Thursday, December 22, 2016

Come Clean in 2016: Best Hip Hop Albums

1- Westside Gunn- Flygod  – The Buffalo MC delivers the Griselda family opus with this mostly Daringer produced album, a gritty, flawless collection of heavy, crisp beats about street life and much needed New York rap braggadocio. Throughout is Conway (including “Dunks” which includes a ’16 favorite: “A lot of these rappers is weird, they wearing leggings and dying their fuckin hair”) holding it down for his brother.  Also ill features from Benny, Your Old Droog (the melodic “Vivian at the Art Basel”), Roc Marciano, Action Bronson, and Meyhem Lauren.

2- A Tribe Called Quest- We Got It from Here...Thank You 4 Your Service  This final Tribe album delivers an emotional musical journey without relying too heavy on nostalgic kitsch.  From the jump off “The Space Program” through the first single “We the People” we know this isn’t a standard boring comeback album. Q-Tip and Phife are still the main attraction, and surprisingly Jarobi has got some lyrics to go too.  Busta Rhymes is peppered throughout, rhyming with vigor (“The Donald”) we haven’t heard since the early 2000s.  The guest list is impressive: Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000, Consequence, guitars by Jack White and an Elton John hook.

3- Meyhem Lauren – Piatto d’ Oro  This plate of gold is the Queens’ MC’s golden ticket with boom bap beats and precise lyrics throughout.  Don’t call Laurenovich Action Bronson’s ‘Fuck That’s Delicious’ hype man, this album stands alone over a vintage NYC 90’s sound.  Standout tracks like “Badmon Ting” and “Money in my Pocket” are just what the titles suggest, no pretentious bullshit, just straight lyrics.  Production wise it’s a damn all-star lineup: DJ Muggs, The Alchemist, and Large Professor among others.

4- Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition It’s probably cliché to say this album is a psychedelic journey through Hip-Hop while on copious amounts of dust and your hair on fire.  But alas, the description fits.  The Detroit MC got lyrics, beats, delivery and cameos all straight bananas.  Main producer Paul White meshes perfectly with Brown’s off/no-kilter style highlighting sex, drugs, and craziness.  Posse cut of the year on “Really Doe” with Ab-Soul, Kendrick Lamar, and a fire closing verse from Earl Sweatshirt.

5- Onry Ozzborn – Duo While an album with a guest appearance on each track might seem clunky, Onry Ozzborn and his producers pull it off with precision.  The Seattle based rapper assembles such luminaries as Aesop Rock, Kimya Dawson on the melodious “Neonerd”, Rob Sonic on the hard “Not Really,” Eligh, Homeboy Sandman, and Pigeon John on the closer “Firefly.”  Worth checking out is the pre-Lemonade released 15 minute duofilm incorporating each track and each guest.

6- MarQ Spekt & Blockhead – Keep Playin MarQ Spekt and NYC producer Blo9ckhead return with an ill followup to their 2014 release JustPlayWitIt.  Grilchy, as Spekt is apt to say, is the operative word here, as thick layered beats are laid out for our MC to do work.  The patois tinged “Insomnia” featuring C-Shotta got that cruising feel, Conway pops up on “Point Break,” while Karniege makes his usual ill-spitting appearance on “Caratrax.”

7- Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid Aes steps through in 2016 with his now-standard album of cascading rhymes after rhymes that would make the thesaurus blush.  Impossible Kid lives up to its declarative title with such diverse-as-an-understatement topics as his forlorn art career (“Rings”) to grief (“Get Out of the Car”) to his brothers (“Blood Sandwich”) his cat (on “Hey Kirby”, which is understandably my kids’ favorite song and best puppet video of the year.)

8- Pyscho Les – Dank God The Beatnuts / Corona Queens vet comes hard on this throwback joint, picking where he last left off: lots of smoking, lots of women, tough beats and lyrics.  Who’s on this album?  Who isn’t?  Inspectah Deck, Jeru Da Damaja and Pete Rock on the NYC big-ups “Hip Hop Neva Left," the EPMD sampled “Danger Zone”,  "Dope Addict" with the effusive Kool Keith, and perhaps the year’s illest joint “Baba Barz” with RA The Rugged Man.

 9- Czarface – A Fistful of PerilTheir trio’s third release picks up on the heel’s of last year’s #1 SG Album with much of the same formula: hard hitting beats with Inspectah Deck’s and Esoteric’s fierce word play. The formula works again.  Clocking in at a smooth 35 plus minutes, there’s no time for fuckery over the 13 tracks, including cameos from Pyscho Les on “Dust” (“my turf, you just here on a field trip,) Conway on the grimey “Machine, Man & Monster” and Meyhem Lauren and Rast RFC on “Steranko”.

10- Dillon & Paten Locke – Food Chain The moment the first track “Sound the Alarm” blasts from the speakers it’s apparent Dillon and beat maker Paten Locke know exactly how to make the connoisseured  rap fan nod their head.  It doesn’t stop there, as throughout the album the same formula permeates; the laid back vibe of “Thirsty Loops,” to “Humdinger” which features Supa Dave West and Dres (yes that Dres), then “Hamsammich” with two crazy verses from Homeboy Sandman and Tone Tank.

11- Elucid – Save Yourself  The Backwoodz Studioz lyricist brings his solo LP and shines throughout with a underground narrative and an honest look through a complex lens.  This is one of those albums that must be digested, a couple listens won’t suffice.  It takes multiple listens with songs like “Obama Incense” and the penetrating “Jealous God” before the listener can truly “get it.”  Armand Hammer cohort Billy Woods appears on tracks “Lest They Forget” and the eerie yet invoking“Bleachwater.”

12- Homeboy Sandman – Kindness for Weakness “I don’t make the same jam or record twice… I am way too nice” Home Sand says to his fans on “Taking (Bleep)” and that is 100% accurate.  The vibe on this record is tremendous, highlighting the MC’s lyrical dexterity with a consistent beat selection. Backed by a few producers, including Jon Wayne and RJD2, the former putting in work on “Heart Sings”, and even Large Professor on “It’s Cold,” Homeboy Sandman offers a concise, easy listen, but yet thought-provoking.

Others Receiving Votes:
Masta Ace – The Falling Season
Apathy – Handshakes with Snakes
Ab-Soul – Do What Thou Wilt
Ka – Honor Killed the Samurai
Vinnie Paz – Cornerstone of the Corner Store
Ryu – Tanks for the Memories
Timeless Truth – Cold Wave

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Slushy Gutter at 10


Two years ago, a friend of mine...

Today is the 10 year anniversary of the Slushy Gutter Summer.  Please no congratulations or "salute" but rather it should be "I'm sorry" or "bruh?"

Take some solace that it's been whittled down from posts 4-5 times a week to just once post a year.

(party horn)

RELATED: Redman - "I Bee Dat"

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Reigns Supreme: Top Hip Hop Albums



1- Czarface- Every Hero Needs a Villian- 7L, Esoteric and Inspectah Deck have perfectly crafted the Czarface persona to reclaim the top spot (also #1 in 2013) with a brilliant sophomore album.  7L creates the perfect backdrop for the two MCs and crazy pop culture references (Star Wars, wrestling, complete randomness) abound.  Even wilder guest appearances from the likes of Large Professor (the standout “World Premier”), RA The Rugged Man, GZA Doom, Method Man, and Juju from The Beatnuts.

2- Billy Woods- Today I Wrote Nothing- Some call it “grown up rap.”  If being a grown up means thought provoking, intellectual, expressive lyrics, then the description sounds good.  Woods switches it up with 24 tracks over just less than an hour, each its own story or conceptual work that mesh together perfectly.  the stalwart Elucid makes several appearances throughout including the standout track “African Dodger.”  Once again, Woods reminds us he is one of Hip-Hop’s thoughtful voices.

3- Action Bronson- Mr Wonderful- Bronsolino steps out of the mixtape and EP game to give us his first full length offering and arguably the year’s most fun filled album.  Whether it’s him and Meyhem Lauren’s wordplay on “Falconry,” or flipping a Billy Joel sample on “Brand New Car”, or the crazy three part “Thug Love Story 2017,” culminating with “Easy Rider” (“rocking very loose pants”) and perhaps the year's best feature verse "Baby Blue" with Chance The Rapper, Mr. Wonderful is a vibrant album throughout all 13 tracks.

4- Malik B & Mr Green- Unpredictable- The MC of Legendary Roots Crew fame and the “Live From the Streets” beatsmith team up for a short (clocking in at a neat 36 minutes) banger of Boom Bap beats and precise lyrics.  From the first track “Dolla Bill” and throughout Malik prowls on each offering, sounding hungry and fervent (like “Definition”: “had you cart wheeling doing tricks Vietnam shit for your Vietcong clique.”)

5- Tone Tank- One Offs & One Upsmanships- Brooklyn’s own gave a late gift this year with this album.  Superb production from the likes of J Howells Weatherman, Scott Thorough, and Harry Fraud complements Tone’s sometimes hyperactive, sometimes lucid but always on-point lyrics.  He takes on gentrification, off the wall old school references, and frankly some very unexpectedness.  Features with Kool AD and Snafu and a Bazooka Rap mix from Edan make this a December to remember.

6- Gangrene- You Disgust Me- “Heart is cold, froze from the ice and a whole Arctic Pole, bang my old art out of a Bose” Oh No raps on the track “Driving Gloves” (Watch the video with Action Bronson in all its awesomeness.)  The entire album takes a similar weed infused turn, with crazy news/reality show samples frequently about disgusting events.  If ever there was a track to peep it’s Sean Price’s verse on “Sheet Music" also featuring Mobb Deep's Havoc.

7- Dr Yen Lo- Days With Dr Yen Lo- Ka teams up with Preservation under the alias from The Manchurian Candidate for this brief albeit cold journey.  Like the Chinese doctor and hypnotist namesake, Ka’s rhymes draw you in; listen too closely and you might be transported to Brownsville or beyond.  At first glance the tracks, all named “Day” might scare the uninitiated, but listen to “Day 81” with Roc Marciano and you’ll get right on board.

8- Joey Badass- B4.DA.$$- Don’t crown Joey Badass as the savior of NYC rap or that "he’s bringing New York back", what he’s doing is putting out dope music.  Yep, there’s head nods to an era be gone on “Paper Trails” and the ill “No 99” (sounding like it could be straight from a Black Moon joint.)   Joey’s Caribbean influence shines throughout, especially on the track “Belly of the Beast.”  As NYers always remind us, NY never left, and now it’s in good hands.

9- Shirt- Nike Adidas Records- Queens cat Shirt charts for the second straight year with another release of 12 strong tracks, a few loosies from the past year and some new material.  Unlike many projects, Shirt is the lone MC on every track and gives us lyrics about reality. Producers United Crates, DJ Dahi, Steel Tipped Dove, and others highlight the free tape.  The last song, the San Holo produced “Top of the Whitney” is certifiable bananas and may be the year’s best track.

10- Earl Sweatshirt- I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside- An era where rappers search out producers for the quintessential “hot beat” Earl Sweatshirt didn’t have to go far to find someone for his debut follow-up, he produced every track except one.  The result is a driven, raw, stripped down sound of just 10 tracks in half a hour with Earl as an MC commanding each track with sometimes cocky, sometimes introspective lyrics.  Collabos include Vince Staples, Dash, and Wiki on the standout “AM // Radio.”

11- Michael Christmas- What A Weird Day- The Boston MC follows up a whirlwind year with his second release, pondering where he’s been and looking at how things have or haven’t changed.  It's no more evident than in the top track “Look Up / Save The Day” (produced by Qreamybeats) where the perspective reaches the hook and asks “there ain’t no stars in the hood, but I bet that we would leave if we could.”  Current rap heavyweights Logic and Mac Miller pop up, the latter on the nice “Grab Her Hand.”

12- Your Old Droog- Kinison The Nicest- With the is-he or isn’t-he Nas narrative in the rear view mirror, Coney Island’s Your Old Droog can focus on delivering dope music.  On Kinison, which opens with the namesake robust comedian bellowing against rappers, Droog laces tracks over a theme of 90's rock music, titles like the Marco Polo produced “Sonic Youth” and “Porno For Pyros.”  Followed by the DJ Skizz produced The Nicest, it finds a bit more refined sound with the highlight track “We Don’t Know You.”

13- Wiki- Lil Me- The Ratking (also with a strong EP release this year 700 Fill) front man drops his first solo project, a clean and crisp record with Madlib, Black Milk, Harry Fraud and others manning the boards.  The Nasty Nigel collab “Living With My Moms” and the other tracks (both Hak and Sporting Life drop by, the former on the exceptional  “Sunday School Dropout”) give the listener a true NY feel, not a throwback big beat sound, but an eccentric, intoxicating journey throw Wiki’s hometown.

Others receiving votes:

-Fashwan - The Ecology

-Pusha T- King Push-Darkest Before Dawn

-Cannibal Ox- Blade of Ronin

-Junk Science- And the $100 Sandwich

-Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman- Lice EP

-Marq Spekt- The Grilchy Era

FINAL NOTE: Sean Price's Songs In The Key Of Price isn't on here, but not because it didn't chart. Sean Price has long been and will be an SG favorite, all of his work is spectacular.  This release is being held out and honored in a special place.  RIP SEAN.

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Slushy Gutter Bloated Bowls 2015


Bowls!  More bowls!  When you are done with those then more bowls!  Count it out like a late 90's rap song "mo bowls, mo bowls, mo bowls!"

There's enough bowls that every man, woman and child in the municipality of Henderson, Colorado can have their own bowl.  There's bowls named after states, bowls named for giant corporations, bowls named for processed foods, bowls named for other bowls.  Bowls take teams that have losing records (no joke here, that's real.) Bowls have their own bowls.

But who doesn't have a bowl?  Our Colorado Buffaloes.  For what seems like the 67th straight year, Colorado will not appear in a bowl game.  CU's last bowl game was the 2007 Independence Bowl versus Alabama.  I wonder what ever happenned to the Crimson Tide after that game.

What we do have is the 10th Annual SG Bowl Pick Em.  This year is a bit new, there's no confidence points and it's open to anyone.  Whoever can join, just don't give a single shit!  As always, the winner gets nothing but glory.  Enjoy!

CLICK HERE

Group ID = 8447

RELATED: Hieroglyphics - "You Never Knew"  ("And it's been a long time since I feel I've been felt. But the only thing I fear is fear itself...")

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Bathroom Bar Art #15


FOUND BY: Commish CH
WHERE: Woody Creek Tavern, Woody Creek CO

Add your captions,comments, and analysis in the 'Comments' section

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Thursday, January 08, 2015

2014 on the Scene: Best CO Sports Moments



1 – PFM and Pot Roast come up big as Broncos beat the Patriots and advance to their seventh Super Bowl.

2 – Broncos get a bit of redemption from the Raven debacle by beating the Chargers and moving on to the AFC Championship.

3 – The CU Buffs men’s hoops team gets selected to their third straight NCAA tourney

4 – Peyton Manning breaks Brett Favre’s all time TD record in a game versus San Fran.

5 – Rockies clean their front office house and get rid of Dan O’Dowd and Bill Geivett.

6 – CU Buffs win a road game against the mighty UMass Minuteman in Foxboro.

7 - Avs and new coach Patrick Roy reclaim the Central Division title and return to playoffs.

8 - Kenneth Faried makes the all-tourney team as the USA claims gold at the World Hoops Cup.

9 - Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin stars at the skiing portion of the Sochi Olympics.

10 – Broncos clinch the AFC West for the fourth straight year by beating the Chargers in San Diego.


BACK TO THE ESSENCE:

2013 Best
2012 Best of
2011 Best
2010 Tops
2009 Tops

2008 Best
2007 Tops
2006 Best

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 on the Scene: Best Hip Hop Albums


1- Dilated Peoples - Directors of Photography
"We just capture the facts, Dilated never left, I'd like to welcome us back" raps Raaka Iriscience on the lead track "Directors" which is a testament to Dilated's formula: great beats, lyrics, and nothing over the top.  Production by Alchemist, DJ Premier (the highlight "Good as Gone"), and Evidence and Babu perfectly mesh Dilated with guests like Vince Staples and a decent hook by Aloe Blacc on "Show Me The Way."  The bonus cut "Hallelujah" is a classic hard to find posse cut.


2- Homeboy Sandman - Hallways
The Jonwayne produced track "America, The Beautiful" is a vivid look at a the country from a the NYC based MC, as he follows up that track with more tales, both comical and serious, and personal stories, even delving into his diet and relationships. Production is very strong and has that "grown rap" feel from DJ Spinna, Blu, Oh No. and 2 Hungry Brothers. The album finale "Enough" f/ J-Live and Kurious will have the listener wanting more.


3- Your Old Droog - Your Old Droog LP
The great mystery of Your Old Droog ("is he Nas?!") unfurled throughout the year, but when the dust settled we were left with a great collection of tracks over DJ Skizz beats ("Nutty Bars," "Free Turkey") and an MC ripe with pop culture references and abilities.    The actual LP dropped late in the year but include "Hoodie Weather" f/ Prodigy and the Larry Fisherman produced "Sleepers" in the group and it gets even stronger.


4- Ghostface Killah - 36 Seasons
So forget all about the new Wu album and concentrate on this Ghostface album if you are looking for that "classic" Wu Tang sound.  Both Kool G Rap and AZ appear on enough tracks that it could almost be a group offering.  Follow Ghost and crew on his return to Shaolin and the impressive 20 page comic book included in the liner notes.


5- Michael Christmas - Is This Art?
"I'm the school PSA, messages from Michael Christmas: put the guns away let's have some fun today, with drugs and drinking" he raps on the single (check the video) "Y'all Trippin" sets the tone for this fun album.  Make no mistake, the Boston MC can spit.  "Overweight Drake," "Leonard Washington," and "Michael Cera" all are unique tracks but still allows Christmas to shine over some production from Thelonious Martin, Teddy Roxpin, Childish Major and others.


6- Hail Mary Mallon - Bestiary
Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic are on a mission to save the old bowling alley on Main.  What better way to do that than with a "fundraiser concert!" In addition to that vein, the two play off each other so well on tracks like "Whales" which Aes brags "cops five haircuts at the same time" while Rob says his dog "makes money when he barks."


7- PRhyme - PRhyme
DJ Premier links up with a seemingly rejuvenated Royce Da 5-9 along with producer Adrian Younge's standout sample generation.  Royce isn't shy about rapping about being sober and his drinking past, and the guest list is impressive: Mac Miller has a wicked verse, along with the ever elusive Jay Electronica, Killer Mike, Common, AbSoul, and all of Slaughterhouse on the finale "Microphone Preem."


8- Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2
There isn't too much to write about RTJ2 since every blogger/critic/barista with a mustache/person with a keyboard has hailed it as the year's best.  So, in joining the chorus, El-P and Killer Mike have crafted another classic.  A guest verse from Zack De La Rocha (yes, rapping, and rapping well!) on "Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck") is a highlight.


9- Shirt - Rap (Album)
Queens based Shirt gained some traction with his "Shirt fucked Rihanna" and fake NY Times article slogan and campaign, but he should gain some fans with his full length album.  Besides having the top video of the year with "Take Off (Queens Cat)", the album is a dope work from the MC and his underrated production team.



10- Marq Spekt & Blockhead - JustPlayWitIt
Blockhead is brought in to perfectly compliment Marq Spekt's off-kilter wordplay with his trademarked production sound.  The NY producer and Philly MC get "Grilchy" throughout this joint, and get extra props for sampling "Posse On Broadway" on "Grilchy 808".


11- Zilla Rocca & The Shadowboxers - No Vacation For Murder
SG stalwart Zilla Rocca checks in with his latest "Noir Rap" joint, we can debate what that means, there's no question of the strength of this album.  Strong lyrics and verses from Curly Castro and Has-Lo among others fill the tracklist. "Fake Surfers" is a standout track with an exhaustive look at the fakeness of the rap and real world.


12- Dinosaur Burps - Awesome Stuff We Did When Nobody Was Looking
West Virginia's own were back with another strong indie record, complete with such songs like "Death Metal In A Minivan," "Titties Rule," "Eat My Hat," and "Nap In The Face Of Danger."  If those titles and B Rude's and their guest's seem not so serious, that's the point.


Others Receiving Votes:

Armand Hammer - Furtive Movements

Ratking - So It Goes

Apathy - Connecticut Casual

Meyhem Lauren & Buckwild - Silk Pyramids

Sadat X & Will Tell - Planet Of The Grapes

Step Brothers - Lord Steppington

AND ITS BEEN THAT WAY SINCE DAY ONE:
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Slushy Gutter Bowl Festivus 2014


Another year, another empty void of bowl games for Colorado fans.  While our bowl-less streak is at seven years, the Slushy Gutter streak of stupidity that is the Bowl Pick Em challenge forges on.

Follow the link below and join.  Join twice, join with Mark May, join with the entire Cub Scout troop from your area, sign up people that you don't like, sign up under witty names, sign up with lame names like "Steve's Ass Kicking Picks."  Point is, sign up and live vicariously through the 1000 other bowl teams.

SLUSHY GUTTER BOWL PICK EM

GROUP ID = 2490

PASSWORD = beer


RELATED: The Grouch - "Artsy" - ("...if you're cool with me then I'll look past the void in you")

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

SG NFL PIck Em 2014


Again...It must be the end of summer. Because all those pesky teenagers are not around? Because there's Christmas stuff in the stores? Because your liver hurts from all that summer beer? Yes to all, but also because it's time for the annual Slushy Gutter Pick Em.

Pretty simple, sign up on Yahoo, pick games, pick your confidence, go back to sleep. As per tradition the winner of the group will get a hunk of nothing. Brag to your friends that you won the NFL Pick Em and they'll be like "but you ain't got a damn thing." But you know you are the NFL Pick Em guru, and that make you feel special.

SG NFL PICK EM

Group ID = 21626

Password = beer

CLICK HERE

RELATED: Tash f/ Raekwon - "Rap Life" ("...let's go half on a football team...")

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

7evenThirty F/ Sean Price - "Hook Heavy"

Will definitely be checking for this dude 7evenThirty after this ill gem from his new album The Problem. Teaming with producer Gensu Dean, he masterfully rocks this bluesy-rock beat with a wide variety of the verbs and metaphors. And then there's SG favorite Sean Price (yep, he gets off a little jab at NYC's Hot 97), who in the words of Big Daddy Kane, could "fart on a record, and trust me...it would sound good."

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

SG Tadmania Bracket Challenge '14


Ho hum, another NCAA Touney for the Buffs.  That's three straight and more coaching fiyahhhhhh by Tad and crew.  Seriously though, anyone who has been a fan or student over the last 40 years in Boulder realizes it's just incredible what is going on with the program.  It was a hoops wasteland for the majority of that time and three straight NCAAs is almost incomprehensible.

In other words: real recognize real.

What is back again to match your wits with the hardwood is the SG Bracket Challenge.  And as always, the winner gets a fat plate of nothing, a trip to beautiful nada, and a take home prize of zilch.  Except for the title f being the baddest hoops mofo on the SG.

Slushy Gutter Brackets 14

On Yahoo (click here)

ID = 87454

Password = beer


RELATED: Raekwon - "Heaven and Hell" - ("...he made a half of mil for real...")

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Bathroom Bar Art #14


FOUND BY: Commish CH
WHERE: Gunsmoke Truck Stop, Johnson Village, CO

Add your captions,comments, and analysis in the 'Comments' section

Labels:

Friday, January 24, 2014

2013 For Certain: Top CO Beer Spots


 
2013 can certainly be remember as a year where the craft brewery really blew up across the Centennial State.  Nearly every suburban town in the Denver area has one or several, while even tiny mountain hamlets support these brew producing outposts.
The SG partook in quite a few of these throughout last year, and while I’m no beer snob or even a huge connoisseur, many are worth of mention.

Post Opening Day, the SG Crew ventured to Our Mutual Friend Brewing.  Hipster is the operative word here, but there was no record scratch as the crew walked in in Rox gear.  Beers are tasty and nothing overly fancy décor wise, with a nice laid back vibe and even “bring your own vinyl” days.

Back in the day, North Denver was simply called “North Denver” but now the area is “The Highlands” and further divided into “LoHi” and such.  In one of those areas is Prost Brewing.  A great summer spot, myself and seven time SG winner TDub spent a few German style beers watching college football at their communal tables.

Dipping into the central mountains, any true Coloradoan knows of Salida.  A riverside town with some great arts and great bar/restaurant scene.  I ventured on the requisite town bike to Moonlight Pizza, which also brews their own beers.  A slice and cold beer in their outdoor area with a late summer mountain vibe was memorable.

It’s been there for years, but Southern Sun in Boulder was the perfect post-CU Spring Game stop.  Tasty beers and even tastier entrees.  The décor is very Boulder-ish and service is uber-friendly.

I tagged along with three time SG winner JL Smooth on an all-encompassing Boulder craft tour.  Stop one was Fate Brewing, which had good beers and great appetizers.  Wasn’t your typical beer fan vibe, as there’s a family setting and a great patio.  Stop two was a beer fan honey hole: J Wells Brewing, a tiny nanobrewery in an industrial park.  Where we were served by, who else, J Wells.  The last two spots were Sanitas and Wild Woods, the first with a great outdoor area and the latter with a tasty beer selection.

It wasn’t all breweries in 13, as some old standard bar/restaurants caught the SG eye.  One of those was Ernie’s Pizza Bar in the Sunnyside neighborhood.  Reinvented over the past couple years, Ernie’s has great Italian cuisine and an extensive beer menu.

High above Nederland stands the tiny enclave of Rollinsville, blink and you might miss it.  But a quick turn into the “main drag” and you’ll see the venerable Stage Stop Inn.  Bright and roomy, complete with art, great all-day breakfast food, and a nice beer selection, it is the perfect lazy afternoon resting point.
Video gamers have flocked to 1Up in LoDo for tourneys and the like, but even us imbibers can appreciate their cold beers and old school games.  A great place on a hot Rockies’ day for a cold beer and some Skee Ball or Donkey Kong.

On the other end of the LoDo spectrum is the Viewhouse.  Massive and mainly open, the Viewhouse has the standard pub fare and cold beers of all flavors in the shadow of Coors Field.  Its giant backyard draws the pseudo Vegas daytime crowd, drinkers, and those looking to soak the Colorado sunshine.
A family summer vacation took us to Grand Lake and during nap times I was able to walk to the Lariat Saloon on the fabled Grand Lake Boardwalk.  A true dive bar that doesn’t really cater to the tourist crowd, I enjoyed a simple Coors Original.  Apparently it’s an older bar with quite the history, but was more interested in a nice conversation with the bartender and regulars.

The same trip saw a more family friendly trip to Brickhouse 40 in Granby.  A restored 40 year old brick building, it has decent food, a great interior, and cold beers.  The kids were giddy from a horseback riding session and colored away, while Mrs Commish and I babbled about who knows what in a rare lunch without endless under-five year old questions and concerns.  It was a memorable afternoon, and that’s what most of these bar trips create.  You’ll remember the conversations, the people, and the funny stories from across the thousands of watering holes in this great state.  Cheers!

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Saturday, January 04, 2014

2013 For Certain: Top CO Sports Moments



1- Buffs’ guard Askia Booker Euro-steps his way to a buzzer beating 3-pointer as CU snaps a decade-long losing streak to the Jayhawks.
2- The Broncos and Cowboys go at it in a Jerry World sized offensive shoot out that finally sees the Broncos prevail in a game for the ages 51-48.

3- The Buffs force a fumble and scoop it up for a game clinching touchdown in the annual Rocky Mountain Showdown for Mike McIntyre’s first CU win.
 
4- Tad Boyle and CU avenge a loss to Oregon State four days earlier in the Pac 12 tourney in Las Vegas, ultimately netting their second straight NCAA trip and a 10 seed. 

5- Andre Miller reverses the clock and goes to the hole for a winning shot in game one of the Nuggets opening playoff series following a 57 win season.

6- Eric Decker has four TDs as the Broncos pass a critical road test in Kansas City, beating the Chiefs 35-28 and assuming control of the AFC West.
7- The Buffs avenge Sabatino Chen’s game winning overturned shot in Tucson by routing the Wildcats on St Valentine’s Day in Boulder.

8- Peyton Manning tosses touchdown number 51 to Julius Thomas in Houston against the Texans to break the single season TD mark.

9- Peyton Manning throws seven TDs and put the banner controversy in the on the back pages and beat the Ravens 49-27 in the NFL season opener.
10- CU earns it only Pac 12 football win as the  Buffs’ offense and super stud WR Paul Richardson put it on the Cal Bears in Boulder 41-24.

GOING BACK IN THE DAY:
2012 Best of
2011 Best
2010 Tops
2009 Tops

2008 Best
2007 Tops
2006 Best

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Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 For Certain: Top Hip Hop Albums


1 - Inspectah Deck, 7L & Esoteric - Czarface
Couple beat maestro 7L with his standard partner Esoteric and you have a good combo, but add Wu alum Inspectah Deck and you have head nod central on this offering.  Guest artists like Action Bronson, Ghostface, Vinnie Paz, and Oh No shine on their respective tracks that have a comic book and old school wrestling feel punctuated with a 90’s Golden Era production.


2 - Armand Hammer – Race Music
Billy Woods and Elucid have such an undeniable chemistry, they lace the entire album with deep thinking (addiction, death, family, relationships) bars, Woods’ trademark worldview rhymes, and nary a beat that musters a skip.  Blue Sky Black Death provide the backdrop on bangers “Renaisance Garments” and “Noserfatu” while Woods frequent producer Marmaduke also provides production.


 3 - Grayskul – Zenith
“We strive for excellence, you strive for elegance” Onry Ozzborn bellows on the standout track “Face and the Fang.”  It could be the declaration for all underground Hip Hop, but also serves as the matra for Seattle based Grayskul.  Onry and JFK Ninjaface’s release yet another Fake Four stamped album with the crisp production and a highlight cameo from Aesop Rock on “Not Going Anywhere.”


4 - RA The Rugged Man – Legends Never Die
This crusty mofo took years to release new material, but it was well worth the wait.  Production galore from Buckwild, Apathy, Marco Polo, and a handful of tracks by Mr. Green, including the touching “Halo” which talks to RA’s late father. But it ain’t all serious, as the standard grimy, fuck-you, sexed up, dirty beer guzzling rhymes are ever present.


5 - Earl Sweatshirt – Doris
Say whatever the standard stereotypes about Wolf Gang or Earl and his exile in Samoa, but this album proves that they- notably Earl – have crazy mic skills.  On the flip side, Doris is dark, not a lot of happy cheering among the tracks that Earl laces alongside Tyler, The Creator, Domo Genesis, Mac Miller, and the surprising joint “Molasses” with the RZA.


6 - Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels
After last year’s R.A.P. Music set the standard, El-P and Killer Mike took it to the proverbial next level with the self titled debut.  Seriously bumping and deep grooves lay the foundation for El-P’s signature lyricism and Killer Mike’s Southern baratone.  Only two cameos, but both are well worth it: Big Boi on “Banana Clipper” and Prince Paul on “Twin Hype Back.”


7 - Qwel & Maker – Beautiful Raw
The Chicago sound comes through again on this release , as Qwel weaves tales of Chi Town and beyond.  The official press release references “thoughtful care” put into the album and at the end of a listen, it evokes just that: two artists giving a polished release to their fans.  Guest appearances from Swamburger,  Gouch of Living Legends, and a highlight verse from Qwazaar.


8 - Billy Woods – Dour Candy
Last year’s top spot holder is back – again – with producer Blockhead on a full length subsonic journey.  Woods is at his best with his many layers of sex, shows, and general city living in the every gentrifying urban corridor.  Blockhead’s production helps maintain Woods’ imagery throughout.
The highlight guest appearance is a superb Aesop Rock verse on the standout “Tumbleweed.”



9 - Doppelgangaz – Hark
Hark’s production takes the album title into account with NYC Golden Era beats, but this isn’t a tribute to the 90s.  The production and MC duo EP and Matter ov Fact spit grimey and sometimes grungey or even gross lyrics, but it never bumps into the gimmick category.  Clocking in at under 40 minutes, this album is bridged with quick instrumentals and standout tracks like “Skin Yarmulke.”



10 - Castle – Gasface
The second track “No Prep Time” with its cathedral like organ music sets the tone for Castle’s debut; a sometimes psychedelic, sometimes off kilter, always funky and clever.  The North Carolina MC/producer has a refreshing, quick, and no cameo album that seems to always leave you with a smirk.  Check “The Punisher Kills Hip Hop” for some vivid story weaving.


11 - Jonwayne – Rap Album One
Los Angeles based MC / Producer comes correct on his proper debut, a simplistic yet layered sapproach with crisp lyrics and off beat production.  The sandaled one (he even has a track titled “Sandals”) relishes the different tag, rapping “…Maury Povich, because my style has no father.”  The Scoop DeVille featured “Come Up Pt 1” and “Come Up Pt 2” are certain to get the head nodding.

12 - Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge - Twelve Reasons To Die
Leave it to Ghost to think outside of the standard Wu box as he enlisted composer Adrian Younge to put together a musical offereing that mirrors a comic book and also as the soundtrack to an Italian horror film.  Standard Wu appearances from Deck, Cappadonna, U-God, and Masta Killa (on the banger “I Declare War”) even further the album’s flawless stories.

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES
Vertual Vertigo – Come Fly With Me
Quelle Chris – Ghost At The Finish Line
Ill Bill - The Grimy Awards
Hide and Seek Zoo – Banji
Demigodz – Killmatic

LET'S TAKE A TRIP TO THINK BACK: 
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012

 

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