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Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
Even the most experienced cooks, gardeners or not, stand to learn a great deal from The Art of Simple Food II.
Above: Beautiful lettuce photo from Shutterstock.com.

In reviewing Alice Waters’s The Art of Simple Food II, I returned to its predecessor, The Art of Simple Food, published in 2007.  I’d recently been immersed in multi-step recipes with complex techniques and arcane ingredients. And while flaming cognac, blanching salt pork, and messing around with shrimp paste are all highly diverting, The Art of Simple Food reminded me that all are unnecessary when a delicious meal is desired. 


One only needs a basic kitchen: iron skillet, a knife, a heat source, and some food: a vegetable, a protein perhaps a piece of fruit. Et viola: dinner.


 


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Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
by PopMatters Staff
Tex Ritter's granddaughter Carly Ritter emerges as a promising young Americana artist with her self-titled debut from Vanguard Records.

Carly Ritter grew up in a musical home with her parents large collection of rock ‘n’ roll records. But it’s when she decided to explore her grandfather’s traditional forms of country music that she truly found her voice. In college while majoring in philosophy, Ritter spent her senior year “in the basement of the music library scouring sheet music for all these old folk songs, spirituals, blues and country songs.” That devotion has paid off with this fine debut. Teaming with Ry Cooder, his son and his son’s wife among others, Ritter now offers up Carly Ritter.


Today we are premiering the video for the single “It Don’t Come Easy”, which Ritter says “speaks to the tension between wanting love and at the same time wanting freedom.” Ritter adds, “I adore ‘It Don’t Come Easy,’ which Juliette wrote and asked me to add a verse. It’s a kind of sad song that speaks to some of the challenges of love. I played it recently at an open mic, and afterwards a man came up to me crying; he told me he had some kind of catharsis when he heard it. That’s one of the great things about sad songs.”



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Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
by PopMatters Staff
Los Angeles backpack rapper Pigeon John returns with his sixth studio album next Tuesday, but we have the goods for you today.

Pigeon John grew up listening to pop as much as hip-hop and he brings that broad sensibility to his work, creating songs that are fiercely independent of any genre expectations. That musical exploration and curiosity always renders Pigeon John’s records as intriguing listens.


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Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
He's made bad taste a true art form. In light of his recent birthday, here's our choices for John Waters' 10 Best Films.

He was born to a pair of highly conservative parents. As a child, he spent hour after hour playing the fantasy gore game “car accident” and as a teen he tended to hang around the undesirable element in his ‘50s high school. By college age he was a first class shoplifter, a bohemian troublemaker, and a fledgling filmmaker. By the time he hit his twenties, he pooled his resources and his friends. Suddenly, Dreamland Studios was born, and John Waters was a director. Today, he’s the acknowledged Prince of Puke, a man whose humor has influenced countless generations of outsider artists. From There’s Something About Mary to the many faces of Apatow, he’s the inspiration for and the King of gross out gags.


So with his birthday this week, we thought we’d revisit the Waters canon, concentrating on his full length features. Granted, we have automatically removed one from consideration (we just don’t like Cecil B. Demented) and have avoided almost anything pre-Pink Flamingos (with an exception). Also, this is just a ranking of how we see the man’s career, not some universal declaration of good and bad. As a matter of fact, Waters has had one of the most consistent oeuvres of any recognizable auteurs. Because they are always built on his singular vision, his work remains instantly discernible…and accessible. You just have to have the stomach for it, even something as innocuous as the first title on our list:


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Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
Seventeen new songs with notes to welcome spring at last.

With spring finally making an appearance, there’s plenty of news songs for another playlist thanks to the constant renewal of the music scene. Bands such as Cage the Elephant, Wye Oak and Real Estate are back with album releases along with Future Islands and Lost in the Trees. Female voices abound on this playlist, from Annie Clark of St. Vincent and Kelis, to Courtney Barnett, Sharon Van Etten and Monica Birkenes of Mr. Little Jeans.  Also check out new music from veteran bands Elbow and Maximo Park, along with indie heavyweight Beck.


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