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Friday Download: April 18, 2014


For this week's Friday Download I rounded up a few of my favorite recent tunes and trailers as well as some road trip planning websites that I'm just dying to use again once summer hits. And even though that trip to the Ventriloquist Dummy Museum may still be a ways away, now is the perfect time to get started on those road trip playlists, y'all. Katie



Strand of Oaks "Goshen '97"
I am super into this video and song. Like, I'm probably going to buy a convertible just so I can listen to this full blast with the wind in my hair. Plus, this video was totally filmed 15 minutes from my house so I'm basically famous now. If you're as into this song as me, you'll have to wait until June 24 for the full album Heal to come out, but Strand of Oaks has plenty of other albums to check out in the meantime. They're a lot folkier than the song above, but still just as awesome.



Childish Gambino (ft. Problem) "Sweatpants"
This is the perfect video for this song. (I'm watching it for like the ninth time right now, whoops.) Just watch it.



Roadtrippers/Roadside America/Atlas Obscura
It's getting to be that road-trippin' time of year again, and I can't help but look up imaginary road trip pit stops on sites like Roadtrippers, Atlas Obscura and Roadside America. After you enter your start/end destinations, the sites tell you what cool/wacky/scenic stuff you'll pass along the way. My favorite of the bunch is Roadtrippers, because it's designed well and also has a handy app. Plus, it measures all the roadside attractions with a RAD-O-METER! Neat. Photo via.



Lana Del Rey "West Coast"
Hey, here is another new song from Lana Del Rey and the first single off her upcoming album Ultraviolence. I guess it's growing on me? I'm sure two weeks from now I won't be able to get it out of my head. Just like how I previously thought Ultraviolence was a lame name for an album, but now I'm totally into it because it's like what an angsty 16-year-old would title their album and I appreciate that.



Orange is the New Black Season 2 Trailer
FIIIIIIIIIINALLY.

Meet the Designer: Helena Young-Meyer


This month, UK-born designer Helena Young-Meyer, the woman behind HYM Salvage, is showing off her one-of-a-kind home goods at Urban Outfitters' Space Ninety 8 concept store in Williamsburg, and also worked with Urban Renewal on a unique denim collaboration. We visited her Fishtown studio where she gave us a peek into her working life (hint: it's filled with vintage fabrics and pug puppies) and told us all her must-see vintage shops in the area.
Interview by Katie Gregory. Photos by Rachel Albright.





Hey Helena! How long have you been working on furniture specifically for Space Ninety 8?
About a month, I’d say? It’s hard to say, exactly. I’ve done an online range, and then another collection for Space 15 Twenty in L.A. on top of this collection for Space Ninety 8. And now I’m researching and looking for furniture for the Harold Square store. Right now I have no furniture because I’ve got rid of it all! I get the concept books so I get an idea of what they want it to look like and then I go from there sourcing the fabric and furniture.

Any awesome spots that you get your furniture from?
At this point it’s been varied. I’ll go to Adamstown or…well, I haven’t bought anything from Jinxed yet, but that’s a great place to look in Philadelphia. I also like to go to the Mid-Century Furniture Warehouse where I just got a bunch of stuff from. Whenever I’m out and about I’m always looking into vintage places. Some of the stuff I already have, like stuff I’ve collected over the years. I'm pretty cleaned out at the moment, though. I need to start collecting again.





And what about fabrics?
Sometimes it’s harder to find at the vintage spots. The best places we’ve found were in L.A. I went to the Rose Bowl and made contacts with a bunch of people and now I know where to get what from. I get a lot shipped over or I just pick up things whenever I’m there.

You've previously worked as a clothing designer for UO. How did you get into working on furniture full-time?
Well, I’m from England obviously [laughs], and in the U.K. I worked in fashion for like, ten years. In between that I did a diploma in traditional upholstery in Wales. I learned everything I needed to know about. After that, I started a side business alongside my fashion in the U.K. When the opportunity came for Urban, I just went head-first into the denim stuff because I didn’t have time for side projects. I did that for three years and it went really well, and then doing this just felt like the right thing at the right time. When I got my space here, everything all just seemed to fit. Urban has been a great company to work for because of how creative it is.







What music do you like to listen to while working?
I always like to listen to BBC Radio 6, which is a U.K. station. I always listen to that because it's familiar, and then that leads me on to other music. Generally it's just indie/folk type music. I used to be massively into music and now I like listening to it but I'm not as full-on with it [laughs].

What are your future plans with Hym Salvage?
Well, I just bought this house at the end of last year so I plan on staying here. I feel like there's a lot of opportunity here. Building the connections here for growing a business has been quite easy, and I think there's a lot of opportunity in Philadelphia as opposed to going somewhere like New York. We have a garden in the back and we plan on building a garage back there so we have a back delivery place as well and a place for bigger pieces. That's the short-term plan for now [laughs]!





Shop the HYM Salvage x Urban Renewal collection

Happenings: Salt Surf Garage Party

This Saturday, April 19, from 6pm-9pm, Brooklyn-based brand SALT SURF will be hosting a garage party at Space Ninety 8 (98 N. 6th St.) in Williamsburg. Along with free grilled cheese and Jarritos, there will be a live performance by The Mystery Lights, a surf movie to kick back and watch, and a raffle to win some of SALT SURF's coolest gear (pictured below). Raffle winner will be announced at 8pm and must be present at the time winners are announced, so make sure to stick around!



SALT SURF has also been working hard on a short, documentary-style film about the brand. Shot by Rapt Studio, the film focuses on SALT SURF's founder Nabil Samadani and the culture surrounding his unique line. Although not being released until next month, a short teaser for the film is available to watch below. To learn even more about SALT SURF, make sure to check out our full feature on the brand.


Read the full SALT SURF feature

UO DIY: Flower Crown with Lisa Przystup


Lisa Przystup, a floral designer drawn to the wild over-growths of the countryside, is the talented woman behind James's Daughter Flowers. Her flower crowns can be seen in our recent Stone Cold Fox feature, as well as at Space Ninety 8 this month. Since we're so clearly smitten with her creations, we decided to find out a little more about her and to get some tips for making our very own crowns.
Interview by Katie Gregory





Hey Lisa! How did you get into flower design?
I was working as a freelance writer and I had noticed what seemed to me to be a certifiable trend of lovely, stylish Brooklyn ladies getting into floral design and thought they would be perfect fodder for the New York Magazine’s The Cut’s Style Tribe column. After visiting the designers' studios and interviewing them, I just fell for flowers. I found myself buying cheap bodega flowers and augmenting them with a few precious and expensive stems from Sprout Home. I realized that I actually really enjoyed doing this, and that I wanted to learn more and get better. This past fall I assisted a florist and quietly decided that maybe I would give this a go.

How did you get involved with Space Ninety 8?
I met this lovely crew of super inspirational women when I ended up modeling for Helen Dealtry’s lookbook (a featured Brooklyn designer at Space Ninety 8). These ladies all have studios in Greenpoint in a courtyard that is just so chock full of talent: MCMC Fragrances, Odette, and Bailey Doesn’t Bark all call Dobbin Mews their creative home and they all happen to be featured in Space Ninety 8. These little enclaves are really what make creating in New York so special.

Where do you pull your inspirations?
The wild overgrowth and lines found in nature. The MET. The astounding work of other super talented florists who are light years ahead of me.





How To: Make Your Own Flower Crown

Need:
- Floral wire
- Floral tape
- Wire cutters (to cut the wire)
- Sharp scissors or flower clippers (to cut the flowers)
- Household scissors (to cut the tape)

Flower crowns are so much fun and really easy to make. You’ll need floral wire and floral tape – you can find this at almost any floral supply store online. I recently found this great twine covered floral wire that is heftier and provides a sturdier base for the blooms.

1. Wrap the wire around your head for size, leaving a little extra length. Clip it and fashion two u-shaped hooks that you can hook together – these can be bent and adjusted to size.

2. Now for the flowers: you’ll want some greens for filler and then a handful (it’s really up to you) of about six different types of blooms of various sizes. You’re going to start by trimming the stems, leaving them about three inches long and making small mini bouquets - grasp a spring of filler and one to two flowers, wrap the stems in the floral tape (leaving three to four extra inches of tape) and set it aside. Repeat varying the blooms and greens – once you have a handful of these mini bouquets you can start attaching them to the crown.

3. Take your first bundle and attach it to the wire crown using the extra tail of tape – wind it tightly and securely. Add your next bundle with the flowers covering the stems of the first set you attached, this way you’ve camouflaged the stems. Repeat. You can fill the whole crown with blooms, leaving the larger ones toward the front of the crown or you can just fill half of the crown. Where you stop is entirely up to you.

For the crowns I made for the Stone Cold Fox shoot I chose not to fill the whole crown with blooms – I liked that the negative space drew more focus to the blooms that were there.

You can mist the crown with water and put it in a Ziploc bag to keep in the refrigerator until it’s ready to wear. The sad reality of flower crowns is that they won’t last long – the flowers have no water, so they pretty much have a shelf life of two to three hours. Cherish them.

Read the full Stone Cold Fox feature

Friday Download: April 11, 2014


It is finally warm here in Philly, which makes me feel super nostalgic and like I should be having my hair braided by a robin. Let's all blast "Hands Down" and lie in the grass together as we look at my favorite internet tidbits from the past week.Katie



Zach Braff's Wish I Was Here Trailer
I think this is literally a shot for shot remake of Garden State. And I'm totally going to see it. Sad Dad movies give me the most feelings (no one talk about About Time around me unless you're prepared to canoe away on a waterfall of tears). Also, I wonder if Zach Braff knows that there are, in fact, other bands in the world that are not The Shins. DO YOU KNOW, ZACH?



Betty Who "Heartbreak Dream"
I am obsessed with Betty Who and I am obsessed with this video and if you aren't already listening to Slow Dancing, her newest EP, go do it now. It has the perfect summer songs to listen to when you are feeling infinite in your car. Plus, I love when people dance-jump while singing! And she does that so much in this video! If you aren't enchanted by that, you're a robot and I give up. : (



Girl Meets World
The first teaser trailer for Girl Meets World came out this week, and it's pretty much what one would expect from Disney. Crystal clear filming! Bright colors! Smiles! Even though the internet has been grumblin' about the Disney decision, let's just all remember that Boy Meets World was pretty over-the-top itself at times ("THIS IS A HUG, SHAWN!"), but like, it was endearing. Maybe I'm being overly nostalgic, but I have faith that this is gonna be good. DON'T LET ME DOWN, TOPANGA.



Katy Perry "Birthday (Lyric Video)"

Whoops, I love this.

Friday Download: April 4, 2014


This week is just a big ol' mish-mash of things that have caught my attention throughout the week. Luckily one of those things is a gigantic database of crazy folktales to keep you entertained for hours and hours. Katie



Drake "Draft Day"
This has been the week of Drake. First, he shared "Draft Day" online, and then a couple days later he dropped "Days in the East." "Draft Day" samples Lauryn Hill's "Doo-Wop" so I'm on board.



Lana Del Rey "Meet Me In The Pale Moonlight"
Speaking of new tunes, a new Lana Del Rey song has leaked online just behind her announcement that "West Coast" is the title of her new single. "Meet Me In The Pale Moonlight" is no "Young and Beautiful" but it's still pretty good. (And Lana is just like, forever interesting to me for whatever reason, no matter what she does. Do your thing, girl.)
(Image via)



Cloud Nothings "I'm Not Part of Me"
This video has a teen slumber party setting goin' on and I like the halfhearted teen posters thrown up on the wall (like Harry Styles - classic) and the usage of the Ouija board. Not really sure of the plot otherwise (mysterious maybe-evil potion turns teen girls into maybe-evil...musicians?), but it's fun to watch and the song rules.



"Honey, I Want to Move to Mars"
There is literally nothing on this planet more unappealing to me than getting blasted off into space to another planet forever, but some people are totally into that and are actually still pumped about that Mars One mission. Jason Stanford, whose wife Sonia Van Meter was chosen as one of the 1,058 Mars finalists, wrote an interesting essay over on Texas Monthly about his feelings on his wife's decision to (possibly) jet off to Mars forever. He's surprisingly chill about it.
(Image via)


The Specialist's Hat
I was creepin' around on our freelancer Hazel's Tumblr this morning (hi Hazel) and one of the last things she posted was this spooky story titled The Specialist's Hat, so I read the whole thing and made myself late for work. Then I made myself even later because I started browsing this database of folktales she also linked to and they are great because they are horrifying and I'M NOT SURE WHAT LESSON I SHOULD BE LEARNING, especially in the tales where moms chop off their children's heads.
(Image via)

UO Beauty: Spring Nails


Since we’ve finally made it through the winter (the horrible, terrible winter) and have a fresh new batch of nail polishes available, we thought this would be the perfect time to get our nails all done up for Spring. Heading out after work with our favorite polishes in tow, we visited Heritage Nails in Philadelphia where nail artist Hani Na worked her magic on us. See the result of her hard work below, as well as some of our favorite tips and tricks for keeping nails lookin’ gooood. Katie




UO Parisian and Art School polishes

1. Use oil to set your manicure. There's like, real nail oil you can use, but in my obsessive perusing of the internet, I've learned that cooking oil does the trick just as well. Just make sure you're careful with where you're spraying or you'll end up with a fine mist of cooking oil on everything you own.

2. This Nail Rescue Kit is actually one of my favorite things in the entire world. The little cuticle snipper is highly addictive. If I don't have time for a real manicure (which is basically all the time), I like to clean up my cuticles and then moisturize with Egyptian Magic. Top it all off with a fresh coat of polish and it's almost as good as going to the salon.


UO Left Bank polish

3. For fine, straight lines, it's always possible to freehand designs with Nail Art Pens, but if you've got shaky baby hands like me, then using Scotch tape to block off sections is always a better option. Just make sure that you stick the tape on your hand a couple of times to get rid of some of the stickiness before putting it on your nails. The Beauty Dept. has some good examples of taped off manicures.


UO Blue Jean and Optic White polish



4. If you're super bad at painting on only your nails, another good trick is to rub some Vaseline or lotion on your cuticles before painting. That way, if you end up smushin' some polish on there, it'll be easier to take off. (I know some people who paint their fingers all willy-nilly and then take a shower to remove the excess nail polish from their cuticles, but that just seems soooo tedious. PRO-TIP FOR YOU.)

5. If you have some nail polish that has thickened over time, DON'T PUT NAIL POLISH REMOVER IN IT! It's a good quick fix if you're antsy, but over time, it'll just make the nail polish even weirder. Instead, pop some clear polish in there. It should thin the polish out enough to use it again and it won't break down over time like nail polish remover would. MAGIC.



Shop Nails

Friday Download: March 28, 2014


If you take only one thing away from this week's Friday Download, then please let that thing be this website for Giggy, Lisa Vanderpump's balding pomeranian. The site is flush with new computer backgrounds for you. Katie



Lady Gaga "G.U.Y."
Listen to me, I have no idea what is going on in this music video, but Lisa Vanderpump halfheartedly shaking a tambourine on the steps of a mansion is everything I never knew I wanted. And any video that lets Giggy the balding pup make an elegant and important cameo gets a gold star in my book.



The Julie Ruin "Just My Kind"
The Julie Ruin put out a new video for their song "Just My Kind." It's basically the exact opposite of Gaga's video but it's just as incredible. I want Kathleen Hanna to be my BFF. Is that so much to ask?



Future Islands Singles
I feel like I've been talking about Future Islands a lot recently (like the rest of the internet), and maybe I already said this somewhere else, but if you haven't listened to their newest album Singles yet, then click right on over to Stereogum to check it out. The site's accompanying review on the album is a good, quick read as well.



Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer
"What the world needs is a giant, CGI crime-fighting turtle slamming slow motion into a Hummer on the side of a snow-covered mountain," is apparently something Michael Bay said at one point or another to a person who was too afraid to be like, "No, Michael. Close your sweet, sweet eyes and take a nap." So, I guess what I'm saying is enjoy this trailer for TMNT.



The Office Time Machine
I am obsessed with The Office, so seeing that someone spent like, a really, really long time compiling every single cultural reference ever made on the show makes me incredibly happy. Go watch them all by year here. I put the video for 1999 above because it contains one of my favorite references on the show: Michael's flawless usage of "NOSCRUB" in a Scrabble game.

Happenings: Spring Kickoff & Plant DIY Workshop

This Saturday, March 29, from 2pm-5pm, we'll be hosting an outdoor Spring kickoff gathering at our Malibu store (3806 Cross Creek Road). There will be snacks for everyone in attendance, as well as a stocked DIY station for painting, decorating and potting planters. The best part? It's all free, so everyone will be able to go home with a brand new houseplant. (Ready for a timely Oprah reference from 2004? "EVERY-BO-DY GETS A PLANTER!")

During the event, photographer Ryan Brabazon will be shooting for a blog feature, so bust out that dry shampoo because there's a chance you may see your beautiful self pop up on our site in the weeks to come. Since our Malibu store hosts one of the cutest outdoor spaces around (with WiFi - perfect for Instagrammin'), we can't think of a better place to chill and craft in the sunshine. See ya soon, Malibu!

On The Road: Woman's Hour


Meeting up with one half of London-based Woman's Hour at the tail end of SXSW showed just how exhausting the whole experience can be, not only for the festival-goers, but for the bands in attendance as well. After a nonstop week of playing shows and shooting Instax pics for us at SXSW, singer Fiona and keyboardist Josh were totally wiped, but chatted amiably with us on their day off about the magic of breakfast tacos, their American debut and their killer Super 8 motel party. Katie


Choosing the quietest time of day to carry equipment through the streets was advisable.//Josh's birthday - his mum and his girlfriend both bought him comedy sunglasses. Obviously.

Do you guys have any rituals you like to do before going on stage?
F: I just like to be on my own. I try to find a quiet space, because I like to feel peaceful and calm, and I warm my voice up. But we all get together before we go on. Have a hug.
J: Nothing crazy. We might have a beer. Just one [laughs].

How many tacos do you guys plan to eat down here?
F: We've been having breakfast tacos! We're staying with someone who lives here, so he introduced us to breakfast tacos.
J: We don't have breakfast tacos in the U.K.
F: To me it was such a strange idea, but now I'm totally into it.
J: Our breakfast today was actually hamburgers. [Laughs] They were really, really good.


Our show for BBC Introducing at the British Music Embassy.//Catching some sun on Chad's back porch.

Is there something you made sure to bring?
J: Power adapters! Toothbrush, toothpaste, towel, passport…
F: Oh, dry shampoo. That’s an essential.
J: Many pairs of socks [laughs]. Nothing too specific.

What’s been your favorite part about being here so far?
F: For me personally, it’s been hanging out with our label [Secretly Canadian], because they’re American. We signed with them in October of last year, so it’s really cool to be in America and spend some time with them. It’s nice to meet a lot of our label mates, too. It’s felt really nice to have a kind of…
J: Family.
F: Yeah, we’ve spent a lot of time with those guys, just getting to know them. It’s been great. That’s what I’ve enjoyed the most.


A building site.//On sixth street before our show at Flamingo Cantina for Under the Radar.

What did you guys do last night?
J: Last night we went and partied in a motel which was so surreal. A proper motel with a pool in the carpark. We’ve seen that in films so many times, I kept being like, “Take a picture of me! I’ve got to show everyone at home!”

Was it a cool motel or was it something like a Super 8?
J: It was a Super 8. It was really cool [laughs].


Nick moving his hips.

What do you hope people take away from your shows?
F: I guess it's more about presence and giving people an idea of how good you can be if you're playing a headline show. I would just want people to connect with what we're about. I don't think anyone is here to judge on sound precisely, it's more a feeling. I'd like people to connect with the feeling that we create.


Hanging out with the Secretly Canadian team after our showcase.//Josh taking his dream car for a spin.

Friday Download: March 21, 2014


As of yesterday, it's finally spring! You hear that? SPRING HAS SPRUNG! It's been warmer than 40 outside! The sun has been out! Life feels worth living again! Since we never want to think about winter ever again, here are some CHEERFUL SPRING TUNES! LET US REJOICE! (And let's ignore that it is supposed to snow again next week, because R.I.P. R.I.P. to my sanity if it does.) Katie



Kishi Bashi "Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!"
Okay, this video sort of makes me feel like I'm in an Oreo commercial, but it mostly makes me feel like skipping through a sunny field with a flower crown on my head and a confetti gun. Happiest tune of 2014, TBH. Also, the song vaguely reminds me of "Send Me On My Way," and since "SMOMW" is literally the catchiest song ever written, this song is in good company.



tUnE-yArDs "Water Fountain"
Any song with a solid "WOO-HA!" in it automatically elevates it to feel-good status. (If you don't believe me, just ask Busta Rhymes.)



Neneh Cherry feat. Robyn "Out Of The Black"
The video for this one from Neneh Cherry and Robyn is like springtime in the '90s. If you're a totally chill, cool guy wearing totally cool Reebok hightops while walking your cool dog in the park, then this is the spring jam for you.



Flume "Space Cadet"
THIS VIDEO MAKES ME SMILE AS WIDE AS THE CHARACTERS ON FRAGGLE ROCK.



Sia "Chandelier"
If you're more like Orin than you'd like to admit, then this is the angsty, party monster ballad for you to groove to this spring. And if angsty spring is what you're looking for, then may I recommend following up "Chandelier" with "Breakin' Dishes"? Blasting "Breakin' Dishes" from a convertible on a delightful spring day is definitely going to be included in the montage of my life, TBH.



After all that, you should be feeling as good as this alpaca (if not BETTER). Happy spring!

UO DIY: Converse Customization


Down in Austin, we had two of our favorite local artists, Sophie Roach and Josh Row, customizing shoes for two days at our downtown store. While shoppin' around one morning, we had Sophie customize some Chucks just for us, and we love how they turned out. (They might even inspire some ideas for your very own DIY kicks.) Now that we realize how easy it is to do ourselves, we're about to buy some sneaks in bulk and get to CRAFTIN'. To customize your own Chucks, all you'll need is acrylic paint, fabric paint or paint pens. That's it! (The acrylic and fabric paint will hold up better than other paints on the shoe, and the paint pens are good for details.) Anything else you'd like to add is up to you. We stuck some pins on ours because we're unable to resist the call of anything Breakfast Club related, but adding studs, colored laces and glitter is an option as well. Check out our kicks below. Katie


Employee creations


Sophie hard at work




Our custom shoes by Sophie (and our totally fake Polaroids)


So many choices


We loved Josh's cat shirt, as well as his "DANG" shoes


On The Road: Quilt


While down in Austin this past week, we caught up with Quilt, a Boston-based psychedelic-folk band comprised of Anna Rochinski, John Andrews, Shane Butler and Keven Lareau, and a band that we are now totally obsessed with (like totally cool, normal adults). We were lucky enough to catch their show twice, once at a bigger venue and a second time at a more intimate backyard gathering, and we were blown away each time. Even with a million shows going on and the general crushing nightmare of SXSW, the band was nice enough to shoot some pictures for us for an exclusive photo diary of their tour, which makes us feel like we're all very best friends now. Katie



How did you guys get down to Austin?
Shane: We used to have a van but then we crashed it, so now we have a rental car. It's much smaller so we are very squished in the van now. [Editor's note: To help them offset the cost, Quilt has started a donation page to help them purchase a new tour van. Every little bit helps!]

Any rituals you do before going on stage?
John: I bring a skateboard on tour. I didn't on this one, but I usually skateboard around the city.
Anna: I try not to eat too much, because playing full sucks. When you're full and playing, you feel like a slug. Oh, and we sacrifice one baby goat [laughs]. Almost forgot!







What did y'all make sure to bring on this tour?
John: I brought a little keyboard. The first two days of tour I thought I was gonna make an electric song every day. I was like, "I'm gonna record a song every single day!" And then I only made one.
Keven: A couple issues of Pork magazine.

What's been your favorite thing about SXSW?
John: There's a band called Trash Talk and they just had a riot outside. That was the best part for me.
Shane: Watching Black Lips play was great. I always love seeing them play. Every single time I watch them, I can stay through the entire set. When you're watching bands every night, even if you love a band, sometimes you need to get away from sound a little bit, but they're so fun that I can't leave.





What's one thing you look forward to when coming to Austin?
John: Torchy's Tacos.
Anna: Barton Springs. Our favorite swimming spot is all dried up so we couldn't go there, but we did a photoshoot there.
Shane: There's this synth store Switched On. We haven't gotten a chance to go yet, but it's so great. They've got really cool vintage keyboards and synths.

How many tacos do you guys plan to eat down here?
John: 300.
Anna: On this tour, I've personally logged like, 75 individual tacos [laughs]. It's been a month, so that's a lot if you think about it. So far in Austin, I've only had four but we've only been here two days. I can't get away from them. I don't think I like pizza in the same way that I used to because tacos have taken over that place in my heart.


All photos shot with Fujifilm Instax

On The Road: From Austin, TX

This week marked my first ever trip to SXSW, Austin and, yes, even Texas. Prior to Wednesday, my United States traveling experience had been missing out on the majority of the Southwest. I am a very nervous flyer (like, one bump in the air leaves me frantically tweeting my last will and testament), but coming down to experience SXSW, our favorite bands and AFTERFEST made the momentary panic totally worthwhile. On my first full day in Austin, we explored as much of the city as we could, made some new (dog) friends and snapped some instant photos along the way. Check out what we did below. Katie


Yellow in Texas


Owner of ADP and Banksy

While exploring over in East Austin, we stopped at Austin Daily Press, a colorful restaurant that serves house-pickled vegetables, house-cured meats, an awesome array of sandwiches and some of the best popsicles I've ever eaten. The best part of ADP, though, might have been Banksy, the owner's giant Great Dane that wanted nothing more than to snuggle up on everyone's laps. The best kind of dog is a dog that doesn't realize how gigantic it is. I wanted to steal him away, never to return again.


The Blank Tapes

While stopped at ADP, we also ran into the very talented (and extremely nice) band The Blank Tapes. As you can see, Pearl, guitarist and singer for the band, is without a doubt the most photogenic person to ever eat a popsicle. While I was sweating on a bench, Pearl and Matt, founder and constant of the band, were pulling off that whole "totally and effortlessly cool" thing without even blinking an eye. It must be the hats. (New goal in life: PULL OFF A HAT.) We can't wait to check these guys out live before we leave.


Another shot of our best friend Banksy at ADP


Railroad and SXSW craziness; Inner shot of Farewell Books

While still over in East Austin, we stopped by Flat Track Coffee to grab some delicious and stroooong iced coffee. After sweating through my cool-guy pleather jacket for hours, it was the perfect place to sit down and relax. Attached to the coffee shop is Farewell Books, a small gallery space and well-curated book store that also sells vinyl, vintage clothing, jewelry and home goods. While I was in there, I saw awesome hand-painted jeans, the greatest magazine selection ever, and skull-inspired jewelry, so basically I wanted to win the lottery and take the entire shop home.


Outside Flat Track Coffee



Castle Hill

Before the end of the day, we also made a quick run to Castle Hill, the GRAFFITI PARADISE of Austin. If there was ever a place made for taking selfies on Instagram, this place is it. While there, we saw some artists working on some epic pieces, as well as the hundreds of pieces that already line the walls. If I had more time in Austin, I would definitely kick it at this place more often. Even the dude in the house next door to the lot yelling "SXSW BITCHES!" at us (followed by a quick, shouted apology from his friend, explaining "he's still drunk") just added to the experience of it all. And lucky for us, we're still here for a couple days, so be sure to check back on the blog to see what else we get up to. Thanks, Austin!


6th Street; Flat Track Coffee

Friday Download: March 14, 2014


This week we're doing our usual Friday Download, but in honor of SXSW, we've decided to put up videos from some of our favorite bands that have performed here. Here are some tunes from bands that have won us over this week (and have kept us on our feet and dancing, even when we just want to sleeeeep). Katie



Temples "Keep In The Dark"
After seeing Temples live, we're definitely and forever in love with them. First of all, they sound just as incredible live as they do recorded. Second of all, the lead singer has beautiful curly hair and wore glitter around his eyes. (!!!) And third of all, half of the band had tiny little flare jeans on, so I'm sold. You've won me over, Temples, you li'l cuties, you.



Quilt "Tie Up The Tides"
Quilt is another band that totally won us over this week. On top of being an incredible live show, the band is also charming and genuinely funny, and weren't even phased when, at their last show, we interviewed them in a small equipment closet to block outside noise. Our interview with Quilt will be up early next week, so keep your eyes peeled. We love these guys.



Matrimony "Obey Your Guns"
We saw these guys from a rooftop over, but found ourselves dancing even just watching them on a screen. We're excited to see their new album!



Leverage Models "Sweep"
I'm not sure how to describe Leverage Models' sound, so I'll just call it "GOOD." Even "VERY GOOD."  Everything I've heard from this band has been crazy catchy, and the band themselves are so full of energy that they're fun to watch. It's impossible not to dance when seeing these guys.



Future Islands "Seasons (Waiting On You)"
Just watch this video (SO MUCH EMOTION) and you'll understand our obsession with Future Islands.

(Top image via Mexican Summer)

On The Road: Leverage Models

On our first night in Austin we caught up with New York-based band Leverage Models (one of our favorite bands to groove to) as they were setting up for one of their first shows at SXSW. Shannon Fields, lead singer and founder, chatted to us about their time on the road so far, and gave us some behind-the-scenes pictures to let us take a peek into what goes down while on tour.
Interview by Katie Gregory



Hey Shannon! Do you guys have a rider at all?
I mean, we could put together a rider but nobody would read it [laughs]. If I can get some towels and hot water I'm very happy. But that never happens, because who the fuck am I? [Laughs] I can make up something ridiculous for you, though. Like we want all of 2014's general accounting standards from North America, and at every show we want updates and texts for tax purposes. Because that's the kind of band that we are.

Is everyone in the band from the same area?
The band is based in Brooklyn, and they all live in Brooklyn. I lived in Brooklyn for a long time but I moved to upstate New York, rural upstate New York, and I live on a farm. I breed horses with my wife. Or rather, she's doing it, and I'm doing what I'm told [laughs]. But I'm from Kansas City originally and the band is from all over. Nobody in New York is actually from New York.

How did you all get down to SXSW?
We drove in my 2008 soccer mom SUV, packed so full we can't move. That's our style. We've got a little roof rack; we look like a family on vacation. A very long, loud vacation.

How long did it take to get down here?
Well, we toured on the way down, so we did maybe seven or eight shows on the way down. We're out for two months so this is kind of the beginning of something much longer.

This is a good place to start. Do you have any rituals that you like to do before going on stage?
I got a respiratory infection right before I left on tour, so my very un-rockstar ritual is filling this [thermos] up with boiling water and using it as kind of a makeshift humidifier. Throw a cough drop in there and it's like being in a mentholated spa. I close my eyes and imagine everyone around me is naked in towels. There you go. [Laughs]



Is there anything you all brought that you just couldn't leave home without?
Portable electric water kettle. This makes it possible for us to heat up rice and lentils and things like that since we can't afford food, and we also have a little charging station in the van so everyone can charge their computers and they aren't whining at me all the time about that. God, this is boring. [Laughs] Nothing terribly exciting. We had to leave gear at home because we couldn't fit it. It was only the essentials. Pretty glamorous.

What else are you guys planning to check out at SXSW?
We're doing two or three shows a day but Thursday is the one day that I kept free for vocal rest and also because I wanted to hit Barton Springs and go swimming while I'm here. I don't care how cold it is, I'm still going to go. Might take a canoe out on the river. And then some of the carnivores in the band want to have BBQ, so we'll probably do that. I really like Austin outside of the festival. None of us have really made plans, though, because the best-laid plans at SXSW never happen.

How many tacos do you guys plan to eat in Austin?
I have already had at least 26 tacos and I don't plan on slowing down. We go out to get breakfast tacos every morning at the Tamale House on Airport Blvd. It's just a carry-out window on the highway, and there's 99 cent breakfast tacos. There's a huge line but it moves fast. It's fucking awesome.

What do you want people to take away from your shows down here?
Last night was kind of the best case scenario for me. Everyone here is industry and everyone wants something from someone. I'd like to cement a relationship with a booking agent, but honestly I just want to play good shows. And last night, it was bursting to the gills and everyone was dancing, which is something that doesn't always happen for a band that no one knows at SXSW. I don't want anything from anybody, I just want everyone to have a good time and forget that they are here working. Because we're all gonna die someday [laughs]. But we had a blast and that's what I want all the shows to be.


All photos shot with Fujifilm Instax

Friday Download: March 7, 2014


This week I am going to overload you with a lot of pop trash, so consider this your warning. Also, as a bonus very important FYI, everyone should know that Ke$ha is out of treatment and back on Twitter. She changed her username and everything, and I am personally very excited to see what New Ke$ha does in 2014. Sending nothing but good vibes her way. Okay, now with that out of the way, the rest of this week's pop news is below. Katie



Iggy Azalea "Fancy"
I am mostly here for Charli, but I can't deny how incredible this music video is. Can someone please do a Mean Girls music video remake next? Or a Scream remake? Can you make this happen, Lorde?


Photo via Elite Daily

Spritz Speed Reading App
TECHNOLOGY IS AMAZING! This Spritz app (not out yet, sadly) essentially tricks your brain into being like, "Cool, I can speed read." If you hit the "Click to Spritz" button on their About page, you'll be able to see what I mean. It makes reading 600 WPMs totally possible (if not a little exhausting). The fuuuuuture.



Lindsay Lohan in general
Listen, we love LiLo over here and want nothing more than for her to succeed in life and acting. That's why we're super excited for this Oprah documentary about her, because that means 1.) more Lindsay on our TVs and 2.) she gets to make the rounds on the late night TV shows. While on The Tonight Show last night, she played a game with Fallon that involved getting water thrown in her face and she was totally laid-back about it all. And she looks good! Here's hopin' this is a sign of more good to come for our gal LiLo.


Picture via Vulture
March 1999 Top 40 Chart
Dave Holmes is great over on Vulture and this week he wrote about all the pop singles that were poppin' in 1999. Even if you don't read the actual words he wrote, the songs make one heckuva playlist. (But you should read it, because he's funny.) I miss you, late '90s, you beautiful disaster, you.



Mad Men final season trailer
This is literally a trailer of nothing, but at least Mad Men will be coming back soon.

Friday Download: February 28, 2014


This will forever be the week that fashion trend "normcore" struck planet Earth, so my brain is too filled with images of tube socks and Crocs to think of much else, but here are some other things that happened this week that were also pretty cool. (Normcore is the takeaway from this, though. Because you're not normcore unless you live normcore.) Katie


Photo via NYMag
Normcore
Okay, so have you heard of this new FASHION called "normcore"? Of course you have, because it's all the internet can talk about this week. But it makes me feel so sad in my heart. So very, very sad. We have evolved too far. (Unless this means I can now wear Tevas and leggings to work and be thought of as "cool" and "fashion-forward" and "definitely not lazy." If that is the case, then I welcome normcore with open, fleece-clad arms.)




Wolf Pupy on Rookie
Wolf pupy is hard to explain, but basically he's a Twitter user posing as a baby animal, and his tweets are just delightful nonsense about life. He wrote a very important article for Rookie this week about how to be a teen girl, and I don't think anything has ever resonated with me more. Printing out my License To Be Sassy, ASAP. We should all be a little bit more like wolf pupy.



HAIM "If I Could Change Your Mind"
It sure must be nice being a beautiful pop star, because you can make videos with choreographed dancing and still look cool. If I tried to do this with two of my friends, it'd look more like this.


Photo via Amtrak
Amtrak Writer's Residency
This one's title is pretty self-explanatory, but basically Amtrak is going to be offering up writer's residencies to riders now, either for free or for a small amount of money, and the idea is that the majestic countryside and the fact that you're locked inside a train will make it possible for you to write 1,000 pages of a best-selling book. The idea was suggested by writers Jessica Gross and Alexander Chee on Twitter and Amtrak was actually like, "Yes, let's do this." Which makes me feel like maybe I should tweet at Pizza Hut about sending me on a Very Important taste-testing journey across America.

Better Together: Sarah and Colin

Sarah, an artist and print designer, and her Urban Outfitters photographer husband, Colin, spend most of their days working with a myriad of artistic mediums. Whether Sarah is painting and drawing at her textile design studio ANONA, or Colin is photographing a UO lookbook, making beautiful imagery is their abiding passion. We caught up with the Philadelphia-based duo at Sarah's beautifully curated studio, where textile prints for companies including Urban Outfitters are created. Read the full feature here.

Friday Download: February 21, 2014


Friday again, y'all! And a foggy, sort of warm one at that. How exciting. It almost feels like the rest of our lives won't be spent in the soulless crush of winter. A true miracle. Here are some of my favorite internet tidbits from the past week to keep everyone feelin' as posi as the weather. Katie


Photos via FILTER

FILTER Magazine Issue 55
We love FILTER Magazine here, and the newest issue features the long-awaited return of Beck, which is pretty cool. FILTER is available on newsstands everywhere 2/28, and Beck's new album Morning Phase is out 2/25. For a stream of Beck's album, click here, and to get a peek at what else is in this month's issue, click here (SPOILER ALERT: TONY HALE FEATURE!).



The 1975 "Rather Be"
Okay, so The 1975 can literally do no wrong in my eyes, but this cover of Clean Bandit's "Rather Be" is especially great. The song segues into a cover of The Weeknd about halfway through and let me tell you, the whole thing is sensual. Like, so sensual I'm surprised they're not playing this in red silk pajamas with red roses in their mouths. Or at least multicolored silk pajamas blowing gently in the breeze, a la TLC.


Photo via CityPages

"I Chaperoned a Middle-School Valentine's Day Dance"
I just love Shea Serrano so much, and this week he wrote up a little piece about what happened when he chaperoned a middle school dance. Go read it, it's funny. Kids are a delight. (You should also go read his Grantland column about coaching middle school basketball. It's hilarious, even if you aren't a Sports Enthusiast.)



#SINGITKITTY
Apparently this face-morphing thing by Three doesn't even work in the U.S. (which I should have guessed, because I didn't even know that Three was a cell phone company until 40 seconds ago), but I don't even mind because this commercial for it is enough. SMILIN' ALL THE WAY UNTIL 5PM.



Will Ferrell Figure Skating
And here's a little Will Ferrell "skating" as a Downton Abbey butler on The Tonight Show with Fallon to keep the good times going. Thank you for this treasure, Jimmy.