Frontier Psychiatrist

Archive for April 2010

A busy week in the indie music world has passed us by, with Colin Meloy of The Decemberists signing a deal to pen a children’s book series, Animal Collective disciple Ariel Pink announcing he would be making a guest appearance on a new science fiction television show, and bands Fucked Up and Stars debating how best to address the new Arizona immigration law.  Also, there was music:

*Hip-hop maverick producer/Alice Coltrane great nephew Flying Lotus will be releasing his new full-length Cosmogramma on May 4; this week, the entire record became available for live-stream via his MySpace site.  Check it out.  Included below is his much-discussed collaboration with Thom Yorke, “And The World Laughs With You:”

Flying Lotus – And The World Laughs With You (featuring Thom Yorke)

* released a live session by rising stars Surfer Blood earlier this week.  Awe-inspiring.  The full session can be heard at; below is a performance of lead single “Swim” from their debut record Astro Coast:

Surfer Blood – “Swim” – HearYa Live Session 3/10/10 from on Vimeo.

*As reported on the FP Facebook and Twitter feeds earlier this week, The National performed a set for WNYC’s excellent series Soundcheck on Monday.  The entire performance can be heard on WNYC’s website.  WNYC is also streaming a full performance by Owen Pallett from Webster Hall that took place last Thursday.  And, not to be outdone, NPR is streaming full performances from last week by The XX and Hot Chip.

*Jack White side-project Dead Weather (how many side-projects does he have?) is streaming their new record Sea of Cowards today in unusual fashion.

*FP favorites Das Racist performing in this installation at the Whitney tonight.

*Finally, please enjoy the following gorgeous performance of Radiohead’s “No Surprises” by Regina Spektor.  Spektor recorded the cover to benefit the Doctors Without Borders Emergency Relief Fund; you can help the cause by purchasing the track here.  For much more similar music that we don’t have room to fit in the blog, please follow us on Facebook or Twitter, where we share new songs, videos, downloads, and music news daily.

Regina Spektor – No Surprises (Radiohead cover)


 Oh, Kate Nash. We reveled in your 2007 debut Made of Bricks, with your chirpy, British-accented tales of disappointment in love and loser guys who get sick on your trainers [American: Sneakers]. Nash’s sophomore album, My Best Friend is You, brings more of the same, plus some lush strings and horns, thanks to production by Britpop veteran Bernard Butler of Suede. From her lyrics, Nash seems to have seen plenty of pain, but there’s enough humor and self-assertion to save the songs from the realm of pity party. Here in New York, Nash played the Bowery Ballroom last night and plays Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow, both sold out shows.

(Come for the drinks, Stay for the music)

Joe Montana might wear those stupid “exercise” shoes these days, but we all know that’s just for the cash. Back in the day, he was one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time, rivaling Dan Marino and John Elway for a spot on the bedroom wall of boys around the country during the late 1980s and appearing on SNL in Sincere Guy Stu. Pertinent to our discussion of cocktails, however, he is also a discriminating tippler, known to favor the subject of this week’s post… the Jack Rose. Rachael Maddow is also a fan, apparently, but there’s no way I’m going to focus on her over the man who threw The Catch.

A variation on the Sour, the Jack Rose is great classic cocktail with a sour/sweet/apple balance that is accessible to those who find some other cocktails, e.g. a dry martini, too booze-forward. Also, it uses, and is a great excuse to get a bottle of, one of the best-named traditional spirits: applejack, a/k/a “Jersey Lightning.” An apple brandy that is a bit of a cross between Calvados and bourbon, applejack was first distilled by settlers in the New World, and so is literally “more American than apple pie.” In fact, much early apple production went to making applejack and hard cider, rather than for eating. Applejack has been made continuously in the Garden State since the Eighteenth century by Laird’s, and, if you can find it, get a bottle of their higher proof “bonded” stuff, which is more traditional and makes better, stronger drinks because it is not blended with neutral spirits.
Once you’ve gotten some applejack, make a proper Jack Rose cocktail:

1 ½ oz. Apple Jack

½ oz. fresh lemon juice (usually the juice of one half of a lemon)
½ oz. simple syrup
Dash of grenadine
Combine all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker; shake; strain into chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a bit of lemon peel (use a vegetable peeler to make a strip of peel).
A quick word on two of the ingredients. First, simple syrup is aptly named; simply mix two parts sugar with one part water in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves, funnel into an empty bottle, and keep in the fridge for a month. Second, grenadine is named for pomegranates, but all the readily-available brands use high fructose corn syrup and red dye. The real stuff can be found or can be made easily at home. Don’t stress out over it for this drink, get what you can as it’s just for a bit of color. If you do get your hands on the real stuff, however, swap out the simple syrup for ½ oz. of real grenadine (¾ oz. if using home-made).
While it can’t prevent you from being traded to the Chiefs, the Jack Rose is certainly worth making, and, once you’ve gotten yourself a bottle of applejack, you can also experiment with a highly-recommended applejack old-fashioned.

Drink up,

There has been a great deal written regarding the explosion of indie music from Sweden over the last five years, and understandably so; from The Knife to Peter Bjorn & John to, most recently, The Tallest Man on Earth, Swedish artists have increasingly become American critical darlings.  Indeed, to read much that has been written, you might be led to believe that the land of Carl Gustaf XVI just discovered the concept of sequencing pitched sounds during the 21st century.  Such a perspective sadly sells short the history of Swedish pop music, but also fails to recognize the fact that Swedish music trends have in fact mirrored our own for over 30 years.

The typical narrative of Swedish music goes thusly: “There was ABBA, they were quite popular with people like John McCain but not anyone you’d hang out with, then there was nothing for decades, then they were on our TV shows.”  The truth however, is much more complex: Swedish pop music has been omnipresent in our own musical landscape since the time of ABBA; indeed, it has been a reflection of the landscape.  When we have found our music scene blemished, therefore, we have chosen not to take notice of Sweden’s

While their aesthetic significance is questionable at best, ABBA’s historical significance cannot be denied.  They were more responsible than only other artist for the transition of glam-rock to disco in the mid-1970s.  It is understandable if after this transition, we all tried to pretend we didn’t know if bands were from Sweden.  Nonetheless, they didn’t leave us alone.  In the midst of the hair-metal craze of the mid-1980s, the Swedish band Europe made an indelible mark on our popular culture.  During the same time period, while Madonna and Wham! were popping up our radio waves, Swedish group Roxette was having an impact of its own.

It is understandable why we tried not to acknowledge Sweden during this period.  When our own music became a tad less cheesy, so did theirs, and we started paying attention again.  For example, in the mid-1990s, with an upwelling of literate female-driven pop occurring in America, Swedish darlings The Cardigans to rose to prominence; with the birth of the so-called “garage rock revivial” of the early 2000s, The Hives gained some measure of fame.  Since this time, and particularly in the last five years, we’ve continued to see Swedish music serve as model and inspiration for our own.  From the folk musing of Jose Gonzalez (reflected in those of Bon Iver), to the blissed-out electronic compositions of Air France (clear relatives of buzz-worthy Neon Indian), to the clever songs of Jens Lekman (the true heir to The Magnetic Fields), Swedish music continues to inform and be informed by our own.  Just because this phenomenon is à la mode, however, don’t be lead to believe that it is a recent development.

Some Swedish favorites from recent weeks/months/years:

Jens Lekman – Your Arms Around Me

jj – Ecstasy

The Tallest Man on Earth – Kids on the Run

Some words of encouragement to the citizens of Barcelona today after their home team’s crushing loss to Inter Milan.  Apologies to our significant Madrileña fanbase:

(p.s. – they’re actually Swedish)

At the time of his recent passing, Sparklehorse mastermind Mark Linkous (briefly memorialized in an earlier post) had completed work on a collaborative project with Danger Mouse and David Lynch called Dark Night of the Soul.  After a protracted legal battle with EMI records, the record is set for (now posthumous) release on July 13 in the US.  The record is meant to be accompanied by a 100-page book of photos taken by Lynch; sadly this book was limited to 5000 copies and has sold out in its initial run.  As for the record itself, it features guest appearances from a wide range of vocalists including Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, The Shins’ James Mercer, Cardigan’s lead vocalist Nina Persson, Iggy Pop, Black Francis, and David Lynch himself singing the title track.  The entire album is available for live-streaming here; we’ve included FP’s favorite track from the record (featuring Julian Casablancas of The Strokes) below:

Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse – Little Girl (featuring Julian Casablancas)

Speaking of love, here’s the latest from Lupe Fiasco: “Love Letter to the Beat.” Featuring Alicia Keys and produced by Chad Hugo of the Neptunes, this track may be on the forthcoming album Lasers. LF is now on tour with B.o.B, whose album was released today. (See this morning’s FP post for the B.o.B. Vampire Weekend mashup).


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Listening To:

Sons of Dionysus

A Transmedia Novel of Myth, Mirth, and the Magical Excess of Youth.