Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘music’

06 APRIL, 2009

Monday Music Muse: The Botticellis

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Why SoCal and Sweden are closer than you think, or how to take the speed lane to SXSW glory.

With harmonies that give Fleet Foxes a run for their money, vocals reminiscent of The Magnetic Fields, and cinematic beats that channel Scandinavian favorites like Sambassadeur, indie popsters The Botticellis took the speed lane to our (disappointingly short) best-of-SXSW-2009 list. 

Their sun-drenched sound and dreamy guitars come, unsurprisingly, from Southern California. And while a clear nostalgic connection with surf culture oozes from their music, deep lyrical sensibility and unique analog production make The Botticellis a delightfully unclassifiable force of their own.

Their debut album, Old Home Movies, is every bit as excellent as their eponymous SXSW track, which you can snag for free right here.

You can also spot The Botticellis (and a ton more free downloads) on Daytrotter, easily the best up-and-coming music site around, and one we’ve been enamored with for a long, long, long, long time.

31 MARCH, 2009

Sound Meets Image: Visual Tributes to Music

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The world’s most international passport, why cassettes are the new Buddhism, and what Thom Yorke has to do with motion typography.

We love music. We love art. Naturally, we love seeing the two meet and make out. After last week’s Meta-Vinyl Creativity, we’re on a mission to dig up creative projects that pay visual tribute to everything music stands for, both aesthetically and conceptually. Here are our top three finds.

RAM FM

To celebrate the culture-crossing, border-blind power of music, Palestinian and Israeli radio station RAM FM channeled its slogan, Music has no boundaries, through a brilliant visual metaphor — artist portraits “painted” with travel stamps.

It’s one of those rare concepts that you instantly get — not merely because the campaign creative captures the positioning brief so wonderfully, but also because you can simply relate to it on a personal level. We certainly can — what better way to live vicariously, to connect and converse, than through music?

RAM FM is actually known as Peace Radio and serves a greater social purpose — to serve as a cultural bridge between the people of Israel and Palestine, through the most universal social glue there is: Music. Which makes us love the campaign on yet another level.

Out of Gitam BBDO, Tel-Aviv.

via Abduzeedo

GHOST IN THE MACHINE

Non-traditional media artist iri5 works with old books, playing cards, magazines, credit cards and other everyday miscellany to create compelling, double-take-requiring artwork. Her Ghost in the Machine series uses recycled cassette tapes to create phenomenal portraits of musicians from their original cassettes.

Bob Dylan

The project is inspired by the philosophical sentiment that the body is but a package for the spirit.

Robert Smith

I imagine we are all, like cassettes, thoughts wrapped up in awkward packaging.

Jimi Hendrix

via NoiseAddicts

MUSIC MAKES US

The GRAMMYs. What a cultural icon. While it’s easy to dismiss them as an entertainment industry popularity contest, we like to think of them as a way of honoring the music that inspires, impacts and moves the greatest number of people.

This year, The Recording Academy wanted to capture this very sentiment in a fully integrated campaign that asks a simple yet profound question: Do we make great music or does great music make us?

It’s no secret we’re big fans of motion typography, so we love both the concept and the brilliant execution.

Out of TBWA\Chiat\Day.

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30 MARCH, 2009

Monday Music Muse: Kat Edmonson

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From Paris to London to Southern California, by way of Austin, Texas.

We’re still making our way through 140+ hours of SXSW music, having found less than twenty 5-star-worthy tracks to date. But but with foot planted firmly among them is Kat Edmonson — a refreshing oasis of raspy, jazzy goodness among the barren landscape of indie punk-pop-rock mediocrity.

Her latest album, Take To The Sky, is a delight from start to finish, including the best cover of Summertime we’ve heard in quite some time. In fact, it’s the best new jazz vocal we’ve heard in quite some time, period.


Part Duffy, part Madeleine Peyroux, Edmonson blends the magnetism of French jazz with the British school of raspy vocals, intertwined with notes of social responsibility reminiscent of the California indie scene — all by way of Austin, Texas.

You can download her excellent SXSW single, Just One Of Those Things, free from the festival website. And take our word for it — the entire Take To The Sky album is every bit as good.