Nov 20, 2013

November 27th: Turntable Jives at the Port Huron's Roche Bar

     I normally pass on going out on Thanksgiving Eve. It's one of the busiest bar nights of the year which usually equals amateur night, herd mentality douchebags, drunks all over the roads and cops everywhere looking for those drunks. For me, these factors lead me to choose to be warm & toasty in my own digs and enjoy a tipple if a chose with people that I choose.
     Due to a change in my social & financial statuses (aka: getting divorced) though-I will be spinning my first Thanksgiving Eve set in who remembers how long it's been. It gives me a reason to kick out the jams for a bit as well as putting some much needed change in my pocket.
     Join me, Franck, Day-V and KVN for an Thanksgiving Eve of grooves, growlers, shakers and stompers at the Roche Bar located at 405 Quay St. in Downtown Port Huron.
Find out the more minute details here.

Nov 8, 2013

Saugatuck Brewing Company's Black Pearl Necklace

    Today is National Stout Day. Now that there is a chill in the air and some people have already got their Christmas lights and decorations up (even though it's only been a week since Halloween and we've still got 3 weeks before it's even Thanksgiving) stouts always seem appropriate so why not celebrate their dark, rich, maybe coffee, maybe chocolate goodness.
     I was about to head to the store to pick some sorta stout out, set on finding one that I had not tried before so I could tap out a few notes on it on the keyboard and then pass it off here as one of my beer "reviews." Then I remembered a month and a half or so ago I picked up one by the Saugatuck Brewing Company that had been sitting on a shelf in my fridge.
     An imperial stout aged in an oak bourbon barrel is always a fancy thing. This one reminds you of that by a bit of showboating with the wax seal. I mean, it's does give the bottle an air of sophistication which is nice when paying 15 bucks for a bottle of beer but also seems kinda silly when it is peeled all off to reveal not a cork but an every day bottle cap. I just want to get down to tasting the brew, not dealing with with some superfluous bells and whistles y'know.
     The beer pours darkand thick. No light getting through my glass at all. The two finger head is full and frothy with a color that resembles the top of a chocolate malted. Coffee and cocoa are the dominate scents backed up with a tartness of black cherry along with hints of vanilla and charred wood.
     On the front end there's a bit of a cola sweetness. A bit of bite and burn in it so that cola is a bit more like Coca-Cola in a can than a Pepsi out of a plastic bottle. That is followed by the tart sweetness that was detected in the aroma. I am still thinking black cherries along with a few raspberries and black berries thrown in for good measure. That gives way to a flavor of sweet malts, dark roasted coffee and chocolate powders.
     Nice and interesting but I after a couple of sips I really started to think to myself "where are the bourbon notes???"  After all, it was close to $20 bucks spent on this bottle and, dammit, it I want them.
     My cat was knocking at the window making his cat presence known that his furry cat ass wanted to come in because he has been outdoors for about an hour which, of course, builds up a huge cat hunger so I let him. My phone started ringing so I the call.
     All the while the beer was in the glass getting more time to breath. Taking a sip after getting back to it was "Ahhh, there's the bourbon aging thing now." Then ten or so minutes it spent getting some air really made a huge difference. Mossy oak, vanilla and coconut was now enveloping around the aforementioned flavors, tying it all together while still keeping the 8% abv very well hidden and giving the brew that little extra "oomph" it needed to make it home run.

Nov 6, 2013


     Seeking that particular record to wake up to in the morning and help rub the sleep out of your eyes? Well, keep looking.
     Seeking a record to wake up to in the morning and rolling over with the sleep still in your eyes to take a couple of bong hits then going back to sleep til well past noon having really seedy, monochromatic dreams all the while? Well, then you need Melbourne, Austraila based Satanic Rockers in your Stygian life.
     Sounding like Black Sabbath falling asleep, a 70's Saturday Morning Cartoon version drone metal and the most lackadaisical late 80's slacker rock dudes laying on a cold slab of cement quacked out on whatever pills he found while riffling through his mom's purse-the songs here start as a gurgle that turn into something festering.
     Beats that sound like they are rhythm box jacked from a broken down Wurlizter organ are buried deep in the mix of murky, grumbling guitars plugged into powered by 6 AA batteries amps do their damnedest to rumble like a lawnmower idling in the thunderstorm and squall like Canadian geese being strangled with barbed wire.
     Above those noises that may entertain the idea of reaching a mid tempo squirm before topping out and staying at a slug bait slither are dispassionate voice rambles off in a smart ass tone about being the hatred that permeates through small towns, homely siblings, boring jobs (and the jackass bosses that go with them) and the joys of war (or at least the thrill of blasting someone away with a machine gun).
      Dark humor and lost weekend booze bender doom chugging that serves as a perfect sound when thinking about getting revenge dealing with day to day dickheads.

Oct 30, 2013

North Peak Hooligan

     Traverse City's North Peak Brewing makes simple, yet solid beers. They aren't all about frou-frou-ing them with unusual ingredients or a piling on a ridiculous bevy of spices.    
     A very liberal use of hops though?  Yeah! They are all over that tip though.
     When I spotted this, labeled as a Hoppy Pumpkin Ale, of course I was curious. My gal-pal, a foodie and wine fan with still a bit of a neophyte when it comes to all the great brews out there and after having feelings of pleasant to total disappointment on some of the pumpkin beers she's tried on her own in the past, asked me to keep and eye out for ones she hadn't tried so we could give 'em a shot. Hmmm. Beer and drinking it with girls? You don't have to twist my arm.
     The brew pours a transparent and bright pumpkin copper orange. The head was very minimal save for some spotty clouds and a few bubbles around the rim. Very little lacing because of this.
      On the nose there's good chunk pumpkin meat, a large bit of white pepper and fresh mowed grass from the hops and a little flourishes of graham crackers. Different from a from a huge number of other pumpkin beers that smell like all the spices that go into a pumpkin pie but stray away from the actual pumpkin itself not to mention still being a beer. 
      The hops jump right out front in flavor. At first it seems more about being an IPA (North Peak's Diabolical in particular) with a distinctive citrus and earthy bitters along with a counter balance of sweet malts. Fresh pumpkin flavors then start to emerge adding an interesting twist in the middle. As the brew breaths and warms slightly the pumpkin comes more to the forefront, mellowing out the very big (and good) hop forward slant along with some slight nuances of nutmeg and cinnamon. The finish is slightly dry and piney like one would expect from any beer that says "Hoppy" right on it's label.
     One of the most interesting things about this beer is that, as I mentioned before, the spice is something to add some character to the taste but not the main thing about the flavor. This one depends more on the hops to give it an oomph and bite. to give a short one line description of this would be a pumpkin juice infused Michigan styled IPA. Quite interesting and much different from the many sweet spiced ones that are can be found all around this time of the year.

Oct 29, 2013

Beat Time this Saturday at Port Huron's Roche Bar

     Join Franck, Benny and yours truly at the Roche Bar, located at 405 Quay St. in downtown Port Huron, this Saturday for an evening of all kinds of boss tunes, bad ass jams and totally groovin' tunes. They roll the clocks back an hour so there's an extra hour of rockin', drinkin' and carousing too.

Oct 28, 2013

the PITY FUCKS "Oaks Park" 7inch EP

     Right off the bat the swirly organ sound that the sound from the needle picks up here reminds me of wandering around while being quite boozy at a run down amusement park during summer vacation up north of my youth. One of those places were sounds of things hiding the noises of mechanical things squeaking, creaking and coming to a abrupt and grinding halt were people yelling "Fuckin' Ay, Brah" between telling random passersby that they had doobies (double paper rolled and still loose pin joints if they were to actually speak the truth) for sale for "two bones, brah. Best connection in this place" (they weren't) and Foghat's "Fool For The City", "Smokin'" by Boston and Molly Hatchet's "Flirting With Disaster" (it may have been the 80's but the whoever was in charge of the place did their best to keep them alive and the customer satisfied. I even heard they fired the dj of the Himalaya ride for playing "too much punk stuff like Rocky Burnette's 'Tired Of Towing The Line') over loud speakers that spent too many Michigan seasons exposed to the elements.
     Well, that and the weirdly out of tune and always wobbly sounding pipe organ sounds coming from the carousel where half the paint chipped horse didn't even go up and down anymore Add the sound of screams of children (not ones of joy. Ones ranging from disappointment and be really creeped out) and parents arguing with that mean old cheap vodka stinking milkshake in the box office. I can hear the crusty old Electrolarynx voice spitting out curse words the sounded like retared Cylons all over again along with the Van Halen tank top dudes that still hadn't grown a full mustache the summer before mentioning "It's like 'I am Iron Man', brah."
     Coincidentally, the lead off track here, "Oaks Park", with the swirly organ is about an amusement park. Along with keys, the trashy but tough choppy & fuzzed out guitars and Matto's voice sounding like a King Louie Bankston going all pro-wrestler announcer voice would definitely piss off the grits hanging around the band shell waiting for local bar band legends Nyght Fyre (or was it Mid Nyght Maniakz that one particular year) to take the stage because they do all the "good songs. You know like 'Lovin', Touchin' Squeezin' and they sound almost like the real thing". I close my eyes and can see the styrofoam cups filled with Southern Comfort and Mountain Dew flying now. I can hear someone yelling "We are here to rock out. Not punk rock fag out." Then someone would comment "At least if they're gonna play punk rock can't they play some good punk like something from the Cars or the Police?"
     It's followed with "She Ain't All There". If you've ever wondered what happens when you take a Hound Dog Taylor boogie, give it shaken baby syndrome shower it in the sickly sweet and boozy Four Loko til it almost drowns then drink a couple glasses of milk before hollering about it-this could very well be the result.
     The flip is hyperactive take on Bo Diddley's "Hong Kong, Mississippi" that would either make ol' Elias McDaniel put these guys on the back or make him write new lyrics to that "Just Say No" rap thing he would throw in the middle of his sets in the 80's & 90's to throw a complete wrench into the middle of his sets (all the while thinking he was being hip and contemporary and doing something the "kids" could get into) and make them listen to it as some kind of sage advice.
Hit Up Matto at Facebook to score a copy.

Oct 22, 2013

Gettin' Down Halloween Style at Port Huron's Roche Bar

I will be one spinning the records with loud & actual guitars at the annual Halloween soiree in the first city on Lake Huron southeastern shoreline this Saturday night.

Oct 13, 2013

Founders Inspired Artist Black IPA

     Though this had been floating around a little bit in the past as a rare experimental beer that a lucky few got a sample of here in there it was officially introduced earlier this summer. It's name is in tribute to ArtPrize, the world’s largest art competition held annually in Founders home base of Grand Rapids, Michigan and it's limited batch run that was sold in the Mitten State only proceeds are going to benefit ArtPrize's future competitions.
    The brew pours almost black in color but when held up to the light shows off a dark crimson in color. The medium soft pour brought out a minimal head but what is there leaves a pretty solid cap and ring that holds tight and leaves drifts of lacing all the way through the drinking session.
    Roasty malts, a bit of maple wood smoke, bakers chocolate and more than a touch of the aroma that is standard for Founders other IPA's come out on the nose. None of the scents are aggressive and have a muted but pleasant relationship going on.
     The taste is right along the lines of the smell but all much more pronounced. The first thing in medium & creamy weight in mouth feeling beer is the flavor is something of a less sugary Nutella. You know what I am talking about. Hazelnuts & cocoa happening. Since I am not one to ever turn down some Nutella-I am already charmed as soon as it hits the taste buds. That is followed by a hint of charred wood which then gives way to some grapefruit tang. It finishes with a mix of dark coffee bitters and lingering citrus with the 7.5% alcohol being pretty well hidden.
     My experience with some other black IPA's have been hit or miss but this one hits it not only out of the park but the ball is found 3 blocks away from the park when it finally lands.
     Been hoping that I could find another six pack somewhere (because sometimes there is that rare stroke of luck locating a stash in a out of the way store that doesn't realize what it has) but all I got from clerks were a chuckle and a "Yeah, good luck with that, Bub" in a scoffing tone.
     I don't know if Founders plans on releasing this every year but one can wish so wish I do.

Oct 2, 2013

OBNOX "Corrupt Free Enterprise" LP

     Whatever happened to the brutha as a rock-n-rolla?
     I'm not talking the calculated bullshit "I don't care what people think as long as every move I make gets me the gossip headlines and trending on Twitter" things that Kanye West does so he can declare himself a rock star in those very same gossip rags.
     Declaring yourself a rock star doesn't not equate a rock-n-rolla.
     I am talking about a brutha that actually does not give a fuck but other than rocking out when it is called for. One that isn't doing what he does in hopes that Entertainment Weekly will declare a genius because everything else they had to review for the week was albums from TV talent show winners or adult contemporary artists disguised as a modern county entertainers. One that is out to blow out eardrums as well as minds. One that is actually playing something that is loud, obnoxious and, yep, punk rock music instead of just wearing some goofy shades so the pop press can mention a nod to "punk rock style" the dude is sporting while walking down the red carpet at an awards show.
     Being declared a rock-n-rolla is something that is bestowed on someone. Described in a recent article/interview in Consequence Of Sound as "the only black 41-year-old single father DIY garage rock drummer/singer from Cleveland" the brutha behind Obnox, Lamont "Bim" Thomas, is a #1 Rock-n-Rolla, and has been for many years with his time behind the drum kit in bands such as Bassholes and This Moment In Black History.
     While those bands had him working within what others may have had in mind-Obnox is his own deal. A loud, thick, abrasive thing of beauty deal the mashes many different worlds of sound but doesn't sound like some mutli-culti NPR bullshit at that.
     Like Chrome's Half Machine Lip Moves wound way to tight riding a spaceship through some urban wasteland inhabited Spector Wall of Sound zombies and the best weed punk rockers can never afford growing wild through sidewalk cracks-the album wastes no time taking a hammer to the eardrum and making blood rush to the head with opener "By Myself". This initial blast off helps propel other feasts of burning noise filled with dangerous fumes such as it's follow up, the sex jam in the middle of a fire-fight basher "(I Want To) Fuck You Like A Puma".
      Cop era Swans discover the blues after meeting some street preachin' rapper who's so underground his address is a sewer who's idea of a beat is a locked groove is the best to describe hypnotically woozy rhythm that Bim busts some rhymes over on the lolloping glitched soul of "Deep In The Dusk" and the mangled street beat/shout out to the hometown harsh out hip-hop that's "Being Cleveland". The latter is not the only bit of local pride/contempt either as Obnox also out noises the Cheater Slicks at their own game on his take on their "Ghost" and his revisiting his past with a version of the Bassholes "Swimming Bues".
     The magic of hypnotism through bleats of guitar feedback get worked over on the soul falsetto being abused by dentist drills on the take of Tom Waits "Way Down In A Hole" and pleading for love (or most likely and, simply a piece of pussy) "Home".  The pleading is given the same treatment again and then run through the ringer once more on the rudest take one will probably ever hear of the Eddie Floyd song "Good Love/Bad Love".
     It's highly doubtful that TMZ will ever be falling over themselves to document ever off the wall ass thing Bim might ever blather when paparazzi and press corps are around and it's hardly unlikely that MTV will be calling saving a seat at their stupid awards shows (especially after they hear about him lighting up a joint at a college radio station and then getting kicked out of the studio) but he is a for real Rock-n-Roll brutha and Corrupt Free Enterprise is all the proof one needs.

Sep 16, 2013

RICHARD and the YOUNG LIONS: "Open Up Your Door": Song Stuck In My Head Today (Part 1)

Though the band was outta New Jersey and the song only went to #99 on the national charts it did hit #1 in Detroit on this very week in 1966.
The song has had a bit of staying power in Michigan too. In 1983, the Romantics included it on their biggest selling (and cheesiest sounding) album In Heat and the Demolition Dollrods played it regularly in live sets in the 90's.

There's a documentary on the band called
Out of Our Dens: The Richard and the Young Lions Story that I have not seen but may be worth checking out on stay inside cold days that will be happening in this part of the world over the next 6 months or so. A copy of that can be found here if you're so inclined to order one.