Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Here is a charming stop-motion film using post-it notes, by Bang-yao Liu...

From the artist:
This is my senior project at Savannah College of Art and Design. Where my idea comes from is that every time when I am busy, I feel that I am not fighting with my works, I am fighting with those post-it notes and deadline. I manipulated the post-it notes to do pixel-like stop motion and there are some interactions between real actor and post-its. Here is the making of :

Directed by Bang-yao Liu
Music by Röyksopp (
Sound design by Shaun Burdick

Monday, June 8, 2009

Maximilian Haidacher

Here are some stunning photographs by Austrian artist Maximilian Haidacher...

From the "Winter" series:

From the "Kies" series:

From the "Kur" series:

From the "Erz" series:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"Routine Sucks"

Advertising Agency: DDB, Brazil
Copywriter: Otavio Schiavon
Art Director: Gustavo Victorino
Creative Directors: Marcelo Reis, Guilherme Jahara, Rodolfo Sampaio, Julio Andery, Sergio Valente
Ilustrator: Gustavo Victorino

Did we inherit laughter from our primate ancestors?

New research conducted by Marina Davila Ross, Michael J. Owren, and Elke Zimmermann—which involved tickling orangutans and gorillas(!)—seems to say yes.

From the study just published in the journal Current Biology:
"The results suggest that the evolutionary origins of human laughter can be traced back at least 10 to 16 million years to the last common ancestor of humans and modern great apes."

Read more here:

Wowza! New Yo La Tengo Album Slated! Can't Wait!

“Periodically Double Or Triple”

JUST ANNOUNCED: Popular Songs—Yo La Tengo's 14th album(!)—is scheduled to come out September 8 on longtime label Matador!

From the Matador Blog:
"We have an old saying at Matador HQ, “the only thing predictable about Yo La Tengo albums is their high level of excellence and crazy amount of musical ground covered”. Trouble is, even if you believe we really have an old saying that unwieldly, it doesn’t really do justice in this instance. The new Yo La Tengo CD/2xLP/digital album ‘Popular Songs” (OLE 856-1,2) could be the bravest musical statement to date in a career full of ‘em. Recorded in Hoboken and Nashville in early 2009 with longtime associate Roger Mountenot, ‘Popular Songs’ finds the trio of Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan and James McNew at the height of their creative powers, fashioning an epic work that’s cooly confident as it is wildly adventurous."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

We ♥ 100 Abandoned Houses by Kevin Bauman

Kevin Bauman's 100 Abandoned Houses
Kevin Bauman has been documenting dilapidated and abandoned homes in his hometown of Detroit for about a decade. What began as a casual curiosity captured on film has become an engrossing and evocative project, 100 Abandoned Houses. The photographs convey a stark reality, the neglected former dwellings providing a striking symbol of the broader current economic decline. Says the artist: "I had always found it to be amazing, depressing, and perplexing that a once great city could find itself in such great distress, all the while surrounded by such affluence."

Looking at the images one by one imbues the collection with a surprising heft—each deteriorating exterior hints at its own unique past (ghosts in the shadows) but all succumb to the same decay. Taken all together, the project is also a poignant depiction of the age-old truism (and the classic Burt Bacharach/Dionne Warwick song): "A house is not a home."

Kevin Bauman's 100 Abandoned Houses
"As the number of images grew, and a documentary style emerged, I switched from mostly black and white, to color, and decided to name the series 100 Abandoned Houses. 100 seemed like a lot, although the number of abandoned houses in Detroit is more like 12,000. Encompassing an area of over 138 square miles, Detroit has enough room to hold the land mass of San Francisco, Boston, and Manhattan Island, yet the population has fallen from close to 2 million citizens, to most likely less than 800,000. With such a dramatic decline, the abandoned house problem is not likely to go away any time soon."
— Kevin Bauman

Kevin Bauman's 100 Abandoned Houses

"Sorry I'm Late"

by Tomas Mankovsky

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

3 Videos for "Lisztomania" by Phoenix

Says director Ian Parker:
"We did it for the summer, for friends, sunsets, and social propaganda experiments, for the sake of global cultural education. And pop music."

The original "Lisztomania"/Brat Pack mashup:

It's fun to try to get the two videos above to play simultaneously. See if you can do it! (You'll get some cool drum phases as you approach synchronicity...)

And the official video:

Which one do you like best?

Monday, June 1, 2009

An Interview with Hospitality

An Interview with Brooklyn band Hospitality (Brian Betancourt, Amber Papini, Nathan Michel

Hospitality – "Betty Wang" (download)

Hospitality (Amber Papini, Nathan Michel, and Brian Betancourt) are one of my favorite discoveries in quite a while. I caught a recent show at Bruar Falls (the new Williamsburg spot opened by the Cake Shop guys) with the always-marvelous Karl Blau, and instantly fell in love with their spare and airy but lyrically/melodically gripping tunes. I bought their 6-song EP and it's been on repeat ever since. After the show, I emailed some questions to Amber...

Yer Sweet Chimneys: How did the three of you meet?

Amber Papini: I met Nathan at school and we both met Brian through a mutual friend.

YSC: When did the band start out?

AP: We started playing in our apartment together about two years ago. We would spend Saturdays practicing, and re-arranging songs. We went through several configurations, Nathan on guitar and Juno, Brian on acoustic guitar, before settling into the line up we have now.

Hospitality Live @ Bruar Falls
Hospitality live at Bruar Falls (photo by BJK)

YSC: What do you guys do aside from playing music, if you don’t mind me asking?

AP: I teach kindergarten, Nathan is a freelance composer and Brian works at a film company.

YSC: You're in Brooklyn now, right?

AP: Yes.

YSC: Where are you from originally?

AP: I’m from Kansas City, Missouri, Nathan’s from Charleston, SC and Brian’s from Hackensack, NJ.

YSC: Are you dog or cat people?

AP: I likes dogs. Nathan likes cats. Brian likes cats but is warming up to dogs.

Hospitality and Karl Blau at Cake Shop
(photo from flickr by gutstrings)

YSC: How did you meet Karl Blau and what was it like having him record your EP?

AP: We opened for Karl Blau at Cake Shop a while ago. After he listened to our sound check, he offered to record us in exchange for backing him for a few shows. He was really awesome to work with. It took about a day to record all the songs and he mixed the next day. We love the sound of the recording!

"I think it’s more interesting when songs evoke pictures or make poetry."

YSC: Is it a conscious decision to keep things pared down to a trio? Do you ever
have visions of a string section and other accoutrements?

AP: I totally have visions of larger arrangements. I would love to hear more guitars, strings and woodwinds on some songs. We are recording this summer and plan to realize some larger arrangements.

YSC: I saw that you opened for Stereolab at Irving Plaza a while back! What was that like?

AP: It was cool. We never played a venue that big before.

YSC: What has been your best show so far?

AP: We played a fun show with Fertile Crescent and the Beets at Death by Audio.

Hospitality EPYSC: I think maybe the thing that draws me most to you guys is how each player and each element is sort of tugging the song in a different direction. Not in an inharmonious way, but... For instance, the drums never simply lock into an obvious beat. And when I saw you live, I realized that the bass lines are sort of your secret weapon, almost in a Peter Hook-ish, New Order-y way… What’s my question? Umm, I guess I’d be interested to hear about your individual tastes and influences, and how those come together and coalesce?

AP: We all like a lot different kinds of music. Nathan plays a bunch of instruments and writes his own music. Brian also writes music and plays guitar, so that informs he’s bass playing. I try to make music that sounds like the stuff I was crazy about when I was a kid. I really liked British new wave music from the 70s and the 80s. I also liked 70s rock. When I was a teenager used to try to sing like Richard Butler.

YSC: There is definitely an intimacy and directness to the songs. The lyrics are fairly referential and detail-laden, even to the point of naming names (“Betty Wang,” “Julie,” ...). I’m wondering how personal these songs are for you. They play at times almost like songs you never expected to be heard outside your bedroom. How much during the writing process do you intend for or imagine an audience?

AP: I feel most comfortable writing about things I know, so I guess most of the songs are personal or biographical. But I do like expanding the truth a bit and I’m not always explicit. I think it’s more interesting when songs evoke pictures or make poetry.

Hospitality - Amber Papini, Brian Betancourt, and Nathan Michel

YSC: Do you have a B.A. in English Literature [the song "Liberal Arts" includes the line: "So you found the lock but not the key that college brings /And all the trouble of a B.A. in English Literature instead of law or something more practical"]? If so, has it proven useful?

AP: I have a B.A. in American Studies and it wasn’t very useful in getting a job.

YSC: It was cool to see how the songs evolved in the live setting from the recorded versions, and I overheard Karl Blau mention that the move to electric guitar was recent… How has that transition been, translating the tunes live?

AP: It has been very long process. I’ve been struggling with my instrument since we started playing live. I tried to play with a classical guitar, but the practical realities of a live performance didn’t translate, so I went electric… We are still working on it.

"When I was a teenager used I to try to sing like Richard Butler."

YSC: What’s your favorite recipe?

AP: I’ve been really into this Japanese cookbook lately. It's called Harumi's Japanese Home Cooking by Harumi Kurihara. It's really good! I like the eggplant recipe and tofu with ricotta cheese.

YSC: Yum! Have you ever tried mangosteen?

AP: No, is it good?

YSC: Yes, it is great! Have you read anything good lately?

Frog & ToadAP: I’ve been reading a lot of Frog and Toad these days.

YSC: What have you been listening to lately? And have you been listening to whatever it is on an iPod, CD, vinyl? Do you prefer one over the others?

AP: I listen to the iPod for practical reasons, but at home we listen to records. The most recent things we’ve been into are the Clash and the new Dirty Projectors record.

YSC: Mountains or plains? Cities or jungles?

AP: Mountains and cities.

Hospitality – "Argonauts"