I’m gonna do a bit of Friday afternoon blog-rolling on The List today. Frank Deis is a wine geek friend of mine and his son Tom plays guitar with the highly-regarded gang of Berklee College of Music grads who call themselves Via Audio. Frank did a shout-out to see if I could garner a few hits for the band the Fearlessmusic Weekly Poll that’s running over at www.fearlessmusic.com…..look over at the right side of the page…Via Audio is the last band listed….go on, give ‘em a click and they’ll be eternally grateful!
You would have to be deaf not to hear a bit of Tracey Thorn in Jessica Martins delivery and I know singers hate to be constantly compared to other vocalists, but the similarities are there, and wonderfully so…especially when she cries, “…but when it’s good, it’s really good…”…..damn…it gave me goosebumps! Pleading, mournful and just the right amount of sad. And the production, handled by Spoon’s Jim Eno, blends her voice with the infectious, stuttering electric guitars and singalong harmonies perfectly. Head on over to their MySpace page and give a listen to a few more cuts.
A couple of weeks ago I got a 5:00PM call from Ronnie Weil, BusinessWeek’s Director of Photography, asking if I was available to shoot a rush-rush cover. The magazine was doing a feature on retailing and wanted to show a shopping bag filled with various products….and they needed shot the next morning….and the finished art that afternoon! Fast forward to the next morning and my stylist Megan Terry swoops into the studio with bags full of props and we get to work on Rich Michiel’s layout…..
Rich would be adding a houndstooth pattern to the white shopping bag in post, but we had to shoot multiple variations of the bag’s contents for them to decide on the final mix of products. After moving the props around into a hundred or so different arrangements, Bo, Megan and I managed to squeak in before the deadline…..
…and the cover (without the Teddy Bear) hit the stands that Friday!
DISCLAIMER: This video is meant for humorous purposes only. The Photo Editor represented in this bit of fluff in no way represents any person, living or dead, and certainly not anybody I have ever worked for….my clients are all groovy!!! This is just something I made up over on www.xtranormal.com
My love of the Canadian art-rock ensemble Jets Overhead goes back to the very first time I ever heard ‘Shadow Knows’ off of their album, Bridges, in early 2006 and it sent such a shiver up my spine that I knew it was Song of the Day List-bound! The stunning stunning male/female harmonizing and layered musical compositions immediately made me a big fan, but Oh Man, the wait for a follow up was killin’ me! Then last fall came the leak of ‘It’s A Funny Thing’ and the word that the band had finished work on No Nations…..but it wouldn’t be out until summer 2009…..but I completely forgot about it…until today. ‘I Should Be Born’ is track number one off a record I’m recommending highly to all List Members! Head over to their MySpace page or their Official Website for more information.
I was off shooting Kate Tucker on Wednesday and missed The Black Hollies show at the Knitting Factory, but according to everything I read, they tore the place up! I gotta admit, I was hooked on this song as soon as it opened with that fuzzed out piano banging, thumpy bass line and clanging cymbal crashes…the whole thing has such a wonderfully late-60′s, nostalgic Paisley Underground vibe…and front man Justin Angelo Morey’s energetic, high-register vocals transport you back in time where you swear you’re in a psychedelic club and the Zombies just took the stage! ‘Gloomy Monday Morning’ is off of the Jersey City quartet’s third album, Softly Towards The Light, and you can hear more over on their MySpace page
Kate Tucker is sorta becoming the Artist-in-Residence here at the Song of the Day. Since I first featured “Faster Than Cars Drive” back in November of 2007, she’s popped up no fewer than five times, ended up on the 2008 Songs of the Year and been in front of my camera twice. And she’s just spent 20 straight days in a Seattle studio working on 14 new songs for a solo album…meaning no Sons of Sweden, no Honeydove…just KaTe. The album is scheduled for a Winter 2010 release, but the big news of the day is she’s sent me some fresh produce…‘New Orleans’ is off of a 3-song EP she just sent me and you guys get to be among the first to hear it. I’ve been playing the EP all morning and can’t begin to tell you how much I like this. Blake Wescott, who also produced Damien Jurado’s ‘Rehearsals for Departure’), is producing and playing guitar, bgv’s, melotron and the album also features her Sons of Sweden bandmate Ed ‘Potatoes’ O’Brien on bass, Terrill Bailie on keyboards and Casey Foubert (who tours with Sufjan Stevens, Richard Swift, and Dave Bazan) on drums.
Like I said…Kate’s gonna be in town for CMJ and will be playing a 7:30PM set at Googie’s Lounge Friday 10/23 where you can pick up Where Are You, the limited edition pre-release of the new songs. Check her out on her MySpace page where you can stream ‘Blue December’ and ‘Where Are You’, the other two cuts off of the EP.
As I was in the studio shooting this week’s cover for BusinessWeek, the news finally came down that Bloomberg LP was the ‘winner’ in a long, drawn out bidding process for the magazine. For me this was extremely emotional…BusinessWeek is one of my best clients…certainly the one I have worked for the longest. I checked the files and saw that it was back in 1988 when photo editor Sue Bloom took what must have been a huge risk and gave me my first job to shoot the CEO of the ad agency J. Walter Thompson. A few months later, I shot my first cover for them. Throughout the years I’ve worked with the magazine as it’s evolved and changed and I hope to continue working with them as this latest chapter unfolds…..
In yesterday’s New York Times, I read of the passing of Marty Forscher.
Marty was as old skool as it got…I mean, he got his start serving in the Navy photographic unit headed by Edward Steichen, for God’s sake! After the war, he opened his own repair shop, first on Lexington Avenue, but later at the 37 West 47th Street location that everybody knew. Professional Camera Repair wasn’t just a repair place…it was one of the ‘hubs’ of the New York photo business. The old bulletin board in the waiting area was filled with assistant’s resumes, studio shares, camera ‘for sale’ notices, photo show openings and just about everything else you could imagine that related to photography in this city. And when Marty wasn’t simply fixing cameras, he was always coming up with ways to make them do things that the manufacturers didn’t think of…or inventing his own stuff…the most famous of which was the Forscher ProBack. What a simple idea…a Polaroid back for a 35mm camera…except is wasn’t. There were all sorts of optical reasons why you couldn’t simply slap a Polaroid back onto a 35mm camera, and before the ProBack, the only way to get an instant image from a 35mm camera was to slap on the ungainly monster known as a Speed Magny…..
For those of you who spent any time in a physics class, you can imagine how the long optical path of that periscope-like device would suck up light…in this case, about about 5 stops worth…so a shutter speed of 1/250 second effectively became 1/8 second…not very useful at all. Marty had another idea…he invented a system that used a free-floating fiber optic lens to transfer the image from the camera film plane directly onto the Polaroid film plane…..
I’ll always remember the day when I saw my first ProBack…and then the second, and the third…..and soon there was nobody who didn’t own one! To anybody not involved in the business, this probably seems like nothing, but overnight, Marty’s little invention had changed the way a generation of photographers took pictures! Here is the first two-on-one 35mm Fiber Optic Pro-Back Polaroid shot ever taken…..that’s Marty with one of his repair techs, Noah Schwartz…..
It’s been a long, long time since I have seen Marty, but I’ll fondly remember him and how he would offer up a bit of grandfatherly advice or a few suggestions on how to solve a problem…..then he’d shoo me away from the counter ‘cuz there were other customers waiting!
It seems like a million years ago that Portishead released ‘Dummy’…an album that combined tape loops with orchestral flourishes, creepily Gothic synthesizers, electronic beeps & blips and a pure Angel singing the storyline of a tormented, melodramatic nightmare…that quite literally invented ‘Trip-Hop’ and to this day remains an alarming…if intensely paranoid…listening experience. I can still remember shortly after it was released, in the studio on a wintery day in 1995 during a blinding blizzard, I was hitting the ‘repeat’ button all day long listening to Beth Gibbons’ mournfully gloomy vocals again and again and again…my assistants were ready to kill me…..but everybody else in the studio that cold, grey day loved it. The people in front of my camera included (Mrs. Trump of the moment) Marla Maples, fashion designer Cynthia Rowley, personal trainer Harry Hanson, Ad-Man Jerry Della Femina and actor, author, dramatist and camp legendCharles Busch…and all of them were diggin’ the dark & murky vibe the intimate collection of songs gave off…..after the shoot I actually sent copies of the album to Marla, Cynthia and Jerry…..
Anyway, this morning, as I was jumping around the music blogs, I stumbled across this unreleased, raw & stripped-down, live session cut of one of the stand-out tracks, Glory Box…and maybe it’s ‘cuz I haven’t cranked up the original in a long time, but the new version brought all those intense feelings back again. Gibbon’s slow bump and grind style…the reedy organ trilling in the background…the haunting wah-wah guitar riffs…..it’s got me floating away in a heroin haze…..
I’ve had this funky number rolling ’round my head ever since I heard it on the season finale of ‘Entourage’, so the natural thing to do is to send it out to you guys. The song is a wonderful kiss-on-the-cheek homage to the Godfather of Soul right down to the Detroit horn section, crunchy guitars and Kelvin Swaby’s bloody brilliant raspy soul man vocals. It’s prolly ‘cuz I just saw the new musical, Memphis, on Broadway earlier this week (and trust me…if you can get tickets, get ‘em now, ‘cuz after opening night on October 19th, it’s gonna be sold out for years!) and I’m appreciating the vintage R&B vibe, but this bad-ass, funk-soul wall of sound has me bobbin’ in my chair Big Time!!!
Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Jane Herships calls herself Spider and she spins shimmering webs of delicately crafted poetry with a whispery, vibrato-laced delivery. Her tender delivery and heartfelt emotion on ‘Petal Song’, from her new album, Things We Liked to Hold, is eerily reminiscent of Victoria Williams but also has me thinking of Tanya Donelly and Margo Timmins from Cowboy Junkies. She comes across so real…so true…and so completely intimate. And while the music spends most of it’s time meandering around shuffling, acoustic scales and a softly brushed snare drum, it’s the hard-driven electric flourish at the end that really makes this one special.