Coffee & Guitars: Whip’s Pacific Blend Dark Roast

Coffee is one of my greatest passions. To be honest, there are few things in my life I can’t live without – my wife, music, beer, and coffee. I guess writing should be somewhere on that list too, huh? To be able to combine two of my favorite things into one column is a dream come true. Hell, I was so excited for this new venture that I bought a new coffee grinder, so you know things are pretty serious.

On that note, welcome to Coffee & Guitars, a new coffee review column, where I, you guessed it, drink coffee and listen to music, then write about it. So without further ado, let’s get intro what I’m drinking and listening this right now.

Currently drinking: Whip’s Pacific Blend Dark Roast
Currently jamming: Dohny Jep – L.U.S.T.

A note from Michael “Whip” Wilton…‘Being from Seattle, I’m used to drinking some of the best coffee in the U.S. Almost everyone drinks coffee here – it’s part of our culture. I’m not saying I’m a connoisseur, but I know what I like. Whip’s Pacific Blend is an Italian Roast that’s not too dark, so it’s perfect for drip machines but bold enough for espresso machines. It’s a smooth, balanced blend that’s not heavy without a bitter aftertaste. Drink it black or add your favorite creamer or sweetener for the perfect cup that rocks your morning!”

Whip’s Pacific Blend pretty much is what it says it is – ‘an Italian roast that’s not too dark.’ It’s incredibly smooth and balanced with light roasted notes, and works just as well with or without cream and sugar. Even if you drop in some French Vanilla creamer as my wife did, this blend still stands up and shines through the additional flavor. I would call this an approachable dark roast. If you’re someone looking to venture down the path of bolder coffees, this is a good place to start.

Rock’D Coffee and Caffe D’arte have also partnered on other signature blends from some names you may have heard of – Michael Wilton of Queensryche and Tim Ripper Owens, formerly of Judas Priest. Rock’d Coffee Co will also be bringing you more signature artist blends in the future.

For more information, please visit www.rockdcoffeeco.com.

Coffee & Guitars: PKING’s 333rd Road Dawg Blend

Coffee is one of my greatest passions. To be honest, there are few things in my life I can’t live without – my wife, music, beer, and coffee. I guess writing should be somewhere on that list too, huh? To be able to combine two of my favorite things into one column is a dream come true. Hell, I was so excited for this new venture that I bought a new coffee grinder, so you know things are pretty serious.

On that note, welcome to Coffee & Guitars, a new coffee review column, where I, you guessed it, drink coffee and listen to music, then write about it. So without further ado, let’s get intro what I’m drinking and listening this right now.

Currently drinking: PKing’s 333rd Road Dawg Blend (Dark Roast)
Currently jamming: And The Sky Darkened – Between Ghosts

This roast is brought to you in the true spirit of rock n’ roll by the folks behind the scene, The Road Dawgs. Pushing boundaries, irritating the neighbors, and bringing forth the beast in you. Just what you’re looking for in your morning cup or throughout your day. It’s time to awaken your senses and brew it up!!!

Brought to you by the fine folks at Rock’D Coffee and Caffe D’arte, PKing’s 333rd Road Dawg Blend is some of the better coffee I’ve had the opportunity to put in my mug lately. It’s rich and bold with heavy notes of roast and a touch of caramel. The roast notes aren’t as over the top as some of the heavier dark roasts out there, which makes this a winner in my book. There’s no bitterness to speak of, and each sip is as savory as the last. This is a proper cup of coffee that just as solid black as it is with a dab of cream and sugar.

Rock’D Coffee and Caffe D’arte have also partnered on other signature blends from some names you may have heard of – Michael Wilton of Queensryche and Tim Ripper Owens, formerly of Judas Priest. Rock’d Coffee Co will also be bringing you more signature artist blends in the future.

For more information, please visit www.rockdcoffeeco.com.

And the Sky Darkened – “Between Ghosts”

And the Sky Darkened
“Between Ghosts”

And the Sky Darkened’s latest EP Between Ghosts is a badass metal record full of spectacular guitar work, powerful vocals and hammering drums, reminiscent of something skin to Bullet for My Valentine or Trivium-lite. Well, three-fourths of these new tracks classify as such at least. Opener “Burden Hardest To Bear” lays the potent infrastructure of Between Ghosts – galloping riffs, pummeling call-and-response, and radio ready melodies, “Turn These Eyes Blind” follows beautifully with even more striking hooks, “The Darkened Await” is the album’s crowning achievement, a truly massive metal opus combining stunning leads and epic everything, while closing title track manages to end the album on a down note, spending the better part of six minutes meandering off into the ethers with admittedly solid vocal work engulfed by flimsy guitars. For the most part, Between Ghosts is a pretty admirable metal record from the South Wales heavy rockers. Three out of four ain’t bad, right?

Go Download: “The Darkened Await”

The Beautiful Mistake – “You’re Not Broken…I Am” (Wiretap Records)

The first time I heard The Beautiful Mistake was back in 2003, when I downloaded their brilliant “On Building” after a friend recommended them because I was listening to Boysetsfire. Suffice to say, he was right. Light A Match, For I Deserve To Burn became a soundtrack to my formative years, but, as fate would have it, the band would go on a lengthy hiatus only a few years later. Thankfully, that was then and this is now, as after spending nearly a decade and a half in oblivion, The Beautiful Mistake is back with You’re Not Broken…I Am, their first new music since 2006.

There’s no lost steps or ring rust here as opener “Monument” is a sight for sore ears, a turbulent blast of early-aughts emo angst nostalgia long thought dead and buried, now resurrected via dissonant screams and angular riffs. If You’re Not Broken…I Am was at a 9 or 10 on the opening track, “East of Eden” cranks the record up to fucking 11 with heightened tempos, jilted howls and churning guitars. If you forgot how adept at crafting melody The Beautiful Mistake is, flip to “Memento Mori,” a soaring track with memorable hooks that devolves into strained, emotive vocal refrains and chunky riffs. ‘Let me bleed all over you’ the band proclaims during “Decades Away,” before closer “Anger/Courage” perfectly places a demonstrative exclamation point on You’re Not Broken…I Am.

You’re Not Broken…I Am is more than an emotional time capsule, it’s a stunning return to form and an emphatic announcement that The Beautiful Mistake is back on the scene. And, above all else, it’s a fantastic album. The time to rediscover this band is right now.

Go Download: “Monument”

VV – “Gothica Fennica Vol. 1” (Heartagram Ltd)

It has been three very long years since the music of Finnish love metallers H.I.M. regularly graced the airwaves. Whether you knew the band as a fan or recognized them from an episode of Viva La Bam, chances are, you know the songs – “Join Me In Death,” “Killing Loneliness,” “Buried Alive By Love” and “The Funeral of Hearts,” to name a few. And you know the voice – frontman Ville Valo, who is back with a new solo project, VV, and their debut release Gothica Fennica Vol. 1. From the maiden moments of opener “Salute the Sanguine,” the most upbeat of the trio of offerings on Gothica Fennica Vol. 1, the all-too-familial tones of Valo open the memory floodgates as vivid melodies swathed in gothic soundscapes transport you back to a time when you couldn’t turn on rock radio without hearing “Wings of a Butterfly” and you were probably waiting in line at your local Media Play to buy a copy of Dark Light. The following “Run Away From the Sun” sounds plucked directly from the recording sessions of Razorblade Romance, an emotional slow burner that will remind you why you loved H.I.M. Closer “Saturnine Saturnalia” tempers the pace even more, showcasing just how brilliant Valo’s impassioned, delicate vocal work truly is. Gothica Fennica Vol. 1 is the perfect teaser for what is hopefully more new music to come from Ville Valo and his VV project.

Go Download: “Run Away From the Sun”