Last Friday night I headed to see the Tom Tom Club play an amazing gig in Dublin which featured support from the rather excellent Tieranniesaur; a band who I thought I’d share with you today. Later this week these guys will release their debut album and around these parts they’re starting to get some proper attention – and rightly so! The Dublin-based six-piece play bubblegum pop and giddy disco-fueled melodies and their sound is contagiously fun; creating something which is bound to be a hit with fans of the likes of the Tom Tom Club (as was proven last Friday). The leading track from their self-titled debut is the wickedly funky Here Be Monsters which I’ve embedded above. The full album should be out later this week on bandcamp and make sure to also check out the wonderfully crazy video for the track here.
Their sixth album so far and three since their last, Okkervil River is back at it again with their newest album I Am Very Far, and the magic is still there. The album came out back in May, and I honestly had forgotten about it, as I seem to keep doing with their albums. But per usual, I end up rediscovering their albums and falling in love all over again. I Am Very Far is better than the Stand Ins, I think, more noisy and more out there. It’s a fun record that defies some of the high polish that the other records really had.
To give an example, I’ve decided to share my favorite track off the album, called White Shadow Waltz. It’s a really odd song, as the music sounds like it’s recorded all over the place. The vocals and parts of the drums sound slightly shitty, purposefully though, while the guitar and strings sound clean and impeccable. It’s a beautiful juxtaposition that really grabs your attention, as does the growing tempo of the song, which has a feeling of anxiousness. Now that I think about it, it kind of sounds like something Arcade Fire would do, and I mean that with as the greatest of compliments. It’s rich and complex and utterly listenable.
I think Will Sheff is a genius, he actually produced this album himself for a change, and I think it’s exactly what his music needed. If you’re not familiar with the band, the album, or this song, it’s worth your time to educate yourself.
This week’s suit may not look as exciting as some of the more absurd proposals from the mid-century, or as compelling as some of the creative imagery conjured up by various art folks, but this orange space suit is a workhorse and has been worn by shuttle astronauts since STS-26.
Slate has a great interactive graphic about all the gizmos and parts of this suit, and among the annotations atop the STS-135 crew I learned that a NASCAR flag beat me into space. The suits are bright orange so that the astronauts are easy to find in the event of a water landing. Much of the equipment incorporated into the suit is designed to help the astronaut survive should he or she need to eject from the shuttle during its ascent. A knife, some flares, an emergency radio, paratrooper boots- everything except a survival guide written by Bear Grylls.
I’ve had my eye on Norwegian design gurus Grandpeople for a little while now, I figured they’re overdue for a feature. When I look at their work I see something fresh and new, there’s this spontaneity and life and color to their work that I don’t see in a lot of other design studios. The only other studio I can think of off the top of my head that has a similar vibe is Hvass&Hannibal. Going through their portfolio I get this sense of joy and a distinct love of craftsmanship, like everything they do is really hands on and well prepared. Even the photos of the products they make are perfectly shot, only lending to the idea that they’re serious about their work in every instance.
The images above are from an album they worked on for The New Wine called Waves, and I’m terribly obsessed with this. To create what you see they wrapped a giant wooden box in layers of PVC, slowly peeling them off to create a wave pattern rippling around the box. So simple in materials but so well executed.
If you love science and nature, you’re going to love this video. If you think snails and slugs are gross, you should keep on scrolling by, because this will freak you out severely. If there such a thing as slug porn, this would be it. James Miller documented a bunch of slugs with his crazy video set-up, and the results are amazing. Imagine David Fincher directing a National Geographic documentary and that’s pretty much what this is. The amount of details he was able to capture is fantastic. When you’re so close to these little critters you’re able to see all the tiny details, it’s so beautiful. Be sure to watch this full screen, especially if you have a giant monitor, it’s the best.
For those of you how are into filmmaking, here’s the set-up he used:
Low slung upside down mount of the Sony NEX FS100 lens approx 40mm from ground (centre). Lens used 50mm Sigma macro. Total lighting overkill from a Blonde, Red and a tiny Rosco LitePad 3×6.
It’s really amazing how many talented young people are coming from Gobelins, the French animation school. This animated short called ‘Who’s Afraid of Mr Greedy?’ tells the tale of a daring man trying to get what’s his back from the evil Mr. Greedy. It’s so extremely well done, especially the character design, each one being a well thought out being. I also loved the color palette, which at first consists of pale, deathly blues, but then you see these orange-y reds popping in, becoming more menacing. A huge congrats to the whole team:
Directed by Simon Boucachard, Jean Baptiste Cumont, Sylvain Fabre, Guillaume Fesquet, Adeline Grange, Maxime Mary and Julien Rossire.
If you liked the video above I’d suggest watching the video below. It gives you a behind-the-scenes at character sketches, character development, animation tests and all that good stuff.
Maybe you’ll like this video, it’s about artist Stephen Powers. Powers borrows the beautiful hand-lettering techniques from an era when billboards were painted onto the sides of buildings instead of pasted on billboards, but instead of urging you to BUY THIS, his work broadcasts encouraging and lovely sentiments. In this video, Powers talks about his work and and a project to paint a mural at each landing of an ordinary stairwell. It’s a smart way to make this often used and often overlooked circulation space a more enjoyable experience.
“They had the guts to tape a Canon 7D to a mini helicopter… & it paid off”, said my friend Sue on Twitter the other day and she wasn’t half wrong. This video by the Austin-based BMX Company Mutiny Bikes is pretty sweet. Filmed at Austin’s new skatepark, it’s a great short video and I recommend you check it out. Mykonos by Fleet Foxes has never sounded so good and I’d recommend it for its beautiful shots of raw-concrete as much as I would for it’s sweet slow-motion stunts. Mutiny Bikes have been producing wonderful videos for over three years now and you could easily loose an hour of your day making your way through the archives of their vimeo page – which, as you’ve guessed, is exactly what I recommend you do.