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Showing posts from June, 2011

Tuesday Is For Tunes: Can You Canoe

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Hailing from West Chester, Pennsylvania, part of the greater area of my hometown scene, and one of the local acts I am currently quite stoked about, may I present Can You Canoe. Their self-titled,debut full-length released earlier this year, and offers up an intriguingly eclectic blend of indie rock. Though clearly striving to find a signature sound, they aren't afraid to experiment, and pull it off with style, thanks to a talented compliment of seven band members. With keys, strings, drums, guitars, and vocal harmonies, it would be easy for things to sound overdone. However, Can You Canoe keep a refreshing balance, alternating between densely orchestrated and delicately tempered songs. The album was recorded in limited takes at the band's secluded woodland home where most of the members live together. The home recordings give the album an authentic, unpretentious feel, which makes the music sound friendly. Though technically lo-fi, the production is pristine, allowing perform…

Back On The Road (PT.1)

I've gone and done it again, dear readers! I have quit all my jobs to live out of my car, and drive around the country... again. Dedicated followers of this fine interweb publication will recall my exploits of last summer when I quit my salaried-with-benefits desk job to drive an epic Alaska Adventure and back. It seems the problem with traveling is that it's addictive. Slap a health hazards warning label on that FDA. The more you travel the more you want to travel more. There's always something around the bend, or an turn-off you didn't take. There's nothing like the liberation of waking up in your car with no obligations or plans for the day. The world is your oyster. Dig out that damn pearl, and all that jazz. Then there's this growing confidence that you could handle any minor problems, and meet all your basic needs on the road with nothing more than your own ingenuity, what would fit in your trunk, and maybe a little kindness from strangers. The more I tra…

Branches

My lover’s body was like a full-grown birch
Rising far higher than my reach
Heads above me, feet rooted firm
Steadfast trunk, solid and smooth
I could lean against him
Full weight of my exhaustion
And always receive succor from his core
My head against his wide chest
Constant, quite breaths and beats

My lover’s arms were like sinuous branches
Stretching from broad shoulder bends
His touch like the brush of new leaves
The earthy physicality of his soul
Inhalations of arboreal adoration
Embracing me, bracing me
Surrounded by boughs of solace
Sturdy limbs of tender shelter
From the westward storms that bore me

I made my home in my lover’s tree
He kept me, and I was happy
Passing many seasons simply
Quenching caresses exchanged
We grew together in laughter
Under his comfort canopy
Strong and steady, barely bowing
To the wind’s petulant howl
Subsided and safe in the woods

But my soul is like a seagull
Full of cacophonous calls and cries
Instilled with the instinct to fly
Bold, brash thing of March winds
Yearning for th…

Tuesday Is For Tunes: Sun Hotel

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I absolutely love, love, love when you go to a concert just because a friend asked you to, and find perfectly wonderful music you've never heard before. This most recently happened to me when I attended a last minute show in a friend's basement, and found Sun Hotel, who were on an independent tour of the east coast from their home base in New Orleans. Their live performance was quite good, more than enough to compel me to buy their album to support their music. And, I'm completely glad I did, because Coast has now stolen my heart and entered regular rotation.

Sun Hotel's Coast is an incredibly solid album that progresses seamlessly with each song, at least half of which are worthy contenders for singles, and catches your attention from the start. Track 1, Palms, opens so lovely and subtly, immediately serving up a taste of the witty lyrics and heartfelt vocals that consistently hit home throughout the album for a good minute and a half before some light percussion kick…

Because It Felt More Like A Home

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More photos taken with my Holga 120 TLR. The band pictured is Sun Hotel, who will be featured this week on my Tuesday Is For Tunes review. The other photos are from a recent trip to New Hampshire and Vermont.

Tuesday Is For Tunes: Fleet Foxes

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I've been craving a new album from Fleet Foxes for what has felt like eons. Their self-titled debut full-length released in 2008 came out at a point when I had been rather discouraged with new music for several months, and it's delicate harmonies and re-imagined contemporary folk charm stole my heart and gave me hope. However, ever since that album became a comfortably worn in favorite, I've yearned for more.

Finally, at the beginning of this year Helplessness Blues, the single that also lends the new album it's title, was released as a free download. Oh, be still my beating heart! A song ripe and full of Fleet Foxes signature vocal harmonies I love so much and classically simple guitar, until an unexpected but perfect switch in tempo and tone halfway through the song. The unconventional song structure saves it from being just another catchy folk rock song or sounding too much like a repeat from the first album, and somehow also perfectly conveys a duality of emotion t…

Do It Yourself

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I first learned about the Do It Yourself, or DIY, mentality and approach to life when I started going to local shows. As a starry-eyed teenager filled with typical angst, I was amazed and thrilled to see kids my age making an independent music scene and grassroots subculture happen with almost no money, but a lot of hard work. If the high school pep rallies and MTV music video countdowns weren't doing it for you, than you got together with some like-minded friends and made your own society and culture. We didn't have an all-ages music venue in town, and we weren't always allowed to drive to Philly, so we'd rent out churches and halls, and book the bands ourselves. Borrow a PA and some lights, cut and paste a flyer together, and have someone with a car drop you off. It wasn't just a collective of a couple dozen garage bands either. Kids were writing 'zines, building half pipes, designing websites, and together we achieved something greater than ourselves, a spec…

Tuesday Is For Tunes: The Dodos

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Let's begin this Tuesday Is For Tunes with a boldly definitive statement: The Dodos are one of my top five favorite bands. Even though their last album, Time To Die, faltered a bit under the pressure to outdo the stellar reception of the previous album, Visitor, I still found things to love about it and cursed all the mediocre reviews. I am so, so very glad they have rallied and released No Color this year. The Dodos' latest album is a finely solid work that is clearly the sincere effort of a band more secure in their signature striped down sound, while still striving for something more technical in their craft. Any previous fans, who may have lost interest in them after their last album, absolutely must come back for a listen to No Color. They are sure to find much to enjoy.

While returning to the sparse production and heavily rhythmic sounds that had previously garnered The Dodos enthusiastic attention in 2008, the latest album does try something new. Lyrically songs from pre…

Quinoa Tabouli

Not that I haven't been feeding many friends and crafting in my kitchen in the last year, but apparently it has been a year since I posted a new original recipe. So it's that time of year again, time for picnics and BBQs and summer salads! YAY tasty filling cold meals for hot days! I had a belated birthday potluck on my back porch Saturday, and made up this dish for the occasion. I added quinoa and chickpeas to some improvised tabouli to give it more of the heft of a full meal. It got a lot compliments, so I thought I'd share.

If you're not familiar, quinoa is a popular grain in South America where it has been cultivated for hundreds of years. In addition to have a mild nutty flavor and fantastic texture, quinoa is high in protein, amino acids, fiber, and vitamins, making it a healthy dietary staple for vegetarians and vegans. Go go quinoa power!

***Yields 10-15 servings.***
Quinoa Tabouli
1c Red quinoa
1c Couscous (or bulgar if you'd prefer more traditional tabouli)
1/…