Friday, March 7, 2008

Buckets of Rain

There's a flood watch in NYC tonight. Flood warning. Whatever. It's going to pour. Perfect weather for staying in, watching Washington Week, and listening to records.

Terri Rae Raining, It's Raining MP3


Last night we went to the Hamburger Eyes opening at Powerhouse. I don't love parties in stores, because you always feel like you're supposed to be browsing or buying something. But the Powerhouse space is really nice and I am not one to turn down free beer (what. just saying). I like how the sound in there bounces off the walls a little—there's something about the DJ being high up above everyone and the slight echo that makes the music sound kind of epic. The photos are really good too. You can see more of them
here, and they'll be up at the Powerhouse Arena through April 6th.

Photo by Jai Tanju, courtesy
Check out the Hamburger Eyes book here.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Other Sounds

Other Music, in my opinion NYC's best place to find new records, included a good review of Visionaire 53 SOUND in its weekly update. If you don't get their e-mails, sign up—they're knowledgeable, well-written, and a quick way to stay up on new releases that you might otherwise miss.
Various Artists
Visionaire 53 SOUND


Since 1991, Visionaire has provided a forum for famous and up-and-coming artists, fashion designers, photographers, and other interesting and well known personas to contribute their own personal take on a specific theme, each edition's beautiful and unique packaging a work of art in and of itself. For their 53rd issue, the concept is sound, and Visionaire takes the form of a sleek acrylic dome that houses five 12" vinyl picture discs, each side designed by artists like Wim Delvoye, Robert Longo, Raymond Pettibon, Peter Saville, Cindy Sherman, and Mario Sorrenti. Even more impressive is the range of people, numbering over a hundred (a large percentage being of interest to the Other Music customer -- although hearing Antony's voice following a Fergie track did make my day), who contribute sound pieces. Obviously too many to mention in these pages, but here's a partial listing: David Byrne, Cat Power, Adrock, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Michael Stipe with Miguel Bose, Yoko Ono, Spank Rock, Dani Siciliano, Vashti Bunyan, Lalo Schifrin, Christian Marclay, Fiery Furnaces, Trevor Jackson, Dntel, Fantastic Plastic Machine, UNKLE, Pet Shop Boys, Fischerspooner, U2, Jose Gonzalez, Dave Eggers, Sunn O))), Gang Gang Dance, DJ Spooky, Christian Fennesz, Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore & Kim Gordon, Courtney Love, Laurie Anderson, Bebel Gilberto, Danger Mouse, Mike Skinner, Miss Kittin, Malcom McLaren, Liars, Dan the Automator, E.A.R., Monolake, the Go! Team, the Knife, Andrew W.K. and Panda Bear, plus fashion icons like Helmut Lang, Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander McQueen and more.

You'll also find a MINI Clubman "Vinyl Killer" record player housed inside the Visionaire 53 dome -- a pretty cool portable record player, the battery powered car plays the music as it drives along the groove of the LP -- plus a glossy booklet with artist credits and track info, and two CDs with the audio portion of the set (total running time just over two hours). Limited to 4000, this is a great collectible for that special audiophile in your life who has everything. [Gerald Hammill]
Click here for my previous post on the SOUND exhibition currently at Visionaire Gallery.

Visionaire 53 SOUND is available at Other Music, or may be purchased directly from

Picture disc artwork above by Peter Saville and Anna Blessmann

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hey Joe, où allez-vous avec ce fusil

The Stranger's Paul Constant posted a good/hilarious cover of "Hey Joe" on Lineout today, and reminded me of this French-Canadian version I found a few years ago in Montreal. Nanette is the Brooklyn-born Nanette Workman, who would go on to sing back up for the Rolling Stones ("Honky Tonk Women"), John Lennon, and Elton John. Tony is some dude who picked her up in New York and took her to the great white North to be a star.

Tony & Nanette Hey Joe MP3

R.I.P. Tony Silver

The director of Style Wars has died at the age of 72. Originally broadcast on PBS in 1983, Silver's documentary (co-produced by Henry Chalfant) brought NYC graffiti and hip-hop culture into the homes of unsuspecting citizens across the country and the world.

More on Silver in today's New York Times.
Get the expanded two-DVD set here (definitely one to own).

Postal Work

I collected stamps for a few years when I was a kid. A philatelic convention at the Seattle Center cured me of that pretty quickly—I realized I was in way over my head and didn't really have the devotion required for finding the coveted upside-down airplane. Still, I've always thought stamps were cool, both as a concept and as a design icon. Above are some of my favorites (click to enlarge).

Before the www, there were people with whom I traded probably hundreds of letters over the years.
So even though I've pretty much given that up for e-mail, it's good to see the USPS stepping it up for 2008 with a couple great stamp designs.

Charles & Ray Eames, out this Summer.

Vintage Mahogany Speedboats, out now.

The USPS offers an exhaustive explanation of how new stamp subjects are chosen here. There's a committee which includes members as diverse as Karl Malden, former second lady Joan Mondale, and Graphis editor Martin Pedersen.

If you want to suggest a stamp design, send them a letter.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Washington Is Our City

Big day on the political front. I've got WNYC with Brian Lehrer in one ear, and Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and their gang of slightly lesser blow-hards in the other. (Actually, I think a lot of them are okay—only Buchanan seriously lowers the bar. Would anyone notice or care if someone just locked the McLaughlin Group in their studio?) Where is Gwen Ifill when I need her? Gwen?

Anyway, it's looking like Obama took Vermont, Clinton took Rhode Island, and Ohio and Texas are still too close to call. Seems like it's going to come down to Pennsylvania, the super-delegate fight, and the possible (unsportsmanlike) do-overs in Michigan and Florida.

But I digress. I have no intention of making this a political blog, even as obsessed with the race as I am. Back to the pictures and records.

In lieu of any good Obama-related songs surfacing so far, here are my two favorite anti-Bush/anti-war cuts from the past several years.

he Evens Everybody Knows MP3
Get The Evens' records directly from Dischord

TV on the Radio Dry Drunk Emperor MP3 via Touch and Go

Photo above by my friend Mike Sacks. We took a roadtrip to Frederick, MD a few years ago to hang out with Joe Bussard (more on that another time). On the way back we stopped through DC for a few hours and this ladies' man was representing in front of the White House. Click to enlarge.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Also in Chelsea

(click to enlarge)

Mean World Blues

Emily and I had some rare time to kill after an early party Saturday afternoon, and went to Chelsea to see Andro Wekua's
Blue Mirror at Barbara Gladstone. At the same time beautiful and utterly terrifying, the Georgian-born artist's collage, painting, sculpture, and film conveyed to me a sense of underlying, almost gutteral violence in consumer culture, as seen through the eyes of someone remembering their childhood. It's as if the person, represented by several life-size, incredibly life-like female figures, retreats ever inward as incomprehensible and scary things happen around her, and then inescapably replays them all...forever. It was one of the better shows we've seen in the past several months, and there was a palpable emotional reaction from viewers in the gallery.

Blue Mirror
runs March 1–29 at Gladstone Gallery, 515 W 24th Street between 10th & 11th. More info and images here.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

In the Papers

Blake Nelson has a good short interview with Gus Van Sant today in the New York Times. Here's an excerpt:

Does the gray climate of Portland affect you in any way? I think of Elliott Smith or Raymond Carver; many artists that come out of that area seem to have a built-in gloom factor.

I think a person’s darkness or lightness factor is their own point of view. I don’t think Elliott Smith thought of his songs as dark. Kurt Cobain, his songs were pretty dark. Angst-ridden. And booming. And loud. Later, while working on the movie [“Last Days”], I realized that their songs really sounded like falling trees and chain saws. I don’t know if it was an accident or what. They lived in a lumber town. They were using a sound that was relevant to them.

More of the interview here. Van Sant's adaptation of Nelson's novel Paranoid Park opens this Friday.

Film still from