Friday, October 29, 2010

Karen O – If You’re Gonna Be Dumb You Gotta Be Tough

Since it’s the 100th post and all today, I figured I’d double team it and go for a good ol’ DP - double post of course.

I know this has been out for a while, but I thought this would be a fitting backdrop for my weekend plans of getting together with some old friends for a foolhardy and reckless time. Naturally what better way to celebrate that than with the theme song for the Jackass 3D movie by Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

In another impressive solo turn, Karen O covers Roger Alan Wade’s “If You’re Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough.” It’s a fun little song with Karen O singing with a Southern twang, losing her shit at one point, and finishing things off with a rowdy bar room chorus. All in all, a fantastically fun song.

Also, be sure to check out the original which is actually written and sung by Johnny Knoxville’s cousin, Roger Alan Wade.

Karen O. (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs) - "If You're Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough" by Some Kind of Awesome

Point: Point Break Just Got Better

Whaddya know, today is AA's 100th post and what better way to commemorate this magical, historic, monumental, extraordinary, and noteworthy moment in time than with Point Break.

I’m about a year late on this and incredibly disappointed in myself for that. So, if you’ve like, totally seen this around, I’m sorry but I peed my pants laughing so hard at Cinemash’s recreation of Point Break with Reno 911 and Human Giant. I didn’t think the scene where Johnny Utah confronts Bodi on the air strip could get any better, but it seems I was entirely mistaken. Just see for yourself in the clip above.

Other great mash ups include Joseph Gordon Levitt as Nancy and Zooey Deschanel as Sid in a combination of Sid and Nancy and 500 Days of Summer. While Zooey Deschanel does a hilarious cockney accent, Joseph Gordon Levitt takes a disturbingly well acted turn at playing Nancy. Although, I really could have done without his hairy legs and No Pants Time moment.

Also be sure to check out Cheech and Chong’s mash up of Tron. Their debate on the recession is both highly informative and hilarious.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

AA Loves: Spectrals

Leeds based, Spectral, just dropped his debut EP entitled Extended Play on October 10. With a sound straight from the 1950’s, this is good times music at its best. It makes you feel tingly inside, like nothing could be wrong in the world as long as people make music like this.

The video for Peppermint is as bright and colorful as the song itself.

Watch the video for Peppermint and listen to Chip a Tooth below.

Spectrals: 'Peppermint' from TLOBF.COM on Vimeo.

Spectrals - Chip A Tooth (Spoil A Smile) by ginoballon

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

AA Endorses: Scout Books

Update: Scout Books has free shipping on all orders, so head over now to take advantage of this deal.

I’ve always had a strange love for stationary and school supplies. Something about stockpiling an army of pens, erasers, and notebooks gives me an odd pleasure. I can’t even begin to document the number of notebooks that I’ve accumulated over the years that lie empty, simply because I don’t want to ruin their pristine white pages. Weird, I know.

These fantastic Scout Books, will soon be the latest addition to my graveyard of unused notebooks.

They are the perfect size – large enough to comfortably write notes, but small enough to fit in your pocket. These simple notebooks, come in classic designs and fantastic colors that can be completely customized. As an added bonus, you can feel better about yourself knowing that they’re made from 100% recycled paper and Soy ink.

For only $10 for a 3 pack, what’s not to love?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

AA Loves: Gino - Shall We Disco?

Shall We Disco? is the perfect mix for the next time you have a spontaneous dance party that lasts exactly 29 minutes and 1 second.

LA based Gino aka Last N!ght has made an instant dance-floor masterpiece by seamlessly blending together bits of danceable classics from Black Kids, Treasure Fingers via Chromeo, Uffie, Daft Punk, Cut Copy, Pony Pony Run Run, Armand Van Helden, and even a bit of Pharell and Ludacris. I mean you really can’t go wrong with names like these, especially if you have a strong cohesive narrative underlying it all, like Gino does.

Notable moments include 10:48 where there’s a mini chord break and an amazing build up to where the orchestral chorus of synths go into overdrive on a fantastic remix of Mr. Oizo’s “Steroids,” the transition at 12:09 into Cut Copy’s “Light and Music” makes you tingle in your pants – the fact that he never breaks into the chorus is perhaps the most tantalizing tease in music I’ve heard in a long time – and of course 15:47 when gods of electronica Daft Punk make a brief but insane ectoplasmic pulsing cameo.

I must offer fair warning, download this mix at your own risk. You may not have legs left after dancing so hard. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

On a side note, I used to hang out with Gino as kid in band and I’ve always been impressed by his ear for music whether we were playing it or listening to it. So I suppose it comes as no surprise that he’s dropping jams like these now.

Get your free copy of Shall We Disco? here or just stream it here.

Shall We Disco? [mix] by LAST N!GHT

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sports – Every World Is A World Of Your Own

Here’s a little more love for Sports today. I just received this track the other day, and it’s been stuck in my head since.
The synths are spectacularly 80’s New Wave and after just a few bars you will be whisked away to a magical land filled with big curls, shoulder pads, members only jackets, big glasses, and power suits.
Have a listen.
On a final note, it seems that  Sports has got the “internet going nuts”.

Friday, October 22, 2010

AA Loves: Big Deal

As their Myspace page aptly states, “we don't know how to put this but we're kind of a big deal.” A bit of a bratty thing to say, but Big Deal has the musical talent to back up their claims.

This UK duo, comprised of Kacey Underwood and Alice Costelloe, are destined for big things. Their sound is straightforward – 2 people, 2 voices, 2 guitars, and nothing else.

Their duets are stark, yet emotionally rich and haunting as they seem quite personal. The sullen detached vocal duets are paradoxically both emotionless and poignant, not unlike the XX. It’s as if we are privy to a special moment in their lives and they graciously shared something intensely private with us.

NME describes their sound beautifully, “The music recreates the feelings of long, lustful summer afternoons in bed. It's intimate and beautiful.”

Their first single “Homework” will be released on November 8th. Be sure to keep an eye out for them as the next Indie darlings of 2011.

Big Deal preview by Tim Chester NME

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Wild Mercury Sound – Cocoon

One of my favorite new bands of late, The Wild Mercury Sound, is back with a nice acoustic version of “Cocoon.”

Filmed in their hotel room while on tour in Paris, this pared down version is beautiful in its simplicity. With a single guitar quietly finger plucking a thoughtful melody, vocal harmonies, and contemplative and longing lyrics this ballad is stark and lingering in all the right ways.

In other news, these indie boys have been hard at work, playing shows across Europe, writing new tracks, and hitting the studio to record with James Kenosha of Pulled Apart by Horses fame. All this work means one thing: more fantastic music for us. So be on the lookout for new releases in the next few months.

Also, be sure to check out Kit Harwood’s flickr stream for some great photos from the band’s summer romp through France. Lively photos of the band’s gigs are interspersed with unguarded candid moments. Rather than being just being part of a promo pack, these photos are really quite lovely in that they express an intense fragility, isolation, and alienation.

If you missed my first post on this band, be sure to check it out. Their single “Chemistry” may just change your life.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

AA Loves: Hesta Prynn – Can We Go Wrong

If you feel like dancing your legs off, Hesta Prynn's "Can We Go Wrong" is the song to do it to.

Catchy drum breaks, aggressive guitar hooks, a pulsing synth, and vocals that drip with sex appeal. What else could you ask for in a dance tune?

This New Yorker blends hip-hop, electronica, pop, and everything else to make some truly inspired and very danceable music. We All Want Someone To Shout For stole my thunder by calling her the “white Santogold.” Unfortunately, I can’t think of another equally witty comparison, so that will have to do for now.

Stream her goodies below (not those, get your mind out of the gutter), and be sure to check out "Can We Go Wrong." The video is a fun little stop motion adventure through Central Park that is definitely worth scoping out.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

AA Loves: Sports

With longing lyrics from a disembodied voice riding smoothly over mellow synths, Sports touches me in unwholesome places.

If I were to ever need an ethereal soundtrack for a movie about a solitary traveler in space rife with inner turmoil, contemplative moments, and long thoughtful glances into the camera, Sports would be at the top of my list. Their haunting melodies, New Wave synths, and undulating bass lines are the perfect way to welcome the approach of Fall.

This trio from Seattle is currently at work on their EP and have a few demos up on their Myspace page, which you should really check out.

Enjoy “To Catch a Thief” below.

Sports - To Catch a Thief by Aesthetes Anonymous

Monday, October 18, 2010

Esben and the Witch – Marching Song

I’m completely haunted by Esben and the Witch’s “Marching Song.” The video and the song itself are thoroughly mesmerizing in a dark way that belies a terrifying violence bubbling beneath the surface.

It’s no surprise that this trio, hailing from Brighton, UK, derive their name from “Esben and the Witch,” a morbid fairy tale in the vein of Grimm’s and Hans Christian Anderson. With that frame in mind, one can think of their songs as beautifully frightening vignettes that contain the pain, angst, and longing of a slightly pared down version of Portishead.

They are simply stunning and have an amazingly unique sound that is certainly worth a listen. Be sure to check out their EP 33 and check out their show dates as they are currently making a swing through the US before heading back to the UK in November.

Friday, October 15, 2010

AA’s Frivolous Wants: Aviator Bag

My lust for leather goods continues this week with handmade deBruir goods from Ireland. In particular, feast your eyes on this custom Aviator Carry-on Bag that was specifically designed with the frequent flyer in mind.

Not only is it made from saddle making leather, so that it can endure any beating, it’s got a top opening flap so that you can readily access your stuff while flying. Did I mention that it’s insanely cool and that I’ve got a huge consumer good boner for it.

Be sure to head over to the Etsy shop which has all sorts of other great leather goods like laptop bags, eye glass cases, and leather stationary sets.

These goods are the product of Garvan de Bruir who “carries out finely crafted furniture in both a classic style and his more individual sculptural style.” What I like most is that he’s an artisan in the classic sense working on traditional commissioning basis for custom pieces.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

AA Loves: Young the Giant

Los Angeles natives, Young the Giant, could easily be the product of a United Colors of Benetton ad considering that the five piece band has members with ethnic backgrounds that include Indian, Persian, British, and French-Canadian. However, instead of being the poster-child for ethnic diversity they are burgeoning gods of rock.

From the opening bass line pulses of “My Body” to the burst of guitars before the vocals enter, it is immediately obvious that these Indie boys mean business. They’ve got big ideas and a big sound to match with soaring anthemic melodies that are clearly the product of the beautiful California sun.

Tapping into the creative juices that come from living on the scenic beaches of Southern California, they spent 7 months in their beach house writing and recording their first full length album which drops October 26th.

Be sure to grab their album when it comes out, and if you’re so inclined you can pre-order it on iTunes. Those who pre-order will actually receive a call from the band itself. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.

Also, be sure to check out their brand new single, "Strings," which just came out on the 12th. It's kind of a lot of amazing. The acoustic version is below.

Young The Giant - My Body by Aesthetes Anonymous

Young the Giant - I Got by Aesthetes Anonymous

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nujabes luv(sic) Modal Soul Remix

I must admit that in recent years, I’ve strayed quite far from my underground hip-hop leanings. It’s gotten to the point that I no longer even listen to the beats and loops that I once found sacred and quintessential to my day. I find returning to those once classic jams is akin to seeing a long lost love and realizing that the spark is gone. It’s as if you can no longer see the fire in her eyes.

Fortunately, there are still a few gems within my extensive underground hip-hop collection that still really get me. In particular, I began revisiting my Nujabes collection and unearthed a few remixes that I hadn’t listened to carefully. It’s the amazing interplay between jazz and classically trained musicians encountering hip-hop that can still spark my interest.

Listen to the Nujabes remix of his own classic Luv(sic). He takes the buoyant original and adds a quieter and more introspective beat to it, while actually speeding it up a few clicks. Of course a Nujabes track wouldn’t be complete without a gorgeous piano playing various melodic and harmonic lines that intertwine with melancholy strings. It’s amazing to see him revisit this classic.

Another great find was Pase Rocks’ Old Light from Hyde Out Production’s Second Collection. To showcase Nujabes’ amazing versatility, he backs this track up with classic a Mo-Town choir, upbeat Dilla-esque loops, and of course a nice funk piano.

On a sad note, I’m really quite broken up about Jun Seba’s (AKA Nujabes) untimely death. I know it comes a bit late, but every time I listen to his thought-provoking music I inevitably reflect upon his passing. It came as a complete shock and happened in the worst of circumstances – a car accident. Naturally, this only goes to reinforce my feelings that cars are pure death traps and should be avoided at all costs.

Anyways, enjoy the tracks.

Shing02 Luv(sic.) Modal Soul Remix by Aesthetes Anonymous

Pase Rock - Old Light (Voices from 93 Million Miles Away Remix) by Aesthetes Anonymous

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Uhhhh…Holy Crap!

While I don't really care much for cars or driving these days, mostly due to the fact that I think they’re portable pods of death, I’m still completely mesmerized by this video which showcases Ken Block’s insanely talented driving.

It's scary how well he can manipulate his custom built rally car to do whatever he wishes and the course they've set up for him is mind boggling. He takes this monstrous 650 HP Ford Fiesta, with an obscenely high power to weight ratio, to a closed rally course where they let him go nuts drifting around cones, tight turns, people, boxes, whatever.

My favorite moment has got to be at 2:31 where he repeatedly drifts around someone, most likely an intern, on a Segway scooter, coming within inches of him. It's this sort of precision drifting in which he's managing to execute tight swirls around 180 degree turns in tightly confined areas while playfully nudging cones at full throttle that blows me away.

What I find most interesting though, is that his personality actually comes through in the way he drives. I’ve seen my share of drifting videos and car races, but never before have I actually noticed a distinct personality in someone’s driving. I think it’s fairly evident that you’ll find he’s playful, brash, and has a helluva a lot of confidence.

Be sure to watch it to the end. It’s absurd. He continues to drift until he grinds his tires down until there is nothing left and he is literally shooting sparks from his rims.

Also, check out the second video from this series. It gets even more absurd and playful where they set up a course that looks like it's out of an action movie. I don't want to say too much, as the eye-popping suprise factor adds to the excitement of the video. But, I'll just say this, there are a lot super slow motion shots in which the car is used to make things explode. Really frickin cool.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Violens – Amoral Release + Violent Sensation Descends

Check out the brand new album “Amoral” by the latest indie darlings from New York, Violens. This hip three piece mixes 80’s New Wave with psychedelic rock and 60’s California inspired sounds for deadly effect.

While the whole New Wave revisited trend may be getting a bit tired, their infusion of eclectic influences livens up their sound to keep things ear-perkingly original.

Here's a French version of “Violent Sensation Descends” with Caroline Polachek lending her lovely voice as well as the original. Also, I figured I’d throw in the first song that initially caught my attention “Spectator and Pupil.”


Violens - Violent Sensation Descends by Aesthetes Anonymous

Violens - Violent Sensation Descends feat. Caroline Polachek by Aesthetes Anonymous

Friday, October 8, 2010

Kevin Barnes Traces Musical Evolution

Folks, if you haven’t already seen this hop over now to take a look. Kevin Barnes, of Of Montreal, recently did a fantastic interview with Pitchfork, where he broke down his musical evolution by picking one song that characterized that epoch in his life. Starting at the age of 5 up until 35, he explores his progression and his inspiration for the latest of Montreal sound.

Naturally this has got me thinking of the evolution of my own musical tastes, so I think I’ll have to follow suit and produce something similar shortly. Although, much to my sister’s disappointment I will not be including any TLC songs on the list, which I apparently loved in my early childhood. She will never let me forget the mixtape that I made for her when I was 8 that had all of TLC’s Crazy Sexy Cool on it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Morning Benders – “Virgins” and "Outlaw Blues"

Fortunately for us, the fantastic cameramen of La Blogotheque were on hand to capture a stunning new track from The Morning Benders “Virgins.”

We are certainly in for a treat as the band announces clearly, in a sneak preview of what promises to be an amazing Soiree de Poche, that this is the first time they’ve played it live for an audience.

Chris Chu’s dreamy vocals, the doo wop bass line, and light harmonies make for a beautiful tune. The audience seems equally blown away as they stare in pure awe, although their looks could also just be a heat induced stupor. The room looks swelteringly hot, with each band member having at least 3 buttons undone and audience members visibly sweaty.

Regardless of the heat, I would have politely maimed someone to be there.

Oh and check out this great clip of the band rehearsing the song before the show.

Wait! Here's a free download of The Morning Benders' just released cover of Bob Dylan's "Outlaw Blues."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Consumer Goods to Die For – Little Horn Speakers

I’d be willing to do very bad things if someone were to give me these amazing speakers from Specimen in exchange for said services.

Unlike most things in life, these actually sound as good as they look.

For the audiophiles, these speakers are especially suited to low power single-ended triode (SET) tube amplifiers, so you can pair it with this bad boy stereo tube amplifier for some scary good sound. Or you can opt for a simple sub-woofer. Either way fantastic audio quality and sleek design are yours.

In their words, "A special inverted design enables the low frequencies to emerge at the top of the enclosure. An octagonally fluted horn carries them upward and lets them flourish into the room. The immense structural rigidity of the horns octagonal geometry minimizes resonances yet allows sound waves to expand freely the way nature intended. There is simply something beautiful here, not just bass frequency reproduction, but a spatial imaging that belies the speaker’s size."

For the low low price $1,500 you could be the owner of these bad boys. Unfortunately, if you’re poor like me it will be many months eating Cup O’ Noodles before you can save enough to even think about trying to buy these.

Also, check out this sweet portable speaker by IDEA. Compact electronics in sleek brushed metal casing. What’s not to like?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

AA Loves: Lucinda Black Bear

Indie folk rockers, Lucinda Black Bear, are back with two new tracks “Percival” and “Knives” that are perfect for the Fall as their tightly orchestrated songs evoke melancholy adventures in heavily wooded forests with furry animals.

To be more concrete, I would say that their sound combines the grandiose soundscapes of Sufjan Stevens with vocals akin to Andrew Bird and the foot stomping anthems of Arcade Fire. Each of their songs feature complex dark melodies with elaborate exchanges between cellos, violins, and guitar with thoughtful vocals sitting airily atop.

Unlike the free and loose playing of say an Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, you get the feeling that each of Lucinda Black Bear’s songs have been carefully composed and refined after many grueling sessions to ensure that no note, rest, or word is out of place.

Enjoy the new tracks, which can be downloaded for free from the band's website and be sure to keep an eye out for the new album which drops November 2nd.

Lucinda Black Bear: Percival by cgracie

Knives by cgracie

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday is Picture Day

No words for today. Just pictures courtesy of A Conversation On Cool

Friday, October 1, 2010

AA Endorses: Fungus Workshop

This week my love for leather goes international, all the way to my native land of Hong Kong.

Fungus Workshop, a collaboration between Hoiming and Cowrice, is a workshop and creative space where people can explore their passion for hand-made leather goods. The results are quite stunning and always gorgeous.

The interesting thing is that this is an instructive space where participants learn to handcraft leather goods themselves. In a few relatively short sessions students come away with 2-3 small leather goods of their choosing. Most often it seems that folks make gorgeous camera bags or cases for their phones, computers, or glasses.