What a week it was in the world of pop music. Quite a few new singles dropped; records were announced, and people besides Taylor Swift did things too. There were at least a dozen notable artists who each gave us another three-minute reason to stay on YouTube, so we’ve chosen a few to review as objectively as we can. Let’s get started.[via The Wannabes]
TAYLOR SWIFT, “SHAKE IT OFF”
The Story: Tay doesn’t fit into any stereotype. She’s a dork! She just likes to have fun and remind everybody that it doesn’t matter how much you hate her, she’s laughing all the way to the bank.
Execution: Perfect. The audience gets the point and sides with her in the first few seconds.
Cons: It’s insanely obnoxious, and she’s shown how much she doesn’t fit in before. And yes, many people (myself included) have expressed their disdain for her music, but it doesn’t change the fact that the most popular girl at the party is complaining that she’s so out of place.
Pros: She has never looked better than she does in that black outfit. Mad props to her stylist. Girl looks FLY. Also, this is an official, long-overdue break with Country music. She’s finally admitted herself to the world of Pop.
Overall Score: 6/10
NICKI MINAJ, “ANACONDA”
The Story: Nicki Minaj wants you to see her butt. For it is large. And she is quite capable of moving it rapidly.
Execution: Very well done. I have done what she’s told me to and stared at her ass for three minutes.
Cons: I don’t really understand the necessity of kitchen scene. It’s a simple message; there’s no need for excess props. Just shake it.
Pros: THAT DRAKE SCENE. If you can watch that scene without laughing, you possess no sense of humor. She’s all up on him, which is funny enough, but after throwing her legs around him and grinding, she gets annoyed when he tries to touch.
Overall Score: 7/10
GERARD WAY, “NO SHOWS”
The Story: Gerard Way is a singer who’s making his intergalactic debut on a space late-night talk show. This is not explained further.
Execution: Fine I guess? It’s so difficult, because he was the frontman for My Chemical Romance, one of the most dramatic bands of the generation, but this is just dull. I don’t know if he’s trying to go as far from MCR as he possible, but man. It’s just so mediocre. It looks like a pre-“Thriller” music video.
Cons: Mostly everything. The song isn’t even that great. And it would be so much better if he’d just upped the vocals a bit. Also, the fashion looks like a mix of Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century and a bad ’70s lookbook. I wanted to love this so much.
Pros: He’s making music! And this is announcing an album, so hopefully the whole thing won’t be as beige.
Overall Score: 2/10
HAIM FT. A$AP FERG, “MY SONG 5″
The Story: It’s an episode of the fictional “Dallas Murphy Show,” an imitation Jerry Springer-type show hosted by Vanessa Bayer.
Execution: Spot on. The sisters were able to pull in a few famous friends, and the added A$AP Ferg verse fits better than I could’ve dreamed.
Cons: I am not a Haim sister. That is a major con.
Pros: It’s hilarious. It’s not the best HAIM video, but it’s almost impossible to beat “Forever” and “The Wire,” so you can’t hold those against them.
Overall Score: 9/10
Backyard barbecues, afternoons by the pool, and car rides with the windows rolled down would not be complete without nostalgic summer tunes. But, not just any old songs will do. The perfect soundtrack can take these situations and turn them into truly memorable moments.
In search of that ideal playlist, we tapped eight of LA’s raddest DJs to share their favorite, iconic summertime tracks for the hot months ahead. (And, given our perennial sunshine, you know they know their hot-weather melodies better than most.) Prepare to revamp that pool-party track list and update your road-trip mixtape with these mix-master-approved jams. Click through to tune in.
[Via Refinery 29]
Josh Legg — a.k.a. Goldroom — first caught our attention with his always-on-repeat track “Embrace.” Now, he’s putting the final touches on his first full-length album (a venture three years in the making), and is set to hit up many of the electronic summer festivals around the U.S.
Favorite Summer Jams:
“‘[Sittin’ On] The Dock Of The Bay’ by Otis Redding and ‘Runnin’ by Pharcyde.”
What do these songs bring to mind when you hear them?
“There’s just something hot and sticky about both of these songs. I love the emotive quality of both of them. ‘Runnin’ is like foreplay on a hot summer evening, and Otis Redding is like the afterglow of a perfect summer night, when everything is still and thick and full of life.”
How would you describe your sound?
“Tropical, euphoric, or nostalgic. Music has always been escapist for me, so I think that’s my goal in creating songs as well.”
Jasmine and Val Fleury make up the on-the-rise female DJ duo Immigré, who mix live like no other. (We’ve also been known to stalk their perfectly curated Spotify playlists.) This year, the two have collaborated with the likes of Kiven and Cobra Starship and will be putting it down at hot-ticket pool parties for the next few months.
Favorite Summer Jams:
Val: “’Big Fun’ by Inner City.”
Jasmine: “’0-100′ by Drake.”
What do these songs bring to mind when you hear them?
Val: “This song is just an all-around feel-good house classic that makes everyone hit the dance floor. It’s also undeniable that Paris Grey is a goddess. We do our best to pay homage as well as to help inspire other strong, positive, and creative females. The lyrics also speak for themselves. You don’t really need a crowd to have a party. Be your own party!”
Jasmine: “If Drake is an option, nothing else exists.”
What is your favorite thing about playing sets in the summer?
“We’re both most comfortable in hot weather, and we love that summer puts everyone in good spirits. Most importantly, this season brings us a constant stream of festivals, tours, and pool parties. We love them all, but pool parties are probably our favorite type of event to DJ. Can’t get enough of the carefree vibes!”
Tokimonsta started her musical exploration as an unfocused pupil of classical piano. The Southern California native allowed her background to form her appreciation for live instruments and textural landscapes, shown in her self-produced heavy-beat tracks. With a new song featuring Anderson Paak set to be released this month, she continues to stay on point while advancing the genre of digitally created jams.
Favorite Summer Jams:
“Dove Shack’s ‘Summertime In The LBC.’ Growing up in L.A., this was a summer anthem for all of Southern California. Also, Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘1979.’ The song has that mellow, summertime feeling.”
How would you describe your sound?
“My music is hip-hop and soul, but yet very much electronic. I believe it is a culmination and interpretation of all the music I grew up listening to.”
What is your favorite thing about summer tours and shows?
“Summer tours are nice because the weather tends to be better. When the weather is better, the people are happier, and the shows just seem a little brighter overall.”
Putting the words soulful and smooth into the realm of electronic reworks and original content, Kastle creates songs that will have you in a groove. Besides topping iTunes charts and mastering remixes, the man will be on the road for all the major festival stops this season.
Favorite Summer Jams:
“‘Inside My Head ft. Meleka’ by Riton and ‘Good Love’ by Klymaxx.”
What do these songs bring to mind when you hear them?
“I’ve been really inspired by ‘80s freestyle lately, and it appears I’m not the only one. Riton’s new track sounds like it is straight out of the freestyle era, and it’s been going off in my sets. The Klymaxx classic has similar vibes, but with a slower trip-hop beat.”
What got you into creating music and DJing?
“I have the Internet to thank for that. I grew up in a very small town with absolutely no music culture, so at a very young age I somehow stumbled upon early ‘90s electronic music like Moby, Acen, Aphex Twin, and have devoted my life to it ever since.”
Just when we thought Cassie’s “Me & U” couldn’t be more ingrained in our minds, Le Youth revives the track by exaggerating the hook and creating a whole new appreciation for the jam. But, it all makes sense, as revamping throwbacks seems to be his thing.
Favorite Summer Jams:
“‘Into You’ by Fabolous featuring Ashanti has major summer vibes. This song is a legend. Read the lyrics. Also, ‘What’s Luv?’ by Fat Joe featuring Ashanti and Ja Rule.”
How would you describe your sound/genre?
“I make dance music that I would want to listen to. Typically, it’s house music with a heavy ‘90s influence. It’s sort of like nostalgic dance music, I guess.”
What are you currently working on?
“Right now, I’m making a mixtape of all my favorite ‘90s songs. I think I’ll put it out this summer. I’m playing a rooftop pool party in San Diego, then off to Europe for some festivals. My new single, ‘Feel Your Love’ featuring Javeon, comes out in August.”
This indie-rock band — made up by Leopold Ross and Ioanna Gika — is more than just a mix between the Velvet Underground and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Their DJ sets played around the city are equal parts nostalgic and dance-worthy. Find them in L.A. once they get back from recording their latest album in the U.K.
Favorite Summer Jams:
Ionna: “‘Sail Away (Orinoco Flow)’ by Enya because I love New Age music. When I listen to it, I feel like I’m in a digital ocean with a clear, vinyl sunset.”
Leopold: “‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe’ by Kendrick Lamar. The hook is spacey and strong and holds a great summer message. Keep all buzzkills at a safe distance.”
What is your favorite thing about summer tours and shows?
Leopold: “I love summer because it means that it’s only a couple more months until the romance and decay of the fall and winter. But, while it’s summer, I love looking out of the window while traveling on tour and seeing a welcoming, green, and vast landscape.”
What are you currently working on?
Leopold: “Ioanna and I are writing and recording our second album. I also just finished co-composing two films with my brother, Atticus. One is a biopic about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys entitled Love and Mercy, and the other is the new film from Michael Mann, which is currently untitled.”
YBH Rewrites An Old Story[dropcap letter=”T”]he catchy melodies and uplifting tones of Youngblood Hawke’s tunes would suggest that some sort of idyllic confluence brought them together. That isn’t the case. Members Simon Katz and Sam Martin found themselves increasingly alienated from their frat- party, electro-pop band, Iglu and Hartly towards the end of the last decade and were struggling for direction. Martin tells the story best: “There were three of us—Simon, another guy, and myself. We started out kind of all on the same page. As the band got successful, the other member turned into a really dark dude. It got really ugly and became everything we were against. We walked away, and it was a really scary thing to do because it was going well in Europe and the UK. But we knew we had to do it because we were fucking miserable. The music was not the music that I wanted to be making.”
Sam and I locked ourselves in his bedroom. It was tiny and had no air conditioning. We just wrote songs all summer. That was our way of putting all the other shit we had to put up with for the past couple of years behind us.
They walked right into their next project. “Sam and I locked ourselves in his bedroom,” Martin continues. “It was tiny and had no air conditioning. We just wrote songs all summer. That was our way of putting all the other shit we had to put up with for the past couple of years behind us.” From there, their musical ascent continued on the same humble trajectory that a myriad of other Eastside LA bands have before them. “Our first show was at The Silverlake Lounge,” Martin recounts. “But we didn’t tell anybody. There were literally two people there—including the bar staff. We were completely nervous. It was our first time playing a show with the rest of the band. Alice had done acting before but had never played a show. I walked up to her after, and she was like, ‘I wanna do that again and again and again.”
They found a sense of home pretty quickly. “Playing The Satellite was cool because, when we first moved here, It was one of the first places we went to see live music. We felt comfortable there. They asked us to do a residency, and it was an obvious yes. That was kind of what started it for us. We didn’t really play that much as a band before. The residency was our third or fourth show. We would walk in the door and be like, ‘Are there gonna be 20 people there? 15?’ And then it was sold out. It was such a great response. People really reacted to the music in such a genuine way. It just felt natural. You can tell when the crowd’s into it.”
And that was it. “We Come Running” was released months later, and Youngblood Hawke became an international buzz band. Just like that. With their second LP approaching, the band isn’t resting on their laurels. There are rumblings of new directions, but fans looking for the YBH signature sound shouldn’t worry. Martin explains, “I don’t know if there’s any way to describe it other than evolving. The worst thing you can do as an artist is continue to make the same thing over and over again. We wrote the first album three years ago. We’re different people now. I don’t think we’re going to put out a folk record or a dubstep record, though. We want it to be fun for us on stage and fun for the people who come see us. Our first record comes from a pop background and sound, even though the stories and the lyrics are dark. I think we’ll probably take that a little further and just experiment, get a little weirder.”
In a lot of ways, the band’s story is an allegory to the novel from which their name was derived, Herman Wouk’s Youngblood Hawke. It’s an important book to Martin. “It was just one of those books that just blew my mind,” he says. “It was my late uncle’s favorite book. It’s about a young Kentucky boy who moved to New York. My whole family’s from Kentucky and I really connected with the story of someone leaving everything behind and chasing their dream of becoming an artist. There’s a lot of imagery and stuff inside the book that really touched me.”
That’s how we feel about music. It’s the one thing we want to do with our lives. It’s become our lives. We’ve put everything into it.
When pressed about the book’s tragic ending, Martin responds, “It definitely has a dark twist, but you decide what you want to do with your life, and you just do it. That’s how we feel about music. It’s the one thing we want to do with our lives. It’s become our lives. We’ve put everything into it.” Maybe the fact that YBH were born out of somebody else’s unhappy ending means that, this time, they’ll get to write their own.
text JEMAYEL KHAWAJA
photo RICKETT & SONES
Summer’s not just about day drinking and rooftop access. This month, why not branch out and explore your refined right brain a little? From film and illustration to insects and Mexican highways—we’ve got your guide to air-conditioned sophistication, cause no one really cares about your pool selfies.[infobox maintitle=”ALLAN SEKULA | SHIP OF FOOLS” subtitle=”Christopher Grimes Gallery
Opening Reception: July 3rd-September 6th ” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”30″ link=”http://www.cgrimes.com”]
Allan Sekula’s work spans the mediums of photography, film, and writing, producing incisive documents about labor, nationality, and the history and uses of photography. Deeply skeptical of the mythologies promoted by a society shaped by capitalism, Sekula’s work addresses the concerns of an engaged citizen investigating the networks of political and economic power and their intersection with individual lives and landscapes.
[infobox maintitle=”DAVID HOCKNEY | ARRIVAL OF SPRING” subtitle=”L.A LOUVER
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 10th, 6 pm ” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”30″ link=”http://www.lalouver.com”]
Considered one of the most innovative artists of the postwar era, British-born Hockney adopts various new media in order to investigate the idea of perception throughout his career in los Angeles and England. Embracing cutting-edge technology including Photoshop, Polaroids, iPad, and iPhone drawings, Hockney explores new ways to depict the seasons.[infobox maintitle=”GENEVIEVE CHUA | CICADAS CICADAS” subtitle=”GUSFORD | LOS ANGELES
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 10th, 6- 9 pm ” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”30″ link=”http://www.gusfordgallery.com”]
In Chua’s first north American solo exhibition, she continues to develop her interest in the relationship between controlled situations and the element of chance and the unknown. Through mixed-media installations depicting insects and their environment, Cicadas Cicadas charts the fearsome terrain of psychological horror from a Southeast Asian point of view.
[infobox maintitle=”PIA CAMIL” subtitle=”BLUM & POE
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 12th, 7 pm ” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”30″ link=”https://www.blumandpoe.com”]
Camil’s work engages with the Mexican urban landscape in which she grew up in. Through mixed-media installations that include photographs of halted projects along Mexico’s highways and abandoned, decaying billboards, she explores the idea of urban ruin and the traces of art history that exist within it.[infobox maintitle=”DEEP END | YALE MFA PHOTO 2014″ subtitle=”DIANE ROSENSTEIN FINE ART
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 19th, 6-8 pm ” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”30″ link=”http://www.dianerosenstein.com”]
Diane Rosenstein fine Art plays host to Yale’s MFA thesis exhibition featuring works from new budding artists Erin Desmond, Awol Erizku, Genevieve Gaignard, Hannah Hummel, Fumi Ishino, Casey Mcgonagle, Tyler Moore, Hannah price, Billie Stultz and Evan Whale.[infobox maintitle=”AUDREY KAWASAKI, TARA MCPHERSON, DEEDEE CHERIEL” subtitle=”MERRY KARNOWSKY GALLERY
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 2nd 19th, 7 pm ” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”30″ link=”http://www.mkgallery.com”]
Merry Karnowsky presents the unique styles and mediums of three female artists and their exploration of parallel themes. Through work in paint, illustration, and photography, Kawasaki, Mcpherson, and Cheriel invoke meditative and breathtaking narratives that explore the female form.[infobox maintitle=”LUCY + JORGE ORTA | FOOD-WATER-LIFE” subtitle=”BEN MALTZ GALLERY, OTIS
August 16th – December 6th” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”30″ link=”http://www.otis.edu/ben-maltz-gallery”]
Food – Water – Life marks the inaugural premiere of the Orta’s work in the US. The French duo appropriate sculptures, drawings, installations, and video in order to shed light on major concerns such as environmental conditions and climate change that define the 21st century. Their humorous, jerrybuilt contraptions gain power as works of art created to move us to awareness and action.
[infobox maintitle=”VARIATIONS: ABSTRACT PAINTING TODAY” subtitle=”LACMA
August 24th – September 22nd” bg=”gray” color=”black” opacity=”on” space=”30″ link=”http://www.lacma.org”]
In an attention-compromised age when images are instant and prevalent, abstract painting serves as a contradiction, acting as a conduit for the mark of the original, individual artist. Variations: Abstract Painting Today presents 29 artists whose work reflects the language and style of abstraction. The exhibition looks closely at the claim of an abstraction that is timely and comments on a studio practice, paying homage to art history’s past while creating a vision for the present.
We’ve waited two years for something from Grimes, the eccentric, Canadian-waif, MEGA talent, and finally, she delivers. Her album isn’t done yet, so why drop the new single “Go,” featuring Blood Diamond, right now?
“It’s our summer jam so we figured we should put it out ‘cuz I am very bored of waiting to finish my album b4 releasing new music haha,” she says in a press release.
do you, Miss Claire. Do you.
The track is far more accessible than Grimes’ previous work, and not to mention it’s a bit more pop that we are use to from her, a fact she isn’t completely unaware of. Nevertheless, the song is layered with sensitivity and enough back-beat sultriness to please current and new fans all ova.
But real talk—how much hotter would it have been with a verse from YG or Ty Dolla $ign around the 2:30 mark?
Raan Parton, founder and creative director of Apolis, along with his wife Lindsay Parton, recently opened Alchemy Works – a stylish multipurpose garage-like retail store, art gallery, and event space. The large, bright, open studio with its high ceiling and burnish concrete floor was designed to reflect Raan’s hometown of breezy Santa Barbara. He wanted to bring cool beach vibes to the industrial-chic area known as the Art District, asserting that even downtown L.A. will have endless summers.
For it’s launch, Alchemy Works is selling its centerpiece, a neatly polished dark blue 1959 Fiat Abarth Spyder convertible, the only one in the U.S. yet somehow perfectly designed for a sunset drive down PCH. And fret not ladies, although the shop may look like a man’s dream garage, not everything in the store is for guys, there are some well-selected items for women as well.
Almost all of the items in the store, including the art pieces, are made in California. Much like the art, everything in the store will be rotated in an effort to continue to provide a platform to showcase as many designers, photographers, and all around creatives that live in our city. Stop by frequently – there’ll always be something new to check out.
As these last few nights of summer wind down we found ourselves basking in a smorgasbord of hors d’oeuvres from My Two Cents LA, cold beverages from New Castle & New Amsterdam vodka and live music by Suitman, Mathieu Schreyer, DJ Jules, and DJ Hiro NYC at Our Favorite Shop for the intimate premier of the Clae Footwear x Steven Alan collaboration kick off party. Tastemakers all over Los Angeles vibed and shopped around for some limited-edition releases of Clae’s next level shoe game. This leading footwear brand took a popularly casual mid-top shoe, the ‘Strayhorn Vibrams’ and treated it to a spa day makeover with a newly pioneered edge of grizzly chic durability. In case you missed the rare collab event, don’t sweat it, there are still some shoes available in deep navy and gravel gray. With only 300 made in each color technique, they are guaranteed to run out quickly, so be sure to get your hands on these rugged stompers ASAP, here.
Rod from Steven Alan flexin’ the gravel gray
The presentation of fashion is continuously challenging itself to evolve. Editorial legends like Mert & Marcus, Nick Knight, David LaChappelle, and scores of others are pushing high fashion towards increasingly abstract states of presentation and context. It’s no longer enough to have an emaciated, grayscale model draped in a casual white button-down being misted with ocean spray. You need to transcend realism and resist the urge to relate to the consumer. Editorial advertising should be treated not as a means of example, but as an opportunity to demonstrate the great heights of a brand’s imagination, and to catch those wandering eyes as they flick through the pages.
With the search ongoing for fresh mediums of expression within fashion publications, we can see a notable gravitation towards brush and paint representations of models and their wares, with illustrator and designer Marcela Gutierrez being a key figure in directing the aesthetic towards the border that joins fashion, art and photography. If her name is unfamiliar, you may have seen her massive watercolor portraits covering the windows of Prada’s New York and Los Angeles flagship stores.
Gutierrez’s body of work is defined by precise and vibrant impressions of existing fashion portraits, amplified contrast of near-arbitrary color, and deft blotches of damp pigment. The result is an entirely fresh interpretation of the portrait, and one that seeks to merge the collective visions of the models, designers, photographers, and make-up artists through the eyes of a painter.
Yet, it seems that diversity of culture is deep at the root of this artist’s outlook. Marcela was born in Florida, raised in Guatemala, studied in Mexico and London, worked in Milan, and then settled, at least temporarily, in New York. When viewing her extensive portfolio, which contains a mixture of work for Harper’s Bazaar, editorials for Vogue Spain, and commissions for Shiseido, Swarovski, and Beyoncé, you get a sense of her vast array of cultural influences.
Read Marcela’s full article in our newest issue
text by ROSS GARDINER
After months of rumors, construction and Melrose pop-up shop appointments, our sartorial blue balls are finally over with the grand opening of Topshop and Topman yesterday at the Grove
An estimated 10,000 fashion-heads crowded the shopping wonderland yesterday, making Topshop/Topman the largest store opening the Grove has ever seen.
A line that spanned from Nordstrom to the Farmers Market began forming at 5am yesterday morning, where patient patrons were treated to tunes, snacks, temporary tattoos and free tote bags while they awaited entry into the massive retail space.
Happy Pre-Spring, kids!
The typical newcomers to the music industry would never dream of playing a big festival after just four shows, but the boys of Odesza are not your typical artists. Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight make up the latest electronic dream-pop duo to hit the Washington music scene. They are set to play Sasquatch! Festival with the likes of Grimes, Mumford & Sons, and many others. After graduating college and starting up this project last September, could they wish for more? We decided to ask the band how this fast-earned fame feels.
1. You guys are playing Sasquatch! Festival this year. Is this your first festival?
Harrison of Odesza: Yes, it is. It’s kind of like the most amazing thing that has ever happened to us. On the third day of us ever coming together trying to make music Clay was like ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome if we got to play Sasquatch?” and we were always kind of aiming for that. Now we are asking ourselves how we got here.
2. Where did your band name come from?
It was the name of my uncle’s ship that sank. Him and another crew mate were the only ones to get out alive. Our music has a kind of emotional element to it, and this one incident has always really struck me.
3. What bands or other artists inspire your music?
We are kind of strange. We listen to Goodwill tapes of 50’s music. We like Radiohead, James Brown, Fina, and Blockhead. We are inspired by more ambient music as well as classic rock, so it’s really a mix.
4. What besides other music inspires your sound?
We really like the idea of a sound just punching you in the face, really hitting hard. We love when a song just has that drive.
5. What has been your favorite city or venue to play in?
We actually have only played four shows, and they’ve all been around Washington. I guess out of those, our favorite has been our college hometown show. There were 50 of our friends there when the set started, but someone turned on a fog machine and for the first few songs we couldn’t see anything. After it cleared we looked out and the place was packed. That was a crazy moment for us.
6. So what is next for you guys?
We’ll be going on tour with Emancipate and Little People for the next few months. We are also working on remixes and EPs. We are really working our asses off to push forward. Check out their track “How Did i Get Here” below, and look out for the show at the El Rey on March 16th!
This is something we have been waiting for.
With the single leaked last week, we got a taste of what was to come, and now, French video genius Yoann Lemoine, a.k.a Woodkid, has finally released the first video from his upcoming full-length album.
Thus far Woodkid, who has collaborated with Lana Del Rey, Katy Perry, and Mystery Jets for their music videos, and has only released one self-titled EP that went viral and earned him international notoriety. His own music videos have followed a black and white mythic scheme, which he continues in “I Love You.” Watch the video below and be sure to look out for his album The Golden Age due out March 18th, 2013.
AT A GLANCE:
118 W 4th St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
GOOD FOR: Grabbing a drink and a snack after a movie (open till 12am on weekends), a dinner date or even a festive party of 6-8.
BAD FOR: Showing up at 7:30 without a reservation (especially with a big group), desert (not the best).
PRICE: Food $5-$30, most dishes around $12; Drink, $5-$16, Cocktails $11-12
VIBE: Hip, comfortable, cozy
DRINK: Tequila cocktails with fresh house juices and syrups, Mexican and Californian Beers, European wines.
EAT: Chef Josef Centeno’s elevated take on Tex Mex: ceviches and small vegetable plates, tacos, and heftier wood-roasted meats (you can even get a 1/4 goat).
HIGHLIGHTS: The Puffy Tacos are a must-try.
Following the super-success of his unique, flatbread-centric Spanish joint Baco Mercat, Chef Josef Centeno decided to give Downtowners a few more tables to fight over.
Bar Ama is just around the corner from its big Baco brother, and has inherited the same on-point design and casually-hip atmosphere.
Sold. The only question left is: how’s the food?
For starters, it’s inspired by the Tex Mex home-cooking Centeno grew up on. Naturally, he’s given it his own gourmet spin, pushing things like Mondongo Soup and Mom’s Fried Rice to the pinnacle of their potential. Everything is made fresh from top-notch ingredients (which hopefully makes you feel better about spending $11 on guacamole), and the menu even lists the farms where the animals you’re about to eat grew up.
Like at Baco, Bar Ama’s menu is designed to be flexible. You could go there and have a hundred-dollar feast, or scoop up one-or-two delectable small-plates for a satisfying but affordable little dinner. And while some plates may be more substantial than others, you can expect a fiesta of complex flavors and spices out of nearly every bite. Peep the details from our dinner there below.
Avocado, quinoa and scallop ceviche; a textural mash-up of smooth and crunchy, with silky spiced avocados beneath crispy scallops. Like everything here, it’s not blow-your-head-off spicy, instead, chiles are reigned in to harness their flavor without the burn.
The puffy tacos, deep fried in peanut oil. These ones are shrimp with jalapeno cream. There’s an ideal balance of cream and heat that just floods your whole mouth.
The Kale and Zucchini Calabacita; baked veggies in a comforting tomato sauces pulled straight out of the oven, sprinkled with cheese, and brought to your table. A strong hint of garlic gives the whole thing a slightly Italian feel. This is what vegetable soup should taste like.
Have you ever wondered where you could get five plastic fetuses? What about an illustration of Steve Buscemi as an earth worm? Etsy, known for all its cutesy and crafty charm, has more to offer you than meets the eye. We rounded up some of the most disturbing (and hilarious) finds to bring you the creepiest stuff you can buy on Etsy.
At a standard rate of $15.50 you can own five rubber fetuses, which the seller insures are “very squeezable,” in case that was a concern.
Who wouldn’t want Kim Kardishian’s crying face on their cell? It saves you the time of rewinding your DVR just to rewatch her freak out on Lord Disick… I mean Scott.
According to the seller of this glorious meat product, you can actually buy “magical unicorn bacon.” Is it just me or were you at least expecting some type of rainbow food coloring to be involved with that title?
This frightening image is sure to warm up your studio apartment. Who doesn’t love a dried-out squash portraying the true essence of corporate America?
This simply titled piece might haunt it’s recipient in their sleep, but the seller thinks it would be fantastic as a “Get Well Soon” card. Nothing says “feel better” like Buscemi’s face on a spineless organism.
Trying to avoid talking to anyone at your next social gathering? Wear this lovely vile filled with intestine shaped clay. More of a brain or heart in a jar type of gal? The seller says they’re coming soon!!
Oops – The Dog Did it – Poop Soap
Forget that boutique soap bar that smells like lemon verbena. This feces-shaped soap is scentless, and ready to sanitize your hands. The seller promises that it will be sent in attractive packaging. Perfect for gifting!
For $8.00 your feline companion can enjoy one 100% organic cat nip toy that is sure to creep out you and everyone else that comes to your home.
This fabulous find promises to keep you warm, while still ensuring breathability. At $48.00, I don’t think you could ask for more.
Vampire fangs and spinal bones and two-headed bunnies and disembodied hands and weird little dinosaurs….
This is the ambient paraphernalia of VERAMEAT‘s bizarre dream world (and the stuff nightmares induced by falling-asleep to Little Nemo are made of).
VERAMEAT started in NYC when designer Vera Balyura (an ex-model originally from the Ukraine) started making strange little charms for herself. Shortly thereafter, she took her pieces out on the flea-market circuit before finally setting up shop in the East Village. Hand-crafted from recycled silver and gold brass, the sculptural pieces never tarnish and fall in that price point sweet-spot of $50 – $300.
Last month, Vera & co brought the collection of fine contemporary heirlooms to a neat little storefront across the street from Chin Chin on Beverly Hills Boulevard. We dropped into the new boutique this past Saturday to snap some photos and snag some flair, spending the better part of an hour ogling the whimsical displays of delicate metal creatures dangling from creepy objects.
Because we grew up on Pokemon and can’t help but want to catch them all.
VERAMEAT BEVERLY HILLS STORE
189 S Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills CA 90212
Open : Monday-Sunday 11am-7pm
I’ve been plugged into the sounds coming from this 21-year-old Australian kid’s head ever since I found this gem about a year ago. Admittedly, I assumed he was British and I pictured him to be much older. Or maybe just bald.
So, imagine my surprise when I discovered that the mysterious artist known as Flume looks more like James Franco’s introverted little brother (not Dave) than Moby’s weird cousin Jonathan (a figment of my imagination, as far as I know).
Apparently, Mr. Flume mastered the art of slick, bass-heavy electro at an absurdly young age, allowing the DJ/producer to spend his exodus from teenager-dom out of the dorm room and onto the tour bus with the likes of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and the XX. As it tends to be with the adorable young prodigy type, the oracular forces within the music industry fully expect Flume to be the break-out star of 2013. And I’m not mad about that.
Flume’s latest single “Left Alone” features fellow-Aussie blog-star Chet Faker, an artist epitomizing the insatiable appetite of electronic music, which continues to swallow more and more instruments, aesthetics and vocal styles into it’s swollen gut. In Chet’s case, it’s those bluesy, soulful pipes previously reserved for the mid-2000’s wave of white male singer-songwriters, now available on a meaty plate of heavy progressive beats. So it goes.
For now, download Flume’s Fader Mix and peep the video below. For later, stay tuned for the release of his debut full-length album “Future Classic” (which has already gone GOLD in Australia!) on February 19th via Mom & Pop. The oracular forces within me fully expect it to be better than that suit & tie shit.
The move from Sydney to Los Angeles is, for the most part, a seamless one. The two cities flow at a similar pace, with life lived mostly in the sun. Yet since the day I arrived in this glorious city I have been desperately trying to navigate my way through one of the only culture shocks I experienced – coffee.
This is where the two cities disagree. Coffee in Sydney is a social ritual, delivered with care and precision and enjoyed as a moment to stop, not as a fuel to keep going. In America, the sheer volume by which coffee is consumed on an hourly basis means that for most, it’s a habit, regardless of how it’s served or even how it tastes.
But coffee in LA is well on its way to changing. Los Angeles is in the middle of what’s been dubbed the 3rd wave coffee movement. More and more people are treating coffee as an artisanal foodstuff, like wine, and paving the way for improvements on all stages of production, from harvesting to roasting to brewing—as our friends at LA Coffee Club recently noted.
It is with impeccable timing then that Australian-inspired café Coffee + Food should arrive on Melrose. Placed unassumingly in the ever growing Larchmont-Melrose intersection, Coffee + Food is the brainchild of Australian ex-pat Mel Cain and Angeleno Cyndi Finlke. As is typically the case with these things, it was a vacancy that lead the two friends to go where neither had gone before and open a coffee shop. Born through Mel’s passion for coffee and dream of owning a café and Cyndi’s local knowledge from successfully curating two art studios and running a craft service business, Coffee + Food is entirely about superb, well bodied coffee and wholesome, quality food made with local produce and love.
There’s a pervasive happy feeling you get upon walking in, largely thanks to the supremely welcoming people behind the counter, which is just what Mel Cain always hoped to achieve. “We wanted it to feel like our home, like we were bringing people into our homes and feeding them,” Meg told LAC.
Industrialized chairs and stools give the café a modern feel while barn wood, chalk boards and photographs dot the walls in perfectly cozy juxtaposition. The counter is where it’s at, the espresso machine at its heart, the deli case full of can’t choose breakfast and lunch options and various sweet and savory delights ornately displayed across the top.
The coffee menu reads like a café wall in Sydney, featuring the Australian originated flat white, which to the Aussie expat is a cup of espresso and nostalgia infamously hard to find Stateside. It’s velvety smooth, with milk and microfoam folded into a double shot of espresso so that the ratio of coffee takes over the milk and the two are blended seamlessly. C+F enlisted the help of fellow Aussie Mark Baird of Longshot Coffee to curate the caffeinated beverage menu and teach the staff the art of espresso, which they gladly and passionately pass on to curious customers.
The food is designed by C+F’s “food guru” and you guessed it, another Aussie, Claire Smith.
Never has a deli counter in Los Angeles looked so tantalizing, rich, and colorful. For breakfast there’s homemade granola with seasonal fruit and yogurt, or Bircher muesli with poached pears or the favorite brekky sandwich of arugula, egg, prosciutto and gruyere cheese tucked into Turkish toast, specially commissioned by C+F and delivered fresh every morning from a local baker. Lunch is a mixture of signature dishes like the much obsessed over kale salad and a rotating menu of sandwiches, frittatas, lasagnas, fritters, salads and so on. It’s all made to-go, but you’re more than welcome to stay if you’d like.
Though, the real joy is the signature Aussie fare that pops up now and again, whether it be a meat pie or the breakfast staple for 21 million Australian’s – Vegemite on toast. In case you’re still wondering WTF Vegemite is, I urge you to ask no questions, order it with blind faith and let the pros do the work, for when properly delivered, Vegemite is the right mix of salty, buttery goodness—not to mention a solid hangover cure.
On high rotation above the counter is a collection of homemade sweet and savory treats, like Anzac and Monte Carlo cookies, which can be found in every house and office pantry across Australia. Mel divulges to LAC that the Monte Carlo is a favorite on the menu among expats and Angelenos alike; both seem to have an insatiable taste for the crumbly cookie filled with vanilla cream and raspberry jam that pairs perfectly with a Dirty Chai.
What’s right about Coffee + Food is simply that it’s about coffee and it’s about food, both in their simplest, purest forms and without complication. It’s become a home away from home for this expat and many more, so if you’ve ever had a moment of wanderlust, a desire to know what it’s like Down Under, or simply a longing for coffee and food that gives you joy, then make Coffee + Food your next stop, it might change your life.
Coffee + Food
630 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 7am – 3pm
(323) 962 3390
By now, you’re probably well versed in the art of trouble-making. You know how to shot-gun beers in under ten seconds, covertly slap subversive stickers onto innocent street signs, and give the finger when it matters most (like when you’re getting your head-shot taken, obviously).
But whatever level of hooliganary you’re operating at, it probably cannot compare to the antics of LA punk band FIDLAR (an acronym for Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk).
What we have here is a rowdy group of guys who have been chronicling their hard-partying behavior via song for a couple of years now, and by the looks of it, they have no intention of leaving the fast lane and taking up crochet any time soon.
Most recently, you may remember FIDLAR opening up this past summer’s FYF Fest, or you may have heard about their personal rendition of “Oh What a Night” at the Cha Cha Lounge in Silver Lake.
And now, on January 22nd, with the help of Mom + Pop/Wichita Recordings, FIDLAR are finally releasing their first self-titled full length LP, featuring some oldies but goodies and some new tracks to tickle your fancy. The album best laptops for college students under 500probably contains your party anthem for 2013, with uplifting tracks like “Stoked and Broke,” and the procedural classic to rival Gym/Tan/Laundry, “Wake Bake Skate.” Here at the LA CANVAS studio, we’ve been favoring the band’s latest single “Cheap Beer.” Being natty-light drinkers ourselves, we can appreciate the message.
Snag a free download of our favorite tune here:
Dubstep is the music of the dystopian future. Accordingly, in this dub-inflected electro-hop track, frequent Grimes collaborator Blood Diamonds paints a sparkly-pink-and-blue metropolis with a dark, seedy underbelly, made even darker by Harlem rapper Dominic Lord’s pronouncement that he’s coming for you with an AK-47.
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I wouldn’t by any stretch of the imagination call this song “feel good.” It’s tense and anxious with comically bright sonic textures, a formula whose solution can be alternately creepy or totally rad. In this case it’s both.
Check out the Fader’s behind the scenes video to see how this epic collab went down.