Recently in my exploration of this list of the fastest growing 25 cities in America, I made the unfortunate discovery that not even a single one of them LODGED itself in America’s middle arteries known as the Midwest. Meanwhile, we’re sure to see St. Louis, Milwaukee and Cleveland amongst the most crime-ridden of the gang in the entire country (Detroit, Chicago and my hometown of South Bend, Indiana sort of going without saying).
With this being said, we have been witnessing a craft beer explosion here in Indiana and the surrounding states to truly boggle the mind. Now, granted, it’s been said at least in rumor that Lake Michigan has some special water in it, especially pure, just like the minds of us young Christian people in this part of the country, which makes for an especially enjoyable imbibing experience, on the beer level.
Something must be up, because not only is there now disturbingly any commerce whatever in Gary, Indiana, perennially heralded as the worst place on the planet other than Liberia, but there is even a craft brewery, 18th St., possessive of a certain style and moxie in what they do. What’s more, holy sh**, this stuff is pretty good! An especially flavorful and guzzle-able IPA I recently got from them, in a four-pack of 16 oz. cans for about $11 (it’s still pretty much cheaper than drinking in a bar), was Sex and Candy, presumably yes named after the Marcy Playground song. The cannery is in Hammond and there is a brew pub there, but an alternative location, the Tap Room and Craft Cocktails, rests on what looks like Gary’s extreme East side, the less densely populated bordering the quiet towns of Portage and Lake Station, and the rural drift past those.
But anyway, this is just meant as a lighthearted post aimed at celebrating what I consider a classic album (especially if you’re stoned and honing in on the vocals in “A Cloak of Elvenkind”), and pointing out the POTENTIALLY iconic statures of pretty much all the album titles, the way “Sex and Candy” surely works great as a beer name. Look particularly to the last to songs: “The Shadow of Seattle” and “The Vampires of New York,” particularly regarding how neither really houses a beer-friendly city (if you want to observe the very definition of skittishness just ask a Seattleite where to find good local beer there). Both are very aesthetic, in other words. The same goes for “Ancient Walls of Flowers,” which aligns with hops. “St. Joe on the School Bus,” then, could be a barley wine (like for communion), “Gone Crazy” would be a great DIPA and “One More Suicide,” you guessed it, the trippel, which comes with an extra wide-mouthed can, like Urban Chestnut’s Fantasyland IPA.
Addenda: Months of the year
This is just meant as a pointless further commentary on the certain concision and dry value that Marcy Playground has, but the number of 12 tracks on it might not be entirely accidental: actually I think of this album very seasonally, with the first song “Poppies” corresponding to January and its annual economic lull (the type of thing which would reward unconventional trade with India), “Sex and Candy” a further indoor landscape for February, “Ancient Walls of Flowers” the first budding of Spring, “St. Joe on the School Bus” corresponding with the continuation of the school year and with Easter, and so on. It’s true that in “A Cloak of Elvenkind” he mentions summer, but in May we are only a month away from there. The end of the album perceives extreme darkness, to jibe with the winter solstice: shadows and vampires. And then this is just my own conceited commentary here, but “Gone Crazy” to me is a perfect summer song, for the lazy, simple days when you might exercise outside, go home and enjoy simple thoughts and not be saddled with an inordinate heating bill. Also, from what I’ve heard, July is the beginning of the rainy season in the Northwest, perhaps “not the place that (someone) belong(s)”. There might be a lot of better late-‘90s options for turning millennials on to our brand of rock, the more energetic, the more world-engaging and tenacious, but given an appreciation of this certain zeitgeist, Marcy Playground is about as soothing as stoner albums get. The band hails originally from Minnesota.