Archive for July, 2011

JudyJams’ mid-Summer 2011 picks

The picks have trailed off in the last few months, and I apologize for that. We were just too busy going to shows and going to brunch! I’m going to do a little summary of what I’ve been listening to and loving, and will pick up the picks regularly next month!

1. Beirut– The Rip Tide

Album cover image via beirutband.com

Our love of Beirut has been well documented on this blog, but not until recently did I feel as strongly as DevoLT and Lindsarella did. The new album, and seeing him live a couple months ago, convinced me of just how great the man (boy) really is. The Rip Tide does not contain a single dud; check out “Santa Fe,” which is my favorite track so far. You can listen to some tracks for free here.

2. Washed Out- Within and Without

Washed out album cover via SubPop.com

This album was so widely anticipated that the hype almost turned me off completely. I’m glad that I gave it a fair shot, however, because it definitely exceeded expectations. A main act in the “chillwave” scene, Washed Out is made up of Ernest Greene’s calming voice and smooth, even-keeled production. Check out one of my fave songs, “Eyes Be Closed,” here.

3. Gardens & Villa, S/T

Album cover via G&V bandcamp page

Gardens & Villa was brought to my attention by a reliable friend who has excellent taste. The band, who released their debut on Secretly Canadian earlier this month, plays a quirky combo of pop and darker electro-indie. Check out some of the tracks here for a preview.

4.Grooms, Prom

Album cover image via Kanine Records

This is Brooklyn-based band Grooms’ second album, and it has succeeded in putting them officially on the map. Their sound is a mashup of harder indie-rock with swirling pop sensibilities; the mixture is aided by the trading off of vocals between members Travis Johnson (guitar) and Emily Ambrusco (bass). You can hear songs here.

July 29, 2011 at 3:01 pm Leave a comment

Why I Heart the Thermals

While I have to give credit to an ex-boyfriend for introducing me to the Thermals’ music, luckily I haven’t held it against the band. Anyway, it would be my loss. The Thermals, who hail from Portland, OR, came on the scene in 2002 and released their debut album, More Parts Per Million in 2003. Things really got heated up in 2006 with their album The Body, The Blood, The Machine, an instant classic. Their latest album, Personal Life, came out last year on Kill Rock Stars. Band leader Hutch Harris writes the music, sings and plays guitar, while longtime collaborator Kathy Foster plays bass and current drummer Westin Glass keeps the beat. But all that is neither here nor there.

The point is, the Thermals make indie punk pop rock music that while maintaining a solid, catchy beat that makes sure your feet keep moving, also assaults your brain with challenging ideas and thoughtful notions. Their music, to put it plainly, is fun and intelligent. As soon as I hear the opening hooks to songs like “A Pillar of Salt” or “Now We Can See” my heart widens and I can’t help but grin. There’s a time and place for depressing, introspective shoegazer music, but honey, this ain’t that. It makes me want to jump up and down as I contemplate the fucked-upedness that is religion, politics, and real life. And maybe scream a little.

Check out this video for “A Pillar of Salt”:

Their live show is a thing of high energy beauty and at this point I can’t even remember all the times that I’ve seen them. But I recently added one more to the list, when they played a sold out show at the Bell House on July 3.

The Thermals at the Bell House, July 3, 2011

More images from that show after the jump.

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July 25, 2011 at 3:20 pm Leave a comment

The Raincoats Are Coming!

UK post-punk legends the Raincoats announced a North American mini-tour this September to honor the reissue of their 1981 album Odyshape. The tour brings them to Brooklyn (woop!), Washington D.C., Montreal, Chicago, Detroit, and Toronto, before they hop the pond again to play the Jeff Mangum–curated All Tomorrow’s Parties fest in December.

Set for release on September 13, the reissue features liner notes from Kim Gordon, who had this to say about the band:

“It was The Raincoats I related to most. They seemed like ordinary people playing extraordinary music. Music that was natural that made room for cohesion of personalities. They had enough confidence to be vulnerable and to be themselves without having to take on the mantle of male rock/punk rock aggression…or the typical female as sex symbol avec irony or sensationalism.”
(Kim Gordon, Sonic Youth,1993)

Tour dates and more videos after the jump…

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July 20, 2011 at 11:27 am Leave a comment

Top 5 French Toasts

One of the things we pride ourselves on here at TnJ is adventurous eating. We’ve decided to do a series of round ups of some of our favorite breakfast items from our travels, and we’re starting with French toast. “French toast doesn’t sound so adventurous” you say? While we do have one classic version in this list, take a look at the rest and tell me they’re not adventurous! Here are our picks for the best French Toast we’ve had yet:

1. Applewood in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Photo via Alwayshungryny.com

There is nothing complicated about this French Toast, and that is what makes it so damn delicious. Perfectly crispy and with just the right amount of syrup, this dish is divine.

2. Good in the West Village, Manhattan

Banana Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast at good

One of our favorite breakfasts of all time, this cream cheese and banana stuffed version is as close to perfection as it gets. As we said in our original review: “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.”

3. The Friendly Toast, Cambridge, MA

This french toast was just insane. We couldn’t even finish. It was called Drunkard’s French Toast, and it the sauce on top was raspberry with Grand Marnier. Very, very sweet; meant for sharing.

4. Red Rooster, Harlem, NY

Red Rooster French Toast

The French toast at this Harlem restaurant came drenched in syrup and then surrounded by fried chicken. I liked the fact that it was a unique take on the “chicken and waffles” Southern food staple.

5. Ann Sather, Chicago, IL

Ann Sather's French Toast Fantasy

Given props by Rachel Ray, this insane concoction has “mascarpone-filled cinnamon rolls, battered, grilled and topped with granola and fresh seasonal berries.” If that doesn’t get you excited, then nothing will.

Honorable Mention: Mom’s French Toast, by JudyJams’ Mom, in Westchester, NY

Raisin Challah French Toast

JudyJams’ parents are the original French Toast makers, the ones that inspired her love of all things French Toast. This version of their classic involves Raisin Challah from the Rockland Bakery with fruit on top. Cooked crispy to perfection, this was gone in about 7 minutes.

What are your favorite French toasts?

July 14, 2011 at 10:56 am Leave a comment


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