Monday, March 20, 2017

Listen: Brothy Sounds from Caged Animals, Knifey and LAIKIPIA

Savory mushroom and sesame oats taste a whole helluvalot better with:

While some may mistake the Caged Animals' track "These Dark Times" as being about mushrooms or possibly broth soaked oats (I've seen both suggested on Facebook), the reality is so much more emotional and necessary. "These Dark Times" is the band's response to the police murder of Philando Castile. Here is their explanation about it:

Philando’s death hit me hard. It drove home, in a very personal way, what it means to live in America with white privilege. Here was a guy my age, gunned down in front of his partner and child, during what should’ve been a normal traffic stop. A working-class American who was playing by the rules, serving his community, and bleeding out on cellphone screens across the world.

Witnessing the viral Facebook video of his bloody final breaths, I couldn’t help but notice the disparity between his reality and mine. Under no circumstance could I picture an outcome like this if I were the one being pulled over. Philando’s crime: an alleged cracked tail-light. Philando’s fate: an unholy death in front of the whole world. To make this even starker, I spent the majority of 2015/2016 driving around NYC with my wife and daughter in a car with a broken tail-light. I was never once pulled over.

In the days following Mr. Castile’s death I was moved and inspired by the outpouring of support from the community he had served. I began writing.

What I came up with is a meditation on what it means to desire something more for yourself, to push past your prescribed boundaries, and remain hopeful in the face of overwhelming obstacles. I channeled Philando for the lyric “I want to make it out alive from my hometown.”

In some ways I thought this song didn't deserve to be heard. Maybe my voice wasn’t the right one to give these emotions expression. I sat on it for a few months and searched my heart. After the result’s of our presidential election I even thought about quitting music all together. “In times as disturbing as these,” I thought, “what good am I offering the world with music?”

Thankfully a turning point came in my way of thinking. Instead of defeatism I became filled with a sense of urgency. This new motivation has given me the inspiration to carry on and a renewed confidence in creating music.

Attending The Women’s March with my wife and two-year old daughter reinforced this new outlook. I began to believe more and more that we must remain engaged with a political struggle while also channeling our hearts and minds toward a cultural one. I got straight to work recording my new song.

Throughout history, artists have been tasked with the responsibility of holding a mirror to society but they have also been given the privilege to shape it. We each need to use this opportunity now, more than ever, to engage emotionally with other people. To change hearts while we change minds. In that spirit, and in my small way, I hope to contribute to this turning of the tides.

Here is a song called "These Dark Times." It is delivered with hope that we will transcend this moment and it is dedicated to the memory of Philando Castile, his family members, and the millions of Americans shouting “Not My President!”

Thanks to my partner Magali Charron for providing the excellent photograph from the NYC Women’s March that graces the single’s front cover.

"Tanlines" by Knifey is a track designed to cut through the bleak twilight of winter and reminisce about better, warmer and more naked - times. The song has a desperate energy that stretches out its frozen fingers towards the not-too-distant memory of a lover’s touch made soft by seawater and tropical air. It is the type of fanboy fantasy material perfect for late night trips on decrepit (or even super well maintained) streetcars.

Like LAIKIPIA, I'm a dreamer. Mushrooms, oats and veggie broth were born out of a fifteen minute late night doze session. LAIKIPIA's version of dreaming takes the form captivating soundscapes and extremely hopeful lyrics. "Hello Dreamer" encourages listeners to embrace the dreamer in them and take the next step to do, well, whatever you are dreaming about. The song is, according to Taylor Harrison and Xander Rawlins the duo behind LAIKIPIA, about waking up, self-reflecting, renouncing hesitation and putting ambition into action.

Cook: Sesame Oats with Mushrooms

It's spring break baby! That means I can pull myself out of the work induced coma I've been in since New Years and spend a little time cooking (and blogging).

Since 2017 became a thing (you remember how Mariah Carey sent 2016 out with a complete meltdown right?) I've been experimenting with the idea that cooking should be more of a drawn out ingredient variation process that can stretch for weeks on end versus a stand alone one moment in time episode.

What this means is that I have been leaning more towards buying a pile of ingredients, prepping them on the weekend and then making them the star of several different dishes during that week. This saves time, money and really helps fight the fatigue of the work week. 

A recent ingredient variation process involved mushrooms. They were on super deep discount mode at my local farmer's market so I stocked up. They then starred in a number of fabulous meals including pasta, soup and a sandwich. My favorite "one moment in time" moment of that week was when I paired the mushrooms with sesame oil, soy sauce, veggie broth and oats. It was a savory masterpiece that was perfect for the rainy morning I made them. Better yet, after a long day of go, go, go, they made a great midnight slow down snack. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Click (Music): Barbacoa Cauliflower, Sigrid, Cold War Kids and Black Honey

"Rodeo" by Pssy Pwr

I'm standing around for forty-five minutes just waiting to gain entrance to my local five and ten. I think, when I finally get a seat, that I'm going with the norm, a bowl of vegan lentil soup. Across the way I see an absolutely gorgeous lady eating a double shot of tacos. I approach her and inquire about what she is currently placing onto her tongue. She smiles and says "Barbacoa cauliflower tacos." My mind is spinning a million miles an hour when she adds, "These will make a man scream hallelujah!" I took out my journal and jotted down the following list:

Things that will make a man scream hallelujah (in no particular order):
2. Barbacoa Cauliflower Tacos
3. Rodeos

"Giving Up the Feeling" by Work Drugs

Work Drugs' first release of 2017 is a slow macerating smooth-fi gem. It is the musical equivalent of throwing a bunch of finely ground cauliflower into a tub of Mexican spices and letting it sit over night. Don't just take my word for it, type the chorus into the new Google Cook app and it spits out the following:

i've fallen for your brown eyes (eyes the color of barbacoa)
give up, please don't try to disguise (interesting, cauliflower disguised as meat, I'll give it a go)
miss you, i'm gonna take the long way (macerating overnight, definitely the long way)
i'm gonna let you go but takes time when you're lonely (lonely? just make a pair of tacos, that cures all loneliness).

"I Still Wait For You" by Xylo

Graffiti written on the wall in charcoal at our local barbacoa joint: "Every second feels like forever, where the fu** you been? Are you listening?" I get that same feeling every time I think about those cauliflower tacos. Where the fu** you been all my life?

On another note, I challenge you to find some who that utters the word fuck in a sweeter way than Paige Duddy. I could listen to her say that word for multiple hours a day.

"Don't Kill My Vibe" by Sigrid

Sigrid is a 20-year old Norwegian artist. She was inspired to write "Don't Kill My Vibe" after she was put in a difficult writing session. According to her, the song can be interpreted in several ways, “it may be a message to your cat, telling her that she's not the master of the universe or maybe it's just a really long DM saying you're SO done with someone barbacoa not made from cauliflower.”

"Somebody Better" by Black Honey

If only all of our journey's to be better could sound so splendid.


"I Got You" by Bebe Rexha (White Panda Remix)

I got you...a barbacoa panda.

I don't even know.


"Biggest Fan" by Will Joseph Cook

Absence, and falling oranges, make the heart grow fonder.

"Your Love" by Haerts

There's some fire, a man running and a couple nude bodies. Other than that, I have no idea what I'm looking at. Thankfully the audio is so much clearer. Welcome back Haerts.

"So Tied Up (Los Feliz Blvd)" by Cold War Kids featuring Bishop Briggs

In my humble opinion, Cold War Kids are like chipotles in adobo sauce right now.

"Mother" by Idles

Well played Idles. Well played.

 Get All of 2017's Click Tracks (when available) in One Spotify Playlist:

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Food Flavored Video: Patriarchy Tripping in the Food Desert According to Diet Cig and Dreamers

Before getting into the post, I have a quick disclaimer:

While I normally reserve food flavored video posts to one new video that features some kind of food encounter in it, I decided that this post required a two pack. For reasons that will soon become obvious, I saw some similarities in the settings of Diet Cig's video for "Tummy Ache" and Dreamers video for "Sweet Disaster." My editor wasn't too happy (think about the blog hits, man!) but it just made too much sense.

Diet Cig has had enough of all this girly sleepover trash that seems to rule the world of literature, movies and television. Just because a group of females decide to spend the night together, doesn't mean that they have to just talk boys, do each others nails, freeze bras and have pillow fights. The band's new video for "Tummy Ache" splices scenes of a day-in-the-life of them as touring musicians with the story of some girls having a sleepover. The girls, played by members of the Willie Mae Rock Camp in NYC and Girls Rock Philly, subvert the girly sleepover idea by turning it into a zine making, convenience store food eating, patriarchy smashing craft fest. Diet Cig wanted to show that there is "power in friendship and while it may be hard to be a punk while wearing a skirt," the band is loud, powerful and always ready to show up.

"Tummy Ache" is featured on Diet Cig's upcoming debut album, Swear I'm Good At This, coming out on April 7th via Frenchkiss Records. The band will be touring the world in support of the album and in support of the next generation of young female rock musicians. They will share the stage at a handful of shows with Girl's Rock Camp affiliated camp bands and other young musicians (at the shows in DC, Richmond, Carborro and Atlanta).

Just the noise:

Just like with "Tummy Ache," the video for "Sweet Disaster" by Dreamers finds itself in the aisles of its local convenience store. The difference is that while "Tummy Ache" only hung their for a bit as it had better places to go, "Sweet Disaster" decided just to go ahead and make a night of it. According guitarist/vocalist Nick Wold, this is because the video is meant to pay homage to the movie Clerks. The video was filmed all night at a corner store in Echo Park (Los Angeles). Nelson (bass/vocals), Jacob (drums) and Marissa Luck play the store clerks, while Nick plays all the customers. Everything is going pretty par for the course, you know shotgunning Red Bulls and sword fighting with Slim Jims, until the slushy machine breaks. Then the eggs get faces, the Slim Jims become glow sticks and bubbles appear EVERYWHERE. Why the trippy take on Clerks? Nick suggested that "With all the serious stuff going on in the world we wanted to use the video to escape reality, and hopefully laugh for a few minutes. The video is about the inner mind of all dreamers, as they live out their own sweet disasters in every day life."

"Sweet Disaster" is from the band's 2016 release This Album Does Not Exist. They are currently touring with the Griswolds in support of it.

Eyes not working? Try this:

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Click (Music): Me Not You, Felicity, Jay Som and Lettuce Wraps

"Relief" by Me Not You

When “Relief” by Little Daylight turned Me Not You members Nikki Taylor and Eric Zeiler crossed my desk, I was two week's deep in one of those gluten overload diets. It was all pasta soup and sandwiches all the time. "Relief" opened my eyes to how bad I was feeling from all that gluten. The track's crunchy, dynamic pop-rock got me thinking, how can I free myself from this painful eating rut I've created? Crunch...crunch...crunch. Then it dawned on me, the solution to all my problems was lettuce wraps.

According to Nikki Taylor, "Relief" is indeed all about a painful, yet freeing experience. Her's had nothing to do with gluten though. It was more along the lines of getting kicked out of Catholic High School. "Relief" was written to capture the "anxiety-ridden catharsis" that marked that period of her life.

"Pilot With a Fear of Heights" by Felicity

The idea behind Felicity's “Pilot With A Fear Of Heights” came from a flight into New York. She was looking out the window and realized how high the plane was. She started thinking about fears, how people have different ones and that a fear of heights is not really that uncommon. This is where her imagination took over. What if a pilot was afraid of heights? What if people are so destined for something and yet are so afraid to fulfill it? She was so tickled by this thought that she turned it into a song. When I think about this idea of not fulfilling something because of fear my mind quickly shifts to mushrooms. I know lots of people that are so scared of mushrooms because of their texture, growing style or look. This fear, at some moments, does not allow mushrooms to fulfill their destiny. It is a destiny that, when done absolutely right, should be full of pine nuts, pistachios and, of course, lettuce.

"1 Billion Dogs" by Jay Som

Thanks to an interview with Jay Som (aka Melina Duterte) on Pitchfork, I now know that cat cafe's are a thing. This, in turn, led me to the lettuce wrap of my dreams. If you are more of a dog fan, I'm sure you can just wrap a vegan hot dog in lettuce and call it a meal.

"Ego" by Milky Chance

"Ego" is a carefree, tropically-tinged track about a "distance that is impossible to overcome." This is Milky Chance's strength, their ability to display the painful realities of being human in a way that is smooth, fun and easy to bob your head to. In lettuce wrap form, "Ego" looks like this minus the chicken and cilantro (ugh, gag, gouge my tastebuds out with soap and water).

"Don't Get It" by Empty Lungs

Empty Lungs want you to know this: '"Don't Get It" is a fuck you to a culture that warps young people into thinking that self-image and selfishness are the core values of our modern society. Those kinds of attitudes create an atmosphere that alienates anyone that doesn’t fit the mold. The youth culture that we love revolves around tolerance, art, activism and social change. Unfortunately these aren’t the dreams being sold to many of us.'

A quick Google search of "art, activism and lettuce wraps" brought me to this fantastic looking wrap. It also showed me that there is a real need to continue to explore the political side of the lettuce wrap.


"Paris" by The Chainsmokers

Yes, you can find Paris inspired lettuce wraps. Unfortunately they are full of canned fish.

"Fucked Up Young" by the Dirty Nil

Hamilton rock 'n' roll trio The Dirty Nil will be releasing a number of tracks from their back catalogue on April 28 (via Fat Wreck Chords). The album, entitled, Minimum R&B is comprised of eleven tracks from a combination of 7's (including the fabulous "Guided by Vices") and the Smite EP. It will also include one new track. The compilation’s inspiration was “fuelled by broken vintage fuzz pedals, girls night out wine, smashing reverb tanks with hammers, a small lake of black coffee, general negligence, recording vocals naked, beer, blood, broken bones, broken instruments, broken ears, inescapable loudness, screaming, unresolved girl problems, exposed wiring, no shoes, making our producers drink more than they wanted to, and a dozen donuts.”

Unfortunately, for me, no one wraps donuts (or coffee) in lettuce.

 Get All of 2017's Click Tracks (when available) in One Spotify Playlist:

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Click (Music): Powers, Turn to Crime, Zuzu and Loose Buttons

"Dance" by Powers

I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard "Dance" by Powers. I was preparing to step foot in the adult ball pit at BallieBallerson in London. A drunk dude decided to run into the lady that was in line right in front of me. All of a sudden a riot broke out. Things got way out of hand. I decided to forgo the balls and just head upstairs for a bottomless batch of veggie balls and spaghetti. It was there that my bluetooth accidentally took over the restaurant's soundsystem and sent the highly energetic, nineties-style guitar driven, dancefloor call-to-arms playing for all to hear. I paid a huge fine to the band for releasing the song before it was cool to do so all those balls fly fast and furious like made it all so worth it.

"Between Brick Walls" by Loose Buttons

I know exactly where I was when I first heard "Between Brick Walls" by the Loose Buttons. Me and my girl were still knee deep in dragging out the very dead corpse of our relationship. I couldn't let go, she couldn't let go, even though we knew things weren't right. I challenged her to an animal cracker and cheez whiz eating contest (vegan of course) and she won. Right at that moment, possibly the lowest I had ever felt, the bluetooth on her phone kicked in and "Between Brick Walls" started playing. I heard frontman Eric Nizgretsky's admission of making a mistake and trying to keep a dead relationship alive just because he was "insecure about being alone" buried beneath an Arctic Monkeys-esque delivery. I decided to face that dreaded loneliness head on.

I took my vegan cheez whiz with me but left behind the animal crackers. I wasn't going to make this break anything less than amicable.

"Sand Drone" by Eat Fast

I know exactly where I was when I first heard "Sand Drone" by Eat Fast. I was having some huge fight with an old lady at the bar. She told me that young people were "lazy and out of touch with the economic reality of our times." I said that I knew a lot of "smart, creative people my age that were being brickwalled and stifled while picking up the bill of the last generation. It saddened me." All of a sudden her phone rang, it was her daughter asking to borrow some money. The old lady's ringtone?

"Sand Drone."

"Thick as Thieves" by The Menzingers

I know exactly where I was when I first heard "Thick as Thieves" by the Menzingers. I was at a local art gallery being painted by some artist. I flirted with her, she flirted with me. I planned on giving her a huge ass tip and my phone number. Turns out she was an abstract artist. She put my nose where my ears were supposed to be, made my head into a straight line and made my nude body so much less appealing than I thought it should be. I refused to pay her. She rummaged through her paint supply box and pulled out a portable stereo. "Thick as Thieves" started blasting. I guess this refusal to pay thing happened a lot.

"Chasing" by Turn to Crime

I know exactly where I was the first time I heard "Chasing" by Turn to Crime. My band, Face The Church, was having our very first practice ever. The lead guitarist started playing this song and, despite none of the rest of us having ever heard it, we covered it almost exactly like this. Who says near death experiences don't create altered senses in people? Right OA?


"What You Want" by Zuzu

Because who doesn't spend their days seeking out existential detectives?

"Wild Ones" by Crusoe

You've probably heard the new song from Crusoe, "Wild Ones." I mean it has only been on like every television show ever. It was on "The Hills," "Degrassi," "Born This Way," and Season 2 of the Netflix show "Love." I think I also remember it from a 90210 episode my sister made me watch years ago...or that could just be the trauma talking.

 Get All of 2017's Click Tracks (when available) in One Spotify Playlist:

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Food Pairing 101: What Goes Well With Blackberry Sage Kombucha?

I know what you guys are thinking. Man you've sent me so many DM's on Twitter asking me where I am and if I will ever be blogging again. I kept telling you, in time my preciousesseses (or however you would spell that). The reason for the absence? Nothing to do with fondness and hearts. It is all because making kombucha takes so much damn time.

If you've never brewed a batch of kombucha at home (your crazy!) you might not realize all the steps that go into making that fine fermented drink. Let Tender drop some knowledge on ya. If you do know how we do, well...go ahead and skip down to the Disco Fries, they are eagerly awaiting your earlobes. The first thing you have to do when making kombucha is locate a scoby. This is a sort of living jellyfish looking culture that is responsible for the ferment. I looked high and low for one of those things but couldn't find it. Finally, on a whim, I joined my local yard sale group on Facebook and...voila! Scoby at my front door. Next you brew up a gallon of tea, pour a cup of sugar in it and let it sit. Once it hits room temperature, drop the scoby (and some starter liquid from another batch of kombucha) into the tea. Let that thing fester around somewhere between 74 and 78 degrees for upwards of seven days. After seven days you can remove the scoby (and a cup of kombucha). Now it is time to flavor that baby. Find some fruit or herbs (or both) cut them up and drop them in. Let the brew sit for another four days and, finally, you've got some kombucha. Bottle it and drink at your own leisure.

My first batch was flavored with blackberries and sage. As I alluded to earlier, I would pair a brew of blackberries and sage with the Disco Fries new song "My World." While the song is actually about all the effects a lovely relationship has on a person, I could easily replace the hand holding and lip kissing with some bottle sucking and koozie caressing and make this track about kombucha. "My World" is crisp and clean. It bangs and vibes and grooves. It is astringent but warm. Wait am I still talking about "My World" or have I moved on to the kombucha? At this point, weeks deep in both, I don't know where one begins and the other ends.