• top-15-albums-2015

    Top 15 Albums of 2015

    Sunday, December 13, 2015

    This was another diverse, interesting year for music. Check out my picks for the cream of the crop after the hop.

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  • n8

    Neon Indian Live at Mr. Small’s Fun House

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

    This past weekend I made the 369.3 mile journey to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to see Neon Indian perform his great new album Vega Intl Night School. The trip couldn’t…

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  • justin

    Episode # 1 Justin Mastrangelo

    Monday, August 17, 2015

    I interview my good friend Justin Mastrangelo about his history in art, his career as a full time professor and his recent artist residency at Salem Art Works….

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  • Interview: Rose Quartz

    Tuesday, March 31, 2015

    I spoke with Ethan from the Denver based Synthpop group Rose Quartz about their origins as a band, how they’ve shared the stage with STRFKR, Cut Copy, Future…

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  • Interview: Qualiatik

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015

    I had a chance to talk with neuroscience student and ambient electronic musical artist Arielle Herman about her musical origins and her grant to illustrate how brainwaves change…

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Apr
16

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Ra Ra Riot at the Cracker Factory

ra-ra-riotPretty pumped about this show. Their new album is the best of the year so far.

Mar
17

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The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller

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(From left to right) Yo La Tengo Members Ira Kaplan, James McNew and Georgia Hubley. Photo by Aaron Z. Lee

I attended a really cool event last night. It was my very first live documentary with the narration of filmmaker Sam Green and live music from legendary indie rock group Yo La Tengo. If you’re into solving world issues through efficiency and design check out R Buckminster Fuller and attend this presentation if you see it pop up anywhere else. Every performance is different.

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(From left to right) Yo La Tengo Members Ira Kaplan, filmmaker Sam Green and Yo La Tengo members James McNew and Georgia Hubley. Photo by Aaron Z. Lee

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(From left to right) Sam Green and Yo La Tengo Members Ira Kaplan, James McNew and Georgia Hubley. Photo by Aaron Z. Lee

Feb
23

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Pens and Pilsners

Peak Organic Fresh Cut Pilsner
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They weren’t kidding when they said this was a dry hopped pilsner. If you’re a fan of hops or urine, you’ll have a lot to enjoy with Peak Organic’s Fresh Cut Pilsener. The packaging is really nice using a green stamp of sans serif and script fonts on a black and white photograph with the peak organics logo. Unfortunately it is what’s on the inside that counts. 2/10

Simpler Times Pilsner

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A little bit bubbly, a little bit sweet. Very easy to drink. This beer is really solid, it’s got decent body. It doesn’t have anything that really blows my mind, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth a try. This is also the Trader Joe’s in house brand. Pretty impressive. 7/10

 

Josephsbrau PLZNR25064395312_840a421c7f_o

A little bit hoppier than the Simpler Times Pilsner, but still a decent beer. The label is really nice. It makes good use of simple modern design and the bold red white and blue label is eye-catching. The beer itself is still a pleasant drink but not quite as good as even Labatt. 4/10

Pilsner Urquellimg_6606_25503812091_o

Pilsner Urquell is the original pilsner. The first blonde lager. Pilsner Urquell was founded as a public brewery in the city of Pilsen in Poland in 1838, originally called “Měšťanský pivovar PlzeňMěšťanský pivovar Plzeň”. Now that the history lesson is over, the beer has a light and almost sweet light taste of malt and hops. On a warm and sunny day outside one might even imagine a bit of honey in the recipe. Very light and easy to drink, this beer is a true classic. To add to the excellence of the beer, the label and the bottle itself are so carefully and considerately designed. With “PLZEN CZECH” embossed in the bottle itself and a key component of the is a facsimile of a wax seal and some great stylized typography. 9/10

Against the Grain Brewery: Poffo Pils

A bit more hoppy than the classic Pilsner Uquell, but it is crisp ad smooth with just a hint of hops. The hops are not beating you over the head and choking you until you pass out here. This pilsner is a little thicker than your usual run of the mill pilsner but it’s full of refreshing flavor that seems to get better with every sip. Lets talk about the label. It’s great. It’s a great illustration of an aging tattooed lady who takes fashion tips from Randy the Macho Man Savage, complete with “OOOHHH YEAAAHH!” below the logo on the can and above a little advertising copy. This is a fun pilsner. 7/10

Remain in Light Hopy Pilsnercalifornia-museums-balboa-park-san-diego_26246903146_o

I ran into the Remain in Light Hoppy Pilsner from Cambridge Brewing ironically while in San Diego for a conference. I love the name because it’s a reference to Talking Head’s classic album of the same name. It is listed as a “Hoppy Pilsner” which frightened me because I thought I wouldn’t be a fan of a beer named for my favorite Talking Heads album. Luckily, it’s pretty good. It’s hoppy a little but not overwhelmingly so. The can is beautifully designed with a hand drawn crowd watching a super small stage. Remain in light Hoppy Pilsner is light, fun, accessible and a little heady just like the Talking Heads themeselves. 6/10

North Coast Brewing Scrimshaw Pilsnercalifornia-museums-balboa-park-san-diego_25999970910_o

The North Coast Brewing Scrimshaw is a beer that boasts it contains Water, Malted Barley, Hops, yeast and that’s all. It is light and crisp with some bubbly rounded texture and a strong malty finish. Definitely a beer that leaves a good taste in your mouth. The packaging is a little old school being so hugely solidly blue with a carved tooth in the middle of a godl circle with the type right up againt the circle line, so the designer in me cringes at little errors like that, but like with a lot of things you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. 7/10

Victory Prima Pils

When I first tried the Prima Pils a year ago, it didn’t sit right with me. The hop taste overwhelmed me. I don’t know if I had a bad batch of it or what but I gave it a shot again recently and I really liked it. It’s a bit heavier than other pilsners I’ve tried, but the malt and flour ingredients make it a smooth and satisfying drink to have. The label isn’t bad, its a bit outdated though. It’s a flat vector graphic with gradients on all the parts of the hop with text over it employing obvious drop shadow effects.  If you’re looking for a hearty pilsner out of Pensylvania Victory Prima Pils is your beer. 7/10

Highlights

top-15-albums-2015

Top 15 Albums of 2015

Sunday, December 13, 2015

This was another diverse, interesting year for music. Check out my picks for the cream of the crop after the hop.

Interview: Rose Quartz

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I spoke with Ethan from the Denver based Synthpop group Rose Quartz about their origins as a band, how they’ve shared the stage with STRFKR, Cut Copy, Future…

Interview: Qualiatik

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I had a chance to talk with neuroscience student and ambient electronic musical artist Arielle Herman about her musical origins and her grant to illustrate how brainwaves change…

Interview: MIKRO

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I had a chance to talk to the excellent electronic band MIKRO from Athens Greece about their longevity, their love of vintage synths and their future.