Blog — Page 1 of 211

The infrequently-updated site blog, featuring a range of content including show reviews, musical musings and off-color ramblings on other varied topics.

The Formative Years - Rich Kids on LSD

Posted by T • July 31, 2021

The Formative Years - Rich Kids on LSD

When I first got a hold of Burkhard Jaerisch’s Flex US Hardcore Discography long before the advent of the internet, I not only devoured it but set out to get my paws on all records that were deemed worthy of a 10 / 10 rating. 

While I did not necessarily agree with Burkhard’s assessments all the time, it served as a compass to get exposed to great records independent from stylistic confines with the genre of what was considered hardcore punk.

One of the records that deserved the 10 / 10 was Rich Kids on LSD’s “Rock’n Roll Nightmare”, which I got a hold of in 1991 and which has not left an iota of significance as it remains an insanely great full length.

RKL was founded in 1982 and emerged out of the Nardcore / Mystic Records conglomerate with their initial musical focus on rudimentary early West Coast hardcore, as their first 7” “It’s a beautiful feeling” attests to.

It was followed by their first full length “Keep laughing” in 1985. 

While essentially still playing raw skate core, the full length already shows the potential and how quickly the band evolved musically.   However, the following album “Lifestyles of the Rich Kids on LSD - A Rock N Roll Nightmare” released on Alchemy Records in 1987 was a veritable game changer. 

Rock and metal influences were weaved into rhythm and blues based licks, all of which was played mind-blowingly fast and tight in a manner unheard of from punk rock bands. 

When I first listened to it, I felt like lightning was caught in a bottle and I could not believe the musicianship, attitude and how perfect their delivery and overall presentation was.

Needless to say, Europe went gung ho for RKL and their first tour of the old world was documented with the live album put out by Berlin’s Destiny Records – the very same label that then re-released the Mystic Records era releases.

What has always contributed to Rich Kids on LSD as a band was not only their sonic output, but the craziness of their antics, which was fuelled by constant drug abuse and partying, eventually leading to the first breakup in 1989.

Years later and after having watched a myriad of VHS tapes of their incredible live performances – it must have been in 1994 – I finally got to see RKL live, which was a disappointment par excellence.

Unbeknownst to me, the “Reactivate” album from 1993 on Epitaph Records were originally recordings from the band Slang, which was founded after the breakup and perpetrated by the ex-members. 

While not being a bad records per se, if you like funk and straight-lined rock that is, it was a drastic departure from the DNA of what made RKL great and the tour was a disasters up until the point when original singer Jason Sears was flown in to continue the remaining dates to focus on their pre-Reactivate oeuvre.

Unfortunately, I only got to see them at the beginning of the tour. Following that experience and given my teenage stoic outlook on things and juvenile righteousness, I stopped listening to RKL stante pede, even though word around the campfire has that they returned victoriously many times since before unfortunately the lifestyles of the band members caught up with them and took the ultimate toll.

With the niche RKL carved out for themselves, their talent and their compositions, the influence of Rich Kids on LSD on progressive punk rock at large and specifically melodic hardcore cannot be overstated as they created the blueprint that a myriad of bands on Fat Wreck Chords and Epitaph based their first attempts on.

Enjoy the landmark album that is “Rock’n Roll Nightmare”:

T • July 31, 2021

Reckless Brewing and Moo Brew’s Gin Boilermaker

Posted by T • July 29, 2021

Thus Let Us Drink Beer – Reckless Brewing and Moo Brew’s Gin Boilermaker

 

Having honed and refined channelling her alchemy in the creation of craft beers, the quality of which has left an indelible mark on the firmament of Australian craft brews, Reckless Brewing’s co-founder Grace has and continue to contribute to shaping the DNA of one of the country’s most prominent and prolific breweries, i.e. Akasha, an accolade decorated brewery whose fantastic beers we have extensively featured before as part of this series.

Reckless Brewing is essentially Grace’s side hustle, for which she teamed up with her husband and another long-term friend to brew her own idiosyncratic signature range. 

Given my preference for Akasha’s IPA, I could not wait to try Reckless’ unpasteurised, unfiltered and preservatives free emissions:

Clocking in at 6.5% ABV, Reckless’ Summer IPA rests on a deliciously hoppy foundation comprised of a melange of Mosaic and Galaxy hops and lives up to its name in that it rests on the crisp, citrussy and refreshing end of the flavour spectrum, with the Mosaic hops adding just the right amount of floral and piney nuances.   A passion fruity brew that will definitely enter the rotation once warmer days come around as due to its sessionability, it is one that you want to come back to again and again.

Reckless’ Red IPA, as the name does suggest, completes the cycle as it the winter equivalent to the aforementioned Summer IPA.  With the same ABV and Galaxy hops being replaced with Citra hops, which adds a fruit bowl of flavours and aromas ranging from mangoes and passion fruit via pineapple to peachy highlights set against a massive backbone.

Given the quality of what I have had the chance to sample, I can only hope that the release of Reckless Brewing’s own DIPA is only a matter of time.

 

Let’s head South, to Hobart, Tasmania.

The fact that I harbour a deep appreciation for MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, its festivals and pretty much all of what it has spawned, is not exactly the most well-guarded secret, as our manifold coverage of the entities it holds under its umbrella is testament to.

Moo Brew is, as the name would suggest, the brewing branch of MONA and has since its inception sixteen years ago yet to release an expression that not only masters the respective brewing style, but infused it with its idiosyncratic twist and “je ne sais quoi”.  Things get specifically interesting when Moo Brew ventures out to complement its core range with often unique limited releases, of which the one I would like to shed light on today is one I have neither tasted nor tried before.

Last year I missed Moo Brew’s collaboration when they took the concept of a boilermaker and created their very own ready-to-drink one by joining forces with local distillery Lark to blend their fantastic IPA with a single malt. Sound like it would be right up my alley? You bet and I still have not given up on tracking down a can.

What I have in front of me today is the gin equivalent, i.e. the combination of pilsener and Lark Distillery’s Forty Spotted gin. 

Sounds weird and intriguing? It is and while it sounds like a mere novelty concoction, it is interesting to see that it works.

Upon approach, the botanicals of the gin tickle the nostrils and unfold their floral, grapefruit and juniper nuances set against a solid backbone of malty, biscuity flavours, rounded out by a delicate bitterness.

Clocking in at 5.5% ABV, this “pink pilsener” is extremely sessionable and makes me regret even more that I missed out on the whisky equivalent.

 

Back in Sydney it is business as usual, at least when it comes to Wayward Brewing pumping out highly delicious quality beers.  Case in point this time: Wayward Son Lupulin IPA, their hoppy homage to the band Kansas.

Wayward Son is Wayward Brewing head brewer’s way of celebrating the birth of his offspring with a delicious series of limited releases, which in this case results in one of the best IPAs I have had this year.

This year’s batch takes things to the next level as far as all-out haziness and sweet juiciness is concerned. I usually enjoy my IPAs along with a peaty dram from Islay and while in this case the Octomore 7.2 fills up the room with deliciously smoky notes, the Wayward Son rivals it with its stonefruity and tropical aromas and highlights on the citrussy and mandarin end of the spectrum with just the right amount of bitter hoppiness backing it all up.

In the hop department, the Citra variant takes centre stage with its yellow gland, i.e. the Lupulin, and its pollen rule supreme. In essence, Lupulin is the very concentrate of hop flavours, which is created via a cryogenic separation process and results in double the amount of aromatic oils and other goodness.

The result is an intense brew that thanks to the use of Lupulin is not a tad astringent – a veritable juice bomb that would never have you guess an alcohol content of 7.3%.

Wayward goodness par excellence.

T • July 29, 2021

Beethoven and Wagner vs Nietzsche

Posted by T • July 26, 2021

Beethoven: A life

University of California Press

 

There is no shortage of books dedicated to the life of a composer whose legacy has never ceased to reverberate and impact music at large. Released to commemorate the two hundred fiftieth anniversary of his birth, what sets this biography apart in terms of authority is partly due to the unprecedented access Beethoven-Haus Bonn has granted for this tome. The other contributing factor is due to the author Jan Caeyers is both a musician as well as a scholar, who dedicated his professional life to the study of Beethoven.

The result is a complex and nuanced examination of not only Beethoven’s oeuvre, but his private life, trials and tribulations, which via meticulous analysis offers new insights into how it all contributed and how he transitioned to become the artistic icon we have come to appreciate.

Eloquent, accessible even for the uninitiated and engaging in nature, Caeyers expertly highlights not only how Beethoven was changed and influenced by his circumstances and both the political and philosophical status quo, but how he eventually impacted the trajectory of history and redefined music.

By incorporating different and at times opposing viewpoints, Caeyers’ succinct elaborations are a rewarding and eminently readable addition to the Ludwig van Beethoven biographical canon, as they present an intriguing and never glorifying perspective of what talent can achieve if backed by determination, hard work and a deluge of passion can achieve in music.

Beyond Reason: Wagner contra Nietzsche  

University of California Press

It is a known fact that Friedrich Nietzsche adored Richard Wagner and his oeuvre.

Karol Berger examines the relationship by structuring his tome in four major parts. Starting with a prologue focussing on Wagner’s principal worldviews, the author takes an objective approach by critically evaluating the merits of Wagner’s emissions at face value level, to then carve out his well-researched interpretations and arrives at interesting conclusions, such as e.g. the claim that Nietzsche’s Wagnerian takeaways are partly based on misunderstandings, especially when it comes to the ideology that the music dramas have been infused with. 

Things get interesting when Karol Berger digs into the dramaturgy of Wagner’s compositions and positions them within the canon of a range of school of thoughts, as he arrives at the conclusion that the relationship between Nietzsche and Wagner and how it is commonly perceived is fundamentally flawed.

No matter if you harbour an appreciation for either of the two protagonists, Beyond Reason is worth an investment for Karol Berger’s knife-sharp insight and brilliant and well-researched arguments.

A fascinating read.

T • July 26, 2021

Water of Life – Limeburners and Earp Distillery

Posted by T • July 25, 2021

Water of Life – Limeburners and Earp Distillery

 

Over the last ten years, Australia has firmly established itself on the map of nations that produce quality malt whiskies. Slowly but steadily, rye whiskies created on terra australis have been making a splash on the scene with quite a few distilleries crafting their own incarnations of American style rye whiskey.

I favourite Australian rye whisky of mine is Tiger Snake, which we covered in a previous instalment so needless to say, I was enthused to learn that two new variants have been released, each of which promised to be taste-intensive expressions from a long way off.

Tiger Snake’s Eye of the Tiger clocks in at a punchy 55% ABV and being a marriage of rye and pale malts along with the fact that the twice distilled result has matured in a melange of old and new American oak casks, it promised to be a multi-layered experience.

What tickles the nostrils upon approach is on the sweeter end of the spectrum, with citrussy vanilla nuances being dominant, backed by lemon grassy highlights.

On the palate things get interesting as the malt characteristics come to the fore, carried by what the nose promised in terms of vanilla but upping the ante with spicy nutmeg, hints of pickles, counterpointed by oaky rye notes.

The finish of this small batch shows the refined way the drop has been matured with grainy, chewy sweetness and floral notes leaving their imprint. If you like Tiger Snake or rye whiskies in general, this should definitely make your must-try list.

Now, things get exciting with the next expression, i.e. Tiger Snake Cask Strength. 

Based on a mash bill comprised of malted barley, rye and corn and a similar maturation process as the aforementioned Rye of the Tiger, the first aromas one catches upon approach are of herbaceous nature.  In many aspects, it feels like additional facets to the core version are added with vanilla being dominant, yet flanked by silage, citrus notes and spicy-peppery highlights.

On the top of the mouth, sweetness reigns supreme before morphing into oaky rye, toffee and brown sugary territory.

The elongated finish is a beauty as it weaves its way traversing herbal, sweet and finely balanced spicy territory.

A wonderfully rich expression, with each batch being based on a single cask and an average age of seven to ten years.

Now, Limeburners Directors Cut series is the crème de la crème of what the distillery has to offer, with expressions being curated by their master distillers and chosen for their exquisite quality and outstanding taste and aroma.

I was majorly excited to be able to try a peated version at cask strength, i.e. 61% ABV from barrel M354. 

Hand distilled in small batches and peat smoked with had foraged peat sourced from the Valley of the Giants in Albany, Western Australia, to then mature in second fill American and finished in a Sherry oak cask,  this is exactly the decadent flavour bomb one could hope for.

I usually prefer sipping whiskies neat, but with a few drops of water this baby starts to really sing as a world of nuanced flavour is unleashed adding malty and oaky nuances to the initially spicy and fruity notes. What I love about this expression is the subtle smokiness that is the cherry on top of a drop which is to be savoured with each sniff and sip. 

Another true Limeburners masterpiece.

Let’s travel from Western Australia back to Australia’s east coast, Newcastle to be specific:

Earp Distilling Co. evolved from the business George Frederick Earp founded well over one hundred years ago and saw the family business transition from being purveyors of goods to becoming creators and infuse the world of distilling with their family values.

From the get go, Earp Distilling’s approach has been to doing things differently and taking things to the next level in the process. Questioning the norms of traditional distilling, Earp focussed on creating their stills from high-quality, chemically inactive stainless steel instead of copper and setting it up so they can be run in different modes with coils to create reflux when needed, which enabled them to not have to relegate to one spirit but the option to create anything no matter if it is gin, run, whisky or liqueurs.

Earp’s set up not only ensure a stable distillation run, but more control over the consistent calibration of flavour nuances, with the added benefit that the innovative design aids to operate in a much more energy efficient manner.

Paying homage to the deities of the Greek antic with the nomenclature of their stills, Earp Distilling derives inspiration from Greek mythology and gives it contemporary relevance when it comes to how they channel their alchemy in distilling.

My first exposure to Earp’s creations was their marriage of their No. 8 Dry Gin and a six week maturation period in vintage Hunter Valley fortified casks. What tickled the nostrils was a lovely, piney aromatic scent with highlights of floral, slightly tart nuances. On the palate, juniper is the backbone on which mild, creamy cinnamon flavours blend in with cardamon, coriander and a culmination in a tangy and crisp sherried finish.

A fantastic gin infused with unique flavour nuances from the fortified casks, which gives an indication of Earp’s expertise when it comes to leveraging their long-standing relationships with leading cooperages and the sourcing of quality oak. Given that Earp seems to have a veritable arsenal of barrels ranging from Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez via ex-Bourbon to Australian vintage casks, I cannot wait for them to release their first whiskey expression.

Now, things get interesting with a spirit that is not too often found on terra australis, i.e. absinthe.

Clocking in at 60% ABV, Earp’s Absinthe Minded expression signifies their descent into the debauched backwater of bohemian times.

Based on the traditional foundation of wormwood, Earp’s delicate infusion of botanicals not only infuse the mysterious spirit with a pink hue but nice lemony, cinnamon and fennel highlights. While the traditional French absinthe ritual is fun, it speaks volumes about Earl’s refined approach that the involvement of a sugar cub is not a necessity, as sipping neat with a bit of water to trigger the louche effect is enjoyable as well.

The fact that Earp Distilling’s creations come in aesthetically appealing ceramic bottles to pay homage to the family’s core business they started out with, does not hurt either.

---

images from company websites

T • July 25, 2021

The Formative Years – Rugby and Canterbury

Posted by T • July 24, 2021

The Formative Years – Rugby and Canterbury

I’ve covered the mecca that Washington DC proved to be as a hotbed for hardcore and punk as part of this series before, however, missed to shed light onto one of my favourite releases from the 1980s era, i.e. the vitally important split LP of the short-lived bands The Faith and Void. 

While The Faith channelled a leaner version of their 70ies punk roots and infused them with their idiosyncratic melodic and emotionally tinged edge to hint at what later on evolved in form of bands like Rites of Spring, Void was the wonderfully mayhemic and chaotic counterpart.

To this day Void remains one of my favourite hardcore bands as ever since I first heard them, their dissatisfaction with the status quo of suburbia resonated with me, especially as a juvenile delinquent. While I loved sports like soccer, Void’s “Organized Sports” nailed it as far as my sentiments of jock like behaviour and elitist club culture were concerned. 

On the German front, Karl Nagel’s attempt at channelling his own version of the Bad Brains with his first band Preussens Gloria delivered the Teutonic equivalent with their “Rugby” 7”.

Funnily, it the same year that I acquired the aforementioned sarcastic “Rugby” 7”, I was introduced to one of the variants of gridiron football during a school trip to Edinburgh. While I was sceptical and dismissive, once I immersed myself in the game, I  fell in love with the game not merely for the resilience and strength building benefits but for the camaraderie, team effort and sense of togetherness it fostered.

Fast forward two decades and I found myself in a country where rugby union is hardwired into its national psyche, i.e. New Zealand. 

Through local contacts I was lucky enough to be invited to participate training sessions of local teams in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch plus I witnessed New Zealand’s national team, the awe inspiring All Blacks incarnate on home turf, of which all players need to have their Māori ancestry verified before selection in the team. 

These impressive experiences only deepened my appreciation for the sport, which I eventually commenced on terra australis.

Gear-wise, a rugged and uncompromising sport like rugby demands crafted products that are built to last, which I found represented in the brand known as Canterbury. 

While I found other sports brands to look fashionable, Canterbury’s point of difference has always been that they invest the time to investigate the nature of rugby in a borderline forensic manner and learn directly from the players as to what is needed on the pitch.

The result of Canterbury’s investment in precisely crafted gear culminates in technical innovations like layered bases, loop necks and rubber buttons, which are not only geared towards optimisation of performance but have become an integral component of their product range, while still preserving a respect for the history, DNA and tradition of the sport. 

With Canterbury’s collection expanding beyond match day gear for rugby, I found their training kits with their focus on comfort and freedom of movement to be optimal for other sports as well and, e.g. for running and gym related exercise.

The fact that Canterbury’s designs are easy on the eye and stylish in a contemporary sense without falling prey to the necessity to create loud and declamatory designs does not hurt either, au contraire - their subtle casual range lends itself well to be worn in public without running danger of looking like a chav.

Essentially , Canterbury and the gear they produce caters to every facet of the community and thereby embodies the inclusiveness not only of rugby, but the essence of qualities that bands like Void set out to fight for.

T • July 24, 2021

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Posted in Videos on July 28, 2021

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Posted in Records on July 31, 2021

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Posted in Records on July 31, 2021

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Posted in Records on July 31, 2021

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Posted in Records on July 31, 2021

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Posted in Records on July 31, 2021

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Thrice Release Video For "Scavengers"

Posted in Videos on July 29, 2021

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It's All Over For Sad Park

Posted in Bands on July 29, 2021

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New Thrice Album Is On The Horizon

Posted in Records on July 26, 2021

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Posted in MP3s on July 26, 2021

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Posted in Videos on July 26, 2021

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Posted in Records on July 25, 2021

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Posted in Records on July 25, 2021

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Posted in Records on July 25, 2021

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Posted in Records on July 24, 2021

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Posted in Records on July 24, 2021

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Posted in Records on July 24, 2021

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Posted in Videos on July 24, 2021

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