‘08 Full Sail Wassail. Unlike Titan IPA, this is much better on tap than in the bottle, though that may be partly due to aging. Tart but strong, I don’t know that I’d want this in the dead of winter, but it’s really nice on an abnormally nice October day.

Great Divide Titan IPA. Totally different on tap than it is out of the bottle. Wheatiness becomes something more akin to maltiness, and some or the crispness is lost. It’s not often that a beer is better in the bottle than on two, but this may be one or those times. Requires more research.

21st Amendment Back in Black IPA. Good black IPAs combine the best parts of a Porter and an IPA—they’re hippy, but super-smooth all at the same time. The “black” part of this one lacks flavor to be one of my very favorites, but it’s still eminently drinkable.

Song of the Day, Whimsy Friday edition: Facing New York – Cops on Bikes

With the weekend coming, it semeed appropriate to once again infuse Friday with a little bit of extra whimsy. I may start doing this regularly, but since “regularly” on this blog means something more like “every few weeks” that might not really mean much.

In any case, Facing New York’s Cops on Bikes is a nice, jammy way to get your weekend started, with just enough inertia to help you finish the day out.  I was initially disappointed with FNY’s Get Hot, in part because their previous self-titled album was just shy of pseudo-progressive brilliance. With Get Hot, the pretension was excised and replaced with an ease of creating and playing music that I initially mistook for a lack of vision or inspiration. After a few spins, though, I’ve come around and really like it, even if it still feels like a pretty drastic departure.

2009 Deschutes Abyss. “Transcendent” is not a term I use to describe many beers, but this is definitely one of them. Makes life worth living. Seriously.

‘08 Cerberus Tripel. I had this last time I was here, but I don’t think I posted about it. I’m not a huge tripel fan, but this has a great almost sour taste to it that works really well with the general lightness of the beer. Recommended.

Double Mountain Hop Lava IPA. I’m pretty sure I’ve had this before, but I’m not sure if I’ve had it on tap. Surprisingly light for an IPA, and not really in a good way. It tastes more like a pilsner to me, and that’s definitely not what I expected.

Song(s) of the Day: Theatre and Fable – Gatsbys American Dream

Gatsbys American Dream’s Volcano is one of my favorite albums (and no, there is not supposed to be an apostrophe in Gatsbys). I generally have a hard time buying into concept albums, and I’ll admit that on first listen I didn’t make many connections between tracks on this one, but this is one of those albums that rewards repeated listening. Sometimes I’ll read a review of an album where the reviewer is gushing over all the different “characters” and “story lines” present in an album, but when I listen, all I hear is a bunch of songs about a bunch of different stuff. My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade is a great album, but for me, it fails as a concept album. Or maybe I fail as a listener.

Regardless, I’m juxtaposing these songs today because of the thematic threads woven between them. All of Volcano is about human emotions and the ways they resemble a volcano, and these two songs illustrate the way the band conveys this theme with power and subtlety. In Theatre, the album’s opener, Nic Newsham begins the album with the lines, “I see the world in a swirl of hues/but my favorite color is shame,” immediately suggesting strong emotions from the author. In Fable, a disturbingly poppy allegory to Lord of the Flies, Newsham repeats that opening line as the narrator dances around the fire, about to drop the boulder on Piggy and burn the island to the ground. This callback informs the meaning and emotion of both songs, suggesting that the idea of seeing the world in a swirl of hues is associated with feelings of blind rage and hatred.

In addition, during the “violent” portions of Fable, the bass line switches from its regular poppy cadence to that of Theatre, further linking the two songs and the emotions associated with them together. This may seem obvious as you listen to both songs because I’m telling you beforehand, but I’ve been listening to the album since 2005 and just noticed this fact a few weeks ago. It was such a startling realization that it sent chills down my spine.  

Song of the Day: Ben Folds/Nick Hornby – Levi Johnston’s Blues

For the record, I meant to post this this morning, but then I ran out of time. This is what happens when you get it in your head that the only possible option for breakfast is bacon and bacon grease-infused eggs. Life is hard sometimes.

Anyway, this song represents everything that works with Ben Folds and Nick Hornby’s collaboration. It’s just the right mix of clever, poppy and smarmy. It imagines what it must’ve been like for Levi Johnston to realize that his life was never going to be the same having gotten Bristol Palin pregnant, and the way he may or may not have reeled upon hearing the news. The chorus, while a little profane, captures exactly the way a teenager might react to the news that not only was his girlfriend pregnant, but her mother was running for vice president. It’s exactly the kind of belligerent posturing you’d expect from a kid who doesn’t know what else to do with his suddenly very bizarre life circumstances.

Let’s call this an infusion of whimsy for your weekend.