Album Reviews 20/08/06

Fantastic Negrito, Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? (Cooking Vinyl)

In a sense, Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz, a.k.a. Fantastic Negrito, reminds me of filmmaker Spike Lee, a Black man finding greatness in a white world. Like Lee, Negrito possesses an ultra-rare, universally accessible level of creativity that’s essential to getting his points across. We last left Negrito laying to waste every last Led Zeppelin wannabe with (to invoke Lee again) his musical answer to Do The Right Thing, 2018’s Please Don’t Be Dead, an LP that was a complete 180-degree turn from his Prince/roots-blues debut. Here, he nails the middle ground, strutting and owning his Blackness again, starting with the Stevie Wonder-on-rohypnol “Chocolate Samurai,” then (on the Tank-guested “I’m So Happy I Cry”) blasting a full 17-cannon broadside against Moby’s “Honey,” and no, I’m not imagining it. Even his Prince shtick returns, just because (“Searching for Captain Save a Hoe”). Just go buy this album, would you please? A+ — Eric W. Saeger

Bear Grillz, “Fire” (Dim Mak Records)

By its very nature, electronic dance music is a genre constantly in flux. By the same “progress-for-the-good-of-all” token, it’s rarely a violent uprising. But from the sound of this advance single from Bear Grillz’ upcoming EP, the entire genre may be under construction, or demolition, take your pick. The story here is that when Covid-19 shut down the world, Denver-based DJ/producer Grillz reached out on Twitter to any rapper willing to record a few syllables to be used on songs to come, and Salt Lake City native Atari answered (he sings and raps on two other tracks to be released later). I imagine most critics wouldn’t associate this with EDM at all, more like very aggressive dubstep; the main thrust is an Islamic call-to-prayer vocal over a menacing stun-guitar line, then build-up to chaotic drop, with a few lines laid down here and there. Maybe it’s official, then, that the lines of all electronic genres have blurred; I’m sure that’d be fine with fans who’ve grown quite tired of trying to keep up with designations-of-the-week.

Retro Playlist

Eric W. Saeger recommends a few songs worth another listen.

Millennials (adults aged 22 to 38) (um, 38 now?!) are about to inherit the world. The lovely starter kit God has chosen to bestow upon them includes such wonderful gifts as the coronavirus, a wild west internet filled with fake news and constant invasions from brigades of sockpuppet trolls, a failing climate, and “Past Shock,” a societal malady I coined in my book to describe the horrors that deeply tech-savvy younger people regularly experience when having to deal with outdated financial, political and other systems that are still rooted in backward, Industrial Age technology (or non-technology — why on earth should anyone have to show up in person at the Department of Motor Vehicles, ever?).

One of the culture wars raging nowadays is one in which “Zoomers” (a.k.a. “Generation Z,” i.e., the 21-and-unders) are blaming millennials for a lot of the world’s problems. It’s an unfair rap, really. Millennials have never gotten a break. Too many of them had to live with their parents because there were no jobs. Drowned in college debt, they abandoned all hope of ever owning homes. And why have children when the world’s literally on fire?

Even in the music world, they just can’t win. No fictional “Council of Millennial Tastemakers” ever voted for the “Millennial Whoop” to be identified as their core pop music sound. In fact, the “Millennial Whoop” — the same musical notes as in the children’s playground taunt “Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah” — has been a go-to melody in pop forever. Wikipedia cites “Jungle Love” (1983) by Morris Day and the Time, and Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” but it’s been around a lot longer, in Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” (sneakily) and Queen’s “We Are The Champions” (blatantly) for starters.

Millennial-centric bands have done epic things with the Whoop, or at least its two dominant notes. It’s all over Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody,” “Kings & Queens” by Thirty Seconds to Mars (I reviewed their 2009 LP This Is War here), and was even used by Green Day, whose “Oh Yeah” single lifts from Joan Jett’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me.”

Moral? We need to ease up on millennials already. They’ve done some cool things with their Whoop. Let them have that at least.

If you’re in a local band, now’s a great time to let me know about your EP, your single, whatever’s on your mind. Let me know how you’re holding yourself together without being able to play shows or jam with your homies. Send a recipe for keema matar. Email for fastest response.


A seriously abridged compendium of recent and future CD releases

• Bands, singers and various random art-frauds will release new records this Friday, Aug. 7, including mummified arena-rockers Deep Purple, whose new album’s title, Whoosh!, has an exclamation point at the end of it, just like this sentence, which automatically makes you read it harder! Before you ask, no, guitarist Richie Blackmore is not in this band anymore, and hasn’t been since 1983. All the other original members are here, except for organ player Jon Lord, who is deceased. The video for the new album’s tire-kicker single, “Man Alive,” starts out with an orchestral background while some astronaut dude walks around in slow motion against a background of stars exploding or galaxies being formed or whatever; it reminded me a lot of how much I hated the movie Ad Astra, for being pretentious, boring and nonsensical, much like this song’s intro. But then the 1980s-Purple hard rock kicks in with a rumbling riff, and Ian Gillan starts singing about a Life After People scenario in which a guy washes up on a beach, and then there’s some esoteric spoken word nonsense, and that’s really it. Maybe it’s a concept album, but if so, is the guy in the video supposed to be a gill-breathing Waterworld dude, or just some lonely castaway “last man on Earth” who gets to draw a moustache on the Mona Lisa just because he can and he’s bored? I’m sort of intrigued, aren’t you? No?

• I’m going to assume yep, Wikipedia says I’m right — that California hardcore punk band Death by Stereo named themselves after the line Corey Haim spoke in The Lost Boys after killing the vampire with the Jennifer Connelly hair. That is actually a point in their favor as far as I’m concerned, so I will keep an open mind as I toddle off to listen to “California Addiction,” the single from their forthcoming new album We’re All Dying Just in Time, their first official full-length since 2012’s Black Sheep of the American Dream. Wait, they’re supposed to be “hardcore punk,” but this just sounds like old Slayer, like the guitar riff is fast and kind of complicated, and the singer sounds like Tom Araya. You will like it if you like misidentified hardcore punk or Slayer. Does that help?

• U.K.-based psychedelic art-pop fellas Glass Animals actually made quite the splash in the U.S. with their 2016 album, How to Be a Human Being, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live to play the song “Life Itself,” which had a pretty cool tribal beat, an LMFAO-style hook, and a really stupid video. The title track from their new album, Dreamland, is quite different from “Life Itself” in that the singer sounds like Bon Iver; it’s light and pleasant, with trip-hop elements and a hook that makes it non-sucky.

• To close out the week, we have country singer Luke Bryan, who wrote Billy Currington’s 2007 single “Good Directions,” among other things, before striking out on his own and becoming too big for his britches. His latest LP, Born Here Live Here Die Here, has as its single the title track, an instant cowboy-hat classic hoedown-ballad whose lyrics start with “Bunch of buddies in John Deere hats, a little crazy but they got my back.”

Anyone need further explanation? Good.

Local bands seeking album or EP reviews can message me on Twitter (@esaeger) or Facebook (eric.saeger.9).

The Weekly Dish 20/08/06

Barbecue and bluegrass: The Concord Coalition to End Homelessness will hold a socially distanced bluegrass barbecue on Sunday, Aug. 9, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. outside the Douglas N. Everett Arena (15 Loudon Road, Concord). Attendees must purchase their $70 “meal-for-two” tickets in advance online and pick a designated hour for pickup. Your meal includes brisket, pulled pork, sausages, baked beans, coleslaw, buns, pickled red onions, assorted sauces and your choice of water or iced tea to drink. You can also purchase a vegan meal for $20, which includes tuna-less vegan “tuna” salad, chili, a roll and a drink. Bring chairs or a blanket and set up your picnic along the river, where live local bluegrass acts will be performing. To purchase tickets, visit

Virtual diversity: Welcoming NH, in collaboration with the Concord Multicultural Festival committee, is creating a virtual cookbook as an opportunity for people to share recipes and cultures in lieu of a traditional festival, according to a press release. Now through Aug. 31, recipe submissions are being accepted by emailing, or, you can fill out a short form at The free online cookbook will be published on during Welcoming Week (Sept. 12 to Sept. 20), according to the release.

New pop-up market: Celebrations Catering (1017 Second St., Manchester) hosts a tented pop-up farm stand every Wednesday from 2 to 6 p.m., when local farms, crafters and other small businesses will sell their products. There are also weekly farm-to-table specials available for purchase from the stand as single or family-sized meals, featuring in-season produce, cooking demonstrations and more (24-hour notice is requested). Visit

Restaurant roommates: Downtown farm-to-table eatery Republic Cafe is moving its operations down the street to its sister restaurant, Campo Enoteca (969 Elm St., Manchester), beginning on Aug. 12. According to Republic’s website, the two restaurants will be co-operating under one roof because Republic’s current location “has been deemed Covid incompatible.” The message says full menus from each restaurant and cocktails from each location’s bar will all be available. Visit

In the kitchen with Ashley Reisdorf

Ashley Reisdorf of Raymond is the owner of Ashley’s Eats & Sweets (find them on Facebook), a homestead business specializing in custom cakes and baked goods. A self-taught baker, she accepts custom cake orders for all types of events, including birthday parties, graduations, baby showers and weddings. She’ll also dabble in cookies, cupcakes, whoopie pies and other smaller goodies. Order inquiries can be placed via phone or online, with at least a one-week advance notice requested and free contactless delivery within a 30-minute drive of Raymond.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

An offset spatula or a silicone scraper.

What would you have for your last meal?

Vegetarian barbecue nachos.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

Gordo’s Burritos & Tacos in Raymond. My husband and I love to eat out from there.

What celebrity would you like to bake a cake for?

Mark Wahlberg.

What is your favorite thing you’ve ever baked for someone?

I guess my personal favorite cake that I’ve made … was a pina colada-flavored dirt bike helmet cake that I did for my older brother’s birthday in January. We have a typical brother-sister relationship. He likes to tease me and tell me my stuff is no good, [but] he raved about that cake to everyone.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?

Unicorn cakes seem to be the running theme with little girls lately. I think I’ve done like eight of them in the last couple of months.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

Cooking-wise, I think my specialty is loaded mashed potatoes and fall-off-the-bone ribs.

Featured Photo: Ashley Reisdorf of Ashley’s Eats & Sweets in Raymond.

Honey lemon lavender shortbread cookies
From the kitchen of Ashley Reisdorf of Ashley’s Eats & Sweets in Raymond

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons honey
2 cups all-purpose flour (can be replaced with gluten-free one-to-one flour)
Pinch of salt
3 to 5 lemon lavender tea bags (to taste)

In a stand mixer, cream together softened butter, sugar and honey until light and fluffy. Add in flour, salt and loose tea leaves. Mix until just combined. Be careful not to overmix. Lay dough out on a piece of plastic wrap. Form dough into a log and then shape into a rectangle. Wrap dough in plastic and freeze for 30 minutes, or refrigerate for two hours or until firm. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. While the oven is heating, cut the dough into 1/4-inch slices and place one to two inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. The cookies will still be soft but will firm up when cooled.

Summer flavors

Great New England BBQ and food truck festival returns

If you’ve been cooped at home for most of the summer, you’ll have the chance to get out and enjoy local food and beer at the Great New England BBQ & Food Truck Festival. Even though it will look and feel different this year, the second annual event is scheduled to happen on Saturday, Aug. 8, at the Hampshire Hills Athletic Club in Milford, and will also include craft and artisan vendors, live music and a cornhole tournament.

Normally a two-day festival, the event has been shortened to just one day this year. A kids’ zone that had bounce houses, face-painting and other activities has been eliminated.

Festival organizer Jody Donohue said she has been in regular communication with the town’s health and fire departments, as well as the state Attorney General’s office, to develop a plan on how to hold the event as scheduled in a safe fashion.

“It’s going to be much more spacious,” Donohue said. “We’ll have a minimum of 10 feet of space to the left and right of every food truck and artisan.”

She added that one-way walking aisles, six-foot pavement markings and sanitizing stations will all be implemented throughout the venue. All vendors and event staff are required to wear masks and attendees are encouraged to as well when not eating or drinking.

Ten to 12 food trucks are expected to be parked along the perimeter of the aisles for the duration of the festival, including a few local to New Hampshire and others coming from nearby New England states. Prime Time Grilled Cheese, launched by Manchester couple Alex and Marcie Pichardo in 2018, was a favorite at last year’s festival and is expected to return this year, according to Donohue. The truck offers all kinds of specialty grilled cheese sandwich options, in addition to “dessert” sandwiches like the grilled Fluffernutter and the grilled S’mores.

Other local faces will include Jayrard’s Java Cafe, a mobile coffee trailer converted from an old camper that specializes in premium Costa Rican coffees and organic teas, and The Smoothie Bus, which offers dozens of flavors of made-to-order smoothies using real fruit. There will also be freshly baked cookies from the Sweet Crunch Bakeshop & Catering Co. of Vermont; specialty hot dogs on toasted rolls from Trolley Dogs of Boston; barbecue options from Bobby & Jack’s Memphis Barbecue — a.k.a. “The Pig Rig” — of Tewksbury, Mass.; and cannolis from Uncle Joey’s Cannoli of Waltham, Mass.

A beer tent will feature pourings from several local breweries, like Frogg Brewing of Marlborough, 603 Brewery of Londonderry and Martha’s Exchange of Nashua. Guitarists will be playing music throughout the afternoon and the crew from 106.3 Frank FM will be there between noon and 2 p.m.

Two of the athletic club’s indoor tennis courts will be open with craft and artisan vendors. Donohue said products sold there will run the gamut from jewelry, stained glass, handmade soaps and woodworking items to gourmet barbecue sauces, mustards and other foods.

A cornhole tournament during the festival is planned for 2 p.m. on the function field adjacent to the parking lot, with warmups at 1 p.m. The cost is $15 per player and includes event entry.

While there will be multiple chairs and tables set up inside and outside that will be regularly sanitized, Donohue said festival attendees are allowed to bring their own chairs or blankets.

“It really is going to be a fun event for people to just get out of the house, sit on the field and enjoy the open air in a safe way,” she said.

Featured Photo: Alex and Marcie Pichardo of the Prime Time Grilled Cheese food truck. Courtesy photo.

Second annual Great New England BBQ & Food Truck Festival
Saturday, Aug. 8, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (rain date is Aug. 9)
Where: Hampshire Hills Athletic Club, 50 Emerson Road, Milford
Cost: Tickets are $5 general admission and free for kids under 14; purchase tickets at the gate or in advance online at
Free parking is available on site. Masks are strongly suggested. No pets are allowed.

Participating food vendors
Bobby & Jack’s Memphis Barbecue (“The Pig Rig”) (
Chompers (find them on Facebook @tomschompers)
Extreme Concessions (find them on Facebook)
Jayrard’s Java Cafe (
M&G Mobile Gourmet (
Pig on the Road BBQ (
Prime Time Grilled Cheese (
R & J BBQ (
The Smoothie Bus (
Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream (
Sweet Crunch Bakeshop & Catering Co. (
Totally Nutz (
Trolley Dogs (
Uncle Joey’s Cannoli (

Treasure Hunt 20/08/06

Hi, Donna,
I recently came across this item in a box that belonged to a deceased family member. While he was not a member of any police force, he had a few friends who were. My boyfriend and I cannot agree on what this is. He thinks it is a grave marker and I think it is an automobile badge. Who is right? We believe it is brass. Any idea on its age or what it may be worth? Any info you may be able to give me would be most appreciated.

Dear Sandy,
You are right! It is a license plate topper.

License plate toppers were around from the 1930s to 1980s. There were lots of them, too. The value now depends on rarity and condition.

Yours being from a police department makes it a collectible in two areas: one for license plate topper collectors and then for police memorabilia collectors as well. So I think the value would be in the range of $125. Now because it is semi-local being from Massachusetts, I would maybe do more research by checking with the station to see when exactly they used this one, and for how long. And what was the official purpose?

After all the work is done you then might find the value to change. Maybe there were only so many made for the town.

Tell your boyfriend that some grave markers can be very similar, so it was an easy mistake.

Downtown for days

Concord’s Market Days converted to a month-long festival

The annual Market Days Festival returns to Concord this summer with a twist. Instead of the traditional three-day event, Market Days will become Market Month, a series of “Mini Market Days” held every weekend in August.

“People will be able to get outside with their families and enjoy games and activities, live entertainment and shopping — all the things they haven’t been able to do for a while — for a whole month,” said Haylie Stoddard, event coordinator for Intown Concord, which hosts the event.

From Thursday, Aug. 6, through Sunday, Aug. 9, there will be a Sidewalk Sale, where downtown businesses will expand their storefronts outside on the sidewalks, talk with customers and promote special items.

Market Month will highlight downtown restaurants during Restaurant Week, happening Thursday, Aug. 13, through Sunday, Aug. 16.

Then, from Thursday, Aug. 20, through Sunday, Aug. 23, Concord will celebrate its diverse cultures with International Arts Week. That Saturday will include a full schedule of multicultural music and dance performances, arts and activities.

Market Month will conclude with another Sidewalk Sale from Thursday, Aug. 27, through Sunday, Aug. 30.

Visitors can also play Market Month Bingo, where for each day on the bingo board they can do an interactive activity to learn about a participating business. If they complete the task, the business will stamp their bingo card. Completed bingo cards can be entered for a chance to win a prize at the end of the month.

“A lot of our downtown businesses are struggling right now, and they need the hype to get people to come spend their money at downtown businesses and support the livelihood and culture of downtown,” Stoddard said.

Plans for Market Month have been mostly “up in the air” and made “week by week” due to the various uncertainties posed by the pandemic, Stoddard said, so it’s likely that events and activities will continue to be added throughout the month. Intown Concord will announce new additions to the schedule on its Facebook page as they are confirmed. Intown’s hope, Stoddard said, is to secure approval for use of the Statehouse lawn to feature more entertainment.

“If we get that approval, we’ll be able to book more musicians, performers and dance groups and have more days with events going on,” she said.

Under normal circumstances the Market Days Festival is central New Hampshire’s largest free community event, attracting tens of thousands of people each year. The shift from the three-day festival to Market Month was made, Stoddard said, “to enhance and ensure the safety and health” of downtown visitors and businesspeople.

“It’s a way to spread things out,” she said. “There will be smaller groups coming into downtown in increments rather than mass crowds of several thousands of people coming into downtown at one time.”

Face masks and hand sanitizer will be provided to attendees, and social distance markers will be set up at performances and other events and activities where a number of people would gather.

Market Month
Downtown Concord
• Week 2 (Thursday, Aug. 6, through Sunday, Aug. 9) — Sidewalk Sale
• Week 3 (Thursday, Aug. 13, through Sunday, Aug. 16) — Restaurant Week
• Week 4 (Thursday, Aug. 20, through Sunday, Aug. 23) — International Arts Week
• Week 5 (Thursday, Aug. 27, through Sunday, Aug. 30) — Sidewalk Sale
Cost: Free admission
More info:

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