A few weeks ago, Adrian Delucca and Pamela Budz from Barron’s came to me with a cover project…..would I be interested in re-working a shot I had done for them last year that didn’t run into a slightly more stylized version for Penta, a new insert Dow Jones is including with the magazine. This was the original photograph I did of financial analyst Stephanie Pomboy…..
First, we had to come up with the same piece of furniture that Stephanie had in her apartment…thank God for The Conran Shop! The only tiny wrinkle was that it was in bright orange and we kinda had our hearts set on green…..
…but I knew that Photoshop was gonna let me pick and choose whatever final colors we needed! Next, I had to stuff the drawers with a few hundred thousand dollars of prop money…..
…and finally, after Kelly worked a bit of her magic on Jackie Mumm, our model……
…we ended up with this…..
…and our final cover image…..
Pretty much all that was left for us to do was to horse around on the set!!! Adrian got to trash the money…..
…and my stylist, Naila, wanted to burn the place down!!!
(Don’t ya just love what happens when you spin those Photoshop dials?!!)
Mr. Song of the Day turned 50 yesterday, so to celebrate we’re gonna toss out a few gems from one of my fave local bands, School Of Seven Bells. After announcing their recent signing with Vagrant Records, a deluxe edition of their first album, Alpinisms, will be released digitally on October 13. The Alpinisms Deluxe Edition will have nine bonus tracks on its re-release comprised of demos, live versions and different mixes of songs from the original, including ‘Iamundernodisguse’. Any long-timers to The List surely remember that SVIIB made the 2008 Songs of the Year with ‘Connjur’…..
So if we’re counting, I guess this newest version of Alpinisms will make three times they’ve re-invented themselves. Is it possible for a band to make an entire career outta re-recording the same stuff over and over…?!!
You might not think so given the high amount of soft & fuzzy music I can drop on this place, but I really love fast, tight, dirty punk rock! GImme some power chords and a skinny dude in a motorcycle jacket doin’ a Joey Ramone impersonation and I’m sold. So when I heard the latest from Teenage Bottlerocket this morning, with it’s Green Day-fast delivery and snarling delivery I suddenly had a big smile on my face. Skate Or Die is off of their latest album, They Came From The Shadows (click on that link to download ‘Don’t Want To Go’…just as good!), that dropped last week and you can follow their fast & furious schedule (39 dates in 41 days!) over on their MySpace page
A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times Magazine ran a fascinating cover story on Spike Jonze and his struggle bringing Where The Wild Things Are to the screen, but near the end of the piece, in describing his ‘Go Big or Go Home’ and ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if . . . ?’ attitude when directing music videos, and that “…his music videos don’t tell stories; they capture a feeling…”…..and went on to describe how he took this trippy, dream-pop song off of the ‘Fully Flared’ Soundtrack by James Lavelle & Pablo Clements, otherwise known as UNKLE, and turned it into a big-budget extravaganza of slo-mo effects & explosions…just ‘cuz he can!!! Well, I have a feeling Andrew Hetherington read the story too and just like me, was thinking of Heaven, because in his blog post yesterday he accompanied a stop-action video of his recent on-assignment travels with the song as background music…..and it got me thinkin’, I should send this beauty out to the rest of you.
Check out what’s up with UNKLE on their MySpace page and make sure to watch the ‘Heaven’ video below….it’s guaranteed to blow your mind!
Lisa Germano has always been an artist that’s been hard to pin a label on. The violinist, pianist and vocalist first popped up on John Mellencamp’s 1987 album The Lonesome Jubilee and was a mainstay of his band for seven years. Since then, she’s gotten rid of the tag ‘John Cougar’s fiddle player’ and hooked up with a string of A-List talent including Sheryl Crow, David Bowie, Neil Finn, Bob Dylan, Simple Minds, Indigo Girls and Iggy Pop and all the while, occasionally drops little gems of her own…her album Geek, The Girl, was even included in the list of the top alternative albums of the decade compiled by Spin magazine. Yet for all the success she’s had and her obvious talent, she has still managed to remain largely unnoticed outside of the coffee shops and small clubs where her kind of music shines. Today she releases her twelfth solo recording, Magic Neighbor, a melancholy collection of her truly unique songs that will surely keep the coffee house crowd happy.
Melody Nelson is the fictional subject of Serge Gainsbourg’s concept album, Histoire de Melody Nelson, based on the Nabokov novel, Lolita. It’s also the name a psychedelia-lovin’, feedback-heavy trio of Gainsbourg aficionados from London’s East End have dubbed themselves. Fronted by Irish-Jamaican-Londoner Aidan O’Connell on vocals and guitar, with Birmingham-born bassist Ben Edwards and an Israeli known only as ‘Kapi’ on drums, they’ve been getting all kinds of notices for what all the kidz say is a killer live show and are building a reputation as being London’s loudest band. They may be loud, but the body of work they have already put together is impressive and their debut disc, Torch Songs, is due out this fall. If I can trust the press releases (and my own ears) we can expect intense harmonies, walls of he aforementioned noise, anthems about love, loss & confusion, all wrapped up with edgy production handled by the likes of David Roback (Mazzy Star), Mike Bennett (The Fall,The Stranglers) and Jerry Kandiah (Gang of Four, Killing Joke)
Go make friends on MySpace and keep your eyes open for the album!
It’s been a long time since the Swedish Dream-Pop/Shoegaze outfit The Radio Dept. has graced the list, but they’ve tossed out this little taste of happy aural fuzz from Clinging To A Scheme, their album that’s set to drop early next year. I’ve been a fan of their loopy, whispery, languidly distorted music ever since I heard ‘Keen On Boys’ off of the Marie Antoinette Soundtrack…..
Now I’m not sayin’ this stuff is gonna cure cancer and the blend of shoegazer pop with feedback-heavy psychedelia ain’t for everyone and some of you might think that Johan Duncanson’s vocals get a little syrupy at times, but I like the ethereal and almost hypnotic final effect…and besides…it’s my blog and I can post what I want!
Vancouver’s Parlour Steps gets all kinda press up North, but I can pretty much guarantee they’ll be new to everybody reading this South of the 49th parallel. But if you’re a fan of that hard to define music category affectionately known as alt-country, then you should give ‘em a listen…..front man Caleb Stull can really spin a catchy pop song, filled with brainy lyrics, toe-tapping arrangements and wonderfully layered harmonies. Their new album, The Hidden Names, comes out next month, but in the meantime, head on over to their MySpace Page and check ‘em out.
Despite what is probably gonna be a wet weekend, I’m off to Mount Snow, Vermont, for the Tenth Anniversary ride with The Joisey Boyz. I’ll try not to break anything as I’m sliding down the side of the mountain…..
We’ve had a lotta ‘pretty’ music lately on The List, so before the some of the more militant types get up my ass for wimping out, it’s probably time for a wall of fuzzy, distorted, feedback-drenched guitars. Love Of Diagrams is a trio from Melbourne and in case ya didn’t notice, they ain’t copying ‘Men At Work’…they spit out an urgent, post-punk attitude and keep it simple…guitar, bass, drums, vocals. On ‘Stones Throw’, angular guitar runs and cannonball bass lines push along Luke Horton’s stripped-down, monotone vocals that seem so devoid of human feeling it’s almost like they’re computer generated, but the effect is wonderfully hypnotic. Nowhere Forever was released in Oz a couple of weeks ago and so far all I can find are import CD versions, but be industrious….use Google and find this thing…you’ll thank me! Check out more Love Of Diagrams on their MySpace page
Back in March I told you all about the Orenda Fink/Scalpelist project called O+S and now I found out that the Azure Ray singer/songwriter has yet another solo album set to drop in a few weeks. “Ask The Night” veers 180 degrees from the electronic vibe of O+S and her earlier work in Azure Ray and instead she seems focused on using spare, acoustic instruments to highlight her beautiful songwriting. The album was apparently recorded live to 8-track in Stephen Bartolomei’s basement and Andy LeMaster’s living room and features a wide variety of players and singers, including Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse), Dan McCarthy (McCarthy Trenching), and Adrianne Verhoeven (Dri, The Anniversary, Art In Manila). And the news gets even better…she got back together with with Maria Taylor as Azure Ray over the Summer and a new Azure Ray album will apparently be showing up next year. Give her a look on her MySpace page
When I heard the new single from Jean-Christophe Le Saoût, or Wax Tailor as the tres cool French hip-hop DJ/knob-twiddler prefers to be known, I was sure it was a cut off of the new Mos Def album, but no, those guys doin’ the spot-on Mos Def impersonation is actually the international Hip Hop collective known as ‘ASM’, or ‘A State Of Mind’. The funky vibe, sultry horns and booming bass lines also kinda reminds me a little of Mocean Worker, but it’s all good…to me, this revives the tradition of Motown soul with an updated style and mixes in a touch of French grooviness. ‘In The Mood For Life’ drops September 21st, and you can check out Wax Tailor over on MySpace
And for those of you who like this sort of thing, here’s the music video…..
It’s not all music and photography here at Damn Ugly and with that in mind, I’m gonna pass on one of my favorite blogs to you guys today and strongly advise each and every one of you to visit the site on a regular basis…newyorkshitty.com is a little waste of time run by a Greenpoint resident who goes by the decidedly bohemian moniker, Miss Heather.
I don’t know Miss Heather, but she apparently doesn’t mind being known as the ‘Dog Shit Queen of Greenpoint’…that’s ‘cuz she started her blog back in April of 2006 as a way of blowing off steam about her neighborhood, the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, and the stunning amount of dogshit that she seemed to encounter whenever she ventured out of her apartment.
I’ll admit that I was drawn to her blog because, as a former Greenpoint resident myself, I wondered just how much could be written about my former nabe, and I will say that over time, her blog has certainly evolved into much, much more than just a litany of rants about the fecal habits of canines across the bridge from Manhattan…and that’s really what I love about it.
Sure, she still loves to point out interesting crap-related things she stumbles across in the ‘hood, but the blog has become a wealth of Greenpoint-related information as well. Her numerous ‘Photo’s De Jour’ and the New York Shitty Day Starter’s and Ender’s are typically photographs she has taken on her travels through the greater Greenpoint/Williamsburg and when I see what she manages to find in what is a rather small corner of the city, I am always amazed!
Her takes on Vinyl Siding are a revelation and because she is also a Crazy Cat Lady, her posts on the local feline population are also lotsa fun, but I’m really fascinated by her one-woman assault on a condo project known as The Viridian…..I’ve gotten tho the point where I can’t wait for the next dose of venom she will lay down whenever she writes about a building she obviously wishes would get swallowed up by Newton Creek…
So to all of you Damn Ugly fans reading this, take a few moments and go give Miss Heather a few hits…I’m sure you’ll find the diversion worth the effort……
Hard to believe it’s been two years since The Blakes have been on The List, so when I heard they had a new album set to drop in a few weeks I figured I would put Google to work and find something to toss out to you guys. And they’re hitting the road this fall, too…they’re gonna be in New York playing three gigs during CMJ, so if you like this kinda stripped-down, swaggering, vintage rock ‘n’ roll sound (Iggy does), mark your calendars now. Souvenir is out October 13th, but until then, give ‘em a look on their MySpace page