The Scout Regalia Outdoor Table Set

June 24th, 2011 by Dylan

When Jeni and I got married, we were living out of a shoebox-sized apartment in Silver Lake. As we took the step into growing together as husband and wife, so did our need for more space – personal and physical. Obviously, we enjoying eating food but we were limited in space. Our dining room was nothing more than a metal prep table from my catering days, with cheap Ikea stools laced around. It was definitely functional, but didn’t feel as comforting as a standard dining set. We still had our dinner parties but one thing we were missing was the freedom to dine outside, which we enjoy doing. The outdoor area of our complex was simple with a few tables and grills, but our landlord made it feel like a prison yard. The kind you see with prisoners in individual cages, guarded by security patrol. The warden/landlord required a $50 deposit for something as simple as a hamburger/hot dog BBQ and you weren’t allowed to play music loud or drink beer. Pure fun. Our decision to move to another place couldn’t have come at a perfect time as relations with our landlord went even more downhill. We desperately searched for another place in Silver Lake and by chance, found a listing that not only provided an extra bedroom we could use as an office/studio, but there was an actual backyard. No cages. No warden.

A few days later, we ended up signing a lease and turned our place into a dinner party and cocktail pad. When we wanted to eat outside, we would simply bring our 8-seater dining table. But after a few months of that, the table became slightly weathered and too hefty to carry. Jeni had been eyeing a table set manufactured by a Los Angeles-based design company called Scout Regalia and had showed her love for the table on Twitter. Her tweet resulted in one of her followers purchasing the table and a very happy Scout Regalia. It turned out that we had mutual friends and a few months later, we met Benjamin Luddy and Makoto Mizutani over breakfast. We loved their table and they liked our photography, so we decided to collaborate. They would offer us their first prototype of their revised SR Outdoor Table Set and we’d provide photography for their launch. A deal we could not resist!

Ben and Makoto met each other at SCI-Arc, which is an architecture school located in the artist district of Downtown Los Angeles, just east of Wurstkuche. Ben is from upstate New York and knew he wanted to become an architect since he was in elementary school. Makoto is from Orange County and spent a lot of time in the library reading. Her favorite being the Huntington Beach Library designed by the famous Austrian architect, Richard Neutra, which influenced her understanding and appreciation of space. They formed Scout Regalia in 2006 while they were living in New York. They needed a more open environment and working space so they moved out to Los Angeles and found the perfect Mid-century duplex in Echo Park, which also had a great backyard. Through curiosity and necessity, they moved towards product design and focused on designing things that they wanted and needed, but were not available at the time. During one birthday party, they realized how much they needed an outdoor table and how they enjoyed having company. Seeing that the tables out there were not made as well, they conceived the idea for the SR Outdoor Table Set. Mizutani says that the table would not have happened were it not for the beautiful open backyard they had. I have been in the backyard myself and saw the design possibilities there.

Scout Regalia isn’t your typical design shop though. In addition to solid construction and design, a big component to their approach is sustainability, not as a product itself, but how it is made and how much craftsmanship that goes into it. They pride themselves in working locally, with fabricators in and around Los Angeles. The redwood they use for the table set is American harvested, FSC certified lumber, which in layman terms, means it’s grown and harvested using sustainable methods. Durability is also a key component in SR’s approach, as we all have witnessed the lifespan of an Ikea product. As we were having the table built for us, we would get updated on the progress quite often. That sort of communication is so important in assuring product quality and customer satisfaction. Because the table is handmade and quite large, it took some time to construct it. But it also means that its being carefully constructed. I felt a more humanistic connection to the table than that made by a machine.

On the day it was delivered, Ben pulled up in a U-Haul truck and I helped him bring the pieces of the set in. And it was beautiful. I watched as he carefully balanced the table with wooden shims (due to uneven concrete). To celebrate his week of constructing the table, we opened up some wine and admired the craftmanship. All I could think about was how durable and hefty it felt. No squeaking, no rocking and no need for the Ikea glue and wooden peg system. You could see the love that Ben and Makoto put into their work. Our fatcat seeing that there was now a new place to sleep on, quickly jumped onto the table and laid his furry body down. Cat AND human approved.  Here are a few of the photos we provided for Scout Regalia.

In celebration of our new table and gratitude towards Scout Regalia’s generosity, we decided to break it in by naturallyhaving a family-style dinner party. But my challenge here was not to use any meat. Luckily, Ben and Makoto are pescatarians and I truly enjoy cooking seafood. Recipes to follow.

Pulpo A La Gallega – Galician-style Octopus with Potatoes and Smoked Paprika
When we were in Spain, this was about the one thing I ate daily. I got so tired of the Iberico ham and bread-based tapas, so this is my all-time favorite Spanish dish. It was created by sailors from the Northern part of Spain, known as Galicia, who couldn’t sell the eight-legged freaks to fish markets. This dish is also known as pulpo a la feria which means “octopus of the fairs/festivals” and is traditionally served on top of boiled potatoes, with a heavy showering of smoked paprika and drizzling of the best Spanish olive oil. But the key to this dish is dipping the whole octopus in boiling hot water three times before dunking the whole thing in. This does two important things (a) tenderizing the octopus and (b) making sure the tentacles curl up for presentation and ease of cutting. I got a 3-lb octopus from McCall’s and the same purveyor also sells to places like Osteria Mozza. I learned this recipe from a Basque seafood salesman, picking up bits of Spanish here-and-there haha.

Whole octopus
Yellow potatoes
Smoked Paprika
Lemon juice
Good olive oil
Salt & pepper

(1) Wash the octopus and make sure all the seaweed/algae/sediments are cleaned out of the tentacles. Using kitchen shears, cut out the teeth and eyes.

(2) Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and toss in 4-5 pinches of kosher/sea salt. Using tongs, dip the whole octopus in the pot 3-4 times, or until the tentacles have curled up nicely. Lower the heat to medium-high, not high.

(3) Prick a few holes into the potatoes and throw it in the pot. The holes allow the octopus flavor to seep into the potatoes. Boil the octopus for 1 hour approximately.

(4) After one hour, cut one of the tentacles and cut off a piece from the larger side and test the doneness. It should be in between gummy and rubbery. You want a little bit of softness to it. Once it is done, remove the octopus from the pot and place in a tub of ice water to stop the cooking process. Once it is cool, cut off all the tentacles, dry them and place in a Ziplock bag with a little bit of olive oil to keep it moist. Refrigerate if you are eating it the next day, otherwise just leave it on the counter for up to 4 hours.

(5) Upon service, let the octopus come to room temperature if it was placed in the fridge and cut slivers of tentacles and place them over sliced potatoes. Generously sprinkle smoked paprika, add olive oil and sea salt (Maldon) to taste. A little lemon juice wakes everything up as well. Enjoy.

Skillet Shrimp and Baby Squid with Yuzu Edamame Puree
I always cook shrimp because it is tasty and the perfect “conversation” food and I like it when people interact with their food.. You talk, peel, eat – repeat over and over again.

16-20 Shrimp deveined and peeled, leaving tail on (about 3-4 shrimp per person)
Baby squid
Shelled edamame
Yuzu juice
Smoked paprika
Terroni’s Special Chili Oil (only available in Los Angeles, but any hot sauce will do)

(1) After deveining the shrimp (with tail on), throw them into a Ziplock bag and marinate them with a heavy sprinkle of smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne and 3-4 sprigs of rosemary (pulled off branch). I love the chili oil from Terroni and put it on anything Italian-ish. And it works perfectly on these shrimp.

(2) For the baby squid, remove the tentacles and clean out the “gummy” texture inside the body. Slice the baby squid into rings and dry them off. Marinate them the same way you as the shrimp. It’s best to refrigerate overnight.

(3) For the edamame puree, I recommend using a VitaPrep if you have one. A food processor won’t puree very well, so try a blender for Plan B. Add 2-3 handfuls of shelled edamame and have a cup of water ready on hand. Start pureeing the edamame adding water to get the beans going. Add salt to taste. The puree should be in between runny and lumpy. When you serve the edamame, you heat it up in a pan with some butter and make sure the consistency is nice. Add 3-4 drops of yuzu juice to give it a nice citric brightness.

(4) Add puree on plate, top with some arugula and serve the skillet-seared shrimp and squid on top. Careful not to overcook the seafood or the Yelpers will give you the 1-star rating!

Curried Cauliflower with Crispy Thai Basil and Red Chiles
I first had oven-roasted cauliflower at the Lazy Ox Canteen and ever since then, enjoy serving this at dinner. Roasting cauliflower is probably the best way to get anyone to eat this tough vegetable. I decided to make these with a “Thai” flavor.

Thai basil leaves
Dry red chiles
Curry powder
Pine nuts
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Fish sauce and sugar (optional)

(1) Cut up the cauliflower in digestible pieces and mix them with some olive oil, 2-3 tablespoons of curry powder, tablespoon of cumin and salt to taste. Roast them at 400 degrees for about 20-25 mins. Test out the thickest piece and find your desired texture.

(2) While the cauliflower are roasting in the oven, heat up some oil in a frying pan/pot. Fry the basil leaves for about a minute and set them on a paper towel – they should be somewhat transparent. Do the same with the dry red chiles.

(3) Toast some pine nuts in a pan with no oil, until they are slightly brown. Set them aside.

(4) Mix the fried chiles/basil, pine nuts into the cauliflower. If you want to take this to another level, add a few drops of fish sauce in it and balance with a few dashes of sugar.

Yuzu Kosho & Furikake Sugar Snap Peas
These two ingredients are some of my favorite in Japanese cuisine. Yuzu kosho is a type of relish made with the peel from a yuzu citrus fruit, salt and chiles. If you’ve eaten yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), you’ve probably seen this offered as a condiment and it’s good! Furikake is a dried seaweed-based condiment tha has sesame seeds, dried shrimp and spices. It is mainly shaken on top of rice to add some flavor. I put this stuff on rice, tofu and even udon soup noodles.

Sugar snap peas
Yuzu kosho
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

(1) Heat up a skillet and get it smoking hot, for like 10 minutes. You want to destroy the sugar snap peas and add a nice char to it. Cooking the sugar snap peas makes them even sweeter. Add some oil and add the sugar snap peas, salting as you go.

(2) While it’s cooking, add 2-3 teaspoons of the yuzu kosho and beware of the chile fumes – they can sting the eyes pretty badly. Add a tiny bit of water so you can form a “paste” and also steam the sugar snap peas. And continue to add a few splashes of water if it gets too dry.

(3) When it is almost done, add a nice sprinkling of furikake and serve.

Manila Clams with Soyrizo, English Shelling Peas and Leeks
I never thought I would use the word Soyrizo in a sentence, until I met Ben and Makoto. Normally I would use Spanish chorizo for a smoky taste but my rights have been stripped. Surprisingly, the Soyrizo was packed with a ton of onion, garlic and smoked paprika flavoring. This dish turned out perfectly.

Manila clams
Leeks (sliced)
English shelling peas
White wine
1-2 sticks of butter

(1) Rinse the clams in cold water, using a brush along the edges of the shell to remove any grit.

(2) Sauté garlic, leeks and lumps of Soyrizo together until the leeks are sweated. Add about a cup of white wine in and let the alcohol cook off. Add enough butter to make a nice velvety “broth”. Add salt to taste and sugar to balance out the wine if it is too tannic. Add English shelling peas.

(3) Once the “broth” is seasoned, it’s time for the clams. Add the clams in and cover with a lid. If your pot isn’t large enough, do them in batches. Once 90% of the clams have opened, you’re good to go. Upon service, show some love to the shelled ones by spooning some of the “broth” over them.

Scout Regalia Strawberry Cake
This cake was simply delicious. I don’t typically eat desserts, but this I couldn’t stop eating.

The dinner party turned out great and the table turned out to be very welcoming for all of our guests. When I come home from work, it is nice to go in the backyard and have a seat. If you’re looking for an outdoor table set, I highly recommend Scout Regalia’s. This was the first time I purchased furniture from designers that hand-built the product and there’s a huge difference in something that is produced in bulk. If you enjoy entertaining, you can read more about the SR Outdoor Table Set here. The white oak is selected by Scout Regalia, but you decide on one of the hundreds of RAL colors. Thank you to Ben and Makoto of Scout Regalia, we couldn’t be more happy about our table set. And thanks for reading.

A Side of Salt: Macklin Casnoff. A Culinary Young Gun.

June 3rd, 2011 by Dylan

For this third entry in the “A Side of Salt” series, I’m very proud and excited to introduce you to 17-year old, Macklin Casnoff of Hancock Park. Angelenos, and possibly people outside of Los Angeles, were recently exposed to his amazing story and talent when Los Angeles Magazine featured an article this month on Macklin and his culinary troupe known as “Samacon” (Sam Yehros, Macklin Casnoff, Jon Sewitz; also Henry Kwapis, Brendan Garrett). But prior to the article being written, I’ve already known Macklin for over a year, and Jeni and I have watched him in the kitchen and tasted his food. In that time frame, I’ve seen a “kid” mature into both a young chef and a young man through passion, determination and sheer curiosity. This is the story of Chef Macklin Casnoff who “packed his bags and hit the road” at the early age of 13. Without even leaving Los Angeles.


I was at McCall’s Meat and Fish one day hanging around and talking to Nathan McCall about dinner possibilities. I should actually rephrase, I was “loitering” around Nathan’s shop when a tall, Asian guy with long hair and thick-framed glasses came in. He greeted Nathan and made a bee-line to the meat section. He planted two hands on the glass and got close, like a kid at Sea World. For a minute or two, he didn’t say anything and Nathan and I exchanged a few of those “WTF” glances at each other – I felt like I was a security guard working at McCall’s. Nathan eventually broke the silence and asked what the quiet guy was looking for. He introduced himself as Kevin Van (whom I will feature as well), a cook at Providence and was interested in buying meat for a dinner party. He was in fact a very nice and talkative gentleman. I happened to have my camera with me that day and he asked what I enjoyed shooting – I told him that I write/photograph food. Within a few minutes, we got to know Kevin and he invited me to attend one of his private dinner parties. He would give us food, I would give him photos for his site.  Before he left, he said to me, “You gotta come to our dinners for sure, it’s a good time. We’ve even got a 16-year old chef cooking in the kitchen.” A 16-year old chef?  An American Jacques PepinThis we had to see.

A few weeks later, we find ourselves at a quaint house in Echo Park at around 5:30 pm. Jeni and I didn’t know what to expect. I know I had heard Kevin Van say that he worked at Providence, so it wasn’t like he was going to serve chicken strips and tater tots. We walked past the gate towards the house, and right then I knew that Chef Van was serious about what he did.  On the tables were full settings with napkins folded into a triangle on the plate. There were dozens of candles lit. To the left was a massive tray of freshly-shucked Kumamoto oysters gleaming at us. An ex-bar back from Seven Grand whisking up some tasty cocktail with Rittenhouse 100. And about twenty nicely-dressed guests wielding wine glasses, standing in a room filled with mellow indie rock music.  This was no mansion, but rather someone’s 2-bedroom rental house. The living and dining room had been completely gutted to accommodate the 25-30 diners.  And all of this was odd because we didn’t know a single soul and I desperately looked for Kevin before we hit the point of embarrassment of being labeled as complete strangers or dinner party-crashers. Then in the very corner of my eye, I saw a tall, skinny Asian guy in the kitchen running back and forth holding large pots – long hair waving around.  “Kevin.” We headed back to the kitchen and I introduced Jeni to him. I looked around at the people helping and they were all in their mid-20s, except for one person who was clearly the “16-year old chef”. He was wearing a slightly worn-out chef coat with Water Grill embroidered on it and shucking oysters like they were bottle caps. Expecting pure arrogance and irreverence, I introduced myself to the young gun.

Me: “Hey man. You must be the young chef Kevin Van told me about?”
Macklin: “Yeah, I’m Macklin.”
Me: “You work at Water Grill?”
Macklin: “Yeah, with Michael Cimarusti. And now I’m at Providence.”
Me: “Well it’s nice meeting you, looking forward to trying your food.”

Aside from most dinner parties which highlight one particular chef’s food, Chef Kevin Van brings in other young cooks from restaurants all over Los Angeles. There’s not one all-star, but more so a collective of young, unadulterated all-star cooks. And almost all of them are years from becoming anywhere near a sous chef. When you work under a chef, you’re making his menu, not yours. Kevin Van’s approach allows the young cooks to exhibit their talent fresh out of culinary school sans the demon chef breathing down their neck. It’s a collaborative dinner party that I’ve grown to love each time I attend. I stood in the back of the kitchen and just watched all the cooks hustle and bustle in one of the tiniest kitchens ever. It was most amusing watching Macklin because I was simply impressed. When most kids his age were probably raiding dad’s alcohol cabinet and playing video games, this kid was studying the methods of creating foam for plating and how to make something delicious with liquid nitrogen. And yes, his food was very good.


Macklin had his culinary epiphany when he was only 13 years old. It just so happened that his best friend is Mark Peel (Campanile, Tarpit) and Nancy Silverton’s son (La Brea Bakery, Mozza). It was at Campanile he had an eye-opening meal and he decided he wanted to take the plunge into the kitchen life. And it was anything but pleasant for him. Some burns and cuts later, he had thrown in the towel after only the third day – completely repulsed by the kitchen life. But he told me, he never stopped thinking about it because he in fact loved it. A year later, he did the next best thing to attending culinary school – cold-calling and knocking on the door of Los Angeles’ best restaurants. He called everywhere and disappointingly got very few return calls. But because Chef Peel had given him a chance at his place, the other chefs decided to let Macklin follow his aspirations. After working and stage’ing at Sona, Campanile, Melisse, he found his “home” under the wings of the Animal Restaurant chefs and Michael Cimarusti of Providence.

Fast forwarding to present time, Macklin is now 17 with over three years of culinary training in some of Los Angeles’ best restaurants. For his senior project at Oakwood School in North Hollywood, he decided to prepare a five-course meal for his mentors: Chef Michael Cimarusti and two of his high school educators, David Kerber and Teddy Varno. Macklin and Cimarusti had been researching a style of Japanese cuisine known as kaiseki. To laymen like you and me, it basically means “small dishes” and can be as simple as three dishes with rice and miso soup, or as extensive as your standard tasting menu at an haute restaurant. But as you’ll see, a notable difference betweeen Japanese and French cuisine, at least for me as a diner, is the usage of butter and mother sauces. Japanese food is way more delicate and reliant on fresh and raw ingredients. Both educators served as counselors for Macklin and oversaw his senior project. And I was the fortunate fourth guest to experience this private tasting. I’ve gotten to know Macklin after a good eight dinner parties and I was honored to document his special project.

On Tuesday evening, I walked into Providence and sadly, was directed to the bar, where I was forced to have a delicious Negroni made by the very talented Zahra Bates. Macklin’s former teachers showed up right after and we broke the ice. I saw Macklin walking back and forth from the kitchen and decided to follow him for a few action shots. I was very impressed with the Providence kitchen. It was huge and ran like a Navy ship, with over fourteen line cooks. To my right, I saw a 99 Ranch Market-like fish tank filled with some very unlucky Santa Barbara spot prawns. The last time I was at Providence, I sank my teeth into perfectly cooked Spot Prawns buried in 550 degree kosher salt – so amazing.

It was now 7:30 pm and Chef Cimarusti came out in his chef coat and apron to greet us and we proceeded to the dining room. Some wine was poured, and everyone shared his relation and experience working with Macklin and it was given that he is incredibly talented for his age. Chef said it was strange for him to be dining at his own restaurant – and to be served by one of his apprentices. Macklin had been at Providence for nearly twelve hours now, and it was time for the final test: his take on California-style kaiseki cuisine.

Macklin came out with our dishes along with another server and briefly described each course. When we got our first dish, we all remained silent and just stared at the sheer beauty and simplicity of it. It was almost like the Wizard of Oz, where you didn’t see what was going on behind the curtain. And when the wizard did show his face, he was younger than you thought – a lot younger. While we grabbed our utensils and napkins, I looked over at Chef to see that that he was still staring at the dish – even turning his head to look at the dish at different angles. It was obvious he was analyzing the detail of everything, but at the time, I think he was taken back by how much his apprentice had learned and experienced in the last 2-3 years.  And that his time and patience devoted to Macklin was anything but wasteful. Chef then looked at us and said:

“There are young chefs out there, but not many that pay attention to as much detail as Macklin does or are as creative as he is.  Not everyone can do this. I have cooks in that kitchen that can re-create everything I do perfectly. But when I ask them to create their own dishes, some can’t do it.”

Santa Barbara Spot Prawn with Cherry, Wasabi & Lemon Thyme
If you have access to Chef Cimarusti’s Santa Barbara Spot Prawn tank, you’d better grab as much of it as you can – it’s a treasure chest. Macklin served the Spot Prawn sashimi style in Kyoto-style bowls with a light, wasami soy sauce. The sashimi, soy sauce and wasabi took us to Japan but the cherries, lemon and thyme grounded us in California as we bit into the toothsome texture of raw shrimp. I wanted about twenty-one more pieces.

California-Delta Asparagus with Yogurt, Honey & Lemon
This dish was one of the most beautifully plated vegetable dishes I’ve ever eaten. The asparagus was lightly blanched and kissed the grill just long enough. The honey, lemon and yogurt balanced out the charred asparagus taste. Fantastic.

Humboldt Squid with White Beans & Laurel Canyon Nasturtium
This was the most beautiful dish of the night and my favorite as I’m a sucker for seafood. We all stopped to stare at the colors – it was very Californian. I want you to pay attention to the meticulous scoring done on the Humboldt squid – it almost looks like velcro! This dish was served on top of some white beans, brown butter and a pesto made by a flower found right in Los Angeles. Chef noted that this dish had multiple personality to it, depending on which angle you looked at it. Very well said.

Braised Pork Shoulder with Milk Curds, Turnips, Enoki and Purslane
This was the most Japanese-influenced dish as you’ve probably eaten the braised pork belly version known as buta kakuni. The pork is braised in your standard soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar and sesame oil broth but the trick to this dish is the final texture Macklin added to it. Versus being a completely mushy and braised pork, he finished it off in a non-stick pan versus a cast-iron skillet.  The reason being that the non-stick pans are able to create a very thin, crispy sear versus a rough sear from a cast-iron. And this was the exact detail Cimarusti was pointing out in Macklin’s approach to cooking. I love enoki mushrooms but I never thought to deep-fry it, which brings out even more of an earthy, crispy texture that made a lot of sense with the pork and broth. Cimarusti loved this entree the most.

Juniper Berry with Market Berries, Lime Curd & Mochi Cake
To be honest, I was near depression when the dessert came out because (a) I don’t care for dessert (b) the kaiseiki style cuisine was beautiful and healthy but so small and (c) the end of Macklin’s road. For a young chef to produce a dessert as good as his main courses is something to be said. A lot of chefs will hire pastry chefs to do the “dirty” work because most enjoy the hot sizzling action from the stoves. The cake you see on the bottom is not your ordinary poundcake, but rather something made with mochi rice flour. The result was a slightly gummy texture that was delectable.

Dave Kerber. Teddy Varno.

Chef Michael Cimarusti

Many times during this meal, I was so into the food and discussion with the other diners that I had forgotten who had cooked the meal. Not because I was being irreverent, but because the food almost seemed in line with Cimarusti’s culinary approach. And the curve ball was thrown by a 17-year old pitcher who has never stepped into the Culinary Institute of America. I believe that if you really want to achieve a goal, you can make it happen. When I heard that Art Center would cost me $120,000 for a degree as an advertising art director, I gave them the finger and just knocked on agency doors. And its exactly what Macklin did – so I commend him on achieving more than what most fresh culinary school kids will achieve in a decade. When Jeni and I first met Macklin that night in Echo Park, he was probably the most polite 17-year old I’ve ever met. Given his knowledge and experiences, he gets points for his humble attitude. Macklin has decided to take a hiatus from cooking and attend Bard University in New York and explore other creative outlets. He promises though, that he will become a chef. It is frightening how much better he will be when he is in his prime.  But I do hope that you and I get to experience his food again and again.

Congratulations to Macklin Casnoff on a successful senior project. Thank you to Chef Cimarusti for hosting the dinner and a pleasure dining with both Dave and Teddy.

WonderTune New Orleans

May 26th, 2011 by Dylan

For the Memorial Day weekend, we decided on a weekend getaway to New Orleans. After a fantastic trip in Austin, I’ve been wanting to see more of the South. We’re hoping to listen to some great live jazz, eat some proper Cajun and Creole food and of course, enjoy the cocktail scene. After all, New Orleans is the home of some of the most popular cocktails – the Sazerac and Ramos Gin Fizz. So please, we welcome your food and cocktail bar suggestions! Have a great Memorial Day weekend.

The last mix, WonderTune Guatemala, was eclectic and this time I’ve focused more on the sounds of the guitar. Architecture In Helsinki never fails in getting you up to do some bone shaking. Bon Iver will be releasing his highly-anticipated sophomore album and it was quite hard for me to select only one track from the wonderful album. If you like Quadron, then you’ll like Boom Clap Bachelors. This Danish duo produce some beautiful vocals and dreamy tones. From Detroit is Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. which reminds me of electronic folk and the band performs in race car suits. Ellie Goulding does her rendition of The Knife’s classic song “heartbeats”. The Fleet Foxes bring us a sound that I feel is pretty unmatched by other folk artists. The Friendly Fires released their second album and you can expect that same energy and wailing strength from front man Ed Macfarlane. The UK has been producing more and more post-dub artists ever since Burial’s debut to the scene and James Blake adds a unique sound that makes auto tune obsolete. Jónsi of Sigur Ros covers MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” with his beautiful falsettos. Mayer Hawthorne, if you haven’t heard of him, will make you think twice about Motown soul only being sung by African Americans – he’s fantastic live. MGMT is living proof that music and narcotics go hand in hand. The Morning Benders of Berkeley have been coming out with some great acoustic songs in the style of the Shins. I just learned of Tokimonsta aka Jennifer Lee of South Bay, California and she produces some really nice hip hop/downtempo/nu jazz beats. Enjoy, thanks for reading and listening.

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Architecture In Helsinki
Benjamin Francis Leftwich
Big Spider’s Back
Boca Chica
Bon Iver
Boom Clap Bachelors
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
Ellie Goulding
Fleet Foxes
Friendly Fires
Ivan & Alyosha
James Blake
Junior Boys
Mayer Hawthorne
Memory Tapes
The Morning Benders
Other Lives
Washed Out

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