Saturday, August 27, 2016

Oregon is Calling Me (part 1)

Pacific City, OR
Oregon has less people and is less expensive, it also has a similar climate and comparable culture. So when are we moving? I love northern California, but Oregon is calling me. Imagine if you will, that the Great Lakes area of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin had a baby with California, and that baby was on steroids, that's Oregon. After spending 10 days in the Pacific Northwest, an old post for us, new shit has come to light. Eugene and Portland played the roles of mid-major and "big" city host. The rest of the time was spent in the lush greenery in the towns that hide west of the I-5, or along the coast. Highway 20 set the first impressions; later it was places such as Newport, Lincoln City, Otter Rock, Whale Cove, Siletz Bay, Pacific City and Tillamook that grabbed hold. Did I mention you can drive on the beaches and that the river's don't go dry in the summer?

Our first home base was Eugene. We were in town for the first of two weddings. Our amazing friends, who are truly more like family, hosted us upon arrival. It should be noted that we do visit Eugene fairly often—Ducks games in the fall, winter holiday trips and summer weddings. I've always felt at ease, perhaps at home in Eugene. It's got everything you need but isn't too busy. Nature is all around you and the amenities of the downtown are top notch. There is no shortage of good food or beer. Local shops line the streets, it feels vibrant because people are doing things, in all facets. The abundance of athletes and active living is highly visible. Driven in large part by the University, a symbol for camaraderie and initiative. I feel as though I fit in, or maybe it's the community that suits me.

Beyond the landscape's obvious beauty; Oregon has an authentic personality and an adaptable pace to its quality of life—shit's real. People are friendly, more polite and even engaging, sometimes when  you least expect it (I'll get to that later). Oregon is calling me...


Part 2 of Oregon is Calling Me will focus on breweries, bars and small businesses that stood out during our adventure. And why pickle ball and hoops are the best sports to play while on vacation, kayaking's not too bad either.


Friday, August 26, 2016

All Russ | All Day

Russel Westbrook | AJXXXI

Initial Jordan hype for Russel Westbrook's assault on the NBA. "Some run, some make runways."


Monday, August 22, 2016

STS9 | The Universe Inside

Sound Tribe Sector 9 is releasing a new record, The Universe Inside, their first produced offering since an EP in 2011. Thirteen new tracks show up on this album, a first with Alana Rocklin in the studio. I'm intrigued to say the least, STS9 was outstanding the last time I saw them live.

Fans should be familiar with a few of the cuts. In Fact, "New Dawn, New Day," was the first song this Sector played live at the McDowell Music Festival in March of 2014. "World Go Round" also debuted on stage that night. "Totem" is the other recognizable track. Digital downloads will be available September 2nd on 1320 Records. Until then, listen to a live jam below. Perhaps there will be a tour to follow? Get your moon boots ready...

STS9 | New Dawn, New Day (live)


update: STS9 announced a fall tour.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

PUBlication: Blackberry Gose

Saint Archer | Blackberry Gose
Saint Archer is brewing some nice things inside of their San Diego tanks. I've long been a fan of their work in craft beer; I don't hate just because someone got paid. Another one of their specialty beers has grabbed my attention, this time it's Blackberry Gose. A summery and session-approved ale that packs a flavorful punch, without punching you out. The funk is where it's at. 

The opening smell is prolific. Color and flavor spar after the pour. A fruit, flesh-like brandy tone glows like a candle behind stained glass. Carbonation claims a supporting role. A fluffy head vanishes and the funk regains your attention. The fruit is indirect, making me wonder if they intentionally, and wisely, added berries that weren't quite ripe yet, making it snappier. Blackberry Gose (4%) is a limited release. Find a six pack and enjoy.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Banks & Steelz

Banks & Steelz
Thus far, Paul Banks and RZA have released four tracks off of their upcoming album, Anything but Words. Banks & Steelz drop their debut later this month; the next day they play The Independent in San Francisco. Their tour takes them to the major festivals still on the horizon of late summer and early fall, interspersed between and before, are a host of shows at smallish clubs. The Wu and Interpol have collided. Early offerings are collective sounding, especially the title track (listen below). RZA goes mad deep {"turn you back to molecules - minuscule follicles - then convert your brain to sub-atomic particles"} the vocal overtures by Paul creep into place perfectly. Then comes the edgy drum machines, bringing the throaty-digital purr and soft glitch to a startling point. 

Banks & Steelz | "Anything But Words"

It seems that the two artists have found a dialogue that creates anew while allowing them to apply their established imaginations. Ghostface Killah guests on the grimier track, "Love and War," a cool collision of hip-hop lyricism and song building (listen below). The producer-extraordinaires harness an ability to coexist, both lush and raw. These cuts could be hits in the club or radio-edited singles. Check out Banks & Steelz on tour or grab a copy of Anything But Words August 26th.  

Banks & Steelz | "Love and War"


Monday, August 15, 2016

NBA Predictions 2016-17

East: Chicago and Washington could make the playoffs; I'm predicting they won't—Indiana may be susceptible due to regime change. One thing's for certain, this year will be entertaining.

West: Dallas and Houston will push the young team from Minnesota for the 8th seed. The coaching edge goes to the Mavericks, roster to the Wolves.  Teams with an * made the playoffs last year. Those with a ^ are my predicted division winners.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

USA Hoops

It's beyond labels, it's more than money; it's three letters that mean the most—USA. Peep the familiar faces while listening to Chance the Rapper. Phelps, Ledecky and the US women's gymnastic team have represented our nation in the utmost of ways, as have all of our athletes. Go USA! Long live the Olympics.

USA | Together


Monday, August 8, 2016

PUBlication: Revolution No. 002

Luponic Distortion No.0002
Who does number two work for? Firestone Walker this particular time. The Luponic Distortion revolving hop series has released its second offering; you can read a review of No. 001 here. They've been showcasing the process of hop selection via social media. It's amusing to see brewers snouting out a bunch of new hops.

Seven distinct hop varietals square off nicely against the pale and wheat malt. The cornucopia of hops is led by a couple of Pacific Northwest favorites. Next is a pair of new hops from Germany, followed by two additional hops from New Zealand. The latter two are said to illicit melon and tropical flowers. Last but not least is a new experimental hop that is suppose to produce notes of berry and peach. Luponic Distortion is best within 90 days of bottling. Drink these delicious marvels. Revolution No. 002 is available now, happy hunting. 5.9% | 59 IBU


Thursday, August 4, 2016

5 NBA Teams to Watch

Wolves ready to Howl
The 2016-17 NBA season should be FANtastic. There will be plenty of storylines and some amazing teams to watch for this year. Beyond the obvious two, the defending champs and the death star, there are some intriguing teams in the NBA, if not entertaining. You're probably thinking this is too soon, you're probably right. I am here furthering my confessed loved of hoops. Below is a list of the five teams I'm most interested in watching coming into the much hyped NBA season. Explanations are as given, along with two honorable mentions.  

1. Minnesota T'Wolves - Karl Anthony-Towns (the most un-tradable player in the NBA due to his potential and being on a rookie contract) is the main reason all Wolves fans should be drooling, perhaps even howling. If you watched him play last year than you know what I'm talking about. Kris Dunn will hopefully fleece Rubio and steal his milk money for good. Wiggins ascension is vital, please be working on that outside game. Lavine's bounce has been put on blast but none other than Dr. J. Will the two-time dunk champ push Wiggins, or maybe win a sixth man award if he comes off the bench? Personally I'm a fan of him starting. Please say adios to Rubio &/or Pekovic if the youth movement whips into shape via the new mastermind. Either that, or they help to solidify the second unit. How will the Wolves utilize Muhammad & Dieng? Then there's Thibodeau, one of the top 5 to 7 coaches in the NBA, taking over a talented young team craving the playoffs. Roster

2. Utah Jazz - Defense, youth, length, a good coach who is modern and intense, mad depth, coupled with a smart franchise, equals a continued rise in the Western Conference standings. They're basically made to defend the small ball spread pick and roll. Hayward, Favors, Gobert, Hood & Burks, plus a healthy Exum,  equal one of the best young rosters in the Association. How will Diaw and Joe Johnson mesh into the mix, along with George Hill and the rookie additions? One's thing's for sure, Utah will play hard, play D and their fans will always fill the arena. Dare I say they're a lock to make the playoffs? I believe they will. Roster

3. Milwaukee Bucks - Freakish upside & length easily sums up the Bucks future. The Greek Freak, aka Giannis, whom I saw last year and was utterly impressed by—he was the best player on the court at times when I watched him at Golden State. Jabari has offensive skills but will he transform into a defender. Or be traded before we see him gel in Milwaukee? Is Thon Maker for real? Is Malcolm Brogdon for real? J. Kidd re-upping and getting to truly put his fingerprints on the team should help them reestablish the magic that took them to the playoffs in his first year there. Will MCW be a switch-everything perimeter stopper or a Shaun Livingston 2.0 off the bench? The Bucks could compete in the East and I haven't even mentioned the highly coveted Kris Middleton, or the trade bait that is Greg Monroe. Plus they signed Dellavedova, I loved him in Cleveland. Roster

4. Charlotte Hornets - Kemba will be fully unleashed now that Lin is gone. I love me some Kemba. MKG will be back and is bound to play his brand of tough-nosed defense and all-out hustle. Hopefully his jumper has been getting smoother, if not a bit more trust-worthy. The Hornets brought most of the roster back and will try to build on their momentum from last year. Batum got paid, Belinelli was brought in, psycho T returns to Carolina, Hibbert replaces big Al, and Steve Clifford is easily a coach on the rise. Plus this is MJ's team. And the East is wide open, other than the fact the LeBron plays in the same conference. Roster 

5. New York Knicks - Come on. Melo, The Zinger, D. Rose & his old pal Noah, Brandon Jennings off the pine/starting, coupled with the acquisitions of Courtney Lee (whom I like) & Tony Wroten, make the Knicks an early season must-watch. Even if I'm tuning in just to see how it all works (it could also be a hot mess of a dumpster fire). Holliday showed flashes last year and O'Quinn will do some dirty work. Really I just want to see Wichita State 2.0 in the pros mixing it up with the Zinger. Maybe the Zen Master could unleash Ron Baker and Cleanthony Early, all those guys did was win at the collegiate level with hard work, determination and real basketball skills that translated into team ball. Oh yeah, I forgot, Phil doesn't think modern players have the proper skills, patience or acumen to succeed in the triangle. Guess what Zen Master? You don't have Jordan and Pippen or Shaq and Kobe and now the NBA allows zone-like defenses—maybe you need to update your Windows '96. Jeff Hornacek coaching in the Big Apple with a former foe as his boss should also be fun to keep an eye on. Two important questions: Will Melo waive his no trade clause to join LeBron? And when will the Knicks realize their highest paid players could have competed for a championship in 2010-11? It's time to start playing the youngsters and build around Porzingis. Roster

Westbrook Snarl
Honorable Mention 
OKC Thunder - Two words: Russel Westbrook! Please basketball gods, keep Russ in a Thunder jersey so I can witness him ripping the NBA a new one. He'll be a triple-double machine, resembling something like an unstoppable mutant X-men alien.

Boston Celtics - They have the best young coach in the NBA (Brad Stevens). They have the most daring and draft stashing master GM (Danny Ainge). And they landed the second best free agent of the summer (Al Horford).


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

PUBlication: Festina Pêche

Festina Pêche | Neo-Berliner Weisse
Dogfish Head has concocted a next level type of beer with the Festina Pêche. Initially your nose is put to the test with a bit of funk; it softens up after a second or two. There's also great bubbling action that occurs once poured, creating a soft head that slowly bubbles off. A hazy straw-yellow hue also pleases the senses.

When this unique ale hits your mouth, taste buds are awakened. The Pêche is a bit slippery but still dry. Being a bit murky may enable this Berliner Weisse's lingering flavor—either that, or it's the lactic cultures it's brewed with in addition to ale yeast. The peach is subtle, working in cooperation with its tart character. Festina Pêche is available on draft and in four packs. I suggest enjoying this amazing creation while summer's still warm (if not hot). Enjoy responsibly. 4.5% | 8 IBU