[Meredith Graves — Perfect Pussy frontwoman, Honor Press founder, Voice festival correspondent, etc. — loves making and eating food just as much as she loves making and listening to music. With Recipe for Disaster, her weekly column, Meredith will listen to a new album and pair it with a recipe that goes nicely with the music. She’s on tour, currently, so cooking up a storm is a bit difficult. This week, she turned to her bandmates and road comrades for snack inspiration, as well as for their thoughts on the best records of the year. Here’s what they said, and here’s a gingerbread house bearing a vagina that they ate, too.]
Coming to you live from the bridge between Canada and the States on day nine of what I’ve deemed the Perfect Pussy Winter Hell Sprint. I haven’t cooked a thing in two weeks. Everybody’s chewing chunks of raw ginger to counteract the gas station snack diet. Last night, Ali got a dude kicked out of the show because after she told him to stop moshing like a nerd, he got all surly and asked if she’d ever been to a Perfect Pussy show before — so she flipped his hat straight off his head and got him thrown out of the venue without breaking a nail or a sweat.
And the shows have been good — it’s amazing that lots of kids still get hyped for the same songs we’ve been playing for almost two years.
Being a touring musician is the greatest job ever, except for the food part. You eat irregularly and unhealthily, and you’re curled up in a van for most of the day, so your digestion is shot. Your goal is to get as many calories as possible, so you eat when you’re bored, or whenever you can. Every pee stop becomes a snack stop (especially if you pass the time on an eight-hour drive by getting stoned). Some venues give you dinner; sometimes you have a dollar slice before you play so you don’t fall over. And if you like to drink, tour’s great for that, too.
Empty calories are really comforting when you’re far from home. Even my freaky ass, known to happily eat a whole head of steamed broccoli for breakfast, falls into a Zebra Cakes–and–Old Bay Chips K-hole sometime around day two. I fight for the right to eat a Tim Hortons donut the second we cross into Canada. I love Stella Artois and greasy takeout pad Thai and garbage plates. I’m only a little ashamed.
I’m going to assume that everyone’s too busy crafting their final hot takes of 2015 to cook, so I decided to poll my bandmates about their picks for AOTYs and SOTYs — albums of the year, and snacks of the year.
My AOTYs were Jay Rock’s 90059, Fielded’s Boy Angel (don’t say a damn thing about how she’s on tour with us right now, this record is amazing and if you sleep on it you’re a moron), So Stressed’s The Unlawful Trade of Greco-Roman Art (which I put out), Thundercat, Kamasi Washington…. I could go on forever. My tour snack of the year, as always, is peanut-butter-filled pretzels, followed by gala apples, sour worms, and weird-flavored chips. I’m disgusting. What else is new.
Shameless self-promotion: I am making a lot of music in New York City this week. I’m playing my first three solo shows this weekend as part of Kevin Devine’s Devinyl Splits series, including a show at the Bell House on December 11. Then, PP opens for Sleater-Kinney for their third of five shows at Irving Plaza on December 14. From December 15–20, Perfect Pussy goes out for a few more shows with Big Ups, including one at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on December 19 with an emotionally brutalizing lineup that will be announced very soon. You should come to these shows and bring me vegetables and fruits, because I’m about to turn into a potato chip.
Love you, see you soon.
Shaun Sutkus, keyboards, etc.
AOTY 2015: Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
Because it’s the greatest record ever made. And all other music doesn’t exist because of it, I think. It’s like a fucking protest record. The political message that it gives off is super strong, but that’s not even my favorite part about it. The production is untouchable. The first track is fucking George Clinton, Thundercat, Flying Lotus, and Kendrick Lamar. The whole record is like that — every single song has the craziest production team. It sounds amazing and it flows really well together, like a story. I don’t like listening to just one song; I really like the flow of the entire album, the message behind it and its sonic qualities. When I first heard “For Free” it was hard to take in, but when I was able to sit and listen more to the lyrics and understand what he’s talking about, it became more intense. I was able to get behind it. All of a sudden you’re like, “Oh fuck, there’s crazy free jazz in the background!” It blew my mind. I’ve never heard anything like it.
My go-to is definitely an old-fashioned cheeseburger out of the Hamburger America book by George Motts. That’s me. An old-fashioned cheeseburger.
Ali Donohue, bass
Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
Runners-up: Aye Nako, The Blackest Eye / Tenement, Predatory Headlights
There’s no other option. And I think, you know, not only all the things that Shaun said, but I think something that’s really interesting about the album as well is that it’s a narrative about where he’s from and where he’s going. I think it’s interesting how death is such a prominent theme in it, which feels even more relevant in 2015 for black men in America. The way he addresses that is super powerful but it’s also a personal narrative. It’s amazing when artists reckon with their mortality. The bottom line is, we’re all going to die, but in the meantime we’ll be all right, for now. It brings to the surface so many things that a lot of people don’t want to touch, and that’s why it has to be out there even more. Looking at the videos, too, the imagery is so powerful. It’s exciting to hear so many different styles of music, like jazz and hip-hop and dance music — it’s nice to have an album that brings you on an emotional journey instead of saying, “Here are X amount of songs that sound exactly the same with the same production. Here’s a journey.” Each track is so layered and textured — it’s really a work of art. It deserves every nomination, if not more than it’s getting, but also fuck critical acclaim — he doesn’t need it. He’s bigger than it.
My other favorite is Aye Nako’s The Blackest Eye. That’s an amazing record made by amazing people. It’s so catchy. I love some wild indie rock in my life.
Also, the new Tenement record, Predatory Headlights. There aren’t many boy bands I like. First of all, it’s a double LP. Ambitious. There are these freaky jazz and ambient interludes that happen, so it’s not just a pop album — it sort of feels like an experience, which is nice and not something you get to experience in new music in 2015 when things are straight to Spotify. There’s something about the way this album is segmented and formatted that really works. Those interludes, jazzy freaky-ass interludes, are some of my favorite parts of it — but the pop hits are so powerful. The song “We Belong Somewhere Else,” when Garrett and I were moving, that became our freaking anthem.
Salted peanuts or peanut butter cups. The best thing I’ve eaten on tour was probably the ahi tuna salad I had at Oberlin. Bless a college town and the freaky youth of America. Oh, and the buckeye donut from Buckeye Donuts. Donuts are their own category, basically. Donny out.
Garrett Koloski, drums
Sufjan Stevens, Carrie and Lowell / Tenement, Predatory Headlights / Deerhoof, La Isla Bonita
I didn’t listen to a whole lot of modern music this year, but the one album that I was obsessed with was Carrie and Lowell by Sufjan Stevens. I felt like it hit me. It was really emotional, and I feel like it’s kind of interesting because it’s easy to write songs in the abstract but difficult to tell exactly how you’re feeling through songs. I feel like the point comes across really well. It’s really sad and emotional and it really hit me.
Also, Tenement’s Predatory Headlights. The whole album is so powerful. The record is so powerful that it creates its own vibe, which is kind of a hard thing to do in modern-day music, especially when you’re three white guys living in Wisconsin. It’s incredible. And the new Deerhoof! That record came in so hot. The records before that I listened to, they’re really dancy and weird. But this record goes back to their roots.
Always hummus, anything with hummus. God, anything sour. Sour watermelon, high up. Sour Patch Kids. The blue and red sour gummies. Blue raspberry sour straws. Anything sour. But I don’t like sour beer, I don’t understand why.
Lindsay Powell of Fielded
Odwalla 88, Earth Flirt
I haven’t seen a band in a while who’s made me feel the way I feel when I watch Odwalla 88. They’re so articulate in their own language. It’s this beautiful, specific repetition that’s like, you feel like you’re in a trance, but it’s also punk as fuck. It feels really powerful — it’s basically like weird punk-rock spoken word. I’m into it. I love it. I don’t even know what to say about it that’s like, transcendental. It just makes me feel really good. I think they’re really powerful and I think it’s the start of something really amazing. I feel like their records are just going to keep getting better and their live performances are just going to keep getting better and more interesting and more important. I feel a lot of things about them. I’m just not the most articulate. They’ve created a mantra for the next generation.
I didn’t get to hit it that much this tour, but usually it’s dates and sunflower butter, all the way, all the time. Sunflower butter, I’ll just eat that, unhealthily, too much. Lärabars. Anything with nuts; anything high in fat. And always seltzer.
Em Shanahan, merch fairy
Sufjan Stevens, Carrie and Lowell / Joanna Newsom, Divers
I haven’t really listened to many other albums by him, but this one, I felt like I really understood. I feel like I really understood what he’s about, so many dark feelings. I want to say the Joanna Newsom record, but I haven’t actually made it all the way through. I know that when I do, that will be my favorite record of the year.
Anything sour — sour Skittles, salt and vinegar chips, any food with lemon or lime on it. The best thing I’ve eaten on this tour was maple donuts at Tim Hortons.
Ray McAndrew, guitar
(was asleep on the floor of the van the entire time)
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