Cut Copy—New Song, New Album

AAAAh! This week I was thinking of dedicating my new "song of the week" feature to Cut Copy and the track they dropped last July, Where I'm Going. Reason being: The Coachella 2011 lineup* was just announced and it's pretty exciting. It includes Cut Copy of course, right there on the poster in 3rd largest type, on April 15. If you are a long-time reader or listened to my radio show in 2008 you might recall I was practically foaming at the mouth that year with love for Cut Copy, especially their 2008 album In Ghost Colours. And now they're back.

But wait! In the last 24 hours, a new song has appeared on the internets as a taste of the new disc, Zonoscope, that drops in about 10 days. It's called Need You Now. I listened once twice and am going for it again. Please join me--press play! What do you think? (They are on tour in April, if you live between NOLA. NYC and Toronto and want to see them, visit for a dates.)

Cut Copy - Need You Now by cutcopymusic

*Here's a fantasy game: If through some miracle of space and time you could see every band you wanted to at Coachella, who would you be interested in seeing? My list (in order of the poster):
  • Chemical Brothers
  • Crystal Castles
  • Cut Copy
  • Tame Impala
  • Ariel Pink's Haunted Grafitti
  • !!!
  • Titus Andronicus
  • Animal Collective
  • Broken Social Scene
  • The London Suede (that's the same as "Suede," right?)
  • Scissor Sisters
  • New Pornographers
  • Daedelus
  • Two Door Cinema Club
  • Foals
  • Radio Department
  • Yelle
  • Thao with the Get Down Stay Down
  • The Joy Formidable
  • Here We Go Magic
  • Freelance Whales
  • Bomba Estereo
  • The Strokes
  • Duran Duran
  • Ratatat
  • The Presets
  • CSS
  • Delorean
  • Menomena
  • Rye Rye
Yeah... that's all.

Tofu Udon Soup with Vegetables

This soup is pretty easy with nice umami tastes, and can be as spicy (or as mild) as you like. Another meal in a bowl! (Here's an earlier recipe from 2005, also.)

Summary: mix together broth, noodles, tofu, and steam-fried veggies of your choice. Garnish.

  • Broth: Bonito and kombu (kelp) OR chicken broth (1 box)
  • Tofu, 1 pound cubed
  • Udon noodles (6-8 ounces dry)
  • Vegetables: bias-cut celery, shredded cabbage, chopped mushroom (any kind)
  • Sea vegetable (either sliced reserved kombu from the broth, or dulse)
  • Ginger, either fresh grated or dried--a generous dash
  • Canola oil
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Miso
  • Garnishes (optional): sesame seeds, hempseed oil, hot sauce, chopped scallions

  1. If making broth with bonito, do this first. I follow the instructions on the package (a simple matter of boiling and straining). Save the kombu to chop up and add later.
  2. Read the udon package and boil up the noodles. Takes about 10 minutes. Drain.
  3. Put tofu in pot with noodles, broth, kombu or dulse, and ginger. Put on low heat.
  4. Meanwhile, heat canola and toasted sesame oils in a skillet or Dutch oven. Steam fry the cabbage, celery and mushrooms. (Meaning get everything sizzling hot, then throw a little water in and put the lid on. Stir occasionally til everything is fork tender.)
  5. To serve, put a spoonful of miso in the bottom of bowl and make a paste with some of the hot broth. Cover with the noodle-tofu soup. Pile high with vegetables. Garnish at will.

It's cooking.

Steve Martin & Internet comments

This is actually my song of the week post, but includes lite ranting about the nature of the Internet.

Steve Martin has been popping up a lot in my life in the last few weeks. For Christmas I got his memoir about stand-up comedy, Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life. It was good! Here's what I wrote on Goodreads (where I am trying to review the books I read so I can hone my opinion-having skills).
I liked this, but it went by too quickly (it's 207 pages with largish type and lots of white space). Steve Martin says that writing about his stand-up years is like writing a biography of someone else--that's how completely he stepped away from and closed off that part of his life when he quit stand-up comedy. This is a lot about his philosophy of comedy, his interest in magic, plus somewhat interesting assessments of his motivations and of showbiz in general. He seems truly uncomfortable with his then level of fame, perhaps only recently dealing with his famousness well. Where there are glimpses of his routines they seem pretty funny; from one: "I've learned in comedy never to alienate the audience. Otherwise, I would be like Dimitri in La Condition Humaine...."
Then I watched most of The Jerk on instant Netflix (a movie I have seen many times before), which is SO funny. Also my family watched a Season 3 Muppet Show hosted by Steve, but I fell asleep at 7:30 that night and missed it. Also I've been catching up on 30 Rock (Netflix is MAGIC!) and last night was the "Gavin Volure" episode guest-starring... OMG Steve Martin!

One more Steve Martin thing that has given me pause for thought is the recent "conversation" he had at the 92nd street Y in New York, for which the Y offered refunds to audience members because Martin's talk was too boring. Apparently he'd written a book about art and was proceeding to talk about art, but it was also a live feed and viewers were sending in negative comments while the conversation was taking place. (I like to think they were like "why doesn't he have an arrow threw his head LOLz>!") I have been thinking about this because it's yet another example of my belief that the world of quality, edited content is ending. Because I am a writer I refer to this phenomenon as "the apocalypse." When anybody can comment on anything (just about), and often does, we get the content we want from the author, but also have to endure the unsolicited opinions of random Vinnie Boombatz commenters.

I was going to rant next about how many comments are just stupid or degrading, and they demean me when I read them, and they bring down the whole piece, whatever it is, by their existence. For example, on Thursday I read a thing about Helen Hunt called "Helen Hunt on How Age and Parenting Have Transformed Her Career." It's an interview where she somewhat thoughtfully considers her career, her directing, death, birth. Then the first comment was two words: "What career?" I guess the commenter is either being catty, funny or a total troll, but jeez.

I was also going to write about Emily Gould and Tracy Gaughran-Perez, who I think are fantastic writers and who I also think have endured unnecessary slagging in the form of dumb comments. I worry that mean comments about Emily Gould have had a chilling effect on what Emily Gould is willing to write, and that's a shame. (Her famous Exposed cover story in the NYT Magazine currently has 1216 comments.) What kind of wonderfulness would we be reading from her if she hadn't had to deal with and process everybody's opinions about her? (She said on her blog she has turned off Google alerts about herself, but just in case: I love you Emily!) As for Tracy Gaughran-Perez, who I also admire, she has written about struggling with mean commenters on her personal blog. Like, what is the point of that? If she's writing about her own personal life of her own free will, you either read it and like it or you go somewhere else. Don't read it and then be mean, that is so playground! Commenters gotta follow the Thumper rule: "If you can't say somethin nice, don't say nothin at all" (Don't get me started on comments that just say "First!")

I might have also complained about some other stuff like this that has been bugging me. But as I kept thinking about this rant, I realized I am having a bout of "Why Wasn't I Consulted?" According to Paul Ford on, this is the whole problem (or the whole beauty) of the Web. Everybody is encouraged to have an opinion about everything, and to SHARE that opinion. The problem is that clearly MY opinion is the best, but nobody knows that. In fact everybody else believes THEIR opinion is best. I must tell them otherwise! I must comment! So the Web is a cacophonous free-for-all of thumbs up/down and like buttons and facebook sharing and screen names and witticisms and stupidities and rarely, gems. I am frustrated by comments I don't agree with. I am frustrated about commenting in general. And really, why wasn't I consulted on this? Some things shouldn't be commented on. Unless I feel like commenting on them, of course. Because my comments are the best!

Back to Steve Martin. It is a damn shame that we can't even let a public event evolve naturally without trying to tweet it into submission. However I would like to give a thumbs up to the cute ukulele duet from The Jerk, called "You Belong to Me." My favorite part is when Bernadette Peters randomly pulls out a trumpet near the end and plays a solo. In his book Steve Martin complains that at the premiere, people walked out during this scene to buy more popcorn. But judging by the number of covers and tributes and ukulele how-tos on Youtube, this song impressed a lot of folks over the years. Good job, Steve.

Homebrew Photo Essay

One of the Christmas gifts that we made this year was homebrew. It was fun to get brewing again after more than a year off! Also, Brattleboro now has its own brew supply store on High Street, Microbe Brewers' Supply. Very, very exciting (especially after my complaining that we needed such a store). Here is a photo essay from the brewing process. We did the steps over 3 different days--boiling, racking and bottling.

Day 1: Sterilized items laid out to dry

My favorite recipe is one I wrote myself and published in discontent #13.
Also one must have a beer while one is brewing.

We had so many grains we needed 2 grain bags.

Removing the spent grains--pressing to get all that good flavor and color out.

Adding light malt extract.

The boil.

Here are the hops we used, bitter Warrior on the left, milder Willamette on the right. Plus your basic brewing yeast, Munton's.

The wort is poured into the primary fermenter, with floating thermometer.

We tried something new this time because we were using tap water. We put 3 gallons of water into mason jars, then left them in the sun all day to burn off the chlorine. Then we refrigerated them--made the cooling period after the boil MUCH shorter.

Activating the yeast. I decided to do it in the warm wort. Not sure if that was wise or not.

Day 2 (about 4 days later): Take the lid off and here's what I see. Activity!

Here's my awesome auto-siphon doing its job--moving the beer into the secondary fermenter.

View from the top. The primary fermenter (bucket) is on the counter, and secondary fermenter (glass carboy) is on the floor.

Closeup! I'm really excited about this carboy I guess.

Airlock on. Ready for the closet.

The sludge at the bottom of the barrel.

Day 3 (about a week later): Sterilizing bottles in a B-brite (bleach) solution.

Corn sugar ready to mix with water and heat. For carbonation purposes.

Specific gravity check.

Lovely color! Racking back into the (clean) primary fermenter for bottling purposes.

Sterilizing bottle caps. Then we filled the bottles, capped them and put them away for another week.

Finished product: I pasted cut-outs from wrapping paper onto the bottles, to make a nice gift for Uncle M. (We also put wrapping paper on a 6-pack holder to make a festive little carry-all.)

The beer was delicious by the way. We used the bitter hops at the very end of the boil and it gave it a great hoppy character that is just what we like.

"Fences": Phoenix

I'm still taking a break from my weekly radio program, Beef Jerky Time, formerly broadcast on WVEW-LPFM 107.7 Brattleboro, VT. But I haven't stopped listening to music and wanting to share it. So I'm starting a new "Song of the Week" column here on the Cabinet of Prof. Kitty. Yo yo welcome 2011!

This week I'd like to pay attention to "Fences" from Phoenix's 2009 album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. I find this song both driving and mellow. I love the falsetto-y vocals going on. There's a smidge of disco in the background (wait.... hear that tiny handclap? Like around 1:31?). The fact that these guys are from Versailles makes the music extra awesome for me. (I understand that if you're actually from Versailles it's totally lame. But I'm not! And so!)

Phoenix-FENCES by reptart

DJ opinion: I would say this would be a good song for driving into a sunset wearing mirrored aviators, nestled in a playlist between the Strokes and Don Henley's Boys of Summer. Wait, I'll stick those below too so you can see what you think.

Someday by The Strokes: Soundcloud track got yanked so here's youtube

Boys of Summer by Don Henley. As above, the Soundcloud track is gone so here's youtube. I don't mind
though because this video is rad. I love the built-in nostalgia of the recurring running-on-the-beach clip.

Goodbye Christmas Tree

We were so in love with our Christmas tree this year. It only cost $20 at Lilac Ridge Farm and it was just sweet. Perfect size for our house, perky boughs, gorgeous when covered with lights and ornaments. Thank you little tree for brightening up our holidays and being our tannenbaum.

Sadly though, round about December 26th, it became unclear how much longer we would want the gorgeous Christmas tree in our house. But... remember those crafts where you have to coat a pinecone with peanut butter and then dip it in birdseed? We wondered what would happen if we tried that with the whole tree.

First we stuck it in a snowbank in the front yard (see above).

Then we dosed it with delicious bird friendly ingredients. Specifically, we used peanut butter and birdseed. These items can be assembled any which way, but at our house we first dipped a spoon in peanut butter, then put it in a pile of birdseed, then scraped the spoonful over the tree branch.

We also sprinkled extra seeds over the whole sticky mess. We were hoping birds would be irresistibly drawn to all this. Turns out... apparently squirrels are the ones who are down with the peanut-butter-Christmas-tree-birdseed-vibe. Welcome cute furry peeps!

Birthday party

For my birthday I decided to drag my family to a buffet for lunch and get really full, and then for dinner we'd just have appetizers. Whee! It was a fun day. We got some great salumi from Brattleboro's North End Butchers (hot sopressata (spicy!), Genoa salami (peppery!), Molinari finnociona (fennel-seedy!)). I also got some Maytag blue cheese that was so ripe and moldy it burned the inside of my mouth (but in a good way). And some soothing French brie. Plus as a salute to my childhood, little Mini Babybel and Laughing Cow wrapped cheese products. Some of us drank prosecco and some had sparkling cranberry juice.

Thank you Gramma and Grandpa for the lovely stargazer lilies! They smell amazing!

I consider my birthday the last of the holidays that started way back at Thanksgiving. Now it's time to buckle down and get on with 2011 for reals. Happy New Year!