Beer and Pavement

I’m Back

Posted in Meta by SM on July 23, 2015


It looks like I couldn’t give this up. Stay tuned…

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Hiatus from the Hiatus and other things

Posted in Life by SM on April 9, 2012

Not too long ago[1], my wife noticed that I know a lot of young women. She’s right. I probably know more ~college-aged women at this moment in time than I did when I was in college. When she made the observation, several of these friends and acquaintances had stopped to say hello while we were out on the town. I had been telling of other encounters in clubs and online with these women. So, she noticed a pattern in my social circle.

I’m not bragging. It’s just that when one partakes in oodles of social media socializing and goes out fairly regularly for beer and live music, it’s easy to know a lot of young[2] people (male and female). Also, there’s probably something non-threatening for these women about the married guy with a kid, talking music and such while not hitting on them. Trust me. I’m not bragging.

This is not about titillation or some adulterous contemplation. My partner is not jealous, nor should she be. This town is small enough that there may be whispers. I know I’ve heard them about other married guys my age or older who I see out and about, but that’s not me and that’s not why I’m writing this.

There are things that separate me from the young. These things might even be what make me such a nonthreatening novelty around town, but these characteristics clearly keep me from being seen as a potential suitor at best or stalker at worst[3]. Of course, these things are what I write about almost exclusively on this blog: craft beer and indie rock[4].

At times, there are things I do or preferences I have that can cause me to be perceived as cooler or unreachable than I actually am. For example, a few weekends ago, I participated in a casual tasting of beers that featured an extraordinary number of rare and insanely big beers. You can see for yourself on my Untappd feed for March 25th[5]. On a musical note, I just received the new Lee Ranaldo solo record[6], of Sonic Youth fame. What these two facts might tell people – particularly young, hip women – is that I’m on a higher plain with my consumption of beer and music.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. That Sunday afternoon of beer revelry nearly did me in. I didn’t wake with a hangover, mostly because I fell asleep before dinner. The fact that I’m so into Sonic Youth that I even buy their solo records is really pathetic in that the one time I had an opportunity to speak with Lee Ranaldo, I chickened out like a typical fan-boy. The point is that I’m not nearly as cool as the things in which I consume.

Conversely, I’m probably not as boring and dad-like as a few of my other choices would suggest. Alongside the Lee Ranaldo record, I’ve been listening to new records by The Shins[7] and White Rabbits[8]. One (The Shins) smells of dad-rock[9]. The other shows an aging hipster grasping at newer indie bands that aren’t all that new nor indie. Of course, I like variety and have followed these bands before they were ignored by the likes Pitchfork and Hipster Runnoff. These records making it to my regular rotation have less to do with me being an out-of-touch dad than they have to do with habits, loyalty, and a general interest in how music develops over time.

I also have some mainstream tastes in beer. There was a recent crawfish boil in our neighborhood. These gatherings are often an opportunity to pull out some nice beers to share. However, I opted to be one of the group[10], bringing a selection of a variety of APA’s, amber ales, and other less-extreme brews. It didn’t show me softening since that epic tasting the weekend prior, but it showed that I can have craft beer that fits any situation. Craft beer is for the people, not just the beer geek set.

I don’t know what I’m really trying to say here. It’s just an attempt to bust my slump and work out of this hiatus. I realize that the post comes off as conceited, but that’s not how I meant it. My point is that I am perceived a certain way that is both attractive and somewhat banal. The pressures of living up to perceptions that I’m something more than I am can crush my creativity at times. Additionally, the normality of drinking beer and listening to rock and roll isn’t always that inspiring, hence the hiatus.

Sorry for coming out of the hiatus with such a rambly mess. It can only go up from here. In the meantime, enjoy the return of footnotes. Look for some regular series[11] of posts and hopefully less rambly ramblings.

1 Yes, it seems the hiatus is over. There’s not much of a focus just yet, but I have ideas. I’m cutting back on beer and music expenses. so, this should be interesting. Stay tuned. And, yes, the footnotes are back for the time being. Also, as long as it has taken me to write this post, it has actually been a long time ago, but I digress.
2 Of course, “young” is relative. I’m 37 and anyone under 20 is young to me. Anyone under 25 is a kid.
3 I do worry more about being perceived as a creepy old guy more than a target of affection. The potential whispers about my fidelity do not bother me, but being seen as a stalker does. Hopefully, that’s not how anyone perceives me.
4 Yes, young women (and men) enjoy craft beer and indie rock. However, the craft beer of which I speak is often beyond the average income of a college student. So, PBR or their ilk are often the preferred option. Also, the kids don’t really call it “indie rock.” I’m not sure anyone really does anymore. Additionally, the particular brand of indie I discuss is more closely related to my college days than theirs. Go, back and quit reading the footnotes for more on this.
5 Again, not bragging. I just happen to know some incredibly generous beer enthusiasts in my own age group.
6 It’s poppier than I would have ever guessed. Plus, it sounds as if Ranaldo is trying to drop his deadpan, spoken-word-style vocals for singing. It actually sounds like he’s trying to sing. It’s a bit of a mixed bag overall, especially when he slips in some slide guitar here and there. It’s a fine record, I guess.
7 This record has been growing on me. It’s bigger and showier than past efforts. One can hear the difference professional musicians make. I suspect The Shins will improve as James Mercer figures out how to write songs for/with this new crew of Shins.
8 White Rabbits hail from right here in Middle Missouri, but they apparently didn’t learn to play instruments until they hit Brooklyn. They’ve moved from sounding like The Walkmen to Spoon, now they sound like themselves, perhaps. It’s a talented group, but I’m not sure I’m digging the bigger vibes at the moment. It might grow on me, but I have doubts.
9 Dad rock is basically anything that might have appealed to dads during their college days only it’s friendlier. See: Wilco.
10 Often, I show up to neighborhood parties and get-togethers with fancy beers that only I drink. So, rather than getting drunk in the afternoon sun, I opted for some safer selections that I could have left behind had the day gone too long.
11 For me, describing them as series means that I won’t have to post them on any kind of schedule. I’ve tried schedules and they just don’t work for me. The following are what I’m considering. You can decide what they mean: Indie-Craft Interviews, Stupid S*** I Wrote, BICTB&P Hall of Fame, Key Party, I Can’t Sing It Strong Enough…

Videos and Other Filler

Posted in Uncategorized by SM on March 15, 2012

It was 85 degrees in Middle Missouri yesterday. That heat carried over the night and I couldn’t sleep. So, I figured I’d share a few videos with semi-witty commentary and other bits for your enjoyment. The first two videos are of the WTF variety.

This one stinks terribly of the old beer guard whining about newbie beer geeks. Yes, let’s squash their enthusiasm so that no one buys craft beer anymore. That’s the crabby/serious take. Otherwise, I find it odd, oddly amusing even. This is how many beer geeks get their start, but there’s usually a second part where they chill out with the beer extremes and blogging it all to find a comfortable spot for all of us. What do you think? Is it insulting or just silly? Or both?

Speaking of silly…

The Shins – My Own Worst Enemy

I have no idea what to make of this. Does James Mercer have too much time on his hands? I’m not sure how I feel about the new record (currently streaming on iTunes at the moment and on the way to my house via UPS). Seriously. WTF is this?

In better musical moments…

Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater cover “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”

I’m a big Sharon Van Etten fan at the moment. She feels like this year’s Wye Oak or Eleanor Friedberger. For this AV Undercover session – the first of the new season, Van Etten joins Shearwater for a pretty cool take on the classic Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks duet “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”.

And finally, it’s good to see that Goose Island doesn’t take themselves too seriously…

Top 5 Bands I “Discovered” Opening for Other Bands

Posted in Live, Top 5 by SM on November 7, 2011


I’ve been to a lot of shows over the last 20 years. Less than some, more than most. I’ve seen pretty much every important artist of my generation (aside from REM and Radiohead for some inexplicable reason). Of course, I’ve also seen a lot of openers. Sometimes I skip the opening act, but sometimes I catch a set better than the headliner’s. There have been other times I went just to see the opener.

So, here’s a list of bands who opened for other bands that I “discovered.” Surely, there were people who had heard of these bands before I, but I found them in a place I wasn’t looking.

5.Dirty Three – The first time I saw Pavement marked the night I discovered Dirty Three. Between rants about struggling to find one’s personal pharmacist in the middle of the night, DT played the most intense guitar rock at a slow, methodical pace. Instead listening to a singer go on and on about his #whitewhines, the most sorrowful violin imaginable gave us the soundtrack to the Three’s tales of woe.

4. 764-HERO, The Shins – I discovered these two bands at completely different points in Modest Mouse’s history. 764-HERO opened for MM in the fall of 1996 in a tiny Columbus, OH club called Bernie’s, a bagel/beer joint in a High Street basement. I saw the Shins on MM’s first tour on a major label’s dime. It would be a full year before their record would be released and several years before Natalie Portman changed Zach Braff’s fictional life.

3. Iron & Wine – Like the two above, I saw Iron & Wine open for an Isaac Brock-fronted band. This time, it was Ugly Casanova. We had been anticipating UC’s set that we hardly noticed the bearded man whispering on-stage.

2. Superchunk – This one makes me a little embarrassed to admit. For various reasons, I was slow to picking up on Superchunk. They opened for Guided By Voices, a band I was quick to accept. For that night, Superchunk was the superior band.

1. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – I was late to jump on the JSBX bandwagon but at least it was during their Orange tour. The band opened for the Breeders and all I could remember was a man screaming “Blues Explosion” as he made love to a theromone.