Jan 20, 2006

One of my favorite bands of the past year or so, The National, has popped up on one of the better mp3 weblogs I've come across lately, the estimable So Much Silence. Four live tracks from a WOXY in-studio, available now for your downloading and listening pleasure. Highly recommended.

Click Here

Also, both So Much Silence and The Ryde have been added to the links sidebar. This is one-stop shopping for good taste, folks, and I work hard to keep it ril.

Jan 19, 2006

The Ryde is all about the things we love; the things that friends laugh over, cheer for and smile about. Right now we are making clothes, we don't make them to promote our politics, our company or ourselves. We make them to promote a feeling, the joy of seeing a friend on a great wave and the glory of seeing that movie you love for the 112th time.

Got an email the other day from Ricky, an operative at The Ryde. He wanted to trade links, so I put his site through my comprehensive, 7 step worthiness evaluation. I'm finished now and pleased to report that these guys appear to be cool and on the level, and that there's some good work over there. Plus, they're into a lot of the same stuff that I am, which is always a plus. So check 'em out.

Jan 6, 2006

I've settled on the conclusion that the world is some exact percentage better (exactly how much is hard to say, but it's substantial) for having Ellen Lupton in it. Her approach to design - treating it as a way of thinking that is accessible and beneficial across lifestyles and disciplines - is precisely what the doctor ordered in these troubled times. Honestly, I just can't say enough about her and her work.

I'm talking specifically now about her latest endeavor, as editor of DIY: Design it Yourself (also check out the companion site). I haven't picked this up yet, but I can tell I'm going to love it. Putting the idea in people's minds that they should create first and consume second, then helping them discover how? Awesome. And inspiring.

Speaking of Ellen, she's one of the guests this year on Debbie Millman's radio show/podcast, Design Matters. The whole schedule is actually pretty amazing: Lupton, Chip Kidd, Jonathan Hoefler & Tobias Frere-Jones, Hillman Curtis, Carin Goldberg...the list goes on. I don't know if the show itself is good or not, but I'm betting yes and making it a point to find out for sure.

The thing about stuff like this is that I don't believe you necessarily need to have interest in design to find it interesting. People who are this creative and accomplished tend to have a lot to offer regardless of whether or not you share their particular passion. You heard it here.

Jan 5, 2006

Oft-mentioned (and for damn good reason) friend/collaborator Tony Larson has been interviewed for Slap magazine. Good stuff in there - click here to read it.

Staying on the design tip...check this out:

Coming straight out of Ornette Coleman's heyday, I challenge anybody to identify a collection of four dudes cooler than that. And, on top of that, the design itself is perfect. It's dominated by its strength, which is the photo, but rounded out by a nice, clean modernism that reflects the music it holds. A style like this might be called "simple" today, but I won't get down with that.

I arrive at this point because yesterday I bought the new Strokes album, First Impressions of Earth (which I'll be reviewing for Pixelsurgeon). The cover and packaging are absolutely dynamite:

What you can't see from that picture is the die-cut digipak that houses the "deluxe edition" CD - worth the extra buck or two by itself. It takes me back to the way I feel about many of the pieces in my vinyl collection, where the packaging and the artwork enhance the listening experience. Lately I've been lazy, buying whole albums off of iTunes for no reason other than convenience. It's a bad idea.

As for the album, it's also quite good, and I'll have more to say on that later.