The Head & The Heart In Philly

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

Watch This: New Video From My Brightest Diamond

This is far from your typical “in studio” music video and I would expect nothing less from My Brightest Diamond. Backed by the the New York chamber ensemble yMusic and featuring dancer Jessica Dessner the video strikes an evocative and ethereal mood – a feeling that will be threaded throughout their new EP All Things Unwind, due out on October 18th on Asthmatic Kitty.

[MP3] Reaching Through To The Other Side

“In my world, everyone’s a pony and they all eat rainbows and poop butterflies!”
― Dr. Seuss

Carrot Cake My Way

I don’t make carrot cake often; when I was baking professionally making carrot cake meant grating 5-10 lbs of carrots per batch so my shoulders automatically tense up when the thought of making it even crosses my mind. But, it’s my friend Miguel’s favorite and all he asked for for his 50th birthday. So, today I broke out my old recipe and got to work.

In the spirit of revisiting an old standard I figured I would drag out one of the playlists I created for the morning bake off. Because we worked in an open kitchen, so customers could watch us bakers hard at work, we weren’t able to pick the music we listened to while we labored away. This meant that during the 3.5 hours between our 4:30 am call time and the 8 am open we would blast our own playlists to keep us awake and rocking during the bake off. Luckily the three of us bakers had relatively similar tastes in music and were always bringing in different collections of music to entertain and inform each other. Sometimes it got really silly – like the mornings when we’d all sing along at the top of our lungs – others the music was a good distraction from a frustrating morning of burnt cake or failed croissants. But the power of a good kitchen soundtrack was never more apparent than during my time as a baker. The particular playlist I revisited was one I created early on and it’s real mixed bag but I figured I’d share just for a laugh. Continue Reading →

New Frightened Rabbit

There are few things that I will jump outta my skin with excitement over but Frightened Rabbit definitely holds that honor and has for a while now. They recently played a show on New York where they were handing out a new EP, unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it but a friend was super kind enough to get me a copy of the EP. Then today I came across this great rendition of “Scottish Winds” – one of the tracks from the EP.

What makes it even better is the association with Invisible Children, an effort devoted raising awareness of the child soldiers in Central Africa. Give the video a look and then check out Invisible Children and see if there is anything you can do to help the cause.

Video after the jump

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Venison The Family Way

I come from a solid meat & potatoes family. When I was a kid in Montana we ate a whole lot of venison because that is what my dad hunted. We weren’t the wealthiest folks so we really relied on what my dad brought back from his hunting trips and what my mom grew and/or canned. We ate venison stew, venison jerky, BBQ venison, venison burger – you get the idea. It was a pretty simple way of living but it is also exactly the ethos at the core of the localvore movement experiencing a major resurgence today. I have to give my parents major credit for starting me off right. It definitely shaped who I was, in particularly it taught us to value the food that ended up on our table. Continue Reading →

Never separate the life you lead from the words you speak

-Paul Wellstone


It’s that time of year again. The time of year when you make your list and plan which of your local record stores you’ll be lining up outside of early on April 16th hoping to get your hands on one of the many awesome limited and special edition releases that will be put forth as part of the fourth annual Record Store Day. Well, maybe that’s just me and my crazy enthusiasm for a) the reemergence of vinyl and b) supporting local businesses. Last year I spent Record Store day wandering around Philly with my vinyl tucked under my arm, passing others rushing to see if they could get a copy of a record that had already sold out one place and meeting all sorts of other dedicated music fans. There was a great spirit amongst the crowd that gave the entire event a certain aura of authenticity. These were all people who recognize this social and experiential aspect of music. Really absorbing music goes way beyond downloading an album. It is the process of combing through the racks for that LP you totally forgot you needed to have, counting the days until an album is released, talking to other record buying folks to find out what their into; it is going out and participating in the culture. So, this year I highly encourage you to join in and head to your local record store(s) to take part in the fun. This year’s list of releases is a nicely mixed bag of genres so there is something for everyone and f you’re lucky your local spots have cool in-store plans. You can check it all out over at

These are my picks, so far…

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I’m Back!

Ok folks, after what I think I can safely classify as the hardest and most surreal seven weeks of my life so far I am finally ready to get back to blogging. I figured I’d start with filling you all in a little on what went on over these past few weeks.

Meet Ernesto.

(actually pinata replica of Ernesto made by my fabulous sister)

Ernesto is the name I gave to the tumor that was discovered a little over 6 weeks ago in my chest. Continue Reading →

It’s Not Goodbye, It’s Just See Ya Later

Well 2011 is certainly off to a rocky start. First, there was the major shift in responsibility at work that left me stressed and scrambling for free time to do TWIAPC updates not to mention time to see friend and family. Then this weekend I received some totally surreal news that will completely rearrange my life in the next few weeks and months. In the short time I’ve had since getting this news I’ve begun prioritizing things and realized I won’t have time to keep posting right now. Which really breaks my heart because this here little blog is something I really do enjoy; but, I’m going to need to spend my time and energy getting work, family and health sorted for a while. I am happy to say though this will only be temporary because on the flip side of all the chaos I’ll be laid up for a while with nothing else to do but listen to tons of music and pound out posts.

So, please hang tight and I’ll be back before you know it.



[MP3]Goodbye For Now – Photons