April 26, 2011
Santa Fe Brewing Company Chicken Killer Barleywine Ale: This is a boozy tasting barleywine with lots of malts, almost no hops, the odd dried fruit flavor popping up here and there, and a decent head. It had a slight metallic aftertaste that faded as the bottle was drained. Give it a 5, and bump them up a half point for a cool name, so 5.5/10.
Titus Andronicus in Concert: I saw these Jersey Guys at a club recently. They are raw and powerful in concert and deadly earnest about what they are doing. I’d call them “The Only Band That Matters” but I am too old to believe such nonsense, and more than a little embarrassed I was ever young enough to think that sounded cool. I will say they are the “World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band Until the Next Guys Come Along” and advise anyone who is going to see them to bring earplugs.
Svetlana: Mark Cuban’s HDnet Television Network has many hours of programming to fill and while I cannot vouch for most of the programming, Svetlana is worth seeking out. Filmed as an ‘Office’ style mockumentary, the show follows recent Russian immigrant Svetlana Maksimovskaya, the owner of the “respectable St. Petersburg House of Discreet Pleasure”, as she tries to maintain her business as she deals with immigration problems, unruly clients, and all the usual problems that arise when you try to run a brothel with your daughters as the prostitutes. It is filmed in high definition video with harsh and unflattering light which gives it an eerie quality. I do not know if that was a conscious decision by the creators of the show, but it certainly looks different from any television show I have seen, and the cinema verite look gives it an edginess, that is softened by the humor. Have I mentioned it is laugh out loud funny? No? Well, it is hilarious. Check out a clip of the show here.
Deschutes Inversion IPA: This was a big winner at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival, so I was eager to try it. Now that I have tried it, I won’t have to bother with this beer again. The hops were muted, the malts were heavy for an IPA. The best I can say for it is that it had a nice head to it. I did not hate it, but it was disappointing after all of the hype, 5/10.
December 27, 2010
As the end of the year approaches, it is time for the 2010 Tiltie Awards, the most prestigious awards to be found anyplace on these here intertubes. We (‘we’ is a lie, it is only me, sitting on the couch in my underwear, when I can find underwear that is, so yeah, sometimes I am naked) have been giving these Golden Can Opener Statues (no such statues exist) since the 1940s (another lie). While a Tiltie is not as prestigious as an Oscar (no kidding!), it is a shitload more valuable than a Grammy (this is true), which nobody cares about or, God help us, an Emmy, which is totally worthless (very fucking true) Those of you who sent adequate bribes have been handsomely rewarded. You stingy bastards get nothing. Ready, Set, Go!
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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.