Sunday, August 30, 2015

Listen: Young Bombs' Remix of Fletcher, Nick Kingswell and Viola Beach

Shit's going down and you're in the process of eating a sandwich (thank god it isn't a cupcake, that situation can get super messy). Might I suggest an accompanying soundtrack of:

The last time I listened to Spotify's "New Music Friday" playlist, I was left feeling unimpressed. This is what the world is offering right now? I went back and buried my head in the 90's music of my youth. Pretty bad when you choose the twenty-five year old toy instead of the brand new one. After escaping the 90's I decided to give "New Music Friday" another try. This time I was pleased to see the inclusion of Young Bombs and their remix of Fletcher's "War Paint." Typically Young Bombs does some pretty progressive remixes. This one dialed back the progressiveness and just intensified the pop. It didn't take long for me to fall hard.

When the world's getting all shitty around you, survival is based on being level-headed and ready for whatever comes your way (I always liken it to Coach Taylor's "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose." Put that in a zombie movie and watch the results). That means music that keeps it chill and real. Nick Kingswell's new single "River Runs Red" follows this path clearly. It's relaxed and laid back. It doesn't get to high or too low. I imagine if I had been dancing to this, I never would've spoken to the police in the first place.

So let's pretend that Coach Taylor never wondered the sidelines during Texas football games. Instead he wondered around the stage of English rock and roll clubs. Here, on these stages, "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose" doesn't have quite the same appeal. So he adopts something else, something a bit more indie appropriate. That's where Viola Beach and their new single, "Swings & Waterslides," comes in to play. I can totally see Coach Taylor taking the stage and, before bursting into upbeat song, announcing to the crowd "Eyes Wide, Bright Light, Time Flies, Feels Right" in a deeply English accent. Until someone makes that happen, I'll just enjoy it in song.

Cook: Sh**'s Going Down Tofu and Sun-dried Tomato "Cheese" Wrap

Here is the timeline I provided the cops the other night:

4:10-I arrived home with my daughter. I put some basted tofu in the oven and began cooking it.

4:15-I turned on Spotify so my daughter and I could do some dancing while we waited on the tofu. I turned on my playlist called "All the Punks Horses." Every once in a while my daughter likes heavy music.

4:20-I put a diaper on my head. My daughter laughed.

4:21-I put a box on my head over the diaper. She laughed harder and said "Dada, box, hat!"

4:22-My daughter handed me her mop. I tucked it down the back of my shirt like a floppy headed sword. She laughed harder still.

4:23-I picked up my computer lap protecter and began beating it like a drum. My daughter ran and got her xylophone. We made some sweet music for a bit.

4:29-The Chainsaw Hookers' "Never Sleep Again" played on the stereo. Right after the line "some shit's going down on my street" I heard a knock at the door. I turned the stereo down a little but forgot to remove my costume.

4:30-I opened the door. My neighbor, who was naked, stood there staring at me. I stared back at him. We looked each other up and down. At nearly the same time we yelled "WTF" (only we used the actual words and not the acronym, neither of us wants text lingo infiltrating our conversations). He ran away. I slammed the door.

4:40-I heard the toilet being ripped from the floor in his apartment. Next thing I know, water is gushing through the walls. Sometime during the process of ripping it out, I heard him exclaim "What kind of outfit was that?" Was it my fault he did what he did?

4:50-I took the tofu out of the oven and made the sandwiches (featured below).

Shit's Going Down Tofu and Sun-Dried Tomato "Cheese" Wrap
(printable version)

For the tofu:
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-1/4 cup veggie broth
-2 Tbs. maple syrup
-1 Tbs. liquid smoke
-1 Tbs. lemon juice
-1 Tbs. tomato paste
-1 Tbs. olive oil
-2 cloves garlic, pressed
-one block of tofu, sliced into small strips

For the sun-dried tomato and cashew cheese:
-1/3 cup cashews
-3 Tbs. canola oil
-1/8 cup lemon juice
-1/2 Tbs. Tahini
-1 Tbs. sun-dried tomatoes in oil

For the sandwich:
-flat bread

1. To make the cheese: Soak the cashews overnight. Place them in a food processor with the oil, lemon juice and Tahini. Puree along with 2 tablespoons of water. Keep the processor running for six minutes so that all the cashews become smooth and creamy.

2. Spoon the mixture into a triple cheesecloth. Arrange into a log. Twist the ends of the cheesecloth and secure with rubber bands. Let sit, over a strainer, at room temperature for 12 hours. Discard cheesecloth. Chill.

3. Preheat over to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and mash in the sun-dried tomatoes and oil.

4. To make the tofu: Mix all the ingredients, except for the tofu, in a small container. Put the tofu into a shallow rimmed dish. Pour the marinade overtop. Place in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the tofu from the marinade and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for fifteen minutes. Remove from the oven. Flip the tofu pieces. Pour a little marinade overtop. Bake for ten minutes. Remove from the oven, flip and spoon the remaining marinade on. Bake for five more minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

6. Smother half of your flat bread with the cashew cheese. Line some tofu slices up down the middle. of the cheese mixture. Add a handful of sprouts, a few lettuce leaves and some avocado slices. Wrap the whole sandwich up. Eat while answering whatever questions the cops have.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Food Pairing 101: What Goes Well With Little Wolves' New Single?

At the root of it "Alone" by Little Wolves is a song that captures the mixed bag of emotions that come with a breakup. On one hand, there is this feeling that you will never find love again, that you are inadequate and destined to remain cold and alone forever. At the same time, you realize that this sounds like the absolute worst hand that the world has ever dealt you. The quick fix is calls to you, suggesting that you just do what ever it takes to make things right and bring that lover back home. Even if the relationship wasn't good or the rocky ending isn't something that can be easily undone, there is still a desire to try. No one hates losing. No one likes the end.

You're probably thinking, why would I want to listen to a song that conjures up some of the worst experiences I've ever gone through? Why not just avoid the losing and ending if that is an option? Mainly because Little Wolves approach is to lose, end and hit those painful nerves with a magical smile on their face. "Alone" is cheery, its airy. Turn down the lyrics and you'd probably find yourself gliding through your day oblivious to the pain and torture happening around you. Musically, "Alone" is a great escape. And that is the brilliance of it. Escape with the pain. Emote while avoiding. It isn't often that a band is able to adequately capture the soaring and the ending in one three minute span of time. Little Wolves accomplished just this.

So what does one pair with a joint joyful and painful reminder? How about this Espresso Chocolate Hazelnut Cake Frosting by Unconventional Baker. The spread is like a vegan version of Nutella with a coffee twist. It pays homage to comfort foods like cake frosting and chocolate which pair nicely with a break-up. This is the emote part. The espresso, meanwhile, relates to those soaring and joyful moments that allow you to block out everything but what is right in front of you. This is the avoidance.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Click (Food): Why Meat is for Pussies, Lobster Mushroom Shellfish Towers, a German Penis and Mashed Potato Waffles

Here's some of what's been going on in the world of vegan foods:

  • Frivolous lawsuit alert: A restaurant that used to be popular with Crossfitters until they made the switch to an all vegan menu is being sued by investors for making that switch. Can I get away with suing restaurants for not making the switch? I'm gonna give it a try. First up, Applebee's. I'll let you know how it goes.
  • You swore up and down that it couldn't be done. Chef Tal Ronnen showed you otherwise. Crossroads in LA has taken that great splurge meal, the Shellfish Tower, and come up with a vegan version chock full of lobster...mushrooms.
  • I dated this vegan/gluten free girl once and she never wore lipstick. I asked her why and she told me they just don't make lipstick in vegan and gluten free flavors. Bella Reina is out the change that. Their Rebel Red Lipstick is gluten free, animal product free and chemical free. A triumvirate of free. With so much free floating around, it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that there is a Reagan involved. Nancy Reagan is the creator of Bella Reina. No, not that one. That one.  
  • I don't know any German (outside of Schnitzel) but when I see vegan and penis together it makes me wonder what kind of freaky stuff is going on. 

Simple Mashed Potato Waffles by Crazy Vegan Kitchen

I always wondered what became of the mountain of mashed potatoes that were used in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I assumed it was churned into gnocchi. If Crazy Vegan Kitchen had her way, they became waffles.   

California Burrito Tacos by Fettle Vegan

Another person telling me that because I don't live in California, I don't know Mexican food. While these people are probably right, isn't there a nicer way of saying it? Like maybe not saying it at all? I've been doing this same style of tacos recently with yucca fries on top. What was that? Did you hear it? Oh, it was only Mexo-California Taco Lady rolling over in her grave. Her dead self is wondering just how the communists were able to pull that one off. 

Bourbon Vanilla Bean Scones from Morsels & Moonshine

There's a reason why I've never infused bourbon with vanilla bean. I don't want my family to find me drunk on the side of the road. I may have to risk it for these scones. 

Beer Battered Artichoke Hearts from Neurotic Mommy

I love Neurotic Mommy and completely get where she is coming from. Who doesn't want to feed their family only the finest foods? But I do have to say that sometimes I worry about what's going on in her head. Take these Artichoke Hearts. Neurotic Mommy dubs these artichoke hearts Three Ingredient Beer Battered Artichoke Hearts. The ingredients? Beer, flour, artichoke hearts, salt and pepper. Count 'em up and let me know what you get because no matter how I arrange the ingredients, I don't wind up counting three. 

Zucchini Tater Tots from She Likes Food

Whatever you do do not try to bake these on wax paper. I had a friend who did that. Things didn't go as planned. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Click (Music): Abandoned Places, Drones, Rocket League and Self Help Pop Music

Here's my last two weeks in a music flavored nutshell.


"Uncover Your Eyes" by Young Empires

Back in the fall of 1998, some friends and I decided to go see the remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. On the drive to the theater Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy" played on the radio. The track got stuck for a few seconds and replayed "I am my own worst enemy, cause every now and then I kick the living shit out of me" at least a dozen times. During the movie, I pretty much sat there with my eyes covered the entire time. Not because the movie was scary but because it was so damn terrible and uninteresting. After ditching out early, we decided to try our hand at cooking up a recipe for homemade Napalm. While we were in the process of filling a bottle with fifty-four cents worth of gasoline, an extremely weird bird began hovering around. It waited for us to look away and then flew in the window of our car and kidnapped a bag of Cheetos. I imagine if I could've properly turned this day into a poem and put some music to it, it would sound something like Young Empires' "Uncover Your Eyes." Unfortunately, my audio attempt sounded like this.

"Doors" by Cardiknox

Self-help books are a gigantic time drag. Cardiknox knows this. They also know that there is some value in them. That's why they've created a brand new genre of music called electro-self-help pop (mantra: Listen to indie rock! Feel empowered!). Their first foray into this new genre is "Doors." Within the first minute, they drop ten pieces of helpful advice including "every time a door closes another one opens" and "just because I'm breaking doesn't mean I'm broken". Just imagine if Joel Osteen rattled off advice at that pace, he could write self-help picture books instead of the long chapter books he currently writes. I conducted an official poll with the two other people who are in the room with me right now and 100 percent of them agreed that they would be more likely to get self-help if it came in picture book form. Self-helpers, you're missing out on an entire population of short attention spanned people in need of your services. Cardinknox showed you the way, now it's your job to make it happen!

"Summer Ends" by You Are Number Six

You Are Number Six mastermind Theo was born on 06/06. His first EP was released on 06/06. I scoured his website for hours but could not find out whether these were different 06/06s or not. If they were the same year, take a minute to contemplate what Theo achieved on the day of his birth. He named a band, named an album, set up a website to promote the album, sang songs for the album and played the music. Compare that to my daughter who only ate and pooped on her first day. I cannot even fathom all that Theo will accomplish by the time he turns 18. Mind blowing!

"Summer Ends" features Lise on vocals. It pays homage to the 80's.

"Firework" by Hollywood Principle

I used to play sports video games pretty religiously. Now I only play them when they can get me enough cash to pay for my Chipotle addiction. One game that I would probably play if I played video games on the reg is Rocket League. Rocket League is a game that takes soccer style rules and applies them to physics-based vehicles. The game has upwards of 100,000 players a day (on both the PS4 and computer platforms). The game is usually accompanied by songs that feature a futuristic mix of electro-pop. Game developer Psyonix recently reached out to Hollywood Principle and asked if they would be willing to make their song "Firework" the official theme song. The band agreed. Who could pass up 100,000 additional listeners each day?

On a bit of a side note, I've had a few offers for soundtracks myself but I'm saving my work. I'm waiting for American Standard to approach me about being the theme song for the flush of a toilet. That's pure gold right there. How many people have toilets? How many times do they go a day? With a few quick strokes of my math pen I've determined that my royalties would be 9,000,000,000,000 dollars every year. Maybe not as cool as Rocket League but it would definitely pay the bills.

"Pains 4 U" by Cash + David (featuring Rome Fortune)

According to Cash + David, "Pains 4 U" is a hypnotic repent. (It's) a call for redemption after a colossal loss. It's a mantra of contrition with the desire to pay off a debt of pain.

For me, it's the first day of school last year.


"Born Ready" by the Disco Fries Featuring Hope Murphy (Halogen Remix)

"Born Ready" makes me feel like I'm in some sort of Lerina Garcia alternative reality. Normally the Disco Fries are the ones doing the remixing. But this time around Halogen is the one pushing the buttons.

"Beat of My Drum" by POWERS (The White Panda Remix)

If I'm Lerina Garcia, The White Panda Remix of "Beat of My Drum" by Powers coincides with that moment when I realize that sleeping beside me isn't my current boyfriend but the guy that I took home one night after a club totally doused my tight leather skirt in bubbles. Pretending you are someone else can give you weird little jolts of feeling that you never knew existed. Like right now I'm strangely excited to try on a tight leather skirt.


"Sun" by Jacuzzi Boys

Yash sent me the new Jacuzzi Boys video for "Sun" along with the following story:
Did you see this trippy Jacuzzi Boys video? The song is called "Sun" and the video is a one of those early 90's green screen specials with weird effects. I did a video like this with my sister on the Jersey Shore boardwalk to The Beach Boys back in the day. I showed this to a friend and he laughed and said he did one like this to Metallica! It's pretty great. Let me know if you can post.
It wasn't until I read Yash's description that I realized making a video in front of a green screen at the shore was sort of a beach goers rite of passage. I did this exact same video with my brother back in '95. We sang "Self-Esteem" by the Offspring.  

"Drone" by Fidlar

Ronald Reagan, Breaking Bad jumpsuits, fake brains and Volkswagen vans. Just four more reasons why I'm f***ing stoked for this new Fidlar album.

"Leave a Trace" by Chvrches

There's not much to the video for Chvrches new song. Lauren Mayberry dances in and out of the purplish darkness, in front of a mirror and while splashing in a pool of water. I love the simplistic approach here. I don't feel myself drawn away from the song. That's a good thing because "Leave a Trace" is pretty damn good.

"The Gates" by Young Empires

About a month ago I followed a twitter account for @abandonedplaces. The account shows off, in picture form, places in the world that have just been left to rot away by society. I find these pictures simultaneously depressing and beautiful. The depressing part comes when I think of the wasted resources and the destroyed lives that are associated with the abandonment of these structures. The beauty exists because of the way that nature has sort of taken back these buildings. Rivers, lakes, oceans, they don't give a crap about your Jesus statue. Forests, plants, animals, they don't care about your abandoned playground. In Young Empires new video for "The Gates" I get the same depressing/beautiful feeling that other abandoned places have left me with.

 Get All of 2015's Click Tracks (when available) in One Spotify Playlist:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Food Pairing 101: What Goes Well With Day Wave's Brand New Cover?

Back in 1980 Joy Division, led by frontman Ian Curtis, recorded a live version of the single "Ceremony" during their final concert at Birmingham University. The song was released as part of the band's Still album. The Birmingham University show was the band's last one because a little over two weeks later, on the eve of their first North American tour, Curtis hung himself. The remaining members of Joy Division proceeded to rename themselves as New Order. New Order's first single was a re-recording of "Ceremony".

Since that time "Ceremony" has been covered by a number of bands and artists including Radiohead, Galaxie 500, Xiu Xiu, Ian McCulloch, The Morning Benders and Chromatics. The latest cover, hot of the presses and new to the world today, is Jackson Philips' (aka Day Wave) version.

Philips plays the track pretty close to the original. While he does crank up the dream a bit in his version, its not enough to really make the casual listener notice the difference. The big veering comes courtesy of his accent. Philips' American accent differs greatly from both Ian Curtis' and Bernard Sumner's (New Order singer on their version of "Ceremony") British sound. 

"Ceremony", despite how Day Wave delivers it (slightly less tragic), feels like it is a tragic song. Knowing the story behind it, makes it so. Pairing wise, "Ceremony" needs a tragic dish. My suggestion is the somber, yet completely delicious, vegan funeral potato dish. Enjoy it on a sunny, happy day. Don't wait until it is a necessity, I can assure you it won't be nearly as delicious at that time.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Listen: Original Sounds from Kassassin St, Ryan Egan and Distant Cousins

It's been all kinds of rice and beans and spotted roosters up in this place today. How about some music that flows right with the crazy?

I completely relate to Portsmouth five piece Kassassin St and their new single "Radio Silence." I mean that's all the seems to play around these American south parts. What used to be an absolute passion and love of mine has turned into repetition and drivel. Thank god blogs, local radio, Spotify, Soundcloud and Bandcamp exist in order to fill the void that the major radio players create. "Radio Silence" is one of those songs that knows how to rock while simultaneously rolling. I feel like dancing, I feel like singing, I feel like wrapping my tentacles around the nearest road sign and ripping it right from the ground. That doesn't happen often.

New York City crooner Ryan Egan has just unleashed his second single "Between the Pages" into the world. The track takes pieces of hook driven pop, combines them with some serious auditory experimentation and then caps it all off with a hypnotic falsetto. Give it a listen. Give it two. I guarantee you'll soon be standing in front of the mirror bothering your neighbors with a very poor "Between the Pages" imitation.

Distant Cousins isn't just another folk-tinged pop rock band. While they technically are another folk-tinged pop rock band, this trio of pedigreed songwriters/producers are able to take something familiar and twist it into something new. In "Your Story" this originality is crafted through the use of warm melodies and harmonizing vocals, as well as the guest appearance of Jessie Payo and her rural love-story delivery.