Monday, November 23, 2015

PUBlication: Celebration

PUBlication: Celebration 
Each winter I look forward to many things, like eating a ton of holiday food, going to the mountains for snow, and searching out my favorite seasonal beers. Sierra Nevada is a staple among the craft brewing world; yet to sell out (amidst a rash of recent buyouts) and still producing new magic like the Estate grown organic IPA, they haven't lost their touch. However, it's the return of their cornerstone seasonal ale that has me stoked.

Of course I'm speaking about Celebration, the must-have bottled conditioned fresh hop IPA they've been brewing since 1981. Most ales only attempt to mesh the sweetness of malt to the piney and citrus notes of hops, Sierra Nevada has mastered it. Chinook, Cascade and Centennial hops swirl among the Two-row Pale and Caramel malts to create both a smooth and complex taste. When poured, a medium to heavy head forms over the sun-laced amber and melted caramel-like hue of the nectar below. The first whiff is nuanced with a dank candied nose. Subtle sweetness hits the tongue first, followed by a bitterness that registers the rest of the way down. I know our household has already consumed more than a half-rack. Tis the season. Look for Celebration on tap and in the bottle during this festive time of year. 6.8% | 65 IBUs


Friday, November 20, 2015


American money and Tennessee honey sounds good coming from the voice of Børns, a Michigander who found his way to LA to record his first album. Dopamine was released a little over a month ago. Catchy riffs and some nearly immaculate vocals are timeless staples for any pop song, he's crafted an album of melodies braided to lyricism. Dopamine is a conduit between 80's synth-pop and the undertones that are shaping the shoe-gazing sub genre of indie rock. Think one part Tame Impala, a dose of Alt-J and a dash of Lorde (I hope that concoction doesn't dissuade). Highlights on this eleven track offering include, "Electric Love," "American Money," and "Holy Ghost." Maybe you have tickets to the sold out show at The Independent in San Francisco this Sunday. Enjoy.

BØRNS | "American Money"


Monday, November 16, 2015

Unc Unc

He's back, at least as Uncle Drew, to get buckets and teach young-bloods. Miami sets the scene for a shootout against Walt (aka Ray Allen). The two of them duel in a classic game of HORSE making this fourth installment worth the watch. Peep the sweet Kyrie 1 sneakers, they're limited to 150 pairs. I'm loving the gum rubber soles, super clean. Basketball never stops.

Uncle Drew | Chapter 4


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

So Good So Far 2015

So Good So Far 2015
Time flies when you're having fun, or when you're super busy. Music tends to be the soothsayer in our neck of the woods. Regardless of the situation there tends to be a musical companion for the moment. Earlier this summer I listed the first half of my favorite albums that had been released. Here's the second installment of tunes that I cannot yet wear out. Thanks to all of the musicians who have enriched this calendar year with ear candy. The selections preceded by an asterisk are my top five. So Good So Far 2015...

*Leon Bridges | Coming Home
Has he taken over yet? That voice, the sound, his attire, White Denim backing him, the beauty of it all keeps streaming out like an endless landscape. What his album has done is escape time; it's purely a creation. The title track brought him fame, yet other cuts such as, "Better Man" and "River" have kept me coming back for more. Anticipation and patience is in order for his sophomore effort.


*Anderson East | Delilah
Some of the album comes at you with a sharp snappiness, akin to R&B, but the blade that does the cutting are his lyrics. Plunging into you with his awareness, his words pierce with the truth of having gone through what he is penning. Delilah is a reminder that pain is an artery and the heart its source. Anderson acknowledges the mistakes he's made and in doing so, he is both the heavy hand and the healing poet. Songs such as, "What a Women Wants to Hear" and "Lying in Her Arms," capture this dichotomy with scalpel-like precision.  

"Only You"

*Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats | Self Titled Debut Album
This outfit proves that melding different sounds and influences into one coherent portrayal is possible. A greasy country sound backed by a soulful brass section and fronted by a man who can belt it, if not howl it, is a match made in American music heaven. The Night Sweats have been one of my personal favorites this year. The Blues Brothers and Neil Diamond seemingly patched this musical Frankenstein especially for me. "S.O.B." brought them into the spotlight but they are not a one-trick pony. 

The entire album is reminiscent of what Levon tells Scorsese in The Last Waltz, "bluegrass and country music...if it comes down into that area and if it mixes there with the rhythm and if it dances, then you've got a combination of all that music." Scorsese asks, "What's it called?" Levon replies, "rock and roll." Denver just might be the new city for having a good time; I think they've got a hometown band ready to lead the charge.

"Howling at Nothing"

Dead Weather | Dodge & Burn
The Dead Weather replaces trickery with an assault of intensity and skill, a collection of talent can do that—some musicians simply know how to rock. Third Man Records created a limited edition release for Vault members which fueled my excitement for this album. For those of us who like to rock out once in awhile this record is relentless, fuzzy and awesome. They hit you from the start with the opener, "I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)." Then there's, "Let Me Through," which is rough around the edges in all the right ways. Hearing Mosshart sing, "I'm a bad man, let me through," isn't a request, it's a demand.

"Cop and Go"

Jonathan Tyler | Holy Smokes
There's a type of music that exists again due to a wealth of phenomenal young artists that don't always get radio play. Jonathan Tyler embraces that quality and others in his music. Country, soaked at times in some reverb, is a good thing. The first track, "Hallelujah," colors outside the lines of traditional country with a cool garage-like sound. The second offering takes you down an entirely different path (listen below). In a nod to Townes, Jonathan teams up with Nikki Lane on, "To Love is to Fly," an honest offering of wordplay, sung over the weeping of a pedal steel guitar. This is a great album more people should be listening to.

"Goin' Down to the City"

Jack Broadbent | Along the Trail of Tears
Along the Trail has songs that hang heavy with meaning, like over-ripened fruit bending limbs that lend support. The song below embodies that sentiment. Pace does change throughout the album. "Big Black Boat" has a knack for making you tap your toes in approval. "Far Off Galaxy" is etched from the Blues, as is much of the record. Along the Trail of Tears feels like it was made for whiskey on the front porch or the back forty with a bonfire blazing. All of that sounds good to me.


My baker's dozen consists of the six artists from above as well as: *Father John Misty, I Love You Honeybear | Matthew E. White, Fresh Blood | Tobias Jesso Jr., Goon *Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color | Houndmouth, Little Neon Limelight | Lord Huron, Strange Trails | My Morning Jacket, The Waterfall

Honorable Mentions: Beach House (x2), Lana Del Rey, Rayland Baxter, Wilco. (second half of 2015)

Thanks for checking in and reading my rabble. Fortunately this year I have had the pleasure of seeing a handful of these great acts live. Speaking of live shows, The BESTY's are coming, an annual run-down of my favorite live performances. 


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Muscle Shoals

Muscle Shoals is a recording mecca. This rural community along the Tennessee River in North Alabama cut some of the deepest grooves in music by creating a culture that would change the recording industry forever, while simultaneously helping to change our nation's outlook on segregation. Pretty impressive for some white guys who looked as though they worked at the local grocery store. Rick Hall and The Swampers changed the world with their Muscle Shoals Sound. They made more than music, they made history.

Muscle Shoals | Official Trailer

(currently streaming on Netflix)