Friday, April 25, 2008

Come to this show!!!

April and I both whole-heartedly support this event!

Come check out the first show at the Youth Culture and Arts Center's new space on the downtown square in Murfreesboro! It's at 25 North Public Square this Sat at 8pm sharp.

The Youth Culture & Arts Center Presents:

Turncoats- cultivators of world's largest sideburns
Rock Paper Scissors- past Southern Girls Rock & Roll Camp-ers who love lawn gnomes (and unicorns!)
Kelly Kerr & The Distractions- the dude that used to work at Video Culture!

Saturday, April 26, 2008
Tall Grass, 25 N Public Sq, Murfreesboro
8pm, $5, ALL-AGES

The Nashville Scene wrote this about the event.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The New Pornographers/ Okkervil River @ Cannery Ballroom (with guest blogger Manley)- 4/18/08

I'm gonna skip the Okkervil River review. I ditto what Manley has to say below.

On to the main event...

I've seen the New Pornographers twice before and enjoyed every single second of it. The New Pornographers have been hyped as a super group for years because of the members' involvement in numerous other projects (Destroyer, Neko Case solo, AC Newman, Immaculate Machine, Fancy, Zumpano...). Dan Bejar and Neko Case were absent from the line-up in Nashville but the remaining members still managed to put on an enjoyable show. I was surprised that they played certain songs that prominently featured the absent members though. My jaw dropped when they invited the front man from Okkervil River to perform the Dan Bejar penned "Myriad Harbor". It was kinda like when I saw REM a few years ago and Pete Yorn replaced Patti Smith on "E-Bow the Letter". It just wasn't right to me. But hey, what do I know? Everyone there ate it up and was singing along like it was the best song of the night. On the positive side, I really enjoyed most of the selections played that spanned all four albums. For the encore, they did an excellent cover of the ELO favorite "Don't Bring Me Down" (available for download as a track off of their live album on iTunes). I also thought Katherine Calder did a good job filling Neko Case's shoes for the night. Her voice is not as powerful or distinct as Neko's but she held her own while trading parts with Carl Newman. All is all an excellent way to spend a rainy Friday night in Nashville. -Nicole

Most people agree that Bright Eyes sucks now. Sure, Conor Oberst’s sprawling, doom-laden, hyper-literate lyrics are still present, as are his songs with seemingly unrelated verses loosely tied to a theme of doubt, change, or end times, but gone is the drunken fervor and urgent musicianship that made Lifted… so believable. Last night, Okkervil River succumbed to the same fate. Perhaps, had I been able to hear Will Sheff’s similarly verbose lyrics over the Cannery Ballroom’s lackluster sound, I may have found the voice of a new poet laureate of indie rock. Instead, I saw a guy with lots of bangs over-emoting to songs composed around G, C, and D. The musicianship of the band just was not urgent or passionate enough to make up for Sheff’s squeals and honks. To be honest, I have only truly listened to his second record, Down the River of Golden Dreams, so I was not familiar with many of the songs he played last night. However, I saw on stage what I experienced when listening to the record – I was stunned the first time I listened, but upon third or fourth listen I found myself tuning out his somewhat pubescent vocal cracks and shrieks and trying to decipher the lyrics to see what he’s talking about. There were a few great moments at the show, at the beginning of the set, but they were few and far between. But, as I like to end everything on a positive note, I gotta give props to a backing band of bald dudes that want to rock without following any superficial trends. To a husky rocker like myself, they looked pretty cool and genuine. Rating: 2 out of 5 salty snaxxx.

Though the night started off slowly, at least musically, it ended with a bang. The New Pornographers rocked it. I must say I had high expectations when I saw their gear – Peavy Bass, Gibson Explorer, Guild Les Paul style, Nordlead synth, 2 macbooks, and Orange, Matchless, and Ampeg amps. Nice. This would certainly put the power in power pop. Like my experience with Okkervil River, I was only familiar with a couple of NP records, but in this case my inexperience was not a hindrance. NP were energetic, exciting, and fun. I really got into the second half of their set, which included “Sing Me Spanish Techno,” “Bleeding Heart Show,” “Don’t Bring Me Down,” (a bitchin’ cover indeed,) “The Laws Have Changed,” “The Jessica Numbers,” and my personal favorite tune of the night, the title track off their new album, “Challengers.” They really brought the thunder with their set list, and essentially played only high-energy numbers that would keep a moderate fan like myself entertained and boppin’ along. I must say, NP’s secret weapon is their drummer, a slightly-tipsy Andy Serkis look-alike whose arsenal of big-rock drum moves and “Are you ready to rock?” (he really said that!) count-offs made for big fun. Some of his favorite moves with the stixxx were the finger twirl, the toss-and-catch, the bite-the-spoon, the play-with-one-hand-while-grabbing-a-Corona, and the pop-the-top-off-the-Corona-with-the-stick-while-playing-a-4x4-beat. His antics livened up the more stiff performances of the other people in the band that no one knows their names. Unfortunately, Neko was not present, but their performance did not really suffer for it. AC Newman’s beard made up for it. I truly enjoyed myself and plan to purchase Challengers today at Grimey’s record sale. Rating: 4 out of 5 salty snaxxx.- Manley

*All photos courtesy of Jenny at J Anne Photography*

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Raconteurs @ Cannery Ballroom, 4/15/08

When considering whether or not I wanted to buy tickets for last night's Raconteurs show, there were many factors that I took into consideration:
1. Tickets are $20. In grown up world, this is an extremely fair price. But in college student world, that's twenty whole dollars that I could spend on something like gas or food or a haircut at Fantastic Sam's.

2. I've seen them before. I saw their show at City Hall during their first tour. It was pretty great, but do I really need to see them again?

3. I never really have fun at shows held in Mercy Lounge (the show was later moved to the Cannery, but still...).

4. Even getting tickets is going to be a fiasco. Ew. I don't want to deal with that.

5. Going to shows on weeknights is the pits.

But then I remembered that one Mr. Jack White is quite possibly the most perfect specimen of maleness to exist on this planet. Next thing I know I'm entering my Visa number on the Raconteur's website.

The Magic Wands opened. Despite the mysterious disappearance of all things Slack-related on the internet, Nashvillians will recognize that the two aforementioned bands' frontmen are one in the same. The Magic Wand's set was very short, which was probably a smart move on their part. It was a lot of "teenage"-this and "sex me up"-that. But using stuffed tigers and projection screens as props didn't hide the fact that they played the same song 4 times in a row. Another Magic Wands show? This girls says "no thanks."

The Raconteurs portion of the evening was pretty kickass. I'm going to have a hard time giving you specifics on their set because being in the presence of Jack White reduces my maturity level to that of a tweenie princess. But, by golly, I will try my darnedest. My feelings on the Raconteurs are this: They are a good rock band. They play pretty good rock songs and they play them really well. Honestly, if Jack White weren't in the band then I probably wouldn't have given them the time of day. But I'm glad that I did. "Broken Boy Soldiers" had a handful of really good songs on it. And "Consolers of the Lonely" shows growth.
Any problem that I have with the band, and the show for that matter, stems from the fact that Brendan Benson is a complete booger. Seriously. Any song that I dislike is sure to be a Benson-heavy one. Regardless, the show was still great. Jack was in top form. He warbled in screeched his way into my heart as if he had no clue that he already had a place there. I'm fairly certain that his soulful performance of "Blue Veins" made the loins of everyone (that's right, everyone) in the room quiver with desire. The highlight of the night for me, however, was "Carolina Drama," which is totally the "Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" for hipsters. It brought the house down. I had to resist the temptation to "raise the roof." All in all, I'd say their mediocre-good songs on CD translated to an outstanding live show. It was the best non-Fantastic Sam's $20 that I've spent in a long time.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Get Baked! Vol. 1 - Lassies with Tassies

There are a plethora of ways to deal with life's many stresses. Some people throw on their fanciest sweatband and shoot some mad hoops. Some whip out their MasterCard and hit up QVC. Others smoke crack. I like to bake delicious treats for my family and friends. So I decided to start this feature, uncleverly titled "Get Baked!", on Eat to the Beat. In it you will hear about my many baking adventures and misadventures. It will often feature other rockin' renegade bakers (a.k.a. "my friends") and their righteous recipes. So sit back and enjoy the first edition. Baking is totally the new yoga.

My adorable and bake-savvy friend Lauren (pictured with her giant chocolate zucchini cupcake), aware of my propensity to social baking, graciously invited me over to do just that. Her Alice in Wonderland-esque confection was delicious. The cake was moist and dense (in the most delicious of ways). Even after a small snafu with the icing dispenser, Lauren was able to come up with a brilliant design (one that makes me want to high five every cupcake I see from now on). Even though chocolate is usually my least favorite cake flavor, I plan on trying out the recipe for myself ASAP.

I browsed through many a cookbook in search of the perfect recipe. I wanted something that I'd never tried before, but also something that was inexpensive to accomplish. I finally decided on a recipe from my Favorite Recipes of Methodist Women: Desserts cookbook that I acquired at a yardsale just last summer. I must admit that settled on this particular sweet due mostly to its funny name: Teatime Tassies. These are basically just tiny pecan pie tarts, but they were pretty delicious. The instructions were simple and it was fun to make. I made some with little tops on them just because I had some extra dough (we lovingly called them "sassies"), but the taste of the tassie was unaffected. Make sure to grease your mini-muffin tin well, because these little buggers would be difficult to get out otherwise. Enjoy!
Teatime Tassies

Dough Ingredients:

1 3 oz package of cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sifted all purpose flour


2 tbsp. butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces

Let cheese and butter soften at room temperature. Blend well; stir in the flour. Shape into 1 inch balls and press into bottoms and sides of muffin tins.

Beat all of the filling ingredients EXCEPT PECANS until smooth. Sprinkle half of pecans in the pastry cups. Add the filling mixture and then the remainder of the pecans.

Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Yields 30 tarts.
(Recipe originally from Mrs. Clifford G. Cutlip, Pres. of the first Methodist Church in Richwood, West Virginia)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Noppakao Thai-Murfreesboro, TN

First of all, I should mention that I am by no means a connoisseur of Thai food. I like it fine. I eat it sometimes with my friends. I usually end up picking the wrong thing, which is probably why Thai food has never been one of my go-to's as far as restaurant-choosing goes. Despite my entree selection curse, I enjoy eating at this fine establishment.

I started with the Thai tea, which I had always wanted to try but never had. It's a sweetened tea blend (black tea, I assume) topped with evaporated milk. Very rich, but very tasty. It had kind of a tamarind-esque flavor. I don't usually enjoy tamarind-flavored things, but I liked this. I'd recommend trying it at least once.

I skipped the appetizers, but some of my dining crew ordered some particularly appetizing ones. The Tofu Thong (fried tofu) was really yummy, with most thanks going to its accompanying dipping sauce. I didn't try the chicken dumplings (pictured in the background), but they received positive reviews.

I ordered Pla Song Kruang for an entree. It was a piece of deep fried (not breaded, duh) trout topped with a carrot, green apple and red onion slaw with roasted peanuts served with steamed rice. I thought that the fish was good. The good frying that it took allowed it to take on a meatier texture (as Nicole pointed out). The slaw was not my favorite, but by no fault of the restaurant. It was a taste issue. I think the vinegar and the tart sweetness of the apples and carrots formed a picket line on my taste buds. However, the slaw was applauded by other diners at the table. I like to define the world in terms of two types of people: people who do like sweet pickles, and people who do not like sweet pickles. I do not. And I think this was my problem. The slaw, while very pretty and well put together, had whatever that taste is that makes me gag at the thought of sweet pickles. Thai restaurant ordering curse strikes again!
Though the waitress may not be learning my name anytime soon, I would definitely be happy to go here again. The seafood panang curry, with shrimp ,scallops, calamari, and a fish fillet in the curry sauce, is amazingly good. And their roses carved from tomatoes are as cute as the spawn of Tomkat (very very cute). Prices are moderate (my entree was $12.95). Go there and thai it out for yourself! (Don't hate me.)

Burrito, baby

via Serious Eats