Merry Christmas To All!!!

https://soundcloud.com/toddious/sets/a-christmas-album-by-mary-alexander-todd-schenck-andrew-burg-and-ryan-wolfgang​

So yeah, most Christmas music is pretty dated and lame. I’m aware. But, here’s a little something to get y’all in the holiday spirit that is very far from lame. In fact, it’s fun and lighthearted and beautiful.

Granted, I may be a little biased (it’s performed by my very good friends and bandmates, Mary Alexander, Todd Schenck and Ryan Wolfgang), but I guarantee that this will bring a smile to your face, a little tear to your eye (in a good way, of course) and fill you with holiday cheer.

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!!!

Pink Talking Fish (with The Heavy Pets) @ The Plaza Live 12/17/15

A late December, cool, breezy Thursday night in Central Florida.  A perfect setting for a free show, right?

Ok, so technically, this wasn’t a free show, but I know our entire crew (which is somewhere in the 20 range) were offered free tickets via The Plaza Live in the week leading up to it.  I mean…we’re pretty awesome, but by all accounts, we weren’t the only ones to score legit freebies.  Therein lies what makes being a jam music fan in Orlando so great…yet so difficult.  The fan base just doesn’t have the concentration of most major cities of similar size, so we get skipped.  A lot.  But when we do get a show, we get it in a smaller venue than most others and you’re usually not fighting for dance space.  We also have a really great underground jam scene rooted heavily in rock, funk, jazz and improv (just to name a few: Shak Nasti, Thomas Wynn & The Believers, The Groove Orient, Leisure Chief) so even though our numbers are small, I feel like our scene is very appreciative and knowledgable.  Ok.  Stepping off the soapbox.  Let’s get to the show! Continue reading

YouTube Finds: Best. Crosseyed. Ever.

This.  Right here.

Lately,  well…really for the last couple years, I’ve been borderline obsessed not necessarily with funk music, but any style of music that has that funky, everything is in its own pocket, kinda feel.  Case in point, this could very well be classified as “afro beat” rather than “funk”, but this is undoubtedly funky.  I mean, the pocket here is so deep, you could lose your car keys it it.  Even if you can’t classify this as “funk”, it’s about as funky as any piece of music could ever lay claim to.  Not all music is funk, but all music can be funky and this right here is about as funky as any band could ever hope to be.

This piece of their 1980 concert in Rome, while touring the Remain In Light album, boasts, in my opinion, the single handed best touring band the Talking Heads ever assembled.  With P-Funk’s Bernie Worrell on (2nd!) bass and a young Adrian Belew on guitar (this is pre King Crimson, mind you), it’s just an amazing collaboration of musicians playing some of the most unique music that’s ever been written.  This is a band that just doesn’t (couldn’t) exist in music today.  If you have an hour to spare, I highly recommend you watch the entire concert.  Even if you’re not a huge Talking Heads fan, the precision this gigantic band plays with at this point of the tour is just staggering.  But, if you only have 10 min, this version of “Crosseyed and Painless” exhibits everything great about the performance of this truly one of a kind band.

I fully fell in love with this song like most people my age who grew up in New England listening to, and going to, Phish shows.  Debuting this as part of their Remain In Light “musical costume” for Halloween ’96, this textured style of playing completely transformed the way Phish played music and had a profoundly lasting effect on the band even to this day.  Thru listening to Phish’s extended takes on this song (namely being there in Big Cypress when they unleashed this monster), it quickly became my favorite Talking Heads song and remains so to this day.

When Life Hands You VIP Seats…

Full disclosure. I’m not a huge NBA fan. But when your wife is given 2nd row seats (on STAR WARS NIGHT mind you) and access to the VIP Lounge (aka: Fields Ultimate Lounge), you say “Let’s Go Magic” and throw on a blue T-Shirt. You also take full advantage of the free food n drink. You also stumble across the “make your own nachos/hot dog bar” in said VIP Lounge and make yourself a Chili Cheese Dog with Sauerkraut and Pulled Pork. It’s what our forefathers would have wanted. #murica 

Tapas, Sushi Burritos and The Must Have: Vegas Edition

With all the traveling I’ve done over the last few weeks, I realize it’s been a little while since I’ve imparted my Food Brews Beats wisdom with you beautiful people.  Well, dry those pretty li’ll eyes of yours, ‘cuz I’m back and I’m ready to write!

I’m envisioning some old-timey lookin’ candy shoppe on some rich-ass street corner in Greenwich, CT called the “Au Courant Candissery” or something equally ridiculous where only descendants of the royal Sir Date McStuffin are allowed to lay their eyes on the hand etched recipe without risk of their face melting like Arnold Toht at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

When I last posted about Vegas, we were on day 1 of 3 and we hadn’t left Henderson yet.  Since it was a very quick trip (and the wife was there for work, anyway) we didn’t go for the “WOOOO HOOOOO VEGAS” type of vibe.  While we did venture into Vegas proper, we actually stayed away from the strip and explored more of the “real Vegas” (as our friends Pam and Jim have put it). Continue reading

The Only Mashed Tater Recipe You Need

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and even though there’s about a million different ways to make mashed potatoes there may not be a more essential side dish on the menu. Everyone’s got their own little tweaks. Some keep the skins on and some don’t. Some use sour cream and some use cheese. Some mash it thru a fine sieve and the rest of us don’t have that much time on our hands.

This is not a fancy, artisan; hipster incarnation of what should always be a decidedly un-fussy type of side. This recipe is for straightforward, creamy, buttery, garlicy mashed goodness. It’s not at all good for you, but that’s kinda the point. Believe me, I’m all about eating well, but once this starchy deliciousness becomes healthy…freedom is dead and the terrorists win. It’s Thanksgiving. Do yourself a favor and indulge in this rich pillowy goodness. Continue reading

Dad’s Kitchen: Sautéed Chicken with Balsamic Reduction

While I pull together the rest of my notes from our Vegas trip, I figure there’s no better time than now to share a recipe penned by none other than the guy who taught me how to cook and how to have fun doing it.  My Dad!Me n Dad

Yup.  The goofball gene is strong in the Havens household.

Let’s make some chicken! Continue reading