Friday, February 24, 2012

Check out these new tunes!


3 INCHES OF BLOOD - "LONG LIVE HEAVY METAL" - These metal guys just finished tracking the new album, and thanks to Soundcloud, they're previewing some tracks for free!  A couple of weeks ago they released Leather Lords, and now you can hear the second track Dark Messenger.  Go to:

THE MELVINS - "THE BULLS & THE BEES" - King Buzzo and Dale Crover are back and this time their new 5 song EP is FREE! Due on March 13, you can download the record at, in the meantime stream the new track War On Wisdom here: LINK

GORILLAZ - "DO YA THING" - So the boys from The Gorillaz have collaborated with ANDRE 3000 & LCD SOUNDSYSTEM's JAMES MURPHY.  Apparently the full version is like 10 minutes long, but I'm a fan of short songs, also they've put out a Gorillaz Chuck Taylor.  Check it here: LINK  ***

BLEEDING KNEES CLUB - "NOTHING TO DO" - The long awaited full length debut by these Aussie pop punkers is set to release on Feb. 27.  Check out the track Nothing To Do here: LINK Garage/Fuzz/Pop-Punk for fans of THE MARKED MEN, THE WHITE STRIPES.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm back with some new music, old rock and things that should be missed!



TORCHE - "HARMONICRAFT" is set to be released on April 24th...but I just can't stop listeing to the single Kicking!!  Super stoner/sludge/riff rock mixed in with epic vocals.  Raw but polished sound.  Think MELVINS but more bubblegum.  The band is also allowing you to download the single for free!!  Go to: 

ALABAMA SHAKES - "BOYS & GIRLS" - I just saw them on Conan the other night, so I decided to check 'em out.  They played the first song on the record Hold On.  Country/Rock/Motown sound fronted by chick who can belt it out. Conan performance:

BAND OF SKULLS - "SWEET SOUR" - Following on the heels of their hugely successful "BABY DARLING DOLLFACE HONEY" they're trying to hit that stride again.  While I actually like this record, I think it falls flat compared to their first, great tracks like Wanderluster and The Devil takes care of his own give it redeeming qualities.  Check out the video for The Devil Takes Care of his Own:

                                 IN CASE YOU MISSED IT!!

THE STROKES - "ANGLES" - This is my record of the year for every song.  So glad they reunited for this album.  Julian's solo record had a few gems on it but nothing beats a good STROKES release.  This record was the soundtrack to my summer.  If you haven't heard it from beginning to end, your doing yourself a disservice.  The SNL performance of Under Cover of Darkness:
For fans of THE STROKES  you idiot!



TURBONEGRO - "RETOX" - The 2008 release is by far my favorite by these Norwegian deathpunkers.  Boys from Nowhere is my all time fave track but songs like Welcome to the Garbage Dump and Stroke the Shaft strike some serious living room air guitar sessions. The band just recorded an new record with new singer Tony Sylvester called "THE DUKE OF NOTHING"and it's set to release this summer.  Check out a live performance of Shake Your Shit Machine from The Snowboarding World Championships concert in Vulkan, Oslo on Feb. 11:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Days 36, 37, 38 Amsterdam

Day 36 - Amsterdam

Our flight left a little late at 7:40am, so we got in at 9:30. A little time to wander the mall at Shiphol airport. After the mall/airport, we went to weterringstraat, a neighborhood north of the harbor. It was everything that I expected of Amsterdam, the canals, the buildings, the people on bikes and the smell that is synonymous with Amsterdam. We passed Cafes and "coffeeshops" daring each other to go in. 

We went to our room, checked in, had a nap then went out for Thai food at Bird, the best Thai restaurant in Amsterdam. Located right in the edge of the redlight district, has the sights right in front of you while you eat. After Bird, we walked around the town a little more, then headed off back to the room about 12am. 

Day 37 -

We slept in til 11, then went to Anne Frank house. It took us 2 hours waiting in line before we got into the building. Reading excerpts from her diary as we looked into restored rooms, made you both laugh and cry. The family plus 4 others lived in that 500 sq ft home for 3 years, until someone betrayed them and they were shipped to Auschwitz. Only the father lived. With the Anne Frank house done, we decided to do a canal cruise. In an hour we drank back some Heinekens and meandered the canals of Amsterdam, completely encircling the town. We learned that the houses are so small that they have to move everything into the windows. Every place has a bell tower where a pulley is connected and the furniture is hauled up. We learned a lot about the town, by just cruising and listening to the captain's stories. Some warehouses penetrate up to 30 metres below the street, they close off the slough to the canals nightly to clean the waters and Amsterdam has a housing shortage, that's why the have all the houseboats. 

Fun fact: the Dutch eat everything with a knife and fork, even hamburgers! 

The canal cruise and Heinekens whetted the palate for more booze and food. So, off to Burger Meester we went!! 100% Organic burgers freshly made and brought out to you, eventhough the shake was great, it cost almost as much as a burger did. We scarfed down our burgers and bought some beer and wine to do some pre drinking before we explored the red light district. We drank some liquid courage and headed off. Holy crap, the best window shopping in the world! We spent a few hours poppin in and out of a few bars and then it was closing time! They close up the red light district at 1am, and the funniest thing is seeing the girls, who were advertising their assets moments before, leaving "work" in their street clothes. It was time for more food!! A little sauced by this point, we bought some shoarma and trudged home. 

Day 38

Last day of vacation. :(

We woke up and went out for coffee, then walked to the Van Goh museum. It contains over 200 original paintings, 300 sketches and 700 letters of correspondence between himself and his brother. The highlight was the "Potato Eaters", his only attempt at painting a masterpiece. Some surprises included a few Gaugan pieces and a few Monet pieces. We walked around, and just took in the markets, squares and shops. We went out for coffee to refuel and ate some pannenkoeks then continued on back to the apartment. We had to eat our last meal at a Surinamese restaurant called Kam Yin and we walked the redlight district for the last time...on this trip. 

I just like to say that out of all of our travels (Mexico, USA, Belize, Turkey, Greece, Czech Republic, Amsterdam was the only place where we didn't feel like dumb tourists. Everyone was super friendly, as long as you were friendly and no one gave a crap what you looked like, who you were etc. Everyone in Amsterdam is concerned with their own lives, not yours. Oh yeah, and everyone in Amsterdam is beautiful and fit, you'd have to be to ride your bike everywhere!!          

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Days 32, 33, 34, 35 Prague

Day 32 - Prague 

We made it to Prague around 6am the plane stunk and the seats sucked but I think I'm just sick of travel days. When we got into Prague we hit up a cab and drove into the city. It was beautiful!!! As it dropped us off at our apartment, we decided that we should take the opportunity to explore the old town in peace and quiet. Only the joggers were out at this time!! We crossed Charles Bridge into the lesser town and explored. Charles Bridge is fantastic when there is no one around!! You actually have room to explore, take photos and soak it all in. After wandering, we had breakfast and checked in to the apartment. After this one, there is no need to ever purchase a hotel room ever again! The price and the room we have to move around in was incomparable.  Big bathroom, kitchen, living room and a huge queen size bedroom with 500 year old frescoes above us. We napped and after we went to see the old town square, passing by some great buildings as we did so. The clock tower was one of them. So fantastic, every hour on the hour, little religious figures march through the peepholes at the front while a bugler sounds off some tunes. 

We hit up a shopping mall after, bought some jeans (not used to 19 degrees after all the plus 30 days) at hit up U Vejvodu, a huge beerhall serving cheap beer and meat dishes. We started with some half litre pints of pilsner (Czech pilsner), sausages, and finished with a fully baked pork knuckle. We drank and ate til our bellies were expanded and headed back to the apartment. At this time, we had been up for 36 straight hours thanks to our 4am flight. 

Day 33 

Still in Prague we started our morning with homemade coffee, tea, and a full English breakfast. We then walked back to Old Town Square, past the clock tower and visited the Salvador Dali exhibit. It contained several pieces of originals including a series of prints that left your mouth agape. He was a sick genius. Strange sexual, violent, and religious art expanding through all the mediums like sketches, oil painting, sculptures and silkscreens decorated the hall. One of the highlights was a woven tapestry depicting a civil war battle. After we avoided a downpour by visiting a sex museum which housed the first 2 movies ever commissioned as well as     old toys and bondage gear. Then we hit up U Vejvodu for more pints.   

We made it to St. Georges basilica by Prague castle and watched a 6 piece orchestra perform 60 minutes of pacheabel, Mozart and Vivaldi. It was my first time exposed to  classical music and I couldn't help but to love the fact that here I was, in Prague, at a church built in 950 listening to Mozart!! It was great! After it was time for more beer and meat, we walked in search of the fabled u Fleku, but found it closed for renovations :( . Rolling with the punches, we found yet another famous beer hall called U Medvidku, where we ate traditional beef/pork dishes and washed it down with budvu budweiser. The original budweiser. We stumbled home, full of meat, beer and scenery. 

Day 34 - Prague Castle

We walked up the stairs to the Castle grounds. As you walk up these stairs, you can look over the city, it's amazing. Baroque churches dot the cityline, punctuated by gothic towers. We reached the top and were spat out into the square. The rich families that weren't royalty, built their own palaces here, the Schwarzenburg Palace is a beautiful example of renaissance architecture. But as you see the towering minarets if St. Vitus Cathedral, you are quickly hypnotized to go into it's direction being swallowed by it's doors. Built over a period of 600 years it has many different styles of design but the gothic overpowers the baroque and renaissance styles. With gargoyles and saints peering down at you as you enter, you can't help but to feel the history as you enter. Words cannot describe the interior of the cathedral. Frescoes, stained glass windows, sculptures and paintings fill the room, and everywhere you look there is something new to take in. 

After the church we spent time in the picture gallery which houses over 300 original canvas paintings spanning the dark ages and the renaissance. In the basement of the actual palace  you can learn the history of the castle, it's inhabitants and even feast your eyes on crown jewels, crystal and old manuscripts. Walk the golden lane and pop your head into the various shops and even see where Kafka spent his time penning the "metamorphosis". We went into the basement of St. Georges Basilica and looked at the crypts and tombs. The powder tower is a watch tower that was added onto later and now holds the various years if weaponry and attire worn by the Czech Army. We spent a total of 5 hours exploring the grounds and then it was time for a beer. We bought a beer and drank it on our way to the Jewish quarter. We passed synagogues and the Jewish cemetery, all the while looking at the crystals offered in the shops aligned on the street. 

All this sightseeing built up a huge appetite for more beer and meats!! Back to U Vejvodu we go to drink a few pints and I ate a huge rack of ribs. My favorite place by far in Prague is U Vejvodu.  We bought some more absinthe and went back to the apartment to end the night. To drink real absinthe, you place a spoon over a glass with a sugar cube upon it, pour the absinthe over it slowly until it's soaked. When the cube has finished dripping the excess off, you light it and burn it until the cube is caramelized and has started to drip into the glass. When done, pour fresh water in drops over the cube until it mostly has dissolved into the glass below, drop the cube, stir and enjoy! Within a minute, you will feel a heightened sense of euphoria which develops into a mild drunk. The green fairy!!

 35 - Prague

The only thing we really wanted to do today, was to go see the dancing house. That's exactly what we did. Then it rained, a lot! So we had to take refuge and what better place to take refuge than in another beer hall. We had a few pilsners, soups and of course, sausages!! After,  we decided to go shopping, but the weird thing about Prague is the money. 300 Czech Koruna or crowns is about $17, but the 300 amount I just can't get over, I don't feel like I'm getting a deal. We picked up a few things, trinkets mostly but I don't think Prague has much to offer for men's shopping, not stuff I like anyways, although I did pick up a pair of jeans. After we were bored of shopping, we got soaked in the rain went home and dried off for our last dinner in Prague. We decided on a Cafe right across the street from us called Cafe Atmosphere. It was great! Hoegaarden on tap for 38 Kc ($2.20) and  pork ribs for 120 Kc ($6.50). We enjoyed our food and headed home to pack up for our trip to Amsterdam at 7am. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Days 28, 29, 30 & 31

Day 28 - Travel day to Athens

Our first leg started in Naxos where our ferry was to leave at 11:20am. We arrived just on time and boarded. It was a short 40 min trip to Paros and we only had an hour to spend there. We went for coffee and dips at a seaside cafe. Paros looked quiet and peaceful, if we ever decided to come back to Greece, I think Paros would be on the list. We boarded our 2nd leg in Paros bound for Mykonos, where we had 3 hours to take in the town. Mykonos has the stigma of being the party capital of the Greek islands and because of this, we decided that a pass through was all we wanted. I think it was a bad call. It looked like a great little town but you can never tell until it gets late. We ate some Gyros at a small local shop inside the town steps away from the sea. We then boarded a taxi to the airport where we would take the 3rd leg and eventually winding up in Athens. When we arrived in Athens, we quickly snagged a cab and made our way to the Acropol. Oh oh oh, but when we got to our hotel the cabbie told us to be really careful, this was a bad part of town at night, lots of muggings, thefts, violence and robberies. Yes Omonia square at night is supposed to be a bad place. And to top it off, the Classical Acropol Hotel was CLOSED!! There we were, in the middle of the night, bags in hand, tourist clothes on our backs, stranded. We crossed the street, phoned the other Acropol, thinking we might've screwed up but nope..we were at the right place (wrong place). We asked a couple of cabbies to take us to a hotel, once they figured out what we needed, one happily took us to Novotel. We checked in, unpacked our things and headed for the bar, we needed a drink. 

Day 29 - sightseeing in Athens

We woke up, ate our included breakfast (best coffee since Turkey) and headed for the Acropolis. As we twisted ourselves up and around to the top, we passed sights like the theatre of Dionysus (closed for a concert) and  the odeum of Herodes. When getting to the top the first ruin to your right is the temple if Athena Nike, a beautiful building, it once housed a wooden statue of the goddess of victory. Once we passed that we got to the Parthenon! In the middle of being restored, it was the most spectacular building I've seen (except for the AyaSofia) and we spent a hour encircling it. Built as an homage to Athena, the myth goes to empress the people Athena and Poseidon engaged in competition, she grew an olive tree which provided food, oil and shade. Poseidon created a salt water spring that flowed from the earth, the people gave the victory to Athena, named the city after her and built the Parthenon to  honor her.  Another building on Acropolis is Propylaea, adorned with carvings and statues it completed the top of the city. 

Going down from the Parthenon, you walk the Pananthaic way to the Agora passing by the cemetery and stoa of Attalus. Stoas are large roofed buildings with columns that provide shade from the heat, as well as places to do business and house sculptures. Completing our wander of the ancient city of Acropolis, we wound our way to the Temple of Hephaestus. 

We walked away from the site famished and sought out lunch at a cafe below. After lunch we went in search of Hadrians Arch and the Temple of Olympian Zeus, they are located right beside each other. The temple is huge and if you look at it from the right angle you can see the Acropolis and Hadrians arch. You can just imagine what people saw for the first time arriving to Athens thousands of years ago. 

To finish our day, we marched up the hill, past parliament  and found the Pananthanaikan Stadium. The only stadium completely made out of marble, dates back to the original Olympics but only a few original pieces remain. You can hike up to the top of row 21 and see a 360 degree view of Athens including the Acroplis and Lycabetta hill. Krista even ran a lap around the track!!

We returned to Novotel, locked ourselves in our room and had room service. 

Day 30 - Delphi

Reluctantly we joined a tour and went to Delphi. They picked us up at 7:45 and started the journey to Delphi where our tour guide blabbed the entire two hours up to the site.   When we reached the site, we ditched and wandered on our own, we passed a theatre, bath houses an agora and the remains of ancient houses. Built on the side of a hill (like all other fortified ancient cities) you could see for miles. It's said that Apollo swam to the people in the form of a dolphin, hence the name. In the middle of ancient Delphi is the temple of Apollo where the oracle of Delphi lived. The oracle spoke the words of the gods and politicians and priests translated to the seekers of information. At the top of Delphi is a huge theatre which was used as a precursor to the Olympic games. Athletes competed in the nude and it was better if you weren't well endowed, and if you notice, most statues still preserved depict this. At the bottom of Delphi is a circular temple built to Athena and a huge gymnasium. After the site, we visited the museum of Delphi which houses artifacts pulled from it. Highlights include the two brothers and some Mycenaean gold. 

We returned home late after purusing a few villages and decided to dine at the top of our restaurant. The eatery had yet another 360 view of Athens but it also had a fully lit view of the Acropolis. A picture perfect end to a day. 

Day 31 - the national Archeological museum of Athens. 

We made it to the museum at 1pm expecting it to be open for hours but it was only open til 4!! We thought we had to be quick, afterall we spent 5 hours in Istanbul's museum. But it was spectacular. I'm sorry to say that athens' was a complete let down. It did have a lot of significant  items, but after seeing Istanbul's I guess I was a little let down. Highlights included a bronze statue of Poseidon/Zeus and a marble statue of Aphrodite, Pan and Eros.  

Days 26 & 27 - Naxos

Days 26 & 27 - Naxos. 

These days are so chill all we did was wander up and down St. George beach and into the town at night. We ate Greek food, drank Greek beer and wine and toasted ourselves on the beach. Our modest pansiyon called Mavromatis Studios was 200 metres from the beach and was very basic. Family owned and operated, it provided free tomatoes and that's about it, but with the beach closeby, what else do you need? Just a couple of blips: the supermarket wouldn't  accept a 5 euro bill and upon checkout, the pansiyon wanted cash. Would I go back to Naxos? Maybe... But maybe not. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 25

Day 25 - Santorini to Naxos

Our ferry to Naxos departed at noon, but first we had to get down the switchbacks to the port. Hitting the Santorini bus station for the last time, we shouldered our way onto the bus, sat our butts in the seats and made the final trip. It was a lot quicker and a lot less nerve wracking going down, until we arrived at the ferry port. A thicket of tourists were pushing this way and that trying to find their boat. With no signs directing you where to go, the port police had their hands full fielding a myriad of questions from a thousand tourists in different languages. Finally, after asking 3 different officers, I found out where our departure was; gate 4. Too bad it was full. We waited for our boat to come in, watched the others disembark, then boarded. It was a pleasant ride, especially after the 2 hours of pushing, waiting and pushing some more. 

We arrived at Naxos port, grabbed our luggage and a bus was waiting right there for us. Maybe this day would turn out afterall? Nope! I thought the directions to our studio were flawless: take the bus to agia Anna, pass the cinema and bam, Mavromatis studios! Not that easy. We wound up looking this way and that, never finding the cinema and rode the bus to the end of the line. Good thing was we got to your the huge stretch of white sandy beaches, but the bad thing was we had no idea where we were! We asked the bus driver who didn't speak English at all, he dropped us off 3 km from our studio. We flagged down a cab, they just started back to work, and he delivered us to our studio. 

We checked in and went in search if food and drink at a local taverna. We ate greedily and I kinda calmed us down, enough to get us to a supermarket where we bought the next 3 days of food and drink. We then hit the beach and watched the beautiful sunset from St. George Beach. After we walked into town, which was bustling with people, and walked to the temple of Apollo. It was quiet and peaceful. We snapped photos and enjoyed the view of the lit up town below us for a few minutes. We picked ourselves up and walked back through the town, and walked through the old market. A labyrinth of low, narrow streets houses a bunch of storefronts then spits you back into the town square. We walked the beach all the way back to our studio where it was time for a night cap.