Beer and Pavement

Once More with Feeling vs Dark Penance

Posted in Beer, Intersections, Records, Review, Rock vs. Beer by Zac on October 21, 2014

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Man, I haven’t done one of these beer/record reviews in a long, long time.

Above you will find an image of a record – a 10″ record to be exact – and a beer. The record is Once More with Feeling, the new EP by Ought I picked up at their show over a week ago. The beer is a little something from Founders I picked up before the show. It’s black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale called Dark Penance.

Once More with Feeling - Ought

This is not your typical Ought release. Well, they have basically only released the stellar More than Any Other Day on Constellation and a self-released EP of mostly the same material, but this offering is neither of those. From what I can tell and have read, Once More… features older material that was rerecorded and slapped on some 10″ vinyl. Half is recycled from the mentioned EP, but it’s been completely reworked. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t measure up with what might be one of the best LP’s of the year. In fact, this 4-song EP perfectly compliments it and adds to the still-young oeuvre in a meaningful way.

The EP opens with the slow burn that is “Pill” with frontman Tim Beeler’s vocals light but in front instead of his typical holler. This is a reimagined version of the opening track from their EP New Calm. It’s straightforward and sweet with some sad, sad lyrics before it unravels into a beautiful mess, Beeler demanding that you give it to him before he fades into oblivion. “New Calm Pt 2″ is another rerecording of the final track of their self-released EP. Beeler’s talking, Byrne/Reed vocals are out front ahead of a Joy Division-esque groove and early U2 guitar onslaught. The experiment of “New Calm Pt 2″ doesn’t stand alone, but it demonstrates the certain constraints and potential of the band to carry out a jam. It’s abstract musically and lyrically, featuring a rambling singer backed by a rambling band. The EP closes with “Waiting”, a more conventional track. Quick, moving, urgent, the band moves like a mid-nineties Chicago outfit in a hurry with that familiar David Byrne-like mumbling before breaking into his usual cries. This track could be described as the band’s “dance song” but I find a lot of Ought’s faster stuff danceable. Beeler asks, “How long have you been waiting?” over and over. I hope not wait too long before another release or live performance.

Dark Penance Imperial Black IPA – Founders

Up for the challenge is a first-time release from the Midwest’s best brewery: Founders. Intensely bitter, Dark Penance is painful to the tongue upon the first sip. The roastiness and extreme hop presence (100 IBU’s!) are unforgiving. But as one sips, the roast and hop flavors begin to separate themselves, allowing the drinker to take in the brilliance of this beer. There are two types of black IPA’s: the hoppy porter variety or dark hop bomb that’s really just an IPA in a cloak. However, this beer finds a balance in pushing the envelope – typical of a Founders beer. Founders just makes their beers overwhelmingly flavorful which somehow balances out. I wonder if as they were developing this beer, the brewers thought “oh, that’s too hoppy” or “the malt is too forward” or “it’s all roasted malt.” And instead of backing off any of those flavors, they brought up the other components to balance the whole thing out. And this works.

Intersections

On the surface, both Ought’s EP and Founders black IPA are immensely pleasurable. As I sipped the beer, I wasn’t sure if I was nodding to the blackness spinning on my turntable or the one in my glass. Both are exceptional contributions.

However, I find it more interesting in how they differ. Ought builds from abstraction, a dance beat, a sweet ditty into something gorgeously chaotic. However, Dark Penance was the opposite in that it opened with a punishing onslaught only to eventually reveal a balanced, glorious drink, perfecting for sipping with a great record on the play. The pairing was a success in contrasting styles with similar elements. I may have to try it again.

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Tempering Expectations

Posted in Beer, Intersections, Records by Zac on January 24, 2014

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Hopslam arrived here in frigid Middle Missouri and it brought along with it loads of hype and hops. My love for the beer has cooled but not totally gone cold. I have learned to temper my expectations, not lower them. This is a lesson learned from years of buying records and seeing rock shows. See, this blog’s original premise still works.

See, a beer like Hopslam is almost as much about hype as it is anything else. It’s released only once a year in limited quantities. It’s a beer geek’s beer, loaded with hops and booze. Those bright green labels picturing a poor bloke begin crushed by a giant hop calls craft beer consumers like voiceless sirens. (Can that even work?) The ~$20 makes you think that it’s a big deal. Oh, and it is a pretty good beer.

However, the next Hopslam doesn’t ever taste like the first one. This year’s version never tastes as good as last year’s or the one you drank seven years ago. I don’t know if it’s a problem of drinkers building it up too much in their own minds or something more akin to a heroin addiction. It’s probably a little of both. Either way, the hype and misperception leads to bitter disappointment every time.

Still, Hopslam is an excellent beer. I have come to expect a well-crafted beer that hides an incredible amount of booze while introducing my palate to some sweetness and bitterness without fail. What I don’t expect is the same burst of grapefruit or cat piss or whatever aromas the hops might unleash. It seems that big DIPA’s like this are really dependent on a large amount of hops. If one harvest or another is slightly off or just different in one way or another, the effects are magnified. The beer tastes different every year, but it is always well-brewed and worth a try.

I’m good with Hopslam these days, but that wasn’t always the case. Two or three Hopslams ago, the beer didn’t meet my expectations. I wanted that crazy honey-coated grapefruitiness that smelled of a cat lady’s house sweater I tasted just the year or two before. However, as explained above, the beer was different. On top of this disappointment, I really had to go out of my way to spend a lot of money on beer. Here in Middle Missouri, Hopslam lasts tens of minutes, not days or hours. So, if you want some, you better be prepared to stalk the local beer dealer. Then, you’ll pay $20 a sixer. I used to buy at least two, sometime more. If I had to work that hard and spend that much money on a beer, it better meet my expectations.

Hopslam didn’t meet those expectations. So, something had to change. Last year, I didn’t buy any in bottles, only on tap. The 2-3 Hopslams (plus a bottle from a friend) were more than enough. I didn’t overdo it. I don’t blow a wad of cash. It was a good beer among many. I was satisfied, but my exportations were not lowered as much as they were tempered. “Enjoy the Hopslam, not the Hypeslam” was my new mantra and it worked.

2014’s version rolled out this past week and I welcomed it. I wasn’t going to buy a sixer this year. I have a deal with my mom to grab one in Ohio where it sometimes sits on shelfs for weeks or months. Then, coworkers were running out in the middle of the day to see if the grocery nearby had some Hopslam. I joined them and scored a sixer. One’s enough.

I won’t write a beer review now. You should know that this year’s version is good. I’m glad I bought some and look forward to having more on tap or in a few weeks when my mom delivers the sixer she bought for me.

What I wanted to focus on was the idea of tempering expectations. As I mentioned above, tempering expectations is something I do. However, the ability to do such with beer has been a recent development. No, I’ve been tempering expectations for a long time in terms of what I expect to get from a new record or rock show.

I realize that it’s semantics and someone will undoubtedly argue that tempering expectations is the same as lowering them, but this is my blog post and I say it isn’t the same. Tempering expectations considers contexts and past experiences. It keeps me in the moment and more mindful of what I am experiencing. Tempering expectations doesn’t allow those expectations or preconceived ideas to taint reality. Instead, I can enjoy the experience in real time.

Take Stephen Malkmus’ new album Wig Out at Jagbags as an example. I loved, LOVED Mirror Traffic. My expectations were high for Jagbags, but I realized that this was going to be a different record and it needed its own opportunity to win me over. Of course, the album didn’t have to impress me at all. Malkmus has done enough in Pavement and with Jicks to earn my loyalty. Still, I listened with anticipation. To be honest, the first few listens didn’t impress. It took 3-4 concentrated listens for me to appreciate this record, but I did. Is it as good as Traffic? I don’t know. Does it have to be? All I know is that it’s a good record at this moment and I enjoy listening to it.

See? It’s all about tempering those expectations so that we can enjoy what’s right in front of us. Stay in the moment. This year’s Hopslam doesn’t have to be last year’s or the version bottled six years ago.

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Damn it, Jim!

Posted in Beer, Challenge, Intersections, Life, Meta by Zac on April 15, 2013

Jim wrote a post for the Today Show – his side gig – and now I feel as if I need to write an update since he linked my name back to this blog. People are surely going to click through to this blog and find nothing’s up-to-date. I gotta get current.

I mean, I did promise more posts recently, but my life has been crazy as of late. I’ll start with some bits from an unfinished post and then bring you all up to date. Maybe I’ll kick this thing back into gear soon enough…

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Several weeks ago, I was set to DJ between some great local bands (Coward, Dark Blue Dark Green) for the release of New Tongue‘s excellent and very well received We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For. Had things gone as planned, I surely would have penned a full review of the festivities and what I spun on some borrowed dex. Then, I earned the nickname DJ Blackout.

Before I was set to spin, I was sitting with some guys in a couple of the bands, finding it harder and harder to follow the conversation. Things got cloudy. I started to sweat profusely. I excused myself to get some fresh air. Several steps toward the door and everything went black. Something/someone hit me hard between the eyes.

I woke up on the floor, wondering how I got there. All I could think was that I had planned to stay in that night, but I must have gone on some legendary binge. Someone cold-cocked me… or so I thought. This apparently was not the case.

People were all around me, asking if I was okay. With some help, I stumbled to my feet and located my glasses a couple of feet away. Soon, friends were there to steady me and grab me a chair. Eventually, they moved me to a table with water and orange juice.

I honestly have no idea what happened. Later that night, I insisted my wife take me to the ER just t make sure nothing was wrong. That is not like me. I hate doctors and hospitals. I was still pretty out of it.

The doctors had nothing for me. I wish I could tell you that I blacked out from drinking some crazy high gravity beers or that some unknown rival drugged my drink or that I got in a fight over which Pavement album is best. None of that occurred. The EKG checked out and my heart was in the clear. The doctors finally determined that I was dehydrated and needed to take it easy.

See, I had been training for a marathon (April 7th) and had run 20 miles the previous Sunday but had not done a good job of re-hydrating over the course of the week. I felt lethargic for a few days after, but things seem to be back to normal and I should be able to run that marathon.

As for why I actually passed out, we may never know. My doctor took some blood and ordered some additional tests, but I doubt anything will come up. The ER didn’t give me an IV. So, I suspect they didn’t think I was all that dehydrated.

Who knows?

What the episode did do was make me think that maybe I need to lay off a bit. I’m DJing (periodically), training for a marathon, taking a grad seminar for a PhD program, taking on more responsibilities at work, blogging (sort of), and generally running all over the place.

So, to put it succinctly, I’ve been busy.

morningof

Fast forward a few weeks to said marathon. The weekend arrived and took it easy. My training had picked up a bit since the blackout incident. (BTW, my 4-year-old now know what “passing out” and E.R. are. So, there’s that.) I felt pretty rested. We had a nice dinner – pasta, of course. I planned to drink a low ABV stout or porter, but none was available. It’s April and bars are not serving many of these beers on tap. So, I opted for 4-Hands’ Reprise Centennial Red and Perennial’s Saison de Lis as they were the lower ABV options available on-tap. That and lots of water.

I barely slept that night, waiting for my 5 am wake-up. Once I did, it was canned coffee, a banana, and a Cliff Bar. I drank water from the time I left the hotel room, rode the MetroLink, and found the porta-potties. Then, I found my pacer (4:15) and waited.

So, I ran. There was the early pit stop to unload all those extra liquids (twice, actually). Anheuser-Busch was brewing and it smelled good – much like my kitchen or any brewpub on brew day. I climbed hills like a champ while others struggled. There was all the extra room when the half-marathoners turned to finish. I constantly cursed relay runners who raced by because they hadn’t yet run the 15-16 miles I had put in. Miles 18-20 was where I began to feel the pain and my pace dropped from that point on. Gatorade and those nasty gels made me nauseous. I turned down multiple shots of beer along the way…

I decided to run the final mile all the way to the end no matter what despite interspersed walking over miles 20-25. Motivation was given in the form of race volunteers telling us runners that it was all downhill to the finish. As I ran, I could see the bottom of this really long hill. The crowd was huge and I could make out some sort of line. However, as I approached, it was clear to me that this line was just some sort of shadow and the finish line was further up the next hill. And just before I reached the end of the hill, I realized that the finish was actually at the top of the next hill and that someone was cooking bacon. This all just made me more nauseous.

Still, I pushed forward. I later found out from my partner who was tracking my progress online that I picked up a ton of time on that final stretch. In my mind, I passed 100 or so people when it was maybe 5. Still, I finished strong. My daughter and wife were nearby to cheer me on and I finished within my predicted window of time.

Considering that I trained for maybe 5 months through the winter for my first-ever marathon – losing ~20 pounds in the process – I was pretty happy with a time of 4:22. I didn’t want any food or water or anything at the end, but I felt pretty good accomplishing a goal I set in the fall. Hell, I may even run another someday.

I eventually cleaned up, ate, and headed home with my family. Nothing tasted better than the beer I finally enjoyed hours after the race. It was my Black Francis Imperial Stout, made with cocoa nibs, vanilla bean, and charred oak cubes all soaked in bourbon. The 9.4% ABV nearly knocked me out for the day.

That night, we attended our first Supper Club event. Supper Club is a group of couples who wanted to attend dinner parties where everything was provided by the hosts. Our group was so large that we split it with a rotating schedule to insure that everyone gets an opportunity to host and eat with everyone else in the group. The first night was a success. I hope to report on the dinner we host this summer where I plan to unveil a new beer I still have to brew. Details to come.

Beyond that (and hinted above) I have been taking on a graduate seminar in Human-Computer Interaction. The big project due at the end of the semester is a small study on the subject. We have human subjects and IRB approval. So, shit’s about to get real. And I will have even less time to blog.

Bill Callahan is coming to town and I will be DJing a joint birthday party for 50-year-olds. So, there’s that.

And I’m updated. Hopefully, I’ll have more interesting things to say in future posts.

Enjoy By 12/21/2012

Posted in Beer, Intersections by Zac on December 21, 2012

I, like Lenny Bruce am not afraid. The Mayans are wrong about this one. The world will not end by 12/21/2012 EST. And if it does, I live in CST and should have at least an hour to take care of some unfinished business[1].

Our time on this planet is finite. Beer has expiration dates, some sooner than others. Even vinyl records scratches and softens over time due to continual playing.

It’s all coming to an end and we can’t take any of it with us. So, why not indulge a little. Get that one more experience in before it all comes to an end.

It makes record collections and beer cellars obsolete. Unused blogs sit and digitally rot, losing readers by the minute.

Stone's Enjoy By 12/21/2012
Enjoyed By 12/21

We should enjoy the freshest of IPAs before they go bad. Don’t let the hops fade. It’s important to smell the fruit and pine aromas and to allow their bitterness to defeat your tongue. I enjoyed Stone’s Enjoy By 12/21/2012 weeks ago and I’m glad I did. I’ve had too many IPAs who sat months on shelves outside their proper homes in beer coolers. My bottle barely spent any time on a shelf or even in a refrigerator. I mean, why wait when you know it’s peaking now and will only fade as the days pass?

Anyway, here’s a blog post to prove that I’m still around. In case, you know, the world comes to an end. And if it doesn’t, maybe I’ll post again sometime soon.

Notes:

1Actually, due to family travel plans, I will be in the Eastern Standard time zone. So, I get no hour, well aside from the hours I’ll have after Europe goes up in flames.

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I’m Just a Curator

Posted in Book, Intersections, Life, Manifesto by Zac on August 15, 2012

It seems my role in the world is shaping in front of me. Aside from father, husband, instructional designer, etc., I’m beginning to see myself as a curator of sorts. This blog is ground zero, but I have and will venture out from time to time to curate craft beer and indie rock cultures.

I bring this up because my  gentleman dabblerhood has me prepping for more DJ gigs. No. I am not that kind of DJ (nor this). The kind of DJ I am is the kind that plays his own records between bands at a Hairhole benefit and once again for Monday Vinyl at Uprise (September 24th). In this capacity, I’m not really creating anything. I simply present what I think is good and worth preserving.

How can this translate with my craft beer enthusiasm?

Well, it has with my involvement in the Columbia Beer Enthusiasts. I helped create and manage their online presence while doing my part to create events that promote craft beer to all of Middle Missouri. I’ve even been asked to host some beer/ice cream/record pairing events, but that’s still top-secret. I’ll let you know when this materializes.

All of this curating comes together in written form on the blog you’re reading right now. Hopefully, it will eventually materialize on actual paper, but that’s a work in progress. I may have to back off and curate some other writers to accomplish this goal…

Anyways, the point is that if we can’t create, we should curate. Consuming thoughtfully is good, but it barely contributes to the cause. Curating promotes a culture to the masses, encouraging others to join in or at least appreciate said culture. Maybe I should just change the blog’s name to Curating Beer and Pavement

Or not. Thanks for reading once again and participating in the conversation.

The Bourgeois

Posted in Beer, Intersections by Zac on August 14, 2012

 

Beer – craft or otherwise – has always had a reputation for being had on the cheap. This mentality is what keeps so many from even trying a craft beer. Even for craft beer enthusiasts, complaining about beer prices is like complaining about the weather.

I won’t lie. I’ve spent my fair share on beer, but even I won’t (normally) buy a $45 bottle like our friend Jim of Beer and Whiskey Brothers fame. Well, I’d probably chip in to try some, but $45 is a lot to spend on one 750 mL bottle of beer. There’s something about that mental hurdle (that I clear regularly) that one should never pay more for beer than they do wine.

The Beer Bourgeois doesn’t care about price. All they want are the best and rarest beers. That’s cool. It would be cooler if everyone could afford these special beers, but I don’t really mind that there are $45 bottles of beer out there, waiting to empty my wallet. I’ve been know to partake in the bourgeois shenanigans. I understand the allure and payoff involved in drinking expensive beer.

It’s an interesting issue when you factor in the cheap beer syndrome that typically prevails in diehard and casual beer drinkers alike. The diehard beer enthusiast complains because he has to have that beer or that these beers drive up the prices on more regular brews. The casual beer drinker doesn’t give a shit either way.

Something similar happens with records. While this sometimes happens with special packaging or pressings, it more often occurs when bands re-release their seminal work form decades past. Albums that could hardly sell more than a few thousand copies can now ask top-dollar for re-issues pressed on 180-gram vinyl and sporting new packaging.

There’s no better example of this than the flurry of reissues from 90s indie heroes Archers of Loaf. Two particular re-issues just came out a week or two ago in the form of All the Nation’s Airports and White Trash Heroes. The vinyl is non-black and heavy. The artwork has been completely re-imagined. The liner notes offer a bit more while the digital download still has more to offer. It’s everything for which an indie child of the 90s could ask and all for almost 20 bucks a pop, considerably more than what those records used to go for.

Let me be clear. I am not complaining. I am glad that these albums are receiving the proper re-issue treatment. I am elated to own all of Loaf’s full-length albums on vinyl. (Although, I already owned Vee Vee and a picture disc of All Nations prior to their reunion and re-issue-palooza, not to mention numerous singles and EPs.) This is a good development in that I get some nice records and these deserving artists finally get the recognition they deserve.

I’m also fairly willing to spend money on high-end beers. I mean, these are the best beers in the world and yet they’re still a fraction of their wine-y equivalent. I won’t buy cases of expensive beer, but I’ll buy a bottle or a glass on tap just so that I can try it.

So, this may actually make me part of the bourgeois with limits. I am firmly middle-class, but I have to budget my money. I guess more of us (reading this post) are in that situation than not.

So, are you a bourgois beer nerd/geek/enthusiast/whatever? Are you record-buying and concert-going behaviors of the bourgeois? I came to conclusions I did not fully expect. Where do you stand? Does it even matter? Am I just reaching for blogging topics at this point?

Either way, Jim liked the beer I mentioned above and the Archers of Loaf re-issues are totally worth the money, if you’re into that kind of thing and can afford it.

Why Liberals Never Win

Posted in Beer, Intersections, Mikkeller by Zac on August 10, 2012

This went down.

One craft brewer beating up on a handful of niche craft brewers who in-turn beat back on the first craft brewer. Aren’t they all supposed to be on the same team?

It’s silly, really. Craft brewers own 5-10% of the beer market in the US. Why bash each other because one segment goes about their business differently than you? Wy not focus all your effort on the big boys?

For all their faults, this is something BrewDog does, but they are a minority. The Scottish craft brewers are in it just to take on the big boys. They feel no need to attack their own. Instead, they promote kindred spirits, even collaborating from time to time. When it comes to taking on a common enemy, craft brewers either turn on each other or turn a blind eye toward their macro adversaries.

In music, the same doesn’t typically happen. Although, sometimes, there are beefs, particularly if Wayne Coyne is involved. Still, indie rockers generally leave each other alone. It’s the fans and bloggers that like to tear down their own. Debates over how indie a band is or isn’t or whether or not a band is indie enough dominate conversation. Instead of celebrating indie rock, we make it a pissing contest where those who piss the shortest distance win.

This is why liberals never win.

The more thoughtful, critical side of the political spectrum constantly beats itself up over nuance, subtlety, and semantics. Liberals do more harm to one another than conservatives who tend to toe the party line. Liberals are constantly redefining what being liberal means while conservatives are set up to just do things as they’ve always been done.

Of course, there are exceptions. There always are. However, time and time again, I find the internal battles among liberals, the craft beer community, and indie rock to be frustrating. I mean, I love and identify with these communities because of their critical, reflective natures, but sometimes they do more harm than good.

Thoughts? Am I overreacting? Does this happen on the same levels among conservatives, macro brewers, or major labels? Discuss.

*Then, there’s this. Really? Who cares?

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Anniversaries

Posted in Beer, Intersections, Life, Records by Zac on July 10, 2012

Man, it’s been quiet around here…

Last night was my seventh wedding anniversary. We opted to stay in and have a nice dinner, much to the chagrin of my three-year-old. After all, my partner is the best cook in this town (not counting chefs and even then it’s close). It was steak and loads of veggies from our CSA.

Normally, such an occasion calls for a ridiculously boozy imperial stout of sort or another, but I opted for the nice Port Brewing Anniversary Ale my friend Alex sent me. My wife had wine and the kid drank her milk and water dutifully.

Anniversaries are for reliving important moments in our lives. I attach conversations, food, drink, and music to these moments in time. I still remember the shot of Żubrówka I downed at the conclusion of the ceremony as well as the one I had after the pictures were all taken. Then there was that first homebrewed hefeweizen (courtesy of my FiL) and a blur of an evening. All these memories come rushing back every year on July 9th.

Breweries like to commemorate their anniversaries as well. As mentioned, my seventh was spent nursing one such beer from Port Brewing. With its fruitiness and boozy heft, the Imperial IPA stood up well to our top sirloin steaks. I may have held onto the beer too long to fully enjoy the hoppy nose I’m sure it offered when fresh, but the beer was so masterful in all other areas that it didn’t really matter. While it certainly was a proper brew for anniversaries – mine and theirs – I wouldn’t hold onto one until the next. Drink it now if you are lucky enough to find a bomber.

The music last night also hearkened back the days leading up to our wedding. My partner has particular tastes and isn’t always interested in what’s new. In those days, we wore out my copy of Broken Social Scene’s You Forgot It in People. So, it seemed apropos to put the album on.

I like anniversaries. They don’t have to be big events. Sometimes a nice, quiet dinner with my two favorite people and a good beer is all I need.

[Previously...]

Attention Whores: Wayne Coyne and BrewDog

Posted in Beer, Intersections, Rock vs. Beer by Zac on June 8, 2012

For a little context, watch the following two videos. Beware, however. Both are NSFW. The first due to imagery and the second due to language. Although, they both feature nudity…

From the Flaming Lips, featuring Erykah Badu[1]:

From Brew Dog:

First, let’s address the Flaming Lips/Erykah Badu video.

It seems that Wayne Coyne and the Lips upset Ms. Badu by releasing the the video for their collaboration on “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” before she was able to approve it. What was she so upset about? Well, the video features Badu as well as her sister in a bathtub (at different times, you perverts). In various shots, the tub is filled with water, glitter, what appears to be fake blood, and something white, milky and sticky (you can figure out what it represents). In addition, Badu and her sister’s bodies are on full display[2] including slow-motion shots of their rear ends getting smacked.

FWIW, the video is decidedly NSFW. There’s no debating that.

What is up for contention, however, is whether it counts as art or just a bit of soft porn, intended to shock. The slow, lingering shots of the women’s bodies certainly can be titilating for someone into that kind of thing[3]. Additionally, the various substances clinging to their bodies surely is a fetish for someone. Still, I’d argue the concept and portrayal is beautiful and adds dimensions of motherhood and birthing to the song that I never heard before. While the imagery is no doubt very graphic, it also contains a large amount of artistic merit.

The above was my take before I knew of Badu’s displeasure. Something doesn’t sit well with me when rich (yes, the Lips are moderately rich at this point), white men use sexualized images of women – particularly women of color – for their own gain[4]. Her complaints paint head Lip Wayne Coyne as a master manipulator who exploited the images of Badu and her sister for shock value[5], garnering more attention for his band.

Of course, I also see the other side of it. This video is a case of Wayne being Wayne[6]. When he’s not posting a video of a naked Badu in blood, he’s Tweeting pictures of his naked partner (NSFW), walking out of a giant vagina (you guessed, NSFW), or flashing his own twig and berries in a video (REALLY NSFW or bicyclists). The man is not afraid of using the naked form in his art. So, Badu should have had some idea that Coyne would do something like this. It doesn’t excuse Coyne for not running it by Badu first, but one has to wonder what she expected from a man who is constantly surrounding himself with imagery of naked women[7].

In the end, the Lips apoplogized after Badu and Coyne had some back-and-forth Tweeting. The video was pulled with an edited version due Monday. Coyne apologized. Both parties received a fair amount of attention. Life goes on.

The second video features BrewDog’s attempt at pitching a reality series. Others in craft beer have tried this, but few have produced anything as compelling or aggressive as BrewDog. That said, many simply chalk it up as the Scottish craft brewers looking to create a little publicity with yet another stunt.

For the most part, the show looks like something one would find on almost any cable network. You have engaging subjects in James Watt and Martin Dickie doing crazy things like finding multiple ways to destroy corporate beers[8] or cooking in the nude[9]. They have a travel feature where they visit some of the best brewers in the world. Basically, all the things they normally do have been captured and pieced together in video.

As I suggested above, some grow weary of BrewDog’s never-ending efforts to garner attention for their little brewery, even when it isn’t their fault. They brew beers both ridiculoulsy high in alcohol and low. They package beers in dead animals. And they generally do whatever they can to upset the beer traditions and corporate overlords of the United Kingdom[10].

Personally, I don’t care. Aside from a few early bottles I did not enjoy, BrewDog has consistently wowed me with some fantastic beers. I even find some of the stunts they put on to be entertaining as I’m sure Watt and Dickie intended[11]. Besides, their message isn’t for the converted American craft beer nut. It’s for unitiated[12] of their own homeland.

What these two stories have in common is that they were created by attention whores. I don’t mean this in a derogitory way. The men in question just long for loads of attention. They stir up controversy so as to enter the conversation. In the end, it garners attention for their craft as well which means income.

I’m okay with this. Corporations do silly things all the time to get your business. Why can’t indie-crafters?

The biggest difference between corporations and indie-crafters lies in the resources they have to throw at such controversies. So, corporations can blanket us with one stupid, attention-getting stunt after another without ever really committing to big-time cotnroversy. However, if you’re a craft brewer or indie rocker, you have fewer opportunities to make a splash with far-reaching marketing campaigns. So, you have to get more bang for you buck by drumming up a little controversy. I get that.

What I don’t get is the blatant disregard for their audience and/or fellow collaborators. Why did Coyne have to exploit Badu’s willingness to appease his artistic vision by posting a video she obviously would not have approved? Why does BrewDog spend so much time even addressing their corporate competitors when their beer should speak for itself[13]? I don’t know the answer to this, but this aspect of the attention-grabbing is disappointing.

There are more positive ways to grab that attention. Sufjan Stevens has made a living off of completing just 4% of a project when he claimed to be working on a 50-state project[14]. Sam Calagione changed liquor laws in Delaware and crossed the Potomac (or was it the Delaware?) with a keg of beer to open his brewery[15]. These stunts hurt non one, garner attention, and generally keep the focus on the product.

Either way, it’s clear that Wayne Coyne and BrewDog need attention. I don’t mind that they need it. I just wish we could get back to the music and beer.

Notes:
1Sorry. It’s been taken down. You’ll have to bear with my descriptions or use your memory if you were able to catch it.
2FWIW, this is not the first time Badu has been naked in a music video. Check it (NSFW, obviously).
3Let’s be real. I enjoyed it. The women are beautiful and I thought it was tastefully shot and edited.
4How would this debate be different if we were talking about Larry Flynt or Dov Charney or Terry Richardson? Would it be any different?
5Is anything Wayne Coyne does shocking anymore?
6I recognize the irony of using this phrase. It sounds an awful lot like “boys will be boys.” So, I’m already uneasy with this argument. However, it is a layer of the onion that must be peeled.<-I'm way better with this metaphor.
7In part of Badu’s online rant, she mentions that she loves the Lis’ show. If you’ve ever been to a Flaming Lips’ concert in the last 12 or so years, you’re pretty acutely aware of the nudity involved. Also, they’re called The Flaming Lips. What do you think that means? Wayne Coyne ate some habinero peppers one day?
8Waste of money.
9Gross.
10This is pretty easy to do. I enjoy it when beer bloggers from the UK visit the Coalition. They have a different perspective to provide. However, they are a protective lot when it comes to beer tradition.
11Surely, you all realize this. Everytime you bring up BrewDog, they get more attention and then more money. Ditto for Wayne Coyne.
12The message isn’t for you, Real Ale Guy. They don’t want your money. Go back to your pint.
13Stone does this as well, but their arguments are not so mean-spirited. When Greg Koch talks about “fizzy yellow beer”, I get the sense that he is promoting his beer more than shooting down the big boys. BrewDog come off less nuanced.
14However, I suspect he will put out a flurry of 5-10 more state-themed albums at some point. Oregon’s next, I predict.
15I think I have totally butchered this story. Possibly none of it is true.

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Come to my DJ night!

Posted in Intersections, Life, Live, Pavement, Records by Zac on June 4, 2012

Tonight, I am playing records at the Uprise Bar here in Columbia, MO for Monday Night Vinyl. If’ you’re nearby, stop in. The set starts at 9PM and will last until either they kick me out or I run out of records. The latter is more likely than the former as I have a pretty substantial list from which to work below as well as a plan to play through The Walkmen’s Heaven to finish off the night.

You may also follow me on Twitter where I will do my best to update records played and beers had. (I updated the list with what I can remember. I wrapped about two minutes past closing. It worked well and didn’t have to pay for one beer. Said beers: 4 Hands Pryus Saison, Avery 19th Anniversary Tripel, Bacchus.)

Track(s) | Band/Musician | Album

  1. Cut Your Hair | Pavement | 12 ” single
  2. Here | Pavement | John Peel Session 7″
  3. Baptiss Blacktick | Pavement | Summer Babe 7″
  4. With a Girl Like You | Condo Fucks | Fuckbook
  5. Stockholm Syndrome | Yo La Tengo | I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One
  6. Autumn Sweater | Yo La Tengo | I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One
  7. Little Honda | Yo La Tengo | I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One
  8. The Wall | Yuck | Yuck
  9. Head to Toe | The Breeders | Head to Toe 7″
  10. Shocker in Gloomtown | The Breeders | Head to Toe 7″ (GBV cover)
  11. Auditorium | Guided By Voices | Alien Lanes
  12. Motor Away | Guided By Voices | Alien Lanes
  13. Try Harder | Times New Viking | Dancer Equired
  14. Mr. Superlove | Ass Ponys | Mr. Superlove
  15. My World Is Empty Without You | Afghan Whigs | My World Is Empty Without You
  16. If I Were Going | Afghan Whigs | Gentlemen
  17. Gentlemen | Afghan Whigs | Gentlemen
  18. Divine Hammer | The Breeders | Last Splash
  19. Boyfriend | Best Coast | Crazy For You
  20. Walk in the Park | Beach House | Zebra
  21. Go Outside | Cults | Cults
  22. Forward Forward Back | Believers | Believers
  23. Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away | Clap Your Hands Say Yeah | Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
  24. After Hours | Caribou | Andorra
  25. Desire Be Desire Go | Tame Impala | Inner Speaker
  26. Rock and Roll Will Never Die | Neil Hamburger | Hot February Night
  27. Sink to the Beat | Cursive | Burst and Bloom
  28. Going Back to Cali | LL Cool J | Less Than Zero
  29. Michael Jackson | Das Racist | Relax
  30. Scenario | A Tribe Called Quest | The Low End Theory
  31. Hey Ladies | Beastie Boys | Paul’s Boutique
  32. Gangsta | Tune-Yards | Whokill
  33. Eleven | Thao & Mirah | Thao & Mirah
  34. Bellbottoms | The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion | Orange
  35. Ditch | The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion | Orange
  36. Busted | The Black Keys | The Big Come Up
  37. Gloria | Patti Smith | Horses
  38. Born to Run | Bruce Springsteen | Born to Run
  39. A More Perfect Union | Titus Andronicus | The Monitor
  40. Xmas Trip | Run On | Start Packing
  41. You’re Pretty Good Looking | The White Stripes | DeStijl
  42. Indian Summer | Beat Happening | Jamboree
  43. Here She Comes Now | Nirvana | 7″ split w/Melvins (VU cover) She’s Real | Built to Spill Caustic Resin | Built to Spill Caustic Resin 10″ (Kicking Giant cover)
  44. She’s Real | Built to Spill Caustic Resin | Built to Spill Caustic Resin 10″ (Kicking Giant cover) Here She Comes Now | Nirvana | 7″ split w/Melvins (VU cover)
  45. [whenever you see fit] | 7MO6DES4T-HMOEURSEO | [whenever you see fit]
  46. Slap Me | The Folk Implosion | Take a Look Inside…
  47. You and Me | Archers of Loaf | Icky Mettle
  48. Might | Archers of Loaf | Icky Mettle
  49. Untitled | Interpol | Turn on the Bright Lights
  50. Obstacle 1 | Interpol | Turn on the Bright Lights
  51. Look out the Window | The Walkmen | Split EP
  52. Laminated Cat | Loose Fur | Loose Fur
  53. Farewell Transmission | Magnolia Electric Company | Magnolia Electric Company
  54. The President’s Dead | Okkervil River | The President’s Dead
  55. King of Carrot Flowers part two | Jeff Mangum | Live at Jittery Joe’s
  56. King of Carrot Flowers part three | Jeff Mangum | Live at Jittery Joe’s
  57. Oh Comely | Jeff Mangum | Live at Jittery Joe’s
  58. Heart of Gold | Neil Young | Harvest
  59. Waiting for Superman | Iron and Wine | Around the Well (Lips cover)
  60. Waiting for Superman | The Flaming Lips | The Soft Bulletin
  61. Inside the Golden Days of Missing You | Silver Jews | The Natural Bridge (and maybe something else from this album)
  62. Honk If You’re Lonely | Silver Jews | American Water (and maybe something else from this album)
  63. The Wild Kindness | Silver Jews | American Water
  64. Discretion Grove | Stephen Malkmus | Discretion Grove 7″
  65. Two Beck tracks that I’ve forgotten…
  66. Fall Away | Stephen Malkmus | Mirror Traffic
  67. Gorgeous Georgie | Stephen Malkmus | Mirror Traffic
  68. Billie | Pavement | Terror Twilight
  69. Fight This Generation | Pavement | Wowee Zowee
  70. Two States | Pavement | Slanted and Enchanted
  71. Stereo | Pavement | Brighten the Corners
  72. Fillmore Jive | Pavement | Crooked Rain Crooked Rain
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