Without a shadow of a doubt, one of my favorite albums last year was Belle & Sebastian‘s Write About Love. It’s an album that I could listen to endlessly, and I feel that it features some of the finest songs that they’ve put out in a very long time. Next month they’ll release a new 12″ four-track single that leads with a reworking of the wonderfully fun Come on Sister. To mark the occasion the band have released two new videos, one for Come on Sister and another for a remix of I Didn’t See It Coming.
I Didn’t See It Coming might well be my favorite song of last year so I was excited to hear what a remix of the track would sound like. Personally, Richard X’s take on the track adds little more than dance-pop production, and it’s nowhere near as exciting as I would have hoped it could have been, but the video certainly makes up for it with a splendid animation by Glasgow illustrator and animator Lesley Barnes. Lesley has a terrifically cute style, and I love her use of color and the general sense of fun that runs throughout the video, it’s well worth watching. For fans of the original song, you might be interested to hear that the new single will also feature a remix by New York experimentalists Cold Cave.
If you’re curious to see the video for Come on Sister, feel free to continue reading. It’s a really wonderful video and I spent a good long time trying to decided which of the two I’d post today. Both are quite wonderful.
The Sasquatch festival in George, Washington celebrated its 10th anniversary last month and to mark the occasion they made two really cool collectible figures based on the festival’s mascots: Salvatore and George. These awesome little guys look really neat and they were made by Don Clark at Invisible Creature (with the help of the guys at Super 7 Toys).
Normally when I go to a music festival, the merch stand is filled with over-priced hoodies and poorly printed posters, so I’m impressed to see a festival that seems to take a little more interest and care when it comes to producing these kind of things. I’d like to imagine that I’m not bought off by music merchandise, but the truth is that I’m a sucker for it, and I know that I’d definitely buy these cute little guys over an incredibly expensive tote bag or t-shirt. In fact, if you want, you can still buy both Salvatore and George as a set for a fairly reasonable $20 here. Indeed, the whole identity of The Sasquatch festival looked great this year and you should check out the excellent poster and trailer which Don and his brother Ryan worked on below the cut.
Early next week Bon Iver will release the follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2008 album For Emma, Forever Ago. Following on from the success of his debut, it’s clear to see that this self-titled follow up is one of the most anticipated albums of the year. Already today, Alec has written about Bon Iver’s exciting approach to genre in an excellent piece which you can read here, and I couldn’t help but notice that Bobby had clocked up quite a few Bon Iver listens on his weekly Last.fm chart too. I think I also might have a touch of ‘Bon Iver Fever’ and so I thought I’d chip in my two cents and share with you a stream of the new album as well as draw your attention to the amazing work of Gregory Euclide which adorns the album’s cover.
First-things-first, the album sounds pretty amazing! Opener Perth is a stellar track, featuring full on marching band drums and a proper big band sound. The album swoons and sores at all the right moments and brings in brass at the most wonderful of times. Vernon still manages to hold on to the tenderness in his vocals and displays a delicate intimacy from time to time which I can imagine will clearly satisfy those who had loved his first album so much. This is an album for the headphones no doubt, and it’s a recording that sounds complex, organic and conjures up images of far off landscapes. It’s for this reason that Gregory Euclide’s work is the perfect companion to the albums sound.
Euclide is a Minneapolis-based artist who creates incredibly detailed and unconventional landscapes which are part-painting and part-sculpture. Relief work plays a huge role in his practice and sometimes whole elements of the canvas will be ripped open and twisted out of shape to reveal deeper landscapes. His work often warps in on itself and his use of living matter can at times be seen slowly decaying right on the surface of his paintings. Euclide’s work is about landscape, and so he captures much of what makes nature so wonderful – it’s delicate intricacies and it’s aggressive and destructive changeability. Euclide also has a great website, with links to some amazing documentation showing his work progress that includes many photos and videos of how his work is created. For those who are interested, there’s a terrific set over on Flickr which shows the process of creating the album work for the new Bon Iver LP. It’s well worth checking out.
Above is some really beautiful work by illustrator Eda Akaltun. Originally from Istanbul but now living in London, I first came across her work when she took part in the Pick Me Up show at Summerset House in London last March. Her mix of traditional printmaking and digital collage is really great, and I absolutely love her sense of color. She recently completed a Masters Degree in Communication Design in Central Saint Martins and has already completed commissions for the likes of New Scientist and The Washington Post.
I particularly love her piece entitled The Jungle (above) which was created for the second issue of Nobrow’s own magazine. Eda is also both a founding member and a contributor to Nobrow, which is pretty terrific as I think those guys are doing some of the most exciting things right now in the world of graphic arts and illustration. Furthermore, Eda will be joining Eleanor Merdith and George Lewin in a new group exhibition at the Nobrow Gallery as part of their Butter collective, so if anyone is near East London, it should be well worth checking out! The exhibition opens June 23rd and runs till the 1st of September. For those who won’t be near London during that time, make sure to check out Eda’s site, and keep you’re eyes peeled when reading your favorite magazine – I’ve a hunch we’ll be seeing plenty more of her work popping up amongst those pages in the very near future.
“More people should listen to Thao with The Get Down Stay Down!” This is less of a quote and more of a statement, but for those of you who have heard this band I presume you’d whole heartedly agree, and for those of you who haven’t, then you’re in for a treat. Although Thao herself has recently released a new album with Mirah (under the name Thao and Mirah), it’s Thao’s releases with The Get Down Stay Down that I keep returning to, chiefly their 2007 album We Brave Bee Stings & All.
This album is the type of release that once I hear a track from it crop up on shuffle I’ll nearly always have to switch over and listen to the entire thing. There’s just something special in the combination of Thao’s breezy lyrics and the bands ability to create fun and enthusiastic tracks. Bag of Hammers is one of a number of stand-outs on the album, but it’s the track that introduced me to them so it seems apt to share it with you. I think it’s a good way to kick off your week. As for me? I’m off to listen to the whole album again!
Earlier this morning I received a copy of Tomboy, the first ever zine by Edinburgh-based illustrator Eleni Kalorkoti. I’ve been a fan of Eleni’s work for quite some time and even have one of her prints hanging proudly above the fireplace in my bedroom, so when she decided to send me a copy of her newest publication I was delighted!
Each page is filled with beautiful pencil drawings of pensive-faced girls, folk-inspired patterns and film stills from imagined film noirs. It’s a wonderful collection of work and Eleni really has a great talent for creating her own idiosyncratic worlds filled with the things which she loves. Check out more of her work online here, and grab your own copy of Tomboy via Eleni’s online store.
Bobby posted the great new video to Ice Cream by Battles (here) and it reminded me of how great El Guincho’s video for Bombay was. Released about 8 months ago and directed by Nicolás Mendez, Bombay is probably best seen as a companion piece to Ice Cream as both video’s are produced by CANADA and share many visual similarities (chiefly: fast cuts and topless women).
Bombay is really a terrific track, with plenty of steel drum and tropical psychedelia and this video is definitely one of my favorite music videos ever. I had read at one point that the video was just an extended trailer for a film that Nicolás Mendez had been working on with El Guincho and there is even a website for it here, but that’s about all I know. Definitely check out the video, it so much fun and has so many great ideas crammed into it. A quick warning though, it does feature a fair few topless women, but if you’re like me then that shouldn’t be a problem at all. Enjoy.
Wow, I think I might have spent my whole weekend listening to Jape‘s Lying on a Deathbed. It’s the second single from a free double A-side which was released last Friday which is well worth getting your hands on. Jape is the band name of Dubliner Richie Egan, who might be best known for his excellent track Floating, which was covered by Brendan Benson on a few occasions and has a really excellent video.
Richie hasn’t released anything since 2008, and he recently mentioned how he had gotten close to finishing up a new album on numerous occasions but kept going back to write more and more songs; pushing his songwriting as hard as he could. This really shows on Lying in a Deathbed which, for me, could easily be one of the best Irish songs of the last 10 years. Richie describes the song as “one long dying breath” , a look back on a life filled with fond memories and gentle musings about existence. It’s a mellow track with a simple melody, but Richie’s world of bus trips to Brittas Bay, single-sex schools and gigs in the Baggot Inn is one which I too have familiar memories of. It’s this familiarity that I think makes this song so special, and Jape’s simple, and at times, understated recollection of this life is both unsentimental and sweet.
As I said, maybe it’s my familiarity with many of the things mentioned in this song that makes it so special for me, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to share it with you on the site today. Seeing as The Fox Is Black has such a broad readership, I thought I’d finish by asking what your favorite song from your country has been in the last ten years? It would be great to hear a mix of songs from all over the world, so if you want to nominate a song stick it in the comments below, and be sure to mention your country. Who knows, maybe if it catches on I’ll share some of my favorites in the coming weeks? Cheers!
Wow! Picking images from Sam Bosma‘s portfolio to share on the site is tough work. The Ohio-born, Baltimore-based illustrator really has an impressive collection of work online and anyone could easily loose a substantial portion of their day simply clicking through it. The images above come from a series of five that he created for the current issue of Muse magazine for a piece about the American Entrepreneur Carl G. Fisher.
Fisher was a tireless pioneer and promoter who had a keen interest in America’s growing need for personal transportation during the first half of the 20th century. I think my favorite of Sam’s illustrations shows Carl Fisher’s unique promotion of bikes by throwing one off the roof of a building and awarding a free bike to whoever returned the wreckage back to the shop. Sam’s style is so much fun and his combination of composition, rich color pallets and a beautiful painterly style all add together to make really wonderful work. He also keeps an excellent blog which gives a great insight into his work process.
I’m a little late on this but recently the Californian based clothing brand Stussy joined forces with both Marvel Comics and a group of artists to create a series of special edition t-shirts. This is the second series in their Stussy x Marvel range and this one is particularly great because of the talent that they’ve been able to attract. Above you can see some good examples of the kind of thing to expect from the series, with each superhero being re-imagined in the artist’s signature style. Above, you caught David Shrigley’s Incredible Hulk, Ren and Stimpy creator John K’s take on Crystal and Johnny Storm, and Todd James’s She-Hulk. They’re pretty crazy but I think they’re really great.
The talent doesn’t end just there either, check out their site and you’ll see people like the LA tattoo artist Mr. Cartoon, the American animator Bill Plympton and British illustrator Will Sweeney have all contributed designs for the project. I think my personal favorite might be James Jarvis’ take on The Thing which just has so much character. If you’re interested in finding out more about the project I’ve included a little video below the cut which was made by the guys at HBTV. It’s fairly typical marketing schtick but it’s worth the watch to see plenty of the artists speaking about the influences that Marvel has brought upon them and you’ll also catch Mr. Cartoon do a sweet little rendition of the Spiderman theme!