Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Speaking of Nitro Tone..

Another development at WERS has been the promotion I helped to organize between my radio station and my boyfriend's guitar store, Nitro Tone Music at 1132 Mass Ave. WERS is all non-profit, but works with businesses throughout the year in strategic partnerships that involve goods or services rendered donated to the station in return for the 1,000-hit-a-day ad spot on Nitro Tone will be donating an acoustic guitar as a giveaway on the morning Coffeehouse program as part of a jingle-writing contest, so currently, that sweet spot belongs to us. I've also been doing publicity work for the store in other online outlets, but this is a promo I'm quite proud of, as it was well conceived and designed. Click on the link above for more details.

(This ad is featured on the front page of It was designed, I believe, by Tina Dhingra. The Promotions Director behind it is Emily Belyea.)

My Obsession with Food Finds an Outlet:

I recently discovered, a community reviewing site which allows users to post reviews of Boston-area services ranging from restaurants to media outlets to car repairs. Since this is what I love to do, I now dabble on the Web site when I'm waiting for my pasta to boil or for a slow page to download. It's helpful because it assigns you an individual URL (in my case, where all of your work is nicely arranged. It's democratic, because it doesn't require businesses to purchase a listing before customers can comment on it--I was even able to be the first to list my boyfriend's business, Nitro Tone Music, and review it (with full disclosure about our connection, of course). And it's instantly gratifying because you can receive compliments, messages and other feedback from readers and even from the Website staff, which singled out my review of the Flour Cafe as their "Review of the Day" on July 13 and later sent it out in their weekly e-newsletter as a "favorite review of the week," extra exposure I wasn't expecting, which was nice.

Flour Bakery & Cafe
1597 Washington St
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 267-4300

"This place is apparently a favorite among Yelpers [there had been several reviews for this place already], but among Bostonians in general it's still a little-known hideaway. South Enders, however, seem to be flocking to Flour; my guess is that the sunny see-and-be-seen patio is a draw (for people-watchers and dog owners especially), as well as the gourmet goods inside. Another detail that sold me recently was the chalkboard inside, which features foodie quotes every day, and last week had a notation from gourmet doyenne MFK Fisher. These people are really passionate about food; the dishes might be a little rich (in price and in calories!), but you should know that much more love and talent goes into their preparation than any Starbucks.

This is an adopted neighborhood place for me, so I know it is an excellent place to stop by and soak up the sun after a long night out (that's me in the walk-of-shame heels and annoyingly big glasses with the Sunday paper--hi! good morning!). Try the new lemon-ginger-mint spritzer for a non-caffeine pick-me-up, along with the delicious portobello panini special for the perfect combination of refreshing and greasy (yes, grease is still sometimes a good thing, even on the ever-gentrifying Washington Street)."

Album review: Thievery Corporation, "Versions"

This review was published in the beginning of the month as the Album of the Month review for Uncommon Rotation, a show on WERS that features a kind of "best of" lineup--all the hosts' favorite picks for the month. I usually enjoy the entire lineup on the show, and this album is no exception, so I'll just let the review speak for itself. You can also listen to an MP3 of one of the tracks, a remixed version of "This is Not A Love Song" by Nouvelle Vague, at


Artist: Thievery Corporation
Album: Versions
Released: May 2006
Show: Uncommon Rotation

Have you ever left a club saturated to the bone with top-40 hip-hop or techno, and wished you could defeat the tedium by mixing your own favorite music into lounge-worthy beats? Luckily, Thievery Corporation has taken the liberty of handling the task, and they've even added a few retro hits you might have missed.

The spinmasters of TC, Eric Hilton and Rob Garza, are in the perfect position to know what works in a club: they own one. The partners began their musical careers by releasing their work through their Eighteenth Street Lounge (ESL) label, named after their Washington , D.C. watering hole. TC became well known through their high-profile collaborations with David Byrne, the Flaming Lips and Perry Farrell on The Cosmic Game, their 2005 album. One track, "Lebanese Blonde," also made its way onto the popular Garden State soundtrack.

Since then, the two have continued to create their expansive lounge sound with well-regarded artists such as Norah Jones, whose soporific vocals can be heard drifting through "Angels," a remix of the song by Wax Poetic, which has been a go-to track for WERS' Coffeehouse and Uncommon Rotation shows. Another favorite here at the station is TC's remix of Astrud Gilberto's worldly "Who Needs Forever." One can picture both the crowd and the locale for which these tracks were created: an expensively-coiffed, international crowd all swaying slowly under the dim lights of a cool interior of a well-appointed D.C. dance club, martinis in hand.

But don't let the sophisticated sound alienate you if your scene is more likely to include bare light bulbs, slip-covered couches, and the tinny sound of computer speakers. Instead, escape to the breezy sound of this eminently listenable album. For Versions is nothing if not transformative, drawing on sources such as the Doors' "Strange Days" and Sarah McLachlan's "Dirty Little Secret" and building on their existing ethereal themes to make remixes that are more breathy, woozy, and smooth, but still enjoyably recognizable in their made-over states. And while the mix is certainly eclectic, Hilton and Garza have produced an album that functions well as a coherent whole. For that reason, Versions belongs in the collections of both retro-rock fans and electronica buffs alike--or anyone else who appreciates music that so refreshingly transcends musical and cultural boundaries without betraying its own unifying character.

Focus tracks (played on WERS): Wax Poetic - Angels (TC Remix) feat. Norah Jones, Astrud Gilberto - Who Needs Forever (TC Remix)

Other notable tracks: Strange Days by the Doors remixed

-Ryan Rose Weaver

WERS named Boston's Best College Radio Station by Improper Bostonian Magazine

I got excited when I heard about this because I thought that we had been named best radio station in Boston overall. After all, as the article points out, WERS has built a larger audience than commercial radio stations like WFNX, and the share drawn by our "little-station-that-could compare[s] favorably with public radio behemoth WGBH..." But WERS has held a top spot among college radio stations for some time now, so this was not making the daring statement I thought it was. And after perusing the Improper Bostonian's other "bests," which also include already well-known and beloved spots such as my own Rod Dee thai takeout, the popular Franklin Cafe and Brookline's Pomodoro, I've concluded that they're on a mission to recognize obvious landmarks rather than provide a guide to spots off beaten path.

But either way, it's still fun to get prizes.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Back after backpacking in Europe

I recently returned to the States after an "independent study" of the Mediterranean. I went on a solo trip to London:

... then flew to Italy to meet up with my best friend, Karen...

from there we traveled through Italy along the coast ...

...taking a quick jaunt to Switzerland

...before spending a few days in the French Riviera

...then on to Barcelona

...and back to London.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime journey and I'm glad I went; I'm also glad to be back and writing again in the States. Look out for more postings soon!