Behind this boot is a man with a penchant for quality and an obsession with footwear, Joshua Bingaman, an American who got fired up about cobbler-style boots in Europe and since found his career sweet spot with his boot company HELM, based in Austin, Texas. Bingaman is passionate about blending European and American styles and making his products 100% in the U. S. of A.–and he loves nerding out on the details.
We spoke to Bingaman on the phone about the Muller, above, a boot that pulls off the trick of being shapely and rugged at the same dang time:
Our third and final installment of Polaroid people-watching at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas, as seen through the analog lens of acclaimed music blog Gorilla vs. Bear—presented by Topman and Nordstrom Men’s Shop.
TODAY IN AUSTIN, TEXAS: In partnership with Topman and Gorilla vs. Bear, we’re hosting a FREE concert with Small Black in the mall near Nordstrom Barton Creek Square. It happens today, Wednesday, November 6 at 4:00 Austin time—so sneak out of the office, skip class, do what you gotta do.
While you’re there, you can enter for a chance to WIN passes to Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest this weekend. Enter for free in the Topman department inside Nordstrom (Austin’s Barton Creek store only). Winners will be announced after the concert.
Presenting the next-best thing. Topman and Nordstrom Men’s Shop are teaming up with acclaimed music blog Gorilla vs. Bear to bring you the best of the fest, as GvB reports live from Texas.
Follow@NordstromMenon Instagram and check back with Men’s Shop Daily throughout this weekend for impeccable people-watching and exclusive band portraits. And if you’re stuck at home—listen to Austin City Limits Radio to complete your vicarious festival experience.
[Pictured up top: Texas locals White Denim, playing an ACL pre-party
at the Austin Four Seasons this morning.]
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NOTE: If you live in Austin and care to experience ACL in real life—visit Nordstrom Barton Creek Square starting today, to enter for a free chance to win one of two pairs of tickets (one is VIP!) for Weekend Two of Austin City Limits.
Back in 2007, Seattle’s Sub Pop Records started Hardly Art Records, a label within itself, with lower financial stakes and a pop-rock fixation. The two labels reside in the same building in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood on 4th Avenue. Rock duo Deep Time is a fairly recent addition to the Hardly Art roster—an outlier from Austin, Texas, whereas most other Hardly Art bands are from Seattle, the Bay Area, or New York City. Their oddly-shaped songs are worth a listen. They charm, puzzle, and then are gone.
Deep Time played the Hardly Art showcase at the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee. Band leader Jennifer Moore was kind enough to grant us a quick interview.
MEN’S SHOP DAILY: Being from Austin, how do you feel about SXSW? Does it feel musically important to you, or is it one big Doritos ad? DEEP TIME’S JENNIFER MOORE: “Big ol’ Doritos ad, with close-ups of the chips, and canned music playing very quietly in background.”
MSD: Austin seems to have a lot of ‘meat-and-potatoes’ rock bands. Does it feel like you are way out on a limb down there, with your left-field approach? JENNIFER MOORE: “Austin is pretty rock-heavy, especially the garage variety. But there are tons of little scenes in Austin, and they do mix a bit. There’s a group of ten or so local bands we play with regularly. So we get a lot of support from that group, even if it’s tiny.”
MSD:How much pressure does Hardly Art put on you to make money? JENNIFER MOORE: “Zero. It’s been really nice working with Hardly Art. They mostly just seem excited about putting out music they like.”
[Deep time drummer Adam Jones]
MSD:What was your favorite thing you experienced at the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee? JENNIFER MOORE: “People watching was pretty satisfying! The concertgoers were all over the place, age-wise, with lots of weirdos, and parents, and teens that looked like maybe they were at their first concert. But everyone seemed especially pumped to be there.”
MSD:Please recommend some restaurants in Austin. Have you been to Paul Qui’s place, qui? What about tacos and Tex-Mex? JENNIFER MOORE: “We have not been yet. We are saving our pennies, but we have been to Uchi, which is kind of an epic eating experience. Chapala off Cesar Chavez Street is our favorite taco/Tex-Mex place. It’s also very affordable. One meal at qui equals 70 at Chapala.”
Following yesterday’s post on SXSW cuisine, here are a few selected tracks from the innumerable artists who are making appearances at this year’s Mecca of small-venue music in Austin, Texas. Highlights: Divine Fits, the new supergroup fronted by Britt Daniel of Austin-bred band Spoon; emerging rap virtuoso Kendrick Lamar; ’60s soul-inspired Pickwick (from our hometown of Seattle—more on them later); and deadpan soothsayers of the blues/gospel/art-punk faith for the past 30 years, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
On NPR last night (yes, we’ve been known to rock talk radio on the commute from time to time), one of their music correspondents noted that, while SXSW has its fair share of world-famous headliners these days (Prince is rumored to make an appearance)—you might spend your whole trip waiting on line just for a fleeting glimpse of one.
What sets SXSW apart from other festivals is the sheer amount and diversity of music available; the NPR expert said he researched about 1,500 bands while prepping for Austin—and suggested you could spend the whole week ONLY seeing metal bands, or ONLY music from, say, Asia. That inspired us to pull two disparate, but equally festival-ready outfits. Each will serve you well if you’re hopping a plane to Austin this week—or just grooving to public radio back home in Seattle (or wherever you call home).
Our social-media team was in Austin, Texas, this week for the ‘Interactive Festival’ that precedes the boozy, bluesy music-fest portion of SXSW you’re probably more familiar with. Featuring “five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology” (yes, the nerds are officially taking over), our team clearly had to stay satiated with brain-friendly dietary fats. And you’ll need to, too, if you plan to fully absorb the high levels of audio goodness set to occur at SXSW in the days to come. Below are a few finger-licking highlights from our own Lily Wyckoff.
1. Torchy’s Tacos — “Breakfast tacos are an Austin staple, and Torchy’s is unreal. I’m very pro any institution that encourages the consumption of tortilla chips before 10am. I think they should have a satellite truck in Seattle.”
2. The Salt Lick — “This place is the holy grail of BBQ. Cash only, byob, and about 20 miles outside of town—you gotta want it. I went for The Rancher: A sample platter of brisket, pork ribs, sausage and turkey, with a side of potato salad, coleslaw, beans, bread, and pickles. I left The Salt Lick in a meat-filled state of Levi’s-stretched-to-the-max euphoria.”
3. Banger’s — “If a country-music lovin’, exotic-meat aficionado and a beer snob had a baby, that baby would LOVE Banger’s. I had a BBQ shrimp sausage. A SHRIMP sausage! On a bed of white cheddar grits. Unreal. Unfortunately, I ate it before I had a chance to take a photo (bad guest blogger!)…But here are the delicious cheese fries.”
4. 24 Diner — “I reached a point in the trip where I needed veggies. Bad. At 24 Diner, I went for the veggie/egg-white frittata, and my coworker balanced my health concerns with chicken and waffles, which he described as a ‘total delight.’ I caved and ended up eating about half of his. Whatever.”
5. Gourdough’s — “I missed this excursion, but pictured are the ‘Sin-A-Bomb’ and the ‘Hipster’ (granola and banana on top of a warm Gourdough classic doughnut. The banana makes it a health food, right?).”
Lily, our eyes (and taste buds) in Austin, has purportedly sworn off meat for a
month following the trip. Do bacon-garnished Bloody Marys count?
[Photos by Lily and other members of our social media team, some via our women’s @Nordstrom Instagram feed, except trailer shot via the Austin Chronicle.]