Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Music from 2008

Neon Neon -- Stainless Style

Neon Neon is the latest side project by Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals) and LA producer Boom Bip -- an homage to the life and times of John DeLorean. Hilarious subject matter, shiny 80's-rivivalist production, Gruff's crooning -- even though it's disposable, there are a couple of really catchy songs. By far my favorite is "Dream Girls," which is ostensibly about DeLorean growing up in Detroit.

Autechre -- Quaristice

If you don't already like Autechre you probably won't be overly excited about their new album, but I love it. It's similar to some of their earlier music in that it's more accessible than their later stuff, but the diversity and looseness is definitely informed by some of their more impenetrable albums from this decade. As hard as it is to make not-insipid guitar music, imagine how hard it must be to make electronic music as emotional as "Simmm".

Listen to "Simmm" by Autechre

Portishead -- Third

The most exciting new music I've heard in ages -- probably since the last Broadcast album, or Panda Bear -- is Portishead's amazing third album, coming out in April. It's so coherent, well-written, and unapologetically, intensely dark, without ever approaching morose self-indulgence, that it's easily my favorite of their albums. Any band confident enough to release a song like "Machine Gun" as a single is doing something right.

Listen to "We Carry On" and "Machine Gun" by Portishead

And not to belabor the point, but it's still hard to believe how much I love Talk Talk's The Colour of Spring.

Talk Talk -- Give It Up

Friday, March 7, 2008

Siouxsie and Talk Talk

I've probably already gushed about how much I love John McGeoch (Magazine, Siouxsie & the Banshees, late PiL) but I figured I would post another example of why he was such an amazing guitarist ("Into the Light"). "Dazzle" features Robert Smith (the Cure) on guitar and is another favorite Siouxsie & the Banshees song, post-McGeoch.

Into the Light
(Juju, 1981)

(Hy├Žna, 1984)

Of all the 80s bands I love, I think Talk Talk were the most ahead of their time. Their last three albums are beautifully arranged and performed. "I Believe in You" is one of my favorite songs (and videos) ever.

Happiness is Easy
(The Colour of Spring, 1986)

I Believe in You
(Spirit of Eden, 1988)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Massive Cooking Backlog

To be honest, all the recipes I've linked in this entry except for the homemade nutella are baked and generally terrible for you, so this isn't so much a cooking backlog as it is a butter backlog. A few weeks ago I got a Le Creuset dutch oven for super, super cheap on craigslist and the first thing I made was no-knead bread from my new favorite magazine, Cook's Illustrated. Here's the lone photo from the past few weeks:

This is absolutely one of the easiest, most awesome things I've ever made if you can't tell from the photo. Perfect bread with zero effort. This bread is a great template for homemade nutella -- as long as you're not expecting something as smooth as commercial nutella, it's great. No hydrogenated oils and 3x more hazelnuts than commercial nutella. And speaking of Cook's Illustrated, the latest issue has something of a holy grail for me: the best yellow cake/chocolate icing recipe ever. I know how embarrassing that sounds, but it's my favorite kind of cake and it's great to finally have a recipe that works so well.

A couple other recipes I can recommend: chocolate cinnamon bread, which is just a stupid name for amazing spiced brownies. This took way, way longer to bake than suggested. Making it in a 9x9 worked much better than a loaf pan, and this would probably work best of all. I think the key to this recipe is grinding the whole cloves and cinnamon sticks in a spice grinder. Finally:

equals maple bacon cupcakes. I was invited to a potluck put on by some foodies who have a weakness for pork-y desserts, so I decided to step up to the plate. Yes, collecting bacon drippings was pretty gross for me, but I have to admit they were delicious, if sort of breakfasty.