Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Music: Haim

Sister Act: Alana (19), Este (24) and Danielle (22) comprise the band Haim.

I first became aware of the band Haim after seeing Danielle Haim play backup for Jenny Lewis on her 2009 tour.  She really stood out as a skillful musician, contributing vocals, guitar, drums, tambourine.  I met her after the show just to give her props, and after doing some research, found that she had also played for the Strokes' Julian Casablancas and was in a band with her two sisters, Este and Alana.  They were heavily influenced by their musician parents growing up in Southern California, and even played in a folk band with them as kids.

The trio recently released their debut EP Forever, which you can download it for free here -- I highly recommend it.  They grew up listening to such bands as the Fleetwood Mac, the Beatles, the Doors and the Eagles, and it's apparent in their sound -- but they also manage to blend in some R&B influences.  Said guitarist Alana in an interview with Vogue,"I think we still have the structure of old-school rock.  But the R&B adds the spice."

This particular 2009 live performance of a song called "The Wire" turned me into an immediate fan.

Photo Source:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Music: Diane Birch

Soulful singer-songwriter Diane Birch with '60s-style lashes.

When I first heard twenty-nine year old singer-songwriter Diane Birch, her soulful sound and style immediately reminded me of Tapestry-era Carole King.  Birch was discovered by Prince playing the piano at the Polo Lounge in Los Angeles in 2006.  Loving her music and her look, which are both very '60s and '70s inspired (the Jane Birkin haircut!).  She currently has two albums, her 2009 debut Bible Belt and a covers album, The Velveteen Age.  Despite the soul and blues-influences of her music, Birch grew up listening to the Cure, Bauhaus and the Sisters of Mercy, which she gravitated to as a rebellion against her strict religious upbringing.

Here's a fantastic live performance of her song "Nothing but a Miracle," featuring the one and only Daryl Hall.

Photo Sources:
1, 2, 3, 4

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Through the Lens: The Great Gatsby

Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan

The official trailer is out for Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, to be released in December, and it looks visually stunning.  He never takes the traditional route with his films, so this should definitely be an interesting adaptation.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Style Inspiration: Kimbra

Kimbra Johnson in a retro photo shoot for Details Magazine.  Photo by Shaun Hartas.

I'm really liking New Zealand singer-songwriter Kimbra's music and look.  You probably know her most recently from her collaboration with Australian singer Gotye on his track "Somebody That I Used to Know"  (check out this awesome performance from KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic, as well as her excellent mashup of Grizzly Bear and Tears for Fears).

The 22 year-old sites Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra as musical inspirations, but on the other end of the spectrum, is also very much into Nine Inch Nails and the Mars Volta.  Her music reflects a fusion a genres, as does her style, which can border on eclectic and is a bit of a mishmash between retro and modern.

Photo Sources:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Design Inspiration: Portraits from Words

Find five of Lauren Bacall's movie titles within the picture.

Designer/architect/programmer Juan Osborne creates some rather interesting pieces featuring hidden words, quotes or titles within a portrait.  Here are a few of some classic stars that I love -- you can see more of Juan's work on his site.

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