BrewDog with Slim Cessna’s Auto Club

HARDCORE IPA [9.2%] by BREWDOG

paired with CIPHER by SLIM CESSNA’S AUTO CLUB

Hardcore, you know the score… delicious

I’d imagine that my first dabble with BrewDog was the same as most people’s: Punk IPA. Afterall, it was for sale in Sainsbury’s quite a while before they became uber-infamous as the naughty boys of British brewing. I bought my first couple of bottles purely because it was called Punk. I liked the ones I had but after finishing them I went back to my old favourites. Some months later, I met up with some fellow Julian Cope fans in Birmingham’s The Wellington and after dissecting the Scottish independent music scene our conversation turned to beer and one of my companions announced that he was a shareholder in BrewDog. I remarked that I’d had Punk but didn’t really know much else about their beers… and that was pretty much that… except I resolved to give Punk another go and sample anymore of their beers that came my way.

Future trips to London allowed me to sample further BrewDog beers but this time on draught instead of from the bottle – 5AM Saint, Trashy Blonde, Riptide and Growler (which was brewed exclusively for the Pivovar bar chain and I was lucky enough to find in the Euston Tap) – all were tasty beers. Then I paid a visit to Glasgow to catch a gig by The Phantom Band and while there I was taken to Blackfriars and treated to a bottle of Hardcore IPA… de-fucking-licious!

* * *

… just like Slim …

I bought into the world of Slim Cessna’s Auto Club on the second day of January 2011. A friend had been banging on about them for a number of years and travelling all over the world to see them play live for almost as long. The two of us have a lot of shared favourite music and without our love of music it’s doubtful that we would ever have become acquainted. When he talks about music I tend to listen quite intently. I had heard snatches of the Auto Club here and there but hadn’t been overly impressed by their crazy country sound but at the start of the year, knowing that my friend was in Denver enjoying the annual Auto Club New Year shows, I decided to make a more spirited attempt to understand their music. So, I went through to Bristol on a CD hunt. I did buy a load of CDs and some vinyl but sadly there was nothing by the Auto Club… I was undeterred. When I got home I picked up my iProduct and tapped on the iShop. The album I choose to buy was Buried Behind The Barn. The reason behind my choice? At £6.32 it was the cheapest they had. I played it three or four times the evening I bought it and then the next day I played it while cycling to and from work – I liked it but I still wasn’t convinced.

In a roundabout way I was advised to try Jesus Let Me Down, a live album recorded at Denver’s Blue Bird Theatre in 2005. This might seem like a bit of an oxymoron but despite loving live music I’ve never had much time for live music LPs but as I’d been told that playing live was what Slim did best I considered it was worth a blast. Again, I discovered some amazing songs but, again, I was left with the same feeling that I had before: I like it but I’m still not convinced. I forgot about the Auto Club for a week or two… then, one dank evening whilst cycling home with the iProduct on shuffle ‘He, Roger Williams’ came on. It was an epiphany. It was such an astounding 576 seconds that as soon as it was over I slammed on my brakes so I could experience it again. I cycled the rest of the way home singing & dancing & laughing & buzzing. My interest had been well and truly re-awakened

I decided that my next Auto Club LP should be their most recent offering, Cipher, which was more than three years old when I got hold of it. And there it was, a perfect album: it hangs together beautifully with every song surpassing the previous but refusing to upstage the next (no matter the order you choose to play the tracks). An absolute joy. It’s no longer my favourite Auto Club LP but I still love it dearly and it is the one that I would recommend to anyone looking for an entry point.

* * *

XXX: Triple Hardcore Action

Hardcore IPA pours a lovely deep golden colour – think Irn Bru mixed with a few drops of blood – and comes complete with a nicotine-tinged white head. As far as beers go, it looks quite sexy and inviting as it sits there awaiting the flash of the photographer’s bulb.

It smells awesome. Absolutely delicious. It’s like Um Bongo and 5Alive mixed with a few dozen sherbet dibdabs and then there’s a wee blast of Scott’s Porage Oats drizzled with maple syrup (sorry, salt puritans).

The taste is as beautiful and as crazy as the nose. The main taste tsunami is a brilliant blend of citrus fruits and lychees and those ones that look like chinese lanterns. There’s also a lovely but very subtle bitter chocolate and caramel taste which is quickly gobbled up by the sour & tangy bite of of super-fresh citrus peel . The finish has a lovely long lingering bitterness which you don’t really want to go away and thankfully it does like to stick around and keep you company.

All-in-all Hardcore IPA is a fantastic beer and when you consider it’s relatively low price and the fact that it is for sale in most decent sized towns and cities it must be considered as a front-runner for the honour of being the UKs finest readily-available beer.

* * *

Cipher

Cipher starts with ‘An Introduction to the Power of Braces’ – a song that’ll have a slight return a further three times. Coming across like an ancient & long forgotten folk song it sets out the aims and goals of the album beautifully: this isn’t going to be a collection of mere songs – this is an awakening… this is a reckoning. When ‘Braces’ fades out ‘This Land Is Our Land Redux’ blasts in – an uptempo reworking of the Woody Guthrie classic ‘This Land Is Your Land’ but with more anger and insanity and disillusionment… and joy! Oh boy! There’s a hello of a lot of joy in that song! ‘All About The Bullfrog In 3 Verses’ is a complete musical suite in only 3 minutes and 42 seconds and for this I’m sure we must partly thanks the power of legendary music producer Bob Ferbrache – it’s one of those songs that make you realise that Auto Club have more ideas on one song than most other musicians manage in their entire careers – and that’s ideas that work!. ‘Children of the Lord’ is an astounding track – the banjo intro is one of the most beautful moments in the history of recorded sound. Perhaps the greatest endorsement of the song is the fact that despite having no real love for the Xtian faith I can’t help but holler “give god the glory glory give god the glory glory….” everytime I hear it. I’ve read a few places that ‘SCAC101’ is the only filler track on the album but I find it to be one of the finest the band have recorded… a little slice of warped Slim history – I’d love to see them play it live. ‘Everyone is Guilty’ is pure genius: it starts out as a simple tale of hanging with Jesus, listening to the radio, going for Sunday drives and getting the Auto Club to support him as he goes on tour… but then it takes a turn… with Munly pretty much announcing the Jesus is a scumbag liar. Then we return to Braces for the fourth and final time before we close with the insanely titled ‘That Fierce Cow is Common Sense In A Country Dress’ but fortunately the song is just as insane and beautiful – a fantastic way to close a truly fantastic album. Country, pop, gothic, gospel, rock, techno, folk… it’s all on there (and more sings than I mention)… only a band as great as the Auto Club could make it sound so perfect.

And there we have it: the beer that fully got me into BrewDog paired with the album that fully got me into Slim Cessna’s Auto Club.

So go buy yourself half a dozen bottles of Hardcore and drink them while listening to Cipher on repeat… then come with us to see the Auto Club in Europe and Denver!

Big Bad Bob on the pedal steel

Cipher is available to buy from Alternative Tentacles

* * *

… all photography by landells except Cipher …

~ by landells on January 28, 2012.

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