08.22.2018
Trust Fund
Bringing the backline

Apparently this is going to be Trust Fund's last album, which is a bummer because I feel like Trust Fund still has unexplored greatness in them. That's unfair actually; their Seems Unfair album is truly great. Really everything they've done is some shade of great, even if this one is a little paler than the others. But I still don't want them to stop. We'll see.

06.23.2016
Trust Fund
We have always lived in The Harolds

One day last summer, I went from having never heard of Trust Fund, to putting their Seems Unfair album near the top of my Best Of The Year list, and putting the band near the top of my Super Excited To Hear What They Do Next list. Awesome album, really smart power pop, fun and charming, well done, funny videos. They're good. Well What They Do Next didn't take long, because they just released this new, uh, album? Is it an album? What is an album anymore? It was only $1.49 on Bandcamp, and I can't help but feel that it's basically a series of demo recordings that would've been better off kept behind the scenes in preparation for their next real album, half song ideas, and half instrumental arrangement experiments (some woodwinds here, some mellotron there, some connective drones yonder). But I can't complain, because $1.49. The songs are nice though, and they're seriously on a roll in terms of knocking out sweet smart melodies—and I'm currently listening it to about the 5th time since last night. Still, just because it's so easy here in 2016 to release an "album," doesn't mean that you always should.

11.10.2015
Trust Fund
Seems Unfair

My personal Superchunk phase is well into its second year now, with no sign of stopping. I guess it's more of a 'power pop' phase, but really it's specifically about the kind of power pop that Superchunk and their ilk play—more Dinosaur Jr. than Cheap Trick, more Superdrag than Big Star. It's probably what's going to make Screaming Females' album my favorite of the year when the times comes in a couple months. And here's this new English band Trust Fund, who I never heard of until today, and who I probably would've ignored, had Pitchfork not thrown a Superchunk reference right in the teaser text. And even though they only gave it a 6.8, I think they're wrong, and it's at least a 7.2! Good hooks, good progressions, interesting singer that would fit in a late 90s Elephant 6 band, scuzzy Dino Jr. production that's maybe just a bit muddy for me, but whatever. They're good, they're positive, they've got personality, they're clearly having fun while not forgetting to write songs. This isn't necessarily the greatest album ever, but I'll bet they put out their own mini-classic sometime in the next year. This is fine for now. Super!


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01.21.2019 - by Steve
Hometown BarbecueBrooklyn
Barbecue pulled pork

Hometown Barbecue, way out in Red Hook, is supposedly one of the best barbecue joints in New York. Eater even had it on its list of 37(ish) "essential" NY restaurants. So it's kind of a bummer that we went there on a whim—a very fast whim before grocery shopping right next door on some random Wednesday night—rather than really planning out and luxuriating in its barbecueness. What did I get? I got the pulled pork and baked beans. How was it? It was quite good, although maybe a little too wet, with all the cole slaw slopped on the top. And the beans had been seemingly been sitting in the bottom of their pot for too long, and just had that "thrice cooked" kind of taste. I couldn've lived without the beans. But, yeah, the sandwich was good from what I remember of it. But also nothing terribly remarkable. Really what it reminded me of was Green Street Meats in Chicago. Almost like the owners visited Green Street during the planning stages and said, "This is the barbecue place we want to be!" Right down to the service style and christmas-lights-in-old-warehouse decor. So for further detail, scroll back to, say, 2011, and read my Green Street Meats write-up. I'm sure it'll apply here.

01.21.2019 - by Steve
JojuQueens
Banh mi

The difference between NYC and Minneapolis (well, St. Paul) Vietnamese places is pretty noticeable. The Twin Cities are known as a pretty good area for Vietnamese food, and that's true, but that seems to come mostly in the form of mom-n-pop, hole in the wall joints. The exceptions are few—Ngon Bistro is maybe the only fine-dining Vietnamese spot, and only in the last couple years are places like Lu's trying fast-casual-ify the pho space. (I can't believe I just typed that). But all in all, Twin Cities Vietnamese feels very much like an immigrant group simply wanting to feed themselves and have a taste of home, and if curious Minnesotans want to get some lemongrass chicken, great.

In New York, meanwhile, Vietnamese feels much more like a trend. The restaurants are younger, cooler, expensiver. I've seen very few 'hole in the wall' banh mi joints, relative to NY's uber density of course, compared to MSP. And the cheaper, counter service ones are often more like the subject of this food post, Joju. Located in a very heavily Asian neighborhood in Queens (and I mean "Asian" non-accidentally; we're talking Korean restaurants next to Thai grocery stores next to specifically Taiwanese restaurants. American melting pot, etc. etc.), Joju is what one might call "cool". But not in a Williamsburg pink neon sense, more in an "anime sandwich mascots and K-pop record cover" sense. It also, like many of these places, touts itself almost as much as a bubble tea shop than it does a restaurant. Joju doesn't even have Coke!

But what they do have is delicious banh mi. We ordered two kinds, caramel pork and beef bulgogi. Oh, that's another thing—there seems to be some very blurred lines at NY banh mi shops in terms of which nation's cuisine is represented on this ostensibly Vietnamese sandwich. You're just as likely to see Korean bulgogi or Thai basil pork on the menu as the standard Vietnamese chicken or pork with pate. Which is fine by me. Anyway, the sandwiches were delicious. Maybe a little heavy on carrot, and the actual construction of the veggies and meat made for a slightly awkward eating experience, but they tasted great. They also represented one more difference that seems to separate NY banh mi from MSP banh mi: the bun was refreshingly soft. So many hole in the wall banh mi I'm used to seem to lean towards using chewy, crispy baguettes. But these NY versions are soft, and much easier to bite into. A much more satisfying experience in my opinion, and one that comes in to play with a lot of New York dough-based food, from pizza dough to bagels, simply to bread you're served at restaurants or find at bakeries. Whether it's the water or the high turnover or simply the quality of local bakeries, bread truly is better here than in the rest of the country. Crazy as it sounds.

So anyway, Joju. It's good. It's pretty deep into parts of Queens you might never go to, so maybe don't worry too much about it. There's probably others like it.