Song of the Week: “America Says Hello” by The Chills


This week’s song “America Says Hello” is a caustic broadside fired at the hegemony and militarism of my native country by New Zealand’s The Chills.  I’d never heard of the band before this week, but they had much success in New Zealand in the 1980s and 1990s with their jangly-guitar rock style reminiscent of R.E.M.  Their new album Silver Bullets sounds musically like it could’ve been released 25 years ago, and sadly the political and environmental messages in the lyrics sound like not much has changed since 1990.  An excellent album, worth a listen.

 

Beer Review: Pretty Things/Yeastie Boys Our Turn, Your Turn


Beer:  Our Turn, Your Turn
Brewer:  Pretty Things / Yeastie Boys collaboration
Source: 22 oz bottle
Rating:  *** (7.5 of 10)
Comments:  Our Turn, Your Turn and as the world turns, a collaboration of the Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project of Somerville, MA and the Yeastie Boys of New Zealand.  The beer is a hazy, straw color with lots of fizz.  Aromas and flavors seem to be heavily influenced by the Linden flower, a type of tea that gives the beer strong earthy and floral accents.  The hoppiness packs a wallop, and I generally don’t like the bitterness of hoppy beers, but this one is good enough to make an exception.  All in all, an imaginative and exceptional beer.

Book Review: Dogside Story by Patricia Grace


Around The World For a Good Book selection for: New Zealand

Author: Patricia Grace
Title: Dogside Story
Publication Info: University of Hawaii Press (2002), Paperback, 304 pages
ISBN: 0824825845

Summary/Review:

Set just before the turn of the millennium in 2000, Dogside Story takes place in a rural Maori community historically born of a family feud.  The novel deals with family, using communication to resolve community problems, and the erosion of traditions as the younger people adopt the ways of the white people or move away to the cities.  Storytelling is important to the community and many wonderful stories are woven into the narrative. I struggled with this book due to dialogue which is rich in accents and lingo as well as the large cast of characters who I found difficult to sort out.  That of course is reader error and should not reflect poorly on this lyrical, insightful, and humorous novel.  Here’s a link to a much better review.

Rating: ***