04.15.2018
Hop Along
Bark Your Head Off

I wish this rocked more.

05.09.2015
Hop Along
Painted Shut

First Sleater-Kinney, then Screaming Females, and now Hop Along; if I was an editor for Rolling Stone who was creatively depressed and hated his life (as opposed to, well...), I would write a cover story declaring 2015 the Year Of Girlz Who Rawk! I don't know if the cover shot would be particularly sexy, but the lede would remain the same. The best straight-up guitar rock albums coming out this year are all coming from female-fronted groups. Hop Along's Painted Shut is the strangest of the three. From what I gather, the lead singer started out doing Joanna Newsom-y girly freak folk, with the weird voice warbles and all, until she started this new group with her brother, combining her hugely powerful pipes with some laser-focused, hard hitting 90's-influenced mathy indie rock. So in its heaviest moments, you do get a bit of a Sleater-Kinney vibe, albeit with some gravelly vocals that could tear flesh. But then you get some mellower acoustic moments, where her art-school-girl warble comes out, and you're glad she decided kick some ass instead. Then you get some moments stuck in between, where it's like Joanna Newsom fronting Shudder To Think, and you're pretty sure you've never heard anything like it before, as familiar as it might seem. (Okay, it's not as amazing as "Joanna Newsom fronting Shudder to Think" might seem. But it's damn good.) There's also two–two!–songs about watiresses. So maybe don't worry too much about the lyrics.

07.07.2019 - by Steve
Captain James CrabhouseBaltimore
Steamed crabs

Ate a bunch of crabs. Had to tear their guts out and stuff. It was a primal experience and the crab tasted good. Got a little tired of it though.

07.07.2019 - by Steve
Boog's BarbecueBaltimore
Barbecue pit beef

Camden Yards is a very important ballpark, in that it changed the way that every ballpark since has been designed and built (for better or worse, but I'll go ahead and say better). It's still a great place to watch a baseball game, and a charming piece of architecture, even if it's been copied and and bettered in many ways in ensuing years. I like Camden Yards.

Boog's Barbecue, found out in right field in the alley by the iconic warehouse, is in its own way a very important food stand. It's become tediously normal now, a stadium showcasing unique local foods and restaurants rather than simply offering hot dogs and nachos, but in the early 90s Boog's was one of the first. Every time a TV announcer talked about how beautiful Camden was, they'd always mention Boog's. Or laugh with each other about how "Boy I can't wait to get some B-B-Q before this game is done!" It became a thing.

Beyond that, I don't have a whole lot to say about Boog's, but it was actually pretty good. I was prepared to be fully underwhelmed, because that's usually how things work, but no, it was very satisfying. So go to Camden Yards, it's still great. And get some Boog's.

07.07.2019 - by Steve
Luigi's DeliBaltimore
Meatball sub

We went to Baltimore. While in Baltimore we stayed in the former-working class, former-gay, now-still-kinda-gay-but-mostly-low-key-gentrified neighborhood of Hampden, which is very much defined at this point by its connection to John Waters. There's a lot of flamingos around. You'll see them.

Anyway, even though there were a handful of 'cool' and 'good' restaurants and eateries within close walking distance of our place, I found myself craving a meatball sub. This is silly, because I live in Brooklyn (did you know that?), where I'm constantly surrounded by meatball subs at all times of the day, but rarely get them. Thankfully one of the cool and good restaurants here in Hampden was an Italian deli called Luigi's, with a meatball sub right up on their menu.

Again, I will note, I currently live in Brooklyn. There is no shortage of Italian delis here, or at least regular delis purporting to be Italian delis. The fact that I used up one of my meals in Baltimore on an Italian deli is fully ridiculous. But wouldn't you know, I'll be damned, this was a very good deli—operated entirely by some very tatt'd up Baltimore weirdo punks—and a very very good meatball sub. Although "sub" is actually a misnomer; Luigi's makes a meatball chub. The meatballs were sauce were delicious and homemade and of course the stars of the show, but instead of the standard method of cutting the bread down the middle, hoagie style, the chub involves taking an entire loaf of bread, cutting it in half, and then digging out the inside of the loaf, bread-bowl style. They then stuff the hole with meatballs and sauce, and cork it closed with some of the leftover bread pieces. This sounds like a silly novelty, but I have to say, it made it way easier to eat than your standard meatball sub! No mess, no sloppy deteriorating bread. It was great! Brooklyn delis should take note.