A Time For Thanks?

November 28, 2009

Written By: Kelly Opdycke
(Editor,
KO Zine)

This Thanksgiving may be one of the toughest for many of us. Some may not be able to afford to travel the distance to see their family. Others may not even have the money to recreate the traditional Thanksgiving dinner enjoyed year after year. Without the family or food of the holiday, some would say this holiday is nothing. Here’s something for you to think about, even if you have very little.

According to the History Channel, Thanksgiving was traditionally created following a particularly rough winter that killed many Pilgrims. After forming an alliance with some local American Indians, the Pilgrims were able to rack up enough food for the upcoming winter. Thanksgiving was a three-day feast to celebrate what they believed would be a less harsh winter.

You knew this already, right? Well, after being asked if Thanksgiving was an American holiday last week, thought I should do a little recap. Canada actually celebrates Thanksgiving, but it’s separate date with a whole different history.

While thankfulness is an important factor of this holiday, another aspect should be considered in the world of politics. The American Indians, native to what would become the United States, were willing to help their new neighbors, despite the fact that they had come from some unknown place. Today, many immigrants are simply pushed aside, left to do the jobs that many of us find menial.

When will this country finally start treating all immigrants with respect? Not just those who excel in math and science. – In June, President Barack Obama promised his commitment to “comprehensive immigration reform.”

He plans to “clarify the status of millions who are here illegally.” He believes those who wish to become citizens would be required to pay a penalty, learn English and go to the end of the line behind those who came here legally.

The president has asked Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, to develop immigration reform legislation that was said to be announced this fail. Some of the 7 main points he plans to include are an employer verification system, a path to citizenship for those already in the country and better control of the borders.

All of this sounds great, but will it ever happen? I know, health care must be first and the government also must deal with growing unemployment, global warming, the list is never ending.

Those of us lucky enough to have Thanksgiving dinner this year probably have so many different dishes to prepare. We have to cook everything at once, getting as close to perfection as possible.

The government has the same problem, only they’re dealing with millions of lives. Tackling each issue takes patience and debate. If immigration must be put on the back burner, I hope it’s not forgotten.

More Info:
CBS News
New York Times
Senator Schumer Government Wensite
History Channel

Fanfarlo in PDX

November 28, 2009

Written By: Chris Young

Sometimes you forget just how good live music can sound. Crisp horns, whispering strings, and even clanking watering cans.

When about halfway though Fanfarlo’s set, you have a “Wow!” moment. And you look around the Doug Fir to the rest of the 20 and 30-somethings tapping along, smiling blissfully. They’re thinking exactly the same thing.

On Fanfarlo’s first jaunt to PDX, they got their van broken into but that didn’t subdue their set. Rather, they took the stage as a trio with a mandolin, guitar and drums to gently strum into the calming darkness.

Then the white Xmas lights were flipped and the band became six, complete with sleek harmonization and a lone horner on “I’m A Pilot.” Percussionist Amos Memon delicately generated rolling thunder on the cymbals with his white-tipped mallets while multi-instrumentalist Cathy Lucas twanged a hand saw along with her performance of lullaby oooh-ooooh vocals and on the violin, guitar, and keys.

With a foot stomping, a cappella opening to “The Walls Are Coming Down,” Fanfarlo produced a tight, precise sound that was perfumed by the whiskey drifting from my neighbor’s plastic Dixie cup.

Trumpeter Leon Beckenham also picked up the world’s smallest, red tambourine while co-lead singer Simon Balthazar snatched as many instruments as he could including a clarinet towards the end of the set.

The London sextet appeared very prim and proper, more like proper-hip, onstage building up to a super-synthy rendition of “Luna” with a calming interlude where Beckenham swapped his horn for a melodica to close the night.

New York’s Freelance Whales opened the night with Jónsi-style bowing of the guitar strings and xylophone chimes. Banjos strummed. Electro-inclined synths chirruped. And all five members blended vocals into indubitable, indie pop.

Foggy echoes of drawn out moans and aaaahhs floated around portable harmonium pumps and the bow was employed on something that looked like a cross between a birdcage-hamster wheel-giant whisk, but turned out to be a waterphone. Obviously.

Freelance Whales even beat a tin watering can in a “Do-Re-Mi”-esque jam leaving behind a serene, familial vibe.


Thursday, November 19th, 2009
Fanfarlo
Freelance Whales
Doug Fir Lounge

Dir En Grey @ The House Of Blues

November 28, 2009

Article and Photos By: Mehra B.

View all of Mehra’s Dir En Grey photos here.

Anytime Dir En Grey plays North America is a monumental event. Most acts from overseas that try to crossover into international markets have about as successful music careers as Macho Man Randy Savage (yes, he made a record). But Dir en Grey, a progressive/metal band that got its start in Japan’s visual Kei movement of the 90’s, has managed to avoid the same ill-fated mistakes of other crossover acts like Japan’s Hikaru Utada, and Korean pop sensation BoA.

On Sunday, November 22nd, fans lined up outside the House of Blues on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles and waited two and a half hours for the show to begin. No opening acts, no time fillers–just Dir en Grey, and Dir en Grey fans. As the curtain opened and the band took the stage, the crowd cheered “Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!” – what’s known as the “GDS chant” to DEG fans.

The band opened the show with the deep bass of “Obscure,” and by the third song, the crowd had almost completely pushed the barricade to the stage. Fans were treated to a set of about 14 songs, with the first half being mostly songs from their first and third records (Gauze and Kisou), and the second half of the set being dominated by their newer and heavier material. “Bottom of Death Valley” and the five song encore that kicked off with “Akuro no Oka” and ended with the “IID Empire” were the highlights of the show.

With a vocal range and ability that could make even Mariah Carey look like an amateur, singer Kyo’s voice was on point throughout the entire performance; hitting every high note, screech, growl, and sound unknown to mankind perfectly. However, missing from his performance was the inclusion of his infamous stage antics of vomiting and self-mutilation. Nonetheless, the band put on a solid show, that had every person in the venue pumping their fists, singing along, or putting up metal horns. Even the 50-something-year-old woman standing next to me was rocking her hips and taking pictures on her mobile phone.

The audience was a healthy mix of culturally diverse fans who–for the most part–seemed to be long-term devotees, with the Hot Topic kinder-goth crowd almost completely absent. At the end of the encore, the band members took to the stage one by one to bow to and applaud the fans; throwing out bags of guitar picks, drum sticks, and bottled waters. Attendees who purchased the band’s new release Uroboros CD/DVD were also treated to a full band meet-and-greet after the show.

The intimate setting, common thread among fans, and mutual appreciation between band and fans provided for an incredibly personal and outstanding music experience which I have never witnessed by a band of such stature, and wouldn’t mind seeing more of in the future. Note to American bands: Dir en Grey is giving you a run for your money.

Thanks to Amy @ The End Records for making this review and accompanying photos possible.

Coming Soon: Relapse: The Refill

November 27, 2009

Written By: Victoria H. (Urban Editor)

Eminem will release “Relapse: The Refill” on December 21st. The album will include the entire “Relapse” album, plus seven songs that did not make the album. Eminem said his hopes for “Relapse: The Refill” is to “deliver more material for the fans this year like I originally planned. Hopefully these tracks on “The Refill” will tide the fans over until we put out “Relapse 2” next year. I got back in with Dre and then a few more producers, including Just Blaze, and went in a completely different direction which made me start from scratch. The new tracks started to sound very different than the tracks I originally intended to be on “Relapse 2”, but I still want the other stuff to be heard.”

Eminem is currently in the studio working on “Relapse 2” which is scheduled to be released next year. Eminem said “I definitely feel like I’m in a different space right now. With the last record, I think a lot of it had to do with me getting sober, my eyes being open again. With Relapse, I wanted to prove myself that I could still do it. The zany, loony, ridiculous shit, so a lot of that album is rapid-fire punch lines. Now I’m at a point where I’m blessed enough to be in a position where I don’t need to put out records, but I want to.”

ROCKWiRED iNTERViEWS BERLiN

November 26, 2009

TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY
TERRi NUNN OF BERLiN
TALKS TO ROCKWiRED
ABOUT THEiR NEW LiVE CD ALL THE WAY iN
DOiNG THiRTY YEARS iN ROCK N ROLL
AND THE BAND’S FUTURE PLANS
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In the twenty-seven years since BERLIN released their debut EP ‘PLEASURE VICTIM’, the band’s electro pop sensibility has unintentionally influenced a generation of electro torch bearers such as TAXI DOLL and GOLDFRAPP, but their sultry lead vocalist TERRI NUNN was probably more ahead of her time than the bands sound. In the days before MADONNA, NUNN was the true music video provocateur with that eighties ode to sexual role playing ‘SEX (I’M A…)’ and the BOWIE-esque new wave romp ‘MASQUERADE’. Aside from her pouty red lips, high cheekbones and blue, bedroom eyes, NUNN possessed an equally sexy purr that could growl like PAT BENATAR and croon (rather chillingly) like EURYTHMICS-era ANNIE LENNOX. (READ MORE)

ROCKWiRED iNTERViEWS SACRLET SiNS

November 26, 2009

FiRE iNSiDE
SYLVYA NUVYNSKA AND CRiSTiNA BiSHOP
OF SCARLET SiNS
TALK TO ROCKWiRED
ABOUT THEiR SELF-TiTLED DEBUT CD
NOT PLAYiNG THE SEX CARD
AND WORKiNG WiTH RiCHARD CHYCKi
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No one bats an eye these days when you put ‘women’ and ‘rock n roll’ in the same sentence. It doesn’t take an encyclopedic knowledge of music to list off just as many girl’s names as boy’s names in terms of influential rock artists but a band like SCARLET SINS will have folks wondering ‘How much do women rock?’ Traditionally, women who rock find themselves treading the golden path of disco (we don’t need to drop names). After listening to the self-titled debut CD of the Toronto-based SCARLET SINS, even I can’t imagine these dolls hitting the dance floor anytime soon. (READ MORE)

ROCKWiRED iNTERViEWS ANA POPOViC

November 26, 2009

CONSiDER THiS
ANA POPOViC TALKS TO ROCKWiRED
ABOUT HER LATEST CD BLiND FOR LOVE
A LiFE ON THE ROAD
AND TELLiNG A STORY THROUGH MUSiC
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Some of the best blues music in the world has always been about suffering but more importantly, it has also been about survival. Blues singer-guitarist ANA POPOVIC is something unexpected in a genre known for it’s gritty, down home sensibility. Born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia, POPOVIC was raised on the sounds of ALBERT KING and MUDDY WATERS thanks to her father and –in fairly short order – picked up the guitar as he did. It was the blues that gave POPOVIC her first lessons in the English language. Once the language was mastered, the young guitar slinger was at a loss for what to say. All of that changed when the MILOSEVIC regime of her homeland came under fire from around the world leaving the country and it’s citizens marked by the misdeeds of their leader. It was at this time that POPOVIC was a stranger in a strange land – Holland – but it was here where the young Serbian sharpened her musicality and found her voice. The results of her extensive soul search resulted in her 2007 album STILL MAKING HISTORY – a catalog of songs that told the story of her country and it’s people. Now she is back with her latest offering ‘BLIND FOR LOVE’ (ECLECTO GROOVE RECORDS) – a most optimist blues collection that speaks of the good things that people tend to ignore in life. “I had decided to go for something a little more universal for this latest album.” Says POPOVIC “I started to ask myself ‘If I am going to make one more record, what will I want to leave as a message to all of my fans?’ I wanted to make a one-statement album about my life and what is really important in my life and the result was BLIND FOR LOVE. The album is all about love and all kinds positive and negative stories.” (READ MORE)

ROCKWiRED iNTERViEWS THE HOOTERS

November 26, 2009

AND THEY DANCED
ERiC BAZiLiAN OF THE HOOTERS
TALKS TO ROCKWiRED
ABOUT THEiR LiVE CD BOTH SiDES LiVE
STEPPiNG BACK iNTO THE LiGHT
AND ELECTRiFYiNG AUDiENCES
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The band of brotherhood that exists amongst the members of THE HOOTERS is something of an anomaly in popular music. This sort of ‘all-for-one-and-one-for-all’ mentality wasn’t likely to make the band a subject for VH-1’s defunct BEHIND THE MUSIC series, but it does ensure one thing – great music. Founded by guitarist ERIC BAZILIAN and keyboardist ROB HYMAN, THE HOOTERS developed a strong following in their hometown of Philadelphia due to their engaging live sets and spirited power pop. It was this notoriety that caught the attention of producer RICK CHERTOFF who needed writers and a backing band for the debut album of his client CYNDI LAUPER. On the coattails of the success of LAUPER’s ‘SHE’S SO UNUSUAL’, THE HOOTERS struck out on their own with their debut album ‘AMORE’ and on to greater fame with their COLUMBIA RECORDS debut ‘NERVOUS NIGHT’, which boasted platinum sales and the top-forty hits ‘AND WE DANCED’ and ‘DAY BY DAY’. A momentous appearance at LIVE AID (They were the band that opened the show in Philadelphia) truly rocketed the band into the pop stratosphere but as the eighties morphed into the nineties the bands profile declined in the U.S. yet grew internationally before that band took a break. “We blinked.” says guitarist ERIC BAZILIAN “We had been continuously playing as THE HOOTERS for fifteen years at that point. I had something I wanted to do and ROB (HYMAN) had something he wanted to do and everybody had something that they wanted to do so we figured that we’d do it. All of a sudden, six years had gone by and PIERRE ROBERT (DJ for WMMR in Philadelphia) asked us to do his twentieth anniversary show and we got together onstage and we were completely overwhelmed.” (READ MORE)

ROCKWiRED iNTERViEWS CANDYE KANE

November 26, 2009

TOUGHEN UP!
CANDYE KANE TaLK TO ROCKWiRED
ABOUT HER CD SUPERHERO
BATTLiNG CANCER
AND TAKiNG CHARGE OF HER DESTiNY
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Blues mama CANDYE KANE is no stranger to adversity. When faced with a turbulent home life, music proved to be her salvation. When she became pregnant as a teenager, she knew in her heart of hearts that music was going to be the very thing that she would return to once her own budding family became stable. When she first started penning material for what would be her latest album, KANE was coming out of a ten year relationship and was ready to share her heartbreak with the world until two words changed her life forever – pancreatic cancer. “I pretty much thought that I was going to die.” says KANE “A pancreatic cancer diagnosis is pretty hard core. When they told me that that was what I had, I pretty much thought that that was it. I started making sure that my life insurance policy was intact and thinking about how I was going to leave my house to my kids and trying to get my affairs in order. I had a couple of tours that I ended up having to cancel and I had to figure out when my surgery was going to happen.” (READ MORE)

Recipes

November 26, 2009

So I bought an acorn squash because it looked cool and festive but I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I found a recipe for squash filled with goat cheese, pecans and maple syrup. But I didn’t have pecans and syrup in my kitchen; I had almonds and honey. So, voila, here it is!

Acorn Squash filled with Goat Cheese and Toasted Almonds

2 acorn squash, halved crosswise and seeded
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
2/3 cup toasted/roasted crushed almonds
2 tablespoons honey plus more to drizzle
1/2 teaspoon fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
4 oz. log goat cheese

Heat oven to 375F. Sprinkle inside of squash halves with salt and brush with melted butter. Turn upside down on baking sheet and bake 30 minutes.

Stir together crushed almonds, honey, and thyme. Turn squash upright on baking sheet. Reserving about 3 tablespoons almond mixture, fill hollow of each squash with remaining almond mixture. Fill the rest of each squash with goat cheese, and sprinkle with reserved almond mixture.

Bake 10 minutes more. Drizzle with more honey as desired and serve.

Servings: 4

By Nada R.