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Entries in Aislyn (4)


Killer Tofu, Killer Show.


Hey, party people. Or should we say, office chair-ridden, email-sending, blackberry-stressing people, since that's what we are now that we're back in the ol' swing of things.

The days of wearing cutoffs and eating animal parts slathered in BBQ sauce and walking past Isaac Hanson and Andrew WK on the same block within the same 90 seconds have been replaced by the ever-evil routines of early morning alarms and laundromats and office duties that are a far cry from "day parties", unless you count the walk to the deli to go get bean soup a party. (Which, frankly, depending on the selection, I sometimes do).

We've got more SXSW sessions to push into your eyeballs and eardrums, but for now, here's a couple of videos from the KILLER TOFU acts that performed on our outdoor stage on that fateful night. And, speaking of, big thankaroonies to I Guess I'm Floating for being the best blog co-collaborators we could have asked for. The fiesta was unreal, and people waited in a line to get in like it was Rollercoaster Tycoon or something! Without them, I wouldn't have seen the insanity of Gobble Gobble and holyshit, was it madness.

Enjoy, and get ready to enjoy all over again when we post some shiz from High Highs, BRAHMS and our surprise headliner, Blackbird Blackbird.

Til' then, this:


Hooray For Earth - "Rolling/Nectarine (live at Big Ugly Yellow Couch SXSW Showcase)"

Aislyn - "Invisible Woman (live at Big Ugly Yellow Couch SXSW Showcase)"


Big Ugly Yellow Couch Session: Hooray For Earth

Big Ugly Yellow Couch Session: Aislyn


Aislyn, ARMS, & BRAHMS at Pianos, 5/17/2010




Time for a post by Donald.  It's my first one for Big Ugly Yellow Couch.  Out from behind the camera, laptop in hand, so here we go...

Something magical happened last night.  Three Big Ugly Yellow Couch alums all played at the same place, on the same night!  It's not often that we go to a show and see three awesome bands we both love but last night Aislyn, ARMS and BRAHMS played their hearts out for BRAHMS Piano's residency.

Aislyn first public performance was on our very own yellow couch and last night they introduced themselves to the world.  Ian and Sofi played through songs off their debut EP, switching keyboards and positions throughout the set.

ARMS contiues to prove they are a band not to be ignored.  After first seeing the boys open for Passion Pit at Terminal 5 back in January the band and the songs have gotten better, this band is a wonderfully tight unit.

BRAHMS closed out the night with their best performance yet.  Instruments no longer spread out over the matress of the couch but instead standing tall behind neon orange music stands looking not unlike a band from the future.

Be sure to head to Piano's next Tuesday for night two of the BRAHMS residency.

(Ed. Note - We'll be there. Yay Donald!)


Starving Artists: Cupcakes For Aislyn

When a band schleps all the way to your apartment to play some tunes, the least you can do is give them some grub that's a step up from a packet of Handisnacks. So, in order to convince ourselves (and others) that we're actually capable of cooking, we've been slapping on a silly apron and whipping up desserts and snacks for bands who come over for Couch Sessions. Halfway between chef-like hospitality and your mom's after-school snacks, here's our take on foods we make. The recipes aren't always ours, but the shortcuts most definitely are.

If there's one way to Ian Hultquist's heart, it's by being his bandmate, Sofia Degli Allessandri. But, if there's another one, I'd bet a handful of cash that it's by being a delicious cupcake. New to this whole Magnolia Bakery thing due to the fact that I dislike tourists, waiting in line for food and paying for something that I'm pretty sure my man Duncan Hines can provide for much cheaper, I caved to its sugary schtick a few weeks back and had been craving more ever since. And, after finding a recipe for Magnolia's vanilla cupcakes online, I'd figure I'd give it a whirl, because you could probably slather frosting on a turd and it would still taste good.

Turns out, if that turd just so happens to be a 'nilla cupcake you made yourself, it's especially good.

Magnolia Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Icing

(recipe adapted from

make 'em, bake 'em...


1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.

I have no idea what cupcake liners do, exactly — can't I just spray the tins with non-stick spray instead? — but I'm too scared of fucking an entire recipe up, so I was once again guilted into using them. It's terribly annoying, because no matter how much work you put into a dessert, a paper cup with balloons or bunnies on it dumbs your baking down to the level of a fourth-grade birthday treat, but I guess there's no way around it. Sigh.

In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

You'll want to cream it for too long, but be careful not to. I'd suggest setting a timer for 2:30 and judging it from there.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.

This is terribly annoying and by far the fine print to a seven-ingredient recipe, so be warned. But, there's a reason they taste so good, and if it's from ten minutes of stopping, starting and scraping, it's worth it.

Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full.

There's not really enough batter to fill them a real three-quarters, so err on the side of less rather than more. I had to keep plopping batter between cups to even them out, and it took twice as long as it should have.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

You're done!

Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.


1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm (we used milk chocolate. whatever you've got will work.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (aka powdered)

To melt the chocolate, place in a double boiler over simmering water on low heat for about 5-10 minutes.

Don't panic. You don't need a fancy "double boiler" or whatever to melt chocolate. A stainless steel bowl sitting above a pot works, or our poor man's solution — a small saucepan balancing above a larger saucepan filled with water — works well too. Whatever you do, don't use the microwave. Trust me. Lots of hardened chocolate, lots of elbow grease to get it off.

Stir occasionally until completely smooth and no pieces of chocolate remain. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5-15 minutes, or until lukewarm.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the milk carefully and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat well, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat for 3 minutes.

I...have no advice to offer for this one. I was preoccupied with licking icing off my fingers.

Gradually add the sugar and beat on low speed until creamy and of a desired consistency.

Be stingy with the sugar and taste-test after each 3/4 of a cup. The original recipe required a 1/4 cup more of sugar, but to avoid the downfall of making homemade frosting — having it taste like powdered sugar instead of chocolate — keep trying it until it reaches the flavor you like. Ice 'em up, add sprinkles, and you've got this:

Cupcakes fit for a band!


Report Card:

Ease: C+. Not impossible, but even with a KitchenAid mixer, this got to be a pain in the ass.

Taste: A-. Should have used semi-sweet chocolate, but we were already thinking about seconds while we were finishing our firsts.

Bellies Fed: B.  We had enough to feed all of us that afternoon and some leftover for Aislyn to take home, but we weren't dealing with cupcake overload by any means.


Magnolia Cupcakes Recipe at MSNBC

Couch Session: Aislyn



Couch Session: Aislyn


Session #7: Aislyn

A Passion Pit and his songbird mate,
collaborate on something we're glad they found time to create.
Getting the two together is hard enough,
and as a couple, we're sure they'd agree that it's tough.
Long stretches apart sprinkled with days at home,
could be one day in Brooklyn, the next one in Rome.
But there's a noticeable bond, silent and strong,
That's obvious between them, underlying their song.
Ian's on-the-road tunes make you wiggle and move,
with Heads asleep and Secrets small, it's a constant groove.
But when your tired old bones lay horizontal for the night,
and arise the next morning, constricted and tight,
it's Aislyn you want, when you're ready to wake,
to stretch your legs long and rid your body of ache.
With its top note seductive, relaxing and sweet,
It lets you swim in its calmness without ignoring its beat.
While their time on the couch is much more intimate and raw,
Both these songs and their record have left us in awe.
There’s an upbeat lull, one that doesn’t put you down,
Invigorating, refreshing and lovely all around.
No matter which way you cut it, on the ugly couch or not,
Aislyn’s no side project that should be forgot.
So collapse into morning’s deep yellow glow,
And to Ian and Sofia, give your warmest hello.



Aislyn - "New Soul (Big Ugly Yellow Couch Session)"

Aislyn - "Wake Up (Big Ugly Yellow Couch Session)"

Aislyn - "Nail Biter (Big Ugly Yellow Couch Session)"



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