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UO Beauty: Contouring

What is contouring, you ask? It's that magic beauty trick that makes everyone look like a Kardashian. Even though contouring is a little bit more involved than just slapping on some blush and heading out the door, it's a great way to amp up your regular makeup look for a night on the town. And since there are now a million YouTube videos for just about every beauty technique out there, the whole process is even easier. Read on for some of our favorite tips and products.

Okay, so you're ready to contour. Great! We're here to hold your hand and pet your hair as you head out on this daunting journey. First of all, make sure you start out with a good brush. At UO, we like to use this angled one from Japonesque, because the angled handle makes it easier to control. (We're not sure why, but we're guessing science.)

Now, when you're contouring, you want to make sure the look you're creating is natural looking. What you're trying to achieve is a slightly more sculpted face. To start off, you want to use a darker product than normal in the hollows of your cheeks, because you want to create a fake shadow (that's what makes the cheekbones pop). Don't get in there with bronzer if you're very fair, because you'll just end up looking like you smeared some dirt on your face. We like this bh Cosmetics palette because of the variety of colors, but there are plenty of options out there for a variety of skin tones. For creating the "shadow" in the hollows of your cheeks, you'll want to stick to a color that has beige or even gray undertones - that'll help it look most like a natural shadow, and not just makeup that's been plopped randomly on your face. The illustration above is a great, quick reference for where to put this color.

While doing this, remember you absolutely don't need to use a lot of product for the contouring, and when you do apply it to your face, make sure it's blended well into the skin. And try to do your makeup in direct sunlight, because contouring can go horribly wrong if you're sitting in a dark bedroom - you'll end up looking very makeup-y the second you step outside. After you have the color applied, you want to make sure all the lines are blended away (we like to use this Stila brush, specifically made for contouring). It definitely takes some practice, but once you get the hang of it, it's like second nature.

After that, top off the apples of your cheeks with some blush. Whatever blush you normally use is fine. Then, top that off with some highlighter to really accentuate the cheekbones. It's a lot to get the hang of at first, especially if you aren't a beauty guru, but it's super fun to play around with and to see how close you can get yourself to looking like Kim K. If you're reading all this like "wat," then we highly recommend also checking out this video from Lisa Eldridge on contouring. She makes it look incredibly easy and her beautiful, elegant voice will soothe you into thinking that you, too, are an accomplished makeup artist who can achieve anything you set your mind to. (We highly recommend this Lisa Eldridge video, too, even though it has nothing to do with contouring.)

So, there you go! Obviously everything is always trial and error, but these tips and resources should send you all on your way to becoming the most beautiful and talented makeup geniuses. Good luck!

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For The Record: Spoon

What's our favorite new record? We're thinking Spoon's forthcoming They Want My Soul is a pretty solid contender. Each track the band has released from the album thus far ("Do You", "Rent I Pay", "Inside Out") has been good, but we've come to expect no less from Spoon. The band's been putting out music for over two decades now, and their consistent, catchy sound has guaranteed that they've stayed relevant to listeners of all ages throughout the years. Even though the band may be in their 40s now, they're still the quintessential college band. There's something to be said for staying power like that.

Ahead of their newest album They Want My Soul (the band's first in four years), we'll be having Spoon come out to our Soho, NYC store (628 Broadway), August 4, from 2pm-3pm to sign some records and chat with fans. And for everyone out there who's heard a lot about Spoon but isn't sure where to start when it comes to their music, we've compiled a list of our favorite Spoon songs to get you going. Some are hits and some are just personal favorites around the office, but all are amazing. If these don't get you pumped on Spoon, then nothing will!

And of course we also have to mention that the latest music video from the UO Video Series is Spoon's "Do You", which you can watch in full below.

Read more about our recent UO Video Series featuring Spoon


For The Record Upcoming Schedule

7/31 Temples: UO Chicago (20 S. State St.) 8pm-9pm
7/31 Jenny Lewis: UO Indianapolis (8702 Keystone Crossing) 4pm-5pm
8/4 Spoon: UO NYC (628 Broadway) 2pm-3pm
8/8 Zach Braff: UO NYC (1333 Broadway) 5pm-6pm
8/12 Jenny Lewis: UO Salt Lake City (12 South 400 West St.)
9/10 Banks: UO Brooklyn (98 N. 6th St.) 6pm-7pm

Come out and get vinyl signed by your favorite artists!

Friday Download: July 25, 2014

Happy Friday, everyone! We rounded up some delightful internet tidbits for you, but read fast and then head outside - it's beautiful out there, and you aren't going to wanna miss this sunshine. #SUMMERFRIDAZE

Banks "Beggin For Thread"
This newest song uploaded by Banks from her upcoming Goddess LP is sooo good. It's a little more upbeat than what we're used to hearing from Banks, and I'm a big fan. (via Idolator)

Ryan Adams "Stay With Me"
This past week, Ryan Adams started touring with a full band again, and he debuted a few new songs from his upcoming self-titled album. Here he is playing his new song "Stay With Me" at the first show of his tour (his banter!!). And if you feel like weeping at your desk this Friday, here he is closing with "Come Pick Me Up." (via Stereogum)

If I Stay
Listen, I know this looks corny. I know they are using that horrible, cheesy "SAY SOMETHING I'M GIVING UP ON YOU" song. I know of all this. But there's also a sad grandpa. And a boyfriend playing guitar romantically. And tragic, loving parents. So, yes, I will weep at this in theaters. Let's all weep at this, together.

Fifty Shades of Gray
Yeah, I know. We've all seen this trailer already. But I needed to post it again because I need to talk about how surprised I am that Focus is involved in this. And the fact that this definitely, absolutely looks like it's going to be a horror movie for the first 1.5 minutes. And the fact that all I can think of with the whole, "There's not much to know about me. I mean, look at me," line is the "She's got glasses and a ponytail! And paint on her overalls!" line from NATM. And Beyonce is involved, which is surprising? (Even though we all know Bey has terrible taste in movies.) Wow, anyway. Can't wait for February.

UO Video Series: Spoon

Playtime for one group of beings can be angst-riddled Armageddon for another. If that sounds way too close to some kind of intense Bruce Willis film, just think about the difference in perspective between ants and humans at a picnic, and you’ll get the gist of music video director Hiro Murai’s not-that-serious thought process when creating the video for “Do You” by Spoon, off their forthcoming They Want My Soul on Loma Vista.

We’re hanging out beneath a windswept tent in the abandoned parking lot of a shop long out of business that, in its heyday, was amazingly named “Travel Around the World with Bertrand Smith’s Acres of Books.” (Yes, that was the whole name of one single business.) A pyro crew’s on deck, prepping a trashed-out Mercedes and some rubber tires with industry secret sauce to sustain some serious flames. The art department is littering all kinds of detritus on the grounds, right in front of the police. Hey, it wouldn’t be the end of existence without at least a little rubble.

“Not to get super heady about a music video concept,” Hiro says, “but I’m really interested in a pocket moment that takes place in a doomsday world.” In the case of this video, that means Britt Daniel, the lead singer of Spoon, is cruising in a vintage Plymouth wagon through a very lackadaisical Sunset Drive kind of vibe, and it just so happens that the buildings are on fire behind him. Which is actually kind of what Los Angeles feels like sometimes anyway, metaphorically, Hiro concedes. “Hey, once you own the chaos of the apocalypse,” he says, “there’s a certain kind of calmness to it.”

Just then Britt walks up, head to toe in black, before he hits makeup for some bandages and bruises. “We’ve never really made a video where I totally understood the concept,” he says. “But this one, I get it.”

Though they’d had several conversations over the phone about the video, Hiro and Britt are meeting for the first time on set. (The rest of the band was back home in Austin, enjoying the day off.) “This is one of those videos we have to rehearse 800 times and then do it once correctly,” says Hiro, explaining why we’ve been watching them do laps around the parking lot for hours. The video is to be shot almost entirely in one take.

“I like really deliberate filmmaking,” Hiro says. “I like things that are very in control—the pace of the storytelling, what you show the audience, and when. Although I don’t know why I haven’t learned my lesson from the one-shot thing, because every time I do it, it’s such a pain in the ass.”

Britt isn’t worried in the slightest. “I looked at Hiro’s videos and it seemed like he really knew what he was doing. Like he had a flair for the bizarre and the unique.” It’s part of an aesthetic his band’s been mining for two decades and eight full-length albums.

Sometimes music videos “can be one of those things that you ‘have’ to do for a record,” says Britt, “but I’m enjoying this one because I have a good feeling about it.” The way he sees it, he explains, “is that we’re seeing the last scene of a movie, right? And you as the viewer is dropped into this last scene without understanding the full context. I’ve been battered around, and I’m driving down the street and you don’t really understand what’s going on. You see a few reveals of who I’ve got in the car, you see there’s all this destruction going on. The car’s on fire, people are running, you don’t really understand why. And the last bit of video…”

Well, if we continued with the explanation, what would be the point in watching? No spoiler alerts here: check it out and find out how it ends yourself. Photography by Mike Selsky

Pre-order They Want My Soul on vinyl

Friday Download: July 18, 2014

Summer is hurtling by, and that means Jenny Lewis' newest album The Voyager is coming out so soon (only a little more than a week, now). This is so exciting. My teenage self from 2003 is screaming in excitement. Her video for "Just One Of The Guys" came out this past week, along with some other awesome vids. Let's check them out below. Katie

Jenny Lewis "Just One Of The Guys"
Jenny can do no wrong and Kristen Stewart is incredibly charming in this, HATERS BE DAMNED. Always here for the "kinda totally random" actor cameos in music videos.

SZA "Julia/(Tender)"
Here's the newest video from SZA, another perfect jam for the summer. There's also this clip of SZA and tiny little Willow Smith performing their song "Domino" together earlier this week, which was fun to watch. (via Vibe)

Made In Minnesota
I was recently re-reading an article on The Replacements in a Sassy mag from, like, 1991, so when I saw that Noisey went out and did this mini-doc on the Minnesota music scene, I was pretty pumped to watch it. It's good, and made me finally realize that Craig Finn's speaking voice sounds literally exactly the same as his singing voice. I have no idea how I'm just finding this out now.

Lapsley "Painter (Valentine)"
This song is sooo pretty and Låpsley is apparently 17 years old, so have fun feeling like an untalented garbage can after you listen to this one. (via Gorilla vs. Bear)

"My 14-Hour Search for the End of TGI Friday's Endless Appetizers"
Caity Weaver is my favorite person to read over on Gawker and her most recent post over there may be her best yet. Basically, she sat in a TGI Friday's for 14 hours to test out their new unlimited apps deal, and boy oh boy, the laughs you'll have along the way are endless.

Friday Download: July 11, 2014

Can you even believe that it's already mid-July? Because I sure can't. Luckily there will always be songs coming out that help us hang onto that "endless summer" feeling. Here are some of my recent favorites. Katie

Yumi Zouma "It Feels Good To Be Around You"
I'm really into this one from Yumi Zouma for the aforementioned summery vibes. Makes me want to sit on the beach in a sparkly leotard while drinking a Raz-Ber-Rita. (via Gorilla vs. Bear)

Christopher Owens "Nothing More Than Everything"
Listen, if you know anything about me, you know that nostalgia is everything to me, which means that I am so into the vibe of this video and song. Great job, Chris Owens. You're really doin' it.

Little Dragon "Pretty Girls"
Realllly into this new video from Little Dragon because it involves a beauty pageant, pageant queens and ZOMBIES! It's a real delight. Very girl power, TBH.

Dev Hynes "Chandelier" Remix
"Chandelier" on its own is a very special song so I was a little unsure about any remixes, but Dev Hynes did a-ok with this one. Gonna make a playlist with just this and the original "Chandelier" looped over and over again for 40 straight hours. (via Pitchfork)

Interpol "All The Rage Back Home"
Interpol are coming back with a brand new album, El Pintor, this September and the first single is here with an accompanying video shot in a moody black and white. INTO IT.

Happenings: Afterfest Making Time Chicago

Chicago, listen up! We're excited to announce that for this year's Afterfest our friends Liars and Vatican Shadow will be performing at The Mid (306 N. Halsted St.) on Friday, July 18, from 10pm-4am. As always, Making Time's resident DJs Dave P. and Sammy Slice will be continuously DJing throughout the night. Admittance is free with RSVP, but make sure to arrive early to guarantee entrance. We hit capacity last year (thanks, everyone!) and expect the same to happen this year. Read our recent feature with Liars here and watch their video for "Mess on a Mission" below. See you in Chicago!

Click here to RSVP for #AFTERFEST

Brands We Love: adidas

After a few seasons out of production, the adidas Stan Smith Sneaker is back. In classic white leather, it’s our summer sneaker of choice. Even if you’re unfamiliar with sneakers and the overarching culture of adidas as a brand (you know, aside from knowing that those adidas Superstar sneaks were the shoe to have in middle school), chances are you’ve heard of the Stan Smith adidas tennis sneaker.

While the shoe was created in the late ‘60s under the name "Haillot," attaching tennis pro Stan Smith’s image to the simple shoe is what turned the design into a fashion mainstay. When Smith was brought on to promote the shoe in the early '70s, the shoe was still being touted as an athletic sneaker. Now, nearly fifty years later, the shoe is no longer seen as athletic attire but rather as a fashion statement. After halting production on the shoe in 2012, adidas is relaunching the iconic sneaker this year, much to the joy of sneakerheads everywhere, and we're excited to get our hands on some of these for summer. #STANSMITH!

Shop adidas Stan Smith

Friday Download: June 27, 2014

A lot of new, good tunes were released this week, but my actual current favorite "album" is this delightful mash-up album called Mouth Sounds. It has a lot of Smashmouth. It's pretty special. Oh, and if you want to feel really old, Wilco's A Ghost Is Born turned ten years old this week. TEN! Ten years of people yelling out "PLAY 'SPIDERS'!" at Wilco shows. God bless. Anyway, here are the tracks released this week that really spoke to me. Katie

The Weeknd "Often"
You know, sometimes I forget to listen to The Weeknd's lyrics and then when I do I feel like a scandalized mom because dang, he gets dirty. This new one from him is great, though, pearl-clutchin' lyrics and all.

Grimes "Go"
Okay, here it is. The new Grimes song. The one that Rihanna rejected. It does seem a little more Top 40/made for Rihanna and a little less "classic Grimes," but I am not one to turn up my nose at a catchy tune. YOU DO YOU, GRIMES.

Ryn Weaver "OctaHate"
Ryn Weaver kinda came out of nowhere, but this song is amazing. Charli XCX wrote it so you know it's good. (BTW, here's a very fun interview with Charli where she talks about writing the song.) This is going to be another one I'm obsessed with this summer.
(via ONTD)

FKA twigs "Two Weeks"
A NEW VIDEO FROM FKA TWIGS! She looks perfect and the song is perfect and I feel perfect listening to it. Her debut album LP1 comes out in August, so luckily we can expect to be hearing even more new songs from her soon.

Sia "Big Girls Cry"
Sia deserves all the millions of dollars that she gets for songwriting because she is so darn good at it. This newest one from her is as good as the rest and I will absolutely be listening to it as I cry off my makeup.

UO Live: Connan Mockasin

The inaugural video in our UO Live series, Connan Mockasin performs a live and unplugged version of “I Wanna Roll With You,” off Caramel, his second full-length album. We caught up with him and his band behind the scenes.

You can thank Connan Mockasin’s mom for bringing his music into the world. The New Zealand-born artist was living with his parents when he recorded his first solo record, Forever Dolphin Love, at home.

“I’ve done two records on my own,” he says. “The first record, I was pretty disheartened by the industry—still am in some ways—but the point is, I went back home to stay with my parents and I wasn’t really doing anything. And then my mum was telling me that I should make a record. And I was like, ‘No, no.’ Because I was kind of brainwashed into thinking you needed a producer, an engineer, a proper studio—da, da, da. And then mum was going, ‘No you don’t, you’ve got some equipment back home.’ So I just made a record on my own there, not thinking that it would ever be heard. And then it somehow got released and I started having to play shows all of a sudden and it just happened like that.”

The record “somehow got released” via influential British DJ and producer Erol Alkan, and brought Mockasin’s soulful, experimental grooves to the attention of Charlotte Gainsbourg, with whom he has collaborated and played backup band for, and Radiohead, who he supported on tour in 2012. 

Caramel, released in November last year is, as its name suggests, Mockasin’s most deliciously slow-dance-ready yet, and sees him touring with a new line-up—a motley crew of musicians he picked-up from New York to London: Drummer Matt Eccles, bassist Nick Harsant, guitarist (and occasional bongo player) Rory McCarthy and keyboardist Sofia Karchi. (Fun fact: Mockasin met keyboardist-cum-manager Sofia on the Eurostar from Paris.)

Hi everyone! Connan, can you tell us about the song you chose to perform for the first in our UO Live video series?
Connan: I recorded it in Tokyo in a hotel room. It was the one song that I’d written before I made the record and it had a caramel feel for me.

How would you describe your outfit today? [Mockasin is wearing pale silk Chinese pajamas, an embroidered vest and black nurse’s clogs accessorized with a fencing sword he found on-set].
Connan: Peter Pan!

Where are you all based? 
Connan: I’m not based anywhere at the moment, myself. 
Nick: I’m in London, always in London. 
Matt: New York
Sofia: I don’t have a place anywhere. 
Rory: Paris  

How did you all get together? 
Nick: That’s a long one… 
Connan: Matt and I met in London. Then I met Nick the day we played together. We met Sofia on a train and I helped with her luggage. I thought she was rude. 
Sofia: I was just thinking, this poor man seems very tired, and he was already carrying so much, I didn’t think it was fair to ask for his help. 
Connan: So we sit down and Sofia was one up from me but across the aisle and we sat chatting. 
Rory: I met all of the other guys in Manchester at The Deaf Institute. I came to see Connan; I had seen him a few times and he was a friend of a friend. He asked me to play bongos, which as a guitar player was a funny thing to be asked, but I ended up playing more bongos than guitar! 
Matt: Rory just got up for an encore and never left!

What did you do for a living before you started playing music? 
Connan: My last proper job was a gardener. 
Rory: I as making fake teeth, which is ironic because I’m missing a tooth and I don’t have the tool here to make a replacement. 
Band: How do you make a fake tooth? 
Rory: I can go into it right now! It takes a lot of casts and semi-precious metals and all kinds of stuff...

So, how do you describe your sound? 
Rory: “Sensitive rock”
Matt: "Café Soliel"
Nick: "Sleaze Rock"
Connan: "Wonka Dust"

You get pretty creative describing your sound. What about other people's descriptions? What do you make of it?
Rory: The weirdest one for me when you got called Auzzie-psych. 
Sofia: Yeah, that was just wrong! 
Rory: It’s fine but it’s wrong. 
Nick: "Weirdo" always creeps up, which is strange. Aussie-weird. Psych-weirdo.
Connan: Or “Wellington Jazz Pianist”—that’s another funny one. I can’t play piano and I’m not from Wellington, either. I think it was on Wikipedia for a while, that’s why. It’s really hard to get things off Wikipedia. A lot of people run their interviews off Wikipedia and a lot of it’s wrong. So I wrote to them and said, “This is actually me and this is not true, can I take it off?” And then I got kicked off for trying to change it.

Your performances are very special: They’re atmospheric, wonderful and such an experience. How do you approach it as a band? 
Matt: We try to make it different as much as we can.
Connan: It would be pretty maddeningly boring to do the same thing every night. Last night at the Bowery Ballroom we had a huge band. We had probably 20 people on stage!

Within your music, do you feel like there is a commonality in your friendship? 
Sofia: Fashion. I think that’s our common thing. 
Connan: We enjoy hanging out together. I don’t know if it’s necessarily about music or enjoying the same music, but we do. Because you are doing the same thing a lot of the time: Going to the venue, setting up, playing, and going away. I think a lot of bands get disheartened and it starts affecting them. 
Sofia: I think we just love each other so much and we genuinely really care about each other so much in our lives, and we are friends. It’s true. These guys are the most important guys in my life and every show is just about us having fun with the crowd and enjoying our job. It changes every time depending on our mood, but I think it’s love. 

It must to be great to be so close and tour together. Are there any special moments on tour that you can share? 
Matt: Tunisia was pretty cool. 
Connan: [Laughs] 
Matt: Connan rode a camel to the stage. 
Nick: With a Go-Pro 
Connan: Which I had to hold! The camel would go down and up really quick and I was trying to hold on tight. 
Matt: It took a long time to get to the stage as well. [Laughs]
Connan: Am I allowed to swear on this?

Connan: When we were in Tunisia, I had this moment—we were in a really nice hotel. That’s the thing, usually when you’re on tour you don’t get time to hang out on your own very often, but it was nice to have a day off and just spend it by myself in the hotel. I ordered a coffee and I rolled myself a cigarette and the sun was going down and I was standing on the balcony and there were camels walking along the beach. And I [dramatically mimics smoking a cigarette], I had my coffee and I was just like, 'Fuck yeah!' I spoke out loud to myself—‘Fuck yeah!’ I scared myself! [Laughs]. You know when you talk to yourself when you’ve been on your own all day? It was aggressive!

In general, what has touring been like? 
Matt: It’s nice to play shows in America now. It’s always nice to go to new places and see how it goes. 
Nick: People know the lyrics to songs. They’ve started to sing along, which didn’t happen before—our lyrics are pretty obscure. It’s pretty funny to see people sing what they think they’re hearing. 
Sofia: I don’t know the lyrics! 
Matt: Even we don’t and we’re all singing as well. 
Connan: Even I don’t. [Band laughs]

What do you like to do when you’re not making music? What can you do when you're not touring that you can't on the road?
Connan: I watch a lot of surfing on the Internet and I love pasta.
Sofia: [Go on] dates. I feel like I've gone on more dates since I’m I the band so I’m happy about that. I think it’s a good thing, no? 
Matt: Depends on the date really! 
Sofia: Yep, it depends on the date. I had two dates in New York since I’ve been here! One good, one just okay. 
Connan: They’re going to know who they are now. 
Matt: Keep ‘em guessing!

Check out Connan’s full-length album, Caramel, out now on Mexican Summer Records.

Friday Download: June 20, 2014

Before we get into everything from this week, we'd just like to point out that O-Town released a brand new music video yesterday and the song is called "Skydive" and the lyrics are "I just want to skydive into your life." So, don't say that 2014 never gave you anything. Now, onto the rest of the best from this week. Katie

Arctic Monkeys "Snap Out Of It"
The sad girl in this video is us when we realized that Alex Turner won't be marrying us anytime soon. Sigh.

Little Daylight "Hello Memory
We stumbled across Little Daylight on Soundcloud this week and were racking our brains trying to figure out where we'd heard them before, and then we realized they played Governor's Ball earlier this month. Anyway, we're happy we randomly ran across them again thanks to the internet because every song is amazing, especially this remix of "Love Stories."

Jungle on Kimmel
This week, Jungle made their US TV debut on Kimmel and did prett-ay, prett-ay good. We're excited to hear their self-titled full-length album when it's released July 15.

How To Dress Well What Is This Heart?
How To Dress Well's new album is out June 24 and the whole thing is available to stream over on It's a good album to listen to if you're feelin' like you need some sad summer music to wallow outside to. Right now we're listening to "See You Fall" and feeling like we should be in a dramatic indie comedy. It's very pleasant to weep to contemplatively. (via Consequence of Sound)
"Rock Band Recital Fail"
This is incredible. They are trying so hard and then everything just falls apart and they don't even react. It's basically your entire career as a middle schooler condensed into a 59 second metaphor. KEEP YOUR HEADS UP, FELLAS. (via PAPERMAG)

For The Record: Little Dragon

Little Dragon, a Swedish group that has consistently put out dreamy, uptempo tunes to keep us dancing, is the latest band participating in our For The Record program and will be signing vinyl at our Herald Square location (1333 Broadway, NYC) on June 21 from 1-2pm. We spoke to Yukimi Nagano, the band's frontwoman, to find out a little bit more about their latest record Nabuma Rubberband and what the band has planned for their inaugural U.S. tour.
Interview by Katie Gregory

Katie: How are you today?
Yukimi Nagano: Good! It’s a beautiful day. I’m home in Gothenburg.

How does it feel to finally have Nabuma Rubberband, your new album, out?
It’s amazing! I think we’ve waited for that time, and now it’s actually happening and it’s good to finally share the music with the fans and people—not just journalists and the label.

How long did it take to record the album? Because you’ve taken a break for the last couple years, right?
Yeah, we toured after Ritual Union for a year or two years and then I’d say we were in the studio for about a year, year and a half.

What has the reception been like? Have your fans been into the new music?
Yeah, it’s been amazing. [We’re] definitely feeling the love from the fans and even new people who don’t know about us, who have discovered us from this record. I mean, you’re always going to have those people who have their opinion with, "Oh the first one’s my favorite." Or, "Ritual Union was my favorite." But that’s just the world! It would be boring if everyone had the same taste. I don’t mind.

I saw on your Twitter that you retweeted Willow Smith who said she liked “Paris,” which I though was cute!
Oh yeah! Yeah, that was fun.

Was it easy getting back into the touring game?
It took a minute, for sure; I think just to sort of feel tight as the band. We needed to just throw ourselves out there and have some shows. I think we feel ready now.

I saw that you guys participated in “Tumblr IRL.” That show seemed really awesome!
Yeah it was really special actually; it was pretty crazy. We had a small space—it was maybe… 200-300 people capacity—but the line has two thousand people so it was pretty amazing. It was frustrating because we obviously wanted everyone who came out to come in but we were at least able to give everyone the comic. It was a special space because Brian Butler, who created the comic, also did our art installation in there. It was good to do something for the fans that was genuinely just from us so it was fun.

So that was kind of a one-off event right? And how about the comics? Would that be something you would bring on tour?
[The event] was definitely kind of a one-off, but the comic is something that me and Brian and the guys have talked about doing for a few years, but it didn’t happen until now. Obviously it made sense to do now because of the record coming out; I sort of kept in contact with him and waited for the right minute to be like, “Alright, let’s do this comic!” It all fell into place spontaneously but it was also something we talked about doing.

I saw all of the pictures online, and the actual comic looked so cool!
Yeah! And you know I really love comics and the stuff that they brought was kind of in the similar spirit to the Nabuma comics, so it had humor, it was surreal, it was fun stuff! I got in and bought a whole bunch of comics myself to read on the road or whatever.

I saw that you guys have been doing fun things around the album release, like the derby car contest for people to win tickets. How did that come to be?
It was something we decided to do! It was partnered with Redbull but it was our initiative to do it. All of the cars were really awesome. There were some really creative, fun fans who did amazing little cars. I was really impressed; it was fun. The whole idea was initiated by Adam Farrell from Loma Vista who has this really creative mind and he always comes up with crazy, interesting ideas. It’s fun when you meet those people who are like, “Hey I have this idea that sounds stupid and amazing!” And then it actually happened.

Do you have any upcoming festivals or shows that you’re looking most forward to play?
I mean, I think were just looking forward to so much. I think for sure doing the tour. I think we’re going to be doing our first U.S. tour in June. So compared to festivals that should be fun to be able to get into the zone a little bit and actually have time for a proper sound check. But I really enjoy playing festivals because of the other bands. You get to see the other bands and check out other acts and also get into the adrenaline of playing for a big group of people and people just come check you out and don’t know who you are. It’s a larger scale and more intense, but I look forward to both festivals we’re doing this summer but then proper shows as well.

I saw that actually both of your New York shows sold out, which is awesome!
It’s really cool! When we started we felt a lot of love from the West Coast in the U.S., especially L.A. and San Francisco. It’s nice to really feel the love from New York and feel it grow there. It’s a special place; I mean I really love going there and playing there.

What do you like to do for fun on tour that’s not musical related? Any rituals or places you like to go?
When we have the time, because we don’t always, we definitely like to eat good food—everybody’s kind of foodies. You want to get a contrast from your everyday so definitely like some beautiful nature, or a park. Erik is into speed skating on ice and weight lifting. Håkan tries to find the little weird gear stores where you can find some synth that is rare but hopefully cheap because they don’t know it’s rare. Fred is always looking for the best coffee place. I think it’s just sort of about finding that space to relax.

Do you have any music or TV shows that you’ve been into lately?
True Detective… I was pretty mesmerized and scared. Like, it really scared me! A couple nights there I was like, “Uhhhh… when I get up to use the restroom I might get murdered!” Fred is into Fargo. Håkan had a moment of Game of Thrones but apparently he’s kind of over it now [laughs].

Where do you hope to see yourself in the future with the band?
I definitely see us making more music and trying to challenge that—I want to do different things. I don’t know how exactly. Not necessarily collaborations with other musicians, but maybe collaborate with a painter, or make music for film. I don’t know, definitely creative stuff and staying inspired, and making music and kind of continue to make things that feel fresh, inspiring and new so you keep your mind on the edge and inspired!

Shop Little Dragon’s fourth studio LP, Nabuma Rubberband, out now on in the U.S. on Loma Vista Recordings, and in the U.K. on Because Music.

Summer in the City: Rooftop Party with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

In New York City, as the sun goes down and the sweltering city heat subsides, the best gatherings are on the rooftops, where you can party all night and take in the view from above. We spent a summer evening on a Brooklyn rooftop, where we watched a live set by The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart against a glowing Manhattan backdrop. Here, the band’s leading man, Kip Berman, chats with us about NYC and what’s on his current rotation.

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name’s Kip, I play guitar and I sing in The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. We’re from here in Brooklyn, I live up the street actually. I could’ve biked over if I didn’t have to carry my guitar!

Your new album just came out, that’s exciting!
That’s right, yeah, our album just came out in May, it’s called Days of Abandon. We were on tour in America with this band called Fear of Men, and we’re leaving tomorrow to go to Europe to play another month of shows with them, so it’s super exciting. We’re really excited about the new record.

How does it feel now that you’ve put it out into the world, is it like having a new baby?
It’s really different, actually. If you did have a new baby out in the world, you’d be really responsible for it and attend to it all the time. It’s kind of the opposite; it’s almost like you’ve put it up for adoption. It’s out in the world, and there’s almost nothing more you can do to help it grow and achieve its full potential. It’s really a relief, the release of the album. We recorded it last summer and we mixed and it’s been sitting around waiting to be released for so long. Now that it’s out there, it’s really exciting. People know the songs when we play them and seem to be excited about it.

When you set out to make Days of Abandon, did you know what you wanted it to sound like or do you feel it out as you go?
I think with our last album—it’s called Belong, it came out in 2011 and we recorded it back in 2010—we were really trying to make this big, heavy guitar rock album that was inspired a lot by the bands we loved when we were growing up: Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, Ride. It was all about making big and overwhelming guitar rock. That was so awesome and we were so happy with how it turned out, but we didn’t want to do the same thing again and try to be bigger just for the sake of it. I think it’s a real trap when bands try to make each album sound more massive than before. I think a record should be about songs and songwriting. So there was a conscious effort in trying to refocus and trying to write really good songs that we could play on a guitar for people and not worry so much about how it would sound in an arena. If we do end up in an arena at some point, I hope it sounds alright! [Laughs]

Can you tell us about the experience of recording last summer?
It was a really wonderful experience, making this record. It was a lot of fun. We did it up the street in Greenpoint, at my friend’s recording studio. He’s a guy I’ve known forever and I’ve recorded songs in his basement before. His name’s Danny Taylor. It was wonderful to work with someone who I’ve known for so long and we have such a good rapport. The thing that comes out of working with people you know and love is always… maybe 3% better. Maybe even four! [Laughs]

Do you have a favorite song on the new record?
I wrote a lot of songs after Belong came out, probably like 40, maybe 50. There’s only ten on the record, and that’s because I really believe that almost everything I do is terrible and you really have to look at yourself that way and be merciless and not think everything you do is special. We did a lot of throwing songs away after they were done, because it wasn’t up to what I thought the record should be. So if they made it to the record, they are all songs that made the cut!

One of the first songs I wrote on the record was called "Massokissed" and I really felt that it captured the spirit of the record in a lot of ways. It sort of captured the sound I wanted in a surreal, natural way. It wrote itself; I was working on another song that didn’t make the record, and I was working really hard on it, a really traditional Pains Of Being Pure At Heart-sounding song. I wanted to make it really good and it just wasn’t working, so I just put the guitar down for an hour and picked it back up and I wrote "Massokissed." It was really fast and easy. I know a lot of people like to talk about artistic struggle, but I tend to think the best things that you do are the things that come naturally and almost out of a sense of accident. That song, and I love "Art Smock" as well. It opens the record and it’s a very simple and subdued song.

You live here in New York. Do you have more fun playing shows here or elsewhere?
I think it’s a different kind of fun! I love getting to play music for people and I never take that for granted. I played in a lot of bands for a long time and I never really played outside of the zip code we lived in. To get a chance to travel and to play music is like a dream come true—but like a dream I didn’t even know I had. It’s awesome, but of course coming home and playing in New York… all your friends are there, they get to see you do what you’ve dedicated your life to, and it’s so fun to hang out. Usually when we play in New York it’s at the end of a tour, so there’s a real sense of excitement and relief, and just happiness having gone out into the world and made it home again. It’s a real thrill and I love it.

Is there a recent show that stands out as exceptionally fun?
There were so many great shows on this last tour! Chicago, at The Empty Bottle, The Troubadour in Los Angeles. It was really special for me to play in Philadelphia, because that’s where I grew up. My mom was there, my friends were there, it was at Johnny Brenda’s and was really packed and there was really good energy there. Getting to play and have your mom see you and realize you’re doing something with your life is an awesome feeling. Plus, then I got to go home and do some laundry! [Laughs]

What are some of your go-to spots around New York?
There are so many great places to go have a beer or a coffee. Maybe I’m just really stereotypical, but I really like bagels a lot. There’s this place called Baker’s Dozen on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint that I always go to for bagels.  There’s a great place on Franklin called Spina, and the Pencil Factory is right there, which is a great place to have a drink. Bagels, booze and coffee!

What are you listening to right now?
There are a few new bands that I think are awesome. One is from Gothenburg, Sweden, and they sound like they should be a really abrasive, hardcore band or a metal band but they’re not. They’re called Makthaverskan, it’s really emphatic, righteous, almost like punk pop. I love then a lot, and their record just came out this spring. There’s also Fear of Men, who we just toured with, and they just released their new record this spring. It’s called Loom. It’s really gorgeous. It’s really melodic guitar-centered pop. I think they’re great. There’s another band that I like right now, this band from the UK. They’re going to put out their record this summer, and we’ve toured with them a bit. They’re called Flowers, which is a very hard name to Google! There’s a lot of really good stuff happeneing right now, and the internet makes it easy to find your new favorite band, even if they’re from Gothenburg.

Special thanks to Brooklyn Brewery, The End., Pies 'n' Thighs, Sips and Bites and Luke's Lobster!

Friday Download: June 13, 2014

Happy Friday, everyone! Here are some things from the past week to keep you entertained, because how can you not be entertained when something like this very important and very real Game of Thrones post exists now? Katie

Spoon "Rent I Pay"
Spoon is back and if this song is any indication of what's to come on their newest album, then sign me up for like 4,000 copies, okay?

Happyness "Leave The Party"
This band Happyness is Stereogum's "Band To Watch" this week and I love this song so much, so thank you for this treasure, guys. (via Stereogum)

Very Good Girls trailer
I'm not 100% sure on what this is about (like, it has to be deeper than just boy drama, right?), but I'm a sucker for any super emotional "coming of age" movie. YOUNG LOVE! NAVIGATING THROUGH TEEN LYFE! CUTE BOY! I'm here for it all. (And having Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen as the leads definitely doesn't hurt.)

Clickhole website launch
The Onion launched a new Buzzfeed parody site yesterday called Clickhole and it's already my new favorite site. With quizzes like "If I Ordered Fries Would You Have Any?" and "Is Your Dad Proud Of You?", there's literally hours of fun to be had. Also, make sure not to miss "10 Hilarious Chairs That Think They're People." This is important.

Strand of Oaks "Shut In"
I keep posting about Strand of Oaks and I'm sorry (I'm not sorry), but the video for "Shut In" came out this week and I'm super into it so y'all should be too.

Behind The Scenes: Blood Orange Video

The next in our UO Music Video Series, Gia Coppola teams up with Dev Hynes to direct Blood Orange's "You're Not Good Enough." The video follows the release of Palo Alto, also directed by Coppola and featuring a dreamy soundtrack full of tracks by the musician. Here, we follow Dev, Gia, and the rest of the crew behind the scenes for a closer look at the making of "You're Not Good Enough."
Photography by Sam Monkarsh

The UO Music Video Series is our innovative approach to new music, pairing emerging artists with talented directors to make artful music videos. Since 2010, we've produced over a dozen music videos in collaboration with our favorite artists, labels, and directors, who retain full creative control over their projects.

Over the past few years, we've supported a wonderfully curated selection of artists and musicians, including Washed Out, Tame Impala, The Walkmen, Black Lips, The War on Drugs, Beach Fossils, Frankie Rose, Liars, and many more. The ongoing music video sponsorship program continues with Blood Orange's "You're Not Good Enough," the eighteenth in the UO Music Video Series.

To celebrate the new music video release, stop by our new Herald Square store on Thursday, June 12 from 2-3pm, where director Gia Coppola and Blood Orange's Dev Hynes will join us for a For The Record appearance and vinyl signing.

Shop Palo Alto Soundtrack

Friday Download: June 6, 2014

This week's Friday Download is alllll songs, people, so get ready. It's been a great week for songs. (But I'm not going to lie, I still watch-listened to HSM3's "Scream" about four times today. You just can't knock the classics, amirite?) I'm a little bummed that it's only June 6 and it's already 3,000 degrees out, but at least this summer looks like it'll be a promising one for good tunes. Check out some of my favorite new ones below. Katie

Tops "Change of Heart"
I am obsessed with this song. I have a feeling I'm going to be saying that about a lot of these songs this week, but seriously, this one is sooo good. The video is full of FRIENDSHIP and the song itself sounds like SUNSHINE and GRASS and SWIMMING all rolled up in a ball full of happiness. I am like, overwhelmed with feelings about this one, guys. Listen to it ASAP.
(via Gorilla vs. Bear)

Parquet Courts "Black and White"
The video/song combo for this one from Parquet Courts is just really doin' it for me. My dream in life is to be this cool one day.

Tennis "Never Work For Free"
Okay, I'm going to say it again: I'm obsessed with this song, too. Everything Tennis has put out lately has been speaking to me, like so much. Like, I have to keep going private on Spotify to hide how much I've listened to their Small Sound EP. The band also recently announced that their newest album Ritual in Repeat will be out September 9th, which luckily means we don't have too long to wait for even more new ones.

Charli XCX "Boom Clap"
I love this song. I love this book. I am weeping already.

Strand of Oaks "Shut In"
I think I made literally everyone I've ever met or crossed paths with listen to "Goshen '97" when it first came out, so I'm actually surprised I'm a little late on "Shut In." Strand of Oaks actually released this song (from his newest album HEAL, out June 24) a couple of weeks ago and somehow I missed it the first time around, but I found it now. AND I AM NEVER TURNING IT OFF. Can't wait for this album release, TBH.

Space Ninety 8: Bikestock Pop-Up

We spoke to Joseph Huba, one of the founders of Bikestock, a company that provides "support for urban cyclists through a network of vending machines, toolkits, and branded cycling products," to find out a little bit more about their current pop-up shop at Space Ninety 8, how their company was born, and (of course) the best places to bike in New York City.

What made you all come up with the idea for Bikestock?
It was actually Matt [Von Ohlen]'s idea. We were working at the same restaurant at the time and one day he ran the idea by me and it just made sense. It was like a light turned on inside my head and I just knew that this was something worth pursuing. And what made it resonate even more was the fact that I was working as a messenger and was always needing around-the-clock access to bike parts and repair. Matt has his fair share of horror stories on a bike, too. I mean, who hasn't needed an inner tube or access to air in the middle of night?

Was it hard to get the project off the ground?
Yes, it was very hard. From the get-go a lot of people just thought it was a great idea. And that was it. It was like, "I get it but how are you guys going to get money and find locations?" Needless to say that didn't stop us. We spent a ton of time writing our business plan and just kicking ideas back and forth. Eventually we came up with the idea of the toolkit as a way to start somewhere. I remember reading this book, I think it was the $100 Startup and there was a piece in there on starting a business tomorrow, with $50. I thought to myself, "Okay, if I had $50 to spend, what would I spend it on?" We kicked around a ton of ideas and the toolkit is what we came up with. That kept us motivated while we were searching for a location for a vending machine, a work stand, and air pump.

How do you choose what goes into your machines?
Well, I worked at a shop for years while I was going to school at University of Maryland and Matt has been riding bicycles since he was a kid, so we both kind of just knew what should go in the machine. We narrowed the selection down to what people need access to around the clock. There's something in our vending machines for everybody. It doesn't matter if you're not a cyclist. Whether you're a runner, a skateboarder, or someone commuting to work via the L train, we can take care of you.

What will we be able to find at your pop-up?
The pop-up itself has some bags and gear from our friends at Vaya Bags and Mer Bags; everything from rolltop backpacks to wallets to tote bags (and all the Vaya and Mer gear is handmade in Brooklyn). We also have some cycling related books, some awesome maps from All You Can Eat Press (a burger map, ramen map, and doughnut map). In addition to the books and maps we also have a film from our friends Crihs and Luke called Empire. It's chock full of some of the gnarliest fixed gear riding from the world's baddest ass riders.
And of course we have cycling specific items, like battery powered and USB rechargeable lights.

Where do you see Bikestock going in the future?
We see ourselves all over. We want to have a far reaching network that inspires people to ride and get outside more often.

What are some of your favorite spots in Brooklyn?
Jimmy's Diner is the best place to get food. Hands down. Get the chicken and waffles, you won't regret it. I also love the bar Lucky Dog. It's right across the street from DuMont Burger, which is also a great place to go for a beer and a burger. On a non-food related note, I also enjoy the LES Skate Park. It's my favorite place to go skate and it's one of the best parks in New York City.

Favorite spots to bike in NYC?
I love riding over the Williamsburg Bridge to work. That's always fun. And if you've been off your bike for a while, it can be a very unforgiving ride! I also love riding to the beach; whether it's to the Rockaways or Ft. Tilden, it's always a fun journey. There's something really special about when you get close to the water. It all of a sudden stops feeling like New York, but then you remember it is and that's what makes New York so awesome. There's even a (highly reputable) bird sanctuary out there, too! It's called the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. It's a super fun day trip and is easily accessible by bicycle.

What tunes have you been listening to lately?
I really love this DJ named Monster Rally. He is so incredible at mashing up songs and making them feel like original compositions. He just put out a 4 track EP that's got this cool vibe to it. It's definitely worth checking out. I also can't stop listening to Ghostface Killah. "Ironman" is one of my all-time favorite albums and to me it will never get old. Check out the music video for "Camay." It's got such a '90s feel to it, it's amazing. I've also been listening to this band California X. Bikestock actually helped put on a show at Shea Stadium in Bushwick and Cali X headlined a few months back. They played a killer set to a venue that was almost full. It was great! They kind of remind me of Dinosaur Jr. and some other good '90s bands.

Visit the Bikestock pop-up at Space Ninety 8 (98 N. 6th St.) through June 30

Friday Download: May 30, 2014

After a long, long weekend filled with sunshine and smiles, I thought this work week was going to draaaag but it actually passed by incredibly quickly. A magical surprise, TBH. It definitely didn't hurt that a ton of fun new tunes have come out lately to keep life feeling exciting. Here are some of my favorites below, to hopefully keep the week days feeling short and the weekends feeling long. (Endless, even. Please, universe.) Katie

Little Dragon "Paris (Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs Holiday Edit)"
A totally long name for this remix, but definitely worth bustin' out at your next party. Plus, Little Dragon is just so cool, as evidenced in this video for "Paris." Frontwoman Yukimi Nagano is my new life crush.

Jungle "Time"
Little behind on this one if we're going by internet time (a week old may as well be like, 300 years old), but this song is too good to not post. Jungle's full album comes out on July 15 and seems like it'll be the perfect LP to blast all summer long.

Kim and Kanye 4eva
I love this picture, I love that they are married, I love adorable Baby North, I LOVE THEM ALL, ALL OF THEM. I would like to sing John Legend's "All Of Me" to the entire family on top of a mountain. Luckily for everyone that is as obsessed with this couple as I am, PAPERMAG did a beautiful roundup of pictures from their recent totally understated (JK) nuptials in Italy. Popsugar has even more fun facts about the wedding, because why not stuff our brains with this garbage, ya know?

La Roux "Uptight Downtown"
Another great new jam from La Roux. I am in full-blown "SUMMER DANCE PARTY" mode right now, so I'm very pleased that her new album will be coming out in July.

The Atlantic 100 Pieces of Journalism
Even though letting our brains rot is totally fun and very easy and delightful, it's important to read Real Things from time to time. That's why I'm glad The Atlantic did all the dirty work for us and rounded up this collection of a little over 100 pieces of fantastic journalism from the last year. I'm feeling smarter already.

Friday Download: May 16, 2014

It's time for the Friday Download! Here are some of my favorite tunes, videos and posts from across the internet this week. (And a little Spotify pop music playlist I snuck in.) Katie

The Shilohs The Shilohs
The Shilohs released a full-length self-titled album this week and after hearing multiple people mention how good it was over the past few days, I figured I should probably listen to it ASAP and guess what? I'm glad that I did, because it's the perfect summer record. Between this and Spotify's TEEN PARTY playlist, I am alllllll set for the warm weather. (Top photo via Bandcamp)

FYF Lineup
The FYF lineup was like, literally just announced and it looks amaaaaazing. Apparently this is the first Blood Brothers show in eight years which seems crazy to me and makes me feel like a crypt keeper, but is very exciting nonetheless.

Haim "XO"
This live lounge video of Haim covering Beyoncé's "XO" is a few months old, but after seeing them perform this live two nights ago, we just wanted to relive it again. WE LOVE HAIM LIKE XO. And we love Alana's Beyoncé nail decals, too.

"My Dad Finally Sees The Devil Wears Prada"
Wow, The Toast has just been speaking to me lately. This short little piece about a dad watching The Devil Wears Prada warmed my cold, dead heart. The site also put up a post titled "Liberal Dude Erotica" this week (it's not real erotica, stop clutching your pearls), and I am just laughin' and laughin'. Thanks, The Toast.

Arcade Fire "We Exist"
Arcade Fire's video for "We Exist" is pretty impressive; the last minute and a half was filmed while Arcade Fire played weekend two at Coachella, but you'll have to watch the whole thing to see how they end up there. And yes, that is Andrew Garfield. (via Stereogum)

Friday Download: May 9, 2014

It's been a long week. Luckily a lot of fun music videos came out this week to help keep me from nodding off at my desk. (Like did you see this video for "Good Kisser"? It is very nice and features Fo, my favorite ANTM girl. Also, a very special Jesse McCartney video came out this week, so if you are into garbage pop like me, you don't want to miss this one, I'll tell you what.) Check out my other favorite vids and tunes from this week below!Katie

Leverage Models "Night Falls on the General Assembly"
Our pals Leverage Models put out a new video this week for "Night Falls on the General Assembly" and I sure do like it. Makes me want to dance all over town in a suit, TBH. Plus, the VHS vibe it's got going on matches perfectly with the song. The band will also be playing at Cameo Gallery in Brooklyn on May 22, so if you're in the area and in the mood for some dancing, check 'em out!

Sia "Chandelier"
I love this song so much and now I love this video so much. I will never get over how Maddie from Dance Moms is only 11 years old and more talented than I will ever be in my entire life. SIGH.

Arctic Monkeys "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards"
Alex Turner covered Tame Impala's "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" and now I am sad. Marry me, Alex.

Making Time with Boys Noize
If you're in Philly this weekend, make sure to head out to the latest Making Time party at Voyeur on Saturday, May 10. The special guest of the evening will be Boys Noize, which means between him and Making Time mainstays Dave P. and Sammy Slice, you'll be guaranteed good grooves to dance to.

Lipgloss Twins "Wannabe"
Want to hear a weird song? Click play on the link above. Against my better judgment, I actually like all these weird electronic pop/techno songs that are popping up (like "Attachment"). And this website for the Lipgloss Twins is really speaking to me on a deep emotional level. (via Stereogum)