Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The show that almost was

I was excited back in May to learn that My Bloody Valentine had reunited and was coming to New York to play two shows in September. Loveless is a great record and I hadn’t had a chance to see the band during their early ‘90s heyday.

I was bummed—just a few days later—to learn that both shows had sold out quickly and I was without a ticket.

I was hopeful about a month ago to find a pair tickets for sale online that were less than $100 a piece.

I was excited at having my bid of $140 for the pair of tickets accepted by the seller.

I was bummed to learn I was going to have to attend a two-day meeting in Minneapolis, the second day of which would the same day as the MBV show I had tickets for.

I was happy to learn the second day’s meeting would end at noon and I’d be able to make it back to New York in time for the MBV show.

I was bummed, sitting for two hours on the tarmac in Minneapolis as we waited for a storm to pass, as I did the math and realized that once we got to New York I’d be able to grab a cab and get to the venue right about the time the show would let out.

I guess some things aren’t meant to be.


Sit back and relax for a bit

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So here's the deal...

I flew to Minneapolis on Sunday for two days of meetings. The kind of meetings where you begin to wonder what you're doing with your life. I got back very late last night.

Tomorrow morning I fly to Las Vegas for a few days of sunshine and some semi-bad behavior.*

So unfortunately the blog is suffering this week. It's not because I don't care.

Enjoy your week and weekend and let's regroup on Monday.

* Who am I kidding? I'm a prince.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thank God it’s Friday’s song of the day

Listen to this. It’s “Golden Age” from the new TV On The Radio album, Dear Science, which drops on Tuesday.

Enjoy your weekend.

What, you thought I was gonna leave you hanging?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Things to look at

Somebody calling himself Dr. Monster does some entertaining photoshop work on images from science fairs. Good times.

Check ‘em out here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Leverage the awesomeness for your brand

A few months back I posted the awesome animated short film “I Met The Walrus” (here’s the post). Adverbox has posted three animated spots Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago did for Key Bank that use a very similar animation style and visual-to-audio relationship. They're pretty engaging.

The credits list Tim Tomkinson as the illustrator; he's not the guy behind “I Met The Walrus,” lest you believe otherwise.

See all three spots here.

Simple is good

Via the Denver Egotist.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Don't get too cute with it, Lincoln

If, like me, you spent the better part of yesterday watching football, you might have seen this ad (which has been running for a couple weeks now).

cat power :: "space oddity" (david bowie cover) - bowie

Despite the cool cinematography, it’s not much of a standout spot visually. So many car ads look alike these days. But if you’re a Cat Power fan then you likely recognized the soundtrack. Chan Marshall has done some great covers in her career and I am in love with the snippet of her doing Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” It’s a bittersweet tune, so right in her strike zone.

Lincoln’s use of the song works for their concept of equating driving the car to space travel, and it probably maps well to their intended audience being that it’s a song they probably know updated for today. The weird part is that it’s maybe not the greatest choice when you scratch below the surface of the song to its messages of detachment and powerlessness.

I also kinda hate the “you’ve really made the grade” lyric closing the spot. I bet somebody—the client, the editor, the account guy—was really proud of himself for making that (not so) subtle point.

(I’d love to get my hands on the full version of this song so that I could write over the mental connection I now have between it and this spot. Here’s hoping.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thank God it’s Friday’s songs of the day

That’s right, friends, songs. As in plural. Two songs this week. Why? Because I’m awesome and I like you.

First up is a song Brian alerted me to. It comes from the recent collaboration of Kaki King and the Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle. They’ve finished a six-song EP entitled Black Pear Tree, including this track, “Thank You Mario But Our Princess Is in Another Castle.” The title comes from the Super Mario Bros. video game and, according to Darnielle, the song is written from the perspective of Toad.

As Brian wrote me, “Mt Goats + Kaki King + Super Mario Bros = Awesome. Even if you know or care nothing about video games this is a great tune. Also I love the pairing of JD's melancholy voice with the loving/optimistic
voice of King.”

Fair enough. Let’s check it out.

Song number two is completely different.

Kings of Leon’s fourth album, entitled Only By The Night, comes out later this month. I know some people who have a hard time with how this band has evolved, going so far as to say last year’s Because Of The Times was an embarrassment. These people are stupid.

Yes their first two records were awesome, but you have to let a band grow. We don’t want all artists to play the Ramones card, do we?

I’ve always felt that KoL were a bit like rock bullies: consistently intense and exuding a sense of danger even on their quieter tunes, which often hint at sonic power even when it’s not delivered.

I’ve heard a few of the songs from the upcoming release (in stores on September 22nd) and I really like the sound of this record. For today, I’m sharing the album’s opening track, “Closer.”

Enjoy, and happy weekend.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Deerhunter at Le Poisson Rouge 9/09/08

I saw the Atlanta band Deerhunter last night at Le Poisson Rouge on Bleeker Street. This club is about the size of the Crocodile Café (R.I.P.) in Seattle. The stage is bigger but I think the sound is worse.

Deerhunter front man Bradford Cox—who has to be the skinniest guy in rock—is a likeable guy with great audience rapport. I just wish I could have heard the instrumentation better.

Regardless, here’s “Never Stops” off the band’s forthcoming—but infamously leaked—album, Microcastle. The record’s getting a lot of online (read: blog) praise. Decide for yourself right here, right now.

Exploration of a disaster

The Denver Egotist revisited the Oklahoma City Thunder logo today in a post that includes a break down of the logo design by someone named Bubba (not his real name).

It’s quite entertaining and can be seen here.

Monday, September 8, 2008

This logo is yawn-derful

I was going to begin this post by joking that the NBA’s D League had unveiled the name and logo for a new team. But after looking at the logo designs for D League teams (that’s D as in development—the D League is to the NBA what minor league baseball is to the MLB), I’ve decided that’s an inaccurate and harsh comparison.

Those D League logos are much better than this.

This, of course, is the new look for the Oklahoma City Thunder (né Seattle SuperSonics) of the NBA. It's too bad, because nothing about this logo says "thunder" to me. It does say "circa 1985" though.

Anyone wanna wager on the NBA team with the least fan apparel revenue this season?

I guess a more sports-appropriate theme song is the only thing the team (and fans) can hope for at this point. (I never was a fan of J.J. Fad.)

Courtesy of the Denver Egotist.

Let the Tina Turner jokes begin

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thank God it’s Thursday’s song of the day

I am a big fan of David Bazan.

The music blog It's Hard To Find A Friend announced on Friday a new Bazan project called David Bazan: Alone at the Mic. It is, according to the site,

a DVD in which you can basically spend a few afternoons with David, watching him play songs (old and new) in his Home Studio, drive around Seattle in a Ford Bronco playing and singing (like a Minstrel), being interviewed on his front porch, and other things of a generally fun and personal level. Think of it as stalking someone, but with HD cameras.

They’ve got a bit of footage as well as today’s song of the day (I’m taking tomorrow off work so you get it a day early again), which is a new tune entitled “How I Remember.”


Rubin gets back to basics

When I was in high school I was a big Metallica fan. (I borrowed Ride the Lightning from a classmate as a ninth-grader and probably listened to Master of Puppets more than any other album during my junior year.) I haven’t cared about them in years, but I did enjoy the recent New York Times piece on them and their new album, mainly because I find producer Rick Rubin to be an interesting figure.

Rubin has a track record of producing albums for some very big names that have gone astray, albums that are much better than those artists’ preceding work.

With Metallica, Rubin said, “I asked them to imagine themselves not as Metallica,” he said. “I said to them, let’s say there was a battle of the bands coming up and nobody knew who they were, and they can’t rely on any of their hits to get them over. What would that sound like?”

Read the article here for more.

And if you want to hear one of the new Metallica songs, you can listen to "My Apocalypse" here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pushing my buttons

I’m prepared to speak, but the strangely familiar voice interrupts me. The voice is instantly recognizable, though it belongs to neither a friend nor a celebrity. It’s the voice of a woman I’ve never met, though she speaks to me often.

She always says the same thing.

“To leave a voice message, wait for the tone. To leave a callback number, press five. To hear more options, press the pound key.”

The voice pauses, then prompts: “Record at the tone.”

Americans have been calling and leaving messages for each other for about 30 years. The first telephone answering machines hit the market in the early 1970s, becoming a nearly ubiquitous household item by the mid ‘80s.

While telephony has since given us other ways to connect with those who might not be available when we call—the nearly extinct paging, the reigning king texting—we still use phones to call, and we still leave messages. So we still need outgoing messages.

The words said in an outgoing message hardly matter. The point, it seems, is all about timing. The message should be of an appropriate duration to allow the caller to adjust from initiating a conversation to summarizing his thoughts into a brief gloss including his expectations, if any, of a return call.

This duration is about three to five seconds.

Less, and the caller is likely to be caught off guard and will begin their message with a series of ums and ahs, while feeling the pressure of the open microphone recording their every ineloquent utterance. More, and the caller likely becomes antsy, keenly aware of the process he’s forced to wait through—insult to the injury of not reaching his party initially.

While the words we say in an outgoing message are of little import, I find the prerecorded “Please leave your message for [insert name]” option overly cold. It implies a perennially over-busy existence, as if Insert Name is too time-strapped and important to record a proper greeting.

But back to the voice.

If we agree that it’s unlikely we’ll ever do away with the de rigueur personal greeting, and that that greeting is sufficient in priming callers for what to do next, why the voice? Why does she—stranger that she is—insert herself into what’s essentially a conversation between two familiar parties?

We’re all quite familiar with how to leave messages. Her directions are as helpful and instructive as a how-to guide accompanying a soup spoon.

I have never pressed 5 to leave a callback number. If I’m calling someone’s mobile phone, which is generally the case, I assume that phone will capture and store my number. Likewise I have never pressed the pound key for more options. I wonder now what those options might be.

Perhaps pressing 3 would get a sponge cake delivered to my door.

What if one of the options was to let the voice know she’s not needed on future calls? That would be a button worth pressing.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I need (a.k.a. want) this

OK, $33 is more than I’m going to spend on a t-shirt, but how perfect is this for yours truly? Rest assured, if I were flush, my order would already be placed.

Of course, if one my readers wants to put up the money, you know, as a way of saying thanks…

From Mighty Healthy via the Behance Network and Ffffound.

Polar bears in New York

This is a really elegant piece of art/marketing communications.

You should watch it (here).

Thanks to DY for sending.