Archive for July, 2010

Pitchfork Music Festival 2010

Lindserella and DevoLT made the trek out to Chicago a couple weeks ago for the Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park. Two and a half days of bands outside in the heat? Sounds like a party! While this year may not have quite lived up to past years (see 2007 with Battles, Cat Power, Clipse, Iron & Wine, Grizzly Bear, Girl Talk, Dan Deacon, De La Soul, Junior Boys, Jamie Lidell, Menomena, The New Pornogaphers, Of Montreal, and The Field; 2008 with No Age, Caribou, Spoon, Dinosaur Jr., M. Ward, Spiritualized, and Dirty Projectors; and 2009 with Jesus Lizard, Built to Spill, Yo La Tengo, The National, Flaming Lips, M83, Mew, The Very Best, Matt & Kim, and Fucked Up.) But enough nostalgia. This year did have many highlights, and we decided to give out “Awards” to the bands for various reasons. Our favorites were Robyn, LCD Soundsystem, Delorean, Best Coast, Kurt Vile, Titus Andronicus, Beach House, Major Lazer, Big Boi, and Pavement. Basically, (mostly) those that brought the energy and upbeat tunes that make being at a festival an awesome experience! It’s a testament to Beach House’s awesomeness that even though they are low energy and dreamy, they still played a great set that held the crowd’s interest.

Angus of Liars

Liars: Best Band T-shirt Worn of an Act Not Invited to Pitchfork: Men at Work

Robyn

Robyn, military style

Robyn: Best One-Woman Dance Party

Broken Social Scene: Best So-Called Supergroup

Modest Mouse: Act Most Deserving of a Lame Pithy Nickname  (Modest Meh-ouse)

Free Energy

Free Energy: Best 70s-style Cock Rock

Real Estate

Real Estate: Best New Jersey References

Delorean

Delorean's Ekhi Lopetegi

Delorean: Band That Lived Up to the Hype

Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile: Best Hair Band That Isn’t Actually a “Hair Band”  (We prefer his 70s art-punk anyways)

Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus: Best Onstage Party Without Props (Just Smiles and Killer Guitar-Shredding Skillz)

Raekwon

Amazing Tiny Breakdancers at Raekwon

Raekwon: Best Onstage Comeback After Sound Troubles (he opened with “C.R.E.A.M.”) and Best use of Underage Breakdancers

Why?

Why?: Best View (DevoLT got to be on the soundstage!)

Wolf Parade

Wolf Parade: Most Arena Rockin’

Panda Bear--doesn't this look exciting?

Panda Bear: Best (or Worst) Use of Atonal Sounds That Were Totally Inappropriate for a Festival and Put Everyone to Sleep

LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem: Best Set of Old and New Tunes to Inspire a Dance Party

Cass McCombs: Best Country Twang

Best Coast

Best Coast: Best Evidence that Girls Rule and Boys Drool

Local Natives

Local Natives: Most Inoffensive Group That Everyone Will Probably Forget About Next Year

Beach House: Most Likely to Bliss You Out, Even in 95000-Degree Heat

Lightning Bolt: Bloodiest Mosh Pit

Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood: Best Summertime Beach-Blanket Vibes

Major Lazer

Major Lazer invited some ballerinas onstage

Major Lazer also had Chinese dragons

Major Lazer: Best Onstage Party with Props and Best Onstage Sex Simulation (yes, it happened…more than once)

Big Boi

Big Boi and some of the posse

Big Boi: Best Rendition of “Ms. Jackson” and Best Onstage Posse That Included a Horn Section

Pavement's Stephen Malkmus

Pavement

Die hard Pavement fan

Pavement: Best Old School Set

We have lots more pictures that will go up in another post, stay tuned!

July 30, 2010 at 11:43 am 1 comment

JudyJams picks (#7) for July 2010: Zach Hill, Great Lakes, Wolf Parade, Oval

It’s been an eventful summer here at Toast N Jams. We are all traveling and summering here and there, seeing various shows, and keeping busy. Many updates to come, but for now, here are the picks!

First is Zach Hill‘s new solo album, called Face Tat, due out in October 2010 on Sargent House.

Fact Tat image via UsvsThem

Zach Hill is an incredibly proficient drummer, known chiefly as a member of Hella but who has also worked with an exhaustive list of other groups including Team Sleep, Holy Smokes, and Marnie Stern. His music style varies depending on who he is playing with, but Face Tat displays all of the mathy, complicated progginess that he demonstrates expertly in Hella. He is impressively self-taught, and considered one of the best drummers in the indie scene today. Check out the track “Memo To the Man” from Face Tat here, and check out the video for the song “Sacto Smile” featuring a girl on an insane rampage via Pitchfork here.

Second is Brooklyn based band Great Lakes, who come to us by way of Athens, GA. The alt-folk country band is releasing their debut Ways of Escape in October on Orangetown records.

Ways of Escape cover art

The album features an impressive amount of talented musicians from other bands including Mice Parade, Circulatory System, Beirut, Talibam! and Ted Leo, among many others. You can preview the song “Summer Fruits” from the upcoming album here.

Third is a Toast N Jams favorite, Wolf Parade. Their third full length album, Expo 86, arrived at the end of June and does not disappoint. The album was named after the 1986 World’s Fair, which took place in the band’s original hometown of Vancouver (they are now based in Montreal).

Wolf Parade photo via Subpop.com

The new songs have a darker feel but are still rousing in the Wolf Parade sort of way. Check out the new tracks “What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had To Go This Way)” and “Ghost Pressure” to judge for yourself. A full list of tour dates is here.

The fourth pick is for those serious electronic music fans. Thrill Jockey has announced the release of a new double album by Oval entitled O on September 7th. Oval, based in Berlin, is Markus Popp, who is often credited as the creator of what was later dubbed the “glitch” or “clicks & cuts” style of Electronic music.

Photo of Markus Popp via Thrill Jockey.com

Thrill Jockey is offering 8 bonus tracks called the Ringtones EP for download here. Check it out, and get a sample of what is to come on O.

July 29, 2010 at 1:06 pm 1 comment

Pitom Plays Punk Ass Jew Jazz

Pitom bills itself as “Punk Ass Jew Jazz” and I have to say it has a nice ring to it–and is fairly accurate. It’s a little klezmer, a little jazz, a little country twang, and yes, even a little punk. Their song “Skin and Bones” even has some surf music influence thrown in, while “The Robe of Priestly Proporions: Part 1” exposes lead guitar player Yoshie Fruchter’s klezmer and grunge roots.

When asked about his musical influences, Fruchter replied, “I think that a review we got in the Village Voice a few months back sums it up very well: ‘Pitom is equal parts seminary school, jazz school and NIrvana’s “School.”‘ I have always been hearing, singing or playing Jewish music, whether in prayer, performance, or otherwise and so these sounds were bound to work their way into my music one way or the other. I’m always hearing things in a minor key, I guess. As far as the instruments, when I started the band I decided the sound could work well with the violin, both to capture a bit of the “fiddler” Jewish element, and because of the fact that the instrument can be extremely sensitive or really scream! My guitar playing style varies somewhat according to the situation, but I was discovering the guitar at the height of grunge and alterna-rock and so when I’m playing the sludgy rock with Pitom, those are the sounds that come out. I am also really interested in combining strong melody with experimental, and how to grab a listeners attention and then totally throw it on it’s head once you have it. I think that’s an important defining characteristic of our music–people don’t know exactly how to respond to what they’re hearing and I like that this music can be fun without taking itself too seriously.”

And of course, we had to find out what Fruchter likes for brunch: “I don’t think I have a favorite restaurant for brunch but I’m really into smoked fish these days–especially herring. Going back to my Eastern European heritage. Gimme some good herring after services on Saturday and a good New York bagel, lox and cream cheese on a Sunday morning and I am set.” Nice! Kicking it old school and Jewish-style in the food department as well!

Pitom’s self-titled album is out now on John Zorn‘s Tzadik Records.

See them Wednesday, July 28 at The Local 269 bar, along with Xylopholks and Noah Kaplan Quartet.


July 28, 2010 at 8:36 am Leave a comment

Eat this: Jazz brunch at the Beehive in Boston, MA

In honor of Linds’ birthday celebration last Sunday, we headed to The Beehive in the South End of Boston, a cool spot that happens to have a lovely Jazz Brunch.

Outside the Beehive

The restaurant is an underground circular space built into a maze of rooms and nooks, sorta like a beehive, with a small stage for musicians near the center and work from local artists on the walls. “Beehive” is actually a loose translation from the French “La Ruche,” which was an artists’ residence in Paris during the 1920s—also a circular, beehive-like building.

Interior shot of the main downstairs bar at the Beehive

With its laid-back bohemian vibe, the ‘Hive is perfect for a long, lingering, boozy Sunday brunch—soundtracked by local jazz musicians from the nearby Berklee campus.

The jazz trio

The music provided a lovely atmosphere with which to enjoy the decadent food and drink offerings. To start off, we ordered two baskets of beignets, doughnut-hole-size deep-fried dough balls, sprinkled with powdered sugar, as well as a plate of potato and cheese pierogies. Both the savory and sweet appetizers were delicious.

Beignets!

The delicious innards of the beignets

Potato and Cheese Pierogies with Caramelized Onions and Chive Sour Cream

Cocktail highlights include the light and sweet Bossa de Beehive, made with Leblon Cachaca, Champagne, passion fruit, and lemon, and the Valentino Martini, also with passion fruit, plus vodka and blood orange.

Bossa de Beehive

Valentino Martini

The affordable menu offers up homestyle comfort foods infused with Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and African flavors. There’s a good mix of healthier breakfast or lunch options, as well as sweeter indulgences such as Thick-Cut French Toast with Chantilly Cream. We largely went with eggs and salads, and made some good choices. Photographic evidence is after the jump.

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July 16, 2010 at 12:17 pm Leave a comment

Eat This: Banana Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast at good

Banana Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast at good

The West Village is rife with stalwart brunch options: Elephant & Castle, Cafe Cluny, Morandi, Home, Jane, Five Points, and Joseph Leonard are all great options. Here’s another: good. On a recent summer Sunday Lindserella and I met up to gorge ourselves. After a short wait, we were seated and immediately tried to resist ordering from the list of House-Made Breads, which includes Savory Cheddar Cornbread, Hand-rolled Orange Sour Cream Donuts, and The Best Pear Pecan Crumb Cake. We were successful in our resistance, but now I regret it!

Chipotle Mary at good

I decided to order the goodBrunch Special, which allows you to choose any Egg Dish, Pancake, or French Toast, and add a House-Made Bread or Side Dish, and your choice of Chipotle Mary or Passion Mimosa. I decided quickly on the Chipotle Mary, the Banana Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast (this is what enabled me to resist one of the House-Made Breads) and a side of Cheddar Jalapéno Stone-Ground Grits. I’m not usually a sweet breakfaster; I mostly stick with eggs-based dishes, but the siren call of that French Toast was too much. Lindseralla ordered the Mushroom, Spinach, and Gruyere Omelet (it is always so hard to resist gruyere, isn’t it?)

Cheddar Jalapéno Stone-Ground Grits at good

Mushroom, Spinach, and Gruyere Omelet at good

First off, good is definitely not shy with the spice, and thank goodness for that. The Chipotle Mary was sufficiently spicy and a good way to wake-up in the morning. Additionally, the Cheddar Jalapéno Stone-Ground Grits had a nice kick, but were still smooth and creamy (for more on grits, click here!). The Mushroom, Spinach, and Gruyere Omelet was standard but tasty, accompanied by a small green salad, toast, and some mighty yummy home fries.

Banana Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast at good

Okay, now I’m trying not to be too dramatic here, but the Banana Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast may be one of the top five things I have ever eaten, certainly at breakfast time. It is four halves of a French toast-ified banana and cream cheese sandwich, sprinkled with brown sugar and powdered sugar, and accompanied by more bananas and maple syrup. It’s hard to put into words the intense and delicious flavors and texture that are contained in this dish: the creamy, sweet, cinnamon-y bread concoction overflowing with bananas was, to put it plainly, out of this world. If you are looking for a decadent sweet breakfast, this is it. And if you’re not, order this anyway, you won’t be sorry.

good is located at 89 Greenwich Avenue, New York, NY. (212) 691-8080

July 14, 2010 at 3:47 pm 2 comments

Dan Deacon at Red Hook Park and Recommended Free Outdoor Shows

Dan Deacon at Red Hook Park

Baltimorean Dan Deacon has been a darling of the Brooklyn scene for the past 5 years or so, endearing promoters like Todd P and creating some of the best music events turned dance parties in the city. His last album, 2009’s Bromst, was well-received but Deacon hadn’t played in Brooklyn since, I believe, last summer’s show with No Age and Deerhunter at Brooklyn Bowl. So, it was with great excitement that the crowd welcomed him to Red Hook Park last month (June 16), as part of Summerstage‘s “expansion” shows (Summerstage is normally always held at Central Park, but this year some shows are being held at various parks around the city).

Dan Deacon at Red Hook Park

Dan Deacon at Red Hook Park

First of all, I don’t understand why they don’t have more shows at this location–it was great! Plenty of room, good sound, and, well, not so convenient to get to (I recommend biking!). It was easy to get a good view of Deacon’s onstage antics and the crowd surfing was plentiful. Deacon played songs from various previous albums as well as a few new ones. He led the crowd in some synchronized dance moves, encouraged hula hooping and organized a dance contest. The crowd was happy and friendly and Deacon seemed pleased as punch to be there.

Dan Deacon at Red Hook Park

Dan Deacon at Red Hook Park

As my first free outdoor show of the summer, it was a winner. And in case you’re wondering what other outdoor shows I’m excited about, here you go:

What are you looking forward to??? More Dan Deacon pictures after the jump!

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July 9, 2010 at 3:07 pm Leave a comment

NYC Food Film Festival: It’s Grits!

This past weekend, I had the good fortune of attending the last day of the 4th annual NYC Food Film Festival, a popular event that draws a big crowd to the Brooklyn and Manhattan screening spots. The event I attended was a screening of the classic 1978 food film It’s Grits, which was followed by an epic grits “Takedown” led by Matt Timms, who leads these sort of takedowns for different food specialities (cookies, chili, etc). I will preface the following photos by saying that I went into the festival a true Yankee: a grits non-believer. I left thoroughly convinced of the brilliance of grits as a bona-fide breakfast food.

There were grits on every table. No one was to forget why we were there.

The opening film, before It’s Grits, was Robert Box – Perfect for the Kitchen, about food artist Robert Box. Not a super interesting movie, but his art was fun to look at.

Some of Robert Box's art

It’s Grits was everything that was promised: the definitive film on grits, and beyond! A black and white short film (only about 45 minutes) directed by Stan Woodward, it was made to be documentary focused on the glory that is grits and their connection to Southern culture.

Stan Woodward (middle) was there!

All of the interviews and “testimonials” about grits were fantastic, even the interview with a very Southern character, whose drawl was so thick that he was hard to understand, who claimed that grits were best with peanut butter (gross!). Click here for a full review of the film.

And then, the part I was looking forward to the most: we got to try the various grits from amateur and professional chefs around the city.

This was just the beginning of a long line of amazing grits chefs.

We lined up on one side and got our first portion. These included my favorite, the Tamale grits, as well as Sweet Potato Grits, deep-fried Miso grits, and cheesy veggie grits.

The first grits samplings, complete with sweet grits horchata!

More photos and “gritty” (hee-haw) details after the jump. (more…)

July 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm 2 comments


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