Wednesday, 23 December 2015

What's new?

Listening to...

Black Lips, Honeyblood, Best Coast, Wavves are all bands that have that similar sound: Unpolished, somewhat rowdy guitars combined with raw vocals. There's the ambiance of an energetic, 'so what' attitude and images of wondering through downtown LA(?) in denim cutoffs and a flannel shirt, maybe accompanied by a skateboard, are conjured up.
Now there's a new band to add to the list. Hinds. Formerly known as Deers ("no no no no not even happening" [drops record on floor and kicks it away] when asked about The Dears in their Nardwuar interview), before being forced to change it by a Canadian band with a similar name, the four piece from Madrid consists of Carlotta (lead vocals and guitar), Ana (vocals and guitar), Ade (bass) and Amber (drums).

I had been a fan of their music since during the time they were called Deers but it was only last week, when watching videos, that it grew to affection.
When they talk in English they have that soft soothing Spanish accent that can make one's insides melt but, when they sing, it's shambolic and sometimes incomprehensible as though drunkenly shouting along at a party. Maybe it's this combination that makes them so engaging. That and they seem so fun and look so cool. But we shouldn't focus on their appearance. They are a band aware of their perceived place in the industry, being all female musicians. "We never made this band to change the world or fight for women's rights or whatever but we are realising now that this is the only place that we've felt less just for being girls," Carlotta and Ana told the NME.

In Bamboo, the overlapping of vocals and alternating between Carlotta and Ana makes it seem like they are angrily standing up to a personal complication ("how could I show you without looking freaking mad that I am not always gonna be around") together.
In Chili Town, they are "touching without hands because you're deaf and blind" and "swimming in the dark because all your friends are sharks" in a whiny way.
Davey Crockett, a song originally by The Headcoats, is a cover that was basically made for them.

One shouldn't really take notice of Youtube comments but the recurring negative ones on Hinds' videos are along the lines of how are they in music when they can't sing and what is this?
Sometimes, though, the appealing nature of music comes from its energy. Sometimes you're just inexplicably drawn to it. With Hinds, a boring moment in my life can just suddenly turn fun with the click of a play button. 


The past week I've been reading Suitcase magazine and my thoughts are this:
Why spend so much monotonous time inside or in the same familiar environments when there are many exciting and naturally beautiful places in the world that should be experienced?

Hannah Mckeand's trek across the North and South Pole, Caroline Gleich's climbing and skiing adventures, the 71 year old British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, perfect photo shoots...  Iceland, Arizona, Melbourne and Sydney. 

Some places are eye-opening while others are familiar but full of life. My little legs, so used to the same thing, have a sudden desire to run in new locations.


Christmas tarts and ginger spiced biscuits

I threw the mandatory dinner party (we take it in terms each holiday) for my friend/ neighbour and her mum yesterday and made these Christmas tarts for the starter. They were my nut roast recipe turned into tart form and are perfect for munching on over the festive period (kind of like a vegetarian equivalent to sausage rolls)
The verdict: "I really loved the tarts! I may have to ask for the recipe"
So here it is...

Blitz 4oz mix nuts (above I used cashews, walnuts and pistachios) in a food processor until an almost crumb-like mixture. Add 1 slice of bread, a couple of handfuls of kale and a large sprinkling of rosemary and thyme for flavour. Pour in vegetable stock (1 teaspoon + boiling water to make 1/4 pint) and blend together until a herb-smelling mush has formed. Assemble as you would with mince pies, using homemade or shortcrust pastry. Cook in the oven at 180 for about 30 minutes.

Then there's the vegan ginger spiced biscuits which are best eaten in front of a coal fire or, if the weather's not cold enough, just dunked into a mug of earl grey.
They are made as follows:

Blend 50g flaked almonds/ almonds/ walnuts/ any nut in a food processor until flour-like. Transfer into a bowl with 150g spelt flour, 75g agave syrup and ground ginger for flavour. In a pan, melt 4 teaspoons coconut oil and 3 teaspoons honey then pour onto the other ingredients. Mix together with a spoon, adding more ginger if needed. It will all be smoothly and thickly stuck together so you can either roll out onto a work surface and cut into cute shapes or simply flatten into cookie shapes with your hands. Bake in oven at 180 for about fifteen minutes.

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