May 26, 2014

Brain Flannel "Empty Set" LP

     When it comes to sounding like clutching on a piece of rope, holding on for dear life in the middle of a violent storm and enjoying the cacophony of it all-Brain Flannel (or Brain F≠ if you please) have their calling card posted all over the concrete landscape. 
     Though the record picks up where they left off with their previous singles and debut album Sleep Rough, this North Carolina combo has somehow managed to up the ante in mind wringing tumultuousness yet inching closer to something slightly more palatable along the way.
      The noise starts up simple enough with a single guitar sounding like your head is a trash can at a picnic and a few flies have started to buzz around inside it. Seconds later everything kicks in and comes crashing down like a stampede of elephants through a ceiling of glass.
     The girl/boy trade off vocals of singer Elise and guitar player Nick spit out rapid fire rants slathered in contemptuousness while the rhythm section clobber the aural senses with full force noise that smears lines of garage rock trash and artsy post hardcore bash.
     The biggest leap that the band is the way they have adjusted their angle of attack. The sound is still a giant, agitated ball of petulance but on earlier records they sounded like jittery wrecks flailing  and clawing at whatever they could draw blood from while just trying to hold on to dear life. Here it sounds like they have learned to throw a punch, slash with a knife and swing a chain knowing where it's gonna land and the damage it will make.
www.facebook.com/brainflannel

May 22, 2014

Short's Superfluid Double American India Pale Ale


     As the debate continues about what is the difference between West Coast vs. East Coast vs. Great Lakes vs. Rocky Mountains vs. (fill in any particular region that is brewing notable brews in the style)  India Pale Ale, Bellaire, Michigan based brewery fans the flames with a bazillion variations on the style. 
     This one, Superfluid, makes a call for preservation of the state's waterways "Clean water makes better beer" statement right on it's label. It has often been wondered what makes the beer coming out of Michigan so good.
     Well, there's one thing that always makes for sure, it's the water we got here.
     Dusty gold is the color here. When held to the light is shine and even sparkles. A medium pour brought out just a minimum head but it has a cap that stays strong through it's entire session with a lacing that leaves a full ring behind.
     On the nose there are scents of apricot, honeysuckle and pine. There's a particular sweetness in the aroma but all the smells blend well together making the anticipation of tasting the beer even more.      
     Giving it a first few sips there is something very interesting in the texture. It has a creamy softness to it that is surrounded by just enough hop resin oiliness to remind you that this is more than just a standard IPA. Once getting a taste too it is learned where the "SUPER" in it's name comes from the hop profile and flavors alone. At the very opening there are grassy and pine oil notes. That quickly steps to the side to let tart and sweet fruit nuances somewhere between cherries and peaches step in and take the taste buds for a little ride. Amidst those juicy flavors a bit of oak woodsiness flits in the background. The different levels of flavor finish with a mix of white pepper, lemon peel and a splash of hibiscus tea.  The 8% adv is hidden quite well amongst all the flavors but it is still quite a fun roller coaster ride with it's curves, cuts and dips.
www.shortsbrewing.com