Sunday, May 14, 2017

Shrimp Pasta Recipe

8 ounces fettuccine 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided 4 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 2 cups baby arugula 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves lemon juice

substitute any kind of pasta substitute garlic for garlic salt substitute oregano for dill weed substitute red pepper flakes for regular pepper don't need arugula use 1/2 cup of parmesan instead of 1/4 cup don't need parsley ADD LEMON JUICE

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well. Season shrimp with salt and pepper, to taste; set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until pink, about 2-3 minutes; set aside. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in the skillet. Stir in pasta, arugula and Parmesan until arugula begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Splash in lemon juice to taste. Stir in shrimp. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Salmon Recipe

I'm putting this here so I have a place to save my recipe in my recipes bookmark folder. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put salmon steak in cinnamon roll tin. Add salt n pepper. Melt half stick of butter and drizzle over salmon. Take 1 clementine and place the pieces on top of salmon. Cook in oven for 14 mins. Don't need to flip.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ten Reasons Why Magical Mystery Tour is the Best Beatles Album (and How Anyone Who Says Otherwise is Wrong)

1) Listen to that first song. This isn’t just some random number or a silly little introduction to the concert you’re about to see. This is a DECLARATION! COME ONE! COME ALL! STEP RIGHT THIS WAY! ROLL UP FOR THE MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR! This is easily their greatest album opener ever. It’s so declarative. It makes you go, “Whatever they’re selling, I want it.” It pulls you in from the beginning, which is exactly what an album opener should do. All Revolver’s got is a song about taxes. What exactly is so appealing about taxes? See? You’ve lost me already.

2) There are no bad songs on this album. Not a one. Now I know what you’re saying. You’re saying, “Oh, come on! The White Album and Abbey Road have better songs!” Maybe. But you know what else they have? Bad songs. Think about it. Everyone has at least one song they always skip on the White Album. Same goes for Abbey Road, only in that case it’s either “Oh! Darling” or “Octopus’s Garden.” Magical Mystery Tour has none of those. You will listen to this album straight through every single time and enjoy every minute of it.

3) When it comes to drummers, Ringo is pretty much as average as they come. He could keep a steady beat, sure, but he’s the only famous drummer I can think of that actually REGRESSED over time. But this album? I wouldn’t dare call his drumming bad on this album. In fact, I’d say it’s pretty good. He gets some nice jazz beats going and keeps it all interesting throughout. However, “Tomorrow Never Knows” remains his best drum beat, like, ever.

4) “Blue Jay Way” is George Harrison’s best song. There. I said it. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps?” “Something?” Too bluesy. Too melodramatic. But “Blue Jay Way?” That song is ahead of its time. He used experimental effects that you still barely ever see in modern music. Just listen to that echoing chorus played in reverse in the background, or how about that constant changing of the pitch of the drums toward the end? Psychedelic, man.

5) I buried Paul. Rotate the picture in the booklet 90 degrees, and you’ll see the skull. Call 537-1438 to get closer to the truth.

6) To me, this album symbolizes when the Beatles were most “together.” I dunno about you, but I typically remember each album post-Sgt. Pepper as having some kind of problem internally in the group, like the controversy over whether or not Paul rerecorded Ringo’s parts himself or George’s bitterness on the Let It Be album over his playing being almost completely controlled by the rest of the band (mainly Paul). This album was an afterthought soundtrack for their pet project of a movie. They collaborated and worked together evenly because they legitimately wanted to make something great together. Incidentally, the track “Flying” is pretty much the only track of theirs to give equal singing time to each member.

7) My grandma (my GRANDMA) absolutely loves “Your Mother Should Know.” It’s a callback to the songs of old that she’s always held dear. Do you know what song comes right after “Your Mother Should Know?” It’s “I Am Walrus.” I don’t think my grandmother knows this, but I find it hilarious that one of the most recognizably bizarre songs ever written that “totally made sense” to every hippy at Woodstock is preceded by a song that appeals to the previous, older generation of people complaining about and yelling at those very same hippies at Woodstock.

8) It’s said that Paul and John had very distinct lyrical styles, probably best exemplified by the band’s previous album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. On “Getting Better,” as Paul chants the optimistic, life-affirming chorus of admitting that everything is getting better, John manages to sneak in with his much more pessimistic viewpoint of “It can’t get no worse.” It’s such a small, subtle line, but it can completely change the meaning of the song depending on how you look at it. Or how about “A Day in the Life?” The whole thing is this sad, loathing piece written by John, but right in the middle Paul manages to inject this short piano ditty that one can’t help but bounce right along to. Anyway, getting to the point, I believe this is a very large reason as to why the Beatles were/are so huge. So on this album, when we start side B (which begins with "Hello Goodbye") we're given a catchy upbeat song by Paul. That in turn switches to the more mellow "Strawberry Fields" number by John. Then back to another upbeat Paul song with "Penny Lane," and back to a bitter track about losing money on "Baby You're A Rich Man" before the final song. It’s those opposing viewpoints that always manage to come together so beautifully time and time again that makes for some of the most memorable music ever.

9) The final track, “All You Need is Love,” encapsulates the entirety of the band’s philosophy of life, the universe, and everything and compresses it into a catchy three minutes and forty-seven seconds. What more could you ask for?

10) I don’t actually have a tenth reason, but I think you’ll agree that 10 sounds much more appealing than the number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9…

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Instrumental Recommendations

A friend asked for instrumental recommendations. I went through my entire library and gave him a list. Since it took a while, and I don't just want to throw it away, I may as well post it here.

Andy Summers - World Gone Strange (world music)

Thomas Newman - American Beauty soundtrack (the vibraphone on this soundtrack is amazing)

Apparat - Walls (you know this)

The Avalanches - Since I Left You (comprised almost entirely of audio samples)

Avishai Cohen - Continuo (good modern jazz)

Avishai Cohen - Aurora (same)

The Bad Plus - These Are The Vistas (jazz band typically known for their covers of famous rock songs)

Balmorhea - River Arms (beautiful ambient stuff)

Balmorhea - Balmorhea (same)

Balmorhea - All Is Wild, All Is Silent (same)

Boards of Canada - all of their albums (some of the best electronic music ever made)

Bohren & Der Club of Gore - Black Earth (It's not what it sounds like, it's basically film noir jazz)

Bonobo - Days to Come (awesome ambient album)

Brad Barr - The Fall Apartment (this is the greatest guitarist alive)

Nathan Johnson - Brick Soundtrack (dem handbells)

Broken Social Scene - Feel Good Lost (their debut album is pretty different from the rest of their stuff)

Collections of Colonies of Bees - Hospital (really experimental post-rock)

Conelrad - Function Creep (experimental ambient)

Conelrad - Sure Is the Risk Safe (experimental ambient)

Do Make Say Think - Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn (classic post-rock)

Ed Alleyne Johnson - Ultraviolt (electric violinist)

El Ten Eleven - El Ten Eleven (basic post-rock)

El Ten Eleven - Every Direction Is North (basic post-rock)

Emancipator - Soon It Will Be Cold Enough (some of the greatest ambient music ever made)

Emancipator - Safe In the Steep Cliffs (some of the greatest ambient music ever made)

Foxhole - Push/Pull (amazing post-rock)

Helios - Eingya (one of the greatest ambient albums ever recorded)

Hoven Droven - Grov (irish instrumental fast folk/rock)

Jaga Jazzist - all of their albums (some of the greatest modern experimental jazz ever made)

Jazz Mandolin Project - Xenoblast (jazz...but with a mandolin)

Jazz Mandolin Project - Jungle Blast (same)

Jean Michel Jarre - Images (french guy who made highly influential experimental electronic music in the late 80s/90s)

Jean Baudin - Solace (composed entirely of a man playing an 11-string bass, I can't even describe the sounds he makes, you have to hear it to believe it)

Kashiwa Daisuke (experimental classic piano with ambient electronic elements)

KC Accidental - Anthems for Could've Been Pills/Captured Anthems for an Empty Bathtub (back when Broken Social Scene made ambient instrumental music)

Los Straightjackets - Supersonic Guitars in 3D (essentially the beach boys without vocals)

The Mercury Program - Confines of Heat (ambient)

Mouse on the Keys - An Anxious Object (really good modern jazz)

Pele - Enemies (experimental)

Plants and Animals - Plants and Animals (instrumental folk)

Saltillo - Ganglion (mixes electronic and classical with audio samples)

Saxon Shore - Four Months of Darkness (really good post-rock)

Saxon Shore - The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore (really good post-rock)

Six Parts Seven - Casually Smashed to Pieces (similar to El Ten Eleven)

The Slip - Alivelectric (my favorite instrumental album of all time)

Tin Hat Trio - The Sad Machinery of Spring (modern jazz)

Tortoise - TNT (classic post-rock)

A Troop of Echoes - Days in Automation (jazz post-rock)

Tunturia - Maps (ambient post-rock)

Two Lone Swordsmen - Stay Down (this is the definitive soundtrack for being underwater)

Unwed Sailor - Little Wars (indie rock without the vocals basically)

Volta Do Mar - 03>98 (greatest math rock album ever recorded)

Wax Tailor - Tales of the Forgotten Melodies (trip hop with audio samples)

Yndi Halda - Enjoy Eternal Bliss (probably my favorite post-rock album)

Bull of Heaven (drone, they make some of the longest music ever made, I have one track that's 24 hours but they have longer ones (one is over a week long))

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Comedic Interpretation of Radiohead's "OK Computer"

When people think “Radiohead,” what is always the first thing that immediately comes to everyone’s mind? That’s right, Thom Yorke’s lazy eye. I mean, seriously, what is up with that thing? It is, far and away, the single characteristic of Radiohead that sets them apart from all other bands. When you’re listening to “Creep” or “Fake Plastic Trees,” you can’t help but think about the hidden connotations to this very feature as Thom sullenly pulls the audience in to his ever-present plight. It’s no wonder Thom is the most famous of the bunch.

But don’t let this feature bring you down. On the contrary, the band uses it to their advantage. Thom’s left eye is, in essence, the very same as Freddie Mercury’s buckteeth. Both draw so much attention and aid in their music that “fixing” them would have only hindered their progress.

Some fans argue their seminal album "OK Computer" is actually a concept album with a full, continuous story ala David Bowie’s "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust" or Pink Floyd’s "The Wall," to which Radiohead replied it was all completely unintentional. Riiiiight. Look, if you made an album that was that popular, would you come out to the world and proclaim that the entire thing was dedicated to that eye that has given you the secret inspiration you needed to write such beautifully unsophisticated melancholy lyrics? I didn’t think so. Let's take a closer look. The following is something I just made up for fun and is entirely factual in every way.

“Airbag” – The droning guitar sweeps in out of nowhere as the “fast German car” crashes into a “jackknifed juggernaut” of a truck. Sleigh bells appear as the ash from the car fire drifts down like snow over the dazed victim. He is rushed to the hospital, as onlookers…look on. They, as is he, are amazed that he survived.

“Paranoid Android” – The doctor begins the operation, causing a loud stir. Just before the car crash victim (who I will from now on refer to as Thom) finally falls asleep from the anesthetic, he wishes the whirring of the strange operating machines would stop as he becomes more and more drowsy. After the operation, one of the egotistic surgeons checks in on him. He was able to fix most of his body save for one minor detail. Holding up a mirror, the surgeon reveals to Thom his new face.

“What’s this?! What’s this?!” he exclaims, aghast at the image in the mirror. It appears the ambitious surgeon, trying to set a new record for the speediest skin-repair operation, has caused Thom’s eye to become misaligned. Being the bad guy archetype he is, the doctor proceeds to act as if nothing is wrong, handing Thom an expensive bill without ever even saying his name.

“You don’t remember…You don’t remember! WHY DON’T YOU REMEMBER MY NAME?!” Thom angrily shouts at the surgeon, who then points at the top of the bill Thom must now pay which reads THOM YORKE.

“I guess he does…”

Frustrated about this encounter and without enough money to pay for the operation, Thom proceeds to the roof of the hospital building. It begins to rain as he steps up to the edge. Just before taking his final, fateful step off, he hears a preacher through the open window in the room directly below talking to a dying cancer patient.

“God loves his children.”

Just hearing this is enough for Thom to take a step back and come down from the roof.

“Subterranean Homesick Alien” – It is the start of a new day for Thom and the first day of the rest of his life! With a newfound optimism toward the upcoming summer weather, he leaves the hospital and walks back home. Keeping his head down in deep thought, watching the cracks in the pavement as they go by his feet, Thom realizes something. This newborn hopefulness is making him see the world in an entirely different way, all thanks to his changed eye. His imagination runs wild as he pretends to see aliens and angels up in the sky on his walk, to which his “friends” (i.e. – people walking by) “never believe him.” To Thom, they’re all just too uptight.

“Exit Music (For a Film)” –This song was made for a movie and has nothing to do with this album.

“Let Down” – Thom decides to leave this small, bland town and head to The Big City. He takes many different modes of transportation to get there and feels as insignificant as a bug by all the crowds pushing him along this way and that.

“Karma Police” – After finally getting to The Big City, Thom begins preaching about the things your imagination can do if you only look up at the beautiful sky. The Big City people, too busy to be bothered with such drivel, continue on, ignoring what would appear to be yet another crazy bum getting in their way. One businessman bumps into Thom and accuses him of attacking him. The Karma Police arrive and, choosing to believe the businessman’s story over the crazy bum’s, proceed to arrest poor Thom and his mystical eye that no one understands.

“Fitter, Happier”
– Arriving in his cell at The Big City’s Panic Office for the Deranged (POD), Thom is disturbed, annoyed by, and eventually grows weary of the message being played over the loudspeakers 24/7 to keep the prisoners in check. Finally, he can’t take it and comes up with a scheme to bust out. With the help of his trusty eye that sees cracks in the walls which would normally be missed by the average eye, Thom eventually escapes after digging through the walls enough with a spork. As he runs off into the darkness, he can faintly hear the beginning of something over the annoying loudspeaker from POD before distance causes the message to fade.

“This is the Panic Office, section nine-seventeen may have been hit. Activate the following procedure…”

– Back in The Big City, Thom finds himself at a loss. With the Karma Police out looking for him, he’s now stuck in hiding until all of this blows over. He decides it’s safe enough to sleep on a park bench for the time being and dozes off for the night. Suddenly, he wakes up with a start as a man shouts through a megaphone to a crowd of people. It’s someone running for office! Thom grows bored of watching and goes back to sleep.

(Note: Radiohead have always felt this track never really fit in with the rest of the album. Looking at it story-wise, I have to agree.)

“Climbing Up the Walls” – This is one of those dream sequences that all psychedelic concept albums have. Thom, afraid for his life and asleep on a park bench, dreams of sleeping comfortably back at home until the Karma Police break in, beat him, and take him away.

“No Surprises” – Waking up from the nightmare, Thom realizes it was all just a dream and there are no surprises awaiting him once he can get back home, as the Karma Police cannot leave The Big City limits. If only he can get back home without being caught along the way…

“Lucky” – In a fit of despair, Thom thinks back to what got him in this mess. Remembering the speech and the eye that saved his life, he finds himself renewed with confidence. He meets a pilot named Sarah at a bar and tells her his story thus far. She feels sorry for Thom (especially after seeing his eye) and agrees to fly him back home. Later, as her plane begins to take off, the head of the state Karma Police arrives with a squad at the airstrip and shouts after them. They ignore them and proceed to take off, causing the squad to open fire. One of the engines gets shot and Sarah is forced to crash the plane into the sea a few miles away from Thom’s town. Sarah escapes, but Thom is trapped in the wreckage. She decides to sacrifice her own life to save his.

“The Tourist” – Thom swims to shore and proceeds to tell all of the boring people in his town of his adventure, but they find it too fast-paced and struggle to relate. Years later, Thom grows weary of the boring town and seeks to regain his optimism and confidence by reliving his adventure. He hops into his fast new German car and begins speeding down the interstate…

This, of course, leads to that whole looping thing Pink Floyd would always do with their concept albums. You know what I’m talking about, with the whole “Isn’t this where…we came in?” thing.

Seriously, what is up with his eye?!

Monday, October 11, 2010

ICP: And God Created Controversy

I don't normally post my opinions on this blog, preferring to keep it more as a resume of music interviews, but a friend recently sent me this article and I felt a need to write about it.

Let's just get the elephant out of the room, shall we? This is about Insane Clown Posse, a joke of a rap duo that has become an even bigger joke to the world with the release of their song "Miracles." Now as I read this, I couldn't help but laugh throughout.

I didn't really know how to respond to my friend about it. See, I only had a few minutes left before my next class and had to type to him with a phone. I was going to first respond with "This must be a joke," followed by quoting the fuck out of it with some of the funniest lines. No interviewer could be that into ICP writing for The Guardian. Then it got so ridiculous that I was going to respond with different emote faces because words failed me.

But then...

Then I got to the end. The part with the depression. Suddenly, I, I just don't know. This duo is considered the worst in the world, and now they know it. From multiple sources. And they still keep going for their fans. They're complete dingbats who don't know right from left, but they still have that urge to be "deep," and they struggle with all their might to do so. They're both suffering from anxiety attacks, and yet they still do upbeat shows for their fans.

The world hates Insane Clown Posse. The entire world. We hate them because they're stupid, but they never wanted to be this stupid. We pick on them for struggling to find the magic in mundane things. To them, it really is a miracle. They are children in adult bodies, and the world hates them for that. Suddenly, I have an ounce of respect for these two...whatever they are.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Gabe Lehner (Inspired Flight) Interview

If you haven't checked out Inspired Flight already, you'd be a fool not to do so now. Blending everything from rap to atmospheric guitar melodies seamlessly, this duo brings a whole new game to the table with their debut album We All Want to Fly. I managed to get a hold of Gabe Lehner, who comprises half of the duo, and got a solid interview out of him. Be sure to do the band a favor and check out their music over here.

So how did the two of you initially meet and form a music duo? Is there any kind of back story to the name “Inspired Flight”?

A few years back I wanted to make an electronica album for the first time so I teamed up with my vocalist friend Ashley Mazanec, and we made a whole album under the name Mechanical Cats. The album is called Chemical Obsession. When the album was nearly complete I felt that it needed some turntable scratching on a few songs, but I didn't know any DJs at the time. I called around to people I barely knew and got numbers of people I didn't know. After making a few calls I was ultimately directed to this guy named Eric Poline who was supposed to be really good at scratching. I called him up even though he had no idea who I was, told him about the project, and met up with him soon after and paid him as a work-for-hire to do scratching on the album. We found we had lots in common as for music taste, and ultimately we ended up trying to collaborate with each other, which turned into Inspired Flight, and Ashley Mazanec not only sings on our iF album a lot, but also is playing live with us now too.

I’ll be honest. When I initially started following you guys as you released tracks here and there before the big release of We All Want to Fly, I assumed the album would stay relatively low-key, but from what I’ve been seeing the album has really been taking off with critics everywhere. What’s been your reaction to the album and your duo’s sudden jolt in popularity?

Our reaction to the response we are getting is that we're livid! Just kidding... We feel so blessed, and couldn't be happier about the reaction so far. We put a crazy amount of energy and time into making We All Want To Fly, and it's something I am so, so proud of. I always felt that we were making a different, special album, and I hoped the reaction from critics would be what it has been, but to actually have it be so positive is kind of a trip. I am very grateful, and it feels really good.

The album itself took around three years to make. What was the songwriting process typically like? Was it mostly nonstop or were there a lot of breaks in between? Did you make the album one song at a time or were they all outlined fairly early?

The album actually took like two years to make. We have been a group for three years and the entire first year was us practicing in my room just trying to figure out how to even program MIDI controllers in a way that made sense and memorize how to perform live. Our first show wasn't till after a year of practice. We did creating in that first year, but pretty much the entire album came after that first year. We never set out to make an album, rather we kept starting songs and eventually realized we needed to put out an album, so then we had to start thinking about which songs to finish and put together to be a cohesive album experience. We are constantly writing/starting new songs, but the way we do it almost always comes from us jamming, or one of us starting with an idea and trying to make it a really cool, vibey piece of music. Then, as it comes together as an instrumental, I am very drawn to sing over it and come up with melody ideas for vocals because that's my nature. Next thing you know there is a song. We never write a whole song on a guitar with singing and stuff, and then record/produce it. It's been music first, then I write something over it, for this first album. Although some new stuff we're working on will be done the other way.

Your songs feature guest artists from plenty of big acts including members from the Wu-Tang Clan and Living Legends. How did you manage to get them all on your record?

We actually got Eligh involved first by hitting him up on myspace! He wrote us back, really liked our music, and was down to get involved. This led to a really good relationship with each other, and I ended up writing and doing vocal parts for his new upcoming album, and in turn he did a second song for the album. Getting Scarub was easy when we already became friends with Eligh. As for the Wu connection, we played an after-party at a friend's house in the Hollywood hills one was a super random party for us to even be at. Rugged Monk and the whole Black Knights crew ended up showing there, and they were drawn to our music set up. Rugged Monk ended up freestyling with some other dudes for about an hour straight right in front of our table, and we made the connection that night. Months later we reached out to him about rapping on our album and he was down. Once I had built a really good relationship with him I was able to reach out to Wu-Tang through him, and we actually got Inspectah Deck on our album, which still trips me out!

So did these guest artists write their own parts or did you guys write everything?

The guest MC's entirely wrote everything they do. We gave them a hint of direction for what our song was about, and they each ran with that, did their own thing, and killed it.

Since you can’t get everybody who recorded with you to go to every show on your tour, how do you typically fill in for their parts?

We have their acapellas bounced down and Eric throws them over the beat via his turntables.

Now I know you’re still in the middle of your first tour, but are there any show or on-the-road stories worth sharing yet?

Something really funny happened in Portland I thought. At one point in between songs we mentioned that we were from San Diego, and some random guy from the crowd shouts, "Ken Caminiti!" who was a baseball player for the Padres years ago, and also died years ago from doing drugs. It was so random. That, and playing an epic house party in Big Sur, come to mind off the bat.

So picture yourself with a couple of big, framed platinum records. Like, in your basement. Next to the couch full of money. No, the other one. What goals would you pursue if money was in your fridge and between your toes?

If money was not an issue at all, and there was plenty of it, we would be pursuing the same goals we are now. It would be all about making more music, putting together a better live show, getting more famous features, having awesome people do remixes of us, and nurturing our Create Fate record label. The money would make all of that way easier to do much sooner!

I know it’s still a little early to be asking, but are there any plans for future music yet?

There are lots of plans for future music. We are soon to release a new single and follow that up shortly with a remix/mash-up we did that I am crazy stoked off of and super proud of. It combines all my favorite indie rock stuff, and I think it will be very well received. We also have a number of newer songs we're already thinking about using for an upcoming EP and even our second album. Inspired Flight will always be putting out music!

Alright, last (and most important) question: cake or pie? Choose wisely.

Pie. Totally pie. My dad has baked homemade pies my whole life since I can remember, and they rule the universe, and I too make pies now, and my final answer is pie. But I love cake!