Music Monday 5.2.11 Charles Bradley

I discovered Charles Bradley after Paste named him one of their favorite artists from SXSW, then I saw this video, and I was hooked. I don’t know how you can hear that song and not be intrigued to listen to more. There’s a very clear and obvious James Brown influence in the way he looks and a bit of a James Brown meets Otis Redding influence in the way he sounds, and that’s perfectly fine with me. Pretty exciting that something like this is happening now. It looks like his shows would be an absolute joy to be at. Check out his moves in this awesome cover of one of my favorite songs of all time, Neil Young’s Heart Of Gold.

I’m trying to talk a little less about what I’m listening to, because really it’s only reason to make something, and more about what it took to make the poster and the struggles I had and the things I’ve learned. For this poster I knew I wanted to have the silhouette of his head take up the majority of the space, and I knew I wanted it to have a rough, painted-looking edge around some parts, but I also intended to have another silhouette of him dancing cutting in from one of the edges. Well, this idea was just NOT working. I tried it in just about every size, from every side, in every angle, and nothing looked right. I was so stuck on this idea and it was really preventing me from getting it right. It wasn’t until I finally let it go and tried something else that I was able to get it right and solve the problem. It didn’t turn out completely the way I imagined it, but it turned out the right way. Never be too attached to an idea just because you thought it would work. If it’s not working, throw it away and try something else, more often than not, you’ll find the right thing to do.

4.25.11 Lupe Fiasco

Sadly, two weeks ago my cousin’s boyfriend died from complications during a bone marrow transplant, after years of battling sickle cell anemia. Words really cannot describe the devastation this brings to everyone who knew either of them. Lateef, you will be missed and your spirit and essence will live on.
At his memorial, Emily told me that if I wanted to know and understand Lateef further, I should listen to Lupe Fiasco’s new album Lasers, which she described as just being “him.” Lupe was his favorite artist and he never got to hear the new album. I love so much that music has the ability to powerfully become a representation of a time or place, and in this case a person. I was excited and honored to be able to listen to Lasers for this very reason. In this sense, the album is remarkable and was absolutely insightful in understanding who Lateef was.
It’s hard to find the right things to say. Whether that be in trying show comfort, or trying to express your own pain, things can become too difficult to put into words. Music has the incredible ability to sometimes just do all of that for you. How amazing it is that this album be so closely knit to a person who should never be forgotten. Take a few minutes and listen to the albums closing track, Never Forget You.

Music Monday 4.18.11 Wye Oak

I finally got the chance to see Wye Oak this weekend when they played in Philly with my friends in Secret Mountains. They’ve been a band that’s been continuously growing on me, to the point now where I’m pretty obsessed. Jenn not only has an incredible voice, but also shreds on guitar. Seriously, they rocked and if you get the chance to see them, do it, one of the best shows I’ve seen in a while. They’re really putting a lot of two pieces to shame, not that they’re trying; everything seems extremely effortless.
Their new album Civilian is a an absolute must have for 2011. Possibly my favorite record of the year so far. So take that as you will.

The idea for this poster was entirely influenced by Kirby’s obsessions with finger spelling and sign language.

Music Monday 4.11.11 Sharon Van Etten

I got really into Sharon Van Etten this week. She’s got one of the prettiest voices going right now, and it was putting me in a bit of trance throughout the week. If you’ve never listened to her, please listen, she’s definitely one of those people who once you start listening you feel like you’ve been missing out all along. Like I said, just one of the most calming voices. Unique in her own way without being obnoxiously strange or anything. Just very good.

I did my best to make this poster look like how I feel she sounds. I hate both of her albums’ cover art, because I feel like aside from being dated (and not in a cool way) it so unrepresentative of how she sounds. That always bothers me.

Brick + Mortar Asbury Lanes Gig Poster

The guys from Brick + Mortar asked me to make a poster for their show next month at the always fun Asbury Lanes. For those of you who don’t know, B+M are a two piece band whose music can accurately be described as indescribable. One of the few bands who you can say don’t fit into a genre and not have that be a lame attempt to make a band sound more interesting than they really are. Brick + Mortar are in fact on of the most interesting and talented bands I’ve seen. And Asbury Lanes, of course, is an old bowling alley converted to do shows. The stage is actually right on top of the lanes. Definitely the coolest Asbury venue.

The start of baseball season and the vibe of the retro venue both played parts in the creation of this poster.

Music Monday 4.4.11 Fleet Foxes

It comes as no surprise that Fleet Foxes’ Helplessness Blues is another incredible album. If anyone had doubts, I think this really shows that Fleet Foxes are cut from a different cloth than other bands right now. Helplessness Blues is pretty much everything I had hoped for in this forthcoming album, and I honestly couldn’t be more pumped about it than I am. Well worth the 3 year wait since their last release, and that’s really not always the case. I doubt anyone doesn’t know who Fleet Foxes are at this point, so all I will say is that you’d be so silly to not be listening to this.

As far as the poster design goes, I locked down the color scheme first and went from there. Not something I usually do, but using different places as a starting point is sometimes a good way to fight a creative block.

Wye Oak, Callers, Secret Mountains Gig Poster

Jeff asked me if would be interested in making a poster for their upcoming show in Philly with Wye Oak. And that answer will forever be yes. So here is the result of that. This is looking like it could be the show of the year thus far, so I’d really make an effort to be there if you can. This will be my first time seeing Wye Oak, for which I’m very excited and cmon, Secret Mountains are never a let down. See you there.

Music Monday 3.28.11 Danielson

In past week I’ve had a series of some very curious occurrences dealing with a band I’ve been trying to fully grasp for years now, Danielson. Ever since I’ve found out that Daniel is from the area I’m living, I’ve been hoping for Danielson to put on some sort of show in town. And this past Thursday, I nearly got the chance to see that.  It turns out that Kirby’s friend’s husband is in the band. Which is unbelievable. So anyway, I hear (at the last moment) that this show is happening, but by the time I get there, it’s looking like I just missed it. This is confirmed when I walk in and ask the person closest to the door I entered, who turns out to be Kirby’s friend!? Even more unbelievable. So I got to meet her and her husband Andy, and we talked for a little bit, and he filled me in on the latest and greatest of Danielson. Not the least of which being their new album Best Of Gloucester County. Which rules. It’s been 5 years since the last Danielson album and this all just seemed to come at a perfect time. I have been reminded why I love this band. Another perfectly strange but completely awesome album from the mind of Daniel Smith. They are playing at Johnny Brenda’s on April 17th if you’re interested, I’ll be there.

This poster gave me some trouble for a little bit. I spent a lot of time reworking a lot of things, but I’m glad it finally got resolved. Sometimes everything  just doesn’t come to you on the first shot. And being able to work around that is important. Plus, figuring out how something works is rewarding in the same way doing a puzzle is. Hope you dig, and check out the new album, for real.

Nom Now Poster & Wallpaper

I hadn’t made something that was solely Nom Now focused for a little while. So I started working on this poster last week and finished it up last night. And because I love you all so much I made a wallpaper version as well. If you’re looking at this and thinking you’d like it in a size that I don’t have up here, let me know, a re-size is just a few clicks away. Enjoy!

Music Monday 3.21.11 Delicate Steve

Delicate Steve was the opening act for Akron/Family when I caught them at The Blockley in Philly a few weeks ago, and they totally impressed me. More often than not you’re sort of hoping the openers will just shuffle along quickly and quietly so you can see the band you came to see, but Delicate Steve wound up not being one of those bands at all.

I hate to admit, but the name was making me think they were a jam band or something, and that wasn’t really thrilling me, but it took not more than a minute to realize that was  incorrect, and even more so, they were one of the most unique and refreshing sounding bands I’d heard in a while, opener or not. After the show I immediately downloaded their full length Wondervisions, and I’d strongly suggest you do the same. I’ve been listening to this album pretty much non-stop all week, and I bet you’ll do the same.

The idea for this poster came from my favorite song on the album, Butterfly. The slide guitar on the song is so unbelievably good, that every time I listen to it, as soon as the song is over I just want to listen to it again. They have an amazing video for it, and it should be watched now.

I also found myself (like many of you, I’m sure) checking out the new album from The Strokes, Angles. I’ll be the first to admit I forgot The Strokes were a band, but there’s no doubt these guys are as cool as cool gets, and even though this album sounds different than some of their older stuff, it’s still good. However, the album art is pretty bad, which sucks because all of their other album covers have been great. This comes out tomorrow, so you have the rest of today to be a cool guy and get it a day early.

127 Hours Poster

I finally got to see 127 Hours this weekend, and after I did, I thought it would be good to make something in regards to it. Not that this movie poster was in need of a redesign, the one it had was actually really great, but I just wanted to make one in my own style.

If you haven’t seen this movie, make a point to catch it at some point, James Franco is great in it. The movie’s pretty difficult to watch at some parts, and the fact that this is based on a true story makes it even more so.

There’s a very distinct color scheme in the movie which I hope to have captured with this.

Music Monday 3.14.11 mewithoutYou

This week I reconnected with one of my favorite bands of all time, mewithoutYou. There was a time in my life when there wouldn’t have even been opportunity for a reconnection, because I’m pretty sure I was listening to them non stop for about 5 years. For those unfamiliar, mewithoutYou were one of the most absolute wild live shows among any band, and I’m willing to extend that to ever. There was an energy at their shows that I’ve yet to see matched. It was pure excitement from everyone involved. Some could argue this is still true. However, over the past years, and with the band getting older, they’ve slowed things down (in every which way) and progressively shed their early skins to become something so different from their first full length, you’d have to assume it was a different band. Which, believe me, I’m really not trying to gripe about the fact that they did this, especially given the quality of the stuff they’ve put out, but I’ve come to the sad realization that I just don’t like the stuff they are doing now as much as the earlier albums. And it pains me to say that. At one point I remember feeling genuinely sad that one day mewithouYou wouldn’t be a band anymore. Now, maybe they put out one more album, maybe they don’t but it doesn’t matter because nothing they do is going to be the magic that happened between A to B Life and Catch For Us The Foxes. Again, I really do like their latest two albums Brother, Sister and It’s All Crazy…, and had those been how they were introduced to me, I would probably not find myself in the place I’m in now. But it’s almost heartbreaking to feel so numb about a band who you’ve followed since their inception.

SO, I’m making my best efforts to realize that there is still so much magic and energy left in this band, and I never want to write them off because even the songs I like the least contain something most other bands are still trying to capture. There’s nothing feign about this band. Just a group of guys who see this world different than most everyone else, and oh, they’re also in a band. For everyone who got to spend 2002/2003 watching Aaron bounce of the walls, or shamefully trying to have a conversation with Mike online, counting how many coats Dan Pishock had, or making your own band that was a direct rip off of them, you know we’ve seen the glory days. But maybe that’s okay right?

 

Music Monday 3.7.11 Nirvana

Still on a big Nirvana kick this week. I don’t know, the more I listen to them, the more I realize why such a big deal has been made over them for so long. It’s sort of hard to convey that though unless you actually just listen. This poster idea came from the shirt Kurt wore in the Smells Like Teen Spirit video. Shirt Cobain.

Had a chance to see Akron/Family and that was awesome despite a really trying crowd filled with some of the absolute oddest characters I’ve seen at one show. But nonetheless Akron/Family was still impressive.

Gave Destroyer’s new album a listen this week. It’s good but nothing beats Destroyer’s Rubies.

Music Monday 2.28.11 Nirvana

I shamefully admit that up until this week I never listened to Nirvana. I mean, I had heard them obviously, I think Smells Like Teen Spirit put them into a world of forever being known, but I never owned any albums and aside from a few singles, I wasn’t familiar with their discography at all. But after an amazing scene from Six Feet Under in which Nate is listening to All Apologies, which might be the best song ever, I wound up familiarizing myself with all their studio albums and loving it.

This poster is a turn style-wise from the ones I’ve been doing recently, but something didn’t seem right when I tried to brainstorm an iconic or fitting illustration to match the dourness of the band. What makes Nirvana Nirvana? All apologies (pun) to Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, but it’s Kurt Cobain. So what better way to represent this band then by using the face of the guy who represents an entire generation? If you’re in the same boat that I was, do yourself a favor and get familiar with this piece of music history. There. Was that cheesy enough for you?

Music Monday 2.21.11 Tyler The Creator

This week I was again all about OFWGKTA but more specifically Tyler The Creator’s album Bastard. If you’re on the internet, I’m sure you’re getting an earful about these guys, but I have to back the masses and say they are quite deserving of any hype they are receiving. I really admire any artist who’s willing to give what they do away. So I wanted to make a poster featuring his now famous green mask, which was shown off to the world when he wore it on Jimmy Fallon, because this has become a staple of his identity as much as the Supreme hats, the tube socks, and floral shirts. Not to lose sight of what hes actually doing, he’s a really good rapper.

Much like everyone else this week I was listening to the new Radiohead album The King Of Limbs. However I’m going to spare you any sort of thoughts I have on it because if you’re anything like me, you can’t decide which you hate more; people glowing over it simply because it’s a new Radiohead album, people bumming out over it because it’s not what they were expecting, or just people talking about it because they feel like they should. I would definitely listen to it and see what you think.

Yellowstone Pendleton Blanket Wallpaper

I’d been pretty overdue for a new wallpaper for some time, and just honestly been forgetting to do anything about it. So this afternoon while I had it on my mind I decided to make another Pendleton Blanket wallpaper. This is the Yellowstone blanket from their line of National Parks Blankets. Above is sized appropriately for your computer, and below is sized for the iPhone, should you be that far into the future. I’ve also tacked on the iPhone wallpaper I did for the Glacier Park blanket, because I had only put it on my tumblr. Hope these breathe some life into your devices.

(iPhone)

(iPad)

(iPhone)

Music Monday 2.14.11 OFWGKTA

OFWGKTA is one of the most interesting and talented group of musicians making music right now. They make their own beats, they record their own music, they do their own art and promotion, they self release all of their albums and then give them away for free, and they tear everything to shreds. This week a new video was released from ring leader Tyler The Creator, and it’s a really great video. One of the best in the recent years. The whole thing is rather simple but it’s such a great idea and seems to fit everything perfectly. Just watch it. These guys are gonna be on Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday night. If you can stay up that late, reward yourself. If not, you can check the internet the following day, like I’ll be doing. I think everything about these guys is fantastic and they’re going to take the music world for a spin.

Update: Thanks to the powers of tumblr, I just got an email from Julian Berman, friend of OFWGKTA and the photographer of the shot I used to start this illustration. I’d like to point out that Julian was totally cool about this and instead of going all AP vs Shepard Fairey on me, he only asked for some much due credit. This guy is taking all sorts of incredible photos, so check him out.

I got Toro y Moi’s new album this week, something I’d been pining for. Get it? Underneath The Pine. This album is different from the last in the sense that it seems songs were written with the intent of being played with a live band. This is somewhere between Causers Of This and the Daytrotter Session he did. If you liked his other stuff, there’s no reason you won’t like this.

Music Monday 2.7.11 U.S. Royalty

I was turned onto U.S. Royalty by one of my tumblr feeds most famous users, novh. He had talked about them enough that I figured I should give it a chance. It’s somewhere between some kind of dusty Americana and something like Rolling Stones meets Fleet Foxes meets The Cure. I’m not even sure that’s entirely accurate, and I’m sure you could piece together a few probable influences, but it’s all nonetheless impressive. They just self-released their first full length, Mirrors, and it’s no doubt worth giving it a shot. This is definitely a record I’ll be listening to throughout the year. You can sort of hear this music being set to panning shots of old mid western plains, which gave me the idea fore the tepee. Great album art too.

Super Bowl XLV

I followed football closer this year than I have any year since 1999. This was in part of joining a fantasy league through my work. It was good to get introduced to a whole bunch of players I’d never heard of, and see which teams got awesome, and which ones became horrible. Oddly enough, I’ve been following the Packers all year because I drafted their QB Aaron Rodgers, and so I usually wound up watching their games every week. He’s one of the most exciting players to watch, and is a really stand out player with a long career ahead of him. On top of really liking Green Bay this year, I’ve never liked the Steelers and so, I’m going Green Bay all the way!

I made this poster mainly because I made one last year, but I figured this could be something I do every year. Even if you don’t like football, it’ always fun to pick a team and watch the Super Bowl with some friends. So go ahead and make that happen.

Music Monday 1.31.11 Smith Westerns

This week I got so into Smith Westerns, some young boys from Chicago who just put out a new album called Dye It Blonde. The first song/first single is a track called Weekend, and after hearing that I just went bonkers over them. The whole album is made up of some fine licks and melodies, and although this album is impressive regardless, the fact that they are as young as they are just makes it even more awesome. Really fun songs and this album if nothing more is a great sign that they are a really promising bunch of dudes.

Finally was able to find the very first and self titled record from Peter, Paul and Mary, something I’d been thumbing through bins looking for for a while now. I think they are unfairly remembered for Puff the Magic Dragon, and nothing could make me more upset. They’ve got some really good folk tunes from their early days, and this album is prime example of that. I mean, just try to listen to this only once. Impossible.