05.20.2019
Vampire Weekend
Father of the Bride

Father of the Bride is Vampire Weekend's Blonde. But not their Blonde on Blonde. Or is it Blond? That's what the cover says. No, I think it's Blonde.

05.14.2013
Vampire Weekend
Modern Vampires of the City

I don't know if it's truly 9.3-on-Pitchfork worthy, and it's certainly not better than their classic first album, but I can't seem to find a single thing wrong with this new Vampire Weekend record. Okay, one thing: the type setting on the front cover is a little clunky. Actually, to be slightly more serious, I do have a minor problem with the excessive production flourishes that are all over every track here. Part of what makes their first self-titled album so incredible (I'll say it, a modern classic) is the absolute efficiency of it. There's no excess, not a wasted sound or note or instrument. Each song is written tightly, and arranged precisely so that every melody, every counter melody, every rhythm has a mission. Nothing is there just for the heck of it. On Modern Vampires, they seemed to have taken the opposite approach--every sound is filtered through something. Phasers, pitch shifters, samples and loops, whatever. It's all tasteful, and gives the album its own character, but I'm not sure it's adding anything to the songs. But that's less a rip on Modern Vampires as it is praise for their first album. Point is, these guys have officially proven that they're good at music.

01.22.2010
Vampire Weekend
Contra

Okay, I was wrong. The album isn't completely useless. The last minute and a half of the last song is actually pretty nice. But then it's over.

01.18.2010
Vampire Weekend
Contra

It's like the first Vampire Weekend album, except instead of using their studio time to actually write catchy songs and tighten their performances, they apparently just f'd around on some new electronic music software and listened to Animal Collective albums (read: the last two Animal Collective albums). Yikes! This one's an "Oxford Yawna"!

05.31.2019 - by Steve
Tacos El BroncoBrooklyn
Tacos

There's a running thread in my New York food adventures, which I may or may not have written about already, and you may or may not have read about already, and it's this: Mexican food isn't that great here. I can't say that's true across the board, as I'm sure there's some exceptional Mexican spots to be found somewhere, but it seems to suffer from the same problem as this town's pizza, bagels, and deli sandwiches. It's as if every place, whether it's a counter service taqueria, a sit down joint, or a truck, gets all the same ingredients from all the same distributors. But unlike pizza and bagels, where the redundant offerings are at least of generally high quality, the average New York taco is just mostly fine I guess.

This does bring us to the Tacos El Bronco truck, which you think might be a "but here's the exception!" moment, but naaah. It's just as okay as every other one. But then it becomes even more disappointing because just a few hours before stumbling upon the truck in Sunset Park, I'd just read El Bronco mentioned on a short list of Best Tacos In Brooklyn. So I had my hopes up, and it didn't happen for me.

05.30.2019 - by Steve
Philadelphia GrillBrooklyn
Philly cheesesteak

Cheesesteak: Pretty good. Employees: Extremely deep Brooklyn and kinda intimidating and probably named Vinny. View of bridge: Superb.

05.20.2019 - by Steve
Wafa's ExpressBrooklyn
Falafel bowl

There's a recent New York Times review framed and hanging on the wall of Wafa's Express that closes with one of the most overwrought and hilariously food-criticesque sentences you'll ever read: And the scent: orange blossom and rose water, in the ashta, in the syrup and in the air, like a benediction. It's a counter-service falafel and shawarma place for cripes sake! And yet, shit, it's not wrong?

05.11.2019 - by Steve
PelicanaBrooklyn
Korean fried chicken

Korean fried chicken is very much a thing, and within the world of Korean fried chicken, Bonchon is generally the thing. I had Bonchon once, and honestly wasn't terribly impressed. Pelicana, meanwhile, seems to be a second fiddle of Korean fried chicken chains; the Qdoba to Bonchon's Chipotle. There's a couple of them around here, the first I saw in a (three level) food court in Koreatown, the other taking up a quaint corner bar space in Fort Greene. And I gotta say, based on just a single trip to each, I like Pelicana better than Bonchon. Juicier, spicier, just as crisp in very Korean chicken kind of way. It was extremely satisfying. Maybe a little overkill on the sauce, but that's a lousy complaint.

Addendum: While I was writing this, I did some quick research and discovered there's a Bonchon location in Minneapolis?? And it's been there since 2017?? Why didn't I know this!