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.

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.

Music Monday 9.13.10 Weezer

I first heard Weezer in the summer before my freshman year of high school when I saw the video for Hash Pipe when it was fresh on MTV. I remember loving that they looked like nerds and thinking it was just the coolest thing ever. There was more to it than the pop punk I had been listening to, but still had an edge that made it cool. After that, I got my hands on the Blue album, and from there I was set. A year later Maladroit came out, and I remember buying that from a kid I went to school with who bought it but didn’t like it, and was willing to sell it to me for $5. I bought all the Weezer shirts Hot Topic was carrying at the time, one that looked like it was a shirt for a metal band, and the other which had a photo from the Keep Fishin’ video, which was the band posing with all the muppets. You really have no idea how cool I felt.

Anyway, the Blue album and Maladroit completely set the tone for my relationship with Weezer. Since then, I’ve gone both backwards and forwards in their catalogue making myself familiar with all their albums. I find that most people say they like Weezer and quickly follow that up with “Just Blue and Pinkerton,” and for whatever reason, that always bothers me a little. The more and more I listen to Weezer, I come to the realization that I actually do genuinely like them, not out of nostalgia, but because I like the songs. I’m accepting the fact that I’m not a casual listener, but instead a legitimate one.

Weezer has no doubt gotten worse over the recent years, and the albums have gotten cornier and cornier, but the truth of the matter is, if they have a new album, I will be listening to it, forming my opinion, and trying to come up with where I will place it in the inescapable album ranking list. (For those of you interested; Maladroit > Blue > Pinkerton > Green > Make Believe > Hurley > Red >>> Raditude.)

So when I set out to make this poster it took me a while to figure out the approach I wanted to take, but I finally arrived on this idea. For a band who is so often defined and dissected by their albums (whether it be which ones are classic or which ones are just plain awful) what better way to represent them then by there iconic (for better; Blue, Green, Red, or for worse, Raditude, Hurley, Make Believe….leave your own list in the comments) album covers?

By the way, Hurley is actually decent.

Short Attention Span

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.

Music Monday 4.26.10


I thankfully came across Shugo Tokumaru this week. He’s a Japanese artist combining folk, pop, electronic, and irresistibly. I read about his new album Port Entropy and listened to a few songs on his myspace and realized I needed not only that album, but also his previous Exit. Sometimes it’s hard for me to have interest in music from other countries, but I seriously had no problem getting into this, and I don’t think you will either. For fans of Jonsi’s funky stuff, this is calling your name.

The New Pornographers new album Together was this week’s unexpected gift. This is some of my favorite stuff I’ve heard from them, and for anyone (if there is anyone) who’s doubting their ability to put out good music, this should squash that. This is another one I recommend checking out right away. Something tells me this will be a very summer album.

REAL ESTATE. I’ve been feeling these guys so much over the past few weeks, and just last Sunday I finally got to catch them live at The Barbary in Philly. Seeing a band who you’ve never seen live before lets you hear their recordings differently after that. It’s one of my favorite things about music. It literally transforms songs almost to the point of you hearing them for the first time again. Anyway, after I saw them, I needed to re-hear that album again over and over again.

I started getting into Bill Callahan last week, and this past week I just kept on loving it. I got Rough Travel For A Rare Thing which is his latest, a live album. I’m always really hesitant about live albums. I tend to feel like it’s not the real thing. But I fortunately keep learning that it’s just a different thing. This album is one for the books, and if you’re trying to feed your Callahan fix, hit this up now.

I had such a Secret Mountains day yesterday. I feel like I say this every time I talk about them to anyone, but I’m just so proud of them. They are getting all sorts of press and becoming one of Baltimore’s brightest shining stars. If you’re not already listening to these guys I need you to fix that now. They have two FREE recordings online, their Kaddish EP, and a mobtown studios session. Start listening now before they blow up and you come in late on the game, like an idiot.

Simon & Garfunkel. So I went to Kirby’s friend’s birthday get together this Saturday night at a bar at Seaside. There was a lot of people who I only kind of knew, and much more who I didn’t know at all. While Kirby was making rounds, I watched this old TV above the bar that was on mute with subtitles playing the YES channel, which yes, that’s a Yankees channel. BUT, it had an interview with Paul Simon on it, and I was just so into it. He talked about how he met Art in the 4th grade. Art got up to sing and Paul looked up and was wowed. The interviewer asked him if he thought it was because he had a beautiful voice, and he said no, it was because that was the first time he realized that he wanted to do that. After that, I needed to listen to Simon & Garfunkel in the worst way.

Still experiencing some Broken Social Scene fever due to their new album which will be another summer smash.

I finally got the new Black Churches EP, Black Gold which features some of their finest written and produced songs yet. The songs are just so slick and smooth, but dark and rough at the same time. Another group of guys who I just love. Check out the shirt I made for them just a few posts down.

Add me on last.fm!

Black Churches Shirt



My good friends in Black Churches asked me to help them with an idea they had for a shirt. All they had in mind was some sort of three eyed monster. So I gladly took on the challenge, and this is what came of it. These guys are seriously tearing it up, and they also couldn’t be a nicer batch of dudes. Grab one of these shirts at one of their shows.