Marshmallows are in the process of evolving into something more.
Since it’s impossible to buy duck in Phoenix on Sunday, I’m swapping Arkansas and California in the 50 states / 50 dishes / 50 bands project. The Boston Phoenix‘s pick for California is Puro Instinct (Bandcamp page), a sister duo with an unfortunate habit of mumbling lyrics. I was about to move on to a different pick when I started reading the band’s press, including this article from Spin. At that point, feminist ire at how Puro Instinct is consistently defined in terms of hotness and hair — rather than by its music — provoked me to give them a fair listen. (I suppose male critics would say it’s impossible to avoid noticing that Piper and Schuyler Kaplan are hot; but how would they like to be noticed not for their body of work but for their bodies?)
The quintessential Los Angeles-area dish is the California roll… but making sushi means getting involved in special equipment and specialized techniques for the sake of reproducing something I can buy at every grocery store. So it’s time to follow Mommy Knows’ tutorial for making candy sushi!
Candy sushi is a project I’d been eyeing for quite a while. The key component is a thin slab of Rice Krispy bars, so let’s start with the microwave instructions for making same. I made only a half-recipe.
Watching marshmallow bubble is a good fit for starting on Puro Instinct. Once again, let’s click the big button and hear all of the Bandcamp songs.
Into a microwave-safe bowl, put 1-1/2 tablespoons of butter and about half a package of mini-marshmallows. Nuke it for about 1:40, stir well; nuke another minute or so; stir even better.
My immediate impression of Puro Instinct is that this is the DiVinyls after a lot of the good weed. This is definite dream-pop (distortion effects!), and the first track has an interesting little rain-like groove that turns sitar-like near the end. I could be quite wrong in looking to earlier electropop-oriented girl bands for influences, as the sisters say that what got them started writing music was coming across an album that was the hot thing on the Russian indie scene.
The rainy feeling continues into the second track, with some sort of percussion providing the larger raindrops. Hoping that it’s not too damp to make candy, add Rice Krispies to the marshmallow mix. Although three cups should be the correct proportion, I stopped at a bit over two cups and got a reasonably flexible mixture.
Spray a pan with Pam and drop the marshmallow-Krispie mixture onto it. Then pit a sheet of parchment paper on top and press down through the paper to get a thin, flat sheet of Krispies. Let this cool.
The detachment of Puro Instincts’ vocals hearkens to shoegaze — to an extent that I’m starting to wonder how thoroughly a shoegaze/psychedelic blend dominate the indie scene this year.
My home scene appears to be dominated by prickly pear gummies. Being pretty sure that I was unlikely to go through an entire box of six gummies, I decided to cut up some of them to act as the “crab” in the candy California rolls. The avocado or cucumber (theories vary) are, of course, gummy worms.
Lay the fillings on the cooled Krispy mixture. Roll firmly. Go only one revolution. Trim. Do it all again. And so on.
I note in the third track, which was (I think deliberately) making me depressed about the mere existence of Los Angeles, that Puro Instincts’ songs tend to develop a musical twist in the last 40 seconds or so.
If you’re wondering who Leland is on the final song — he apparently released one album in 1976. It includes a less leisurely version of the same song, though it’s still impossible to tell if the lyrics point to a downbeat song about leaving or a happy song about accepting love. I’m leaning toward the latter, if only because Puro Instincts’ instrumentation is so unhappy, and the band seems to like that sort of contrast. There’s a bit of instrument that perfectly conveys whining, too.
Speaking of whining — the Market Pantry pomegranate fruit leather was not about to roll around anything, no way, no how. This leaves me wondering if food shelf programs have a use for earnest hipster fruit leather. I suspect not.
Here we are reminded that women who are rearing children possess a Mommy Magic that allows them to cut rolls of rice krispy so that the result actually looks like sushi. One doesn’t realize how tough a gummy worm is until one tries to cut through it.
If you think I tasted this, dream on. It went straight into the freezer for my plane flight to Las Vegas on Wednesday night (a little treat since the big family-style turkey event was on Saturday). Dealing with airlines makes a jolt of pure sugar look appealing. (Okay, while making the candy sushi, I was drinking vinho verde and eating marshmallows straight from the bag. Evs.)
“Jolt of pure sugar” takes us to Puro Instinct’s big video: “Stilyagi,” featuring Ariel Pink (you get mad hipster pointz for knowing who Ariel Pink is — I didn’t). A stilyagi is a Russian hipster. Since absolutely nobody has figured out the lyrics with enough confidence to post them, I have no idea whether the song is meant as mocking, affectionate, or both. However, since I mix my own mockery of hipsters with the frank admission that I am one (got the thrift store outfits, the handicrafts, the tea, the cat, the obscure music, the MacBook, and the penchant for sharing ironic photos), I’m going to treat it as affectionate. Wait for the delightfully burbly effect and vocal sampling.