Surprise, surprise, surprise. Sufjan’s yet again at the top of my listening charts this week. The fact that he was a discography the size of the real Illinois certainly helps, but it’s mostly because by the time I’m done listening to to one album, I want to move onto another. This process can go on for sometime as he’s got quite the range of albums stylistically.
Anyway, some of you may know that the name “Sufjan” means “comes with a sword.” And that is the key to this poster. Sufjan’s sword is certainly not literal, but it is absolutely metaphorical.
I also finally got a chance to see Local Natives this past week. And boy oh boy, really glad that happened. They said the first time they played Philly it was for 2 people at The Khyber… all things considered, what an enormous way they’ve come. The Troc was packed to the brim, and it was shaking at times. I would certainly do your best to see them anytime you can.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For those of you with your ears to the political ground, you’ve probably been hearing the stirs of Christine O’Donnell. Working in Delaware, I’m hearing quite an earful…
O’Donnell is the Republican party nominee in the 2010 election for U.S. Senate. She beat out former Governor and well-liked old dude Mike Castle, and will be facing off against Democrat Chris Coons for the seat. So why do I have her all dolled up with Wiccan imagery? Wellllll, apart from being an obnoxious teabagger offering little more then an already played out “I know what it’s like” attitude, she herself has stated that she “dabbled in witchcraft.”
Now let me say this now; I probably wouldn’t care if I didn’t have such a hatred for anyone associating themselves with the tea party. This woman is an idiot. I was going to say she’s asking for this, but I’m not sure if that’s true or not. More accurately, she has this coming.
Is she a witch? A satanist? Probably not. She’s just a woman so confused about her own identity, and addicted to attention that she’s willing to try anything until it works. Right now, this ultra-conservative, ultra-american, as-close-to-Sarah-Palin-as-possible persona is very in (among some circles at least) and she’s just riding the wave she needs to ride in order to get the shore. Do I blame her? I don’t know. But she’s a joke, and that’s a fact.
Some may find it a bit corny, but the truth is, Coldplay is just plain good. They are one of the bands of our time who will not only be around for quite a while, but will also be looked back on fondly. I hadn’t really listened to them in a few years and this weekend I was remembering how much I liked X & Y when that came out. Of all their albums, this is the one that seemed to slip by me the most, though ironically, it is also arguably their best. Talk has one of the greatest guitar lines of the past 10 years and that’s a fact. I guess for all their hype and popularity I still find them to live up to how great they are made to be. I can really respect that.
Speaking of albums I haven’t listened to in years Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is something I overplayed to the point that I couldn’t dare try to listen to it, but in my nostalgic moments of recent, I had to give it a play. Boy, glad I did.
I met this guy Danami after he tweeted at me on twitter saying he had been following my work for a year. I was both flattered and surprised. I had a few more exchanges with him, and found out that along with being a super nice and positive guy, he was also a rapper. He’s from Detroit and he’s pretty much killing it on all fronts. I just sent him some Nom Now stickers…you know, gotta get that national reach. Check him out for sure. For fans of Lupe, Talib, or Ghostface…. Settin’ In s my JAM.
This weekend I got to spend some much needed time with some of my favorite people in the world, including my new favorite family, The Louxs. Jesse is a friend of mine from many many years ago, and now he and his girlfriend have a son. Pretty amazing.
They live in Pennsylvania, but one of the parts where you can go twenty minutes in one direction and you’re in what feels like West Virginia. Quite a different world. Anyway, these are just a few shots from the weekend, but Ian wound up taking a ton and sticking them on his facebook, so if you want to check those out…. here’s the link to do so.
MEGAFAUN. That’s all I can say. They released a new EP called Heretofore that is just beyond most words. Such a fantastic follow up to Gather, Form & Fly. If you are a fan of these guys, then this should excite you, and if you’re not so familiar, then now is a better time then any. They are one of the kinds of bands who just work so well together, everything sounds perfect. Also, I read this album was written in like 6 days. Unbelievable.
I got the new Junip album Fields this week as well, and I am thus far very pleased with it. It’s more or less what I expected to after hearing their Rope and Summit EP which came out earlier this year. José González can do no wrong in my book, and I’m just thrilled he’s making music in any form. If you’re a listener of his, this is right up your alley.
A while back my friend Josh Dean asked me if I would make something to accompany the upcoming record he was releasing titled Hunting Party Or A Band Of Braves, which is for his band Murder Boats. I believe he was working with a few other artists for other various things to do with the record, and well, I love both this band and the people who are in it so much, that I was so happy to be a part of it.
So today I got a text from my friend John Andrews saying he got his hands on the poster, and I asked him if he would send me a snap of it, as I hadn’t seen it since it was actually printed yet. So big thanks to John for hooking me up with the picture. Also big thanks to whoever it was who wound up doing the actual printing of this, everything turned out great!
Josh is one of the most incredible song writers and Murder Boats in its latest formation is a major force to be reckoned with. Check them out, see them play, buy this record, and grab this poster.
I had the pleasure of seeing Hop Along this week when they played with my buddies Secret Mountains. All I can say is this band keeps getting better and better. Their latest EP, Wretches, a 3 song, nearly 23 minute motion, is in my opinion their best yet. Second Voice, is the better half of this record clocking in around 11 minutes, is probably my favorite song, not only on the album, but in their full catalog of songs. ALSO, Frances is no doubt an alien… because there’s no way a human’s voice can do the things hers can. She pieced together a little band, dropped “Queen Ansleis” and is now a full on rock band. Best thing she could have done for herself. Pretty amazing live show, the sound is just THICK.
Paul Simon gets me every once and while with one of his records, and this weekend Graceland was just doing it all for me. Such a really great record.
No Age. Get their new record. Just get it, and listen to it. Better than Nouns. I have to say, I was really really impressed with it. These guys success story is also pretty off the wall, but good for them.
Dungen was sounding perfect to me this week. Which honestly, I have a really hard time getting into their songs some times, so I was glad that it all seemed to be fitting into the grooves. I have a feeling if I saw these guys live, my opinion on them would change completely. But for now, they are sitting plain and fancy in my book.
Feel free to add me on last.fm.
This weekend I found myself back in Beachwood. The caterpillars were plentiful and preparing to make their cocoons in the parsley, and as you can see, they’re quite remarkable looking little guys.
My Dad and I went fishing on Saturday, and while the actual fishing stunk, it was good to be outside in the nice weather. I’m starting to feel convinced that Winding River Park only has one very large fish in it who could care less about eating anything. Nonetheless, I still love being in that park. Another great weekend.
This week I got one of the greatest surprises one can get: news that Sufjan Stevens is recording a new album. But instead of “recording” it was “recorded” and “snuck one up on us”. He released an EP on Friday called All Delighted People which definitely delighted all people. Maybe those in the serious know had heard about this, but to me it came as a complete surprise, which is of course something he would do, all of the sudden just drop something on everyone that no one knew about. It’s 8 songs and around 60 minutes, which is a completely legitimate new release. Something we’ve been waiting for for quite some time, and let me say, this delivers. Sufjan has elevated to new grounds and is truly on maestro status. He is by far one of the most insane songwriters of our time, and will be held close to the heart by many for years and years and years to come.
I saw the video for the song Drugs by Ratatat and thought it was absolutely genius, (and I liked the song too) so I got this album. If you’ve EVER looked for any kind of stock photography, please watch this video, I promise you will get a kick out of it. I’ve never listened to these guys before, so I have nothing to compare it to, but it’s very fun to me.
Belle And Sebastian have been doing me quite right recently. I hadn’t listened to them in so long and I forgot how good they are. I mean, seriously, some of their songs are unbelievable. They have a new album coming out this fall and I have to say, I’m feeling pretty excited for it for whatever reason.
I also listened to Peter Bjorn & John this week for the first time in a few years, and Writer’s Block is still a good album. I really over listened to it when it came out, and need some serious time away from it, but some things you just cannot deny, and this album is one of them.
I think bought Daydream Nation 5 or 6 years ago on a bit of a whim. I’d not listened to Sonic Youth before that, and knew very little of what to expect. And while I thought it was an okay sounding record, it was really dissonant for my taste at the time and I was never really able to get into it. However, through the next few years, I would occasionally revisit the record hoping enough time had passed and perhaps something would have clicked and I would finally get it. This unfortunately never really happened for me. Not until this weekend that is. For whatever reason, I put on Daydream Nation and got reallly into it. I’m pretty excited that actually happened. Like I said, I’d been waiting years for this day. I also downloaded Goo and Dirty, both of which I enjoyed. I can definitely say I am a fan now, and whatever triggered me to purchase that record 6 years ago, I’m glad that happened.
I also listened to a bit of Weezer, which definitely happened after I heard about their new record. Hurley. That should be interesting. But Maladroit does me right every. single. time.
Listened to Ty Segall after seeing my boy Mike Walsh hyping him a bit, and he’s killing it. Caeser is such a great song. Check him out.
Beach Fossils are decent.
Post Post are amazing. One of the best young bands I’ve seen. Philly locals, 3/4 girl band, impossibly catchy. Just doing everything right to every degree. Catch this band as soon as you can.
Otis Redding kept me sane one night as I was sorting with some old stuff and cleaning some bookshelves. Impossibly smooth.
Belle And Sebastian’s Push Bar Man To Open Old Wounds is my favorite thing they’ve done. It’s a collection of their EPs and singles, which in this case, are some of their best songs. I hadn’t listened to this in a few years, and it was great to listen to again.
Flying Lotus is decent.
This past Wednesday I said good bye and good luck to my friend Oscar. He’s going back to school, and heading down to Georgia to do it at SCAD, something he’s been thinking about for quite some time, and planning for the better part of this past year. Oscar’s been a great mentor, teacher, boss, resource, and most of all friend. He’s a major part of why I have the job I do now, and I’ll be grateful to him forever
After work, for his send off, we out for a few drinks, where we got to all spend some time together and laugh. Oscar had said something about how he doesn’t know what the future holds, and I told him the future was….bright.
I think this is one of the most comforting thoughts we can embrace , especially as we embark onto new voyages in our life. Every second of our life is spent moving quickly into something we don’t know about, something we cannot predict, something absolutely unique that we’ve never dealt with before. But. just outside our window is the possibility of new and exciting times. Regardless of what they are, we can move forward knowing the future is bright.
My dear friend Biff approached me about making some album art for a compilation he was putting together called Short Attention Span. The concept is simple – all songs under 2 and a half minutes. I believe this was extended to under 3 minutes, but only 4 songs took advantage of the extra time. Anyway, I loved the idea and was excited to get something together for it. The photo is a shot I took from the parking garage I park in on the daily in Wilmington. I just loved the sweeping and cluttered look of it. Because of the nature of this compilation, and really any compilation, and how they almost serve as a soundtrack, I wanted this to look like a movie title shot. The album was just released on Monday night, and it’s free! So please take advantage of this and download it. It’s 24 bands/artists, and I really think it wound up being a pretty cohesive and flowing comp.
I’ll have you know I actually have a song on here as well. While I’m not playing music as much these days, I still loving writing and recording songs, and any excuse to do that is good enough for me. So check out the newest Wood Goold song titled “Rolling In Our Eyes” by giving this a download.
Most of you probably already know, I am huge fan of The Wire. I started watching the show because I wanted to watch something that was going to be as good as The Sopranos was, and what I got was something that was even better. In fact, better than any TV show I’d ever seen, or have seen since. Arrested Development comes close, and they hard to compare because they are so different, but honestly, nothing touches The Wire.
There is one now famous scene where D’Angelo Barksdale is explaining the game of chess to Bodie and Wallace after he catches them trying to plass checkers with the game pieces. He goes though all the players, which each are paralleled to some player of “The Game”, the game of the street. When asked how you become the king, D’Angelo replies “It ain’t like that. See, the king stay the king, a’ight? Everything stay who he is.” Watch the scene here.
The design of the poster comes from the ubiquitous British WW2 poster “Keep Calm And Carry On.” Mock-offs of that poster are pretty much every where, good, bad, and ugly. But because of my love for both this poster and that quote, they seemed like a perfect match for each other. Fans of either will hopefully agree.
I’ve got a whole ton of these posters, 18 x 24, and if anyone is interested, just hit me up!
The idea behind this poster is that, so often do we feel inferior , happily submit, and sell ourselves short. But the truth is, is that you can be whatever you’d like to be, and you can take yourself to any place you’d like. The people you see doing the things you want to do? It can be you. I just want people to feel encouraged to step out of their norm and try for something spectacular. When you realize that you’re no different from anyone else, great things can happen.
I have a few of these posters if anyone is interest. Just let me know. And more importantly, I hope you all feel inspired to become something you didn’t think you could.
Here is another poster I made for the Nom Now art show. It features the phrase “Inspire The Tired”, which is one of my favorite lines from our mission statement. I think one of the biggest obstacles we face as artists and as people in general, is the fact that we are always tired. Whether it be physically tired, mentally tired, spiritually tired, tired of our surroundings, or just tired of the norm, it sometimes gets the best of us. So, I think it’s the responsibility of those who are feeling rejuvenated and fresh, to pass that along to everyone else. To inspire the tired. I took this photo from the top of a ferris wheel, sort of representing being on top of your creative game. However, one day everything will flip and you’ll find yourself as the tired one, at the bottom of the ferris wheel, and hopefully someone else will be there to inspire you, and give you that lift all the way back to the top.
I have a few more posters of this one left if anyone is interested. I’d be more than happy to meet up with you.
My buddy Richie Brown made a really amazing poster for us using this phrase and putting his own spin on it. Check out his blog to give that one a look see. While you’re there, check out his other stuff, he is blowing my mind on a daily basis.