Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 21st, 2013 - Hop Stoopid Dream

Good evening!  The Meista here with another pairing for you my friends... and I'm going with another Double IPA!  Tonight I'm pairing a Hop Stoopid Ale from the fantastic brewers at Lagunitas Brewing Company out of Petaluma, California with prog-rock gods, Porcupine Tree and their 2006 album, "Stupid Dream."  Although my brother is not an IPA fan per se, he is definitely a huge Porcupine Tree fan (like me), therefore, this pairing goes out to him!  Cheers Dain-o!!

"Stupid Dream" is Porcupine Tree's 5th studio album, and (in my humble opinion) one of their best; the border album between their more electronic and psychedelic work and their "heavier" work of more recent years.  The album takes a somewhat more commercially accessible rock/pop sensibility approach while still retaining a very heavy progressive rock and metal influence and complete artistic integrity.  Musically and lyrically, this album is fucking brilliant!  Singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, and band leader Steve Wilson said of the album that it had a much more personal stake lyrically.  "When I was writing some of the songs of the album I was very much aware of this contradiction between being an artist, being a musician, trying to be creative and write songs and, then, at the point you finish an album, the music is finished, the creative side is finished, you then have to go out and sell and market and promote. And that's like a completely different experience. It's not a very creative process. It's quite - in some ways - a cynical process going on having to sell your music. But you have to do it. I mean, if a modern musician is going to survive as a musician, you have to - in a sense - 'prostitute yourself' to try and sell your music and your art. And I was very much aware of that contradiction. If you think about that too much, it can drive you crazy, you know. It's an absurd thing to be doing. That kind of led me thinking about when I was a teenager, when I was just starting out and I was interested in being a musician. And I think a lot of teenage kids have this dream of being pop stars, of being a professional musician. This 'stupid dream' of being famous and 'life is a ball and everything is wonderful'. And, of course, actually the reality is that being a professional musician is a very hard work. It can be very heartbreaking, there's a lot of disappointment, there's a lot of hard work, there's a lot of travelling."  Stating the obvious, the album's title refers to Wilson's view of the music industry. Along with Wilson's wonderful guitar and vocal work, Richard Barbieri (of Japan fame) provides richly textured analogue synthesizers, Hammond organ, mellotron, and piano; Colin Edwin provides amazing and prolific bass guitar and double bass; and Chris Maitland provides swinging drums, percussion, and backing vocals.  Each song is absolute genius (times 10!)... I adore each track equally!  Here's the brilliant song list:

1."Even Less"  
2."Piano Lessons"  
3."Stupid Dream"  
4."Pure Narcotic"  
5."Slave Called Shiver"  
6."Don't Hate Me"  
7."This Is No Rehearsal"  
8."Baby Dream in Cellophane"  
9."Stranger by the Minute"  
10."A Smart Kid"  
11."Tinto Brass"  
12."Stop Swimming"  

As with "Stupid Dream", and simply put, Hop Stoopid Ale KICKS MAJOR ASS!  This 22 ounce hop bomber pours a wonderfully hazy, clover-honey gold with a thick, rocky head.  The nose is very floral... very piney and very hoppy along with some nice tropical fruit notes as well... pineapple, mango, lemon.  There are also some strong apple, maple and malt notes in the back.  Thicker and breadier than most IPAs I've had, the Hop Stoopid has an almost syrupy/chunky mouthfeel.  The flavor is very interesting!  Following the aromas, there are both malty and fruity notes, but there is almost a smoky flavor (odd for an IPA) and although the bottle states that it comes in at 102 IBU, the notes are all very well-blended and balanced.  There are flavors of apple, pine resin, juniper, and tart citrus along with very organic vegetable notes.  (Somebody hug the brew master for me!)  The finish is very clean, very crisp, and wonderfully dry... a perfect finish to a perfect album!

Well, work may be a bit painful in the morning for me, but it was well worth it!  Cheers my friends!!  Be cool to one another!!  And raise a glass to Brews and Tunes the next time you get crazy or rock the fuck out!!  :)

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