Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rodarte teams up with another indie band!

A few months ago, the Mulleavy sisters of Rodarte teamed up with Deerhunter for a short film featuring Elle Fanning. Well, the girls have done it again, this time, with No Age.

This film is quite a bit different from their first, focusing on their exhibit in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. The sisters talk about their designs and the inspirations behind them. I wish I could be in LA to see the exhibit in person, but I'll just have to settle on this short film.

Any time will do

Welcome to another round of sweet music videos!

PJ Harvey - "The Colour of the Earth"

Harvey has kept true to her promise to release a video for each of the songs on her new album. This is the fifth video (er...short film).

TV on the Radio - "Will Do"

A beautiful song and video to match.

Dodos - "Black Night"

I wish my local bar had an underground fight club ring that pit mustached women against overweight office workers.

Akron/Family - "Island"

This was perhaps the most subtle song on the band's latest album, and for that reason, they're most beautiful as well. The video is a perfect accompaniment.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Music Tuesday - 03/29/2011

All Tiny Creatures - Harbors
They describe themselves as "electroacoustic," can there really be such a thing? Rather or not, it's good stuff. This is a side project of Volcano Choir's Thomas Winchek and features a collaboration with Justin Vernon (Bon Iver!).
"An Iris"

Ayọ - Billie Eve
Billie Eve
Sure she's a French-born Nigerian/German woman, but she's got good ol' American R&B down pat, as well as adding in her own style perhaps born of all those elements that make up who she is.
"I'm Gonna Dance"

Broken Bells - Meyrin Fields
Meyrin Fields
With both of these guys (Danger Mouse and The Shins' James Mercer) so involved in a myriad of other projects, it was easy to assume that their album, Broken Bells, would be a one-off release. Thankfully, it's not, though this release is just as EP. Looks like there's much more to come from these two.
"Meyrin Fields"

Mountain Goats - All Eternals Deck
All Eternals Deck
This is one of those bands I wish I had gotten into years ago. I only recently discovered them, but already, it's love.
"Damn These Vampires"

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Belong
There's a lot of Indie Pop out there (wow, what an oxymoron) and a lot of it tends to run together. Some, like this band, are better. Reminds me a lot of '80s new wave, but manages to bring a new element into the mix.
"Heart in Your Heartbreak"

Peter Bjorn and John - Gimme Some
Gimme Some
They may have reached their pinacle a few years ago with the incrediby catchy "Young Folks," but these guys have put out a lot of good stuff since then. Another (hopefully) great album is here, I'm excited!
"Breaker, Breaker"

Yelle - Safari Disco Club
Safari Disco Club
More French music, though this one sings in French. Yelle does a fine job of bridging the gap between two genres that France has become well-known for; electro and pop (and does it in a way that does not sound like Gaga). The results are great.
"Safari Disco Club"

Monday, March 28, 2011

My recent obsession with Tropicalismo will soon be well-rewarded

I don't know exactly why, but I've been somewhat obsessed with modern Tropicalismo music lately. Tropalismo, FYI, was a music movement in the late 1960s that combined elements of Brazilian folk, samba and psychedelic rock.

I think it started when The Strokes released their last album. While, of course, The Strokes are not Tropicalismo music, one of the members, Brazilian Fabrizio Moretti, covered an album in that style with his band Little Joy, which involves Los Hermanos' Rodrigo Amarante and Binki Shapiro.

I had been listening a lot to the album over the past couple of days and decided to explore some of the other Tropicalismo-inspired music I have in my collection. I listened to The Bees' (or Band of Bees, depending on which country you're in) "Every Step's a Yes" and Devendra Banhart's "Smokey Runs Down Thunder Canyon."

Well, lucky me when I found out this great bit of news. In June, the Red Hot Organization will release Red Hot + Rio 2, the proceeds of which will go to benefit AIDS research. The album pays tribute to the Tropicalismo movement and features Beirut, Dirty Projectors, St. Vincent, Neon Indian, Beck and many more.

Beirut's cover of O Leãozinho, originally by Caetano Veloso

Os Mutantes
Os Mutantes, spearheads of the Tropicalismo movement

Sunday, March 27, 2011

If you're gonna try to walk on water

Les Savy Fav - "Sleepless in Silverlake"

What happens when a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, a Jerry Lee Lewis impersonator and a human statue get together?

The National - "Conversation 16"

Kristen Schaal as the POTUS, and her bodyguard has a crush on her. She chooses the Russian leader, but Roger Sterling is so much better looking.

Jamie Woon - "Lady Luck"

Jamie Woon is riding that electro-R&B wave along with another Brit, James Blake, How to Dress Well and Frank Ocean. All are pretty awesome.

Alex Turner - "Piledriver Waltz"

I'm honestly starting to think that Alex Turner (of the Arctic Monkeys) is one of the best young songwriters out there. The video makes me want to see the movie Submarine (for which Turner recorded a soundtrack) even though I still have no idea what it's about.

Shakin' All Over

I wasn't feeling well yesterday. I spent just about the entire day laying either on my bed or on the couch with my heating pad tight around my tummy. By the evening, I had started to feel better and wanted to escape my apartment.

I got onto Citybeat to see what was going on around Cincinnati that evening. And what did I see, but a Wanda Jackson concert across the river in Newport, Kentucky. Honestly, I'm a new Jackson fan, coming in with her last album, The Party Ain't Over. I've had very little exposure to her work pre-Jack White, so this concert was a good introduction to much of her earlier work.

Wanda Jackson

She did sing her classics, as well as some of the new songs, including "Shakin' All Over" and her cover of Amy Winehouse's "You Know I'm No Good." The woman is 73 years old and still going strong. The show was energetic and fun. You could tell that many in the audience had been fans for years, even though many were my own age (in other words, many of our parents weren't even alive when she started).

She even managed to give some of a history lesson during the show, talking about what was going on in her life around the time that the songs were initially released. She talked about be mentored by (and dating!) Elvis Presley, transitioning into rock 'n roll from country and even her acceptance of Christianity, which did happen to turn some fans off, as one man very loudly proclaimed (I don't think he realized how loud he was talking).

I'm definitely going to start exploring her back catalog. She seems to be a very gracious artist and had a great rapport with the fans. Oh, and by the way, I touched the queen of rock 'n roll's hand!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Add another store to my black list

A few months ago, I stated that I would stop shopping at Forever 21 largely due to their unapologetic copying of high fashion designs. Well, I now have another store to add to my short black list, but due to very different reasons.

I became mildly obsessed with American Apparel a few months back. There was something I loved about them having such a broad selection of basics and active-wear in almost any color you can imagine. I knew of past issues with the company (or, more specifically, the founder), but the accusations, mentioned in the next paragraph, were a couple of years old and something I figured had been dealt with and resolved.

Well, apparently not. In just the past week, at least two lawsuits have been filed against CEO and founder, Dov Charney. The lawsuits, which are similar to those accusations from a few years ago, allege sexual abuses of female associates and models.

Dude just looks creepy...

Whether or not the accusations are true, what really amazes me is that there's not attempt from other high-ranking people within the company or other chairpeople (Dov himself is a chairman) to lessen his role or even remove him from his position. Instead, they just keep defending the man and accusing the women of orchestrating a shake-up or conspiracy against the company.

There have reports lately of American Apparel experiencing some financial problems. I've begun to wonder if these issues are related to the accusations against Charney in the past and now. The financial problems that the company is experiencing makes it even more surprising to me that other stakeholders are putting up anything. It is a public company, so there is an obligation to shareholders. They better do something soon, or these accusations could potentially spell the death of the company.

So, until American Apparel makes it apparent that Charney's actions are unacceptable and makes a move to remove him or to diminish his role, I don't see the point of gracing them with my dollar.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Frequent trips to Chicago may be in my future


This is something that I didn't quite see coming. In his short time so far as mayor of Chicago, one the first things that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has stated an interest in developing an Uptown Music District in the city.

Even though Chicago has a strong music scene, funding is going to be an issue. Of course, this wasn't a promise from the mayor, only a stated interest, but promising nonetheless. It wouldn't happen next year, but, if Emanuel stays in office for a little while, who knows what we may see in the next generation.

I'm excited!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Music Tuesday - 03/22/2011

Under Cover of Darkness

Really just one this week, but it's a great one. The Strokes are back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is their first release in five years, their last being First Impressions of Earth. There's definitely been a lot of hype (both positive and negative) around this return, but I, for one, am happy for them to be back.

I have been somewhat discouraged by the band's own ennui regarding this album. Reports were that Julian recorded his vocals separate from the rest of the band and the guitarist, Nick Valensi, supposedly hated the album.

Nonetheless, last week, the band made the album available for streaming on their website (though not anymore). I took the opportunity to give it a listen. While I don't think the album is beyond amazing, it sets in motion some promise for this band going forward. It's certainly less consistent than past releases, which is likely due to all members of the band participating in the song-writing, rather than just Julian Casablancas. The range of projects the members have been involved in since the last album seem to give this release a broader style.

The album has gotten mostly good reviews so far, though, despite the amount of hype they devoted to the release, Pitchfork panned it. While I agree with aspects of the review, I object to the writer not letting go of the view that The Strokes are little more than derivative by comparing every single song to an established artist.

I'm still excited for this release. I've been a long-time fan of The Strokes and I'm not about to stop now. Even better, guitarist Nick Valensi has hinted that there's only more to come!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mom may know more about The Black Keys than I do

When I was home during Christmas last year, I excitedly played Brothers for my mom. In the preceding week, it had become my favorite album and I figured that she might enjoy it since she likes some blues (…I think). Well, she wasn’t crazy about it.

Nevertheless, she still looked into the band and about a week after I’d returned to Bloomington, I got a phone call from her asking if I was aware the band was from Akron, Ohio…which, of course, I did. For reference, my mother and much of my family live in or around Akron.

In addition to being from the city of Akron, the drummer’s father, Jim Carney, writes for the local newspaper, The Akron Beacon Journal. Of course, my mom receives this paper regularly and every time there’s a story in the paper about the band, I get a phone call recounting the details of the story.

I find it funny, but I’m happy my mom is so receptive of news about the band, even without loving their music…it means I stay better in the know!

Michael Stipe in costume, 'nuff said

Made you look, videos! Don't fret, Stipe will appear at the end.

Junip - "In Every Direction"

If you like Zero 7, check out Jose Gonzalez (he's a frequent vocal presence). If you like Jose Gonzalez, check out Junip (it's his band). The music sounds a lot like his solo work, just with more instrumentation. The video's a bit on the psychedelic side, very unlike the music...though both are awesome.

My Brightest Diamond - "The Sea"

This artist's a little avant garde, which (if you're reading this after viewing the video) you already know. Not quite sure if this is from an as-yet-unannounced new album, though a girl can dream. Gorgeous video.

Menomena - "Taos"

Nothing's beats a guy who goes out every night to pick up girls to wrestle him (well, besides the girls, of course).

R.E.M. - "Alligator Aviator Autopilot"

And here's the promise of the title. Stipe appears in a number of costumes here. The best look is perhaps the green sparkly pants. I wonder if he wore those on St. Patrick's day...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sound the death knell

Earlier this week, Jon Bon Jovi claimed that Steve Jobs of Apple is single-handedly killing the music business. His basic reasoning, mp3s have taken away the experience of looking for, buying and listening to vinyl (or to CDs for that matter).

While he does have a point in that mp3s are lower quality and there is no physical packaging that comes when you download an album through iTunes, I think saying that Jobs is killing the industry is a bit of an overstatement.

For one, consumers chose the mp3, it wasn't what the industry itself wanted. The mp3 was created in the late 1980s and, by the mid-90s, had started to become very popular as a way to store music. The industry itself didn't necessarily want the move towards mp3s, they make more money from physical media, but consumers really pushed for the format. It may be of lower quality, but most people either don't notice, don't mind or they don't care.

Apple also is not the only player in the game, nor did they start it. Yes, they have become the biggest distributors of music, but we would still see the digital trend growing if they left the market or were never there to begin with. Amazon, eMusic, other distributors and even the record companies and artists themselves are making digital music available (for purchase, usually) online.

What's probably hurting the industry more is the continuation of pirating and other sub-legal sources for free music. Napster as a peer-to-peer service may have died ten years ago, but others have popped up. For awhile, it was Limewire and Bearshare, now it's torrents and sites (usually based in other countries) like Rapidshare and Megaupload. Heck, you can Google something, throw "mp3" or "rar" into the search and find free downloads. At least with Apple's iTunes, record companies and artists still get paid something. For what that's worth, it may be among the last things keeping the music industry alive, imperfect as it is.

Another claim of Bon Jovi is that people no longer "discover" music. I actually think Apple, Amazon and the Internet in general help in the discovery of music. One no longer has to rely on either mainstream options or the tastes of the local record store owner for new music. The Internet also removes the risk of buying something that you end up not liking. You can find out who the artist has been inspired by, who they've worked with and who they sound like and then stream, or download, a few songs, then decide whether you like it and would like to purchase. Artists can also reach broader audiences more easily and gain fans across the world who, a generation ago, would not have had any exposure to that artist.

For most, physical media is impractical. As much as I love collecting and listening to vinyl, neither my bank account nor the space in my apartment will allow me to duplicate the music collection stored on my computer in that format. Nor do I love everything in my music library enough to shell out what can sometimes end up being up to or beyond $25 for the vinyl record. For a lot of people, the issue also involves the desire not to spend $10, $15 or $30 for an album when all they want is one song. While I personally prefer to have whole albums (just one of my little neuroses), the way in which most music is distributed now matches the way that most people listen to it.

I'm obsessed with music, so I should agree with Bon Jovi, but I think his criticism is way overstated. The proliferation of digital distribution of music probably only aids in the discovery and has been something that many artists and record companies have adapted to in order to continue making money in this digital age. If anything, he's right in that the music listening experience has deteriorated. However, I doubt many people 40 years ago were true audiophiles and I'm sure few people are today. For the most part, it doesn't matter. And for those of us who still revel in the listening experience, we should be happy that we can still get that experience if we'd like.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Hitchhiker's Guide

This bunch of videos shows us the ups and downs of hitchhiking...

Don't hitchhike naked: Yuck - "Get Away"

If you hitchhike naked, you will get greased up like a pig and left on the side of the road. Don't take that chance.

Take supplies: The Raveonettes - "Recharge & Revolt"

The right supplies could make hitchhiking completely unnecessary. For example, a flag and a song to sing takes you just about everywhere in the span of three minutes!

Take in the sights: P.J. Harvey - "This Glorious Land"

In the third (or is it fourth?) short video from her new album, P.J. Harvey reminds us of what there's all to see when you're on the road.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Music Tuesday - 03/15/2011

Alex Turner - Submarine (soundtrack)
The frontman of the Arctic Monkeys and The Last Shadow Puppets is making his first foray as a solo artist with the soundtrack for the British film Submarine. The effort is more subdued than his work with either of his bands, but the result is beautiful. His voice is well-suited to this style. I hope that he continues to work solo in the future (though release with his two bands as well!)
"It's Hard to Get Around the Wind"

New York Dolls - Dancing Backward in High Heels
Dancing Backward in High Heels
Some of the originators of punk rock are back, though they haven't been gone long; they released their last album only two years ago. I've only ever listened to their debut self-titled album, so I don't have a sense of how well (or not well) this band has aged. The title, however, is fitting, as I'm sure it's something they've done a lot of and it shows an obvious tie to one thing they became very known for.
"Fool for You Baby"

Friday, March 11, 2011

Is fashion really becoming more inclusive?

Outside of the excitement over the recent Fall 2011 Fashion Month (which is comprised of individual fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris), there was the expected analysis of how racially homogenized this runway season was.

Jezebel reported that this New York Fashion Week was one of the least diverse that had occurred in several years with 15.3% of the looks being displayed on non-white models. For comparison, Spring 2011 Fashion Week, occurring only a few months ago had 18.2% non-white representation.

New York Fashion Week Diversity

Regardless of any setbacks in NYFW, it still was the most diverse of the four major fashion weeks this season. After painstakingly going through each and every show from NY, London, Milan and Paris, New York greatly out-shown the other fashion capitals in terms of diversity.

London wasn't terribly far behind at about 12%. Milan and Paris, however, fared very poorly with 7% and 8% respectively. I wonder is these differences may be, in some way, indicative of each country's own relationships with race and diversity. Italy itself, though, has shown inroads in terms of racial diversity in their fashion industry, with an entire issue of Vogue Italia devoted to black models about three years ago.

All-Black Vogue

But that aside, three things stood out about the use of minority models. The first was that much of their use seemed to be from a few designers. While almost all had at least one minority model, only a relative few had those models representing more than 20% of their runway shows. These included Thierry Mugler (33%), Zac Posen (27%) and Hermes (24%) at Paris FW; C'N'C Costume National (26%) at Milan FW; Issa London (56%), Holly Fulton (48%) and Sass & Bide (27%) at London FW; and Duro Olowu (71%), L.A.M.B. (54%) and Tracy Reese (48%) at NYFW.

The second was that many of the designers that used a greater number of minority models are younger designers or those generally considered edgy, such as Rachel Roy and Proenza Schouler. This is one aspect of this that gives me hope. That younger designers are less tied to old standards and expectations and, thus, more likely to be change that many think is needed in the fashion industry. They are, to put it stereotypically, the future of this industry. It helps, too, that many of these younger designers are minorities themselves.

The last aspect that stands out is that much of the minority representation was in a handful of models who participated in the great number of the shows. While I didn't take numbers on this one, some of the models used extensively included Rose Cordero, Hyoni Kang and Joan Smalls. What's more interesting is that these minority models aren't simply random faces in a sea of models, they're becoming big names.

I think there's still a long way for the fashion industry to go, but I don't think that these setbacks will represent larger shifts in the industry. The industry always has and will continue to change, hopefully for the better over the long term.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rich people problems

Cee-Lo Green - "Bodies"

What is a well-to-do doctor to do? He has this epic collection of left-foot women’s shoes, but needs one more. Sigh… I guess he’ll just have to go after Janelle Monäe to get hers. But does she have a collection of her own?

Architecture in Helsinki - "Contact High"

What happens when you live in an upscale, contemporary apartment by yourself, drinking martinis every evening? Hands…hands come from everywhere, grabbing you all over your body. You want them to stop, but it feels. so. good.

The Walkmen remind us it’s still winter

Just as we’re getting into videos that preview the fun of the coming summer, one band just has to remind us that it’s still winter-time. That band is The Walkmen, who recently released two videos, one for Lisbon closer “While I Shovel the Snow” and the other for bonus track “Orange Sunday” (which you can download for free here, BTDubs).

“While I Shovel the Snow”

“Orange Sunday”

Also on The Walkmen front, check out this great cover they did of Deerhunter’s “Agoraphobia”

And here’s the original!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New Music Tuesday

Beth Ditto - Beth Ditto EP
Beth Ditto EP
To be completely honest, I like Beth Ditto most in her band Gossip and when they released Standing in the Way of Control. However, her solo stuff is great, too, if not 180º different. She does the dance pop style so much better than certain other artists. She's also a great role model for positive body image. Amazing!
"I Wrote the Book"

The Dø - Both Ways Open Jaws
Both Ways Open Jaws
Indie pop at its best! Up until last week, I thought this was entitled Slippery Slope. Until five minutes ago, I thought it was just an EP, but it is a full-length album. That makes it even more exciting. One problem, it has not technically been released in the US, just Europe. Grrr... I loved A Mouthful and was so excited for the new release, but I'll find it somehow, I always do!
"Slippery Slope"

Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo
Smoke Ring for My Halo
This guy is the perfect mix of mellow guitar-driven rock and classic "roots" style. He writes beautiful, introspective songs. Already on Pitchfork's Best New Music, the album is streaming in its entirety over at NPR (quickly becoming my favorite source of streaming music!)
"Jesus Fever"

Morning Teleportation - Expanding Anyway
This is apparently Modest Mouse's new favorite band. And for good reason, they have a very eclectic sound, but at their heart and fast, fun rock and roll. You can stream this, their debut album at Soundcloud.
"Expanding Anyway"

R.E.M. - Collapse into Now
Collapse into Now
This album, the band's fifteenth, promises to be a return to form after a few disappointing releases. While it certainly is no Out of Time, it's a pretty good outing. This one is also streaming at NPR. The official video for "Mine Smell Like Honey" is already one of my favorites this year.
"It Happened Today"

Monday, March 7, 2011

Holy crap!

This is apparently the year for unexpected shoe collaborations. A few weeks ago, it was (the not so out-there) Marimekko for Converse.

Now, it's Animal Collective with Keep Company, a Los Angeles based shoe store. The band teamed up with the store to produce a collection of shoes with very cool, very Animal Collective-esque prints. Also, with pre-orders, there will be a mixtape of previously unreleased songs!

I want!

Animal Collective Keep Company

Sunday, March 6, 2011

To watch a movie just for the clothes

I was on the fence about posting on this movie until I saw this tweet from Neko Case of The New Pornographers:

Neko Case What a Way to Go

She's right, the movie is amazing, though fairly underrated in the face of other fabulous movies from that era, such as Breakfast at Tiffany's.

I first saw the movie when I was about seven years old and instantly fell in love with the music and costumes. I would peruse the TV guide in the newspaper constantly to find when it was on, but it was always difficult to find the movie on video (and I do mean VHS).

The movie stars Shirley MacLaine as a young woman who yearns for a simple life and marries men who are meek and poor. However, after she marries them, they become fabulously rich then die in some ridiculous way. It's kitschy, but amazing.

I started thinking about the movie a few weeks ago and decided to see if it was on Amazon. It was! So, I purchased it and quickly got back into what I loved about the film. Seriously, best movie fashion ever!

If you haven't seen this film, I strongly suggest renting it NOW!

What a WAy to Go

The drastic fall of John Galliano

Whether you're in the fashion know or not, I'm sure you've all heard about John Galliano this past week. For those who don't know who he is, Galliano is a Gibraltar-born British fashion designer who was the head designer at Christian Dior for almost 16 years.

It started when a couple accused Galliano of shouting racial epithets at them in a bar. Initially, Galliano was just suspended until a video of another incident at the same bar surfaced of him spewing more epithets and claiming a love for Hitler. He was quickly fired.

Some have come to his defense. Fellow designer Jean-Paul Gaultier stated that Galliano is not a racist and implied that he had simply been provoked. Franca Sozzani, editor of Vogue Italia, defended his art and stated that it would be sad for Dior to continue without the man. Either way, this is perhaps the greatest proof that, when you represent another entity, you have to watch what you say in the public sphere, whether you mean the words or not.

As they say, the show must go on. Both of Galliano's collections were shown this week at Paris Fashion Week. There had been rumors that his namesake collection's show had been canceled, but it was instead given a smaller presentation.

During the show for the Dior Fall 2011 collection, the garment workers (who finished the collection after Galliano was fired) took to the stage to present the collection. It was a touching show of how his actions may have affected those that had worked for him.

Dior Garment Workers

His final collection for Dior:
Christian Dior F11

His namesake presentation:
John Galliano F11

Both prove that this man is a great designer. It's unfortunate that he had to screw all up in the moment of stupidity.

This scandal has been big enough to capture SNL's attention. The opening sketch featured Galliano (played by Taran Killam) as a guest on Charlie Sheen's new talk show alongside Gadhafi and Lindsay Lohan (all these people were "winning" this week).

A Day at the Beach

You can tell summer is coming when bands start releasing videos of sun, fun and bikinis.

Wavves - "King of the Beach"

Bling-blinging baby!

Black Lips - "Go Out and Get It!"

Featuring all three members of Vivian Girls.

Caribou - "Jamelia"

You can go still go to the beach on the colder days.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The return of The Strokes

One of my favorite bands from high school, The Strokes, is poised to make one of the biggest returns of the year. The band released their last album, First Impressions of Earth, about five years ago. In the time since, every member except for Nick Valensi, has released solo work:
  • Julian Casablancas - Phrazes for the Young (2009)
  • Albert Hammond, Jr. - Yours to Keep (2006) & ¿Como Te Llama? (2008)
  • Nicolai Fraiture - as Nickel Eye - The Time of the Assassins (2009)
  • Fabrizio Moretti - as Little Joy - Little Joy (2008)
While all of these side projects have been pretty good (my favorite is Little Joy), none have captured what these guys have accomplished together. So, I was excited when it was announced that they would be releasing a new album, Angles, on March 22.

Under Cover of Darkness

There's been a palpable amount of excitement around the Internet with every announcement the band made regarding the album. It seemed that every new announcement resulted in multiple stories being written by music blogs and publications; from the release date, to album artwork, to track listing, to the first single (below).

"Under Cover of Darkness"

There's an obvious push to make the return as big as possible with a show at Madison Square Garden on April 1st. The band will also be performing on Saturday Night Live tonight, so I will definitely be staying home and tuning into that.

Below, enjoy their first video for the new album, "Under Cover of Darkness"

I'm obsessed

I looked at my closet recently and realized I have developed an obsession with a particular pattern of clothing…stripes.

Just a sampling of my stripes...

I don’t know what it is exactly about stripes that I love so much, but I have a variety of the pattern in my closet in different colors, weights, types of items and styles, in horizontal AND vertical:
  • Olive green on taupe knit sweater
  • Pin-striped brown pants
  • Seersucker shorts
  • Seersucker pants
  • Cropped black and white jacket
  • Black and white dress
  • Long-sleeved navy and white t-shirt
  • Short sleeve navy and cream pocket t-shirt
  • Etc., etc., etc.

I think there’s only one thing I can do about this obsession…buy more stripes! So, I will be on the lookout for striped skirts, bangles, pumps and perhaps shorts.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Little girls rapped response to Lil' Wayne lyrics

Full disclosure: I have never (as far as I know) actually listened to a Lil' Wayne song. I'm sure I've heard one or two at some point in time, but nothing I would be able to identify as his music. While I've never been apt to seek out his music, I have seen his lyrics and know how misogynistic they tend to be.

Three little girls, aged 5, 9 and 10 decided to issue a response to the nature of his lyrics.

Despite the disrespect towards women in many of Lil' Wayne's lyrics, the girls still show him his due respect by calling him 'sir:'
My daddy tell me I'm a queen, but you call women other things….sir don't call me out my name again.
The rap also notes that Lil' Wayne has a lil' girl of his own and questions how he refers to her and the example he's setting for her. It will be interesting to see if he responds to the video and what his response actually is.

In the meantime, these little girls rock!


This past Tuesday, I made by first real outing since moving to Cincinnati. My new favorite band , Akron/Family, performed at MOTR (pronounced 'motor') Pub in Over-the-Rhine.

Akron Family - bmoremusic

It’s always daunting (for me, at least) to go out in a city where you know almost no one, but I was (and remain) determined not to hole myself up in my apartment all the time whining about how bored I am. This was a great show to introduce myself to the Cincinnati hipster night life.

When I walked in, the band was warming up, so I got to watch them putz through a couple of songs, which was kinda cool. The show itself started around 9:30 with a band named Delicate Steve opening.

Delicate Steve - mybrokenmouth

As far as openers go, these guys were pretty awesome. I feel they had a similar aesthetic to Akron/Family while also bringing to mind Pink Floyd and Talking Heads (so they were a little all over the place, but in a good way). Their music was almost completely instrumental, with only a few shouts and whelps mixed into the guitar riffs and tribal drumming.

Then the main act started and the crowd went wild (completely serious, one guy started moshing and I got a nice elbow to the chin…he was told to calm down by the lead singer). You never know what to expect when you see a band live for a first time. What all goes into their music, what kind of rapport they hold with the crowd, these and other factors can make a show feel like you’re just listening to their album in a different setting or actually experiencing something.

This band, however, was an absolute treat to watch live. While they didn’t talk much to the crowd, it was fascinating to see all the random little instruments they used in the songs and who sang what since all three members had songs on which they led (and I also assumed that the one with the beard was the lead singer, since that's how it usually goes with bands from Portland). About halfway through the show, during “Another Sky,” they descended into the audience with drums and a cowbell, turning the whole thing into a tribal ceremony.

Both bands were those I would gladly go see again and I would definitely go back to the MOTR pub (just stay far away from the moshers next time). A great introduction to Cincinnati and an amazing show!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Best and worst dressed at the Oscars

This is the last of the events during awards show season and it's always epic (though not all celebs save their best for the night). It's always the night when the most glam of gowns comes out. I'm only focusing on the Oscars red carpet. Any after-party and show looks don't count (mainly because Anne Hathaway would have likely swept the best dressed in her 7 outfits during the broadcast).

Best Dressed

5. Celine Dion in Armani Privé
Celine Dion
This was unexpected. Firstly, because I don't feel like we see her out much and, second, when we do, she looks a little whacked out. One major theme of the evening was that many of the older actresses and entertainers on the red carpet really outshone their younger counterparts. It's nice to see her still looking so great.

4. Jennifer Lawrence in Calvin Klein
Jennifer Lawrence
Some of Jennifer's recent looks have been questionable, at best. However, when she pulls it out...she really pulls it out. This was the sexiest look of the evening, in my opinion and quintessentially Calvin Klein. It's not common for a newcomer to rock it this well so early in her career, but, fashion-wise, there are only better things to come from her!

3. Mila Kunis in Elie Saab
Mila Kunis
Mila has been going very bold lately and I was hoping to see another bold choice. She went pretty and dreamy instead and...I ain't mad. The color is great on her (though, she's probably look good in anything) and it shows just enough to still be a little sexy.

2. Cate Blanchett in Givenchy
Cate Blanchett
Cate is not afraid of bolder choices and she's one of the few who can really pull off more avant-garde looks. Sunday night was no exception. A lot of people would have looked just off in this dress. Cate, however, carried it well and managed to still stand out despite the detail of the dress itself.

1. Sandra Bullock in Vera Wang
Sandra Bullock
There was a lot of red on the red carpet (go figure), but none wore the color quite as well as Miss Bullock. A lot of people praised the dress she wore last year, but I didn't love it. This, however, is incredible. And, perhaps, proof that looking good is the best revenge?

Honorable Mentions: Natalie Portman (yay, another not sack!), Mandy Moore (subtle sparkle), Hailee Steinfeld (beautiful and age-appropriate), Michelle Williams (simple, but elegant), Camilla Alves (uncommonly good for model girlfriend).

Worst Dressed

5. Marisa Tomei in Charles Women
Marisa Tomei
Marisa is one of those older actresses who should be showing the young'uns how it's done...and, this isn't it. I don't feel like it fits her properly at the top and, while I love the tulle at the bottom, it doesn't make up for the zzzzzzzzzzzz-zzzzzzzzz-zzzzzzzzzz at the top.

4. Nicole Kidman in Christian Dior
Nicole Kidman
After the Grammys, I though she finally had it again...and then this happened. She's so stunningly beautiful, but once again, something is just off about the look. Here, I have an issue with the shape of the skirt. It's not doing good things for her body.

3. Rhea Durham in Naeem Khan
Rhea Durham
Rhea Durham is the wife of Mark Wahlberg. This is what I typically expect of not-very-famous wives and girlfriends of actors. They always seem to go either incredibly boring or wear the oddest pieces. There's too much going on with this gown for my taste. I don't like the appliqué at the top and I especially don't like it paired with the red skirt.

2. Jennifer Hudson in Versace
Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer, honey, I'm proud of you. You've lost a lot of weight and you look great. You've accomplished what many struggle to achieve and you should be commended for that. However, until you get your boobs worked on, cover them...please. They do not look good right now.

1. Sunrise Ruffalo in I-Don't-Know-What
Sunrise Ruffalo
This is another example of the craziness of the not-so-famous wife that comes out at these awards shows. It's just an odd look, I'm not crazy about the half-and-half dress concept.

(Dis)Honorable mentions: Florence Welch (boring), Helena Bonham-Carter (not wacky, but not good), Busy Phillips (just looked out-of-place), Gwyneth Paltrow (does anyone actually like her?), Penelope Cruz (look at those funbags!).

The week for female-led pop

It's new music Tuesday (late, but I have a good excuse this week!) and it was a great bunch of releases. Both of these artists are women. Girl Power!

Dum Dum Girls - He Gets Me High
They released one of my favorites albums of last year and they're back with their throw-back, Phil Specter-esque '60s girl pop group sound, but still expanding their aesthetic and shown influences. Whereas the debut album featured a cover of Cher's "Baby Don't Go," they cover The Smith's "There is a Light That Never Goes Out."
"There is a Light That Never Goes Out"

Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes
Wounded Rhymes
I listened to this album on Hype Machine last week and (other than a somewhat weak closer), it is a great followup to her debut. As experimental as that first album was, she is experimenting even more with her sound. It's a braver album and a great payoff!
"Get Some"