Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bands I sometimes forget exist but are AWESOME- #2 The Dears

I've been a long time admirer of Montreal's The Dears. During first year, in a whirlwind bout of enjoyment and bliss I discovered Gang of Losers (the album was short listed for the 2007 Polaris music prize). It was a little short lived though as a result of the abundance of music available as a result of DC++ (my life and death all at once, I miss it). Finally last year tragedy struck when my computer as well as music library perished in the great motherboard explosion of early '08. So the Dears were pushed to the back of my mind. However, earlier this school year Missiles was released and with it my enjoyment and bliss. At first it was one of those albums I kind of listened to, not really paying attention, more in the background. These past few days though the more I have listened to it, the more I like it. Money Babies is one of my current favourite songs (it changes frequently, but I think it could stick for a while), and Disclaimer and Missiles are also amazing. So The Dears truly fit into my 'Bands I sometimes forget exist but are AWESOME' category. Although I do feel that soon I won't be able to forget they exist at the rate I've been listening to them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Damien Correll: awesome designer

Based out of Brooklyn NY Damien Correll is a freelance designer who has worked for Urban Outfitters, Nike, Yale University, K2, Rome SDS, Plug Research, Nickelodeon, Zoo York and Polyvinyl Records to name a few. He has also been featured in the New York Magazine, XLR8R, Juxtapoz, IdN, STEP, NOVUM, The New York Times Magazine, Faesthetic and contributes regularly to Swindle Magazine.
You can tell from his work that he really has fun with his designs. His style kind of reminds me of Mike Perry. Just like Perry he uses simple illustrations that are highly geometric and sometimes repetitive mixing it with photography and typography. Lots of patterns and layers are used to complete the aesthetic.

So check him out, his portfolio is overflowing with good design. Like most designers you can also buy stuff from his online store if you really like it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

We Feel Fine

Have you ever wondered what other people are thinking? Well this was shown in one of my lectures last week and ever since I've been playing around with it a little. We Feel Fine is an exploration of human emotion on a global scale. It is a site that tracks feelings posted on blogs (the system searches for 'I feel' and 'I am feeling') and puts them in a database. The interface is pretty easy to use and seeing all the feelings is really cool. There are many different ways to sort them so you can sort by correlating pictures, particular feelings, place, age, even weather.... anything really "Because blogs are structured in largely standard ways, the age, gender, and geographical location of the author can often be extracted and saved along with the sentence, as can the local weather conditions at the time the sentence was written. All of this information is saved."
It's really interesting to see different feelings around the world from different people. We Feel Fine is a really neat site that makes use of blogs, it's kind of a blog of blog feelings. It offers many interesting angles to seeing these feelings. I think it's cool that the feelings move and have colour and shape. It's almost hard to understand all the systems used, but I'll figure it out. As for me, I'm feeling nostalgic. Maybe it's looking at all these feelings, maybe it's reading week and being with my high school friends, but that's what I'm feeling. I wonder if that will make it on to the site...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Tonight I am going to see Coraline in 'stereoscopic'3-d. If you haven't heard about it yet... listen. Coming from Director Henry Selick (of the Nightmare before Christmas) Coraline is a stop animation film hand made frame by frame. It's based on a book by Neil Gaiman.
I was intrigued by the ads a few months ago so hopefully it's pretty good!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Words Are Pictures

You may or may not have noticed my passion for typefaces (fonts, hand done, whatever) so I was happy to discover Craig Ward today. I've seen his stuff before on other design sites but never connected it.

His work is centered around typography made by prints, cut outs, photography, found objects, anything really. It's very playful. I've found it very delightful. Here is a more complete portfolio.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My newest oldest favourite band

The other day I discovered something. The Beach Boys are AMAZING. Well, Pet Sounds at least. That whole album is amazing and it was only recently that I have realized how much it has influenced.

You can hear hints ofPet Sounds in bands like Of Montreal, Animal Collective, and many more. So if you think you don't like them, you probably do. So listen to them.

Friday, February 13, 2009

25 best love songs

Ohhh it's that time of year again. Red hearts and flowers everywhere. As much as I do agree that Valentine's day is over-hyped I think it is a great sentiment. I think every day should be a celebration of love and affection of some sort. Also I think Valentine's day is as much about romance as it is about surrounding yourself with loving people, showing them you care. Love doesn't have to come from a romantic relationship to be celebrated and appreciated. I don't like it when people are cynical around Valentine's, if you have ANYONE in your life you love and appreciate why be down?

Anyhow... that being said, here's a list of my favourite love related songs brought about not by Valentine's day (I guess it helps) but the main reason is my step-sister Annie who is getting married in August. I had the privilege of hanging out with her and my older sister last night when I got home (finally reading week!). Naturally some of the conversation revolved around Wedding plans and music so I decided to blog about some of my favourites along with some kind of reasoning...
  1. Wherever I go- The Album leaf: I can't not smile when I hear this song
  2. Postcards From Italy- Beirut: The happiest song about a wedding ever
  3. Thirteen- Ben Kweller: story of a relationship
  4. Aging Faces / Losing places- Broken Social Scene presents Kevin Drew: I think it's great
  5. Sparks- Coldplay: " My heart is yours, It's you that I hold on to"
  6. This is the Dream of Win and Regine- Final Fantasy: about the Win and Regine husband and wife from Arcade Fire, how can that not be awesome?
  7. Falling Slowly- Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova: Once was an amazing movie.
  8. On a Neck, On a spit- Grizzly Bear: " All my time, spend it with you now"
  9. Love and Some Verses- Iron and Wine: Title says it all
  10. Gold in the Air of Summer- Kings of Convenience: perfect summer weekend
  11. Wrecking- Laura Veirs: finding love anywhere
  12. Sleep Walking- Modest Mouse: Excitement
  13. Stay Ups- Most Serene Republic: Simple but beautiful
  14. Sometimes- My Bloody Valentine: Hopeless Romantics this bunch
  15. Harvest Moon- Neil Young: Classic
  16. I've got You and You've got me- New Buffalo: security in someone
  17. Go Places- New Pornographers: adventures!
  18. Glue- Page France: finding your soul, maybe about self journey
  19. Uprising Down Under- Sam Roberts: Growing with someone else
  20. I summon You- Spoon: Spoon's only ballad don't know if that's a good or bad thing
  21. My Favourite Book- Stars: totally cheesy, totally great
  22. Rake- Sufjan Stevens: Peaceful
  23. When I get Up- Teagan and Sara: "I don't need company in the company of you"
  24. Maps- Yeah yeah yeahs: this one is an obvious choice
  25. Our Way to Fall- Yo La Tengo: my favourite
That's my list. There are others I had to cut. A lot of others. So Hppy Valentine's day everyone. Much Love!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Long Overdue Andrew Bird Review

Noble Beast, Andrew Bird's latest has been out for three weeks, so I figured it's about time for a review. It's taken me a while to gather my thoughts about this album because quite frankly it's nothing new. Now, for Andrew Bird that's not a bad thing.
Bird's style is very consistent. His seven other albums (not including the live Fingerlings series) demonstrate a range of upbeat to mellow songs, beautiful instrumentation (I love baroque pop), and brilliant lyrics. In all of this, his albums still each have different feels. Armchair Apocrypha (most recent release until Noble Beast) is very much a political album. Noble Beast diverges somewhat from the political aspects of Apocrypha, it is a little more personal full of stories and references as seen in this verse from the song Tenuous:
Tenuous at best was all he had to say when pressed about the rest of it,
the world that is
from proto-Sanskrit Minoans to porto-centric Lisboans
Greek Cypriots and and Hobis-hots
Who hang around in ports a lot

Noble Beast is not a departure from Bird's previous albums, but I don't want it to be. Too many artists try to do things completely different and fail, they forget what made them so good in the first place. Bird manages to explore musically while maintaining consistency in style.

If you can, listen to the deluxe album, Useless Creatures is an album in itself. It is wholly instrumental, and totally breathtaking. It's also great to study to. If you've never listened to Andrew Bird, what are you waiting for?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

10 awesome band posters

I've been wanting for a while to write about 10 design companies (or artists) that silkscreen band posters. These are just 10 of many amazing companies, there are so many more, you just have to look. Most companies have dozens of posters (if not hundreds) and put them up for sale on the internet. The best part is they are totally affordable, most posters range from about $20 to $50. With prices like that, whats to stop you? In alphabetical (by accident) order here are 10 awesome band posters by awesome people.

Animal Collective- Cody Fennell

TWOBeirut- Gina Kelly

Bon Iver- Show and Smell Print


Final Fantasy- Doublenaut


Mates of State- F2 Design

Rilo Kiley- Lure Design

Rogue Wave- Spike Press

TENYo La Tengo- Hammerpress

So there you have 10 awesome band poster designers (fun fact, I have the Final Fantasy poster by doublenaut) there are plenty more where those came from. One site I found a few of these from is If you didn't like anything you saw on this list, you'll definitely find something easily on there more suited to your liking.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Take Aways shows- La Blogotheque

La Blogotheque is a French music type blog. It consists of the usual articles, and some pretty awesome videos. La Blogotheque films artists performing in natural environments around France and the results are amazing. Sometimes there are a series of videos for one artist, for example Bon Iver. This one is my favourite in the series.

There are many artists featured on the site including: Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes, Lykke Li, Vampire Weekend, and so many more. La Blogotheque shows you just how talented they really are in a really cool way. So check it out if you enjoy beautiful music. It's the best.

Fleet Foxes - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Can't stop looking at...

MAKE SOMETHING COOL EVERYDAY. MSCE is an online community of people that seems to be growing pretty steadily. The goal for participants is, well, to make something cool everyday. The only criteria is it should be created in ONE day. I imagine it would be both inspiring and draining to try and making something everyday. I mean, I would be happy making something cool every WEEK.

The project features designers, artists, illustrators, as well as random people it has collected.
There are also numerous Flickr groups, and streams dedicated to it. There appears to be a core group of people that do post everyday, but there are also quite a few more sporadic users. Some choose to go with themes, Moss (the user who I believe started this project) has a series of vintage looking packaging for films and videogames. Shown above is an image belonging to Trustzabo who seems to have a thing for reptile collages. There are also occasions when one user will suggest a theme and others will design something around that theme (for example top played song).So check it out, it's kind of addicting. Maybe one day when I'm less busy I'll try to MSCE too.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

This is the greatest.

I'm sorry, I know I just wrote a post, but this is too awesome.
I found it once again on FFFFOUND!
It has made me giggle more than anything else today. So Please enjoy... Creative Grooming.
Here are my favourites... Camel... and Ninja Turtle. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Why YOU should join the blogging revolution- State of the Live Web Response

As a student of MIT, I have certain areas of study I enjoy much more than others. One particular area I enjoy and find fascinating is Grassroots media. I think grassroots media and blogging have great potential, and judging by Sifry’s Alert from April 5, 2007- The State of the Live Web I’m not the only one.

This article uses information from Technorati to show just how popular blogging is and the figures are, well, astounding! I mean check out these stats:

· 70 million weblogs
About 120,000 new weblogs each day, or...
1.4 new blogs every second

Blogging is still fairly new, so the web 2.0, sharing, networking revolution is only getting bigger. More and more people are looking for news sources outside main stream media to either supplement or replace the usual formats. Lately there have been more and more accounts of media fraud uncovered by bloggers, For example During the Israel–Hezbollah War of 2006, bloggers caught Reuters publishing doctored images from Lebanon (you can read more about that on First Monday article Reviewing Fauxtography). And remember when bloggers proved CBS had used fake memos to document a story about President George W. Bush’s national guard service right before the presidential election?

This is why blogging is so important; people can seek out new opinions, ideas, and sources (and judging by outfoxed this is totally necessary).

Blogging also allows for networks of bloggers to work together creating communities of similar interests and ideas. Blogging helps you keep current, explore interests, and develop ideas. This is another reason why tagging is handy. Tagging allows users to so easily search for terms, connect different ideas, and share their own ideas. So bloggers, take advantage of built in tagging systems, explore, and stumbleupon things! (Can you Digg it?)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Where did you get that... T-shirt?

A lot of you probably know about this, but probably some of you don't. I found this gem in grade 10 (yeah that's now 4 almost 5 years ago, wow) when I had a (now embarrassing) thing for pirates (I was one of them who really liked Pirates of the Caribbean) so I goggled Pirate ship shirt.
The event that followed became an obsession, but it was not until this year that I followed through with this obsession. That event was the discovery of threadless t-shirts. Threadless is a company that makes T-shirts that have been designed by designers of all sorts, and voted on by people who frequent the site as to which ones get printed. This year everyone in my house has ordered some and been totally satisfied. You get a unique t-shirt not available in stores, so not many people around have them and they fit really well, they're usually printed on American Apparel T's.
They make great gifts (Valentine's day anyone?) too so check it out.

Both of the ones shown I have and thoroughly enjoy.
Pictured above is 'It's so Simple' and below is 'Ballad of the Weekend Warrior'