Sweet Sounds: Music Picks for Summer 2013

 

Zedd ft. Foxes – “Clarity
This summer’s answer to Avicii’s “Levels.”

Rihanna: “Right Now
Summer hits and Rihanna just go together (“We Found Love,” anyone?). This David Guetta-produced track hits all the right notes and is a perfect summer club hit.

The Neighborhood: “Sweater Weather
Though the title may be misleading, this would fit in seamlessly in any episode of “The O.C.” making it immediately summer-worthy.

Mariah Carey ft Miguel: “#Beautiful
Very “90s Mariah,” “#Beautiful” was one of the first songs of 2013 deemed “summer-worthy.” Miguel’s feature on the track is the perfect compliment to the seemingly effortless vocals of pop music’s reigning Queen. With an earworm of a guitar hook and an easy-to-remember chorus, this will be stuck in your head for days (if it hasn’t done so already).

Fat Joe ft. Ashanti: “What’s Luv
One (of two) 90’s throwback track(s). You know (and love) this track. Don’t lie.

Bruno Mars: “Treasure
Bruno Mars is known for emotional, soulful records (ie “Grenade”, “Locked Out of Heaven,” and “When I Was Your Man”) , but this upbeat throwback track strays away from his previous singles and is pop perfection, just as simple as that.

Jay-Z ft. Nas, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell, Swizz Beatz & Timbaland: “BBC
They’re a team made in hip-hop heaven, and this track lives up to the hype that each of these heavy-hitters brings to the table.

2NE1: “Falling in Love
YG Entertainment’s girl group is finally back with this fresh track, just in time for summer (even if the track was originally supposed to be released last year as a follow-up to “I Love You”). With YG planning on releasing more tracks from the girls until October, we’re excited to see what else they have planned up their sleeve.

Jay Park: “JOAH
Challenge: Just try not bopping your head to this K-Pop hit. Just try.  (Like this song?  Check out the Jay Park-approved cover by Quest Crew member and YG Entertainment producer, Lydia Paek.)

Justin Timberlake: “Strawberry Bubblegum (Allure Remix)
When “The 20/20 Experience” came out a few months ago, “Strawberry Bubblegum” was continuously on repeat with its cool R&B feel and Justin’s smooth vocals. French DJ Allure puts a new spin on the song, transforming it into a pop, disco-esque track, perfect for those hot summer nights.

Destiny’s Child: “Say My Name (E-603 Remix)
We didn’t think it was possible, but this mix has made us fall in love again with this classic DC hit (can you believe it was released almost 14 years ago?!). If the heavy bass, smart synth and the girls’ voices don’t pull you in, we don’t know what will.

Though these are some of our picks for the summer, what’s on your playlist this year?

More than Just a “Belle”: Hellz Bellz and BOTB’s Lanie Barcena

It’s hard to talk about women’s streetwear without talking about the LA-based Hellz Bellz and its sister brand, BOTB (short for Belle of the Brawl).  The unapologetically in-your-face, naturally cool labels are the brainchildren of Lanie Barcena, a Pilipina American designer.  Also known as “misslawn,” Barcena gave us a sneak into her life and her daily grind.

What was it like starting Hellz Bellz?
Starting Hellz Bellz started pretty organically. I didn’t go into it thinking or even hoping it would turn into a full on business. I was young, super creative and busting in the seams to simply design product that I loved… to put it simply, Hellz Bellz started out as a hobbie and from an honest place, which is why I truly believe it became successful.

Hellz Bellz is a brand known for being bold, strong and dynamic. Who/what inspires you as a designer?
I’m inspired by music ranging from hip hop to punk to ska to even classical and jazz. Music is always the soundtrack to every collection. In addition to music, I’m heavily inspired by cultures I’ve either encountered, studied or have been immersed in. All which is very broad BUT I tend to pick out elements that I relate tor gravitate toward, and it’s usually the anti / aggressive / strong yet empowering elements that catch my eye.

Describe the quintessential Hellz Bellz woman.
She’s a fashion forward, street savy, non-apologetic boss who sticks to her guns and gives fellas a run for their money. She has a voice and isn’t afraid to use it, using it to inspire, motivate and empower… and did I mention she’s sexy as fuck both inside and out?!

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What is it like being a female in the male-dominated streetwear industry?
There was a time when it was a bit daunting but now it’s not even something that I think about. However, it is pretty nice to know that I can hold my own amongst all these guys.

What has been the most memorable moment of your fashion career so far?
There isn’t one moment in particular. This whole rollercoaster ride that I’ve been on since 2005 has been memorable. Seriously, it’s been the best and worst time of my life all at the same time BUT I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world.

But ok, if you were to twist my wrist and make me choose one… I’d say the night of my Hellz Bellz x Vans release party in NY a few years ago. It was such a monumental moment being able to finally release a project I had worked so diligently on for over a year with a company I so greatly admired to not only fashion editors, bloggers and celebs BUT also to people that I’ve looked up to forevvvver. That was really an amazing night and milestone in my fashion career.

What can we expect to see Hellz Bellz in the coming years?
Hopefully bigger and better things.

Describe yourself in ten words or less.
Creative. Controlling. Petite. Passionate. Silly. Loyal. Short Tempered. Loving. Ridiculous.

Name your style icons.
Vivienne Westwood.
Gwen Stefani.
Bianca Jagger.

Favorite piece(s) that you’ve designed:
Belle of the Brawl Stadium Jacket
Vans x Hellz shoes (all of them)
Mata Hari x Hellz Bellz Speedy Satchel Bag
Black Scale x BOTB Stadium Jacket (coming soon)

Life motto or words you live by:
If you don’t grind, you’ll fall behind.

Life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.

(Photo credit:Grant Yoshino)

The Daily SHAG | Paolo Roldan

Today’s SHAG is none other than the über-gorgeous Filipino-Canadian model, Paolo Roldan.

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After being discovered by Boss Models’ David Bossman, Roldan became an exclusive model for the prestigious label Givenchy for four seasons, even appearing in the label’s Fall/Winter 2010 ad. He’s also appeared in editorials for Vogue Paris, Vogue China, GQ, i-D, and V Man.

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Close to his family and a proud Pilipino, Roldan is fluent in Tagalog and even went back to his home country recently (he immigrated from the Philippines to Canada) to shoot for the Philippine brand, Bench (an underwear shoot, nonetheless!).

With his modelling career coming into full gear, we know that we’ll be seeing even more of this SHAG in the future, and we’re not complaining.

TVXQ! Live World Tour in Los Angeles

TVXQ, the proclaimed “Kings of K-Pop,” performed this past Friday in Los Angeles’ Nokia Center for their “Catch Me World Tour.”  This was the duo’s, made up of Max Changmin and U-Know Yunho, first time playing in the City of Angels as a solo act.  From the electrifying, or more appropriately, laser-filled, bass-booming opening, it was clear that the pair was determined to give a strong stage and leave lasting impression for their fans, who they said “waited for basically ten years” for this show, and they did not disappoint.

 

They performed tracks from their newest album, “Catch Me”, and much to the delight of long-time fans, older hits like the electro-pop “Mirotic,” the bass-filled “Purple Line,” and the ballad “Unforgettable.”  Though the 2 ½-hour show undoubtedly catered to Cassiopeia’s, which is the name of TVXQ’s fans (a group of mostly teenage and young adult Asian American women), it was clear that the duo has incredible talent, stage presence and a well-balanced dynamic.  Yunho had charming charisma, showing off his dance skills and even leading a fan chant; on the other hand, Changmin was a bit on the quieter side but truly shined whenever he put his incredible vocals on display, highlighted by his solo ballad.

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As a “sort-of” outsider looking in (because although I’m a fan of K-Pop, I’m a self-proclaimed VIP, or fan of BIGBANG, another guy group), the show was an impressively dynamic spectacle.  Visually, it was an aesthetic gem, with an uber-clear LED flashing moving graphics, lasers, eye-catching stage outfits (i.e. denim jackets with chains running down them) and perfectly clean choreography.

The group gave bundles of fan service with numerous videos, and more impressively, greeting the fans personally by walking through the aisles of the theater.  Needless to say, the audience went crazy.

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In one of the more touching moments of the concert, the fierce expressions that Yunho and Changmin had throughout the concert changed into ones of sincere gratitude when, during the song “I’ll Be There,” fans held signs that said (in hangul), “We’ll always be here,” a powerful statement considering the headlines the act has made in the past few years.

 

It was almost like being part of a warm, triumphant homecoming, just with one of the biggest K-Pop acts today.