Tuesday, November 30, 2010

AA Loves: Gruff Rhys

Check out Gruff Rhys’ “Shark Ridden Waters” from his forthcoming album “Hotel Shampoo.”

Shark Ridden Waters is a whirl of a time machine that brings you back to the psychedelic grooves of 60’s pop. With his angelic voice, smooth guitar riffs, and the sounds of the beach, surrender to the acid fueled visions of free love, happiness, and sexy times.

Interestingly enough, his upcoming album is named for his manical habit for collecting mini shampoo bottles and other single use toiletry items from hotels. According to Gruff, “I hoarded these objects in a rush of mild kleptomania. Every room in my house began to amass these plastic bottles and various, hotel-related things from every continent on earth (except Antarctica). Having never kept a journal these items have become like diary entries, triggering memories of all those buildings and random people I've met and inspiring some of the songs on the album.”

This album then is “an act of revenge against the colonisation of our house, I vowed to build a hotel out of the items and sleep in it. The resulting Hotel Shampoo creation serves as a monument to the waste that’s produced in our disposable age and to catalogue my transient existence.”

To coincide with the announcement of his latest album, he recently unveiled an art installation that he created using all of the various items he had collected while on tour staying in hotels. Check out the video here.

Listen below and head over HERE for a free download.

Also, be sure to check out the recently released video below. It’s a quirky spy story that’s definitely worth a few minutes of your day.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball

I just recently came across these photos of Truman Capote’s lavish Black and White Masquerade Ball at the Plaza Hotel in 1966. It looks like the star studded attendees are having a fun sexy time at the "party of the century."

I must say that I am heartened by the fact that even Frank Sinatra in a tuxedo with Mia Farrow on his arm, can’t wear a mask without looking silly.

Have a gander at the photos as Truman Capote certainly assembled an impressive guest list of classy folks including William F. Buckley, Frank Sinatra, Mia Farrow, Candace Bergen, Henry Ford II, and Lee Radziwill.

Damn. They sure knew how to party in style. What a startling juxtapsition from the images of today's partys with folks taking shots off the stomach of an STD riddled female vying for attention from the muscle bound bros chanting "chug, chug, chug" as they shotgun Natty Ice in public.

Friday, November 26, 2010

5 Songs to Help Hide Inside for the Winter

Here are five of my favorite songs that are the perfect soundtrack for winter hibernation.

Arcade Fire – Winter for a Year

From their demo, this gem has a great melancholy yet upbeat and whimsical feel to it. The meandering melody and light hearted drumming mix smoothly with Win Butler’s voice that is noticeably more adolescent and even contains a hint of Billy Corgan’s whine, at least to my ear.

Sufjan Stevens – Come On Feel the Illinoise!

The opening bass lines from the piano make me think of a jollier version of Charlie Brown and nothing says Christmas like the oddly depressing Charlie Brown Christmas Special. Let’s also not forget the grand soundscapes and bright horns that really spread a holiday cheer.

Sufjan Stevens - Come On! Feel The Illinoise! by AriGold

Ra Ra Riot – Winter 05

The quiet sleigh bells in the background; the gorgeous melancholy lyrics; the explicit recognition of the inherent dreariness of winter; and of course the idea of curling up next to a loved one during those cold winter nights. If that doesn’t capture the essence of winter, I don’t know what can.

Young Galaxy – Outside the City

Something about this song, just makes me think of going on a grand snow-filled adventure. The booming drum and bass lines add a driving momentum to the song and when mixed with the lovely vocals, make the most pleasant combination to my ears.

The Rifles – Winter Calls

Lonely lyrics over guitar work that screams British rock by my favorite Brits, The Rifles – what’s not to love about that?

Arcade Fire – Neighborhood #1 Tunnels

Perhaps the greatest, most brilliant song about winter ever. I’m not sure any song could be better than Arcade Fire’s Neighborhood #1 to bury yourself for the winter. From the recurring fairy tale like melodies to Win Butler’s plaintive angst ridden wail, nothing evokes a magical winter wonderland than this song. It also helps that it’s written about a magical world with no parents that’s covered in snow and connected by tunnels.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Elegant Bike Storage

Chris Brigham, the designer behind Knife and Saw has solved our bike storing woes with his elegant Bike Shelf.

In his words, "While visiting many friends small apartments here in SF and more so in NY, I noticed that there is a void when it comes to elegant bike management. Bikes always get in the way – either in the hall, or leaning up against a bookshelf or something. So, I decided to design something to fix that problem."

It's made out of solid Walnut and suspended by "a solid steel square rod mount" so it should be sturdy enough to hold anything you want. It also provides the space to hang hooks to store other accessories or objects as needed.

Head over to Knife and Saw now to see more.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Detroit Lives: A New Haven for Creatives and Entrepreneurs

Palladium Boots recently produced one of the most interesting documentaries that I’ve seen in a while. Eschewing the common narrative of Detroit as the exemplar of urban decay, ghetto violence, and failed metropolis, they chose to show the wonderful revival that Detroit is experiencing despite the contrary narrative in mainstream media.

Detroit Lives is incredibly optimistic, showing the amazing possibilities that Detroit actually has. Despite the thousands of people that have recently abandoned this city, the remaining denizens have used the now vast open spaces to create. Artists, entrepreneurs, and other creators now have the physical, financial, and legal room to do whatever it is they please.

Unlike other major cities, where rent is stiflingly high, creatives can actually pay for their rent while still focusing on their art. Musicians can play in two bands, live comfortably, and make a decent living. While artists can afford to rent or purchase physical space to create massive murals or installation art pieces and exhibit them that other cities lack.

As one hipster put it, “no one wants anything to do with [this city], so you can. I’m 24 and I have a 9 story building at my disposal.” So he and his friends have turned a massive industrial sized space into a playground for artists where they can work, exhibit their creations, and have huge parties. Or take the 7th grade school teacher who started farming on abandoned lots. Rather than asking for permission from the city, he simply asked the neighbors and they were so fired up about restoring their neighborhood, they helped him transform the land. Now he’s supplying local restaurants with tasty organic produce.

Large chain stores have stayed out, leaving a vaccum for entrepreneurs and daring individuals to fill the gaps. With an incredible DIY culture, resilient young folks now have the opportunity to step up and deliver services their way.

Detroit is really an inspiring story of its denizens banding together to rebuild their city in the image that they desire. Like the Wild West in the past, they have the space to create as they wish in a lawless landscape. Despite the horror stories, Detroit is communal activism at its best, not the death of civilization. Where the government and the nation has given up on Detroit, its people have not. These folks are taking their city back and turning it into a cultural Mecca for artists.

Aside from the interesting people and project profiles, you get to tag along as Johnny Knoxville, the documentary’s primary explorer, investigates massive abandoned beaux arts buildings that were once concert halls or factories.

Watching this documentary makes me consider moving there. A city with such a rich cultural history, I want to play a part in the re-invention of a place that has been abandoned by the rest of the country. Participation in great events and having the autonomy to create and be recognized is a rarity today.

This inspiring and thought provoking documentary premiered on August 30th and follows Johnny Knoxville as he explores the city and meets with various people who are helping to restore this city as they take him on a tour of its new possibilities.

Check it out Part 1 below, and click here for the rest.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Evan Voytas – Tomorrow Night We’ll Go Anywhere

LA based multi-instrumentalist Evan Votyas’ first physical release is here! Released online in mid October, the physical edition has hit stores this month courtesy of Cascine.

Check out Tomorrow Night We’ll Go Anywhere, a sweet little EP. For a lack of better words, it’s introspective space age synth-pop. The combination of 90’s hip-hop drum loops and new wave synths give it paradoxically an old school retro feel while also propelling you into space. Sitting airily atop these swirling electronic beats and pulses is a falsetto that begs the comparison to Barry Gibb’s of the Bee Gees circa Saturday Night Fever.

This eclectic sound seems to stem from his own checkered background, growing up in rural Pennsylvania before moving to Harlem and a bearded stint in the desert. After touring the world sans beard, he eventually returned to the dirt roads of Pennsylvania to record.

Don’t forget to also check out some of his past releases, “I Run With You Spirit Animal” and “I Took a Trip on a Plane.”

Evan Voytas - Tomorrow Night We'll Go Anywhere by Aesthetes Anonymous

Evan Voytas - I Run With You Spirit Animal

Evan Voytas – I Took a Trip on a Plane

Monday, November 22, 2010

AA Loves: Lanie Lane

The suffocating humidity has the sweat dripping down your back, but you hardly notice. As bop blows wildly in the air, you see her. Slinking down the hall with a devilish grin, she entices you with her tantalizing charm. With a single glance, she devours your soul.

A vision of making it with her splits your skull. There she is, wildly pumping away on top of you with little regard for you beneath her. When she’s had her fill, she rolls over and lights a cigarette, exhaling coolly before shimmying back into her dress. She’s gone before you even have time to catch your breath. You lie there, a quivering mass of ectoplasm, with the memory of her dark lips pressed against yours burned into your brain forever.

They certainly don’t make songs like this anymore. Ones that transport you to the suffocating humidity of New Orleans in its gritty Jazz heyday, and it’s rare to find a songstress who can sing with this kind of raw talent, which is why I’m impressed as hell by Lanie Lane.

Hailing from Sydney, she channels the sultriest of jazz crooners of the past with a voice like Erykah Badu, to make even housework sound deliriously sexy.

Check out “What Do I Do,” it will seriously make your day.

Lanie Lane - What Do I Do by Aesthetes Anonymous

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Arcade Fire and Spike Jonze "The Suburbs" Video Release

Two of my two favorite things in the world have finally come together. Arcade Fire and Spike Jonze have teamed up for the music video for “The Suburbs.”

Spike Jonze has really outdone himself on this video, amplifying the raw emotions of the song. The opening shots feature a group of gangly adolescents in the glory of their youth, riding bikes, getting in trouble, and falling in love for the first time. It quickly devolves into the main themes of the record: boredom, an underlying angst, and a mysterious Suburban War replete with night raids, arrests, and M16 wielding troops. Bubbling beneath the surface of their carefree lives, is this widening war that eventually invades their lives forever scarring their youthful idealism.

What’s impressive is Spike Jonze’s ability to create so much emotion with simple glances and no dialogue. His ability to establish narratives, emotional bonds between characters, and wrench at your heart strings is truly impressive. I’m still trying to get over his last short, I’m Here.

On a side note, after watching the video, I now recognize the mysterious footage that was playing in the background during their Madison Square Garden show, shot by the legendary Terry Gilliam.

Watch for Win and Regine’s brief cameo about half way through as shot gun wielding cops. That huge goofy grin on Win’s face is priceless.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Gangs of Kabukicho - The Art of Watanabe Katsumi

A good buddy of mine just recently sent me these photos, and I just had to share them. I’m completely blown away by the characters in Watanabe Kastsumi’s street photos from Japan’s Red Light District.

Taken during the late 1960’s to early 1980’s, in Kabukicho in East Shinjuku, Watanabe captures the vibrant and colorful night life of this seedy part of town. Well known for its “love hotels,” night clubs, and hostess bars, Kabukicho was home to the gangsters, prostitutes, pimps, and drag queens that filled Watanabe’s frames.

Inhabitants of Kabukicho called it “Sleepless Town,” and it’s pretty clear from Watanabe’s photos that these folks had a rollicking good time. From the yakuza swaggering down the streets to the prostitutes posing, their lust for life is clearly visible.

Their eagerness to pose and generally joyous expressions, despite their station in life, is likely the result that Watanabe was also an inhabitant of this seedy underworld rather than a voyeur. He developed a relationship with his subjects, rather than exploiting them. Using a camera mounted flash (still rare at the time), he would sell these snapshots to the subjects to eke out a meager living.

The beauty of these photos lies in their lack of pretense or artistic nature. The subjects are such interesting characters in and of themselves that simply letting them pose and taking a centered photo is enough to make an arresting image. The viewer finds themselves strangely attracted to these people simply for the sheer force of their personalities, studying their expressions, poses, and clothing to get an idea of what makes people like these tick.

Sadly, Watanabe never really made a comfortable living as a photographer or received the recognition that he deserved in his lifetime. At one point he was even forced to hang up his camera, to earn money by selling sweet potatoes on the sidewalks. He died of stomach cancer in 2006, the same year his book was published, unable to see the attention that his work received in the wake of his book’s successful publication and the exhibits that followed.

Check out his photography below and his book here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Consumer Goods to Die For: Mod Clocks

It’s no small secret that I have a love for mid century modernist aesthetics, so it comes as no surprise that I love these awesome vintage alarm clocks.

From their curvaceous lines to their bold circular numbers, nothing says sleek simplicity like these clocks. In particular, the spartan Soviet designed Vitjaz ones really do it for me.

Check out Clockwork Universe’s Etsy shop, for some good ol’ fashioned watches, alarm clocks, and pocket watches.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Sports Release - Mind Has Changed

Sports is back with another fantastic new release. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I rather like them and have posted a few tracks from this up and coming band. So when I opened my inbox to see that they had sent me an email, I knew I was in for a treat.

Mind Has Changed has the same distorted voice, undulating synths, and smooth beats of their other songs, although the pulsing rhythm makes it distinctly more dance friendly and the vocals are more prominently featured. With longing lyrics filled with disembodied emotion, it will have you dancing and reminiscing quietly - admittedly an odd combination for the dance floor, but perfect for your aural pleasure.

Check it out here or hop over to their bandcamp to download it for free.

Astounding Words: 6 Word Vet Memoirs

It’s impressive how powerful words can be given the right context. In this case, it’s veterans of the ongoing conflicts overseas describing their feelings upon return in 6 words or less.

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) , a fantastic organization that does some very important work, have teamed up with Smith Magazine to bring us these tersely worded 6 word memoirs that suck the oxygen out of the room.

With such a small word limit, one would think that it would be difficult to express the enormity of the thoughts and experiences running through their heads. Instead it has the opposite effect –it boils down their feelings into tightly packed spring loaded cartridges that tear through your soul. I may be biased since I’ve been working in national security with active duty, reservists, and vets from our armed services for the past two years, so I hope I’m not overstating this.

Here are a few that I found particularly moving:

I can’t forget I can’t forget
Voted my conscience. Bartered my soul.
Best. Words. Ever? “Mom, I’m Home.”
Hollow stares and a hard heart.
Again, am trying to feel alive.

Head over to Smith Magazine to read more. While you’re at it, head over to the IAVA and at the very least get educated on some of the issues facing vets today. Things are getting pretty messy with skyrocketing suicides, PTSD, TBI, and homelessness among veterans today. With thousands more returning with the drawdown in Iraq, you should at least be aware of what’s happening in your community to those who have sacrificed so much for us.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

AA Loves: The Cracks

I’m all cracked up for The Cracks. Oh badump chh. See what I did there.

But seriously, The Cracks is hard charging rough and tumble Rock N’ Roll at its best. Full of raw Southern hell fire, their explosive guitar riffs, fiery drumming, and wailing vocals evoke a drug fueled slingshot ride across the country in a hot rod belching flames on a scorching desert highway.

With their southern rock inspired sound, replete with a screaming harmonica, one would think that this quartet hailed from the American South or at least Detroit instead of Sydney, Australia. Regardless of where they’re from, these guys know how to rock.

Check out “Caroline” below as well “Rapture,” where Andy Crosby’s vocals and the guitar riffs resemble Liam Gallagher and Oasis at its best.

The Cracks - Caroline

The Cracks - Rapture

Monday, November 15, 2010

Miniature Tigers and The Roots Live Mashup Concert?!!

In an amazing and mind-boggling collaboration the legendary Roots and up and coming Indie darlings Miniature Tigers will be performing together in a mash up show. As part of Red Bull’s Soundclash series the two bands will be playing in Scottsdale, AZ on November 20th.

According to the website, Red Bull’s Soundclash series “is an unparalleled live musical conversation performance between two bands with diverse sounds, styles and creativity. The ultimate musical battle where two bands fight for the grace of the public. Which band will be the best to anticipate the other? Which band will have the stamina to keep going? The audience decides who the winner will be.”

Apparently there are multiple segments where the bands will have to play some rehearsed songs, improvise around grooves, and have a more conversational back and forth exchange. The exciting part, is that throughout the entire show the audience is actively judging, so there is a competitive component that will keep the bands trying to read the mood of the audience to win their approval. What a fantastically novel concept that combines elements of jazz improve to force these bands to showcase their musical talents in a live venue!

So far Soundclashes have taken place in around the world and in the US alone they have fatured Wale vs. Tokyo Police Club, Tex-Mex vs. Talib Kweli, and The Cannabinoids w/ Erykah Badu vs. Shiny Toy Guns.

What these Soundclashes actually entail, I have no idea. By I am eager as hell to find out what it sounds like and what they’ll be playing. My mind is reeling with the possibilities of what will be played and I can’t even begin to fathom what anything will even sound like.

Perhaps a combination of this

and this

Friday, November 12, 2010

Deadly Artistic PSA

Solidarités International: Water talks from La Boite Concept on Vimeo.

Check out this amazing PSA/art installation done in Paris that brings awareness for the world’s deadliest killer. More than smoking, war, and heart disease, the answer will certainly surprise you.

Done for Solidarites International by the clever French ad firm BDDP & Fils, they’ve put an amazingly artistic and catchy campaign together for a very serious issue. Given the recent deadly outbreak of Cholera in Haiti and the increasing pressures of climate change on teetering infrastructures amidst the most heavily poulated boiling fleshpots of civilization, this issue is more important than ever.

Watch the video to find out more.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

AA Loves: Blackbird Blackbird

SF based Blackbird Blackbird give San Francisco another reason to celebrate. Although, winning the World Series is a pretty damn good reason!

Like the World Series, Blackbird Blackbird is a bit of old news. These folks have been getting quite a bit of well deserved attention for their fantastic music. To use those annoying music blogger terms to describe them, their sound is “electro indie shoe gaze sepia tinted psychedelic experimental dream pop.”

I’m not sure I even know what the hell that really means. So to be a little more concrete, they have a brilliantly enchanting sound. Synths and drum machines play smoothly behind hauntingly disembodied choir like vocals. Like listening in on a heavenly ritual of the gods from afar, you have to struggle to discern the notes clearly. One can never quite figure out what exactly is being sung as if they were produced by vocal chords more evolved than our own mortal bodies, but it doesn’t matter – its beauty is in its mystery.

Check out their full length LP, “Summer Heart,” which was released on vinyl in September.

Download it here or stream my personal favorite, the Let’s Move on Together EP below.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Introducing: Some Shit I Saw and Then Took Pictures Of

My photography has been a bit homeless of late. Ever since the explosive growth of DeviantArt resulted in a massive surge of anime, emo teen poetry, and cosplay photos, I’ve hardly had the inclination to post on my old account.

But seeing as I have this handy dandy blog now, I figured I might as well turn it into a place for shameless self-promotion for my photography from time to time. Kind of like a grown-ups virtual refrigerator.

Anyhoo, I was on the roof of my apartment the other day and noticed the sun was casting these fantastic shadows across these pipes. Someone had recently thrown a rager up there and it seems they got a bit wild with tape and started wrapping these pipes. Lucky for me though, because it certainly added an extra air of mystery to these pipes. What are they for? Why are they there? Also, why do they have the curved openings?

There’s probably a very straightforward explanation for it like they’re steam valves with hooked openings to prevent water from falling in. But that’s boring. Instead I like to think of them as tunnels leading into a magical world filled with giant turtles that throw their shells at you, talking mushrooms, and Italian plumbers.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lucinda Black Bear @ 92Y Tribeca 11/5 Concert Review

Last Friday I was fortunate enough to be invited to Lucinda Black Bear’s record release party for their second album “Knives” at 92Y Tribeca. After a long trudge through the deserted yet posh streets of Tribeca, I found myself in one of the strangest venues I’ve ever been to.

Situated deep in the bowels of a minimalist concrete and glass building that housed a sleek art exhibit, café, and bar, the stage was cold and alienating as it was set in a cavernous room with bare concrete floors and Spartan bleach white walls.

Lacking warmth and infinite in its solitude, the barren hall seemed to be a fitting backdrop to Christian Gibb’s mournful vocals. The seated café style arrangement before the stage lent a hushed air of introspective thought and quiet contemplation to the sorrowful lyrics.

Despite the stultifying venue, the band found a way to connect with the audience with a dazzling display of carefully honed musicianship. Playing a mix of songs from their first album as well as their latest release, these Indie folk rockers masterfully shifted between various styles in the span of a single beat. Transitioning smoothly between soft spoken folk, to twangy blues, and even anthemic rock, LBB showcased their ability to manipulate emotions and shift moods like a bi-polar woman on her period.

Perhaps, nowhere else was this more apparent than on “Suffocation Blues.” Fantastic melancholy blues would give way to foot stomping crescendos before immediately quieting down to a sullen blues once more.

This ability to create these seismic shifts emotionally is testament to the band’s skill in building intricately textured soundscapes with gorgeous string arrangements by Chad Hammer and Gillian Rivers (who has also contributed her talents to MGMT and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). Together, they not only arranged the strings, but meticulously positioned the strings on each track during the mixing and mastering of the album.

Needless to say, the band played a fantastic set, ending it with a series of epic dizzying head banging solos and energized cymbal crashes. For their encore, they played an amazing cover of Springsteen’s “Born to Run” from their previous album, adding a quiet twang and poetic dimension to the song.

For such a stellar performance, the seated audience at café tables made the show feel austere and removed. Frustratingly, polite applause and silent nods of approval dominated the evening instead of the thundering cheers and enthusiastic nods (seeing as no one dances at Indie shows anymore) that the band deserved.

In sum, Lucinda Black Bear’s carefully constructed songs are even more impressive live as one is able to see the infinite care in which they create their lush and deeply layered music. Carefully orchestrated, beautifully conducted, and thought-provokingly sincere, these Brooklyn indie-folk rockers know exactly what they are doing. The only downside was the harsh seated venue, which the band bravely overcame through sheer force of talent.

Monday, November 8, 2010

AA Loves: Who Knew

The terrible winter blight will soon hit the land, transforming once lush and verdant landscapes into a frigid, barren tundra. Naturally, coming from California, the approach of winter always fills me with dread. How can anyone look forward to months of body-wracking shivers, skull crunching falls on invisible sheets of ice, and plunging your feet into lake sized puddles of icy snow filled with rat carcasses and garbage?

Fortunately, unlike me six-piece Icelandic band Who Knew has no problems staying chipper during the winter months. Their deliriously happy music will keep you in good spirits despite the apocalyptic weather outside.

Despite being born in a “heatless basement in Reykjavik,” Who Knew seeks to “mediate happiness” rather than capture the “chilling vastness and serenity of their homeland.” With a deluge of catchy guitar riffs, an alluring falsetto, and stand out drum lines, these Icelandic rockers leave an ever widening grin on your face. It’s almost as if they seek to stave off the dreariness of winter by pure raw energy, leaping around on stage drenched in sweat until they literally collapse exhausted.

Check out “We Do” a fantastic video for a great song that shows off their vibrant sound and rambunctious energy Fight Club style. Each member performs the song as their band mates shove, slap, and punch them. It’s oddly exhilarating and by the end the viewer is left in awe as we look upon their bruised, bloody, and battered faces. For a more subdued, version check out the equally exhilarating acoustic version of We Do.

Also, be sure to pick up their LP “Bits and pieces of a major spectacle”

Who Knew - We Do from 101berlin on Vimeo.

Who knew – We Do Acoustic

Who Knew - We Do (Acoustic) from 101berlin on Vimeo.

Friday, November 5, 2010

AA Loves: Van She

I’m not happy that I missed the boat on this one, so if you’ve already been rocking out to Van She you are miles ahead of me. But no matter, this band certainly deserves more attention and I’m happy to give it.

Sydney based Van She have a fantastic sound that is infused with 80’s new wave, guitar rock, and electronica. These Indie boys from down under have been around since 2005 and have made a name for themselves remixing hits under the name Van She Technologic. They’ve also played with the likes of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Daft Punk, and Pheonix, while their songs have been snapped up by Cut Copy and Crystal Castles for remixes so you know they’re legit.

Naturally, given who they’re associating with Van She has been dropping some great synth-pop dancefloor ragers.

Check out “Strangers” and “Changes” below, and be sure to throw these into the mix at your next hipster dance party playlist.

Also, be sure to check out their own version of “V” album remix entitled “Ze Vemixes” for sweatier incarnations.

Wait one more thing, be sure to check out Breakbot’s awesome remix of “Kelly” here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Of Montreal Video – “Famine Affair”

Of Montreal has just released the second video off False Priest, “Famine Affair.” This puzzlingly amazing video is directed by Jason Miller, who also did the video for Coquet Coquette, and Nina Barnes, Kevin Barnes’ wife.

This is a bizarre, depraved, and sexually charged new video of epic feminine proportions. The viewer is just as bewildered as the solitary man in the clip among the gaggle of nymph like ladies. What begins as a decadent X chromosome only party leads to the revelation of a twisted and sinister world of distant sexual pleasures. It’s entirely engrossing, visually stunning, and immaculately styled with the unique aesthetics of Of Montreal.

In an interview with Spin, Kevin Barnes described the video as "the story of a man living in a feminine empire. As a male, he is considered lower class. He is expected to abstain from any social interaction with members of the ruling class, and provide sperm for breeding rituals. Each household is provided by the State with one male, the housemale is not permitted to leave the grounds. The housemale must live in the estate he is assigned to until death or sexual impotence."

If you’re so inclined, Of Montreal is holding a remix contest for “Famine Affair.” Submit your own remix and if it’s selected you could win $500 bucks and the entire Of Montreal digital discography. For more details and all you need to get mixing click here.

Watch “Famine Affair” courtesy of Spin.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Beauty of Plunging into Gaping Holes

I recently came across this amazing video on a friend’s facebook page. It’s a simple vignette of a long dive into a wet gaping hole (coincidentally named Dean’s Blue Hole), but there’s something about it that really excites me.

I suppose it’s the mysterious otherworldly adventure that awaits as you watch world champion free diver Guillaume Nery delve ever deeper into the dark recesses of an abyss. Adding to the excitement, is the simple fact that I know absolutely nothing about free diving, let alone that holes like this exist in the world, so it truly is an exploratory moment.

Shot entirely without oxygen tanks by fellow free diver Julie Gautier, the editing and footage is really quite stunning. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the background music is awesome.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Peggy Lee – Sneaking Up On You

Just a fun little flashback to an old Peggy Lee tune. It’s got that fun 60’s movie montage feel that always puts a little extra kick in my step.


Monday, November 1, 2010

The Art of Scott Pommier

If you haven’t already seen the photos of Scott Pommier yet, then you need to see these. Beginning with skateboarding and now motorcycle sub-culture, his photos have the uncanny ability to really capture the essence of a lifestyle.

His stark images evoke the solitude, freedom, and rebellion of youth. But above all, his images are aesthetically arresting. As he so aptly stated in a recent interview, “a good picture is something that jumps off the contact sheet, something you want to look at for a long time, and something that’s a pleasure to get lost in." There is simply no other way to describe his photos, other than that they are a joy to get lost in.

In particular, I love the simplicity of his more recent motorcycle work in which he used a 35mm camera and eschewed other equipment for natural lighting. Rather than being an outsider looking in, he chose to travel light and be an active participant. It’s this passion and understanding of his subjects that really distinguishes his photos.

When pressed to describe his photography and participating in a sub-culture, he offered this up :

"When you’re a skateboarder and you see the images that non-skateboarders make, say a sports photographer from the local newspaper, and you see how wrong they get it, or when you see someone’s flickr page, and they have a passing interest in bikes, so they shoot some sort of event, and you look at the images and they just feel hollow, it’s sort of a consciousness raiser. You don’t want to treat new subject matter, things that are important to other people in a flippant way. I think even a very general audience can sense, on an intuitive level if you don’t have some degree of reverence for what you’re shooting. No matter what it is."

Be sure to check out the full interview at Wow Magazine and his online portfolio.