"He makes his own action figures, distills his own bourbon (something Mavis especially appreciates) and has an awesome collection of '90s indie-rock t-shirts." —A.O. Scott describes Patton Oswalt's townie character in Young Adult
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I am a t-shirt addict. If there's a cure, please count me out (I could just use more closet space). Most of these shirts involve musicians of some kind—rock, pop, hip-hop, and jazz—but a few promote college radio stations or indie record labels (KFJC, Daptone, Rough Trade, etc.). Beyond the music they represent, I also gravitate towards designs that incorporate art nouveau, art deco, or op art elements. Though I can understand the appeal of a bold graphic, I've never found the stark look particularly appealing (sorry, Black Flag). Herewith, a few of my favorites, and the stories behind them, i.e. where I bought them and/or why.
Above: I don't tend to shop for shirts; they find me. One day I was walking past Barneys New York, when it was still located in City Centre, and I spotted this Serge Gainsbourg tee, so I went in and made an inquiry. Turns out it was a man's shirt, and they didn't have my size, so I ordered one from another store. I've never noticed any music shirts in their windows since. I realize there's nothing more bougie than Barneys, but I suspect the stylish Serge would approve.
I was wearing my KXLU "More Punk, Less Junk" tee when I met Mike D of the Beastie Boys...who are now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (wait, what?!).
One of two Stereolab shirts I own. I don't listen to their music much anymore, but their distinctive audio-visual aesthetic made a big impact on me at the time.
The first time I washed this tee, the transfer wrinkled, but now you can see what Nick Drake would've looked like had he lived another decade or two, i.e. surly.
I don't wear this shirt often, because it's on the short side, but I've never gotten more compliments, and from some rather notable people, too, like Daphne Brooks (Bodies in Dissent), Jeffrey Taylor (Wall of Sound, Climax Golden Twins), and Steve Buscemi, who I interviewed for Slog when he was in town for SIFF '07.
Adorkable! (Note the absence of t-shirts. For shame.)