Dear friends -
Last holiday season (ManMade's first Christmas!), I created a mix of some of my favorite "alternative" Christmas songs, and it was a decidely huge hit with readers. The emails asking for another this year began in October, so seeing as it's the season for giving, my gift to you: the ManMade 2011 Modern Rock Holiday Mixtape!
Over the past few years, I've sorta developed an obsessive hobby of trying to find non-Andy Williams or Nat King Cole Christmas songs to soundtrack the kind of holiday that I've come to love as an adult.
The holiday season is full of awesome seasonal sounds - Phil Spector/The Ronette's perfect version of Sleigh Ride, plenty of Darlene Love, and the whole of ManMade's modern holiday mixtape. (2011 edition coming this week!)
But it also means the less-desirable holiday music...the schmaltz, the breathy vocals, the Josh Groban.
You'll likely see this all over the art and design blogosphere in the next few days, but it's too cool not to share. Apparently, before becoming an emcee and actor, Ice Cube studied architectural drafting, and it turns out, he's a big fan of mid-century super couple Ray and Charles Eames.
You simply gotta check out the video below:
I couldn't even begin to assemble a comprehensive "ManMade Holiday Gift Guide for Guys," as I've found there's simply too much diversity among men to capture everything.
However, I always find it fascinating to see what other (read: female) craft bloggers imagine what guys will like under their tree, and I'm happy to pass them along.
Yeah, the grocery stores and commercials are full of standards for that other upcoming holiday, but this week, if you're not quite ready to jump to sleigh bells and mentions of misteltoe, try rocking out to NPR's "Songs for Stuffing," a collection of jams for Thanksgiving.
Drinkify is new web app that makes a cocktail suggestion based on what music your listening to. Simply type in the artist currently cruising out of your speakers, and press "what should I drink?" (in lovely Futura), and it'll pull up the perfect drink to match.
I'm no hater, but I'm not usually much for cat memes. Maybe it's my allergies, but I just haven't found one that screams, "this is worth your time."
Except for these album covers, with visuals reworked to replace the artists with cats. This, I get.
You wouldn't think it'd be possible to do more than two or three, but a musician who dubs himself "Dustin Diamonds From Sierra Leone" and remixes as Team Goldie has created the most esoteric Tumblr imaginable: Clever Kanye West lyrics superimposed over matching Saved By The Bell screenshots.
While the image above works as a pretty amazing piece of digital art on its own, its actually the entire five minutes and fifty-eight seconds of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" mapped out into playable component parts.
It's cleverly dubbed "Bohemian Rhapisichord,"
When you've created a quadruple album in which all four records are meant to be played on four stereos simultaenously, created an original musical film entitled Christmas on Mars, and become one of most inventive and interactive touring bands (while creating a crazy, sci-fi'd Art Deco home), what's left?
I first encounter Tom Waits around age 12. It was a Saturday night, and I had just finished [secretly] watching my newest obsession, Saturday Night Live. I flipped the channel to what I now understand was Austin City Limits, and saw this single dude at the piano, telling some story about rum and making the audience laugh and laugh.
And then, he began singing.
I wish I could say I was some savant, and got what he was doing right away. But, I did not. I wasn't repelled by it, but I most certainly did not continue to watch beyond an additional minute or two, and even considered that it might be a joke, another late night comedy farce, a character he was playing.
In the early days of pop music, you used to only have to do one thing: make a hit. Then, the full-length album came along, and musicians had to write at least ten tunes, with hopefully one or two single-worthy tracks. Then, the music video was introduced, and the game changed again. And now, the video has moved away from the television and onto the internet, so teenagers no longer have to stay up until 2:00a with their finger on the VCR record button, waiting for that one video to show. (Come on, Matt Pinfield! Play it!)
In the days of internet video, bands not only have to make a song that accompanies the tune, or perhaps be entered into the festival circuits (your Mark Romanek, Michel Gondry, etc), but be consumable by the masses. Heck, most teenagers I know just use YouTube as their personal radio stations.
Austrailian artist Thomas Pavitee has created an amazing interactive art experience: a connect-the-dots journey through the life of Michael Jackson, which includes the extremes of his physical transformation, from early 70s Jackson 5 frontman to late aughts This Is It Michael.
Check out this video to see how it works:
On a recent episode of Morning Edition, NPR's Robert Krulwich, of RadioLab fame, paired up with his colleague, Adam Cole, to write a clever song about eponyms, the people who serve as namesakes for actual items, like General Burnsides (sideburns), Harold Bluetooth, or Amelia Bloomer.
The video is great - awesome Monty Python-esque animation, a catchy tune, and quite informative. Click play to watch it:
Dateline: Summer, 1995. Thirteen-year-old Chris is reading Guitar World magazine, as all budding suburban musicians were wont to do at such an age or era. Cover likely featured 311 or the Presidents of the United States or some such group.
Enter wow moment: Rick Nielsen and his crazy checkerboard five neck guitar, which for some uninformed adolescent who'd never actually heard Cheap Trick, was pretty mindblowing. I later became much more informed about their merit, but dude could still play.
'Cept now, a custom five necker has nothing on this hand built sculptures by Indonesian artist Rudi Mantofani.
Ten years ago. Summer of 2001. I graduated high school...(and no, Facebook friends, I'm not going to the reunion.) And that summer, as it should be, was a time of serious transition...getting ready to go to college, saying goodbye to the folks you know you'd probably never see again, and putting away, as they say, the childish things. That was also the summer that i gave pop radio it's last chance to...you know, not suck. This was before mp3 players, and certainly, our carshighschoolerscanafford didn't have CD players. This was the summer of Lifehouse, Good Charlotte, Creed, and Train. But, there was one record, one that was worth keeping on the Top 40 just in case, before switching over to 97x or all those mixtapes.
That record was the Strokes' Is This It, which celebrates its ten year anniversary this summer. What was interesting most to me, is that it represented the emerging garage rock/post-punk revival of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Hives, The Vines, etc. We were all into punk rock in high school, so it followed that the music that first followed the original punk rock movement found a new energy after we all kinda grew out of mohawks and safety pins.