30 Second Reviews: Iron Hill's Sweet Fries, Aimee Mann, Amanda Palmer, "Boardwalk Empire" and More

By Review Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jan. 22, 2013

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At 52, Aimee Mann keeps on rocking. And well, thank you.

On The Menu...

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
8400 Germantown Ave. (and nine other locales)
Here’s the dish: Hand-Cut Carolina Sweet Potato Fries
Description: Big, bright orange sticks of savory sweetness accompanied by a trio of sauces: smoked paprika aioli, habanero-lime dipping sauce and bourbon-vanilla cream.
Yum or yuck? Bourbon. Vanilla. Cream. If this isn’t the most transcendently joyous fry/dip pairing in the history of fry/dip pairings, please, tell us. We’ll be over here. At Iron Hill. (Stephen H. Segal)

 

On the Record ...

Grizzly Bear
Shields

(Warp Records)
Sounds Like: An excellent follow-up to the already stellar catalog built on by Veckatimest, it’s a lazy, sunny amble through subtly complex harmonies and melodies.
Free Association: A few of these songs are the best I’ve heard all year. Critic’s pick!
For Fans Of: Fleet Foxes x Sparklehorse, Here We Go Magic, good bands pulling through. (Bill Chenevert)

Calexico 
Algiers
(ANTI Records)
Sounds Like: The Southwestern folksy rock collective’s ode to New Orleans was recorded in the Big Easy, but still retains their eerie and slightly dark Arizona charm.
Free Association: Most of this record would make for a great True Blood soundtrack.
For Fans Of: Johnny Cash, Espers/The Dears/Lambchop/M. Ward. (B.C.)

 

Pet Shop Boys
Elysium
(Astralwerks)
Sounds Like: Sad to say, but their 11th studio album has some serious moments of awful, but a few tracks have that timeless, synthy, London-lounge-music PSB sound.
Free Association: There’s an excellent song called “Requiem in denim and leopardskin.”
For Fans Of: Erasure x Depeche Mode, Scissor Sisters + Kraftwerk, camp, sequins. (B.C.)

Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra
Theatre Is Evil
(8 Ft. Records)
Sounds Like: The Dresden Dolls frontwoman’s new project is loud and arty, with her trademark blend of dark cabaret and theatricality, but a little more hard rock this time.
Free Association: Theater kids into makeup must look at this woman like she’s a hero. 
For Fans Of:  Tori Amos and the Banshees, Legendary Pink Dots, burlesque. (B.C.)

Aimee Mann
Charmer
(SuperEgo Records)
Sounds Like: Still making great records at 52, and this one’s no exception. Here, she’s electrified and lively on a classy set of smart songs about love, loyalty and rejection.
Free Association: She’s always nailed subtle and quiet, but it’s nice to hear her get loud.
For Fans Of: Suzanne Vega x Badfinger, Liz Phair + Squeeze, Magnolia/Portlandia. (B.C.)

The Helio Sequence
Negotiations
(Sub Pop)
Sounds Like: The Portland duo’s brightest accomplishment yet. It’s pensive, ambient pop that’s got an electronic edge with spacey, dreamy atmospherics and pretty vocals.
Free Association: It’s great when bands evolve and let themselves go through phases.
For Fans Of: My Morning Jacket x Crystal Stilts, Young Magic + Spiritualized, two-pieces. (B.C.)

On the Idiot Box...

Boardwalk Empire
Sunday, 9pm, on HBO
Captive audience: Sopranos fans, Scorsese/gangster film nerds, people who want to see Steve Buscemi’s kisser on a regular basis.
Moment of truth: The third season of the flawed yet exquisitely made 1920s gangland drama returned, with Buscemi’s bootlegging, Atlantic City politico keeping friends close and enemies dead. Bobby Cannavale shows up as the newest, violently oversensitive mobster in town. Michael K. Williams doesn’t appear until this Sunday’s episode. At least it was amazing to look at.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy. This’ll definitely win a shitload of Creative Arts statuettes next year. (Craig D. Lindsey)

Iyanla, Fix My Life
Saturday and Sunday, 10pm, on OWN
Captive audience: Black women and the middle-aged, white women who listen to them.
Moment of truth: Iyanla Vanzant, Oprah Winfrey’s original, marginally qualified, go-to relationship expert (sorry, Steve Harvey!), began her new show spending two nights knocking some sense into the head of tempestuous Basketball Wives star Evelyn Lozada, who almost got knocked out this summer by ex-husband Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson. However, considering the thirsty-ass shamelessness both the show and the women exhibited, I was pretty much done by the first night, beloved.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phlegmmy. (C.D.L.)

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