More Santogold

August 21, 2008

Santogold’s self-titled debut is, without a doubt, in my top five releases of the year so far. Lately my favorites on the album have been “I’m a Lady” and “Lights Out,” purely pop-rock tracks that serve as a welcome juxtaposition to songs like spastic party starter “Creator,” or punk-tinged ska cut “Say Aha.” Basically both tracks put me in a good mood every time I listen to them. And when, at the beginning of the second verse of “I’m a Lady,” Santogold coos “Oo ooo you look so pretty…you look so sweet,” I can’t help but smile. Weird. Peep the videos below (the video for “I’m a Lady” is a magically strange fan vid).

I also recommend checking out the recent Santogold/Diplo mixtape which features some solid remixes—including a mash-up of “Lights Out” and Panda Bear’s “Comfy in Nautica”—as well as some old school punk, hip hop and rub-a-dub/rude boi reggae songs. You can download it HERE. Mad decent.

“I’m a Lady”

“Lights Out”

Roommates

August 20, 2008

One of the best things about living with roommates is the spontaneous pseudo-intellectual conversations that spring up at the oddest times (typically after 10PM on a work night). Tonight my roommate and I launched into one such conversation that evolved, as most do, out of bitching about work and how we’d rather not go anymore. After complaining for a few minutes, we typically move on to hypothetical situations that would enable us to do something way cooler. Of course these hypotheticals get more and more ridiculous…case in point, one such scenario revolved around what it would take for us to sell magazines out of those little steel huts in the subway every single day for one year with no salary. The verdict: a year of free travel and grad school on the house (we’re such little bitches aren’t we?) There are too many others to recount.

Well, tonight’s conversation focused on why we get stressed out about work at our age when we have such little responsibility? We’re 24 and 25 years old living in the best city in the world, why on earth would we be stressed? My buddy then made a pretty astute judgment. With little responsibility comes a lot of uncertainty. Uncertainty is stressful. A lot of the decisions we make at this age could have a potentially lasting impact and we want to make sure we’re making good decisions. Yet with each major decision comes more certainty, and with it, more responsibility. Pretty scary, eh? We’re going to look back a couple years from now and long for days like these. I totally realize that this is a privileged viewpoint and we’re lucky to even think about these things, but shit, let’s all grab a pint, take a deep breath and soak it all in while we can. Damn, that’s so cliche, but fuck it.

Beautiful Losers

August 20, 2008

I’ve been unable to post for the last few days due a breakdown in our internet thanks to the yellow bellied scoundrels at Time Warner. That is until I realized that my work laptop detects connections from lands far, far away. So here I am stealing internet, transmitting via guerrilla blogfare.

I’m not quite sure where exactly I first stumbled upon Beautiful Losers, but as soon as I chanced on it, I was intrigued. The film—directed by Aaron Rose, founder of NYC’s now defunct Alleged Gallery—documents the rise of a D.I.Y. art movement in the early ’90s that revolved around the urban aesthetic of street art, graffiti, skateboarding and underground music. Anyone that reads this blog regularly (all four of you) know that this is right up my alley. And when I learned that the film focuses on artists that I respect and admire: Harmony Korine, Shepard Fairey, Barry McGee and others, I knew I had to see it. Lucky for me, the film began its general theatrical release right here at the IFC Center at W4 St.

I must say that leaving the theater I was not at all disappointed. First, it was interesting to hear first-person accounts from each artist explaining their initial engagement in the D.I.Y. scene. Most began with an early self-derived perception of outsider status, or being different from the other kids in the cafeteria. Of course these claims are validated through quirky, often hilarious anecdotes from each artist. In one particularly memorable scene, Harmony Korine tells a little girl that a friend of his was once decapitated in the very park in which she was playing, to which she responds, “Cool!” It’s actually hard to tell if he’s serious.

Beautiful Losers was also worthwhile as it exposed me to several artists with whom I wasn’t very familiar. I learned about the work of Mike Mills who has designed dope album covers for Sonic Youth, Beck and the Beastie Boys, Margaret Kilgallen, whose San Francisco-based folk art I recognized and Chris Johanson, who sports a massive beard and is just plain nuts.

I also appreciated the fact that the film didn’t raise any negative sentiment for artists applying their work for commercial purposes. So often today artists are accused of selling out and alienating their core audience, the audience that was there during the come up. If an artist has the opportunity to project his or her vision on a larger scale without compromising their creative integrity, he or she should be encouraged, not chastised. Specifically, the film touched on graphic designer Geoff McFetridge who has spearheaded cool ass campaigns for Pepsi and done collaborations with sneaker companies.

There were only a couple aspects that detracted from the film for me: In my opinion, the cutaway shots of the artwork were often too quick and sporadic. I understand that a film has to move, but there were times that I wanted a few more seconds to take it all in. I also thought the unfortunate death of Margaret Kilgallen was touched upon very abruptly and disrupted the flow of the film somewhat towards the end.

All in all however, Beautiful Losers is the type of film that lights a creative fire under your ass and makes you wonder why you ever stopped taking art lessons in seventh grade. It reminds you why you enjoyed drawing and making things…because it was stimulating and fucking fun. Excuse me while I go tag my bedroom wall.

This evening I spent a good amount of time trying to decide what to post. Totally afflicted with writer’s block, or I guess in this case blogger’s block, I finally caved and turned to wiki for some inspiration. I became engrossed with the random articles and links about the origins of hip hop, and almost forgot my original intention.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the vids posted below. I definitely tried to go past the 1990’s, and into the earlier days of hip hop. As a note, I’ve never actually seen the vid of “Rockit” before, and now I feel slightly traumatized. I would put masturbating mannequins in the “never needed to see” category.

Herbie Hancock – Rockit

Kurtis Blows – The Breaks

It’s hard to complain about the Beijing Olympics. It’s set in one of the most mysterious, exotic, and beautiful places in the world. Add on top of that, the Chinese penchant for extravagance and perfection and you get a hell of a show. The opening ceremony will go down as the greatest ever, thousands of synchronized drummers and fireworks providing a show worthy of past emperors. I definitely watched from beginning to end.

Since the opening ceremonies though, the Olympics and China have experienced feats and embarrassments. As expected world records have been broken, gold medals won, but the controversies have gotten more attention. It started with the random murder of an American, and continued into potentially underage gymnasts. But I guess that’s to be expected. When you bring all these cultures together, with different sets of values on the world stage, the ambition to “look good” supercedes all.

I do have many issues with how China has run the Olympics, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so immersed. So far, it’s definitely been a great show and there’s more to come.

However, I do have one complaint about the Olympics. It has to do with the broadcast and presentation by NBC. The casual conversation between G.W. Bush and Bob Costas left a jingoist taste in my mouth. I cringed when they discussed human rights violations in China without discussion of Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. Obviously, NBC would take a pro-American approach for the Olympics, but at times they take it too far.

Anyway, the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics are looking like the best ever. I’m gladly staying up until 1am every night watching, and am anxiously awaiting USA Basketball.

Damn. Is it possible to have forgotten about Michael Jackson? I won’t say that I necessarily blacked out the King of Pop, but he’s definitely been in the back of my mind for a minute. It’s a shame that someone who defined pop music for more than decade has been relegated to the shadows of the public conscience. But throw “Billie Jean” or “Thriller” on the Hi-Fi and people will inevitably submit to the epitome of pop genius.

While anxiously awaiting the start of Michael Phelps latest ridiculous feat, we decided to throw on a couple on-demand Michael Jackson videos to pass the time. The highlight for me was “The Way You Make Me Feel” one of the gems from Bad, a cassette I begged my mom to play in the car every time we took a road trip when I was six. She got so sick of that record…but I still know all the lyrics. Check out the video, imagine yourself approaching a woman like this:

Supreme x Tera Patrick

August 13, 2008

Occasionally my roommates and I will cut out clippings from newspapers and magazines that we find interesting or provocative and post them on the fridge and kitchen wall (ok fine, I’m pretty much the only one that does this, but still). One such clipping that’s been on display for several months now is a striking Supreme ad that I tore out of Vice. It features a busty brunette woman scantily clad in a bikini hugging a skate deck. Her expression is…suggestive. I cut it out simply because I thought it was fucking awesome. What’s not hot about a sexy woman posing with a skate deck?

The ad has become somewhat of a fixture of our decor, and to be honest I hadn’t really thought about it in a while until today. That is until I read in the latest issue of Complex that the woman is in fact pornstar Tera Patrick. I must admit that I was taken aback by this discovery, not so much that Supreme would use her in one of their ads (their mantra as a brand seems to be “If you don’t like it, step off”) but that a pornstar would be in an apparel ad to begin with. Supreme is a brand that prides itself on existing on the fringes and I’m wondering if we’ll begin to see a similar trend with other such “cooler than thou” brands. Are pornstars and other societal outliers the next way to earn street cred for your brand? It’s funny to think about, but in this day and age, where every brand is looking for a way to make a name and turn heads, it might not be that far from reality.