Music

MARK_RONSON_PICS_0012_Layer 1Mark Ronson and Shomi Patwary on the set

The best party nobody went to might’ve been 12 years ago in Norfolk, Virginia, when producers who would change the sound of hip-hop and R&B deejayed to basically nobody.

We’ll let our music video director friend Shomi Patwary tell you about that one.

Long story short, Patwary and British star Mark Ronson go way back, and we now have the video for “I Can’t Lose.” It’s more zesty funk from Ronson–whom we shall never fail to mention without hyperlinking to his and Aaliyah’s classic Hilfiger ad–and bigger-budget moves from Patwary, best known for A$AP Rocky’s “Multiply.”

Check out behind-the-scenes images below from “I Can’t Lose” and an edited transcript of our phone call with Patwary.

We talked about Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” Dick Tracy, Blade Runner, the cameo from Waris Ahluwalia–and what happens when the zeitgeist moves post- ‘90s retromania.

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L-R: Laura Lloyd and Jasamine White-Gluz

Images by Kyle Johnson

Listening to Montreal rock band No Joy gives us visions of a professional snowboarder on a sunny day, flying off a jump, doing something complex and elegant midair.

Not something we necessarily understand. But we’re into it.

We do know that No Joy leaders Laura Lloyd and Jasamine White-Gluz derive their looped and soaring music from guitars and effects pedals. The rest of their new album More Faithful is a mystery to us. We’re cool with that–and highly recommend it as a soundtrack to summer road-tripping, camping, head-banging and zoning out.

We spoke to guitarist Laura Lloyd after a recent concert in Seattle about Tevas, tinnitus, complicated time signatures and chia seeds.

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Vaadat Charigim: Dan Bloch (denim jacket), Juval Haring (hoodie), Juval Guttmann (black tee); images by Manuela Insixiengmay

In case of the summer bummer, we’ve been known to turn to shoegaze rock–the subgenre made from loops and layers of guitar noise–and travel to a place where pain is beauty.

It usually works.

When we caught up with Juval Haring, who fronts Israeli shoegaze band Vaadat Charigim, he described himself as “pessimistic” and “cynical.” He also deadpanned about his first name, which he shares with his drummer:

“Juval is a common Israeli name. I’m kind of like the Israeli Craig.”

Haring is funny. His band’s new album, Sinking As a Stone, generally, is not.

With little to no musical support system back home and yet over 1,000 concerts played so far, Haring explained what Berlin, Germany, and Portland, OR, have to do with each other, some of his more existential lyrics–and why he keeps on rocking in the free world.

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Shop: Ray-Bans | Gant shirt | chinos | slip-ons

With the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy out now, we thought we’d let you know how to shop the Beach Boys’ look from the late 1960s.

This is how the band dressed early in its life–when all the musicians were still pretending to know how to surf*–before they grew out their hair and started wearing robes. Back then it was stripes, chinos and slip-ons. Classic California style.

The sunglasses are our addition. We swore we remembered Wayfarers as part of this ensemble. Google image search does not agree.

*Only drummer Dennis Wilson ever really surfed.

For more about Love & Mercy, check actor Paul Dano on NPR’s Bullseye below:

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Looking for dreamy tunes to soundtrack summer hangouts? We thought you might be!

Check this exclusive mix from independent Brooklyn-based music label Mexican Summer–the brain trust which popularized Best Coast and Washed Out a few years back–compiled by the man in charge, Keith Abrahamsson. The music is a blend of the beautiful and the strange. You will find rock, pop and electronic music. Old styles and new ones.

And it all goes together fluidly.

If you like what you hear, we recommend spending more time with Mexican Summer and its sister labels Anthology and Software. In our opinion, Abrahamsson and his crew are 100% trustable.

Relatedly: Abrahamsson’s wife, Kate Young, is a fashion stylist we greatly admire and the designer of several Tura sunglasses featured in our current Pop-In Shop.

We spoke to Abrahamsson on the phone about getting style advice from his wife, the future of the music biz and the best swimming hole in New York.

And we had him take a few photos of his desk, so you know what it looks like to steer the good ship Mexican Summer.

Shop: Poolside Pop-In@Nordstrom

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Photos by Brooklyn Benjestorf

Shop: men’s denim shirts | men’s jeans

Headliner Kendrick Lamar basically body-slammed the Sasquatch Music Festival this past Memorial Day weekend, in the best possible way, rapping hard in eastern Washington’s beautiful Columbia River Gorge. He looked great in a Canadian tuxedo and rocked a crowd the size of a small city.

The setlist was hit after heavy hit from the Compton, CA, emcee extraordinaire. But we’re beefing over here because he didn’t perform “Complexion,” our favorite track off his 2015 opus To Pimp a Butterfly.

Read about “Complexion,” which features the rapper Rapsody and pianist Robert Glasper, in our interview with Glasper.

See more images from Sasquatch below.

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Shop: graduation gifts

Graduation season is upon us, which means plane flights, parking lots and life milestones. And commencement speeches. Real talk, the commencement speech is one of our favorite things. The performance aspect, the frequent comic asides, the existential spring cleaning: we’re just suckers for the whole shebang.

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Where have you seen Araya Nicks before?

Perhaps you know the SoCal stunner as the face of Nordstrom’s summer shorts campaign. Or maybe you remember her wearing electrodes on her head and negotiating a vine-covered labyrinth in Chris Brown’s “Don’t Wake Me Up” music video?

Here’s a new context in which to view her: solo recording artist.

Nicks is currently working on her own album as a vocalist, and we’ve been turning up on the bus ride to work lately to her cut “One Good Reason.” Check that out below–and get the low-down on her favorite jams, movies and travel bucket list.

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Video portrait by Elizabeth Rudge | makeup by Jenny Verador | hair by Eric Wennberg

Legendary drummer, bandleader and fiercely proud Bay Area native Sheila E. was the hardest of hardcore divas in the 1980s. It broke her down. Now she uses music to build people up.

Back when she ran with Prince and his crew, the timbale expert enforced 12-hour rehearsals for her band and gave commands, not suggestions. She had hits (“The Glamorous Life,” “A Love Bizarre”) and built a lasting work ethic into countless musicians, like Raphael Saadiq who joined her cohort when he was 14. She also became a cold, unfeeling person. She details the transformation in her book The Beat of My Own Drum.

Now that’s all behind her and she’s found the love of music again. You can hear it in her album Icon from 2014 and see it in her music-therapy foundation Elevate Hope. We caught up with her while she was coaching a bunch of young players in Seattle for More Music at the Moore Theatre, teaching them to find their own voices.

We did not talk to her about Prince. We did talk about her dad, Latin jazz heavyweight Pete Escovedo; her godfather, Tito Puente; Krush Groove, the classic hip-hop movie she co-starred in with Run-DMC; and the fact that it took her leaving her family cocoon of supportive musicians to learn about the sexist notion that women shouldn’t play the drums.

Shop: T by Alexander Wang jacket | rag & bone dress

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One particular vision of spring style we endorse: dressing like a Starburst Easter egg in adidas x Pharrell Williams gear. Just because the holiday’s over doesn’t make it wrong. There is something sublime and optimistic about this much color in one place.

It makes us want to turn up the volume on one of our favorite sublime and optimistic Pharrell songs.

No, not this one.

This one.

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Shop: adidas x Pharrell Williams teeadidas x Pharrell Supercolor track jacket | all adidas Originals

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