I bought my first Yo La Tengo album some time in the late 90s, it’s hard to say when. It was their 1995 album Electro-O-Pura, which along with Modest Mouse’s This Is A Long Drive For Someone With No One To Think About, shifted my musical interests forever. Electr-O-Pura is extremely different from their other albums in my mind, mainly because it’s got a darker, more experimental sound to it. I’ve seen people comparing the album to the efforts of Sonic Youth, which isn’t too far off. But it’s the album’s ending that’s really the crown jewel of all the tracks, called Blue Line Swinger.
The song is a slow burn which ends in a huge raucous of drums and guitars. When I say it’s a slow burn, I mean reallllllly slow. The drums repeat themselves endlessly, slowly gathering more and more complexity as they go on. The guitar begins to expand, taking on new chords at the same pace as the drums. Finally around 3:40 something that sounds like a song finally emerges, almost like it’s being birthed from the sound. It’s a complex and driving song, the drums powering the track… and then at 4:25 Georgia’s stunning vocals break through it all, like a siren over the sound of the crashing waves.
I swear to you I get teary eyed when I hear this song. There’s something about this track that hits me in just the right spot. In my mind it has all the right elements, like the right ingredients for a perfect meal. It’s both straightforward, like in Georgia’s drums and vocals, but then you’ve got the ripping chaos of a guitar and the subtle bass line marrying it all together.
I don’t often wax poetic about songs, but I can undoubtedly say this is one of my very favorite songs. I would bring this song on a desert island with me, and I think it’d be a pretty fantastic song to die to in a film. I hope you take the time to listen to the song and appreciate it as I do.
I was browsing around over on James Jean’s blog and came across these images from something called SOMA, which certainly piqued my interest. There’s basically no info about it, just a line from James that reads “From my secret stash,” and a simple Google search reveals nothing either. But as I prepared the images for the site I noticed that the second one above was titled “Character Line-up” and the last titled “Mushroom Boss Detail.” Could he be working on some kind of amazing, epic video game? I honestly have no idea, but if he did I’d absolutely buy it. Anyone know what SOMA is?
I’m going to try my best and post a little more branding on the site, and I thought this gem from Atelier Müesli was well worth sharing. Created for the French restaurant John Rosiak, Müesli has created an odd bit of branding out of some rather unique typography. You can see clearly by the R, S, K and H, which have been blown up larger than the rest, that the letters are made up of only simple, geometric shapes. The R is made of a circle and two lines, the S of two unfinished circles, and so on. It helps to turn these letters into graphic shapes, something more than just a part of a word. The interplay between the letters is also really nice, some of them being a bit more odd and some being quite normal. Definitely nice to see branding like this for something like a French restaurant.
Anthony Lister is one of the new artist/badass combinations who have a very distinct visual expression. His style is impossible to imitate and straddles the line between impermanence and durability, flirting with both street art and “proper” art. Last night at New Image in Los Angeles, his latest works were unveiled which did not feature any superheros or popular culture items: it featured popular art items as subjects.
Lister tackled Impressionists by giving his take on what his ballerinas would look like and what his van Gogh would look like and how he would do Impressionism. The pieces were all very informal, most without frames, some partially painted onto the wall, his notes and commentary on every piece all over the gallery. His work is intentionally not pretty and at points very ghostly, bordering the macabre: it’s like a delightfully playful and cocky middle finger to popular artists of centuries past. It’s super great.
I’m a huge fan of ex-Smog frontman Bill Callahan’s music, so I was really excited to hear this cover he did of Leonard Cohen’s song, So Long, Marianne. I was listening to the song in bed last night after my buddy Justin from Aquarium Drunkard posted it. There’s something really special about Bill’s version, which I guess is a departure from the original. Justin says:
Slowing things down, Callahan and co. eschew the original’s violin and backing female vocals and in their stead add weeping pedal-steel and a dose of Texas heartache.
I couldn’t have said it better. I’m looking forward to listening to this on repeat this weekend.
The “pixels” above were made as part of brilliant a rebranding effort. The company behind the rebranding efforts, Man versus Machine, and the company being rebranded, More4, teamed up with Jason Bruges to make a series of live-action idents. Idents are the short clips that randomly play during commercial breaks, reminding you which channel you are watching. And these are great. When I first saw them I thought the installations of the pixels were part of some kind of art project. So even though these flipping pixels were made to play between commercials, they hardly seem related to commercial branding strategies more commonly used. Instead of appealing to the lowest common denominator, these flipping pixels might keep you from flipping the channel.
You can see more of the redesign by Man versus Machine by clicking here.
I know you guys love Legos, so I had to share this video created by Francisco Prieto, who’s created a 3D modeled version of the Lego Millenium Falcon. Taking over 3 years, Francisco created the video with 3DS Max and V-Ray, using 3,572,568 polygons and 670 hours of rendering time. To say this was a serious undertaking would be an understatement, clearly Francisco loves him some Legos and Star Wars. This is kind of magical to behold, especially the detailing that goes into the upper portions of the ship. I’ve also realized I would never want to try and build one of these for myself, I’d probably go nuts.
How rad is this new video for Yuksek’s song Off The Wall? Direct by Romain Segaud, he took the simple concept of mirroring an image and turned it into a video filled with giant blinking faces, fingers that play musical instruments by themselves and shapes that merge together to form words. Honestly, once you start watching the video for a while you totally forget that there a bunch of hands controlling these pieces, they just seem… natural? The song is pretty nice as well, so I’ll have to check out what the rest of their album sounds like.