Date Archives December 2010

Greedy Hen

Katherine Brickman and Kate Mitchell, who are known collectively as Greedy Hen, can only be described as multi-disciplinary wonders who infuse everything they do with a touch of magic and eccentric delight. Aiming to create imagery that alludes to “playful black humour, unwritten fables, or subtle off-kilter sinister elements lurking amongst a kinder-esq beauty”, Brickman and Mitchell work on their own art pieces, as well as produce album covers, posters and music videos for a variety of musicians. Their signature eclectic style transcends mediums and incorporates hand-drawn elements, photography and collage with a mix of found and new images. The results are a little bit trippy and a smidgen bizarre, but oh so undeniably good.

Obviously not keen to rest on their laurels, Greedy Hen have their own fashion label in the works. I, for one, cannot wait to see what they come up with.


‘Skate Fails’, A Collaboration Between Alex Trochut and Apparatu

Deconstructing existing concepts and making something new from them can sometimes be exciting, and sometimes bad. For example, my boyfriend Kyle ordered a Chicken Pot Pie at a restaurant recently and ended up with it being deconstructed, a stack of chicken and pastry in a moat of pureed peas. This collaboration between illustrator Alex Trochut and Apparatu, Spanish artist Xavier Manosa Ciria? Definitely not a moat of pureed peas. Together they’ve taken the idea of skateboards and melted, distorted and altogether destroyed the concept, creating the pieces you see above, calling it Skate Fails.

These ceramic creations are so rad looking, the top one totally reminds me of the T-1000 in skateboard form. I love that they made the decision to use real trucks, though I believe the wheels are also ceramic. I feel like this either has been done before or should have been done like, 20 years ago. I would kill to hang that gold one on my wall.

Found Through Design Boom


Master Plan for Åndalsnes by JÄGNEFÄLT MILTON

Even though Swedish architecture firm Jågnefålt Milton didn’t win first place in the competition to design a master plan for the Norwegian city of Åndalsnes, their proposal was innovative enough to snag third. What Jågnefålt Milton proposed is to prefabricate chunks of buildings and roll them through the city on rail tracks, focusing the development of the town in concentrated ribbons of existing (and some new) infrastructure. In the winter, just roll your house somewhere sunny and in the summer, roll your house somewhere breezy. It’s radically different from the the other proposals and the renderings are straightforward, but at the same time it’s curious and interesting to see small pieces of architecture just hanging out along the tracks.


Agenda 2011 by Julie Joliat

Rather than writing a miniature essay on why making plans for New Year’s Eve usually makes me break into a cold sweat, I thought it far more in keeping with recent festivities to focus on the positive side. And, for me, there is nothing more wonderful than opening a brand new diary. The new diary scent, clean and crisp pages and the promise of a fresh start are the perfect antidote to that seedy New Year’s day feeling.

Of course, the diary in question has to possess a certain sense of style and I have yet to come across one as impressive as Agenda 2011 by Swiss graphic designer Julie Joliat. Beautifully designed in monochrome with a bright splash of yellow, Joliat’s agenda ticks all the right boxes in terms of aesthetics; however, it is the concept that is really exciting. Featuring more than 50 “connect-the-dots” puzzles, the diary has a brilliant interactive element. But these are not the “connect-the-dot” pictures of your youth, as each puzzle reveals a significant work of art from an influential artist. Jeffs Koons, Andy Warhol and Vincent Van Gogh all get a look-in, making Agenda 2011 highly appropriate for design-conscious folk and art history nerds alike.

Agenda 2011 is currently sold out; however, a new print is planned for January. Keep updated here.


‘The Fall’ by Gorillaz

Isn’t this nice! As a special treat to Gorillaz fans Damon Albarn has shared a whole new album of tracks over on their website for Christmas. Entitled The Fall, this 15 track album was recorded while Albarn toured the US with the band during the Summer. For me, the most interesting thing about this release is that it was all recorded using an iPad, something which Damon has said he “fell in love as soon as he got it.”

For what it is, The Fall really is a great album and it’s probably better compared with Albarn’s 2003 solo album Democrazy then to any of the band’s other releases. This is an album that is filled with plenty of great ideas and engaging instrumentals; it’s an eclectic mix of synths and sounds and works perfectly, not just as a diary of the bands 32 day tour across the states, but as a testment to what can be achieved in a short space of time when you combine great talent and great technology. Head over to to check out the album, where it’s available to stream or can be downloaded for members of the fan club.


Extended Trailer for ‘Paths of Hate’

Polish director Damian Nenow is working on his next feature film titled Paths of Hate, which appears to be about war and dog fighting, possibly during World War 1 or 2. This one minute trailer is quite promising, the CGI images remind of the artwork of Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo or the art of Travis Charest. The dogfight in the trailer is pretty amazing, I was watching it full screen on my laptop and the details are really impressive, like the brush strokes that make up the clouds or the ribbons of bullets flying through the air. Really looking forward to seeing this.


LAYERxlayer Fall Backpack

I had my backpack stolen about a week or two ago so I’ve been on the lookout for something new that fits my needs. I like simple packs that can be flexible for either riding my bike or those days when I’m taking the bus and this LAYERxlayer backpack is pretty much what I’m looking for. It’s got a grey twill body, leather pulls, unbleached cotton straps and it’s contrasting red zipper is a perfect detail. Plus it should perfectly hold my Macbook and a select few magazines, the day-to-day items I carry around.


The Fox Is Black’s Favorite Albums of 2010

Well, 2010 is drawing to an end. Another year gone by means lots of new, amazing albums now living in my iTunes. Like 2009, this was another great year for music with many new bands making a splash and some old standards continuing their creative output. For whatever reason I thought I was going to have some trouble putting this list together but then I realized that this wasn’t that case. Rather easily I came up with a list of 15-ish albums that made my 2010 just a bit better.

Sufjan Stevens – Age of Adz & All Delighted People EP

If there was one album that stood out amongst all the rest of 2010 it was Sufjan Steven’s The Age of Adz. In doing a little research I realized that he released not one, not two, but three albums in a one year period. The BQE came out on October 20th, 2009, followed by All Delighted People EP on August 20, 2010 and ending up with The Age of Adz on October 12, 2010. This feat alone is incredible and shows what a creatively prolific artist he really is.

That said, The Age of Adz is one of the most unique and interesting albums I’ve ever heard. Gone is the safety of his previous albums, replaced by a soothing roar of instruments. The first time I heard the album I had no idea what I was listening to. It was so different from this previous albums that it was hard to process. But over time it grew on me, and more and more I’d find myself humming songs all the time. I think my favorite part of the album is the ending, with Vesuvius, All for Myself, I Want To Be Well and finishing up with the 25 minute epic, Impossible Soul.

As for the All Delighted People EP I felt compelled to include it as well. It seems to me more like a companion piece to the album, like an appetizer to an amazing meal. The songs Mouth of Gabriel, The Owl and the Tanager and the 17 minute Djohariah are all stand out songs.

Avi Buffalo – Avi Buffalo

One of the biggest surprises of the year was definitely Avi Buffalo’s self titled album which came out in April. These kids from Long Beach kind of came out of nowhere, were suddenly signed to Sub Pop records and made one of my favorite albums of the year. The range on this album, from upbeat summer hits to softer, introspective verses makes me long for much more from them. Hopefully this is just the beginning and they release a new album some time next year.

Vampire Weekend – Contra

A sophomore album is always hard to record, especially if your first album was a huge hit. Such is the case with Vampire Weekend, though their follow-up album Contra proved to be one of the best. My first impression of the album was that people weren’t going to immediately like it, that it was going to need on grow on people to fully appreciate it. It definitely grew on me, but mostly the slower songs like Taxi Cab and I Think Ur A Contra. For me personally, this is now an all-time classic.

Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma

Yet another Los Angeles based musician made my list, the astounding Flying Lotus and his third album, Cosmogramma. This one kinda came out of nowhere from me. I had one of his EPs randomly but hadn’t really heard much beside that. What really got me to listen to this album was the artwork, I totally judged this album by it’s cover and it paid off. Cosmogramma is filled with all kinds of minimal, electronic beats that’s somewhere between Dilla and DJ Shadow. Hell, he even got Thom Yorke to do a song!

Stars – The Five Ghosts

I’ve been a big fan of Stars for a while now, probably about 4 or 5 years I guess, and I swear they are the most consistent band on earth. Nearly every three years they’ve released a new album and each one has been a steady progression of the last. Their newest, The Five Ghosts, takes on a more electronic feeling than their previous albums, a little bit peppier and bit more dance-y. I’m not sure that it’s their best, but it certainly has some of the catchiest songs they’ve ever written.

Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest

I wasn’t sure how the new Deerhunter album, Halcyon Digest, would sound. Bradford Cox, the singer of the band, has been moving in his own direction while the Deerhunter “sound” is almost entirely differently, much more noisy and darker. But this ended up being one of their most open, friendly albums they’ve ever made. It’s got a lot of nostalgic sounds like saxophone on the song Coronado or an almost doo wop sound on Revival. My only complaint is that it feels like a short album, but maybe that’s just me?

Owen Pallett – Heartland

Heartland was the one album that I was most looking forward to in 2010. I loved him as Final Fantasy and when he decided to stick with his own name I welcomed it as a change for him, a change to something even more amazing. I wasn’t disappointed in the least. For me this album is really personal, and I think it’s hard to explain. Owen Pallett is a gay man, as am I, and there’s something in his lyrics that really speak to me on that level. The song The Great Elsewhere is a perfect example. It’s got such a homoerotic tone to it, but one line in specific always gets me, “The scar upon my stomach I call it my flying V, and every time I show it I feel your eyes on me.” I might be misinterpreting what his meaning is, but that’s what it sounds like to me.

It’s also amazing to hear how complex and rich his orchestration has gotten, and I think this album has opened up a lot of doors for him as evidenced by his participation in 14 Actors Acting.

Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

Five years since Demon Days, Gorillaz released Plastic Beach this year, yet another big album filled with a number of noteworthy guests. It’s mind-boggling to me that Damon Albarn is pretty much singlehandedly creating these vast troves of music, I mean, is there anyone creating as much as this guy right now? Anyhow, this album is one of my favorites because of the diversity of songs and artists like Mos Def and Little Dragon. Not to be forgotten are the insane visuals that Jamie Hewlett came up with to supplement the music, which in my mind are equally important.

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

I was completely surprised by how much I loved The Suburbs by Arcade Fire. I’ve enjoyed their previous albums, but I wasn’t a HUGE huge fan. That all changed with this album. I feel like they’ve finally found the most polished sound they’ve ever had. I also liked the overarching theme of the suburbs, which if you think about it, has been there since their first album.

Caribou – Swim

For me, Swim was my dance album of 2010. Caribou, who was influenced by his friends from Junior Boys, decided to take an entirely new route with his music, opting for a more electronic, dance heavy sound. The final track Jamelia with Born Ruffians singer Luke Lalonde might just be one of my favorite tracks of the year.

Beach House – Teen Dream

Beach House’s Teen Dream should have technically been on my 2009 list of music because I heard it around the end of last year, but technically, it’s an album from 2010. Nonetheless this should be on everyone’s list this year. They took their sort of sad, depressing sound and turned it into lush, happy songs that only had a tinge of longing.

Casiokids – Topp Stemning På Lokal Bar

I think this might be the first time a Norwegian and has ever made it on my favorites list before. I was introduced to Casikids thanks to my buddy Kristoffer Borgli who sent me the video he directed for them. Their album Topp Stemning På Lokal Bar ended up being a favorite of mine over the summer, even though I had no idea what they were ever saying or singing about.

The Books – The Way Out

The Books really made my year with their album The Way Out, something I’ve been looking forward to for years now. When I got to see them play live they played a couple of the songs off of this album so I was pretty sure it was going to be great. I’d say this is the weirdest pop album of 2010.

Seabear – We Built A Fire

We Built A Fire might be one of the most beautifu, happyl albums of 2010. Seabear’s last album The Ghost The Carried Us Away was a bit more somber but this album was filled with some of the best pop songs (or what I consider pop songs). If you’re looking for something entirely lighthearted and easy to listen to, this is the album for you.

Belle & Sebastian – Write About Love

The one album I was scared about this year was Belle & Sebastian’s Write About Love. I wasn’t a huge fan of their previous album so I was a bit worried about hearing more of the same stuff I didn’t like. Thankfully that wasn’t the case and it ended up being an album inspired the sounds of the late 60’s and early 70’s.

Jonathan Adler Fires Up My Holiday and Keeps It From Stinking

Yesterday I was shopping at Jonathan Adler, looking for some gifts for Kyle’s aunt and uncle when I found these two little gems I needed to get for myself. The first was this pipe shaped match strike, which as it’s name implies, holds a couple dozen matches and the base acts as any area to strike the matches, so long as they’re strike anywhere matches. I have about 5 or six matchbooks in a blank Slinky currently which isn’t exactly the sexiest way of displaying them. I think this is a much more fun approach.

But what use is a match holder without a new candle? So I snagged this hashish scented candle which comes in a ceramic vase with marijuana leaves on the top and all around it. It’s a bit on the pricey side but it’s a pretty big candle with two wicks and it’s one of the best smelling candles I’ve ever bought. If you’re one of those people who likes really unique smells I’d highly suggest getting one for yourself.


Endless Chair by Dirk Vander Kooij

Endless chairs are named for the single, long string that makes each one. But saying string may be a bit misleading, because the string is a continuous bead of gooey, recycled refrigerator laid down by a repurposed robot (named Franuc) described as “heavyset, yellow and dilapidated.” Designer Dirk Vander Kooij explains: “I taught a robot his new craft: drawing furniture out of one endlessly long plastic string. this opened the possibility for me to design in the good old-fashioned way, making a chair, evaluating, refining, making a chair, evaluating, refining and making a chair. Or developing an infinitely large collection of variations, endlessly.” It’s funny to me that someone embarking to design in the good, old-fashioned way could arrive at endpoint that involves a robot, but it absolutely makes sense when talking about the ability to improve a chair after it’s production has begun.