Last year, we were turned onto + wrote up WOMAN PRODUCER—NYC duo The Blow‘s “exploration of women as creators of sonic worlds.”

Now, The Blow’s Khaela Maricich + Melissa Dyne have gone from URL to IRL with a series of WOMAN PRODUCER live events, the last of which is being held tonight at National Sawdust in Brooklyn. Previous events have combined conversation and performance with an impressive lineup of artists and tonight’s event serves as an appropriately star-studded wrap panel conversation on music production with Neko Case, Suzi AnalogueZola Jesus, and Miho Hatori.

As they put it:
“The data on female performers who are the authors of their own sound is often skewed by imagery and information about these artists as characters as opposed to creators. This panel provides a platform for conversation about the process of creating the sonic spaces inside of which artists perform.”

Khaela + Melissa will be moderating the panel and, at the time of writing, tickets are still available online (they plan to have some general admission tickets available at the door as well).

The Blow premiered a new song last week too (below) and MTV just premiered an interview they did with Khaela + Melissa on the WOMAN PRODUCER project that you can also check out below.

We recently reached out to Khaela about the series and she’s assured us that there will be more events to come—in NYC and in other cities—so stay tuned.

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The impetus to create WOMAN PRODUCER came to us a couple of years ago when we started learning how many of the early pioneers of sound recording and production were women.

Last week, we were driving around Los Angeles with a friend of ours in from New York when, suddenly, on the northbound 110, we all realized we were listening to a song about Donald Trump.

The song—being played on KCRW—was Death Cab for Cutie’s new track “Million Dollar Loan” and it kicked off the new project 30 Songs, 30 Days—”an independent website that will release one song per day from October 10 until Election Day” from “artists for a Trump-free America.” It’s the brainchild of Dave Eggers and McSweey’s + co., the creators of 90 Days, 90 Reasons, “which sought to motivate voters to give President Obama a second term.”

From the 30 Songs site:

SEAN HANNITY is mid-interview with presidential hopeful, DONALD J. TRUMP on FOX News.

SEAN HANNITY: Now Donald, have you heard the new song written about you by the indie rock band, Death Cab For Cutie?

DONALD TRUMP: I haven’t but I hear it’s terrible. Just a terrible, terrible song. Nobody I know has ever heard of these guys because they have no talent. Absolutely no talent. Small potatoes if you ask me. And that band name? What a bunch of losers. Bad!

SH: The singer sounds like a lady but he’s actually a 40 year old man!

DT: Well like I said I haven’t heard it but you know, it’s terrible. Everyone is saying this.

As of writing, 30 Songs is on song number nine and includes new originals from Aimee Mann, Jim James, Thao, Franz Ferdinand‘s “Demagogue” with an accompanying Shepard Fairey print, and—released yesterday—an EL VY song that’s paired with a Richard Walrus video game.

You can listen to a few of our favorites below and keep up with the full list and day-to-day new releases at 30 Songs’ site.

The singer sounds like a lady but he's actually a 40 year old man!
Sean Hannity on Death Cab front man Ben Gibbard

Current studio vibes courtesy of Lizzo’s new Coconut Oil EP, out now.

We included the stupendous Minneapolis-based hip hop queen Lizzo—AKA Melissa Jefferson—on our March mixtape this year, which, according to our self-imposed rules on these mixes, means we can’t include work by her for another year. But, as we put the finishing touches on this month’s mix, we feel we have to call her new EP out; it’s simply too good not to feature.

You can stream the whole thing below via her YouTube page and get it via all the other usual suspects via Lizzo’s site.

For the record, our full list of mixtape rules is as follows:
1. No artist repeat for one year;
2. No covers;
3. No remixes;
4. No instrumentals;
5. No shirts, no shoes, no service.

Photo: Jabari Jacobs

I don't see nobody else 'Scuse me while I feel myself

Los Angeles has a longstanding, well-documented love of fast food. It’s waxed + waned over the years, embattled by every possible health food trend from gluten-free to all things kale. Today, though, fast food and more indulgent eats seem to be enjoying a pleasant and peaceful coexistence with more health-centric foods as the city’s eaters and culinary taste-makers embrace a love of diversity in menus and a more popular focus on fresh produce across the board.

Two current stars in LA’s nouveau fast food scene are brothers Frederick and Maximilian Guerrero—sons of chef Andre Guerrero of Oinkster fame and owners along with close friend Kevin Hockin of their own venture, Chinatown’s Burgerlords, a quick-serve burger joint that focuses on simplicity and quality with their food. We wrote Burgerlords up last fall because we were so excited to hear that they featured vegan burgers on their menu and they quickly became our favorite vegan burgers in town.

Now, about a year in, the Guerrero brothers and Hockin have announced new, monthly collaborations with local chefs (also vegan-friendly), and we took the announcement as an excuse to reach out and talk with Frederick Guerrero (pictured right, jamming) to find out more about the collaborations and the origins of Burgerlords in general.

raven + crow: So, thanks for taking the time to talk—I know you guys are beyond busy right now. Sooooooo, you guys like burgers. A lot. What’s the story, first, behind the overall obsession, then behind the Tumblr account and restaurant predecessor?

Frederick Guerrero: Hmmm….where to start? Well, my family owns a few restaurants, which includes The Oinkster. My brother Max and I helped open that and worked there up until 2013. We were always brainstorming different ideas, and he came up with the name “Burgerlords” during one of our meetings. We never really knew what to do with it, so it was just this idea we had on the back burner. While we were doing research for the second The Oinkster location, I was cataloguing tons of burger inspiration photos that I would gather online. One day I just decided to make a Tumblr called “Burgerlords” to host a bunch of it and then integrate our own content into it. Tumblr really loved it, so they promoted it all over the site and the audience grew to 200K followers.

When we left the restaurant, no one really knew what to do with it, so we decided to just turn it into the burger restaurant we always wanted to make. We thought it was funny to name such a simple restaurant after a site known for posting the most over the top burgers.

Yeah, some of those burger pics over the years were…intimidating, is the word, I think? So, alright, question for you then—NYC’s got pizza; Chicago, dogs; do you think burgers are LA’s thing? Or is it just one of many?

I think burgers and fast food are definitely LA’s thing. We grew up here and it’s such a huge part of the culture. I’m not sure how many people are familiar with the story, but fast food was invented here with restaurants like In-N-Out, McDonalds, etc… The unofficial In-N-Out biography tells a really great history about not only their origins, but fast food as well.

Yeah, no, that makes sense, especially paired with the emphasis on cars + driving here—it’s just logical, to an extent, that fast, convenient food would evolve alongside LA’s commuter culture.

Was there a specific desire to strip things down with the concept of Burgerlords (the restaurant)? You guys really seem to focus on the essentials and work to get those right, low to no frills—was that a reaction to the preciousness or over-complication the food world sometimes presents?

Definitely yes to all of that. We really wanted it to be simple and straightforward. Nowadays it seems like people are so focused on one-upping each other, that they lose sight of their original vision. We would much rather develop as we go rather than to start out big and have to scale back because of operational issues. We really learned that firsthand working in our family’s restaurants. Also, by having such a small operation, it gives room to do more collaborative projects like “Burger Merger.”

Nice segue—tell us about that. Where did the idea for the Burger Merger come from?

It’s a new monthly chef residency we’ve started. Each month we’re partnering with a new chef to come up with a special regular burger and vegan burger. We’re calling it a residency because it’ll only be served on Mondays. Our restaurant is 235 square ft, so it would be impossible for us to add anything else to the menu and serve it all month long.

You’ve got vegan options with that too, right?

Yup, part of the requirement is to have a vegan option.

I feel like you all benefitted from a decent amount of pre-opening buzz and you both come from a pretty significant LA restaurant lineage, so it strikes me that you could totally have gotten away with having a meat-only burger joint—where did the desire to accommodate vegans come from?

My brother and I are actually both vegetarian and have been since we were kids. When we were venturing off to do our own restaurant, we were leaning more towards a vegan burger concept. Having it be our first restaurant independent of our family, we were a bit nervous to start with an untested concept, so we decided to just stick with what we knew. Knowing what we know now, we probably could have done it, but we’re really happy with the way it turned out. We have something for everyone and no one is excluded or needs to feel weird about their dietary choices!

Nice. I feel like a lot of places that do accommodate vegan diets seemingly do so with the approach that it just needs to be ‘good enough for vegans,’ like that audience has a lower bar when it comes to taste level or is more accepting of sub-par food in favor of ethics and/or health benefits. It seems to me you guys didn’t settle for that mentality though.

It’s important to us that everything we serve in our restaurants is at a consistent quality level. It’s frustrating to go out to an amazing dinner, and then end it with a crappy espresso. That still happens so much, and it’s like “why not just put the same thoughtfulness into everything?” You are doing the same amount of work to make something bad as you are to make it good. It’s just changing your conciousness and approach. I think in the past chefs did have a mentality of just putting something together that would pass as “good enough for a vegan,” but I think we can really see that changing. Good food is good food, it really doesn’t matter if it’s vegan or not.

How did you come up with the recipe for the vegan burger patty—was it a long, pain-staking process for you all?

It was definitely a painstaking process. We came up with a good base recipe and then just continued to tweak it to taste. Now that it is catching on, we are still making adjustments to do them in larger batches and keep it consistent.

You recently started doing a vegan take on ‘beast fries’ too, right, “Lord of the Fries”—fries, covered with vegan cheese and grilled onions and Thousand Island?

Yeah, we had all the ingredients already, so it was just a matter of figuring out how if we could pull it off. Like I said earlier, it is easier to add things on later once you see if you can do it.


I know your kitchen’s small, but any plans for other vegan meals or sides down the road?

As of right now we don’t have any plans to add any other menu items, vegan or not. We just don’t have the space. We’ve talked about adding shakes or soft serve, so if we do that, there will definitely be a vegan option.

Was having the vegan option on the new collaboration a hard sell with your first Burger Merger partners—Otium + Chef Hollingsworth—or were they game out of the gate?

Chef Tim is so easygoing and chill, that it all went down really smoothly. We had met a few months ago through mutual friends and this idea was kinda shaped around us partnering up.

Do you plan to have vegan versions for each of the coming collabs too?

Yup, there will always be a vegan version, if not only a vegan version for some. There are a few vegan chefs on our list.

Oh, hell yeah! That’s awesome. If you end up doing this long-long-term and need any ideas, let us know—we know a lot of vegan and vegan-friendly chefs.

You launched the Merger last Monday night, right? How was that?

The launch went really well. We were a bit nervous because it was the first time running it and we didn’t know what to expect. We had a really great turnout and sold out of burgers by 8:30PM. There was also a cocktail reception at General Lee’s with Otium’s Mixologist, Brian Hollingsworth guest bartending.

Yeah, we saw that—looked awesome; we’ll totally make the next one if you do it again. That reminds me though—I’m sure you likely field this a lot, but why Chinatown? I love the square and the neighborhood in general, but I didn’t really think of it as a burger destination before ya’ll moved in.

Growing up in Northeast L.A., this was always a destination for our family dinners, so a big part of it was nostalgia. There’s a really strong sense of community down here which is getting lost upon other bourgeoning neighborhoods in LA. It’s really great to be a part of that. We also saw a need for a QSR down here. A majority of the restaurants here are sit down.

Well we love having you so close to our studio. So are you able to talk yet about whom you plan to team up with in the coming months or is that top secret shit?

We’re keeping all the future chefs a secret for now. We’ve gotten such positive feedback for the project that there are a lot of chefs who are game to partner up. This is a really exciting project for us, so we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve. There will be some big names people definitely wouldn’t expect. Best way to stay up to date is through our instagram @burgerlords. We’ll be announcing the next one real soon!

Awesome, man—we’ll be on the lookout for that.

Burgerlords is located at 943 N Broadway in historic Chinatown and is open seven days a week (11AM-9PM Sun-Th; 11AM-10PM Fri + Sat); Burger Merger collaborations are available Mondays only, and last one month until moving on to a new collaboration with a new chef/restaurant, so get em while you can.

Pictured, said Lord of the Fries and the vegan option for the October Burger Merger—the most excellent Burgerlords vegan patty with shaved carrots, carrot top pipian, avocado spread, and habanero pickled onions, around for the rest of today and only two more Mondays after that.

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That still happens so much, and it’s like “why not just put the same thoughtfulness into everything?” You are doing the same amount of work to make something bad as you are to make it good. It’s just changing your conciousness and approach.
Burgerlords' Frederick Guerrero on restaurants phoning it in when accommodating vegans.

Maybe you’ve heard the new Dirty Projectors song on your local independent radio station or on your latest freewill through the endless black hole of the internet. It’s a bizarre, brooding, beautiful track that’s quickly becoming a favorite of ours in the studio and it’s got us excited to hear more new material from the band. But the track—titled “Keep Your Name”—takes on a whole new depth when you learn what it’s about: the break-up of Projectors frontman + primary song-writer David Longstreth and former band member Amber Coffman, now based here in Los Angeles.

We’re not going to make light of something as deeply affecting as the end of relationships or declare Team Longstreth/Team Coffman (though we applaud Coffman’s breaking of the sexual assault story on music publicist Heathcliff Berru earlier this year), but the song is good…and it pulls zero punches.

The video for “Keep Your Name” is co-directed by Longstreth and Kanye West’s creative director Elon Rutberg.

What I want from art is truth/ What you want is fame

Most of us have finite finances. Which means when doing something like furnishing an office, you often must make some function-over-form and—even more often—pinchpenny decisions in favor of not totally going broke. So, sorry, Sonos, though we love you dearly, you won’t be making a debut at raven + crow studio any time soon. Instead, we will continue to rely on our seven-year-old, blender-like floor wireless speaker that looks and sometimes sounds like a tiny R2D2.

One place we did decide to splurge a bit, however, was on our office chairs. After a year of working on our outside patio in Beachwood Canyon in not-so-great-for-your-back chairs, we felt justified in spending a little more on chairs that have stood the test of time, were made for longterm use…and look cool to boot.

What we ended up with were industrial era office chairs from the Elkhart, Indiana company Do/More.

Do/More formed when two American GIs returned home from World War I in 1919 with legal rights to “process, market, and distribute” a new seating product developed by Tan/Sad, a UK-based company that started out making wheel toys, baby carriages, pillion seats and motorcycling accessories before being taken over and shifting focus to the production “specifically designed Chairs for the use of Typists, Machine Operators, General Office and Executives, and for all Industrial purposes where operatives sit at their work.” Our two intrepid entrepreneurs teamed up with an Elkhart-based industrialist—WS Ferris—who specialized in metal fabrication and the three businessmen were met with near-immediate success when they unveiled their worker chairs in 1922.

Soon after, Ferris obtained the original Tan/Sad rights from the GIs and began making his own modifications to the design, requiring a rebrand of the company. Ferris stated that his goals were to:
Do more to improve productivity
Do more to improve seated workers health
Do more to prevent back ache
Do more to improve appearance
Do more improve seated workers physical well being

Thus, the Do/More Posture Chair was born, complete with swivel action and casters. The company went on to be commissioned by the US government to make chairs for workers as part of FDR’s New Deal, establish a Posture Research Institute, and create the Do/More Intensive Use Seat for FAA in the 60s.

Before all that, though, they made these awesome chairs which found their way to us after being reupholstered in bright yellow vinyl and sold to us by Cyclic Furniture, an antique-packed gem situated in Burbank. Some 80 or 70 years after they were wheeled off the factory floor, these working artifacts from a time of made-to-last objects are going strong, keeping our backs healthy, our butts off the floor, and our studio looking good.

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As the industrial revolution grew so did the need for business offices to support manufacturing. A new chair base with swivel action and casters was developed. The Do/More Posture Chair was born.

This is a piece we did earlier this year for the return of Satya Magazine.

For many of our years in New York and even more before that, Satya was a monthly magazine that focused on vegetarianism, environmentalism, animal advocacy, and social justice. More holistically, in publisher + co-founder Beth Gould’s words, the magazine endeavored to “spotlight voices working toward a greater understanding of compassion, and ways to discover better how to utilize these lessons in our own lives.”

Nine years after the monthly edition of Satya ceased, Gould + co. published a special, book-length anniversary edition—”The Long View”—which stands as “a reflection on over two decades of activism and where we go from here.” In this studio’s infancy, Beth asked us to contribute a number of times to its pages, which we happily did.

In a February 2006 issue we used full page spreads to communicate (almost) the amount of space egg-layer hens are confined to their entire lives. Beth asked us to reimagine the piece for this anniversary edition, adding to it a fact that often goes unspoken or unnoticed—that, due to the industry standard practice of “culling”—or killing—male chicks, each egg we buy as consumers essentially also means the death of a male chick (assuming roughly 50-50 male-female birth rates with chickens); this on top of the fact that placing a demand on the egg industry causes layer hens a tragically sad, painful, hellish life of confinement.

If you eat eggs, please stop.

And yes, even “cage-free” eggs, which are a far greater boon to marketing and industry profits than they are a benefit to animals’ welfare (see also “humane meat”).

If you’ve got the stomach for it, you can find out more about the industry via PETA or The Humane Society, who also chimes in on the truth behind cage-free eggs, as does this fairly tame Mother Jones article.

Find out more about Satya and order their anniversary issue on their site.

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We first heard Canadian artist Lowell this summer when we caught the minimalist video for her excellent single “High Enough.” The song caught us right from the start, with low droning keys and stripped-down that blow up into a glitchy, thrumming, danceable track that quickly found a spot on one of our favorite mixtapes this year. When her media people reached out to us with an early stream of the rest of Lowell’s new Part 1: Paris YK EP (out now on Arts+ Crafts) and an offer for an interview, we jumped at the opportunity to find out more about the singer, musician, producer, and writer. Read on for a conversation on her songs, their inspiration, and politics in and out of music.

raven + crow: Alright, I don’t think I’m alone in not knowing a whole lot about you beyond what’s communicated in your music—tell us a little about yourself, if you don’t mind. You’re Canadian, right?

Lowell: I am a dual citizen, Canadian and American. I’m obsessed with making music, especially writing.

And you’re concise. I like it. I feel like so many of our favorite bands through the years have hailed from Canada though—Braids (my absolute favorite band), Purity Ring, Broken Social Scene, Owen Pallett, Arcade Fire, Stars…the list goes on. I’ve interviewed Icelandic artists and discussed a similar dynamic with their country and they ventured that all the cold weather and lack of light had something to do with the creative output—do you think something similar’s going on with all you talented Canadians?

Its possible! I know for a fact the best comes out of me when I’m out of sorts, and winter can certainly do that to you. The other greats all come from Sweden and the winters there are no picnic either. Canada also has a pretty supportive system for certain artists. I’m sure that has its pros and cons but with that list I’m guessing the pros somewhat out weigh the cons. Speaking cons, The Constantines belong on that list as well.

Right right! You even lived in the Yukon for a time though, right? That had to inspire some introspection. How has that landscape or Canada in general colored your work?

I didn’t really live there, my father lives there. My connection to there is through him, although I have of course visited. One year I even looked after Huskies up north in the summer. The great white North is a beautiful thing. I’m sure it has contributed to some of the sound of my music…somehow.

Not to fixate, but do you have any lesser-known Canadian bands we can look into?

Your list so far is great. You could look into Weaves, Andy Shauf, Tobias Jesso Jr. (one of my absolute faves) and I have a new project I’m super excited about called Les Nananas.

Nice—I have yet to hear Weaves, but like your other suggestions. And we’ll have to check out Les Nananas. Can you talk inspiration for album titles for us? Your first EP was named I Killed Sara V.—what’s that from?

I Killed Sara V. was both a personal and political statement. I had a story of my dodgy past working as a stripper for some time under a sudo name “Sara V.” The press thought that was exciting…I thought I’d just put it out there and let people react to it. The idea was that when I made the EP it was a form of me killing “stripper me” and reincarnating as Lowell the artist. The most important thing came in the album We Loved Her Dearly which was a revelation that I didn’t need to kill or reject the things I did in the past to be respected. It became an ode instead of a murder story. It showed remorse for the beauty who was killed by society…a sexually empowered and successful female who felt the need to be “dignified” and reject herself….

I love that, it’s a really nice evolution of self-awareness or image of self, I think. Bringing us up-to-date, you released the Part 1: Paris YK EP late last month on Arts & Crafts—can you break that one down for us?

Its probably going to be three parts. Each part will relate back to an important place of my nomadic upbringing. I chose The Yukon first. I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer and though sometimes its been a great thing for me, it has also caused me to suffer. There was a time when The Yukon was the land of opportunity… and this place Paris, Yukon could be looked at as, say, “Canada’s dead Hollywood.” With that in mind, I guess this EP was supposed to make you question your hopes and dreams. Something I need to do every now and then in order to stay happy.

How do the songs on this new EP differ from your previous work?

They are different I suppose. This EP in particular was more of a collab on the production side, so that made a huge difference.

I always liked the track “Cloud 69″ from your first album a lot, but I do feel like the new work shows a certain musical growth and maturity…and we like it a lot, for what it’s worth. How did you get hooked up with Arts & Crafts?

They called, I answered. I have always had a love for that label.

Likewise. You’ve openly stated that work to address real issues and empower listeners with your music—why’s that important to you?

I think in order for people to move forward as a whole, artists have to start a movement.

Is there a song you can think of that was difficult to write for you in terms of subject matter? Or, if that’s no fun to talk about, maybe one that you just felt really impassioned about, like “I HAVE to write about this NOW”?

My song “LGBT” came to me after some hate crimes were committed in front of me in London. its not the deepest song on the surface but I was upset and that’s what came out.

Have you ever had any fans reach out to thank you for talking about these more difficult topics in your work?

I have, yes! I don’t think I’m unique in that way. Artists have the gift of being able to affect people in a special way, even if its nothing to do with the subject matter. It still makes me feel great when I get notes from people saying I’ve inspired them to look more into feminism or approach the way they make music themselves. Being open and honest as an artist is not always easy and there are times where it is down right terrifying, but I really believe it is something that needs to start happening in pop culture, so anytime I get a pat on my back it makes me feel like i’m doing the right thing. It makes it easier for me to stay true to my vision.

Glad to have your voice out there, honestly. Speaking of terrifying though, given how FUCKING FRIGHTENING the possible outcome of our election this fall…can we come live with you in Canada if things don’t pan out well for us?

I’m not sure. I have a spare room in my house you could probably settle into but you’ll eventually need a Visa. Luckily Canada believes that immigrants are actually very helpful for the economy and so the process wouldn’t be that gruesome. In fact, we’ve been doing our best to fly in and settle Syrian refugees whilst also putting together some integration programs to make the shift as easy as possible for new immigrants. We have settled up to 25,000 in the past year. I’m sure there is plenty of room for you as well…but you should stay there…if the unspeakable happens they will need you more than ever.

Good point. And cheers Canada for doing what we should—I heard that news story about the Syrian refuges earlier this year and it simultaneously made me inspired by your country and dismayed by ours. It’s been so turbulent and divided here the past years.

Lowell performing live in 2014.

Lowell performing live in 2014.

ANYWAY though, I don’t know if you’ve read it, but in Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl—Carrie Brownstein’s excellent memoir—she writes about how annoying it was that Sleater-Kinney constantly got asked about how it felt to be ‘women in music’ and so eloquently stated “To this day, because I know no other way of being or feeling, I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman in a band — I have nothing else to compare it to. But I will say that I doubt in the history of rock journalism and writing any man has been asked, ‘Why are you in an all-male band?’” Is that a question you get a lot and do you have a similar feeling on the matter?

I find it weird that, as a writer/producer, I am part of the 3% of women that do what I do in music. So for me, I am not bothered by the question. It is fair to observe that there is a lack of women doing what men do in music. There is a great all girl band in Toronto called The Beaches and their merch is a t-shirt that just says “GRL BAND.” Yes, it is an anomaly. It is also silly. Women rule at music. That being said…it is probably annoying to be asked all the time about being a woman when being a woman should have nothing to do with what you do.

I recently heard someone putting forth what I think is now a pretty widely unaccepted concept—that we’re living in post-raciaal America because our country elected a Barack Obama. They then extended that concept to say that we’d live in a post-gender society if we elected Hilary Clinton. Can you give me your two cents on why that might not be?

We are living in a post-racial America, we do live in a post-gender society and this will worsen when Hilary is president. For me it has been difficult to see racism crawl out of the woodwork like it has over the last few years, however it is so important to remember how great this is for the future of society. Racism doesn’t just spontaneously generate. It was very much alive before Barack Obama and it only seems worse because it has become more visible. The backlash against Black Lives Matter… and the fact that “All Lives Matter” is a real actual thing that people say is upsetting, but its better for people to hear it than to not so we can stop denying race issues and start doing something about them.

Totally agree with you on the last bit—I’m hoping these are cultural growing pains, painful as they are. Back to the music, I haven’t seen any announced tour dates recently—think that’ll change in the near future?

Yeah! You’ll know very soon. I do have a tour coming up.

Any plans to come to Los Angeles?

I hope so!

I know it’s not about California, but can you tell about the inspiration for the song “West Coast Forever”?

Its all about being in a shit hole and yearning for more.

We’ve seen bands do it well and bands do it…not so well, but what are the challenges in your mind in translating a largely electronic studio track to something that’ll play well on stage, in front of an audience?

Its always though finding a balance between budget and and artistic vision. The more tracks you use, the cheaper it will be and the more money you will make (or more accurately, the less money you will lose). I have a lot of respect for real musicians, because I went to music school for a year and met so many legitimate musicians that have undeniable drive and talent. I like to see that kind of thing when I’m at a show; however, reality is, most of my fans are excited about seeing my personality and so I can kind of get away with using tracks and just performing to the max. My shows are not exactly about scales and noodling anyways, they are about having fun, partying, dancing etc. I’m ok with that. Of course I still play, and Matty D is a killer guitar player, but until I’m headlining with a real budget, a full band aint happening! To be honest there’s something charming about the way it is right now anyways. Its very intimate.

Can’t wait to see ourselves. Well thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us.

Listen to and purchase tracks from Lowell’s new EP via iTunes or your favorite service and stay tuned via Facebook to see when she’s playing near you.

I think in order for people to move forward as a whole, artists have to start a movement.

This past weekend, Katie + I made a quick, daylong stop at home here in Los Angeles after our trip up the California coast before heading back to New York for a long-awaited event—the opening of the new vegan restaurant Modern Love Brooklyn.

MLBK is the collaborative effort of three of our friends—sisters Erica + Sara Kubersky of MooShoes and Isa Chandra Moskowitz, a celebrated vegan cookbook author, chef, and all-around OG in the vegan community, creating and co-hosting a cable access vegan cooking show in the aughts called Post Punk Kitchen.

Isa opened her first Modern Love in 2014 in her now-home of Omaha, Nebraska, choosing a path that was far from what might be considered preaching-to-the-choir and opening in New York or LA or another metropolitan area already abound with animal-free eating. But the Brooklyn native’s roots run deep and she’s always wanted a returning to home for her cooking. Pair that with the fact that Erica + Sara, who grew up in Queens, have long sought a vegan restaurant venture in New York, and you’ve got magic—13 years after the first episode of Post Punk Kitchen aired on New York community access television, Modern Love Brooklyn opened it’s doors in Williamsburg to a crowd of friends and family of which we were delighted and proud to be counted.

All parties involved in MLBK wanted the restaurant to reflect its place and regional culture just as its predecessor in Omaha does, so the menu focuses on plant-based comfort foods, much of which has roots in the shared Eastern European cuisine both Isa and the Kubersky sisters enjoyed growing up—vegan latkes, blintzes, chops + applesauce, a Niçoise with deviled potatoes, root vegetables aplenty. But they don’t take the inspirations as rigid guidelines, allowing them to pull from other popular cuisines with a beautiful Italian lasagna that boasts handmade noodles, a take on New England chowder a surf + turf, and the ever-in these days—shishitos, which they do beautifully.

The menu will likely shift with the seasons, but even if it didn’t, everything we had was crave-able enough to keep around for good. That said, we’d recommend getting there soon in case some favorites do leave the menu—again, everything was great, but our favorites of what we had were the latkes, the truffled poutine, the grilled caesar, the hearty chops + applesauce, the mac, and the lasagna (I know, a lot). And seriously—we’re not just saying all of that because we’re all pals. We were able to come in twice while we were in town, and it’s all truly beautifully done, really wonderful food. Vegan or not, we highly recommend going. For all you celiacs + gluten-free out there, there’s a vested interest in the menu being extremely GF-friendly, with deliberate kitchen practices to minimize cross-contamination on the gluten-free menu items.

MLBK is located at 317 Union Avenue right by the Metropolitan G and currently open Wednesday to Sunday, 530 – 10PM. They’re serving dinner only right now but brunch should follow shortly; then a lunch service soon after.

All photos by our gracious + talented friend, Justin. Below, Erica, Isa, and Sara; Seitan Chops + Applesauce—rosemary breaded seitan, gingery sweet potatoes, pink applesauce, seared brussels sprouts; Mac + Shews (gf)—creamy cashew cheese, pecan-cornmeal crusted tofu, BBQ cauliflower, sautéed kale, tomato vinaigrette, spiced pecans; Surf + Turf—glam chowder, herb grilled seitan, seared radish, wilted mustard greens, popcorn cauliflower; Grilled Caesar (gf)—grilled romaine, garlic caper dressing, polenta croutons, peptic parmesan; Blistered Shishitos (gf)—edamame mint hummus, frisee, parsley oil; Zaatar Pretzels—baba ganoush, chili oil, preserved lemon, sumac; Wild Mushroom Blintz—buckwheat crepe, smashed beet relish, almond ricotta, kasha arugula salad; our friend Agatha + Erica; and us looking tough in front of the MLBK mural.

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The whole concept of Modern Love is a vegan translation of traditional food with whole ingredients and make it even better. I think, where the locations are, they influence us.
Isa Chandra Moskowitz to Paste Magazine earlier this month.

Yesterday, on our southward journey back from a stay at the very lovely Stanford Inn, we got a chance to check out Amy’s Drive Thru, the all vegetarian, very vegan-friendly take on American fast food by Amy’s Kitchen.

Though now ubiquitous with its convenient, vegetarian, organic meals, Amy’s started out small, with husband and wife Andy + Rachel Berliner starting the company in 1987 and running it from their home and barn (they named it after their then newborn daughter, Amy). After their signature vegetable pot pie shot to grocery store stardom, Andy + Rachel expanded their line to include soups, beans, chili, sauces, and millions upon millions of frozen burritos, with an eye toward combining heathy living with convenience.

Last year, Amy’s opened Amy’s Drive Thru in Rohnert Park, California, just north of San Francisco, and we’ve been meaning to stop by ever since. The concept—convenient, health-minded, vegetarian and vegan food that’s competitive with the non-veg fast food market—is an easy extension of Amy’s Kitchen’s core concept and, we have to say, from our experience, it’s a huge success.

First off, prices are great—single-serving pizzas for $6+; sides of mac for $4+; burritos for $5; vegan and dairy shakes for $4; and the signature double-patty veggie burger, The Amy, with (vegan) cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and spicy or non-spicy special sauce, all for just under $5. And everything’s still made largely on-site using organic ingredients.

And the space itself reaches for new heights in über-eco-ness—tables are made from old automobile brake drums, wood used is either recycled or culled from off-cuts, tableware is recyclable and compostable, and the roof sports both a rainwater capture system and habitat-creating, naturally cooling drought-tolerent garden.

Maybe most importantly of all—the food tastes fucking great. Everything we had hit that perfect taste point of classic fast food that many of us still hold in a nostalgic place in our hearts but wholesome and clearly better for you, while still retaining the crave-worthiness—we seriously started craving The Amy mere hours after leaving the Drive Thru.

Between Amy’s, San Francisco’s already formidable vegan food scene, and The Stanford Inn’s all vegan offerings not too far north, we’re already planning our next trip up the coast.

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Amy's Drive Thru is returning to the roots of American fast food, serving lovingly handcrafted food to nourish hard-working citizens, busy families and road-weary travellers.
Amy's Drive Thru