Blackout Billy’s Band of the Week – Bad Brains

May 12th, 2011 | By | 8,071 Comments

Bad Brains are an American punk band that formed in Washington, D.C. in 1977. Mention the name “Bad Brains” to anyone today and you’ll likely get an overwhelmingly positive response.

As one of the single most important pillars of American hardcore, Bad Brains have a pure and definitive attitude that most artists only aspire to achieve. They’re simply one of the most important and influential American bands who garner the same respect as the Sex Pistols, Black Flag, The Clash and The Ramones.

Known for their high energy and over-the-top live performances, the band’s crucial evolution of melding punk and reggae into an innovative style has yet to be copied. Their impact can be felt in many musical circles and the Brains today have impacted virtually every working punk band that exists. Although the Bad Brains have released only a handful of albums during their lifetime, they’re classic rasta-punk hybridization is revolutionary, making them musical icons.

Formed by vocalist H.R, guitarist Dr. Know, bassist Darryl Jenifer & drummer (H.R.’s younger brother) Earl Hudson in the early 1980s, Bad Brains were influenced by both reggae and rage-fueled, hardcore punk. During the time the band originally formed these influences were surfacing in the U.K. punk band scene. Although there were shades of these influences appearing in the U.K. punk scene the Bad Brains took it a step further by pioneering the crossing of these two genres and bringing a legendary sound that nobody had ever heard before.

They managed to maintain an intensity and sense of anarchic, rage-fueled blitz while shifting gears from punk to reggae to punk. H.R. has dug deep into his bag of voices and pulled them all out. Whether it’s his soul-deep rastafari hymns or his bile-encrusted nasal falsetto of speed-rap chatter, his vocal virtuosity and compelling innovation continues to be unchallenged today. Darryl Jenifer and Dr. Know bring some of the most inimitable and timeless musical jousts while their interplay with the drummer, Hudson, has always driven the Brains’ energy and intensity.

By melding punk with reggae, Bad Brains has become one of the most quintessential American hardcore punk bands of all time.

About Billy: Job Title: Harp player to help soothe work environment for fellow employees. “I guarantee that I’ve pee’d in my wetsuit more times than you during one continuous surf session” – Billy (World Record holder for the longest surf session)

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Swell Summer Catalog, Featured Photographer: Jim Russi

May 12th, 2011 | By | 2,733 Comments

About the man behind the lens of the 2011 Swell Summer Catalog (and the 2008 Summer catalog, for those of you who have been following)…Jim Russi


So how does a guy turn a week long vacation on the North Shore of Oahu into a 30-year stay, a house at Pipeline, and a career as one of the best surf photographers in the world? It’s been a long road for Palos Verdes native Jim Russi who started his journey as the photo editor of his high school newspaper, and later earned a degree in fashion and advertising from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara.
After graduation, Russi headed straight to the North Shore where he learned his degree hadn’t prepared him for the complicated curriculum of the “school of surf.” Such as, how, when and where to swim out, and with whom. However, Russi quickly received his “masters” in water photography with mentoring from Dan Merkel and Aaron Chang. (more…)

Summer Catalog: Outfit Inspiration

May 11th, 2011 | By | 3,071 Comments


Hi All,
We just launched our May catalog, and this issue has to be my favorite one to date. Not to toot our own horn…but the outfits turned out spectacular…so toot, toot! Michelle (our stylist) and I had a blast creating and fine tuning the looks. My goal was to recreate all of the laid back, casual/cool looks, which have inspired me over these past few months…picking up on street trends from the coast to Coachella. I wanted to incorporate a piece of California into every look, along with a touch of inspiration from beaches around the world.

The summer catalog captures the essence of the Swell girl: unique, eclectic, and free.

Above are my top three favorite looks out of the catalog. I’d love to get your feedback, so leave a comment and let voice your tops picks.

See new of the outfits HERE


New at SWELL: Undrest

May 10th, 2011 | By | 485 Comments

Un-Drest to the nines, and rocking solid tens across the board. New to SWELL, Undrest by the Sea is a collection of hand-knit bikinis with retro style (and chevron stripes) written all over them. To top it off, the 100% LA-made bikinis support sustainable and socially responsible fashion production. Groovy.

See what’s new from Undrest HERE