Saturday, August 29, 2009

Shining A Light Into The Darkness

Those Midtown Dickens have gone and grown up on their new album "Lanterns". In 2005, they started out as a duo and have now assembled a band with a full cast of characters. This album has a more traditional sound but it is not any less charming than "Oh Yell".

Art is so much an outward expression of our lives, clearly we hear that they have become more seasoned with the pains of falling out of love and learning that people are not always as nice as the grin plastered on their face. The songs are not bitter, but you know there is some winking going on as Kym Register sings on "It's Alright", "We break up and I write you a love song. I was writing it all along." A sad song, but so upbeat in tempo, that you cannot stop yourself from stomping your foot and singing along. The mandolin really keeps that upbeat tempo rolling. Yeah, just try and stop yourself from saying, "Yee haw!" Catherine Edgerton still soars on this album, her voice has become even more powerful as you can hear on "Old Dogs".

The Midtown Dickens have definitely left the songs about holding hands and ice cream behind on this album. Maybe a little sadly, they have learned some heart-wrenching lessons, but these best friends have learned that they do not have to ask for the other to hold their hand. They now know that it is automatic.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Back to School for You

You know the other day, I thought I would listen to Mercury Rev just to revisit the past. When I was younger, I had some good times while listening to the album "Deserter's Songs." But now...I can't do it. The vocals rub me the wrong way. Putting my irritation aside, I still can hear that the instrumentation on the album is still absolutely fantastic.

So, let's fast forward to 2009, and talk about a band that uses similar guitar techniques, North Elementary. They have just released their new album, "Not For Everyone, Just You". Seriously, this is a well produced album that is musically teeming with lushness and textures. Touches of swirly guitars and feedback make the album somewhat experimental, but these elements are used as accents. Essentially, the experimentation never gets in the way of the accessibility of this album. This is a solid rock-pop album that is right for a good time. How you define a good time is up to you, but there is no doubt that this album will be a good accompaniment. Like I said it's experimental at times, but it also still rocks out.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blown Away

Churchkey Records is releasing some new music by The Dirty Little Heaters on a 7-inch soon. I am telling you need to run not walk to get a copy of this vinyl. I mean it, you need to be quick like a bunny. On the song "Mexico Way," Reese Gibbs McHenry blows you away with her powerful vocals on this song. When Reese belts out the line, "the wind will blow you back my way," you know she is right. Her voice is so captivating, that you will be drawn right back to her.

If you haven't heard the new song. Check it out here.


[correction: "Mexico Way" will not be on the 7-inch. It will be included on the CD that accompanies the vinyl.]

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Deep down in the Cave

You load sixteen tons . . . what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

Last night I had a great time at the Cave in Chapel Hill. Performing was The Virgo 9 and a touring band called Cicada Omega. The Virgo Nine was tight with their blues-punk sound, and Cicada Omega just drove it all home with their transcendental junkyard blues style. Towards the end of their set, Cicada Omega performed "Sixteen Tons." At first, I thought it seemed so outdated, but when I read this article in the NY Times today- "Gas and Food Prices Push Up Inflation", I thought that choice of a song was right on.

The article and the show made me think of Sunday night when I was eating dinner, and I made this dish that I call my depression era meal- thin spaghetti with sautteed tomatoes. Trying to always be quick like a bunny with my cooking and cheap, I am going to give you my recipe for a 15 minute meal. Yeah, beat that Rachel Ray! This will feed 2 people easy. You can use any pasta you have in the house. I just like thin spaghetti because it cooks up in 7 minutes.

6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons of dried basil (fresh would be better, but this is cheap eating)
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
a pinch of salt
4 fresh roma tomatoes, diced

Heat the olive oil in the pan and then saute the garlic til it's soft, then saute all the other ingredients in the pan with the garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes later throw it on your noodles and you have dinner.

On the side steam some squash or broccoli, cause you need to eat your veggies.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Yes, yes!

Yesterday I was lucky to receive a demo CD of the Virgo 9. First thing I did when I got home last night was pop it into the CD player. I can't wait to hear a full length. The Virgo 9 takes rock n' roll by the balls and squeezes until you beg, baby, please, please, please, please. It's garage-punk that takes you back to their Southern roots with hints of blues and gospel. One of their best songs is the visceral "No Means No," but when you hear it you are going to say, "Yes, yes!"

photo by Gavin Wissen

Monday, July 7, 2008

QLAB has been been a lame reviewer

Yeah, I know I have been a bad music reviewer. Life and its goings on have just not been conducive to sitting down to reviewing. Instead, I have really been into gardening, working in the backyard, and having friends over to eat and relax. I suppose you could say I have been domestic.

So, I am going to give you a rockin' recipe for Thai Peanut Sauce, that is awesome on just about anything you are willing to put in your mouth. I prefer to throw it on some noodles with veggies for a quick meal.

I am not kidding this sauce rocks and it is quick and easy. So, there is your quick like a bunny for ya'.

All you need is a food processor or blender to make it in a few minutes.


1/2 cup of water
4 tablespoons of rice vinegar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 limes- use the juice of
6 cloves garlic, minced and crushed
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

Whirr it all together and VOILA you have peanut sauce.

Toss it with some noodles, snow peas and garnish with some cilantro and you have dinnah.

While you are in the kitchen, you could listen to music. So you might want to check out these bands...Sugar in the Dirt or The Virgo 9.

If you are looking for a really great food blog, then I also recommend Rockin' the Stove.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

When I was Young and Always Gray

Before I even listened to Gray Young's new CD, I had it in my mind that it was going to sound just like a shoegazer album. But I was completely wrong. At times, the music on their EP "Kindle Field" takes me back to the days of Archers of Loaf and the Connells. Oh yes, the days of the Brewery and when Margaret still owned Local 506. Eons ago.

"Kindle Field" is plentiful with lush guitar but it's no lullaby. Gray Young keeps it current by adding in noise and distortion at well placed moments within each song. Their technique adds auditory interest and keeps you listening. Overall, the vocals are sparse, but the warm fuzz of the guitar will fill that void for you and put you in the mood to rock out. I say chill out with Gray Young and check them out when you get chance. Do it. You won't regret it.