Friday Videos - April 17th, 2015

Tomorrow is Record Store Day - a celebration of independent record stores (and an effort to raise capital for physical media). So, make an effort to drop by one of your local record stores if you have one and stare at all the folks crazed with vinyl fever. Or, better yet, join them. If you find yourself in need of entertainment this weekend, gaze upon the Men's Hairstyles Club. You're welcome.

Other Space

I can't believe I'm saying this but Yahoo Screen is actually interesting me as of late. The reboot of Community was an interesting enough procurement (and the season is good) but unbeknownst to me, they also have been showing a new Paul Feig show - Other Space. If you're familiar with Feig's early work - particular Undeclared - and set that in Space, you're pretty close to what it offers. There's also an eerie familiarity to the old BBC show Hyperdrive but I suppose that comparison could be made to any show that features a hapless, dysfunctional crew bumbling their way through situations.

Long story short, I couldn't believe Yahoo bought a Paul Feig show I knew nothing about and, moreso, I am pleasantly surprised it's good.

The Uncanny Feather...

Take a moment to browse deep into the work archives of Kate MccGwire. For the past eleven years she has been creating sculptures and installations largely created by massive amounts of feathers. Around 2008 you start to see these massive cabinets filled with organic snakelike structures and they only get more more intense over the years that follow. This collection compiles many of the best together in one convenient set. The installation pieces are hard to imagine given their scale. Lovely work.

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Inside Abbey Road

My brother shot me a link to Inside Abbey Road, a Google presentation that tours inside the famous studio and highlights different historical bits and pieces throughout. While I found that educational, I was mostly fascinated by seeing the physical space of the three studio rooms - something I had not ever bothered to look up before.

There's also some nice nerdy tech with youtube videos playing back on a 3D plane but that's obviously a compelling draw for a particularly niche audience.

yk 030: Mystery Twins - TV Talk

Lots of great news to announce today in the world of Mystery Twins (and yk records). With Record Store Day right around the corner, it seemed fitting to celebrate independent music with a new 7". This is 30th release for my little hobby of a record label and I can't think of a better way to celebrate it.

The music within is a great onslaught of catchy garage rock - with a little send up to our favorite idol, television. The cover, as you see above, is a bit of old school animation using a clever printing technique courtesy of Bryce McCloud at Isle of Printing. As you remove the inner sleeve, the cover art animates through the scan lines of the outer sleeve. It's a great effect.
You can pick up the limited edition 7" over on Bandcamp or at the band's multiple RSD appearances around Nashville - namely Fond Object and The Groove. The whole package is great.

Mystery Twins - TV Talk

Mystery Twins have a nice announcement for the world today - a new 7" featuring their song "TV Talk" and the Wreckless Eric track "Whole Wide World." The real clincher with this release is the animated cover art courtesy of Bryce McCloud at Isle of Printing. The official video for the A side showcases the entire process that was undertaken to create the animated cover - in reverse.

The song is great, the video is amusing (and educational) and even features a few familiar faces along the way. You like the song? Get the 7" - the cover alone is worth the cost.

Accidents Waiting To Happen: The 12 Rods Story

Many thanks to Austin for the heads up on this Kickstarter project - Accidents Waiting to Happen: The 12 Rods Story. If you are not familiar, 12 Rods was a Minneapolis band that was active from 1996 to 2004 - releasing a bunch of great albums in that time. Their sound, to me, was similar to Self but a little more vulnerable. I can't tell you the number of times I've listened to this song. Beyond that, I actually don't know much about their story.

Fortunately, Director James Francis Flynn (brother to 12 Rods bassist, Matt Flynn) is taking on the task of putting together a documentary about them. Their campaign is a ways off from being fully funded but hopefully they can get the exposure they need to make it happen. It's a story I'd love to see.

Cloud Music Storage

I realize this is a very 2013 topic but I'm having a helluva time figuring out what to do with my iTunes Library and this is my site, so I'm just going to think out loud. I, unlike most folks, have not fully embraced the likes of Spotify or Rdio or any streaming service. I like them fine but I've just never been able to get over the hurdle of having all my music readily available. The distinction here is that I've got a boatload of music that's not digitally distributed to the heavy hitters. I also have some mental blockers with feeling a serious disconnect to the world of all music in which I am not having to really make any choices - but that's a different post.

Long story short, my iTunes Library is just taking up too much space. They say storage scarity is a thing of the past but I can tell you firsthand, a 200GB+ music library really dampens that idea.

So, where to turn to? This Comparison of online music lockers is a great place to start. I assume I'll go with Amazon Cloud Player, Google Play or iTunes Match. There's really not one service that is better pricing deal and in terms of overall experience, it seems that people aren't passionate about the solutions - though Google Play is getting the best endorsement. iTunes will store 25,000 songs, Google will store 50,000 and Amazon will store 250,000. That feels like a huge draw but I'm nowhere near that number so it's seems like a silly selling point.

All and all, I assume this boils down to the software. I don't love the Amazon Music Player - it feels sluggish. iTunes is fine but I don't think Apple does the Cloud that well. For now, Google wins my option. I'm going to give it a spin and see what happens. Though I remain terrified of the day when I send that iTunes library to the trash and rely entirely on the cloud.

Spitballing Indy

This New Yorker article is about the mythology of spitballing - throwing out random ideas and seeing what sticks. But, really, the article is mostly a summary of this transcript from a conversation in 1978 in which Steven Spielberg and George Lucas discuss how Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom should come together. It's actual, effective, spitballing and it's fascinating to see the entire process laid out. Good ideas, bad ideas, lost ideas, horrible insights - they're all there.

The whole thing ties in nicely to this insight from Lena Masek. Working out ideas is the thing, even the greats like ole Spielberg and Lucas do it.

The Ruins Of Industrial Gowanus

I'm a sucker for photographs of buildings falling apart, particular interior shots. These images from Patrick Schnell are right up my alley, documenting the fleeting ruins of the industrial area of Gowanus, Brooklyn. They are particularly impactful for me as I live around the corner from this area and see the change happening every day. It really is sad to see these giant buildings of industry be torn down or gutted for more generic living spaces but such is the passage of time I guess. It's unfortunate to see them go but it's nice to see someone is documenting their departure.

via Bryan

Brand By Hand

Maybe it's just the currently flavor but I am enjoying this Brand by Hand experiment that takes recognizable brand marks and reworks them into a more flourished, hand painted style. As this article points out, it's oddly humanizing for the companies but I can't imagine any one of these organizations coming out of the gate with such a look. Are there any startups or big brands out there embracing this kind of look?

Black Science, Vol. 1

This morning I finished off the first volume of Image Comics Black Science (How To Fall Forever). It's one of those exemplary pieces of graphic novel sci-fi that dumps you right into the story and reveals pieces of the whole the further you venture. As one reviewer put it, there's no "plot armor" at work - meaning, no character is safe from total obliteration. I tend to gravitate towards stories like that because there really is more on the line when your main protagonist could eat it at any moment.

Beyond the story, it's also drawn incredibly well and covers a lot of different worlds - so there's plenty of crazy aliens and alternate worlds. Kind of like Sliders but minus all of the cheesy aspects - so, nothing like Sliders.

Friday Videos - April 10th, 2015

Big week this week - namely in the release of that Makeup and Vanity Set record, Wilderness. I promise to stop talking about it so much but I'm happy to announce that the first run of the vinyl has already Sold Out. That's a helluva accomplishment in my opinion and I'm hoping we push forward to a second run. If you need further convincing beyond my gushing, read these reviews - that should do it. And now, on to the videos...
  • Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 4 - I know this made the rounds last week but I'm still obsessed with it. The previous episodes were good but this is next level greatness.
  • Penicillin Baby - Stick It Out - Nashville band that's been good for some time but they've just released this weird video and are going on tour. Hoping for good things from them.
  • Stairway To Stardom (1988) - Horowitz & Spector "Boiled Chicken" - This is but one entry in the spellbinding collection of Stairway to Stardom courtesy of Network Awesome. Many thanks to Paige for the existence of this wonderful little spot on the Internet.
  • The very BEST of TAMMY Chelcie Lynn - I posted an out-of-context clip from Chelcie Lynn last week and soon learned that her hilarious redneck character is, indeed, intentional. I'm a bit bummed to be in on the secret but happy there's so much more of her absurdity to see.
  • Real Life Batsuit: Combat Armor - This guy built a real life Batsuit and uses this video to show it off. I'm all for earnestness and accomplishing personal projects but there's something about this video that is perfectly amusing. I'm sure they are aware of a man fast punching at a person's stomach is a classic comedy trope. Well done Bat fan.
  • Ethnic Zorigoo ft Zaya - Mongolian throat rapping. It's a thing and I love it.
  • mooney's minutes - nice dose of Kyle Mooney from 2013. You needed a little awkward in your weekend.
If you haven't seen this teaser for Eidolon, get into it. Joey did a great job. Speaking of teasers.. how about this True Detective Season 2 preview... not sure what to think!

Have a great weekend, whenever you read this.

Jessie Baylin, Dark Place

When Jessie Baylin released her 2012 album Little Spark I was immediately smitten with it. It's just the right combination of upbeat pop and serious melancholy. After listening to it on regular rotation for a few years I wondered what a follow-up would be like... presumably not quite as forelorn. Fortunately, with the release of Dark Place, her latest full-length album, all my fears and doubts are laid to rest.
The album was produced, arranged, mixed and musically performed by Richard Swift, another artist I have an undying crush on and is also at his strongest mixing pop and melancholy. Songs like Creepers (Young Love) are clearly the more accessible introductory style singles but the album is brimming with quiet pieces that still demand your attention through Baylin's expressive voice.

The styles run the gamut from doo-wop inspiration to crunchy garage rock to ambient reverb-y spaces. All that is to say, it's a great record. Go see her play 3rd and Lindsley for her album release celebration - she and Swift deserve some accolades for it.

Veryman

Sometimes the Internet provides an oddity or two that you just can't explain and, typically, it's more enjoyable without knowing anything further. VeryMan.expert is one such site. I've no idea why this exists and I don't really want to. It's weird in a way that could only exist on the Internet.

Various Long Reads

Does anyone have any historical data about Thursdays being the most stressful days at work? All the things you've been trying to accomplish seem to come to a head and really heat up on these days. Or maybe that's just me. So, in preparation for a relaxing evening of sitting around, here are some longer reads where you can be quiet and relax:

Wilderness Available

It's officially official, the epic new album from Makeup and Vanity Set, Wilderness, is now available. The term "epic" gets bandied about alot but this album really does tell a story of large proportions - particularly emotionally if you're paying attention. It's a wonderful sonic journey - dark and foreboding in all the right ways. This Opus review has some praise for it that I can't disagree with:
While Makeup & Vanity Set's latest certainly has the same sleek, synth-heavy, sci-fi sound generally associated with dreamwave, it goes much deeper and darker than that. With Wilderness, Pusti has created a new benchmark for the genre, a record that's as sleek and soulful as it is synthetic and sinister.
You can hear the album, in its entirety, over on Telefuture's Bandcamp or fire up your preferred streaming music service - Rdio, Spotify, etc - to hear it there. Obviously I recommend picking up the vinyl version as well.

I have lots of gushing things to say about the happiness brought upon by being able to assist in bringing such great music into the world and getting to work with the likes of Caspar Newbolt, Joey Ciccoline and Steve Jenkins in the process. Now I just need to spread the word about its greatness.

Steve Albini: State of the Music Industry 2015

As usual, Steve Albini has great insight on the recording and music industry. His piece The Problem With Music reknowned for its accurate skewering of the industry in the 90's. However, it's 2015 and the landscape has changed dramatically. Read his Keynote address from the Face the Music conference in Melbourne for his insight on where things are now. It is awesomely optimistic, much to the chagrin of the larger labels I'm sure.
Fans can find the music they like and develop direct relationships with the bands. It is absolutely possible - I'm sure it happens every day - that a kid in one of these far-flung places can find a new favourite band, send that band a message, and that singer of that band will read it and personally reply to it from his cell phone half a world away. How much better is that? I'll tell you, it's infinitely better than having a relationship to a band limited to reading it on the back of the record jacket. If such a thing were possible when I was a teenager I'm certain I would have become a right nuisance to the Ramones.
That's just one pullquote worthy of your time. There are literally hundreds more. Go read or listen to it now.

My question is, who is the Albini of the movie industry? My friends Austin and Jed point to Soderbergh, others Ted Hope. I don't have the answer but as you reach the end of this address it becomes clear that the old system - music industry or movie industry - is over. The opportunities presented to bands or filmmakers or any kind of creatives are in an enormous blooming period.

Maybe this is all obvious but Albini puts it in a framework and a language that I fully admire and enjoy. Please be sure to make it towards the back half of this talk, as that is when it really picks up full steam.

Alex Da Corte: Die Hexe

Over the weekend, we visited the Luxembourg & Dayan gallery on the Upper East Side - previously the home to The Mommas and The Poppas - to see this Alex Da Corte installation Die Hexe (The Witch). It was three floors of obtuse dreams manifested into full room set pieces. It was, to say the least, quite odd. It's the kind of New York Art Gallery pretentiousness that you want when you enter into an apartment building that's been revamped into an installation space. You can browse images of the nightmare scenarios over here but know going in that it's not so much the traditional nightmare - it's more subtle and strange than anything. A stripper pole with a cellphone stuck to it? Yep. An empty rocking chair with a stuffed animal rug? Okay. The basement of your grandmother's house with absolutely nothing odd on the shelves? Sure.

It was great. Go see it before it closes on April 11th.