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Una Kim on Keep + Dinosaur Jr. shoes plus new music by J Mascis, The Three O’Clock, SISU, Red Temple Spirits

How rad is it to have a friend who started her own shoe company? How rad is it that she would release a kick-ass Dinosaur Jr. shoe that comes with a 7″ picture disc of J Mascis covering Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You”? Hot damn! I had to ask Una Kim for more details about this shoe and how it came to be.

MW: I have no doubt people are going to listen to the record, which is a real dream. Do you expect to see guys out in the streets wearing the shoes or are they more like collectibles?

UK: I hope so, though purple is a bold color. I appreciate collectors–some of my closest friends are mega collectors–but I’ve always liked seeing Keeps on the streets. To each his or her own. I know I will wear mine. I hope collectors will buy one to wear and one to save, like they’d do with magazines or records. Keep one sealed! Since all net proceeds benefit the humanitarian work of Amma, J’s guru, it all goes to a good cause.

MW: How did you approach J about the project? Did he require much convincing?

UK: My awesome friend Tiffany Anders connected me with J. She brought him over to a BBQ at my house and it all went pretty easily from there. I am really grateful to Tiffany because this project, in particular, has a lot of meaning for me. Getting the chance to collaborate with Dinosaur Jr. is a like a dream come true, and when I listened to the test pressing of the 7″ I almost cried. These kinds of projects really make me feel stoked and appreciative.

MW: What was the collaborative process like? Did you run options by him? Did he throw ideas your way?

UK: J knew exactly what he wanted. His favorite color is purple so that was pretty clear from the start. And he liked this Guitar Strap Ramos that we had made in a previous season, so he got ideas from that design which ended up as an embroidery along the back of the shoe that was inspired by his own guitar strap. The shoe is very, very much a reflection of J.

MW: Did you ever consider making the shoes green with purple accents, as in Green Mind?

UK: It sort of is! Keep’s color is green, so the shoe has green tags and the entire bottom sole is green, though you can only see it if you flip the shoe upside down. Purple and green has always been a favorite color combo. I always joke that we’re the best shoe company to collaborate with J because purple (which I really associate with him) and green (which I always associate with Keep) go together like peanut butter and jelly.

MW: What is your favorite Dinosaur Jr. record?

UK: That’s a hard one. I’d have to say Green Mind because that’s the one that was most influential to me. I was 12 when that record came out. The first time I saw the cover, it was burned into my memory forever. Also, I think the chorus of the song “Green Mind” really captures the feel of an era in my life, one that would change me forever. Not to sound dramatic. It’s just true.

MW: Got any random Dinosaur Jr. stories (as a fan or partner)?

UK: The funniest moment of this entire project was when we first got the samples in. I was out of town so Ashley, who works at Keep, got in touch with Brian, J’s manager, to find out where to send them for approval. Brian told her that to make sure J opened the box, she should only write in purple marker and put purple all over it. I think he was joking, but Ashley swears he was serious. So she went out and got a purple marker just to send him the shoes in a super purple box. If I ever have J play a show, I’m going to make sure to get custom purple M&Ms, just for him.


J Mascis – “Fade Into You”

Originally recorded by the Dinosaur Jr. guitarist to celebrate a wedding, J Mascis’s version of the Mazzy Star hit is as simple as it is lovely as it is heartbreaking. Buying the shoes is the only way to get this killer 7″ picture disc, so hopefully your size is still available. All proceeds benefit Amma. [Keep Company]

The Three O’Clock – The Hidden World Revealed Hardcore followers of the Paisley Underground torchbearers will already have the songs collected off their essential first two releases–including import bonus tracks–but the unreleased demos are so good certain fans may start to cry. Ahem. Although I especially love the versions of “On My Own” (with strings) and “When Lightning Starts” (without horns) ,perhaps it's the never-played Rodney on the Roq promo that really gives this 20-track collection with extensive liner notes and unseen photos the feel of a duped cassette of rarities and favorites passed around a scooter club. [Omnivore Recordings]

SISU – Light Eyes The latest batch of songs released by Dum Dum Girls drummer Sandra Vu’s solo project is dreamy, swirling, and dark–marrying the tribal elements of Pornography-era Cure and psychedelic aspects of Hyaena-era Siouxsie & The Banshees. She writes, performs, and produces everything, proving that lo-fi construction doesn’t exclude heavy duty atmosphere and textures. The scale is epic yet the feel is as personal as the handmade packaging and vinyl. [Mono Prism]

Red Temple Spirits – S/T

When The Cult overhauled its peyote-fueled goth rock aesthetic for the AC/DC-informed blueprint of Electric, Red Temple Spirits ran with the swirling, tribal style and this three-CD collection really brought me back to the dark corners of late-night clubs like Helter Skelter and Scream. Both hard-to-find albums (with bonus tracks) and an extra disc of demos are lovingly and immaculately packaged in letterpress envelope and glassine sleeves to make the hours of time travel and head tripping palpable. [Independent Project Records]

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