Feb 27, 2013

Razor Blazers "I'm Sick" 7inch

     From the name of the band, the song titles and the handmade sleeve one may expect some total loud punk rock with hate and ire. One must learn though that you can't judge a book, or a record in this case, by it's cover, name or song titles. Think about it. The band name could be some reference to chopping up cocaine or a nod to a group of cutters or something.
     Playing in the modern psychedelia playground where Thirteen Floor Elevators can sway to Portishead and dark shades can be donned by all. A nebulous organ line intones impending darkness over a baked Madchester beat to lead off "I'm Sick". The song builds up into a blooong of foggy goth meets musty garage rock guitar buzz. Slightly distorted female come in adding a sultry/does she moon light as a cocktail singer during to the week thing to the building mystery of the tune while the tempo stays locked in a slumberous state.
     Back in the olden day folks had the specific records they would consider late night jazz that fit the mood of street lights reflecting off rain washed streets in a city that never sleep vibe while sipping some something ice cold and warm the body with a slow burn. "I'm Sick" fits right in the middle.
     While that song mushes the trippy meets swanky thing of the past four and a half decades into a potential trance inducing concoction-the b-side's "Linear Rerun" sounds as if it landed right in the middle of the 90's. A time when gals sported dark eyeliner & pixie cuts and would make mixtapes heavy on tunes from Garbage and would give them to boys in the mall who they thought were cute.
http://razorblazers.bandcamp.com
    

Feb 22, 2013

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum

     Sierra Nevada is well beyond being considered a microbrewery these days. Their brews are one of the gateways to the crazy world of beer snobbery. The main reason for both is that they are always solid and consistent. They don't get all crazy with a billion different gimmicky concoctions but when they roll out their occasion seasonal or special brews-it's usually a safe bet that it is going to well crafted with very much attention being paid to everything that goes into the particular style.
     According to the Sierra Nevada press blurb this brew is "a hurricane of whole-cone hop flavor. Hopped, dry hopped and torpedoed for incredible hop flavor and complexity, Hoptimum is the pinnacle of whole-cone hoppiness and the biggest Imperial IPA we have ever produced. It features resinous “new school” hop varieties: Magnum, Chinook, Simcoe, Citra and a new experimental hop variety exclusive to Sierra Nevada."
     A "new experimental hop variety exclusive"? Sounds top secret and a challenge to the drinker! Especially when later the one-sheet says it throws down the gauntlet to all other IPAs.
     Even though I have been a serious "Gimme all them hops bitter you can! Citrus peel, pine and skunk bud flavors-BRING 'EM ON AND MAKE IT HURT!" IPA kinda guy for many years now I have found myself needing breaks from them from time to time. A few bottles of this been sitting in my fridge for a few weeks now. In a place where I could see it and reminding me of it's existence. Tonight the craving for one struck my fancy. After a week of hustle and bustle I just wanna chill and not head to the store. Alright, Hoptimum. Looks like it is you and me tonight.
     The color here is hazy copper. The light tan head is slight but keeps a lot of it's retention making lace rings with each sip. The bouquet starts to jump right out of the glass after the pour. I was sitting 3 feet from the glass letting it breath a little bit. Banging huge hop aromas of lime and grapefruit from that distance. Further inspection up to the nose brings out lilts of green apple and rose petals.
     On first sip the first noticed is the how full bodied it feels in the mouth with a right about of carbonation and slight oily texture to give it a fluffy exponent. Then BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! The different hops seem to each take a different direction in a grapefruit, pine and white pepper explosion before all joining back together. Quite interesting. The tarts and bitters are then patted down with a caramel and honey sweetness. The finish is a blend of the above with a slight alcohol hotness but enough to think it's an over 10% abv.
     Sierra Nevada never disappoints, do they?
http://www.sierranevada.com/ 

Feb 20, 2013

GOLDEN PELICANS "Hard Head" 7inch

     With a name like the Golden Pelicans a some things come to mind. Firstly, regional soul bands of the 60's had names similar to it. There were always ones with names like the Incredible Macaws, The Silver Excitements or the Platinum Flamingos.
     Another thing it conjures of an impression of is the name of a bowling league team of some Michigan retirees on snowbird time in Florida or the awesome and/or retarded name of a high school mascot.
     Dropping the needle on the record it is quickly learned there is no post street corner doo-wop/Northern Soul/Funky Broadway thing going on. The band is from Florida though but they don't sound like pensioners throwing gutters and spares.
     That leaves is the awesome and/or retarded thing.
     The tunes here made by some of those party crashing lunkheads, the Slippery Slopes, who bummed out your average Ramones loving/good time having agenda punks by claiming "Pizza, I'm Against It"-antsy and obnoxious is the name of the game. Thinking something like the Candy Snatcher with a bit less Misfits bootlicking (little bellowing-much more shouting), many more times getting kicked out of the all you can eat buffet for eating up all the fried chicken and tossing the bones at the retirees and just as much, if not more, stolen intoxicants the two doses of trashy TOTAL PUNK rock will make any kegger/pool party bash could get the cops to show up no matter how far out in the sticks it may be happening at.
http://floridasdying.com

Feb 9, 2013

Lagunitas Brown Shugga

     Who else here spots Petaluma, California's Lagunitas Brewing Company Brown Shugga' on the shelves and start hummin' the Stones song instantly? That's right! I knew I was not the only one.
     Every winter it rolls around and I enjoy the bottles I can find of it. On frostbitten and damp from the Great Lakes winds whipping in kind of evenings the West Coasters have found a was to make it seem more toasty. For some reason though it seems I have never shared my notes on it here.
     Today we will fix that.
     Pours a clear dark amber amber with a 2 finger head that holds tight for a bit then melts into some lacing that resembled what sticks to the side of the glass in a Faygo Rock-n-Rye (or whichever Faygo you choice as most of them work) ice cream float. 
     The aroma is big on caramel malts up front, molasses and maple syrup notes follow it up and a note of pine on the end.  Flavor-wise a roasty caramel introduces itself first. It is followed by the brown sugar adding a twist to the sweetness. That into fresh baked bread notes before they give way to the tart citrusy hops ending. The finish is interesting as it lingering flavor is something tastes akin to having some orange marmalade on a fresh baked muffin with chocolate flecks. It's hearty all the way though which does would fool most people into not remembering that they are drinking something that teeters at the 10% abv label.
     This stock run seems to be at it's end for another year. It wasn't all many shelves in these parts to begin with but it seems winter has at least a few more reminders before it goes to harass some other part of the world. Good thing I have a few more of these stashed away.
http://lagunitas.com/
    

Feb 6, 2013

So after waiting for more blood all these years...

      I gave the new My Bloody Valentine stuff a listen when it was blowing up all over the web a couple days ago. It was late at night and I did give it a serious timely examination. Thought it sounded like they picked up right where they left off. Don't know if that's a good thing or not. Haven't gotten back to it yet.
    The biggest contention I have read from some of the online opinion makers is that the band evolved from a twee Byrds/shambling band that eventually eventually into the loud swirly tornado of bliss noise that made Isn't Everything and Loveless.
     It seems some of those people maybe expected the band to go into another evolution. After all, it has been two decades and all that.
In interview through the years MBV masterbrain Kevin Shields has mentioned many different things that he had gotten into musically and stylistically since Loveless came out and perhaps it was hoped some of those things would be integrated into the band's sound rather than sounding like they are standing in the same place. It would have been funny if the band would have taken some weird detour just to see how people would complain (and there are some that are going to complain no matter what) because then it would sound nothing like the band they remember. 

     Some bands who haven't done records in ages have released ones that are decent to really good (Vaselines, Bailter Space, the Feelies, Subsonics fer instance) that sounded they way people knew and remembered them but still had enough fire, energy or cleverness not to sound too much like complete good times/great oldies, let me see if those clothes I wore back in the day when I could really afford to eat 3 square meals a day (but, for some reason, always had beer money) still thing. There wasn't as much expectation or hype around those records as there has been for the new MBV and that's why there have been some really polarized opinions on it so far.
    


     
    The band will always have it's blurb in the rock-n-roll history books if, for nothing else, nearly bankrupting it's record label Creation. The rock-doc on the label, Upside Down, is now available in it's entirety on YouTube (and posted above here). It doesn't really touch on that part of the story much but is still an cool watch for people into music history of more recent decade.