It is almost the end of the year so time to start compiling those best of 2012 lists, and to kick things off we thought we ‘d take a look at the best debut albums.
There has been an explosion of great new guitar bands this year. From Alabama Shakes in the States through to Sweden’s bizarrely monikered Goat, the new breed are playing intelligent, tough but catchy pop songs, often rooted in the past but given a very contemporary spin by mixing and matching musical genres and trends.
Here then is our top ten. In no particular order. They are all available on Spotify. And you can hear a selection of the tracks on our playlist under the image.
Everyone's new favourite purveyors of Americana, The Alabama Shakes southern fried soul is one of the most exciting sounds of 2012 and in I Found You they might just have released its most perfect single
Until about five years ago Cashmere jumpers were the preserve of ladies who lunch, golfers and tourists looking to take home something suitably pricey and Scottish (which they had invariably bought on London’s Regent Street !?). But then something very odd happened. Stores like Uniqlo and M&S began to sell Cashmere knitwear at prices that mere mortals could afford and soon pretty much everyone was clamouring to own at least one Cashmere jumper.
The reason why Cashmere wins out is that in knitwear soft wool rules, and it doesn’t come much more luxurious or gentle on the skin that cashmere. And the reason why it used to be so pricey is that it comes from Cashmere goats and it takes two or three goats to produce a jumper’s worth of material. Also processing the fibre into yarn isn’t easy or cheap.
What has happened in the last few years is that the centre of the Cashmere universe has shifted from Mongolia and Turkey to China which has emerged as the world’s top producer – hence prices have fallen. There are still some environmental issues about Cashemere production but you are probably reading this to score a cheapish jumper for Christmas so lets not go too far into them now.
Here’s the list of links of the jumpers we have covered, now hit the gallery to see the pics.
So you you have set your heart set on the type of bike that Eddy Merckx used to spin around the Alps on in the 70s. Well you clearly have taste. There’s no denying that older racing bikes from the 60s through to the 90s have a tad more style than lot of today’s racers and consequently they have become much sought after.
The trick thouguh is to make sure that the bike you buy is vintage gold rather than a crock that will fall to bits within weeks of you buying it.
We asked Phil from Love Bikes London to take us through what you should look for when buying a vintage racer.
His top tips are
1 Make sure you don’t buy a nicked bike
2 A little rust and wear and tear is ok, but you need to check to see if the bike has suffered any serious damage
3 The most important part of the frame. If that ok you can rebuild much of the rest of the bike,. If that’s gone move on
4 20-30 year old wheels are fine. But if they look a little worn probably best to replace them
5 If you are not too hot on cycle upkeep make sure you are friends with someone who is like, off the top of my head Lovebikes London.
16 days into Movember 2012, and taches up and down the land are starting to look like Basil Brush’s tail. Mo maintenance ain’t easy but, for a prostate cancer bashing worthy cause, men up and down the land are persevering, battling through the bedtime rebukes of their partners and the back-of-the-bus jibes from school kids.
Thankfully, Gillette have spotted that a few of us might need a hand keeping our facial fluff looking respectable, and have opened up their “The Best A Mo Can Get” pop-up babershop at 10 Newburgh Street, just off of London’s uber-trendy Carnaby Street. Offering free trims for all Mo Bros that pass through its doors, Brandish took our most hairily-blessed Mo Bro Perrie down to have his impressive lip-wear touched up.
With pro barbers on hand to offer tips and tricks for the best Mo maintenance, as well as complimentary drinks and luxury hot towel shaving experiences, Perrie’s mouser went from droopy to Dali-worthy in minutes.
With the shop decked out like a 1940s members club, complete with leather furnishings and games rooms, the barbers used Gillette’s Fusion ProGlider Styler, a 3-in-1 styling tool “based on performance driven design”, to get the job done.
Offering a precision edging blade, it let the team trim the loose waves of Perrie’s lip locks, with an ergonomic grip that prevents the line from slipping when perfecting the “Craig David Chin Strap”. Sporting blades said to be thinner than a surgeon’s scalpel, the Fusion ProGlider Styler gives the closest shave this side of a cut-throat, according to Gillette’s expert grooming team.
Blasting out choice cuts from Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly album while the bantering barbers slashed away at errant stubble, The Best A Mo Can Get barbershop has real attitude, and is definitely worth a visit from any Mo Bros struggling to keep their facial manes in check.
Gillette will be doing their part to fight prostate cancer during the Movember campaign in other ways too, aiming to donate £100,000 to the cause through sales of their Movember stamped products.
Gillette’s The Best A Mo Can Get barbershop is open to all members of the public, with a special late-night opening planned for November 22nd. There will also be a number of events including intimate DJ sets, cocktail nights and whiskey tasting sessions across the month. Check www.facebook.com/GilletteUK for more details.
Chances are that the mod monochrome look will also have an influence on menswear too, which is good news for the heritage brands who t are always selling 60 influenced clothes. Here are few items that are likely to be (coughs) bang on trend next year.
There is a bit of trend in comedy jumpers this season. You only need to check out River Island’s selection to see how prevalent they are. If you want knitwear that doesn’t have to be teamed up with paper hats and plastic cracker jewelry that you can wear all winter long then check out this lot.
These are our favourites of the season. All classic jumpers. All very stylish and a little more conservative than our last selection.
Bit chilly out, isn’t it? If you’re still running about in flip-flops and short sleeves then a) You’re mental and b) take a look at the calendar, it’s the middle of October!
Global warming may be jumbling up the seasons like a misguided game of drunken Twister, but winter’s definitely kicking in now. If the change in weather has caught you by surprise, have no fear! We’ve put together a round up of our favourite trophy jumpers for the season, meaning you’ll be able to make a statement with your knitwear while saving the pennies keeping the immersion heater switched off.
Words like ‘dapper’, ‘gentleman’ and ‘tailored’ spring to mind when looking at the Alexander McQueen Autumn/Winter 2012 collection. But then there is also ‘avant-garde’ and ‘unique’. Either way, the collection oozes of Britishness with a twist, perfect for the modern gentleman.
It’s here! Rumoured for pretty much as long as the iPad itself has existed, Apple have finally lifted the covers off the iPad Mini. And guess what? It’s smaller, lighter, and offering all the usual iOS apps and goodies that we’ve come to expect from Apple’s full size slates!
Looking much like an oversized iPod Touch, it fits comfortably in one hand at 7.9 inches diagonally across, but at 7.2mm thick is a quarter thicker than the newly announced fourth generation iPad. It still manages to be 53% lighter than the new iPad 4th gen though, at 0.68lbs.Available in black or white (with a silver back on the white version and built from aluminium), it has a resolution of 1,024×768, the same as the iPad 2. With a thinner bezel, it’s more squat in shape than previous versions, but offering 35% more display area over the likes of the Google Nexus 7.
Under the hood you’ll find a dual-core A5 processor, the same as previously found in the iPad 2, and there is also a FaceTime HD camera and 5-megapixel iSight camera on the back with 1080p recording.The Lightning connection introduced with the iPhone 5 is used for charging and connecting to a computer for iTunes transfers, while LTE 4G wireless joins dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi.
Battery life remains impressive at 10 hours average use from a single charge.
iOS 6 is the operating system of choice, giving access to some 700,000 apps (and 275,000 iPad-specific ones) and iTunes movie and music content. No word yet on whether apps will have to be optimised for the new smaller display, but it seems apps should scale down without too many problems.The iPad Mini will also launch with a new version of iBooks that features continuos scrolling (more like a long web page) rather than flipping through individual pages. There’s also improved sharing options, letting you tweet or ad statuses to Facebook by highlighting book passages.
“iPad mini is every inch an iPad. With its gorgeous 7.9-inch display, iPad mini features the same number of pixels as the original iPad and iPad 2, so you can run more than 275,000 apps designed specifically for iPad,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
“iPad mini is as thin as a pencil and as light as a pad of paper, yet packs a fast A5 chip, FaceTime HD and 5 megapixel iSight cameras and ultrafast wireless―all while delivering up to 10 hours of battery life.”A new range of Smart Covers for the iPad Mini were also revealed, priced at £35, dropping the metal hinge and coming in pink, green, blue, light gray and red shades.
In the UK, iPad Mini Wi-Fi will sell for £269 for the 16GB model, £349 for the 32GB model and £429 for the 64GB model. Pop £100 onto the end of each of those prices if you want a version with a 4G connection.In America, the iPad Mini is starting at $329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model, a 32GB iPad Mini is $429, with the 64GB version available for $519. If you’re after LTE connectivity, add $130 to the price of each model.
Wi-Fi only models will launch on November 2nd. Models with a cellular connection will land two weeks later. Pre-orders kick off on October 26th.
So what do you think? Will you be picking up an iPad Mini? Or does the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD Android tablets still hold sway over your 7-inch loving heart? Let us know in the comments below!
See gallery below for more iPad Mini images – ALL IMAGES: PRESS ASSOCIATION
The iPad mini, at left, is shown next to the 4th generation iPad in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. The device has a screen that's about two-thirds the size of the full-size model, and Apple says it will cost $329 and up. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Green is the new black over at Levi’s, who’ve just revealed the WasteLess jeans range for Spring/Summer 2013. Revealed at a slick launch bash at London’s Farmiloe Building in Farringdon, Brandish went down for a sneak peak at the new eco-freindly denims.
Each pair of Levi’s WasteLess jeans is made from a minimum of 20% post-consumer recycled content, roughly 12 to 20 ounces per pair. The bulk of this will be made from recycled plastic bottles, be they clear, green or brown. Turn the jean’s inside out and the inner shade reveals what sort of bottles went into making your slacks.
“From the beginning, we have designed our products with purpose and intent. By adding value to waste, we hope to change the way people think about recycling, ultimately incentivizing them to do more of it,” said James Curleigh, global president of the Levi’s brand.
“This collection proves that you don’t have to sacrifice quality, comfort or style to give an end a new beginning.”
Indeed, the jeans look to be as comfortable as any Levi’s pair before them, feeling as soft to the touch as any traditional denim weave we’ve laid our hands on before.
Levi’s expect to put some 3.5 million recycled bottles into the WasteLess range next year, which will include 511 Skinny jeans, a new modern-looking 504 Straight Fit jean, and the Trucker jackets.
“With this collection, we’re doing our own small part by taking waste and making something new from it,” added Curleigh.
“We don’t just want to reduce our impact on the environment, we want to leave it better than we found it. We are committed to making products in ways that are good for people and better for our planet.”
The event also showcased other elements of Levi’s Spring/Summer 2013 range. Coloured denims continue to be on trend, with both bold and soft pastel washes (inspired by India’s spice markets) set to feature heavily.
In terms of the mens range beyond jeans, canvas boots and rucksacks in muted earth tones look set to feature heavily:
The witching hour is almost upon us! Yep, come the end of the month, the ghouliest ghouls and the creepiest creeps will stalk the streets in search of tricks and treats, as Halloween night descends over Britain.
While the 31st of October bash is more of a big deal in the States than it is over here, every year us Brits get more devilish in our fright night antics. Whether you’re throwing a party or putting together a haunted house to scare the bejeezus out of ickle trick-or-treaters, this Tech Digest guide to decorating your home in the most frightening way possible will get you screams and smiles in spades.
STEP ONE: Cover the walls
First things first, you’re going to want to cover up your lovely flowery wallpaper. Halloween comes but once a year, so don’t go crazy and start painting the place. Instead, head down to a local hardware store and grab some inexpensive black tarpaulin and pin it to the walls, or pin some black bin bags to the walls. If you shred the the bin liners and hang them from door arches, they make for creepy tentacle things too. STEP TWO: A bit of mood lighting
Your IKEA lamp shade just isn’t going to cut it in a haunted house, so take any covers off your lights for a creepy dangly exposed bulb. White lights wont do at all either; pick up some red light bulbs for a hellish, warm glow. They’re inexpensive and can be picked up from places like Maplins or even your local £1 Store. You could also buy a strobe light too, but they’re very expensive. For a cheap alternative, head over to YouTube on your Smart TV or by hooking up a laptop, and do a search for strobe lighting videos, like this one:
These can be then played through the telly stretched to fullscreen, downloaded and then set to replay over and over through your media player of choice for a far more cost-effective scare. Flashlights too dotted around in unusual places can cast strange shadows as well.
STEP THREE: Atmosphere
Nothing says “graveyard chic” like a bit of fog. You can achieve this two ways; either grab some dry ice, or get a hold of a smoke or fog machine. Dry ice is a pretty tough material to get hold of, is expensive, and can really damage your skin if not used correctly, so grab a smoke machine instead. They’re available from Maplins too.This one’s probably best if you’re building some kind of outdoor event, but it’ll work inside too, providing you keep an eye on how hot the smoke machine is getting. They can be very hot indeed, so handle with care, and make sure not to leave them near anything flammable, nor where someone could easily spill a drink over them.
STEP FOUR: More gore
This step is not for the feint of heart. To really send a shiver down the spine, you’re going to need to get some fake blood. Gallons of the stuff. The bathroom is always a good place to splatter some of the stuff as it is easier to wipe tiles clean than, say, carpeted rooms. For a fake blood recipe that doesn’t stain, try this concoction we found on Yahoo Answers (use at your own risk!):
Take a teaspoon or two of Arrowroot (a white powder used in baking that you can easily find in health food shops) and add to water heated on the stove. Stir continuously until the mixture becomes gloopy. Add a small amount of red children’s non-toxic powder paint and stir in. The mixture should now be bright red. Add a tiny amount of brown powder paint or coffee concentrate (make this by adding a small amount of water to coffee granules) to darken the blood as required. Store in a bottle or jam jar and thin by adding water to make the blood the required consistency as and when you need it.
Once you’ve got the bath all covered in red, try plopping some fake body parts in there, which can easily be picked up from joke shops. If you’re truly committed to getting some scares though, head down to your local butchers and ask for a bag of offcuts and offal. That’ll be all the weird guts and stuff they don’t sell, maybe even a pig’s head if you’re being truly messed up. It’ll be a really convincing scare, but also one hell of a clean up job afterwards. STEP FIVE: Demonic Decorations
With your haunted house starting to take shape, it’s time to start pulling together some of the finer details. Plenty of household items, if used correctly, can look pretty darn creepy. Gardening tools, for instance, look really weird and creepy if taken out of context and put inside your house. It might not just be flower bulbs buried with that spade, if you catch our drift.
But many decorations can easily be found in second hand shops and charity shops if you need to grab some more bits and pieces. Old photographs black and white, especially weathered or torn ones, can look really scary. And there’s nothing like a line up of old fashioned dolls to freak someone out with.
Then there’s the classics, like fake spiders webs, and of course a carved pumpkin. Brownie points for inventive designs, of course.You can pick up plenty of props from toy shops and joke shops too, but shop around and you’ll get some real treats. The Box O Zombies from Firebox is great, detailed little toys that you can dot around the house.They come in packs of 6, measuring roughly five centimetres each and cost £8.99. You’ll get a real chuckle out of your mates when they come across these hidden around your flat.Really just try to think out of the box and be a bit creative with it. Got an old bit of rope lying around in the shed? Then you’ve got yourself a hangman’s noose. An old sheet with holes in it? The world’s simplest ghost if you put a torch underneath it. Put your mind to it and you can make a dark, dingy den for just a few quid.
STEP SEVEN: Games
Once you’ve got people to come to your haunted house, you’re going to want to give them something to do. Bobbing for apples is a classic, so grab a decent sized barrel or container, fill it with water and apples and challenge your mates to pick a few out in under a minute. Mix a few red ones in with a load of green apples, and you can even offer a prize to those who can fish out the winning colour.Or go a bit more techy. The Ghost Hunt game available from Firebox is a bit like a Halloween laser tag; it features a little Billy Bones ghost toy that projects spectres onto your walls, and screams when you shoot them down with the included laser pistol. It costs £29.99 and will be great fun for little ones.
Bigger kids may want to test fate by having their fortune told. Firebox also sell a beautiful little set of Zombie Tarot cards for £13.99, featuring 78 wondrously weird designs.STEP EIGHT: Spine-tingling tunes
With the party ready to get started, you going to need some tunes. Try this Spotify playlist that we put together. It’ll put the bump into your night, Monster Mash and all:
Also, if you’ve got a spare iPod dock lying around the house, load up an MP3 player with some creepy sounds (chalk board screeches, crow calls, rustling wind, wolf howls etc) and hide them around the house. Friends will get a real scare when they hear a random scream coming from behind the toilet.
So how did we do? Creepy enough for you? Or did we wuss out like a toddler on a ghost train? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below!
Gun sights darting from each edge of the screen. The iconic theme kicks in. A man in a tuxedo walks into view, turns to the camera. BANG! Fade to red.
BOND IS BACK! We’re just weeks away from the release of Skyfall, Daniel Craig’s third outing as 007, and the 23rd adventure for the world’s most famous spy.
Today’s also World Bond Day, marking the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr. No, Bond’s first silver screen assignment. With it comes the release of the latest Bond theme, “Skyfall” sung by Adele and written by the songstress herself along with Paul Epworth. It’s a return to the sweeping sound that characterised early Bond themes after a run of more rock-tinged tracks, but the classic sound hasn’t won everyone over. You can hear it in the video embedded below.
So what is the very best Bond song ever? We’ve pulled together our favourite Bond songs at Brandish below. See if you agree with our choices! Though our license to kill probably means you should think twice about disagreeing with us…
Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better
The best Bond song ever? If it was down to the amount of times it had been covered by other artists, this one would definitely stand a good chance, with everyone from Radiohead to fictional North Norfolk radio host Alan Partridge (AKA Steve Coogan) putting their spin on the tune. The title song to The Spy Who Loved Me, it’s a classy, soulful track that stands up as a great pop song in its own right.
Louis Armstrong – We Have All The Time In The World
If ever there’s been a Bond song that’s transcended categorisation as purely a Bond theme, it’s got to be this one. What a beauty! Louis Armstrong’s last recorded track, it’s actually the secondary theme for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and soundtracks one of the warmest, most heart-warming endings in Bond history. It’s easily the best song on the list, but does that make it the best BOND song? We’ll let you decide that.
Duran Duran – View To A Kill
A definite change of pace for the series, Duran Duran’s theme swaps strings and brass for new romantic synths. It still manages to retain the suave Bond style though, and marked a new modern direction for the ever-changing Bond.
A-Ha – The Living Daylights
In the same vein as the Duran Duran track, The Living Daylights has a killer pop hook, and is one of the punchier Bond songs written.
Nancy Sinatra – You Only Live Twice
Kicking off with unforgettable lush strings, You Only Live Twice is the sound of Bond at his most dashing. Even heavy sampling by Robbie Williams can’t sully this song.
Paul McCartney and Wings – Live and Let Die
Wings: only the band The Beatles could have been. Here McCartney rocks out to one of the most instantly recognisable Bond songs, with an excellent riff and almost jaunty breakdown. Typical McCartney then. We actually prefer the Guns N’ Roses version though. Whatever. So shoot us.
Shirley Bassey – Diamonds Are Forever
Shirley Bassey, regular Bond songstress, laid the foundations for what we now consider that Bond theme “sound”. Though many point to Goldfinger as her best, we prefer Diamonds Are Forever. It sounds more modern, and in our opinion has aged better. Which is probably why everyone from Kanye West to the Arctic Monkeys have played about with the track in some way or other in recent times.
Tina Turner – Goldeneye
Not the biggest Tina Turner fan in the world, to be honest. You have to be a 50+ housewife to like much of the stuff she’s done since her 1960s R&B heyday in our opinion. But when she’s on form, she’s got a cracking voice, and she totally nails it with Goldeneye. Little known fact, but this one was written by U2′s Bono and The Edge. Listen to those strings again and you can definitely imagine a reverb-laden riff by The Edge taking the lead instead.
So what do you think of our choice? Do they leave you shaken or stirred? Let us know in the comments below!
Last night Amazon’s Chief Executive Jeff Bezos unveiled a number of highly anticipated new Kindle products and although they’d already been revealed in a US TV ad earlier in the week, the three new Kindle Fire tablets and Paperwhite eReader didn’t fail to impress us.
Here’s a quick and dirty guide to the main announcements from Amazon:
The Kindle Paperwhite is an eReader with a capacitive touch display, which is totally different to standard black and white Kindles because it’s got a high resolution screen with 62% more pixels, 25% increased contrast, a 212 ppi display and a built-in light for reading in all kinds of conditions.
Jeff Bezos said at the event in California yesterday:
“Paperwhite is the Kindle we’ve always wanted to build — the technology didn’t exist to build a display with this level of contrast, resolution, brightness and battery life, so our engineers invented it.”
The device has a pretty impressive 8 weeks battery life too, which Amazon claims will last even with the light on the whole time. There’s also built-in Wi-Fi (and free 3G connectivity in some areas), Whispersync technology that works for audio too and a new feature called Time to Read, which tells readers the amount of time it will take them to finish reading a certain chapter or a whole book based on reading speed.
The Paperwhite is 9.1mm thick and 7.5 ounces.
We’ve only got US details about the new Kindle Paperwhite for now, it’ll come in at $119 and the Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi + 3G is $179.
Kindle Fire HD
This high-resolution iteration of the Kindle Fire comes in two new sizes, 8.9″ and 7″. The larger version has a 1920 X 1200 pixel resolution and the 7 inch model has a 1280 X 800 resolution.
Both devices have super durable Gorilla Glass with a laminated touchscreen that Amazon claims will reduce glare by 25%.
They also have stereo speaks and an HDMI port for connecting up to other devices.
The Kindle Fire HD also has two wi-fi antennas and Mimo (multiple-input and multiple-output) technology to improve internet speeds and connectivity. The bigger tablet can also be bought with 4G connectivity with a heftier price tag over in the US.
The 8.9″ tablet comes in at $299 / £159 and the smaller 7″ version is £159 for the 16GB version and £199 for the 32GB version.
The current Kindle Fire product has now been improved with all of the best features but with a faster process for 40% better performance, twice the amount of memory and a longer battery life too.
Well Prince did it. And now it seems that Snoop – real name Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. – has done it. The artist formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dog, then Snoop Dogg, wants to be known from this day forward as Snoop Lion after undergoing a spiritual rebirth during a stay in Jamaica.
In this video, we see Snoop – wearing his adidas Chile 62 tracksuit – along with his giant dreadlocked Lion introduce adidas’ latest Space Diver trainers from the top of a very tall Foot Locker building – as you do.
Inspired by basketball, these hi-top trainers feature a unique reversible strap and are available in two different colour ways: navy with pops of green and accents of silver leather; or white/blue/red in bold white leather with pops of red and blue.
The Space Diver trainers line will be available exclusively at Foot Locker stores from this month while the next products in the line up are set to be a windbreaker jacket (in black or grey) and a Chile 62 jacket track top in black nylon.
Want to win a pair of Space Diver trainers? Well adidas and Foot Locker have three pairs a day to give away to those who tweet about how they would them feel using the hashtag #inmyspacedivers. For more information about the competition visit http://unr.ly/PYphXb
You can see Snoop Lion introduce the Space Divers in this video below:
For more information on the Space Diver range of trainers visit adidas and Foot Locker websites.
The variety of styles, colours and looks of formal shoes is growing day by day. Long gone are the days of just being able to choose between a black pair and a brown pair, and having to have shoe laces, too. Here’s a look at some of the many new and traditional faces of formal shoes.
Here’s an example of the traditional formal shoe, I just mentioned, right? Wrong. It has much more to it. A traditional formal show with a contemporary twist:
The subtle studs and interesting soles make this shoe ideal for the young entrepreneur who wants to dress for business, but keep his rogue flair intact.
Bold colours are becoming ever more acceptable in formal shoe wear, and it’s also highly popular. These flash red formal shoes can be worn to a posh dinner party, as well as to a wedding to really show off with your style.
Having no laces on your shoes would’ve not that long ago been completely unacceptable, as only six hole shoes were deemed as formal shoes. These no lace and more loafer styled shoes are very popular due to their boot like appeal.
These Jasper boots are borderline formal. You won’t get away with them at a business meeting just yet, but times are changing so keep an eye out for these two leather style ankle boots.