I really should get used to my life being a total roller coaster but nearly 30 years in and it still throws me off a bit when some new big change happens. So for the last 3 weeks I’ve been adjusting to the idea that in a week I’ll be a New Yorker. Yep, with a slightly sad heart and a whole lotta excitement I’m closing the Philly chapter of my adventure, packing up our home and heading to New York. It’s a big leap into a new position and life but one I am more than ready for – in no small part due to the super fantastic group of friends and family who await us there. Continue Reading →
Laura Gibson, where have you been all my life? During a recent listen-to-my-inbox session Gibson’s new album La Grande came on and I was immediately spellbound. From the breaking gallop of the drum in the opening track “La Grande” through each of the subsequent tracks Gibson’s voice teases you to follow her into the world her fifth album neatly constructs. It’s that voice that stands as the focal point of the album – at times mournful and at others resplendently confident. On tracks such as “Crow/Swallow” and “Lion/Lamb” you can hear a blush of influence from Peggy Lee and Dusty Springfield which imparts a wonderful retro feel to the material.
The pace of the album is masterful, a great ebb and flow that makes you slow down and really appreciate the lyrics and how they’re being presented. While Gibson’s voice is the unquestionable core of the pieces the supporting percussion, guitars and strings flow around and through her arcs and plaines with just the right amount of presence in the mix. Each track is complete unto itself but the real glory of the full album is that they also weave together seamlessly. Get a copy of La Grande and prepared to get lost.
She’s about to embark on her US tour so check out the dates and get your tickets.
[MP3] La Grande
The supremely talented Alan Wilkis – whose many awesome remixes have been previously featured right here on TWIAPC – dropped me a note earlier this week with some big news. His project PRINTS is ripe for the picking. PRINTS is a whole new venture for Wilkis. He started each track with his own instrumental arrangement then developed them through collaborations with the likes of White Hinterland, Lyrics Born and Childish Gambino. Through exploring the unique potential of each partnership the material took it’s own distinct shape.
This is banana blueberry bread.
After the last week I have a greater appreciation for both. Maritime is a band I have known about for a while and enjoyed but my real true love of them was borne last Thursday when I got to see them live. It was from the stage at Johnny Brendas that the waves of their midwestern bred indie rock emanated and the full weight of their greatness hit. The group initially sprouted from the remnants of The Promise Ring and Dismemberment Plan and the post punk pop sound has definitely stuck with them but they’ve developed their own sound over the years. Continue Reading →
Salad and Jazz are two things that are most often taken for granted but when done really really well can be transcendent. This past Saturday I had the totally unexpected pleasure to experience superb salad and jazz at the same time. Yeah, I am fully aware this is a strange combination of things to elicit excitement but it’s one of those thing you cannot anticipate until it happens – like the joy of eating gummy worms in the shower (try it and tell me you doesn’t make you smile).
We had spent Saturday wandering through Brooklyn with friends and by the end there were three of us left standing and we were hungry. So, we decided to head to Cubana Social for their masterful tipples and give their food a taste. As I mentioned this wasn’t a meal I was expecting to blow me away, I was simply following the collective tastebuds. After a brief stop at the bar while waiting to be seated we were shown to a table in the middle of the dining room. The CS space is incredibly well done, just enough design to establish a comfortable “lived-in” feel without looking hokey. The major bonus was even with the high ceilings and sparse decorations sound didn’t crash around; instead it maintained a slight hum that allowed for reasonable conversation without shouting.
Service was quick and kind, our appetizer – a pickle plate – was on the table in no time and within a few minutes of polishing off the very tasty selection of brined and pickled veggies out came our entrees. This is where the salad made its entrance. Originally the Summer Salad had called out to me for it’s use of chive (something I have tons of in my garden and need ideas for) but the beautiful plate that landed before showed off the absoute best of each ingredients. The combination of chive, purple cabbage, pea shoots and watercress with orange slices tossed with just enough vinaigrette to tie it all together was resplendent. All the factor were considered when putting this dish together the subtle flavor of the chive played well with the watercress and the orange added just the right amount of zip. The cabbage and peashoots provided a texture and body most often lacking in a salad. Bringing this all together in a reasonable serving and paired with one of Cubana Social’s brilliant cocktails (I highly recommend the Dill Paloma) would have been enough for me to leave with a happy tummy and praises on my lips. Then the jazz started.
The bartender had mentioned briefly that the bassist for the nights entertainment, the Devin Collins quartet, was the son of jazz great Jaco Pastorius, one of my favorite bass players of all time who passed away in 1987 so seeing him live isn’t really an option. Well, it turns out Jaco’s spirit is alive and well in the hands of his massively talented son Felix. The four fellas who took the stage Saturday night all possessed an enviable amount of talent. This was immediately apparent as they started playing. The mark of good jazz to me is performers who make music that is at once complicated, intriguing and familiar while also entirely comfortable and by this definition the set the Devin Collins quartet delivered this weekend was ace.
What began as an unassuming end to a wonderful day ended up being one of the best dining experiences I’ve had of late. I am eager to revisit the menu and music at Cubana Social again soon.
70 North 6th Street • Brooklyn, NY 11211
The Head & The Heart have been a slight obsession as of late. I initially heard them earlier this summer but it wasn’t until these last few months, as I have fallen back into my rabid music listening ways, that TH&TH began to resonate with me. So, I was delighted to find out they were coming through Philly as part of the Philly Film and Music Festival.
It seemed fitting to be seeing the Seattle six piece on an outdoor stage in the backyard of the Ukrainian Club – which I must say is a secret treasure tucked away in Northern Liberties – amongst food trucks and folks lounging on blankets. From the very top of their set it was apparent the group is at it’s core a jam band with the taut vocal harmonies of a folk group and the stage sensibilities of a indie rock group. Each of the ten tracks off of their recent self-titled release has a strong draw but when performed live you get a true grasp on the group’s soul as it’s infuses the performance. These six clearly enjoy the pieces crafted for them by Josiah Johnson and Jonathan Russel and the energy this releases was palpable from the audience. ”Ghosts” rolled out with a jazzy bounce with Kenny Hensley’s keys pushing it right along and Tyler Williams’ drums popped in the back. In fact, I admit that I hadn’t really noted the percussion from listening to the album but seeing them highlighted what the plucky and on point drummer brings tot he group.
The lone lady, Charity Rose Thielan was a real delight on the stage – her violin lines added a brilliance to songs like “Sounds Like Hallelujah” and were particularly awesome when she played them almost as vocal lines and not instrumental, standing toe-to-toe with Johnson and Russell’s lead vox. But it is when she takes to the mic for the leads as on “Rivers & Roads,” and her distinct voice is given room to shine, that you realize she is no one trick pony. I’d love to see her sing more lead in the future.
There were a few moments when I felt they got a little too comfortable with the harmonies and lost the depth and dynamism becoming slightly muddled. It was mostly during the start of the set but as they continued they kept picking up steam and the richness of their offerings were readily apparent. This is one group I will happily see again.
[MP3] Lost In My Mind
This is what a little indecision looks like. While listening to Needtobreathe’s new album The Reckoning yesterday I was inspired to make some comfort food. I have had two recipes on my “to do” list for a few weeks lately Snickerdoodle muffins and cinnamon sugar donut muffins. I couldn’t decide which to make so instead I opted to combine the two – take the fluffy body of the snickerdoodle and the sugary toothy crust of the cinnamon sugar donut. The results far exceeded my expectations. Continue Reading →
I have been in major like with Canon Logic since early last year when I first heard their album FM Arcade. They have a very clean and unencumbered sound that doesn’t underestimate the listener. It’s simply good music and, like most good music, it gets a lot of play and a lot of the “Wait, who is this? I really like it” when it pops up in my rotation.
When I got an email last week from Sean, their bassist, telling me of their new EP Rapid Empire I will admit a squee of excitement rose from my lips. And yet another when I finished my first listen, approximately 25 minutes later. While it is brief at just 5 tracks – perfectly normal for an EP- each is it’s own nugget of pop awesomeness. Continue Reading →
When I first started listening to Poison Control Center I found myself drawn to it because it kind of made me uncomfortable but still really curious. The Iowa based rockers make really intense music that buzzes with a level of energy you can almost feel right through the speakers. I did eventually adjust to PCCs flavor of punk and with the discomfort abated the allure only grew – I should note seeing them live also served to stoke those fires. When Stranger Ballet came across the wire I was super excited to see what the fellas had to offer since they had promised me something fresh. They were not kidding.
Randomly happening on a really awesome band releases some sort of odd chemical release in me probably because it happens so very rarely. Well, last Thursday while on a bar crawl in Austin with a client I got a solid dose of said chemicals when I caught local act Mobley at the Mohawk. Despite an instrumental make up similar to a lot of the other percussion heavy indie bands out there now Mobley takes a much more distinct approach. They pull the stronger musical lines from a wide assortment of genres – aggressive guitar riffs, bombarding percussion, idiosyncratic synths and pop vocal lines- and hold them together with “only as much thread as necessary for coherence.” Originally from North Carolina Mobley’s front man Anthony Watkins even manages to infuse the music with a hint of alt-country.
Their music was enough to draw me in from the other room but their live set kept me there – even after my group had moved on to the next stop. Besides Watkins, who plays keys, drumpad, guitars and percussion Mobley consists of Tim Shelburne, Jr on bass, keys and percussion and Sergio Trejos on drums and the trio play off each other with a level of energy that reminded me a lot of Sharon Jones (yeah, I know it’s a strange comparison). Watkins’ presence is genuine and you can tell just by watching him there is a unusual level of intelligence behind their music. Trejos and Shelburne are right there with him in energy and precise delivery. They carved out a set that included tracks you could tell were both new (slightly more hopped up) and old (total comfortable in the riffings etc) and was the best Thursday night bar gig I’ve seen in a very long while.
Now that I have some of their recordings in hand I’m equally enthused that they sound fantastic in record as well. Give these two tracks a listen then be sure to keep an eye out from them as I am sure they’re bound to rise quickly.
[MP3] Cold War Cold