Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Artist's Cookbook: Vegan Open Faced Portobello Sandwiches with Sweet Potato Fries Courtesy of Bern & The Brights

When I wake in the middle of the night it is usually due to some awful dream about crash landing my hot air balloon into a cactus patch shaped like my high school Spanish teacher (thank god these things don't come true). For Bernadette Malavarca, vocalist for Bern & the Brights, a middle of the night awakening inspired a few moments of clairvoyance as she jotted in a notebook: "Gonna start a band. It'll be Bern & the Brights...should be sleeping." In 2008, thanks to a local bookstore closing, those scribbled words became a reality.

Joining Bernadette for that bookstore appearance were Catherine McGowan (guitar and vocals), Shawn Fafara (bass) and Jose Ulloa (drums). Since then, the four band mates have worked tirelessly to create a genre of music that is not quite pop or indie or folk or wave but some combination that falls within those quaternion boundaries. This is how they like it. Blur the lines in order to "make hearts burst, faces melt, mouths kiss and bodies move."

Bern & the Brights do all this and more with their two new singles "Starchild" and "Lost in the Sea." Both tracks feature hints of melancholy frustration that is eventually nudged out of the way in favor of something stronger; the idea that "love is the law." The new singles will be available on April 16th, Record Store Day. A celebration of epic proportions will follow. Bern & the Brights will offer not one but two opportunities to catch them in person that day. First, there is a late afternoon acoustic in store set at Tunes in Hoboken. That is followed by an evening romp at Maxwell's.

The band suggests that a natural pairing with their new singles is either Pop'ems (Jose's recommendation) or Vegan Open-Faced Portobello Sandwiches with Sweet Potato Fries that were concocted by Shawn's girlfriend.

As good as Pop'ems are, I'm going with the sandwich and fries. Those suckers look brilliant!