White Christmas in New York

via Rockettes Facebook via Rockettes Facebook

Rockin Around The Christmas Tree
Checking out a New York Christmas time institution tonight, The Rockettes. I saw this show once when I was a little kid, but don’t remember it at all. Last few times I’ve been to Radio City Music Hall has been to see bands too, so that’ll be a treat. I’ll need to remind my mom and brother I was there. My brother got the whole family kicked out of Radio City after some Sesame Street on Ice show before I was born. I bet my Mom in particular gets a hoot.

Listening Pile – Battles – B + T
Just read this the other night about it being the ten year anniversary of their first show. Crazy, I remember seeing this band close to ten years ago with Ratatat at a hot and sweaty show at the long gone Tonic on the Lower East Side. I didn’t know anything about them, other than the fact that John Stanier from Helmet was the drummer. The only other thing I remember is the show being filled with all dudes. Like 3 girls and a hundred dudes. Weird, guess chicks didn’t dig math rock the way they did the long ball. Haven’t seen Battles in years and wasn’t impressed with their last record Mirrored all that much. They did however inspire one of my favorite t-shirts ever.


all the way back home, to my town

complaining, when some people ain’t got shit to eat
Morning commutes in New York City. Love them or hate them, they are vital to millions of people getting to and from work every day. My commute this morning was delayed by a) just missing the train and waiting 10 minutes for the next train b) absolutely no idea, the train literally just stopped and waited, and waited, and waited.

Taking an extra minute to look at Christmas trees this morning made me late to work by 20 minutes. That is life in the big city.

Listening Pile: Cat Power – Ruin
First of all, I gotta say it’s been amazing to see poor little Chan Marshall grow into the artist she is now. I remember seeing her fall apart and turn her back on concert audiences, reading newspapers or just sitting there crying. It was something seeing her get better at performing, to the point that she got so big she played arenas and huge festivals. Crazy stuff, from a crazy gal. Which makes her doing this funny or die video just completely priceless. She’s gotten to the point where she can totally make fun of herself.

She put out a fantastic album this year in Sun. I think it’s her best work since You Are Free, which was also the first album of hers I worked on back in my record biz days. In a couple months, it’ll have been ten years since that record came out.


You park the car out in the open, you can walk inside

Now, if you want to hear some music like the boys are playing
This is great news indeed. The guys that run the Amsterdam Ale house on the UWS have just opened up The 3rd Avenue Ale House. Located at the old Brother Jimmy spot on 92nd and 3rd Ave, this is prime real estate and delivers yet another quality craft beer spot in the Upper East Side. If you know of the reputation that the Amsterdam Ale has, then you know to expect quality craft beer and some tasty bar food.

I believe I counted 32 draft taps the other day and a hand-pumped cask tap too. They were soft launched and will still not be fully operational for a bit, but as of Sunday night, it looked like the front room was open for business with some sort of food being served, plenty of beers flowing and football on the TV’s. I’m sure this will turn into a local hangout for me, seeing as I live a block and a half away.

Listening Pile: Rolling Stones – Carol
Just read this awesome excerpt from Stanley Booth’s book, True Adventures of the Rolling Stones. Wow, great stuff. Makes me want to go pick up the rest of the book. Here’s the account of them playing at MSG. Crazy to think some 50 years later they are gonna play the Garden, again. Think about that for a second. What band from today could you possibly see still playing 50 years from now?



I know of people who are getting old

Instead I mumble randomly
So if today is really supposed to be the end of the world, what are we drinking and what are we listening to? Looks like there’s a whole bunch of activity around Stone’s 12.12.12 Vertical Epic release, with both Blind Tiger and Alewife having vertical tastings. There’s also the Westy 12 brick packs on sale today. Crazy good stuff! Maybe the Man of Steel will come save the day.

Listening Pile: The Knife – Silent Shout
Just read something about them posting details about their new album, including an album teaser. Yeah, weird, that’s apparently a thing bands do now. Album teaser videos. OK…

Anyhows, thought this would be the perfect soundtrack for the end of the world. It’s visceral, pounding beats and airy synth keyboards make for a panic induced head rush. Sorta like drinking too much Westy 12 or Stone’s Vertical epic. I saw them live back around the time this song was huge for them. They were impressive.


I’m here to take you now

Everything I can remember, I remember wrong
Was thinking about where to take my mom when she comes to visit me next week. You know, there’s always family or touristy type stuff like museums, Lombardi’s, shopping at Bloomy’s. But someone mentioned to me the other day, Eataly. And you know what, sounds just about right. My mom loves food, cheese, desserts, wine and a good beer. Why I never thought of this before, I don’t know. Maybe if the day goes well enough, we can head up to Birreria as well and grab some casked beers. But, you know I’m stopping by the Rotisserie station beforehand to get that amazing porchetta sandwich. My advice, buy two and take the 2nd one home for later. Trust me, it’s almost better with a little olive oil and heated in the oven later on.

Listening Pile: The National – Daughters of the SoHo Riots
Dunno why, this song just popped in my head this morning. Maybe it was reading something about them playing a new song at ATP, maybe I heard it recently. Who knows. Great song either way. Enjoy!


and when the seasons get you down

Come out of there, we got just one chance
Sunday’s a wash. It’s rainy and dreary here in NYC today. Perfect kinda day to throw in a load of laundry and read a book. Or make some beef stew or carnitas tacos. Football is on the tube today, the Jets and their quarterback mess invade Jacksonville. The Giants host the New Orleans Saints this afternoon. That should be a good one to watch.

Might make some sheppards pie and sit around with a nice cold beer while I watch the G-Men in action. I love me a nice stout like Dogfish’s Chicory Stout or maybe some Oak Aged Yeti. We’ll see what I dig out of the cabinet later on.

Listening Pile: Pinback – Proceed to Memory
Here’s the lead track off their newish album, Information Retrieved. They are five full albums and countless ep’s and singles into their career. They don’t really steer too far from their formula, but it works. They make really great records. Perfect for listening to on a Sunday afternoon.


we start playing about a quarter to nine

I guess that’s why they call me rock ‘n’ roll
Found myself a little gem the other night by complete accident. Did a quick google search for ramen + west village and low and behold, the first thing that came up was Rockmeisha. An Izakaya, a Japanese drinking establishment that also serves small plates. So, I grabbed myself a seat and ordered a draft Sapporo, plus some tasty treats, including the awesome ramen above. It was a light broth, with pork, hints of ginger and lime. Also got some shrimp gyoza and Negimaae, a cubed tuna sashimi with marusa syoyu. A really, really good meal in a place with a really cool vibe. They pay homage to old school 50’s rock and roll. Not bad, not bad at all.

Listening Pile: Jack Earls – Lets Bop
I can’t say that I’m all that familiar with rock and roll from the 50’s, but it appears that anything from the Sun Records catalog is the place to start. That’s where legends like Johnny Cash, Elvis, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis got their start. So, enjoy this little diddy by Jack Earls.


lend me your ears…

I Get By, With A Little Help From My Friends
Wow, amazing stuff being done by the Long Island Craft Beer scene to help out brother in need, Barrier Brewing. They’ve had a ton of bad luck fall on them lately with Sandy causing upwards of $100,000 in damages. But luckily, they have a lot of friends helping them get back on their feet with some fundraisers, a collaboration with Ommegang. And now this. Huge collaboration with Strong Island’s finest craftbeersman, including Blue Point, Spider Bite, Greenport and more. Great stuff that truly shows, Craft Beer People Are Good People. Best of luck to the Barrer guys in getting their facilities back up and making awesome beer.

Listening Pile: Beatles – With A Little Help From My Friends
Friends, can’t live without them…that’s it. It’s really tough to live without friends.

it’s eating me up

The Will Is Strong
A good burger is always hard to find. Kenji over at Serious Eats was just talking about the Double Double at McD’s. Personally, I’m all for the cheap burgers from places like Shake Shack, Corner Bistro,or hell even Five Guys if the mood calls for it. To be honest, I really hate when they try to jazz it up with fancy, schmancy toppings or cuts of meat. I get it, people want to make it gourmet. But really, should burgers be gourmet or should they be tasty, simple and above all, cheap? Though if you are in Williamsburg, get the Dumont Burger. You decide. I’ll stick with my cheap pattie and use the extra bills to get a cold beer.

I’ve Made My Bed
Strange I haven’t commented on this yet since we’re full force into the holiday season. With that, it brings that whole period of time where we switch over from drinking harvest, pumpkins and fall seasonals to Winter, spiced and holiday seasonal ales. A few favorites that I think everyone should be drinking are the Sierra Nevada Celebration, an awesome and very drinkable dry hopped ale. The Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, always one of my favorites. Deliciously chocolate and malty in flavor. I did a whole tasting last year, so check out my thoughts from that.

Listening Pile: Atoms For Peace – Default
You all know I’m a super duper huge Thom Yorke fan. I love his solo album, The Eraser. I was really lucky and working for the label that would eventually put it out and got to listen to it in its infant stages. At the time I didn’t even know it was his solo album. I thought it was the new Radiohead the first listen through. Fast forward a few years and he put together a band to play those songs and that side-project eventually started creating new jams. The group, comprised of Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich, Chili Peppers Flea, drummer Joey Waronker, and percussionist Mauro Refosco, recorded the album following their tour in 2010.

Recently, the group, now dubbed Atoms For Peace, have begun to let out the details surrounding their debut studio album. Said album, Amok a highly anticipated nine-track effort is set for February 26th release through XL Recordings. The tracklist includes the previously revealed “Default”, included below. The album artwork was designed by longtime Radiohead collaborator Stanley Donwood, and recalls the fantastic artwork for he did for The Eraser.


it doesn’t hurt to try

Keeping It Cool
We had a fun time at the NYC Craft Beer Festival’s Winter Edition on Saturday evening. Lots of good beers and food had. Some of my favorites included the always awesome Firestone Wookey Jack, Founder Breakfast Stout as well as some impressive beers in the Connoisseurs lounge, like the Bruery’s Autumn Maple, Brooklyn Black Ops, Founders Bolt Cutter and Ommegang Duvel Rustica, though there were many, many more that were excellent. Those are the ones that come back to my fuzzy memory.

One of the best parts of the festival was the seminars that featured food and cheese pairings. The cheese pairing led by a delightful guy from Murray’s Cheese shop was one of the highlights. One of the best things he said is that it’s really up to you and your tastes to pair up something that goes well together. The food pairing seminar with Chef Stephen Durley and Hayley Jensen from Taproom #307 was great too. They had this awesome bacon brownie with imperial stout spicy chocolate frosting, that was fantastic.

All in all, a fun evening with some great beers and tasty treats. Looking forward to the next festival in the Spring.

Listening Pile: Quicksand – Shovel/Landmine Spring
Someone pointed me to this video this morning. I was at this concert and if you look hard enough, you’ll see a certain thirsty reveler enjoying himself at this concert. It was a fun time and I’m really excited to see one of my favorite bands again, as they play twice more in NYC next month. Cannot wait. Enjoy the songs!