Showing posts with label North Carolina. Show all posts
Showing posts with label North Carolina. Show all posts

Jun 1, 2019

D9 Brown Sugar Brown Cow

"Big brown cow out in her big grass field/chewing on her cud cuz that's her deal."

When my kids were young, I had a song I'd sing to them with such words. Set to the tune of the Stones "Brown Sugar", of course. When I first saw this Mocha Brown from North Carolina brewery D9, it was the first thing that came to mind. Brown Sugar. Brown Cow. Oh, for sure it was something I'd have to give some sips to.

Dark in color but semi-transparent with ruby highlight, a soft pour brought out a smidgen of a head that quickly dissipated. Its scents were rich with that of sweet caramel, molasses, vanilla and hint of coffee. None of them dominate in the aroma scene here but all are fairly represented.

A sweetness of vanilla and chocolate are right up front when taking the couple of tastes. As it breathes a bit, coffee and caramel notes become more pronounced. The finish is slighty sweet but not overtly sugary.

The beer never becomes thick and syrupy which gives it an interesting slant when compared to a lot of other brews done in this sorta style. It's lightness and reasonable amount of carbonation make it a bit more sessionable than some other sweet and burly brown ales I've tried in some recent times.
Mooove it on over to

Jul 18, 2018


The once hot breeding grounds for new and interesting forms of rock music are no more. Now all gentrified and surrounded by sky-high rents, such places that once were Petri dishes of culture clashes, weird and exciting approaches now often encourage the embracing of commodification or, with everything in the world available at the fingertips or just outside their door, they've become comfortable in a lassitude inducing bubble. A real world, with its sights, sounds, bumps, scrapes and bruises are all blunted and muted. The air starts to smell all the same all the time. It's stale air and it is all that is being breathed in and out.

Meanwhile, in places that are not on the tip of anyone's tongue, out of the ordinary sounds from the bored, the free-minded and the unequivocally esoteric collide. Occasionally the sorts pullulate, creating something with vaguely familiar angles and references contorted in a way that it gives the listening part of the brain something new to untangle.

The above is a perfect way to describe Charlotte, North Carolina's Patois Counselors. Though the city probably best known for it's Nascar track, drag strip and as headquarters for several large banking institutions, unless you happen to get lured into a conversation that revolves around K-Ci & JoJo or high fructose corn metal band Firehouse, it's unlikely a chat about the music of the city is going to continue into the wee hours of the night.

As wide as the gamut is between wrench crankers, high finance and 90's chart-toppers, the gamut is just as wide with this band.

Opening track "Disconnect Notice" and one of this writer's personal picks to click "Modern Station", find the austere drumbeats, whirling & spindly guitars and brusque lyrical delivery channeling things like the Fall and the Country Teasers.

Punk as art-funk appears in the guitar slashes and nervy rhythms of "Last Heat" and the other artsy-punk spazz outs reach the highest of levels "Repeat Offender."

While the variety is enough from those batch of songs to the next show that the band isn't just working in weirdly shaped to next, the rhythm box driven "Terrible Likeness" and the way "All Clean" sounds like it is something heard creeping through the floorboards from a dingy basement, grasp a dark mood fitting for a goth club that embraces real spiders crawling over skin than make-up and jewelry that gives an illusion of such things.

"Target Is Not Comrade" closes the album and leaves the listener wrapping their brain around an orchestra of squalls and a melody of a new wave song they swore they've heard often but can't place a when or a where. The buzz of it all will find many wanting to come back again to cop the strange high again.

Get analyzed at Ever/Never Records

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.

Nov 19, 2012

SPIDER BAGS "Shake My Head" CD

     I don't think there is much dispute the Creedence Clearwater Revival are one of the top 5 greatest AMERICAN rock-n-roll bands of all times. When it came to being a square peg in a round whole at their time-they seemed to do it best. 
     I mean, there they were in San Francisco doing their thing along with everyone else of the era but they never seemed to fit in. While some bands around them were taking a hold of forms of blues and country and trying to load in an LSD and kale & bean sprout fueled rocket to outerspace-CCR wanted to keep it on the ground, covered in dust and smelling like fresh mowed grass, cold lager and burgers on the grill instead of greasy patchouli oil, weird bathtub wine and unwashed feet. While others were donning frocks, capes, ruffles and color combinations that looked like a rainbow had just vomited all over the place-those guys stayed dressed in flannel and denim. They weren't the sound of college kids and college dropouts trying to avoid going to war or, gasp, trying to avoid a job. They were the sound of regular working people be it in the swamps of the south or the farms of the Midwest.
     Because of that is probably the reason why on classic rock radio stations, who have successfully convinced the average music fan that bands like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane recorded 3 or 4 maybe for songs tops that are deemed classic worthy enough to be overplayed everyday for as long as classic rock radio exists while Creedence has like 10.
     Just a speculation here but it is a fair guess to think that Chapel Hill, North Carolina's Spider Bags have more CCR records on their shelves at home than by any other band.
     That is not to say giving this, or any of their previous records (this is their 3rd album), a spin is going to make one think The Son of Cosmo's Factory or anything but there is a "what we do is simple but we do it well" vibe that always looms large on the Spider Bags sound. The sound of guys who would not only loan you a shovel but would help you dig a hole and then when done could exchange a philosophical conversation with but in simple common man terms and not a bunch of mystic mumbo-jumbo or many misquotes.
    The band's main man, Dan McGee, words land more in the short story category than sing along song lyrics but save themselves from the singer-songwriter pretensions and the sounds themselves steer clear of of getting lumped into the way overused Alt-country or hokey Roots Rock tags.
    The band is essentially a Rock-n-Roll band grabbing from here and there and pieced together into something that becomes their own.
     Be it sounding like Phil Spector's Ramones shucking corn in a chicken coop on the last loser in town anthem "Friday Night",  blurry eyed and staring at the sun Byrds on a bender hayseed drone of "Daymare", "The Moon Was a Schoolgirl" epic ball of want and frustration, The Jack Oblivian-like "Shape I Was In" to having Mr. Jack O himself adding a bit of Motown bassline on the should I dance with the girls at the bar or stumble home before one of their boyfriends want to punch me theremin fringed "Simona La Ramona"-the Spider Bags sound at home both playing in front of a barn full of people dressed up in their Saturday evening best or downtown hipsters looking for a dive bar to slum at.

Apr 12, 2012

BRAIN F≠ "Sleep Rough" LP

     I was half interested and half apprehensive in checking out Brain F≠ (Or Brain Flannel if you're "in the know") at first. Mainly because I had read a few things on them describing them as a pissed off garage rock/artsy hardcore punk hybrid.
      There have been bands that I have checked out with a similar description in the past and the such a description a lot of times seemed way off the mark as what I think of garage rock (be it pissed off or not) or hardcore punk (and putting that artsy identifier in front of it can be a very slippery slope all in itself). Their were rare times where I thought "Oh yeah! This sounds cool" and would crank it up to the point where the red warning lights in my old Technics speakers were glowing bright. There were may more times where I was like "Damn, this stinks" (I could insert my absolute blighted hopes after purchasing a Fucked Up record here but will save it for some other time).
     What's going on with this album though might actually reduced the paper in my trusty old stereo speakers to confetti though if I keep blasting it out the way I have.  Sure, it is understandable where the garage rock reference gets tossed around as it is a bit trashy, filled with exuberance and whirling with negative attitude.
     The torrential downpour of noise in the guitars knocks down powerlines into pools of blood sending electric shock to the brain while the rhythm section blindsides with a relentless pounding. The boy/girl interplay vocals sound disaffected by the world around them yet aware and alive about things that both pissed them off and excite them.
     To these ears tossing out the "Hardcore influenced garage rock" (or "Garage rock influenced hardcore") DOES seem very limited to downright unfair because it sounds as BRAIN F≠ do like playing it fast, loud, trashy and nasty but sound like they would rather start their own club than being part of ones already established. They probably wouldn't be allowed into either anyway as both factions would be bummed the band doesn't give a damn about their alleged rulebooks.