16 October 2010

Yelle La Musique

I was just perusing the video section on GBH.tv and found this new Yelle video for La Musique:

This thing mesmerized me. Not only is Yelle's sound a lot more mature since I last heard her material, but the video seems to match it perfectly. I knew it was going to be a pretty interesting video from the beginning – it starts out with cut-outs of sumo wrestlers moving around on planets in a galaxy. Then you spot the heads of Kanye and Michael Jordan in a corner, and the entire thing explodes into cut-outs of pop culture icons moving around and dancing in a watercolored fade all over the place. Everything from the Brazil Jesus statue hula-hooping to Clint Eastwood, the Taj Mahal, and Justin Bieber have cameos. At one point a flaming car flies from the sky into a camper, which then explodes into a mountain of kittens. Paris Hilton sits on a huge version of her chihuahua. Popsicles fly through the air as cats play guitars on icebergs. Finally at 1:20 I realized that the whole thing was strikingly similar to the feel in one of my favorite videos of all time, Leave Me Alone by Michael Jackson:

Usually I question interpretations that are this close, but then I saw the Yelle video close with this little nod:

Awesome. Especially since Bubbles is heavily featured in his video. Thumbs up to Yelle, can't wait to hear the whole album. She's playing Highline Ballroom on 4th November; buy tickets! If her performance was incredible 3 years ago, think of how it will be this time around with this new material.

08 October 2010

Levi's Photo Workshop

Last night I went to the launch of the Levi's Photo Workshop. If you haven't heard of the Levi's Workshops yet, they aim to encourage and foster the creative spirit as part of their current Go Forth campaign. The first one was in San Francisco in July, and it was a printmaking workshop. Very happy that the one to hit New York was about photography! The whole thing was put on by friends of Undercurrent Sub Rosa, and was held where Deitch Projects used to be at 18 Wooster.

Good party.

Now, this party was a fantastic madhouse. It was one of the best vibes I've gotten from an event in a long time - probably all year. The music was great, the crowd was great, the drinks were great (thank you Skyy), and there was photography stuff EVERYWHERE. Light tables, vintage cameras for renting, tons of film and other goodies, photo booths, a machine that puts any photo you want onto a t-shirt, huge Macs with editing software, this place was hooked up. And lining the walls was a really great curation of photographs hand-picked by Tim Barber of tinyvices.com. You can buy supplies, take classes, go to panels, see rotating exhibits and just mess around with all of the goodies for almost the entire month year. I highly, highly recommend this thing if you live here and have even the slightest interest in photography. Seriously, there's something for everyone.

No, YOU.

Light table


Crowd from above

Out of the entire space and event, I don't think I saw a single piece of Levi's branding, which is just insane. Over the years I've seen the worst of the positive correlation between size of brand and how much control they want to have re: "make the logo bigger" syndrome. The most I saw were three little racks of jackets and shirts on the upper level. Very well done, guys.

Way to go, Levi's. Awesome party.

Speaking of brands, the collaborators' list is nuts. Everything from Aperture Foundation to Leica and Kodak, Taschen and Vice. And there's a community partnership component, which supplies the warm fuzzies. A+ to Levi's, Sub Rosa and everyone else involved.

[More of my pictures here; see the Levi's Workshops pool here.]

EDIT 12 Oct | Marisa blogged about the workshop and event as well; if you're in the mood for more polished editorial (and some other shots courtesy of The Selvedge Yard), it's worth a read!

07 October 2010

Three songs

Music is a huge part of my life, as it probably is for a lot of people. I'm thrilled about how often I hear something that I instantly love because I'm the type to play that song exclusively, over and over for 2 weeks straight. But it isn't very often at all that I am blown away enough to stop what I'm doing and listen to the whole thing with my jaw on my desk. This usually happens about once every year and a half, but I guess I've been lucky lately because we just hit time number three for 2010. Just want to share these three very different songs with you. Maybe you'll like them too, if you haven't heard them yet.

Hot Chip: I Feel Better
I first heard the Bonnie Prince Billy remix of I Feel Better on RCRD LBL, and loved it. My friend Lucy sent me the original, and I wanted to jump out the window. I went home that night and transcribed the entire thing because I wasn't satisfied simply listening to it. Yes, people are sick of autotune by now, but I don't know if I ever will be. It can be used in a ton of different ways, and this way is spectacular. I kind of hate the video because it violates the image that the song put in my head originally, and it's a slightly edited version. And all I need is the magenta of the audio (but click on that link if you're curious and in the mood to be creeped out by an endearing bald man).

France Gall: Poupée De Cire Poupé De Son
I heard this one off of Niotillfem's French Spotify playlist. I stopped working and listened to it 3 times in a row; I couldn't tell at first whether it was a girl or a very young mischievous boy. Then I looked up France Gall and it turns out she was part of a huge musical movement in the 60s called yé-yé. I had heard of it before, but didn't know how influential of an explosion it was. It mostly involved young girls singing about boy stuff in an intentionally innocent way. I don't know what the song is about, but I do know that Serge Gainsbourg wrote it and that it's been covered all over the place (Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene are just 2 of the bands who have).

Mark Ronson x Ghostface Killah: Lose It (In The End)
Some of this album gives me a slight golden oldies feel, but I may be the only one. The song has a good intro, a great beat, and an extremely catchy verse. Almost reminds me of the Four Seasons (it's less than two and a half minutes long, too). He throws in that effect that sounds like you're singing into a fan, and Ghostface swoops in nearly a minute in (similar to how he does in his version of You Know I'm No Good with Amy Winehouse). I smiled the whole time I heard this song for the first time, and it's my favorite on this album (Record Collection; I bought the whole thing after previewing on Spotify and I suggest you do the same. Also check out the final track).

Hope you enjoyed. I might stitch together a playlist that features songs that have affected me similarly in the past; I wonder if it will have a good flow or just sound like a complicated mess. Anyway, has this happened to you this year? What song(s)?

05 October 2010


A couple of weeks ago, Ryan from New York-Tokyo sent me a press release for a Japanese rock band that is playing this weekend. They are called VAMPS, and I'm kind of upset that I already have tickets to a different show that night because from the looks of them, they are pretty much the epitome of my idea of what Japanese rockstars are like.

The guys' names are Hyde and K.A.Z, and from what I understand they each had years of being in other bands under their belts before deciding to form VAMPS together. It's hard to find much else about them other than the other bands they were in before, but apparently they are a big deal and sell out all over the place. One look at their MySpace page shows that they have 17,579 friends and six pages of just fansign photos, which is really endearing. And watching this album teaser really makes me sorry that I can't make it:

I know, right?

This is their first world tour, and if you live in NYC you can catch them at Roseland Ballroom this Saturday the 9th. Get your tickets here and let me know how it is!
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