BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: New Ben Phipps Single ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’

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Ben Phipps ditched his Swedish homeland and an entrepreneurial career to test his musical fortunes in NYC. He’s since charted on iTunes in more than 30 countries, had a song placed in Pretty Little Liars, and built a following of more than a million unique listeners on Spotify.

His new single “Don’t Wake Me Up,” which BlackBook premieres here, features Mike Ruby on vocals. It’s a cool, Caribbean-influenced paean to settling into a new life in Gotham – with one of the 2017’s most unavoidable grooves. “New York City, can’t stop dreaming / Don’t wake me up” goes the song’s hopeful, enthusiastic central chant.

Sure to be soundtracking the best moments of your NYC springtime and summer.

 

 

Bury Your Darkest Secrets in a Brooklyn Cemetery With French Artist Sophie Calle

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Image by David Shankbone

What if you could tell someone your deepest, darkest secrets, and they would promised to “bury” them forever?

That is indeed the essence of a conceptual piece presented by Creative Time, launching this weekend at Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery – and continuing on for another 25 years. The New York based arts non-profit has produced more than 350 perception-shattering art projects since its inception in 1974 – but this one is surely the longest running (provided the Apocalypse doesn’t arrive before the two-and-a-half decades are up.)

Visitors are asked to arrive at the historic Sunset Park cemetery between noon and 5pm Saturday and Sunday, the 29th and 30th, prepared to reveal some dark, haunting or perhaps even saucy or titillating secret to French conceptual artist Sophie Calle…by writing it on a piece of paper. For the work dramatically titled Here Lie the Secrets of the Visitors of Green-Wood Cemetery, those “soul barings” will be sealed in an envelope, then slipped into a slot on a marble obelisk that Calle has designed. The artist will return periodically, ceremonially “cremating” the secrets…and will continue to do so for 25 years.

Will this allow for those participating to actually be released from the burdens of their most onerous secrets? Surely it depends on how seriously one takes the exercise. But in such times of rampant social media, Here Lie the Secrets of the Visitors of Green-Wood Cemetery certainly would seem to act as a comforting counterpoint to such unsettling public scrutiny.

 

Photo by Guillaume Ziccarelli Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery

 

EXCLUSIVE: Recipes from London’s Chiltern Firehouse Cookbook

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When Andre Balazs debuted Chiltern Firehouse in London’s Marylebone in 2014, it was with a particularly titillating mix of secrecy and fanfare. And quite unlike his Standard brand, the focus seemed to be much more on the restaurant than the hotel – te latter of which had something of the “bolthole” about it.

In the ensuing three years, the restaurant has drawn such a steady parade of actors, models, rock stars royalty and footballers (the Beckhams, the Gallaghers, Orlando Bloom, Emily Blunt, Cara Delevigne, Rita Ora, LiLo, Kate Moss) that it’s practically a zeitgeist of its own. It also turned its sleepy but sophisticated neighborhood into a bit of thing. But in fact, what is on the plate has been just a exciting as what’s on the gossip pages. Indeed, under Michelin-starred Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes, CF has won over food geeks and critics alike.

So, no surprise, Penguin has just released the significantly buzzed about  Chiltern Firehouse: The Cookbook. It’s all here, from the crab doughnuts to the wood-grilled Iberico pork to the lobster XO noodles.

We asked Mendes to pick a couple of favorites to prepare at home. For full Chiltern Firehouse effect, invite a couple of your favorite celebs over to share.

 

BLOOD ORANGE AND CAMPARI GRANITA, SWEET FENNEL, AND CRÈME FRAÎCHE

I have had many granitas in my life but the one that thrilled me and made me want to make them myself was at Noma in Copenhagen, in 2008. It was served with sweet prawns, dill, and cream. It inspired me to try to capture the essence of amazing fruits and vegetables, such as the orange and fennel in this dish, in cold and crunchy textures.
Blood orange has a short season, so we try to use it as much as we can while it’s around. A granita is my favorite way to serve it at the Firehouse.
INGREDIENTS – Serves 4
for the blood orange granita:
5 tablespoons/70 ml Campari
2½ cups/600 ml freshly squeezed blood orange juice
5 tablespoons/60 g superfine sugar
¼ cup/60 ml water
for the confit fennel:
1 fennel bulb
¼ cup/50 g superfine sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
2⁄3 cup/100 g crème fraîche
2 blood oranges, peeled and segmented
MAKE THE BLOOD ORANGE GRANITA
Pour the Campari and blood orange juice into a large container suitable for freezing.
Gently heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved, then add it to the orange juice and Campari. Place in the freezer and allow to freeze hard (this will take about 3 hours). Once the mixture has been in the freezer for 2 to 4 hours, remove it every 25 minutes, scraping the mixture with a fork to break up the ice crystals, until it is fully frozen and flaky (scraping the mixture about 3 times should be sufficient). Keep in the freezer until needed.
MAKE THE C ONFIT FENNEL
Discard the outer layer of the fennel and remove the base of the bulb. Slice the bulb into thin slivers using a mandolin or sharp knife, retaining the fronds for garnish.
Mix the fennel slivers with the superfine sugar in a mixing bowl until the fennel juice starts to come out. Add the lemon juice, cover, and chill until ready to serve. You can make it up to 1 day in advance.
SERVE
Freeze 4 serving bowls ahead of time. Place a dollop of crème fraîche in the bottom of each bowl and top with the sweet fennel and segments of blood orange. Top with the granita and a few fennel fronds.

 

  • BLOOD ORANGE AND CAMPARI GRANITA, SWEET FENNEL, AND CRÈME FRAÎCHE
  • SPICED PUMPKIN AND BROWN BUTTER PIE WITH BOURBON CREAM

 

SPICED PUMPKIN AND BROWN BUTTER PIE WITH BOURBON CREAM

A good tart is a treat that is really hard to beat. We developed this tart with the goal of merging the spiced pumpkin flavor with the texture of a perfectly soft custard tart. It took a while to get there, but I think we nailed it. This pumpkin and brown butter pie always makes its way into the Firehouse menu on Thanksgiving Day. The pie filling is best made a day in advance, to allow the mixture to settle and any air bubbles to disappear.
NUNO’S TIP
This dish is also amazing served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, raisins that have been steeped in bourbon and then cooked with brown butter, and finished with a sprinkle of piecrust crumbs.
INGREDIENTS – Serves 8 to 12
for the pumpkin pie filling:
½ small pumpkin (about 1 pound/500 g)
3½ tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
2 cups/500 ml heavy cream
4 large free-range egg yolks
1 large free-range egg
3 tablespoons packed soft dark brown sugar
1½ tablespoons maple syrup
Pinch Maldon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
for the sweet shortcrust pastry:
3½ cups/500 g all-purpose flour, plus extra to dust
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon/250 g cold unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
Pinch Maldon sea salt
2 large free-range egg yolks
1⁄3 cup/80 ml ice-cold water
for the bourbon cream:
1 cup/250 ml heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar, plus extra to dust
3½ tablespoons bourbon
MAKE THE PUMPKIN PIE FILLING
Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C.
Wrap the pumpkin in foil and bake it for 1 hour, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Warm a saucepan over medium heat and drop in the diced butter. Once it melts and begins to foam, whisk it continuously for about 2 minutes, keeping the heat constant, until it becomes nutty and fragrant. The foam will die down a bit, then you will see the color change and the butter solids turn a toasted brown color. Remove from the heat and transfer to a metal jug (it will be very hot) and keep stirring for a further minute to prevent the butter burning (it will keep cooking off the stove).
Peel the baked pumpkin and discard the seeds, then combine 9 ounces/250 g of the flesh in a bowl with the remaining ingredients (including the brown butter). Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth, pass through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl, and skim off any froth on the top. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge until you’re ready to bake the pie.
MAKE THE SHOR TCRUST PASTRY
Place the flour, butter, sugar, and salt in a bowl and mix together, either in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, in a food processor, or by hand, until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the egg yolks and water and mix until it comes together to form a dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350°F/170°C.
BAKE THE SHOR TCRUST PASTRY
Roll out the chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface to 1⁄8 inch/2.5 mm thickness, and use it to line a 12-inch/30-cm tart or flan pan. Put the lined pan back in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes to an hour, then prick the surface of the pastry with a fork a few times, line the pastry shell with parchment paper and pie weights and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the tart shell from the oven, remove the parchment and weights, and leave to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 225°F/110°C.
MAKE THE BOURBON CREAM
Whisk the cream and confectioner’s sugar together in a bowl until the mixture forms soft peaks, then fold in the bourbon. Chill until ready to serve.
BAKE THE PIE & SER VE
Pour the chilled filling into the baked tart shell and bake for 1 hour, or until the filling is just set, with a slight wobble. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely before serving with bourbon cream and dusting with confectioner’s sugar.

 

 

Reprinted with permission from Chiltern Firehouse by Nuno Mendes and André Balazs, copyright 2017 by Chiltern Street Hotel Ltd. Published in the United States by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Photographs copyright 2016 by Peden + Munk

 

The Black Angels’ ‘Currency’ is a Song For Our Times

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Since their inception in 2004, Austin’s The Black Angels have existed fearlessly apart from any prevailing musical trends. Their mind-bending, uncompromising psychedelic rock has consequently won them a significant, and fairly fanatical following of believers.

Of course, their name was borrowed from the eponymous Velvet Underground classic (“Black Angels Death Song”) – and with the release of the immensely powerful new album Death Song, they’ve sort of ritually substantiated that reference. They’ve also recorded one of the most incisive songs of our post-financial-collapse times. Indeed, “Currency” is a veritable prophecy, decrying greed, and warning us against our attachment to materialism and financial gain – with its ominous chant of “One day it’ll all be gone” and its stinging Wall Street accusation, “All the debt and lives you sold.” It’s positively chilling in its poignancy.

As part of an extensive North American tour, The Black Angels will appear at Brooklyn Steel this Tuesday, May 2. In the meantime, do spend some time pondering the message of “Currency.”

 

The Black Angels   “Currency”

Currency carry me everyone is held hostage
Currency means nothing
How are they to spend us next
Do you want a stake in us?
How you have a stake in us
One day it’ll all be over
One day it’ll all be gone
I can see born asleep all these things in motion ours
All the debt and lives you’ve sold
There’s no truth in who we trust
Print and print the money that you spend
Spend and spend the money that you print then
One day it’ll all be over
One day it’ll all be gone
I can see currency how it always sanctions us
All these paper lives you’ve sold
There’s no God in who you trust
Print and print the money that you spend
Spend and spend the money that you print
Print and print the money that you spend
Spend and spend the money that you print then
One day it’ll all be over one day it’ll all be gone
And you will all be gone one day
Yeah you will all be gone one day
You’ve paid with your life
A slave from nine to five
You’re spent through us
You take from us when we die
So claim the diamonds in your eyes

 

Mary Lambert on Her New EP + Her Fave Hangouts in Seattle

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Mary Lambert shot to fame in 2013 as the featured vocalist on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love,” which became something of an anthem for same-sex marriage. It scored her a Grammy nomination, and she even performed the song live with Madonna at the awards.

She’s since been compared to everyone from Adele to James Blake – and has been a tireless voice for LGBT rights. Her new EP, fittingly titled Bold, will be out May 5 – and is a new paradigm of her visceral, alluring and remarkably infections pop sensibility. For instance, first single “Hang Out With You” (co-written with Michelle Chamuel) is an exuberant, charmingly obsessive paean to falling head over heels. “I don’t want to fix my hair / I don’t want to write a song / I just want to hang out with you” she enthusiastically confesses to her new love, an elated feeling we’ve certainly all experienced.

“The EP is proclamation of fearlessness,” she says. “This is a collection of queer pop songs about having lots of feelings, and what it’s like to live in that dynamic range. The impetus for creating and releasing Bold really came from being told that I couldn’t do it. That an artist, specifically a fat, gay, female artist in the pop sphere choosing to be independent wouldn’t be taken seriously. So I guess this is the part where I yell ‘watch me!’ in a bright colored crop top on a mountain of glitter.”

It’s also a family affair – her mom is actually her latest special guest collaborator.

“She let me talk her into using a song she wrote called, ‘Love is Love,’ and the process of producing my mom’s vocals and arranging her song was very moving and emotional for us both.”

She’s also a Seattle girl, so in true BlackBook fashion, we asked her what her city (and state) means to her, and what are her fave places to hang out when she’s home.

 

On Being Inspired by Seattle/Washington

“There isn’t another place like Seattle.” she insists. “There’s just not. There is nothing quite like the gift that the PNW brings to someone who is willing to smile through eight months of cloud cover in order to witness a well-deserved sunlight parade in July. I recorded half of the EP here in Sequim, Washington (one ferry trip and three hours of driving away from Seattle) and I am planning on making the next record there as well. I made my very first recordings six years ago in this stellar studio owned and operated by Jeremy Cays on the peninsula of Washington state, and have always wanted to return and make more music there. I’m so glad I did, because the songs came out fantastic, and I feel like I’ve grown as a producer and artist in the process. “
“My best friend, Tim Mendonsa, who plays guitar and bass on the track “Do Anything,” drove down with me from Sequim to Portland for a radio gig, and I don’t know how to adequately articulate how surreal and beautiful the drive is from the Washington peninsula to Portland on the scenic 101. But if you can imagine being in one of those quintessential car commercials, and then superimpose your best friend in the passenger’s seat and then add a Death Cab for Cutie soundtrack underneath deep laughter and great talks – that’s basically where I was at when I was forming Bold. No labels, no managers, no A&R, no producers, just totally, completely free.”

Her Favorite Hangouts in Seattle/Washington

Sunny Farms (Lunch)

Sunny Farms is located in Sequim, about three hours Northwest of Seattle. I had to include it on my list, not only because it’s two minutes from the studio, and I’ve spent so much time there, but it’s so good! They have a little deli in the back, amazing produce in the front, and if you’re into alternative remedies, their health/wellness section is off the hook. If you’re ever in the peninsula of Washington State, you gotta go to Sunny Farms.

Tilth (Brunch)

I can never get enough of Tilth. It’s located in Wallingford, which is a neat neighborhood to walk around in, not to mention the restaurant itself is a converted house. Maybe that’s why it feels so cozy! Chef Maria Hines is in a league of her own, and has really cultivated something special. All ingredients are either certified organic or wild, and you can taste that in the nourishing quality of the food. Go for brunch, take a walk around the lake, then come back for dinner.

 

Two Big Blondes (Shop)

If you are a plus size babe like me, you know how discouraging it is to go shopping. It’s not just that stores might have run out of my size, it’s that they refuse to even carry my size. If I walk by a store, I must begin by dissecting the store name: if there are any hidden implications of “we MAY have your size here!” But Two Big Blondes is a plus babe’s paradise and I am grateful they exist.

Lola (Dinner)

I fell in love with Lola, this Greek inspired restaurant from Tom Douglas, when I was bartending and living in Belltown. I’ve never had a bad dining experience here –  and I feel like that is actually really a difficult thing to achieve in the restaurant industry: consistency. This food is comforting and delicious and fun, and I love that it’s open for all meals. Like, if you’ve got plans in two hours, just hop over to Lola and grab a kebab. Now you’ve got a place to sit. And a kebab.

The Upstairs (Drinks)

The Upstairs is one classy hell of a joint. If I hadn’t been drunk yelling John Denver at the top of my lungs when I lived around town, I would have said that this place was a little serious. But I know better now – it’s all shenanigans! I may be a cocktail snob, but I also like it when a drink is called “The Dirty Shirley”. What? A shirley temple with vodka? I’ll take ten.

Bathtub Gin & Co (After Drinks, Drinks)

If you’ve ended your night at Bathtub Gin, you did Seattle right, in my book. Good luck finding the door, though, as the entrance is in an alley and tricky to locate if you have never been. I would liken the decor and vibe to an unpretentious speakeasy, and the bartenders are ridiculously skilled, without being pretentious. I actually filmed part of the “She Keeps Me Warm” music video at Bathtub Gin; the owners Jessica and Marcus are incredibly kind, creative, and super hard-working. Love this place.

BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Provocative New Collapsing Scenery Single ‘Straight World Problems’

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If everything is in a name, then surely Collapsing Scenery is a band for these “collapsing new times.” Indeed, these days it’s not so much “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” as it is “the more things stay the same, the worse they become for almost everyone.” See: the current and desperately cynical US Administration.

The LA duo actually take The Pet Shop Boys’ “Che Guevara and Debussy to a disco beat” philosophy literally here, with incisively relevant new single “Straight World Problems” (which BlackBook premieres here) apparently drawing on urbane post-punk references like Cabaret Voltaire and A Certain Ratio. They lay down one of 2017’s wickedest grooves to emphasize a semi-apocalyptic call to arms: “A new era is upon us / Is here to haunt us,” they decry over over a beat that sounds lifted straight from a gritty 80s Downtown NYC dancefloor.

“This song,” they explain, “is about the awful frequency with which new regimes and new systems mimic the worst qualities of those they replace. It’s painful for anyone fundamentally anti-establishment and instinctively critical of structural power to run up against the rocks of the reality of building new systems or, even worse, attempting to exist outside them altogether.”

So, with our utopian dreams extinguished, is this just a particularly groovy call to finally abandon all hope?

“It’s an anti-utopian song,” says singer Reggie Debris, “but I hope not a cynical one. I’m a huge believer in managing expectations, especially when it comes to politics. Dreaming of an unattainable, ideal future only leads to misery and disengagement when that future fails to materialize. That disappointment opens the field for other, usually opposing utopians to ply their vision; and as that cycle continues, it more often that not leads to escalating violence.”

Most worryingly, the song’s central mantra is, “Who’s gonna save you now?” Tragically, we have no idea.

(N.B. The video for the single will premiere tonight at a screening at Cafe Henri in NYC, with Director/Photographer Richard Kern on hand. CS will also play five California dates in late May.)

 

May 19- CS “Straight World Problems” single release party: The Friend. LA, CA
May 20- CS at 14th Factory. Highland Park, CA
May 22- CS at Blond Bar. SD, CA
May 24- CS at Brick and Mortar. SF, CA
May 25- CS at 1234 GO! in Oakland, CA

 

10 Brilliant Reasons to Get to Moogfest 2017

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There is certainly no shortage of buzzworthy American music festivals. But Moogfest, which debuted in New York in 2004, is genuinely set apart from the others, launched as it was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the greatest synthesizer company ever – Moog, of course – giving it something of an aesthetic and ideological mission. To that end, it has also acted as a lab for the cultivation of new ideas, from the cultural to the social to the political.

The festival (May 18-21) is now entering its second year in its new home of Durham, North Carolina. And it comes at a historic time – as the state’s divisive “bathroom bill,” designed to ignorantly discriminate against transgender people, was just overturned on March 30. It was a “hallelujah moment” for civil rights.

This year’s program is among its best, and most diverse ever. Here are just ten of the reasons you need to be there.

 

The Lineup

In addition to electronic icons like 808 State and Simian Mobile Disco, the Moogfest stages this year will hold art rockers Animal Collective, nu-goth goddess Zola Jesus, superstar DJ Derrick May, Syrian singer Omar Souleyman and rapper Mykki Blanco.

The Protest Stage

Certainly a response to the tense political and social climate under the Trump Administration, Moogfest 2017 will feature a dedicated Protest Stage – with, amongst others, a performance by hip-hop provocateur Talib Kweli.

Michael Stipe

The former R.E.M. frontman, who has been noticeably quiet since the band’s 2014 breakup, will premiere a new multi-media installation, soundtracked by his first ever solo composition.

Stranger Things

SURVIVE members Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein will perform a live version of their score for the hit Netflix series Stranger Things – surely the most talked about new show of the last year.

Nick Zinner

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist will join Haxan Cloak for what is being intriguingly described as a “durational” performance. It’s worth going just to see what they actually mean by that.

Nona Hendryx

As vital a creative force as ever, the Labelle / Talking Heads legend will perform, and also conduct a discussion on her futuristic wearable tech instruments.

Peanut Butter Wolf

Will do an exclusive DJ set mixing the songs of recently deceased music legends, from Bowie and Prince, to Sharon Jones, George Michael and George Martin.

The Keynote

By Kate Shaw of CERN in Geneva, discussing the Large Hadron Collider – the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. Food for deep thought.

Thought-Provoking Themes

Will include discussions on such heady topics as Hacking Systems, Black Quantum Futurism, and Transhumanism.

The Future of Creativity 

Always the most urgent, exigent topic for the worldwide creative community, it will be addressed by some of its greatest minds.

 

BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Trippy New Wendy Bevan Track ‘Love From the Moon’

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Image by Matt Colombo

We’ve not been shy about our love for Wendy Bevan, Brit singer, multimedia artists and new gothic goddess – whose EP Sweet Dedication we introduced here last May.

Her latest single “Love From the Moon,” which BlackBook premieres here, marries a stark, retro-electro beat with ethereal synth washes and a dreamy, psychedelic “Summer of Love” vibe. Indeed, her lyrics are full of trippy pronouncements like “Stole the beat of my heart with your light” and “Wish I could take love from the moon.” The stunning track manages to sound both epic and intimate at once.

It’s the first song from her upcoming EP, the similarly titled, Love to the Moon, out May 12 on Kwaidan Records / !K7 Records. We can’t wait.

 

 

WATCH: Darkly Erotic New Goldfrapp Video For ‘Systemagic’

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Nothing seems more broken, dreary and in need of the Alison Goldfrapp touch than…”THE SYSTEM.”

Indeed, politics on both sides of the Atlantic have been as bleak and soul-sucking as possibly imaginable. But as ever, Mlle Alison has a disco beat to make it all (at least somewhat) better. “Luna light, you’re the spell / Coven up, let’s be it, do it, celebrate it,” she purrs over Depeche-like syntha on our favorite single “Systemagic,” from the sultry new Goldfrapp album Silver Eye. (About which we chatted with her just a few weeks ago.)

Godfrapp commences their highly-anticipated 2017 mini-tour tonight at the TLA in Philadelphia, before two shows at Brooklyn Steel this Tuesday and Thursday (before gigs in Madrid, Sydney, Helsinki, Brussels…). In the meantime, we have the goth-erotic new video for “Systemagic.” Directed by Alison herself, it features rather a lot of foxy, contorting dancers and, well, gorgeously ominous birds of prey. And really, what more could you hope for?