Every other week, Anthony Kozlowski pens the Atwood Magazine column Tunes & Tumblers, pairing new and classic albums with cocktail recipes. He quickly found however that drinking alone is a sad business. So he invited his friends Pedro Isaac Chairez and Ryan James into a recording booth to aid in mixing delicious drinks and to discuss the music that they all love. Strap on your headphones and enjoy a cold one on us.
Indie favorites Vampire Weekend delve into what life looks like when the rose-colored glasses come off with their latest, Father of the Bride. To make it go down smoother, our intrepid podcasters whip up a shot just as delicious, bitter, and fleeting as this life.
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We aren’t as young as we once were. As the halcyon days of wine and roses fade like lights on the horizon, what are we left with? All that remains is the realization that good times pass and lasting happiness takes a lot of work. Maybe it’s time to let go of those fantasies we thought made our lives so great — the people, the relationships, the fools’ gold that shines brighter than it is valuable — and build toward something real, something that lingers when the high crashes down and the drugs are all gone.
The Tunes & Tumblers gang leave their twenties behind and embark on a strange new journey of responsibility and adulthood in this week’s episode. To help with this terrifying transition, our boys have enlisted the help of a band who made the trip before them.
Father of the Bride
an album by Vampire Weekend
If it seems like your favorite Atwood Magazine podcast has taken a dark turn, you needn’t fear. Like the album at the center of this week’s discussion, all the sorrow and introspection comes with a spoonful of sugar. New England’s resident cardigan rockers Vamprie Weekend burst onto the scene over a decade ago, inviting the world to dance to their Afrobeat-tinged radio pop. That love of head-bopping joy hasn’t dissipated as the band passed through the “wife and kids” stage of life, but it comes bundled with a set of hard-learned lessons. Father of the Bride, their first release in six long years, is the sound of of a group maturing, sticking to what they do best, but informed by everything they’ve gained and lost over the past decade. From the self-reflective melancholy of island lilt “This Life” to the bludgeoning truths of “We Belong Together” (spoiler alert: they don’t), this album is bursting with gut punches. Bounce around while you weep over your mistakes.
This week finds the Tunes & Tumblers crew doing precisely that, praising the maturity of one of the 21st centuries most beloved bands, while sipping doses of emotional anesthesia. And we mean sipping quite literally. Please traverse “this life” responsibly.
The Bitter Wake
Makes 2 Shots
- 2 oz bourbon
- 1 oz dry vermouth
- 1/4 oz lemon juice
- 1/2 oz blue curaçao
- 6 dashes of bitters
- Shake ingredients together with ice
- Pour into two shot glasses
- Find a partner
- Sip or shoot
Father of the Bride begins at the end of a great love. It’s a bittersweet reverie, joyful for what once was, but admitting that change is needed and inevitable. That theme cuts through the entire album. Vampire Weekend speak frankly of the finality of this one relationship, but the implication ripples out to all connections in any life. Nothing is permanent. There may be regrets, but there are plenty of good times to savor, no matter how brief.
To capture the fleetingness and complexity of human existence, Pedro pours a shot, but it’s a shot best sipped. A potent mix of bourbon, dry vermouth, lemon, and blue curaçao make it one of the stiffer Tunes & Tumblers offerings, but the sweetness leaves the palette craving more. Because it’s a shot, there isn’t much to enjoy, so savor it while it lasts.
The name “Bitter Wake” takes its cue from the lyrics of “Married in a Gold Rush”
I want to put things back together
I wanna give, I don’t wanna take
Time to disavow the gold rush
And the bitterness that’s flourished in its wake
It’s a solemn acknowledgment that the endorphin rush of something new perhaps hides an unhealthiness. Maybe it feels disheartening to admit that, but it also presents an opportunity to build something stronger from the ashes. Life is more than fireworks and starry-eyed dreams. Take it all in — ecstasy and pain — while it lasts.
There’s plenty to enjoy in this week’s tragically brief episode. Ryan divulges his secret obsession with the Nihilist Arby’s Twitter account, Pedro explains why Jack in the Box tacos are a lifestyle choice, and Anthony wonders how he could pivot the podcast into employment by Queen Elizabeth.
The search for a theme song continues in this episode too!
If you or your band think you have what it takes to soundtrack a podcast, submit a recording to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “[ARTIST_NAME] Tunes & Tumblers Jingle Submission.” In addition to having their music featured and credited in future episodes, the winner will also be invited onto a special episode of Tunes & Tumblers to talk about what they would pair with their music. The winner will be chose early this Fall, so don’t hesitate to throw your hat in the ring!
In the words of YouTube music critic Middle 8, “What does a ‘father of the bride’ do? He gives away his pride and joy.” Similarly Vampire Weekend give their most intimate and introspective work to us with this album. Tunes & Tumblers does its best to do them justice, even three Bitter Wakes Deep
Tunes & Tumblers 006:
Vampire Weekend and a Bitter Wake
Catch up on Tunes & Tumblers at Atwood Magazine‘s Breaker, and keep your fingers crossed that the TnT logo will appear on Spotify in the coming days.
If you want to add any of the music discussed to your library, check out the full episode playlist below:
Have your own idea for a Tunes & Tumblers pairing? Let us know in the comments, or hit us up on Twitter.
© Pedro Isaac Chairez
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