Musical Pairings

I know fog isn’t the constant companion of everyone who lives in the Bay Area, but it is a fact of life for many of us who live in San Francisco and other areas closest to the coast.  One day it is sunny and warm, and the next thing you know cold, damp fog is rolling down the street pushed forward by strong, chilling winds from the Pacific.  And for me, taking long treks from neighborhood to neighborhood for any purpose loses a lot of its appeal on these windy, foggy days.  The secret is that you learn to roll with the fog.  To accept it.  Make the most of the fact that the weather outside makes you want to hole-up inside.  And the best way to do that?  Make a warm, comforting meal with some friends or a loved one and listen to warm, comforting music, of course.  And it goes without saying, but a bottle or two of wine helps contribute to the atmosphere.  Unsurprisingly, I have recommendations for recipes to prepare and albums to listen to and have ready for this contingency: Papercuts – You Can Have What You Want and Evening Empire – Build The Myth Backwards.

Papercuts – You Can Have What You Want (paired with brandied plum clafoutis)

San Francisco’s Papercuts are led by Jason Roberts Quever, a singer/songwriter whose already developed a reputation for tight, well written songs that have an almost detached day-dreamy quality that is both breezy and soaring. These qualities are a result of the excellent use of reverb enhanced vocals and tentative, but uplifting melodies. Indeed, Papercuts’ third album, You Can Have What You Want, is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, and I can strongly recommend it. It is a warm, soothing album that is perfect for curling up with a relaxing glass of red wine, sharing good conversation with friends after a delicious meal, or sharing a meal for two in a dim-lit living room on a cold, foggy day.

[audio:|artists=Papercuts|titles=Future Primitive] Papercuts – Future Primitive

You Can Have What You Want is an unusually solid, successfully coherent album that plays well from start to finish. Opening track “Once We Walked In The Sunlight” features quivering vintage organs and tight, controlled percussion which serve to elevate Quever’s vocals. “Jet Plane” is a sleepy, beautiful epic that floats high above ground that almost sounds like the musical equivalent of watching something at a distance moving slowly across the horizon. “Future Primitive” is blissful, and easily one of the album’s highlights.  You Can Have What You Want is a great soundtrack to preparing and enjoying Kasey’s brandied plum clafoutis recipe, which is certain to lift your spirits on a dreary day.

Evening Empire – Build the Myth Backwards EP & The Ocean in Films (paired with chicken tagine with chickpeas and mint)

San Francisco four-piece Evening Empire have already managed to crank out a pair of excellent, well-written EPs in their relatively short career. Evening Empire consists of guitarist/singer Anders Carpenter, bass player Sean Ferry, drummer Daniel Hildebrand, and Beau Trincia on synth/organ/vocals. Their latest EP, The Ocean in Films, was just released on July 21 and features 4 tracks of catchy indie rock. Much of this short player, such as the second cut,”On Parade,” consists of shimmery pop-rock reminiscent of early Elvis Costello blended with hints of Murmur-era R.E.M., as well as a small dose of Wolf Parade, owing to jangly guitar, steady percussion and well-harmonized backing vocals. The EP’s third track, “Mining Your Assaults,” is another standout: a slow-rolling rocker that fuzzes in at just the right moments.

[audio:|artists=Evening Empire|titles=CCTV] Evening Empire – CCTV

Despite the strength of their latest effort, their debut EP, Build The Myth Backwards, is probably my pick for a recommended entry point into the band’s catalog, in part because it contains my three favorite songs I’ve heard by the band so far: “Weather Photos,” “From a Crowd of Thousands,” and “CCTV.” On the track, “CCTV,” booming guitar resonates alongside the melodic bleep of a chiming synth that threatens to obscure the urgently intoned lyrics supplied by Carpenter. Both albums are available as free downloads from the band’s website, and are definitely worth downloading and listening too. This album pairs well with a slow-cooking, simmering recipe.  Something warm and satisfying.  Kasey’s chicken tagine with chickpeas and mint recipe is a great pairing for this album, and a highly recommend recipe for your next foggy night trapped in your apartment.

About Musical Pairings: Musical Pairings began as a way to combine Matthew’s love of music with his fiance Kasey’s love for cooking and dining out. Kasey regularly posts about our cooking and dining out adventures at and Matthew pairs Kasey’s recipes and reviews with his favorite albums at: Contact us at