Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thick As Thieves

True Believers In The Long Walk Home By Thick As Thieves (
For every moment of hushed beauty here, like the gently plucked acoustics and heavy-hearted piano balladry of "Chemical Division," there's a counterbalancing blast of snarling, vampy rocking, countrified twang, or moody, electronic ambience. It's an impressively diverse sonic palate for the young Cambridge band, whose songs break and crest on waves of sudden momentum shifts. "Mars Vigila" is the highlight: a rhythmically complex burst of chiming, ethereal elegy and melting guitar delay broken up by breast-beating, shouted catharsis. Through it all they maintain a surprising sense of melodic focus for a group stitching so many ideas into such a tightly woven whole.

Boston Magazine


Being a teenager is a lot like floating through space. You’re scared and confused, but then you latch onto the brilliance of some distant star and things begin to take shape. Lights and sounds coalesce around your singular universe, and just as you descend to Earth, you feel as if the journey has emboldened you with some celestial knowledge. That description goes part of the way toward capturing “Saturdays = Youth,” the latest from French shoe gazers M83, a band who take their name from a distant galaxy, and their 80’s inspired synth music from the pivotal pop culture references of their teenage 1980s like John Hughes films and the Cocteau Twins. They perform tonight. 18+. 9 p.m. $12-14. Middle East Downstairs, 480 Mass. Ave., Cambridge. 617-864-3278.

Boston Globe

Barcode: The Metropolitan Club

A club worth joining

Drinking at the Metropolitan Club forced us to put yet another tired misconception to bed. Apparently steakhouse bars aren't all filled with back-slapping Bill Brasky types hoisting heroic glasses of scotch. Who knew? The bar at the Met Club was quite the opposite, in fact, with a sophisticated cocktail list boasting delicate seasonal flourishes. Even more appealing for a restaurant with a $42 steak on the menu: The cocktails were reasonably priced at $11.
The Killer Bee (house-infused butterscotch vanilla vodka, honey, lemon), was a creamy, candied confection made by cooking butterscotch chips with honey and vanilla vodka. A friend found the dessert qualities to be a drawback, but we thought it would have worked nicely drizzled over ice cream.

The Cactus Rose (vodka, ginger syrup, lime, agave, and bitters) hid the slight earthiness of its agave just beneath the bitter perfume of the ginger, while the Sandstorm (Gosling's dark rum, yuzu, lychee, satsuma, ginger beer) with its wide variety of international fruit (yuzu is a Japanese citrus juice something like lemon and lime, and satsuma is a fruit of Chinese origin akin to a mandarin) was like an Asian-inspired Dark and Stormy with no after-tingle in the sinuses.

Best of all, the Chesnut Hill Club (gin, passion fruit, cucumber, cucumber soda) was a golden, herby ray of Caribbean sun. Hold on though, cucumber soda? Another Japanese influence, it seems. And nowhere near as disgusting as it sounds. The tartness of the passion fruit was spiked by edges of sharp vegetable and the light carbonation in the soda, which somehow provided a welcome sensory relief after our week of tasteless, head-cold monotony. Then again, maybe that was the cold medicine talking. Don't try this at home, kids.

The Metropolitan Club, 1210 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill. 617-731-0600.

Boston Globe

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Events

Much like washing your hair, and occasionally eating dinner away from the television, “Sex and the City” was one of those crazy ideas for many men that started out as a concession to our girlfriends and ended up actually making a lot of sense. Plus, if you ask us, Carrie doesn’t belong with Big! Aidan was the one who loved her! Uh… Anyway, to celebrate the opening of the new “Sex” feature film, Underbar are throwing a party tonight with a “Carrie Cosmo” tasting, and a character look alike contest. We know a lot of you are still taking your fashion and drinking cues from the show, but tonight you can make it official. 21+. VIP reception for ticket holders at 9 p.m. $20. Underbar, 275 Tremont St., Boston.

Murder by cello
On songs like “Winter Windows,” from the album “Leaves in the River,” Alex Brown Church, aka Sea Wolf, constructs poetic little deaths in song form. It’s akin to the stabs of a haunted cello bow sawing away at your heartstrings; painful, but still beautiful all the same. Church and company lurch into town tonight for a set of morose, Gothic, orchestral pop. The Jealous Girlfriends and Boston’s shouty indie rockers Hallelujah the Hills open. 18+. 8 p.m. $12. The Paradise, 967 Commonwealth Ave., Boston. 617-931-2000.

He’s a voice of on the Nickelodeon cartoon “Tak and the Power of Juju,” he starred on Showtime’s critically acclaimed “Queer as Folk” and appeared in numerous films like “Spiderman 2” and "Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town" (somehow missed that one), and appeared on basically every talk show ever. Plus he’s got his own band Zero 1, who’ve just released a record. But to us, Hal Sparks will always hold a special, snarky place in our hearts for his work on “Talk Soup” on E! and cultural Armageddon programs like “I Love the 90’s” on VH1. He performs his comedy act tonight and tomorrow, 8, p.m., 10:15 p.m. $25-27. Comedy Connection, 1 Faneuil Hall Market Place, Boston. 617-248-9700.

Boston Globe

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Girls, Guns and Glory

It wasn't so long ago that Girls, Guns and Glory, winners of the WBCN Rock & Roll Rumble, couldn't even get a show. "No one wanted to book us," says front man Ward Hayden. "We kept being told we were too country and people couldn't figure out a bill to put us on. It was really tough to break in."

Add that victory to an impressive list of "best" this and that accolades and a Boston Music Award, and, yeah, sounds really tough.

What's the big deal? "It could just be that it's something slightly different from the norm, so it's perking people's ears up," he offers. "I think we all believe in what we're doing though, so hopefully that translates to the listener."

What they're doing is something of anomaly in Boston—a town that's always been a bit more Costello than Presley, more Rotten than Cash, more Lennon than Fogerty. "I think with my voice we're always going to get labeled country," Hayden says. Growing up in Scituate, Mass, singing in choral groups, that voice, with its natural breaks and scratches, was something of a liability. Not anymore.

Like every other good band ever, GG&G's genesis comes down to the influence of a woman. Two, actually. "My country background is pretty much from the old stuff that my mom always played." When he went off to college at UConn, he says, "We had an old Oldsmobile that only had a tape deck, so when I used to drive to and from school I'd grab some of her tapes because I didn't have anything to listen to. I really felt like I discovered something the first time I put on Johnny Cash."

He paid careful attention. Hayden shows keen eye for storytelling on their debut CD Inverted Valentine with songs like "Ramblin Old Daddy," a banjo-and-fiddle waltz dripping with a tearful cascade of slide guitar. Credit that to the second influential woman in his life, the one that done did him wrong. Before that, "I never really tried to pen a song," he says. We're glad he did. Now, for the well-being of Boston's music scene, someone go out there and break this kid's heart again.

[Girls Guns & Glory at Church Boston. Sat 5.31.08. 69 Kilmarnock St., Boston. 617.236.7600. 8pm/21+/$8.]

[Girls, Guns & Glory at the WBCN River Rave. Sun 6.1.08. 885 S. Main St., Mansfield. 508.339.2333. 4pm/18+/$25-$45.]

Weekly Dig

Wednesday Events

Might as know
We have this recurring night-mare in which we're stuck in a room listening to David Lee Roth (below left, with Eddie Van Halen), talk about himself for eternity. Probably not too different from a Van Halen show, come to think of it. The legendary rock band, still "wild" and "crazy" after all these years, takes the stage tonight in New Hampshire to perform classics like "Dance the Night Away" and "Jamie's Cryin'." Fire up the nostalgia machine and pretend it's 1984 all over again. 7:30 p.m. $68.50-$98.50. Verizon Wireless Arena, 555 Elm St., Manchester, N.H. 617-931-2000.

Still hungry like the wolf
What year is this again? Duran Duran and Van Halen are playing in New England tonight. Did we just imagine the past 20 years? Either way, the quintessential '80s new wave pop band continues what must be the fifth version of its career with a world tour hyping 2007's "Red Carpet Massacre" album. Makes sense Duran Duran still packs them in, since half of today's new new-wave rockers stole the group's shtick. Tonight at Agganis Arena, Simon Le Bon (far right, with John Taylor) and company, who've made a stab at catching up with the kids via recent collaborations with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake, prove they can still make the ladies squeal. 8 p.m. $33.50-$73.50. Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Ave. 617-931-2000.

Let's do lunch
Anyone who has ever worked a regular day job (aside from those aberrations who actually like their jobs) knows that there is really only one thing that makes getting through the day even remotely bearable: lunch. It's usually the first thing you start thinking about, right? What's for lunch? Where are you going for lunch? Lunch, lunch, lunch. Starting today you can replace those questions with "Who's playing at lunch?" Every Wednesday, the Passim Lunch Series offers a brief reprieve from the maddening monotony with a lineup of outdoor concerts from Boston musicians. The earnest and emotive Boston folk rocker Chad Perrone performs today. 12:30 p.m. Free. 2 Cambridge Center Courtyard, across the street from the Kendall Square Red Line station, Cambridge.

Boston Globe

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Barcode: 51 Lincoln

A lot of restaurants will take the time to recommend wine pairings with their entrees. Some even go so far as to list them together on the menu. But not many places go the extra step of crafting house-infused liquors specifically designed to go with particular dishes on the menu. 51 Lincoln does just that.

Eating and drinking our way through the Newton restaurant's three appetizer and shot pairings ($9 each) was an education in maximizing flavor efficiency. The prosciutto-wrapped whipped feta mousse with strawberry tequila was the best example. "First taste the liquor by itself," said the extraordinarily knowledgeable general manager Ryan Moses, "then take a little with the food to see how they compliment one another." How do they compliment one another? In a word, perfectly. The mousse, with a smoked strawberry sauce and a savory vinaigrette watercress with fresh strawberries, was mind-blowing enough on its own, but the strawberry-infused tequila made each bite explode with fruit.

The slow-roasted Latin-style pulled pork tostones with cilantro vodka revealed the restaurant's heavy South American influences. Infusing vodka with cilantro gave it a fresh, herby smell and a smooth sipping quality with little of straight vodka's abrasiveness. It reset the palate between every bite, and the garden flavor cut right through the spice of the crema Mexicana and the salt of the pork.

The scallop ceviche and plantain chips were served with a fresh and pulpy limoncello. "Now this is what summer sipping is all about," said our companion. The limoncello naturally complimented the citrus of the ceviche process, and both were gone in moments. "I love this place," she said. "This is my new favorite restaurant." Agreed.

51 Lincoln, 51 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands. 617-965-3100.

Boston Globe

Justin Nozuka

"After Tonight"

Feel something sensitive in the air? It's the sound of 10,000 dorm-room bros fumbling through this song on guitar. The state of the nation's mellow is in good hands with this soulful Canadian troubadour, although Jack Johnson might want to watch his (shirtless) back.

Hear it at

Boston Globe

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Barcode: Rhubarb in a glass

Rhubarb is known for its "medicinal, cathartic qualities and unique tartness," according to West Side Lounge bartender Dave Werthman. So why wouldn't bars want to incorporate the spring vegetable into this season's cocktail lists?

Werthman's effort, the Rhubarb Sour (fresh rhubarb puree, Sauza tequila, St. Germain liqueur, fresh lime juice; $9) is an extraordinarily efficient vehicle for smuggling tequila over your taste borders. They cook down the rhubarb with a little sugar to keep it nice and tart, but the drink gets its more elegant, background sweetness from the St. Germain.

The inspiration for Rialto bartender Jonathan Stoeckle's rhubarb drink, Slice of Spring (strawberry and rhubarb infused Pisco, Moscato d'Asti; $14), was his grandmother's strawberry-rhubarb pie. The strawberries and rhubarb are cooked with a touch of orange juice and sugar, Stoeckle explained, till everything is soft. The mixture is soaked in pisco, the South American brandy, for a week and a half. The cocktail is served over ice in an oversized wine glass with a sugared stalk of rhubarb; it gives off a beautiful strawberry bouquet and has a sweet fizz from the Moscato. A second option not on the menu (but feel free to ask) is Stoeckle's Pisco Sour, made by shaking the infused pisco with lime juice, sugar, and egg white ($11). It's a fluffy, layered cupcake of a cocktail.

At Union Bar and Grille, our new favorite plant shows up in Rain on the Rhubarb (Hendrick's gin, fresh rhubarb infused simple syrup, Aperol; $12). Served up in a frosted martini glass, the bitter Aperol and fresh cucumber flavor of the gin enhance the rhubarb for a crisp but slightly sweet vegetable combo.

Union Bar and Grille, 1357 Washington St., Boston. 617-423-0555. Rialto, 1 Bennett St., Cambridge. 617-661-5050. West Side Lounge, 1680 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. 617-441-5566. Rialto, 1 Bennett St., Cambridge. 617-661-5050. West Side Lounge, 1680 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. 617-441-5566.

Boston Globe

Friday, May 16, 2008


Poetry in motion, literally

Verbobala creates a political spectacle in verse and multimedia performance art

INTERVIEW. Expect a collision of genres when video installation and performance art group Verbobala lands in Boston this weekend. The concept of borders, between art forms and countries, is well known to the bilingual performance artists based in both Cuernavaca, Mexico and Tucson, Arizona. Their work is a mash-up remix of poetry, music and video. Metro spoke with poet Logan Phillips.

Do you consider your focus to be poetry? Performance art? Music? Video?
I think our focus is creating spectacle, using all of the above. We mix bilingual poetry and video projections to create experimental performances which frequently focus on identity and borders.

When you say “borders,” do you mean both literally and metaphorically, or artistically in your work?
This is a good question. Artistic genres are like international borders ... To some extent they’ve always existed and always will exist, as they serve very specific interests. We like to play with the tension held in those lines, but we don’t let them limit us. It’s too easy to see borders or genres as literal things, as laws of nature.

How important a role does the political aspect of building fences around our country play in your art?
I don’t think that people in the U.S. have really thought this through, this message that is being sent to the rest of the world by constructing a metal wall. The damage to the country’s reputation on the international scene is pretty huge ... it makes one wonder how long the U.S. can call itself “home of the free,” while we have the largest per capita prison population of any industrialized nation, a metal wall on our borders, etc. ... The U.S. has entered into a dangerous period of cultural isolation, and this is something that can be seen in nearly all modern art projects, not just our own. We’re not keeping the world out by constructing a wall around our country. We’re keeping ourselves locked in.

Do contemporary audiences need something more to capture their attention to enhance listening to poetry?
Poetry doesn’t need anything to enhance it, and people are much more receptive to it than they think they will be. Our brains are hard-wired to listen to a good story told convincingly. The oral tradition is as old as we are. But I do see where you’re going with the question. Sometimes we think of it like a band: there are people who go to solo guitar, or poetry, performances, but more people come out when it’s an entire band playing.

Saturday, 11:55 p.m.
The Coolidge Corner Theatre
290 Harvard St., Brookline
MBTA: Green B Line to Harvard Street
$10, 617-734-2501

Boston Metro


DeVotchKa singer on melancholy melodies and experimental instruments

INTERVIEW. Mixing elements of Eastern European folk, Mexican mariachi and everything in between, the music of Denver’s DeVotchKa is something like the convergence of a dozen stereos pointing out of the windows in the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods of Brooklyn. It’s probably safe to say that they’re the coolest band featuring accordion, sousaphone and bouzouki you’ll hear all year. Singer Nick Urata pulls the divergent threads together with his soulful, tortured vocals. We spoke with him before he loaded in for a gig in Milwaukee.

Do you find taking elements from such a wide variety of world music is liberating within a sort of indie rock context?
Yeah, definitely. I think that’s why I started the whole thing. I didn’t want to paint myself into a corner, musically. I kind of wanted to do something different than the guitar and drums palate that you must use. I’ve been doing this for a long time, but I started to experiment early on, gravitating toward older sounds and folkier instruments.

When was the first time your eyes were opened to the broader instrumental possibilities?
I started playing trumpet as a kid, listening to things like Louis Armstrong and Louis Prima. So I always had a taste for vintage stuff. Being a trumpet player kind of puts you in a different ballpark. So then I moved onto some more exotic stuff.

Is it hard to switch on the fly between instruments in a show?
Like you said, it’s kind of liberating. ... It’s like dating a new girl or something [laughs]. ... [As a multi-instrumentalist] you’re the color man. Someone gives you like a black and white page and you splash it full of beautiful colors. It can be a great spot to be in.

Is it important for music to seem rooted in a time and place, or is the exact opposite the point for you? A sort of timeless quality?
When we were writing stuff and experimenting with stuff, it was like a great escape for me. It would bring about these exotic visuals of exotic places I couldn’t afford to go to at the time. I want the music to sort of take the listener somewhere … romantic visions of the past, like a black and white Fellini film. Maybe a Sergio Leone landscape.

Your music has a melancholy feel to it, but with a sort of boisterous fun approach at times ...
I think it’s definitely like therapy for the melancholy. ... The times when you really realize you’re alive and thankful to be alive is when your whole world has just crashed around you.

Sunday, 9 p.m.
The Paradise
967 Comm. Ave., Boston
MBTA: Green B Line to Pleasant
$19.50, 18+, 617-931-2000

Boston Metro

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Annie Claflin

This planet may soon crash

And if it does, new exhibit at Mass. Art will serve as the ‘Black Box’

INTERVIEW. While it might seem that photographer Annie Claflin is documenting the erosion of the shore-line near her family home to show people the error of their ways, part of the reason that she put together her “Maine” series is so she can remember. “Memory is not material,” says the artist, “It fades over time. Art is only an attempt to make concrete what is otherwise elusive.”

Claflin’s selections can be seen in a new multi-artist exhibit called “Stories in a Black Box.” Her works also include a video entitled “Endangered Land.” We sense a theme.

Your pictures are about the disappearance of the landscape into the sea. Do you think that art could ever be an acceptable replacement for the real thing?
The process of capturing a place that changes yearly has created a meaning beyond the place itself. The images not only illustrate the physical world, but create an alternate world as well. But nothing will ever measure up to the experience of being in that landscape in Maine.

Do you think there is a difference in the ways photos immortalize a place, as opposed to how they work on people?
Landscapes don’t care how they look or who their company is, or what’s happening in five minutes. My guess is that a good portrait that immortalizes someone deceased has more meaning for the general population than a good landscape immortalizing a place that is no longer.

Explain “Sunset Dune” (shown left). It seems to be a stark demarcation of a line between growth and decay. Does that sound too out there?
I think it’s right on. ... This place in Maine is beautiful and I want to show some of the beauty amidst the decay. And definitely, I’m showing the tension between life and death of the place. I chose to shoot that image because of the exposed roots at the end of the dune. They illustrate the impending danger to this landscape. ... My father actually planted the dune grass 35 years ago. The grass has spread rapidly but the water is overpoweringly close to the land. During storms, the waves crash over the dune. The plant is meant to control erosion to some extent, but after 35 years, the dunes are losing the match to the ocean.

‘Stories in a Black Box’
Opening reception tonight, 7
Exhibit through May 30
Brant Gallery at Mass. Art
621 Huntington Ave., Boston
MBTA: Green E Line to Longwood

Boston Metro

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pitchfork TV

Music TV for the Indie Masses
Long before the Internet, the pursuit of independent music required a proactive effort from listeners akin to an archaeological dig. In much the same way that the online music website Pitchfork revolutionized that concept with its curatorial approach to record reviews, the launch of the new music video portal
aims to change the way music fans access video.

Ryan Schreiber, who created in 1995, says that sort of editorial filter will help make standout online.

"A lot of the videos we show are available on YouTube, and anyone could go watch them," he says. "The idea of suggestion, that there is a play list" is what he expects will draw people in; has already registered more than 2 million video plays.

"On YouTube you have to know what you're looking for and then go find it," Schreiber says. "Here, we're creating this catalog of songs and videos that we think are really great. That's something that YouTube just doesn't offer."

Nor can most sites offer's original content. In the segment "Juan's Basement," for example, music fan Juan Pieczanski (above right, with Schreiber) records live sets from bands in his Brooklyn basement.

"We're trying to test the boundaries of what can be done under the umbrella of music television," says Schreiber. "Trying to treat the music in a more respectful fashion than it has traditionally been treated."

Stay tuned for feature-length music films, intimate performances, and interviews - all of which indie-minded music fans have been waiting a long time for.

Boston Globe

Tuesday picks

In advertising we trust
Smokey Bear, McGruff the Crime Dog, and the Crash Test Dummies have a lot in common (aside from serving as stand-ins for our largely friendless childhood). Alongside other favorites like the Crying Indian, these icons of advertising entrenched themselves in the cultural lexicon and had an impact on the way we behaved as a country. When we heard their messages, all of a sudden pollution and burning down forests seemed a little less appealing. Many of the Ad Council's original public service announcement works will be on display starting today in an exhibit called "Advertising That Changed the Nation." Today 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m. (show runs through June 30). Free. The Gallery on the Plaza, the New England Institute of Art, 10 Brookline Place West, Brookline. 617-582-4617.

Outing Absurdity
He may seem like just another cog in the vast liberal media conspiracy, but one of the things we like best about Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi is that he holds everyone's feet to the fire. The often foul-mouthed, irascible Taibbi caught our eye with a series of appearances on HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher," where he serves as a sort of ambassador for the young(ish) generation fed up with politicians of all stripes. In his latest book, "The Great Derangement" Taibbi travels across the country capturing the absurdity and idiocy of contemporary political discourse. He reads from the book tonight. 7 p.m. Free. Barnes & Noble at Boston University, 660 Beacon St., Boston. 617-267-8484.

Springtime for Mel Brooks
We're starting to think "The Producers" might have a good chance of catching on. After two feature films, a historic Broadway run winning 12 Tony Awards (more than any other show ever), and well-received traveling performances - the Mel Brooks musical farce is making its North Shore debut (with Scott Davidson and Jim Stanek, left). We're partial to the fictionalized production starring Larry David on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" ourselves. Find out what all the fuss is about tonight. 7:30. (Runs through June 1). $32-$79. North Shore Music Theatre, 62 Dunham Road, Beverly. 978-232-7200.


"Your Voice"
On this unreleased B-side from her white-hot, genre-tripping debut, one-time Philly ska punk Santi White reveals yet another facet of her multi-stylized musical world with a dub trance vibe blissed out to maximum island chill.

Monday, May 12, 2008


**** 1/2
Lo fi trip hop contradiction
Not content with reinventing the wheel on their stunning and game-changing previous albums, the trip hop visionaries have undertaken an even headier task: reinventing themselves. Mostly gone are the trademark noir lounge dirges and spy film guitars over stuttering snare beats. This is a much messier affair. Improvised percussion runs explode into songs at random intervals. Buzz saw guitar lines slice chunks out of any sense of forward movement, knocking the listener off balance. There's even a folky, Depression-era ukulele number called "Deep Water." Other songs end abruptly, and without warning. It amounts to an extraordinarily unsettling effect, which with Portishead has long been the point. But there's a coat of dirt and fuzz in the kitchen sink bric a brac that sullies the hyper-stylized "Portishead" vibe here. "Plastic" for example, takes its propulsion from the bend of a vibrating sheet of metal. Of course, it's all still held together, or torn apart, by the power of Beth Gibbons' vocals. She's the woman for whom the clich├ęs haunting and ethereal were invented. Listening to Portishead has always been like floating through a waking dream. But now the sleek edges have atrophied into a dusty chaos, and it's all the more beautiful and perfect for the change. (Island Records;

Solex's Low Kick and Hard Bop
Silver Apples' self-titled
John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13

Interview with Adrian Utley of Portishead

This record seems like quite a departure from your previous work.
It's a departure from the sound of Dummy, but not the road we're on. When we finished Dummy we thought it sounded pretty weird. Think about "Wandering Star" and how it starts, that was a pretty weird sounding thing. It's now assimilated into the general music mainstream if you like, because it was a successful record. It's language is not as weird as it used to be. We've always made records that sound a bit weird really. It's not such a departure in spirit, although sonically it's different, because it had to be. We have to move forward.

Would you agree this is overall a less polished record?
It's not so in tune. You could say out of tune, but I think it's more in tune by it's out of tune-ness. It's like old blues guitar players, their guitars are not in tune in the conventional sense, but within its context it's so in tune when it's out of tune. I'm not being pretentious!

Is there some intangible quality to a song that lets you know when you're finished?
Because we have a generally minimal approach, without massive layers of sound, it's about using the few things you need to use to say the thing you need to say. I guess you just know when it's done. We always know how to edit ourselves. Sometimes you can kill a good idea by loading it with too much stuff and you can lose its impetus or your love for it, and then you go off it.

Is it hard work emotionally performing these songs?
Being in Portishead and writing music is a frustrating, difficult process. It's not a joyous journey, ever. It's a difficult world to want to go back into. It's hard work because of the deconstructive nature of our writing process. We'll make stuff then destroy it. To be minimal and succinct, it means we have to take everything to pieces that we've just done. To deconstruct and find a more potent way of saying the same thing. When we add anything to it we take so much time discussing what that thing will be before we even do it. It's not often a visceral kind of experience. A lot of bands write music on piano or acoustic guitar and get together and play it in the studio, and have that experience of playing music together. Ours is never like that. It's always put together in tiny bits by us playing the instruments. It's a joyless experience, but it's cathartic.

Alternative Press

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Barcode: Match

Travel far and wide enough - to Bali, for example - and there's no end to the variety of cocktails you'll come across. Barring an international excursion however, a trip to Match, a bar whose owner imported some of its presentation concepts from a trip to this Indonesian island, should suffice.

Sweetening a cocktail with whipped cream isn't anything out of the ordinary, but Match updates the process by using a whey protein powder-based foam that comes in a variety of flavors. (A good excuse to head straight from the gym to the bar, perhaps?) It's implementation in the Match Espresso Martini (coffee, Kahlua, vodka, sweet espresso foam, $12) gives us reason to be excited about boring old espresso martinis again. The foam, shot out of a nitrogen dispenser, is slightly sweet, with a hint of vanilla and little of the chalky taste of most protein powders.

The Apple Blossom (vodka, apple liqueur, elderflower cordial, sauvignon blanc, lemongrass foam, $12) is an explosion of soft fruit flavors, with heady citrus and grass coming through. The wine dries out the drink, but the foam brings in a lemony sweetness.

In the Spit Roasted Mary, a mix of slow-roasted tomato puree, Grey Goose, cracked peppercorns, salt, Worcestershire, and charred tomato juice is poured over a ball of frozen hot sauce and spices (with a celery salt rim, $12). As the liquid interacts with the ice, it releases a steady stream of heat into the drink. It's served with a side shaker of tomato juice that allows you to moderate the spiciness as you go. It's thick, soupy, and savory, and looks something like a giant meatball in a brilliant red martini, but the grilled tomatoes give it a smoky barbecue taste that's as good as any Bloody Mary we've had.

Match, 94 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. 617-247-9922.

Boston Globe

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Through the ages...
Rock fans in Boston and Providence have a lot to choose from tonight. Fortunately these shows tend to break down nicely into age demographics. Teens and 20-somethings with a lot of angst have the boisterous metal-core melodrama of Devil Wears Prada at the Living Room (7 p.m. $14. Living Room, 23 Rathbone St., Providence. Easygoing 30-something pop rock fans can check out '90s hit-makers Third Eye Blind at Lupos (8:30 p.m. $25-$30. Lupos, 79 Washington St., Providence. Forty-something condo-rockers have Canadian heartthrob and singer of songs like "Run to You" and "Summer of '69" Bryan Adams at the Paradise (8 p.m. $25. Paradise Rock Club, 967 Commonwealth Ave., Boston. 617-931-2000. And retro-minded new wavers who think Adams is a little too loud and brash have Crowded House and their all-time great "Don't Dream It's Over" at the Somerville Theater. 6:30 p.m. $42. Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville. 617-625-5700

Don't pinch us if we're dreaming
If we keep going at this rate the ratio of the number of books about the Red Sox to actual Red Sox fans is going to reach 1:1. Everyone gets a book! Until then we eagerly anticipate the latest from talented local Sox scribe, and one of the more tolerable sports talk radio guests, Tony Massarotti. WARNING: Those of you just waking up from a ten year coma may be shocked by the title of his new book "Dynasty: The Inside Story of How the Red Sox Became a Baseball Powerhouse. " But trust us, it's a reality. (Or is it!?) Borders Books, 10-24 School St., Boston. 617-557-7188.

Taste the art
Most of the time when we go to art gallery openings it's to drink some free wine, but tonight we're going to a wine gallery to check out the free art. Think that's called symmetry. Tonight Wine Gallery in Brookline, awarded Boston Magazine's "Best of Boston Wine Shop" in 2006 and 2007, continue their monthly exhibition of local artists with Exhibit [at] Wine Gallery. If the well-traveled photography of New England artist Douglas Despres isn't enough, check out one of the 48 different selections in the Gallery's self serving wine jukebox. 6-8 p.m. Free. Wine Gallery, 375 Boylston St., Brookline. 617-277-5522.

Morning Benders


The beauty of the rock 'n' roll circle of life is that just as a band reaches critical mass, the next one comes along to fill that indie-shaped hole in your brain. Sorry, the Shins, but the new '60s-tinged, cardigan-pop act is here. We'll keep your resume on file. Thanks.
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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Barcode: Feeling the Heat

Looking for the spiciest cocktail in Boston, we stopped in at Privus, the chic Japanese restaurant in Allston, for a Dirty Wasabi-tini (Ciroc vodka, olive juice, wasabi-stuffed olive, $10). It was a letdown at first. The process of cooking the olive, which was coated with tempura batter and deep-fried, dampened the spice of the wasabi. But after experimenting, bartender Nikki McKinney found the right balance, loading up on the green stuff and losing the "dirt." Finally, that rush of lightning to the sinuses hit us. "I think this one's much better," she said. And she didn't even offer a consulting fee.

The South End Southwestern restaurant Masa brought the heat with the Habanero Watermelon Margarita (Sauza Gold infused with habanero, watermelon puree, lime juice, triple sec, syrup, $9). It was disarmingly sweet up front, but with a burnt pepper smoke that expands in the back of your throat. The straight tequila, however, was like drinking liquid acid.

Fortitude rather than taste became the central issue at East Coast Grill in Inman Square. The menu description of the Martini From Hell (Scotch bonnet-peppered Absolut, $7.50) reads "2HOT4U!" One taste on the lips and we had the type of warm, glowing cheeks it usually takes an entire night of drinking to establish. But that paled in comparison to the tequila infused with West African fatali peppers ($6). Last time we tried it, three servers came rushing out with glasses of milk, so on this night we proceeded with caution. But it didn't help. "That just broke my tongue," a friend said.

Masochism in cocktails? Not entirely. Unlike most alcohol that dulls your senses, these have the opposite effect. It's like drinking a magic potion that reminds you that you're still alive. In pain, perhaps, but alive all the same.

Privus, 165 Brighton Ave., Allston. 617-787-7483. Masa, 439 Tremont St., Boston. 617-338-8884. East Coast Grill, 1271 Cambridge St., Cambridge. 617-491-6568.

Boston Globe

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Jimmy Eat World/ Paramore

Thanks to the revelation of blistering, harmony-rich tracks like "Call It in the Air" from Jimmy Eat World's 1996 album Static Prevails, we narrowly avoided a college career devoted to Dave Mathews soft-rock mediocrity. Thank you so very much, sirs. Then again, it did send us shooting off into an unstoppable spiral of emo fandom, and somehow now we're into bands like Paramore. Anyway, Jimmy Eat World, which you probably know from unimpeachably perfect pop tracks like "The Middle" and "Sweetness," hit Lowell tonight with upstart bratty punks Paramore (pictured, for a certain cuteness factor the Jimmys are lacking). There's a reason the bands are touring together; Paramore's frontman is a bit in awe, calling Jimmy Eat World "the band that gave us a reason to play music." 7 p.m. $28.50. Tsongas Arena, 300 Arcand Drive, Lowell. 617-931-2000.

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