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.

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.

Kale Force: Sound Bites Interviews The Hairs

The Hairs
is the latest muisc project from Kevin Alvir who has previously masterminded NYC indiepop bands The Lil’ Hospital and Knight School. Even though the band is pretty new, The Hairs already have a 7″ on Portland’s fine Magic Marker Records that contains four scrappy, charming songs. One of which, “Duh x 12,” has gotten some attention for its video which was directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp who made internet sensation Marcel the Shell.

MP3The Hairs – Duh x 12

The Hairs play Week Two of the Sound Bites Series which happens this Sunday (July 3) down at the Fulton Stall Market down by the Seaport. The band is on at 3PM sharp. Trains are funky on the weekends so come early, grab a pizza bianca from Grandaisy Bakery or some breakfast radishes from Migliorelli Farms (right by the Sound Bites stage) or an amazing hamburger from NY Farm 2 Door. You can chill out and hear me spin tunes from 2PM till the band starts.

Kevin was kind enough to answer some food-related questions. Judging by his answers, I’d invite him to dinner anytime.

You’ll be playing at the Fulton Stall markets. What’s your favorite vegetable?
I wish I could say kohlrabi, but I think it’s kale. There’s something real satisfying about kale. For some reason, I need kale all the time once I do have it. It goes well with everything – pastas and meats. Also if used in salads, it’s really exotic and delicious. I made caesar salad and used kale instead – and it’s so addictive.

What’s your least favorite?
Green or red peppers [mine too, especially green. – ed]. I just feel like they’re everywhere and in everything. They just don’t taste special anymore. I mean, they’re good but to have it in something you eat everyday…

Has food ever influenced your songwriting?
YES. I always imagine my songs to be a chicken pot pie of sound and feeling. Food does seem to make it into my lyrics. It’s a part of life. We need it to live.

Any good food-related band anecdotes?
When we practice as the Hairs, morale goes up when we have snacks like Pretzel Chips + Hummus and Wine. We practice at Patty’s house — and occasionally she’ll make dinner. I guess nothing terribly intriguing. But I am always interested in food preparation and I usually stand with my mouth hanging open watching her make blackened catfish or creamed spinach or potato salad with arugula w/ mustard and anchovie paste. Patty’s a great cook. Her food is prepared like a Paul McCartney song.

NYers, as a rule, don’t cook much. What about you?
I dunno — ocasionally? There was a time when I was so into cooking that I just craved my own cooking. But it’s all ebb and flow. Lately, it’s a lot of takeout or eating on the run — life just gets busy. If I lived in a more sedate town, I’d want to cook more.

Do you have a signature dish?
I can’t tell if it’s my bf’s or my own….but making kale salad with tahini dressing and some soy sauce + other fresh vegetables. I make a browned chickpea with carmelized onions & garlic with wilted kale, I can eat that everyday. A fried egg with white rice and kimchi (from a jar, of course). Frittatas with off beat cheeses and vegetables.

Where do you eat in Brooklyn?
I love eating in Fort Greene and/or Cobble Hill. All those restaurants are pretty top notch.

What’s your cheap eats go-to joint? What about when you’re willing to splurge a little?
Any Banh Mi joint is great for a cheap meal. Chinatown Manhattan is great for cheap eating. But when I want to splurge, I think my favorite place is Brooklyn Public. The food there is great. Just huge portions of the best nachos, best burgers, but I usually go for their mussels & fries plate. Best Bloody Mary’s too!

What’s your go-to hangover food?
It seems to always be eggs and potatoes. More specifically an omelette with french fries doused in hot sauce, preferably sriracha sauce.

What food would you imagine The Hairs’ music being paired with?
I feel Hairs music is like a chicken pot pie. I see it paired with pickled vegetables and buttered corn bread. Or else fried chicken on a bed of mixed greens with a vietnamese vinegarette.