issue 1 / september 2012
music & food magazine
festivals, rotterdam, cosmen adelaida, beets, porto, antwerp, pinchos, coconut records, dinner party
issue 1 / september 2012 / MOOD music & food magazine MOOD is a magazine about music and food. Pairing records with recipes, concerts with restaurants and festivals with eaters, our focus will be on combining the two subjects in an interesting way. The first issue explores this concept for the first time. We tag along with Spanish band Cosmen Adelaida on tour in northern Spain (p. 35), eat cheap surinamese food in Rotterdam (p. 23) and learn how to make a delicious beet salad from a contributor's mom (p. 6). www.moodmusicfood.com
MARIO VILLAR SANJURJO Co-founder, Writer / Brussels
Co-founder, Designer, Photographer / Brussels
MOOD is made possible by the following writers, editors and photographers
MARCOS DOMÍNGUEZ GONZÁLEZ
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A NOT SO RANDOM MENU
PAIRINGS: COCONUT RECORDS AND COCONUT TOM KHA GAI
MOTHER KNOWS BEETS
OPTIMUS PRIMAVERA SOUND: A DIARY
52 FRIDAYS FESTIVAL-THEMED DINNER PARTY
FALL FESTIVAL GUIDE
A SINGLE DAY IN ROTTERDAM
SIETE PINCHOS: ON TOUR WITH COSMEN ADELAIDA
RESTAURANTS & RECORDS: ANTWERP
REVIEWS SUMMER 2012
30 DAYS OF MUSIC AND FOOD
Written by Mario Villar / Illustrated by Emma Hovel
“THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER” This powerful 1962 film about youth and class struggle doesn’t have a soundtrack to match the imagery. Almost four decades later, Belle & Sebastian tried to put that right with “The Loneliness Of The Middle Distance Runner”. Singer Stuart Murdoch, a keen runner, tweaked the title of the film to produce a dreamy pop gem that can be found on the B-side of the Jonathan David EP.
T’KELDERKE Most people look up when th the magnificent Grand Place has a hidden secret below stre t’Kelderke - “the little basem Dutch - serves excellent Be specialities such as Vlaamse s (carbonnades Flamandes reasonable prices.
YO LA TENGO “TOM COURTENAY” In 1995, the trio from Hoboken released one of their best songs, an ode to British actor Sir Tom Courtenay, the star of Doctor Zhivago, Billy Liar and The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner. “Tom Courtenay” was accompanied by a fantastically funny video in which Yo La Tengo are offered the chance to support the reunited Beatles. CARBONNADE This beef stew is one of Belgium’s national dishes. Dark beer, mustard, gingerbread...
THE BEATLES “OH! DARLING” The Fab Four never did show up for that show with Yo La Tengo, but they included this marvellous song on Abbey Road, their last studio album and the completion of the trip they started some years earlier with Revolver.
NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL “IN THE AIRPLANE OVER THE SEA” Led by Jeff Mangum – not to be confused with the yummy ice cream bar. The man’s a genius. And he is at his best on In The Airplane Over The Sea (1998), a wonderful collection of folk-noise inspired by Anne Frank’s diary.
AMSTERDAM Anne Frank’s house is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the beautiful Dutch city. BOB DYLAN Watching a young Dylan (played by the late Heath Ledger) running around Manhattan with Charlotte Gainsbourg in I’m Not There is one of the sweetest movie scenes in the past decade. The scene where Dylan (played by Cate Blanchett) meets The Beatles is plain hilarious.
MAGNUM Ice cream, chocolate and a wooden stick. W wrong? And you can find them anywhere. favourite desserts and midnight sna
COSMEN ADELAIDA The best band to have emerged from underground scene in years took sha same building where Amenábar’s ch recorded snuff-movies in the film Tes started by covering Yo La Tengo’s Courtenay” and are now compared to Beach House.
NEW YORK In 1961, a 20-year-old Minnesota native named Robert Allen Zimmerman arrived in the city formerly known as New Amsterdam. One year later, the skinny folk singer changed his name to Bob Dylan.
CHRIS GEDDES The communist and vegetarian keyboard player in Belle & Sebastian is the band’s behind-the-scenes mastermind, especially since Stuart David, the original bass player, left to pursue a solo career.
BELLE AND SEBASTIAN “MARX AND ENGELS” To close their I’m Waking Up To Us EP, the Scottish band chose to tell the story of a romantic liaison in a launderette. “The Girl from Wallasey”, however, was more interested in class warfare.
LOOPER “MONDO 77” The Scottish indie band formed by Stuart David and his wife Karn had its biggest hit with this song. It has been featured in movies such as The Edukators and Vanilla Sky and in an episode of American Dad.
hey enter e. But it eet level. ment” in elgian stofvlees s) at
“THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO”
Girls might still read it in Glasgow, but it was in Brussels that Marx and Engels wrote part of their most famous work. A plaque commemorating the event can still be found in the Belgian capital’s Grand Place.
“ABRE LOS OJOS” The original version of Vanilla Sky was a turning point for Alejandro Amenábar, a young Spanish director who started his career terrorising communications students at Madrid´s Universidad Complutense.
RED STRIPE There’s a fair chance that the Reggae Boyz celebrated that and other victories by drinking Red Stripe, our favourite Jamaican beer. This lager has been brewed by Desnoes & Geddes since 1928.
JEAN-LUC GODARD One of the heroes of the French Nouvelle Vague, Godard was heavily influenced by Marxism and a need to give filmmaking a radical reworking. His art has been a direct influence on some great directors, including Loach and Altman. He has also been cited as an influence by Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch, whose upcoming movie debut is called God Help the Girl.
What could go One of our acks.
m Madrid´s ape in the haracters sis. Cosmen s “Tom the likes of
REGGAE BOYZ The country that brought us Cantona was also the place where the Jamaican national team reached footballing heaven, playing in the World Cup for the first time. They lost to Croatia and Argentina, but did manage to beat Japan.
BEACH HOUSE “NORWAY” The song that marked a new era for Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand’s wonderful band. “LOOKING FOR ERIC” Ken Loach, the master of British social drama, does comedy! It´s brilliant and it stars French footballing enigma Eric Cantona! MICHAEL LEGRAND Victoria Legrand’s musical talent might well have come from her uncle, the French composer who worked with some of the best filmmakers of recent times, including Jean-Luc Godard, Clint Eastwood, Robert Altman...
“SHORT CUTS” Altman’s masterpiece about luck and chance tells the stories of 20 characters played by the likes of Julianne Moore, Jack Lemmon, Tim Robbins, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Waits...
By Emma Hovel
Album cover from Young Baby Records
COCONUT RECORDS + COCONUT TOM KHA GAI
Coconut Records is the indie solo project of actor Jason Schwartzman (Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore). Though his acting career is more comedically inclined, his music is no joke. The most impressive thing is that he actually writes, sings and plays most of the instruments on each track. Speaking of tracks, “Microphone” and “Any Fun” are stand-outs on his sophomore album, Davy. I would recommend turning it on while cooking up a big pot of Thai coconut soup and sipping on one of my favourite Japanese beverages, Asahi.
Ingredients: 1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk 1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth 6 quarter-size slices fresh ginger 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, cut in 1-inch pieces 1 pound chicken breast, cut into 1 inch chunks 1 cup hydrated stripe mushrooms Handful snap peas 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 1 tablespoon fish sauce 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon chili paste Handful fresh basil leaves Handful fresh cilantro Handful fresh pepper leaves Instructions: In a medium saucepan, combine coconut milk, broth, ginger, and lemongrass and bring to a boil over high heat. Add chicken, mushrooms, snap peas, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and chili paste. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is firm and opaque, 5 to 10 minutes. Discard lemongrass. Garnish servings with basil, cilantro and pepper leaves. Serve with a refreshing Asahi beer.
MOTHER KNOWS BEETS Written by Emily Schwartz / Photographed by Nicole Feest
GOAT CHEESE AND BEET SALAD Ă€ LA NANCY FISHER
My mom first made this recipe when my family was living abroad in Brussels, and it's now one of her go-to dishes for dinner with friends. She makes some amazing things, but my skills and patience aren't ready to tackle anything too complex. What we love about this salad is that it's sophisticated and impressive, but also so easy to make (and who doesnâ€™t appreciate a simple recipe?). It's a beautiful dish with the beets adding a pop of color and sweetness to the greens, and the goat cheese is light and creamy and warm! Add pecans and balsamic and it's hard to go wrong with these flavors. Bonus: This can also be served in larger portions as a main dish with toasted rustic bread on the side. Double bonus: Beets and beet greens are fantastically healthy! Best served with wine, naturally.
The finished product
Ingredients: 10 oz. log dried soft goat cheese 1 cup panko breadcrumbs 1 tbsp water 1 egg 2 each medium yellow and red beets, cooked and sliced 8-10 cups mixed baby greens Balsamic viniagrette Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees farenheit. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the goat cheese into 8-10 pieces. Whisk the egg and water together. Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Dip the cheese slices into the egg wash. Cover them in the breadcrumbs and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 6 minutes or until lightly golden but not melted. Toss greens and beets with viniagrette. Top servings with warm cheese.
What the Water Gave Me FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE 20 Years THE CIVIL WARS How Come You Never Go There FEIST Civilian WYE OAK Lament MOUNT MORIAH
Written by Paul Dallison / Photographed by Emma Hovel
P R I M A V E R A P
Where are all the chicken costumes? For many people in northern Europe, the festival experience goes something like this: spend several hours attempting to pitch a tent, go and drink own bodyweight in ruinously expensive lager/cider in baking sunshine/pouring rain, return to tent to discover that 25 ketamine-fuelled louts have moved in next door in a space that could comfortably contain just two of them, find out that your friends have a secret liking for Keane, pass out. And do all of that while dressed in fancy dress.
Primavera Sound is different. After a decade of growing in size and reputation, the
Barcelona-based festival now has a little sister in Porto, and there can’t be many prettier festival sites in Europe than the one chosen in Portugal’s second city. Just a stone’s throw from the beach, Parque da Cidade was an ideal choice; grassy slopes ensured good views of the two main stages, the third stage was partly covered (which seemed strange at first but later proved to be a godsend), and the fourth stage, with a bill put together by the All Tomorrow’s Parties people, was the most tranquil spot in the whole site (except when the dreadful Wolves In the Throne Room were on). Oh, and there were free blankets to sit on, the local food stands served up delicious fare, and there were so many beer tents that there were never any queues for the local brew, Super Bock.
how it went:
Thursday 7 June 2012: The sun is shining, the first beer of the festival is in hand, and on the main stage is a bunch of homeless people shouting. Oh no, it’s Bigott, a Spanish band whose name is a play on bigote (Spanish for moustache) but whose music is infectious and danceable, and who have, in “Cannibal”, one of the best songs of the weekend. Day one of Optimus Primavera Sound has a take-it-or-leave-it approach, with one band at a time for most of the evening. Atlas Sound (the solo project of Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox) started with a gentle version of a Hank Williams tune but spent most of the set coaxing huge swathes of noise out of just an acoustic guitar and a box of electronic tricks. It would work better in a dark club (although most people in the crowd were wearing shades) but was still powerful stuff. Then it was time for some festival food. It’s far from guaranteed that you are going to eat well at a festival, and the fact that Primavera is a mostly nocturnal affair meant there was time for a hefty lunch every day. And boy, do the Portuguese love salt cod. Bacalhau comes in many forms; in a stew with seafood, deep-fried and served with sautéed peppers and onions and stacks of fried potatoes, mixed with mayonnaise and baked in a pie topped with mash. But at the festival it was all about the joys of the roasted pig, or at least it was if you stuck to the local food. Plenty of people preferred the Pizza Hut and KFC stalls, but they were clearly fools, so we’ll ignore them. With a full stomach and after a clever, if not always engaging, set from French composer Yann Tiersen came The Drums, who have beefed-up their surf-pop sound and developed into a fine festival band. And then it was time for Suede. But which Suede would turn up? The razor-sharp purveyors of glam-pop of their first three records, or the turgid, tune-free band that they would later become? Fortunately, it was the former. They clearly know that any band on the comeback trail has to play the hits, and they did, including mighty versions of “Stay Together” and “Animal Nitrate”. Finally (for us, not for most people, who partied late into the night) there was Mercury Rev, a late replacement for Explosions In The Sky. Why they feel the need to take the delicate beauty of their best records and stamp all over it in hob-nail boots is anyone’s guess, but that’s what they have been doing for the past couple of years, and they continued that unwelcome tradition here.
Friday 8 June 2012: Day two started with more delicious food (pork
and cod featuring heavily, again) and a chance to fully explore Porto. The sun-dappled waterfront is beautiful, with one side full of bars leading to a warren of steep side-streets, and the other dominated by ‘shippers’, the makers of Port, the fortified wine made throughout the Douro valley. Friday’s festival line-up promised to be the best of the weekend, and it lived up to that billing. It was strange that Yo La Tengo – indie rock godfathers (and godmother), and long-time Primavera favourites – were on relatively early, but they were a fine way to kick things off, playing everything from extended wig-outs to the sublime pop of “Sugarcube”. Then there was a quick dash over to the ATP stage to catch the end of Tennis, a band that is getting poppier, more popular and is wearing tighter trousers (all good things). Rufus Wainwright’s orchestral pop drew a big crowd despite having another son of pop royalty in his band (Teddy Thompson, son of former Fairport Convention man Richard), we dashed off to see Chairlift. They may have a singer of such staggering loveliness that the music was almost drowned out by the sound of a thousand jaws hitting the floor, but the Brooklyn-based band also have synthpop tunes by the bucketful. Good tunes are not really the point of the Flaming Lips these days. It seems odd to think that a show that features Wayne Coyne inside a huge hamster-ball being passed around the crowd, a pair of giant hands that shoot light, and Portugal’s entire stock of balloons and streamers could be dull; but once you’ve seen one Flaming Lips show, it quickly loses its appeal. Coyne’s constant exhortations to “come on, motherfuckers” and the fact that a song as good as “She Don’t Use Jelly” didn’t get played, but there was time for a meandering instrumental while Coyne put on those giant light-shooting hands, were extremely annoying. So thank goodness for Wilco. No balloons, no tricks, just almost two hours (a short set by Wilco standards) of great songs, from the jittery electronics of “Art Of Almost” to the sublime country-rock of “Jesus Etc.” Critics often name Wilco as the best live band in the world: they’re right. Beach House would have been the ideal follow-up but a rare piece of errant scheduling (putting a band that seemingly everyone at the festival liked on in a covered tent) meant for uncomfortable conditions, so we headed over to watch The Walkmen play an enjoyable if far from essential set. M83 are clearly massive in Porto and they drew a huge crowd despite a start time of well after 2.30. It’s easy to see why they do well at festivals; the subtleties of their first record have been swept aside by the stadium dance-pop of their second, and this was full-on, hands-in-the-air, head-full-of-illicit-substances party music.
Saturday 9 June 2012: And then
the rain came. The knowledge that there was a day ahead where sitting on the lush grass in the ATP field would not be an option meant that sustenance was required, and Porto has just the food for the job – the Francesinha. This local speciality has bread, at least two types of ham, steak and melted cheese, and sits in a sauce made from tomato and beer (and comes with fries, obviously). It’s a ridiculous amount of food, but delicious. With the heavens truly open, it’s a good thing Siskiyou were there to brighten up the day. The Canadian band was started by members of Great Lake Swimmers, but they have now grown into a wonderful band full of back-porch lullabies, harmonies and a startling cover of Neil Young’s “Revolution Blues”. The covered stage was by now very popular indeed, and Baxter Dury took full advantage of the situation. There’s a whole lot of his dad Ian in Baxter’s music (and there’s a touch of Serge Gainsbourg in his half-spoken delivery) but he has lots of great songs, and a group of brave souls decided to splash around in an enormous puddle for extra entertainment. Then the rain claimed its first and only casualty of the weekend: Death Cab For Cutie, who cancelled their performance. Braver/more foolhardy souls included Swedish synthpop band I Break Horses, who were shrouded in smoke and whose singer was wearing a cape, and Lee Ranaldo,
the former Sonic Youth guitarist who has just released a solo album packed full of jangly pop gems. With the skies now clear, there was a huge crowd for Kings Of Convenience, whose delicate acoustic songs were surprisingly effective on a big stage. Meanwhile, over on the ATP stage, Dirty Three were scaring the horses and children with their violin-driven instrumental songs. Main man Warren Ellis has played in Nick Cave’s band for decades, and has definitely learnt a thing or two about holding an audience in the palm of your hand. Saint Etienne have been documenting London life through the medium of synth-driven pop and smart lyrics since the early 1990s, but even some great tunes doesn’t mask the fact that they are lacking in stage presence. And to finish things off were The XX, who have, on this evidence, made a second album that sounds an awful lot like the first one, which is no bad thing.
Sunday 10 June 2012: Sunday’s musical offerings were at Casa da Música, an indoor venue in the city centre, with the highlights being the Olivia Tremor Control and Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel. But we had to say our goodbyes to Porto before then. So there was just time for a final walk through the city, a dash over to the cable-car that gives spectacular views of the waterfront, and then off to the airport. Porto is lucky to have such a cool festival, and the fact that the 2013 edition has already been announced shows just how successful this debut was.
52 FRIDAYS FESTIVALTHEMED DINNER PARTY Written by Matthew Oâ€™Leary / Illustrated by Emma Hovel
52 Fridays in a year - and so many places to go out on each of them. In order to make choosing where to spend your Friday nights a little easier, we recommend ignoring them all and staying in. Problem solved; these are austere times, after all. Each month weâ€™ll give you a timely and relevant theme for a dinner party, three recipes, tips on how to host the event and a playlist of music. The rest is up to you. This month, recreate the best bits of a summer festival at home, with no risk of sunburn and more control over your hangover.
The onset of summer means many things. Staying in the sunshine, wearing fewer clothes than usual, oscillating between caring a lot about what you eat and throwing dietary caution to the wind, mild hedonism for the sake of relaxation, appreciating the kind of music that floods your system with serotonin, and getting amorous in the open air. And there’s one occasion that brings all of these together – the festival. In recent years, musical festivals have developed from being muddy fields full of intense superfans and crowded campsites full of teenagers trying out alcohol poisoning for the first time into almost-civilized Arcadias for carefree adults with strategically-booked holiday time, designer wellingtons, and disposable income. They’re essential parts of the summer schedule. The toilets have gotten so much better. You will actually hear some amazing music. They’re great fun. They are also, of course, quite pricey, they require quite a lot of stamina (if you want to experience them properly), and they can take a lot of arranging. You might also find that they’re horrendously oversubscribed; if you leave it too late to buy a ticket and are determined to get to a festival come what may, you may have no choice but to opt for the weakest of the yearly crop, rubbing shoulders with a few hundred zoned-out individuals in the middle of nowhere in front of a feeble lineup of also-rans while your friends live it up with thousands and thousands of better-prepared partygoers and go temporarily insane to their favourite bands. So, to avoid disappointment, why not invite a few people over and recreate
the feel of a festival in your own dining room? It will cost less, it’s inconceivable that anything other than the very worst weather will ruin proceedings, and there’s a significantly lower risk of you catching scabies from a short term romantic partner wearing a hi-vis vest. A festival dinner party makes sense these days because food is currently one of the major draws for such an event: no longer do you have to make do with anaemic veggie burgers and cups of hallucinogenic fungal chai. Luxury brands are getting in on the act and the food section of the field is often a place to sample some fairly impressive food and drink. In theory, you could put together a vaguely eclectic menu and come up with a convincing back-story for each item – better still if you go really all-in, describing (for example) how the smell of frying churros gives you a rush of recollection of Proustian intensity about a chance encounter with the love of your life, in a sun-kissed field in Denmark, while Alphabeat played like they never have before in the background. For these recipes, however, we’ve chosen dishes which bring the good old fast-food ethos a bit more up to date and fancy them up slightly. For an edge of authenticity, serve the food on paper plates with disposable cutlery. Given that gastronomy and sustainability still make very sociable tentmates, it should be no surprise to learn that there’s a lot of really stylish single-use tableware available. Plates and bowls from Japanese brand Wasara might not be cheap, but they’re super beautiful and will look just as awesome at
a cocktail reception as they will your own mini-festival; couple them with some nice compostable cutlery from Birchwood and disposable bowls and cups from Lagerhaus so that you don’t compromise stylishness for authenticity. It’s unlikely that you will be able to program a full running order of live music for your own humble pseudo-festival, but fortunately Spotify is a trove of great live recordings from the kinds of bands that have sealed reputations as firm favourites. Remember also that one of the best things about festivals is totally freaking out to bands who, ordinarily, you wouldn’t allow on your stereo (one of the best bands I’ve ever seen play live at a festival, for example, was Coldplay, and normally – well, let’s just say I’m not a fan). If your folkiest, most Etsyfied friends are coming over, make them listen to non-stop dance music and rap. Fey twee-lovers should get an hour or so of heavy metal. Indie haters can be treated to a barrage of Britpop’s best. We’ve pulled together a few ideas for you here, to get you started. Finally, it remains to be noted that festivals are usually a good place to let your hair down via the medium of strong drink. It’s a process which normally starts with a few cups of watered-down domestic lager and finishes the next morning when you wake up in a stranger’s tent with a massive henna tattoo, minus one of your shoes. However, it’s better to let your guests arrive at this state under their own steam; instead, provide them with a couple of nourishing lassis (the last recipe we’ve given you here might help out) and let them find their own way to blissful festival oblivion.
Sympathy for the Devil THE ROLLING STONES
Surface to Air THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS
Bombtrack RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
Common People PULP
Out of Time BLUR
China Girl IGGY POP
Little Britain DREADZONE
Jungleland BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & THE E STREET BAND
All the Young Dudes DAVID BOWIE
Instructions: Make the pastry. Sift the flour, salt, turmeric and curry powder into a large bowl. Rub the butter cubes into it with your fingers until it reaches the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add water a teaspoon at a time (you should need 8-10 teaspoons) until you have a fine, smooth dough. Knead for a couple of seconds, then wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate.
C u r r y
Heat the oil and add the onion, garlic, seasoning, herbs and spices. Cook until soft. Add the tomato puree and the peppers and carrot, and then the grated squash – a handful at a time, squeezing water out as you go. Stir well and cook for five minutes until well-combined and aromatic.
p a t t i e s
Patties – curried Jamaican pastries normally served as part of a larger meal or a handy snack – have it a. They’re reasonably easy to make, spicy enough to keep people interested, and suitable for meat-eaters and vegetarians. If you’re looking for inspiration in terms of the filling, look online for recipes (Levi Roots, for example, has published some great suggestions). Here, we’ve gone for yellow squash (or patty pan – it can be substituted for courgette if you can’t find it) as a main ingredient.
Roll the pastry out to two or three millimetres thickness on a floured surface. Cut it into circles, around a small plate or saucer. Set these circles aside and re-roll the pastry until you have eight pieces in total. Place a few tablespoons of filling slightly to one side of the centre of each pastry circle, and brush beaten egg around the side. Fold each over into a pasty or pierogi shape, then crimp the edges and prick the top of each with a fork. Brush each patty with beaten egg and bake at 180 degress celcius for 25 minutes until golden on the outside.
NB Curry powder, which might seem like too much of a shortcut in this enlightened age of fresh herbs and spices, is essential for this dish and traditional. As well as giving a beautiful mild spiciness to the dish, it also imparts upon the pastry its cheerful, summery hue. Ingredients: For the pastry 450g plain flour, sifted 3 tsp curry powder 1 tsp turmeric 200g cold butter, cut into cubes A pinch of salt An egg, beaten, to glaze
H a l v
s p e c i a l
This Swedish favourite has developed recently from its old reputation as being only suitable for 3am street food or consumption at sporting events, with top chef Marcus Samuelsson putting a pimped-up version of it on his menu at Norda. It’s flexible, as you can really choose what you want for vegetarians or meat-eaters in terms of the sausage – we favour the salmon sausage from Gourmet Korv in Gothenburg or any of the Cauldron-branded veggie bangers.
For the filling 3 yellow courgette-like squash, grated and with some of the water squeezed out of it 2 large yellow onions, finely chopped 1 large yellow pepper, finely diced 2 large carrots, grated 2 cloves of garlic, crushed 2 tbsp curry powder 1 tsp each of salt, pepper, allspice, dried ginger, sage and thyme 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp tomato puree
Ingredients: 8 reasonably-sized sausages of your choice 1kg (peeled weight) potatoes, peeled, suitable for mashing (floury varieties are best)
1 tbsp butter 3 tbsp skimmed milk 2 tsp salt 2 tsp white pepper 1 white cabbage, sliced very thinly 4 red onions, peeled and sliced very thinly 500ml white wine vinegar 1 litre of water 400g white sugar 8 hot dog or brioche buns Ketchup or other condiments to serve
we’ve gone for fruit, herbs, and dairy. If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, you can leave the basil custard unfrozen (stir it until it cools to stop it from forming a skin) and simply pour it over slices of fresh mango. Ingredients: For the basil ice-cream 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped roughly, plus a little more to serve 50ml light syrup 100ml water 4 egg yolks 70g sugar 200ml skimmed milk 300g double/whipping cream
Instructions: Several hours before the dinner, combine the vinegar, sugar and water in a large container. Stir well until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cabbage and onions, cover, and refrigerate for at least three or four hours. Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain in a colander. Return the empty pan to a low heat and melt the butter. Add the milk, salt, pepper and potatoes. Using an electric cake mixer, blend the ingredients until a smooth, creamy mash is formed. Cover and set aside.
For the mango lassi 4 large fresh mangos, peeled and cut from the stone (aim for about 350-400g trimmed fruit) 3l plain yoghurt 24 ice cubes Salt 2tsp vanilla essence
Grill or fry the sausages. Toast the buns (better still, flatten and toast them in a panini machine or sandwich maker). Set an open bun on each plate. Add a little ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, or whatever condiment you prefer. Lay the sausages on the buns. Using an ice-cream scoop, put two dollops of mash on top of the sausages. Using tongs or a pasta spoon, lift the cabbage and onion out of the pickling liquid, making sure to drain it well, and top the mash with a good portion.
Instructions: A day in advance: Over a low heat, cook the basil, syrup and water until dark green and soft. Drain off half the liquid and then puree with a hand/stick blender until a smooth liquid is formed. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar. Whisk in the cream until stiff and pale. Heat the milk over a low heat. When it is warm but not boiling, slowly pour into the egg/sugar/cream mix, whisking constantly. Add the basil syrup and stir well. Return to the heat and cook very gently, until the mixture forms a thick custard, which coats the back of a spoon.
Mango with basil ice cream
Freeze according to the instructions on your ice cream maker.
Doughnuts, churros and other fried pastries are normally what you’d expect to find at a festival to satisfy your sweet tooth – either those, or chocolate brownies which contain a few ingredients which might land you in jail. However, the idea of topping off a fairly solid meal with more dough and rich chocolate is a bit much, so here
Just before serving In a large blender (perhaps in batches) blend the mango, yoghurt, ice cubes, salt and vanilla. Pour into eight cups or glasses. Add a spoonful of the ice cream to each, and top with a sprig of basil.
By Mario Villar Sanjurjo
For many, festivals mean summer. But there is no reason the same mindset can’t flow into the fall months. A bunch of cool events take place in autumn smaller, indoor festivals where the bands can show off their best and where crowds are normally calmer. Here are a few of my recommendations for the coming months: icons modified from www.thenounproject.com
I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR
AUSTIN CITY LIMITS
(New York, NY September 21-23) For years, the guys at All Tomorrow's Parties (ATP) have been offering us some of the most original and well organised festivals in the world. As usual, this event is curated by an artist (in this case Greg Dulli, from The Afghan Whigs) who arranges the lineup and an array of parallel where cinema tends to have a special prominence. I’ll Be Your Mirror will take place in Pier 36, a Manhattan indoor venue by the East River. The lineup is nothing if not ecclectic. From the hip hop of Frank Ocean to the contemporary classical style of Philip Glass. In between you'll find The Roots, The Antlers, Mark Lanegan Band, Vetiver, José González, Lee Ranaldo, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Tall Firs, Thee Oh Sees and, of course, The Afghan Whigs. When it comes to food...well, you are in the middle of New York!
(Austin, TX October 12-14) It’s always summer in Austin, isn’t it? At least in Texas they can organise an outdoor festival in the middle of the Fall without problems. Austin City Limits has literally every band: classic festival headliners (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, Iggy & The Stooges), newer successful projects (The Black Keys, Florence + The Machine), recently hyped artists (Gotye), WTF names (Jovanotti) and, more importantly, a bunch of fantastic artists (Andrew Bird, M.Ward, Tennis, The Shins, Los Campesinos! and First Aid Kit). Tickets are sold out, but you still have the chance to see some of the late night shows played in different venues around town with bands like Black Lips, The Civil Wars, Kimbra and Laura Marling. The festival prides itself on their food selection, but if you don’t get in, don’t worry. Just walk around and stuff yourself with the amazing range of food trucks around the city.
(Paris, FR November 1-3 transformed the gorgeo Villette in Paris into the thanks to the alarming attendance. This year it two days and some of t hear today: Animal Co The Walkmen, The Ta Chairlift, Wild Nothing, Use the mornings to wa Canal Saint-Martin and cheese with a charcuterie
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ALL TOMORROWâ€™S PARTIES
(Madrid and Barcelona, SP and GuimarĂŁes, PT November 30-December 2) It's no secret that I love Primavera Sound, and I have the same sentiment for its little brother. This winter festival has been taking place for a few years simultaneously in Madrid and Barcelona and will expand this year to Portugal. No lineup yet, but the people behind Primavera guarantee an interesting mix of the best up-and-coming acts and some underrated classics. The gigs take place in different venues spread around each city, so it is also an excellent opportunity to get to know them and conquer their bars and restaurants.
(Camber Sands, UK December 7-9) No indie music devotee should die before going to at least one edition of ATP. The festival accidentally started in the 90s due to a hyper successful event organised by the Scottish Belle & Sebastian. It's perfection. Basically, it is a holiday camp full of people like you that choose to spend a cold English weekend listening to their favourite music and being nice to each other. This edition is curated by The National and features Wild Beasts, The Antlers, Deerhoof, Owen Pallett and My Brightest Diamond. Food at these things is usually alright and the selection of English ales is fantastic.
A single day in
One thing is certain: The Netherlands is NOT the land of good food itâ€™s quite the opposite. Could we prove ourselves wrong in just 24 Would our sad stomachs take all the fun out of a day in a city as Rotterdam? Here is our investigation. Rules: a modest budget, no previous research and no tips from locals.
Written by Mario Villar Sanjurjo / Photographed by Em
d. In fact, 4 hours? s cool as ot much
Fried goodness at Bazar
1. Dinner. You get to Rotterdam by train. You walk to your hotel and get rid of the luggage. You are starving and walk onto a beautiful street packed with people sitting in bars and restaurants. There’s no question, this is your dining option. Bazar (Witte de Withstraat 16) is a gigantic restaurant with a few hundred guests and tens of waiters running around carrying what seems to be an array of Middle Eastern dishes. Despite all that frenzy, you sit down under a bunch of Christmas lights and Moroccan lamps that do their job and make this feel like an intimate dining experience. I remind you that you are starving so you are going to order (as a starter) a fried platter of falafel, chicken wings and spring rolls. Yes, the Middle East seems to reach quite far in this place, but we can’t complain. After all we want to eat something good, not necessarily the real deal. And so we do until we can’t fit one more gram of food in our bodies. Moussaka and lamb skewers are tasty and filling. Not the best meal of our lives, but we end up more than happy.
You wake up and, surprise, it’s a beautiful day. So you do what sunny Saturday mornings are made for: coffee and record shopping. We walk to Het Bammetje (Nieuwe Binnenweg 65) for some pastries and cappuccinos. This seems to be a very popular joint, as there is a line of people waiting for their freshly baked bread. A satisfying experience, but nothing compared to De Plaatboef, at number 81 on the same street. This is an excellent record store, with used and new vinyl and CDs. They have an impressive stock of old records and a very
De Plaatboef Record Shop good selection of newer stuff. We walked out with The National’s Boxer (on lovely yellow vinyl) and with a copy of And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out by Yo La Tengo.
3. Lunch. Now that you have walked for
a few hours, nothing will stop you from trying one of those perfect samples of what Holland is all about: let’s call it the “Surinaamse frituur”. This is a fast food vendor that looks like any “deep fried” house typical of Flanders or Holland, but instead serves food from the former Dutch colony. What they tell
us is Surinamese food is a curious mix of Asian and Caribbean cuisine. Itâ€™s hard to tell where all those things come from and equally hard to choose what to order. We let the guy behind the bar help us and end up sitting in a park with a bag full of spring rolls, codfish with tomato and lots of fries. It was satisfying, but a little tough to digest.
Coffee with a bunch of hip locals
4. Coffee. If you need your daily dose of caffeine, weâ€™ve found the best
spot in Rotterdam for you. It would be hard to believe that the city has a nicer place than Hopper (Schiedamse Vest 146) when it comes to coffee. A big terrace, a beautiful open interior and a fantastic cappuccino. It also looked like a very good option for lunch.
Freaking good pannenkoeken
5. Pancakes. You arenâ€™t hungry, but hey, you are on holiday. So there you go: pancakes. We stumbled upon Dutch Diner (Meent 20) in a commercial area of the city. And yes, it looked like a stupid place. And it kind of was, so we went for the most ridiculous pancake on the menu: banana and bacon. It was absolutely delicious. A must. Donâ€™t leave Rotterdam without having tried it.
Lovely buildings and a plethora of bicycles
The modern architecture is possibly the most interesting aspect of Rotterdam so you probably want to go to the Nederlands Architectuur Institut (NAI, Museumpark 25). And you will probably get thirsty. We had a couple of beers at the NAI Cafe, its big communal tables busy with people of all ages. As you are in The Netherlands, you make an exception and have a Heineken, which for some reason tastes so much better when it comes from a Dutch beer tap.
When you have eaten for 5 euros per person, you get the feeling that you can get a little fancy for dinner. Thatâ€™s why we went to the Hotel New York (Koninginnehoofd 1) restaurant. This was the only recommendation we had
Good taste at Plato
Vending machine dinners at the train station... eat at your own risk
in our hands before arriving in Rotterdam. Sadly, it was the biggest disappointment. The Hotel New York is inside an imposing building that once was the head office of the Holland America Line, one of the ferry companies that connected The Netherlands
with the US from the late 1890s til the 1970s. Nowadays it hosts a hotel and gigantic restaurant which seem quite popular. We had made a reservation, so we could skip the long queue of people hoping for an early dinner. The restaurant specialises in seafood, but our shellfish and crab werenâ€™t really fresh and/or very well prepared. The mains (pasta with seafood and a fish mix) werenâ€™t so great either. In the end we wished we had stayed at the bar and ordered some fried fish, away from the dozens of loud children and hasty waiters.
ON TOUR WITH COSMEN ADELAIDA
When MOOD asked me to write about the gastronomic side of life with my band, Cosmen Adelaida, I was a little apprehensive. We were ready for our first shows outside Madrid in 2012; playing San Sebastián and Santander with Odio Paris and Escándalo, respectively. These shows marked the start of a ‘tour’ that stopped and started, twisted and turned, and took us to a few cities in just a couple of days.
Written and photographed by Marcos Domínguez González Translated to English by Mario Villar Sanjurjo and Paul Dallison
leave Madrid before 2pm, when Nacho and Javi (the only members of the band with stable jobs right now) finished work. On top of that, since everyone tries to flee the capital on Fridays, there is always the risk of traffic on the A1. I wasn’t busy, so earlier I had eaten a hearty meal of cocido (a stew with chickpeas, meat and vegetables), information that I didn’t share with my companions! With our sandwiches ready, coffee was the only other necessary thing for the road, bought at a rest stop on the way. Rest stops are like Starbucks; no matter where you are, they are always the same.
The reason for my apprehension was not because of the relationship between music and food (more on that later) but because there was a strong possibility that we would end up eating burgers in the least salubrious parts of the cities we were in. Luckily, that didn’t happen. I thought the idea of mixing music and food was interesting. The most obvious reason being that I love both to a fault, much to the cost of my ears and stomach. From a deeper point of view, the areas of the brain that process musical, culinary and sexual pleasures are the same. Fortunately, this isn’t a very well known fact, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to have lunch at my girlfriend’s parents place without appearing like a pervert.
We eventually arrived in San Sebastián, where we were playing in one of the city’s famous clubs, Komplot, which has a wooden whale skeleton hanging over the entrance. If it’s normally difficult to park near a music venue, it’s even harder when you have to unload a bunch of instruments. Luckily, the soundcheck had been delayed, but it wasn’t the venue’s fault: Odio Paris, the headliners that night (we share a label with them, El Genio Equivocado, whose founders were closing the night with a DJ set), had the same travel troubles on their way from Barcelona that we had feared.
So an article about a weekend of food and concerts with Cosmen Adelaida wasn’t all that foolish an idea given the fact that we are all music lovers and love to eat. And yet, despite that, our little tour started with sandwiches. Explanation: on Friday we were going to play in San Sebastian, which is 464 kilometres from Madrid. Even driving at an average of 100 kilometres per hour it would take us almost five hours to get there, and we had to soundcheck at 7.30pm (we were hoping it would be delayed). So there was not much time for food, especially because we couldn’t
I could write an entire article about soundchecks, although it wouldn’t be that entertaining. You
assemble the drums, amps, keyboards, mics, monitors, you battle with the technicians to get a bit more volume, you hurt your ears with feedback, change cables, improvise because an amp is broken, try the sound of the bass under the glare of a technician, beg for a few more minutes before they close the venue to go have dinner... Oh yes, dinner. We were in San Sebastián, a city with arguably the best gastronomic reputation in all of Spain. However, we were quite far from the city centre and we barely had one hour before the concert. We were saved by Santi, a friend of the band who was in San Sebastián visiting his friend Mikel, who took us to bar Vallés. Instead of feeding ourselves with the traditional basque pinchos (that would be the goal on the next day) we went for more standard tapas: cod omelette, grilled squid, grilled mushrooms (especially delicious), octopus and croquettes. All washed down with beer. The bar’s speciality was ham, but our band isn’t profitable enough yet to afford such a luxury. While enjoying the food at bar Vallés we made the setlist for the gig. It’s a tradition to prepare it while having dinner (basically, it’s the only time we remember to do it). That night’s concert wasn’t too bad. It was free and people showed up, some of them even ended moving parts of their bodies, a success. After packing away our instruments, we went out to get to know San Sebastián. The night was of limited
on the upper floor of the building, where we stuffed ourselves. After calamari, croquettes and tuna salad (quite bland), we got to the main course: a tray full of meat (pork), fish (salmon and hake) and a mountain of french fries surrounded by sauces in each corner. It was not exactly a gourmet experience, but it did the job. Usually, it isn’t ideal to eat a lot before a concert, especially if you are singing as it’s hard to give your all with a full stomach.
interest for a gastro-music story as alcohol is the same everywhere. In the end we weren’t even bothered by the cold, which was pretty intense. The next day was anything but quiet. We had to hit the road again to reach Santander, also on the north coast, and about three hours drive away. However, we did have time to visit the old town of San Sebastián before leaving. We were accompanied by Joan and Rafa, true legends of spinning records as Pinypon DJs. It was at bar Sport where we satisfied our culinary interests and filled our empty stomachs (which were still feeling the effects of the previous night). As a tribute to our record 7 Picos we ordered the seven pinchos (photo on p. 36). Before leaving for Santander I dragged everyone to the first open place I saw to have my daily dose of coffee. This time it was a Gambrinus, a franchise that tries to look like a traditional Spanish bar, but that is as impersonal as a Starbucks. And dirtier.
Considering the number of people we managed to attract between Escándalo and Cosmen Adelaida, it shouldn’t have been the right time to give it our all that night, but when music is a passion and not a job these things don’t matter. On a stage surrounded by chains, we really went for it. Rafa and Joan, who are like parents to us when we are on the road, congratulated us warmly. To be honest, they always do. This time the night ended up with Escándalo, Cosmen Adelaida and Pinypon DJs partying hard in the downtown bars. We kept on saying that many more people would have come to the show if we had played downtown. In Santander we visited a more varied range of bars than in San Sebastián, starting in a dark and tiny place with leopard-print sofas and ending in the kind of place you can find in
That night we were playing at BNS (short for “Buenas Noches Santander”), a posh club right by the beach. That posh feeling isn’t anything unusual in Santander, but the location of the venue made it more appealing for a summer’s night. There was a restaurant
every provincial town: southern decoration and hymns for a generation of people dangerously close to their thirties. We had the time of our lives. On Sunday my brains weren’t even able to write down the name of the bar where we ate some forgettable tortilla. I chose the “lomo con pimientos” sandwich (as popular with Cosmen Adelaida as the Barceló rum with Coke) and that was the best option. Shattered but happy after two days without rest, we returned to Madrid. We deserved a couple days of relaxation before getting back into the routine of rehearsals, songwriting and more shows. These kinds of weekends have been increasingly normal this year, with all the same difficulties, partying and gastronomic raids as this one. If anyone wants to hire us, you already know the conditions.
Written by Mario Villar Sanjurjo / Photographed by Emma Hovel
I was born and raised in a city proud of four things: a coal mine that, according to the local folk songs, reached under the sea; a mass of iron, smoke and fire that supplied steel for half of the country; a football team so brave and so good that they threatened the rich giants of the game; and a rough sea that gave us spectacular scenery and the tastiest seafood you have ever tried. Today, the mine is closed, only a few people work in the steel mill, which has left a big black stain on the green hills, and the football team is back in the second division. That means I really appreciate the beauty of the ocean and the quality of its fish - because it will probably disappear soon. In Belgium I found out really quickly that I would never enjoy the beauty of the ocean. The North Sea here is grey and dull, with the occasional oil tanker floating in the background. And the fish? Is the organic slab wrapped in plastic that they sell at the supermarkets in Brussels even fish? I don’t think so, so I don’t buy it. I don’t visit my local fish shop either; it is called Night Fish and you can smell it from really far away. And since I would need to sell my own organs to be able to afford to dine regularly at the places near Place Sainte Catherine that actually look good, I guess that I hardly eat any fish anymore. So now I appreciate it even more. Belgian restaurants aren’t a guarantee when it comes to fish. Too often they use thick creamy sauces that hide all the flavour. Sometimes they serve frozen, bad quality stuff. So that’s why Fiskebar is a big surprise. Here things are simple. Good, fresh ingredients, mostly just grilled, with a choice of potato-based sides. Tuna, turbot, sea bass, sole; all in generous portions and at reasonable prices (expect to pay between 15 and 20 euros for a main course). Don’t come here looking for a high class dining experience. Think
more of a nice and simple grill house (of the seafood variety), with a spartan decor and a relaxed yet noisy crowd. I have never reserved a table, but some would say it’s a must. ØSTERSBAR
If Fiskebar is the grill house, Østersbar - its little brother next door - would be...a food truck? This tiny oyster and tapas bar is great if you don’t expect anything too refined. High tables packed in a tiny space give it the feel of a Belgian friterie. Which is basically what it is, but with fish. Most things are fried standards (scampi tempura, croquettes and prawns) plus a few cooked seafood choices and a couple of types of oysters to share. Throw in a couple glasses of wine and the bill will still be under 20 euros per person. More expensive than the fast-food van, but you can’t spend your whole time in Belgium eating bickyburgers and frinkandellen, not if you want to survive and have a pleasant time.
COFFEE & VINYL
Fiskebar and Østersbar are in the heart of Antwerpen Zuid, the once edgy but now gentrified and cool neighbourhood, where you can pay a quick visit to the contemporary art museum Muhka, enjoy some hipster sightings or, since we are talking about food and music,
buy some records. Coffee and Vinyl (Volkstraat 45), serves (you’ll never guess) drinks and sells music with some success. The concept is far from unique (not even in Antwerp), but they have a good selection of records and coffees topped with Maltesers and Smarties... That’s all I need.
BANGA (Columbia) By Paul Dallison
A reasonable rule of thumb is that taking inspiration from Russian novelists equals a hard-going album. But the fact that Patti Smith named this record after a dog in Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and the Margarita disproves that theory, as this is (for the most part) Smith at her most accessible. It’s also the best thing she’s done since Horses, and there are some familiar names here from that seminal album, including guitarist Lenny Kaye and Television’s Tom Verlaine. It may be relatively poppy but the shadow of death hangs over Banga. “This Is The Girl” is a beautiful, girl-group-esque tribute to Amy Winehouse, and “Maria” is about another hard-living woman who died recently, Last Tango In Paris actress Maria Schneider. So thank goodness for Johnny Depp, who gets the country-ish “Nine” written in his honour; a song that also gets the album back on track after the turgid “Tarkovsky (The Second Stop Is Jupiter)”. And the whole thing ends with a cover of Neil Young’s “After The Gold Rush”, which starts off in a straightforward fashion until a children’s choir kicks in and brings the whole thing to a glorious finish.
CELEBRATION ROCK (Polyvinyl) By Paul Dallison
The first and last sounds on Celebration Rock, the Vancouver garage-pop duo’s second record, are fireworks, but inbetween contains plenty of whizz-bang moments as well. The whole thing races along at 100 miles an hour, and it sounds as if it was recorded on a shoestring, but it does have some great songs. In the wrong hands, “Fire’s Highway” could be a cheesy driving anthem, but gets away with it thanks to bags of charm and yelled backing vocals. A cover of “The Gun Club's For The Love Of Ivy” is suitably unhinged and the single “The House That Heaven Built” is the bastard child of The Replacements and Bruce Springsteen (and is every bit as good as that sounds). After seven songs, the exhausting pace slows ever so slightly for the closing “Continuous Thunder”, which is a good thing as by then many listeners will need a lie down and some nice cocktail lounge jazz. Oh, and the drummer is called David Prowse; alas not the same bloke who played Darth Vader.
THE BRAVEST MAN IN THE UNIVERSE (XL)
By Paul Dallison
Bravest man in the universe? That might be true. After all, this is the man who married the wife of his mentor, the great Sam Cooke, rather too soon after Cooke’s death for many people to stomach. And with that marriage on the rocks, he started an affair with his step-daughter. His wife responded to that indiscretion by shooting him. The years of playing with, and partying with, everyone from the Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin to Jimi Hendrix and Sly and the Family Stone haven’t taken a toll on Womack’s voice, which is in fine form on this, his 27th studio album. Damon Albarn and XL boss Richard Russell handle production duties, and they’re smart enough to realise that electronic beats and well-chosen guest singers are just window-dressing for Womack’s voice and guitar playing. The opening title track is magnificent; Womack’s voice framed by cello before skittering beats kick in; a duet with Lana Del Rey on “Dayglo Reflection” is suitably dreamy; and “Nothin’ Can Save Ya,” alongside Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara, wouldn’t be out of place on a Gorillaz record, which makes perfect sense as Womack’s most recent artistic rehabilitation was courtesy of a Gorillaz guest-spot. Brave? Yes, and brilliant as well.
POP TUNE (Good Charamel Records) By Paul Dallison
You don’t listen to a new Shonen Knife record for cutting-edge production techniques or potdubstep experiments; you get three Japanese women playing fast, furious and fun punk-pop. That’s the formula that attracted showers of praise from Nirvana and Sonic Youth, and it’s very much evident here, with the opening one-two of “Welcome To The Rock Club” and “Pop Tune’s” ridiculously catchy, short, sharp blasts. Not everything is as successful. “All You Can Eat” is a two-chord plodder (although it does try and encourage their fans to make sure they eat plenty of vegetables), that only comes to life thanks to a kazoo solo (and it’s not often you can say that), while “Paper Clip” and “Mr. J” are nothing they haven’t done before, and better. “Psychedelic Life”, however, is a tambourineshaking, flute-driven gem. Last year the Osaka trio released an album of covers by the Ramones, but the ferocious energy of their heroes can only be heard sporadically here.
IN OUR HEADS Dallison
(Domino) By Paul
Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor recently took part in a song-by-song recreation of the album Third by the cult band’s cult band, Big Star, in London. As the one member of a (shock horror) electronic band, Taylor stood out among the pop classicists on stage (and not just because of his white suit/mustard shirt combination). But when Ray Davies took to the stage, the link became clearer; Taylor and his bandmates are the latest in long line of quirky English musicians able to mix humour and tenderness to winning effect. Although this album doesn’t move on much from their previous efforts, there are subtle nods to the latest developments in dance music. It’s not a genre known for too many songs about domestic bliss, but “In Our Heads” is full of them; “How Do You Do?” features the line “when you wake me in the morning, that is my favourite thing” and in “Night And Day” Taylor sings “We’re not in Ayia Napa/Do I look like a rapper?”. Elsewhere, there are nods to the Pet Shop Boys in “Motion Sickness”, “Flutes” is seven minutes of fragile techno, and “Always Been Your Love” is an anthemic closer.
MID AIR (Newsroom) By Paul Dallison
Everything moves very slowly in Paul Buchanan’s world. The Blue Nile frontman has taken eight years to finish his first solo record, which doesn’t come as a huge surprise as his old band only released four albums in their career, the first in 1984 and the last in 2004. Mid Air is no great departure from the Blue Nile. The songs are sparse (mostly just piano), short (only one breaks the three-minute mark – and Buchanan has referred to it as a “recordette”) and absolutely beautiful. The opening title track sets the tone; all 3am sadness and tears after drinking too much red wine. The pace rarely changes – and sometimes the only indication that you are listening to a different song is the gap between tracks – but that’s not a bad thing in this case. “Buy A Motor Car” has subtle flashes of strings, the instrumental “Fin de Siecle” has a cinematic sweep to it, and the closing “After Dark” is slow and stately even by the standards of such a quiet album. Good things clearly do come to those who wait.
7 PICOS (El Genio Equivocado) By Mario Villar Sanjurjo
Often it starts with a flash of inspiration: a couple of kids pick up their guitars and create a masterpiece. Many other times, however, a great debut album is the result of hard work and a lot of patience. Of thinking and rethinking. Of dismissing lots of ideas. 7 Picos belongs to that second group. Cosmen Adelaida released their first EP in 2009. Those five songs were followed a year later by a second EP on which the band started to hint at the direction their career could take. While both of those records were really good, it’s when you hear the first notes of 7 Picos that it really becomes clear that this five-piece from Madrid are destined to be an important band. 7 Picos doesn’t sound like an artist’s first full-length album. The ambition, the sound and the variety should be coming from a band with a solid career behind them. It opens with “Equis”, a bass-driven piece that recalls Stereolab, probably their most obvious influence. The title track is an ethereal trip down memory lane on board the first rollercoaster built in Madrid, called “Siete Picos”. It is followed by “Si quieres salgo”, a sweet song and probably the best thing on the record. The dark side of Cosmen Adelaida is revealed on “El Día” and “Inventario”. The former is one of their most atmospheric songs, and dominated by gloomy female vocals, the latter is an acoustic number (a rarity for the band) and has a deep male voice. If those songs are the night, “Alcobendas”, a catchy indie pop tune, brings back the daylight. “Miss Wisconsin”, the spartan closing track, simply confirms all the good things that we can expect in the future. The variety of sounds and the fact that all five members take turns as lead singer does not take away from the personality of the record. On the contrary, it all helps the group stand out in a time when most bands are satisfied with a limited musical palette. In one of their earliest songs, Cosmen Adelaida warned that “hay otra manera” (“there is another way”). They were right.
Instagramed by Emma Hovel
Published on Sep 10, 2012
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