Vinyl on Tap: Pairing Music with Beer

by Kevin Sterne


Girlpool’s Powerplant

On their first album Before the World Was Big, Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad navigated age and introspection—feeling young but being old—through specific lyrical scenes. Their sophomore effort Powerplant takes a more abstract and poetic approach in to the lyrics:

“She’s like a shelf the way she looks at the wall
A stock market dance while the poetry falls”

The addition of drummer Miles Witner gives backbone to the dual harmonies of Tucker and Tividad—the deserved draw of Girlpool. With Witner, the sonic representation is more expansive. We see the group explore Lyncheon dream pop, and classic stop-and-go alt rock that everyone seems to be doing. All is standard hipster-indie fare for the cool crowd, but the dreamy atmosphere and lyrical poignancy are what set Powerplant from what you’ll hear over and over and over in 2017.

The video for titular single, “Powerplant” shows the trio half-heartedly performing to coffee-shop art-types in a bowling alley—a setting so “un-hip” it’s fetishized for its irony. The video explores the theme of a singular moment, specifically live performance and a recorded one that is the same the first time and the hundredth. This idea plays out when the video’s director breaks the fourth wall, commanding the band to show more energy.

The moment and the video are comical and offer a meta commentary on the music industry, not unsimilar to Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Good Squad.

Pair the album and the book with Lakewood Brewing’s Vienna-Style Lager.


Skip the $5 bowling alley pitcher of lager for one that is as drinkable but more flavorful. Subtle caramel aromas, a coppery pour and a light, malty sweetness paired with hop bitterness will make you rethink your notion of a lager. Enjoy this one with one of those rotisserie pretzels and accompanying Dixie cup of nuclear cheese melt. Cheers.


Kevin Sterne is a writer and journalist based in Chicago, the editor of LeFawn Magazine. Apart from Shuga Records, he’s written about beer and music for Mash Tun Journal, The Tangential and Substream Magazine. His creative fiction has appeared in Drunk Monkeys, Potluck Mag, Defenestration, Praxis Magazine, Down in the Dirt Magazine, and Word Eater, among many others.
Twitter: @kevinsterne
Instagram: Kevinsterne
Instagram: LeFawnZine

I listened to Dad Rock for one week straight and stared death in the face

by Kevin Sterne

People love Dad Rock. They love Dad Rock—not be confused with the rock band, Dads—so much that listening to Dad Rock has become some sort of subculture ritual for older generations and snake people alike. But I always thought Dad Rock to be very, well, plain. Like going for ice cream and getting a vanilla cone (Throw some sprinkles on that shit!). Still, I have some friends who swear by Dad Rock, i.e. how it’s changed them for the better. Since I am perpetually on a quest for noble enlightenment, I decided to give this Dad Rock thing a go.

But, as I told my editor, if I’m going to do this thing, I’m going to fucking do it. A week straight. No podcasts. No talk radio. If I go in a room and music other than Dad Rock is playing, I have to leave. I can’t listen to anything other than Clapton, Neil Young, Tom Petty and the like. My editor said to toss in Dave Mathews and The National for good measure. And that I need to pick between either Ryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen. I said, “what’s the difference?” My editor didn’t respond to the question, but she did fax me a waiver that I had to sign.


Day 1, Weight: 170lbs

I spent the first night listening to Dave Mathews band and drinking Dave Mathews wine, Crush. I drank the whole bottle in one sitting and passed out in my bed. This would be a breeze.


Day 2, Weight 168lbs

I woke up feeling like hell. So I thought I’d put on some music to wake me up as I showered, brushed my teeth, etc. John Denver did not help. “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” made my ear bleed. Literally. I was using a que tip and found blood in my left ear.


Day 3, Weight 167lbs

My day job is installing irrigation and watering systems so I have to do a lot of driving between jobs. Normally I listen to podcasts. Today I gave the Eagles a try. “Hotel California” is a decent song, I think I used to jam it on guitar sometimes. But for every “Hotel California” and “One of These Nights,” there’s a shrieking banshee number like “New Kid in Town.” I accidently ran a red light trying to skip to a new track, and came inches from T-boning a Geo Tracker.


I feel on edge most of the day, even after switching to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young when I get off at 5. I hardly eat my dinner tonight, even though my roommates cooked chicken and waffles—one of my favorite meals ever. I’m starting to regret committing to this.

Day 4, Weight 165lbs.

I barely slept last night. You ever have those nightmares where you try to run but you can’t? I kept having one where Barry Manilow was chasing me through my high school cafeteria. Needless to say, I wake up in bad shape. I decided to treat myself to a big iced mocha from Dark Matter’s Osmium and a blue berry muffin. Something to lift my spirits, because God knows The National aren’t doing it. This didn’t help, because I had to get my order and immediately leave since they were playing Rx Bandits on the house speakers. In my car, I put on Bruce Springsteen. Eating the muffin and drinking the coffee felt like my taste buds had fallen off. The food just sat in my mouth while Springsteen spat his gaudy New Jersey accent from my Prius speakers. If there’s a radio station in Hell, it definitely plays Springsteen.

Day 5, Weight 163lbs.

As you can see, I’m losing weight fast. I wake up to an urgent email from my editor saying the waiver I signed doesn’t cover the company legally if I die. They want to offer me a kill fee, meaning I’d get about half the totally money for the article and get to quite this electroshock lab-rat experiment immediately.

I decide to call her. She asks me like 10 different times if I’m okay or if I’ve had thoughts of hurting myself. I’m a man on a ledge and my editor is trying to talk me down. “There’s so much to live for,” she yells through the bull horn, “Fugazi is getting back together!” I ask if they will reimburse me for the Dave Mathews wine. Silence. I tell her I’m not quitting and slam my phone, cracking my screen more than it already was.

That night I comb my hair and huge tufts come out. I pull one of my teeth out with no effort. Only two days left, I tell myself.

Day 6, Weight 155lbs.

I call in sick to work. My roommate offers to drive me in my car to the hospital. “Mr. Jones” is playing from my stereo, but it feels like Adam Duritz and Adam Duritz’s hair are inside me, projecting sound through all my holes. My roommate asks if I want him to turn off the Counting Crows. I give a weak, pathetic “no” from under my sweaty blankets.

Sometime in the afternoon I crawl on all fours to the bathroom.

Day 7, Weight 138lbs.

Photo 5

The only thing getting me through today is the idea of listening to the new At The Drive-in album tomorrow. I spend the majority of these hours in an expressionless stupor, deep inside the dark reaches of my mental space. Where Peter Gabriel plays.

Over the course of these 7 days I’ve experienced all-time mental lows, punctuated by brief manic highs. There were moments of Counting Crows-induced euphoria and long lapses of fear and paranoia, specifically when it felt like Jon Bon Jovi was dredging my cranial sediment.

At midnight I walked to a bar listening to Botch in my headphones. It was like hearing music for the first time. At the bar, the women tending asked how I was doing, which to anyone else would be a normal question. But me, given all I had just been through, I shook my head at her and told her I wasn’t ready to get into all that yet. Please just give me a Hamms. I sat near the window, outside it was raining. A giant potted fern leaned over me. I could hear the sound of rushing water and I felt the spirit of the Lord fill me like a balloon. Later I drifted off to some ridiculous well-lit place.

Check out Kevin’s other work at
twitter: @kevinsterne
instagram: @lefawnzine

New Vinyl Releases 5/12/17


  • All Hell – The Grave Alchemist (Gold/Blood Red Splatter Vinyl)
  • All That Remains – Madness
  • Between The Buried And Me – Coma Ecliptic: Live
  • Don Bryant – Don’t Give Up On Love
  • Dreamcar – S/T
  • John Frum – A Stirring In The Noos
  • Girlpool – Powerplant (Indie Exclusive on Translucent Red, Ltd. to 300 or Standard)
  • Gnarwhal – Crucial
  • Happyness – Write In
  • Marian Hill – Act One (2LP Expanded Edition)
  • Hobbs Angel Of Death – Heaven Bled (Ltd. Gold Vinyl + Bonus 7″ and Gold Foil Gatefold Sleeve)
  • Killswitch Engage – Alive Or Just Breathing (15 Anniversary Pressing)
  • L.A. Takedown – II
  • Little Dragon – Season High (Gatefold on White Vinyl)
  • Los Colognes – The Wave
  • Massive Attack – Mezzanine (1998) (Gatefold Reissue, German Pressing)
  • Mouth Of The Architect – Time & Withering (Oxblood Vinyl Ltd. to 300)
  • Amanda Palmer & Edward Ka-Spel – I Can Spin A Rainbow
  • Panic! At The Disco – A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out
  • Porcupine Tree – Coma Divine (Recorded Live In 1997)
  • Prick – Prick
  • PWR BTTM – Pageant (Maroon Vinyl)
  • Quantic & Nidia Gongora – Curao
  • Spencer Radcliffe & Everyone Else – Enjoy The Great Outdoors
  • Rick Ross – Rather You Than Me
  • Saturn – Beyond Spectra (Purple Vinyl)
  • Soundtrack – David Lynch’s Lost Highway
  • Soundtrack / David Bowie + Trevor Jones – Labyrinth
  • Christopher Paul Stelling – Itinerant Arias
  • Harry Styles (One Direction) – S/T Debut (12 Page Booklet)
  • Trial – Motherless
  • Ulsect – S/T (First Press, Ltd. to 250)
  • Various – Uzelli Psychedelic Anadolu
  • Venom – Skeletons In The Closet
  • Wilsen – Sirens

Lots of new Pre-Orders up on the website including Beyonce’s Lemonade! Don’t miss out, check out out entire collection here.lemon

Vinyl on Tap: Ranking Music and Craft Beer

By Kevin Sterne

It’s the first week of May, so I figure we’d take a look back at the last month’s best singles and pair them with a beer list. In case you’ve been living under a rock (me, most of the time), Kendrick Lamar has released a new album. DAMN.’s 14 tracks plus “The Heart Part IV” demand to be on any playlist. To handle all the music, I have a tap list featuring some So. Cal favorites; an Oregon original; a Bostonian specialty; and one of the best porters I’ve had in a while—curtesy of Florida of all places. Expect the unexpected when it involves K. Dot and craft beer.

The Beer List

Mongo India Pale Ale by Port Brewing

A double IPA that bucks the west coast tradition. This amber wave spills five varieties of hops, splashing fresh orange peel and tangerine rind on the palate. When the Mongo waves reseeds you’re left with a tasty bed of malt and piney bitterness. Until the next sip. This is a bold IPA, with a hurricane of flavor typically seen on the east coast.


Session Lager by Full Sail Brewing

A light, crisp, and refreshing Cerveza in a stubby bottle. Brewed with Pilsner malt, flaked corn and Celeia and Northern Brewer hops, this incredibly drinkable beer is another belt notch for Full Sail’s Session brand, accessible without compromising flavor—easier said than done. And with countless awards for their Session Premium Lager, Full Sail has cemented themselves as key leaders in the lager revival.

Colorado Trips

FORTEM by Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Their first release in the Leo V. Ursus Chronology. The beer jointly celebrates FW’s 20th anniversary and new Propagator brew house, which they are using for quarterly one-off releases. Fortem is the first of these beers. Not enough can be said about this IPA. It packs a huge tropical aroma. The first sip is a citrus tsunami of massive mango, tangerine and pineapple. This specialty brew comes unfiltered with an ABV that you’ll never notice.


Framinghammer Baltic Porter by Jack’s Abbey Craft Lagers

Barrel-aged in addition to long, arduous brewing process, this Massachusetts-grown lager is a true cold-brewed labor of love. The lengthy conditioning periods renders this elixir silky smooth and with hints of chocolate rolled in oats and brown sugar. This one pours out of a pint-sized bottle in bourbony gobs. Anywhere else, and they call this a Stout. But it’s Boston-inspired. Pass the lobster roll.


Last Snow by Funky Buddha Brewery

A coconut-infused coffee porter that doesn’t skimp on either. Pours with a pillowey mocha head and wafts of creamy coconut. Appearance and smell are where this triple-headed combination of coffee, chocolate and coconut typically ends with lesser beers. But Funky Buddha has made these flavors even more prominent in the sip. This is porter worth seeking out—in the least likely of places.


The Playlist

*DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar*
In the first few spins, Lamar’s fourth LP seems like a series of punctuated meditations: Pride. Fear. Loyalty.—more a collection of songs than the a unified effort like To Pimp a Butterfly. But as you begin to unpack the album, the Kendrick Lamar as a Christ-figure narrative begins to emerge. The Easter weekend release is not a coincidence, and few things are with K. Dot.

“The Heart Part IV” by Kendrick Lamar
All that needs to be said about this song was said here. Listen. Be enlightened.


“In Cold Blood” by Alt-J
If not for you-know-who, this would be the single of the month. The first cut off the band’s much anticipated third full-length Relaxer set to arrive June 2 via Canvasback Music, “In Cold Blood” sees Alt-J at their most conventionally energetic yet most inspired, seamlessly transitioning from jitterbug verse to look-at-me chorus. Alas, the only bad thing about this song is that it has no reference to the Truman Capote novel.


“Darling” by Real Estate
A fun little dream-jangle from Real Estate’s forthcoming fourth effort. The guitars and bass swathe in dreamy synth textures as frontman Martin Courtney ripples with lyrics about the black and yellow finches in his best Elliot Smith copy.


“I Saw You Close Your Eyes” by Local Natives
Kudos to Local Natives for trying something new and interactive with this single. Their site that welcomes the release of this song instructs listeners to literally close their eyes. Check it out here. If Local Natives haven’t already transitioned from low-key accessible indie to full on mainstream chill, this song puts all doubts to rest.

I Saw You Close Your Eyes Local natives lyricmine.jpeg

Check out Kevin’s other work at
twitter: @kevinsterne
instagram: @lefawnzine

New Vinyl Releases 5/5/17


  • Atavismo – Inerte
  • At The Drive-In – Inter Alia (‘Deep Purple with Grimace Splatter’ vinyl)
  • Autopsy – Mental Funeral (Limited Edition Picture Disc)
  • Bad Brains – Build A Nation (10th Anniversary Pressing, Green vinyl)
  • Blondie – Pollinator
  • Michelle Branch – Hopeless Romantic
  • Rusty Bryant – Fire Eater
  • Brother Ali – All The Beauty in This Whole Life
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Lovely Creatures: The Best Of (1984-2014)
  • The Crickets / Buddy Holly – The “Chirping” Crickets
  • Day Wave – The Days We Had
  • Mac Demarco – This Old Dog (‘Indie Exclusive’ White vinyl)
  • Descendents – Everything Sucks (20th Anniversary Reissue)
  • Djustin – Voyagers
  • Tica Douglas – Our Lady Star of The Sea, Help and Protect Us
  • Flume – Skin Companion EP II
  • Delia Gonzalez – Horse Follows Darkness
  • Yasmine Hamdan – Al Jamilat
  • Hark – Crystalline (‘Ultra-Clear’ Vinyl, Limited to 200 Worldwide!)
  • Mickey Hart – Planet Drum (25th Anniversary)
  • Buddy Holly – S/T
  • HO99O9 (Horror) – United States of Horror
  • HOOPS – Routines
  • Household / Infinite Me – Split (Indie Exclusive Transparent Green vinyl)
  • Diana Krall – Turn Up The Quiet
  • Charles Kynard – Afro-Disiac
  • Walter Martin – My Kinda Music
  • Taj Mahal / Keb ‘Mo’ – TajMo
  • Me First and The Gimme Gimmes – Rake It In: The Greatest Hits
  • Jessica Moss (Violinist of Silver Mt. Zion) – Pools Of Light
  • Juana Molina – Halo
  • Moon Duo – Occult Architecture Vol 2 (‘Blue Smoke vinyl)
  • Mountain Movers – S/T
  • The New Respects – Here Comes Trouble EP
  • Nightlands – I Can Feel The Night Around Me
  • The Obsessives – S/T
  • Pentagram – Relentless (Limited Edition Picture Disc)
  • Psymun – Rainbow Party EP
  • Slowdive – S/T (‘Indie Exclusive’ Silver vinyl)
  • The Sword – Greetings From…
  • Doug Tuttle – Peace Potato (Clear vinyl)
  • Twin Peaks – Urbs In Horto (Live Chicago Recordings)
  • U2 – 18 Singles
  • Various – Cover Stories: Brandie Carlile Celebrates 10 Years of The Story: An Album to Benefit War Children
  • Warfather – The Grey Eminence