Obsolete Vernacular

Here’s another compilation from the man with all the right moves, Biff Swenson. Biff came to me after the success of his first compilation, and asked if I’d like to work on the album art for the next one, and of course I did. As many of you may already know, this is an instrumental compilation aptly named Obsolete Vernacular. The title comes from the movie The Royal Tenenbaums from a scene in which Eli Cash is describing his first novel. The title actually ties in perfectly with instrumental music, as it’s an “obsolete vernacular” in its own way.

While I can’t take credit for the art in the sense of painting the leopard, I will say that Biff graciously gave me complete creative control and I was able to accomplish the idea I had. As soon as I re-watched the scene from The Royal Tenenbaums in the context of this compilation, I knew I wanted to use an old painting involving some sort of wild cat. (If you’re familiar with the scene, this connection is fairly obvious.) This was a great exercise in dealing with public domain images. I was able to find this really awesome painting, and with a few tweaks it was just what I wanted. The type I used for this is different from the stuff I would normally lean towards, but again, I think it fits really nicely is the context of this grouping of songs.

I was also lucky enough to be asked to submit a song to this, which I did quite willingly. It was a challenge writing a song that was intended to be instrumental from the get go. You can’t rely on melodies of lyrics to save you. While this wasn’t the first instrumental song I’ve written, it may have been the first I wrote on purpose. Along with my track comes 21 others, from all sorts of bands with no lack of heavy hitters. Just as the first compilation Biff put out, you would silly to not check it out. It has tons of new music to expose yourself to, and above all, it’s F R E E. Unbeatable. Hope you enjoy the tunes!

You can download the compilation here: http://www.mediafire.com/?bg27sr008hdgo
Or get hooked up on facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=136053693112331

Music Monday 10.25.10 Sufjan Stevens

It comes as no surprise that Sufjan Stevens has been dominating most of what I listen to these days and it’s because I genuinely can’t get enough of it. I’ve been oscillating between his two newest albums All Delighted People EP and The Age Of Adz, and all I can say is that I’m impressed. I don’t think he needs much campaigning on my part, but man, those two albums are certainly some of the best of the year, and just add to his grandeur. I hope you’ve had the pleasure of seeing some videos of his new tour, or maybe you’ve even got to see it live, but that’s where the sunglasses come in to play. I’ve been seeing him wear these in quite a few videos, and to me, they summed up a lot of what The Age Of Adz sounds like.

The Neville Brothers got 3 plays, which was their rendition of Way Down In The Hole for the season three opening of The Wire, which all came in a row, because I think that’s my favorite of all the seasons. But I also think which ever season I’m currently watching is my favorite. So, who knows.

When Did You Choose To Be Straight?

Two nights ago I got into a fight on Facebook. Not something I’d normally be proud of (necessarily ;)), but it was one of those instances where you are unable to hold back and you know you are signing  yourself off for a night of back and forth arguing. I’m sure you can tell the nature of the argument by looking at the poster, but if it’s unclear, a girl was claiming that people aren’t born gay, that it’s a choice you make, and on top of it all, it’s wrong.

The fact that people believe this is appalling to me, and so for better or worse I entered into what became a huge debate between me and some future members of the Westboro baptist church. I don’t know if it got anywhere (arguments online rarely do) but I felt glad that I stood up against something I believed was absolutely wrong. My final input to this 80 plus comment bomb, was a single line informing her that I was deleting her as a friend.

You’re not going to talk much sense into people like this, they’re too caught up in their own twisted belief, but one question that no one cared to answer was the one on the poster above. It seems simple enough to answer… or not. But in its unanswerable quality, you kind of see where I’m going with it.

So a few things… I hope you’ve all remembered to wear purple today, it’s a seemingly small action, but anything raising awareness is not only important, but integral. Secondly, be brave in confronting people, standing up for what you believe, and do not be afraid to take the leap and delete anyone on facebook who is holding onto these ideas of hate and homophobia. You’re better off without them.

I’m beyond looking for tolerance and am looking for complete equality and acceptance.

Music Monday 10.18.10 The Black Keys

I’m just loving everything about The Black Keys lately. It’s bluesy, riff heavy, and you actually feel cooler just listening to it. I have to put the windows down and turn the music up anytime I’m listening to them in the car. It’s funny how certain music has that command, and these guys are one of those bands. I have to admit, I was sort of late on this band, not really listening to them until this summer when I heard them on a hot ride into Philadelphia with Mike in Wechter’s old truck. That sort of seemed like the perfect setting for them. Their latest album Brothers is definitely one of the best releases this year.

Another band I’m late to the game on is Miniature Tigers. I finally wised up and checked them out this week and was so glad I did. River City Extension is playing with them tomorrow night in Brooklyn, and if you like either of those bands and can make it out, that’s a show not to miss.

Black Churches. One of my favorite bands, some of my favorite people, and another band where the windows go down and the volume goes up. These guys have been blessed with the strange ability to write a song better than the last one they wrote. Sort of unfair for the rest of us, but so long as they’re continuing writing music, I’ll be benefiting in some way.

Ba Babes just released their new EP called Hate The Beach which they have put online for free. If I were you, I’d download that right now. It’s classified in my iTunes as “garage wave” which is a pretty decent indicator of what you’re going to get. These guys are doing it the right way, and I expect big things from them. They have a split cassette with Dark Surfers coming out on Cassanova Cassettes very soon. Stay peeled for that one.

A Weekend Ten: Seaside Heights Colombus Day Parade

 

Parades are kind of a funny thing. People walk or drive by, and you look at them. There’s lots of noise and lots of things that you look at and think “this parade would have been the same or better had I not just saw this.” However, marching bands are not one of those elements and that’s the reason I went to this. My sister’s band was marching in it, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see that. The rest of the parade was kind of ridiculous. There was tons of Italian pride, both good and bad, and plenty of people representing what could only be described as “The Old Country.” There was also an unpredictable amount of old men going in circles.

The absurdity of the Christopher Colombus story only grows stronger year by year, and more and more people are realizing he’s not quite worthy of much, let alone a holiday. However, this day is thankfully transforming into a day to realize this and talk about the injustice done to the Native Americans. Hopefully one day the holiday will be completely turned over to a day of awareness. That’s a parade I’d be glad to attend.

A Weekend Twenty: Russo’s Orchard

This past weekend was my Dad’s 50th birthday. Sort of. Technically his birthday is this Thursday but to make things work we surprised him by coming home for the weekend and got to spend some really nice time together. Saturday we went to Russo’s orchard to do some very important October things. I think of all the seasonal changes, Summer turning into Fall feels the best.

Anyway, this was a really great weekend with my family. Happy Birthday Dad.

Music Monday 10.11.10 The Avett Brothers

It’s funny to me that in all these times of doing Music Mondays I’ve yet to make a poster for the band that I love more than any other; The Avett Brothers. These guys just released their third live album, Live, Vol. 3. and as far as their live albums go, this one is the one. For a band who’s become known for their live show, it does a really nice job of putting a bow on it. I’m going to refrain from saying something like “you can feel the energy” but let’s just if I had a cooler way to say it I would. And I pretty much already did. This band can really do no wrong, and this is just another example of how true that really is.

Cassanova Cassettes

I’ve been working with Biff on his tape label that he started with Russell and John. Tapes are oddly enough coming back in a unique way and who am I to slow that train? (Trains are actually pretty cool.)

Anyway, so far I’ve been lucky enough to work on the artwork for both of their current releases , those of course being Quiltary’s Boys With Bottle Rockets EP and Into It. Over It.’s Covers Cassette. The art for both is below, and if you’re trying to move into the future (and the past,) buy one from their online store.

Music Monday 10.4.10 Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens released another album. Am I surprised? Well actually, surprisingly, no. By now I’m not surprised by anything he does, or how, or when he does it. He’s producing such a high quantity of quality. So much on both accounts that it’s left him fairly unparalleled. The Age Of Adz is his latest; a proper full length (his first since Illinois some could argue) and it’s on a different page from anything we’ve heard yet. It’s Enjoy Your Rabbit meets The BQE meets All Delighted People. But more importantly it’s just really good. I’m certain that we’ll be teaching Sufjan Stevens to our future music majors of the world, and I’m even more certain we’ll be hearing Chicago at high school football games half time shows in 2050. Probably sooner. I’m sure it’s already happened.

Anyway, I wanted to make something that touched on not only the very electronic side of Sufjan, but also the colorful and layered nature to all his music.