Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Art of Mikael Kennedy

I just came across the stunning photography of Mikael Kennedy

Check out a few snaps from his latest collection The Odysseus. Featuring mist filled shots of windy bluffs and ominous forests, Kennedy beautifully captures the loneliness of nature as well as its captivating power.

Also, be sure to check out his collection of polaroids in all their retro faded glory.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Buckley Ward – So Pretend

Listen to Buckley Ward’s lead single off their new album “So Pretend.”

The band weaves intricately breezy Explosions In the Sky-esque guitar melodies and gentle harmonies to make some of the most quietly uplifting music I’ve heard in a while. Far from being precious, Buckley Ward simply exudes a calm optimism.

Their deeply textured soundscape is driven primarily by fantastic guitar work and punctuated by effortless vocals that simply course through your speakers. Upon first listening to “So Pretend,” one cannot help but notice the incredible driving momentum the song has.

Stream “So Pretend” below or head over to their website where you can download it for free.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On The Road Again

 Just thought I'd share some photos from a recent mini road trip. 

Nothing beats getting out of the city with a couple of your closest friends for a good ol' crabbing expedition and a late night barbeque session. With the sun beating down, the air muggy, and a cold beer in hand, the conversation flowed freely and a rollicking good time was had by all. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

[Introducing] Cheerleader – New Daze

I must say that bands like Cheerleader are why I love blogging because every now and then I get to wake up and find highly contagious pop gems conveniently lying in wait for me. 

Consisting of Donovan Rex and Max Friday, Cheerleader has just emerged from the studio with “New Daze” and “Dreamer,” which will infect you with dangerous levels of fuzzy sun drenched goodness. 

Do not miss out on these tunes, as they will quickly become your new summer anthems. 

“New Daze” is particularly catchy with its synth and guitar duet that serves as the perfect melody to accompany their breezy vocals. 

More please!

Listen to “New Daze” below and head over to their bandcamp to grab your free copy.

Be sure to keep an eye on this duo as this 7” release is more than proof of their great potential. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mozart Parties – Black Cloud


I’m in love with “Black Cloud” from Mozart Parties aka UK based James Bennett.

The only way to describe the track is bright catchy pop tinted with dark atmospherics. While that may sound contradictory, the glittery guitar driven melody induces involuntarily head nodding while the restrained vocals whisper moody lyrics like “the devil in my head sings and it haunts and shakes sending me at home and celebrates another win.”

Lush and complex, this is five minutes of pure pop genius that teeters between pure ecstasy and abject despair.

Listen below. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stanley Kubrick Look Magazine

Before the world knew Stanley Kubrick as the famed visionary behind 2001: A Space Odyssey and  Clockwork Orange,  Kubrick was a photojournalist diligently documenting the seedy underbelly of 1940’s Chicago in all its squalid glory. 

In his photos of the sweltering nights, you can see the glitz and glamour reflecting from the covetous eyes of poor working class men, the hungry faces of oppressed black children, and the blank smiles of showgirls. 
Beginning in 1945 as an apprentice for Look Magazine at the age of 17, Kubrick was Look’s youngest staff photographer. He worked there for several years developing his unique visual style until he eventually quit five years later to pursue film. 

Much of his work from the period is collected in Stanley Kubrick: Drama and Shadows by Reiner Crone.

Have a look at a few of my favorites below. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

AA Loves: The Former Love Pirates

Check out The Former Love Pirates an up and coming band from Australia.

With six members, the Former Love Pirates are a disparate lot producing songs that pull you in all different directions. For instance, “Click Your Heels” opens like the soundtrack to a Sergio Leone spaghetti western before quickly evolving into a futuristic 80’s sci-fi thriller, while “Busy Old Fool” sounds like some medieval incarnation of Ra Ra Riot if they were English minstrels providing entertainment at a feast.

As odd as these descriptions might seem, their deeply layered soundscapes and diverse influences result in fantastically original music that constantly keeps your ears stimulated. 

Armed with a deluge of instruments including keyboards, glockenspiels, tambourines, banjos, woodblocks, and guitars, The Former Love Pirates are certainly in possession of everything they need to cross genres, eras, and styles. 

Citing influences as diverse Arcade Fire, Simon & Garfunkel, Michael Jackson, John Denver, The Beatles, Passion Pit, and The Killers, it’s no wonder they sound like they do. 

Listen to “Busy Old Fool” and watch the video for “Click Your Heels” below.

Their EP Ghost Town is out now. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gene Kelly, Meet Kilian Martin

I’m not a huge skateboard connoisseur but I must say that the riding style of Kilian Martin is the most innovative and unique thing I’ve seen in a long time. 

Martin has the grace of a dancer and the agility of an acrobat, which is fully evident in his creative use of every part of the board. Refusing to be constrained by the existing conventions of riding, Martin pushes skating to the limit by incorporating novel elements from other genres like Broadway dance moves, breakdance spins, ballet twirls, and the odd perches and bounces of freestyle BMX flatland riders. 

If Gene Kelly ever touched a skateboard, he would skate like Kilian Martin. 

Check out some amazing clips below, it could be the best couple minutes of your day. 

Since we’re on the topic…

Monday, June 20, 2011

AA Loves - Dirty Beaches

Reaching back to the rockabilly days of the 1950’s, Dirty Beaches fills your ears with morbidly beautiful soundscapes that simultaneously evoke dread and wonder.

Alex Zhang Hungtai, a Canadian by way of Taiwan, captures the gentle sway, sweltering heat, and 50s lovesick cool of a Wong Kar Wai film perfectly with his deep echoing voice and fuzzy guitars.

Mesmerizing melodies play smoothly as Hungtai masterfully coos powerful mysterious lyrics. The overall effect is utterly enchanting and will leave your ears intrigued and hungry for more.

I really cannot say enough good things about Hungtai’s moody and dark aesthetic.

Listen to “Lord Knows Best” and True Blue” below and be sure to pick up his debut album Badlands out now.

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Current Playlist

Just thought I'd share my current playlist. 

A bit of a mixed bag here, some dreamier ethereal sounds, some rollicking blues rock, and some good summer jams.

Delta Spirit – Gimme Some Motivation

Delta Spirit – Bushwick Blues (Live Version)

The Kills – DNA

Cults – Abducted

Seapony – Blue Star

New Navy – Zimbabwe

We Are Trees – Dear Chan Marshall

Phantogram – Mouthful of Diamonds

Land of Talk – Quarry Hymns 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oh Ye Denver Birds - Swamp

Listen to the exuberant sounds of Oh Ye Denver Birds.

Hailing from Brisbane, Australia, these indie rockers know how to have a rollicking good time.

On “Swamp,” ghostly synths ring out over a driving beat while mercurial vocals plaintively wail enigmatic lyrics. While that description may not sound like a recipe for a good time, “Swamp” has a surprising catchiness to it thanks to the zinging guitars and other electronic flourishes that embellish the beat with enough to get you nodding along.   

Listen below and then head over to Bandcamp to grab your free copy of “Swamp” and “Neon Rainbow.” 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Kickdrums – Meet Your Ghost

The Kickdrums have been pretty prolific of late dropping mixtape after mixtape and later this month the band will release their newest album Meet Your Ghost.

Featuring a blend of the hip hop beats and drum breaks that made this production duo famous as well as aggressive synths and fuzzy guitars a la Cut Copy and Miike Snow, Meet Your Ghost is dangerously catchy. Smoothly mixing hip hop with rock, this album has enough interesting production flourishes and flashy vocals to merit keeping the album on constant loop.

The album doesn’t drop until June 28th on Last Gang Records, but in the meantime you can listen to the “Perfect World” Remix featuring RZA below or head over to their website to grab your free copy.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Vintage British Café Motorcyles

The prospect of dying from the world’s worst friction burn is a serious impediment to my actual purchase of a motorcycle, so instead I am left as an awkward appreciator of those beautiful machines. In particular, I have a deep abiding aesthetic love for the sleek and sinuous lines of British motorcycles. 

Dustin Kott, who makes some of the most paired down minimalist British style Café racers, has elegantly summed up my love for vintage British bikes stating, “You see how everything that’s there is all that has to be there, there is no room for anything else. You can feel a spirit in that bike.”

With Café Motorcycles, Kott’s custom bike shop, he takes this minimalist mantra to the extreme. Kott will take existing bikes and strip away 50 pounds of excess parts, leaving only the bare minimum that it needs to operate smoothly or he will build new bikes from scratch that embrace this same ideology.

“The idea is to create a machine that has only what it needs to exist, to work, to run, and what’s left is just a shell,” he explains.

What a beautiful concept.

Learn more about Kott’s handmade motorcycles and his aesthetics in this beautifully shot video below.

Cafe cowboy from benedict campbell on Vimeo.