Hartford based 10-piece West End Blend continue to impress fans wherever they go, delighting with an uproar of musical energy and delicious grooves. Today, the CT based band releases their newest album, Say Hey! The new EP captures that musical magic in recorded format, and the result is simply electricWe’re honored to have the premiere on this brand new album, showcasing West End Blend’s triumphant sonic style. Listen to it below, and be sure to read on for lead singer Erica T. Bryan’s full reflection on the new release.One obvious difference between Say Hey! and West End Blend’s other releases is, of course, the absence of a rapper. I think this past year has been about learning how to move on with our sound after such a big change, and we wanted a record that reflects the group as it is now. In doing so, we’ve had to make clear adjustments to the way we do things, and one of the more subtle but crucial differences between then and now is production.It’s amazing to see how invested we’ve all become in the entire production process after recognizing what we could have done differently with the last records; with this recent release we took greater care to be organized before hitting the studio, experimenting and getting what we wanted during studio time to make the most of it, and being honest with ourselves about what we could improve on or adjust for future live performances. Anyone in the band will tell you I’m a perfectionist, and I know it’s made my life so much easier this time around to not be kicking myself for not trying things. There is always a point after-the-fact when I’m wondering why I didn’t speak up about this or that when I had the chance; this time, I think I got what I wanted out of my own voice and my own writing more so than the other releases, and I think others in the band could probably relate to that feeling.Since establishing our core members, communicating with each other that way has been of greater importance than ever before, and our writing process has evolved a great deal lately. We’re writing and thinking more instinctively, all contributing, but still trusting each other and holding ourselves accountable for our own sections–rhythm section vs. horn section vs. vocals–to come up with a great addition to each new piece of music. More of the writers in the group, myself included, are learning when we need to take a step back and simply let a song of ours go where it’s going to go, let it truly become what it’s meant to be, which is, actually, a West End Blend song.This season’s big tour is something that we all recognized as an exciting possibility, but maybe a distant possibility, and it’s come along much sooner than most of us expected. In all honesty, the past year has been a whirlwind of unexpected, unbelievable opportunities; this summer’s shows have taken us to so many new places with so many new people that every once in awhile I need a moment to catch up. Now this fall it seems we’re suddenly met with a chance to go even further than we’ve ever gone before, promoting a new record with artists we’ve looked up to for years, like The Nth Power, Dopapod, Big Mean Sound Machine, and so many others. It’s definitely scary, and an unbelievable rush. Since joining forces with Mitch Moriber and Eli Novicky of Tone Wheel Music Group, who happen to be long-time friends of ours, we now have not only more outlets and more opportunities to share our music on a much wider scale, but also a pair of impartial judges outside of the band to help us weed through the madness of ten headstrong opinions; it’s something that’s proven to be indispensable for a large group like ours, and really helps us stay focused on making the music we love.Over the past year, it’s become more apparent that we are involved in a very special, very deeply-rooted, musical neighborhood. We’re making music and connections within this giant, talented circuit of funk and soul musicians, and, as other members of West End Blend and I have agreed, we are obviously new kids on the block, and have a lot to learn. I think on the whole we are more committed now than before because we know this really isn’t going away. It’s a fixture in our lives and a part of every decision we make. We’re all a part of this thing that just won’t stop growing if we don’t allow it to, and I don’t think I would have it any other way.West End Blend will be celebrating the new album with an exciting three-night EP Release run, including a show tonight in their hometown venue Arch Street Tavern with Hayley Jane & The Primates. The band will also collaborate with special guests from Turkuaz at The Hall At MP in Brooklyn, NY tomorrow night, and will play Nectar’s in Burlington, VT on Saturday. Check out the schedule below, and head to the band’s Facebook for details.West End Blend EP Release Dates9/28: Hartford CT – Arch Street Tavern w/ Hayley Jane & The Primates (EP Release Show)9/29: Brooklyn, NY – The Hall at MP featuring special guests from Turkuaz (EP Release Show)10/1: Burlington, VT – Nectar’s w/ Headband ft. members of Dopapod and Turkuaz (EP Release Show)
Tags: Baraka Bouts To add some variety to a usual workout or just for a rare adrenaline rush, the Women’s Boxing Club of Notre Dame recommends getting punched in the face.Each fall, the Women’s Boxing Club hosts Baraka Bouts, a boxing tournament open to all women on campus. The tournament’s final round takes place tonight.Junior Maeve Donovan, one of the club’s seven captains, said the club serves a dual purpose — teaching the sport of boxing and also serving a philanthropic purpose.“We’re a club sport which allows women from Notre Dame to be able to learn the sport of boxing while raising money for Lakeview Secondary School in Jinja, Uganda,” Donovan said. “This involves coming to practice at least four times a week for two hours each. … After over a month of practice, we begin our spars during practice, which are essentially coach-regulated practice fights. Then the season culminates in the tournament, two nights of bouts in which each girl fighting must fundraise at least $350 before being eligible.”Junior captain Casey Gelchion said boxers join for a variety of reasons and with varying levels of experience, but many stay with it through the course of their time at Notre Dame. “I joined because I was looking for something that would challenge me and help me grow. It’s an extremely demanding and mentally exhausting sport, and it’s taught me a lot about my own physical and mental strength,” Gelchion said. Gelchion said her family’s ties to the program factored into her decision to stick with the sport. “My older brother Matt is one of our coaches for Baraka Bouts. Before one of my bouts, he told me that I would not be alone in the ring. He said I couldn’t be alone, because he would be with me through it all. Being able to have my older brother in my corner both literally and figuratively is a blessing I really can’t quite put into words,” Gelchion said. Beyond her brother, Gelchion relies on the rest of her family as part of her pre-fight traditions. “My pre-bout traditions are largely impacted by my family. I read a list of quotes that my mom compiled for me before my first ever fight: They motivate me to step into the ring and give each round all that I have. Right before the bout begins, my brother Matt and I do our ‘secret handshake,’ and from there, I know I am ready to go,” Gelchion said.Junior Maddie McGovern was a two-sport varsity athlete in high school and said was looking for something to keep challenging her in the same capacity that organized sports did before coming to college. “I went to watch my ‘big sister’ in [Pasquerilla East], Liz Zolper, fight, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever,” McGovern said. “Now boxing season is my favorite part of the year. I love being able to train with a purpose — one that’s even higher than winning on fight night, supporting Lakeview Secondary School.”McGovern suffered a concussion in an interhall flag football game earlier this fall and is unable to compete in the Bouts this year. Still, she found a way to participate in the tournament. “My favorite memory actually was from the semifinals on Sunday. One of my best friends, Emmy Popovich, asked me to corner her for her fights. It meant so much to me that I got to have some part in the competition. She won on Sunday, so it’ll be fun to work with her on [today],” McGovern said. Senior captain Kiley Cox said she joined entirely on a whim when she transferred to Notre Dame but ended up falling in love with the program.“I figured Baraka Bouts was an incredibly unique experience that I didn’t want to pass up, and then I stayed because I loved the people and the community that Baraka Bouts has created,” Cox said. Though she is a captain of the boxing club now, she said she still remembers her first ever spar.“Every time I got hit, I would laugh because I couldn’t believe what happening. One of our coaches, Nate Walker, had to stop the spar on several occasions to try to get me to stop laughing. Boxing for the first time just such a surreal experience,” Cox said. McGovern said there a number of exciting fights slated for tonight’s final bouts. “Maeve Donovan versus Joy Choe will hopefully be even more beautiful of a fight than when they sparred each other a few weeks ago. The two are such crisp and calculated fighters. Emmy Popovich versus Ali Gibson will also be another can’t-miss fight,” she said. Cox also recommended tuning in for the Donovan-Choe bout.“Maeve and Joy are two of the most skilled boxers to ever participate in Baraka Bouts. Definitely the fight to see this Wednesday,” Cox said. Regardless of the outcome, Gelchion said she is excited with all the boxers accomplished this year, in addition to the funds raised. “These boxers have worked tirelessly for months to get to this point, and win or lose, they have accomplished great things. I feel honored to be able to serve them in their corner and help them to give the bout everything they have until the bell rings,” she said.
The new plan lists four broad objectives: (1) Prevent contamination of fresh produce with pathogens, (2) minimize the public health impact when contamination of fresh produce occurs, (3) improve communication with producers, preparers, and consumers about fresh produce, and (4) facilitate and support research relevant to fresh produce. Listed steps for minimizing the public health impact of contamination include, among others, enhancing the capacity of PulseNet, an electronic network for sharing molecular fingerprinting (pulsed-field gel electrophoresis) data about foodborne pathogens. The document lists a number of specific steps in pursuit of each objective. For example, to prevent contamination, the FDA plans to develop additional guidance on safely producing, processing, and preparing specific kinds of produce; propose rules for minimizing foodborne illness associated with eating sprouted seeds; and launch programs to educate consumers about safe handling of produce. The FDA document cites a federal estimate that at least 12% of foodborne illness cases in outbreaks in the 1990s were linked to fresh produce. Brackett said people are eating more fresh produce in response to advice from health experts battling the obesity epidemic. Increased demand has spurred more produce imports and higher domestic produce production, he added. In the research area, the listed steps include studies of the relative risks associated with hazards that can occur during produce production and handling, such as environmental contamination during production, unsafe handling practices, unsanitary equipment, worker health and hygiene problems, and practices that hinder tracing of contamination. In 1997 the FDA launched an initiative to promote good agricultural practices for produce and imported food, Brackett told reporters in discussing the background of the new plan. “We wanted to expand this to include processors, transporters, retailers, and also food service, which is a very important group for food safety, and also inform consumers,” he said. See also: FDA’s 2004 action plan for produce safety “We’ve seen an increase in illnesses associated with fresh produce. We don’t want to discourage consumption of produce, but we want to make sure it’s safe,” said Robert Brackett, PhD, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), in a briefing about the plan today. The six-page action plan says little about new regulations, focusing mainly on FDA plans for providing more information and guidance to fruit and vegetable producers, processors, transporters, retailers, and consumers. Brackett said the agency in 1998 issued guidance on “Good Agricultural Practices” and “Good Manufacturing Practices” for produce. “What we’ve recognized in the past year is that a lot of the stakeholders were not aware of it, or perhaps weren’t really embracing it as well as they could,” he said. The plan deals only with fresh fruits and vegetables, including those that have had “minimal processing,” such as peeling or chopping. It does not apply to frozen produce, fruit and vegetable juices, or tree nuts. Oct 18, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – In response to an apparent increase in illnesses due to contaminated produce, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today released an “action plan” for reducing microbial contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables.
For the 14th-straight year, the Wisconsin men’s basketball team will have to wait until the first round of the Big Ten Tournament is over to know who it will be going up against the following day.This year, Wisconsin (25-6, 12-6 Big Ten) fills the No. 2 seed in the tournament bracket and will await the winner of No. 7 Minnesota and No. 10 Penn State, who play each other Thursday at 5:30 p.m.When preparing for a game with two possible opponents, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan says his team will take time to plan for both Minnesota and Penn State, but focus on what it can do to be ready itself.“It will be one day, one team, one day the next and then a little bit of both,” Ryan said in the Big Ten coaches teleconference Monday. “The other part is to make sure we’re ready, that we’re doing the things that we normally do with as much efficiency as we can. I’m sure that’s how everyone else does it too.”Minnesota looks like the more likely opponent for Wisconsin to face Friday since the Golden Gophers swept the season series with the Nittany Lions, including a 26-point blowout in its final game of the regular season.If the Badgers were to matchup with the Golden Gophers in the quarterfinal, it wouldn’t make for an easy opening game. Minnesota has played up to Wisconsin in both meetings this season, winning by 13 points in Minneapolis in the first meeting and losing by just eight at the Kohl Center in February.Richard Pitino’s Minnesota team is in need of some wins to solidify a position in the NCAA Tournament. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently has the Golden Gophers missing the tournament as one of the “first four out” in his bracketology.Pitino says the key to his team making a run in the conference tournament will be offense and specifically two players.“The two guys that have been, when we win, offensively the key in my opinion are Austin [Hollins] and [Maurice Walker],” Pitino said in the teleconference. “When those guys put up pretty good number, double digits, we normally win … Austin and Mo may be those two wildcards that, when they’re good offensively, we win.”In UW’s case, after finishing second in the Big Ten Conference and landing at No. 12 in the Associated Press poll entering postseason play, it is already a lock for the NCAA tournament field of 68. It might be easy to look ahead to the big dance and put less importance on its finish in the conference tournament, but that’s just not how the Badgers, or their coach, are built.“As a guy that hated to lose a game of marbles growing up or being forced to give my baseball cards to someone else, I don’t like being on that side of the fence,” Ryan said. “We prepare the best way we can for the Big Ten tournament because it is on the schedule and it is next … So it’s extremely important to the players because if you’re going to get into something, you might as well try to do the best you can.”If Wisconsin were to win its first game of the tournament on Friday, it will then play either No. 3 Michigan State, No. 6 Iowa or No. 11 Northwestern in the semifinals around 3:15 p.m. Saturday. A berth in the Big Ten Tournament could feature a rematch with fourth-seeded Nebraska, a tough matchup after falling to the Cornhuskers in the regular season finale, or a rubber match with top-seeded Michigan on Sunday.No matter who Wisconsin draws in the quarterfinals or any other round after that, Ryan doesn’t have an explicit strategy on how far he wants his team to go in the conference tournament.Regardless, Wisconsin and Ryan will be in Indianapolis this weekend, doing everything they can to return to Madison with a Big Ten Tournament Championship.“We’ve been on all ends of it, winning it, losing in our first game, getting to the final,” Ryan said. “We’ve been all over the map as far as our results and it isn’t because some coaches…[are] like, ‘Well, maybe it’s best. We can stay healthier for the NCAA tournament.’ I don’t buy into any of that. If you’re in it, you’re in it to try and get the whole thing. So, it’s important because it’s there. It’s there on the schedule.”