This post accompanies the “Kava me Maybe” installment Melissa MacEwen’s column “The Roaming Fork.”
cliff1066â„¢ via Flickr Creative Commons
Though most parts of the kava plant contain psychoactive kavalactones, the root is used most frequently.
In addition to selling kava tea, Whole Foods (and many other grocery stores and health food stores) also kava tinctures and supplements that are used to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
I bought some kava tea (made by Yogi) from Whole Foods, and some kava paste from konakavafarm.com. I wasn’t a big fan of the tea.
Kava tea, in action! I used two tea bags to see if I could notice the effects more clearly. I go hard.
Kava paste. Though it looks and smells pretty unappealing, it actually has a relatively neutral, earthy flavor. The label says that “tak[ing] two pea sized servings at a time [will promote] a relaxed, empathogenic experience.” I’m not sure I agree with the “empathogenic” part (the term is typically used in conjunction with substances like MDMA and 2C-B), but whatever.
Durians are large, spiky fruits that typically weigh several pounds. Though they are abundant in Asia, they can be challenging to find in the US and are typically not very fresh.
Frozen durian is surprisingly tasty!
Durian 3: Durian is a popular ingredient in sweets and treats — while I was walking around C Mart Supermarket in Boston’s Chinatown, I saw durians made into sweets and incorporated into “wife cakes,” a type of traditional Cantonese pastry.
You could point out that Ty Segall is loud. You could point out that he somehow manages to make music that sounds like the Beatles met Black Sabbath and birthed a musical love child. Or you could just note that he seems to have a veritable Midas touch when it comes to making bands really, really good. Despite only being in his mid-twenties, Segall has already released five solo albums and is currently a member of seven different bands, including Sic Alps.
Though he’s made a name for himself as a lo-fi, garage rock revivalist with a penchant for the lush, psychedelic guitar work of surf rock, Segall’s sound continues to evolve, as evidenced by his frequent collaborations with other musicians like White Fence and Mikal Cronin. Heck, he released three completely disparate albums last year alone. The singer cum guitarist cum drummer has built a formidable cult following, to the point where it’s frankly impressive that he’s not better known. Nevertheless, there’s little doubt that fame will come soon. His reputation as a torrent of musical energy, and for just being a generally amiable person, precedes him.
That said, it’s more than slightly awesome that there is a link to “book” Ty Segall on his website. As in, he’s still smallish enough and self-contained enough that booking him for a show would theoretically be possible. Finally, as if that wasn’t enough, Segall was (or maybe still is?) a professional surfer. That probably explains why he takes such stellar underwater pictures:
Courtesy Ty Segall's Facebook page
Check out Ty Segall’s collaboration with Mikal Cronin to get a better feel. Though “Reverse Shark Attack” is a solid album all around (and features cover artwork of Segall and Cronin looking sharp as business sharks), its strongest track is arguably the 10-minute, surf rock opera title track that closes it out:
Indie before it was even cool, The Unicorns were a lo-fi/indie rock group that formed in Montreal in 2000. Their second album, “Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?” (2003) is an insanely loveable and addictive romp of music. Listen to the album one time through and then marvel at the fact that it was made ten years ago. Why marvel? Because it sounds as if The Unicorns predicted exactly what direction the indie music scene would go in. Unfortunately, The Unicorns disbanded in 2004 in a huff of band drama. You may, however, be familiar with some of the spin-off groups that resulted from The Unicorns like “Islands” and “Th’ Corn Gangg.” Eerily current and undoubtedly fresh, The Unicorns – who were only together from 2000 to 2004 – created incredible music that deserves to be heard. Seriously. You’re probably saying, “Ugh! There are too many bands that I’ve been told to listen to. I’ll skip it for now.” No. Those other bands are not important. You owe it to yourself to look up The Unicorns. Right now.
Firstly, you can add to your hipster street cred by knowing a super obscure Canadian indie rock band. Secondly, you’ll be a smarter and more musically diverse person for it. Who will listen to this album when The Unicorns are gone? You will. And you’ll love it.
You’ve probably never heard of Soft Machine, but you’re not alone — even during the band’s peak during the late ’60s and early ’70s, Soft Machine kept a low profile. Still, this lack of prestige belies the incredible influence that Soft Machine had on the emergence of psychedelic music and progressive rock. Named after The Soft Machine by William Burroughs, Soft Machine (initially billed as The Soft Machine) was formed in 1966 by Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, Daevid Allen and Mike Ratledge. With Wyatt’s husky voice and the band’s penchant for creating dreamy, repetitive soundscapes, Sound Machine quickly became a favorite of Europe’s art crowd and went on to share the same management team as Jimi Hendrix. The band also appeared, uncredited, on Syd Barrett’s solo album, “The Madcap Laughs” (1970). Despite numerous line-up changes over its career, Soft Machine produced twelve albums — named “Volume One” (1968), “Volume Two” (1969), “Third” (1970), “Fourth” (1971) and so on — and countless studio albums. The group also transfigured into daughter acts Soft Works and the Soft Machine Legacy. To this day, Soft Machine’s music influences progressive rock, jazz fusion and — as always — psychedelic rock.
Check out this recording of “Slightly All the Time” to hear for yourself how successfully Soft Machine managed to span genres.