Tuesday, October 27, 2009

arctic monkeys' HUMBUG

i finally took a listen to the new arctic monkeys album, humbug. i heard about it in rolling stone a couple of months ago and was really intrigued to hear that they recorded it in the states, and that alex turner (the lovely, the talented) is still sneering away. i loved rob sheffield's comment, "their ace third album is full of turner's snide observations on human behavior — when he looks you in the eye and sneers, "what came first, the chicken or the dickhead?" it's not a compliment."

i've been revamping an apartment above my sister's coffee shop for a few days now and have had everything in the cd player from cat power to just jack to the garden state official soundtrack. this was a change of pace -- and a welcome one!

i first got into arctic monkeys when i gave a listen to 2007's favourite worst nightmare. their debut album, 2005's whatever people say i am, that's what i'm not was making huuuge waves in the u.k. when i was there studying abroad in the spring of '06. i didn't really care for them then, though, and i'm not sure why. it wasn't until i heard fwn that i was like, WTF what have i been missing!??? -- so i snatched up their first one immediately and have loved them both, though they are both very different records, and the first is still better -- in my mind -- than their sophomore album.

i like alex turner so much that his side project, the last shadow puppets, are a favorite in my car stereo also. the only negative thing i have to say is that when i went to see them in chicago a while ago, they put on the most impersonal, rushed show i've seen. the music was fine, though faster than the albums, and they gave off a general don't-give-a-fuck-about-chicago sort of vibe. it's too bad, it left a bad taste in my mouth, but i'd be willing to give them another shot, i think.

humbug sounds like turner and the monkeys finding their footing. the lyrics are intense and the sound is appropriately eerie and ravaging and beautiful.. i'm a big fan of this album after only a couple of listens.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

BEST magazine find!

this is worth a second post in one morning. i may not have mentioned this tiny, but very significant point before -- DWELL IS MY FAVORITE MAGAZINE. i'm a modern residential architecture nerd, and this magazine is a) edgy, b) lay-person and user-friend, and c) awesome! but the greatest news yet to come of my love affair with this periodical is that this past september they put out their first spinoff magazine -- make it yours is a diy-friendly version of their magazine, complete with archive photos and ways that you can make the look your own. that's the whole concept. simple, and rad. i saw it in milwaukee last month and passed it up, but now that i'm redecorating a place of my own, i found it again at lowe's this morning and snatched it up without a second glance. i've fallen hard for a magazine. how nerd is that.

the storybook wolf by josé luis rodríguez

via the guardian

the guardian just posted a gorgeous and stunning gallery of five photographs that are winners of this year's veolia environment wildlife photographer of the year. the above photo is by josé luis rodríguez of spain, "storybook wolf," which won under the category of animal portraits. there's another photo of a HUGE flock of starlings that took the prize for the black and white category by danny green of the u.k.

the photo up top is so mysterious and exciting; i would hang this in an edgy living space. actually, i would display it anywhere i could. i was hoping i could dig up a little bit more on rodríguez, but i can't seem to find much else, at least at a brief glance.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

san francisco does it again!

via npr

san fran! my love! you have done it again!

first, about two and a half years ago, s.f. banned the use of petroleum-based plastic bags in supermarkets and the like, promoting recyclable paper, reusable canvas or plastic, or compostable cornstarch bags instead -- as a means of reducing unnecessary waste.

now! s.f. is the first city in the nation to create a law that forbids residents to discard food waste into the normal rubbish! they will now have to discard it into another bin, which the city will then remove, turn to compost, and sell to farms and whatnot. HOW GREAT IS THAT?? the whole store is at the link above.

Monday, October 19, 2009

after dark by haruki murakami.

ever since high school i've heard haruki murakami mentioned and recommended by my more well-read friends. i tried reading sputnik sweetheart a long time ago. i'm not sure i even finished it; it was not overly impressed.

sometimes it's worth it to try an author again.

after dark is absolutely, hands down, my favorite novel read in the past few years. it's short -- i read it in one night, and totally blasted my way through the thing, i was so entranced. it deserves another read-through, and it surely will get one.

a couple of weeks ago i found a mass market paperback version of after dark accidentally thrown in with the mystery paperbacks, and i snapped it up. murakami is a hard find at the shop -- and i learned that when certain other employees come across his works, they hoard them also, so he rarely makes it out to the shelves! i have norwegian wood in paperback also, snapped up somewhere along the line, and it's been sitting in a pile of waiting-to-reads since i bought it. i was still a little skeptical after sputnik sweetheart so it took a little convincing.

after dark has convinced me. it's a surreal trip through the wee hours of the night, between midnight and dawn, in tokyo. what's to love is not only the story, but murakami's style is seemingly so simple, so straight-forward. you don't need to ponder over lengthy or complicated sentences because it's all laid out for you. what you get is beautiful lyricism and a poetic, dreamy sort of novel that pushes you through to the end. i just couldn't put it down.

after dark is murakami's most recent publication that has been translated into english, released here in 2007. his current book (or books -- three volumes total to be released in japan by 2010), released so far only in japan, is 1Q84, which references george orwell's 1984. can't wait.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

roa and a water lawn.

via contemporist

this house is the shit. i know that's not technical lingo, but wow, a yard of water!? it's like the pond swallowed up the lawn and made it more awesome. check out the photos of the interior of the house, also, which are just as fantastic. the landscape design along with the house, in this case, is absolutely spectacular. according to the info, the pond and landscaping was preserved from a house that previously sat on the lot and had to be removed. i think they did more than what they could -- they did what they should. it's so beautiful.

the stats: atherton house in atherton, california by turnbull griffin haesloop architects. and as usual, when i checked out their other projects, i was just as astounded and... in love.

via robots will kill

roa. i'm not sure it's possible to be a fan of street art without being a fan of roa. the work is understated in a way: black and white, simple, realistic. but it's profound. there are numerous photo collections of his work on flickr and on other sites. i have to share vandalog (the link takes you to a particularly alive-looking version of this same bird, which you must check out), and the link above features a large gallery of photos of roa's work.

Friday, October 16, 2009

speling and 22 tracks.

i attended a spelling bee last night with -- you guessed it -- half price books of appleton, wi. we didn't win the bee, but we won the award for most creative costumes -- we dressed up like powderpuff football players, or something like it! :) it was a "back to school" theme... and it went a little long, but with the cash bar, it wasn't all bad. ;) i've always liked spelling bees, although i have to admit that the last time i was in one was probably the 6th grade, and i misspelled "juvenile" (juvinile) and that was that. the bee was the 14th annual to benefit the fox valley literacy coalition. so it was for a good cause.

and also, on a music note... discovered the site 22 tracks which, under different genres, aims to play streaming emergent music! the new lcd soundsystem song is on there, and suddenly i found myself hooked on many others! a sure favorite.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

music from europe.

first, la roux. she's the newest addition to my itunes library... her self-titled album has finally been released in the united states... it's a totally 80s-infused dance album. it's funky, light-hearted sounding, but with really penetrable, deep lyrics. a few months ago i heard the tracks "fascination" and "in for the kill." itunes had "bulletproof" as their free single a couple of weeks ago and that was it -- i had to have the album. it's great driving music!

and another route altogether is beth orton, whose 1999 album
central reservation we have been playing at work from time to time. below i posted the video for one of my favorite songs off that album, "blood red river." "stolen car," the first track, is another favorite. beth orton's voice is chilling and absolutely beautiful.

lately i've been in either a la roux- or beth orton-type mood. there's really nothing like pulling out beloved albums after not listening to them in ages... and adding new ones...

which brings me to my discovery last night; how could i have missed this? not that it's entirely old news or anything, but probably not stateside at all -- milow. if you haven't seen/heard his song "ayo technology" (yes, it is
that song, a 50 cent cover [!!]) it's totally worth checking out. milow, who i believe is a dutch-belgian singer, is pretty popular in germany, as far as i can gather. not sure if i've been living under a rock or he just hasn't gotten over to the states yet much. but no matter -- check out the video below. it's awesome. and then check out some of his other songs; they are also quite nice.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

houses that give me heart palpitations.

via contemporist

OH MY STARS! i am so in love with this house AND its location... i cannot begin to really describe how much i love it. i went directly to the pb elemental architecture website and started fooling around looking at all of their delicious residential architecture. these are the houses that really stop me dead in my tracks... the ones that when all is said and done, look like they grew out of that spot in the earth and were made for exactly that place. this house is magnificent! in the northwest forest, it looks like it is glowing.

this particular house is in north bend, washington. the firm is based out of seattle and all of their featured residences online are in washington. it's no wonder; the northwest is where i would build a contemporary house, no questions asked. the geography is perfect.

i'm keeping these guys in mind. i love everything they're doing.

pop life.

via slamxhype

pretty much this looks like the coolest show of the moment. andy warhol, damien hirst, jeff koons, takashi murakami, keith haring, and more. clearly. it's like... if i had a spare $800 i would jump a flight to london RIGHT NOW, and i would go directly to this show. the concept of the show is based on the andy warhol's famous quote, "good business is the best art."

the show is at the tate modern through january 17, 2010. maybe i can still make it after all. ;)

and speaking of london.. looks as though they're taking a hint from paris and other cities that have implemented the bikes-for-hire programs with the docks that you can swipe your credit card, rent the bike, then return... so you can bike around town. london appears to finally be getting on the bandwagon and if the implementation goes as planned, they expect there to be 6,000 bikes and 400 docks throughout the city next summer! link to the bbc video here.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

the metropolis of tomorrow.

i'd never heard of hugh ferriss before i read the september 2008 issue of dwell magazine. i could write an altogether separate post about how much i love dwell, and i probably will, so i'll save it for now. ;) i discovered hugh ferriss's draughtmanship in the archive section of the magazine, which is one of my favorite sections. i was blown away by the sharp contrast, the gotham-like quality of it all, like king kong could swing off any of the huge skyscrapers, or giant spotlights would careen over the angles of architecture that looked simultaneously sci-fi and stalinesque. his publication, the metropolis of tomorrow from 1986 (it coincided with an exhibit in new york city) foreshadows the cities of the future which, to me, look rather like... dubai.

john king put it right out there in dwell -- "in this age of computer imagery and photoshopped verisimilitude, it's hard to imagine a time when one of the nation's most provocative architectural theorists was an illustrator -- a man who never designed an actual building but instead crafted his visions in charcoal."

i'll also have to check out his tome power in buildings.


went down to oshkosh's gallery walk. i like local gallery openings, even though it's rare that i find something that really gets me excited. a friend of mine had a small display in a space on main street and it was fun to see her stuff. plus, she's recently engaged! so, i feel i must emphasize my congrats to her for both the show and the engagement. :) woohoo!

phrazes for the young.

on october 20, julian casablancas (better known as the frontman for the strokes) will release his solo debut, phrazes for the young. i've heard the sample song, the first single, 11th dimension, and it is pretty rad! link to his myspace page and the song, plus a few videos here. where the strokes were hailed as the gritty saviors of rock 'n roll at the time they released is this it back in what, 2001? -- julian is taking a new route complete with synths and drum machines on his solo work, and i LIKE IT. if 11th dimension is any representation of the rest of the album, it's going to be a catchy electro-pop party. i'm not sure what this means for the strokes; i cooled to them after room on fire. i'm pretty excited for the 20th. :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

1000 melting men.

via unurth

artist nele azevedo installed 1000 melting ice men on steps in berlin. the work was done in collaboration with the world wildlife fund as an artistic commentary on global warming. how cool is that? they look like they're all relatively small, but 1000 is no small feat. it would be so awesome if these were life size...