Saturday, January 18, 2014

January 18th, 2014 - 31 Pale And Scary Monsters

Good afternoon!  The Meista here with another pairing of a couple favorites of mine for you... how's 'bout some "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" from David Bowie and a Firestone Walker Brewing Company Pale 31 Ale?

"Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" is the 14th studio album by David Bowie and was released in September of 1980.  (Amazing to think that he had 14 albums by 1980!!)  Combining the experimentation electronic/synth approach of his previous Berlin trilogy albums ("Low," "Heroes," and "Lodger") with more guitar-driven structure, "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" is a brilliantly constructed art piece!  Bowie continued to develop songs using the same non-traditional methods he employed during the Berlin trilogy (e.g. on "It's No Game Part 1," he challenged guitarist Robert Fripp to "imagine he was playing a guitar duel with B.B. King where he had to out-B.B. B.B., but do it in his own way.")  Thematically the album had a harsher, darker, more socially critical, and more desperate feel... similar to his earlier work on "Diamond Dogs."  On the brilliant "Ashes To Ashes", he explores his own drug addiction and early themes: "We know Major Tom's a junkie" and "My mama said/ to get things done/you better not mess with Major Tom."  Bowie (on vocals, keyboards, and saxophone) is joined by Dennis Davis on drums/percussion, George Murray on bass guitar, and Carlos Alomar on guitars.  (Incidentally, this would be the last album to include Davis, Murray, and Alomar who had been Bowies band since "Station to Station".)  Additional/guest musicians include: Chuck Hammer (guitar synthesiser on "Ashes to Ashes" and "Teenage Wildlife"), Robert Fripp (guitar on "Fashion", "It's No Game", "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)", "Kingdom Come", "Up The Hill Backwards", and "Teenage Wildlife"), Pete Townshend (guitar on "Because You're Young"), Tony Visconti (acoustic guitar on "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" and "Up the Hill Backwards"), Andy Clark (synthesiser on "Fashion", "Scream Like A Baby", "Ashes To Ashes" and "Because You're Young"), and Michi Hirota (voice on "It's No Game (No. 1)").  Here's the amazing full track list:
  1. "It's No Game (No. 1)"
  2. "Up The Hill Backwards"
  3. "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)"
  4. "Ashes To Ashes"
  5. "Fashion"
  6. "Teenage Wildlife"
  7. "Scream Like A Baby"
  8. "Kingdom Come"
  9. "Because You're Young"
  10. "It's No Game (No. 2)"
Cleaner and hoppier than the traditional British Pale Ale, American Pale Ales (APAs) are well balanced, flavorful, and crisply refreshing.  Pale 31 Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Companydefinitely is of this caliber.  It pours a slightly hazy orange/golden amber with a thin, white head that displays sustained spider web lacing.  The nose is sweet and malty, yet citrusy and hoppy.  There are notes of mellow and sweet toffee, toasted malts, bitter grapefruit and orange zest, wet pine, and summer grass.  Along the same lines, the flavor has a wonderful fresh hop character.  It is straightforward, intensely crisp and refreshing, and citrusy.  Like Bowie's somewhat bitter lyrics, the mouthfeel leans to the more aggressive side with a nice bite, but the malts smooth it out like the rich tones .  It has a nice, clean finish as well that leaves just a bit of bite that lingers on the tongue.  The only problem with this pairing was that I was so caught up in the music and the fact that the Pale 31 is so drinkable, my glass was empty before I realized it.  It went down way too fast... I completely finished the bottle before the end of the "Ashes To Ashes"... the 4th song on the album.  :)  The Pale 31 and "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" make for great bedfellows!  Learn more about all the tasty brews from Firestone Walker Brewing Company at!



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