Music Monday 5.24.10 – 5.16.11

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.

Music Monday 12.13.10 Vince Guaraldi

Vince Guaraldi is infamous for scoring the music for the Peanuts movies and television specials, not the least of which being A Charlie Brown Christmas, which just so happens to have become synonymous with Christmas itself, putting Vince Guaraldi in that category as well. This album is perhaps the most perfect Christmas music ever made. It’s at heart a jazz album, though I don’t think it’s recognized as one. Mostly because it’s voice is so much louder than just that. If this can’t get you in the Christmas mood, you’re a hopeless grinch. This is one of the most classic albums of any genre, of any time, and the fact that it’s a Christmas album just gives us something to look forward to every year.

This is an absolute must own album. We’ve still got a few more weeks before Christmas, and you should be playing this throughout.

Sufjan Steven’s Songs For Christmas is the new classic, and between these two you should be set on appropriate Christmas music for life.

Anyway, the iconic Christmas-tree-in-need-of-love seemed to be the perfect subject for this poster.
I know these next few days can be very stressful, but try to relax and enjoy this very special time of year.

Music Monday 12.6.10 Sufjan Stevens

So here’s another embarrassingly late Music Monday post with none other than our boy Sufjan Stevens. I’d be lying if I said I don’t eagerly wait until Dec. 1st to appropriately break out his Songs For Christmas. Talk about a collection; this guy put out a BOX SET of Christmas music. Over the past few years it has become the soundtrack of my Decembers, and have the intention for it to be that way for years to come. Let’s face it, he’s a king, and this should come as no surprise to anyone. If you don’t have this, well, you’re on the internet, fix that problem.

Also got into The Hellacopters this week. It’s some good old rock music that sort of makes you feel like a cool guy listening to it. I mean, this is the most pathetic description ever. Just think MC5 or something like that.

Music Monday 11.29.10 Kanye West

So upon the recommendation of just about everyone, I gave Kanye West’s new album a few more listens. I’m not exactly sure how my tone came off a few weeks ago so I want to make this clear: I think this a good album, and probably one of the better of the year. But I don’t think it’s this year’s best… I don’t even think it’s his best. But it is good. There’s something to it, that you can get behind the songs that you don’t even really like that much. I think it’s a creative album by most standards, but not all. It’s funny to me that it’s getting showered with the compliments of how unique it is, but in comparison to some truly unique acts, I think it still falls short.
Again though, it’s good.

The idea for this poster came from the couple of Egyptian references Kanye makes on the song Monster, which I just couldn’t get enough of. You may also notice this is in the style of the last poster I did for him. I don’t know if it makes sense to say this or not, but the album sounds very black and red to me, and I think it would be cool to do a few more that fit this style of illustration.

Kirby’s dad lent me a few albums that he loves, that he thought I might enjoy, one of which being Eat A Peach by The Allman Brothers Band. He had told us that he wanted their song Blue Sky to play at his funeral. And even though that’s strangely sort of morbid to think of at this point, the song is pretty awesome, and would probably be the coolest funeral song ever. This album is southern rock, perhaps at it’s finest.

Brick + Mortar, who I know I’ve talked about before, are just one of the most creative and talented bands out there right now. They are emerging from the Asbury/New Jersey music scene and gaining a lot of deserving recognition and respect. If you have the chance to catch these guys, I would certainly not miss the opportunity. I actually had the fortune of seeing them twice over this Thanksgiving break. Once at The Stone Pony, and two nights later at a bar in Seaside. It was awesome to see that even in two completely different venues, one with a stage and an intense sound system, and the other with neither, they still performed great and made each environment work for them. I took some video of them from The Stone Pony, and I think it’s best you check them out. John Tacon is an absolute crazy person on the drums.

Music Monday 11.21.10 Squeeze

So I know this is more than a little overdue, and I know it’s far from being a Monday, but hey, some weeks are just like that. So let’s get to it…

About two weeks ago I was lucky enough to pick up the vinyl of a favorite record of mine, Squeeze’s Singles 45′s and Under. It’s basically a collection of some hits from Squeeze, but unlike some singles compilations, this one was released by the band, which always seems to make it more legitimate. Regardless, this album is really filled with songs that honestly get better every time I listen to them. The back half of this record keeps getting better and better and it ends with Annie Get Your Gun which I could probably listen to on repeat for an hour.

It’s sort of funny because Squeeze just put out a new album (new recordings of old songs) on XOXO records, home to River City Extension. Glenn Tilbrook has taking a liking to the band, and actually sings on one of their songs. I’m hoping that sooner of later our paths cross, because you know, that would be awesome.

This poster was strongly influenced (okay, almost entirely) by their song Black Coffee In Bed, which if you aren’t familiar with, please check it out now.

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.

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.

Music Monday 9.20.10 Coldplay

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.

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.

Music Monday 9.6.10 Megafaun

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.

Music Monday 8.16.10 Sonic Youth

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.