Archive for November, 2011

Costello : My New Box Set’s A Rip Off

By Gerard on Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
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The former Declan McManus was once famously dubbed “Elvis Cosdildo” in a piece of Crypt Records propaganda some years ago, but I suspect there’s a particular point that even Tim Warren and the ever prolific Costello might see eye to eye on, to wit, the suggested list price of Costello & The Imposters’ ‘The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook’ being obscenely high (ie. $262.00).  Calling the sum, “either a misprint or a satire”, Elvis weighs in with the following ;

All our attempts to have this number revised have been fruitless but rather than detain you with tedious arguments about morality, panache and book-keeping – when there are really bigger fish to filet these days – we are taking the following unusual step.

If you should really want to buy something special for your loved one at this time of seasonal giving, we can whole-heartedly recommend, “Ambassador Of Jazz” – a cute little imitation suitcase, covered in travel stickers and embossed with the name “Satchmo” but more importantly containing TEN re-mastered albums by one of the most beautiful and loving revolutionaries who ever lived – Louis Armstrong.

The box should be available for under one hundred and fifty American dollars and includes a number of other tricks and treats. Frankly, the music is vastly superior.

If on the other hand you should still want to hear and view the component parts of the above mentioned elaborate hoax, then those items will be available separately at a more affordable price in the New Year, assuming that you have not already obtained them by more unconventional means.

To which I’ll only add that while we’ve had no talks with Yo La Tengo about any sort of commercially available document of their own attempts to (ahem) reinvent The Wheel, I can pledge to you, the music-loving public that if such a thing ever comes to pass, you’ll PAY NO MORE THAN $250.00. 

Fucked Up will tour with the Foo Fighters, headlining the Bruise Cruise in February

By Robby on Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

In under a week, Fucked Up will be touring with the Foo Fighters in Australia. They return our hemisphere in February (2/10-13) to headline the second annual Bruise Cruise (for which Damian will also act as the Cruise Director)

Check out all the dates and details below.

Fri, Dec 2 , 2011 , Melbourne  , AU , AAMI Park (with Foo Fighters)
Sat, Dec 3 , 2011 , Melbourne  , AU , AAMI Park (with Foo Fighters)
Mon, Dec 5 , 2011 , Adelaide  , AU , Cricket Ground (with Foo Fighters)
Thu, Dec 8 , 2011 , Sydney  , AU , Football Stadium (with Foo Fighters)
Fri, Dec 9, 2011, Brisbane, AU, Alhambra Lounge (FU headlining)
Sat, Dec 10 , 2011 , Gold Coast  , AU , Metricon Stadium (with Foo Fighters)
Tue, Dec 13 , 2011 , Auckland  , AU , Western Springs  (with Foo Fighters)

Tue, Dec 20, 2011, Toronto, CA, The Great Hall (performing ‘David Comes To Life’)

Fri, Feb 10 – 13 2012 ,  Miami FL – Nassau Bahamas    Bruise Cruise Festival (with King Khan & The Shrines, The Soft Pack, The Dirtbombs, Thee Oh Sees, Quintron & Miss Pussycat, Mikal Cronin, The Togas and more)

Girls – For No One session debuts

By Gabe on Monday, November 28th, 2011

Today For No One, along with Refinery 29, brings us a lovely rendition of “Love Like A River” from Father, Son, Holy Ghost. The album is on sale for $6.99 at Amazon (the sale ends tomorrow, so hurry!). The session:

As announced, Girls will release an insane new 7″ on December 6th, and you can pre-order it now.

Finally, Girls have two of their biggest ever US shows coming up soon: Tuesday December 6th at the Fonda in LA (tickets) and Saturday Jan 14th at Terminal 5 in NYC (buy tickets or win them from Refinery 29). If you live in Santa Ana, you aren’t left out, either.

Sopa de lima

By Patrick on Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Sopa de lima, or lime soup, is a Yucatecan dish. This version is from Wednesday’s New York Times article by David Tanis, a welcom reprieve from a rather sad front page piece focusing on gluttony… did you know it takes a 42-mile walk to burn off the calories from a typical Thanksgiving feaast, blahhhhhh I don’t care.

Obviously you can use the leavings from any poultry feast. However as Tanis points out, turkeys were domesticated in Mexico centuries earlier than they were here, and even exported to Europe before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. Still, the hard part is the first part: roast a large bird and have sufficient leavings. In this case, I had roasted a 14-pound turkey using a combination of the Russ Parsons dry brine and Elmer Grossman’s Hungarian-American steam-foil-bag technique from Saveur, and had a hefty, meaty carcass, an unused neck (long story) and quite a few meaty bones.

I simmered these into a broth as per Tanis’s recommendation last night. I also left some tortillas from one of the vendors at Essex Street Market out to stale. That was the limit of my prep – most of the rest of the stuff was here around the house.

The recipe calls for roasting and grinding cumin, coriander seed and black pepper, which go into a mirepoix of (white) onion, celery and carrot, along with a cinnamon stick, garlic and salt. (Sidenote: when did Mexican and Caribbean cuisines pick up these spices? Presumably from the India trade, because cumin, coriander seed, black pepper and cinnamon are so clearly subcontinental in origin? Or?) You add the broth to that and simmer 15 minutes – an intoxicating 15 minutes, I might add. A man explained to me on Thanksgiving Day that smelling food is one-half the way to eating it, and he is absolutely right.

The rest is completely straightforward and as per Tanis’s article. I put in a pinch of Mexican oregano because I had some and because Diana Kennedy calls for it in her recipe which is, however, entirely different. The one thing I’d add is that you should not stint on the salt, even if you started with a well-brined turkey and despite the fact that the recipe calls for unsalted broth. Whatever salt is in the turkey is well diluted by the 12 cups of water, and you will need plenty more.

I love how green the garnishes are in certain Mexican dishes. I completely spaced on the avocado – it would have been nice, I’m sure, but I didn’t miss it. This dish is just fantastic.

Operation Matador

By Judge on Friday, November 25th, 2011

From the Paris Desk:
Thanksgiving in Paris with Cat Power at Le Studio….
What amazing tunes will be revealed ?
Stay tuned, vibes are strong

Get To Know Your Local Indie Retailer Vol. 1 – Origami Vinyl

By Michael on Monday, November 21st, 2011

A few weeks back we posted a little piece about how – contrary to the general perception – there are plenty of independent record stores out there who are doing just fine. That post was met with such excited fervor that we’ve decided to go one step further and profile some of those stores who are out there in your town, slinging rock and taking names. For our first installment we caught up with Neil Schield, owner of one of our favorite new record shops, Origami Vinyl in Los Angeles; a small store who pack a ton of punch and are really beginning to cultivate their own community in the Echo Park area.

1. Tell us briefly about your store.
Origami Vinyl is a new and used vinyl shop located in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. We opened on April 3rd, 2009 and feature a ton of amazing in-stores, a robust selection of local music, and are very active in our local community. Our shop is only 400 square feet but packs in a very diverse curated collection of independent music from a wide range of genres.

2. What got you into the independent record store business?
It started as a dream in high school that became more of a fantasy once I started my career in the music industry out of college. After being in the industry for 10 years, I was laid off twice within a matter of 2 years. I was pretty over the whole corporate landscape. Down and out and not sure where to take my career, I had a yard sale to purge some things I didn’t need, including a bunch of LPs that my parents had given me that I didn’t really listen to. That yard sale changed my life. Within hours I had sold nearly 40 records and was amazed by how many people were interested in the records I didn’t want. An old man who lived across the street came over in amazement that I had records. He had a little building in front of his house that used to be a store front. I made some joke to him that he should let me rent that front building out and turn it into a record store. He laughed and said no.

But something in me started to think that maybe it wasn’t such a far fetched idea. A couple weeks later I really started to give the dream much more thought and approached the old man again. He politely declined, but I was determined to figure this thing out. I went down the street to my friend Jeff’s bar, El Prado in Echo Park. He asked me what I had been up to and I told him about my subsequent layoffs. He asked what my next plans were, and I said I was having this crazy idea about opening a record store. His eyes lit up and he told me that him and Mitchell Frank, who also co-own The Echo, had just purchased the building next door to The Echo and were looking for a tenant. The record store would be perfect there. The next morning we met at the space and shook hands on it.  Within 9 months, on April 3rd, 2009, the shop opened it’s doors.

3. Who are some of your favorite contemporary stores?
Mississippi Records in Portland is by far my favorite. I love the personality of that shop. It’s so small and quaint, yet has such a tremendous amount of amazing music.  I really respect Aquarius Records in San Francisco. They are one of the best shops to turn you on to unknown/obscure music. I’ve always enjoyed their level of knowledge and recommendations.

4. How have things been going from a business perspective?
It’s pretty crazy. I never was sure what to expect. I didn’t lay out a business plan or anything, but we have been blown away by the amount of support, press, and foot traffic that come through our shop. It’s been the most fulfilling decision I have ever made in my life. I’m constantly learning all the nuances of owning a retail shop and the unpredicatbility of sales trends, but the challenge makes it that much more fun.

5. What do you think spells the survival for an independent record store today?
Community. It’s our mission to be as active with our local community as possible. As a record store I believe you have to have some sort of responsibility to support your local music scene. We pride ourselves on that. Any band that wants to take the time to release something on vinyl, our doors are open for them to sell it here, promote it here, play an in-store here. Without local independent bands we wouldn’t exist.

In addition to this its extremely important to get involved with local non-profit organizations, support local education institutions, work with other local retailers and the chambers of commerce, and DJ at local venues and bars.

I also believe the future of independent record stores must be based on smaller, more curated, neighborhood shops, than big, huge warehouses of music. There’s been a major movement over the course of the last few years to support small local retailers, and we feel that. People really appreciate customer service. Having an approachable, knowledgeable staff, that get excited that they share the same interests as the customer is extremely important.

6. What are some of the coolest thing labels have done with you? Instores? Promotions? Sales?
The most memorable and maybe the most infamous, was our in-store with Jonsi. Not only was it the most amazing performance we’ve ever hosted, but the fact that it will never happen again was pretty special. I feel bad that he was so uncomfortable being so close to his fans, but at the same time, I hope he realizes in retrospect how magical that night was for everyone that witnessed it.  If you haven’t seen it, check it out.

Another rad thing is 2 months after the store opened, we had one of my favorite bands of all time, Sonic Youth, completely take over the shop to celebrate their album, The Eternal. SY came up with a new store name and sign, hand selected their favorite records to sell and had 2 bands they curated to play the shop. It was insane!

Other than, we have hosted numerous epic in-stores with bands like Florence and the Machine, Superchunk, Ben Harper, Holy Fuck, Lou Barlow, Entrance Band, Dengue Fever, Youth Lagoon, Yuck, Male Bonding, The Strange Boys, Eleanor Friedberger, J Tillman, The Growlers, and so many more.

7. Why do we need record stores?
Because we’re fun people to loiter with.

8. What kind of taco is your favorite?
Al Pastor from Taco Zone in Echo Park.

9. Who are your top 3 favorite bands right now?
I’d say the top 3 albums of the year for me are from Bill Callahan, PJ Harvey, and Tune-Yards.

10. What is your favorite thing about your store? And you can’t say the customers. That’s like saying Einstein or Ghandi when asked “If you could meet one person, living or dead…”
Knowing that my dream came true.

11.Tell us about the used and collectible action you have going on over there?
We are pretty selective about what we bring in but we have some gems right now from Can, dEUS, Tom Waits, The Germs, Chuck Berry, Felt, Amon Duul, Kraut, Galaxie 500, Godflesh, Sun Ra, Mogwai, Lydia Lunch and more!

12. What are your goals for the future of your store? Long term and short.
Short term: Open an online store that focuses on LA based bands and artists. Long term: Origami East…hello Brooklyn!?

Bringing you some black friday deals, without fear of being trampled

By Robby on Monday, November 21st, 2011

Head over to Amazon MP3 to grab the following for a new low price of $6.99 from 11/21-29, as part of their Black Friday Hits promotion.

Thurston Moore  ‘Demolished Thoughts’
Kurt Vile  ‘Smoke Ring For My Halo’
Girls  ‘Father, Son, Holy Ghost’ (on True Panther)

You can also find these titles on the popular CD & vinyl formats at the Matador webstore, or your favorite local indie retailer.

BUST OUT THE BLANK CHECK : America Is Going Bonkers For Bonkers Waddington

By Gerard on Monday, November 21st, 2011

You might think we’re a pretty arrogant bunch at Matador Records and Filmworks. We used to be, at least until everything we knew about showbiz was piledriven into the pavement (GET IT?) by a group of young men from Minneapolis who I’m pretty sure will go down as the biggest thing to hit that town since Owl City Trip Shakespeare. We’ve already blown our 2012 signing budget on Ceremony and The Young, so it’ll be up to another enterprising label (Fat Possum, we’re looking right at you) to take full advantage of the musical equivalent of this friendly label throwing a big meatball right down the middle of the plate. You’re welcome!

“Please get in touch with me at the address above or contact my male secretary via electronic mail.” wrote Mr. Bickerton, though a few weeks later, he opted to send the following message rather than send a second package to my home address (thanks for that, by the way).

Dear Mr. Cosloy,

I take it the COZY promo materials I dispatched to you on the 19th of October have made their way into your hands by now. While you are doubtlessly in the process of drafting a contract worthy of a band with COZY’s limitless promise, I must urge you not to stand on ceremony any longer. Our offices here at Razzle Dazzle Ltd. have been flooded with requests from major record labels across the globe in recent weeks, including such heavy hitters as RAK, BELL, DECCA, CUBE, STATE, POLYDOR GERMANY, and RCA JAPAN. However, we would still like to give you first crack at releasing these recordings due to Matador’s reputation as a label on the cutting edge of trends in popular music. As I’m sure you are aware, the sky is truly the limit when marketing a band like COZY. Hit records are a matter of course with these boys, but the sales of merchandise aimed at their teenage fanbase (lunchboxes, dolls, posters, backpacks, trading cards, board games, chapter books. etc.) will open up a myriad of potential revenue streams for the record label lucky enough to sign them. This is to say nothing of the Cozy Variety Hour program that is being shopped around to networks at this very moment! It’s no exaggeration to say that COZY have the potential to be bigger than the Osmonds and the Defranco’s COMBINED!!!!!

Again, I implore you to act soon before this once in a lifetime opportunity slips away forever. Fortune favors the bold and dreams only come true if we have the courage to make them into reality. Let’s make some magic together.


Edwin Bickerton
President, Razzle Dazzle Ltd.

Red-braised pork

By Patrick on Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Red-braised pork, or hong shao rou, is a popular dish in Sichuan province (there’s also a Hunan version that was allegedly Mao’s favorite dish). It’s also known as wu hua rou, or “five-flower pork,” because of the layers of skin, fat and lean in each piece of the meat.

It took me two tries to get this dish right. I initially used pork belly from Chinatown and the recipe from Fuchsia Dunlop’s Land of Plenty (known in the UK as Sichuan Cookery). I found the meat too fatty and the sauce underflavored.

After some research I learned that I’d probably not reduced sauce down sufficiently. I got a second piece of pork belly from Mario Batali’s incredible Eataly, which was significantly less fatty (although still with plenty of fat). I also took on some of the recommendations of eGullet user Prawncrackers, whose recipe for Dong Po pork on that site is served in UK Sichuan restaurants – he or she describes it as a “more ‘glamorous’ version of the dish.”

Below is the recipe that I used on my second try, which is a hybrid of the two approaches, and turned out fabulously unctuous & explosively flavorful. Served with white rice, roasted ground Thai chile powder and sriracha sauce on the side.

Some notes:

- the blanching is to rid the pork of any off flavors and make it easier to cut
- the deep frying makes the skin significantly more soft and delicate
- after 2 hours, the meat still had some chew, which I liked – you could take it to 3-4 hours to have it really melting
- like most braises and stews, it will taste even better after a night in the fridge! but is wonderful the day of as well

enough vegetable oil for deep-frying
1 1/2 lb boneless pork belly, skin still on
2-3 inch piece unpeeled ginger, smashed with a cleaver or heavy pestle
3 scallions, cut into 3 pieces each (white and green parts)
1 whole star anise
2 dried red chiles (I used Thai chiles)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tbs palm sugar
1/3 cup light soy sauce
1/3 cup dark soy sauce
1/2 cup Shaoxing rice wine
1 1/4 cup good brown chicken stock (ours was homemade from an old Gourmet recipe)

Bring a pot of water to the boil, blanch pork in boiling/simmering water for 10 minutes total.

Fill wok with enough oil to half submerge pork belly. Over highest possible heat bring to 325-350 F. Put pork belly carefully in oil, and deep-fry top for 1 1/2 – 2 mins, then carefully turn over and deep-fry the bottom for about the same time, keeping temp in that range as best as you can, also maybe 30 seconds on the sides and the thicker end of the belly if necessary. Remove pork to a plate with paper towel and allow to cool. (Prawncrackers said to pat meat dry at this point but I forgot.)

Cut belly into 2-3-inch chunks, leaving each piece with a layer of skin and a mixture of lean and fat.

Heat 2-3 tbs oil in a Le Creuset dutch oven or similar over very high heat, add ginger and scallions, and stirfry for 1-2 mins or so; add pork chunks, continue to stirfry for 1 min or so, add the rest of ingredients (the liquid should just barely cover the meat – adjust quantities for your pot, keeping proportions – do not dilute the mixture too much with the stock), bring to a boil, then let simmer gently over a low flame half-covered or uncovered for at least 2 hours.

Perfume Genius Heading On The Road

By Claire T on Friday, November 18th, 2011

Photo Credit: Alan Bee’s Flickr

As previously reported, Perfume Genius is gearing up to head on the road with Beirut in just about a week’s time. Get your tickets & be sure to keep it here for further information about the brand new Perfume Genius album coming out in 2012….

Saturday 11/26 – Providence, RI – Lupo’s (with Beirut)  tickets

Monday 11/28 – Cleveland, OH – House of Blues (with Beirut) tickets

Wednesday 11/30 – Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall (with Beirut) tickets

Friday 12/02 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue (with Beirut) SOLD OUT

Sunday 12/04 – Knoxville, TN – Bijou Theatre (with Beirut) tickets

Monday 12/05 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel (with Beirut) tickets

Wednesday 12/07 – Athens, GA – The Georgia Theatre (with Beirut) tickets

Thursday 12/08 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle (with Beirut) SOLD OUT

Saturday 12/10 – Pittsburgh, PA – Altar (with Beirut) SOLD OUT

Sunday 12/11 – Pittsburgh, PA – Altar (with Beirut) tickets

Tuesday 12/13 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club (with Beirut) SOLD OUT

Wednesday 12/14 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club (with Beirut) SOLD OUT