Oct 17, 2009

Bell's Octoberfest

Märzen's can sure be tasty but it's probably also a good thing that they are traditionally seasonal because after a month or so of them, for me at least, they lose their charm. It would be like only having pumpkin pie available for dessert for months and months straight. It's belongs in it's own season specific time...any other time ya just gotta ask "Why?"
As I look at the glass before and then look out the window thinking of a clever way to describe the color of this autumn beer I think "That's it!" while looking at the maple tree in the backyard's leaves turn to a light rust color. A one & a half inch had tops off the glass and does it's best to hold on leaving a blotches of lace on the glass as it tones down.
It smells of maple, caramel and nutmeg mostly with a dint of yeast and alcohol. Yep, pretty much like the kitchen when it gets around baking sweets for autumn. The brew itself is of medium body. Not too heavy, not too light. There's a slight bit of pepper on the front end of this from the hops but it's quicky muted by flavors of caramel and something you can only find on vacation like maple nut honey butter on toasted bread. The finish keeps that sweetness but it's not sticky so any aftertaste doesn't hang around longer than wanted. It's very easy drinking and I'll enjoy a few of these while they're still available for the rest of this season. It's a good one to stick with instead of trying to be all on top of it and try all those (mostly disappointing) pumpkins beers that can be found in this neck of the woods.

Oct 13, 2009

the CHEATER SLICKS "Erotic Woman" 7inch

They're brash. They're surly. They may not be in tune sometimes. They're at an age where others younger than 'em have thrown in towel of the rock-n-roll dream. More than a handful of the garage punk youngsters owe them a big debt but sometimes room's clear when they hit the stage.
Do the Cheater Slicks care about all that though? Probably not-They just lumber ahead and knock down whoever sticks around and braves their sound. When they start firing on all 8-it's an unstoppable machine. A big, loud, oil leaking and fume making machine but a machine none the less.
"Erotic Woman" is primal screamer courtesy of Dana's blueball's howls and going totally of the rails punk rock.
One of the many things the band has always been good at is finding a song to cover that's so unknown only maybe ten other collectors of lost 60s 45's in the world could name off the the top of their head. Then they take it run it through the wringer and make it their own. "Can't You Hear (My Heartbeat)" is exactly one of those kinds of songs. Originally done by a band called Outcry (which I actually have heard before. It's on the "Scum Of the Earth" comp.) Tom wails over a jangler turned on it's a head as mangled feedback blues pushes it over the edge.

Oct 10, 2009

BR'ER "I'm A Kid Again" 7inch

The packaging of this record has got to be the most ambitious to come into the Smashin' Transistors mailbox in a long while. The outer sleeves are hand cut resembling a window pane on the front and a heart on the back. Inside it's line with vellum paper with the song titles hand inked on them. It also comes with inserts that appear to be cut put hand too. The colors used are hand painted watercolors and acrylics. Arty! Arty! Arty!
Both songs inside start out sparse and quiet with a wispy singer. As other instruments (including the use of harmoniums, toy pianos and organs just to name a few) come into the music starts to clatter and swell building up to something that can best be described as post lo-fi orchestral pop or the entire Elephant 6 collective getting one hand stuck in a garbage disposal while the other continues to make sound.

Oct 7, 2009

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid

Any brewer that names a beer "Hop (fill in the blank)" is going to get some of my money. You know, Hop Slam, Hop Wallop and so on (sorry, I don't have my check list handy to rattle off a litany of all the ones I've tried). Lagunitas makes some really good beers so of course there was no hesitation picking this up. Actually, I picked a bomber of this a week or so earlier but a friend stopped by we cracked it open and it disappeared pretty quick. I didn't take any notes that night so off to the store again to pick up another for this review.
Light amber rust in color. Thick head that melts in average time leaving a spotty & sticky lacing. Huge lemon and pine oil scents up front that jump right out of the glass with some honey & grassy notes.
A nice and lush juicy flavor here. Pineapple first comes to mind. A malt backbone is noticeable too but given this brews name it's not a really big part of the show. The 8% alcohol is hidden well in the flavor but does creep up on you as sips continue. Expected a bit stickier of a finish (we all know how the big hop brews can coat the throat) but this finishes fairly fresh and clean. Very drinkable and if it wasn't for the higher end of ABV I call it downright sessionable.

Oct 5, 2009

REACHAROUNDS "Rocks Off" 7inch EP

With CV's that include, for Wendy Norton Plexi 3 and the Flips and for Roy the Evolutions, M.C. Monkey & Ape With Attitude and Kryptonite Records, the Reacharounds were a project they had together at the start of this century. Splitting guitar, vocals and drum duties between the two of them the sound is all about trash-n-blast fed up sped up garage punk of the Nth degree. Wendy sounds like she's chewing gum and spitting on people at the same time in "3 Minute Intervals", "Synthetic Soul" & "Cut Out Bin and turns the tables all around on the Stones "Rocks Off" making it sound like Penetrators backing up a 13 year old Joan Jett fan.
Roy sounds like he's bursting veins and busting blood vessels in his eyes whether it's beating up a drum kit or guitar and teeters of giving himself an aneurysm when screaming the words to the Teenage Queers "Slave To Mind (Fuck Power Pop)"

Oct 1, 2009

Bell's The Oracle Ale

Being that this is a Bell's some beer dorks were already claiming they knew everything about it's taste, scent and feel before even popping a cap off one. It's expected-Bell's knows it's fanatical following so it's rare they miss any chance of pre-hype these days. With only 50 barrels made and sold in as single bottles just made it more rare and desired.
Early autumn cooper in with a substantial head that melts away to a heavy lace and a cap that sticks through to the end of the glass.
The aroma is quite fruity. Strawberries and peaches come to mind. Much different than the earthy pines and citrus scents that usually come from a DIPA.
The scents show up big time in the flavors in this full bodied ale. The strawberry nuances are in the introduction. Woodsy and sweet tart. The snap of peaches take over in the middle til towards the end when a black peppery bite from the hops take it to the finish. Quite complex and though an alcohol hotness does kick up in the end the 10.4% abv is masked pretty well.
The aftertaste is a bit sticky but doesn't hang around to the point where you're searching for a couple huge swallows of water to clean the palate and wash out the back of the throat after a glass full of it. Hearty and bold yet refreshing and crisp. Though I didn't flip out for it as much as I did the not only the best DIPA a Michigan brewer has to offer but one of the best on the planet-the much less hyped and very incredible Founders Double Trouble (which I am thinking Oracle is suppose to be Bells answer to)-it is quite an interesting and flavorful take on the DIPA. Was it worth the hype? Hmmm. Let's just say I was happy to get my hands on a couple of bottles before they were gone from the shelves.