a great lake in the same direction but they were standing on Wisconsin land and looking at Lake Michigan while us over here looked out over Lake Huron. Sheboygan is pretty much the same size as Port Huron and on the Leg Hounds first visit here they were joking how the towns were even set up the same way in neighborhoods and sections so the drive from one side of town to the other and back just to take a look around "and we didn't even get lost."
"Not at all?"
"Nope. It's like both town's are set even laid out the same way." During the conversation the similarities were uncanny. The neighborhoods, the shopping centers, the city beach, nice parts of town & the sketchy ones too.
"No dual bridge spans connecting international borders though."
"That was about the only difference."
That evening they proceeded to rocked the crowd with showmanship, tight as fuck playing and catchy damn songs. Flash and motor oil. Something all agleam, shining like chrome and tight yet brazen and loud. A full on rock-n-roll sound from small town noisemakers that appealed to everyone from old bikers, greaser punks, the trying hard to be hipsters and and emo-pop brats. Kindred spirits from a sister city who returned to rock our rinky dink hamlet many times afterwards.
The Jetty Boys are the LegHounds minus one. Drummer/co-lead singer Shaun retired to a quieter life so his backbeat and voice are aren't to be found here but the boys found a just right replacement with Jon and his tub thumping. Eric still plays like a physically fit Dee Dee Ramone with 10 very dexterous fingers on both hands and stomping the floor with his Chuck Taylor attired feet while Drew ups the ante on his Gene Vincent style played at (young) Eddie Van Halen speed guitar picking. The band doesn't shake off the Devil Dogs comparisons their previous incarnation had completely but their ain't nothing wrong that. Throw in some Cheap Trick melody, the best use of Woo's in the entire entertainment industry since Rick Flair patented them years ago (and that's even with taking Tom Potter into consideration for such an honor too), cheap beer, chewing gum and a couple of pots of coffee and you have one of the best and most consistent Power Fucking Pop album to hit the deck in quite a bit.

Apr 15, 2008

the BOLD ONES "Open Your Mouth" 7inch EP

A band with Aron of the Baseball Furies AND Courtney of the Tears in the line up? How could something as such NOT be a total rock-n-roll record with some charming quirks?
So imagine the suprise when this record started and it was mechanical, uptight and bloodless math rock!
Just kidding.
Drumsticks click a count off then everything comes flying out of the gate in a "is this some kinda Chuck Berry worship by a bunch of speed freaks" golden era mid 90's garage punk crash & burn "I'll probably die before I get old" way. "Open Your Mouth" lights a quick burning punk rock fuse of this powder keg. Blowin' the speakers sky high with blasty in a switchblade guitar slashes, a Problematics like knack for a shouty melody and summer time drunk on the beach feeling that hit especially hard when the sing along backing vocals kick in. It's followed by "Get Away" which is more of the same type of distorto rockin' bliss 'topped with Miss Court's non filtered menthol-n-honey scream and wail. The flip is more of the same type of wild and fun mess too that just doesn't let up til the needle hits the run off groove. Fuck weird punk!!!! This is total rock-n-roll!!!!

Apr 10, 2008

the OSTRICH "Medication" 7inch EP

Back in Lou Reed's wannabe Brill Building days he wrote and recorded a song aimed for the dancefloors called "The Ostrich". Then a few years later ol' Creepy uncle Lou then had that album credit of Ostrich guitar going on too. There's also a saying that has been credited to a hundred different people along the lines that "The Velvet Underground didn't sell a lot of records but everyone that bought one started a band." No matter who actually said it-hardly any truer words have been spoken. As the years have gone on a billion bands that were influenced by the Velvets may have not sold many records but have inspired who knows how many others to follow chase the same kind of monochromic shadows and figures of bright lights.
Is this band from Calgary, Alberta aware of such early and obscure VU references their name would possibly bring up when someone who uses too many words hear's the record? Dunno. Has this band listened to it's share of the Velvet Underground? Probably, what band worth at least giving a shot hasn't? Is it likely though that much more of the Ostrich's influence came from bands that grabbed something from the Velvet tackle box and ran in different directions with it. Tom Verlaine & Richard Lloyd novella's condense down two three minutes, John Foxx era Ultravox avant primate electronic dance grooves, Mark E. Smithism abounds, weird for the weird of it Pere Ubu bits, spidery flanged whirls and whines as if later generations of Bauhaus fans didn't trade it all in for a bunch of stupid keyboards and an effects rack and instead spent their free time listening to the Modern Lovers & Killing Joke (before they bought too many stupid keyboards and effects racks, of course) and thick and stuffy steam rising from an icy landscape because demon's are stoking fires beneath it. More than just something like an Interpol died black hair pouting on the dancefloor fest though-the Ostrich have found their own dodge-n-sway form of the sound where they can now snatch it and go in their own direction too.

Apr 9, 2008

Dogfish Head Burton Baton

Bringing this home the little misses notices that it was a Dogfish Head label,she hadn't seen before and knowing they're into pushing the extreme beers into all kinds of different directions asks "Oh no, what are they up to now?"
"It's a double IPA aged in oak barrels. Notice the label. It's Jon Langford of the Mekons artwork. That's gotta make it cool no matter what. I'm gonna let it chill awhile and we'll give it a try."
"We?" she asks with a bit of sarcasm in her voice. "More like I'll take a sip to see what it's about, tell you it's a bit too much for my taste and you can have the rest to yourself."
She's most likely right. She has her faves but they lean towards the wheat's and the fruit type beers. She is interested in the brewing processes and the what will they think of nextness of the crazier brews but as she said to me one evening while trying something a bit over the top "This is the kind of thing where someone would say 'This will put some hair on your chest' and that's not something I'm interested in persuing."
This is one of those kind of beers. She gave it an obligatory sip, made notice of it's sweet and woodsy taste saying "I think you'll really like this one but I'm gonna go with that bottle of Hoegaarden that's in the fridge. It's more my speed." Ahh, ya gotta love her.
Dark amber in color with about a quarter inch head that doesn't last very long 'cept for a slight bit on top making for a good amount of lace on the glass. A decent level on complexities in the scent-Oak (natch) is the first thing detected in the aroma which is not something anyone normally expects in a beer. Notes of toffee malts come next along with a floral yet unobtrusive aroma of hops and bit of a warming alcohol effect. The boozy aroma's weren't so suprising (we're talking 10% abv here) but the understatedness of the hops I found interesting because, after all, this is a double/imperial IPA.
The variety of scents do help one know what to expect in the taste (as they should) but only a bit though. It doesn't quite prepare ya for what's in store. According to the Dogfish Head website this is a combo of their 90 Minute IPA and English strong ale stored away in the wood casks until it's ready for bottling. The wood aging gives this a smokey and slight caramel sweetness all of it's own, subduing the smack of hops that the 90 brings with it and mellowing the bitter bluster that a good portion of strong ales bring with them. As the sips go on and the beers warms a little the a citrus tang from the hops becomes more noticable but never over take the proceedings. The flavors of the oak and the 90 Minute IPA compliment each other nicely and the full & creamy consistency of the beer itself make for a pleasent feeling in the mouth and down the throat. The aftertaste has something like a cinnamon and citrus thing going on but it's not overbearing nor does it carry too much stickiness with it. If you're looking for a straight up D-IPA this is probably not what you're looking for but if you're interested in seeing what kind of things can be done with one, giving it a flavor exclusive to itself, this is one to pick up. I know I'll be returning to it a time or two before this season's stock is gone from the party store shelves around this town.

Apr 6, 2008

the PEAWEES "Walking The Walk" CD

These guys think they sound like the Devil Dogs. Just like Miss 45 think they sound like the Boys. Miss 45 sound more like the Boys than the Peawees sound like the Devil Dogs though. That isn't saying much because neither of them got it right.

Apr 3, 2008

CHEAP TIME "Handyman" 7inch

Though I thought previous projects that Jeff Novak's been involved with were okay none of them really clicked 100% with me. 'Til now! Take a mixtape of the speedier and sloppier tunes from the Rolling Stones Some Girls and Emotional Rescue (y'know like "Respectable", "When The Whip Comes Down", "Summer Romance" and "Where The Boys All Go"), play it through a console stereo where the tubes still glow bright and hot but the speakers worn and ripped (possibly from blasting those same records when they originally came out decades ago) and have King Louie Bankston come over cuz the 'rents are out of town and they needed someone to provide adult supervision. Of course a party is gonna get thrown and stuff is gonna get broke.
Blaring & disheveled rock-n-roll all pissed off but a ton of swagger.

Apr 1, 2008

BOYS CLUB "2-D World" 7inch EP

Fronted by Terminal Boredom's most favorite whipping boy and brazen Oblivians hater the artist formerly known as Young Steve (aka Mid-Twenties Steve) the Boys Club do the Ramonesy/Buzzcocksian powerpop/punk thing that could easily be dismissed as the, well, Ramonesy/Buzzcocksian powerpop/punk thing from just a casual one time listening. You know what I'm talking about-doing a needle drop and hearing a catchy three chord riff that launched a million kids in Converse high-tops off into basements, family rooms and garages to start up bands off their own. The difference here though is that where a lot of other band's around today doing that type of stuff seem to have one eye on getting one some type of Warp tour package (even if they have to pay for the "honor") and the other on mocking Hot Topic culture (though that's where they bought the cool punk t-shirts and wallet chains they are sporting) the Boys Club seem to simply be wishing that if Rip Off Records were still around putting out good records they'd be the label's hottest new signing. They know their geeks and being in a rock band probably wont help them score chicks but there is always a rare chance. With a simple live and loud production that actually sounds like it was recorded in a garage making it free of glossy blandness and some actual hooks Boys Club are a fresh pie loaded with all the best toppings made at the 3rd generation family owned pizzeria downtown in a world of sitting under a heatlamp for who knows how long $5 specials found out by the stripmalls.