Author Archives: Spencer

Spotlight on Style: Military Jackets

When I watch TV shows or movies that are period dramas, I always feel slightly lukewarm about the women’s clothing. Sure, some of those empire-waisted dresses were pretty (Marie Antoinette, with its kaleidoscope of dazzling candy-colored silk frocks, showcased some striking fashion), but in general I far prefer the outfits that the men wore, specifically the military uniforms. I mean, being in the army back then was like one giant fashion show! Seriously, everyone looked totally amazing, with their formal jackets and waistcoats and tall boots. If enlisting meant getting to wear a jacket like this one, I would have signed up in a heartbeat:

marie antoinette

Really, wouldn’t you rather be wearing this fab coat than that boring black dress? *

*Actually, the dress is pretty cool. But the coat is still better.

Rock stars have long recognized the appeal of military garb. Artists such as Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, and Coldplay have all donned military inspired gear.

jimi hendrix

Possibly the best dressed dude ever.

beatles

Juuuust a little bit of LSD involved here.

chris martin

You’re no Jimi, Chris Martin, but this is still a valiant effort.

And then there was the King of Military Jackets (and Pop), Michael Jackson:

MJ

Here is a man who was not afraid to make a fashion statement.

michael jackson

The glitter, the glove, the glasses...this is all 100% gold. Bravo, MJ. Hats off to you, sir.

Luckily, the military look is a fashion trend that will never die, with styles being reimagined every season or two by the industry’s top designers (less luxe versions of which eventually filter down to us plebes who can only afford to shop at the mall):

marc jacobs

Marc Jacobs

balmain

Balmain

dolce & gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana


Sidenote: Almost every single piece in D&G’s Fall 2006 runway show was so insanely amazing that the whole thing makes me want to sob with joy. They basically had their models dressed up as Napoleon and Josephine, and the attention to detail is stellar, from the high collars to the crested buttons to the braided gold rope trim. If you’re ever feeling down, check out the slideshow on Style.com – even if you can’t afford them (who can?), it’ll make you feel better just knowing that such beautiful clothes exist.


Toronto Gets High

High Highs

Ages ago, I told you all about about an amazing band called the High Highs and how much I loooooove their gorgeous, dreamy, ambient pop grooves. Well, since I wrote that post, these guys have gone on to do great things, including:

Aaaaaaand, in exciting news, they are playing TONIGHT in Toronto, here.

So what are you waiting for? Check ’em out!


Song of the Day: When I’m With You

Today’s Song of the Day comes by way of my cousin Trev, one of our go-to sources for new music.

I am totally digging Best Coast’s distortion infused surf rock.

Check ’em out!


Girl Crush: Solange Knowles?

Solange

I know, you guys. I’m as surprised about this as you are. I have to be honest with you…I had always sort of dismissed Solange as a low-rent version of Beyonce. And considering that I’m not even all that into Beyonce*, I never really gave Solange the time of day. Until now.

*Although I must say that Beyonce does have quite a few gems in her repetoire, such as this most excellent song, and this one. And her recent HBO documentary certainly proves that she is an amazing live performer with an enviable work ethic.

I was recently introduced to Solange’s EP, True, which was released in November of last year. The first single, Losing You, might be one of the best songs I have heard of late. See for yourselves:

Amazing, right? Super poppy with a fun ’80s-ish vibe. And the clothing! So, so, so great. I love pretty much all of Solange’s outfits here, especially this amazing suit, which I am kind of obsessed with:

Solange

*LOVE* *LOVE* *LOVE* *WANT* *WANT* *WANT*

Here is a girl who is not afraid to mix and match patterns, and I deeply respect that.

Solange

EXHIBIT A

Solange

EXHIBIT B

Solange

EXHIBIT C

Solange

EXHIBIT D

Because honestly, patterns are meant to clash! Why else would they exist? In fact, I would argue that our inherent ability to throw together mismatched fabrics in a jaunty and debonair fashion is what ultimately separates us humans from the animals. Well — that, and opposable thumbs. And oh yeah, the whole sentient thoughts thing. But, you know, other than all that.

Now, you may be wondering about those epic looking dudes in the video sporting awesome suits and posing around Solange with Union Jack umbrellas. As well you should, and not only because they look insanely super rad. The back story of these dandified Congolese gents, known as Sapeurs, is an incredibly fascinating read. You can also see more pics of their sartorial splendor here at photographer Daniele Tamagni’s site.


God vs The Devil: U2 and Led Zeppelin

U2 vs Zep

My two favourite bands couldn’t be more of a study in contrasts. Led Zeppelin was a hard-rocking, drug-taking, groupie-banging maelstrom of bombastic sound. U2’s music, on the other hand, is infused with spirituality, soaring melodies, and the quest for a connection with a higher power.

And yet I love them both. Which is why I think it’s important to celebrate many different styles of music, from the highly spiritual to the down-and-dirty. And how better to do so than by comparing and contrasting one band of self-professed Christian rockers with another band that was plagued throughout their career by lurid tales of dark arts and devil worship.

Now, I’m not trying to turn this into an epic battle between the forces of Good and Evil…but just for the hell of it, I wonder who would win? Clearly the only way to judge is by employing the objective powers of Science to sort it out.

Therefore, I will be examining each band based on a variety of categories, and totally choosing my favourites utilizing a highly scientifical method that is not at all biased in order to establish the winner in each category. Points from all of the categories will be tabulated at the conclusion of our study to determine the ultimate victor. So without further ado, I present to you our first category:

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Team Steff vs Team Hardy

steff v hardy

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I am a pretty huge fan of ’80s movies in general, and John Hughes flicks in particular. 1986’s ‘Pretty in Pink’ is one of my all-time favourites — I previously wrote about it here and here.

So you can imagine my excitement when my good pal Laird Sapir told me that she was planning a post about a face-off between teen movie uber-villains Hardy Jenns (‘Some Kind of Wonderful’) and Steff McKee (‘Pretty in Pink’) and asked me to argue on Steff’s behalf.

You can read my treatise on Steff’s sleazy awesomeness, and Laird’s excellent rebuttal in favour of Hardy, here: Blazers & Bad Attitudes. Be sure to vote for your favourite rich preppie douchebag!


Señores y Señoras…Juana’s Adicción

jane's addiction

When I heard that Jane’s Addiction was touring again, and playing Toronto’s Massey Hall (one of my all-time favorite venues), I was totally into it. But then I kind of dropped the ball on getting tickets, so I had resigned myself to the fact that I would miss the chance yet again to see Perry Farrell in action, which was a shame because I have heard many accounts of what an excellent front man he is. Plus I love the band. I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard them. It was the summer after grade 9 and I was in San Francisco visiting family. I met up with a bunch of my high school buddies who were also in town. We were hanging out down at Pier 39 doing the touristy thing, and it was one of those perfect San Fran days where it’s sunny and kind of cool but the air is crisp and the sky is unbelievably blue. My friend Matt turned to me and said “Spencer, check this out,” shoving a pair of earphones into my ears. ‘Been Caught Stealing’. That was my first taste of Jane’s Addiction.

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Let Them Eat Vinyl’s Top 10 Love Songs

Good morning dear readers, and welcome to the Most Romantic Day of the Year! Can you feel the love? I sure hope so. Hallmark Industries needs your support, you know. Those cards don’t just write themselves. Every dollar you spend goes directly towards raises for their copywriters. I mean, that’s where the profit goes, right? Right? Of course it does.

Anyway, we marked Valentine’s Day last year by celebrating famous musical couples throughout the ages. This year, we decided to throw together a playlist of our favorite love songs for your enjoyment. Songs about love tend to be rather sappy and maudlin by nature, but we feel that these selections have the cheese factor dialed back (as much as possible, anyway) and the music level set to awesome.

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Anything Less Than the Best is a Felony

I hope you are sitting down, because I am about to blow your mind.

Somehow — and I truly, for the life of me cannot fathom how this happened — I managed to make it through the past 22 years without ever having seen this music video:

I know what you’re thinking — how did an oversight of such magnitude occur? The situation is nothing short of tragic. I mean, the song was released in 1990, so for 22 years I could have been reveling in the supreme awesomeness that is this video. And it’s not like I haven’t seen the cinematic gem Cool As Ice (which I will delve into further at a later date, as it obviously deserves it’s own post). Or the live performance of this song on Saturday Night Live, during which Vanilla Ice sported a truly magnificent jacket with ‘WORD TO YOUR MOTHA’ spelled out in diamond studs on the back — possibly the best piece of clothing worn by anyone, anywhere, in the history of time. Sadly, this is the only picture I could find of it:

Vanilla Ice

If you ever come across a jacket like this one, please buy it for me and I will love you forever x infinity

Seriously, I don’t understand why there aren’t multiple web sites devoted to this jacket. If ever there was a garment of clothing deserving of it’s own tumblr, surely it is this one.

Anyway…clearly I am familiar with the man’s oeuvre, is what I’m trying to say. So how the viewing of this video managed to elude me until now is truly a mystery for the ages. Now that I have seen it, it feels like a piece of me that had always been missing has fallen into place.

Also, I have come to an important conclusion. You know how people always daydream about what they would ask for if they could have one wish magically granted? I have decided what mine would be — I would wish for the dance skills necessary to perform the routine in this video from start to finish. Think of how often that ability would come in handy! Like, for example, if you found yourself in the middle of an impromptu dance-off. It is important to be prepared for such things. As a bonus, if you were ever feeling blue you could bust out these moves and instantly cheer yourself up.

As for my love of this video…will it ever stop? Yo, I don’t know. But I certainly hope not, because it is making me pretty happy.


Two Songs, One Name

good vibrations

You know what’s funny? When two very different songs share the same name. Especially when it leads to confusing/embarrasing conversations like this one:

Spencer’s (much cooler) friend: “‘Good Vibrations’ is such a great tune…”
Spencer: “Oh ya, I love Marky Mark!”
Spencer’s friend: “Um…I was talking about the Beach Boys song…”
Awkward silence as both parties realize the extent of Spencer’s lameness.

Don’t get me wrong, the Beach Boys’ version is also awesome, but how can you not love the Funky Bunch’s ridiculous ’90s dance moves? And Marky Mark’s shirtless posing. Not to mention that gold glitter hat…

Here are the two songs, side by side:

Oh man! I’m just gonna say it: they are both great. That’s the beauty of two songs with one name — unlike your typical classic vs. cover scenario, you don’t really have to measure how they stack up to one another, or choose between them. You can instead just enjoy each song for what it is. And although these two couldn’t be more different in some ways, when it comes down to it they are both songs about the thrill of hitting that sweet spot, where everything is just waves and waves and waves of good times.


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