In honor of Labor Day, Walter Becker’s passing, the fact that the entire country is either on fire, under water (or soon to be) and North Korea’s continuing to focus its sights on blowing us up in a mighty mushroom cloud, I’m keeping it simple this week. Here are three things within three things.
THREE THINGS YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW:
LCD Soundsystem/American Dream
James Murphy and David Bowie were good pals and Bowie’s influence is spread all over American Dream like Nutella on bananas and bagels. Funky, electro-post-punk deliciousness fills all ten tracks. It’s one of those rare records you feel compelled to listen to from beginning to end, just like in the olden days. A little dark, a little woozy and a whole lotta satisfying. I guarantee American Dream will be a featured player on many critic’s Best Of 2017 lists.
Foster The People/Sacred Hearts Club
My main memory of our road trip down the never-ending stretch of I-5 headed to Eugene, Oregon to visit the University Of Oregon’s campus with my then 17-year-old son is Foster The People’s freshman release, Torches, on repeat. It was a definite step up from the Disney channel sing-alongs of childhood, but to this day I still relate certain landmarks along the freeway to specific songs on that record. Sacred Hearts Club is Foster’s third release and my personal favorite. It’s a little weird and psychedelic but with enough alt-pop gems like “Sit Next To Me” and “I Love My Friends” to keep even the skeptics happy. And if you’ve ever wondered what your yoga teacher listens to full-blast right before class, “Loyal Like Sid & Nancy” is the answer.
It was just a couple years ago that I saw LANY perform on an itsy-bitsy-teeny-tiny stage in the front window of The Funhouse at El Corazon on a June night so hot the stifling heat radiating from the club took your breath away when you stepped in the door. They were opening for another band fronted by The Runaway’s Cherie Currie’s son and the cramped club was abuzz with rock royalty and a very drunk and disorderly Robert Hays. (Remember him from the “Airplane” movies?) Yeah. Anyhow, LANY was a supporting band, a mere blip on the screen and played an abbreviated set due to politics and technical difficulties. It was just enough, though, to get a whiff of LANY’s dreamy lead singer, Paul Jason Klein, and know they were worth keeping an eye on. Fast forward two years and LANY is playing festivals all around the country and abroad, including right here at Bumbershoot. They’ll be back in Seattle at The Showbox this November. Their first full-length self-titled album is like an easy-breezy summer night cuddled up watching the pink-to-orange sunset with your sweetie at the beach. Heavy on the indie-pop flavored guitar and synth grooves, LANY is the perfect soundtrack for a teenage makeout sesh, or, you know, if you’re an old lady hanging around by yourself cooking dinner.
THREE THINGS YOU SHOULD ALWAYS COOK FROM SCRATCH:
Seriously. Get yourself some nice olive oil and a good vinegar, a whisk and some herbs and you’ve got a delicious salad dressing that can’t even compare to the bottled stuff. It takes all of five minutes and is worth every ounce of effort.
I know, I know–everyone has one of those Friday nights with a spoon and a can of frosting, but knock it off. That stuff is awful. Even if you bake your cakes from a box, always make homemade frosting. Powdered sugar, butter, cream, vanilla. Mix it up, add some unsweetened cocoa powder if you’re jonsin’ for chocolate and no one will even question your choice to bake a cake from a box. And then whip up a little extra to stick in the back of the fridge for those Friday nights when you need it.
Full disclosure: I have not always made my own marinara sauce. But now that I do, I’m kicking myself for all those spaghetti nights with Prego sauce from a jar. Homemade marinara sauce is so incredibly easy and so much more tasty than the jarred stuff full of sugar and additives. Buy a can of the best tomatoes you can afford (San Marzano is what I typically use) and add a bit of garlic and your favorite Italian spices, maybe a splash of red wine, puree it to your desired consistency, bring to a simmer and enjoy the clean, fresh taste you can’t get in a jar. Or even try Marcella Hazan’s classic three ingredient marinara with tomatoes, a halved onion and butter. Fantastic and easypeasylemonsqueezy.
THREE YOGA POSES TO DO EVERYDAY:
Are you ready? Here goes:
Downward Facing Dog
Full-body stretch. A gentle, accessible inversion. Builds strength in upper body while providing a nice stretch for hamstrings and calves. Feels crazyhard at first and gets easier with practice.
My go-to pose when my lower back is feeling cranky. The gentle movement takes the spine through flexion and extension and gets the muscles around the spine warmed up for further work. Or you can just crawl into bed and feel better for doing your cat-cows.
Supine means you’re laying on the floor, so throw yourself on the floor and do some variation of a twist. It can be as simple as drawing your knees up into your chest and taking the knees down to one side and the other, or as fancy as wrapping your legs around each other in a bind and releasing the knees down. Anchor the opposite shoulder from the twist to the floor and look over that shoulder. Yummy, twisty goodness to help release tension in the back and hips.
And that’s a wrap. Stay safe, honor the laborers and your unions and if we’re still here next week, I’ll give you three more things.