Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Found in London - Fenech-Soler

My music tip of the week comes in the form of a Northampton "synth-pop" band called Fenech-Soler. Although not quite new to the scene, featuring on one of my most visited new music sites back in 2008, they've only really taken off in the last year, and released their début self-titled album (on the B-Unique label) at the end of 2010.

To put it simply, listening to their songs makes me want to dance around like a crazy person (kind of like this) and I would have found it difficult to pick which tracks to release as singles - good thing it's not my job then! Instead here's the video for one they did release, "Demons", which happens to be my favourite track to watch the sunrise to on a Thai beach after partying all night long (that story is for another time...)

And how's this for symmetry, they also did a beautiful acoustic cover of former Found in London featured artist Jessie J's "Do it Like a Dude"

As I'm feeling extra generous today (and guilty for missing last week's post) I'm going to point you to the "Kiss of Life" video of a band that released one of my favourite albums of 2008 and would also fit in the "synth-pop" section of my music library - Friendly Fires. 

If you're wondering what those St. Albans boys have been up to, listen to their new track here, from the upcoming album Pala (to be released May 24th on XL Recordings).

And yes, this week's post was brought to you by the letter F.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Foodie Fridays: Help Japan

It's been over a week since tragedy hit Japan, but we all still want to help, even from afar. If you're looking for some unique ways to support the relief process, here are some great, food-related options we've found around town:Image:

-One of our favorite restaurants, Cube Cafe, has put together a special wine fundraiser called Red for Red, which will be available for the next week. 100% of proceeds from three select red wines ("and one white for good measure") will be sent to the American Red Cross. 615 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036. 323.939.1148,

-Toranoko is hosting a special dinner from 5-11:30PM on Tuesday (3/22), from which they plan to donate 30% of food and drink revenue. 243 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. 213.621.9500,

-Also on Tuesday, Sprinkles will be offering a special Red Cross Red Velvet cupcake; 100% of proceeds will be donated to relief efforts. 9635 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. 310.274.8765,

-Our friends at Yuko Kitchen are taking donations, as well as sending 5% of this month's total profits to the Japanese Red Cross. 5484 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036. 323.933.4020,

-Black Cat Bakery is hosting an upscale bake sale on April 2, from 10AM-2PM. If you want to do more than just indulge, volunteers for the event and decadent donated treats are both welcome. 519 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036. 323.932.1500. More info available at

-Chef Eric Ripert of NYC's Le Bernardin will be donating 100% of the restaurant's four cookbooks to Save the Children and Direct Relief International for the next month. Email books@le-beranardin to order.

COMING SOON on Foodie Fridays: Night + Market.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

FoundTrack - March '11 MixTape

FoundTrack - March '11 MixTape (Zip File)


1. Caught A Ghost - Sleeping At Night
Cag Mixtape
Self Release

2. LESANDS - Restless Lover
Sweet Skin
Self Release

3. Scotch Howard - Hit the Wall
Self Release

4. Generationals - Trust
Trust EP
Park the Van

5. Sam Means - Yeah Yeah
The Sinking of Santa Isabel Soundtrack
Self Release

6. Jessica Lea Mayfield - Tell Me
Tell Me

7. Absinthe & The Dirty Floors - Black Ice
Friday Night Live at Transistor: 2010
Self Release

8. Ghost Heart - Wilderness
The Tunnel
Self Release

9. Wolf Gang - Dancing With the Devil
Dancing with the Devil EP
Warner Music UK

10. The Shutes - Electric Witch
Self Release

11. PJ Harvey - On Battleship Hill
Let England Shake
Vagrant/Island Def Jam

12. James Blake - The Wilhelm Scream
James Blake

13. Solar Bears - Cub (Keep Shelly in Athens remix)

14. The Go! Team - Apollo Throwdown (Star Slinger RMX)

15. Richard and Linda Thompson - The End Of The Rainbow
Mojo Presents Island Folk

16. Ravens & Chimes - Division Street
Holiday Life
Better Looking

17. Wye Oak - Civilian

18. Hey Rosetta! - Yer Spring
Sonic Records

19. Lykke Li - I Follow Rivers
Wounded Rhymes

20. Radiohead - Codex
King of Limbs

FoundTrack - March '11 MixTape (Zip File)


KnewJack - March 2011 MixTape
(Rt-click to download)


Adele - Rolling In The Deep (Jamie XX Shuffle)
Toy Selectah - Half Mex Half Colombian Bandit
Sabo - Mexclaton
LeSale - Timeaftertimeaftertime
De La Soul - Keepin The Faith (Touchsoul Edit)
Hi Voltage - Smile (SuperBreak Disco Edit)
The Bar-Kays - Sexomatic (LeSale's Guaranteed Edit)
Hotel Motel - Feel So Young
Little Jinder - Youth Blood (Thomas Anderson Remix) (Prince Klassen Edit)
Neurotic Drum Band - U Got Me Dancin (Piano Free Mix)
Juan Atkins - Dayshift (Oliver's Nightshift Remix)
Funkatarium - Jump (Fingerman's Old Skool Edit)

KnewJack - March 2011 MixTape
(Rt-click to download)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Found in London - Purl Bar

Taking a break from my otherwise awesome music posts, every now and again I'm going to share with you some local hangouts in London that, as the late MJ once said, rock my world.

First up is Purl Bar in Marylebone - tucked away in the basement of an unassuming cafe, this cocktail bar is inspired by Prohibition-era speakeasies (which are, like, so in right now!) You can book an area, even if it's just you and your date, in their dimly-lit alcoves, which in a city where people spill onto the streets just to enjoy a drink, is a true luxury. With room to breathe, and just the quiet sounds of old Americana style music playing in the background, this is the perfect place to catch up with friends without having to shout over each other or fight through the crowds to get a drink. 
The minimalistic cocktail menu focuses on a "bitters" inspired selection with favourites such as Mr Hyde's No. 2, described as "a devlish elixir of Ron Zacapa 23, Cola reduction and Orange Bitters served in a smoke injected wax sealed potion bottle". Having tried this concoction myself I have to say it was a little strong for my tastes (a little different from my usual g&t) but half the fun was being warned of the dangers of touching the dry ice and pretending like I was in Harry Potter's potions class! All in all a cosy atmosphere, elaborate cocktails and great service makes this a worthwhile stop if you're ever in London.

Purl is open Monday to Thursday from 5pm - 11.30pm and until midnight on Friday - Saturday. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Foodie Fridays: Aburiya Toranoko

First order of business is to send thoughts and prayers out to those affected by the devastating tsunami today. This post is dedicated to Japan.

I started salivating immediately when I first got wind that Michael Cardenas, head chef of the Lazy Ox Canteen, one of my favorite L.A. dining spots, was opening a new restaurant. I discovered that it was to be called Aburiya Toranoko, and it would serve Japanese izikaya-style cuisine, as well as sushi. To top it off, I learned that it was located conveniently right next door to the Lazy Ox. This meant there would be no time or effort necessary to Google-map the new location—time and effort that could be much better spent studying the menu on the restaurant's website and drooling some more.

In the age of the celebrity chef, the name of a restaurateur or executive chef/taste-maker has become increasingly important information when making the difficult decision of where to dine. It often guides diners’ stomachs and wallets more powerfully than the type of cuisine, the location, or even the atmosphere. (Who wouldn’t prefer dinner from a truck named Ludo over an overpriced and oversalted dish on a white table cloth?) Point being, the Cardenas name carries a lot of weight with my palate, and so I embarked with an empty stomach and high expectations down to his latest culinary establishment in Little Tokyo.

So what did I think? Was I as impressed as I was the first time I sat down to eat at his flagship restaurant next door? The short answer is, yes—absolutely! The décor is hip and fits in with the downtown LA scene. It’s welcomes you with a sheik industrial design complete exposed brick, colorful graffiti and a lively bar. The combination of the minimalist wooden communal table and the extravagant chandelier indicates this is a choose-your-own dress code kind of place.

The most exciting thing to spot, however, was the chalkboard menu listing the several LIVE dishes for the day. The evening we visited, the offerings were octopus and eel: fresh, delicious, and still squirming.

Our entire party ordered shots of the live eel. Our waiter carefully instructed us to pour some of our sake inside each shot glass, squeeze in some lemon juice, and proceed to chug. For some of you this may sound absolutely repulsive, but for the adventurous eaters out there, it’s a must. It’s sweet, light, and packed with a punch of flavor. Of course it's not the kind of shot you want to do rounds of—but you should definitely try it once.

As for the white fish and pomegranate, I haven’t always been the biggest fan of fish and fruit, but the sweet pomegranate juice and the texture of the seeds was a bright compliment to the buttery white fish. The flavor of the white fish was still the star of the dish and the pomegranate did not overpower.

If Cardenas was my private chef or roommate, I’d probably ask him to make the seared tuna for me everyday. It set the bar for how to prepare this type of dish. Savory and served warm, the fish melts in your mouth. It was paired with delicate pieces of fried spinach leaves. A wispy and delightful texture, not at all short on salt or flavor. I’d take a bag of these over potato chips any day.

Next was the Japanese style Jidori fried chicken, lightly salted and served with a couple of lemon wedges. No need for more description than that; pretty much the best chicken nuggets you'll ever eat. :)

The braised Colorado black pork was a standout dish. Braised for hours, it almost falls apart when you put it in your mouth—it’s that tender. I imagine this is what Japanese comfort food would be like but I can’t say I have much experience with that myself. It felt classic and simple but the flavors, true to Cardenas' style were layered, complex, and elevated. I wish I had the recipe.

In regards to the sushi, a picture says a thousand words, so check out these beauties:

And for desert, we tried the green tea pudding, which we had heard a lot about. Although this was my first time eating this sweet and rich custard-like dessert, I wouldn't be surprised if pudding made like this becomes an alternative to cupcakes and frozen yogurt.

Toranoko not only boasts quality traditional Japanese food, but is innovative and contemporary in a way that only Cardenas could pull off. I suggest we all spend some more time eating well in Little Tokyo. We're lucky to have such a wonderful culinary mecca right in our own backyard.

Aburiya Toranoko, 243 S. San Pedro St
., Los Angeles, CA 90012. 213.621.9500,, MAP.

Photos by Aurora Tang.

NEXT TIME on Foodie Fridays: We'll be sampling glammed up Thai street food at Night + Market, the latest venture from Talésai's Kris Yenbamroong.

Mail to: foodiefridays at foundtrack dot com


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Found in London - Chase and Status

This week my post has been inspired by the fact that some of my friends from across the pond have never heard of some of the biggest and brightest bands in my fair city and I feel that it is my duty to share with you these hidden gems.
Today I'm featuring one of my favourite drum & bass bands, Chase and Status (now signed to Vertigo), who have only released two albums but are one of my favourite live acts ever and have a huge following here in the UK. The duo, Saul Milton and Will Kennard, met at Manchester University in the mid 90s and have been steadily producing and DJ'ing until they released their début album, More than a Lot, on Ram Records in 2008. With fans in high places, Pharrell Williams called them "the most exciting producers in the UK" and Rihanna was quoted saying that they were "the backbone" of her Rated R record.

I saw them when they headlined the MTV Brand New gigs at Koko in Camden recently and let's just say I was not disappointed. Performing many of their tracks from their new album No More Idols, it didn't matter that a lot of it was new material, I was happy to embrace the mosh pit, jumping up and down everytime the MC told me to jump (which was pretty much every 2 seconds)! Let's just say I ended up pretty sweaty and had a shoe thrown at my head...all in good fun of course! 

I can't get over how much I love these guys and I want you to love them too! So check out one of my favourite tracks "Hypest Hype" feat. Tempa T below (which was a difficult choice since they have so many awesome songs - check out End Credits, Blind Faith and Let Me Go also)

For those of you in the U.S. they'll be touring in April, with dates at Coachella and at Music Box in LA on April 23rd...I promise that you will not be disappointed! 

As you know I love giving you guys a little bonus, so here's a track off their debut album which is something a little bit different - check out "Eastern Promises" below.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Caught A Ghost - First Show - TONIGHT

A week ago i ran into Jesse Nolan, lead man of one of FoundTrack's favorite live acts, Red Arrow Messenger. He told me about his new project, Caught A Ghost. Although it's only a few months young, the new brand is carrying a lot of momentum going into their debut performance tonight at the unknown Son of Semele theather in Echo Park. Apparently, the intimate affair will feature a three part horn section, home-made projection videos from found footage (like below) for every song and lasers.... yes, lasers. All three songs on their CAG mixtape sound very promising. Defly a band on the rise and not a ghost for long.

Here is a homemade video for what should be their single, "Sleeping At Night", shot on Jesse's iphone

Also be sure to catch the new video for the C.A.G. RADIOHEAD, Beatles, and Nicki Minaj mashup here

FoundArt: 14th Annual Kitschen Sync Group Show

If the Lowbrow (what a horrible genre name) art movement has an epicenter, it's the La Luz De Jesus gallery. A show here can make or break you. Their annual "Everything But The Kitschen Sync" group show is the underground equivalent to The Whitney Biennial.

"There's always next year". Those were the last words of my very nice rejection letter, regarding my submission for this year's show. Sour grapes? Not at all. I was just one of over 7,000 people who received the same notice.

There are 123 artists represented in this year's show and somewhere in the vicinity of 225 pieces. It's kind of an overwhelming assault on the senses. Which is pretty much the point. Lowbrow art doesn't coddle you. More often than not, it violates your comfort zone. Snow White hanging limp from a noose, the dwarves circled around her, Dopey inconsolable, is one of the first images you encounter. Jose Ontiveros plays with the Disney mythos in several paintings in the show.

"The End" by Jose Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros

Elsewhere, Click Mort gives porcelin form to nightmarish domesticity.

"A Peck For Daddy" by Click Mort

Mark Ryden casts a large shadow over many of these artists, as is evident by the frequent focus on raw meat. None more beautifully than by Monica Malewska.

"Hummingbirds With Bacon" by Monika Malewska

If you live anywhere near L.A., you owe it to yourself to see this show. It's running from March 4-28 (at 4633 Hollywood Blvd). The prices of the art are insanely reasonable, and as of last night, many were still available.

One last thing. If you're unfamiliar with La Luz, let me give you a tip. There's a "hidden" wall on the northeast side of the gallery. It's easy to miss, but if you look, you will find a couple of the stand-out pieces in the show. "Timekeeper" by Munk One, and "Winter Wonderland" by Antonio Roybal. Keep a close eye on those two. You'll know their name's soon enough.

"Timekeeper" - Munk One

"Winter Wonderland" - Antonio Roybal

(all photos by Keith Ross Dugas)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Foodie Fridays: The Kitchen at The Dime

I’m not going to lie, I thought I misheard when I was first told that The Dime had begun serving food. While one can’t take away its ability to draw in thirsty crowds, the divey Fairfax bar is perhaps best known as the infamous site of Spencer “Crystals” Pratt’s bar brawl on MTV’s trashy hit, The Hills. Heck, we even spotted Andy Dick here with our own eyes, being—well—a dick. So it seems the tiny watering hole has a knack for attracting some of the less-desirable celebrity types.

Regardless, The Dime is indeed serving grub now (it has been since September), and some pretty finger-lickin’ good stuff we must say. The Kitchen is helmed by Kevin Luzande, Brandon Alegria, and Shanna-Lynn Milazzo, who met while working at John Sedlar’s Rivera in downtown, and are now all at the recently-opened Playa Rivera (Kevin is the chef de cuisine, Brandon on the line, and Shana a server).

Shanna and Kevin.

When they’re not working at the new restaurant on Beverly, the group of friends is just a few blocks away, busy putting their creative juices to use coming up with inventive bites in the tight quarters Kitchen at The Dime.

Don’t come here expecting foie gras or filet mignon. The menu—which changes weekly and is only available Sunday and Monday evenings—offers basic bar bites, often with unique and mouthwatering spins. Take for example the grilled cheese mac and cheese sandwich, a creation of Shanna’s which consisted of creamy elbow macaroni smothered between two slices of cheese and bread, then grilled to perfection.

On another visit, we got to try the zucchini sticks, a greasy spoon staple, which was taken up a notch with Kevin’s tartar sauce made of homemade mayo, capers, garlic, scallions, green olives, red pepper flakes, and cornichons.

The batter on these deep-friend wands of goodness was delightfully crunchy and paired nicely with the cool and freshly prepared sauce. Below, Abby graces us with a smile and dons her signature pose. Has zucchini ever looked so good?

Also on the menu that week was the chicken parmesan sub, which was hearty and had a great consistency. Oozing out of the sandwich, the mozzarella cheese was quite indulgent.

Once again, the Kitchen at The Dime went the extra mile, this time adding basil to the classic bar snack. Here I am, biting in... CHOMP!

The final option for this particular week was the buffalo chicken wrap, stuffed with Caesar salad, housemade dressing, and white meat coated with sauce so tangy and spicy you’d think you were diving into a basket of hot wings. To order any selection, simply mark off the quantity you want on the concise menu and take it up to the bar.

Since the fare changes weekly, it might be a while before The Kitchen serves the same offerings we got to sample. But check their Facebook page for other past dishes and a mouthwatering preview of what’s to come. Take our advice, skip the packed-house Friday and Saturday boozefests at The Dime and mosey on in on a Sunday or Monday evening to take a bite out of the talented trio’s delectable creations.

The Kitchen at the Dime, 442 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323.651.4421, MAP.

Photos by Aurora Tang.

NEXT TIME on Foodie Fridays: We're heading downtown to give you the scoop on Aburiya Toranoko, the new restaurant from Lazy Ox mastermind Michael Cardenas.

Mail to: foodiefridays at foundtrack dot com


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Found: Free Sugar!

Mush Records is offering a complimentary download of Eat Sugar's "Clap Your Hands", plus remixes. I urge you all to check it out.

There is also a typically freaky video:

Live, Love, Dance!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Blood, Sweat, & BLESSED: Lucinda Williams review

“Gifted” is a word that gets far too much play when writing about brilliant songwriters. It’s almost an insult. It doesn’t factor in the blood, the sweat, and the unholy pain that went into creating the five minutes of aural ecstasy you’re attempting to describe.If you have ever seen Lucinda Williams live, on ANY night, you’ve watched her stop the band mid-song, and re-start (on nearly every song), sometimes scolding a band member, sometimes cursing herself. There’s a good chance you’ve seen her cry. These are not the arrogant tics of someone in possession of a “gift”. This is an extremely talented woman, who works hard at her craft.

She set the bar impossibly high for herself early on, packing 1988’s Lucinda Williams album to the brim with ridiculously perfect songs. It took her ten years, but ultimately Lucinda left that record coughing in the exhaust of 1998’s Car Wheels On A Gravel Road. Call it alt-country if you want, but the future will hold no discussion about Lucinda that does not mention that record.

Things have been a bit patchy since then. Her 2007 release, West was bogged down by the grief of her mother’s passing, and bizarre double-entendres delivered in an awkward talking-blues style. She sandwiched a bunch of thickly morose reflections between a couple of stand-out rave-ups on Little Honey. In retrospect, 2003’s World Without Tears was unfairly maligned, or at the very least, overlooked. It was her best record of the last decade.

This past Tuesday (3/1/11), she returned to us in full bloom. Blessed hits every ragged emotional chord within you. Lucinda has always known how to start an album, and here she kicks-starts the record by lashing out at an abusive former lover on “Buttercup”. With a crunchy guitar lead by Elvis Costello, Lucinda leans into her vocal, growling and snarling. She punctuates the lines by addressing her victim as “honey”. Not so much suggesting lingering affection for him, but rather pity. It’s pretty brutal stuff. Then there's the lilting, heart-wrenching “I Don’t Know How You’re Living”. On the surface, it sounds like a pleading letter to her little brother. It’s someone just too far gone. Beyond help. It could be any one of us. The title-track is arguably the best track here (the fact that we can argue about which is the best track, is very good news by the way). “Blessed” is a simply gorgeous celebration of humanity, in all its ugly glory. It’s practically an anthem. I can envision a sea of waving hands and raised voices carrying the song home when she performs it.

Lucinda is one of the finest lyricists alive, and no doubt reviews of BLESSED will use the word “gifted”. I understand the impulse. “The Ugly Truth” has the following in the first verse, “Hide your background, hide your fame, hide your given middle name, swallow your pride, swallow your pills, in your house up in the hills”. Now it’s easy to think that just poured out of her, being the poet’s daughter and all, but I’d venture a guess that Lucinda toils over every line. I imagine her notebooks are filled with more frustrated scribbles and torn out pages than legible words. So let’s not diminish the work. Let’s not call it gifted. Blessed perhaps.

There is a Deluxe CD package and a Deluxe LP & CD combo available with eight different covers. The deluxe packages contain an additional CD of the entire albums’ demo tapes as recorded in her kitchen. To hear Lucinda so raw, and unguarded, in her kitchen, is to get a much deeper understanding of the heartfelt effort she put in to these songs. If you can spare a few extra bucks, the Deluxe packages are the way to go. However, by providing a receipt for any format, you can get four free MP3's of unreleased tracks.


Found in London - Misty Miller

I have a confession to make...I'm in love with the ukulele that is! This week's Found in London artist Misty Miller is a young lady who's talent on the aforementioned instrument is only surpassed by her superb vocals and songwriting skills.

Having worn out the Rumer album (figuratively speaking that is, since I'm pretty sure you can't wear out an itunes download) I'm pleased to say I've found a worthy replacement for when I'm in my folksy mood. This little gem of an album is pure sunshine on a rainy day in London and only brings thoughts of the cider-fuelled summer that is to come. Bare in mind the talented Miss. Miller is only 16 years old but has a highly polished album full of songs that would not look out of place alongside your Jack Johnson or Colbie Caillat records. If you don't believe me, you can trust Burberry who filmed the acoustic session below of her song "Remember".

One of my favourites off the album is her first single, "Little Thing Called Love" - watch the video below. Her self-titled debut album is available to buy now on iTunes(UK), released by AWAL.

It's only my second week back in my blogging chair and I've already got a bonus rec for you. Now that I've declared my love for ukuleles, I had to share the clip below. I was lucky enough to witness this performance of a newly formed ukulele cover band called KoaSound (aka my friend's potential wedding band). Witness their genius below, live at Monto Water Rats in London (hit me up if you fancy watching their Justin Bieber performance)...

Source: The Guardian