Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘music’

28 AUGUST, 2009

Fun For Good: The Indie Rock Coloring Book

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Staying outside the lines, or what Rilo Kiley’s latest haircuts have to do with charity.

Indie music defines itself through the colorful quirk of its artists and evangelists. Without that, it would blend in with the grey mediocrity of the mainstream. For the past two years, obscenely talented UK illustrator Andy J. Miller has been working on a project that celebrates this whimsy. Today, he finally releases the Indie Rock Coloring Book — a wonderful collection of hand-illustrated activity pages, mazes, connect-the-dots, and coloring pages for indie icons like Bloc Party, The Shins, Iron & Wine, Broken Social Scene, Devendra Banhart, MGMT, The New Pornographers, The National, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Published by Montreal-based creative nonprofit Yellow Bird Project, the book is brimming with delightful indie rock inside jokes and comes with a cherry-on-top foreword by YBP band Rilo Kiley.

All proceeds go to Yellow Bird’s charitable mission, so pony up those measly $10, buy yourself some fun, and show your favorite artists some indie camaraderie.

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27 AUGUST, 2009

The Little Album That Could

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Soy, swing and what the Grammys have to do with pop-up books.

The recording industry may be in serious trouble, and the album may have been declared dead, but that’s all the more reason to innovate.

That’s exactly what The Ditty Bops — a California duo who happen to make fantastic swing-era-inspired folksy, jazzy, delightfully eccentric music — did with their Summer Rains EP.

The beautifully engineered pop-out design is a whimsical piece of storytelling, adding a rich new layer to the musical narrative. Unsurprisingly, it received a Grammy nomination for “Best Recording Package.”

The album was designed by LA-based paper engineer Renee Jablow, whom The Ditty Bops found through a UK pop-up collector. (Read an interview with her about the project and the future of the music industry’s relationship with packaging on the wonderful package design blog, The Dieline.)

It’s hard not to love The Ditty Bops — besides the innovative music and aesthetic, they also helped pass America’s first plastic bag ban in San Francisco in 2007. Not coincidentally, the band was committed to making Summer Rains EP completely eco-friendly — the album package was made of 100% recycled paper and printed with soy ink, adding a whole new layer of production challenges to the already ambitious project.

But then again, what’s innovation if not the zest for imagining the impossible and then making it happen?

20 AUGUST, 2009

Music Spotlight: This Must Be The Place

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Axe-swinging, rope-jumping, or what David Byrne and Christian Bale have in common.

We love David Byrne. (Heck, he even has his own tag around here.) And we love remix culture. So, naturally, we’re all over actor-slash-singer Miles Fisher‘s electro-pop cover of The Talking Heads’ This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody), in the video for which Fisher recreates scenes from iconic film culture hallmark American Psycho.

The cover is a free download on Fisher’s site and comes as a promo for his self-titled EP, which compensates for its — we’re sorry to say — lack of depth with incredible catchiness of the can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head variety.

Not a bad trade-off on a hot summer day.