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Musical Pairings: Jose Gonzalez – Veneer (paired with buckwheat, buttermilk blueberry pancakes)

This pancake recipe is a titan in a world full of lesser pancake recipes. It includes the three B’s of pancake awesomeness: buckwheat, buttermilk, and blueberries. There is probably only one other pancake recipe I’ve ever tried that really compares. So why are these pancakes so good? It is because they are rustic, fluffy and the blueberries just pop when you break into the stack. I’d describe these pancakes as perfect for an autumn morning or to cheer yourself or someone else up. And a proper Musical Pairing would have to be autumnal, intimate, and as pretty and melodic as these pancakes are delicious. Jose Gonzalez‘s Veneer is that perfect pairing. It is soft, sensual, earthy and slightly bittersweet. And music doesn’t get more intimate that this. With a pair of good headphones it sounds like Gonzalez is sitting next to you, playing sparse, deft acoustic guitar and gently singing in your ear. Not only is it a perfect pairing, it is a nearly perfect album.

Jose Gonzalez is a Swedish singer/songwriter of Argentinian descent, and he has so far released a pair of excellent LPs. Veneer is his debut album and opens with the beautifully plaintive and paranoid “Slow Moves.” “Slow Moves” is followed by the defiant, hopeful “Remain” which features intricate, tightly reverberating acoustic guitar that builds in tension as Gonzalez sings: “we’ll remain after everything’s been washed away by the rain / we will stand upright as we stand today.” His singing is gorgeous and engaging, so much so that it is easy to overlook the fact that many of the songs only feature a few short lyrics repeated slowly and quietly, such as on “Remain” as well as the lovely, wistful “Love Stain.” Of course, that means that your attention should probably be focused on his fantastic, picked acoustic guitar playing which is even more engaging that his singing. Another album highlight is Gonzalez’s reinterpretation of the song “Heartbeats,” which was originally by Swedish electro duo The Knife. Additional highlights include “Crosses,” “Deadweight on Velveteen,” and “Hints.” If you don’t own this album, you should. Head over to Insound for the CD – or better yet start scouring record stores for your copy of this classic on wax (they are out there – I found a copy).

Jose Gonzalez – Heartbeats

Also, check out my live recording of portions of his set from Yoshi’s in Oakland in 2008.

Jose Gonzalez – Hand On Your Heart (Kylie Minogue Cover)(live in Oakland 9/22/2008)

Most importantly, head back to eating/sf to read Kasey’s recipe for these awesome pancakes!

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Posted by Matthew Hickey

Matthew is the music editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. He’s addicted to vinyl records, pour over coffee, craft beer, small batch bourbon, and pan roasting pork chops.

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