May 17, 2010
I will not claim that New Jersey is a hotbed of craft brewing. It is certainly not like Oregon or Colorado, where every podunk town has a brewpub turning out quality brews, and every convenience store has a selection which brings tears of joy to my eyes. However, whatever my home state lacks in quantity, it makes up for it in quality. River Horse brews several excellent beers, and Flying Fish is doing it’s damnedest to be considered one of the elite brewers in the country.
Boaks Brewing, located in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, brews a few beers in small batches, and they distribute seems to be limited to Northern New Jersey throughout New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania, with plans to expand to Central Pennsylvania and Maryland. I tried their “Double BW”* Belgian Wheat recently. It poured a very cloudy and very pale orange, with a frothy head that quickly dissipated. It was peppery and lemony and refreshingly tart after the long bike ride I had gone on. Definitely an unusual beer, and while it was not cheap, but pair it up with some spicy Asian food, and it would be fantastic, 7/10.
*Per an email from Brian, the man behind Boak’s, the “Double BW” stands for “Brian’s Belgian Wild Wheat.” Two Bs, Two Ws. This beer clocks in at 4.2% ABV so it is not a ‘Double’ in the sense that the term is often used.
May 7, 2010
Reasons that Titus Andronicus rock:
1. They are from New Jersey. That right there makes them something special.
2. Their lyrics (“You never been no virgin, kid/You were fucked from the start”) have the right mix of humor and pathos. It is worth the time to listen closely and decipher them.
3. Titus Andronicus may be the most completely over the top band I have ever listened to, and also the most serious.
4. Their last album, The Airing of Grievances, is excellent, and worth seeking out.
5. Their new album, The Monitor, is a concept album about the U.S. Civil War, the first battle between ironclad ships (the Merrimac and the Monitor), and also the existential dread of living in suburban New Jersey in the 21st Century. That combination should be a complete disaster, but TA pull it off. The Monitor is without question the best album of 2010, and might be the best album since Kids in Philly by Marah.
6. I have not seen them live yet, but every review says they are scorching in concert.
7. They sound like Bruce Springsteen fronting the Ramones or Levon Helm backed by the Wooden Shjips, but those comparisons do not really do them justice. They have songs that are ten minute punk rock riffs that never get boring, they quote speeches by Abraham Lincoln in between tracks, with their high school history teacher reading the speeches on the recordings, and they can drone on with the best of the post-rock bands and at the same time rip the most searing guitar hero rock god solos you can imagine.
8. I love this band.
April 29, 2010
Check out this Roadside Graves interview from SXSW. The interviewee is John Norris, formerly of MTV. The clip includes the video for ‘Liv Tyler’ from the new Roadside Graves record.
April 20, 2010
Short clip of a saxophone player on Grove Street, on Monday morning shortly after 9:30 a.m.