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Friday, June 30, 2006

Blog Roll - Class of 2006

I remember, years ago, reading blogs that that listed their own blog rolls and thinking they were impossibly long. How could one person read so many in one day? And then, I became one of those people. Once I thought about all the blogs I looked at for about 1-2 minutes per day, I had quite a list. And, yes, I do know that I have a problem with celebrity gossip.

Everyday (not weekends):
The Superficial
Best Week Ever
Cute Overload
I Blame The Patriarchy
Perez Hilton
Page Six
I Watch Stuff

I’m Just Shy

Swamp Things
All Cupcakes, All The Time

Daddy Types
The Panopticist

Martha Stewart Living

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Pop Universe Continues To Expand

Headlights (Champaign, IL)
Originally uploaded by silverzephyr.

I’ve been feeling very positive about the quality of releases from new (and old) pop bands I’ve heard lately. I mean, it is SUMMER, the perfect time for basil mojitos, swimmin’, mowin’, meat eatin’ and pop listenin’. Here’s what I’ve been lending an ear too:

*The Headlights - “Kill Them With Kindness” (PolyVinyl) – Got this one in the mail and hadn’t heard anything about them. I stuck it in the player was instantly impressed. I get at least one or two CDs a day and 90% of them suck, so imagine my joy. They’re from the Midwest (Champaign, IL) and remind me of Of Montreal and Broken Social Scene a bit with their melodious approach to gorgeous, orchestral pop. Super catchy!
*Camera Obscura – “Let’s Get Out Of This Country” (Merge) – Glasgow’s Camera Obscura has hit their peak. I’m sure they hated those Belle & Sebastian comparisons in the past but they’ll like this one: Let’s is about 8 billion times better than anything B & S have done in a long time. The 1950’s sensibilities and snarky lyrics make it one of the best records of the year so far.
*1900s- “Plume Delivery” (Parasol) – The 1900s are an “it band” with seven members and lotsa buzz from Chicago. About half this EP is right-on with dazzling harmonies and a baroque folk/pop bent. However, when they let their psych tendencies intrude, things get a little hinky. Still, a nice first run and a band worth keeping your eye on.
*Grizzly Bear – “Yellow House” (Warp) - Beautiful, atmospheric pop that floats like the fluffiest white clouds in the sky.
*Psapp – “The Only Thing I Ever Wanted” (Domino) – Like Solex, Psapp combines an array of electronic noises, samples and beats with female vocals for a jumpy, funky, completely irresistible outcome.
*Hidden Cameras – “Awoo” (Arts & Crafts) – Folky & infectious pop from a Toronto collective of musicians

Did I mention ice cream man chasin’? Chocolate Taco, here I come!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Nut And Bee

Originally uploaded by silverzephyr.

I spend a lot of time visiting “crafty” sites because, well, I’m at work for eight hours a day in front of a computer and I haven’t reached the end of the internet yet. Plus, I love ordering from independent artist-type folks. One of my most recent finds is the wonderfully adorable stationary and artwork of Annette Lauder at Nut and Bee (in New Zealand). I almost didn’t want to share it with anyone and hog it for myself. I ordered the monkey and octopus stationary and a “sleepy sloth” print for my son’s room. Everything is very reasonably priced and the shipping ain’t bad either, believe it or not.

Monday, June 19, 2006

In Defense of The Superficial

I'm a fan of the website The Superficial (and other celebrity gossip blogs like I Watch Stuff and Best Week Ever). It skewers celebrities in a fashion that is mean-spirited yet self-deprecating. I wasn't really surprised to see that Bitch Magazine (which I write music reviews for as well as the occasional piece with friend Dirty Weekender) dissed my daily read in their recent Style & Substance issue in the article "Web Spite". Author Judy Berman writes "Countless sites-among them A Socialite's Life, Perez Hilton and The Superficial post candid pictures of famous, invariably female folks and then subject them to merciless critique. Although it could be argued that these sites help put American culture's worship of celebrity in perspective...that tends to be a byproduct of their real mission: to reduce female stars' worth to their physical appearance and fashion choices."

By poking fun at Ashley Olsen's get-ups and Paris Hilton's nipple slips, I disagree with the assessment that The Superficial makes a statement about women's worth based on their appearance. It skewers the inherent ridiculousness of celebrity culture, including their outfits and obsession with their appearance. Furthermore, to leave out from the discussion the point of view from which the site is written is negligent. Part of the site's appeal is the author's persona as loser and voyeur. He often portrays himself as a pathetic, Jessica Alba-worshiping, Kirsten-Dunst hating loser who has delusions of grandeur about his masculinity. I understand that Berman might argue that the author's criticisms are not intentional but still harmful, but it's not difficult for intelligent readers to ascertain that calling attention to inappropriate outfits only reminds us of just how out of whack the system of celebrity worship/disdain is. Enjoying the Superficial does not make me anti-feminist; it means I have a sense of humor.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Marc Boutavant

Marc Boutavant
Originally uploaded by silverzephyr.

I've been very much enjoying the artwork of French illustrator and comic artist Marc Boutavant. I tend to like whimsical art and animal drawings, so it's no surprise that I find his illustrations so delightful. See more here.

Deadwood returns...cocksuckers!

You watched the season premier of “Deadwood” last night, didn’t you?
I’ve only been waiting for a freakin’ year and a half to see Hearst meet with Al Swearengen, the particulars of Alma and Ellsworth’s marriage arrangement and to listen to Calamity Jane’s drunken witticisms. “Big Love” bumped Deadwood four months forward and it’s been an impossibly long wait, particularly since the aforementioned multi-wived show smells like cat turds. I’m continually impressed by the Shakespearean dialogue, which makes the violence seem downright poetic. It’s on Sunday nights at 8pm, as if you didn’t already know.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I'm In Love With The Modern World

Modern Furniture Set
Originally uploaded by silverzephyr.

Hey...how come my dollhouse furniture was never *this* cool? Start the kiddos on this stuff and they'll spend a lifetime coveting Eames.

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