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Brandon Wenerd's blog

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Coming Attractions: A Chit Chat with Electro-Super Duo Ratatat

If you saw J.J. Abraham’s stomach-churning camcorder blockbuster Cloverfield, you’re already familiar with the Brooklyn-based electronic post-techno duo Ratatat. Before the monster emerged from the Hudson River with Godzilla-like rage and began bashing iconic Manhattan landmarks into smithereens, Ratatat’s post-techno instrumental grooves reverberated through the background of a fashionable loft party in gentrified Greenwich Village.


Ratatat’s Evan Mast, aka E*vax, laughed when asked about the song being worked into the soundtrack of the doomsday movie: “There was so much secrecy around the entire project. They just told us who the director was. They wouldn’t show us clips or give us a brief description. It was a real leap of faith for us.” Mast continued, “It was cool how the song echoed through the scene, like it was recorded in that room. But the movie sucked.”

I talked to Mast before the group’s free March 27th gig at the base of Ajax, next to the Snow Queen Gondola.

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Aspen Shopping: A 101 Guide to Aspen Art Galleries

Aspen is spiked with sensory overload. The region boasts a breathtaking panorama of majestic mountains, beautiful people, a cloudless cerulean sky, fresh air, and irresistible culinary flavors.

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Sam Bush Interview: Bluegrass at Base Village

Sam BushSam Bush
Bluegrass at Base Village: Sam Bush discusses Aspen, Bluegrass, The Summer of Love, and being a Kentucky Colonel.

Bill Monroe, the late mandolin-pickin’ granddaddy of modern bluegrass, once described his beloved genre as “Scotch bagpipes and ole-time fiddlin'. It's Methodist and Holiness and Baptist. It's blues and jazz, and it has a high lonesome sound. It's plain music that tells a good story. It's played from my heart to your heart, and it will touch you. Bluegrass is music that matters."

Bluegrass matters because – much like jazz – it is deeply rooted in the nitty-gritty of the American experience. It’s a genre of colloquial homespun lyrics, plucky melodies, and tight, breakneck acoustic riff. Bluegrass has a certain rustic nostalgia and rural romanticism, serving as an apropos soundtrack for a sequestered high alpine town like Aspen. Dust back the pages of Aspen’s history a century or so and it is easy to envision the scene: motley and haggard silver miners sitting around a fire, drinking whiskey, and strumming at a weathered banjo while crooning a Stephan Foster song after a long day in the craggy underbelly of Smuggler Mountain.

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Historic Aspen Bed & Breakfast: The Snow Queen Lodge

There was a day when the town of “Aspen” as we know it was known as Ute City and the silver dynamited out of the hills was much more valuable than a timber and stone McMansion-lodge with alpine-views, Jacuzzis, and a heated driveway on Red Mountain. Aspen’s ski and tourism-era building boom has resulted in a plethora of development up and down the Roaring Fork Valley.

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March Madness Hoops Hangouts: The Best Sports Bars in Aspen

It doesn’t take much to picture the scene in office buildings around the country: talk of the latest basketball gossip over the water cooler while eager middle management overlords distribute Xeroxed brackets. The intern or mailroom clerks organizing company-wide betting pools.

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Poppies Bistro

As far as ski towns go, Aspen is quite conducive to coupling up. A beautiful scenic backdrop, a litany of intimate boutique lodging options, plenty of places to canoodle by a blazing fire or in a hot tub, and some profound options when it comes to wining and dining by candle light can set the mood for puppy love in the Rockies.