Thursday, October 17, 2013

Henry and Miles perform alongside Audubon Park's "This Beach is Just Okay" live on WXDU

Greil Marcus and David Fricke agree, "it's ten times better than the original!"

Bonus points if you can guess the songs preceding and following this madness.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Audubon Park presents: Crazy Crazy for Feeling


For our final Ask Me Anything installment, we caught up with R. Biggers, the N.B.A.’s 7th Man of the Year in 2009 and Audubon Park’s Keeper of the Setlist.

Q: What exactly do you play in Audubon Park?
A: What exactly do I say when lost in the dark?
Q: No, what exactly do you play in Audubon Park?
A: Wait, what?
Q: What exactly do you play in Audubon Park?
A: Hang on, let me Vine this debris.
Q: Are you trying to usurp RiFF RAFF as the best Vine account?
A: Tzadziki?
Q: What is your creative process for coming up with parts in Audubon Park?
A: I like turtles.
Q: Last book read?
A: A collection of book reviews from The New York Review of Books from 1971-1974. Upside down.
Q: Favorite color?
A: Absence.
Q: Favorite movie?
“Tunak Tunak Tun”
Q: Favorite keyboard sound?
A: Tepid Conjurer (w/extra decay)
Q: Favorite Instagram filter?
A: Heavy cream.
Q: Favorite cat toy?
A: Garbage.
Q: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
A: Tzadziki?
Q: How do you find the time to be in so many bands?
A: Please, tell me, how does one “find time”? Where is it located?
Q: You studied Philosophy in college -- do you have a personal philosophy that you try to live by each day?
A: Have you ever really looked at your hand?
Q: Why has Cold Sides not released any music in a long time?
A: Cantwell told us we were suffering from a hypeness deficiency. Neill is apparently still working on some sort of poultice that restores it.
Q: You took the photo of a cat that is on the cover of the new Audubon Park record, yet you have been known for most of your life as a cat hater. What happened?
A: Have you ever Vined one of those things?
Q: You are also a notoriously picky eater. What foods have you discovered in recent years that you would never have eaten before?
A: Beans, lettuce, sparkling water, fish (not breaded and fried), pasta (with sauce of some kind), sandwiches (with condiments).
Q: You are frequently, if not always, late for things. Do you know how to tell time?
A: What would I tell it?
Q: Why did you turn down the offer to play drums in Turkeyleg?
A: If you’re going to go that heavy with the low end, then three basses seems like a paltry amount. I told them I’d only do it if they got two more.
Q: Did you really recreate “Siamese Dream” on a 4-track in high school?
A: Tzadziki?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Closed Drapes: A Short Film by Audubon Park

What follows is not only Audubon Park's first music video, but also one of the Modern Era's great works of art.

ToFAMA Part Four: Finn Cohen Is Unavailable

[NOTE: It had been the band's hope to have a detailed interview with each member of Audubon Park available here one the Tropic of Food. Unfortunately, when the Administration attempted to reach Finn Cohen (bass, keyboard, guitar, vocals, percussion), they failed. Luckily, we had time to file a Freedom of Information Act request with the Federal Government before the shut down and received the following documents from Mr. Cohen's FBI and CIA files. The documents are provided below as they were received by the Tropic of Food. No changes have been made. We all hope Mr. Cohen is happy, wherever he is.]

The above image is not Mr. Cohen. It is believed to be a Mr. Eric Rawrrug.

DOCUMENT ONE: Transcript of a Recording of Mr. Cohen Talking on His Cell Phone

COHEN: It's did I say...don't hang's my money...don't give me that...where's the money...listen...we had a deal...I don't care if they are listening...we had a deal...I gave you that money and in exchange you would make sure that Robert Fripp and Andy Summers would be at my baby's birthday party...and what did I get...Les Claypool and Stuart [sic] Copeland...listen, they played new material...not even vintage Oysterhead songs...just give me the money back...okay, I'll talk to you later, mom.

DOCUMENT TWO: Description of a Drawing on the Back of a Olive Garden Napkin

The roughly sketched head of a man resembling Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg, or perhaps just Schoenberg's sketches of himself. His body is comically thin, though with very pronounced kneecaps. The boy is drawn wearing a Sunny Day Real Estate t-shirt. In the figure's hands there is a large sandwich. It is not possible to tell what kind of bread is used in the sandwich due to the poor quality of the drawing. Inside the sandwich there is a Roland keyboard of some sort. At the bottom of the drawing the word "Collage" is written and crossed out, then "College" which is also crossed out, more furiously, then "Dang, I can never remember which it is." There are various stains on the napkin which appear to be French dressing, though the whole thing smells like Ranch.

DOCUMENT THREE: Description of Various Photographs in the File

Mr. Cohen walking down what appears to a street in New York City. Mr. Cohen stopping at a hot dog cart. Mr. Cohen buying a hot dog. Close up of hot dog with chili onions catsup celery seeds and mayo. Mr. Cohen paying for hot dog. Mr. Cohen carrying hot dog to alley. Mr. Cohen looking around, as though to make sure that no one can see him. Mr. Cohen sitting on milk crate, looking at hot dog. Mr. Cohen covering face. Mr. Cohen saying to the hot dog, 'I honor your spirit and I respect the life that you enable me to live.' Mr. Cohen eating the hot dog. Mr. Cohen checking his text messages, chili and celery seeds smeared around the corners of his mouth. Mr. Cohen playing Candy Crush on his cell phone in an alley for forty minutes, occasionally stopping the game to take a break, listen to the radio and dance alone in the gloom.

DOCUMENT FOUR: Collection of [REDACTED] Mined from [REDACTED]


DOCUMENT FIVE: A Transcript of a Cell Phone Conversation with an Unknown Party

COHEN: Hey, Pusha T, it's me, Finn...yeah, good, thanks for did your tomato garden turn out this year...oh, I'm sorry to hear that...listen, did you have time to read the book I sent you...I know...I I said, it came across it in the basement of an antique store in upstate New York...I was looking for an end table like the one you have...yeah, that was a great year for American furniture making...anyway, the was an old house out in the country that had been converted into a furniture store...tables, chairs, wardrobes piled high in no real order...there were little paths between the piles of aging wooden things...everything was clearly very old but all in such terrible disrepair...the owner was hunched on a stool by the door...wiry white hair in a flurry around furrowed eye at an odd angle and white like a dirty pearl...but he was nice and his breath smelled like roses...I wandered deeper into the store and though I felt a growing feeling of unease, I really wanted to find a nice end table, so I kept looking...deeper, the house rambling in surprising directions...much larger than I would have guessed based on how it looked from the road...finally I happened upon a set of stairs...far back between barrows of mattresses...the wooden frame worn along the ground...a cat, perhaps, having clawed it daily for years...and perhaps there were cats in the store...I'd noticed markings in the dust...billows of hair collected in the corners...there was a bare bulb on in the basement at the bottom of the steps, so I went down...the stone foundation...bare...cold to the sent a chill...even with the bulb, the light was dull and the shadows more sharp...that is where I found the book...closed in the back of a dresser...a nice one...would have been nice for my sweaters...but the book...the book...I lifted it up and immediately felt a wave of revulsion though my skin rebelled against it...I nearly dropped it...but there was a sweetness at the core of that rotten feeling and I knew I had to have the book...I carried it I ascended it seemed to get lighter and lighter...and the feeling of illness and horror began to fade and were replaced by a gentle hum of happiness...I knew something good would come of this...the owner, hunched, looked at the book, smiled and asked for $17 in was mine and when I stepped outside, the sky was wide and an over-saturated blue that reminded me of that summer we spent in Orlando...I had to send it to you...after bringing it home and reading the name of the author aloud...Bob Knight...Bob Knight...Bob Knight...[the call ends here]

Thursday, October 10, 2013


ToFAMA Part 3: Matt Kalb!

Our third installment of Tropic of Food’s “Ask Me Anything” series brings us up to speed on the steel-trap mind of Matt Kalb!, Audubon Park’s lead guitarist.

Q: What was the last song you listened to?
A: "I Wish" by Skee-lo.
Q: Who did you vote for in the last election?
A: Ron Paul, baby. Didn't you see "Bruno"? He was amazing.
Q: You are in a lot of bands -- Audubon Park, Le Weekend, The Wusses, Turkeyleg. How do you make time for them all?
A: Well, I'm more of "tech support" for Turkeyleg. They sort of turn into the Mystics from "The Dark Crystal" once they hear three basses at once, and at that point they aren't able to start jamming. I have to be the catalyst. So I'm more like Jesus with Bob, Linc and Cantwell on my back. Like a totally ripped Jesus.
Q: Do you tweet?
A: I think you mean, ‘WHY do you tweet’?
Q: Favorite chord?
A: Coiled.
Q: Favorite color?
A: Plaid.
Q: Favorite album?
A: “The Golden Scarab” by Ray Manzarek
Q: Last book you read?
Q: You and David have known each other since college. How would you characterize your relationship?
A: With jazz and conversation, from the foot of Mt. Belzoni. Sweet music. Tonight the night is mine.
Q: There was a rumor on the Internet that you were going to be endorsed by a guitar company.
A: That’s a statement. It’s “Ask Me Anything”, not “Tell Me Something.”
Q: If you could be any type of Barbara Walters, which Barbara would you be?
A: Decaying.
Q: Is there a method to the intricate melodies that you create?
A: 1. Put fingers on guitar. 2. Collect checks.
Q: Do you have nicknames for everyone in the band?
A: No, but let me come up with some. David: The Amphibian Lover. Robert: Scrappy-Doo. Finn: Protein. Ben: Rap Game Janet Reno.
Q: Are you in the Audubon Park side project Silk Nogg?
A: If I was, don’t you think more people would have heard of it?
Q: We’ve noticed that you make a lot of Vines during practice --
A: What did I just tell you about statements versus questions?
Q: What is with the sporadic beard growth?
A: You know my famous theory about McRib? Same thing. McBeard.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

 ToFAMA Part 2

For this installment of our ongoing Ask Me Anything series, Tropic of Food contacted the Donald Fagen of Harrisonburg, Virginia, the man who created Audubon Park: DC Nahm.

Q: Are each of your releases "concept albums"? They have titles that would lead one to believe so.
A: In the idea that they are supposed to make you feel as if you are spending an hour with what Sammy Hagar could have been had he achieved his full potential, yes.
Q: How does the songwriting process usually work for you?
A: I can't tell you all the sausage-making stuff, but I will say that there are a lot of Jujy Fruits involved.
Q: How come you guys always record with the same person?
A: Nick is probably the only engineer who can mic a burrito and get EXACTLY the sound you have in your head to come out of it.
Q: Who are your heroes?
A: Hawkman never really got the respect he deserved, in my opinion.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: Ralph Bakshi's "Wizards"
Q: Favorite color?
A: The bruised violet of a sunset after a day in which all the Chinese restaurants of Zebulon, N.C., were haunted by the ghost of a Civil War general who predicted the birth and subsequent literary revolution of William Faulkner before he died choking on a piece of hardtack.
Q: Favorite lyrics?
A: All that night/I watched the bird circle/while I was eatin' fish/and watchin' Irkel -- Ice Cube
Q: Any pre-show rituals?
A: Gucci sweatpants.
Q: If you could invite 3 people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
A: George Brett, Aaliyah, Schoenberg. And it would be at Golden Corral.
Q: You are a lawyer. Do you have billboards or commercials on TV?
A: Well, I made some, but let's just say there are certain state laws about animal husbandry that I didn't understand. So I can only post them in the privacy of my own home.
Q: Are you a blues lawyer?
A: Hell yeah. But only the Jonny Lang kind of blues.
Q: You are also a writer. Who were your influences?
A: Halls cough drops.
Q: Is there one album you can say "changed your life"?
A: Ko—Źn's first record.
Q: Will Audubon Park ever put your songs on iTunes?
A: That's what she said.
Q: What would you put on your tombstone?
A: Thanks Obama.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

ToFAMA Part 1

As part of our ongoing coverage leading up to the October 15 release of “Crazy Crazy For Feeling,” we floated the idea that Reddit do an “Ask Me Anything” with each member of Audubon Park. They weren’t interested, so the Tropic of Food administrators submitted some questions to the band, and we’ll be rolling those answers out over the next week.

This first installment sheds light on the band’s drummer, B. Spiker.

Q: What do you do outside of Audubon Park?
A: Teach golf to kids, take pictures of food and concrete, count backwards.
Q: What kind of drumsticks do you use?
A: Light brown.
Q: What’s your pre-show ritual?
A: I eat the same thing each time: grilled salmon, mashed potatoes, broccoli. If it’s not in the dressing room, I don’t play.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: “Mannequin 2”
Q: Favorite color?
A: Salmon. Grilled.
Q: Favorite athlete?
A: Greg “The Shark” Norman.
Q: Favorite drum?
A: Kalangu, the talking drum.
Q: When did you start playing drums?
A: You mean today?
Q: What drummers have served as inspiration for you?
A: Buddy Rich, Animal, 2 Chainz, Matt Kalb.
Q: What’s your favorite Audubon Park record?
A: The best one.
Q: What’s your favorite Audubon Park song?
A: Rap Rokk. It’s unreleased. Maybe y’all will get to hear it one day.
Q: What’s your favorite time signature?
A: 1/1
Q: Favorite local band?
A: Turkeyleg -- Bob Wall, Linc Hancock and Dave Cantwell. They all play bass.
Q: What happens when the band is lost in a really long jam/solo onstage and you can’t get them to stop it?
A: I find that falling down gets their attention after the 3rd or 4th time.
Q: If you had to assign spirit animals to each person in the band, what would they be?
A: David: snowy egret. Matt: the buffalo, obviously because of its place on the Medicine Wheel. Finn: marmot. Robert: komodo dragon.
Q: Have you ever seen the inside of a Turkish prison?
A: Once, but it didn’t look like they had any IPA’s on tap, so I left pretty quickly.
Q: What’s your ideal first date?
A: Taking a cat to a Wolfpack football game.
Q: If you were President Obama, how would you solve the current shutdown standoff?
A: Audubon Park filibusters the House with an epic jam. Then I’d go see what Michelle was making for dinner.
Q: Favorite Audubon Park inside joke?
A: Frogs.

I Am Just Outside Your Window: A Short Film by Audubon Park

Your Lap Soaked with Mountain Dew: A Short Film by Audubon Park

An Old Loud: A Short Film by Audubon Park

Snowman Drone: A Short Film by Audubon Park

Where the Bass Lessons Have No Name: A Short Film by Audubon Park

Monday, October 07, 2013

A Critical Unpacking of Audubon Park's "Crazy Crazy For Feeling"

In honor of next week's release of "Crazy Crazy For Feeling," ToF contributors RIKK and Stingy did a little review of the album via the wonders of today's technology.

Rikk sits alone on a couch in Pleasantville, N.Y., as The History Channel plays an “American Pickers” marathon in the background. He fiddles with an iPad’s Face Time app, grumbling inaudibly while chewing his lower lip. A dog stands next to the couch, tail wagging, eyes fixed on Rikk’s hands, hoping for a treat.

Rikk: (grumbling)
Dog: (panting)
Rikk: System preferences? Wait, how many wifi networks are in this building?
Dog: (panting)
(A call pops up on Rikk’s screen. Stingy is calling via Face Time)
Rikk (answering call): Well they call him Stingy cause he’s so damn frugal/He speaks in rhymes archived on Google…..
Stingy: ‘Sup.
Rikk: You know, it’s a Sunday, I’m just kickin’ it solo style. The fam is out for a walk. How you livin’?
Stingy: I got my boys doing pushups and planks while I’m chillin’ like Shabba Ranks/watchin’ Chicago runnin’ backs tearin’ through the line like Tom Hanks/as Forrest Gump/I keep Doritos Locos Tacos in the back of the trunk --
Rikk: ok, stop there. You had me at Shabba Ranks.
Stingy: I still have the rest of that verse to spit.
Rikk: Well, record that shit and send it to Finn, so he can keep reliving his mid-to-late twenties with some Hackey Sac Crue Fantasy League shit.
Stingy: I did send him one verse for that posse cut he asked us for a while ago. Did you do anything for that?
Rikk: no, I’m a grown-ass man now. I can’t be rhyming over the Internet. I could lose my job.
Stingy: Good thing I don’t have one.
Rikk: OH, self-burn!
Stingy: Depends on how you look at it.
Rikk: You have a point there. Well, look, I’m in the middle of an “American Pickers” marathon, so let’s get this over with.
Dog: (panting)
Stingy: Aight. You listen to it?
Rikk: Yeah, most of it. There were some jams I sort of skimmed over after the 4th minute of guitar soloing. Seems like they really went Bob Wall as far as the shredding goes.
Stingy: Oh, man, those long jams are the best part. Like some Amon Duul shit. That “Sunset Credits” jam is pretty epic.
Rikk: Which one is that?
Stingy: The instrumental.
Rikk: Which one is that? Half the album is instrumental!
Stingy: Well, not really. There’s only 3. But it’s the long jam that has like a “Champagne Supernova” kind of ending.
Rikk: Oh, so it’s not that country song toward the end. I kinda liked that one, but it felt like it needed some vocals.
Stingy: Maybe you can ask them to play it at the Pinhook show and then you and I can rap over it.
Rikk: A Lady Western/armed like Charlton Heston/more innocent than these rhymes I be molestin’/open the oven and i’m slidin’ some chicken breasts in/for lunch
Stingy: That’s some advanced style.
Rikk: And it make you smile/Longer than a crocodile’s nails up on the Nile/Rodgers … like I’m Daft Punk/original funk make you wanna jump jump jump
Stingy: Questionable.
Rikk: You gonna bring your boys to the Pinhook show? Doesn’t Finn have some children’s movie about troll jazz he’s planning to screen?
Stingy: They’re not old enough to get in, plus they’re on a pretty tight sleep schedule as part of their preschool Duke basketball fast-track training regimen.
Rikk: You gotta be joking.
Stingy: No, it’s like this like for Duke alum kids -- Coach K has this program where you can sign your kids up for a lifetime of training camp as soon as they are born. How do you think he got multiple Plumlee kids on the same team? I’m seeing a Stingewell dynasty in about 16 years.
Dog: (panting)
Rikk: That seems like a stretch. Will Duke even have a chance at that point? Who is going to take over after Coach K?
Stingy: Maybe Wojo.
Rikk: Well they call him Wojciehowski/He’s got a unspellable name like Krystof Krozlowsky/I just made that shit up like The Big Lebowski’s rug/Cause it tied the rhyme together/Me and Stingwell like birds of a feather/Spittin’ our review of the Audubon Park/My favorite track was dark like chocolate….that one at the end is a pretty good jam, actually.
Stingy: Get To Know Your Grave?
Rikk: I think that’s the one, yeah. Sounds like a vintage Swervedriver track.
Stingy: It’s got a pretty epic ending, with all that soloing.
Rikk: And while we’re on the ‘90s, what is up with that “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” outtake piano jam?
Stingy: “Our Back Stairs”?
Rikk: Yeah. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love me some Smashing Pumpkins. I was in that concert video they shot on the “Siamese Dream” tour!
Stingy: Yeah, I think you mentioned that before. Where was that?
Rikk: Atlanta. COLLEGE RIKK!
Stingy: I thought you went to UNC.
Rikk: You thought right.
Stingy: So was this like a road trip to Atlanta? I was in Atlanta once.
Rikk: Let’s not get bogged down in the details.
Stingy: Biggs likes the Pumpkins. That mellotron sound he got is nice.
Rikk: Well, from the notes I saw about the recording, it looks like that song was recorded in Virginia and Brooklyn, so I’m guessing that fake mellotron sound was from Finn. Plus, that melody is way too pedestrian to be from Robert.
Stingy: Well, either way, it’s pretty nice.
Rikk: (panting)
Dog: I do like the contrast that comes with that song, since it is sandwiched by a 4-minute guitar solo and a pop song that sounds like Guided By Voices as played by The Melvins. There really is quite a bit of variety in this LP.
Stingy: Wait, who’s that?
Dog: I am the Ghost of Christmas Present Perfect.
Stingy: Oh. So will there be a Counting Crows box set this Christmas?
Dog: Would that make you happy?
Stingy: Yeah, you know, like one of those longboxes like the Aerosmith “Pandora’s Box” that came out in the 90s, with outtakes and b-sides and liner notes written by someone like David Austin Green.
Rikk: You’re not even old enough to remember “Pandora’s Box,” Stingy.
Stingy: You know, Audubon Park should do a Kickstarter for their own box set. At this point they have enough material.
(Rikk’s phone buzzes)
Rikk: Who’s textin’ me? Oh, shocker -- it’s another photo of a dog from Finn.
Dog: Let me see.
Rikk: Here. Looks like a whippet or some shit.
Dog: Nice.
Stingy: So are you doing a solo Erie Choir set at the Pinhook?
Rikk: No, gettin’ the band back together!
Stingy: Got any new stuff?
Rikk: We might cover that last Le Weekend album.
Stingy: Is it really a cover if Bob is in both bands?
Rikk: Oh, Bob wouldn’t play on it. He’d be more of a consultant, you know, getting the tone, inflection, timbre right.
Stingy: We should do a Hackey Sac Crue reunion! Or StingeBiggs!
Rikk: I would pay for a StingeBiggs show. I never got to see the original.
Stingy: Timeless.
Rikk: Did you guys do that Primitive Radio Gods song?
Stingy: No, but I’ll definitely put that on the list. I’m sure Biggs would be down for that.
Rikk: Robert at this point would probably insist that you guys do a bunch of Janet Jackson songs.
Stingy: “That’s the Way Love Goes.”
Rikk: Yeah, that era. I can see that being pretty awesome on acoustic guitar with you singing.
Stingy: You know me. Steady tippin’ on those hoes.
Rikk: I don’t know what you are referencing.
Dog: Me neither.
Stingy: I gotta go, the Panthers game is about to start and I need to set the boys up with their Google Glasses so I can make sure they are watching the right parts of the game.
Rikk: Alright, cool. I’m gonna get back to this “American Pickers” marathon and then finish this book about Alexis de Tocqueville.
Stingy: Who is that?
Rikk: Ask Robert. I think he’s one of those German shuffle dudes.