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Archive for July, 2011

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Satchmo Saturday

Listening to Louis Armstrong’s “Hello Dolly”  this weekend while cleaning the house and getting ready to start our day. Hello Dolly is easily one of my favorite Satchmo songs, and the album as a whole is just great fun to listen to. Released in 1964, there isn’t really a bad song on the album, and it flows nicely, following Hello Dolly with It’s Been A Long, Long Time, an endearing, old timey, jazzy love song, along with an old favorite of mine; Moon River from “Breakfast at Tiffanies” fame.

This album and it’s title track successfully knocked the Beatles out of their #1 spot on the Billboard Top 100. “Hello Dolly” won a Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1965, and Louis received a Grammy for Best Male Vocal Performance. Not bad for a guy in his sixties…

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Gizmodo re-posted a story by Cnet which re-posted from another site which was all then re-posted by me (whew) a great article explaining how the receivers of yesterday are not only holding up against today’s, but that they actually sound better.

[via Gizmodo] Cnet’s Steve Guttenberg sheds light on this interesting development that over the years, actual sound quality became a secondary selling point since most people started buying their equipment either online or from big box retailers. People started caring more about the number of connections and wireless interfaces and wattage of systems. As a result, there was less money in R&D budgets to spend on advancements in sound.

[via Cnet] The receiver engineers have to devote the lion’s share of their design skills and budget to making the features work. Every year receiver manufacturers pay out more and more money (in the form of royalties and licensing fees) to Apple, Audyssey, Bluetooth, HD Radio, XM-Sirius, Dolby, DTS and other companies, and those dollars consume an ever bigger chunk of the design budget. The engineers have to make do with whatever is left to make the receiver sound good. Retail prices of receivers, the ones that sell in big numbers, never go up. The $300 to $500 models are where most of the sales action is, just like 10, 20 or 30 years ago, when their $300 to $500 models weren’t packed to the gills with the features I just listed. Something’s got to go, and sound quality usually takes the hit.

Brent Butterworth compared the sound of a 2009 Yamaha RX-V1800 receiver with a 1980 Pioneer SX-1980 and a 1978 Sony STR-V6 receiver. In blind tests, where the listeners did not know which receiver was playing, most preferred the sound of the ancient Pioneer. Butterworth said, “Even with all the levels carefully matched, and even in conditions where none of the receivers were ever pushed past their limits, the Pioneer SX-1980 simply beat the hell out of the other receivers.” Gee, what a shock; in three decades, the industry has gone backward!

[via Innovative Audio] Does this test mean that vintage receivers are better than new receivers? Of course not. Looks aside, the Sony STR-V6 is clearly no better than the Yamaha RX-V1800, but it’s as good a choice for stereo listening and quite a bit less expensive than a midpriced home theater receiver. But the Pioneer SX-1980’s stellar performance shows that it’s possible to get truly world-class sound from a vintage receiver.

Just think: Lurking at a garage sale, a swap meet or a vintage audio dealer near you may be the best receiver you’ll ever own, at a price far less than what you’d pay for the top components of today. And just think of the giant arm muscles you’ll develop lifting the Pioneer, and the fit, toned legs you’ll get walking up to adjust the volume instead of using a remote control!

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This is a collaboration I didn’t see coming. Adam Kimmel teamed up with American heritage brand Carhartt to produce a collection of high-quality work-wear. Featuring gently updated silhouettes and softened fabrics, the collaboration offers a panoply of jeans, blazers, and coats that are undeniably modern yet absolutely made to endure.

The only thing I’m not thrilled about this 2-button twill blazer is the Carhartt tag on the breast pocket, which is ironic because that’s their signature mark. Oh, and the fact that the blazer costs an astounding $415.00. But, if you want to look your Dandiest while looking your manliest, then by all means, pick one up at openingceremony.com.

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Old Spice Guy and Fabio have engaged in a gentlemanly duel of words on the internet today for the crown of the official spokesperson for Old Spice. What follows on Old Spice’s YouTube page is a hilarious verbal sparring match dubbed Mano A Mano in El Bano. Visit their page and cast your obvious vote for Isaiah Mustafa to be the victor.

Night Vision Top Hat!

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Jazz and ’90s

So after a few too many drinks last night celebrating the wife’s birthday, I introduced her to the world of Spotify and we happened upon an amazing find. Jazz and ’90s features several artists covering classic songs of the 90’s set to jazz. With songs like Space Cowboy, Creep, Wonderall and Smells Like Teen Spirit, we instantly wanted to host a party just so we could play this album along with the subsequent 70’s and 80’s versions that go along with it.

 

Side note, if you’re not on Spotify, you really should check it out. Basically you download the program and you can search through millions of songs and steam them instantly from your computer or cell phone. It’s really been a game changer and is so much easier that listening to a song on youtube or trying find an album on Pandora. It’s like iTunes without having to buy all the songs. You can make playlists, share music with other people and your library’s show up on whatever device you log in with. After listening to it for like 2 or 3 hours we finally had to go to bed/pass out. But the whole night was great and the discovery of Jazz and ’90s is almost worth the hangover I’m currently battling.

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Ovadia & Sons just released a preview of the their Spring/Summer 2012 collection of menswear and it is just Dandy-tastic. Fashion blog Sartorially Inclined has a great write up about it and starts it with this great quote:

“Asking brothers Shimon and Ariel what their inspiration is pretty much tells you all you need to know about Ovadia & Sons. Instead of giving you some fantastical line of bullshit they’ll laugh and simply tell you that their clothing is, well, just clothing.  It’s what they like.  It’s what they wear.  It’s menswear – plain and simple.”

If that isn’t the perfect reasoning behind menswear I don’t know what it is. When I was making my own clothes (shameless plug here) and while I’m developing this new Buffalo Dandy brand, that is the driving force behind it. “Wear what you dig” as a character in Boogie Nights once said. Check out some of Ovadia’s rather Dandy looking line below.

 

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I asked fellow Dandy and vinyl aficionado Mr. Burns if he would mind doing an article  for the site. He went above and beyond and delivered a splendid list of 5 essential “Chill” records for your listening pleasure. Enjoy.

By Guest Blogger Mr. Burns
The word “records” is not a misprint. Anyone that knows me understands how I feel about vinyl versus any other music format. To put it quite simple, vinyl is just way cool. Nothing sounds better and the entire experience is enhanced with full sized album art, lyric sheets and the flipping of the record…..it forces you to stay involved. Unfortunately, the digital age has dulled the experience making it harder to fully realize a complete piece of music. But enough of that, we’re focusing on “Chill Music”… and listening to music anyway you can is the most important thing.

What is “Chill”music?  It’s a term used to describe several styles of electronic music. Some of the more popular forms under this umbrella would be Downtempo, Trip-Hop, Ambient or Lounge.  Traces of Soul, Jazz, Hip Hop, Funk & Dub are all thrown in the mix to give this music a mellow style with relaxing beats.

The origin of this music can be traced back to the UK during the 90’s, played in dancehalls in between upbeat songs to give the dancers a chance to “chill”.  In terms of accentuating a mood, I can’t think of one genre that hits the spot better than this. If you’re hanging at the pool or pouring that first martini at sunset, this music adds to the landscape. Here are five essential records to enhance your morning, afternoon or evening.

 

Portishead “Dummy” (1994): Haunting, Dark and Dense. Considered one of the greatest albums of the nineties and quite possibly Trip Hop’s crown jewel. Beautiful lyrics, a rich production and a soulful singer that resembles Nina Simone.  The music contains bass lines and samples that help give each song its own atmosphere. I listed this record first on purpose….this very well might be the blueprint for the genre.

Choice Cuts: Numb, Sour Times, Glory Box, Wandering Star

 

Massive Attack “Mezzanine” (1998): Mysterious with a dash of creepy. A combination of sledgehammer beats and angelic voices make this record the perfect soundtrack for a William Burroughs novel. The music is hypnotic with a pace so slow it feels like it goes on for days and days yet keeps you begging for more. Teardrop will go down as one of the greatest songs of the genre. Initially the demo was sent to Madonna to record the vocals since the band worked with her in the past. She was evidently very interested however two of the three bandmates preferred Elizabeth Fraser from the “Cocteau Twins”. Fraser was writing the lyrics when she heard about the tragic death of her once friend, Jeff Buckley. She claims the song is “kind of about him”.

Choice Cuts: Angel, Teardrop, Inertia Creeps, Man Next Door

 

Tricky “Maxinquaye” (1995): Surreal however never too far from mainstream. Tricky is a seducer and a soul searcher, his beats have a sensual sound with deep lyrics. Reminiscent of Massive Attack, which is understandable considering prior to his debut album Maxinquaye, you can hear Tricky on MA’s breakthrough album “Blue Lines’”. Of the five records listed, I feel this might take the most patience however once it gets inside you, it’s not getting out.

Choice Cuts: Black Steel, Pumpkin, Suffocated Love, Hell Is Round the Corner

 

Air “Moon Safari” (1998): As the dust settles from the nineties and the true gems are recognized, this record makes every list. Three words…..French Disco Pop. This is electronica personified however never overblown with calculated rhythms creating a very pop-happy place.  More of an upbeat record than the others listed. Lush textures create a dreamy atmosphere…you can drift far away to this one, maybe even Mars.

Choice Cuts: La Femme D’Argent, Sexy Boy, All I Need, You Make It Easy

 

Morcheeba “Big Calm” (1998): Groovy, Swagger and quite simply spaced out. Perfect pop, gorgeous melodies, complex and rich. So much is going on here, each song with such a distinctive sound. It’s one of the records where you find something new each time you listen.  Whatever the coolest movie ever made is, “Part of the Process” should definitely be on the soundtrack.

Choice Cuts:  The Sea, Shoulder Holster, Part of the Process, Bullet Proof

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Summer Sandals

You can only wear boat shoes and penny loafers so much when it’s 90 degrees outside. That’s why God invented Sandals. Unfortunately the puppy got a hold of my favorite pair that I’ve had for years and did something to them because now I can’t wear them without my feet hurting. I think they eventually ended up going flat, a common problem with sandals or flip flops. So, the search for the new perfect pair of sandals has commenced.

The thing I loved about my old pair is that they were such a dark brown that you couldn’t really tell if they were black or brown. After years of wear and tear, the brown started showing through more and more. So while I would love to find a pair like this again that I could wear with either black or brown, just not sure it’s going to happen. Here are a few pairs that have caught my eye:

Sperry Top-Sider Santa Cruz Thong
These might be the ones. Didn’t even know Sperry made sandals. But with the amount of time I’ve spent in the boat shoes this summer, these might be the next best thing.

Reef Bonzer
I love the color detail along the band on these. Just the right amount of distress and Reefs are just plain comfortable. Look like the perfect pair for beaching it.

 

Kenneth Cole
These have a little more high end look to them and I think would be a good compliment to my whole “Summer at Kellerman’s” look I usually rock during the summer. If these fit as well as they look, these are a close second to the Sperry’s.

Geox U
Yet, I also like the simplicity of these as well as the breathable sole at the front of sandal.

Clarks
I really like these but have tried them on in the store several times and they just feel slightly uncomfortable on my feet. Everything else about these I love, though. Decisions, decisions…

Rainbow
I’ve wanted a pair of these for years now if not only for the fact that they offer to replace them if they ever wear out. While it would take some time to break in, I have a feeling that these would end up being the most comfortable of all the options, just need to find a better color than they standard tan.

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