Dark Hearts: A Witch House Valentine’s Day Mix

It’s a simple fact: Valentine’s Day can get a little cloying. Even if you’re happily ensconced in a hand-holding, cuddle-snuggling, shrugs ‘n’ sighs sort of relationship, the singing teddy bears and candy can all get to be a bit much. That’s why, inspired by some deliciously moody and truly romantic (though not in the sense you may expect) new records from the likes of Berlin’s o F F Love and Flavorpill’s SXSW 2011 showcase standout Nite Jewel, we’ve crafted a mix of deep, dark love songs to get you in a more devilish Valentine’s mood. Owing more to the day’s roots as Lupercalia, the Ancient Roman fertility holiday, than the greeting card-bait February 14th we know too well, this is a mix of heart-crushing slow burners. Naturally, the playlist even ventures into the more “adult” side of love a few times. Whether you enjoy this music alone or with pleasurable company, a lot of red wine’s suggested. … Read More

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The 15 Best Dark and Weird Records of 2011

Is it just us, or do most of the “best albums of 2011″ lists this year tend towards a certain amount of sameness? That’s understandable given the undeniable greatness of a handful of records, but on the whole, when we’re facing down a few weeks of holiday stress, travel woes, and inane over-festivity, we’re generally not in the mood to listen to something as milquetoast as Bon Iver. Give us something darker, moodier, bleaker to get us through those days of familial celebration. Something from, say, the record label Blackest Ever Black.

So, both as a holiday coping mechanism and as an alternative to all the best albums lists that have placed that unfortunately boring Real Estate record so near the top, we present an alternate best of 2011, recognizing 15 records that are twisted, dark, and out there. Take note: we’ve purposely left out metal, as that could be its own list entirely. … Read More

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Nigh✝: A DJ Mix for Your Witch House Halloween Party

There’s nothing we enjoy more than a good Halloween party. Costumes, drinks, general merriment of a creepy sort. Music can make or break your Halloween party; we know this, and that’s why we’ve already offered you some gruesome songs for your Halloween playlist. Perhaps, though, you’re the rare breed who wants things even darker than Nick Cave (and there isn’t much that’s darker than Nick Cave). Or possibly you’re using the occasion of Halloween to celebrate the remarkable achievements in witch house this year. Or maybe you just want to keep kids from ringing your doorbell. Regardless, your author, who’s in the midst of writing a book on the witch house scene, has handcrafted a spooky mix of dark, new songs for your Halloween party brooding. From the opening haunted house drones of The Haxan Cloak through the shocking zombification of Brooklyn’s own Class Actress, this is the soundtrack of nightmares. Don’t worry, though, there’s a chance to dance at the end. … Read More

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Zola Jesus Names 10 Films That Inspired Her New Album

Among the piles of albums released in the past few weeks, there’s one that we at Flavorpill can all agree is excellent: Zola Jesus’s Conatus. We simply can’t get enough of, or say enough about, the dark, dreamy, powerful music created by Zola’s Nika Roza Danilova. Wise beyond her 22 years, Danilova’s primary non-musical areas of interest are film and philosophy (and, apparently, the intersection of the two), and it shows on the record. Songs on Conatus don’t play so much as unfold in an epic, cinematic way, from the opening clatter of “Swords” to the woozy swoon that explodes into dark celebration on “In Your Nature.” By the time “Collapse” ends the record, Danilova has masterfully painted a dark, macabre theater piece with sound.

After reading the song-by-song commentary on Conatus Danilova provided to The Guardian and finding out what she’s been reading lately, we wondered: in making a record with such a filmic feel, what movies served as inspiration? Now, we have the answer: in a Flavorpill exclusive, Nika Danilova lists ten films that contributed to the creation of Conatus. … Read More

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Chill Out: 10 Icy, Dark New Albums for Summer

The great outdoors. Picnics in the park. Going to the beach. All of these activities are summer staples for a reason: warm weather and longer days are a natural catalyst for carefree fun. But sometimes, we’ll admit it, all the sun and sand and Best Coast songs about weed and cats blasting out of iPhones just makes us feel a little, well, antisocial. In the same way that at times we just want to curl up with a devastatingly sad book, sometimes we really want to rock out to some bleak tunes. If you, like us, are having “glass is half empty” tendencies at this point of the year, fear not: summer 2011 is bringing with it a bevy of excellent releases for those of us who are a bit more…moody. So crank up the air conditioning, close the blinds and remedy summer overload with these records. … Read More

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Video of the Day: CHERYL Presents "Administrative Soul"

Brooklyn-based art-party collective CHERYL recently took over Flavorpill to film a music video accompaniment to our forthcoming “Administrative Soul” event at the Bell House on June 11th, the after-party to our GoldRun-powered Internet Week Culture Hunt. If you’ve ever been curious what it’s like to work here, the entire video was shot in our office (note cameos by the computers belonging to our office-mates VYou), and guest appearances were made by Flavorpill staff and extended family. There’s still glitter coating the floors. Oh, and if you, like us, can’t get enough of that song, the full version of “Administrative Soul” by Fake Money featuring Jason Hamlin is … Read More

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Bompas & Parr on Breathable Cocktails and Culinary Mayhem

Self-described “jelly mongers” Sam Bompas and Harry Parr are just beginning their rise to cultural prominence in the US, but at home in England they’re veritable celebs. The absurdly creative culinary scientists have been pushing food and dining boundaries in the UK for years, from staging an overblown, tongue-in-cheek 12-course, 4,000-calorie Victorian breakfast at Warwick Castle to a scratch n’ sniff Valentine’s Day screening of Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover.

Beyond their over-the-top happenings, Bompas & Parr are most well known as the creators of innovative flavored gelatins (aka jellies), infusing their jelly with flavors both sublime and bizarre, molded in myriad shapes and sizes for all occasions (weddings, funerals, the sinking of the Titanic). For our latest interactive interview, we caught up with the pair to discuss their madcap adventures and their first book, Jelly Mongers, which features many of their most popular (and craziest) recipes, as well as tips, tricks, and stunning photos. Click through for the full interactive video interview, where you control the questions. Then, flip through our Bompas & Parr photo collection, including shots from the book and the personal collection of Sam Bompas himself. … Read More

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Required Reading: 10 Devastatingly Sad Books

We’re the first to admit that, sometimes, the best cure for a hard week, a long day or just a rainy weekend is a really sad book. One of the saddest, and most compelling, to come to our attention this week is Michael Kimball’s gutting new novel, Us, about the slow death of a spouse and its effect on her devoted husband, who can merely watch as the person he loves begins to fade away. We consumed the entire book in one subway ride, and got more than a few strange glances our way as Kimball’s novel caused us to convulse with sobs. It wasn’t until someone asked us if we actually enjoyed Us (we did) that we begin musing on the strange relationship between sad books and ourselves as readers, and we wondered: what other books are out there for those who, like us, enjoy the occasional full-body sob and feeling of abject desolation as we’re absorbed into our reading material?

Before we began casting our nets, we set a few parameters for ourselves. First, no young adult novels. If we’d gathered YA, it would dominate the list. Yes, we love Where The Red Fern Grows, but we had to draw the line somewhere. Second, no books where an animal’s death serves as the emotional linchpin (we’re looking at you, Marley & Me). What we ended up with were 10 of the most emotionally wrecking books that we absolutely love. Did we miss your favorite? Please tell us in the comments. … Read More

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Interactive Interview: Morgan Spurlock on the Realities of Selling Out

With his new movie, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock has sold out, in a sense. For Pom Wonderful Presents the Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Spurlock, the provocateur behind the fast-food take-down Super Size Me, has created a documentary on the realities of marketing, advertising and product-placement that it, itself, funded entirely through those exact same things. That’s why you’ll notice, in our interactive interview with him below, he’s wearing a suit loudly emblazoned with the logos of JetBlue and his movie’s other major backers. He talks to us about the realities of “selling out” in the 21st century, what he thinks is the most mind-blowing corporate sponsorship buy-in he’s seen, and the good and bad points of being in a bathtub with a live horse. Click through for the full Flavorpill Interactive Interview with Morgan Spurlock, where you control the questions. … Read More

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Cooking Tales: 10 Delicious Memoirs from Chefs

Make no bones about it — life in a restaurant is difficult work. The hours are long, the pay isn’t much, and the work is ultimately thankless. Or at least, that’s how it used to be. The past few years, we’ve watched “foodie” culture explode into prime time, elevating many chefs to celebrity status. It’s no wonder, then, that the chef memoir has become as much of an art form as cooking itself. As many of you know, Gabrielle Hamilton, owner and chef of New York’s Prune restaurant, recently released Blood, Bones & Butter, a book that many are calling just as beautiful as her simple, impassioned food. Using Hamilton’s book as a starting point, we examine ten chef memoirs — from the newbies to those seasoned with experience — that we’ve found particularly enjoyable. … Read More

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