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Music

January 27, 2005;/h3>

{     The Stands - All Years Leaving     }    

The Stands have been receiving some much deserved hype on their native British soil for a while now, and we Yanks have just very recently been blessed with a domestic release of All Years Leaving, the band's debut album. It arrives stateside at a rather critical time in our collective music history, with the fate of the neo-folk movement somewhat up in the air. You see, this folk-rock thing has continued to grow exponentially over the past few years, reaching a kind of critical mass as of late. What ends up distinguishing this album from it's contemporaries is not so much how "different" it strives to be, but rather how directly it draws upon the traditional folk and rock influences of years gone by. Eschewing indie flourish and modern trappings, The Stands take a very rootsy Dylan-esque approach to what they do. It's the kind of thing that might have seamlessly slid in between early Stones, late Beatles and Dylan in his prime. And while All Years Leaving operates within the scope of those influences, it still manages to come off sounding diverse, and is especially refreshing given it's context in the contemporary folk-rock scene, glutted with pretention as it is.

     » The-Stands.com
     » The Stands official US website

By Adam in Music
Clothing

January 25, 2005;/h3>

{     Death Attack T-Shirts     }    

Death Attack is like a big fucking nasty, hairy wart on a cashier's nose at the grocery store: not only is it something that you can't stop looking at because it's both grossing you out and intriguing you at the same time, but it's made even more disgusting because you're trying to buy food that you plan to eat... and now when you get home and make dinner, right before you take each bite, that nasty growth on the tip of that greasy nose is gonna pop into your head every damn time. Ugh. That's right, with Death Attack, dinner is over before it even gets started. Alexander Heir, the 20 year old Brooklyn artist behind the brand, drinks lots of cheap, cheap liquor and listens to loud, loud music, all the while making absolutely filthy t-shirts for you to wear. From the unavoidable "Bring on the Whores" design to the full-front skull prints, each shirt is sure to shock. And not only is there a shirt for all you dirty, chain-wearing street kids that says just that ("I'm a punk scumbag."), but it and all the other T's sold by Death Attack are gutter-punk cheap at $10 + $3 shipping. Crass.

     » Buy Death Attack and get stared at.

Interviews

{     Interview : Pontani Sisters     }    

Nobody does it quite like The World Famous Pontani Sisters. Their particular brand of burlesque is a truly post-modern affair, incorporating a broad range of contemporary music and dance styles into the more traditional framework of burlesque performance, all executed with great panache, three incredible smiles, and Moxie to spare. Everything from 'Danny Boy' and 60's go-go to Bon Jovi and the Ramones is up for grabs, and the emphasis is always on sassy, sexy fun. Redefining DIY, the girls make all their own costumes, which can reach Vegas-showgirl levels of intricacy and proportion, and they choreograph their own elaborate routines. The Pontani Sisters just jumped off tour with luchadore-masked surf-gods Los Straitjackets, performing their fabulous Holiday Pageant across the US.

Interviews

{     Interview : Big Pinky     }    

Big Pinky is the agent provocateur of television. He's taken it upon himself to hold up a dirty mirror to the TV, grabbing footage and re-contextualizing it into something he calls TV Carnage. Pinky truly is the Jive Bunny and the Master Mixers of the televised medium. (Specifically, he's that Jive Bunny song the cheerleaders at your Jr. High did all their routines to.) In his spare time he causes general mischief by documenting creeps who need to be documented.

Reading

January 24, 2005;/h3>

{     Sneaker Freaker - Issue 5 +Site Update!     }    

Issue 5 of Sneaker Freaker is currently in circulation and has been pulling props from sources as diverse as NYLON magazine, Josh Rubin's CoolHunting.com and that new-fangled MusicTeleVision the kids are all raving about. We're happy as hell for Woody and the gang at SF, as credit is finally being given where it's long overdue. The new ish dishes the same level of quality and depth of coverage we've come to expect, all with an eye on the international market by way of Oz. They've even released a limited edition gold-plated variant cover of issue 5 that includes some sweet extras and inserts. I totally would have posted a picture of it, but it blings so hard it would have burned the eyes right out of your sockets, and I just can't have that on my conscience. Sneaker Freaker has also worked some miracles with their web-re-design, and the site is now radically easier to cruise, peruse and enjoy. This means that those of you who haven't been able to find SF locally can now order a copy (along with some swank Sneaker Freaker tees) trouble-free from the new "Shoppe" section. They've also added tons of content, so you can check out articles and interviews from previous issues, an online gallery of customs, and a host of other special features designed to assist you in getting your (sneaker) freak on.

     » SneakerFreaker.com
     » "Cybernetic Organism Model T-800" (scroll down)

Reading

January 20, 2005;/h3>

{     The Cult of Mac - Leander Kahney - published by No Starch Press     }    

As a recent inductee into the world of Apple/Mac, I wasn't quite sure how this slab of collected writings (culled from Leander Kahney's WIRED blog of the same name) would strike me. Before sitting down with it, I had almost convinced myself that I was above the fetishistic obsessions that were sure to be outlined in the book. Sure, I love my iBook, but I'm not some kind of freak about it... right? Then I started thinking about how every time I walk past it I'm compelled to touch it. And I began to notice that whenever I'm away from my iBook, I worry about it's safety and well-being; whether I plugged it back in to recharge, and if I remembered to leave my iPod nestled atop it (they like to "spoon"). It dawned on me that I AM a bit obsessed. Reading The Cult of Mac has been like joining a support program for Apple addicts- everybody shares their story, together we plumb the depths of fanatacism and the extremity of our love for all things Mac. Much like a support group, nobody passes judgement- that guy with the warehouse full of broken Apple IIe's is no different from the kid with the Mac logo tattooed on his ass, they're both members of the Cult who've just found different ways of expressing it. The sense of community that already exists amongst Mac users is further recognized and celebrated here, our obsessions and urge to own the latest and greatest products and peripherals are given full creedence. After all, as Kahney points out in the first few pages, Mac hardware and software inspire such fanaticism by their very design, and to deny that is to turn a blind eye to everything your heart, mind and soul know to be aesthetically pleasing and technologically superior.

     » No Starch Press
     » distributed by O'Reilly
     » buy from Amazon for $26.37

By Adam in Reading
Music

{     Bright Eyes I'm Wide Awake It's Morning     }    

I'll admit it: I'm something of a pain junkie. At least when it comes to my favorite music. Most of the songs I hit the "back" button on to listen to "just one more time" are about heartache, loneliness, death, or some combination of the three. I've got a heart for country music. I mean country music the way it's supposed to be, not that overproduced shit on the radio about how great it would be to kill all the darkies and that the USA is so terribly fucking awesome. I'm talking about real Hank Williams -- not Junior, mind you -- type shit here. So it was only natural that I find a terribly passionate sort of love for _I'm Wide Awake It's Morning_ one of the two new albums from that indie rock poster boy of darkness and depression: Conor Oberst a.k.a. Bright Eyes. This one is the country album, and features Emmylou Harris providing backup vocals on few tracks. _Digital Ash in a Digital Urn_, his other forthcoming album, is more like his previous stuff apparently. I've got to admit, I don't know anything about that. Not only did I decide not to pre-order that album, I have not yet heard a single track from the previous Bright Eyes albums. Can't say why really, just never got around to them I reckon. I've had this album for about 1 hour now, and I've listened to it one and one-third times so far, and I love it dearly. I think you might to. Honestly, I don't have much more to say than that. You can go look somewhere else for a review that calls Conor the "Bob Dylan of the 21st century" if you like. I don't have anything half as portentous as that to say. I'll keep it simpler: for those out there with a ken for heartbreak and steel guitars, here's an album you ought to pick up.

     » Order I'm Wide Awake It's Morning or the other one from Saddle Creek

Toys

January 16, 2005;/h3>

{     James Jarvis: The In Crowd toys     }    

I hope America listens when I say: you must immediately experience the work of James Jarvis. Specifically, you must get your hands on one or more of his series of toys, called The In Crowd. Produced in England by Amos Toy Company, and designed solely by Mr. Jarvis, these small (3+ inches or so) figures are ruffians with heart. They look tough at first glance, what with their bloody gashes, axes, and leather jackets, but upon closer inspection are soft, rounded, and highly non-threatening - a sweet and well-meaning bunch who just like to party. As of April, The In Crowd will be up to its ninth series of six toys. There was the first: a group of punk-rock zombies, spattered in blood and missing several eyes among them, looking like they're on their way to a really bad punker show. There's the third series, The Ages of Metal, a group of rock-and-roll wildmen, including Axl and Angus, decked in the stagewear of their respective heydays. And there's the sixth series, a crowd of ancient warriors, complete with adorable, non-toxic weapons, called The Old Guard. The ninth series is said to be titled Major Moulty's Amazing Magical Plastic Band, a 'counter counter-culture personification of the second wave of the British Invasion.' Like the Beatles, minus the drugs and mind expansion. Right now, Mr. Jarvis' toys are only available at a few select shops sprinkled around the U.S. and Canada. Lobby your local toymonger! - Written by Vikki Warner

     » Ogle The In Crowd at Amos Toys' website
     » For Jarvis' portfolio
     » For an interview with the very witty Mr. Jarvis

Twelves

January 12, 2005;/h3>

{     12 Reasons Why Public Enemy ('87-'90) is the best rap group of all time.     }    

1. Because Terminator X rocked your Grandpa's eyeglasses and still came off.
2. Because motherfuck Elvis and John Wayne.
3. Because even Madonna was jackin beats to justify her love.
4. Because they sampled James Brown in every song and you didn't even notice/care.
5. Because Sonic Youth's Kool Thing will, always and forever, be better than REM's Radio Song.
6. Because the S1W's were completely ridiculous and deserved the Gasface but you stood up for them anyway.
7. Because entire careers have been built around sampling that horn off Show'em What You Got.
8. Because You're Gonna Get Yours is recorded music's best song about how cool it is to drive an Oldsmobile.
9. Because of the first three lines in Black Steel.
10. Because you also bought Professor Griff's Pawns in the Game solo album thinking that it would be good, too.
11. Because screaming "BASS!!!!" in your finest Chuck D impersonation will always be fun.
12. Because Kerry King watched Channel Zero.

Music

January 7, 2005;/h3>

{     Dalek - Absence     }    

With his second full-length on Ipecac records, Dalek continues to explode all common preconceived notions of hip-hop, showing how truly mutable, dark and original the form can actually be. Those fed on a steady diet of cookie-cutter rap crap will likely find little to love here- Absence is not for the weak-hearted or the narrow-minded. Aggressively intelligent and politically aware, Dalek marries horror-movie grooves to confrontational lyrics, producing an apocalyptic brew that seeps into your mind like a slowly spreading bloodstain. Having toured with the likes of Tomahawk, ISIS, KRS-One, De La Soul, The Melvins, and Grandmaster Flash, Dalek's sound is truly diverse enough to comfortably bridge the gap between noise-metal and hardcore political rap without coming off soft on either front. Haunting sample tracks, intricate scratch-work and gritty beats (courtesy of producer Oktopus and turntablist Still) provide the backdrop for Dalek's paranoid-with-a-purpose rhymes. The album has a very industrial feel, enhanced by the End Times lyrical vibe, it's the sonic equivalent of an irradiated wasteland. The clarity and precision with which Dalek spits his lines seem to be the only form of order left in a world over-run with chaos.

     » Dalek on Ipecac
     » ..::deadverse::..

Clothing

January 5, 2005;/h3>

{     DC | Incase Skatebag     }    

Ever so gently striking up a partnership with the premium bag and case making people at InCase, those crazy kids at skate megabrand DC Shoes have created what on one hand may be the ugliest damn bag I've seen in a long time, but on the other is so crazy-ugly that I think it might just be shit-hot. Actually, it's the fucking tits. I don't know what I was thinking, I guess it was just the inital shock of a giant white-and-grey camo pattern latched onto my back in the mirror. Loud. But this is from a guy who is absolutely and completely terrified of wearing all-white kicks.

     » Check it out.
     » Then buy it (Exclusively at the Apple store).

Music

January 4, 2005;/h3>

{     United Future Organization - Third Perspective     }    

A track off this album showed up in the most recent Pixar joint (The Incredibles), and I nearly crapped trou when I recognized it. See, this disc was the soundtrack to about three years of my life, in seriously heavy rotation on every stereo I spent any time around, and this was the first time I'd heard somebody else play it for me. Well okay, not just for me, but it felt so personal- like they'd looked right into my soul to find the perfect piece of music for that scene. The track used, The Planet Plan, exemplifies the spy-movie acid-jazz themes that established United Future Organization as the reigning electro-lounge kings of Japan's Shibuya club district in the mid-to-late 90's. Comprised of two Tokyo DJs and a French ex-patriate armed with a sampler and a crate full of vinyl magic, U.F.O. promoted a sophisticated lounge lifestlye amongst Shibuya hipsters, buffeted and nourished by Japan's doomed-to-pop bubble economy. At it's heighth, the popularity of this scene allowed artists like United Future Organization, Pizzicato Five, Hajime Tachibana, Fantastic Plastic Machine and Towa Tei (among others) to acheive some international airplay, resulting in a handful of breakthrough success stories.

     » Buy it (of all the fucking places!) at WalMart.com
     » Listen at Amazon.com

Electronics & Gadgets

January 2, 2005;/h3>

{     The Mouse BT     }    

Since first moving over to the Mac platform, I have missed very little from the Windows world, the two main things being games and having more than one button on a mouse. While I love the mac and will never go back to using a Windows machine, the one problem I have had consistently is that I've never been able to feel that I was getting the most done with maximum efficiency while using a one-button Apple mouse. In the days since first making the Mac switch, I have since purchased and used several different two-button mice with varying degrees of success, none that great. Having recently moved from a desktop Mac to a laptop iBook, I have found myself having the additional desire to not only use a two-button mouse, but a two-button wireless mouse. And not just a two-button wireless mouse, but a two-button wireless Bluetooth mouse. Now for those that haven't yet heard of Bluetooth, it is essentially a module either internally or externally installed in or on your computer hardware (usually via a USB accessory) that enables your system to communicate with other Bluetooth devices... holy shit, without wires. When buying my iBook I opted for the internal Bluetooth chip so that I could easily use a Bluetooth compatible cell phone or mouse, however at the time there was only one Bluetooth mouse available for use, and it was the Apple mouse, meaning unfortunately there was only one button. Ugh.

     » Buy from MacMice

Home & Beauty

January 1, 2005;/h3>

{     Shag, Kozik and Hess Personal Checks - Message Products     }    

I admit it, I'm a sucker for this kind of thing. Tell me I can customize some otherwise mundane aspect of my life, and suddenly I'm all excited. Having suffered the tyranny of dull personal checks for years now (plain text, mint green, standard issue...) I decided to treat myself to something new when my latest batch of boring ran out. I remembered seeing these advertised in Juxtapoz way back when, and a quick google search proved that they were still in production, and reasonably more affordable than the original asking price. (I think they wanted $30+ for a box of 150 back then...) I even opted for the matching check-book cover, nicely printed on starched natural canvas. I typed in my order, paid for it all, and waited anxiously for my new gear to arrive (it's fair to note that most of the anxiousness was due to the fact that I was completely out of checks, and had a stack of bills piling up). Just as I was beginning to feel like a lowbrow art schill for having wasted my money on such trivialities, they finally arrived. I was suitably impressed. The checks are very subtly printed, with the design as a washed-out background, and the checkbook print shows up wonderfully vibrant in contrast. Yes, I could have saved some money and gotten by with a more utilitarian design, but then my checks (and check-book cover) wouldn't have little Shiva titties on them now, would they? Let's see your Federal Blue Bank Note summon even the barest hint of cocktails, fezzes and strip-clubs! I can't wait to send one to Grandma for her birthday.

     » Shag designs
     » Kozik designs
     » Hess designs


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