PAPERBOY: ‘Beer The Drum Slowly’ Edition

paperboyartthumbnail.jpgBY DAVE ALLEN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week, PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!

ON THE COVER

CP: CP’s Music Issue boast five finely-honed profiles, and they’re appropriately diverse in their reflection of the city’s scene. Hard to imagine a better cross-section than a dose of hip-hop smoothness from the poised-for-greatness Sterling Simms, the Lemon Treasures‘ adorable, jargon-y pop, and the workmanlike weirdness of percussionist Toshi Makihara. Shaun Brady shows how this guy makes just a single drum sing:

On Jan. 3, a single drumstick chases Makihara’s fingers across the drumhead; on Jan. 30, the percussionist cp_2009_03_05.jpgscrapes and crumples plastic coffee-cup lids taken home from his day job; on Feb. 17, his arms flail and fly away from the drum, or float suspended in midair before plummeting again to its surface; on Feb. 23, the day I sat just off-camera, he rapped his knuckles and rubbed his hands on the drum, occasionally muting his strikes with a Santa Claus oven mitt taped to its side…

“I’m trying to come up with different techniques and different vocabulary,” Makihara says. “It’s a process of discovery, finding something hidden behind the music. I want to lose my ego and become the sound.”

Personality is all over these pages and, apart from the bland distinction between “slow and depressing” and “fast and depressing” in the Canadian Invasion profile, each act’s sound really comes across, too. Dig this, from John Vettese’s write-up of iNFiNiEN:

“Aquatica” begins on a chiming major-seventh keyboard lead as her voice dreamily pans from left to right and back again (listen on headphones!). The song swells and embellishes on this basic two-chord structure; riffs and sounds are progressively layered until the mix peaks steeply and ends cold and breathless.

Makes me wanna slap on a pair of cans and zone out. Right after I finish the column…

PW: Beer: you’ll be saturated with it for the next week-plus, so you should probably brush up on your history before you kill all those braincells. DMac lays out Philly’s (and Pennsylvania’s) alco-history, and it’s full-bodied and tasty, with some surprising notes:

beerweek.jpgOne of the most famous booze-related laws is the 18 percent Johnstown Flood Tax on alcohol, originally enacted as a stopgap to help the town of Johnstown, Pa., recover from a 1936 flood. The original tax was only 10 percent, but has increased over the ensuing 73 years—long since Johnstown needed any relief aid. The state’s high taxes create headaches for restaurateurs: Mike Ditka’s chain restaurants don’t carry his signature wine (called, naturally, Kick Ass Red) in Pennsylvania because of cost considerations.

When it comes to beer, Pennsylvania laws are especially confusing. No wine with beer. No beer at supermarkets. No six-pack sales at beer distributors. No sales of more than 24 beers at a time at delis or bars—but a quick step in and out makes you legal to buy another two-dozen pounders.

 

How ’bout that. The piece has a nice finish, too, with two of the beer scene’s finest – Don “Joe Sixpack” Russell of the DN, and Brendan Hartranft of Local 44 and Memphis Taproom – swapping stories and hoisting a few glasses to compare clarity. I was left thirsty for more (heh) – the ending could have used a tidbit about a local establishment washing out because of shortcomings in its beer selection – but stories like that can be saved for later and swapped over a couple pints. Cheers.

INSIDE THE BOOK

CP: Just when you thought PW had a monopoly on Beer Week coverageBeer weak?: An unpopular opinion eloquently expressed. Strong, bewildering words: “As a fan of the Eagles, I’m done.” Justice by geography: A scary thought, statewide.

PW: Shall I start the chant of “Bring Back DMac“? In his last week, dude’s all over the paper. Ric Racket: Get that beer vending machine and I’m there. “One fish, two fish” is clearly just the beginning.

WINNER: This might just be the “starting Beer Week early” libations talking, but I say PW takes it. Here’s to you, DMac.

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