Music & Food | A site about music and food.
June 30, 2024

This is Lorelei

Box for Buddy, Box for Star

I’m trying start this write-up, but I keep wanting to start it with “This is Lorelei is” and my head immediately falls off my neck.

What I’m trying to communicate is that the guy that makes up this one-man-band situation, is a member of a different band, which isn’t even important to mention because you’ve never heard of them and I’ve barely heard of them. But This is Lorelei is (shit!) so different than that band I’m just going to drop it now.

What This Is Lorelei is (dangit!), is (woof) the spiritual successor to Magnetic Fields. Pristine, perfectly rendered weirdo little lo-fi pop (in that sense, not the other sense) songs which get in and get out and then get back in again, right to that part of your brain that makes you feel like you’ve been listening to them for half your life.

Also like Magnetic Fields, he sings real low.

June 25, 2024

Unleash the Archers

Phantoma

Every year I get hit out of the blue by an anthemic, melodic, hard-charging power metal album. It’s always from some band I’ve never heard of who’s on their 6th or 7th album, usually from somewhere like Hartford or Toronto, it’s always completely devoid of creative merit outside of being anthemic, melodic, and hard-charging; and I always listen to it almost nonstop for months.

This year it’s Unleash the Archers. I couldn’t tell you anything about these guys, other than that they’re from Toronto (bingo), they wear a lot of leather (bingo), and this album rips from beginning to end. They even spell the title track as “Ph4/NT0mA”, because it’s about the struggle of being trapped by technology. Bingo.

I am going to listen to this album 100 more times between now and December, and then when 2025 hits, never listen to it again.

June 22, 2024

Iris Dement

Infamous Angel

Where has this been all my life?

June 22, 2024

Fishmans

Long Season

Where has this been all my life?

May 16, 2024

Corridor

Mimi

Here’s a cool Montreal post punk band, who’s music is pretty good, but all I can think about is that cover art.

May 16, 2024

Inter Arma

New Heaven

Everyone’s loved Inter Arma for years now, and I’ve tried, and I’ve tried, but I never really got it. But this one, this one I get. Extreme metal that’s not afraid to get weird. But not too weird. And the centerpiece is this big bass-forward instrumental that plays like almost like “Orion” or “Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth).” Why doesn’t every metal do one of those on every album?

May 7, 2024

Micky Greaney

And Now It's All This

From what I’ve been able to read (not much), Micky Greaney is a singer/songwriter from Yorkshire who recorded this album in 1996, got some sweet offers for a record deal, and turned them all down. And that was it. He appears to have some sort of local-legend (“legend”) status in Yorkshire, but his music and reputation elsewhere in the world, or even England, seems to be naught.

This happens sometimes in the internet age, where these lost records somehow find the light of day and find some bit of modern acclaim. Usually it’s some record collector, crate digger who brings them to light—or Light In The Attic. But here it seems to be Micky himself, or maybe an associate of his, trying to bring this album back to light. There’s an odd bit of desperation in the PR, but also a bit of mystery. Like, who tf is this guy? What is this about?

Whatever it’s about, whoever this guy is—wow this is a nice album! This guy had something! Pretty down-the-middle, Britpop, singer-songwriter stuff. But it was produced by the guy who produced The Bends, features the galdang Prague Symphony Orchestra. This isn’t some home-baked lo-fi outsider situation. Micky Greaney could’ve, honestly, been big.

May 1, 2024

Dew

Gospel of Mycelium

These guys kinda suck but I like that they’re called Dew.

Just kidding, they’re pretty good. I don’t know why I said that.

April 17, 2024

Oisin Leech

Cold Sea

I like Steve Gunn. He’s a good and clever guitar player with a talent for arrangements. But his actual songwriting and vocal work has never won me over.

Oisin Leech, meanwhile, I don’t know much about Oisin Leech. It seems he was in a kinda-dumb early aughts garage rock band, then was park of an alt-folk duo for a while, but beyond that your guess is as good as mine. But what I can tell you about Oisin Leech is that he has a nice voice and writes nice songs.

This album, his first solo collection, is produced by Steve Gunn and features Gunn on guitar on nearly every track.

It’s beautiful. It’s nearly perfect, really. I could listen to it all day. Patient, tempered, adult music by a bunch of total pros. Hell, M Ward is on this thing! But it’s also one of those albums that leaves almost no lasting imprint on my mind. I can’t hum any of the songs, or remember any of the lyrics. Maybe just a little too adult?

I do know that I’m going to be listening to it a lot in the foreseeable future.

 

 

March 28, 2024

Waxahatchee

Tigers Blood

Somehow not doing it for me.

March 26, 2024

Slow Mass

Drift Themes

Back when I was a younger me, and had some (fleeting, never fully serious) dreams of some day being in a band and recording music of my own, the music I imagined I’d like to make is almost exactly what Slow Mass is doing on this album. Massive, Hum-Failure-like melodic guitar swells and understated vocals, stretched out to epic, post-rock lengths with the occasional metallic heaviness, variations on a single theme, contrasted by more gentle come-downs of the same themes. No verses, no choruses, but never breaking down into your usual post-rock cliches.

They’ve done it better than I could’ve, so good on them. Weird to hear my dreams and only give it a gentleman’s 8.

July 12, 2024

Atellier September

Copenhagen, Denmark

Bread and cheese and butter

Copenhagen, Denmark

I don’t think this bakery was in The Bear. It might’ve been, though? This one is more well known for its beloved cookbook.

I had some bread. And butter. And cheese. And I have to say: Europe knows how to do bread and butter and cheese. Those guys go crazy for the stuff. And in Scandinavia, they go extra crazy for rye bread.

July 12, 2024

Hart

Copenhagen, Denmark

Baked goods

Copenhagen, Denmark

Here’s another Copenhagen bakery.

Hart! This is one that was featured on that Copenhagen episode of The Bear. I’m not sure what else to write. Go read the post about Lille! That basically covers it.

It was good, one of the better sets of baked goods we ate. But honestly I don’t remember what was what or how was who.

 

July 10, 2024

POPL Burger

Copenhagen, Denmark

Cheeseburger, fancy mushrooms

Copenhagen, Denmark

No, we didn’t go to Noma.

Can you even “go” to Noma? How does it even work? Do you just get reservations? Do you have to be invited somehow? What do you do? The idea of going to Noma didn’t even cross my mind as a possibility.

What you can do, though is go to POPL Burger.

POPL is a burger “joint” that was started by the Noma people during the pandemic. It started as a takeout-only window, kiosk, something  like that. You know, that thing that restaurants were doing to keep some cashflow coming and keep their employees employed. I imagine this first version of POPL must’ve been wildly popular, since it’s a burger place from Noma. Duh. So they eventually opened this full service brick and mortar location, and here we are.

The first surprising thing about this place is that it no longer seems wildly popular. We got a reservation no problem, and arrived to find it not even half full. Granted, it was late evening on a Monday. Still.

The next surprising thing was that, silly as it sounds, it was just a burger place. Only a couple options, nothing wildly experimental or outside the box, not Rethinking The Burger in any way. Just a cheeseburger with (?) and POPL Sauce. And fries. But then they also had these marinated mushrooms in the menu as a side dish, which made no sense in context, but that was it.

I don’t want to tell you the POPL burger was disappointing. I don’t think it was. But it was, just, like, a cheeseburger? A pretty good one no doubt, although some bites were better than others; the cheese occasionally overwhelmed it, and there wasn’t quite enough sauce and (?) on it. Considering it’s the Burger Brought To You By The Greatest Restaurant In The World, I was hoping for something a little more.

The mushrooms, meanwhile. Were those something that Noma might usually serve? Are they an old favorite? Did some young chef in training come up with them and they’re testing them at the burger joint? I’m not going to judge Noma by these mushrooms, but if that’s what Noma has to offer, maybe it’s okay that we didn’t go to Noma

 

 

June 30, 2024

Selma

Copenhagen, Denmark

Smørrebrød

Copenhagen, Denmark

Fish on bread.

June 30, 2024

Andersen & Maillard

Copenhagen, Denmark

Baked goods

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen bakery #2! This one wasn’t as good as the others. But it was still good. I’m afraid I don’t remember what else I had to say about it.

June 25, 2024

Bæst

Copenhagen, Denmark

'Nduja pizza

Copenhagen, Denmark

Bæst is a very cool and popular pizza place in Copenhagen, but this is the last time I’m going to use the words “cool and popular” when writing about Copenhagen. Because every place in Copenhagen is cool and popular. And seemingly less than 15 years old.

Bæst was also the first time I noticed a trend I’d see while eating anywhere in Copenhagen: Americans. Everywhere we ate, there was at least one table of Americans next to us. They were everywhere. And they all wanted to eat where we were eating.

In this case, oddly, there was a table of middle aged Long Island (or Jersey?) dudes, seemingly in the city on business? I couldn’t tell what led these particular guys to Copenhagen, much less this hipster pizza haven. But I can tell you one thing, they were fucking loud. And they couldn’t believe how spicy the ‘nduja pizza was.

It was spicy though. They weren’t wrong. Good pizza.

June 22, 2024

Lille Bakery

Copenhagen, Denmark

Pizza bianca, berliner, baked goods

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is a city inhabited and governed by solely by graphic designers and librarians. And the graphic designers and librarians hate each other but won’t admit it or talk about it. The tension reached a tipping point a few years ago, until a handful of graphic designers and librarians quit their jobs to become bakers. And now Copenhagen is full of hype bakeries.

The hype bakery, as christened by a New York Times food writer recently, defies direct definition, but like, you know it when you see it. The front looks like an Apple store, the back is an open kitchen so you can see all the art school dropouts mixing dough and showing off their measuring cup tattoos, and the croissants have many teeny tiny layers. This description, though, is redundant, since we are in Copenhagen.

Anyway the first of many bakeries we visited was Lille. But to talk about Lille, we first need to talk about Noma.

I actually don’t know much about Noma. I don’t really understand it. But for at least the last decade, it’s been considered the best restaurant in the world, it’s changed the way that chefs interact food and the earth, it’s put Scandinavia on the top of the world’s cheffy hierarchy. It’s also, I’ve learned, more than a restaurant. It’s this sort of institution, an ecosystem of its own with multiple buildings on its premises, its own greenhouses and farms, and a sizable cadre of some of the most talented and ambitious food professionals working in its ranks. It seemingly has a gravitational pull that brings people to Copenhagen, to eat food and to make food.

You may have heard Noma is on an island. This is and isn’t true. It’s on an island in the sense that a restaurant on Roosevelt Island or Nicollet Island is on an island. It’s right across from downtown, on a strip of land separated by a river or a channel or canal, which was seemingly a forgotten industrial zone and swampland until some amount of urban revitalization happened in the 90s or 00s. There’s no reason for the world’s best restaurant to be there, other than they got some land probably for cheap. And there’s no reason for Lille Bakery to be there other than that Noma is there.

Being a hype bakery (i.e. a bakery in Copenhagen), the isolation of Lille is almost part of the appeal. You aren’t walking here casually because it’s the place on your street that you get bread once a week. You go to Lille because you heard it’s one of the best bakeries in Copenhagen, and therefore one of the best bakeries in the world. And so we went to Lille.

It was excellent, I have no complaints. The extremely-n0t-Danish pizza bianca was one of the best things I ate this entire trip.

We didn’t go to Noma.

 

 

 

June 22, 2024

Broens Gadekøkken

Copenhagen, Denmark

Sausage, potato salad

Copenhagen, Denmark

On to Copenhagen!

After our brief waltz around the Alps, we buzzed up north to commence our grand tour of Scandinavia. Or if not a grand tour, at least a partial tour. So: get ready to read about bakeries and sausage.

Like this sausage. This was a great sausage! Great! I wrote that it came from Broens Gadekøkken, but I actually am not so sure about that. This was a little grill kiosk in the middle of a hip (everything in Copenhagen is hip) outdoor food, uh, garden? I googled it just now and it does’t seem as if this particular kiosk is even mentioned on the map, but I think it might be part of this Broens Gadekøkken operation, so I’m going to stick with it.

I don’t know what else to say about this sausage. It was a sausage and mustard and potato salad. Flawless, not a single note. The potato salad was especially good; but based on future meals in Copenhagen, it seems those people really know how to salad a potato.

June 21, 2024

Max Chocolatier

Zürich, Switzerland

Chocolate

Zürich, Switzerland

Maybe honestly the best chocolate I’ve ever eaten.