Talking with Karen Mullarkey

Take some time to read this Vantage piece on Karen Mullarkey - From Mad Men Secretary to One of the Best Picture Editors of All Time. Her journey through the ranks of Life Magazine is exactly what you see depicted on Mad Men - being forced to be a secretary, making drinks for the men and being told to be silent. However, there were champions among that misogyny that pushed her career to become of the best photo editors and it really is a fascinating tale to hear.

Friday Videos - Jan 9th, 2015

2015 is off to a helluva start. VHX received Series B funding, We Own This Town has a full archive and a new episode and now... Friday videos is back! I know you've been waiting with baited breath. Enjoy the distraction! Lots more coming this month. Stay tuned.

Caller Go Ahead

I started listening to the first episode of Caller Go Ahead this morning - a new podcast that is entirely comprised of voicemail messages left at (702) 546-6329. The content of the messages range from trivial "hello's" to more genuine outpourings of frustration. Listening to many of the callers creates a feeling of actual pathos - you understand their hard times through your own. And, sometimes, you find them absurd and ridiculous and causing their own problems. It's just like life!

I also have a weird affinity for the sound quality of voicemails. There's always something a bit hollow and distant with them that I find appealing. Not to mention the anonymity of the blind phone number that gives people the ability to say whatever they want.

Long story short, start listening, it seems worth a spin.

We Own This Town - Volume 64

I mentioned previously that I had taken some time to post all the episodes of the We Own This Town podcast over on Mixcloud. In doing so, I accidentally inspired myself to make another installment.
Download MP3 | Download M4A | Stream It

The newest installation is largely culled from music released during the silent interim. So, most of this music isn't "new" to the Nashville area but it's still mostly new to the rest of the world.

I'm happy with how it turned out and have another volume already forming. Turns out that compiling music into a sequential listen is actually a lot of fun.

Destination Ephemera

On the days when the most is happening, the time for browsing and posting is limited.. enter: Link Ephemera. Random tidbits to consume in your free time.
  • Original Penn Station - As a fairly new NYC resident, I am fairly ignorant to the history of the city. Turns out Penn Station (and Madison Square Garden) are not their original incarnations. The original Penn Station was an absolutely beautiful piece of work, the opposite of what it is now. Also, there is apparently a 99% Invisible episode specifically about just that.
  • This Saul Bass Quote - just good words to have in your brain.
  • This Question - "Imagine I've never seen a single movie. What are 5 I NEED to watch?" Respond here

VHX Series B

The new is officially out - VHX raised a Series B - around $5 million to be exact with Comcast Ventures leading the way.

There will be an official post of sorts over on the VHX Blog but it's great news. Having the funds to expand the business, focus on making more awesome apps and just generally continuing to empower filmmakers and distributors to sell their goods is, personally, incredibly exciting.

2015 will have plenty of impressive VHX announcements, expect more greatness of this kind to come.

Richard Perez 2015

It you haven't been paying attention to the latest offerings from Richard Perez - aka Skinny Ships - please stop what you're doing immediately and go investigate. His illustrations are delightful, period. I love the diversity of their implemention - skatedecks, Google promotions, avatars, Facebook icons, Android Wear, show posters.. you name it, his work works. I am, not so secretly, a super fan.

MS-DOS Game Library

The team at Archive.org seems to have been hard at work at fleshing out their MS-DOS Game Archive, a huge repository of old games that you can now play directly in the browser. I'm also quite intrigued by their hand-picked Showcase of the archive as it features personally familiar titles like Castle Adventure and Commander Keen. Loved those.

The archive serves as a way to feed your own nostalgia but it can also be a nice teaching tool to enlighten new gamers as to what their favorite titles are rooted in. Take this Andy Baio story on raising his kid with retro games first before transitioning into today's world.. this archive could serve as a nice supplement to that experiment. What kid wouldn't want to steer a non-descript block cursor around to fight off ascii dragons??

Yes Yes Y'all Returns

It's great to see that Yes Yes Y'all has relaunched their site to kick off 2015. The site, if you are not familiar, is a full browser music video playlist - plain and simple. It's like MTV for the Internet but with actual curators behind it that have serious taste - both musically and visually. There's also a User Submitted playlist so you can see what others are bringing to the site. It tends to lean a bit heavier on the electronic, dance and hip-hop side of things but there's plenty of good ole indie rock mixed in to keep any ears pleased.

Thanks to Madrid for originally making me aware of this site and it's relaunch. Happy to see it back and active in the world.

Jingle Bell Rocks!

I finally sat down and watched Jingle Bell Rocks last night - a documentary that explores the world of Christmas music collectors; specifically vinyl records that have slipped through the cracks. Granted, my timing is a little off because I really should have seen it before Christmas but there are so many great characters and record nerds throughout, the timing of the viewing doesn't matter so much. Yes, it's about holiday tunes but it's really more about deep diving into crates and being at ease with an obsession. I recommend it.

Matt Lief Anderson

I first encountered the work of Matt Lief Anderson through this gallery showcasing his collage work - built from his own travel photos. I enjoyed them but if you dive into the original components, the travel photos alone you really find something even more remarkable. The collages depict surreal places that can't quite exist but the travel photos capture places that do exist but seem too fantastical to be believed.

I'll be following his Tumblr for a further taste of either collage or photography, hopefully both.

We Own This Town + Mixcloud

From Sept 2005 to May 2013, podcasts of semi-regularity documenting the local Nashville music scene were released into the world under the We Own This Town name. I personally took over the curation of these half hour collections around October 2007. Over this past Christmas break I took it upon myself to make sure each and every volume was posted up on Mixcloud.

The wealth of audio is a bit massive but I do suggest listening to some of the Yearly Roundups as they contain plenty of fine new music you've likely never heard, not to mention a nice documentation of an incredibly strong local music scene.

I'm also inspired to start making some of these again (despite not living in Nashville) because who stops on an odd number like 63? Not this guy.

MUBI 2014 Posters

MUBI recently posted two features regarding movie posters that are well worth some eyeballs.. take a moment:
  • Best Movie Posters of 2014 - it's a rather subjective selection of one-sheets but MUBI is a trustworthy source of movie taste and anyone that includes Frank and Memphis in their list is on to something.
  • Best "Movie Poster of the Day" - equally interesting is this aggregate of "voted" movie posters from their daily postings. What posters have received the most likes? What does the movie loving public enjoy the most? Turns out, alternate movie pieces - like the Star Wars Vader Dog Head - really take the case.
I'd be curious to see more statistically driven picks from a deeper well (they only go back 3 months in the post above) but regardless of where the images come from, it's a wellspring of inspiration.

yk review: Nahnee Bori - Mr. Man

Rounding out the 2014 year of yk records releases, the final release is from Nahnee Bori entitled Mr. Man. Cody Uhler - the brains behind Nahnee Bori - actually created this album a few years ago but it wasn't until recently that we were able to get it out into the world.
For me, this is a gem of an album that will take some time to find its audience but those that get it will really enjoy it. Songs like DIATOMS or Geometric Set are entrancing for their odd instrumentation and building, looping, rhythms. I'm also fully convinced that External Recap will tear at my heart anytime I hear it.. it's just one of those songs.

The album artwork was illustrated by the insanely talented Rachel Briggs and it will forever haunt me that there isn't a print version of it in existence. One day.

I implore anyone who enjoys discovering something new to spend some serious time with this record. I fully understand that the first 10 seconds of many of the tracks may not draw you in immediately but as you let them grow and envelope you they really do feel like the otherworldly chorus that the cover depicts.

yk review: Mount Sharp

There are many benefits to having moved to New York but getting to be better real life friends with Bryan Bruchman is one of the highlights for me. It just so happens that he has a helluva great band in Mount Sharp and I jumped at the opportunity to help them put out their EP Weird Fears.
The six-song record is a solid collection of rock songs infused with proper pop hooks and guitar noise. I love the combination of memorable chorus and searing guitars. It works quite well live and it's captured just so on the album.

The record itself has a pretty unbelievable full etching on the b-side from Kris Johnsen and there are some great videos for Icarus and Crazy Eyes.

It's a great listen and I'm quite curious to hear what they do next!

yk review: Tipper Whore

In May of 2014, the one and only full-length album from Tipper Whore was released on my yk records. I think it's safe to say Tipper Whore has always felt like the oddball act on the label as it veers away from thoughtful indie rock or progressive electronic music. It is, at the heart of it, fast and loose, a bit crass, a bit intentionally immature and embracing the carefree side of rock.
Truth be told, I probably would not have worked with the band if it wasn't comprised of a bunch of people I'm friends with. That being said, I honestly enjoy the combination of snarling pop-rock songs and glammed out absurdity - particularly in their live show. They've since broken up after the release of this album (any band formed as an April Fool's Day joke is likely not long for this world) but it's nice historical record of their time together.

I'm rather happy with how the artwork turned out for the record. It's certainly a tribute to Warhol and Lichtenstein. Though not quite approaching the perfect simplicity those two conjured, I am still proud of my work on it and the screenprinted version of it from Grand Palace could not be more perfect.

I'm also happy to have a way to revisit songs like "I Will See Your Lovely Faces in Hell" and "Benjamin Braddock is a Motherf***er" - their best in my opinion.

Link Dump

Heading out for the holidays but fully suspecting that I will have plenty of time to just sit and stare at the computer while I'm out. Here's some links to read and stare at in your own free time.
  • The Trouble with Bundles - Kirby Ferguson explains his reasoning behind setting up The Loyalty Bundle and some of the primary problems with bundles in general (tldr: waiting for a sale can hurt everyone).
  • Miles Price Photography - it doesn't do his new work justice to just post it in a text dump like this so expect to hear more later but Miles is really killing it lately. Beautiful work.
  • Marketing United Conference - interesting new conference from the folks at Emma featuring speakers from Hatch Show Print and Third Man Records. Certainly seems worth some heavy consideration to attend.
  • Sweet as Sugar, Rude as Hell - The Bitter Southerner interviews Truman Capote's aunt.
  • AV Club Celebrity Picks - best of 2014 picks from Bob Odenkirk, Vanessa Bayer and more. Their famous, so their opinion counts more, right?
Have a great break. Talk soon.

Cinimated

Big thanks to Tony Zhou for steering me towards Cinimated, a hobbyist illustration playground featuring animated works of particular scenes from film. It runs the gamut of styles and I, for one am in. Be sure to check these pieces for some particularly pleasant madness.

The Poster Boys

When I think of passionate film poster art fans I almost immediately think of Sam Smith - a talented designer in his own right (and soundtrack afficionado) and passionate fan of sorts of creations stemming from that world. So, when he announced that he had started a podcast, The Poster Boys, I knew I'd tune in. Sam Smith and co-host Brandon Schaefer dive into Saul Bass, Alfred Hitchcock, John Alvin and even some of their own work in the first episode. I look forward to many more.

yk review: Uncle Skeleton - VHF

Way back in late 2013, Uncle Skeleton released his latest full-length album, Too Young, Too Old - it's a phenomenal piece of work (as they all are, honestly). But as added promotion for the album we wanted to really highlight the first track - "VHF."

So, we put together a digital single that featured the track, three remixes and two b-sides. A healthy offering if ever there was one. Oh, and we joined forces with Jonathan Rogers to make this incredible video.

I can not stress enough how much you need to watch that video. It's spawned some of my alltime favorite gifs.

Despite 2015 being around the corner, I don't think we've heard the last from "VHF" - I have high hopes for it and plan to see that it has a lasting future.

Friday Videos - Dec 19th, 2014

It's almost Christmas and it's nice to have things winding down. Personally, I'm looking forward to a little R&R over the next few weeks to catch up on some personal projects and plan for 2015. While you frantically finish your Christmas shopping this weekend, enjoy these videos! Need more? Listen to this beautiful chorus of crickets or the yearly Sam Smith Cinema Sound compilation. There's no shortage of greatness out there - go and embrace it!