Saturday, December 18, 2010

Top Ten Albums of 2010

OK, it's that time of year again. Time for the Top Ten Albums of 2010. Look for future posts including the entirety of the Madison Institute of Musicologists individual lists, as well as an expanded reissue of mine with more coverage.

Here it is:

TIM SPEAKER – Madison Institute of Musicologist Top Ten Night Official Ballot

10. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

The best Bowie album since Heroes.

09. Lower Dens – Twin-Hand Movement

Quiet and slow burning. Really came out of nowhere at the end of the year.

08. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Beat the Devil’s Tattoo

This album hung in my top five for most of the year. A fist-full of dirty, bluesy, trippy rock n roll songs. Great live sounding production; New drummer provides drive to their most focused and coherent album yet.

07. The Black Ryder – Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride

Out of the ashes of The Morning After Girls comes this killer shoegaze record from Australia. Featuring members of Swervedriver, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Black Rebel Motorcycle club, the album sounds a bit like those bands, Slowdive, and Mazzy Star too. Woozy, gauzy, soulful anthems for the morning after. Love love love this record.

06. Crocodiles – Sleep Forever

I liked their first album, but this was a huge leap forward. Shoegaze, BritPop, New Wave, Psych, Garage, etc. plus Jesus and Mary Chain, Spiritualized…from San Diego! So, so hard to leave this out of my top five. Addictive stuff.

05. The Walkmen – Lisbon

An album of the year contender: this breezy, sunny (in the best sense of the term) record was a perfect late summer/early fall time of the year. While not quite as emotionally impactful as You and Me, the superb songwriting, authentic production (can you name any records that sound better than this this year?) and unique vocals give The Walkmen their second 4-star plus album. Beautiful.

04. The Black Keys – Brothers

The album that grew and grew for me as the year went on. Lots of stuff I grew up on are here – blues, soul, r&b, Motown, 60’s pop, garage, psych – wrapped in terrific songwriting. A record I predict will stand the test of time.

03. The National – High Violet

Their seems to be two types of National songs for me: ones I fall in love with immediately, and those I have initial difficulty connecting to, then as time goes on I find my place in. If every other National album sets the precedent, I will be even more into this album this time next year. Half the album – Terrible Love, Bloodbuzz Ohio, England, Conversation 16, Runaway, Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks – might have been the best songs written by anyone this year. BTW - I wrote this previous to the release of the Extended Edition.

SIDE NOTE: Had Anyone’s Ghost, Little Faith, and Afraid of Everyone been replaced by You Were A Kindness (so, so, so good), Sin Eaters, Wake Up Your Saints, and the Alternate Version of Terrible Love (a million times better than the original album version) been the running order, the original edition would win my Album of the Year hands down.

02. The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

An album about growing up in Saginaw, MI – by someone who has never been there (presumably). You know what? It’s about time that someone has written an American rock n roll album that hits all the right influences – Springsteen, The Clash, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, The Mats, etc. - just to name a few. I can’t imagine they’ve sold a single record in LA, or Miami, or Las Vegas. Straight ahead songwriting that I connect to at the most base level of my existence – a whole album that “feels” like Springsteen’s Bobby Jean – or, what it is like to suddenly be this old. An album I will be listening to in 20 years time. The best compliment I can give this: it’s an album rather than a collection of songs.

SIDE NOTE: I saw them with The Hold Steady in Detroit in July, which has to be the best time/place to see either Gaslight or Hold Steady. One of the best shows I have seen in years.

01. The Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

An epic, double-album length, fairly-filler-free masterpiece. Again.

THE NEXT FIVE – Just Missed The Cut…

05. The Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards

A real psych-freak out record that sounds like it was recorded in 1967. Weird, dark, live sounding stuff.

04. Grinderman – Grinderman 2

Is Nick Cave the most underrated man in rock? I don’t know, but one thing is for sure – he has put out as much good stuff in the past five years than any single artist. Think about it.

03. Beach House – Teen Dream

An album I really like, but never fell totally in love with. Solid.

02. The Red Pens – Reasons

I first heard this on the radio in Minnepolis in June and had to wait in the car until the DJ gave the song title (Blue Lighter). If I was to start a new band, I’d want to sound like this.

01. Zola Jesus – Stridulum / Valusia EP’s

Confession: there has always been a pasty, cemetery-at-night loving goth kid hidden away inside me. And this appeals to my Cure loving heart.

SONG of the YEAR

Hearts of Love, Crocodiles

The best chorus this side of Noel Gallagher.


Songs The Lord Taught Us, The Cramps

Killer, old school rockabilly, punk record that pretty much invented the Psychobilly genre. I have a deep, deep, deep love of rockabilly and 50’s rock n roll, and this touches all the right bases.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sign Painter Documentary Looks Timely

I remember being really curious about the signage I saw around town when I was growing up in Saginaw, MI. From a very early age I was interested in signage and typography - though I had no idea what those terms were - and was struck by how beautifully precise the lettering was. In particular, I used to see the tag "Signs By Walt" at the bottom of some of my favorite signs. Maybe ten years old, I would ask my Mom - "Who is Walt? He's so amazing! Look at how cool these letters are!". Honestly, I was so curious about who this mystery genius was, I always looked for his name at the bottom of signs.

Seems I wasn't the only one into sign painting and sign painters, as evidenced by Sign Painting: a new documentary by Faythe Levin and Sam Macon.

From ImPrint:

Filmmakers Faythe Levine (Handmade Nation: the Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design) and Sam Macon are working on a new documentary on sign painters persisting in their hand-lettered craft. So far, they’ve shot in Olympia, Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, and Syracuse, with Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta, and more to come. The film, by capturing the stories of sign painters both young and old, illustrates that although digital vinyl lettering has decimated the profession since the early 1980s, the craft still continues to draw in many young painters with an eye for the handmade quality that digital work so clearly lacks.

Then there are the old-timers, like 90-year-old Rey Giese of San Jose, who has been painting signs since the Great Depression and is still going. And everyone seems to have a story about how they picked up the trade, whether it was from a friend, in a trade school, in prison, or as a way to continue a youthful love of lettering first brought out in graffiti. Stay tuned for more updates on this feature, projected for release in 2012.

For more information and images, go here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

This Is Where I Want To Live

I have long been a big fan of converted industrial/commercial properties becoming living/studio spaces. This is still what I want to do - I am very interested in finding some industrial building here in Greenville and renovating it. My ultimate dream would be to find some small decrepit mill (of which there seems to be many) just outside the city, in the woods, all brick, etc. and create my ultimate home and working space. Btw, if you know somewhere like this, and it is cheap-to-reasonably priced, please let me know.

Above is one image from a gas station renovation in Los Angeles - so amazing.

Much more can be found here.

Unknown Pleasures Is Everywhere

Joy Division's seminal masterpiece Unknown Pleasures seems to be everywhere these days. Original JD bassist (and New Order alumni) Peter Hook is currently touring (and soon to be hitting the States) behind the 30th Anniversary of the album, performing it in it's entirety.

Everything about the album has become iconic, from the songs themselves to the album sleeve. Legendary designer (and personal hero) Peter Saville created the iconic cover image of a digital view of a sound wave, and from that abstraction the cover was born. Today you can buy shoes, skateboard decks, iPods, or even mittens with the cover printed on it.

The album itself has held up amazingly well by the way. It sounds so, so contemporary. Everyone should go out and buy it, it should be essential listening for all members of the human race.

This is a really long way of saying that I love Joy Division, and the image of the doorway in Manchester above reminded me of that today. Really, that's all - I really love Joy Division.

Typekit Is Totally Legit

One of the major reasons I have never gotten too into web design is that the designer can be quite limited by the typographic options available. And since I'm a serious, hardcore typophile, I had little interest in having my typography change depending on the computer that is interpreting it.

Recently several new technologies have sought to solve this problem. TypeKit is one of them, and by all accounts, works cleanly to this end.

Check them out here.

Typographica Is Beautiful

If you haven't been to the phenomenal Typographica, then go there right now.

No really, leave my site, and go check it out. It's a beautiful thing.

Get there here.

Minimal Sites Is Inspiring

We are all always looking for inspiration right? Well, Minimal Sites provides a boatload of it. I love the pared back, less is more approach to websites - though you might not guess that from my site.

Anyway, check out Minimal Sites for some serious fire.

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Arcade Fire Video Is Beyond Epic

As I have previously noted, I am a big, big Arcade Fire fan. I think they are one of the best bands in the world right now. Their new video for the title track of the their latest album - The Suburbs - is absolutely phenomenal. Directed by video legend Spike Jonze, The Suburbs is an example of an art form which has died a horrible, untimely death - the music video as art.

Beautiful, confusing, visceral, hard to forget - in other words, everything great art should be.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hero Joe Strummer Gets Biopic Treatment He Deserves

Clash frontman Joe Strummer has long been a hero of mine. The only band to write political songs that I ever really loved (band, not artist, thus disqualifying Bob Dylan) The Clash were the end of an era.

Now it seems that Strummer is about to get the full biopic. Rock biopics can generally be divided into three categories:

The Good - Control (fantastic film about Ian Curtis), The Doors (I love it for all the reasons people hate it - long, indulgent, over the top. Also Val Kilmer's Jim Morrison is the single best rock performance ever.), Walk The Line (Johnny Cash), La Bamba (Richie Valens), Velvet Goldmine (David Bowie and Iggy Pop).

The Decent - BackBeat (early Beatles), Sid & Nancy (solely for Gary Oldman's brilliant Sid Vicious).

The Awful - What We Do Is Secret (butchered editing style ruined a great performance by Shane West as Germs leader Darby Crash), Great Balls of Fire (silly Jerry Lee Lewis impression).

Anyway, here is more about the upcoming Strummer pic.

In what was only a matter of time, International Screen Daily (via the Playlist) has revealed that Clash leader and rock legend Joe Strummer's life will soon be adapted for the silver screen. British movie company Film4 will lead the charge on the flick, which has been given the rather mundane working title of 'Joe Publich.' Paul Viragh, the scribe who penned the Ian Dury movie 'Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll,' is working as the lead screenwriter. Strummer was involved with the film world during his lifetime, starring in projects from indie auteur Jim Jarmusch and Finnish mastermind Aki Kaurismaki, and he's also been a popular subject of documentaries. His life as a musician and activisit has been recounted in both 'Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten' and 'Strummerville,' which was directed by Don Letts and received a partial premiere at the 2010 SXSW festival. So far, Damian Jones ('Millions') and Simon Halfon ('Sleuth') are both currently signed on as producers. No actor has been rumored for the lead role as of yet. Depending on his acting chops, Glasvegas frontman James Allan and his uncanny resemblance to Strummer could be an interesting choice.

Detroit City Map Poster Is Awesome

This killer poster of Detroit is predictably cool, but their is lots more great stuff over at Peaceful Traveler.

Enjoy his stuff here.

Listening To: The Cramps

SPINNING: Songs the Lord Taught Us, by The Cramps
FAV TRACKS: TV Set, Mad Daddy, I Was A Teenage Werewolf, Tear It Up

Alright, so I'm binging on the criminally underrated band The Cramps at present. This is straight up rock and roll like nobody seems to play anymore - well, anyone other than Jack White. I defy anyone to write a cooler riff than the one for I Was A Teenage Werewolf. Killer stuff. Did I mention they had a girl lead guitar player, and that her name was Poison Ivy? No, really, what a raretie in rock and roll.

If I were to start a new band right now (other than Victory Formation, which is at present moving quite slow...) I would want to sound just like this. Or maybe just play Cramps covers.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Top Ten Black Sabbath Songs (with Ozzy)

It's been awhile since I have done a Top Ten List, so it's about time I drop one. Black Sabbath was a very big part of my youth. In high school I would stay up really, really late and listen to Sabbath in the dark - I remember listening intensely to Planet Caravan on repeat, with only the blue/green glow of my stereo light humming in the background.

Alright, without further ado, here is my Top Ten Black Sabbath Songs (with Ozzy).

10. Children of the Grave

09. It’s Alright

08. Hand of Doom

07. Wasp/Behind the Wall of Sleep/Basically/NIB (this is all one song)

06. Black Sabbath

05. Sweet Leaf

04. Planet Caravan

03. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

02. Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener (again, one song)

01. Hole In The Sky

On a side note: I absolutely love it when bands use their own name in songs. You notice there are two songs above that do this. The Clash were the absolute best at this – We Are The Clash, This Is Radio Clash, Clash City Rockers, What’s My Name? – so awesome.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Last Minutes With Oden is Six Minutes of Emotion

Last Minutes with ODEN from phos pictures on Vimeo.

This mini-doc, about a man having to put his dog to sleep, is hands down the saddest thing I've seen in a long, long time. Maybe it was the long tiring weekend, hours upon hours of work, sleepless nights, or all of the above, but it sure got to me tonight.

If you have ever loved anyone, an animal or human being, and lost them, then this film will speak to you.


BTW - thanks Andre for the heads up.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Framework Collection Does It Again For EveryGuyed

The aforementioned has come through again with this look at the distinct eyeglass frames of iconic individuals throughout history.

Again - great stuff. Check out the whole set here.

Music Ensemble Collections Are Cool

Over at the up and coming, they have been putting together some pretty awesome design pieces of late.

Here is one of about 20 different pieces focusing on the style of musicians throughout time, called ENSEMBLE: The Style of Music.

Check out the whole set here. Super appealing stuff.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Saville's Gravestone For Tony Wilson Is So Fitting

One of my favorite designers of all time, Peter Saville (he of Joy Division/New Order/Suede fame to name just a few) designed the gravestone for fellow luminary Tony Wilson (he of Factory Records/Joy Division/New Order/Happy Mondays fame). Wilson is significant enough to have had one of my Top 25 Films of the Decade made about him, to typically hilarious results.

This gravestone is incredibly beautiful and understated, which is to say nothing like the man it represents (just kidding). Wilson was a man of incredible vision and drive, and the world would be a very, very different place had he not existed.

PS - thanks Phil for the heads up.

Banksy Does The Clash, Typical Brilliance Ensues

Banksy, one of the most significant artists of the past decade, has created many, many pieces that comment on the state of affairs both in the United States and Great Britain. But this piece, truly is spectacular. By pairing the iconic image of spirit of punk - Paul Simonen smashing his Fender bass on the cover of The Clash's London Calling (one of the Top Ten Albums of All Time) against the symbol of modern man's vacuous lifestyle - the office chair, Banksy has said more about the contemporary state of youth than any academic treatise ever could.

Powerful, thought-provoking work. What true art should do.

Minnesotans Poster of Minnesota Is Great Dontcha Know

This tribute poster to Minnesota by Burlesque of North America is awesome. So are the 'Sotans themselves - they don't call it "Minnesota Nice" for nothing. Some of the best people you will ever meet.

Lots more great stuff to be found here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nike Poster For Renaldo Is Explosive

Ever have a designer or artist, that drives you crazy because everything, everything, everything they do is totally mind-numbingly fantastic? Yeah, I do, and that person is Cristiana Couceiro. Literally everything she does is incredible.

Check out tons more of here ridiculous work here. And keep kleenex handy to wipe up all the drool you will have while looking at her site.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Infamous Chelsea Hotel Is Up For Sale

I really don't know how to begin this post, so I will just roll out the facts of the matter. The legendary Chelsea Hotel in New York City is officially (and sadly) on the market. Recently, I was able to fulfill a lifelong dream and go there.

Why was going to the Chelsea a goal for me? How about this (from Wikipedia):

Built in 1883, the twelve-story red-brick building that now houses the Hotel Chelsea opened in 1884 as one of the city's first private
apartment cooperatives. At the time of its construction, the Chelsea Hotel stood as the tallest building in New York, and its surrounding neighborhood constituted the center of New York's Theater District. However, within a few years the combination of economic worries and the relocation of the theaters bankrupted the Chelsea cooperative. In 1905, the building reopened as a hotel (which was later managed by Knott Hotels and resident manager A. R. Walty). In 1946, Joseph Gross, Julius Krauss, and David Bard became partners in the hotel and managed the hotel together until the early 1970s. With the passing of Joseph Gross and Julius Krauss, the management fell to Stanley Bard (son of David Bard).

Owing to its long list of famous guests and residents, the hotel has an ornate history, treasured both as a birth place of creative modern art and by tragedy catching the public eye. Sir Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey while staying at the Chelsea, and poets Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and Martin Matz chose it as a place for philosophical and intellectual exchange. It is also known as the place where the writer Dylan Thomas was staying when he died of alcohol poisoning on November 9, 1953, and where Nancy Spungen, girlfriend of Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, was found stabbed to death on October 12, 1978.

During its lifetime Hotel Chelsea has provided a home to many great writers and thinkers including Mark Twain, O. Henry, Herbert Huncke, Dylan Thomas, Dale Beran, Arthur C. Clarke, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Arnold Weinstein, Leonard Cohen, Sharmagne Leland-St. John, John Patrick Kennedy , Arthur Miller, Quentin Crisp, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac (who wrote On the Road there), Robert Hunter, Jack Gantos, Brendan Behan, Richard Collins, Simone de Beauvoir, Robert Oppenheimer, Jean-Paul Sartre, Bill Landis, Michelle Clifford, Thomas Wolfe, Charles Bukowski, Marty Matz, Raymond Kennedy, Matthew Richardson, Stephen Mooney, Jan Cremer, and René Ricard. Charles R. Jackson, author of The Lost Weekend, committed suicide in his room at the Chelsea on September 21, 1968. Dylan Thomas collapsed in Room 205 at the Chelsea on Nov 9th 1953 and died a few days later in hospital.

The hotel has been a home to actors and film directors such as Stanley Kubrick, Shirley Clarke, Cyndi Coyne, Mitch Hedberg, Dave Hill, Miloš Forman, Lillie Langtry, Ethan Hawke, Dennis Hopper, Vincent Gallo, Eddie Izzard, Hal Miller, Kevin O'Connor, Uma Thurman, Elliot Gould, Elaine Stritch, Michael Imperioli, Jane Fonda, Gaby Hoffmann and her mother, the Warhol film star Viva, Melissa "Rocky" Matthers and Edie Sedgwick.

Much of Hotel Chelsea's history has been colored by the musicians who have resided or visited there. Some of the most prominent names include The Grateful Dead, Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Virgil Thomson, Dee Dee Ramone of The Ramones, Henri Chopin, John Cale, Édith Piaf, Joni Mitchell, Marty Connolly, Bob Dylan, Alice Cooper, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Peter Walker, Nadia marie Belvanson & the valentines, Canned Heat, Sid Vicious, Vivian Stanshall, Richard Hell, glam rocker Jobriath, Rufus Wainwright, Abdullah Ibrahim/Sathima Bea Benjamin, Indian musician Vasant Rai, and Leonard Cohen. More recently, artists such as Madonna, Falco, Ryan Adams, Camden Blues, The Libertines, The Fuse (UK),Michael McDermott, Melissa Auf der Maur, Tim Freedman, and Anthony Kiedis have spent time at The Chelsea.

The hotel has featured and collected the work of the many visual artists who have passed through. Larry Rivers, Robert M. Lambert, Brett Whiteley, Christo, Arman, Richard Bernstein, Francesco Clemente, Ching Ho Cheng, David Remfry, Philip Taaffe, Michele Zalopany, Ralph Gibson, Rene Shapshak, Robert Mapplethorpe, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Robert Crumb, Jasper Johns, Edie Sedgwick, Candace Campbell, Bernard Childs, Claes Oldenburg, Vali Myers, Donald Baechler, Herbert Gentry, Willem De Kooning, John Dahlberg, Lynne Drexler and Henri Cartier-Bresson have all spent time at Hotel Chelsea. Painter & ethnomusicologist Harry Everett Smith lived and died at the Chelsea in Room 328. The painter Alphaeus Philemon Cole lived there for 35 years until his death in 1988 at age 112, when he was the oldest living man. Hanuman Books founder, editor & art curator Raymond Foye keeps residence here and has worked with many of the hotel's artists since the 1980s. Bohemian abstract and Pop art painter Susan Olmetti creates paintings outside on the sidewalk during her frequent summer residencies at the hotel. Surrealist painter Hawk Alfredson has multiple pieces on almost every one of the 10 floors and is the most visible of all resident artists.

Hotel Chelsea is often associated with the Andy Warhol Superstars, as he directed Chelsea Girls (1966), a film about his Factory regulars and their lives at the hotel. Chelsea residents from the Warhol scene included Edie Sedgwick, Viva, Larry Rivers, Ultra Violet, Mary Woronov, Holly Woodlawn, Andrea Feldman, Nico, Paul America, and Brigid Berlin. Valerie Solanas, the would-be assassin of Andy Warhol, visited the hotel on that very day looking for editor Maurice Girodias, possibly to make an attempt on his life shortly before she shot Warhol at The Factory at 33 Union Square, a brief walk from the hotel. In his memoir of the period he spent living at the Chelsea, Arthur Miller mistakenly recalled Solanas shooting Warhol in the hotel lobby.

Yeah, pretty amazing huh? Well let's all pray it doesn't turn into some hipster/fashionista/silly den like CBGB's when John Varvatos bought it. At least these guys want to help - check them out here.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Greenville 12X12 Exhibit Is Almost Here

Greenville Open Studios is almost here, as is the 12x12 exhibition at the Metropolitan Arts Council, downtown on Augusta. It opens this Friday, October 29th. Come check it out.

Above is the piece that I have in the show, Valediction (Adieux), charcoal and acrylic on wood.

Goodbye to Kind of Blue

Sent a commission piece off to Chicago this week. Took me way, way too long to get this piece done, most of the summer in fact. I really enjoyed creating 25 individual paintings to make up one big one.

To Kevin and Sara - enjoy Kind of Blue. I will miss seeing it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

ThinkTank Potluck Pull Party Rocked


au thinktank potluck pull party 2010. from kelly johnson on Vimeo.

The graphic design club I moderate - AU ThinkTank - had a great event last night. Potluck, and a Pull Party (where we pulled a bunch of prints to sell to raise money). Great turnout, great food, great prints, great people. And a great recap video.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Watch Godard's Masterpiece - Breathless - Totally Free

Jean-Luc Godard
's New Wave masterpiece - Breathless - is now available to watch online, totally free. This is super, super cool, as this was a revolutionary film for it's time, one that continues to reverberate in film history.

Watch it above for free, in it's entirety, or head over here.

You won't be sorry.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Clockwork Orange Poster Is Real Horrorshow

When I was in college back at Central Michigan University in the late Nineties, I fell in love with both Stanley Kubrick and Anthony Burgess. These obsessions came together simultaneously, and naturally dovetailed with A Clockwork Orange. I wound up writing a 40 page term paper comparing the Kubrick film with the Burgess novel, titled, "A Clockwork Orange: Two Sides of the Same Vision, or Two Visions of the Same Side". I still quite like that title.

Anyway, over the years I have enjoyed the film more and more, finding plenty of dark humour where I only saw despair when I was younger.

Here is a great poster for a presentation of the film. Great stuff from an excellent blog. Check it out here.

Santa Monica Legitimate Wear Posters Are Cool

These posters are killer. Check out the whole series here.

Good stuff.

Charting The Beatles Is Incredible

Michael Deal has been creating amazing, intricate, and beautiful informational graphics concerning the career of The Beatles. It's unbelievable, inspiring stuff.

Check them out here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

New Gap Logo Is An Epic Fail

The old logo for the Gap was nothing special - condensed type on a blue square, kind of boring and late 80's but not really awful or great. It was just kind of there. I recently noticed their usage of Helvetica for their 1969 Jeans campaign, and was super impressed with the quality and minimalism utilized there.

So when I saw the new logo, I was not surprised to see Helvetica, but what I was shocked to see was the terrible, horrifyingly bad blue gradient square tucked partially behind the "p". Wow, wow, wow. This looks like it was done in Windows, or Microsoft Word. It looks like a high school student redesign project, where the feedback to the young, inexperienced student would go something like this:

"While I applaud your desire to connect to the successful 1969 Jeans campaign by utilizing a concise, communicative face such as Helvetica, usage of gradients should be sparing and carefully selected. There are few times such an effect is warranted, and this truly is not one of them. I am not sure what you are attempting to communicate to your audience through this execution. For revision, eliminate any elements that are not essential and do not clearly support the message you are attempting to execute. Please continue to revise."

Take heed friends, this is what an Epic Fail looks like.

Monday, October 4, 2010

History of NYC Typography is Engaging

I love typography. I love New York City. I love history.

So the New Type York Project? Done and done.

More here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Boardwalk Empire Already the Best Show On Television

Created and executive produced by the greatest living filmmaker, Martin Scorsese, (sorry Jean-Luc Godard) Boardwalk Empire comes with unprecedented fanfare for a television premiere. Starring the always great Steve Buscemi as lead character Nucky Thompson, based on the real life politician/gangster of the era, the show sounded like a can't miss proposition. And two episodes in, it has exceeded expectations and already become the Best Show of Television, all due respect to Dexter.

The criminally underrated Michael Pitt (he of The Dreamers and Last Days) co-stars as Thompson's driver and one time protege. But all is not right in his world. Scorsese has created a world (literally building the boardwalk in it's entirety in Brooklyn) so legitimate and true, that you feel like you literally are walking the boardwalk of Atlantic City at the beginning of prohibition.

I don't want to give any more away, other than to say that the Scorsese directed pilot looked and felt like a classic Scorsese film, from the camera pans and jump cuts to the "flash" cuts and character introductions.

Just watch it, you won't be sorry.

How to Be Miserable As An Artist is Accurate

The How To Feel Miserable As An Artist
list is solid advice.

Take heed people, take heed.

The History of Type In One Handy Timeline

Over at Cha Cha they have put together a nice little History of Typography Timeline. Other than a couple mistakes here and there, it's pretty cool (Helvetica is the default setting on PC's? Really? Um, no...). Otherwise, good stuff.

Check it out in greater detail and download the PDF here.

Palladium Abandonment Series Is Awesome

Exploration #5 - Listen in Berlin from Palladium on Vimeo.

Palladium Boots
has commissioned a series of documentary films on abandoned places (Detroit, NYC), but also the odd or surreal living situations (people who live in missile silos, London radio pirates). The entire series is great, they are all worth a look.

Check them out here.

BTW - Above is the Berlin abandonment episode. Enjoy.

Hearts of Love Video Is Too Cool For Words

Crocodiles - Hearts Of Love - Music Video from Mark P. Smith on Vimeo.

10 Ingredients For A Killer Music Video:

1. Knife fights
2. Washed out Super 8 footage
3. Leather jackets
4. Beaches
5. Beautiful girls in bikinis
6. A band that looks just like the Jesus & Mary Chain
7. A band that sounds just like the Jesus & Mary Chain
8. Trick photography so the band can fight themselves
9. Dudes in epic beards & wayfarers (that essentially look like me)
10. Homemade tattoos in the desert

Current Obsession: Sleep Forever, Crocodiles

New post tag here at SA&D, the Current Obsession. This will mostly focus on music, but could be anything.

Really, really digging the garage/psych stuff of late, like the self-titled debut from Darker My Love and Buy The Ticket, Take The Ride from The Black Ryder.

Anyway, this is too long a post. In the future I will just give you the basics. Here goes.

Current Obsession: Sleep Forever by Crocodiles
Essential Tracks: Sleep Forever, Mirrors, Hearts of Love
Interested: Download their instrumental EP here.
: I really dug their first record - Summer of Hate - but the new record is better.