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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Arcade Fire makes a video of Slater Iowa!

Ok not exactly, but check out this interactive video for The Wilderness Downtown. You enter your hometown address and it's featured in this video. Click on my title to view my personal version of the song. Not the exact address, but you get the point!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Citrusy Mojito Chicken paired with Albarino Wine

I am no culinary artist. Cooking doesn't bring zen or give me a great sense of accomplishment, far from it in fact. People feel compelled to step in after watching me cut an onion or a carrot in fear that I might chop off a finger and believe me, I have come close many times. I make a huge mess and clearly make a point to note that I am having no fun. Lots of sighing and comments of disappointment in my efforts. Time to snap out of it! Practice makes perfect, right? So I have come to the conclusion that all is better when I follow a recipe. Guidelines to let me know if I stick to the plan, what can go wrong? With that in mind, here's my effort with Citrusy Mojito Chicken.
First thing is first. I love Food and Wine magazine! I started a subscription about 6 months ago from an employee helping her son's school with a fundraiser. I like food. I like wine. Why not? Each month I have learned a lot about American wine including tours, types of wine, and of course the food that goes with them. The recipes can be a bit tricky, meant for the more advanced chef at times. This recipe seemed easy enough...Chicken, grape fruit, lime, mint, olive oil, and onion. The basic idea is to grill the chicken and top a fruity salsa on top of it. Paired with a nice Albrino wine, should be a good meal. Albrino is a spanish grape that seems like a Sauvignon Blanc, citrusy and bright. Perfect for the meal! Finding this wine in central long island wasn't too tough, so I hope while the weather is warm you all can get your hands on a bottle. The one I found was Martin Codar's 2008 Spanish Albarino...Pictured below..

Plating is an art form, friends! A form that I have not mastered, clearly. The lighting in my house at night is lacking for the photos. These shots aren't really doing the meal any justice! The shot just above looks like I hacked up the chicken, but its the citrus salsa on top.
I would try this recipe again though. Modification will of course be needed. Fresh products, like the mint, is a must. Maybe an orange instead of grapefruit? Is there a less tart version of grapefruit? For sure I will be pairing this meal with a local wine. Long Island has a few vineyards that make an excellent Sauvignon blanc. For those who aren't familiar with this type of grape, get to know it. It's a very juicy wine, but not too acidic. My employed vineyard's has a taste of ripe pear. A nice alternative for those who like Pinot Grigios. I didn't dislike the Albarino, but I found this wine a little uninspired. The grilled chicken washed away the flavor and I felt it was a bit too acidic. I'm thinking my sour grapefruit helped with that as well.
I linked this recipe into the title if anyone else wants to take a crack at this one!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My summer music pick

Just saw the NME named my summer music pick as the best new band in 2010. Congrats Best Coast! Seriously kids, you should be listening to this band right now.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I need a Camera to my Eye

Photography has always been a hobby of mine. Thumbing through photo albums of both my Grandpa Nelson and Aunt Lori introduced me to an art of photography that went beyond just capturing a moment in life. They both had an eye for the shot that was all their own. I always hoped that someday I would create a shot and someone would look at it and say, "Sara took that one!!" I can't really say that I have achieved that just yet. My camera is a digital Kodak that I bought more because I can carry it with me everywhere. I don't really have much control over what lighting comes in or even what I want the main focus to be. I love having the camera with me at all times though. The idea that I can take a shot whenever a moment arises appeals more to me now, but someday I will make the grownup leap to a real camera..For now though, I thought I might share a few of my favorite shots throughout the most recent years.

This is a picture I just took last week. The yellow in contrast with nature's green, blue and brown really stood out with me. A brillantly bright summer's day can bring out the colors of man and earth so wonderfully!

Taken just over a year ago in Black and White. This is just in front of Carnegie Hall, NYC sometime after 11:30pm. There was a light mist in the air and keeping it in black and white I felt that this shot could have easily been taken 30 years ago. Black and white shots make a photo timeless.

It's hard to find a better photography muse then Washington D.C. Spring is a wonderful time of year to see D.C. because of the starring cast of Cherry Blossoms all through out the city. Here is a vertical shot along the trunk of a cherry blossom tree.

Old Towne Montreal cannot take a bad shot. Cobblestone lanes, small shoppes, and old world structures are way Montreal is North America's most European like city. I took dozens of shots in both black and white and color and had a hard time choosing just one for this blog. To me, this shot pretty much summed up what I loved about the city at that time. It was the one day when it didn't rain and the sun warmed Montreal. This part of the city is predominately French speaking and you can feel that all around as you wander around the most interesting part of Montreal.

One of my favorite types of shots to take are these extreme close ups of plants and flowers. This was taken in San Francisco at a botanical garden. With these shots I feel the color and textures are almost tangiable through a two demential shot. With your eyes you can touch the plant, maybe?!

It's been a quiet week thus far, can you tell? I'm hoping to catch a few interesting wine events in the area. Concert wise, I have the Jenny and Johnny/Pavement concert in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Being an outdoors show, I am hoping to muster up enough courage to take a few pictures!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Spoon/Arcade Fire Aug. 4th Madison Square Garden

Spoon, Arcade Fire, and I all have something in common. We first stepped foot into Madison Square Garden for the first time last night! And like me, both bands were in complete awe of where they've been and what they now have become. It's hard to believe that two bands who have made two back to back amazing albums well received by fans and critics alike can still have milestone moments, but here we all are sharing the same magical moment. And it truly was a magical night that began with a boy, a violin, and a loop machine....
Owen Pallett set the night off right. He had me at violin and the loop machine. I'm sure it has a more official name, but I am calling it a loop machine. My understanding is that you program the machine to record a desired length of music into the machine and it will play that part for as long as you'd like it over and over again. You can create as many of these bits as you'd like and build it on top of each other creating a whole song with all the layers. Owen played about a half hour of strings delight and I was pleasantly surprised and happy that I got to see this little musical appetizer. He brought out a buddy to lend drum and guitar support. The latter had technical difficulties and Owen was disappointed that the guitar had failed for what he thought was in front of thousands of people. He must have forgotten where he was because New Yorkers don't go to concerts to see the openers. Even Spoon didn't get all of Madison Square Garden's attention. It's just not hip to see the openers, I guess. Their lose though, because Spoon delivered, big time!
The one thing I can say about Spoon is they turn New York on! I think it's because Spoon IS rock 'n' roll right now. Seriously, everyone but me was making out to Spoon. Britt does have a charming voice and electric persona, often engaging the crowd with finger points to a few lucky audience members. Kicking off the Spoon set with just Britt himself and an acoustic guitar warming everyone up for a great set. Wish I could get my hands on a set list for you all, but alas I can not seem to track one down. Highlight of their set was Gimme Fiction's "I turn My Camera On" and "You got Yr. Cherry Bomb" from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. The latter song was accompanied with a horn section that disappeared and then reappeared throughout the hour long set. Spoon could easily fill this Garden on their own headlining tour and I am sure this time next year, we'll be seeing that.
At this point in the night we check how much time we have for Arcade Fire. The Long Island Rail Road will leave us behind if we aren't out of MSG by 11:42pm. They have 1 hr and 14 minutes. Arcade Fire reveals a screen and their own set of flashing lights that could have come from Radiohead's "Hail to the Thief" tour. The stage comes alive and it takes a moment for all 9 members to get into place. "Ready to Start" seems like the obvious choice and that's how they kick it off! Win leads the crowd in hand claps for the first song of the set and first played from the latest album "Suburban." One thing becomes quiet clear to a new audience member of an Arcade Fire concert. You suddenly become a participant! Check Youtube for any song played at this show and you will hear the crowd singing along. Example taken from the third song "No Cars Go." It's laced with frequent staccato "Hey!" throughout and the every fan out there knew when to come in on it. By the time a sentimental fav "Haiti" was done I thought if for any reason this show had to end, I would still be honored to have witnessed Arcade Fire. Speaking of the song Haiti, every dollar from the tickets sold for the show went to the still ravaged country and other organizations like Doctors without Boundaries were on hand to inform fans of a nation that still needs our attention and help. Back on track, thankfully the show continued with 2 more songs off the new album. "Crown of Love" came on and slow dancing was all abound. A song about unrequited love brings out the romantic in a New York hipster and you could feel it in the air. Can I just say, even on a slow waltzy love song, Arcade Fire pounds it out with electricity! I swear one member's only job is to be Mountain Dew's Amp's human incarnate. He bangs on a drum, yells through a megaphone, and gets to dance around the stage. Now to my personal highlight. Neighborhood #3/Rebellion (Lies) combo. It started off with Win recalling his favorite MSG moment of the Houston Rockets vs. the Knicks. He had the biggest grin on his face as the Knicks fans went from "Boooooo-yaaaaa!" as Neighborhood #3 came in and quickly the fans forgave him. At the end of that song, the craziest crashendo buildup lead into Rebellion (Lies) and rhythmic claps ensued. Chants of "Lies, Lies" from the audience coupled with Arcade Fire at their best, even the cotton candy vendor was rocking out. The show could have ended there for me. I did make it to the see the last song of the set before the LIRR took off. I see today that I missed "Wake Up" as the last song of the encore.
I had pretty large expectations from this show and it delivered above and beyond. The energy was constant and fed the audience making us an equal part of the act. You left wanting more, but pleased to have witnessed what they gave you.
Wish you were there? Youtube is hosting the second night of Spoon/Arcade Fire tonight. Here's a link:
Here's a complete set list from Arcade Fire!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

eels by The Electronic Anthology Project

eels by The Electronic Anthology Project AKA Else
I can't believe I didn't hear about this until now..And I call myself a Built to Spill fan..
This is a sample song from The Electronic Anthology Project (aka Doug and Brett from BTS) remix of songs from Keep it Like a Secret and their most recent album, There is No Enemy. The songs have been given new anagram names, sometimes and an 80's pop spin.
On first listen, I think, "Wow, I could probably get away with playing Built to Spill at work now!" Gone are the polarizing, grinding electric guitars laced with feedback and turned up to 11. You won't find any song over 15 minutes here. Some remixes I can't even really say sound like 80's pop, just synthesized. Although "What if Your Dull(aka I Would Hurt a Fly)" and "Far Path Tall Sign(aka Things Fall Apart) " are pretty spot on for the genre. I'm not too sure why Doug and Brett did this to our beloved songs. I can't really see them being bored, though this leads me to think they had a quiet weekend or two. BTS tours constantly and are on tour now, whether they have an album out recently or not. They were just on Long Island last week at the Crazy Donkey.
This project reminds me of my grandmother's old organ in her living room. I only knew one song on the piano, but it was fun to punch the multi colored buttons to make all sorts of rhythms to this one song. Everything from a waltz beat to good ol' rock and roll. "Mary had a Little Lamb" takes on a whole new meaning when you put a Latin spin to it! This creation feels like the two members were hanging out in the basement and messing around with a keyboard to see what happens to their songs when you push the 80's pop button. Next up, BTS selects the Bossa Nova button and hilarity ensues as they play "Car" and rename it "Arc." Don't take this too seriously and you won't be too disappointed, just don't pay the $10 to download the album either.
Check in again soon as I review my insanely anticipated Spoon/Arcade Fire concert at Madison Square Garden. Arcade Fire's latest "Suburbs" comes out tomorrow and Pitchfork gave it a 8.6 out of 10. 10's being reserved only for Radiohead albums.;) I haven't heard it yet, but I actually look forward to hearing the songs live first before purchasing it. A bit backwards, but to me a great song holds up just as well live as it does on a record. We shall see!