Short’s Brewing Company: My Short Affair in Bellaire part deux

Annnnnd I’m back. So, at the end of our previous episode, me and my compandre were imbibing in some Soft Parade and Locals Light. Boy, how time flies because I’ve since tried six different beers and loved every single one of em….sorta.


From left to right: Aria’s Ale, Huma-Lupa-Licious IPA, Cinnamon Dobblebock, Prolonged Enjoyment and Freedom of ’78.

Adia’s Ale: Crisp and refreshing, this brew leaves you wanting more. Strawberry and kiwi undertones throughout.

Huma-Luma-Licious: Shannon says it tastes like weed: stems and seeds. I think it’s deliciously hoppy, very floral with a bitterness than can only come with an IPA.

Cinnamon Dopplebock: really smooth and definitely earns its cinnamon name. It’s a beer you could drink a million of and feel okay about it (until the next day).

Prolonged Enjoyment: Personally, it’s a little watery for my tastes, but Shannon found it to be light and delightful.

Freedom of ’78: Honestly, this beer is simply amazing. It’s a mild IPA, with….get ready….a guava purée. Really? I knew that once I read “guava puree” that I was getting it immediately. A collaboration with the Half Acre Brewing Company from Chicago, this beer is my choice brew, save Soft Parade, which I still love.

This bad boy is the Pandemonium
Pale Ale. It’s lighter than a lot the beer I’ve tried tonight, but had a lot of hop to it. Still joyful.

I think this might be all for my beer blogging tonight. But the beard auction still has three minutes, so who knows.

Short’s Brewing Company: My Short Affair in Bellaire

While on a brief trip to Bellaire with my best friend, we realized we didn’t have enough time to do everything we wanted to do. So, like any good planner, we created a small list of must-do’s. Among them, horseback riding, spa treatments, relaxation and, of course, Short’s Brewing Company.

Within the realm of things I love lies music, food (oh, food), cats, tights with boots, cardigans and great beer. While I may not be able to tell the difference in fermentation time, regions stemmed from etc., I’ve grown to appreciate a delicious beer. Soft Parade, my first ever Short’s and favorite (as of now; we shall see later) was the first tapped.

(excuse me, I couldn’t help myself)

Soft Parade is the beer dreams are made of. With hints of strawberry, blueberry and perhaps every other berry out there, it’s not as fruity as you’d think (ie: dudes can drink it too). It finishes dry, but leaves its impression long after you’ve finished it. My comrade opted for the Locals Lite – something a little more domestic tasting with subtle flavors, ending on a clean and crisp note.

(she couldn’t help herself, either).

Please excuse this brief intermission while I go order my flights. Five beers….get ready. (Did I mention this place is über packed? This may take a while.)

Gaming Woes

20120318-234023.jpgI know this isn’t exactly music related but level with me here. I recently found a psOne memory card on eBay for a steal ($3.99) and immediately bid on that bad boy. See, I’m a little crazy about Spryo the Dragon. It’s a game I played with much fervor every Christmas break, even waking in the middle of the night because I had a dream about where gems were in the game and subsequently playing said game at 3 am. (Yes, I’m a freak.) So to while away the hours spent at home these days (plus I don’t have cable of Internet), I started playing Spyro again. I’ve since lost my old memory cards, so I’d just keep starting new games each time I played. Kinda sadistic. Which brings us to our newly purchased memory card. I slide it in the slot, played the game and went to save it.

Nothing. It doesn’t work. So I’m back to square one, having only regained the knowledge that it’s a “get what you pay for” world. I guess I’ll have to bite the bullet and shell out $30 for an official Sony memory card. Ugh.

Thanks a lot, Spyro.


Down and Out

As you can see, it’s been a little while since I’ve posted. I’ve had some life changes – major switch-up’s – and am still trying to find my way. But, I’m almost there. You have my word that I’ll start posting more often from here on out. In the meantime, here’s a pretty morose song by Ben Folds, “Fred Jones pt II.”

Best Albums of 2011

While lists upon lists are bestowing praise on Drake and Beyoncé for releasing stellar albums this year, there are a ton of albums not getting nearly as much credit as they should. Granted, this list probably won’t deviate too much from the typical Pitchfork’s and Complex’s of the world, but there will be a couple surprises. Remember, it’s an opinion! This isn’t set in stone like the 10 Commandments. Just read, agree or disagree and we’ll agree to disagree – or something like that. Here are my top albums of the year, in no specific order.

The Kills – Blood Pressures

This album is just … wow. Though this dynamic duo have three albums prior to BP, this seems to be the one that put them on the map. When VV and Hotel came through Detroit months back, it was Kills fever all around – sold out show, gossip galore. It was a buzz to beat all buzzes. And with good reason. With only possibly one “miss” track on the whole album, BP contains gems like “Satellite” and “Baby Says,” both of which get quoted by yours truly on a semi-regular basis. Go out and get this album if you haven’t already.

The Roots – undun

Though only released a couple weeks ago now, undun is everything I’ve been waiting for the Roots to do. While I’m a huge fan of their last album, How I Got Over, undun‘s heart goes much deeper. Amazing rhymes by Black Thought and flawless production by ?uestlove give this album all it needs – adding in features including up-and-comer Big K.R.I.T. and frequent collaborator Phonte just makes this amazing album even greater.

Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials

Florence Welch is an amazing singer with a great band behind her. Ceremonials dwells on the darker side of Welch, using Virgina Woolf’s death by suicide as a muse for each track. Depressed and deathly dreary, this albums description alone might make you not want to pick it up – though you’d be remiss to not. The songs are beautifully structured, and Welch’s high-vaulting voice paired with the harp and accompanying instruments is pure magic.

Lights – Siberia

Easily a dark horse for album releases this year, the young Canadian who’s legally now known as Lights released a stellar album. Her sound has been completely dismantled and put back together with the help of Holy Fuck. She’s gone from pop princess to a strange mixture of electronica and slight avant garde. It’s a messy album; nothing fits together perfectly, but it’s in these imperfections that Lights shines the most. On the titled track, her voiced is muffled and sweet and is paired with a thumbing beat. There’s also some vocal accompaniment from fellow Canadian, Shad. From “Toes” to “Everybody Breaks a Glass,” you might find your new favorite nerd-core songstress.

Cults – Self-Titled

Out of nowhere this year came Cults. From the catchy guitar strums of Brian Oblivion, jam-band like drums and the peppy, infectious voice of Madeline Follin, everything about Cults is foot-tapping goodness. “Abducted” is a peculiarly fast-pased tune about a guy stealing her heart. “You Know What I Mean” is hard hitting in the chorus, making you listen even closer to the quiet verses. They’re pure fun with an added sense of ce la vie.

Bad Meets Evil – Hell The Sequel

Yep, this is on the list. A lot of people might disagree, but please see my side-note in the introduction. The intro, “Welcome to Hell”  is absolute fire. Eminem and Royce da 5’9″ kill both of their verses, which are both carried out in such a fever pitch that you have to listen closely to get every single punchline. “Fast Lane” was probably one of the track bumped the most often by the most people. Hell, it was even in NBA 2K11 and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol trailers. “I’m on Everything” was a definite party track and, though played out, “Lighters” is still a great song with the help of Bruno Mars. With this nine track EP under their belts, what does 2012 hold for the dynamic duo?

The Black Keys – El Camino

For what some devoted Black Keys fans may say isn’t their best album, El Camino sure does measure up to the majority of albums to be released this year. There’s all the same grittiness, melodies and messy guitar riffs of previous releases, but this time around the sound is simply bigger. They’re going on an arena tour in the spring, which makes sense given this deliberate attempt at making an arena album. Each track is gold, with perhaps the exception of “Little Black Submarines” taking a bit too long to get off the ground. Still a great record from an exceptional band.

Kendrick Lamar – Section.80

If Drake is the guy who cries over girls, Kendrick Lamar is the ones taking them away from him with his passionate thesis on his generation and why the hell it’s so messed up. Having seen him perform at a showcase down at SXSW, I saw the fire that was within Lamar from the start. I interviewed him before his set and what he appeared to be a street smart kid with a heart of gold. Absolutely genuine despite his hardships and living in this digital age full of parents who ignore their child’s upbringing and pride themselves on how many Facebook fans they have. He gets it. And he gets where he wants his career to go. From this standpoint, he’ll only get better.

Diamonds and Entertainment

Last week I had the opportunity to stop by Lucido Diamond Jewelers in Rochester for the soft launch of, an entertainment and promotion company headed by brothers Rob and Rob Villanueva (so nice, they named it twice!). I was in good company with Rob and Rob, as well as their brother Charlie (Detroit Piston’s forward), Heather Zara (former Channel 4 weather forecaster, current sports reporter for, Pistons Weekly on Channel 4 and Fox Sports Detroit), NY DJ Ric Roc, Ryan Fielding of Fox Sports Detroit and Terrance Burney, a local inspirational role model who goes by the TexTBook. My best friend and I produced awful interviews for Fox Sports Detroit regarding Detroit entertainment (I hate being on camera – or in front of crowds of any sort). Here are some photos snapped from the night.


Review: Dia Frampton, “Red”

Dia Frampton


Universal Republic

Here is the problem with Dia Frampton: we want all of her songs to sound like her breathy rendition of Kanye West’s “Heartless.” Hell, all 10 tracks on her debut album could be “Heartless” and I honestly don’t think I would care. Well, Frampton’s album is out with 10 brand new tracks, just after the actual winner of The Voice, Javier Colon, and on the same label – kids, sometimes it pays to come in second place.

Where does Frampton fit in by today’s mainstream radio standards? She’d probably plop somewhere on adult contemporary. They’d play the crap out of her on Detroit stations like 100.3 WNIC, 96.3 DOUG and whatever the heck 93.1 is these days. Despite one song, “Don’t Kick The Chair,” featuring Kid Cudi, it just misses the “cool” mark. And no doubt her track with Blake Shelton, “I Will,” will be a favorite among his fans and country music fans alike. Her problem is placement. She’s a young girl with a sweet, bubblegum voice that is singing songs meant for people older. This might not be what she’s aiming for, but, let’s face it, kids these days (myself included) aren’t really interested in moral stories imbedded in their tunes.

Now, for the tracks. “Don’t Kick The Chair,” “The Broken Ones” and “I Will” all sound like they should be included on a Christian compilation; they’re all about overcoming obstacles and all that jazz, being there for your friends. “Good Boy,” “Isabella,” “Walk Away” and “Billy The Kid” are stories, they have nothing to do with Frampton herself. They were just nice stories she felt like telling to pass the time.

The end of Red is honestly the best of Red. “Daniel” gives us a glimpse into Frampton’s life; she left a boy named Daniel and wished he would have stopped her from leaving. At last! We are getting to know Dia! But, these songs are few and far between. We get about three of them with the aforementioned “Daniel,” “Bullseye” and “Trapeze,” and perhaps “Bullseye” can only count and half a song. Apparently, someone’s got it out for her in the song. “Baby it’s a chain reaction, you’ll see/It’s a lonely, lonely world at a crazy, crazy speed.” What does that even mean? “We’re tripping high, got to hit it on the bullseye/They’ve got it out for me.” Excuse me? Who’s got it out for you? What’s with the bullseye? She can’t possibly be talking about fame or paparazzi, not yet. She’s barely had a taste of fame and all of a sudden “they’ve got it out” for her? Silly, just silly.

Production on the album remains solid, with Kid Cudi, Isabella Summers of Florence + The Machine, Mark Pontius of Foster the People, Meg White and others lending a band. (While Meg White is oftentimes included in the list of producers, I’ve yet to find which track she actually contributed to.) It’s an unfortunate case of having the right talent with the rights production backing it, but not having the guts to lay it all out on the table. Not everyone has to be Adele or Corrine Bailey Rae and write about heart wrenching life experiences, but at least let the listener get to know you.