Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I Celebrate His Entire Collection

37. "Office Space" Soundtrack

I discovered the Geto Boys thanks to this movie/soundtrack. I was on a road trip the other day and was nearly falling asleep at the wheel, and decided I needed some rap to wake me up. Luckily I had this soundtrack. No way can you sleep through Ice Cube and Geto Boys. I always laugh out loud thinking of this scene when I hear "Still." (Also, a funny parody from Family Guy at the end - how did I miss that episode? Why do Stewie and Brian hate that 45?)

38. Viva Voce - "Rose City"/"The Future Will Destroy You"

Have we already talked about Viva Voce? How I went to see them in 2010 at the Wonder Ballroom when I was visiting a friend in Portland, and how Anita freakin' rocked my face off on lead guitar? I mean, really. I worship at the feet of any chick who has mastered lead guitar. It remains a mystery to me. Anyway, they rock. I kept this disc, which is one I burned so I could have both of their last two albums together, in my CD player for a while.

P.S. Did I mention, my friend and I ended up in the FRONT ROW for David Sedaris? Check that off my nerdy bucket list!! He was SO cute and funny. I want to keep him in my pocket all the time, to make me chuckle when I'm having a bad day. Can't wait for his next book. This is how sweet he is - he promoted someone else's book during his talk! I can't remember the name of it right now, but I'm going to get it just because he said to!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Uh, sorry...

While I was most definitely distraught over MCA's death back in May, I promise it didn't send me into seclusion and thus rendering me incapable of updating this blog. I've just been busy.

Also, around that time and for a good chunk of the summer, we had a really awesome radio station in town. I actually didn't have to listen to my CDs because this station was so great. But it turned back into Jack FM and so here we are, 5 months later, and I'm getting back into the swing of things.

I may have missed a few CDs in the meantime, so I'm just going to start with the last two that I have been listening to lately:

35. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 

I can't believe this album is ten years old this year. But it is! And lucky me, I got to see them in 2002 and 2012. In 2002, it was Memphis in May and this album had just come out. My friend Leigh and her then-boyfriend came up to go to the show, and honestly I didn't know a lot about Wilco at that point in time. I think I had a copy of "Being There," but I didn't listen to it a whole lot. After this show I picked up YHF and it really blew me away. I kept it on rotation for a long time, and even now when I go back to it I tend to obsessively replay it over and over for a while before moving on to something else. This year, Jackson was lucky enough to have Wilco come play at Thalia Mara Hall, thanks to my friend Arden Barnett, of Ardenland. I got to know Arden when we worked together on the Crossroads Film Festival back in April of this year. He's been bringing some really great shows to Jacktown, from the Flaming Lips' world record 24-hour tour, to Kevin Costner's Western band, to Henry Rollins (he's performing tonight, as a matter of fact!). I am thrilled that Arden believes in Jackson enough to help bring this caliber of show to town, and I'm always excited to see who's coming next.

 Errbody and their mama came to the Wilco show. It was so great to be out at a kick-ass rock show with all your friends.

I don't know if Arden had anything to do with it, but Jackson has gotten a few other great shows this year that I've been lucky enough to attend. My sister and I got to see WAR a few months ago at the Tamale Fest, and then last month we were treated to Sir Elton John at the Coliseum of all places. He put on an incredible show, playing all the songs I wanted to hear except "Madman Across the Water," but at least he wore a jacket with that album's lettering in glitter on the back. He was so gracious and nice (not the diva that I expected at all), he thanked us for buying a ticket because he said he knew how tough the economy is and how expensive the tickets were (we were in nosebleed BEHIND the stage - but still a great view). He also came out before the encore and signed autographs for everyone in the front row. I've never seen anyone do that, especially someone like Sir Elton. It was a fantastic show.

Then last week some friends and I got to see Loretta Lynn at the Fair, for free! We didn't have a very good view, but we could hear ok and got to see her sparkly pink dress. There were debates over how old she is (Wikipedia says she's 80, other sites say 78 or even 75, so who knows?) - she's still got it though. Chubby Checker, who was scheduled to play the Fair the next day, even came out and did a couple of duets with Loretta, including my favorite, "Louisiana Woman/Mississippi Man." Conway was smiling down on her for sure.

It's not music, but I get to see David Sedaris again in a week or so. This will be the 2nd time in about a year that he's been to Jackson. I got to meet him last year when he came to Lemuria and literally signed every book and talked to every person in line. This time he'll be at Thalia Mara and most likely won't be able to sign everyone's book, but that's ok. I am already set to die happy because of last year's encounter. :-) Chuck Palahniuk came here last year too for a really fun event at Hal and Mal's - I would love to see even more events like this in Jackson, maybe combining books, music and art... we are a town that is hungry for cultural experiences.

36. Beastie Boys' Sample Sources

Some months ago, I think thanks to my friend Walter at Quiet Bubble, I stumbled upon the motherlode. Sample sources for every B-Boys album. Yes, even Paul's Boutique. Even though I recognize a lot of sample sources in the Boys' work, there is so much more that I never realized had been lifted from something else. Listening to these songs and then listening to the finished product on a Beastie Boys' album, you come to really appreciate how much work goes into creating something new out of a bunch of old songs. Some samples are obvious - "Root Down," for example, is not a lot different from the B-Boys version. Some drumbeats are instantly recognizable. But in other instances, only a small snippet of the song is used. It's amazing to me how they (and the Dust Brothers, and Mixmaster Mike, DJ Hurricane and probably Biz Markie) even thought to use some of these samples in the first place. Another thing I noticed is that the B-Boys like a phat beat. A lot of the drum samples they use are really rocking beats; something I haven't always appreciated in their music. Anyway, if you're a B-Boy fan, and even if you aren't, it's worth checking out this collection of tunes. If nothing else, there are a lot of cool '70s grooves to be had.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April Tunes

31. Bishop Allen - Charm School

I talked about Bishop Allen earlier - Charm School is their debut album. It is still fun to listen to after all these years. Some of the songs have been used in TV and movies, and it's easy to see why. BA's music fits the early 21st century trend of putting quirky hipster pop songs in the background of nearly every commercial. My favorites from this album are "Things Are What You Make of Them," "Busted Heart," and of course the cute title track.

32. Dark Side of the Moon - Flaming Lips/Stardeath & the White Dwarfs with Henry F-ing Rollins & Peaches

This was really exciting when it came out a few years ago. It was around Christmastime, and one of my cousins (who also has really great taste in music) hipped me to it. I love the FLips, I just had not heard about this. It is NOT Pink Floyd. I never expected it to be. But what it is is a really cool tribute. And thanks to Henry's ability to enunciate, I understand a few more words in the spoken parts of the album.

I heard a dirty rumor recently that the FLips are going to play a show in Jackson soon as part of a record-setting day of touring to see how many shows they can play in 24 hours. I sincerely hope it's true. I don't care if they play on the rooftop of the King Edward at 5 in the morning, I will be there. (Actually that would be really freaking cool.)

33. "Carnie Love Mix"

I used to belong to a pretty cool mix-tape club here in Jxn. We would meet once a month and exchange mix CDs, usually adhering to some kind of theme. I wish the club was still going, but I know the reason we ultimately fizzled is because we were all so busy. It was fun making and receiving mixes. I always discovered something new. This mix was "Carnie" themed because it was October and the Fair was in town. I always felt like we got bonus points if the mix you received had at least one of the same songs that you put on your own mix. This one starts out with "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite," and I had included the same song on mine, but it was Eddie Izzard's version from the otherwise crappy movie, "Across the Universe." The person who made this mix loves The Bird and the Bee probably a little more than I do (and I love them a lot). She put "Diamond Dave" on this disc and it makes me laugh because she equates David Lee Roth with a Carnie. Not far off, actually. Another gem is Donovan's creepy "Hurdy Gurdy Man." I love Donovan; he is such a weirdo.

34. Phish - Billy Breathes

This is my favorite Phish album. I know that a lot of die-hard Phish Phans (or whatever they call themselves - I guess that makes me not one) think that BB was the "sellout" album, that it was too commercial radio-friendly or whatever. Even in my most jam-band-loving state back in my college days, I could only stand so much noodling. So the compact nature of the songs on BB were pleasing, while at the same time highlighting the incredible musical talent of the band. I could listen to this album over and over and really not get tired of it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


I'm going to combine food and music in this post. First, the music:

24. Oxford American Music Sampler - 1999

I told y'all there would be several of these. This one is probably my favorite. It was the one that really hooked me on the OA and the music issue itself. Here are some of the artists that make it so great: Alex Chilton, Bob Dylan's "Oxford Town," The Flying Burrito Brothers covering "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man," Jelly Roll Morton and John Prine...

Probably the most amazing part of the album is this sequence: A lovely, lazy Southern song by Terri Binion called "Locomotive"> Nina Simone's "I Want a Little Sugar in my Bowl"> Isaac Hayes' "Do Your Own Thing"> June Carter Cash singing "The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore." The first time I heard those songs back-to-back, I was blown away and impressed by the variety of genres represented in the OA - which of course was indicative of just how many different types of great music come from right here in the South. It made me proud.

25. Oxford American Music Sampler - 2001

Another great OA offering. This one begins with "Jesus is on the Mainline" by Mississippi Fred McDowell, a footstomping testimony of a song. Other highlights include "You Are Loved" by Victoria Williams, "The Lonesome River," a duet by Ralph Stanley and Bob Dylan, The Gants' "Little Boy Sad," Dolly Parton's upgrade to the Eagles' "Seven Bridges Road," and Emmylou Harris' stunning "Orphan Girl." The great thing about the albums is that the magazine features stories behind or about each of the songs. I have tried to save all my OA music issues because the stories are so good and it's a great education about our Southern music history.

26. The Hold Steady - Heaven is Whenever
I gave the Hold Steady a try not long ago, along with some other "new" groups, because I felt like my taste in music was kind of growing stale. I wasn't listening to any new music at the time, and I didn't want to become one of those people who say things like, "They just don't make music like they used to anymore." Granted, there's a LOT of crappy music out there these days, but this album and a few others like it let me know that it's not all that way. I wasn't totally blown out of the water by this album, but I do really like the songs and the fact that it isn't overproduced, auto-tuned-to-death music. It's just real rock.

27. Beck - Guero
I love Beck. He's probably near the top of my list of top 5 solo performers pretty much ever. I was excited when this album came out in 2006 because Beck went back to his roots for this one, both musically and in the subject matter (many of the songs are a nod to his days growing up in southern California amongst the Latinos there - "Guero" is a slang term for a white guy.) I don't think I've bought a Beck album since this one, so I probably have some catching up to do, actually. (Now you're saying, "What kind of fan are you?" But I rarely buy albums anymore at all. I need to fix this problem.)

28. Parliament Funkadelic - Greatest Hits, disc 1
Uncut Funk, the Bomb! I love P-Funk. I put this on this past week in preparation for the St. Paddy's festivities. Nothing gets you relaxed and in the mood to party like P-Funk. I wish they'd come back to Jackson. I saw them at Jubilee JAM years ago and even though George and the others are getting a little long in the tooth, they still put on an awesome show. Who else puts 30+people onstage at one time? I can't even imagine what their tour bus situation must be like.

29. Depeche Mode - Greatest Hits, disc 2

This is not my favorite of the 2-disc set. But it does have a good live version of "Everything Counts," so that is a redeeming quality. The rest of the songs are newer, I guess, and just don't have the same "oomph" of the earlier DM stuff.

30. The Clash - The Story of the Clash

There's too much I can say about the Clash. We'd be here all night. This album is kinda cool because it has some excerpts of interviews with the band, but I can't understand half of what they're saying.


We've had a busy couple of weeks, so our gastronomic trip around the world has slowed down a bit. We did draw Rome last weekend, so the BF whipped up Spaghetti all'Amatriciana for a Sunday lunch. Here's a recipe . He didn't follow this exactly (he uses Mario Batali's tomato sauce recipe), and he used regular bacon instead of pancetta, but it was still very delicious!

I drew Brazil for this coming weekend, so I'm looking forward to some meat dishes and general yumminess all around.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

It's Oh So Quiet

So this week, we drew Iceland!

What is Icelandic cuisine like, you might say? Well, we didn't really know, either. Thanks to
this site and inspiration from Miss Bjork, we found some recipes to try. I was rather alarmed to find out that Icelanders eat both horse meat and PUFFINS! Cute, cuddly puffins. I'm going to pretend that it's because they can't get chicken there.

It seems that, so far anyway, many of the countries on our list have fish-centered cuisines. We had hoped to get a nice piece of cod or even haddock to bake, but Kroger, in addition to being one huge Charley Foxtrot right now because of reorganizing, had no good fish to offer. We spent so much time trying to find the ingredients we needed that we quickly settled on having salmon again. I grabbed some red potatoes for an interesting side dish - Caramelized Potatoes , and the BF picked up some pickled beets and pickled herring for Sildersalat. I wasn't convinced about the salad, and the BF wasn't so sure that caramel sauce and potatoes would go together.

This recipe was super easy. Just peel potatoes and boil until tender but not soft enough for mashing. Make caramel sauce with sugar and butter (and I had to add a little water because it got too hot too quickly), then coat the potatoes in the sauce and simmer for a few minutes. We decided to add some carrots too, because carrots and caramel sauce? Come on!

The herring salad was also pretty easy to put together, and interesting to look at. Just slice beets, apple and herring, and toss with mayo and/or sour cream or yogurt. We did 1/4 cup greek yogurt and 1/4 cup mayo, and we also added a little sliced onion and salt and pepper. Chop the pieces pretty small and you've got yourself a pink appetizer! We ate the salad with club crackers, and y'all, it was pretty good! I might make this for Soup Night sometime.

So here is our plate: salmon with a tarragon/mayo sauce, and caramelized potatoes and carrots. We also made some honey oat bread, but it wouldn't be ready until after dinner.

So you're probably wondering how those potatoes turned out? Y'ALL. They were delicious! It was so weird! Somehow that caramel sauce just went right along with the potatoes. The carrots were a nice addition, but I would've eaten this either way. The sauce brings out the sweetness in the potato, but not in a crazy way. And the salmon with tarragon was a nice contrast in flavors.

The coolest thing about this project is that we get to learn about a country and/or culture that we may not have otherwise known much about, and it's a great excuse to try some new foods. I didn't think I'd like pickled beets or pickled herring, but I was wrong. And who knew caramel and potatoes could be so tasty?

We'll be skipping next weekend because I'll be in New Orleans for the Rock and Roll 1/2 marathon , but I am looking forward to pulling the next country out of the jar.

And just because I can only go so long before I post another Sifl and Olly link (at least this one is relevant):

Monday, February 20, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates

As if the CD Project isn't enough for me, I've decided to use this blog to document another project for 2012 (and probably beyond).

The BF and I don't necessarily see each other every day, but we talk several times a day and we always make time for each other on the weekends. Weekends usually revolve around food for us, either cooking or occasionally going out to eat. (We're still on a tight budget because he is still without job.)

Wednesday or Thursday of each week, we have the same conversation: "What are we going to eat this weekend?" Inevitably, because we can both cook pretty well (thankfully) and have such varied tastes, we often cook from a different style of cuisine every week. The BF had the great idea recently to just pick a different country every week to cook from. Our method of choosing countries? See that jar above with the slips of paper in it? That's it. We sat down and thought of every country/region we could come up with that had viable cuisine and wrote them down. We also referenced the Frugal Gourmet's "Our Immigrant Ancestors" cookbook (an EXCELLENT one to have if you can find it) and the international foods section at Kroger. Before cutting them up, I counted, and I think we have well over 70 countries and styles of cuisine in there. For some regions, such as China, we broke it down into the different types of Chinese cuisine. There are some countries in there that I don't know anything about. It will be an adventure learning how to cook recipes native to that area.

This past weekend, we drew our first pick. I was more than a little thankful that it was something relatively easy: San Francisco/Pacific Northwest. The BF didn't think it was as easy at first so he suggested we draw a backup, but when it was Hawaii we realized we were going to be eating seafood either way. I think we put Hawaii back - I hope so, because I do think that one stands on its own (and we discussed having some kind of Spam-related dish because of its prevalence in Hawaii!).

Here's what we came up with:

Clockwise, from top: wild rice, spicy teriyaki-glazed salmon, quinoa crusted scallops, and mixed green salad with dried apples, pecans and a gorgonzola vinaigrette.

We figured haute cuisine with lots of fresh ingredients was pretty representative of the Pacific NW. The quinoa-crusted scallops I copied from a dish I had at a restaurant called Andina in Portland a few years ago. It was so good I've been trying to re-create it ever since. The last time I tried it, I couldn't get the quinoa to stick. This time I coated the scallops in cornstarch, then egg, then cooked quinoa, and pan-fried them. The coating stuck on a little better and was more crunchy, but still not quite like what I had at Andina. I'm not complaining, though, because the scallops were tasty and huge.

The salmon was divine and I could have eaten a lot more of it, but as you can see that's a lot of food on that plate so I was really full. The salad was also delicious - the dressing was a vinaigrette that tasted something like a mix of honey-mustard and that ginger dressing you get at Japanese restaurants. You'd think blue cheese would have no business getting all up in there, but it was super delicious.

The rice? Well, of course we couldn't do San Fran/Pacific NW without the San Francisco treat!
It was actually pretty tasty, although these box mixes always have too much sodium.

I am excited about this adventure! It nearly solves the "what's for dinner" question for at least the next year of weekends, and gives us one more reason to be excited about the weekend. Can't wait to see what comes out of the jar next time!