Saturday, January 31, 2009

Top 5 Songs Of The Week (It feels like it is going to be winter forever edition)

This past week I am sure you all remember what an awful day weather wise Wednesday was. With that being said, it is sad yet hilarious that with tomorrow's forecast calling for the temperature to be a whole 36 degrees that this would cause people to be excited since it will actually be above freezing.

It is bad enough that the Steelers are in the Superbowl again but this cold and snow just makes things as of late down right unbearable. At least the Tribe will be starting spring training soon and the Cavs keep on chugging along, it was so nice to see Z come back last night and contribute without missing a beat, also can't wait till Delonte returns. Also f*ck you to those who did not pick Mo Williams for the All Star game -- it is ok, he will just take it out on all of you going fwd. You did us a favor.

Maybe the following Top Five Songs of the Week will be of some consolation:

5. {mp3} Dan Auerbach - The Real Desire You might be like us and be out in the cold when it comes to the two Black Keys shows @ The Agora this weekend. We have seen The Black Keys twice (well sort of) just as of late have we really ever gotten into them, so now we understand what all the deserved hype is about them. Speaking of The Blacks Keys, their lead singer Dan Auerbach has a solo record coming out (Keep It Hid) and he will doing a special performance @ The Beachland on March 5th as part of the 9th Anniversary weekend Celebration. You know he brings the soul and this track is no exception, what a voice this man has.

4. {mp3} Findlay Brown - Holding Back The Night He is a British singer/songwriter who used to be a bare knuckles boxer but he has changed his ways. These days he is a bit of a romantic crooner, cranking out sweet little pop folk songs like this one. You know the ladies love this kind of stuff, I have to admit I like it too. One caveat I have to add that in his press photo I have to admit I think he reminds a little of Corey Feldman they way he is dressed up as Michael Jackson in Dream A Little Dream and I'd be remiss if I did not include a link to his famous dance sequence in that movie.

Note: On second thought, maybe it was just Findlay Brown's hat that made me think of that.

3. {mp3} Youth Group - All This Will Pass This Sydney foursome has a new album due (The Night is Ours) out in the states here in April. They are playing this year's SXSW. You might have heard already of Youth Group if you remember their great cover of Alphaville's "Forever Young" which was on soundtrack from The O.C. mix # 5. Their sound brings to mind instantly the sounds of The Smiths or The Replacements or even fellow countrymen, The Church.

2. {mp3} Yacht - Summer Song Last year we had heard of the avant pop outfit known as Yacht but it never really seemed like anything we would be into, seemed a little a little too hipster for us. That all changed when we watched this video. Its 80's pop imagery is genius. This song is catchy as hell and this duo are on DFA records so you know they will make you wanna shake it. They are touring with Chairlift (you know them from the ipod nano commerical) and as luck would have it they are coming to The Grog Shop on March 13th.

1. {mp3} Bishop Allen - South China Moon An instantly catchy song, from their new album Grrr... due out March 10th. We have been fans since Charm School and loved all of their monthly EP's released throughout 2007 -- needless to say, we are looking fwd with great anticipation to the release of Bishop Allen's new album.

[Photo courtesy of the talented Bella Lago, taken this very morning actually]

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Random Retro Wednesday Song : Invisible Touch

As you know, this past Friday night, we attended the Jessica Lea Mayfield/Annuals show. Just as Jessica's set was drawing to a close, I think we all were just being lulled into a pleasant submission by the relaxing sound of her songs of sorrow and pain. This was followed by a very abrupt ending of her final song, not any sort of closing salutation (as far as we recall) and then the lights brightened the venue while the speakers @ The Grog started blasting "Invisible Touch" by Genesis/Phil Collins. This left us all slack-jawed and pretty much all looking at each other with a "what the f*ck?" look on our faces.

Then strangely enough on Sunday afternoon while helping my parents shop at Heinen's we heard this song again. We knew at that point it was a sign that "Invisible Touch" must be a Random Retro Wednesday Song for this week.

Phil Collins definitely had the mid to late 80's soft rock jams on lock down. . .like f-ing Fort Knox :) Just ask Christian Bale's character, Patrick Bateman, in American Psycho [here].

Oh yeah, we're also wondering whether Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel still hate each other's guts. Man, British people love to hold a grudge, especially musicians*

Bonus: Apparently MGMT are fans of "Invisible Touch" too [vid]

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Top 5 Songs Of The Week (These Bands Are Coming To Cleveland Edition)

Last night we went to our first show of the year (Annuals/Jessica Lea Mayfield) and it was such a positive experience (undoubtably having a lot to do with the the company that we were in, but the music was great too) that it got us pretty excited for upcoming shows. Below is a sampling of music from some bands that we think you should definitely check out:


5. (mp3) The Little Ones - Like A Spoke On A Wheel Shins-esque, sunny music for days without sun such as ones we are having an abundance of as of late. They're coming to The Beachland Ballroom on February 21st along with Brett Dennan.

4. (mp3) Passion Pit - Cuddle Fuddle This is one of our jamzzz! Lucky for us, here in North East Ohio they are coming twice this winter. The first time is this Wednesday @ The Spot on Case's campus and a second time in March with Cut Off Your Hands (see details below).

3. (mp3) Anya Marina - Move You A singer/songwriter (reminding Kelly of a Emiliana Torrini in her younger days) from San Diego who also happens to be a radio DJ. She is coming to town this week on Wednesday @ The Grog Shop with The Virgins & Lissy Trullie. Her album was produced by Britt Daniel of Spoon.

2. (mp3) Obi Best - Who Loves You Now A back-up singer for The Bird & The Bee with vocals similar to Regina Spektor . She is coming to town to headline a show @ The Beachland in the Tavern. Opening for her will be The Poshi Army & The Muttering Retreats (we know Justin is looking fwd to this show).

1. (mp3) Cut Off Your Hands -Expectations We've had them in our Top 5 two other times so you know how good they are. So it is with very much excitement that we announce (if you have not heard already) one of the best shows this year: Ra, Ra Riot, Passion Pit and Cut off Your Hands are coming to Akron @ Musica on March 25th!! Previously when the dates were announced there were not dates close to us which made us pretty sad because we really want to see these guys live.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Contest: Win Two Free Tickets to Friday's Annuals/Jessica Lea Mayfield Show + MOCA Passes

Having gained comparisons to bands such as Animal Collective and Broken Social Scene -- we've decided Annuals' eclectic and experimental style is a difficult one to categorize. We encourage you to listen for yourself (that is, if you are not yet familiar with Annuals' music) and give us your own creative opinion and description via comment or email.

As always, your feedback is appreciated, in this case making you eligible to win two free tickets to the Annuals (with opener Jessica Lea Mayfield) show this Friday at The Grog Shop while additionally scoring complimentary passes to MOCA. We will contact the winner that best articulates Annuals' sound by Friday morning*

CORRECTION: Simply click [here] to enter the contest :)

Some select songs:
[Mp3] Annuals - Brother Made an appearance on Pitchfork's Infinite Playlist as the #25 entry
[Mp3] Annuals - Fair (WOXY Lounge Acts) You may or may not remember this song being played on a Veronica Mars episode, catchy and authentic nonetheless
[Mp3] Annuals - Confessor The opening track off their recent release, Such Fun

[Mp3] Jessica Lea Mayfield - For Today (Have You Heard Session) Heartbreaking, raw, and simply beautiful

A Wednesday without any work is a reason to smile even when it is so damn cold

Back in the days before all these gigantic cumbersome bailouts, when you worked for a financial institution (such as myself) you used to get off holidays like MLK day. However, now that we are in this complete melt down of the financial markets and since all these bailouts have taken place I no longer get those "Bank/School Holidays" off -- which is exactly why I am thrilled to have today off instead.

On a side note, I wanted to add that I did not get a chance to watch any of the inauguration ysterday because I was at work.

However, in 1985 (when I was in 1st grade) I actually had the opportunity to see the inauguration of Ronald Regan in person but unfortunately I did not end up going because it was so cold that they had to move the event inside. The reason I would have been lucky enough to see the inauguration was because that year we lived in D.C. while my dad was a White House Fellow (other White House Fellows of note are: General Colin Powell, Paul Gigot [Pulitzer Prize winner & editorial editor from the Wall Street Journal], General Wesley Clark, Dr. Sanjay Gupta [Surgeon General to be] among many others).

Anyhow, as a result of having today off, I decided to cook Kelly lunch because I never have the chance to on a regular weekday. Once this decision was made I combed threw our cookbooks & the internet where I eventually selected the following two recipes (my finished results pictured below):

1. Crispy Asparagus Soliders with Soft Boiled Eggs from Chef Jamie Oliver's book Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to The Good Life which is chock full of great recipes and even shows you how to grow your own vegetables. This particular recipe was simple, healthy and soooo tasty

2. Halloumi Radicchio and Tomato Sandwich (aka an HRT) A recipe that is actually offered by Mick Cooke who plays the horn in Belle & Sebastian. This recipe came from I Like Food, Food Tastes Good By Zara Kuro which is an awesome cookbook filled with recipes from many of your favorite indie rock bands. We have made several recipes from this book -- the one we have made the most by far is a Pecan Pie Recipe (Kelly is pictured below with one we had made late on Thanksgiving Eve 2008) that Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear learned from his mom. It is very easy to make and simply delicious. Some of the other bands in the book sharing recipes are: Mates of State, My Morning Jacket, Ted Leo, Okkervil River, The Walkmen & The Hold Steady.

(mp3) Grizzly Bear - Little Brother (Electric)

(mp3) Belle & Sebastian - Your Cover's Blown ( this is one of our classic jamz)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Top 5 Songs Of The Week (Brrrrrrrrrr Edition)

While Jose is hard at work on this frigid and snowy Saturday, I am relaxing and simply trying to stay warm. But lucky for me, I have Lily (pictured above as a puppy) to cuddle with as I watch The Craft for the umpteenth time. My sister and brother-in-law have placed their "child" in our hands throughout the next week while they vacation in Hawaii -- I cannot imagine a better time to escape this weather. . .those lucky bastards ;)

Anyhow, before Jose comes home, I was assigned the task of finding/choosing a good soup recipe to cook this evening while we stay indoors from this freaking cold.

My top choices (hmm):
1. Tomato-Tortilla Soup by Ellie Krieger
2. Hot and Sour Soup by Nigella Lawson
3. Broccoli-Leek Soup by Williams-Sonoma

While I attempt to make up my mind, I hope you enjoy the following Top Five Songs of the Week (and then some):

5. [Mp3] The Bird and the Bee - Don't Stop The Music (Rhianna cover) A low-key rendition showcasing Inara George's gentle vocals as they echo lightly. I can totally imagine this track being on one of those "Chill" compilations.

Just Because: The Bird and the Bee - Fucking Boyfriend I have always enjoyed the passive aggressive sass of these lyrics as well as its glitchy beats.

4. [Mp3] Blitzen Trapper - Furr There is something about this song's simplicity with its guitar strumming, tambourine jangling, and harmonica puffing that I find comforting. If you listen closely it almost sounds like coyotes howling in the distance.

Just Because: Blitzen Trapper - Futures & Folly If you are a fan of Brendan Benson and/or The Beatles circa Rubber Soul you'll enjoy this.

3. [Mp3] Franz Ferdinand - No You Girls There is no denying the powerful energy and swagger of this supremely infectious song. This song is going to be played everywhere (apparently already was on a recent episode of Gossip Girl), but I don't mind because it's that good.

Just Because: [Mp3] Franz Ferdinand - Walk Away (acoustic) Jose cannot sing, however he can carry this song's tune quite well.

2. [Mp3] Coconut Records - Wires After giving Davy a few listens, I have mixed feelings about this band's current release. However, this gem instantly caught my attention even though it is the second to last track on the album.

Just Because: [Mp3] Coconut Records - West Coast A guilty pleasure of a song that I never tire of. . .I picture Jason Schwartzman singing about Zooey Deschanel -- speaking of which, I wonder how he feels about Zooey's recent engagement to DCFC's Ben Gibbard??

1. [Mp3] Asobi Seksu - Layers Off their latest effort, Hush, this song exhibits melodies just as its title suggests: in layers. The overlapping of beautiful, varied and blurred instruments/vocals is what we've come to love and expect from this shoegaze-inspired band.

Just Because: [Mp3] Asobi Seksu - I'm Happy But You Don't Like Me Sung entirely in Japanese, I simply adore this song (which Jose happened to put on a mix cd for me over five years ago) that never fails to make me want to dance and sing along although I haven't a clue what the words mean.

Note: Definitely cannot neglect to mention what a pleasant surprise it was to have the opportunity speak with the owners of Indigo Imp last night :) We nearly ditched out on attending our local Heinen's Wine Tasting but since we had rsvped we felt bad not going -- we weren't really feeling the whole South African theme, but our eyes lit up upon seeing an Indigo Imp table displaying their beers. Needless to say, meeting and talking to the very cool husband-wife duo made us extremely happy we ventured out of our warm confines*

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Random Retro Wednesday Song : Under My Thumb

On Christmas Eve, when I was at work it was a really slow day -- so slow in fact that they let us leave by 10am that morning. However, before I was sent home I decided that I had enough of having this song by The Rolling Stones song stuck in my head for years that I did not know the name of. The most recent time I had heard it was when I was The Colony with Justin before we went to go see Slumdog Millionaire (go see if you have not done so, I am sure you will now want to with all the Golden Globe Awards it recently won). Congrats to the Cast and Director, Danny Boyle, who's recognition is well deserved.

Anyway, I don't claim to have a lot of knowledge about 1960's music. I know some songs by the Rolling Stones (ie - Jumpin Jack Flash, Time Is On My Side, Wild Horses, Street Fightin Man, Brown Sugar, etc) but just not this one. . .Since I do not have a great deal of knowledge concerning the aforementioned subjects, I did not know until I asked a co-worker (thanks, Cliff) where I discovered that the song I have had stuck in my head was: Under My Thumb by The Rolling Stones. So yeah, I felt pretty silly after the fact, since it is one their hits I later discovered and also simply because they say the title of the song within the very beginning lyrics.

(mp3) The Rolling Stones - Under My Thumb

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Few Reasons to Hybernate

Staying in on this Monday evening feels especially good -- the following are some elements heightening our enjoyment :)

1. Animal Collective's new album: Merriweather Post Pavilion

[Mp3] Animal Collective - My Girls

2. Root: 1 Sauvignon Blanc [Casablanca Valley, Chile 2007] $10.99 @ Giant Eagle

3. Andrew Bird's new album: Noble Beast[Mp3] Andrew Bird - Oh No

[Article] NY Times "Hot Math" January 7th 2009

4. Guitar Hero World Tour

Saturday, January 10, 2009

1st Top 5 songs of the Week of 2009

Today we were awakened to the sound of the plow. . .luckily neither of us had to work. Unfortunately Kelly had to get up at 9am to "get her toes done up and her finger nails matchin" for her friend Ali's wedding. Kelly said she can't believe she has to wear a bridesmaid dress in this freaking weather. And that my friends is why you don't have a wedding in Cleveland during the dead winter. . .you have it in a place warm like south western Florida ;) I wish we were still there.
Although, if I were in Florida then I would not have been able to go to the Cavs vs Celtics game last night. That game was more than worth bearing the cold and snow to watch us kick the shit out the Celtics. Even better than the game was seeing our friend, Ryan, wear his Ben Wallace wig (see picture above). I know it is still very early in the season, but you have to like how we were able to shut down the big 3 without Z -- the next time we play Boston it is going to be a BATTLE. I am looking fwd to the Cavs upcoming west coast trip with some tough games against the Lakers, Hornets & Blazers. After this trip we we will know just how good this team can be.

Now for the music:

5. [Mp3] Cut Off Your Hands - Oh Girl We are suckers for sunny indie pop, especially while in the depths of this chilling snowy weather. If you're in need of an upper like us, we totally recommend this catchy song.

4. [Mp3] The Antlers - Bear From their new ep, Hospice, coming out in March. They came to Cleveland last fall and we missed them. We wish we had not.

3. [Mp3] Cat Power - I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) A couple of our gripes with her second cover album, Jukebox, was that it sounded (dare we say): happy, as well as too clean and over produced. This is not the case with her latest EP, Dark End of the Street, where she has returned to baring her soul with the passion we had come to know and love from her. Just listen to this Otis Redding cover and you'll know what we mean*

2. [Mp3] Frida Hyvönen - Dirty Dancing This swede has a sound filled with a deep soulful sadness -- her compositions are beautifully haunting, leaving a lasting impression. She is undeniably in a league of her own. And, although she is a woman playing piano, we both agree that one cannot pigeonhole her sound.

1. [Mp3] Andrew Bird - Fitz & Dizzyspells Building quiet energy, we have had several debates over what his vocal sounds like yet can at least agree that he sometimes sounds like Final Fantasy combined with The Shins' James Mercer. An instantly likable song, this track has become an instant favorite of Kelly's -- whistling, hand claps and strings always seem to make for a good time. Lucky for us, he is coming back to C-town on April 2nd @ The Allen Theatre and is being presented by The Beachland & The Grog Shop. Tickets are $25 -- but the always awesome Music Saves has them for no additional fees if you pay cash (while their block of seats are still available, that is).

Random Bonus [update]: If you are in need of a tasty (yet certainly not weak) fix, then definitely check out this Barefoot Contessa Recipe for a Pomegranate Cosmopolitan Martini [here]. Jose claims that this is not a girly drink even though it looks like one, as he feels the need to defend his masculinity while watching the Golden Globes Red Carpet Coverage. Ha.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Belated Happy New Year!

On this Monday morning you may be griping because you are headed back to work, school etc after that nice break. You may just be down because you are frustrated about the state of the browns, that cavs game yesterday (that call was total b.s.) or the fact that Ohio State is going to get killed again on the national stage again tonight. Or perhaps you are bummed out about the cold (at least it is sunny today), the increase in gas prices, how inept our local politicians are etc. Whatever the reason is you can hopefully take a minute and get a laugh this morning from watching this short video of my air guitar performance on New Years Eve.

P.S. thanks to Paul for documenting this and thanks to Oscar for throwing an awesome party!