Weekend Walkman: Andrew Bird

Andrew Bird

Andrew Bird

Chicago born and bred multi-instrumentalist, musician, and singer-songwriter Andrew Bird’s recently released  7-song EP, I Want to See Pulaski at Night, was  conceived around a single song: the wonderful “Pulaski at Night“. According to Pitchfork, Bird didn’t want to hold onto the song until he had enough material for a full-length album, so he did what any strong-willed,  hyper-resourceful, musical genius would do: he composed a collection of  instrumental “prologues” and “epilogues” to accompany the title track. What’s been accomplished is a delightfully cohesive yet, nuanced and textured listening experience – infused with Bird’s signature string mastery (the man is a true violin virtuoso).  Being a Chicago born and bred gal myself, I also appreciate the lyrics, beckoning an elusive subject (friend? lover? singular listener?) to “Come back to Chicago, city of light”…  I would certainly come back to Chicago, or anywhere really, to see Bird perform this kind of music live.  If you feel the same way, check out forthcoming tour dates here.


Get Out! Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

Need a quick outdoorsy workout? Like feelin’ the burn on those legs? Wanna feel like Rocky Balboa running up stairs? Well, we’ve got the perfect LA spot for you: Baldwin Hills.

With just under 300 stairs, the main hiking trail is fairly steep and winds up one mile from the park entrance at Jefferson Blvd. and Hetzler Road, in Culver City. This revived park just southwest of downtown spans 58 acres with a 511 ft. peak. The stairs, also known as the “Culver City Stairs,” were constructed from recycled concrete found on the park in 2006, after California state purchased the land to prohibit further exploitation and drilling at the site.

Baldwin Hills stairs

Baldwin Hills stairs

The true draw to this park is the gorgeous view gained after the intense incline. The scenic overlook is quite the reward whether it’s at sunrise, sunset or simply a mid-day workout. To see the evidence, continue reading…

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Weekend Walkman: Empire of the Sun


Longtime collaborators Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore say that the name of their group, Empire of the Sun, was in no way influenced by the celebrated 1984 J.G. Ballard novel of the same name, or by Steven Spielberg’s subsequent  film adaptation of the epic novel in 1987 starring a 12-year old Christian Bale, btw…but we digress.  What’s important here is that the Australian electronic music duo, Empire of the Sun, comprised of Steele and Littlemore has got us very excited.

Admittedly, we don’t remember much about the guys’ 2008 debut album, Walking on a Dream, but early buzz around their soon-to-be-released sophomore push, Ice on the Dune (“coming June 8th, 2013”) pretty much makes up for that.  The infectious beats and melodies of the album’s first single, “Alive” – which is sure to be a summer ’13 anthem despite references to snow and velvet – are already stuck in our heads; and with all manner of feel-good lyrics  like: “Freedom is within you”, “Giving makes us feel good”, and most importantly: “Loving every minute cause you make me feel so alive alive”, we really don’t mind.

With an accompanying music video that could very well have been shot in Westeros (as any self-professed Game of Thrones fan would logically consider),  its clear that the guys behind Empire of the Sun are just as concerned with having fun as they are with being epic.  So maybe; just maybe, they have a little more in common with an unintended namesake than they would like to admit. But then again, who knows?

What we do know is that we like Empire of the Sun. Very much. If you do too, you can check out the epic music video for “Alive” after the jump.

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Weekend Walkman: Jacob Banks


We are absolutely blown away by the tremendous talents of this twenty-one-year-old British crooner and self-taught musician.  Hailing from Birmingham – coincidentally also the hometown of last week’s WTWLA Weekend Walkman pick Laura Mvula (is there something in the water? if so, we’d like a drink please!) – young Jacob Banks is well on his way to major international success and stardom.  From the powerful single “Worthy”  to the poetic prose of “Something Beautiful”, the entire roster of songs featured on Banks’s debut EP, The Monologue,  make for top notch, not-to-be-missed, listening .

We’ve yet to hear word on an official album release date  for The Monologue, but all of the songs from the album seem to be available on Mr. Jacob Banks’s Souncloud page, so we’re kind of okay with that (for now, anyway). Meanwhile, the young gent is currently touring the UK with the lovely and amazing Emeli Sandé. Wishing you the best of luck, Mr. Banks, although with those pipes and that talent, you hardly need it!

Check out the official music video for “Worthy” after the jump.

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Clothes Made for Walking: Saturday by Kate Spade

Reversible Cape, $210

Reversible Cape, $210

We’re loving Kate Spade’s cute and quirky Saturday line which offers fun, flirty clothing and accessories at more affordable price points (than from the mother brand).  This colorful, print-centric collection of dresses and separates takes the guess work out of creating easy-breezy, complement-worthy outfits for any occasion or day of the week.

Scoopback dress, $140

Scoopback dress, $140

If like us, you find yourself coveting every other item from the debut Spring 2013 collection (not to mention the awesome home goods and tech accessory offerings ) we recommend that you pay no mind to images of the forthcoming Fall 2013 look book that have been circulating the internet. For us, the fabulousness of it all is too much to handle, so we’ve chosen to focus on the season at hand  (spring/summer) and take it one Saturday at a time.

Check out our favorite looks from the Spring 2013 Saturday collection after the jump.

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Celebrate Earth Day!

Runyon Canyon Park

Runyon Canyon Park

The first Earth Day was a concept that began in 1970, but today it is celebrated by over one billion people in nearly 200 countries around the world. Los Angeles is the perfect city to indulge in mother nature today and we’ve got plenty of suggestions to help you do just that!

Wanna hike? Check out the Get Out! series:

Wanna discover a new park?

Wanna learn more of LA’s history?

There’s lots more where these came from, so just take a moment to peruse the site and use Walk This Way LA as your very own Earth Day party guide.

Get Out! CicLAvia “To the Sea”


Looking for something physical, fun and exciting to do this weekend? Grab your bike, roller-blades, skateboard and/or walking shoes and join thousands of your fellow Angelenos this Sunday, April 21st, from 10am-3pm for the car-free urban extravaganza known as CicLAvia.  Modeled after Bogotá, Colombia’s Ciclovías movement (which started over thirty years ago as a response to the congestion and pollution of city streets) CicLAvia unites the people of LA in a unique way by temporarily removing all cars from the road along a designated route  through some of the city’s most diverse and vibrant neighborhoods.  On Sunday, the city’s sixth and largest/longest CicLAvia To the Sea event (a veritable miles-long street festival and multi-community celebration) will span an extended 15-mile route from Downtown LA to Venice Beach, and thousands are expected to come out to play.   If you’d like to be one of them, check out the CicLAvia website and mapped route (below) for additional details and prepare to get your walk/ride on mañana.


CicLAvia “To the Sea”  Route Map
April 21st, 2013

Additional CicLAvia events are scheduled to take place on June 23 and Oct. 6.


Weekend Walkman: Laura Mvula

Laura Mvula

Everything about Laura Mvula is luminous – from her singular voice to her radiant beauty – it’s no wonder the 25-year-old British singer-songwriter is receiving all kinds of critical praise for her debut album, Sing to the Moon (RCA Records). Mvula, a classically trained musician who sang with the UK a cappella group Black Voices before composing her own music, started making waves across the pond with the release of the single “She” in November 2012. Her star has been rising ever since.

Mrs. Mvula  (she’s married to singer Themba Mvula) recently performed live on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic and her soulful music has been remixed by international music maestros SOHN and WTWLA favorite Robin Hannibal of Rhye and Quadron fame. Suffice it to say that we are utterly in love with Laura Mvula and expect big things from this soulful songstress in 2013 and beyond.

More enchanting music from Mrs. Mvula after the bump – including her live debut on KCRW and remixes from SOHN and Robin Hannibal…

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Secret Stairs: Music Box Steps

Music Box Stairs

Music Box Stairs

Hidden around Los Angeles are thousands of stairways left standing from the 1920s and so on when the city was much more pedestrian friendly, and more reliant on streetcars, trolleys and buses. Connecting neighborhoods throughout the east side (there are a few in existence in Santa Monica and Pasadena) and winding between buildings, these steep stairwells are a fascinating way to learn more about LA, while putting in some serious work on those calf muscles too!

One of the most well known and visited set of stairs is in Silver Lake, the Music Box Stairs. Made famous by the Laurel & Hardy short film of the The Music Box, which won the first Academy Award for Live Action Short Film (Comedy) in 1932. The stairs are much more hidden than in the days of the film, but remains a public staircase and does not lead to a single residence (as in the film), but instead connects Vendome Street (at the base of the hill) with Descanso Drive (at the top of the hill). The original structure seen in the film is still standing and occupied on Vendome street. Across the way, visit the lovely Laurel and Hardy Park.

Check out the hilarious film here:

We’ll be visiting more Secret Stairs soon, keep an eye out!

Weekend Walkman: Mr Little Jeans (Feat. Silverlake Conservatory of Music Youth Chorale)

We’ve been waiting with bated breath for the Norwegian artist known as Mr. Little Jeans (real name: Monica Birkenes) to officially release this glorious new single featuring the Silverlake Conservatory of Music Youth chorale.  KCRW had been feeding our growing obsession with this song for weeks – playing “Oh Sailor” on regular rotation without any information about a release date. And all the while, the artist’s own Facebook page remained eerily absent of any news…until this video was finally made available earlier this week. We couldn’t be more thrilled to share this song with you (and to have the ability to play it when and wherever we like). All it takes is one listen, and we guarantee you’ll also be hooked.  Word on the street is that Birkenes, who now resides in Los Angeles, will be releasing her first full-length album in June. Oh Sailor, we can hardly wait!