Monday, December 11, 2006

$150. Well spent.

So here it is, as promised. My "best of" if you can call it that. These lists often get tossed out there with the stench of "cooler than thou" hipster-dom. So, instead of decreeing anything as a "best of," I figured I'd write about money well spent. Why $150? Where'd that figure come from? It breaks down to about 13 albums, give or take. And I figure $150 get's you a decent amount of music without going overboard. So, here's the best $150 I spent on music this year.

13. Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming
Spencer Krug delivers another album that, on first pass, could be dismissed as Wolf Parade cast-offs, but after a few listens, you hear why this album needed to be released.

12. Et Ret - Gasworks
Organs, synths, violins, violas, guitar and various other instruments, less vocals, pieced together in beautiful, sometimes haunting arrangements. I'd describe each as a piece or movement, and less "song" in the traditional sense of the word. I'm not quite sure how you classify this stylistically, but I'm glad I took a chance on it. It became and immediate favorite of mine.

11. Girl Talk - Night Ripper
C'mon. Do I really need to explain
this one? Just all out fun. If this album comes on and doesn't put a smile on your face, there's something wrong with you. The mash-up album of the summer.

10. Figurines - Skeleton
Skeleton reminded me how a straight forward rock album could be hook-y, poppy and flat-out fun. Nothing fancy here, and that's why I like it. Straight outta Denmark, these guys put out a great album that, if you weren't reading closely, you may have missed.

9. Keith Fullerton Whitman - Lisbon
One track. 41 minutes, 41 seconds. If you have the time, and can commit to listening straight through, it's a pretty cool ride. Ambient, pulsating tones build to a crescendo, giving way to distortion and noise. If experimental/ambient isn't your bag, this is not the disc to start with. It may not be the easiest listen, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

8. Helios - Eingya
It's nearly criminal that I didn't put this higher on my list. This thing was on near constant repeat for about a week and a half. Maybe it's one of those albums that just caught me at the right time. Maybe it's how each track just seems to let you drift off, if for just a few minutes. This is a headphone/background album that you must have if you're into that stuff.

7. The Knife - Silent Shout
Dark. Brooding. Strange. Check all three of those boxes. The reclusive, Swedish siblings string together 11 tracks of (sometimes) menacing electronica. I really dig the darker side of electronic music, and this is one of the best examples.

6. Max Richter - Songs From Before
Ever since I heard The Blue Notebooks, I've been a fan. Modern day composer Max Richter returns with another album of somber, beautiful arrangements. Perfect rainy day album.

5. Islands - Return To the Sea
Unicorns dissolve and resurface as Islands. Lucky me...or us. Ornate, meticulous pop songs with a real attention to craft. Listen close; there's a lot going on in this album, and yet it still manages to maintain a very listenable quality to it.

4. Beirut - Gulag Orkestar
It's surprising to not see this at "1" for me. When this album first came out, I was stupid over it. And while I still really dig it, a) I probably reached burn-out levels after listening to it so much and b) it had some really stiff competition come along. Nonetheless, this album still impresses me and it's certainly worthy of this spot.

3. Joanna Newsom - Ys
Alright, here's where it gets tough. In fact, I could have numbered these 1a, 1b, and 1c. But that's a cop out. As such, I'm giving this slot to Ys. I don't even know where to begin with this album. Complex? That would be an understatement. Don't look at the five song track listing and think this is an EP. With the shortest song clocking in at 7:17 and the longest being 16:53, this album is an undertaking. It's scope alone is impressive enough to land it near the top, but luckily, the songs are pretty cool too.

2. TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
How cool are TVOTR? They just seem to have all the components. Great music that seems to be influenced by every music genre out there. An apparent lack of the "I'm cooler than you" demeanor. There's nothing they don't have. These cats are alright. This could have easily been my favorite. But, I'm giving it to...

1. Band of Horses - Everything All the Time
It's no secret. I love a good rock album. This is probably a dark horse, and I'm sure the indie hipster elite would scream heresy if they found out I chose this as my fav. Shhh. Don't tell 'em. Simply put, this album just blew me away. I still put it on with great regularity. I picked it up at a time when the city was beautifully sunny and warm, and fortunately/unfortunately I wasn't working, so this was my "explore your new world" soundtrack. Maybe that's what did it. The production is great. The shimmering guitars and reverb-drenched vocals all add to the vibe of the album. The songs themselves are all well crafted. Listen to it from front to back; not a dud on there. And the stretch from "The Great Salt Lake" to the finale "St. Augustine" is one of the greatest five song assemblies I've heard. A great way to close out a great album.

Believe it or not, that's narrow it down to that few. Half my brain is screaming "but what about Evangelicals?...where's Ghostface? Clipse?'re gonna do Rock Central Plaza like that?" True, there's a lot more that I've bought, devoured, and wanted to mention. And maybe I will sometime. This just as easily could have been the best $300, or the best $500. But really. Who wants to read all that?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's about time

Wow. I really do let this thing go, don't I? I'd blame it on my new job, or I'd blame it on being new to New York and wanting to go out and do things other than sit and type in a blog, but that's probably not true. What's more likely is that I'm lazy. And I like xbox.

In the time since I last made an album entry, I've seen Menomena, TV on the Radio, The Long Winters and Grizzly Bear live, and I haven't said a thing about it here. And I've acquired numerous albums that I've made no mention of. I need a swift kick in the ass.

So, I'm climbing back on the horse. I've noticed that one thing that slows me down with this is my propensity to write long-winded entries about albums. I'm changing that. Who needs it anyway? Since I buy so many, it's hard to keep up. So, instead, I'm going to just write quick little blurbs and a number of albums, probably two or three at a time. That's an easier way for me, and probably a bit more digestible in terms of reading.

But before I do that, I'm going to do a list, my list, of favorite albums of the year. I wont' call it "the top..." or "best of..." or anything like that. Just a list of albums that made me think my money was well spent. Maybe I'll title it my "The Best $150 I Spent On Music This Year" list.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Oxford Collapse - Remember the Night Parties

Oxford Collapse
Remember the Night Parties
Sub Pop

Dude, it's totally like 1995 right now. At least in my head. I've been enjoying Remember the Night Parties from Oxford Collapse for the past week or so, and everytime I hear it, I remember my college days. It's simple really. While what I listened to in those formative years was varied, it definitely included the traditional indie rock (back when that was an actual music genre, not just a label) of the day. You know the bands I'm talking about – Pavement, Superchunk, Archers of Loaf, et al. To my ears, Oxford Collapse sound like they're straight outta Chapel Hill. But they're not. They live in my hood. BK represent.

Don't let that frighten you. Let's say you're sort of over that music and are thinking this disc might not be for you. Let's clarify then. Let's just say that they're reminiscent of these bands, not carbon copies. While stylistically Oxford Collapse harkens back to these bands, it's not as confined to that sound, and often stretches out a bit.

For instance, take the opener "He'll Paint While We Play." This doesn't have the trappings of that sound and certainly doesn't adequately set you up for what's about to come. Hold up. That sounds like a diss. It's not. In fact, this is one of my favorite tunes. It's one of those great openers you find on an album every so often. Guitar picking skips along while booming, reverbarating drums echo in the background. The vocals sound more Animal Collective than they do Archers of Loaf. The song just has this great build quality to it. Everytime it comes on, I'm usually walking through Manhattan headed to work, and this tune helps that walk sort of drift by unnoticed. Next up is "Please Visit Your National Parks." This is an appropriate follow up tune as it's a perfect example of all the name-dropping you read above. If you knew nothing about this band and I told you this was recorded in 1995 and put out on Merge, you probably wouldn't question it. With that said, Oxford Collapse pulls off this sound and makes it come across as new, not tired and passé. Chin Up Chin Up is another band who've accomplished this task, but that's another review.

Other highlights include "Return of the Burno" with its opening bass harmonics that fade back giving way to a thick, overdrive guitar that gives this tune a real head-nodding drive. "Lady Lawyers" and "Let's Varnish" keep the pep rally going with their upbeat, uptempo careenings. "Molasses" tops the charts for me as the standout tune on this record. If you can listen to this without tapping your foot and humming a bit, there's something very wrong with you. I listened to this tune four times today. You should do the same.

Remember the Night Parties is a solid outing from Oxford Collapse. I bought it along with a stack of other cd's and it took me a few days to get around to listening to it. Now I can't stop. Extra credit is given for inclusion of The Noid in their cover art and photography.

Check it out if you like: Chin Up Chin Up, Tapes 'n' Tapes
Listen to a sample here: video for "Please Visit Our National Parks"

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Xiu Xiu - The Air Force

Xiu Xiu
The Air Force

WTF? Those might be three letters that come to mind the first time you hear Jamie Stewart bark/wimper (depending on the song) on a Xiu Xiu track. I'll admit that I'm realtively new to enjoying them, but I've heard enough and read enough (lyrics) to know that dude's got some stuff inside him that he needs to get out. His imagery is often about topics best reserved for inner-monologue, or maybe discourse among close friends. Rape. Molestation. War. No topic is too taboo. His voice often sounds as though he's just on the brink, but the brink of what is debatable. Sometimes it sounds as though he might just cry right there on the album, and at other times, like he might just scream. But let's get to the current record, their recently released The Air Force.

The Air Force opens with "Buzz Saw." Now, maybe I'm crazy, but I was trying desperately the other day to convince my old lady that the genius of this song is what it isn't as opposed to what it is (get all that?). Sparce piano opens the track before Stewart gently whimpers "Daniella, don't say be tender first/and don't say teach me." Just after this line finishes, the only real percussion in
the song sounds off – a steady, repetive clacking of a snare. As the "chorus" section comes in, we get just a hint, just one little blip of synthesizer. The restraint is what gets me, the choice to strip everything down to just these elements. "Boy Soprano" shifts gears with its angry, noisy backdrop. Other standouts are "Vulture Piano," "Bishop, CA," (video below) and "The Fox & the Rabbit."

This is probably one of the most accessible Xiu Xiu albums, and that even takes into consideration the closing spoken word piece "The Wigmaster" which includes passages like, "I'm gonna spank your ass so hard you will hate the wig master but I'll put two pillows on your dining room chair." It's music only your mother could love.

I'm still processing this album, but so far, it hasn't not found it's way into my daily listening list since I picked it up, which was about two weeks ago. It's a solid outing, as most everything Xiu Xiu's done has been, though I may still be partial to Fabulous Muscles. But give it another week.

On a side note, with the release of The Air Force, Xiu Xiu has included a poster series on their website. Each .gif file comes down at 1000x1500 pixels, so pretty large. It's pretty cool stuff if your into music posters and graphic design. Each on is its own file and you click-through the series. I've comped four together as an example, but there's many more at the site, 24 total. Just click on "About The Air Force" and you're off.

Check it out if you like:
The Microphones, Neutral Milk Hotel, Animal Collective
Listen to a sample here: Video for "Bishop, CA" and "Boy Soprano" both from The Air Force

Monday, September 25, 2006

Mastodon - Blood Mountain

Blood Mountain

Remember Leviathan? Yeah, that Mastodon album that came out two years ago that did so well as to elicit a write up in The New York Times? I remember it too. I remember being quite impressed.

But here's the thing see. Is it possible to put out and album that's just simply too good? Meaning, one that's nearly impossible to follow up? That's how I feel with Blood Mountain. Everything that Leviathan did, this does better, except for possibly the biggest of factors: surprise. Sonically, Blood Mountain is just as good, if not better. The production is crisp and perhaps a hair better. With age comes wisdom, so two years after Leviathan, it makes sense that their level of play is higher. Almost every aspect is upped. But it's what you expect. And that's the rub. Leviathan seemed to come out of nowhere. Blood Mountain on the otherhand comes from those dudes Mastodon (they're known by name now) who you expect to put out a solid album. See what I'm drivin' at?

I guess that sounds like a bummer of a beginning, so let me get this out of the way–the album is good. Is very good. Is super good. The rock is there. Crunchy breakdowns abound, and lots of bluesy-fretboard noodling, sounding more and more like they've done their fair share of listening to Clutch as of late. So do not walk away from this thinking "yeah, I liked Leviathan, but apparently Blood Mountain isn't as good." You'd be wrong.

"The Wolf Is Loose" opens up with a flurry of drum clacks and then you're off. An up-tempo, classic-sounding Mastodon song erupts. They have a sound all their own, and you know it when you hear it. At the 2:04 mark, you're treated to some dual-guitar scale work, true metal style. Next comes "Crystal Skull" which opens with some of the coolest riff-drum pairing I've heard in a while before slipping into a sludgy verse riff. "Circle of Cysquatch" is my standout, due simply to the breakdown. The middle passage has some tweaked out vocal effects, but as soon as they're done, serious headbanging must commence. I defy you to hear this riff and not find your head slowly nodding to and fro. It's impossible.

So, there you have it. My brief take on Blood Mountain, Mastodon's worthy follow-up. I don't think this album will find as much acceptance as Leviathan did. For those not into metal but ventured to dip their toes into the power-chord infested waters of the genre when Leviathan came out, Blood Mountain will probably seem a bit less intriguing. Again, probably because it's not new/different/surprising this time around. But for those that like a good metal record every now and again, Blood Mountain can be found at your local record shop of choice.

Check it out if you like: Metal, good metal, metal
Listen to a sample here: Mastodon's Myspace page has 3 songs from Blood Mountain

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Go ahead, Beirut, take more of my money.

I recently read the Beirut has signed to 4AD, home of TV on the Radio, M. Ward, The Mountain Goats, and many others. As such, 4AD has decided to re-release Gulag Orkestar on their label and it will be an expanded version, read: a reason you should drop more cabbage on this version even if you already have the original. It will be available during Beirut's fall tour. This is good news as I already have tickets to see them on November 21 at the Bowery Ballroom and will probably manage to scrape together enough to pick one up.

Official stuff here:

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye

Junior Boys
So This Is Goodbye

Normally I give an album a week (give or take) before I write anything about it. Okay fine, sometimes it takes a month or more. It's the marinating process. Sometimes things don't settle in until a few listens have gone by. Other times, tunes that sounded fresh on the first spin soon lose their luster. So I find it necessary to give each album it's due and see where on the spectrum it falls. In the case of So This Is Goodbye by Junior Boys, such time lapse is not necessary. From the opening blips of "Double Shadow," I could tell Junior Boys was going to pick up right where they left of with Last Exit, their excellent 2004 full-length
. Maybe it was power of suggestion. Maybe I wanted to like it from the get go. Maybe the wait had built anticipation and there was just no way that anticipation was going to allow this album be anything less than great. Who knows?

So "Double Shadow" didn't disappoint, but it was the second song, "The Equalizer," that really set the rest of the album up for me. A muffled shaker starts off, giving way to an ethereal organ drone. The beat comes in, followed by the simultaneously confident/shy voice of Jeremy Greenspan and the song hits its stride almost immediately. The dark opening of "First Time" is not something I'd seen coming, but is certainly a welcome addition. "Count Souvenirs" reminds me of a Violator-era Depeche Mode.

I could go on and on, but suffice it to say I was giddy after picking up this album. I'd been on a metal kick lately, having picked up some old Isis I never got around to, not to mention Jesu and Boris which was mentioned earlier. While electronica may not necessarily be on the opposite end of the spectrum, it's pretty far from what had been coming out of my ear buds lately. So This Is Goodbye was a welcome breath of fresh air and has immediately solidified itself as one of my favorites for the year.

Check it out if you like:
Herbert, The Postal Service
Listen to a sample here: Hear "In the Morning" and "Count Souvenirs" on the Junior Boys
Myspace page

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tap Tap - Lanzafame

Tap Tap

I first read about Tap Tap over at My Old Kentucky Blog. After listening to a sample and reading about them being likened to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, I decided to get the album. After a quick check out process via paypal over at Catbird Records, and a short wait on the USPS, Tap Tap's Lanzafame showed up in my tiny mailbox.

Upon first listen, the references to Clap Your Hands are understood and accepted. However, listening to it a number of times has uncovered nuances that were perhaps missed on the first pass.

Take "To Our Continuing Friendship" for instance. The chorus on this is more Beach Boys than Clap Your Hands. "Talk Slowly" lets Tap Tap take a crack at low-fi folk, and they pull it off quite well. Standout tracks include opener "100,000 Thoughts," "Little Match (Big Fire)," and the aforementioned "To Our Continuing Friendship."

Tap Tap puts together a little over 30 minutes of bouncy, energetic, quirky pop. If you've got an extra $10 and a paypal account, make it yours.

Check it out if you like: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Islands, Neutral Milk Hotel
Listen to a sample here: "100,000 Thoughts"

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Menomena signs to Barsuk

I just bought tickets to see The Long Winters and Menomena at the Bowery Ballroom on Sept. 29th. I navigated over to Barsuk just so see where else the tour was going and what do I notice on the homepage? That Barsuk, former home of Death Cab For Cutie and current home of, well, many solid music peeps, has signed Menomena. So that's why they're all playing together. And by "they're all" I mean, the above two along with What Made Milwaukee Famous. It's a Barsuk party.

From Barsuk:
Menomena, the experimental rock trio from Portland, OR, have signed to Barsuk. Their upcoming release, friend and foe, shines Northwest indie songcraft through a Chicago post-rock lens, illuminating the quiet recesses with an experimental, jazzy light. Look for this release in early 2007."

The Long Winters - Putting the Days To Bed

The Long Winters
Putting the Days To Bed

I forget where I first heard about The Long Winters. I feel like I saw a poster of their's in Other Music, my record store of choice. Hey, see there, design does work.
Or maybe it was a flyer for an in-store performance. Either way, they stuck in my head and I recently decided to buy their latest full length Putting the Days To Bed. I'm glad that poster, or whatever it was, got my attention.

Putting the Days To Bed has been one of those slow-burn albums for me. You know, the ones where you like it at first, but don't think much of it. But then it grows on you and you really start enjoying it. It was like that with The National's Alligator which seems absolutely insane to me in hindsight, knowing how much I love that album now. Anyway. So now I'm really into this album. It's a nice mix. A little Wrens, a little Shins and a bit of Band of Horses. No, they don't sound like any of them outright, but if you have any of those in your Pioneer six-disc cd changer, you should probably make room in there for this one.

Stand out tracks include "Sky Is Open." The chorus in this one is where I got the Band of Horses thing above. It's like BoH minus all the reverb. "Clouds" is a nice lo-fi number, all restrained percussion and acoustic guitars, and heck, throw in a banjo for good measure. Then comes "Rich Wife" which, in my opinion, is a deadringer for The Wrens. And that's a good thing as I love me some Wrens. On the last track "Seven," when John Roderick sings "I'd miss you Seven," he sounds an awful lot like Blake Schwarzenbach singing a Jets To Brazil (okay fine, Jawbreaker) tune. My favorite of all is"Ultimatum" which is also the title of a previously released EP. The EP version uses finger-picked (what?) guitar, recorded lo-fi a la Iron & Wine, and lush orchestration to carry along Roderick's voice. It's a toss up which one I like more, but the version on Putting... is very different. It's a rocker, and a good one at that. If you put a gun to my head, and I hope you won't, I'd probably pick the EP version. I'll link it below and you can check it out. Then compare and contrast it with the version on Putting the Days To Bed, which, if I were you, I'd be running out to get.

Check it out if you like: The Wrens, The Shins, Band of Horses
Listen to a sample here: "Pushover" (from Putting...); and "Ultimatum" (the previously released EP version)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Just read about these guys over on Pitchfork and turns out they're playing down the street from me on Sunday. I'll check 'em out and let you know what I think. This is what they look like
And this is what they sound like: "Anti-Anti"

edit: turns out this show is actually on Saturday and I will not be in town to attend. Bitches.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Lazy bastard = Me

I'm way behind with this thing. I wanted it to be updated frequently. I'll get the wheels under me soon. In the meantime, my little black book of "must buys" is growing wildly out of control:

And my stack of things I would have liked to have already written up is also commanding way too much real estate on my desk

I picked up Putting the Days To Bed by The Long Winters today. I'll write it up tomorrow. Listen to Pushover while you wait.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Boris - Pink

Southern Lord

Mud. Lava. Rocks. Skulls. These words bring a smile to my face. They're words my friends and I playfully threw out whenever we'd put on some metal back in the day. It seemed perfectly appropriate–after all, these are the things metal is made of. Well, at least skulls anyway.

Boris brings this to mind. I picked up Pink having heard/read the hype. Oh yeah, I'd heard it. And, knowing that my roots are in metal (I was the kid people l
aughed at in high school because I listened to Nuclear Assault and Exodus), I had to pick it up. Let me just say, Boris did not disappoint. This was my intro to their sound and I'm now working a trip to pick up their back catalogue into my iCal.

Boris is a three-piece metal band from Japan. Now, don't go thinking this is that kind of metal. Metal has so many sub-genres now that I've lost count, and frankly, interest in keeping them all separate. Metal is metal is metal to me. It's either good or bad. That's not to say that there isn't a clear distinction between say Cannibal Corpse and Iron Maiden, because there is. But the one constant is that they'd both be considered metal by average-Joe on the street. Boris brings to mind fuzzed-out, stoner-rock metal groups like Kyuss (remember them?!) and Earth, et al. Some of it is really slow and drone-y, and some is built for speed. It's definitely not death, or doom, or black metal. It's not speed or thrash. What is it then? Well, it's a lot of guitar distortion for starters. Tons of it in fact. The one constant you'll get with Boris? This stuff is heavy.

The album opens with "Farewell." The first minute or so rocks you to sleep almost. Gentle notes drenched in reverb ring out as a simple beat keeps time. We get a final crash cymbal, a few toms, and then, the tidal wave of distortion washes over you. This recording is definitely in the red. The distortion is so much at times, you wonder if it's on purpose, or if the mics just can't take it and are distorting themselves. This is definitely one of their slower tunes. But if you're not into slower metal, don't let that dissuade you as Boris definitely picks up the pace after that. Track two, the title track, switches gears, and it's an all out assault. This theme carries for the entirety of the album. A concentration of rock attack songs, broken up by slower, moody pieces. Towards the end, you get a nice breather with the Mogwai-esque "My Machine" which I'm particularly fond of. Sure, it's only two minutes long, but it's a great respite before the pummeling starts back in with "Just Abandoned-Myself."

If for anything else, I dig this album because it just doesn't sound like any of the metal I've heard lately. So much is coming out that's metalcore/grindcore and this is a little more straight-forward. I like that. I like their simple approach. Keep it simple, stupid. Isn't that how the saying goes? Well, the simple equation for Boris is to make it fast, make it slow, but however you make, just make sure it's distorted and heavy. Extra special bonus–buy the American release (the one shown above) of Pink and get three sheets of acid blotter paper. No, I'm not kidding.

Check it out if you like: Kyuss, Om, SunnO)))
Listen to a sample here: Navigate here to check out "Farewell" in the listen section

Friday, August 11, 2006

Final Fantasy - He Poos Clouds

Final Fantasy
He Poos Clouds

Go ahead. I'll give you a minute. Let's get the snickering out of the way. Yes, the title of this album really is He Poos Clouds. All joking aside though, this isn't a silly album by any means.

Owen Pallett is associated with The Arcade Fire. On their impossibly good 2004 album Funeral, Pallet is credited with playing violin and string arrangements. But you'll find no semblance of Arcade Fire here. Instead, you'll get one the more odd releases of the year, full of strings, piano and pieces that sound like they'd accompany a play. That's no strike. I actually rather enjoy the album–I just can't think of anything I've put on in recent days that sounds quite as weird. Well, maybe Liars comes close, but in a very different way.

Every time I listen to this album, I think of those Choose Your Own Adventure books or The Neverending Story. There's something haunting and even mystical about the music, but Pallett's singing always grounds it in a delicate, vulnerable way. In my mind, I can just see Atreyu approaching G'mork with "If I Were A Carp" gently playing. It'd be a perfect fit.

A standout track for me is "This Lamb Sells Condos." With it's cabaret-like piano and Pallett's voice rising and falling with the notes, the song moves along at a pace that's a bit quicker than the rest of the album. It may also be the only track that could theoretically be released as a single and get some level of play.

Putting aside his truly bizarre choice of album title, Pallett has crafted an album that's interesting and challenging, while still being very listenable. It's also a stake in the ground that he won't be doing Arcade Fire ver. 2 with this project. This is truly his own creation, and a pretty neat one at that.

Check it out if you like: Liars, The Fiery Furnaces, Grizzly Bear
Listen to a sample here: Go to Tomlab, select He Poos Clouds–you can listen to samples of the whole album.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Poster Art - The Small Stakes

I started getting into music posters about three years ago. And not just the posters, but the designers behind them and the studios they work for. Now, I just have them bookmarked and check back regularly. Stylistically they can be all over the place. I'm really drawn to clean, minimal design and have pinpointed a few of my favorites. With some regularity, I now make it a point to go back and check out the new work.

One of my bookmarks is reserved for Jason Munn who runs The Small Stakes in Oakland, CA. The Small Stakes produces everything from book covers and album packaging to t-shirt designs and silkscreen printed poster designs.

His posters have always been among my favorites, not only for the design, but for the bands he produces work for. Animal Collective, Sufjan Stevens, The American Analog Set, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and Broken Social Scene have all looked to The Small Stakes to have work done.

Check him out. If you like the work, many of the posters are for sale at a very reasonable $20. I'll probably mention a few others in the future, but if you want to look at the breadthe of what's out there right now, and don't feel like waiting on me, poke around at There you'll find hundreds of designers and tons of styles. Surely you'll find something there that'll suit your tastes.