‘Never Speak Of It Again’ by The Holiday Crowd

The Holiday Crowd

Today I thought I’d share a track from the Toronto four-piece The Holiday Crowd. Formed in 2010, the band recently released their debut album Over The Bluffs and it’s been getting its fair share of rotations around these parts.

The track above, Never Speak Of It Again, is particularly great. Starting off with a jangly melody not dissimilar to something by Wild Nothing and then bursting into frontman Imran Haniff’s Morrissey-style vocals. Filled with nostalgia for another-time, Haniff sings with a mix of fondness and melancholy, and all the while his voice is underpinned by the brilliant stripped-down pop sensibilities of the band. It’s a winning combination and The Holiday Crowd are well worth checking out.

Over The Bluffs is currently on release through New Romantic and Shelflife.

March 12, 2012 / By

Homesteads – A photo series by Edward Burtynsky

From the series 'Homesteads' by Edward Burtynsky

From the series 'Homesteads' by Edward Burtynsky

From the series 'Homesteads' by Edward Burtynsky

In the world of fine art photography Edward Burtynsky is a household name. Since the early 80’s he has set out to create images that work as metaphors for our modern existence, and in doing so, he has become one of Canada’s most respected photographers. Over the years he has been the recipient of three honorary doctorates and has won numerous awards including the esteemed TED Prize in 2005. In 2006 he was named Officer of the Order of Canada, and the following year the documentary Manufactured Landscapes was made about his work.

Since seeing his work at the Prix Pictet in 2008 I’ve been a fan. Recently I discovered that Burtynsky’s own website is a wonderful archive for his projects and it includes an impressive amount of his work in high-resolution images. One could easily loose a large chunk of their day simply gorging over all of the detail in some of these photographs.

The pictures above come from one of Burtynsky’s earliest series entitled Homesteads. Made between 1983 and 1985, the series was photographed in a number of locations including Bingham Valley, Utah; Fort Macleod, Alberta; Upper New York State; Toronto, Ontario; Walkerville, Montana and Browning, Montana and locations in British Columbia. It’s interesting to view Homesteads now in hindsight. It’s one of Burtynsky’s earliest series but it still holds many of the themes and dilemmas that his current practice still holds. These images show a photographer interested in rethinking the landscape and concerned by how industry cuts into our natural world.

If you’re new to the work of Edward Burtynsky and want to learn more I highly recommend you check out his TED Talk from 2005, and make sure to check out his website to see more of his photography.

March 9, 2012 / By

Geometric Sculptures by Axel Brechensbauer

Geometric Sculptures by Axel Brechensbauer

Geometric Sculptures by Axel Brechensbauer

Geometric Sculptures by Axel Brechensbauer

This work by Barcelona-based artist Axel Brechensbauer is great. Like obscure chess pieces or futuristic totems, his sculptures demonstrate a wry sense of humor and a wonderful sense of form.

Nature plays an integral part in his practice, and his work attempts to explore man’s obsession with creating systems, patterns and shapes. On his website he draws an interesting analogy, explaining that we create gardens because we feel that we can control the pattern of nature better than that of nature itself. If this is the case, do we then believe that our own man-made systems are better than the systems of nature? Or, as Brechensbauer asks, are we ourselves just another version of nature? Certainly it’s an interesting thought process, and by the look of Brechensbauer’s sculptures, it definitely leads to some great work. Check out more work here.

Found through theCargo Showcase

March 7, 2012 / By

The landscape paintings of Hiromichi Ito

The landscape paintings of Hiromichi Ito

The landscape paintings of Hiromichi Ito

The landscape paintings of Hiromichi Ito

I really like these landscape paintings by Japanese artist Hiromichi Ito. Hiromichi majored in illustration at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University and then returned to Japan to study under the amazing Tatsuro Kiuchi (who we featured recently here). These days, Hiromichi now shares a studio in Tokyo with Tatsuro called Pen Still Writes.

Hiromichi’s paintings are really charming and he has a very playful sense of color. This great use of color also carries over to his other work, which is well worth checking out. His porfolio is filled with editorial projects and illustrations which features cute characters and adorable animals.

March 6, 2012 / By

Catacombkid – Sigur Rós vs. The Beach Boys

We’ve featured Catacombkid on this blog a few times before, but there’s no reason to not feature him again – especially when he keeps putting out such great music.

Normally I’m not one for mash-ups but this just works really well. The track starts off with the soothing hum of Sigur Rós before an addictive beat cuts in and the whole thing builds up to a catchy vocal hook from The Beach Boys’ Barbara Ann. The harmony of The Beach Boys over such a synthesized beat sounds great and it means that that the track doesn’t sound too dissimilar to the music of Panda Bear – which is always a good thing!

When Harrison Mills (aka Catacombkid) posted this track on Soundcloud last night he also accompanied it with a photograph by Thomas Jackson, so I felt it was right to do the same thing here. Make sure to grab a free download of the song here.

March 5, 2012 / By

The illustrations of Graham Samuels

Illustrations by Graham Samuels

Young Folks

Illustrations by Graham Samuels

First it was the album cover for Peter Bjorn and John’s Writers Block. Then came the music video for Young Folks. After that it was the cover and illustrations in Stuart Murdoch’s book The Celestial Café. Every time I see an illustration by Graham Samuels I love it.

Originally from England but now based in Sweden, Graham’s illustrations often come with a nostalgic sensibility. This is informed by his love of vintage commercial art and his collection of old records, paperback and comics. Over the years he’s worked on numerous illustration projects including advertising and editorial work, as well as books and animation projects. You can see more of what he does online here.

March 2, 2012 / By

Photographs of the ‘Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale’ by Shane Lynam

'Contour Exotica' - A Photo Series by Shane Lynam

'Contour Exotica' - A Photo Series by Shane Lynam

Photographs of the 'Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale' by Shane Lynam

'Contour Exotica' - A Photo Series by Shane Lynam

I hadn’t heard of France’s Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale until discovering the work of Paris-based photographer Shane Lynam. Originally opened in 1907, the gardens were once home to a colonial exhibition, an international event which hoped to boost trade with France’s colonial empires.

It was here that six distinct villages were built – one from Madagascar, one from Congo, one from Sudan, and others from Tunisia, Morocco and Indochine. These villiages were horrifically populated with inhabitants, monuments and product all taken from these territories. In another words, the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale was a ‘human zoo’.

It seems shocking to think that this sort of thing existed, but colonial exhibits were a big part of early 20th Century European history. Indeed, it’s said that one million people attended the 1907 exhibition in Paris, and French historian Pascal Blanchard estimates that one and a half billion people visited universal or colonial exhibits throughout the world from 1870 to 1930.

Today, the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale is a different place. Over time, parts have become vandalized and burned. The French authorities simply neglect it. Buildings remain abandoned and the exotic plantations have disappeared altogether.

Despite what you might feel should be done to a place like this, it’s understandable that France has it’s hands tied. If they restore it, many would say that they were paying service to a part of their history that doesn’t deserve to be commemorated. Yet destroying it would feel like they were attempting to cover up their past. And so, for now, it remains. Standing as a ghost town, haunted by the spirits of it’s past.

More photos from Shane’s series can be viewed here.

February 29, 2012 / By

Record cover designs by Nathaniel Russell

Record cover designs by Nathaniel Russell

Nathaniel Russell Record Cover - Ruthann Friedman, White Dove

Indianapolis-native Nathaniel Russell is an artist with many strings to his bow. Not content with simply drawing and making prints, he also makes shirts, bags, sculptures and posters. On top of that he’s even got his own band, Birds Of America, who sound really good. Oh, and did I mention that he also designs record covers for great bands such as Port O’Brien and Vetiver? All-round he seems like a really talented chap.

His record cover designs are particularly great. His folky lettering is really nice and the way that he combines text with image feels just perfect. It’s a look which also really suits the bands he makes artwork for. Make sure to check out more of his work online by clicking here.

February 28, 2012 / By