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Archive for the ‘Peter Meehan’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: WÜRST NÜRSE-Hot Hot Hot (2018).

I wanted to find a soundtrack that would go with a book about wurst.  I found this fantastic Australian band with a hilariously appropriate name who also happen to be a band that rails against sexism.

In fact, one of the members of the band is in the fantastic feminist band Camp Cope!

Their story:

In 2016, five nurses with a sick-of-your-shit attitude put down their scalpels to pick up their instruments and Würst Nürse was born!  Würst Nürse are ripping out the stitches of the patriarchy with their dominating & satirical lyrics.  The band consists of Georgia McDonald (Camp Cope) as singing nurse, Anna Stein & Stephanie Butigan as guitar nurses, Morgan Sterley as bass nurse & Abbie Laderman as drummer nurse. Since Würst Nürse’s Fürst Rehürsal they have been administrating sludgey fever-inducing riffs & a power pop energy hot enough to send you into heart block.

This EP has four songs and is 13 minutes long.

It is musically brash with catchy melodies and sing-along choruses.  But its the biting lyrics that are so much fun

Like on “Hot Doctor” which is three chords and a sing along chorus of:
Hot Doctor
Hot Doctor
He’s gonna pay my bills
He’s gonna pay my rent
Hot Doctor
Hot Doctor
Gonna quit my job
Never have to work again

Although the verses are a bit more subversive

I give the wrong meds to get your attention
I want your hot beef injection
Hot Doctor
So, it turns out I didn’t even need that bachelor’s degree anyway
When I saw you walking down the hallway
Oh, Hot Doctor are you coming back to my place?
Your blue scrubs they rub up the right way

“Hot Surgeon” is very different from “Hot Doctor.”  There’s no big chanting chorus, but the lyrics are very different:

I wanna drill into your head
You’re such a hot surgeon
I bet you give great head
I know you’ve got your doctorate
Hot Surgeon
Know your way around a woman
I could help you out in theatre
You could help me put in a catheter
You, me and the Hot Doctor could get it on after hours

Okay maybe not that different.  But it turns out that they are connected:

I wanna get with the hot surgeon
Nobody tell the hot doctor
I don’t wanna ruin my chances

“Hot Brown Rain” is very different from the other “hot” songs because it is a hilariously revolting song about, well, being “number 8 on the Bristol stool chart” [The chart only goes up to 7, ew].  “from your underwear, how did it get in my hair?”  The chorus is surprisingly catching or catchy.

“Dedication Doesn’t Pay The Rent” has big stomping verses and much more pointed lyrics:

Knowledge learnt
Is money spent
And I still owe
The government
And they cut
My pay again
Those suit wearing white men

The chorus is very satisfying too:

No dedication don’t pay the rent
If you cut my pay
I’ll cut your oxygen

Of course I don’t want to see Camp Cope end, but I sure hope Würst Nürse releases more music.

[READ: Summer 2019] The Wurst of Lucky Peach

I really enjoyed Lucky Peach magazine.  It was often exhausting to read them since they were so packed with content (not unlike a sausage).  I was bummed when the magazine folded.  But in addition to several great issues, they also left behind some of these really fun and interesting cookbook-type collections.

This book is more than a series of recipes that I will likely never make or eat.  It is a fun history of the sausage that travels from Europe to the Americas to Australia and beyond.

Chris Ying says he loves sausage.  He says he might be in the world’s best lobster restaurant, but if there’s sausage on the menu that’s what he’s getting.  This book is fill of sausage history, sausage based humor (they tried to limit the number of dirty jokes, but failed often and with gusto). (more…)

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peach13SOUNDTRACK: ULTRA LOUNGE: CHRISTMAS COCKTAILS Hi-Fi Holiday Cheer from Santa’s Pad (1996).

xmastails1Because I am a total hipster, I love these Ultra Lounge collections.  Actually, I don’t think we were called hipsters when these collections first started coming out, but I have loved all of them.  And I especially love these Christmas ones.  Indeed, this may be my favorite Christmas album of all.

I’d say in part it’s because I great up listening to big band and I can totally imagine my parents being into this back in the day.

BILLY MAY-“Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” opens with a crazy yelling of all of the reindeer names.  Then a funny, almost drunken, sounding horn version of the song with weirdly shouted phrases throughout. It really sets the mood.  PEGGY LEE-“Winter Wonderland” is a more familiar and traditional version of the song—it’s delightful although it’s hard to reconcile with that earlier piece.  RAY ANTHONY-“Christmas Trumpets / We Wish You A Very Merry Christmas” is a wonderful sorta cheesey version of “Jingle Bells” and other songs on trumpets.  LOU RAWLS-“Christmas Is” Rawls’ voice, which I don’t love in general works well for this song.  I like the big horns in the middle.  JIMMY McGRIFF-“Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town / White Christmas” this is some fun, easy listening Hammond organ instrumental.  It is 6 minutes of ice rink spectacular.

JULIE LONDON-“I’d Like You For Christmas”  The backing vocalists singing the tune of “Jingle Bells” (but slowly) and then Julie sings a slow romantic song that I’m unfamiliar with. Not my fave—too slow and I don’t care for the backing responders.  AL CAIOLA- “Holiday On Skis” but this is a zippy and fun instrumental on guitar.  KAY STARR-“(Everybody’s Waitin’ For) The Man With The Bag” is a fun silly song and I like this version.  HOLLYRIDGE STRINGS- “Jingle Bells / Jingle Bell Rock” I love this swinging string version that is fun and a little off with the musical runs.  I would like more by the Hollyridge Strings who are known for their easy listening renditions of classic songs.

DEAN MARTN-“I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm” I love this classic version.  EDDIE DUNSTEDTER-“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus/Jingle Bells Bossa Nova” a wonderful ice rink version with a bossanova flair–the best way to hear the first of these two songs (instrumentally).  RAY ANTHONY AND HIS BOOKENDS “Christmas Kisses” wonderfully cheesey and fun song about kisses for Christmas.  I didn’t know this song before this version.  JACKIE GLEASON-“I’ll Be Home For Christmas / Baby, It’s Cold Outside”  The first bit is a somber, pretty instrumental version of the song, it is strangely mingled with a wild whistling version of the second song.  Gleason is wonderfully campy.  NANCY WILSON-“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” Sweet version. I think I like Nancy Wilson a lot more than I realized.  CAPITOL STUDIO ORCHESTRA-“Cha-Cha All The Way”  The best Christmas song ever.

NAT KING COLE-“The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)” I love this song very much and Nat’s version is the best. I’m not exactly sure it belongs on this compilation, but I never don’t want to hear it.  LES BROWN AND HIS BAND OF RENOWN-“The Nutcracker Suite” I love this whole version of various Nutcracker pieces (it’s clear that Brian Setzer used this as the basis for his swinging version). I love the Nutcracker in general but this is so much fun.  FRED WARING-“Ring Those Christmas Bells” This opens with various songs thrown together by a jolly group of carolers. Then a jolly version of “Ring those Christmas Bells” another song I don’t know but which I like a lot.  THE CONTINENTAL-“Violets For Your Furs”  This is a strange “bonus” track in which over soap opera music an accented Lothario comes on to a woman with violets for her furs.  Weird. PEGGY LEE/NAT KING COLE./NANCY WILSON-“Toys For Tots”  weird “toys for tots” refrain, but nice vocals from the trio asking for help with the program (who knew it was that old?).  The final track is JOHNNY MERCER-“Jingle Bells” which is a fun Christmas Card from Capitol Records–I wonder who received this?

[READ: December 26, 2014] “Christmas Story”

After reading enough Lucky Peaches I have learned that chefs are bad-tempered, foul-mouthed individuals, who relish good living and big eating (and drinking).  So it should come as no surprise that Bourdain as a fiction writer lives up to that essence in his stories (vulgarities abound and there’s lots of good food).

This is the story of Ricky, a chef whom the narrator learned from.  Ricky was a lifer in the business, having worked first in the army and then as a line cook and for the past two decades as head chef for a club.

Ricky had a sixth sense–he could look at a crowd and determine what they were going to order before they even knew it.  He would be able to determine that they needed more shrimp or if the crowd was just a simple pigs in blankets bunch just by the way they walked in.

Ricky liked the narrator and so gave him Christmas off this one year–a rarity in any chef job.  The narrator was psyched until his wife said that they should cook and serve Christmas dinner, real traditional-like, to their families.  The narrator said he could do a room of 200 easily but a dinner for 12 freaked him out.

So he asked Ricky’s advice.

And the bulk of the end of the story is Ricky’s suggestion for what to cook (it’s like a huge long recipe).  I appreciated the idea that putting stuffing in a turkey is like a breeding ground for bacteria.  But I really liked his idea that you should cook two turkeys, a big one and small one.  The small one is the stunt turkey.  When it is cooked, you bring out the stunt turkey to the table but you have already carved the larger turkey so that moments later you bring in the bird all carved up and everyone oohs.  But more importantly, with two turkeys you know you will always have enough food.

It worked for the narrator, and would probably work for you, too.

(more…)

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lp11SOUNDTRACK: AMASON-“Älgen” (2014).

amasonI was delighted when I heard this song on NPR because of the unexpectedness of it.  It starts out fairly simply with a fast shuffle drum and swirling guitars.  Then comes in a deep, very synthy sounding keyboard playing a simple and straightforward riff.   All of this instrumental section lasts nearly a minute and a half (of a 4 minute song).  Then the vocals come in.  A very deep (and wholly unexpected) voice sings a few words and is quickly followed up by a female voice singing quicker vocal lines, almost speeding up the song.

Amason is a Swedish band (with members connected to nearly every Swedish alt rock band you’ve ever heard of).  And like a lot of Swedish music, it is super catchy but somehow just a little different, which keeps it interesting.  I want to hear more from them (although when you search them, you have to keep saying, no I am not looking for “Amazon”).

[READ: September 6, 2014] “Lobsters”

Lucky Peach 11 was the “All You Can Eat” Issue. So the issue focused a lot on buffets (don’t feel compelled to get your money’s worth, you’ll only get sick). But there was also some interesting twists about all the things you could eat if you were so inclined.

My favorite article was from Mark Ibold, about Pennsylvania Dutch cooking and the amazing buffets you can find in Lancaster. He recommends the popular but for worth it Dienner’s on Lincoln Highway East (next to a fake revolving windmill!). Lisa Hanawalt’s illustrated stories have also become a favorite. This one is set in Las Vegas, with all that that implies.

There’s a tremendous article on Quebec and the stunning foods of the French Canadians, and a very funny article called “Decision Fatigue Related Eating” how as you get tired your food choices suffer as well (WINGS Fri-DAAAAY!”). There’s a lengthy article about crashing weddings in the country of Georgia (where you will likely be invited to a wedding even if it’s your first day there).

There’s several recipes with the main ingredient of celery. Peter Meehan opens with a very funny set up “There are things one can never seem to buy in appropriate quantities at the grocery store…. Celery’s natural packaging comes in one size: more than you can eat…. It’s cheap and it last forever so you buy a whole head…. be honest: isn’t there always a nearly complete head of celery heading toward middle age in the crisper?” This is followed by some possibly good celery recipes. (more…)

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lp8.1SOUNDTRACK: TYPHOON-“Dreams of Cannibalism” (2013).

typhoonNPR was steaming this album for a while.  Now they’re giving away this song.

Typhoon is yet another band that has a crazy amount of people in it (between 12 and fourteen) and they have a vast array of instruments in play at any one time (Horns, violins, xylophones, electric guitars and mandolins for example).

At the same time, Singer Kyle Morton’s vocals are distinctive enough and are used like an instrument as well as to deliver lyrics.  This gives them quite a unique sound.

The song opens with an array of horns slowly building to a simple guitar melody.  The verses are somewhat quiet with occasional punctuations of band (and great backing vocals).  But as the song progresses, more instruments kick in (horns adding a melody line).  I really like the way the end of the song shifts direction totally, bringing in a complex instrumental section with interesting time shifts and even better backing vocals..

I enjoyed the whole album while it was streaming.  And while I can’t say that this song stands out more than the other songs, (I think “Artificial Light” is probably the best,) it represents the sound of the band pretty well.

[READ: September 2013] Lucky Peach Issue 8

I haven’t been reviewing Lucky Peach issues in their entirety because they are mostly about food and cooking and recipes and I don’t really have anything to say about that (I enjoy the articles a lot, but I don’t need to comment on them).

But I wanted to bring special attention to this issue because of the way it is presented.  This is the Gender Issue.  It has two covers (see the “female” cover tomorrow) and the magazine must be flipped over to read the different genders.

It’s not often that I think of food and gender as being connected, but there are some really interesting articles in here that talk about not only food itself, but about the people who prepare it.  Like the fact that most big name chefs are men even though cooking has traditionally been “women’s work.”

The women’s side of the magazine has these interesting articles: (more…)

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38SOUNDTRACK: SAN FERMIN-“Crueler Kind” (2013).
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This was the final song that NPR played in their summer new music collection.  It was a band that Bob didn’t know, but he liked the song and then saw them live and put the song here.

It opens very simply, quietly with beautiful harmonies over a simple synth.  After about 45 seconds, the drums and horns (!) kick in and the backing harmony vocals take on more of a choral sound (AHHHH!) that punctuates rather than accompanies the vocals.

The main riff stems from that horn—a bass saxophone?  And yet during the verses, everything resorts to that pretty, mellow sound.

It’s a very interesting mix of musics, and it reminds me of some of the more experimental bands of the 1990s.  I’ll bet they would be fun to see live.  And I’d like to hear more from this album.

[READ: June 20, 2013] McSweeney’s #38

And with this book, I have now read all of the McSweeney’s issues (except that Mammoth Treasury which I will get to, probably by the end of the year).  This one was a great collection of fiction and non-fiction, it also had an inserted comic.  The book itself was paperback, with a nice, textured cover and a cool design for the numbers. In looking for a picture I learned that it came in two colors (the yellow that I received and a black cover with white lines).

It continues with the later issues’ less frivolous style (in that there’s nothing weird about the book) and throughout, the quality of the work is great.  I really enjoyed this book.  It opens with letters and contains color pictures, too.

Letters (more…)

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