Food Pairing 101: What Goes Well With 1990Future’s New EP?

Food Pairing 101: What Goes Well With 1990Future’s New EP?

_DSC0933Today is the day that indie alt-rock group 1990future rolls out their new EP, Roll On, to the masses. If you happen to reside in Toronto, you can catch the EP release show at the Soundtrack of the City Festival at the Hideout.

What I like about the EP and 1990future is that they aren’t afraid to rock. Too many times I have to preface the term rock with electronic or folk or synth. Not with 1990future. They are straight up rock and roll. Roll On‘s best tracks are the first two, “Its Over” and “Momma”. “Its Over” is a rollicking, feed back driven, catchy as all hell affair about doing things that are right all wrong and building life just to watch it collapse horribly around you. But the track’s message is that despite everything going wrong, despite the fact that you currently are lying face down on the floor, you need to find the power and strength to get up and try again. That’s a message that a lot of us need to hear at times. “Momma” features melodic harmonies and a heavy back beat. It builds in intensity throughout the song. The message here is very similar to “Its Over”. There is a “wide-eyed hopefulness” that people will persevere when life gets hard. “Momma” seems to suggest that when its easy to feel lost and downtrodden, take note and try your hardest not to “forget what Momma told ya” (unless, of course, she is the one that told you to give up. If that’s the case, disregard her).

So we’ve got an EP that is heavy, catchy and won’t allow us to give up even in the most difficult times. What kind of dish would pair nicely with that? Something like this Orange Cardamom Coffee Cake which shows the perseverance (but not the heaviness). It only took the author three tries to get it right. It has only taken me two times, so far, to try and get it perfectly veganized. Has it worked? Well, there’s a reason I’m not sharing the recipe right now…

Listen: Doldrum Shaking Singles from Pet Symmetry, Survival Guide, Strangeheart and Cody Crump

Listen: Doldrum Shaking Singles from Pet Symmetry, Survival Guide, Strangeheart and Cody Crump

If you mess up squash dumplings and turn them into a pancake like batter you will be glad to know that these songs flow in a similar manner:

“I know its late but I’m all out of trust” (I’ll admit, I thought it was drugs at first). This is one of the many memorable lines that comes from bespectacled Chicago trio Pet Symmetry’s song “Class Action Force (Useless Tools)”. Pretty awesome considering that Pet Symmetry actually came to be because the band members wanted to avoid thinking too much about writing songs or being in a band. That isn’t to say that Pet Symmetry doesn’t put a lot of thought into their songs. Their forthcoming debut album, Pets Hounds, is full of songs that are well thought out and planned. But because Pet Symmetry is a second (or third) band for these guys, they come across as more spontaneous, more unrestrained. The result is a catchy, fun time. Pets Hounds is due out May 19th via Asian Man Records. You can pre-order it now at the Asian Man Records store. While you are at it, pick up one of the band’s dog bowls. Perfect for your pop punk loving dog friends.

I wasn’t sold on “January Shock” by Survival Guide until vocalist/keyboardist Emily Whitehurst forcefully exclaimed that “the sun will rise again.” That’s where I pulled out my money ready to buy in. According to Whitehurst, the track was inspired by the way people think that the world is going to end at any moment. This creates a population of people who are apathetic about their futures. The goal of that uplifting chorus? Getting people to escape from the doldrums of this type of thinking. “January Shock” is the first track to be released off of Survival Guide’s upcoming debut album, Way To Go, which is set for a Spring 2015 release.
I’ve heard that Way to Go conjures feelings of a dark modern fairytale while showcasing Whitehurst’s vocal range and talent. I’m ready to buy, again.

Strangeheart’s frontman Jeff Thompson had just put the finishing touches on his self-produced new single. It was much more rocky than some of the band’s previous, pop heavy tracks. It was a lush one, that grooved a catchy bass line and a danceable chorus. All he needed now was a release date. Hmm…the song was called “Green Russian”. Green? Russian? Green….Russian…ah ha! Jeff had it! Strangeheart would wait until St. Patrick’s Day to roll out their first single of 2015. And they did.

Finally we come to Cody Crump. I hate to come across in this way but when I heard the name Cody Crump, I wasn’t expecting much. Its sort of like when someone sees that Tender Branson penned a blog post they automatically think they won’t like it. But the more I read about Cody, the more I liked him. Consider: he was kicked out of both the choir and the school for telling bad jokes. He was also impeached as his junior class president for getting arrested. Those two stories are hilarious enough to get my attention (even better if they are actually true). When I played Cody’s new song, I was pleasantly surprised by what he delivered. His single “Just Another Day” could easily fall into the depressing and gloomy category. The hazy guitars, the nonchalant lyrics about this being just another day, the fact that it comes from an EP titled Death. But Crump’s delivery doesn’t depress, in fact it manages the opposite effect and actually leaves me feeling a bit happier at the end.

Cook: Squash Pancakes

Cook: Squash Pancakes

DSC_0364Time for a note from one of our readers:

Dear Tender,
What do I do with the large amount of chickpea flour that has been hanging in my pantry for nearly a year?
Love,
Blender Tanson

Yo Blender,
You turn it into squash dumplings.
Enjoy,
Tender Branson

Dear Tender,
What do I do if my lazy ass decided to dice the one pound of yellow squash necessary for the dumplings in my blender instead of doing it by hand and I accidentally let the blender run too long and now my squash is less of a dice and more of a puree?
Love,
Blender Tanson

Dear Blender,
Do I have to do everything for you? Get some balls to experiment in the kitchen. Chicks dig that. Now, you committed cardinal sin number seven in Tender Branson’s cooking bible, thou shall not blend what you can dice by hand because it never works out. What I would do is take some of that chickpea flour, well, a lot of that chickpea flour and just load it into the puree. Keep adding and mixing until you have what appears to be a pancake batter. At this point just fry up the batter like you would pancakes. Problem solved.
Hope This Helps,
TB

Dear Tender,
Thanks asshole. It worked.
Blender Tanson

Squash Pancakes
(printable version)

-1 pound yellow squash (about 3 of them) pureed
-1 1/2 to 2 cups chickpea flour (besan), or more if needed
-1 hot chili, seeded
-1/2 tsp grated ginger
-salt
-pinch of nutmeg

1. Place the squash in a food processor, along with 1 1/2 cups of chickpea flour, the chili and ginger.

2. Process until everything is blended and smooth. At this point you should have a batter that is reminiscent of pancake batter. If it is still very runny, add more chickpea flour.

3. Add salt and nutmeg. Taste. Add more if necessary.

4. Pour pancake batter on a griddle. Fry until bubbles appear on top and the bottom is browned. Flip and repeat.

5. Serve with your favorite homemade tomato sauce.

Note: Despite our name similarities, Blender Tanson is not me. I would never do something as stupid as that. I always chop my vegetables by hand.

Here’s the recipe in song form.

Food Flavored Album Review: The Go! Team’s The Scene Between

Food Flavored Album Review: The Go! Team’s The Scene Between

For three albums The Go! Team has made a name for itself by crossbreeding tricked out noise rock melodies, old school hip-hop, schizzed up blaxploitation and Bollywood soundtrack collages and dance music that feels like it came straight out of the blast furnace. Overtop, they’ve pumped in jump rope chant choruses and verses delivered with choo choo train like elocution by rapper Ninja (or Kaori Tsuchida or Chi Fukami Taylor or any number of special guests including Chuck D. and Solex). But things began to feel a bit too traditional for bandleader Ian Parton. So he decided that for the band’s fourth album, The Scene Between, things would be different. Gone would be the voices of Ninja, Kaori and Chi. In their place? Vocals provided by singers Ian had never heard of before. The songs themselves would be guided by melody. Samples would not provide the backbone, instead they would be treated as any other instrument. The resulting album feels like a rebellion against the past. A warm, bright, cheery rebellion. ItDSC_0408 reeks of someone itching for a new adventure. In a lot of ways, The Scene Between is the musical equivalent to Divas Can Cook’s Vegan Southern Style Collard Greens.

Both The Scene Between and the collard greens are built from a bubbling hot beginning. While The Scene Between is almost completely different from its predecessors, it does have one significant thing in common with them. It is still frenetic and feverish. No track symbolizes this as much as opener “What D’You Say?” The track begins refreshingly. A can of soda is opened and the fizz that accompanies a bad pour can be heard. Next, a springtime horn blows. Its not smooth and exotic like a snake charmer, more like Dwight Schrute on a recorder, but it succeeds in lulling the listener into a momentary daydream. That daydream is shattered as soon as the clicking drum sticks kick in. What follows is four plus minutes of turbulent, unadulterated, pulsing, fun. Its a fun that grows from the up and down lyrical deliver of Brazilian (currently living in LA) singer-songwriter Samira Winter and the distortion gripped guitars in the background. The collard greens bubbling hot beginning occurs courtesy of the oil being heated in the saute pan.

First to enter that oil? Onions and garlic. These strong, yet pliable little pieces of white matter are quickly reduced to tender blithering babies by the oil’s searing heat. Their only sense of empowerment and brass is the aromatic smell leaving their pores and the sounds of sizzle that scream out from their flesh. While the title track of The Scene Between doesn’t blither like a baby, it does capture the same empowerment and brass. Its brought by the intensely gained lyrics performed by the London Africa Gospel Choir. Amazing how some twists of a nob can take the beauty of a gospel choir and give it a more honest and raw but still completely otherworldly feel. For a few short bursts, “The Scene Between” sizzles with some of the clearest sounds on the album. In between, it mirrors a tribal scene from deep in the jungle.

Because collard greens quickly soak up whatever they are slow simmered in, they can be won or lost based on their broth. A rich, flavorful broth creates greens that exude power while simultaneously forging a connection between your palette and mind. A weak broth and your greens get their asses kicked daily on the playground. The Scene Between also toes the broth line by offering some slow simmered tracks of its own. A weak output from the brothy “Waking the Jetstream” and the album loses its quick start. Thankfully the track falls into the rich and flavorful category. Like “The Scene Between”, “Waking the Jetstream” has vocals that have been gained to feel larger than life. The difference is that Casey Sowa (of Strange Relations) remains firmly grounded with her terrestrial, singer-songwriterish delivery. This feels appropriate considering that the synths, loops and acoustic instruments in the track are arranged around a slightly slower base of music. Strip away all the production and “Waking the Jetstream” fits nicely on CMT (during the overnight shift) but loses its robustness. Its all those production elements that make this track what it is: an excellent indie rock song.

But, I’m a traditionalist, man. What about the bacon taste? I need to have that smokey, bacon flavor when I eat my collards. I hear ya. You can’t completely buck tradition or your new creation will no longer resemble what you started with. In Diva’s Greens, the bacon taste is achieved by using smoked salt. Its expensive as hell…but totally worth it. “The Art Of Getting By (Song for Heaven’s Gate)” is the bacon flavor of The Scene Between. It is the track that most closely links what Ian Parton and crew are trying to accomplish with what they have done previously. Musically, the song is driven by heavily emphasizing percussion and horns. It is the same two instruments which are at the heart of the band’s most famous track (at least if you are an American football fan) “The Power is On.” The similarities between what’s been and what is stop there as “The Art of Getting By (Song for Heaven’s Gate)” is much slower and more controlled than “The Power is On”. For the second time on The Scene Between, the vocals are provided by the London Africa Gospel Choir. Just like they did with “The Scene Between”, the choir elevates the song into a realm that is much more spiritual than typical indie rock tracks. Its the perfect delivery considering that the song was inspired by the mass suicide of the Heaven’s Gate religious cult.

I don’t care if your collard greens have meat or not, no bundle of greens is complete without a generous helping of hot sauce. It makes the greens flare, it makes them pop. “Blowtorch” is The Scene Between’s hot sauce. Its surfy, but not in a simplistic Weezer sort of way. The surf/noise rock combo creates a depth that a lot of strict surf rock never reaches. This depth is the flare. It is the pop.

While The Go! Team’s The Scene Between is a fun album, it isn’t without its faults. Each time I listen to it, I start off enjoying everything the early tracks have to offer. After the instrumental awesomeness of  “Gaffa Tape Bikini” I lose separation between the tracks. With the exception of  “The Art of Getting By (Song for Heaven’s Gate)” the tracks seem to run together. While flavors meshing together is a good thing in the world of collard greens, it isn’t ideal for albums. Still, with over half the tracks being at the good to exceptional level, you won’t see me begging for the old tried and true any time soon.

“Blowtorch” and “The Scene Between”:

Press Release: D’Chrome Foster’s #LoveMyBounce Campaign

Press Release: D’Chrome Foster’s #LoveMyBounce Campaign

March 9th, 2015 (New York, NY)-­In honor of Women’s History Month, hip hop artist D’Chrome Foster and multimedia company STK MKT Entertainment announced their first #LoveMyBounce partner: Arethusa Speaks, a nonprofit organization that gives a voice to victims of intimate partner violence through storytelling. STK MKT Entertainment has introduced a line of #LoveMyBounce shorts and pledged to donate 20% of proceeds to support Arethusa Speaks’ upcoming storytelling productions, ongoing research and educational outreach.

Working to create social change for women through art, music and theater, STK MKT Entertainment and Arethusa Speaks hope to prevent relational violence and erase the stigma of identifying as a survivor of abuse.

The #LoveMyBounce campaign was launched in January 2015 by D’Chrome Foster and STK MKT Entertainment to empower women everywhere by encouraging them to love their bodies and love their bounce. D’Chrome Foster released his latest single and music video for “JANUARY” along with the #LoveMyBounce movement to highlight the effects of male gaze, containing images and titles aiming to address cultural beliefs about women.

(WCCL Note: To fully appreciate the issues at hand and D’Chrome’s response, watch the following videos in order. Otherwise, as J-Fur points out, the message may get confused.)

“January” explanation:

“January” music video:

“‘JANUARY’ is about love and mutual acceptance -­‐we’re all in this thing together,” D’Chrome Foster said. “Women’s empowerment is HUMAN empowerment. #LoveMyBounce aims to raise awareness of gender inequality and is a platform by which we can elevate organizations like Arethusa Speaks that are viscerally addressing women’s issues through art.”

According to the American Medical Association, every 9 seconds, a woman is abused or beaten and the United Nations states that 70% of women worldwide will experience physical and or sexual abuse by an intimate partner in their lifetime. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that the number of American women murdered by a current or ex male partner was double the number of American troops killed inAfghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012.

“We are so excited to participate in the awesome mission and reach of STK MKT Entertainment,” said Colie McClellen and Mark Kennedy, co-­‐founders of Arethusa Speaks. “D’Chrome Foster and STK MKT are doing what we hope more entertainment labels and artists will begin to do: they simply ask good questions, and support women’s work. We want to change our culture, and the #LoveMyBounce partnership is an exciting step.”Love My Bounce_Shorts_Pink Back

#LoveMyBounce shorts can be purchased at www.LoveMyBounce.com. They are available for $25, in a variety of colors, sized S -­‐XL. 20% of proceeds go directly to Arethusa Speaks to support their fight against violence.

Click: Vegan St. Patty’s Day Recipes, Fugazi Covers, Beastly Pretzel Sliders, A Non-Dairy Milk Guide and Other Things That Grabbed My Attention This Week

Click: Vegan St. Patty’s Day Recipes, Fugazi Covers, Beastly Pretzel Sliders, A Non-Dairy Milk Guide and Other Things That Grabbed My Attention This Week

The Germans certainly know how to make meat. But can they make vegan meat? That was a topic that I researched extensively this week. Turns out they can. Here’s more of what I “extensively” researched:

Happenings:

Recipes:

Singles:

“Together or Alone” by Eternal Summers

New Arcades “Let’s Get Away”

“Better off Alone” by Everywhere

“Enchanted” by Young Wonder

Rubblebucket “Waiting Room” (Fugazi Cover)

Remixes:

Zella Day “Compass” (Young Bombs Remix)

Videos:

“Violence” by Eternal Death

The Chainsmokers “Let You Go” (featuring Great Good Fine Ok)

“Coyote Choir” by Pepa Knight

“Noah” by Amber Run

“Give Me A Try” by The Wombats

 

First Quarter Click Tracks (When Available) via Spotify:

Food Flavored Song: Hum Dilly Dum by Voxx

Food Flavored Song: Hum Dilly Dum by Voxx

My favorite Tampa nightspot has been trying some pretty radical things this month in hopes of bringing in a few extra bodies. One of the experiments was to hold an anthropologist/history teacher night. The club agreed to waive the entrance fee and offered a free drink to anyone who could explain cultural relativism or discuss the significance of the Kellogg-Briand Pact. When I first saw this night listed on the club’s calendar of events, I highlighted it as a must go. I also laughed like crazy. Why the hell would anyone interested in anthropology or history want to spend a Saturday night drinking in a dark steamy sweat box?

When I rolled into the club that night, I was astonished to see that it was way over capacity. I had to wait in line for some time, just to get in. When I finally got through the doors I realized there was no way I was getting to the bar. I stood back for a few and waited. While doing so, I caught wind of a pretty heated debate taking place to my left. Three frumpy looking dudes were puffing on cigars and arguing the origination of chop suey. The first, a historian, suggested that it was started in the US by Cantonese immigrants. His partner to the right, also a historian, insisted that a Japanese chef made it to appease a visiting general. The anthropologist of the bunch swore that chop suey rose to prominence in the Toisan area of Canton where people would combine leftover vegetables and noodles into a single stir-fry. After what seemed like hours of round and round debate I leaned into their table and yelled  “Excellent debate my fine fellows. I’m not sure which one of you is right, but I wonder if chop suey can win you the ladies?”

One thing Chop suey will win you is a lyrical line in “Hum Dilly Dum”, the new single from LA duo, Voxx. Elias and Kris blend R&B, Pop, and Hip Hop in a pretty unique way. Afropunk says they find their inspiration in the discographies of Outkast and Missy Elliot and I would agree one hundred percent. I racked my brain for another comparison, but every time I heard “Hum Dilly Dum” my thoughts immediately went to Outkast and Missy Elliot.

“Eating chop suey”:

Listen: Work Drugs, American Wrestlers, Mating Ritual and Bone Chimes

Listen: Work Drugs, American Wrestlers, Mating Ritual and Bone Chimes

That traveling salesman that bedded Ms. Barley and made her dispense of two babies in one short afternoon? One smooth criminal. Here’s some other smooth tunes to soundtrack that lovemaking:

I played a game last night where we had to think of the second word that came to mind after someone shared a different word. My word was smooth. The first word that came to mind was smoothie (which led me to sex smoothie…don’t ask) but I kept that one to myself. The second word that came to mind? Work Drugs. Their new single “Chase the Night” is about as smooth as they come. I would liken it to the skin of an apple that has been lubed up for, well, whatever reason. “Chase the Night” comes from Work Drugs album Louisa which will be released later this year.

Lyric video:

Who exactly is American Wrestlers? The world has been wondering for a while. What did we know? We knew it was a Scotsman who made music. It was the type of music that led him to a wife (yes!) and setting up residency in Missouri (God no!). Thanks to Stereogum, we now have a more complete picture. But honestly, does it matter. Don’t get me wrong, I have new found respect for some dude I know over the internet named Gary McClure. The back story jerks my tears a little. But honestly its the music that gets me going and McClure’s…erm….American Wrestlers’ new one “There’s No One Crying Over Me” is a stripped down slow burn of glory. Its American via Scottish pop at its finest.

Mating Ritual’s “Hum Hum” reminds me a bit of Genesis when it first begins. I find myself waiting to hear about how much Jesus knows the lead singer. Thankfully things branch off quickly when the chorus hits. Here screams of “Hey!”, a brooding guitar and the pounding of drums take over creating something much closer to 80’s style new wave.

The Bone Chimes’ latest single, “Reach Out,” floats along in a gentle, whispery way. It conjures images of a hand reaching out to feel the long field grasses prevalent on certain back country roads. Part of the way through the song another voice joins and here, the hand becomes another walking through a different field (or at least a different part of the field). Perhaps these two hands are in route to join up, perhaps they are grouped together because they share a sense of feeling happy to be alive. The listener never gets to the point where the story is completely told. I don’t mind that. I also don’t mind the Bone Chimes bowing out right when the song was about to take off. Better to leave early than overstay your welcome. It leaves you seeking more.

Cook: Farro, Artichokes and Greens

Cook: Farro, Artichokes and Greens

DSC_0404Years ago one of the cereal mother grains, Ms. Barley, got knocked up by a traveling salesman. He had come to her door hoping to pawn off some of his large supply of malt. When he removed his hat and smoothed down his hair Ms. Barley, who was like an unmarried version of a desperate housewife, led him to a grass field. It was here that the two of them made love from mid-afternoon until well into the night. A few months later Ms. Barley began having extremely debilitating nausea every morning. She quickly came to realize that that salesman had planted his seed in her. When the time came to deliver Ms. Barley, always one to appreciate symbolic gestures, returned to the same spot in the grass field where her baby was conceived. She delivered a tiny little grain, one whom she named barley. Ms. Barley arose from her position and led her new offspring into the house. After an hour of intensive cleaning, Ms. Barley felt weird. She tried to push through it but to no avail. Eventually she laid down on her kitchen floor to take a rest. During her rest, Ms. Barley squeezed another baby from her loins. This one was much larger and the delivery was ten times more painful. Angrily she vowed to call him Fat Ass Round Robber Of life. Eventually it was shortened to Farrol and, by the time this plump grain was being sacrificed on the tombs of Egyptian kings, it had been shortened to just farro.

Farro is one of my grain obsessions. I love that it is chewy, even more so than its tiny little brother, and that it has a distinctive nutty taste to it. My most recent farro adventure found me pairing the fat ass grain with some greens and artichokes. These pieces fit together so well that J-Fur raved like a lunatic. Here is how it happened:

Farro, Artichokes and Greens 
(printable version)

-1/2 cup farro
-1 can artichokes, drained and diced
-1 cup mixed greens (I used kale and spinach)
-3 Tbs. olive oil
-red onion, diced
-salt and pepper (to taste)

1. Grab a saucepan. Dump the farro in it. Drown the farro in two inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, put a lid on it and cook over low heat for twenty five minutes. Drain the farro, remove it from the saucepan and set it aside.

2. Grab an even bigger saucepan, pour in a larger amount of water and bring it to a boil. Drop in the greens and boil them until they are tender (like 2-3 minutes). Drain. Squeeze out any excess liquid using a paper towel. Rip or cut the grains into tiny pieces. Set aside.

3. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Add the red onion and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. This takes about 15 minutes. Set aside.

4. Heat another tablespoon of oil in the same skillet. Add the artichokes and cook, over high heat, until they begin to brown. Turn them over and continue cooking until they start to brown on that side too.

5. Combine the onions, greens and artichokes. Pour the veggie mixture into the farro and stir until everything is nicely combined. Season with salt and pepper. Domasticate that grain.

Sounds like