A preamble: This musical find is courtesy of the latest issue of Vanishing Ink, the new(-ish) podcast and newsletter from Allyson McCabe (NPR, Rumpus, SF Chronicle): “Stripped and taped together like the music fanzines of a bygone era, the content is raw, edgy, and most of all fun; a modern tribute to punk culture and radio.” A must for fans of punk (music and culture) new and old.

PILL is a Brooklyn band that channels the energy of old NYC punk into the modern day in the best way possible, described by their label as “one of the most original and captivating bands to come out of New York’s post-Vice evicted DIY scene.” Burn. They continue:

“As the city quickly becomes a members-only club for the monied, hostile to the artists and culture that attract them, PILL defiantly answer this crisis in declaring ‘we take strength where order fails.’ Like the Upright Citizens Brigade (another one-quarter-female four piece) said before them: “Our only friend is chaos.” In the case of PILL, chaos is the genderless fifth member.”

Fuck yeah. Plus they have one of the coolest band sites I’ve seen in a bit.

Give their new EP a listen below and, if you’re NYC-local, check them out live. I can only guess that they shake the walls loose.

Hey, friends.

For any frequenters to these pages, you might have noticed we’re looking a little different these days—reason being, we underwent a long-overdue site redesign recently, so thanks for noticing. Or if you’re new, fuck it—let’s just listen to some new music.

We’re again very excited about some returns on the scene by some of our favorite artists, some expected, some totally out-of-the-blue. Longtime Canadian favorites Purity Ring dropped a new single a few weeks back and it is very Purity Ring (which is to say, awesome). And Swedish songwriter Emil Svanängen (AKA Loney Dear)—whose intimately personal electronic music we were huge fans of in the early aughts—has made a sudden return with a couple singles and announcement for a new full-length later this fall on Peter Gabriel’s highly esteemed Real World Records. We’ve also got a solo outing from Annie Hart of Au Revoir Simone (who we hear appears in the new Twin Peaks—you can read a 2013 interview we did with Hart where she talks about David Lynch and the band’s inspiration for their name). And, for me (Troy), most exciting of all—the return of German band Lali Puna, easily one of my favorite bands of all time and, along with Björk, one that opened up an early fascination with and love of electronic music for me. So we’re starting with that, because we can’t not.

We’re following our Deutsch friends with a new one from a new one London’s Tourist featuring Ardyn and a beautiful track from long-awaited debut full-length by Mura Masa (AKA Alex Crossan) featuring another favorite, Christine and the Queens. We’ve also got a new single from Montreal’s Blue Hawaii; Los Angeles R+B maestros TwoLips (who’s playing a free EP release party at the Hi-Hat next Tuesday);  Empress Of‘s anthemic new song, a sleepy house jam from Melbourne’s Take Your Time; a glitchy, catchy new track from another LA band (by way of Gainesville), Hundred Waters (you can download their most recent EP for free via their site); and an addictive single from London’s Millie Turner.

We’re finishing up with a song from Norwegian band Kommode (“analog dance music” from Eirik Glambek Bøe of Kings of Convenience and Øystein Gjærder Bruvik); another much-buzzed-about Angeleno, Billie Eilish; and a wonderful new track from one final final Angeleno, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and self-taught violinist, Sudan Archives (AKA Brittney Denise Parks).


For anyone who hasn’t already, please watch Bong Joon Ho’s new film, Okja. We saw it earlier this month and highly, highly recommend it to all audiences. It is awesome.

It’s streaming now on Netflix and—upon writing—can still be seen at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York and at Tarantino’s New Beverly here in Los Angeles. We’d highly recommend the latter if you’re able—the theatre and Tarantino had a 35-mm print made exclusively for their use and it’s beautiful on the big screen. PLUS they’re playing the film through next weekend at least as part of double features, fittingly paired with movies like Babe: Pig in the City and Free Willy, and cult classics like the original King Kong, and a 1984 movie called Razorback (“In Russell Mulcahy’s dreamlike, ultra-stylized Jaws of the outback, a giant Razorback boar roams the dusty landscape in a voracious search for human flesh”). PLUS the theatre’s been featuring “Okja Vegan Hot Dogs” at their (adorable) concession stand and have promised to keep them around even after Okja’s gone if the demand keeps up!

Just in time for your holiday weekend, we’ve got our monthly mixtape of new music.

This one’s trending a bit more eclectic than usual, jumping from the excellent new cold wave punk of Brooklyn’s B Boys to some 80s-loving pop (complete with ‘baby baby’ talky break down, which is actually growing on me) by Nashville’s Wild Cub to some easy breezy classic rock by Southern California’s Parting Lines (the new project from Tim + Trevor formerly of Tall Tales and the Silver Linings; we interviewed Trevor shortly after the band broke up last year, for any interested).

But we’re starting things off with the welcome return of Stockholm’s Shout Out Louds, a band we’ve been following since we first stumbled across them at a now-defunct NYC club in 2003. We follow up with a great new single we’re loving from New York’s Salt Cathedral; some catchy, jazzy pop from Jack Steadman’s (Bombay Bicycle Club) new project, Mr Jukes; some more cold wave from London’s Kite Base, the new project from Savages’ Ayşe Hassan and fellow bassist Kendra Frost; some wonderful new vocal-forward electronic pop from Highland Park’s own Ella Vos (totally visit her SoundCloud page to download some of her singles, compliments of the artist); and a really nice cut off the new full-length by LA’s Gothic Tropic (AKA Cecilia Della Peruti). Another welcome return we’re excited about is that of London/Paris’ CYMBALS—they put out one of our favorite albums of 2014 that skirted the line between angular post-punk and (new) new wave beautifully, so we’re thrilled to hear the rest of their coming album, Light in Your Mind, next month. After their new single and the debut from Parting Lines, we’ve got an infectious track from LA-born, NJ-based ISADORA; some weirdly wonderful Norwegian pop from Blood Forest Family; and a truly awesome track from Los Angeles’ ANIMA! (so many all-caps). Then we end things up with a trippily rhythmic track from the UK’s Vasser and our favorite off of Joe Goddard‘s (Hot Chip) great new album, Electric Lines. Goddard’s beautifully designed site actually serves as a mixtape in and of itself and is well worth a visit/listen.

Enjoy, and happy America, everybody.

Next Tuesday, Los Angeles celebrates its second annual Climate Day LA—an event bringing together over 1,500 Angeleno leaders, advocates, and locals “to strategize, implement, and celebrate local solutions to climate change” and capping off with a fundraising gala DJed by everyone’s favorite Angeleno, Moby, and an evening concert with Neon Indian, Weyes Blood, and a DJ set by Eric Wareheim (you know—Big Bud from Master of None?). The event takes place at the beautiful Theatre at the Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles this year, and is presented by KCRW, Climate Resolve, ecoAmerica, FORM, and IHEARTCOMIX in support of the Path To Positive LA initiative for climate solutions.  We wanted to find out more about the inspiration for the event so we reached out to one of its organizers, Jonathan Parfrey of Climate Resolve (who, also founded CicLAvia).

Read on to find out more about the event; the daytime portion (starting at noon Tuesday) is free with RSVP; gala fund-raiser (5PM) is $150; and evening concert (7PM) is $35; proceeds benefit Path to Positive LA.

6.26.2017 UPDATE: From the event promoter—”Due to unforeseen circumstances, the evening concert portion of our event with Neon Indian, Weyes Blood, and Eric Wareheim has been cancelled. All concert ticket holders will be refunded.”

raven + crow: Alright, for the uninitiated, do ycivilind starting by telling us about Climate Day LA—where did the idea for this come from?

Jonathan Palfrey: Our changing climate is going to alter just about every aspect of modern life—it’s a big deal—and we need to get ready. Climate Day LA was created to invite new people to make a difference on this most important issue. Our group, Climate Resolve, is partnering with a DC-based organization, ecoAmerica—the nation’s experts in climate communications and strategy—and together we’re reaching out to new constituencies with fresh new ideas.

That’s great to hear. I know last year, with the inaugural Climate Day LA, it was much more of your standard conference; this year, it seems to be leaning more in the entertainment realm—was that a calculated change of course to attract more of the general public? …or are you all just big Moby fans?

You’re right. We’re obsessed with Moby.

Who isn’t?

We’re also fired-up about re-attaching activism with music. Every progressive movement has been grounded in song—from Civil Rights to the singing revolution of Estonia. We also need to reach folks in their 20s and 30s, and music is a great vehicle to reach them.

Was it a challenge to get all these people from seemingly disparate fields—policy, entertainment, the nonprofit world—sitting down at the same table and committed to this as an event?

Climate Resolve’s creative director, Jacob Cooper, is our connection to the music community. Through his career as a musician, Jacob intro’ed us to the creative team at IHEARTCOMIX. Our Outreach Director, Kristina von Hoffmann, was introduced to the team at the Ace through a friend, and shortly after meeting with them we decided to collaborate on this event. We wanted to organize a concert that would reach new people. When it comes to climate change, we need more people to dial-in, become aware of the threat and make climate change a priority, and then to dedicate themselves to be part of the solution.

What are you hoping the event will accomplish for Angelenos?

Climate Day LA is an event that will be rich with information and cool ideas. There will be specific actions people can take, right there and then from their seats. It’s why the conference is free—we want to encourage folks to learn what’s happening on climate change right here in LA, and change the course of history. Sales of tickets to the gala and concert will support local projects and programs.

Not to veer too much toward the negative, but, given the current political climate (pun intended), can I get your thoughts on the importance of this kind of dialogue in context of what’s going on in Washington?

You mean the decision by Trump to back out of the Paris agreement and to appoint climate deniers? Here’s the thing, as bad as it is in DC—and I won’t sugarcoat it, it’s awful—many others are stepping up. Cities are stepping-up right here in California.

Even though Mayor Garcetti and Governor Brown have been damn good on climate change, they can’t do it alone. We need more citizens exerting their small “d” democratic rights and demanding that we protect the planet. It starts in LA, in California, and then spreads across the nation.

Do you feel that it’s the role of the state and/or local entities to pick up the slack when it comes to fighting climate change then?

Climate Resolve’s number #1 principle is this: Although climate change is global, we experience climate change locally, in our neighborhoods. Even though the federal government is a mess, LA and California are stepping up. In fact, California now has a competitive advantage over other states. Renewable power is cheaper and it’s the future. And California is ahead of everybody else.

It is encouraging, in these largely (for many of us) discouraging times to see the positive reaction on the local level many are having. I wonder though—most of us are used to fighting this fight in the arenas of government, non-profit campaigns, lobbying, but do you see opportunities to turn the tide from unexpected populations, like the tech industry or activist investors, of instance?

Yes! Our offices are located at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. We share space with great innovators working on solar power, energy-efficient lighting, car-sharing and more at companies focused on the triple-bottom line: people, planet, profit. We need technology and policy and science to inform each other and keep pace—with both social good and economic benefit.

Oh, yeah—you’re actually rock-throwing distance from our studio; I had no idea.

So, I know you’re moderating a panel during the day—can you talk a little bit about what you hope to cover and who’ll be speaking as part of that?

Climate Day LA features two very cool panels.

The first highlights young emerging leaders. It’s moderated by KCRW’s Avishay Artsy and includes Aura Vasquez, LA’s brilliant new DWP commissioner, Araceli Campos, President of the LA County Women and Girls Initiative and Nourbese Flint of Black Women for Wellness. You may not know these names today…but they’re LA’s future.

Then I’m moderating a panel featuring established leaders like Tom Steyer of NextGen Climate, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, and the brilliant Rachelle Reyes Wenger of Dignity Health — all of whom have made substantial progress in climate activism.

What are you personally most excited about for Climate Day LA?

I want to meet new young people—fresh for battle to protect the planet.

Climate soldiers. Nice. I guess I’m wondering—specifically from someone as informed on the subject as you—if you’ve had much experience in convincing the many unconvinced that A) yes, climate is a real thing that’s going on, and B) here’s why it’s important that we work to change course; how do you approach the subject without totally turning off those who disagree with you?

Funny that you ask—at Climate Day LA there’s a mini-play, directed by Aaron Lyons of the LA Fringe Festival, that takes place at Thanksgiving where all hell breaks out when family members disagree over climate change. It’s fun and informative. Plus we’re offering a whole session on do’s and don’ts on climate communication.

That’s great, actually. Total aside, but thanks for founding CicLAvia—I feel like that’s one of the most popular regular events in Los Angeles.

Isn’t it great? CicLAvia taught me that the best kind of organizing isn’t a wagging finger, isn’t being a scold, but instead, organizing works best when you invite people into a better place, to have fun. Joy is the best motivator.

One hundred percent agree with you on that. Thanks again for taking the time to talk, Jonathan—see you Tuesday.

Our friends + longtime collaborators at Pel asked us recently to team up with them on their second digital bakesale.

As you might recall, Mary + Paul of Pel first announced the bakesale in January as an ongoing fundraising campaign to support the work of progressive grassroots organizations. The inaugural event involved two shirts they designed that read ‘AMERICAN’ + ‘PEACE’ in Arabic.

For their second bakesale, they’ve released two coffee mugs—an Otherwild-endorsed ‘THE  FUTURE IS FEMALE’ design and one that takes up the battlecry popularized by Senator Mitch McConnell when he decried the silencing of Senator Elizabeth Warren with his now-famous phrase ‘NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED.’ We designed the latter mug, but encourage you to purchase both as all sales Planned Parenthood will benefit and the good work hey do to support the health of women nationwide.

As Mary + Paul wrote earlier this month:

“With your help, we raised over $1,400 earlier this year in our inaugural Digital Bakesale for The Sikh Coalition and Muslim Community Network. This time around, we are fundraising for Planned Parenthood with two awesome coffee mugs. Paying homage to 1970s feminism, one reads THE FUTURE IS FEMALE, which was originally designed by Labyris Books and re-introduced recently by Otherwild. The other, designed by our friends at raven + crow studio, is a shout-out to Senator Elizabeth Warren…because…NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED! 100% of profits will go to Planned Parenthood and your donation is greatly appreciated. Feel free to share this with friends, co-workers, relatives and anyone else who might want to help actually Make America Great Again. $25 each, or better yet, $40 for two.”

You can see and purchase both via their digital bakesale page and read more (and share with your friends) via their Facebook page.

Thank you all for your support!

This year’s very first mixtape featured a track from Amsterdam artist Luwten, a song we stumbled across at random and immediately fell in love with. We recently reached out to the band to find out more about them and their music, taking some time for a quick interview with Luwten founder, song-writer, and front woman Tessa Doustra. Read on and listen to more below.

raven + crow: Alright, apologies, Tessa, but we know very little about the band—can you tell us about Luwten? Did it start off as a solo project or has it been a full band from the beginning?

Tessa Douwstra: No problem at all. Luwten started in my mind only but I always wanted to play this music with a band. There’re a couple of musicians I’ve been working with for years now and I don’t feel like I can do this without them.

I feel like many of the bands I love—especially electronic ones—are ones that are built out from solo endeavors. I think I’d read that you were in a couple bands previously—how does what you’re doing in Luwten differ from what you did in those bands?

I think that in my former bands the writing or arranging was more of a joint effort. For Luwten I did almost all of the writing and arranging myself. Also I wanted to start anew, without dealing with genres or music I made before.

Now, I did manage to figure out that “luwten” seems to translate from Dutch as “lied”—is that correct?

That’s not true actually. Where can I find that translating machine?!

WHAT‽ Damn you, Google Translate! You were so good to us in Japan! Or were you…? Alright then, what does “luwten” mean then?

Luwten is a Dutch word for “places without wind”. Similar to “under the lee” I think?

Oh, yeah, I like that much more than “lied”.

So, the first track we heard from you all was “Go Honey”, which, again, we really love. Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration for that song?

It was inspired by a friend of mine who was about to move abroad. I wrote the chorus on a little goodbye card when she left and later it turned into this song that’s also about a lot of other things. But this event planted the seed for the song, I guess.

I feel like that speaks to the bittersweet mood of the song. Both that song and “Indifference” pair your softer vocals with equally subtle-but-beautiful rhythms and instrumentation. Is most of that electronic-based or analog or both?

Both! I love both! I like the iciness and steadiness of electronics and the more human touch of analog instruments. I love guitars but I also like playing with the way it sounds so that it’s not even recognizable anymore.

Totally agree. I feel like strictly electronic music sounds somewhat…flat or one-dimensional or cold to me most times, especially when it’s lacking analog percussion. So what’s your song-writing process like? Are you the type that usually writes vocal + single instrument and then builds from there?

A lot of times the song-writing starts with a sentence or an idea. I think I start with lyrics more often than I start with music. After that I like to create a vibe by building a loop out of instruments and vocals and start singing over them. When I feel like the songs needs an extra bit, I make a new part for the song. Sometimes the writing of a song can also start with just guitar and vocals. It depends.

Cool. Word on the street is that you’ll be releasing a full album some time this spring—can you tell us anything more at this point? Track listings, when to expect it this spring, maybe how some of the other songs might differ from or expand on what we’ve heard to date?

Yes, that was the plan but it’s been quite difficult to decide what would be the best way to release it so we had to postpone it. It will be soon though! I think there’re going to be a lot of sounds on the album you’ve already heard with the first two songs we released, but some songs and sounds are a bit more electronic, some a bit more experimental, some a bit more traditional. But they all have the same cautiousness and consciousness over them, I think.

Can’t wait to hear more.

We really love that image of you that you’ve been using for PR, where you seem to be floating above an upside-down ceiling. Can you tell us how that was created and who did it? It’s really striking. Does it tie into the band/album name and translation at all?

Thanks! I love how it turned out. I worked together with two friends of mine Sonja van Hamel (graphic designer) and Eddo Hartmann (photographer). They have been doing stuff together for years and I love the things they come up with. It always looks a bit out of this world, in both the literal and figurative sense. The three of us worked on the idea for the photo together. We wanted it to be something you have to look at a couple of times in order to see what’s really going on. The floating creates a sense of stillness I really like. In that way it ties to the idea of the album: to take time to look at things from different sides and also to not be afraid to take time to work in the “luwten”.

Nice. What’s the music scene like in Amsterdam right now? I hear your noise + indie scenes are strong, but, other than Klangstof and (yeeeeears back) Bettie Serveert, I can’t say that I know many bands from your neck of the woods. Who are some artists you like?

Wow, good question! Bettie Serveert is still going strong by the way. And the band members live just around the corner here! There are a couple of bands and artists I really like. Pitou is someone I really look forward to releasing more music. Her voice, ideas, and vocal arrangements I really like. I’m also looking forward to Nana Adjoa and Sofie Winterson‘s new stuff. I can make you a list of songs by Dutch bands and artists you could listen to if you like!

Oh, man, I’d actually love that!

I’ve never visited Amsterdam but hear great things—what are some things you love about the city or places you love or things you’d recommend doing for anyone planning to visit?

I never really get attached to the place where I live. I think I like the idea of always being able to go somewhere else. But of course I love lots of things about this city. I love being able to go everywhere by bike, I love the museums we have here and the diversity of the city. But what I would recommend most is just to sit on a café’s terrace (like Festina Lente or L’Affiche), order a coffee and just look at people. It’s a great place to go to just look at people.

That sounds lovely.

Apologies for veering to politics and the state of the world, but I’m curious about the Dutch perspective of what’s been going on here over the past few months?

I think most of us were pretty shocked when Trump got elected as president. It didn’t feel like it was possible and still it did happen. I like that you brought it up. I think it’s good to talk about this and to keep each other posted on what’s going on and how to best deal with it. Even when there’s an ocean in between.

Are you all pretty left-leaning over there or do you have similar experiences to this whole conservative, fear-of-the-other trend that we seem to be experiencing here and in places like France, Germany…honestly way too many places lately?

We do have similar experiences over here. Last March the most right-winged party became the second largest party of our country. I’m afraid it’s everywhere but I’ve been trying to remind myself that the number of people looking for a connection is way bigger than the number of people trying to create this division.

Beautiful point and definitely something we all need to remember.

I know from speaking with other artists over the years that it can be tough to get to the states and make touring profitable, but, nonetheless, any plans to make the trek to the US?

We’d love to come to the US! No concrete plans yet but I’ll keep you posted!

Please do! And thanks again for taking the time to talk.

A few weeks back, we were sitting in a very hard-to-find-yet-awesome bar in the Shibuya ward of Tokyo when a local and his friend pointed across the bar to me and said ‘Sonic Youth?’ in a very confused manner, gesturing at the shirt I was wearing (pictured above).

Turns out the two guys—both sporting the ubiquitous post-work Tokyo salary man look (suit, no tie, collar open)—both worked for the Japanese beverage giant Suntory, who’s largely responsible for the Japanese whisky boom of today. But the one guy—Shin—used to work for years at the gigantic Tower Records down the street from us and was a big indie music fan. I responded that I was grateful that he got the reference to the cover of Sonic Youth’s seminal album, Goo. A lot of people just think it’s a weird Taylor Swift shirt. Don’t get me wrong—Taylor Swift’s fine, I’m more Team Sonic Youth.

And Team Scissorsaurus, who created the shirt and illustration in the first place, and whose work I’ve been meaning for a while now to call out here.

Scissorsaurus is Leeds-based artist Katie Nicholls. I came across her current work while free-falling through the web, researching her old work as the drummer in one of my favorite mid- to late-2000s bands, ¡Forward, Russia!, a wonderful art-punk band that I miss to this day. These days, judging by what little I can find on the internet, Nicholls spends the lion’s share of her time working in Huddersfield New College’s design department and creating awesome new shirts, totes, aprons, and cards for Scissorsaurus, all of which you can check out on her store.

Also, that shirt led to some great stories + recs from our friends at Suntory, so thanks, Scissorsaurus!

For those looking to up their grilling game this summer, we have some post-Memorial-Day suggestions.

First: Homemade pickles.
Despite what many of us think, quick pickles are super-easy—and, as the name would suggest—quick to make at home. We wrote up a detailed bread + butter pickle recipe a bit back that you can essentially follow using any vegetable you want pickled (green beans, peppers, red onions, the golden beets you see above). You’d just up or lower the sugar used depending on how sweet (if at all) you want the end product and vary spices + herbs used for variety. But, essentially, all you need to do is put some fresh, raw vegetables in a glass container with said spices/herbs, boil some vinegar, and carefully pour it over the vegetables until covered, leaving at room temperature for an hour or two. That’s it. And it’s an awesome way to add visual interest to just about any dish; or, say, vegan hot dogs.

You can also make pickled vegetables without store-bought vinegar, using sea salt to coat vegetables like onions, slivered carrots, radish, red cabbage, or greens (like the beet greens you see below) and letting them stand for a couple hours. This breaks down the cellular structure of the vegetables and releases liquid, essentially creating a salty natural vinegar in the process. Then just rinse with water (or don’t if you like the saltier taste) and serve.

Second: Bun variety.
Let’s face it—buns are just a necessary vehicle for the dogs + toppings. And they can get really old if you chose buns that are too bread-y or you’re having more than one hot dog. So get a couple types of buns to add variety to your next grilling extravaganza. Milwaukee’s Miller Baking Company makes a great line of totally vegan pretzel buns for dogs + sandwiches that we LOVE. Between that and a nice, soft generic hoagie roll that’s dairy-free, it’s easy maximize your vegan-hot-dog eating without getting all ho-hum about the bread. And both options are great in the stand-up arena, which is superb for allowing a ton of toppings (the real star of any hot dog party in our opinions).

Third: Get creative.
A classic ketchup + mustard dog is great sometimes, but we’ve had a lot of fun planning out more ambitious, less traditional flavor combinations with our toppings. Think out some flavors that work well in other foods and figure out if they might translate well to your next vegan hot dog.

This past Memorial Day we ended up with:
Homemade vegan chili with homemade cashew cheese, salt-cured beet greens, crunchy fried shallots (the kind you find at Asian markets), vegan mayo, and pickled golden beets on grilled white hoagie bun;
Sweet Earth vegan bacon with homemade Korean chili flake bread + butter pickles, homemade pub cheese, sautéed onions, vegan mayo, and salt-cured red cabbage on grilled pretzel bun (both pictured above);
And, with a tenuous analog to the wonderful world of bagels, a vegan cream cheese-slathered pretzel bun with salt-cured beet greens, pickled red onions, and Sriracha (pictured below along with the bacon variant on white bun with pickled peppers).

For the vegan dogs themselves, we tend to like the old-school soy-based ones or the more vegan sausage-like ones—less the really high-gluten ones that make you feel like you’re eating a bread sandwich—or even sous-vide carrots. But, really, it’s about the toppings, man. The toppings.

First off, we’re back from Japan and, yes, it was an amazing, life-affirming/-altering experience we’d highly recommend to everyone. We’ll be using these pages in the coming weeks to outline a kind of guide for vegan-friendly, fun-friendly travel in Tokyo, Kyoto, and in between, but, in the meantime, we wanted to let you know that we’ve got a new batch of our Kindness Collection shirts that we’ve just released.

The shirts—first announced a year and a half back—are our holistic answer to animal-friendly messaging in the all-too-welcome but often over-saturated pro-vegan marketplace of today. When we first considered designing creating a line of shirts, we decided we couldn’t in good conscience simply slap some illustrations and slogans on the cheapest shirt we could find (which, admittedly, would be the most lucrative move) and ignore work conditions and environmental impact while espousing the rights of animals. It seemed like a narrow-minded approach at this point in our lives and the life of our company; in short, we would have felt like hypocrites.

So we sought out a local apparel-maker here in Los Angeles—one with an eye on minimizing environmental impact while supporting its workers—and we found Groceries Apparel.  Groceries is not only committed to a fair workplace and eco-friendly materials and production, they also have an eye on quality and a deep catalog of products to choose from. What’s more, they’re a small, locally run business, like ours, with similar values that just mesh well with our own.

This run of shirts—like the last—is made of non-GMO, organic cotton and/or poly that’s produced by processing recycled plastic bottles and it’s all cut and sewn just south of downtown LA, in a central factory that also serves as Groceries’ HQ and offices. We also have the shirts screen-printed locally, just south of the 10.

All of this means more expensive shirts…but it also means producing something that we can stand behind with clear hearts. None of this is meant to disparage others in the same field doing things differently at all—again, the marketplace is so huge right now, there’s room for all kinds of approaches; this is just the one we feel most comfortable taking.

So we encourage you—if you’re local to LA or NYC—to swing by MooShoes, who carries the shirts, to check them out (give us a few days to get them over to New York; we’re tagging and sending as soon as we finish these next few paragraphs) or take a look at them over at mooshoes.com.

Also, how did we get through this whole post without mentioning our reverence for Skate or Die!?