Saturday, July 31, 2010

now that's a rockin' brew!

Brewer claims world's strongest beer

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A Dutch brewer with a penchant for competition has laid claim to creating the world's strongest brew: a beer that is some 60 percent alcohol by volume.

"You don't drink it like beer, but like a cocktail -- in a nice whisky or cognac glass," brewer Jan Nijboer told Dutch news agency ANP.

Nijboer's Almere-based brewery, 't Koelschip (The Refrigerated Ship), sells the new beer, which is 120 proof and dubbed "Start the Future," in a one-third liter bottle for 35 euros ($45) each.

Nijboer told ANP he developed the new brew to keep up with Scottish outfits that were also pushing the boundaries of beer's alcohol content.

His previous record-holder, a beer called Oblix that was 90 proof (45 percent alcohol by volume), was eclipsed by a Scottish beer that reached 55 percent.

That beer, dubbed "The End of History," was announced last week by a small brewery called BrewDog. Only 12 bottles were made, each housed inside a stuffed dead animal and sold starting at 500 pounds ($780) each.

"It has become a little competition," Nijboer said. "You should see it as a joke."


Of course, it's in Amsterdam!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Stooges - 2 CD reissue

This reissue includes a remastered CD of the original album mixes and a second CD of John Cale's mixes (rejected as "too arty" by the record company), alternative takes and expanded, full versions.

Truthfully, I don't hear that big of a difference between the album mixes and Cale's mixes, though they are slightly different (the guitar is more buried and Iggy's voice way more upfront). Nothing close to the changes in sound between the Raw Power album and Iggy's CD mix, but there aren't nearly as many layers in this recording, either.

The alternative versions of "1969", "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and "Not Right" are more than alternative vocals - the backing tracks have changes, as well. The full versions of "Ann" and "No Fun" are significantly longer, with some very cool jams. My friends and I always joked that the band could never think of an ending and that's why all of the songs fade out, but I guess the tunes fade just to keep the song times within reason.

Another essential album and a quality reissue. Well worth the price!

Hendrix - Setting the Record Straight - John McDermott with Eddit Kramer

After the releases of the new Hendrix re-issues with Eddie Kramer's terrific interviews on DVD, I was hoping that this book would be filled with detailed stories of Hendrix's recording sessions. Kramer is highly personable and the DVD's are wonderful and informative. Unfortunately, this book seems to be far more McDermott than Kramer and almost no behind-the-scenes tales.

Basically, this is just another Hendrix biography - nicely done and a good read, but really doesn't offer any new material, as the title would suggest, or even any new insights. I'm actually not sure what the author believes he is "setting straight", other than maybe some old rumors that I don't believe anyone thinks are true.

If Kramer ever does write his own book, detailing the sessions he engineered with Hendrix, I will be first in line to buy it. Hopefully, he will realize how many people would love to see this.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Magic Sam's Blues Band - West Side Soul

Appropriately titled, Magic Sam encompasses soul and blues and mixes it into a terrific combination that reminds you of plenty of other greats (hints of Bo Diddley/John Lee Hooker here, Muddy Waters/Willie Dixon there, Otis Rush somewhere else, etc) while sounded wholly original.

Sam's voice stands out as one of the stronger ones from the Chicago scene, but his guitar screams and stings and bobs and weaves and works with the band not unlike Steve Cropper in Booker T and the MG's. This is definitely the blues, but with a strong soul feel to it, as well.

This is another cat that I've read about for ages, but hadn't heard til now, but will be playing this often. Truly superb!

Buddy Miles Express - Them Changes

I've always dug Miles' terrific funk/rock hit, "Them Changes", both in his solo version and with the Band of Gypsies, but I never got around to buying any of his work. Finally, I decided to pick this one up, which seems to be the only solo record still in circulation. But, this is a fantastic one! Marvelous soul/rock, with some blues influences and though the record company calls it part of their funk series, it is not especially funky (other than the version of Rufus Thomas' "Memphis Train"), just great!

Besides the wonderful title track, there is a cool ballad, a couple of originals, a take on Otis Redding, a bit of jazz and even covers of the Allman Brothers "Dreams" and Neil Young's "Down By the River", done in a 70's Isley Brothers fashion.

Absolutely super recording of some of the best 70's rockin' soul. Buddy has a extremely strong voice and a excellent band. Highly recommended!

Monday, July 12, 2010

RIP Harvey Pekar

Harvey Pekar, Comic Book Author, Dies At 70
Not a rock'n'roller - he was a jazz buff - but a great comic book writer who I just saw speak a couple of months ago.

Gone way too early - he was still working hard and churning out quality pieces.

Very sad - make sure you see the American Splendor movie and buy his comics!