Girlcrush || Solange in South Africa

13/12/2012 § 1 Comment


When it comes to the Knowles sisters, it shouldn’t surprise you that I’ve been a fan of big sister Beyoncé from the very start.  You just knew that those other – and oft rotated – Destiny’s Children weren’t long for this world, that B was itching for her Diana Ross moment in the spotlight.  Now, I definitely love me some divas, but you have to admit that there’s something sort of conventional (and maybe even a bit boring) about the establishment: big hair, red carpet beauty, belted ballads, an affinity for sparkles, etc.

Which is why I think Solange, the younger Knowles, is so much more interesting.  A frequent experimenter with her own personal style and something of a slowly burning girlcrush, Solange has officially evolved into the Knowles sister I’d much rather hang with.  She pretty much sealed the deal with her video for “Losing You,” which was brought to my attention by a good friend who noted that Solange appeared to be channeling me.  Shot in Cape Town, featuring some very dandy Sapeurs (an interesting group of men I mentioned awhile back), as well as a wardrobe that you know I fell in love with immediately, the synth-y groove of the song is almost like an added bonus.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Video directed by Melina Matsoukas.
Photo taken by Daniele Tamagni, via Pitchfork.

The Shangri-Las ~ Shout

07/06/2012 § Leave a comment

The Shangri-Las ~ Shout
Performed on the Lloyd Thaxton Show, February 1965.

Completely obsessed with the “tough girls with broken hearts” image of The Shangri-Las, their performance of this song, and their double breasted sweaters.  (My apologies for the condition of the clip, but I wasn’t able to find this without the curious blurry lines.)

Fun facts:

1.) My mother danced on The Lloyd Thaxton Show as a teenager.  Thaxton also frequently had cast members lip-sync popular songs, and my mom performed “Walk on By” by Dionne Warwick.  Try as I might, I haven’t been able to find a clip of this performance.  I remain hopeful that the internets will someday deliver it.

2.) The Shangri-Las were two sets of sisters:  Mary and Betty Weiss, Marge and Mary Ann Ganser.  Early on, Betty Weiss preferred not to perform live, so Mary would step in and lip-sync her songs — which is what is happening in this clip.

3.) Their “tough girl” image probably originated from the fact they all hailed from Queens, but it was supported by rumors of Mary attracting the attention of the FBI for transporting a firearm across state lines.  Mary contended the pistol was needed for her protection, after someone tried to rob the girls while they were on tour.  Badass.

For more of The Shangri-Las, try this album.

The Quite Continental Mix I

09/05/2012 § 6 Comments

  1. Dinah Washington – Blue Skies
  2. Ella Fitzgerald – Whatever Lola Wants
  3. Sammy Davis Jr. – Something’s Gotta Give
  4. Sarah Vaughn – Ain’t Misbehavin’
  5. Dean Martin – Volare/An Evening in Roma
  6. Dinah Washington – Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby
  7. Doris Day – Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps
  8. Rosemary Clooney – Sway
  9. Sarah Vaughn – Misty
  10. Dinah Washington – I Wanna Be Loved
  11. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong – Summertime
  12. Lena Horne – Someone To Watch Over Me
  13. Dinah Washington – Since I Fell For You
  14. Chet Baker – I Fall In Love Too Easily
  15. Doris Day – Fly Me To The Moon
  16. Dean Martin – Besame Mucho
  17. Dinah Washington – Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

For my first-ever playlist, you get jazzy songs for a smoky midtown bar, or for shoes-off slowdances on the rug after the dinner party’s all gone home.  It’s a little heavy on the strings and Dinah Washington, but I didn’t mind that all too much — so I hope you don’t either.  Click play to enjoy!

Experimenting this evening with 8tracks, which I found via the Rugby Style Blog.  The songs may not play in the exact order above, but they’re all in there.

Photo of Ella Fitzgerald, performing at Mr. Kelly’s Nightclub in Chicago, 1958.  Taken by Yael Joel for Life Magazine, via the Life Archive.

Throwback Thursday || Bert Stern’s Jazz on a Summer’s Day

02/05/2012 § Leave a comment

In gorgeous color, photographer Bert Stern captured the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival in his lovely film, “Jazz on a Summer’s Day.”  An amazing cocktail of pop culture, jazz, sailboats and summer in New England, it is definitely worth your time.  I can’t wait for summer, by the by.  Sidenote: I personally feel Anita O’Day’s hat almost steals the show — would be perfect for the Derby this weekend, no?

If you’d like to have it in your own library, head here to purchase.

Ben Carroll ~ A Change Is Gonna Come

26/04/2012 § 7 Comments

Allow me to toot the family horn a bit…

Ben Carroll is an amazing singer and songwriter.  He also happens to be my cousin.  Ben’s currently hard at work on a soon-to-be-released third album, but he recently took some time out to make this clip of one of my most favorite songs, Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.”  When we were all kids, my siblings and I used to force Ben to sing to us — totally understandable, once you’ve heard his voice.  Enjoy.

Ben Carroll on Facebook || Twitter || Website

And if you happen to be in LA, Ben has a show on May 4 at WitZend in Venice.
Find details and ticket information here.

Throwback Thursday ||The Smiths ~ This Charming Man

12/04/2012 § 4 Comments

I’m not sure you appreciate how often I sing to myself:
“I would go out tonight, but I haven’t got a stitch to wear”

Goapele ~ Tears On My Pillow

02/04/2012 § Leave a comment

A little soul music for your Monday morning…

I’ve been a fan of Bay Area-native chanteuse Goapele since 2002, but she’s never quite made the commercial breakthrough I always thought she deserved.  In this post-Adele world, armed with her new single “Tears On My Pillow” from her recent album “Break of Dawn,” I’m wondering if she just might.

Sidenotes: How ridiculously gorgeous is she? Do we think those are her own lashes? And I’m officially and completely obsessed with her makeup; that cool red on her lips must. be. mine.

Happy Hols!

24/12/2011 § Leave a comment

Some of my very favorites:

I am wishing you a wonderful holiday season,
wherever you might find yourself.

And if you’d like to try your hand at my family sugar cookie recipe,
you can find it here.

Happy Hols!

The Gymnopédies: Aldo Ciccolini x Erik Satie

22/12/2011 § Leave a comment

Erik Satie‘s Gymnopédies are among my favorite pieces of music.
Perfect for cold and quiet winter days.
Even if New York is rather unseasonably warm, as of late.

“These short, atmospheric pieces are written in 3/4 time, with each sharing a common theme and structure. Collectively, the Gymnopédies are regarded as the precursors to modern ambient music — gentle yet somewhat eccentric pieces which, when composed, defied the classical tradition.

  Celebrated Italian pianist Aldo Ciccolini playing Gymnopédie No. 1 in 1956…

  …and at his 85th birthday concert in 2010.

If you are new to Ciccolini and Satie, this album is great.

Relentlessly restless. Restless relentlessly.

16/12/2011 § 1 Comment

Wanderlust ~ Björk x Ratatat

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