I was fortunate enough to have another to opportunity to make a poster for one of my favorite bands, River City Extension. They’ve sort of made it annual thing to come home and play a show at The Stone pony once a year and it’s been falling on the eve of Thanksgiving, and it’s become something that a lot of people, myself included, look forward to. Joe had shared with me his vision of making this show something people would dress up really nicely for .”Something like a wedding invitation” he told me. Not that this is like a typical wedding invitation, but that was the jumping point.
I started by sketching out a few quick ideas, and when I found the one I wanted to run with, I went into illustrator and started making it happen. I don’t normally post the beginnings of things, but I’d like to start, and no better example than this one.
Definitely proof that knowing what you want to do before you start doing it ALWAYS helps. And it’s sort of funny that things really didn’t end up too far from the original sketch.
Hope to see some of you at the show, wearing something sharp, of course. Get your tickets early, these guys have a bad habit of selling out. Also, rumor has it there will be a few of these posters at the show if you’re looking to pick one up.
Happy 4th of July weekend everyone! I’ve been feeling very inspired by hand painted signage and all things Americana lately, and this weekend was a perfect time to try to incorporate both of those things into something. I’m definitely not the type of person who believes that just because we live in America we are inherently better than anyone else or worth anything more. I’ve come to look at the phrase “God Bless America” with disdain because there’s a whole rest of the world that needs a blessing as well. Sometimes this kind of patriotism just rubs me the wrong way.
However, I do recognize that America is a great country where you are (for the most part) free to be who you are and do what you like. The areas where I feel we are behind are constantly moving forward, and that stuff makes me proud. New Hampshire’s “Live Free Or Die” is my favorite state motto because of it’s simplicity, directness, and truth. Living free is the only way to live. Now go shoot off a few fire crackers before the weekend is done. But be safe, it’s live free OR die, not live free AND die.
Well, it’s been a full year of doing these little old Music Monday posts. I started making posters for my “most listened to artist for the week (according to last.fm)” one year ago, and for 52 weeks have made something every Monday. I decided to make a collage of the work, much as I did the last time. It’s nice to see everything all next to each other and see how I evolved, or what waves of style I went though, or better, the waves of music I had interest in.
However, I think this is going to be the end of Music Monday if not forever then at least for a while. I sort of like doing things with a definitive start and end, and a year is a pretty good time to round things out. It’s been great, but I don’t want to be locked down to doing this anymore on a week to week basis. There’s many more projects I’ll probably work myself into, and I’m excited to do something completely different. Or maybe something terribly similar. Who knows.
I discovered U.S. Royalty a few months ago and have been listening to them pretty steadily since. Their album Mirrors is a very impressive debut from these D.C. dudes, and I would certainly recommend checking it out. They also have served as the soundtrack to a few of the Gant Rugger seasonal look book videos, which are amazing in their own right. Check out the summer one here. Really great examples of how music and imagery can make a product exciting. You don’t know that you want the clothes as much as you want to be those people. I guess they are doing a perfect job at advertising in that sense. Anyway, I think U.S. Royalty was a perfect choice for the videos.
For those of you who don’t already know, River City Extension recorded a Daytrotter session a few months ago and it finally came out this past friday! Needless to say, something I’ve been waiting for for a while now. You can download it here. It has 5 songs, all of which tweaked slightly from their recordings, and there’s one very nasty guitar solo towards the end of Mexico that I was not expecting at all. Daytrotters are inherently awesome, and this one is no different.
Also, can I talk for a second about Tyler, The Creator’s new album Goblin? Hmm, I’m not really sure what happened with this but it feels like the product of an extremely rushed process. Obviously Yonkers is great, obviously Sandwitches is great, but beyond that, the good stuff comes far and few between. The music is about as bland and repetitive as you could imagine (Seriously? Another metronome beat with a keyboard line that sounds like it’s being played by an 8th grader in the keyboard room at Guitar Center) and Tyler, who’s usually extremely inventive with his lyrics, offers up some of the lamest lines in existence. (“In highschool I used to be a zero, now I’m every kid’s hero” – Nice, just what I was hoping for. A zero/hero rhyme.) I’m probably not being fair. I mean, I only listened to it once, but then again, the fact that I had no desire to listen to it again sort of says a lot. I’ll definitely try to give it another shot, but first impression was not good. I feel like he works better as part of the whole rather than the whole. Knowing what he’s capable of, this just feels like it was rushed and forced and sort of unnatural. If you’re trying to give this a listen, it comes out on Tuesday, or if you’ve been on the internet in the past 5 years, you can download it now.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.