Sound Bites Series is Back! Meet this Sunday’s band, Grand Resort

Andres, don't eat the flowers!

Andres, don’t eat the flowers!

I’m happy to report The Sound Bites Series is back again for a fourth year with four free shows every Sunday afternoon in August. Things are slightly different than the last two years. The Fulton Stall Market (who have been a proud sponsor previously) is going on break for the month of August, so the Sound Bites Series is happening at the Front/Row stage which is located at the corner of Fulton and Front streets at South Street Seaport. It’s right by the Smorgasbar which has beer, wine and some great food. I DJ at 3PM with the band on at 4PM sharp!

This Sunday is our first Sound Bites of 2013 and kicks off with Grand Resort. As a teenager in the Dominican Republic, Andrés M. Pichardo discovered the jangly world of UK indiepop and was immediately captivated. Upon moving to Boston, he started making recordings under the name Grand Resort, making his interpretations with sparkling 12-string guitar and dreamy synths. When he moved to Brooklyn in 2012, the solo project became a band.

Andrés was nice enough to answer some food-related questions for me:

It’s summer and the crops are in. What’s your favorite vegetable and why?
Probably cabbage. Especially pickled cabbaged. Stir fried onions and peppers do the job pretty well as a side dish if you’re trying to stay lo-carb.

What’s your least favorite and why?
Pickles. I will throw up if I see them, smell them or have touched my food.

Pickled cabbage is okay but pickles pickles you hate?
Pickles. Ew!

Your new EP is out soon. Did any particular food fuel it’s making?
Trader Joe’s frozen meals.

Has food ever influenced your songwriting?
Not really. I should probably write a song about pork and how much I love it.

Any good food-related band anecdotes?
We met Matt (bass) outside of Wyckoff Star off the Jefferson L while sipping iced coffee and eating almond croissants.

Do you cook? If so do you have a signature dish?
You bet I do. My dad runs a restaurant back home and my mom does catering from time to time. I used to work at my dad’s restaurant and I still do when I go back home to visit. I can pretty much nail any Dominican dish, but I make these killer chipotle pork tacos. I braise a whole pork leg with chipotle peppers and spices for about 8 hours until the meat falls off the bone. Then I pick up some fresh avocados and tortillas from Los Hermanos Tortilla Factory down the street from and it’s the perfect meal.

You’re from the Dominican Republic. What’s the test for a good Dominican restaurant? What’s the best you’ve found in NYC?
The plantains can’t be stale; that’s crucial. My favorite is Sazon Nuñez off the Dekalb L. They open at 6AM (yes, I’ve craved rice and beans for breakfast after a night of partying) and everything is fresh and homemade. They usually have all my favourite dishes like oxtail, pig’s feet, pig ears, roasted pork, beef stew and other weird dishes that most of my friends find disgusting.

What’s your favorite local restaurants?
I never go to fancy brunch places with fake French or Italian names. It just doesn’t make sense to me why would they would charge me $10 for a mediocre “pretty sandwich” when I can take my girlfirend to lunch for much less, We usually hit up Dominican places in Bushwick, Los Hermanos Tortilla Factory or Oasis if we’re around Bedford L.

What’s your go-to hangover food?
Rice, beans, meat and a large passion fruit juice.

What food would you imagine Grand Resort’s music being paired with?
Whatever they ate in Britain in the early 80’s and a piña colada on the side.

Don’t hog the hummus: Sound Bites interviews Habibi

It’s that time of year again — well a month later than usual — and the 2012 Sound Bites Series kicks off this Sunday (8/5) down at the Fulton Stall Markets with Habibi, one of Brooklyn’s most promising new bands. Barely a year old, these four girls make irresistible pop informed by ‘60s girl groups but have a dreamlike style all their own. The band just finished a tour with Sub Pop band King Tuff, and are currently working on their debut album. In the meantime you can check this track out:

Habibi will be on at 3PM sharp and I’ll be spinning tunes beforehand. Like I usually do, I asked the band about food and singer Rahill Jamalifard was kind enough to respond:

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

Okra, my granmda in iran makes a killer okra stew, it’s such an underrated and underappreciated vegetable, and people never make it right, but when its made so that its still firm but cooked and doesnt fall apart when you fork it, its delicious.

What’s your least favorite and why?

I love em all, but least favorite…celery, its boring. Sorta like eating crunchy water.

Has food ever influenced your songwriting?

Food hasnt directly influenced my writing per se, but, food absolutely makes Habibi’s world go round.

Any good food-related band anecdotes?

Haha, yes all our good stories are food related! One we recently revisited and laughed about was a show we played at Johnny Brendas in Philly. They were kind enough to bring out a generous sized hummus plate for us and King Tuff before our show. The King Tuff boys hadn’t come into the bar yet and we basically bodied the whole thing and did some heavy heavy damage, to the point where the manager asked us kindly to please leave some for the other band. We laughed inside but cried a little too. Oh and later that night we all ate two cheese stakes each. Ha, we love food.

You recently toured with King Tuff. What kind of eater is Kyle?

Kyle loves food too, he yelled at us for getting the appropriate ‘cheese whiz’ on our Philly cheese steaks. And he sent a burger back once because they forgot his avocado! Haha, he’s serious about food!

Who is the best cook in the band? Who is the finickiest eater?

The best cook? Shoot, we all cook, and boast about our cooking but have never sampled each others, so lemme get back to you on that. And the finickiest would definitely be me. I’m annoyingly picky.

Where do you eat in Brooklyn?

I cook a lot at home, but if im not cooking at home, i really like Chimu in Williamsburg, which is a Peruvian joint with delicious chicken or the Tortilla Factory off the Jefferson L stop, I havent been to in a few years but im sure still remains decent, and Song in park slope, its cheap delicious Thai food. We all just went to this argentinian restaurant for Erin, our bass player’s birthday. It was called El Almicen in Williamsburg. I wouldnt recommend it though, unless you want four bites of tuna for 27 dollars.

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

Yes! Go to Punjab on Houston. It’s an Indian cabbie spot thats cheap and delicious. $2 for a heaping plate of food! And if I’m splurging, well… I cant really afford to splurge but i really like this Mexican restaurant thats a bit pricey over by st. Marks called La Palapa, they have these different homemade salsas that will twist your panties in a knot and a really great and thorough dinner menu. Oh man and Ariana Afghan Kebab House in Hell’s Kitchen, their Kabuli Palow is amazing!

What’s your go-to hangover food?

I dont really get hangovers, i barely drink. But i definitely like to drink fresh made juices all day after a night of drinking.

What food would you imagine Habibi’s music being paired with?

Habibi’s music would be paired with tagine! Exotic, flavor full, rich and saucy. Yum, now im hungry!!!

A Kaleidoscope of Bananas and Strawberries: Sound Bites Interviews Hospitality

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. Now a four-piece (drummer Nathan Michel now on guitar, with Kyle Olson taking over the kit) they’re a little more skronky too. When I found out I was doing this series again this year, they were the first band I thought of.

MP3: Hospitality – Liberal Arts

Hospitality play the final Sound Bites Series show of 2011: this Sunday (7/17) at the Fulton Stall Market down by the South Street Seaport. The band is on at 3PM sharp and I’ll be spinning tunes beforehand. Hospitality also feature on a free downloadable mix I curated as part of a series of Seaport Music Festival mixes that are available over at online record store Insound. Check em out and feel free to listen to it on shuffle if you like.

Hospitality answer some food-related questions below. I don’t think I’d ever argue with them about where or what to eat.

You’ll be playing in the Fulton Stall markets. What’s your favorite vegetable?
Amber Papini (vocals, guitar): Cabbage. I love it in all ways: sauteed, braised or roasted, coleslaw, kimchi and sauerkraut.
Brian Betancourt (bass, vocals): broccoli // fun to eat tiny trees as a kid. also as an adult.
Kyle Olson (drums): Corn on the cob, because it’s so tasty and reminds me of summers at the Minnesota State Fair!
Nathan Michel (guitar): celery because it’s refreshing.

What’s your least favorite?
Kyle: Raw Onions, I think my distaste for them might actually be to the point of a phobia.
Brian: cauliflower // thought they were ghosts of broccoli as a kid (totally over this now). [No way, cauliflower rules! – Ed]
Amber: I can’t think of any, sorry.
Nathan: Eggplant, weird texture.

You’re finishing up Hospitality’s debut album. Did any food in particular help fuel it’s creation?
Brian: Amber prepared us for recording days with sandwiches and individual ziploc’d bags of popcorn, our names written on them and everything.

Has food ever influenced your songwriting?
“Half an apple” from our EP

Any good food-related band anecdotes?
Hospitality loves tacos! We eat them at San Loco when we play Cake Shop, Taco Chulo when we play in Williamsburg, and some of the best are at the El Diablo Taco Truck at Union Pool. [Guys, you should check out the Tacos Morelos cart on N7/Bedford, the best. -Ed]

Who is the best cook in the band? Who is the finickiest eater?
Brian: Amber hosts (and caters) the best dinner parties.
Kyle: Amber makes a mean veggie pizza. All I can say about finicky is that whoever it is better pass me their plate.
Nathan: Amber is the best cook of all time, and I’m the worst.

Where do you eat in Brooklyn?
Brian: Taco Chulo, before most shows. Burger night at Fort Defiance, after Monday practices.
Kyle: Northeast Kingdom in Bushwick. Pies n’ Thighs in Williamsburg.
Amber: I love the cocktails and deviled eggs at Fort Defiance in Red Hook.

What’s your cheap eats go-to joint?
Amber: The pupusas and grilled corn at the Red Hook Ball Fields.
Brian: Bagel & shmear at Mile End
Kyle: I’ve completely exhausted Subway’s $5 footlong menu.

What about when you’re willing to splurge a little?
Brian: The Breslin/John Dory Oyster Bar
Kyle: Peter Luger’s Steakhouse (are they going to hate me because I LOVE meat?)
Amber: En Japanese Brasserie

What’s your go-to hangover food?
Brian: Poutine at Mile End.
Amber: Bacon, egg and cheese on a roll.
Kyle: Ham, egg and cheese on a roll with home fries from the coffee shop right across the street from me.

What food would you imagine Hospitality’s music being paired with?
Brian: A kaleidoscope of bananas and strawberries, Carmen Miranda-style.
Kyle: A Plum. It looks modest enough on the outside, but it’s so juicy and delicious and colorful when you bite into it.

Meat the Band: Sound Bites Interviews 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:

MP3pow wow! – It’s Not That Easy

As you should know, pow wow! are playing the Sound Bites Series this Sunday (July 10) down at the Fulton Stall Market by South Street Seaport. The band are on at 3PM and I DJ for a couple hours before that. It’s FREE. They are super fun live. And stick around afterwards for the new Beach Party series which takes place at Beekman Beer Garden (formerly Water Taxi Beach)…this week it’s Cheeseburger and Hard Nips. Also free. I think doors for that are at five.

Anyway, before I get off track, we got pow wow! to answer a few food-related questions in advance of this Sunday’s show. Not sure who is actually answering the questions, though.

You’ll be playing in the Fulton Stall markets. What’s your favorite vegetable? And why.
To be honest, we don’t really eat vegetables that much, but if it came down to it, pickled radish. They almost taste like apples especially when you pair them up with Korean Hot Wings. [Dudes! You gotta eat more vegetables! – Ed.]

What’s your least favorite and why?
Iceberg lettuce. Amanda says it tastes like pollution and science, and I’d say most of us in the group generally hate salad. [You hate salad? – Ed.] We’re mostly a gang of carnivores. John-Paul also has a strong dislike for tomatoes.

Has food ever influenced your songwriting?
We have a song called “Sour Apples” that has more to do with Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, than it has to do with fruit.

Any good food-related band anecdotes?
Don’t ever try eating vindaloo right before playing a show, if you haven’t already. We can tell you from experience that the results are almost never good.

Who is the best cook in the band?
The best cook is hands down, Eddie. He’s learned a lot of traditional and secret family recipes. His pork adobo is second only to his grandmothers. or maybe third cause we forgot about his mom.

Who is the finickiest eater?
Eddie again. He’s very specific. Fries always need to be well done. No cheese. no “weird” sauces, which basically means if it has anything at all to do with mayonnaise, heavy cream, butter, or includes the word “secret” in it’s description, he’s definitely not eating it.

Where do you eat in your neighborhood?
Three of us live in Astoria so we’re always out to eat. Our favorites are Queens Comfort, which recently opened up on 30th av and Steinway, and serves a mean Fried Chicken & Eggo and the most amazing ribs and fried green tomatoes ever; Sweet Afton for it’s deep fried pickles;, Il Bambino for their panini’s & brunch; Go Wasabi when we want Gobdol Bibimbap; El Mariachi who have a really kind and welcoming staff and amazing Mexican food; and the Bel Aire Diner for late night munchies and the best milkshakes this side of the Pulaski Bridge. Oh and Zenon Taverna if we’re ever in the mood for Greek. Can you tell we really really like to eat?

ps. We used to live in Greenpoint, so we can’t forget to mention Peter Pan Bakery for their donuts. The only problem is they’re almost never open when we’re really craving them!

What’s your cheap eats go-to joint? What about when you’re willing to splurge a little?
Renee’s which is a Filipino restaurant out in Woodside. Average meal is like $6 and you always get crazy full. If you haven’t check out their all day breakfast!

The life of a working musician doesn’t really allow too much splurging, but when the wallets are looking a bit bulkier than usual, we’ll go to Linn, this wonderfully authentic Japanese restaurant in Astoria that’s always showing oceanic or surf documentaries and has a Japanese bossa nova band come in and play on Fridays. It also doubles as an art gallery. We always go and say we’re only getting ramen but then we start ordering a bunch of other stuff and end up racking up one hell of a bill.

What’s your go-to hangover food?
Pork Roll (Taylor Ham), Egg (no cheese – says Eddie) on a toasted Everything Bagel & ginger ale. Hey, most of us in the band are from NJ and in this case, we fit the Pork Roll stereotype.

What food would you imagine your music being paired with?
Paired with… as in, what would go well with our music? Jello Pudding Pops. Whatever happened to those?!