Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, Australia skyline

Melbourne, Australia skyline

When one of your oldest friends invites you to her backyard wedding in Melbourne, you RSVP without a second thought. It felt like a super sized version of Austin, Texas where we both had lived; a “flat San Francisco” popped into my head as well in terms of American comparisons. Of course, culturally it had its distinct Australian differences and felt much more European and mannered. An introvert’s dream, I didn’t have a single car honk at me or any catcalls despite walking all day on Smith and Brunswick St. shopping. How refreshing to not feel like a piece of meat!

Even though I tend to wear a lot of black and band t-shirts, Melbourne influenced me hard and I came back with a bag of wacky prints both new and vintage. The VINTAGE scene there!! My god, I haven’t seen that big of a collection of mint condition vintage clothing since San Francisco in the 90’s! All day can be spent at Vintage Garage on Brunswick Street alone.

They have a very egalitarian society, so I sat in front on a couple taxi rides and far preferred it to the whole rider/chauffeur setup. The women I saw had a cool sense of style that was not focused on looking good for a man- beat up Blundstone boots beat out high heels by a country mile (or Country Road to throw an Australian fashion pun in, it’s a popular store like J. Crew).

Last couple differences that I enjoyed were that lattes are called “flat whites” and when walking stay on the left. It took me about three days of bumping into people and doing that sidewalk dance before I got it down. Loved you, Melbourne and I can’t wait to return.

Keith Haring mural in Melbourne

Keith Haring mural in Melbourne


photo by Doan

photo by Doan

Fairy Penguins!

Fairy Penguins!

Hosier Lane Street Art in Melbourne Australia

Hosier Lane Street Art

Hosier Lane Street Art

Hosier Lane Street Art

Keith Haring mural Melbourne Australia
The shirt on the left is new and from Monster Threads. The one on the right is vintage from Vintage Garage, and if anyone comes across this blog that can identify this psychedelic textile I would love it. Funny to see how things don’t really change much!

psychedelic textile vintage print

psychedelic vintage textile print

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The Preatures “Is This How You Feel?”

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The Preatures out of Sydney, Australia came on my radar again after seeing their name on the list of SXSW artists. When I was first introduced to this song, I looped it about a hundred times that day, as I am wont to do in the obsessive stage of hearing something I like for the first time. Today I have been doing the same. Sent the song over to my mother, who noted the Prince influence. Spot on, mom. You can practically hear the ghost of Sheena Easton lurking in the mix. I’d been thinking Fleetwood Mac. It’s so freaking breezy in sound and mood, the light bass line just bounces while the vocals stay silky smooth.

Don’t watch Sarah Blasko’s “Fool” video late at night

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Australia’s Sarah Blasko is ready to bust out onto the international scene. Her new album I Awake Live at Sydney Opera House is out today, and she also released a crazy weird but tremendously awesome video for her heartbreakingly beautiful song “Fool”. As slowly strobed images cross against the screen, you get an unsettling feeling when you catch glimpses of shots of her with no eyes, a melting chin, any uncanny valley horror you can think of. Her smokey torch song voice is the anchor to the whole thing though, washing the eeriness away with beauty and soul. Watch and listen to Sarah Blusko’s “Fool” here:

Courtney Barnett – Artist to Watch

photo by Chris La Putt

photo by Chris La Putt

Melbourne’s Courtney Barnett is a refreshing, dry witted DIY performer who releases her earnest, psychfolk tunes on her own label, Milk! Records. Her single “Avant Gardener” made Pitchfork’s Top 100 singles list this year, and for good reason. She’s got a tint of Bob Dylan in her rambling, beat driven narratives that poke fun at herself and the rest of the world, with a deadpan singsong voice with inflections reminiscent of Liz Phair.

Listen to and buy the album here: http://store.milkrecords.com.au/album/the-double-ep-a-sea-of-split-peas

New EELS Video!

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EELS are one of my all time favorite bands, there is no band that sounds like them, courtesy of lead man Mark Oliver Everett’s brilliant, poignant lyrics and scratchy, soulful voice. Their latest album Wonderful, Glorious is out now, and they just released the video for “Kinda Fuzzy”, which depicts E as an alcoholic clown hosting a children’s show (little Krusty the Clown, anyone?). They just finished a successful US tour, and are about to embark on their World tour. This is EELS at their wittiest and best. Watch the video here: “Kinda Fuzzy”

UPDATE: They just released it on youtube five minutes ago: Youtube link to “Kinda Fuzzy”

Buy the album here: EELS catalog

And if you are outside of America, see if they are playing near you!: EELS Tour Dates

Ben Lee writes a fantastic album on Ayahuasca

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I remember the first time I ever heard of Ben Lee. It was a blurb in Sassy magazine about how the Beastie Boys signed his young teenage self to Grand Royal. I wore his tapes out in high school, then moved on to different music and forgot about him save for dating Claire Danes and impregnating Ione Skye (wonder if Ad-Rock is ok to his cheese being with different macaroni). Anyway, I got an email about his new album “Ayahuasca: Welcome to the Work” and was immediately intrigued. Ever since the Psychedelic Convention was held in our Oakland hotel and eavesdropping on so many people discussing this spiritual experience, I’ve researched about it a lot. His album is gorgeous, not only inspired from the drug, but with themes revolved around awakening and self healing (I know, I sound disgustingly new age). This doesn’t even sound like Ben Lee’s previous work, it’s like a symphony with occasional Elliott Smith leanings. Watch the trailer for the album, he’s incredibly smart: Ayahuasca Trailer

Chrissy Amphlett from Divinyls Passed Away

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This and Morrissey’s Kill Uncle were once the only CD’s I had. My fourth grade self would listen to them over and over, choreographing lame dance moves in the mirror, having no idea what the song “I Touch Myself” was about. She has been battling cancer as well as multiple sclerosis (some people can’t catch a break) and passed away in New York this morning by her husband’s side, the drummer of the Divinyls. Today I shall choreograph in her memory.

related story from Sydney Herald