Sights & Sounds Presents Broken Social Scene: ‘You Forgot It in People’ by Doublenaut


This week, I’m pleased to bring the second Broken Social Scene Sights & Sounds wallpaper: You Forgot It In People by Doublenaut. The Toronto brothers–Andrew & Matt McCracken–bring us a piece that intermixes daydreams with reality, all through a forgotten glow, perfectly suited for an album that I absolutely adore.

Speaking on creating the piece, here is what they had to say:

I have always been a big fan of this record. Very experimental and beautiful pop songs. Aside from being a great album, It helped put Canadian indie rock on the map and paved the way for many more talented Toronto musicians.

It was hard coming up with an image that illustrated “You Forgot It In People” as a whole so I decided to focus on a specific song. “Looks Just Like The Sun” is one of the more mellow tracks on the album. It has a really dreamy feel to it which I wanted the wallpaper to have as well. I used some imagery from the lyrics and layered all of the pieces over each other. Broken Social Scene are known for layering instruments and voices so I thought that approach would be appropriate.

The result is spectacular and a stellar entry into the series. Next week, we’ll be pushing forward to the next wallpaper for the band’s self-titled Broken Social Scene. Stay tuned and we’ll be announcing it next Wednesday!


April 6, 2011 / By

Sights & Sounds Presents Broken Social Scene: ‘Feel Good Lost’ by Peter Ryan

Peter Ryan

Our first wallpaper in this new Sights & Sounds series with Broken Social Scene comes from Peter Ryan for the album Feel Good Lost. Peter’s an awesome illustrator who’s work has a great feeling of being both classic and contemporary at the same time. He also uses a ton of color which is something I personally enjoy.

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I Slept With Bonhomme at the CBC by Broken Social Scene From Feel Good Lost

Amazingly, Feel Good Lost come out just a little over 10 YEARS AGO, which sounds insane and impossible, back in March of 2001. It was mainly recorded by the founding members of Broken Social Scene, Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew with the help of Justin Peroff, Charles Spearin, Bill Priddle, Leslie Feist, Jessica Moss and Stars’ Evan Cranley. It’s basically an instrumental album, which they found was a bit boring when they played live. So they got even more friends from the Toronto music scene to help them out on later albums to expand their sound.

Here’s how Peter explains his wallpaper for the album:

“Well, I rarely leave the world of editorial illustration, so self directed work can be quite intimidating. (particularly when interpretation is required!!) “Feel Good Lost” has very little in the way of lyrics – really, its an instrumental album for the most part. So, with my initial avenue of inspiration unavailable (lyrics) i listened to the album, again and again. At first the music made me feel down. lonely even. My fault for listening to it late at night in the month of December – but for a while i was left feeling as cold and dark as the weather, every time i put it on. This offered the image of a lone tree in snow. It wasnt till i began to further understand the album after many more listens that I started leaving it feeling hopeful and refreshed. There is so much activity in the songs. so much life. I thought for a while about exotic birds sitting in a barren tree – and that was close, but i didnt want to go overboard with hope – the dark elements still needed to dominate. after some sketching around i decided that birds resting on the limbs of the shadow of the tree was perfect. Bleak, but with an unexpected magic.”

A big thanks to Peter for a beautiful wallpaper and the Doublenaut bros for getting him to join. Check back next week for my personal favorite Broken Social Scene album, You Forgot It In People.


March 30, 2011 / By

Sights & Sounds Presents Broken Social Scene

Sights & Sound Presents Broken Social Scene

Photo thanks to Edite Filipe

Well, well, well… it’s time yet again for another Sights & Sounds wallpaper series. This here series happens to be a short one, only because the focus of this series, Broken Social Scene, only has four albums. I’ve been a BSS fan for I don’t know how long, though I remember my friend Andrew giving me all of their albums over iChat probably, oh I don’t know, 5 years ago now. What’s amazing to me is that they started out as this nearly minimal techno band but grew into this multi-member group filled with so many talented people. You’ve got Feist, Stars, Metric, Kevin Drew, Jason Collett, The Weakerthans and more, all coming out of one collective. If that’s not genius, I don’t know what is.

The force behind this new Sights & Sounds wallpapers are the guys from Doublenaut, Andrew and Matt McCracken. I had come across them through Twitter and after looking though their portfolio I knew they’d be a great team to work with. As you may or may not know, Broken Social Scene started out in Toronto, and that’s where Doublenaut are located as well. they’ve gathered together their creative friends to create some awesome wallpapers, and that’s what you’re gonna get.

Tomorrow wer’re starting with Feel Good Lost by… someone awesome. You’ll find out later today, but for now it’s a bit of surprise. Nonetheless it’s worth mentioning that they’ve done a splendid job of interpreting the album and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Check in later today to see what greatness we’ll be up to, and a big thanks to the Doublenaut bros for doing such a great job organizing this.


March 30, 2011 / By

Sights & Sounds Presents Wilco: ‘Wilco (The Album)’ by Stephanie Brown

Stephanie Brown

Last year, I started Sights & Sounds to expand upon what the Desktop Wallpaper Project could be. I loved the idea of an artist summing up the sound of an album with a single image, their interpretation of what a collection of songs looked like. And now here we are with our final Wilco wallpaper by Stephanie Brown for Wilco (The Album).

Stephanie is an incredibly talented painter and, when Joe suggested her name for the series, I thought, “Wow, that would be amazing if we could get her.” To me, her art is beyond good: it’s stunning. She also seems like a really rad person, as evidenced by the fact that she recently tattooed herself, a 3 hour process in which she almost passed out. A painter and a bad ass.

Wilco (The Album) is the band’s most recent album, which came out in 2009. I thought this was a great album, but it falls behind some of their albums for me. That said, some of the songs on the album are some of the best they’ve ever written, specifically You and I with Feist. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to that song. I also really enjoy Deep Down, which reminds me of The Beatles in the best way, and I’ll Fight, with it’s country twang.

Here’s how Stephanie describes her wallpaper:

Wilco (The Album)‘s themes seem to revolve around struggle. A couple in You and I who are grasping to keep a relationship together, the bleak aftermath of a man who killed his girlfriend in Bull Black Nova, a physical altercation in Deeper Down. Throughout these vignettes it seems that the greatest struggle is to find meaning in sometimes meaningless strife, and ends in choosing to accept both the dark and the light for what they are worth. At first glance this album comes off as cheeky, because of its album art and oddly self aware title track, but the more time I spent with it, the more I grew to love it. So I used the language that I know best: two snakes, both the good and the bad, entangled with one another in an endless deadlock.”

A huge thanks to Stephanie for her beautiful contribution and fitting ending to a beautiful series of wallpapers. Be sure to stay tuned for the announcement of the next series of Sights & Sounds, which should start some time next month. The musical artist has already been chosen and all of the wallpapers are ready–but I want to give a little breathing room between projects.


January 26, 2011 / By

Sights & Sounds Presents Wilco: ‘Sky Blue Sky’ by Paul Octavious

Paul Octavious

I’ve been waiting quite a while to release this wallpaper so I hope you share my enthusiasm for it. The album featured this week is Sky Blue Sky and the artist is Chicago based photographer, Paul Octavious. I am equal parts a fan of Paul’s amazing photographs as well as this Wilco album. Paul has this amazing style of photography that in my mind is best described as dreamy. There’s always something ethereal and magical happening, no matter what his subject is. It’s this positivity and creativity that I really respect about him and his work.

Sky Blue Sky could be described in a similar way. This is by far their most upbeat and happy album, I mean, the title of the album itself is as positive as you can get. It’s also a more laidback, simple album that’s almost the polar opposite of A Ghost Is Born. My personal favorites off of this album are You Are My Face, Sky Blue Sky, Please Be Patient With Me and Leave Me (Like You Found Me). Leave Me in particular is good, it’s a melancholy song that always gets me.

Here’s what Paul had to say about his wallpaper:

“I’m usually never good at meanings of titles of album or songs, and can never find the words to put them in. So when I was asked to make a desktop for Sky Blue Sky I drew a blank. Yet, this is my favorite Wilco album! So I dug deep, did some research and found my inspiration. The album title is a reference to a memory Jeff Tweedy had as a kid coming home from a family trip and his route home was blocked by a parade. I wanted to create that feeling of being trapped and not having a say on the outcome.”

Huge thanks to Paul for creating such a brilliant wallpaper. We have one more wallpaper next week and then we’re finished with Wilco! There will be some more standard wallpapers and then we’ll jump into the next edition of Sights & Sounds. I hope you’ve enjoyed the wallpapers so far.


January 19, 2011 / By

Sights & Sounds Presents Wilco: ‘Kicking Television: Live in Chicago’ by Chad Kouri

Chad Kouri

The Sights & Sounds wallpapers continues on with this great piece by Chad Kouri for Kicking Television: Live in Chicago. For those not familiar with the album it’s technically a three record set that came out in 2005 that contained music from four sequential concerts at The Vic Theater in Chicago. The records contain mostly older material with some covers and unreleased material thrown in as well. Jeff Tweedy titled the record going to a concert is essentially kicking the habit of watching television:

A rock concert is “kicking television.” If you’re out of the house and with a bunch of people enjoying something together, that’s kicking television to me. I don’t think very many people, myself included, will ever kick television cold turkey, but I certainly think more people should be aware of what it’s doing to them.

For the wallpaper Chad took a literal approach:

“So… a wallpaper for Wilco. I have never really given them a far listen. So I took this opportunity to check out what all the hype is about. I’ve been doing a lot of non-representational work lately so I thought something a little more literal would be a nice change a pace. After some image sourcing I found a really great script that had nothing to do with… well… anything and really wanted to use it. That is what you see farthest back in yellow. To be honest, my obsession with this script made me taylor the whole illustration around it. It’s one of the least important graphic elements in the composition but I had to have it. So, apparently that is how my mind works… Pick the least important part of the composition and tweak the crap out of it so that everything has to be that good or better. I guess I’m kind of a spaz. Good times.”

Thanks, Chad. Check back next for another beautiful wallpaper!


January 12, 2011 / By

Sights & Sounds Presents Wilco: ‘A Ghost Is Born’ by Mig Reyes

Mig Reyes

Well, we took a little break from Sights & Sounds/Desktop Wallpaper Project for the holiday but it’s definitely back. In total Wilco has 8 albums, we’re including the live album Kicking Television: Live in Chicago, so now with this wallpaper we’re passing the halfway point. Today’s album/wallpaper is one of my favorites from Wilco, A Ghost Is Born. The album marked a bit of a departure for the band. They got a little weirder, a little darker, and in my opinion, a little like the Velvet Underground. But it’s also one of their most sensitive albums, with songs like Wishful Thinking, which without fail gives me chills every time I listen to it. This album has a lot of my favorite songs on it, like the previous mentioned Wishful Thinking, as well as Theologians, Handshake Drugs, Hell Is Chrome, and of course, Hummingbird, which is where Mig took his inspiration from.

Mig Reyes is probably pretty familiar to a lot of readers. He’s a designer from Chicago who works at Threadless with our Wilco curator Joe Van Wetering. He also runs Humble Pied, a series of video interviews with designers from around the globe. He’s a talented and busy guy and I was really excited to hear he was doing a wallpaper. Here’s what he had to say about his creation:

“To me, A Ghost is Born carries a darker, more experimental sound than that of the albums that preceded it. I wanted to focus on “Hummingbird,” which captures the bleak mood I was going for. It’s funny, though. Being a web designer, I wouldn’t tout myself as an illustrator. So aesthetically, I designed it the best way I knew how: geometry, math and structure.”

I totally agree with Mig. On the song Hell is Chrome, the lyrics are:

When the devil came
He was not red
He was chrome and he said

Come with me
You must go
So I went
Where everything was clean
So precise and towering

That line, “So precise and towering”, makes me think of geometry, math and structure. But to me Mig took it to a happier place by using these properties and creating something beautiful, which is a lot like the album. Thanks so much Mig, the wallpaper looks great. Come back next week for Sky Blue Sky and another amazing artist, which I promise you will poop your pants over.


January 5, 2011 / By

Sights & Sounds Presents Wilco: ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ by Ross Zietz

Ross Zietz

I thought I should start this edition of Sights & Sounds out with a little preface to address a couple things. This is a brand new project that’s three wallpapers old so there’s going to be some issues that arise. First is that yes, every artist should listen to the album before they design a wallpaper. I thought this made sense as well and this is no jab at the previous artists who may not have listened to the records. But going forward this will be a prerequisite to creating a wallpaper so that they can soak in the sounds and feelings of the album. I can tell you that the next four albums/wallpapers are going to really impressive and I think you’ll be into them. And I think you can say the same about today’s wallpaper.

We’re finally to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which is undoubtedly the best album they’ve ever released. It was the first album of theirs that I had ever heard and still holds up 8 years later. In my opinion this is a nearly perfect album and some of the songs on here are my absolute favorites, like Jesus Etc. and Poor Places.

The artist on this album is Ross Zietz who if you’re familiar with Threadless you’ve undoubtedly seen his work. A quick glance through his Flickr account shows a ton of amazing pieces he’s done for Threadless and random ideas as well. I’m stoked to see his interpretation of the song War on War influencing his design. Here’s what he had to say:

“Having to do Yankee Foxtrot Hot was kind of a lot of pressure. I did about 3 or 4 sketches before I came up with something I was happy with. Instead of concentrating on the album title I went with my favorite song ‘War on war’. Its an upbeat song about war so I wanted my piece to have a similar tone.”

Thanks Ross! Check back next week for A Ghost Is Born.


December 8, 2010 / By