last week's jams:
sanskrit at gmail dot com
the speed of boredom
Sunday, April 30, 2006
- I'm very excited for two new music releases coming out this week. Both are self-titled debut albums. Both are three-pieces. Both feature multi-instrumentalists prominently to the point of "how the hell can they do that live?" Both have album art (above) that is confusing and has little to do with anything but is still kind of cute. I am refering, of course, to Think About Life and Oh No! Oh My!
- One Slice With Extra Meaning is probably my favorite installment of "True-Life Tales" yet! Not surprising, considering the writer, Chuck Klosterman, also wrote my second favorite installment, the one about being stopped by a police officer on the street in LA and thinking he was on a reality tv show or something.
- Jori Finkel reports on what we've known forever, that this time of year is utter hell for art school students, with final critiques being emotionally ravaging processes at times.
- Sufolk County is preparing to provide free wireless internet throughout the county. Oddly enough, my scorn and disdain for the county and its residents remains unchanged.
- Everybody loves/hates MTV's "My Super Sweet Sixteen". In the last episode I saw, the son of one of the big shots at Def Jam records gave out Sony Bean mp3 players which had an audio invitation preloaded on to them, his party was DJed by Jermaine Dupri, his Godfather P. Diddy hung out with the kids, and everyone was blown away by a super surprise performance by Kanye West. If that were my sixteenth birthday party, I think I'd kill myself the following year.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
as anyone whose read this blog at all over the past two years can probably tell, the Siren Music Festival is one of my favorite events of the year. well, the Village Voice announced that the 2006 Siren Music Fest will be held on Saturday, July 15th. still no lineup info, but its always fun to speculate.
bands i think would be likely to perform at Siren 2006:
Tilly and the Wall
Thunderbirds Are Now!
The Most Serene Republic
The Rapture (undoubtedly the headliners, if they were to perform)
The Plastic Constellations
Wolf Parade (also likely headliners)
Sunday, April 23, 2006
- My favorite band, His Name Is Alive, are playing Mercury Lounge on Tuesday, May 16th. As per usual, their instructions to the crowd are Come early!!! Bring a tamborine!!! Wear a costume!!!!Some of this year's tour specials will include sing-alongs, storytelling, cloud amps, the "HNIA-POD," an i-pod that contains over one thousand HNIA songs (every LP, CD, CDR, TAPE, EP, 7", and compilation track), and home-made electric thumb pianos.
- Jaime Hernandez's new strip, La Maggie La Loca, begins in today's New York Times Sunday Magazine.
- The Times also explore how MySpace is helping advertisers focus on individual kids.
- They also seem to really enjoy the new Tilly & the Wall album "Bottoms of Barrels". I just downloaded it yesterday and really dig it so far.
- Joining the aforementioned HNiA in "concerts i'd be stupid to miss", Voxtrot is opening for TV On The Radio at Prospect Park's Bandshell on Saturday, June 30th.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
so last night was the Fine Arts department's senior thesis show, and due to the high number of students this year and the fact that the illustration department is taking up all of the gallery space on campus, it was held in a warehouse fifteen minutes away. brian and i went, and i was surprised by the huge turnout. a whole lot of people i knew were there, so it was actually a nice show to socialize at. plus, open bar, and while i'm not a big drinker, i do enjoy a Beck's Dark from time to time.
i took some pictures with my cameraphone. they're not great quality and my phone's memory ran out quickly, but its still nice to have them
immediately one of the most noticable pieces was this bed made entirely out of corn husks and the accompanying flowers around it.
i only got about one third of the flowers in the picture, so yeah, it was definitely a BIG piece, and masterfully crafted.
my friend Jessica Rinck made these wild sculptural dresses that stood near the corn husk bed.
at first they were a bit shocking andgraphic, but as i began to look at them i was just completely intrigued by the shapes and materials. i really liked them and it was only a half hour later when i went to the bar and ran into Jessica that i found out they were hers, so i congratulated her and told her that i really dug them.
if i had to pick a "winner" of the show, i'd give it to my co-worker at the library, Reina Okawa, whos prints were gorgeous and has the distinction of being the only artist you had to go upstairs to see in her tiny little skybox area. the only decent picture i was able to get of her stuff was this one of two of the six conical lamps, but the picture doesn't show any of the amazing detail in the printed graphics on vellum.
I later found that one of the great prints i was unable to photograph was actually on her website, so here's that.
my first runner-up for "winner" would definitely be Michelle Payne, who had a series of bound and warped wooden sculptures on tiny pedestals filling up a good chunk of the floor in the first room. I liked them so much, I took three pictures:
there were a few small scupltures in the first room that confused me. i almost tripped over a few of them because of their erratic placement on the floor and how small they were. mostly sheets of steel that had been blasted with the lazer cutter.
noteworthy ones without pictures:
this one guy (i took his card but then took it back) had three giant boards of wood on the wall in the second room. from afar i thought they were canvases and that he painted the wood grain so fantastically that it looked real, but then when i got right up to it to look, it was actually big boards of wood that had been burned and stained. still cool, but less impressive. a LOT of people agreed with me on that.
Radha had her own tiny room across from the stairs to Reina's skybox and her drawings were really fascinating. I have no idea what any of them were, and all of the titles were in a language i'm unfamiliar with, but they looked like a mix between floating sky islands and potatos with vines growing out of them and were really quite nice.
Tom has one large painting of somebody throwing a molotov cocktail at an ATM machine in a world of dripping splattered pinks and oranges. it certainly posed questions (for one, who throws molotov cocktails underhand at a target six feet away? who stand six feet from the thing they're throwing a molotov cocktail at?)
Maarten had a series of nice prints, but i wasn't too impressed as they mostly involved the same block print of a quarter-moon. still, they were nice.
Hope's paintings were really quite interesting and she had easily my favorite titles for her pieces (one was "I lost count somewhere around 7200").
Katrin's painting/mosaics were great and a lot of people seemed to really like the one that was actuall a wooden cube suspended in space that we could all walk around and peer through the carved holes. Those were Brian's favorite of the night.
I don't remember her name, but whoever did the performance piece "Anticipation"...I can say that the name was certainly adequate. We waited around to see what she was going to do, and then when the time came, she stood on a small white soapbox, held a microphone too close to hear mouth, and read a speech off a piece of bleached copy paper about people needing to make sounds that are considered. It was clearly a case of not going far enough, as the speech was bland and meaningless, going against the advice it was disspelling, and as her senior thesis she could have at least memorized it or had cards prepared rather than reading it off of a sheet of paper in her hand. The most satisfying part of the performance was, in fact, the anticipation the hour before it actually started, though I think that would have been amplified and the title made more relevant if rather than a speech sounding like it were written by a seventh grade writing fair, she had a series of flash cards prepared and got up to the microphone, looked at her cards, shuffled them around as if they were out of order, quietly said "umm...huh..." and shuffled the cards around again looking worried. Do that for thirty seconds, then stop, bow and walk away. That's the performance. That would have caused a great deal more anticipation and been more satisfying, I think.
Monday, April 17, 2006
Here's my first "feature" on 49Music, a review of the new The Lovely Feathers album. Its also the first formal album review on the website, and I plan on doing more.
The Lovely Feathers
Hind Hind Legs
Release: April 18, 2006
49Music Rating: 39 (out of 49)
Montreal quintet The Lovely Feathers drop their major release debut LP, Hind Hind Legs, this week as the second album from the newly formed Equator Music label (the first being Islands' Return To The Sea). I was already familiar with half of the songs in the new album from appearances on their self-released My Best Friend Daniel and from the tour-exclusive EP I picked up when I saw them open for Metric back in November (where The Lovely Feathers totally stole the show). I also recognize a few of the more exciting new cuts from their frenetic live show, even all these months later. "In The Valley" and "Frantic" were favorites of mine from their set, and they translate fantastically to this studio recording. There are a few songs that are really enjoyable but seem a bit flat in the studio, like "Wrong Choice" and "The Only Appalachian Cornfield", though they are still great fun to listen to and bop along with, and I'd certainly love to hear them live again.
One aspect that amuses me, and I'm sure anyone else for whom this is TLF's third release, is that this is the third different recording of "Photocorners" we've been treated to, and its still fantastic! This version comes across more as a campfire jam with everyone singing along and riffing off of each other, though I'm not really sure who brings a rhodes organ to a campfire, and I do miss some of the shouted singing from My Best Friend Daniel's version. Still, this is a song perfectly suited for a singalong with fifty of your closest friends and strangers.
"Rod Stewart" is a tremendously fun pop rock song, with its driving guitars and fuming drums and a hooky chorus that this just silly enough to release the inhibitions of anyone listening ("If it's just my body you want, my body you want, then come on and tell me!"). The biggest surprise for me was "Breakfast Cake," one of the most exciting and engaging tracks on the album and one of the few that was completely new to me. With dueling guitars and a chorus with harmonious whelping and hushed affirmation, this song most perfectly encapsulates all of the energy and fun I remember from the band's live show.
A couple of lackluster tracks are distracting in between the many pop gems, and it suffers from not being as good as their live show. Otherwise, Hind Hind Legs would easily be one of the best Canadian pop records of the year.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
- A look at the final days of The West Wing, including how John Spencer's sudden death affected the outcome of this season's election and what is on the horizon for some of the key players in the show.
- Ed Norton found out the hard way that "independent" film studios aren't so indie anymore.
- The buzz is wild about the Jimi "wallet for people who hate wallets".
- Aww...look's like Chris Ware's "Building Stories" has come to an end with its 30th page. While this does bother me, at least The Strip will continue with the next story by Jaime Hernandez.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
so after a couple hours of goofing around in flash, i made my first real video game. please enjoy:
here's a rough sketch of the self-portrait i drew for my website.
final version will have neither gradient nor cassette pattern background. i just needed to get those out of my system really quickly.
portfolio night is two weeks from tonight! i'm terrified and planning a furious schedule of work for the next week followed by lots of meditation before the big night.
in a completely unrelated note, you may or may not know that every year the Library of Congress admits 50 historically relevant audio recordings into their National Recording Registry. the latest batch were announced on Tuesday, including the 1938 radio broadcast of "The Adventures of Robin Hood" and William Faulkner's address at West Point from 1962. the more recent ones that I found noteworthy were the 1967 Jimi Hendrix Experience album Are You Experienced?, the 1970 Gil Scott-Heron song (not album) "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" and the 1988 Sonic Youth album Daydream Nation, proving that the Library of Congress is way cool, man.
Monday, April 10, 2006
after being repeatedly shot down in the requests department on dave's radio show (they don't have His Name Is Alive, Architecture In Helsinki, Islands, Panthers, My Bloody Valentine, Voxtrot, Semifinalists, Art Brut, or Liars. what the hell kind of college radio station is this?), i'm working on a list of things i like which are college-rock, current and actually popular and mainstream enough for them to maybe have.
songs i'd like to request on The Mad Spin Zone that they're more likely to have:
Broken Social Scene's "Windsurfing Nation" (track 7 on the new self-titled album)
Of Montreal's "So Begins Our Alabee" (track 5 on last year's The Sunlandic Twins)
the district's own Exit Clov's "MK Ultra" (track 1 on this year's Jolly Roget Sessions EP)
The Futureheads' "Man Ray" (track 15 on 2004's self-titled album)
the district's own Q And Not U's "X-Polynation" (track 10 on 2004's Power)
The Russian Futurists' "Paul Simon" (track 1 on last year's Our Thickness. i figure its popular enough because i heard it playing at the Gap over the summer)
Sufjan Stevens' "They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!" (track 16 on last year's Come On! Feel The Illinoise!)
TV On The Radio's "Staring At The Sun" (track 2 on 2003's Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes)
Electric Six's "Future Boys" (track 7 on Senor Smoke, which came out last year in some places and has yet to come out in some places)
Xiu Xiu's "Muppet Face" (track 2 on last year's La Foret)
Bloc Party's "Helicopter" (track 2 on last year's Silent Alarm)
Death From Above 1979's "Blood On Our Hands" (track 5 from 2004's You're A Woman, I'm A Machine)
The Plastic Constellations' "Bring What You Want" (track 10 on this year's Crusades)
We Are Scientists' "It's A Hit" (track 7 on this year's With Love And Squalor)
Tapes 'n Tapes' "Just Drums" (track 1 on last year's The Loon. less likely, but I saw them interviewed on VH1 last month, so maybe?)
Wolf Parade's "Fancy Claps" (track 5 on last year's Apologies To The Queen Mary)
Diamond Nights' "Needle In The Rice" (track 10 on last year's Popsicle)
i think when i get one of the new Intel Macs and pay for higher bandwidth on my website, i'll start doing a bi-weekly podcast mixtape. i make so many mix playlists these days for no one's amusement but my own, and when i actually burn them as cds and give them out every few months i get shockingly positive reactions from people. question is, if i make it a podcast, will anyone actually subscribe? doing that will also inspire me to crank out more original songs to slip in between the illegally shared music, i'm sure.
Everyone thought it was a cool idea when UK phone company BT had Tom Baker of Doctor Who fame come in and records thousands of words and word fragments so that people could text message each other and hear their messages read aloud by the Doctor. Hell, its the best damn reason I've heard yet to use text messaging.
Well, some goofy British technophiles took the next logical step, by texting the lyrics to popular songs and recording the Doctor's recitation over midi tracks of the originals! Of course, it lacks the sincerity of William Shatner's song interpretations, but its still damn entertaining.
Click here to hear a few songs, including Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," Pulp's "Common People," and my favorite, the Smith's "How Soon Is Now" which already sounded a lot like the theme music for Doctor Who anyway. I feel like that recording would be perfect end credit music for a Doctor Who movie, especially considering the trademark low production value of Doctor Who throughout its history.
I actually watched one of the new episodes last night, and while the production value was expectantly much, much higher than the old DVDs my mom and I have been watching, it was still pretty laughable, but that's always been part of the fun.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
A rare interview with Bjork and Matthew Barney about their relationship, their art, and their first ever collaboration, the new film Drawing Restraint 9. While the Cremaster films were fascinating, they left me feeling rather unresolved. I've heard great things about this new one, and look forward to seeing it someday.
Behind the scenes on Tina Fey's new sitcom pilot, which people fear may be too similar to Aaron Sorkin's new drama "Studio 60". I'm committed to watching Studio 60 already, but Kevin Reilly, president of NBC, makes a good point: "Why is it any different than when there have been three or four cop shows on any schedule, or 'Scrubs' and 'ER,' which are tonally very different?"
According to Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik, both baking soda and baking powder are kosher, and can be consumed on Passover. That noise you hear outside is the sound of hundreds of New York Orthodox Jews scrambling for a recipe for devil's food cake that meets these new guidelines.
What a surprise! More critics love "Guitar Hero" for the PlayStation2, which I've enjoyed and is deceptively realistic (yes, you actually have to "strum" each note, and you even get to rock the whammy bar on long solos!).
When Malcolm In The Middle ends this year, Frankie Muniz will be taking a few years off to become a professional racecar driver. My respect for racecar driving? Pretty much the same. My respect for Frankie Muniz? Well...down, but not that much because he's always struck me as not that great a guy anyway.
The United Kingdom has a new "integrated" music chart that combines both record sales and downloads. Big shocker, the Brits love Morrissey, Massive Attack, and Gnarls Barkley. What, no Arctic Monkeys?
The biggest shocker of the week (well, two weeks) had nothing to do with political scandal or anything of the sort. Rather, everyone's favorite label to wear the logo of on your t-shirt, messenger bag, locker door, or iPod, Sup Pop Records (home of the Postal Service, Iron & Wine, the Shins, Wolf Parade, David Cross, the Thermals, Sleater-Kinney, Low, and Rogue Wave) have signed blogosphere faves and Brazilian party-hoppers Cansei De Ser Sexy. More exciting news, CSS will be touring with wildly popular disc jockey Diplo this summer, playing Avalon and the Warsaw in NYC on July 19th and 20th, respectively. Unfortunately, having an American distribution deal will probably mean that their album and EP, which magically appeared on iTunes back in September, will be removed post-haste and eventually replaced by the American release in July, just like what happened with the Go! Team.
EDIT: yup, they were deleted from the iTunes Music Store. damn it all.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Thursday, April 06, 2006
49Music seems to just keep getting bigger and bigger. I have no real understanding of this as I am not nor have I ever been in Canada, but apparently it's getting some decent publicity and the hits are way up (especially on the Islands section, which I run).
I just got word that we're going to start doing a "staff picks" weekly column where each of us (now 4) picks 3 songs to download and 1 album to buy/download/legally aquire per week, all Canadian artists. again, not being Canadian, I need to think a bit harder about my picks just to make sure they're Canadian and not somebody I just plain like. here's the current list of bands I want to promote there:
Ninja High School
Great Big Sea
The Most Serene Republic
The Russian Futurists
The Lovely Feathers
aside from Neil Young and Joni Mitchel, what other Canadian musicians can I promote on here (that I would actually want to promote)? email any suggestions.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
hmmm? i like the one on the left better but it still doesn't feel quite there.
i'm sick of working on the website for now. time to refocus on print portfolio. got a new idea for it, just need to redesign and print it. Cartoon Network will be here in two weeks, so that's the next self-imposed deadline.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Gorilla Vs. Bear posted an absolutely unbelieveable song today. It's "What the Future Might Be" by the band Think About Life and its been pumping my tiny speakers at least once a half hour all afternoon, even after downloading three more tracks by the same band. Fantastically catchy and hooky and just plain awesome. Plus, its featuring Subtitle on rap duties, who also contributes to the song "Where There's A Will There's A Whalebone" on Islands' debut album Return To The Sea (in stores today! what are you waiting for! canadian pop perfection! flutes, violins and steel drums!).
Speaking of Islands, they shot their first video, "Rough Gem." While it hasn't been officially released yet, it has leaked onto the internet to be available on YouTube and mirrored over on 49Music.
Speaking of websites I contribute to, today I joined up with my classmate Gil and his new blog Design Funk. We'll be posting our non-assignment-oriented battle-style graphic design stuff on there. I celebrated my induction by posting three of my CD illustrations, including the Semifinalists one I did last week.
Speaking of Semifinalists (whom I liken musically to Yeah Yeah Yeahs if they were scoring a French film), the two guys from Semifinalists formed a new sideproject band along with one of the guys from the recently split Test Icicles (whom I liken to a British version of the Blood Brothers) and Tom Vek (whom I liken to a British Beck). They are Naked Babes. You can listen to and download four tracks on their myspace page. I thoroughly enjoy "Fuckin' Dumbell Party." Its funny how they don't really sound anything like any of the three bands that the guys came from, though.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
I was almost an hour late for work. Luckily for me, computers automatically adjust their clocks. Still, it was pretty retarded of the school to have the window for reclaiming any pieces not accepted for Best of Ringling be only an hour in the early afternoon on the Sunday when our clocks roll forward an hour. I bet more than half the kids don't realize and get there after the door is locked.
anyway, on to the news:
Despite yesterday's being April Fool's Day, the end of the week did provide announcements of two feature films spun out of immensely popular animated series. Some audiences of Ice Age 2: The Meltdown were treated to a teaser trailer for The Simpsons' movie, currently scheduled for release in July 2007. (click here to watch it on YouTube) Also, Williams Street released to the press info about The Aqua Teen Hunger Force Movie Film for Theaters, scheduled for release this September.
Keeping with the news from Adult Swim, five new comedy shows have been announced for later this year, including three from the people behind Home Movies and one from the creators of Sealab 2021.
Chris Ware's Building Stories keeps up with the exciting slice-of-life awesomeness, and what a slice of life this week is!
True-Life Tales continues to entertain with this cute story about neighbors, motorcycles, insurance, phone calls, and hostility.
Bill Thompson argues that Apple Computers have changed the world more than punk music, both of which ceremoniously turned 30 years old recently.
A nice interview with prolific type designer Doyald Young.
As a special April Fools treat, the cast of NBC's The Office recorded a series of "The More You Know" PSAs.
While lots of great concerts are already announced for NYC while I'll be home, I'm still going to miss Bishop Allen and Happy Bullets at Piano's. I reeeeeeeeeeeeeally want to see Happy Bullets live. Though it is worth noting that MSTRKRFT are play at Rothko on my birthday, if anyone (over 21 only) wants to come along and get their serious dance on.
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