Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Look Back @ Pinky and the Brain

Some may question an Animaniacs’ spinoff like Pinky and the Brain as a legit nostalgia piece. Truly a product of the 90s, the show shares as much in common with classic Warner Bros cartoons as it does its Saturday morning contemporaries. The show combines vintage slapstick and cartoon violence with a manic pace and a veritable treasure chest of pop culture references. No notable performer, politcian, or fictional character from the last century is off limits, with writing that digs MUCH deeper than any typical “childrens” program. Nowhere is the trademark wit of 90s cartoons better on display than in the series’ recurring “Are you pondering what I’m pondering?” repartee. Here’s all 85 of Pinky’s responses, embedded below, and use the comments to tell us your favorite (narf).

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Merry Picnic Frozen Bananas

I have no idea why I never tried to make my own frozen bananas before. Ask Garrett - I couldn’t wait for fair season to come around just so I could get my Arrested Development on at a chocolate banana stand – and I couldn’t stop talking about it, months before any fairs would be happening in our area. This week I realized I could make them myself, and they’re easier to make than I thought. I looked up a bunch of recipes online then settled on my own version – using just a microwave because I’m too scared/lazy to attempt to use a double boiler. With five bananas (halved), cake pop sticks, a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, shredded coconut, peanuts, and peanut butter, we ended up with three regular frozen banana halves dipped in chocolate, four banana halves dipped in chocolate and covered in shredded coconut, and four frozen banana halves with a layer of peanut butter, covered in chocolate, and topped off with chopped peanuts. All were AMAZING. The bananas are like ice cream, and they’re just perfect with the chocolate shell and other toppings. Here’s the recipe: 

Merry Picnic Frozen Bananas

What you’ll need:

5 bananas, halved
10 cake pop sticks, or popsicle sticks
12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-2 tbsp. butter
Parchment or wax paper
Optional toppings: Peanut butter, chopped peanuts, coconut flakes, sprinkles

What you’ll have to do:

1.     Cut the bananas in half and insert a cake pop stick or popsicle stick into the flat side of each half. Place onto parchment paper-lined plate or container. Freeze for at least an hour.
2.     (If you’re going to use a peanut butter layer, follow this step. If not, skip to Step 3.) Take out frozen bananas you want to cover in peanut butter. Use a butter knife to spread the peanut butter on. Place on parchment paper and put back in freezer to freeze the peanut butter.
3.     Pour the entire bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl. Add butter. On medium-high heat (I used 70% power), microwave for a minute, then stir. Continue microwaving in 15 to 30-second intervals on 70% power until the chocolate is melted.
4.     If you’re using toppings other than chocolate, have them ready on a plate to roll your chocolate-dipped banana in.
5.     Take bananas (regular, or covered in peanut butter) out of the freezer. Using a butter knife, scoop some chocolate out of the bowl and cover each banana half. You can also use the knife to spread the chocolate evenly on the banana. If you’re using toppings, spread the chocolate quickly because the chocolate will harden on the banana before you can get the shredded coconut or peanuts to stick. If using toppings, roll the chocolate-covered banana into the topping. (We rolled a few in shredded coconut, and we rolled the ones with peanut butter in chopped/crushed peanuts.)
6.     Place your finished banana on parchment paper and put back in freezer until the chocolate hardens. If you’re going to save them for a while, store in an airtight container.
7.     Enjoy!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Chambers Brothers - Time Has Come Today

I remember ten years ago when this song underwent a renaissance of sorts.  Appearing on everything from CSI to car commercials, the track was fairly ubiquitous for a period in the early 2000s.  This being a trend I feel should start again, take a trip back to '68 with The Chambers Brothers' sprawling classic "Time Has Come Today".  Your soul just might get psychedelicized.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Carpenters - Close To You (Happy Valentine's Day)

I've been thinking about Karen Carpenter a lot lately (gone 29 years last week) and (over)spinning my thrift store copy of The Carpenters' Close To You LP.  The title track is one of the all-time great love songs and a perfect tune to close out Valentine's Day with.  Hope it was a good one for you too.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dum Dum Girls & Widowspeak @ The Space (TONIGHT)

This year's incarnation of B.O.M.B. Fest was the best festival I've seen in some time, on paper.  The execution left much to be desired, replete with a venue change (a good thing), borderline nonsensical overlapping of bands (a BAD thing), and most damning, several booked acts dropping out prior to the festival.  Fans who looked forward to seeing George Clinton, Quintron, and more were sorely disappointed to find a sizable chunk of the lineup had to cancel, leaving ticket-holders more or less helpless as they were Lando (as opposed to Vader) in this situation.

Lately, however, Manic Productions has been booking acts that had to otherwise cancel their appearances.  Quintron & Miss Pussycat (who will be featured in our next Vintage Vinyl post) return to Cafe Nine May 1st, righting a major wrong.  Tonight though, indie girl-group Dum Dum Girls finally play Connecticut, headlining at The Space in Hamden with openers Widowspeak and Punks on Mars.

Having had to cancel their tour last year due to a death in the family, tonight is their first chance to return to the Nutmeg State.  That their mini-tour takes them through Hamden is only an added bonus, as the intimate venue will be a somewhat rare occurrence for Dum Dum Girls, who have been routinely filling larger rooms with fans of their 60s/punk/girl-rock ethos.  Lo-fi chillout trio Widowspeak is not to be missed either.  Their self-titled debut shines, featuring ethereal vocals and catchy guitar hooks, making for a perfect sonic pairing.  Check out "Nightcrawlers" from Widowspeak and "Bedroom Eyes" off Only in Dreams, Dum Dum Girls' latest LP, both embedded below.  Tickets are still available ($15) and be sure to get there early for happy hour at The Outer Space, nothing beats warming up for a show with some $2 drafts.  See you there!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Traffic - The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

Long before he was taken to ‘higher love’, Steve Winwood was doing outstanding vocal work with The Spencer Davis Group and fronting the seminal 70s rock act, Traffic. Nowhere is that early creative success better demonstrated than on Traffic's 1971 album, The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys. The title track is a nearly 12 minute sprawling masterpiece of 70s rock, featuring intertwining piano and synthesizer parts as well as extended saxophone and keyboard solos. While “Dear Mister Fantasy” might be a crowd favorite, “The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys” is, for me at least, Traffic’s signature track.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Buckethead - Theme from Cannibal Holocaust

In order to indulge my affinity for live rarities, here's an alternate version of the recently featured theme from Cannibal Holocaust.  Performed by guitar virtuoso Buckethead, his plugged in take on the original's chillout blend of synth and acoustic guitar is more emotive and (thanks to his signature mask) almost as unsettling.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Justice - Brianvision

I've been on a steady diet of Justice as of late.  In a sonic blend that melds Air with Kavinsky, the French electro-rockers have been on a constant loop since I picked up their sophomore album Audio, Video, Disco.  Every track is a must-hear, but my own pick would be the instrumental guitar feast that is "Brianvision".  Featuring a pounding bass line and Brian May-esque guitars that would be right at home on any classic Queen album, the track begs to be listened again and again, not to mention having one of the best song titles I've heard in recent memory.  Check out "Brianvision" embedded below.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rush - 2112 (Happy Rush Day! 2/1/12)

Hello internet!  Just found out that it's Rush Day and couldn't resist honoring Canada's greatest non-bacon export.  Take a minute (or 20) to tip your hat to Messrs. Lifeson, Peart, and Lee and enjoy the entire title track from their classic album 2112.  Rock.