Monday, September 30, 2013

Indie Across America Web Series

I've always been a fan of former MTV VJ Dave Holmes, who is an encyclopedia of music knowledge.  Now he's back in a new web series Indie Across America, obviously sponsored by GEICO (lizard looks much bigger in real life), that just premiered last Tuesday.  Holmes travels across the country to hang out with indie bands and showcase their music. 

You can watch episode 1 of Indie Across America featuring indie band Stereo Crowd at  New episodes (along with music videos) will be released every Tuesday until November 12th.

Future episodes:
  • Episode 2: Baltimore featuring Sharkweek
  • Episode 3: Los Angeles featuring A House for Lions
  • Episode 4: Philadelphia featuring Norwegian Arms
  • Episode 5: New York city featuring La La Lush
  • Episode 6: San Diego featuring SanDollar
  • Episode 7: Boston featuring Quilt
  • Episode 8: Los Angeles featuring Dreamers Dose

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sound Bites 18.0: Beach Hopping @ Hermosa, Redondo, Manhattan Beach

Hermosa Beach

HC, Wing, and I started out with "mimosas in Hermosa" (the theme that inspired us to go to the beach in the first place) at Scotty's on the Strand.  Scotty's is a cute diner with a nice view of the beach and was the least fratty place (one pub offered 32oz mimosas! :x ) we could find.  Oddly, a waiter started putting down new place settings before we even paid the bill.  There were other empty tables around, so I didn't really understand the need to rush us out of there.  Maybe it was because we only ordered mimosas and a plate of fried clams, which were decent, but made me wish we had ordered their hash browns instead.

Redondo Beach

We decided to do our own lobsterfest with Quality Seafood's great September Lobster Special.  $18 for a 1/4 lb lobster, giant ear of sweet corn, large baked potato, and melted butter.  If you're thirsty, you can even add $2 to get a Pabst tallboy!  This is way more affordable than the lobsterfests I've been too AND you get bigger sides.  This is the last weekend before the special ends, so check it out, especially if you missed all the other lobsterfests.  Just make sure to go to the register where they sell the raw seafood.  We made the mistake of waiting in the long line for cooked food.  We just assumed the longest line would be for the affordable $18 lobster special.  I was surprised people were totally unaware of the lobster deal.

After lunch, we quenched our thirst nearby at Naja's Place.  With 88 beers on tap, it was hard to decide what to drink.  Apparently, it gets rowdy after lunch.  The bar was so crowded when we left, I almost ran into a girl dressed up as a cupcake.  I didn't ask...

Manhattan Beach

HC introduced us to Fishing with Dynamite.  I loved the seaworthy decor and the artwork, as seen behind my refreshing Innocents Abroad cocktail (the sparkling cocktail w/ Starr, passion fruit, lavender & Thai basil reminded me of a passion fruit mimosa).  In addition to our afternoon drink, we had a few "snacks"...

  • 1/2 Dozen Peruvian Scallops - some of the best scallops I've ever had
  • Sampler Platter - each oyster on the bar.  Wing and I raved about the Kiwi Cup and Coromandel oysters (both from New Zealand), so we were easily persuaded to order more.  Also, loved the ponzu sauce.  I want it with all my oysters from now on. 
  • 1/2 Dozen Kiwi Cup & Coromandel - I wanted to try the Kiwi Cup oyster as soon as I read the name.  It turned out to be my favorite oyster off the sampler.  It was crisp and clean.  Wing loved the Coromandel, but I found it a bit salty, though not as salty as the Sweet Petite, which made my mouth pucker.  It was not sweet, merely petite
  • Pretzel and Chocolate Bread Pudding - because HC can never leave without dessert.  I'm not really a fan of bread pudding, but this dessert changed my mind with it's mixture of hot salted caramel and cold house made ice cream.  Plus I love pretzels. 
    Scallops // Kiwi Cup // Bread Pudding
HC Recommended:
We were too full to try these since we did each have a whole lobster for lunch!
  • Maryland Blue Crab Cake - in - house dill pickles, whole grain mustard remoulade
  • Key Lime Pie - graham cracker crust and kaffir lime meringue
I see a lunch or dinner here in my future...

It was a fun beach hop, but due to scarce free parking, next time I would park at Manhattan Beach and then make my way over to the other beaches.  However, if we stop at Fishing with Dynamite first, we might never make it to the other beaches.  

Song Pairing:  High Living by Toro y Moi

More Fishing with Dynamite Reviews: 
Gourmet Pigs
Kevin Eats
LA Weekly

Fishing With Dynamite on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 2, 2013

FYF Fest 2013

I thought it'd be fun to try to sum up my FYF experiences with categories.  Let's see how this goes.  

First FYF:  
Yep, even though this was the festival's 10th anniversary, it was my first time.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  It was kind of like a mini Coachella, with the comforts of home at the end of a long day, the benefits of great local eats, and the convenience of public transit (one of the worst things about Coachella is the mile hike to the entrance and the traffic you get stuck in trying to enter the parking lot).

Best Vegan Food: 
The now closed Pure Luck Restaurant made an appearance at FYF in the form of a popup.  It was nice to eat something at a festival and still feel somewhat healthy.  Highly enjoyed their Jackfruit Burrito (jackfruit carnitas, beans, avocado, rice, salsa in a flour tortilla).

Biggest Merch Disappointment:
All the Ts were unisex.  Even though the shirts weren't super expensive, I'm a girl, so it would've been nice to see some girly Ts or a tank top.

Best Bands to Add to a Summer Playlist: 
  • Toro y Moi - smooth voice and silky jams.  Loving some of the R&B tendencies on his new album Anything in Return.
  • Devendra Banhart - I like to add a slow song as an intermission in my mix tapes.  Banhart would be it.  Simple and soothing. 
  • STRFKR - synthpop that made me want to dance from my blanket in the back even after a long tiring day. 
  • Poolside - pleasurable pool pop you can bounce to.  At the end of the show, Filip Nikolic was nice enough to jump down and sign some autographs and take pictures.  Unfortunately, I was up front, but not close enough to the middle to get in on that action. :( 
  • !!! - I've loved this band since college, so I was super excited to finally see them live...and they exceeded expectations.  It was hard not to dance to their disco dance punk, it was so unbelievably catchy.  And I loved the female singer (anyone know her name??) who dueted with him on a few songs.  She was a white woman with the soulful voice of a black woman.  Also, !!! was the perfect sunset band.  By day, the stage was a funky pool party, by night, a discotheque. 
  • Washed Out - I was afraid he would sound washed out and he did on certain songs.  The set list was a strange mix of his usual bedroom rock and then some good, sped up, danceable versions of his songs.  My favorite live song was Get Up.  I mean, look at him, he was probably at his most excited during that song. 
    I wish he would put out a live album because he definitely sounds better with a full band.  And surprise, his song Feel it All Around is the Portlandia theme song.  The full length song is actually pretty good.  
  • Holy Ghost! - I had heard one song before FYF and I liked it.  I just thought I might check them out and then swing over to My Bloody Valentine.  However, I found myself pretty close to the front before the booming bass and caught their electro pop infection that prevented me from standing still.  It was an amazing way to end the last day of FYF.  

Best Dancer:
Nic Offer of !!! somehow pulled off short shorts and had the moves to go with them.  He got the fans riled up by bouncing all over the stage (I like when singers do more than just stand in one place) and jumping into the crowd.  Despite the fact that he was dancing nonstop during his entire set (even hanging the mic around his neck to free his hands for some gyrating...and voguing), he never sounded out of breath. And how can anyone not get their groove on when he's dancing his ass off right in front of you?  If you don't get motion sickness, check out some of his great moves here

Best Line: 
When photographers started leaving the !!! stage, Nic Offer yelled out, "Where you going?  I'm only gonna get cuter!"

Favorite Stage: 
I spent most of my weekend at the Charlotte Stage (the stages were named after Sex and the City characters.  Have they done Ninja Turtles yet?).  What?  There was a ton of great music there.  Sunday, I was there for almost 8 hours straight, taking a short break near the end of the night for a soda, then coming back for more! That day, it was hard to leave the stage because we had such a good spot right at the front!

Most Unexpected Things I Saw:
  • I used to listen to Les Savy Fav in college and decided to swing by the Miranda stage to check out a few songs.  The songs were good, but the stage show got crazier and crazier.  While vocalist Tim Harrington performed, he wore a fluorescent kaftan, removed it, did a belly roll, wet willied his own belly button, put on tube socks as gloves, ripped holes into those tube socks for his fingers, removed them, and then removed his pants.  After he put on a silver gimp suit, including the mask (and managed to zip up most of the suit), and finished a song, I figured it was time for me to go.   
  • Two girls dancing with a giant blowup penis wearing a cape during the break between !!! and Washed Out.  Later at the Holy Ghost! show, the penis made an appearance on the big screen. 

Most Out of Place Band at Charlotte Stage:
The punk rock No Age was oddly sandwiched between !!! and Poolside.  They sounded like they should've been at the Miranda Stage instead, but maybe they were at Charlotte because of their surprisingly large fan base.  I was at the front, but relieved I didn't get too close to the center where all the high school moshers were crowd surfing towards the front of the stage.  Some good songs.  I preferred the ones with Dean Spunt on drums. 

Band I Regret Not Being in the Crowd for:
STRFKR made me want to dance from all the way in the back.  And the next day I saw confetti on the floor that MUST have come from their crazy colorful show. 

Shyest Singer:
It was amusing to see Solange grinding and sexy dancing on stage, and then shyly go to the mic and thank everyone for coming to see her instead of MGMT. 

Best Food Outside FYF:
We decided to have a big lunch at Chego to last us the day at FYF.  I mean, come on, look at that burger.  It was so delicious! 

Most Relaxing:
I got to enjoy Devendra Banhart's performance from a distance on a blanket. 

Only Band I saw at Carrie Stage:
TV on the Radio played faster versions of their songs live.  It didn't really sound like their albums, but it was still good. 

Bands I Regret Missing:
Sadly, I couldn't make it to Beach House because I had such a good place up front for Washed Out.  I'm glad I got to see Washed Out, but this is the second time I've missed Beach House :( 

Best Bands of Saturday:
  • Toro y Moi
  • TV on the Radio

Best Bands of Sunday:
  • !!!
  • Holy Ghost!

Best Backdrop at a Festival: 
Downtown LA's skyline

More Reviews: 
More Photos from Grimy Goods: