Tuesday, August 31, 2010

AA Blog Crush: Hedi Slimane’s Diary

I can’t believe I didn’t realize much sooner that Hedi Slimane, the genius behind Dior’s resurgence, had a photo blog. I’ve always loved his style, photography, and music so I’m not sure why I didn’t find out about this sooner. To give credit where it is due, Heidi Slimane actually got me into British Rock when he prominently featured the style and music of Razorlight in one of his shows. And of course his photography is amazing, not surprising that he’s got an uncanny talent for angles.

Monday, August 30, 2010

AA Loves: Dominant Legs

San Francisco native Ryan William Lynch of Girls teamed up with Hannah Hunt to form Dominant Legs, a fantastic band that makes delicious experimental pop songs with abstract lyrics that are somehow melancholy yet upbeat.

Perhaps, I’m a bit partial seeing as Ryan Lynch grew up about 15 minutes from my hometown, but Dominant Legs is definitely a band to keep a close eye on.

Dominant Legs – Young at Love and Life

Dominant Legs - Young at Love and Life by Aesthetes Anonymous

Dominant Legs – Just Silly Ones

Dominant Legs - Just Silly Ones by Aesthetes Anonymous

Saturday, August 28, 2010

AA Tribute: Edie Sedgwick

I suppose I’m a bit late on this bandwagon with the whole Edie Sedgwick adoring retrospective thing, so I won’t say too much on the topic. Simply put, she had a great sense of style that is still culturally relevant as evidenced by the fact that folks are appropriating her look left and right. Despite her public meltdowns and the drug addictions, I’d say that she was a pretty classy girl. I suppose hailing from one of the oldest aristocratic families in the U.S., boasting an ancestry that includes a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and being taken on as the personal muse of Andy Warhol goes a long way. Not to mention the fact that she managed to capture the attention of Bob Dylan. Any gal that's able to do that gets a gold star in my book.

On a side note, she has such an unbelievable smile that stands out to me as one of those rare and beautiful things to be caught on film. Her smile seems completely genuine and suggests her vivaciousness, energy, and enthusiasm. It's impressive to be able to transmit so much in a simple expression, let alone transfer it to a static medium like film.

Oh and for total cool points, I’ll say this: I was totally into her way before she was cool now, I just didn’t have a blog to post about it at the time.

Friday, August 27, 2010

MGMT - Congratulations

Check out the new video for MGMT's newest single, "Congratulations." The song is a nice departure from their usual heavy bass, synth infused party pop songs and showcases Andrew VanWyngarden's vocals quite nicely.

As for the video itself, it's a bit of an odd one. It's about a strange dinosaur esque bird that's slowly losing parts of itself as it walks across the desert as MGMT help it along. While it's odd, it certainly isn't as odd as their last video for "Flash Delerium," which is insane! It's like Wes Anderson meets Terry Gilliam in a John Carpenter movie. Yea, that crazy.

UPDATE: So it seems that Sony doesn't want to play nice and decided to take down the video that they had posted a few days ago. Here's a working link to the video. Also, came across a nice acoustic video of the song from when MGMT played it live on Letterman. Check it out here unless Sony or some other giant business conglomerate has decided to take that down too.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"U Smile 800 Percent Slower" Justin Bieber WTF?

Never in my life did I ever think that I was going to post anything by Justin Bieber (no I won’t even link to him and yes I refused to put a picture) on this blog. At first, I had written a long diatribe about the state of contemporary music and Justin Bieber, but I ended up deleting it. I’m not sure there’s a point anymore in saying what everyone knows, or at least I would hope you knew. More importantly, I don’t think you’d be here if you were a fan of Justin Bieber.

Anyhoo, as usual I digress. The reason for this post is actually, a wonderful experiment that NPR brought to my attention. It seems that DJ Shamantis took Justin Bieber’s “U Smile” and slowed it down 8 times. Amazingly, he transformed a terrible song into a gorgeous 35 minute choir piece. The results are strange, but eerily enchanting. Gone are the crappy lyrics and over produced synthetic sounds, instead you get a swelling orchestra that plays beautifully with the cherub sweet sounds of a massive choir.

I could easily see this remix fitting easily into the score of some period piece movie. Say Elizabeth: The Golden Age in the scene where she strides the cliffs in the predawn hours before the impending attack by the Spanish Armada, whilst clad in flowing white gauze as she stares off into the distance.

But seriously, check it out below. It’s really odd how this highly produced 3 minute pop song could become this rousing celestial choir masterpiece.

J. BIEBZ - U SMILE 800% SLOWER by Shamantis

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sexiest Female Vocals

So after writing my recent post on INXS’ cover of Never Tear Us Apart and Annie Clark’s stunningly sensual vocal performance, I began thinking of my favorite female vocalists. Naturally, female vocalists have the ability to emote a level of scintillating feminine sensuality that men cannot. When mixed with the right lyrics, rhythm, and je ne sais quoi the effects can be devastating.

Here are my 5 favorite sexy female vocal performances of all time.

#5 Carla Bruni - You Belong To me

A fantastic Bob Dylan cover by none other than Italian supermodel turned singer turned First Lady of France. Would you expect anything less than a sexy cover by the woman who captured the eye of Nikolas Sarkozy?

#4 Julie London – ‘Round Midnight

I’ll leave it to Julie London herself to explain why she has such an amazing voice. In an interview with Life magazine in 1957 she stated, “It's only a thimbleful of a voice, and I have to use it close to the microphone. But it is a kind of oversmoked voice, and it automatically sounds intimate.”

#3 Astrud Gilberto – Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars)

Each of her songs is laced with such a delicate touch that suggests an underlying fragility that I find absolutely irresistible. Let’s not forget her adorable Brazilian accent and that sway in her voice that is so charming.

#2 Floetry - Say Yes

I don’t think I need to say much. Just listen to it. This song is dripping with sensuality, so it’s immediately obvious after a few hits of the snare why this song is so damn sexy.

#1 Ralph Myerz and The Jack Herren Band - L.I.P.S.T.I.C.K.

I don’t know what it is but something about her voice drives me wild. It’s not quite smoky, it’s not quite husky, but it certainly lacks vibrato or discernable emotion. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s that detached cool that evokes lounging in a steamy red velvet bordello that just gets me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Living Days - Let's Kiss

Living Days drop their debut album Make Out Room today! If you haven't heard of this amazing new band yet, be sure to check out their lead single "Let's Kiss" featured above. It will seriously charm your socks off.

Brooklyn based band Living Days have a delriously fantastic New Wave sound that is a modern blend of A Ha and The Cure, but more danceable if that were even possible.


Monday, August 23, 2010

AA Loves: Moon Crooner and Climbing Walls

Check out these two amazing jams that will, to quote a hilarious friend of mine, “make you want to dance until your legs fall off.”

The first is by Strange Talk, an awesome synth pop band from Australia. Once you hear this it will be in your playlist on repeat like past "It Summer Songs" by Passion Pit, Cut Copy, and MGMT.

Strange Talk - Climbing Walls (Demo) by Aesthetes Anonymous

Second, we have Egyptian Hip Hop’s Moon Crooner, an equally danceable track off their EP that is out now.

Egyption Hip Hop - Moon crooner by Aesthetes Anonymous

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mod Super Hero Art

So, it’s no small secret that I’m a huge comic book fan. I mean come on! Super heroes endowed with fantastic powers, impressive costumes, and the latest technology all grappling with real life issues like relationships, identity crises, and other such important life questions all while battling evil adversaries hell bent on destroying the world. What’s not to like? So what could be better than superheroes? Mod versions of my favorite superheroes!!!

It seems that that Rogan Josh over at modHero shares my excitement and love of comic books, except he’s a really bad ass artist who is able to translate these iconic super heroes into fantastic mod art. He’s captured quite a few of my favorite characters like Batman, Emma Frost, and Deadpool along with more obscure characters like Iron Fist, Rictor, and King Mob.

Click here to see his portfolio

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mod Week: The Perfect (Slim) White Shirt

Slim cut and well fitting is perhaps the most basic principle for Mod styling. Unfortunately, finding a slim cut shirt with appropriately slim collars can be exceedingly difficult amongst the sea of baggy wide collars that every store seems to sell.

Fortunately, for those looking for a cheap, slim cut shirt look no further than the fantastic British haberdashery ASOS.

From personal experience I can say that these shirts are amazingly well cut and fit fantastically. I had a white shirt tailor made and surprisingly these ASOS shirts fit better. To make the deal even sweeter, these bad boys will only set you back $30. What’s not to like about that.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Alan Hawkshaw’s Girl At the Top

British studio musician, Alan Hawkshaw is a veritable treasure trove of sleek hits like Girl At The Top. In his long career, he has worked with folks like Bowie (he recorded with him for his Bowie at the Beeb sessions and is featured prominently on In The Heat of the Morning), Serge Gainsbourg, and Jane Birkin.

As an added bonus, I’ll leave you with this jam where he tears up the organ to a psychedelic acid induced trip of a music video.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Raphael Saadiq Goes Doo-Wop

I have to say that Raphael Saadiq’s latest sartorial and musical turn towards the doo-wop era of the 50s and 60s both sound and look amazing. On his last album, The Way I See It, Raphael Saadiq took a page straight from the past opting for thick black frames and elegant slim cut suits.

It’s impossible not to snap your fingers and dance to songs like these when he so convincingly looks and croons like those doo-wopers.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jerry Van Rooyen – The Great Bank Robbery

Nothing says sleek 1960’s cool than the music featured prominently in the movies from that time. Perfect for setting the scene for character montages of – well, just about anything. In my online quest, I unearthed this amazing gem by Jerry Van Rooyen for the Great Bank Robbery.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Mod Week: Seijun Suzuki’s Tokyo Drifter

Today marks the launch of Mod Week here at AA, where the entirety of this week’s posts will be dedicated to the sights and sounds of mod stylings. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about the mid century modernist aesthetic that really gets me. Perhaps it’s the sleek lines, the kitschy conception of the future, or the post-war jubilance in which we rushed ahead to greet that future.

It’s funny, how the blatant desire to achieve the future in design looks so outdated now. Rather than letting the “future” evolve naturally, this desire to aggressively shape it reveals the ideals of that era. Paradoxically, the future of the 1950’s is a relic of the past. Funny how that works out.

I digress. I figured a fantastic way to kick off Mod Week would be a tribute to the sleek and ultra stylish movie Tokyo Drifter by Seijin Suzuki. Visually stunning, Suzuki uses colors to great effect and turns what is an otherwise straight forward Yakuza film into a modern masterpiece. Each scene is shockingly well established, with elaborate sets built to transmit the beautiful bright Technicolor used to devastating effect. I won’t ruin it, but my god the ending is visually one of the coolest scenes I’ve ever seen on film. Of course, let’s not forget the beautifully tragic theme song as well as the impeccable style of the titular character.

While it lacks the benefit of the original song, this video is the best representation of the film’s aesthetics by far. Although, if you do intend to watch the film I’d be wary as it does contain a fair amount of plot.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Disturbing Trends in Womens Fashion

I love women. A lot. To quote esteemed former President Lyndon Johnson, “I want to make a policy statement. I am unabashedly in favor of women.” However, some of these latest fashion trends are making it harder and harder (no, not that) to find an eligible female to mate with and have 2.5 children. The following trends make me want to have exactly .5 children. See for yourself.

Pajama Jeans

The slogan says it all. “Pajamas to Live in.” Wow. Really? Get out of your pajamas! Are you really that lazy?!

I would hate to be the copy writer for this product. I can imagine it now:

Pajama Jeans! Now you’re lazy ass can be lazy without looking like it. Pajama Jeans offer you the unique ability to effectively disguise the fact that you’ve worn the same pants for 5 days in a row. You can now sleep, exercise, and go out for a night on the town without ever having to change your pants. People will no longer be saying, “Is that a 3 day old mustard stain on your sweats?” Instead, they’ll say, “Is that a 3 day old mustard stain on your jeans?” Order NOW!


Problem: Your pants don’t fit properly, so your vagina shows. Not attractive.

Solution: Camelflage!

What a lovely blend of words. See what they did there?

In my exhaustive research on the topic, I also came across Camel Ammo and my favorite the Cuchini (it’s so Klassy cuz it’s Italian). These solutions are more or less a removable insert that are essentially an inverted cup for the ladies. According to their website, it “is discreet and molds to fit the unique shape of each woman’s curves leaving it totally undetectable in the tightest pants.”

Other solutions include not wearing pants that show your vagina. Sure, some might say, “That’s not fair. I do yoga so I have to wear skin tight clothing that reveals my lady bits.” My only response is look for pants with an inseam that do not recede within your body. I think that’s a pretty good indicator that the clothing you’re buying isn’t cut properly for your body. A good rule of thumb might be, “If your vagina shows, just say no.”

The Femullet

Nothing says, “Do me now!” like these functional yet fashionable coifs.

For more of these sexy hair dos, click here. You seriously won’t regret it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Spike Jonze short “I’m Here”


“I’m Here” is an unbelievably stirring short film by Spike Jonze. Set in L.A, it follows the story of two robots as they meet and fall very much in love. The directing is amazing, the story moves nicely, and it is completely absorbing to say the least. It seems that since directing Where the Wild Things Are, Spike Jonze has really been resoundingly successful in creating masterpieces that exude raw and tender emotions and artfully tug at our heartstrings. Needless to say, I was really quite touched by this. It was sentimental without being trite and sincere without being precious.

It was uncanny in its ability to transmit the excitement of new love, the willingness to sacrifice, and the simplistic joy of merely being in the presence of someone that you adore. I suppose it was because he used anthropomorphized robots with highly expressive eyes. As a result, we naturally imbue the characters with more compassion and feeling than were they simply human. Our greatest hopes, loves, and emotions are immediately projected upon these characters as we seek to make them more humanistic. I suppose the genius of this film is that each scene and action functions like a literal metaphor. The robot can get hurt or feel an emotion, but because it is a robot it is simply acting metaphorically as a human. However, because we have anthropomorphized the robots, we no longer see it as a metaphor and it hits us at a greater emotional depth as it bypasses cognitive thinking and moves directly to our emotional core.

Simply put, this is the most deliriously romantic film I’ve seen in a long time and I wish I had watched it with a particular someone (you know who you are).

Watch it online now at I’mHereTheMovie.

As an added bonus, the soundtrack to this is amazing. Of Montreal has an actual cameo in this film and appears on the soundtrack alongside Girls, Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Flea, Annimal Collective, and LA local ASKA. It’s not surprising that this soundtrack kicks a lot of ass considering that Where the Wild Things are featured an amazing score written specially by Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The official release for the soundtrack is October 5th, but in the meantime check out this lovely track by ASKA which is featured prominently in the film.

Aska (With The Lost Trees) - "There Are Many Of Us" by Some Kind of Awesome

Thursday, August 12, 2010

AA Loves: a softer world

I’ve been really into asofterworld for a while now, but I figured I ought to share it with everyone else rather than hoarding it in my stockpile of joyful things.

They make good stuff. I like them. You should like them. Sometimes they are funny. Sometimes they are sad. These are some of my favorites. A boy and a girl make these together. The girl takes pictures and the boy writes the words.

This concludes my show and tell for today.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Beck’s Record Club – Never Tear US Apart (INXS Cover)

Record Club: INXS "Never Tear Us Apart" from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.

There are very few things that can be universally agreed upon, however Beck’s undeniable awesomeness is one of those universal truths. One of the first albums I ever owned was Beck’s Odelay. I remember buying it used in 7th grade from a friend of mine who was getting rid of a few CD’s for 5 bucks. Fortunately for us, Beck hasn’t slackened in his ability to make mystifyingly good music throughout his career. While he hasn’t released a solo album since 2008’s Modern Guilt, he’s still been a busy bee releasing an album with Charlotte Gainsbourg, appearing on tracks with Bats for Lashes, Devandra Barnhart, and of course starting his Record Club, one of the coolest things I’ve come across in a while.

The concept for his Record Club is simple: Beck invites his awesomely talented musician friends to re-interpret an entire album in a single day and then they release the results one song a week. The nice thing is that these songs are pretty raw and unrehearsed, so it’s mostly watching a bunch of insanely talented musicians fooling around and playing these songs for the first time. Notable guests to be invited to record include Devandra Barnhart, Leslie Feist, MGMT, Binki of Little Joy, and Annie Clark of St. Augustine. So far they have covered The Velvet Undergrounds’ “The Velvet Underground and Nico,” INXS’ “Kick”, and Leonard Cohen’s “Songs of Leanord Cohen”.

Out of all these amazingly talented covers, I have to say that I’ve enjoyed their cover of INXS’ album “Kick,” the most. For this recording session, Beck got the Liars, Annie Clark and Daniel Hart from St. Vincent, and Sergio Dias from Os Mutantes. The crazy thing is that they managed to do the whole album in about 12 hours. Since, the whole thing was a bit rushed not all of the tracks are amazing. However, there are certainly a few inspired standouts. Their cover of “Never Tear Us Apart,” featured above, is one of those unbelievably awesome covers that come around every once in a while. Annie Clark’s voice is absolutely gorgeous in its sexy sensuality and the addition of the soaring violin accompanying the piano adds a great fanciful quality to the whole song.

Also be sure to check out their cover of INXS’ New Sensation. It’s an amazing track that starts off with all of them sitting around listening to the record and figuring out how to play the song. It’s amazing to see these talented musicians at work.

You can download the complete album here.

On a random note, I just randomly stumbled across some odd tidbits about Beck. For instance, I had no idea that Beck was a Scientologist. Apparently, his father was a Scientologist for 35 years and so he basically grew up around it. I also had no idea that his wife is Giovanni Ribisi’s twin sister and they are both Scientologists. Who knew?!

On another random note, is it just me or does Annie Clark look like a young Teri Hatcher from the Adventures of Lois and Clark days?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

David Bowie And Bing Crosby

I just came across one of the most random videos I’ve seen in a long time. It’s from Bing Crosby’s 1977 Christmas special and features David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing a modified version of the “The Little Drummer Boy” called “Peace on Earth.”

This unlikely duet almost didn’t happen when Bowie refused to sing “The Little Drummer Boy.” It seems that like I, he didn’t like the original and didn’t think it would fit his style. Fortunately, there were some talented composers on hand in the studio, who in 75 minutes retooled the song by adding in another melody and new lyrics. Bowie liked it, and after only an hour of rehearsal he and Bing nailed it for the cameras. Not bad for a few hours of work.

While I’ve never been a huge fan of Christmas carols, I am a huge fan of David Bowie and Bing Crosby and the banter between the two is definitely worth watching. It’s unfortunate that Crosby died a month after this was filmed of a heart attack. Regardless, the sheer oddity of having the two paired together for a Christmas carol is cause enough to watch this video.

On a side note, with Bowie's recent foray into sartorially perfect bespoke suits I often find myself forgetting how utterly terrifying he once was. I recently stumbled across some old pictures that glaringly reminded me of how strange some of his costumes and personas were. What's more jarring is the juxtaposition between the images below and the dapper Bowie crooning alongside Bing Crosby.

Monday, August 9, 2010

AA’s Frivolous Wants: Vintage Suitcases

I’ve been trying to find a vintage suitcase for a long time now, however every time I find the perfect one I always somehow dissuade myself at the last moment from purchasing it. I suppose the overwhelming impracticality of the whole thing is the primary reason. I mean wheels and extendable handles have become the norm for suitcases because they do make life so much easier. But there’s something about these beautifully crafted clunky boxes that I can’t get over. I just love the imagery of frantically throwing clothes in these old suitcases, slamming the lid shut with items dangling out, and making a run for the train because Tommy Two Tone and Johnny the Hammer are after you for the vig you owe. These vintage items just imbue travel with the sense of excitement and daring that it once had.

I might finally just suck it up and carry these burdensome travel accessories around. While others might have all the convenience of modern technology, I’ll be pretentiously lugging around an old trunk.

Although, this amazing tweed attaché case on Ebay right now looks far too good to pass up. While everyone is slinging their sleek canvas or leather messenger bags around to work, imagine showing up to work and flipping open this bad boy on the conference room table. Stylish or pretentious? I’ll let you decide.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

AA Tribute: Marcello Mastroianni

One has to admit that Italians certainly have a flair for summer cool. Perhaps it’s their imperturbable ability to wear summer suits and kerchiefs while still looking masculine. Whatever it is, Marcello Mastroianni certainly has it. Look no further than this photo tribute to affirm his effortless cool.

Friday, August 6, 2010

C'était un Rendez-vous

So I was having a bit of trouble sleeping the other night and I randomly recalled an amazing video that I had seen a few years ago. This has been around for a while so forgive me if you’ve already seen this, but for those of you who haven’t, you have to check out Claude Lelouch’s 1976 short film, “C'était un Rendez-vous.” This is perhaps the greatest driving sequence I have ever seen on film, probably because it’s completely real. Basically, the director strapped a special camera on a Ferrari 275 GTB and had a professional Formula 1 racer tear through the streets of Paris at 140 MPH. The scary thing is that this is all done without closing the streets, giving anyone an advance warning, or hiring any stunt drivers. This is shot in one breathtaking sequence with no cuts and features the driver roaring through the streets of Paris early in the morning, plowing through every red light, going down one way streets the wrong way, screeching tires at every turn, and even forcing pedestrians to scramble off the road.

Claude Lelouch couldn’t obtain a permit to close the streets, so he just went ahead and had his racer friend go ahead with it anyways. Lelouch was actually arrested the first time the film was shown in public, but he refused to give the identity of the driver.

Even if you’ve seen it, check it out again. It left my heart pounding even after having watched it several times a few years ago. In retrospect, given the fact that I was having trouble sleeping, watching this unbelievably exhilarating video was a terrible idea.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

AA Loves: Lost Fiction

So I’m currently obsessing over this awesome new British band Lost Fiction. Sadly, they only have two songs out, as it seems that all of them are still in college as full-time students. But the two songs that they’ve released so far are certainly an indicator of fantastic things to come. The vocals are sung in a deep melancholy baritone that sound like a cross between Ian Curtis of Joy Division and Matt Berninger of The National. Unsurprisingly, their sound seems to be heavily inspired by Joy Division and New Order and they certainly combine the best elements of both bands to great effect.

Download their tracks here or just listen below.

Lost Fiction - Time

Lost Fiction - Time by Aesthetes Anonymous

Lost Fiction – We Were Still

Lost Fiction - We Were Still by Aesthetes Anonymous