One of the most important non musical to do’s for a musician/designer is getting a proper press photo in my opinion. This is your chance to show a ton of your personality and a big step in getting writers on board for a feature or helping them to understand your musical direction at that time. This doesn’t mean you have to show your face, take for example the fact that we never saw Burial’s face for more than a year — we just had that drawing of him — but it set the mood I thought. If you’re a musician or even graphic designer, I think brainstorming out some ideas first is well worth your time when doing a press shot. We’ve all worn out the standing in a urban landscape, the blurry shot at a live show, or standing still like a mannequin with a white background. So from 2009 and on i’d love to see photographers really grabbing the personality out of their subjects (Timothy Saccenti’s excellent work comes to mind). This kind of effort in a press photo could make or break you chances with bloggers or writers many times prompting them to use your photo above a couple other things they’re writing about that day. At any rate, a good shot definitely increases your chances of being written about.
Above are a few of my favorites [from top to bottom: Kraftwerk, Boys Noize, Erlend Oye, Jimmy Edgar, Jarvis Cocker]
I definitely count The Smiths’ 1984 Hatful of Hollow as one of my top 20 all time. This is one of those albums that makes you want to post the whole thing but I thought it would be a good challenge to try to narrow it down to three songs. I posted the re-issue version of the cover—featuring a cropped version of Gilles Decroix’s now iconic image (layout/design by Caryn Gough)—as I prefer its design to the bordered original. I really like the overall visual style of their release art, that sort of duo-tone screen print thing that Belle & Sebastian later used to such great effect. Out of the three standout tracks I ended up choosing, at least one of them—This Night Has Opened My Eyes—would make both my top 50 songs and top 10 basslines list. I love that smooth 70′s DI tone, always amazing how good a lot of the older Peel Session tracks sound considering they weren’t studio recordings in the conventional sense.
I’ve collected a few upcoming wonderful ambient releases to look forward to in early 2009. Since the only released artwork really is this Belong art, it will have to do but it’s actually really beautiful I think. I saw a small version of Tim Hecker‘s art for his release in February of “An Imaginary Country” but it was a bit too small to use. The beginning of Sea of Pulses is like jumping into the middle of a Fennesz/M83 collaborative concert that is slowly finishing up a 9+ minute piece. The song slightly dies down and it sounds like a voice takes over for a bit which at that moment it has already knocked off Animal Collective’s Brother Sport as my favorite song(for now) of 2009.
If you haven’t heard of Manual before then be ready to put your coat on because your heading over to your local record store. Moonlit Shores is the first song i’ve found off the upcoming Danelectro LP and this track gives me so much hope that ambient music will really take off in 2009. In just a few minutes into this 12 minute piece you can feel out what setting Manual wanted you to experience when hearing this song, the simplicity of it lets you focus on whatever beautiful part of the song you want to hear, well done my friend.
Pan American is back, that’s pretty much all I have to say to some people. Can we take a second and thank Kranky records for what seems to be the starting of an uncanny new year.
For some reason I thought I already posted this Belong song, I was almost positive. When listening to this song make sure you have a little bit of bass rumble to accompany the exquisite drown going on, it almost makes me nauseous in the best possible way. Have you started listening to the song yet? are you at least 2 minutes in? beautiful right?
Here’s another nice example of some time-lapse tilt-shift by Keith Loutit. This one is so good it’s hard to believe that it’s real, it just looks like a big stop-action Hot Wheels diorama. The crowd shots are the hilight for me though; I’m loving those seat colors.
First off, your going to have to excuse the cover choice but it was the best one out of the 4 songs for today. Let’s get right to it, there’s a new Animal Collective record coming out January 13th and from what i’ve read it sounds really promising. I listened to a lot of Animal Collective songs last night just to figure out what i’m attracted to in their songwriting and I noticed all the songs I do want to hear over and over like Leaf House, Grass, #1, Peacebone, Brother Sport and Visiting Friends all have either these driving low tom hits or have repetitive loopy melodies that I don’t mind hearing for minutes upon minutes. What I love about the new songs like “Bluish” and “Brother Sport” are the vocal styles though, like in “Brother Sport” the last 1:30 might be my favorite section of an Animal Collective song.
I found this Airiel song yesterday which i’m kind of on the fence about after I looked at their myspace. On one hand I wonder if this is the real thing meaning do they really love this style of music because their over stylized haircuts and upfront vocals make me think its just to get girls but the thought out catchy elements of the song make me love them, so I guess sometimes its best if I don’t meet the musicians and let myself just enjoy the songs.
I love The Juan Maclean, he doesn’t ever do anything that I dislike, from his remix of Matthew Dear to his classic sounding “Happy House” track to originals that put him on the map like “You Can’t Have It Both Ways”. This new remix for The Twelves has this unstoppable disco guitar and perfectly placed vocals in the mix because they’re never overpowering.
This A Sunny Day in Glasgow group out of Philly reminds me of Ulrich Schnauss at times but its like they only took a section of a song and repeated it unlike a growing shoegaze track. The mix of the song is a little rough too because the bassline that comes in is really nice but never really comes to life and that higher pitched synth note that comes in and out could be more drowned out. The girls vocal definitely has her moments 2 mins in and the overall dreamy effort makes me go back to it.
Animal Collective – Bluish
Airiel – Cinnamon
The Twelves – Be My Crush [The Juan MacLean's Rio Mix]
I stumbled across this great article about architect Tom Kundig’s work on WSJ today. That first house is off the charts amazing, I’d move in tomorrow despite the fact that it’s in the middle of nowhere (at least I’d get a lot of work done). Kundig’s goal is to find balance between the structure and the landscape and from the looks of things he’s doing just that. Once again though, after browsing his portfolio I am realizing if I ever want an amazing house like this I’ll probably have to move to a more rural setting (and find a bag full of money on the way out there). It must be so amazing to be in, for example, Mazama, Wash., and come across structures like these in the wilderness.
I really never got into Camera Obscura, Belle & Sebastian, Death Cab For Cutie, The Decemberists, Wilco etc in the past but I always knew everyone else had it covered but after looking for more music thru blogs I am trying out everything. This song “Keep It Clean” is really nice, kinda reminds me of if Stereolab didn’t oversaturate their old sound. The cover has a great layout and is pretty Indietastic(one of the best Human Giant skits featuring the Other Music record store).
If you’re liking any of the slower disco on the blog check out the label Permanent Vacation which usually features some great compilations. This 40 Thieves track came out on Permanent Vacation last year and has been on repeat on my computer and also has these great elements that warm a crowd up early on to get people ready to fill the floor. Once you have the dance floor filled this edit by Prince Language of Gino Soccio might be my favorite song to play and dance to.
Los Angeles indie Hip Hop had some great moments in 2008, Flying Lotus and Samiyam paved the way for a lot of new faces. One of my favorite tracks was Roberta Flack and this remix by Mike Slott kept all the outstanding parts in there highlighted but added some great new pieces, well worth your time to check out.
Camera Obscura – Keep It Clean
40 Thieves – Don’t Turn It Off feat. Qzen
Gino Soccio – Love Is (Edit De Prince Language)
Flying Lotus – Roberta Flack (Mike Slott’s Other Mix)
Spike Jonze is about to make the movie of a lifetime in my opinion. The music/movie director will be releasing my(maybe everyone’s) favorite childhood book Where the Wild Things Are onto the big screen. Just look at these shots, they’re golden, and I just want to see more. Rumors around the web say that there will be no effects just large puppets, I think as a fan I couldn’t of asked for more.