Thursday, December 31, 2009

Favorite Albums of 2009.

Year 2009 will be in the history books in a few hours... so this means it is time for my annual list of my favorite music of the past year. A year that I spent completely on unemployment... so music came from friends and also from selling music to buy music. The CD died more this year. The vinyl album rose in sales. But downloaded music is still gaining more and more ground... and sadly since most downloaded music is still not being paid for the music industry is dying more and more (one of the reasons I lost my job one year ago today).

My Favorite Albums of 2009...
1. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart "s/t" (slumberland)
2. David Bazan "Curse Your Branches" (barsuk)
3. Shrinebuilder "Shrinebuilder" (neurot)
4. Passion Pit "Manners" (french kiss/columbia)
5. Tortoise "Beacons of Ancestorship" (thrill jockey)
6. Nomo "Invisible Cities" (ubiquity)
7. Method Man & Redman "Blackout 2" (def jam)
8. Phoenix "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenex" (loyauté/glassnote)
9. Lily Allen "It's Not Me, It's You" (capitol)
10. Rose Melberg "Homemade Ship" (k)

and the +10:
Animal Collective "Merriweather Post Pavilion" (domino)
The Big Pink "A Brief History Of Love" (4ad)
Bill Callahan "Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle" (drag city)
Bricolage "Bricolage" (slumberland)
Girls "Album" (true panther/matador)
Thee Oh Sees "Help" (in the red)
P.O.S. "Never Better" (rhymesayers)
Roman Candle "Oh Tall Tree In The Ear" (carnival)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs "It's Blitz!" (interscope)
Yo La Tengo "Popular Songs" (matador)

So there you go... another year of music in the books. Hopefully 2010 brings happiness and employment to those that are in need.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Curry explosion.

Cooking lesson: Never blend hot curry sauce. I need to purchase one of those hand blenders.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Oh California how I miss you. Our trip out to the Bay Area reminds me how much I miss seeing my family. Once we leave I am sure Miles will miss the lemon trees in my parent's backyard.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Anchor Christmas.

While in San Francisco why not do something very San Francisco... no, not go to the Golden Gate bridge. Have a lateral tasting of Anchor Christmas beers from 1998 to 2010 with a good group of about fifteen.

My brother had stored at least one magnum bottle of Anchor Brewing's Christmas Ale from 1998 to the current 2009. Supposedly the recipe for the beer changes from year to year, unlike most special Christmas ales released by other breweries (they also change the label each year as well). All are a Porter base, but the spices, and levels of spice change. So we did a tasting over twelve years with only 1999 missing (not sure where that bottle went) to find out if there was much of a difference and if any of it went bad.

The good news: none of the bottles went bad. Each opened with some fizz to it. But we all agreed that some of the flavor must have been lost over the years. As the each bottle was opened (we started with 1998) they seemed to get better and better. Yes there was a difference between the years, but not as much as we thought there would be. The biggest difference we found was between the last two (2008 & 2009). Last year's beer was so heavy and more sip-able (more of a stout), while 2009's beer is the most drinkable in a long time (less spicey, less heavy). The other issue we ran into was we all were getting so full - Anchor Christmas is quite a heavy beer, like many porters.

All in all it was a fun night with a great group of people. In the future I would do the tasting over 5 years and not more than that.