As Seen In: Cosmo

May 9th, 2011 | By | 3,557 Comments

The L*Space Stardust Fringe One-Piece!


Cameron rocks the Stardust…and thus makes Ziggy look milder than a Jack Johnson concert. Get it HERE

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Is Baja Dangerous? – Un Cuento Cortito de Baja Norte

May 6th, 2011 | By | 1,628 Comments

This post seemed proper for the day after Cinco de Mayo. I scheduled it to coincide with all your tequila headaches. Enjoy!

We left for Mexico on a Friday evening. The day before, my grandpa waved his hairy finger at me saying, “Not a good idea son, NOT a good idea at all!” So I had my concerns when we got to the border just before midnight. Our last minute decision to head to Baja after work put us behind schedule, but the thought of fresh tacos and caguamas lured us south despite everyone’s best advice.

Common phrases when you say you’re headed to Mex.. “BE CAREFUL! Don’t get killed over there!” or “Come back with your head still on your shoulders!”

Even though we were frothing over the buoy readings all week, a day full of pessimistic small talk definitely poked some holes in my dream canoe. Any mention of Baja to friends or coworkers and they’d start talking about beheadings, killings and anarchy… Not really what you want to think about as you near the border.


11:24pm: Tijuana Border Crossing

As soon as we could see the twinkling lights of TJ, my brother and I started searching for reasons to double back. At the MexInsur booth we asked the lady if it was dangerous driving over the border at nighttime. Fishing for a bloody cartel story or something of the sort, we sat there bracing for the worst. To our surprise all she gave us was a warning for possible foggy driving conditions near the coastline. A bit confused we then prodded about the drug war, the killings and such. Her response, “If you guys don’t have any drugs on you then you should be fine, Have a safe trip!” and then she slid the window closed.

You know what happened next? Nothing! absolutely nothing. We took the road south and aside from a slight detour through town, everything seemed normal. We arrived to our destination with fresh beers in hand and our friends greeted us with tequila shots and similar stories of an equally safe arrival. I remember thinking, “Maybe the MexInsur lady was right, maybe Mexico is safe.”


No Salt, No Lime, No Problem


Cartel Doesn't Kill Surfers


Blackout Bill’s Band of the Week – The Mantles

May 5th, 2011 | By | 4,511 Comments

The Mantles are a contemporary pop/psych concoction from San Francisco. This San Franciscan four-piece are a zany group of longtime friends that really know how to create some sharp, garage-minded jangle pop in a groovy sort of way. Their unique sound encapsulates both the late 50’s countrified rock ‘n roll as well as the paranoiac side of the 60’s & 70’s psychedelic fuzz.

The band members’ paths crisscrossed in unlikely, but seemingly inevitable ways. All longtime Bay Area residents, The Mantles have formed a groove-furnished group that is spearheading the current San Francisco psych renaissance.

When Kevin J. Elliot of The Agit Reader asked The Mantles “How did you guys get started,” the drummer, Virginia Weatherby, responded- “I lost my job and was advised to find a couple of “shitbags” to help me kill time. Enter Michael (Michael Olivares- the band’s vocalist & guitarist), who was impressed that I lived in a house in San Francisco with a garage that you could practice in. He convinced me to jam even though I had never really played drums before. With some 40s in hand, Michael lured his high school buddy Jermaine to come play bass and the three of us spent the summer playing music as an excuse to drink during the day and not feel guilty.”

The bassist for the band, Matt R, described how the came together about by stating “I saw this incarnation of the band and asked to put out a single. I goaded Drew C (the band’s lead guitarist) into letting me co-produce the record in his garage. Slowly Drew seeped into the band and I wasn’t too far behind, as I was the only bass player shitty enough to get in the ballpark of Jermaine after he decided to leave.”

The Mantles are amidst a great sound that is currently going on in the SF music scene. The reason I dig them so much is the fact that they aren’t pushing out quantity but rather taking time to press the best.

This quality sound that The Mantles exude fills me with jittery exuberance and makes me wanna boogie. Whether or not yer day-tripping or just plain ol’ tripping out enjoi this breeze-kissed, pop nugget “Don’t Lie” off of their latest album titled “The Mantles.”



Interview: Heal Japan’s Founder Chris Walthall

May 4th, 2011 | By | 1,655 Comments


An interview with Heal Japan’s founder Chris Walthall, to find out more about Heal Japan, and how your donation money will to REAL people affected by the recent disasters…

SWELL: What is Heal Japan?
Chris: Heal Japan is an organization dedicated to benefiting the victims of the recent disasters that have taken place in Japan. Our goal is to collect $50,000 by the end of June. Funds will be delivered IN PERSON as soon as it is safe to do so.

SWELL: How did you come up with the idea to put something like this together?
Chris: The idea came to me at work actually! I was speaking to a client and out of nowhere all these ideas just came to me. After I got off the phone I started drawing shirts designs and a game plan for how I wanted the organization to function. I wanted to be the one held accountable for where the money went. If I could go and speak with people about the cause and “put a face to the name” that they were familiar with, I knew it would be effective. With so many people in this unimaginable situation, I just had to do something. So many people are willing to be a part of making positive changes in and around our community. I decided it was time to do my part. I called a close friend of mine and asked to go to lunch. We got together at a restaurant that same day and threw a bunch of ideas around. Right then and there he dedicated some funds to have wristbands and t-shirts made in exchange for donation. Without the help of my incredible friends who have done so much to make this happen, it just would not have been possible.

SWELL: When exactly do you plan on going to Japan? And do you have a charity in mind that you would like the money to go to?
Chris: As of now we’re thinking it will be close to a year before it is safe to go there ourselves. It’s just unreal how much damage the affected areas have sustained. It’s likely that it will be close to a year before we can go in person.
Our plan is to go to Japan and deliver the funds to charity ourselves. We want to make certain that the money goes to REAL people affected by the recent disasters. We are in the works of selecting a like-minded organization that will work closely with us in completing our goals. We are also very open to speaking with others and hearing new ideas in order to be as effective as possible.

SWELL: Why Japan? There are so many horrible things that could use benefit, what made you choose Japan? (Not saying it isn’t a mighty fine choice!)
Chris: When I really think about it, it was all about the timing. Around the same time as the earthquake and tsunami, my father was hospitalized. It was one of the most difficult situations I’ve ever been in. It’s so frightening to see a parent fighting for their lives. You think your dad is a super hero, but in reality we are all human. You don’t really know what it’slike until it happens. By the grace of God he’s still alive and making a smooth recovery. I took a step back and thought about the situation. That was my own personal earthquake and tsunami. If I thought what I had to deal with was hard, the people of Japan are facing some exponentially more difficult. We cannot even fathom what their situation is like. It’s on my heart to help, so I’m going to.

SWELL: Is there anything else you would like to add to this lovely Q & A that you think our readers show know?
Chris: I’d like to thank everyone who has helped make this possible: John Cohen, David Vanderveen, Ryah Arthur, Clarke Brogger, Dylan Fait, Steven Chew, and Chanel Sonego. The list goes on and on. Basically all of my friends and family. You know who you are. I’m just so blessed to have these people around me. It’s unreal.
Please check out our website HEALJAPAN.ORG, join our Facebook group and invite your friends, and do whatever you can to help spread the word. No matter how big or small your efforts, ALL of it makes a difference. God Bless! -CHRIS