The Perfect Dinner Party Soundtrack & James Kochalka Love

As my obsession with cooking deepens, so does my interest is cooking for other people to show off my newly acquired skills. My grand idea - a dinner party for some of my closest friends. Besides not having enough table space, chairs, etc., I can still spend hours daydreaming of seating arrangements, appetizers, cocktails and most importantly: the music selection. You want something entertaining but not overpowering, something subtle enough to both spark and complement the conversation. After a long thought process - I have come up with your Dinner Party Soundtrack, these bands are both great to just pop in by themselves, or make a special mix that you can hand out to your friends as favors! They work well both ways.

Away we go -
1 - CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH - (self titled) - They have a bit of ARCADE FIRE rock in them but maintain a slightly off but low-key vocal value that makes for some great background music. The newest album (Some Loud Thunder) is a bit louder then their self-titled debut, but could also work.

2 - AIR - Pocket Symphony - If CD's could fit in your pocket then this would be your "Pocket Symphony" no doubt. Both beautiful and eloquently ambient, some songs are instrumental while some of lulling vocals layered over their somber electronic sound. I can already say that this will be my soundtrack for the Fall, and its sure to soothe your dinner party guests almost unbeknownst to them.

3 -JUDY GODDARD - A Prayer and A Song - Don't be fooled by the title, this is not some gospel album. Judy's voice is beautiful and her songs are too. If you like that bluegrass "old-timey" sound then this is a extremely listenable CD from start to finish. I particularly enjoyed the Celtic(?) influences (pan flutes and Irish or Scottish melodies). While the entire CD may be a bit too "folky" for your frou-frou dinner party, mixed in with some of the previous artists is a great way to showcase Judy's serene vocals. You can purchase her album here: http://judygoddard.homestead.com/

4 - NOUVELLE VAGUE - (any and all) - This, to me, is the TANTAMOUNT Dinner Party Music. 80's covers done in a bossa nova style, with a sultry French girl on lead vocals. Watch your guests be entertained by the novelty whilst simultaneously singing along and sinking into a delightful relaxed state. My faves on the album have to be the 1st and last song respectively "Love Will Tear Us Apart" and "Friday Night Saturday Morning" (Note: this is not the last song on the reissue) - but don't discount the rest of the CD. From beginning to end, Nouvelle Vague is the ultimate music to make your dinner party "TEH AWESOME!"
JAMES KOCHALKA's American Elf Vol 2 - This was a 1 Year Anniversary present to my dearest boyfriend, but I kinda swiped it from him once he opened it up. He got mad, swiped it back, and I had to wait a whole 3 days to start reading it for myself. My first impression - such a smaller collection than the 1st one!!!! :cries: It is quite a few less years, only chronicling 2 years of Kochalka's life - for more info on his 1st volume please check out my previous story "The Beauty of American Elf" in this very blog! What's the difference besides that? The cartoons are now in color!!!! While my man Goddard felt that this might take away some of the story for him - I found myself even more entertained by the use of color portraying different people and feelings. This book is ripe with stories regarding James and Amy's new baby Eli - while Spandy (Kochalka's cat) may have been the foil of many strips in the 1st book - Eli is just a hilarious once he begins to speak. I must say I found the lack of Spandy a little sad. Kochalka's life is not something that I necessarily want or dream of having, but it is the little things that I find myself chuckling at and identifying with, whether it be tedium or the harshness of reality that solidifies him as my favorite cartoonist today. I am never disappointed with his work. Do yourself a favor and read American Elf then be sorrowful with me when you are out of strips to read. I should really just suck it up and subscribe to his site!!!
~Till Next Time Kittlings.


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