Blonds “Time” We don’t really have a “summer album” here at NYLON HQ this year, but one that we’ve been blasting on repeat for the past couple of months is Brooklyn-by-way-of-Florida duo Blonds’ ridiculously good debut The Bad Ones, which comes out next week. Their latest single “Time” has a bit of a Beach House vibe, with hazy vocals, delicate piano, and vibrating synth chords that bring to mind hazy sunsets and salt-water breezes. “Everything’s all right/ ‘Cause time is on our side,” promises singer Cari Rae. Isn’t that how summer should be? —ELLEN CARPENTER
The Velveteens “Crush Song” The spirit of the Shangri-Las is alive and well in Minneapolis! At least if the sound of two-girl, one-boy band The Velveteens is anything to go by. Adolescent lyrics (“You’re disproportionately adorable,” croons singer Kiera Coonan), du-wop melodies, and scratchy garage beats converge on “Crush Song.” Their self-titled cassette tape (seriously!) was released in May, but if a good look under the bed for your Sony Walkman left you empty-handed and covered in dust bunnies—good news! You can download all nine songs for free on their Bandcamp page. —NATALIE SHUKUR
Lord Huron “Time to Run” Following typical Lord Huron fashion, this tune starts slow, gradually building to a faster beat, with clapping percussion and Ben Scheider’s atmospheric voice leading the way, only to take an intermission two minutes in. It’s a formula that works well for the Michigan-born Schneider, the one and only man behind the sound. His full-length debut Lonesome Dreams is slated to drop October 9 on IAMSOUND. (He has already released two EPs, Mighty and Into The Sun.) The first single from the forthcoming album, “Time To Run,” is available for free download. And we really recommend you take them up on it - we did and we can’t get enough. —ABBY GILMAN
Tailor “Wolf” I don’t know if I love this music video for its creepy scenes, or hate it for seemingly trying too hard to capture a cool indie vibe (though I do give nods for the fairytale storyline). Regardless, the track, from South African singer/songwriter Tailor’s debut album The Dark Horse, released this week, holds its own. Incorporating pumping percussion, raspy, whispered vocals, and urgent violin, I think I can get over the music video for the sake of, well, music. Plus, is it just me or is her mouth totally reminiscent of Steven Tyler? —AG
Bells “Wanderer” It’s no secret that we love Explosions in the Sky (the Texas quartet’s instrumental rock jams can be heard in the office on any given day). So when we came across the first single for a band with a similar aesthetic, we couldn’t help but fall head over heels. Formed by former August Burns Red vocalist Jon Hershey, This or the Apocalypse’s Sean Hennessey, and Tim Kettering, Bells is sure to climb right up the post-rock charts with their debut album Our Forest, Our Empire, set to drop August 28. Pump up the volume and check out their trippy (and elusive - took us a good few Google searches to find the right band!) website to pre-order your copy, creep photos, or simply enjoy the mesmerizing background. —AG
Kitten “Cut It Out” We wish our faces were glowing with gold. But alas, that’s just the shimmer of summer sweat beading down our cheeks (hello heat wave). We posted about these indie-rock up-and-comers back in 2010 and have been itching to hear new jams since. So, here we are two years later, eagerly awaiting the Aug. 28th release of their second EP, Cut It Out, with a fresh music video (which seems to be a scene straight out of an episode of Girls – another office obsession). You can catch Kitten on tour across the U.S. this summer, but for now put on your dancing shoes, pour yourself a drink, and blast this sweet summer tune.
Childish Gambino “Real Estate” Don’t get us wrong, we love us some Childish Gambino, but Tina Fey is the real star of the comedian-turned-actor-turned-rapper’s new track “Real Estate.” That’s right. Liz-Lemon-Bossypants herself. Fast-forward to 4:55 and try not to fall even more in love with the woman (“This is the part where most people would say something crazy and drop the N-word after it/ Not going to/ Not going to do that/ I don’t feel comfortable!/ I’m out!”). We’ll start the petition to get her onstage for Gambino’s summer tour, but for now enjoy the recorded version from his new mixtape, Royalty (and imagine her all swagged out – we are).
Typhoon “CPR/Claws Pt. 2” Seventeen – count it – 17 flannel-wearing Fleet Foxes doppelganger members. That’s how many people comprise this Oregon-based mega-band. Although this title is from their 2010 release Hunger and Thirst, it remains one of my favorites. In the modern-vintage (read: 1977 Instagram filter-esque) music video, the band frolics on a beach, catching myriad sea creatures, before taking a visit to the recording studio for their close-ups. Then they go all Lost circa season 6 and end up in a time warp (really, Lost, really?). Although the band hasn’t released new material since 2011’s A New Kind of House, their website claims a new record is in the works, followed by summer shows and an imminent tour.
Wild Belle “Take Me Away” I can’t decide whether Wild Belle stands better next to Santigold or Fitz and the Tantrums. One thing I can figure out, however, is that no matter where you place this duo, they’re awesome. Though they have only released two tracks, the other being the more Santigold-esque “Keep You,” the band landed spots at this year’s SXSW and Coachella music festivals and their YouTube channel has garnered nearly 120,000 views. I can’t wait to hear what’s next.
MyNameIsJohnMichael “Orphan” I first heard MyNameIsJohnMichael while wandering the grounds of Grant Park in Chicago waiting for the bigger names of 2010’s Lollapalooza to take stage. As I followed the sound to further investigate, I saw frontman John Michael pounding on a garbage can, using a chain as his weapon of choice – and I was hooked. The New Orleans sextet recently released Orphan, a follow up to 2009’s full-length debut The People That Come And Go. Although “Misery Runs” will remain among my favorite tunes from 2010, their new material is working its way up. —ABBY GILMAN
Summer is fast approaching, and as our waistbands get tighter and tighter, a wakeup call is in order. So put down “The Hunger Games,” bust free of your Snuggie and study up on our list.
Boost your mood
Gloomy winter days can put you in a funk, so how can you free yourself of the slump and get happy for summer? Tal Leead, Psy. D, a licensed private psychologist in Los Angeles, recommends getting some vitamin D. Lack of light through the winter months can effect the limbic system, disrupt sleep patterns and drop serotonin levels, which in turn drops energy levels and overall mood, Leead says.
Feelings of isolation and physical confinement can also cause a somber mood. “Get yourself engaged in meaningful and purposeful activities,” Leead says. “Research shows that as opposed to sheer pleasure, which comes from sex, food, etc., joy is an activity which puts you in a better mood for a longer while, without the consequences of pure pleasurable activities.”
Switch things up by adding one hour of joy to your daily routine, whether it be volunteering with the elderly or simply chatting with some good friends. By adding this hour of joy to your day you can significantly boost your mood, Leead says.
Cut the grease
Heavy meals weighing you down? Switch your diet to spring-friendly light meals. Sally Barclay, clinician at Iowa State University, recommends cooking and eating light for spring and summer months. Not only will a lighter diet help you shed the winter weight, but eating a balance of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables will help pack phytochemicals and antioxidants to contribute to good overall health, Barclay says.
“Eat with the seasons locally and add in the fruits and vegetables as they become available,” Barclay says.
Get back on the bike
We know you’ve been slacking on your workout (and let’s face it, we have, too), but it’s time to slide those rested feet back into your tennis shoes and hit the gym.
“It takes 21 days to develop a new habit,” Kadace Beller, head personal trainer for Recreational Services at Iowa State University, says. Establish a pattern of working out so that once you get into the groove of it you’ll be kicking yourself for missing just one day. It can be difficult to get back into the swing of things, so Beller recommends doing a fun activity with your friends.
Once you’re back on the wagon, be sure to change up the routine every six to eight weeks to keep your muscles interested, Beller says. A stagnant workout routine can cause a plateau and lack of results in weight loss.
Spoil your skin
Avoid hitting the tanning bed this spring, which actually exposes your skin to the most damaging rays of the spectrum, says Sonia Batra, M.D., clinical assistant professor of dermatology at USC Keck School of Medicine. Load up on the sunscreen instead.
“Sunscreen is essential,” Batra says. “I recommend using a moisturizer with sunscreen every day. Sun damage causes all the common signs we associate with aging, such as brown spots and wrinkles, and can lead to skin cancer.”
Look for one with broad-spectrum physical block ingredients, which protect against a broader range of wavelengths and are less likely to irritate the skin, Batra says. If you do suffer from a burn, apply a cool compress and heavy moisturizer to the affected area. An over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream will help combat itchiness from peeling.
Start getting your skin ready for summer now by hydrating, both inside and out. “To help slough dry, rough skin and restore glow, use products that contain gentle chemical exfoliants at least once a week,” Batra says.
Wax it clean
If the idea of waxing makes you wince, talk to an esthetician about the benefits and possible disadvantages.
Nikki Kemp, esthetician at Bella Salon and Spa in Des Moines, Iowa, notes that although a customer may be nervous the first time, the visits get easier. “The first time will hurt the most, but after that your follicles will get used to it so it actually won’t hurt as bad,” Kemp says.
Kemp recommends getting waxed every four to six weeks and exfoliating the skin between appointments to prevent ingrown hairs. Although it may run a bit pricier than shaving, the results last longer and are less time consuming in the long run, Kemp says.
Unconventional beginnings bring respect, success to Grouplove
You know how in the movies love always seems to fall so perfectly into one’s lap? Take Mary Kate and Ashley, for example. Every vacation their characters go on, they somehow manage to meet the next love of their lives (Holiday In The Sun, anyone?). Well, kids, I am here to tell you that this isn’t just for the tween queens anymore. For those who have heard of Grouplove, the indie-punk-pop band taking storm over the music scene, know this to be true.
Hannah Hooper, vocals, met Christian Zucconi, lead vocals and guitar, at one of his band’s shows in New York City and they immediately fell in love. The eccentric artist was set to jet to Greece for an artist retreat a few weeks later and invited Zucconi to join. It was on this island that the fast couple met childhood friends Andrew Wessen, guitar, and Ryan Rabin, drums, and English rocker Sean Gadd, bass.
“Everyone, for whatever reasons, made really fast friends and we became really close,” Wessen says. “[We] kind of made our own little crew among the artists there.”
Although summer had soon come to an end and everyone returned to their homes, the group vowed to keep in touch. After a year had passed, they reconvened in Wessen’s Venice, Calif., home and Rabin’s garage recording studio. The group started jamming and recording what would soon become their first EP “Grouplove” together, and another year later they packed up their lives and moved to Los Angeles to pursue the band.
And they’ve come a long way since.
Grouplove opened for Young the Giant March 31 to a sold-out People’s Court.
The band signed to Atlantic Records and released their first full-length album “Never Trust A Happy Song” in September, and just last week they performed to a sold-out crowd at Des Moines’ People’s Court opening for California indie-rock band Young the Giant, who they’ve been with since the beginning.
“For now, we’re on tour with Young the Giant, who are good friends of ours, and we played the Troubadour in L.A. with them for like 50 people,” Wessen says. “Worst show I’ve ever played. [It’s] a 500 person venue and there [were] 50 people there.”
Granted this was before either band had taken off (and boy, did they take off), but Wessen says they play every show with heart and soul.
“To write off any show just because how many people are there, I just think is wrong and unprofessional,” Wessen says. “You just do it. You have to enjoy it because you get to do something that most people don’t get to do.”
This attitude is what makes Grouplove such a fun band to follow, and their laid-back and honest demeanor makes you want to be their best friend. Although each member is different, Wessen credits their eclectic sound to the mutual respect each has for the others. And just who are these five individuals?
Photo courtesy of Atlantic Records.
“I guess I’m like the blond surfer California boy,” Wessen says. “Ryan’s like the crazy, semi-neurotic genius drummer, who is also our producer. Christian’s the most terrific songwriter, crazy New Yorker wild child – but also like the quiet wild child, which is strange. Hannah’s a really eccentric painter, like crazy, completely unique individual. Her creativity is just unbelievable. And then Sean is the wild, completely wild Englishman. I don’t even know, he’s a crazy, crazy kid.”
For now, the band will finish the sold-out tour with YTG, return to California for a set at Coachella music festival, and then it’s back on the road for a headlining national tour, including a stop at Wooly’s in Des Moines on May 16 (find tickets here). In the fall they plan to start recording their sophomore album and will release a 7-inch with a new song called “Underground” on the B-side on April 7.
When is the last time you consumed a Big Mac or McChicken meal? Did you consider the effects your 99-cent meal had on the environment, your health and animals?
Buda-ba-ba-ba, I’m hatin’ it.
Or, at least animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is. Animal rights is the No. 1 reason PETA promotes vegetarian diets. The McCruelty campaign aims to impose less cruel forms of slaughtering upon McDonald’s meat suppliers.
“That’s a step in the right direction, although we of course wish they weren’t being slaughtered at all,” said Ryan Huling, manager of college campaigns and outreach at PETA.
Although PETA focuses on animal rights, this isn’t the only motive with a wide-felt impact. The United Nations cites the raising of animals for food as the No. 1 contributor to climate change, beating out cars, trains, planes and boats combined, according to Huling.
Switching to a plant-based diet can lessen your contribution to global warming and the overall use of resources, Huling says. It can also boost your health.
Sally Barclay, clinician at Iowa State University, encourages a vegetarian diet for its health benefits. To put things into perspective, Barclay notes that a 6-ounce piece of steak contains 40 grams of protein, but with that comes 38 grams of fat and 14 grams of saturated fat. Compare that to a cup of lentils with 18 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of fat.
Try this healthy vegetarian alternative at home: butternut squash risotto with a side of sauteed spinach. This recipe, along with many others, can be found on goodveganfood.com.
According to Barclay, a vegetarian diet can result in a lower body weight due to an increased consumption of plant proteins, which are naturally lower in calories than animal proteins. Vegetarians also have a lower risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Hannah Kalmes, student at Iowa State University, has been pescatarian – plant-based diet with fish – for two and a half years. Kalmes has noticed the benefits of the diet, such as weight loss, but has struggled with maintaining a well-rounded and balanced diet.
“I’m not the healthiest here, but I guess I kind of try to watch what I am eating so I’m not just eating junk food,” Kalmes said. “I eat a lot of pastas and breads and things that keep you full longer but isn’t definitely the best.”
Her struggles aren’t uncommon. Barclay encourages vegetarians to eat a variety of protein sources (the big ones being soy products, beans, lentils and nuts), incorporate five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day and supplement with a multivitamin.
Preparing a colorful plate can help ensure a healthy diet.
“Eat a rainbow, because the more colors you eat, the more different antioxidants and health benefits you get,” Barclay said.
Maintaining a well-balanced vegetarian diet can be tough for those on a budget, but it is possible. Shop and cook in bulk to cut down costs and save time later on by reheating the leftovers. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables – they’ll last longer and pack just as many nutrients as they would fresh. Save money by knowing the Dirty Dozen, the top 12 fruits and vegetables that use the most pesticides and should be bought organic – all others can be bought at a cheaper, non-organic price.
Barclay and Huling both point out that being open to trying new things can make the transition into a vegetarian diet easier.
“I encourage people to go at their own pace, but at the same time not to be hesitant to try new foods,” Huling said. “There are so many different ethnicities of dishes that are delicious and vegetarian-friendly. People can be exposed to new kinds of food perhaps by leaving meat off their plate.”
This was the first story I covered for ISD Style as a freshman last year. I had the opportunity to interview guest judge Emilio Sosa from season seven of Project Runway. Here is the recap of the event.
Team Ninja Thread wins Project Runway
As the show neared the end, tensions were running high. The lights dimmed for a single spotlight to be shone on the winning design. Third-placed Fosh and second-placed L’ames stood waiting on the stage; four teams were left standing, but it was team Ninja Thread who pulled through and took home the title.
The day started at 9:00 a.m. as the contestants battled their way into the Sun Room of the Memorial Union to scavenge for fabric. The theme was high-contrast, but teams were careful to stay away from the obvious and put their own twist on their designs.
“We kind of wanted to do more of a concept rather than just color and contrast,” team Haute Stuff said. “We wanted to give it more of a variety.”
The day progressed quickly, and the room became more and more hectic. As time slowly began to dwindle away, things started to come together. Last-minute hems and details were added to the garments as the pieces were being sent to the runway.
“We had an hour less than everyone else,” team Ninja Thread, consisting of Hanna Park, Brandi Piatt, and Austin Leonard, said. “We didn’t think it was going to take as long to construct. We were definitely the last ones sewing.”
The show went off without a stitch; all the models were sent down the runway in unique, finished garments, but in the end only one could win. So what does it take to make a show-stopping look?
“I was looking for different ways to interpret the theme,” Emilio Sosa, runner up of Project Runway season seven and guest judge of the event, said. “It told a theme without being obvious; the use of different fabrics, but still the color was very restricted, so it depended on the texture to tell a story.”
Personal Style with Valerie Killeen of Bleach Black
I wrote this article on Valerie Killeen of the blog Bleach Black as a supplement to a spread from the fall 2011 print issue of Trend magazine. Read on and check out her blog with Kristin Reiter.
What started out as a creative outlet for two close friends to share their inspiration, ideas and currently coveted items with each other, unexpectedly turned into something much, much more. The creative duo behind the blog Bleach Black, Kristin Reiter and Valerie Killeen created a conversational web-home, where they represent themselves under pseudonyms, Bleach and Black, respectively.
“Kristin and I essentially had conversations about what we’re blogging about [now] on the phone every night,” said Killeen. “We’d be like, ‘Did you see that Zara skirt? The one in the far back corner with the exposed zipper down the back?’”
In a time when blogs had just begun to take over the fashion world, the duo decided to put their thoughts to paper. At first, they had a modest following, consisting of their families and closest friends. But soon enough, the blog blew up; advertisers were requesting space on the blog (to no avail; the girls reserve all space for their passion) and collaborations came out of the woodwork.
A graduate of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, Killeen put her degree in apparel design to work as the current design director at skateboarding mega-company, Element. Although work encompasses vast amounts of her time, Killeen’s personal style veers in a different direction.
“You’re so surrounded by [popular style], so you want to be what isn’t popular,” said Killeen. “Like, at work I am surrounded by casual skate wear, so I want to be the opposite.”
Anyone who reads her blog would know this to be true. The photos Killeen posts have a very SoCal-bohemian-girl-who-ran-away-with-a-biker-gang vibe. For proof, check out her Here Kitty Kitty post. The post starts out with a photo of a slight model, face full of pale, freckly skin and demon-esque eyes, and a lip tattoo eagerly displaying the word “MEOW.” (See above photo)
Scroll down the page and photos akin to a look book appear, displaying drapey floral dresses, shorts and shirts, progressing into slightly darker looks of long black dresses, mesh shirts and tough platform booties. This post, which comes originally from StyleStalker, another fun and inspiring blog created and run by designers Rachel and Sue-Ann, displays the spirit of Black.
Although Killeen displays images of high-fashion, designer runways on her side of the blog, these are purely for inspiration.
“I look at runway and look at what they are doing and try to recreate the look from a thrift store,” said Killeen. “It’s kind of cool. It’s like a treasure hunt, you know? I love that it is entirely mine and no one else can have it.”
A myriad of collaborations have found their way into the twosome’s laps, many of such items inspired by vintage finds. Indie retailer Urban Outfitters has run several jewelry collaborations with the bloggers. Recently one of the items is a ring, made up of organically twisted twigs and a small clear acrylic stone in the center, inspired by Killeen’s mothers’ wedding ring. After posting a photo of the ring and receiving notable praise from readers, Killeen contacted Urban Outfitters with a prototype, which turned into a highly-rated favorite on the store’s website.
“We’re always working on something,” said Killeen. “We don’t really turn off.”