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First Look: Teenage

The new documentary Teenage, which opened this weekend in New York City, takes a look at how different youth subcultures scattered across the world and throughout centuries have helped define teenage culture today. Through beautiful, super-8 archive footage paired with the recreations and narrations of four different teens, Teenage creates a vibrant "living collage" of history in a way that no documentary film has done before. (Check out some of our exclusive .gifs from the movie, posted below.) We talked to Matt Wolf, the director of the film, Jon Savage, who wrote Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture, the book that served as the basis of the film, and Executive Producer Jason Schwartzman, about the movie, what they were like as teens, and why adults forget what it feels like to be a rebellious youth. Hazel

How did you all connect to make this movie?

Matt: I read Jon's book and I thought it was very compelling and that it could be a great film. He had just finished the Joy Division film and I had just finished this movie called Wild Combination about Arthur Russell, so we swapped DVDs and started talking. We thought we could work together so we started a sort of Skype relationship. Eventually I went to Wales with a hard-drive of footage and we started the process of etching out what the film could be. 

Jason: I saw Matt's film Wild Combination and I loved it; I remembered watching it many times over the course of a week after it came out. One person I was eager to show it to was this friend of mine, Humberto Leon, who has the store Opening Ceremony. Humberto said that he was friends with Matt Wolf and later [Opening Ceremony] wanted short films for their store opening in Japan, so he hooked Matt and I up and we made one together. It was during the shoot for that that he told me about how he was going to make a movie based on this book by Jon Savage and I was excited about it. 

In terms of how you, Matt and Jon, envisioned the film, did you have a clear idea of what the film would look and feel like? Did you two know from the beginning that you would want to use archival footage and take this in a more artistic direction?

Matt: We could have done a multi-part television series with expert historians and talking heads, but early on we knew we didn't want to do that. I had accumulated about 70 or 80 hours of archival footage at some point while we were piecing together the film. I had a residency at an artists' colony, and everyday I edited a compilation mix of archival footage to contemporary music. That was a really important part of the process for me. It made this "living collage" style we were going for.

Jon: Matt and I discussed early on that we didn't want the film to be from the point of view of adults, we wanted young people's own words. So Matt and I developed a narration where we took quotes from the book or wrote quotes that gave the teenage point of view—how it actually feels to be young. In general, the film is pretty much how we wanted it to be from the start.

Who is the audience for Teenage?

Matt: Teenage, to me, is an art film in a sense. The film is also an incredible music experience. I see the film almost like a record, and the narrations are like the lyrics to the record. You can just sort of sit and experience it without looking at it. I hope fans of music are a fan. And the film isn't really about your typical teenager, it's about the exceptional young people, people who think against the grain. I wish I had seen this film when I was a teenager.

Jon: Me too. Because then you realize you're not alone. 

Jason: I almost wish they would show this in schools because I think it's exciting. Also, I remember Matt came to my house with a rough compilation and narrated it for me in person, and even when he wasn't talking it was beautiful to watch. 

When you were going through all the footage and even watching the film now, was there a certain quote or piece of footage that really stood out to you?

Matt: The thing that was a big break-through for me was the color footage of German swing kids. The story of the German swing kids is the most moving to me because it was the story of how pop culture and politics collide. These young people were smuggling American music and culture as a way of expressing themselves but also as a subversive tactic to resist the Nazi regime. It's so punk. There's also this quote towards the end of the film, from a letter to the editor for Seventeen Magazine, that says, "I love being seventeen. I wish I could stay this age for awhile. Seventeen is that perfect spot between adolescence, which means you're going somewhere, and adulthood which means you're on the downgrade."

Jon: [laughs] I'm totally downgraded! I love the quote, "My world is speedy and they're old." That's from a book called Middletown, which is about this couple who went to a town in the midwest for a year in the 1920s and reported what they found. But, my favorite bit, is the footage of the Chicago swing jamboree in 1938 with 200,000 kids going mental. And it was an integrated audience, which is amazing, because black American music was incredibly important.

Jason: You know what's wild, and it just occurred to me, is that it blows my mind that you [Jon] wrote this book without seeing a lot of this stuff. The book and the movie, they're companion pieces in a way. Jon wrote this book without having seen a lot of it and Matt made that possible. 

Matt: We were really rigorous in making sure that everything in the film is based on historical truths and uncovered history. We based the narration on primary source quotes and based our characters off of real people. That rigor is really important to us as filmmakers and historians. 

Jason: Another great thing about the film is that it doesn't get into all the stuff you already know. These are the people and the stories that seeped through everything.

There was a line in the press release I was really interested in about activism and rebelliousness, and how you point out that adults today sort of forget what it feels like to be a teen. In your opinion, why do you think there's that separation?

Matt: At the core, I think it's that teenagers represent the future because they're going to live in the next era, and that creates a lot of hope and anxiety for adults. They project their fears onto young people and it leads to a desire to control them. But why do adults forget this need for freedom and self-expression and revert to this need to control? I think it's out of fear.

Jon: And also people get beaten down by life, they really do. People get into habits and raising a family. It also depends on temperament. I've always been a guy who's interested in the present and the future. A lot of my work is in the past but when I was a kid I was into stuff that was really cutting edge, which is why I'm excited about the film. You have the everyman histories, the history of the normal people, but when I was a kid I hated the normal people. I never wanted to be normal EVER. With the book and the film I was interested in the exceptional people who make the change. Because, if there's no change there's just entropy and then everything turns to shit. 

Matt: When I was a teen I was a gay activist, and I remember publishing this underground newspaper and dumping it in the middle of my quad and then going to the bathroom and just barfing. I didn't even think about it as brave, it was just this immediate need to express myself. As I get older I think about what people will think of me and I try not to think that way, but with teenagers, they just purely express in a very visceral way.

Jason: I do remember being an adolescent and feeling angry and sad and not knowing why. As you get older, adults need to find a reason for why you feel all these things. I have a daughter now and whenever I meet a parent of an older kid they go, "Just wait 'til she's 13!" And it's like, why the "just wait"?

Jon: It's part of that experience of separating from your parents and joining the world of your peers. 

Matt: When you're young, a lot of the time you're oppressed. I think with this film, it's really about a formative period in history in which young people were facing an unprecedented amount of oppression from their parents and the government. They were really just struggling for basic forms of recognition and to endure these struggles and define yourself under judgmental and high-pressure critique from adult society leads towards revolution.

Better Together: Wiissa

New York City-based photography duo (and romantic couple) Vanessa Hollander and Wilson Philippe form Wiissa. We first discovered them a few years ago when they won our Crush video contest, and since then, the pair has been busier than ever. Now in college, we caught up with the twosome to find out what they've been up to recently, their favorite places to shoot in the world, and their favorite music (complete with a special playlist, just for us). Hazel

How did you two first meet?

Vanessa: We first met when I was 14 and he was 15. We both lived off a little island right off of Miami. As soon as we met we started hanging out and then we were together a week later. That's when we made nicknames for each other. I started calling him "Wii" and he started calling me "Ssa." I don't why, but we had already started calling ourselves Wiissa for some reason! Then a year or two later we started taking more pictures together and we decided to call ourselves "Wiissa." 

Were you two already passionate about photography before you met or was working together what fueled it?

Wilson: I think beforehand we kind of liked photography but when we met, we grew up with each other and learned from each other. We really got into taking photos when we started doing it together.

Vanessa: Before that, we just took shitty macro pictures and made Photobooth videos and stuff [laughs]. After that, we started taking more photos, and we got our first film cameras together.

How would you say you two influence each other when it comes to making art?

Vanessa: We just literally can't do it without each other.

Wilson: Yeah.

Vanessa: Photography-wise, Wilson's probably more technical, and I think more about the overall ideas. When we come together, we make what we make!

Wilson: If I were on my own, my work would be really perfect technically, but it would be boring. If Vanessa were on her own, it would be super conceptual. It would be all blurry and stuff [both laugh].

How would you two describe your aesthetic?

Vanessa: What we always strive for is "colorful." We want to get in as many colors as possible. Our photos might be nostalgic, because we're nostalgic for times we haven't lived in. We like to recreate those times through styling. 

What has been the most enjoyable project you've done together?

Vanessa: This summer we went on a road trip through France. It was just us two and literally all we did was take photos. It was the best. In France, each city is completely different from the last. We were out on dunes, cliffs, waterfalls. It was something different every day.

Wilson: We also had two months of freedom to do whatever we wanted. I was driving my grandma's car around and looking out for places. 

What are you two doing when you're not taking photos?

Wilson: School.

Vanessa: Yeah, we're both students. He goes to SVA and I go to Barnard. We try to do that as little time as possible [laughs]. We both intern, as well. He's interning with Adam Green and I'm working at a record label called Cult Records. We love going to concerts, too. 

Any particular gigs or bands playing shows you're excited to see coming up?

Wilson: I think the Arctic Monkeys are coming soon.

Vanessa: The band Yuck, who I really like, is playing next weekend. We also just got tickets for Governer's Ball, so that's super exciting. 

What are you two currently obsessed with?

Vanessa: I'm obsessed with The Libertines and Pete Dougherty. I sort of revived my 8th grade obsession. Music for us is the biggest inspiration for everything. We both love '60s French aesthetics, so we tried to tap into that in France. Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg are always one of our number one obsessions. 

If you could photograph any band, who would it be?

Both: The Strokes

What's coming up for you both?

Vanessa: We're looking to get more into commercial stuff. We have some photoshoots for the record label. We're doing something soon with Julia Cumming's band Sunflower Bean. 

Get Gifted: Hazel's Wish List

Get Gifted: Hazel's Wish List!

When I set out to make this wish list, I started thinking about the best part of the holidays: winter. My favorite part of winter is that sometimes it snows and I like to stare at it wistfully from my bedroom window while wearing a sweater over a sweater with a sweater draped over my shoulders. Here are some items I'd like to surround myself with while gazing wistfully. —Hazel

1. Glasser Interiors

This was one of my favorite albums of the year. I can't imagine how good Glasser's futuristic, synth-driven, minimalist sophomore album must sound on vinyl. (Just kidding, I can guess: it'll sound beautiful.)

2. Fujifilm Instax Mini 8
An Instagram is just an Instagram...but Polaroids are forever. Gimme this mini Fujifilm Instax Mini to document my cute life, please.

3. The Riot Grrrl Collection

As someone who's done research in the actual Fales Riot Grrrl Zine Collection, I am dying to get my hands on this book which includes zines from the archives of Kathleen Hanna, Sheila Heti, Johanna Fateman and more.

4. Mermaid's Kiss Perfume
I don't know exactly what a mermaid's kiss smells like, but I want to smell like one. Thank god this perfume has some smooches bottled up for me. Wait--how'd they do that?

5. Lime Crime Cosmic Glitter in Taurus
I am all about Glitter with a capital G. On your eyes, in your hair, on your bod, wherever. Give it an astrological twist and I'll definitely want it. I want my Lime Crime Cosmic Glitter in my star sign (Taurus) but all the signs come in pretty glam shades.

6. Baggu Classic Small Leather Shopper
Lugging books to class is a pain but give me a Baggu tote with a Midas touch and I'll stop complaining about it.

7. Emoji Sticker Sheet
I am a firm believer in Emoji usage. Less talk, more pixelated 21st century hieroglyphics, please. These stickers are perfect!

Urban Eats: Marble & Milkweed

Started by former pastry chef Briar Winters, Marble & Milkweed crafts beautiful organic and fair-trade teas from a clawfoot bathtub in her apartment in New York City's Lower East Side. From a Green Glow Elixir of Sencha leaves and spearmint to a Modern Chai of South Indian vanilla beans and cinnamon, it's hard not to just see pictures of Marble & Milkweed's teas and want a cup. In addition to selling tea, the shop also sells odds and ends for your dream tea time, like pure botanical fragrances and drinking crystals. Looking at the site, we practically have our kettle already on the stove. —Hazel

Obsessions: The Death of Pop

English band Death of Pop have cultivated a perfectly shoegaze sound with their swirling guitars and ethereal vocals that call to mind veterans of the genre like Chapterhouse and Ride. Though the group has yet to release a full album, their Bandcamp page is littered with jangly pop earworms like "Sun In My Eyes" and "What A Day." Be sure to keep your eye on these indie Brits, as their underrated singles keep getting dreamier. Hazel

Fine Print: The Le Sigh

Since its launch last winter, The Le Sigh has been an online cool girl clubhouse of sorts. With consistently excellent indie music and arts coverage along with a strong allegiance to zine culture, The Le Sigh is one of the best well-rounded blogs in cyberspace today. This month, the Le Sigh girls will be moving to print with THE LE SIGH Vol. 1, a full color publication. The contributor list reads like a who's-who of Tumblr It-girls with work from Grace Miceli, Laurence Philomene, Lauren Cook, and more.

But the glossy, bubblegum pink-tinted zine is not the only thing these ladies have up their sleeves. The Le Sigh is partnering with Brooklyn-based record label Birdtapes to put out a girls-only tape compilation featuring acts such as the twee singer-songwriter Frankie Cosmos and the raucous punk band Priests. The publication and tape, which will be available for purchase online November 18th, will debut at The Le Sigh zine launch party November 17th at Silent Barn, which features performances from musicians on the tape like Whatever Dad, Lizard Kisses, and more. Hazel

You Should Totally Be This For Halloween: Charli XCX

Can Charli XCX be more awesome? Already a brilliant songwriter (maybe you've heard that little tune she penned for Icona Pop, "I Love It"?) and a rising alterna-pop star, Charli XCX also has major style game. She's managed to roll every Spice Girl together to make her signature look that's sporty (tube tops and printed leggings), preppy and punk (bright kilts and dramatic winged eyeliner) and generally badass (dog collar chokers and perpetual bedhead). If you're too shy to wear her look on the regular (it is, after all, a lot to pull off) might you consider being her for Halloween? Here's how to dress up as one of our favorite singers. Hazel

Get the look:

Reverse Studded-Waistband Plaid Circle Skirt
A cherry-red tartan mini-skirt will have you doing summersaults and high-kicks, just like you were singing "SuperLove" on stage.

Kimchi Blue Velvet Cropped Top 
Velvet crop top? Yes, yes, yes. 

Y.R.U. Qozmo Tonal High-Top Flatform-Sneaker
You wouldn't be Charli if it weren't for a pair of MEGA TALL platform black sneakers.

NYX Are You Depreyeved Of...Full Lashes Liquid Eyeliner
Draw it thick all around your eye and finish it off with a dramatic wing

A Beautiful Life Pregame Texturizing Spray
If you've got naturally dark locks (hell yeah!) then you'll want the volume of your hair to go up to 11 with this texturizing spray

Wes Week: Wes Anderson Notebooks

I love these notebooks based off of book covers found in Wes Anderson movies like Margot from The Royal Tenenbaums' play collection and Suzy from Moonrise Kingdom's "Coping With The Very Troubled Child." Crossing my fingers for "Dudley's World", though! Hazel

Buy The Wes Anderson Collection

Wes Week: You Should Totally Be This For Halloween - Margot Tenenbaum

In honor of The Wes Anderson Collection book, we'll be showcasing costume ideas from some of our favorite Wes characters this week.

Deep down inside all of us there's a Margot Tenenbaum from The Royal Tenenbaums. The elusive adopted daughter of the family and the sensitive playwright of the child prodigy trio, Margot's had a pretty awesome (albeit unusual) life that gets featured in a montage soundtracked by The Ramones. Her shabby fur coat, straight blonde bob, and ever-present cigarette make her just the sort of Wes Anderson character you really wanna dress up as for Hallows Eve. Here's how to get her look: monotone drawl and rebellious streak not included. Hazel

Get the look:

Stussy Faux Fur Collar Coat
An oversized, light brown furry (faux) fur coat is the ultimate Margot Tenenbaum wardrobe staple.

adidas X Opening Ceremony Piped Tulip Dress
Throw on a super-preppy, athletic tennis dress a la Margot's typical Lacoste polo-dress ensemble.

Style-Style Kohl/Kajal Eyeliner
Rim those eyes in the darkest kohl eyeliner you can get your hands on! The look you're aiming for is moody. So, so moody.

Cable Plush-Lined Glove
Cut the finger off one of these gloves and sew on a faux-wooden finger situation to get Margot's unfortunate accident down for ultimately Hallows Eve costume authenticity.

Sunny Daze Bobby Pin
Get your hair straight as straw and pull it back sharply with a bright bobby pin. Oh, Margot. Her child prodigy look hasn't evolved since age 12, it seems.

Top Secret Mini Stash Box
A "top secret" mini stash box to hide the cigs that support your life-long cigarette habit, of course! 

Buy The Wes Anderson Collection

Are You a Cyber Witch?

I can not remember exactly how I stumbled upon this beautiful e-book titled The Cyber Spellbook: Magick In The Virtual World, but I am so glad I did. I mean, witchcraft and the Internet together in one book!? The book outlines the ethics of being a Cyber Witch and how to effectively use the digital world to enhance your spells. I know what you're thinking: how do you know if you are a Cyber Witch? Well, the book explains it all, but start off with this handy quiz:

Another great Cyber Witch tip is to make a "Book of Shadows." It's basically a blog. Actually, it totally is a blog:

I love the one spell that makes sure the emails you send don't get misinterpreted! Need this for when I send too many cryptic emoji that only make sense to me. 

And never forgot to keep some goddesses around with you at all times. Maybe put some pics on your Palm Pilot? Oh how I love you, 2002.

Music We Love: Spooky Albums

Halloween may come but once a year but for me it's an all-year-round celebration. This means that in addition to my regular horror movie intake and ghost-hunting extra-curriculars, my iPod is filled with some creepy tunes. I made you all a pretty alt Halloween music playlist last year, but here are 5 intensely spooky albums that will really get your blood curdling and the nightmares coming. Hazel

Bauhaus - Mask
I mean, is Bauhaus just the most Halloween-worthy music ever? The entirety of Mask feels like a horror flick, but the title track "Mask" get's bonus points for the monster-evoking lyrics: "While the thing I am becomes something else / part character, part sensation." 

I remember the first time I heard Portishead, I was completely convinced that lead singer Beth Gibbons was a vampire. Her ghostly vocals backed by the band's ultra-cool, hypnotizing tracks make for one spooky debut LP. Listen to "Only You" with a candle lit. 

As half of the brother-sister duo behind The Knife, the Swedish musician Karin Dreijer Andersson has crafted an aesthetic and a sound so twisted it has made her one of the scariest people making music these days. Her solo album under the name "Fever Ray" deserves your Hallows Eve-related attention. I mean, just watch the video for "If I Had A Heart" and tell me that isn't going to give you at least one nightmare. Or, all the nightmares. 

Did you know if you go into the bathroom and say "Ian Curtis" three times, he'll appear in the mirror to you? JK, probs not. Also that's kind of sick. Anyway, Joy Division are like the posterchildren for post-punk creepiness and I can assure you that if you're having a Halloween party and you put on Unknown Pleasures everybody will be into it. 

Burial's electronic, trip-hop influenced music is drone-y and beautiful but it's also straight up creepy and "Truant" is totally Ouija-board worthy.

So basically The Cure were really dark and then they got all mushy gushy and were in a love that was "just like heaven" and then I guess someone broke up with Robert 'cause their eighth album went straight back to gloomsville. Put on "Lullaby," which is about a spider-man who "steals past the windows of the blissfully dead / looking for a victim shivering in bed." Aaah!

KXVO Omaha News Pumpkin Dance

It is officially October so I wanted to break out my all-time favorite Youtube video: the KXVO Pumpkin Dance. You know you want to watch it over and over again. Just watch and be mesmerized by those dance moves. —Hazel

Cute Yahoo Answers

I am very into this new Tumblr "Cute Yahoo Answers" that does exactly what its title implies: it compiles all the cutest Yahoo Answers questions into one neat little blog. Yahoo Answers usually bums me out because it's pretty much 90% young teens asking earnest questions and being met with the worst answers ever (NO, you can't get pregnant just by kissing, children!), but these are all just the cutest. Hazel

Review: Crosley Floral Executive Turntable

I think I'm in love but it makes me kind of nervous to say so...because it's with a record player. Is that weird? This Crosley Portable Record Player, printed in a purple calico pattern, is like something out of a Wes Anderson-directed dream, so naturally it fit perfectly into my super cute, weirdly violet-centric life. But this baby has more going for it than just its faux-vintage hot bod, because it sounds just as good as it looks, playing LPs at 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM. The sound from the built-in speakers is beautifully clear. And, of course, the player is portable so you can just snap it all up like a brief case and take it to wherever you want to go: your tree house, your college library where everybody is studying in silence or a party so you can DJ it with some Classixx or Justin Timberlake. Go crazy! Hazel

Here's the player in action spinning the Dum Dum Girls flexi-disc from the Rookie Yearbook:

Music We Love: Sleater-Kinney's "All Hands On The Bad One"

I have so many feelings about riot grrrl, the third wave feminist music movement of the '90s that taught me about rad women in punk and the DIY power of young ladies at large BUT I can not, and won't, get into all those feelings here because I have a character limit. At least, I think I have a character limit. For now, let's talk about Sleater-Kinney, the riot grrrl staple and bad-ass rock band.

Sleater-Kinney was formed in Olympia, Washington by musicians Corin Tucker (of the other Washington-based punk band Heavens To Betsy) and Carrie Brownstein (of Excuse 17). For those unfamiliar with SK, you might know Brownstein from the TV show Portlandia or her other insanely good band Wild Flag. She is one of the greatest guitar players of all time. God DAMN IT is there anything Carrie can't do?

Sleater-Kinney's music was loud and unabashedly political, calling out the misogyny of the music industry to the confines of gender roles. Their angry lyricism is a feminist manifesto in itself, making this music for ladies to rage to. Tucker has a particularly distinctive style of singing; it is literally a warrior-call. Her shrieking, punk snarl is one of the reasons Sleater-Kinney's music is so satisfying. Because Sleater-Kinney is one of my favorite bands, picking just one album to write about is hard. Though their fifth album, All Hands On The Bad One is super good. Girl power 4-ever! [Insert Corin Tucker shriek here.]

This is one of my favorite Sleater-Kinney songs, though it's not their typical, mega-screamy sound. It's a fun song but also pretty snarky. If there's one thing you can count on with Sleater-Kinney it's brutal honesty. If you're a totally predictable buzzkill boy band who disses lady rockstars, they're going to call you out on it with insults veiled as catchy hooks in a glossed up song. And how good is "fill our Christmas socks / with whiskey drinks and chocolate bars?" Dudes, this is what your girlfriend wants for Christmas. She also wants you to shut up forever and help dismantle the patriarchy, but start off with the booze and treats. 

Sleater-Kinney's "#1 Must Have" is a takedown of the hype riot grrrl was receiving from the media at the time. People were hating on SK for "selling out" and feminism had become a total commodity. "But they took our ideas to their marketing stars / and now I'm spending all my days at / trying to buy back a little piece of me," Tucker sings. Then the band went on this totally mainstream Oxygen talk show to perform this song and Tucker's attitude is sooo over it all. You can see it in her performance, it's great. Of course they would pick this song to play! Such a brilliant move. Ugh, I LOVE YOU SLEATER-KINNEY. 

The fast-paced, mosh-worthy "Youth Decay" is about the widespread misunderstanding of young women and disorders. It's easier to silence a chick than help her. "I'm so good at playing dead / words just don't seem to come out," Tucker snarls. Playing dead and being silenced is a common theme in Sleater-Kinney's outspoken music. The music gets REAL.

Sleater-Kinney penned this tune which, in Tucker's words, mocks how people perceive women in rock. To some, a band with all women can't be just a rock band. It has to be a lady rock band with their own special brand of female music. It doesn't really matter though, what people think of SK, 'cause all of the members have not stopped kicking ass musically over the years and All Hands On The Bad One is a testimony to their lasting rock n' roll, feminist power. Buy this record and all of their records and just get your girlfriends together and dance wildly. Hazel

Shop All Hands On The Bad One

Music We Love: Elliott Smith's "Either/Or"

Feel that chill in the air? It's called Autumn. Do you know what you do when it gets colder out? You put on sad music. It's just what you do. Or, at least, what I do. When I'm feeling melancholy and especially Richie Tenenbaum-esque, I'll put on Elliott Smith. If you've never heard Elliott Smith, then you're probably doing sadness wrong, just saying. Actually you're just doing music wrong.

Elliott Smith was a Portland-based singer-songwriter. Now, I have a pretty strict "no contemporary dudes with acoustic guitars" policy in my life (sorry, Jack Johnsons of the world) but Smith's music gets a major pass. His multi-tracked songs are complex, layering acoustics and vocals to make haunting melodies punctuated by his dark lyricism. Elliott Smith has such a distinctive style of singing as well. It's this light and whispery voice that is still so haunting. After a tortured life of depression, Smith died an untimely and oddly mysterious death at age 34. His music still lives on and on and on. 

It's hard to pick an Elliott Smith album that's my favorite, because I love them all so much, but his third studio album, Either/Or, is special to me. Either/Or was released right before Elliot Smith performed "Miss Misery" at the Oscars, a song he contributed to the soundtrack of Good Will Hunting. After that, Smith was on to bigger record labels that refined his sound in studios, so not to get all "his old stuff was better" but this is sort of the last truly lo-fi release Smith did, and it's the gritty nature of "Either/Or" that makes me love it so much.

"Ballad of Big Nothing" is so classically "pop" for Smith, with its strumming guitars and catchy choral hook. But the passive-aggressive lyrics of this ballad's chorus give it a much moodier tone than the average pop song vibe it seems to spit out. I think this was my Myspace song for more than a month, which is saying a lot 'cause I changed that baby on the daily. Luv u, Smith.


Ah, this song is so beautiful I could scream. Actually all the songs on this album are beautiful so I guess I'm doing a lot of internal screaming right now. Smith sings so softly, with each layered vocal track barely reaching louder than a whisper, and it only makes the delivery of these cryptically poetic lyrics more heart-breaking. Something about the line "in the cathedral with the glass stained black" alone has always given me chills. ALL OF IT gives me chills. Ooooh.

This is a seriously underrated Elliott Smith track. I just love the electric guitar work on this, especially that solo. It's like the whole album is this quiet, bubbling, anger and Smith sort of explodes in his own brooding way on this track at the end of the album. "IT'S MY LIEEEE"

Probably one of my favorite lyrics of Smith's: "You beat it in me, that part of you / But I'm going to split us back in two." Aaah?! Every line of this song is a wound, though I guess this entire album is a wound. A gorgeously, wispily, well-written diary of darkness. R.I.P. Elliott Smith. Hazel

Shop Either/Or

Music We Love: Interpol's "Antics"

Everybody has that band that they were whole-heartedly obsessed with when they were a teenager (though, I'm technically still a teenager), and for me that band was Interpol. Rest In Peace, my dark little sweethearts. I fell for this post-punk band of Joy Division-wannabes circa age 13 and it spawned a musical love affair that involved many Interpol Livejournal fan forums, pasting so many of their lyrics into my AIM profile and seeing them live (my first show ever!) on their Our Love to Admire tour. I can't even begin to describe to you how deeply obsessed with Interpol I was. The love runs deep. This dark love runs DEEP. 

Antics is the band's sophomore LP and it is brooding, though that's to be expected from these four dudes. When I tell you I know every lyric to each song on here, I mean I know every lyric. That might not be a big deal to some people but I put this on in the car not too long ago after sort of forgetting about it for years and was surprised at myself for knowing it all by heart. There's a lot going on in "Evil." I mean seriously, give me some credit people. 

This album is considered by many an Interpol fan to be the band's last solid release. A lot of people hated Our Love to Admire (I was not one of them!) and Interpol's last, self-titled LP wasn't exactly the greatest thing they've done. Then, they broke up, crushing the hearts of goth girls everywhere. Antics stands as a sort of time capsule for the best days of Interpol.


"Evil," aside from Turn On The Bright Lights' "PDA" might be Interpol's most well-known song. Ugh, that beginning bassline is so good. I'm pretty sure Interpol's music is 90% bass, 10% all the other musical components. It also has an insanely creepy video directed by artist Charlie White, who uses his penchant for puppetry to make lead singer Paul Banks into some disturbing marionette. As for the song itself, the creepy, cryptic lyricism (how completely twisted is "It took a lifespan with no cellmate / to find a looong way baaack") is rumored to have been about the serial killer Rosemary West, though it's never been totally confirmed. Charming!


Best intensely bitter break-up song ever award goes to "Slow Hands." Banks jumps from cutesy anecdotal love proclamations like "You make me want to pick up a guitar / And celebrate the myriad ways that I love you" to "Can you see what you've done to my heart and soul? / This is a wasteland now." Damn, boy! Paul, who broke your heart? It wasn't me. I would NEVER do that to you. Don't you just want to date everyone in this video? Yeah, you do. 2004 Interpol come back to meeeeeeeeeeee. Ugh, I'm going to cry.

Oh, another break-up song. This time, however, Banks isn't crying about his tortured wasteland of a heart. Interpol gets a li'l romantic here, albeit defeated. But at the end of the day it's an optimist tune so when you're screaming over lost love in a dark corner for the first half of the album, "C'mere" will bring you back to sanity.


I could say many things about "Narc" and Interpol at large but I'll just leave you with this YouTube comment from the user "sadkittyy" which basically sums up all my feelings: 

Oh, Interpol. I miss you! Seriously, please come back. Please. Please. You should be in my spaaace, you should be in my liiife. Okay, fangirl OUT. Hazel

Shop Antics


Are you a feminist? Do you like food? Do you enjoy the intersection of the two? Well, then you're going to want to submit to the new print zine Vag Appetit! The zine wants whatever you have related to feminism and food, from poetry to illustration to essays and more! The zine's also running a Tumblr for submitted videos (no longer than 3 minutes) so get your feminist brains cookin', and send any submissions you have to by October 15! —Hazel

Music We Love: The "Pretty In Pink" Soundtrack

If I had to pick one movie that has influenced my personal style, taste in music and general 'tude the most, it would be, hands down, Pretty In Pink. The John Hughes-directed classic starring teen screen queen Molly Ringwald is an '80s classic. It's also like the quintessential film for weirdo teenage girls who thrift all their clothes in high school and want to work at indie record stores (oh, hello, ME). In addition to the killer outfits and drama-filled plotline (OMG, rich boy meets poor girl?!) the soundtrack is perfect. Not a lot of people recognize that Pretty In Pink has one of the best soundtracks of all time. It's probably because they hate the '80s and in that case I hate them. I'm pretty sure I'm like the only person who thinks '80s New Wave was the best time period in the history of music but, hey, what can I say? I'm into synthesizers and weird hair cuts. ANYWAY, let's get to the music:


I dare you to listen to the movie's namesake song, "Pretty In Pink" by The Psychedelic Furs, and not be completely hooked on Richard Butler's scratchy English vocals and the song's adorably romantic lyrics. I always love when he sings "she turns herself round and she smiles and says / this is it, that's the end of the joke." I do a mean Richard Butler impression (which only I think is good, apparently) but we can talk about that another time. This was actually the soundtrack that launched these dudes to worldwide fame and rightfully so! Next time you get dressed into your pink floral leggings and over-sized dusty pink cardigan and put on your pink bowler hat, have this playing for maximum Andie Walsh vibes.

Another fave on this album is OMD's "If You Leave" which, if you haven't seen the movie (shame on you!), plays at the end of the film during the prom climax scene. Question: what if your entire life was just prom climax scenes? The vibes would be tense, but there'd also be a lot of dramatic make-outs? Anyway, because of this movie I forever associate "If You Leave" with my own prom, even though my prom was in 2012. They did not play this song. "If You Leave" is so deliciously creepy in a very specific '80s way (I feel like there are so many stalker anthems of the '80s) with the lyrics "I'll touch you once / I'll touch you twice / I won't let go at any price." Mhm, yeah, okay dude! 


Another classic song from this movie: The Smiths' "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want," a total moan-y Duckie-esque track and Echo & The Bunnymen's "Bring On The Dancing Horses." Because what is an '80s rom com soundtrack without a few brooding dudes thrown in? Post-punkers Echo & The Bunnymen are one of my favorite bands and this song is so magical. "Bring On The Dancing Horses" is actually one of their more famous songs and it was recorded specifically for the movie. It's an oddly psychedelic tune for the band, whose typical steez is super goth. But, I mean, this song is about "breaking brittle hearts" and roaming "headless horses" so it's safe to say this track is pretty dark.


And, of course, my favorite band of ALL TIME, New Order, is on here. Yes, I love New Order more than Joy Division, sorry to disappoint the universe, though I doubt you even can compare the two bands (though everybody always does). And I also love every era of New Order, from Movement to their most recent Lost Sirens. "Shell Shock" is on the official LP but FYI: New Order's spine-tingling "Elegia" is also in the movie and it plays during the MAJORLY INTENSE SCENE (spoiler!) when Andie is cornering Blaine at the lockers and is all, "SAY IT! Say that you don't want to go to prom with me!" and Andrew McCarthy is doing the only acting he knows how to do: make his eyes look crazy. 

The movie is rad, but Pretty In Pink would not be the awesome movie that it is without the soundtrack. It also serves as a neat little time capsule of a specific era of '80s New Wave music, so basically you need it in your life. Hazel

Shop Pretty In Pink - Soundtrack LP

Carla McRae

I'm really loving Aussie illustrator Carla McRae's cute and colorful illustrations which are of everything from sailors and sk8r girls to some of my favorite musicians like Claire Boucher and Cassie Ramone. I'm also into her Grumpy Girl t-shirt which is just perfect for every life situation in which you seriously don't wanna talk to anyone. Hazel