Cheese and Onions: Sound Bites Interviews My Teenage Stride

One of the great Brooklyn bands of the last seven years or so, My Teenage Stride continue to crank out clever, tuneful indiepop. Through myriad line-up changes that rival The Fall, frontman Jed Smith has kept his sardonic, melodic vision going strong. Smith and the current MTS line-up are currently working on a new record. Until then here’s a classic hit:

MP3: My Teenage Stride – Heart Shackles

But don’t wait for the new album to see My Teenage Stride. I’m proud to have the band launch the second season of the Sound Bites Summer Series at the Fulton Stall Market this Sunday (June 26). The fun starts at 2PM with some warm-up DJing from me, and then My Teenage Stride will take the stage at three. I cornered Smith into answering a few food-related questions which are as follows.

You’ll be playing at the Fulton Stall markets. What’s your favorite vegetable? And why.

I’m gonna go with onions. I probably use them more than any other vegetable, with garlic bringing up a close second.

What’s your least favorite and why?

Okra. Oh dear god, okra.

Has food ever influenced your songwriting?

Only if you count the Frank Zappa tune “Call Any Vegetable”, or if you consider gin a vegetable- I think of it as more of an herb, personally.

Any good food-related band anecdotes?

Our old guitar player Jeff kept to a strict diet of beef jerky when we did a national tour- I’ll let you use your imagination as to why.

NYers, as a rule, don’t cook much. What about you?

I like to cook a lot when it’s practical and affordable. I grew up with a lot of home cooking and baking on a farm with a big vegetable garden and corn and stuff. After ten years in the city, I had hardly even ever ordered delivery until last year, and I gotta say- I find it stressful for multiple reasons, beyond it simply being too expensive. I mostly cook Mexican and Italian type things so I don’t know if it’s really all that healthy, but I definitely feel better after eating food I made myself. This answer contains none of my trademark avoidant humor. Sorry about that.

A lot of people have been in My Teenage Stride over the years. Who was the best cook?

Almost certainly me, though I can’t be sure.

Where do you eat in Brooklyn?

Home, not home, Mexican places in Bushwick

What’s your cheap eats go-to joint? What about when you’re willing to splurge a little?

Tony’s Pizza on Dekalb and Knickerbocker across from my apt. building has one of the best Sicilian slices in the city for 2 bucks and it has great, huge pasta dishes for 6 bucks. There’s also El Sol De Cholula, a Mexican deli with a real good taqueria that’s also real cheap on Wilson and Hart, also right by my place.

I really don’t go to real restaurants more than like 5 times a year at the most because I am cheap, poor, and don’t like to be around people with money, but I love Il Passatore on Bushwick and Metropolitian, but it’s actually incredibly cheap for a really excellent Italian place that’s got real atmosphere and terrific food. I mean it’s a serious place- their gnocchi is to die for and they bring olives and flatbread while you order and it’s a really great restaurant in general but for some reason it’s just very, very inexpensive. Maybe because it’s next to a gas station and there’s a White Castle around the corner? Anyway, HIGHLY recommended.

What’s your go-to hangover food?

Strawberry-banana yogurt smoothie. Cure-all. Makes you feel better AS YOU’RE DRINKING IT.

What food would you imagine your music being paired with?


Introducing the Sound Bites Summer Series 2011

I’m pleased to announce that Sound Bites (aka me) has teamed with the Seaport Music Festival/River to River folks and the Fulton Stall Market to bring you another free series of indie rock shows this summer. In a slightly different form.

Unlike last year, which took place on Wednesdays on the big Seaport Stage, this Summer’s series will take place on Sunday afternoons so hopefully that means you won’t have to sneak out of work to attend. More changes: this year the shows will be in one of the stalls in the Fulton Stall Market, playing amongst the many farmers and purveyors. The Fulton Stall Market is now in it’s third year and is worth a visit even without jangly pop music providing a soundtrack.

We’re doing four consecutive Sundays beginning June 26. The entertainment is as follows:

One of the great Brooklyn bands of the last seven years or so, My Teenage Stride continue to crank out clever, tuneful indiepop. The band are fresh from a performance at Spain’s Primavera Sound Festival where, I’m told, the audience loved them so much that they continued to chant their name throughout Pulp’s reunion performance. (They may have also been chanting “My Legendary Girlfriend” but with thick accents who can really say?) MTS are working on a new record as we speak. Do I detect a Calatan influence here?

MP3: My Teenage Stride – Cast Your Own Shadow

You may know Kevin Alvir from his previous bands L’il Hospital and Knight School. If so you know what to expect: scratchy, scrappy, slightly snarky, super-catchy. The Hairs are pretty new so they only have one single out so far which you can get in physical form from Magic Marker records or digitally below. Check out the video too which was directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp who made internet sensation Marcel the Shell.

MP3: The Hairs – Duh x 12

JULY 10: pow wow!
A copy editor’s nightmare but the name — all lower-case with an exclamation point — suits pow wow! well. They’re the little band that could. The band caught fire back in 2008 but then checked out for a year to regroup and figure out their sound. Not that it’s a totally new direction — a little less ’60s soul and a little more C-86 — but I like it, based on the one new song that’s been circulating.

MP3: pow wow! – It’s Not That Easy

After two years of poking along (and having lives or something I guess), Brooklyn trio Hospitality have finally gotten around to making their debut album which is just about finished. So I’m told. Hospitality are winsome and charming and they can rock too, don’t let them fool you. When I found out I was doing this series again this year, they were the first band I thought of.

MP3: Hospitality – Liberal Arts

The fun begins at 2PM with yours truly DJing for an hour and then bands are at 3PM. No pool parties this year, so what else you got to do? Come out, enjoy some local indiepop, buy some vegetables, check out the tall ships. It’ll be fun. It’s free! Hope to see you there.