Friday, March 13, 2009

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

A kinda quiet tune for today. The Antlers hail from New York. Their new record Hospice was named by NPR as the best record of 2009 so far (wait, it isn’t No Line On The Horizon?).

I’ve only heard about three tracks off of Hospice, but I’ve been loving them for the last week or so. Of course I would only discover them the day after they played their album release party.

Ugh.

Here’s “Kettering” from the Antlers:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Best rock poster ever?


OK, maybe not ever, but it’s still awesome. Designed by Justin David Cox.

Via Swiss Miss.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Examining fandom

Almost a year ago exactly I wrote a post about seeing the Mountain Goats live and about John Darnielle’s interesting fame.

Fast forward to present day, New York Magazine has a piece in their current issue called God & Worshipper: A Rock-and-Roll Love Story, of Sorts, which details the connection between Mountain Goats fans and the bands’ driving force.


The great thing about reading the article online is that New York Mag has included audio tracks to accompany the story. Great idea!

Read the article here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

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

After two solo records that seemed to signal the end of Clem Snide—and an actual confirmation that the band had indeed, er, disbanded—leader Eef Barzelay has brought Clem Snide back together (with a somewhat new line-up).

Released last week, Hungry Bird is the first Snide album in three years (I think; I’m too lazy to confirm it). In the past I’ve mostly wanted to like this band more than I ever actually did, due primarily to the occasional wacky Barzelay lyric or phrasing that—to my mind—detracted from an otherwise fantastic or beautiful song. Sometimes the man just can’t not make a joke.

There are examples where this playful device works exceedingly well, as in The Ghost of Fashion’s “Joan Jett Of Arc,” or “Mike Kalinsky” from A Beautiful EP. Other times it strikes me like the ring of a cell phone during a play, ruining the moment.

But the gems they, and he, have produced (see “Your Favorite Music” from the album of the same name) are proof of what Clem Snide is capable of.

Hungry Bird is less playful than previous records, and I’m happy about that. They also do some reaching, including a short tune that features a reading from poet Franz Wright. And the album’s closer “With All My Heart” is fantastic.

Here’s the album’s opening number, “Me No”:



Happy weekend.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Get wacky

What’s that you say? You’re a household name running a special on a well-known product? Well since you’re not going to tell anyone anything they don’t already know, you gotta get wacky!

Refuse to be ignored.



This song has been in my head all day.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Design matters


And this inflatable toy is proof.

From Ugly Doggy.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

CNN plumbs the bottom of the barrel


How about this for a headline: Once-reputable news source chooses LOLcats over credibility.

Why brunch blows

Nice little piece found amid a section on breakfast in the latest issue of GQ, reprinted here in its entirety (and probably against some copyright law):


Why Brunch Blows

Fake-farmy restaurants! Hangovers with strangers! Long lines! Watery mimosas! Seventeen-dollar French toast! Sickly orange slices sadly dying next to overwrought infantilizing pancake concoctions on chipped china! Half your waking weekend day spent in a hollandaise haze! “Can I top off your shitty coffee?” Yes, please! Because it’s brunch. And everyone must love brunch. Because if you do not love brunch, you have a serious problem with joie de vivre and America and whole point of living with all our best friends in the city and being alive. But you know what? Brunch sucks. It’s a ritual, not a meal—and an annoying, unsatisfying, badly conceived one at that. Eat breakfast alone. Leave the house when you are ready to do something real at a normal time like an adult. Actually, it doesn’t matter what you eat or when. Just stop saying “brunch.” Stop. GQ declares brunch is over. We bury brunch. Huevos rancheros est├ín muertos. Enough. Long live the real drinking lunch: drunkch.

– Adam Sachs, GQ, March 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

Aaaaaahhhh!!!

When—not if, when—the Earth cracks open like the fragile egg it is, you’ll be amazed to learn it’s stuffed with flaming hot Arabic numerals.

Aaaah!!


This movie looks stupid.

Welcome back to the interwebs, David Yeend

He hasn’t totally made it public (he hasn’t totally hidden it either), but I’m going to do my part and drive a little traffic to David Yeend’s new blog, Marketing + Good.

As you may know, DY was my original blogging co-conspirator back in the Rock-Thirty days. With Marketing + Good, DY is focusing on societal marketing, cause marketing and other versions of things that are marketing plus something “good.”

Check out his post from this morning, on the Snuggie Pub Crawl charity event in Chicago.


And then check out the rest.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Holy cow!

Is the blog back?

It kinda seems like it’s back.

I wonder if it’s really back.

Two-Sentence Review: Coke Zero’s “Mean Troy” Spot



I was going to post this Coke Zero spot and rant about how awful it is and, even worse, how this spot sucks all the emotion from the original leaving it as a heap of used up trash at our collective feet and eliminating our ability to hold onto the feelings we associated with the original while simultaneously destroying a piece of great American advertising for a cheap and unfunny gag, but I decided I didn’t want to be that guy. Then I decided I am that guy after all.

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

The Condo Fucks is a fake band (well, fake in the sense that they have a false bio). The Condo Fucks are actually an alter ego of Yo La Tengo; cutting loose and having fun.

On Fuckbook* (note the reference to YLT's Fakebook) they get a bit Iggy and the Stooges on us and play a bunch of punkish covers of early rock tunes by the Small Faces, Richard Hell, Slade, and even the Beach Boys.

Here’s the Condo Fucks covering the Small Faces' “What'cha Gonna Do About It":





* Sorry about all the foul language; I don’t have much fucking choice.

This doesn't bother me at all


I just hope they got a decent deal for him.

Using YouTube effectively

Posting this as a sort of proof of Seth Godin's posts about the music industry, most recently this one.



Kina Grannis is a female singer-songwriter from California and is a great case study for the power of the web as a way to reach people and turn them into fans.

Back in late 2007 Kina started posting videos of herself singing and playing songs on her YouTube channel. A lot of people do this, but not many do it as well as Kina. She made it a regular thing, posting a song a week—sometimes her own originals, sometimes cover tunes (including Feist's "1234", Bon Iver's "Flume" and Iron & Wine's "Naked As We Came" above). Sometimes they're recoded live with the video, other times she puts the audio into GarageBand and adds additional parts. Pretty ambitious.

Besides being beautiful/adorable and really talented (regardless of whether you like her music or not), she’s extremely charming. She often speaks directly at the camera for a few minutes after playing her song and always comes across as very genuine and totally likable (and occasionally goofy).

She’s also a great self-promoter without tarnishing her image. She tells viewers about her upcoming shows or charity events where she’ll be performing. She and her friend and sometime collaborator David Choi did a video promoting JCPenney clothes. Heck, she even won a contest by writing a song promoting Digg (video here).

If she seems familiar at all it might be because she also won the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest 13 months ago and had 60 seconds of her song and video “Message From Your Heart” played during last year’s game (in addition to a deal with Interscope Records). But this contest wasn’t judged just by the folks at Doritos; winning required a fan base. Luckily, over the previous few months, Kina had been building a passionate one.

Over time, as more and more fans started subscribing to her YouTube channel she fostered a connection with them, evidenced by how she playfully lists her fans’ (and friends’) birthdays within her posts. Lots of them. She talks about training for a marathon. She’s remarkably open, or at least remarkably herself.

According to her YouTube chanel, this past January she was the #3 most-subscribed-to musician on YouTube and had over 700,000 plays.

She has songs available on iTunes, but I like the sound of the versions on YouTube better.

And she seems to be getting even more savvy. She runs ads along the bottom of her videos (kind of annoying but easy enough to close), surely bringing in some income. Her more recent posts begin with a caricature drawing of her and then her stylized initials, branding each video. She also has a few videos where she shows viewers how to play her songs.

Most importantly, she has found ways to connect to people using the web—without the need of a record contract (she opted out of the Interscope deal)—and she makes it look easy.*

Maybe it is.

Here she is playing an original called "The Goldfish Song”:



And here’s her YouTube channel and website.


* And she makes me feel lazy in the songwriting department. She's prolific.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Am I the only one who missed this?

I’m not sure if this is a music video or a short film set to a song. I don’t know why that matters but the second option seems more appealing.

Director Peter Rhoads created this film back in 2007 set to “Mr. Novacaine” by Don McCloskey and employing the hand stylings of Pablo Ribba. It recently won the Grand Jury Award for Best Music Video at the 2009 Slamdance Awards.

Check it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The sad state of mass transportation in Seattle

Katie over at obsessivecompulsive posted this and noted, "The fact that Seattle has the same degree of mass transit as Las Vegas makes me so mad I wanna spit!"

Yeah, that's bad. Even worse to compare Seattle to San Juan, Puerto Rico, which has three-quarters the population of the Jet City but a much more robust mass transit system.

Originally from Radial Cartography.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Playing at your house

Talk about connecting with your fans. David Bazan is offering to come play a show at your house. Yep, if you’ve got the space (for 30 to 100 people), he might just book a gig to play in your living room or back yard.

You just need the space and some cool neighbors; Bazan’s gang will do the rest. You’ll get up to 5 free tickets (the rest will be sold via his website). Then you’ll get a list of attendees and just check ‘em off as they arrive. No bothering with tickets at the door. Awesome!

More info here.

A cool way to prep for the release of his new album (sometime this year) from Barsuk.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Better or worse?


I vote worse.

If the design brief included "make it less connected to cheese," then maybe I'd say they accomplished that feat. But I'd also argue they accomplished "make it less connected to anything the consumer currently connects to."

Worse than the Pepsi rebrand. Less devastating only because this is the corporate brand, not the product brand.

But still. What was the goal here?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Celebrex probably won’t kill you

I saw the latest version of this Celebrex spot the other night and was amazed.

This is advertising? It’s a 2-minute warning label oration.

Among the key highlights: “Celebrex has never been taken off the market.”

Well in that case, sign me up!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

If you’ve got a free ten minutes

Okay maybe 15 minutes, to include the clicking and downloading and such.

But if you’ve got a bit of time, I highly recommend you go to the This American Life site for their “Ruining It For The Rest Of Us” episode (which originally aired back in December) and listen to comedian Mike Birbiglia tell his story of the worst show he’s ever done.

It’s nothing short of fantastic.

It starts at the 35-minute mark.

“Batter up!”

Patron saint of change?

I know a lot of people seem to think he's the second coming, but this is a little much. Is this what the Republicans mean by "liberal media"?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Protect what's yours

Co-workers stealing your lunch? Not when you use these handy sandwich bags.


Although your lunch is now more likely to get thrown away before you can eat it.


From Design You Trust via Ffffound.

Friday, January 9, 2009

And yes

That is the song of the day.

Happy weekend.

Microsoft totally gets it

Thanks to Brian, I've spent the past 10 minutes learning about Songsmith, the awesome new music tool from Microsoft. This ought to be keeping Steve Jobs up at night.



But you can't deny that the young boy in this spot has more flow than you do. That's some Jay-Z shit there.

Another ridiculous and long Songsmith video here.

UPDATE: YouTube no longer has this video posted. See it here. Thanks, Brian.