Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Walkmen "On the Water" live on La Blogotheque

I recently started listening to The Walkmen at the recommendation of two friends. Somehow they alluded me for all these years. I've been really getting into their new record You & Me, particularly the song "On the Water." Well guess what, Vincent Moon recorded The Walkmen playing that song in the back of a van for La Blogotheque. AWESOME!

The Walkmen - On the Water from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Thanks Pitchfork for the tip.

Track Bikes + Tweed Jackets in London

I saw this post today on A Continuous Lean about fixed gear riders getting dressed up in tweed jackets then riding around London. I think it's time to organize a similar ride in SF, with our own style. Tech nerds? Beatniks? Hippies? Hopefully I can get something going soon.

Telefon Tel Aviv: New record, Tragic loss

I've always wanted to get into Telefon Tel Aviv. Anytime I mentioned listening to bands like Junior Boys, Apparat, Hood, or Album Leaf I was quickly reminded by my friend Kevin that their sound was largely influenced by Telefon Tel Aviv. TTA put out two records back in the 2000-2004 window titled Fahrenheit Fair Enough and Map of What is Effortless. Given that they were older I delayed hunting them down, but finally did a few months back. I was hooked.

Fahrenheit is a largely instrumental record full of blips, clicks, pops, etc mixed with some chill hip-hop vibes. Map of What took that sound, added some orchestral sound, and then threw in some dope vocals for good measure. Each of these records were far ahead of the curve, and are highly worth buying.

I recently came across their new single "Helen of Troy" on either Pitchfork or Stereogum. I really dug the song, as TTA again was re-inventing their sound, again in a good way. I also found out Bpitch Control was releasing their new record Immolate Yourself, and became even more excited. Well, it just came out today on iTunes so I had to buy it. Already I love it. Everything about this record catches my attention. the vocals, the glitches, the sweeping sounds, the beats. The flaws that were programmed in the sound are super cool to. Hearing a synth bend is rather interseting.

It seems that TTA is once again going to step into the limelight for electronic music. However, it seems a tragic event has occurred last week. Charlie Cooper, one of the two memebers of TTA, has mysteriously passed away. It's also strange how the new album's title is about suicide by setting yourself on fire. Strange coincidences afoot. It's tragic to hear about the loss of a great musician, especially as TTA has again released an incredible work of music.

Thanks Pitchfork for the tip.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Denim Aversion

I’ve been afflicted by this complex for years. I realized that I needed to write about it for a few reasons. First, I bet others have fallen victim to this strange phenomenon. Second, the more I delve into denim culture, the worse it gets. Third, I can’t seem to rid myself of this complex. Please let me know if I am going crazy.

I guess I should take a moment to define what exactly Denim Aversion is. Some people don’t really give a damn what jeans they are wearing. These people are not afflicted. Wait. Maybe it’s better for me to define D.A. by personal example. A case study if you will.

 I used to wear boot-cut jeans for years. At some point I noticed that folks were starting to migrate from boot-cut to straight leg. Up to that point I had a pair of boot-cut Diesel jeans that I wore all the time, and could not fathom replacing them with another pair of jeans. Well, eventually I decided that maybe I should buy some Diesel straight leg jeans. For the first month or so, I couldn’t stand the look of the straight leg jeans. All I wanted to do was wear my ruined boot-cut jeans. Then, after about a month of wearing my straight leg jeans, I tried on my boot-cut jeans. They fit horribly! I could no longer stand wearing the jeans that I used to love for at least a year. It’s as if I had an aversion to my old jeans!

Sometime later I decided to buy a pair of raw denim, as I learned about the interesting culture that is the selvedge / raw denim scene. I never in a million years would have bought raw denim in the past, but now I was ready. I picked up a pair of A.P.C. New Cure which is considered a skinny jean. Reasonably skinny; not hipster vacuum-sealed skinny. I thought they would be cool to buy, though I was a little worried about how skinny they were. Sitting down, among other things, was tough for a few weeks.

I’ve been wearing my A.P.C.s for about two months now, and I’ve completely fallen in love with them. The fit is perfect. I never want to wear any of my other jeans anymore. It’s like I’ve moved past that part of my life, and feel strange going back. A few times I wear other jeans, and I can’t wait to get out of them and get back into my A.P.C.s. WTF? How am I actually bothered by such trivial things? And how is it that this complex doesn’t apply to shoes, shirts, etc? I’m perplexed.

So that’s Denim Aversion. If anyone can help me cope with the complex, I’d like extend my thanks. If anyone can validate that I don’t have a complex, and that this article makes perfect sense, I’d like to extend my thanks two-fold. 

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Friendly Fires "Skeleton Boy"

Looks like Friendly Fires have released a video for "Skeleton Boy" off of their new self-titled record. Also one of my favs on the album. 

Thanks Stereogum for the tip.

Empire of the Sun "We are the people"

I've been a fan of Empire of the Sun since I first heard their song "Walking on a Dream." They sound like a dancier version of MGMT, which isn't a bad thing by any means. Anyways, they just released a video for my favorite song on the record "We are the people." Check it!
Thanks Antville for the tip

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fever Ray (aka The Knife)

Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olaf Dreijer are the brother and sister combo who make up The Knife. Karin did all the vocals (even the male sounding ones) and Olaf produced the beats. Karin has recently completed a new solo project as the artist Fever Ray, releasing a self titled record. Each listen to the record draws me further into the sound. The beats still sound very much like those from The Knife, and the vocals are the signature sound of Karin. I do however feel this record is more on the chill side than Silent Shout. It's more like older works from The Knife. The record is not out yet in physical format, but can be purchased online.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Ed Ruscha towel for Artware Editions

This towel is freaking genius. I love it. GENIUS! Artware Editions is doing a line of artsy beach towels designed by various artists. "The study of friction and wear on mating surfaces" was designed by Ed Ruscha. The background image on the towel clearly represents a sunrise or sunset on the beach. Perfect time for mating. :) As blunt as it is, I find the phrase on the towel to be rather clever. The towel is 60 x 70 so it's clearly meant for umm... use... by two people. I feel though that one who owns this must be in a healthy relationship, because if you're at the beach by yourself, you'll probably remain by yourself. But if you are with someone, consider it performance art!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

H(Y)R Collective issue 9 out!

H(Y)R Collective is quickly becoming one of my favorite sites for sophisticated men's fashion and culture. The online magazine is published monthly, and the Jan 2009 issue (#9) has just been published. So far the issue looks great! Good photography, great articles, and discerning taste. In particular I liked the "Best of 2008" article. Lastly, make sure you check their blog

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Jack Spade pencil case

I always carry the necessities in my bag for sketching: pencils, sharpener, eraser, and a sketch book. I figure that a cool idea might pop up at any time, and I want to be able to get it on paper while its fresh. By their nature pencils make a mess in anything you put them in. Anyone who is into sketching will understand the benefit of a pencil case. I myself have been quite a fan of pencil cases for the past few years, though I've had one that I've used exclusively for some time now. 

I recently ran across this new pencil case by Jack Spade and instantly fell in love. There are a few elements that really catch my eye. The rubber dipped bottom looks incredible on top of the black canvas case. Notice how the vinyl covers the lower half of the Jack Spade logo. Very slick. I'm also a fan of the shiny / flat black color scheme. Lastly, I love the Jack Spade zippers. They are very well made. Of course, I ran across this at Blackbird. Who knew?

Special edition MAKR wallet for Blackbird

I've been dying to get my hands on a MAKR wallet for some time now. I love the simple, yet beautiful desings of their leather wallets. In particular, i've been a fan of the vertical slim pocket and hoziontal flap wallets. They allow you to carry a few cards and some folded cash in the most minimal way possible (besides in a pile in your pocket.) I've had problems time and again with cards cracking in traiditional wallets that layer the cards for easy access (read J.Fold). A subtle advantage of the card case type wallets is that all cards are in a stack, reinforcing one another. This is a major selling point for me. 

I just noticed on the Blackbird blog that MAKR has designed a special edition of the vertical flap wallet as a Blackbird exclusive. Only 30 of these wallets were made, all by hand of course. I am super excited to get my hands on one of these as I keep hearing rave after rave about MAKR's products! I am also excited to see how the leather will age over time with use. I can't wait for mine to arrive. Only 29 left!

de Young Museum Bookmark

I have an obsession these days with things that age with use. Items that develop a patina are of particular interest. It's interesting to see something visually change due to you using it. I saw this copper bookmark at the de Young Museum in San Francisco some time back. I picked it up for a few different reasons including:
  • It uses the same dot matrix structure and copper material as the museum exterior.
  • It's copper.
  • It would likely age with use. 

Sure enough I was right! the bookmark hasn't changed much yet, but is starting to show the signs of use. I bet it will look really interesting in a few years. 

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sky Doll

I can't remember where I started to hear talk of it, but apparently Sky Doll is the new hotness as far as comic books and graphic novels are concerned. Issues 1-3 sold out in a flash when they were first released in the US. Why would it sell out so fast? Because Sky Doll is a French comic, and has been selling like hot cakes in France, Italy, and Germany. Marvel wised up and brought the series stateside. Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa are the writers / artists of the comic. 

I wont give anything away, but the story revolves around Noa, a "sky doll," who is essentially a robot designed for erotic pleasure. She meets two guys Roy and Jahu who work for the current religious and political leader of their planet Papathea. The three end up on an interesting journey that revolves around the fact that Noa had more to her than looks and mechanical parts. 

The story is interesting as it focuses on religious faith, and the impact that has on society. The story is extremely compelling, and I can't wait for more issues to be translated. Given that I like to draw, I have to mention the artwork. The colors are beautiful, the lines are very clean and modern. Top notch. If you are ok with sexual aspects to a graphic novel, I strongly recommend you pick up Sky Doll volume 1.