Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

Consider the Lobster

(click above to see the lobster in all his glory!)

From the British illustrator who goes by the handle Ain't Life Grand.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sound & Vision: "Nice Rack"

Wilhelm Staehle: Nice Rack
(click to enlarge)

Sound: "Two" by The Antlers (from Hospice)
Vision: "Nice Rack" by Wilhelm Staehle (from Silhouette Masterpiece Theatre)

The phenomenal new self-released album by Brooklyn band The Antlers blends the fragility of Sparklehorse with the cinematic scope of Sigur Rós. Singer Peter Silberman's voice at times even approaches the exalted heights of Jeff Buckley. NPR's All Songs Considered went so far as to prematurely name Hospice the best album of '09 for good reason.

Wilhelm Staehle's cheeky silhouette makes for a light-hearted and lovely (at once crass and yet classy, contemporary and yet classic) visual companion. Plus, antlers... see?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

BLK JKS – "Lakeside"


I can't get enough of Johannesburg, South Africa's BLK JKS! Gripping atmospherics, Afrobeat polyrhythms, Zulu vocal harmonizations, impressionistic lyrics, shimmering guitars that alternate between shoegaze-y textures and Soweto-style staccato riffs... The contrasts are striking, mostly because it all blends together so cohesively. I'm not sure what else to say about it... Take a listen. This here is the real shit!

Their Mystery EP is out now on Secretly Canadian (steadily earning its place as one of our most trusted and consistently adventurous labels).


Monday, March 23, 2009

"Með Suð Í Eyrum" at a restaurant in Paris

Speaking of Neat Website Design...

Wait, were we speaking of neat website design?

No, we weren't, but non sequitur serves as a fairly fitting intro to Fou, an online lit journal with excellent design—Koalas! Monkeys! Fox on a hamster wheel!—and even excellenter poetry. The site's simplicity nicely showcases the lovely strangeness of the poems it houses, including one by YSC friend Adam Fell.

"People Got A Lotta Nerve"

by Neko Case

As a Monday morning gift to you, you can grab the song HERE.

Middle Cyclone is out now.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Examined Life

See this movie!

Examined Life is directed by Astra Taylor and features illuminating and provocative "walks" with 8 contemporary thinkers, including Judith Butler, Cornel West, Peter Singer, and Slavoj Žižek. It's the best, and definitely the most thought-provoking, film I've seen yet this year.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Some Designs from Circa Ceramics

This really excellent studio in Chicago makes some nifty wares, all of which can be found on their Etsy site.

"Show me the way, show me the way, show me the way to shake a memory..."


"All these fine memories are fucking me down / I dreamed it was a dream that you were gone / I woke up feeling so ripped by reality..."

I Wish We Were An Eagle will be released April 14 by Drag City.

New Poster for Objectified

We already shared with you the trailer for Objectified, the new film from Helvetica director Gary Hustwit. Now here is the superb official poster for the movie, which just premiered at SXSW...

Objectified Movie by Gary Hustwit

And in case you missed it, here's the trailer again...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Message from David Lynch

First, here's a sketch by our good friend (and the newest addition to the YSC stable!) Jeff Moore...

lynch | mixed media on paper | 2009 | by jeff

Now, here's a message from David Lynch...

"There's one in all of us."

Screenplay by Dave Eggers! Directed by Spike Jonze! Check out the cast!

Where the Wild Things Are movie poster!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Photo of the Day: Flash

a flash in a field | kent falls, ct | by nicole

Away We Go

Written by Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, directed by Sam Mendes, starring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"Ask me who made the world; I will avert my eyes and laugh..."

Connie Converse with her guitar

Hearing Connie Converse's songs played without knowing anything about the woman herself, you would think they were recorded yesterday by someone with a penchant for clever wit and easy access to vintage four tracks and reel to reel recording gear.

The fact is that Connie wrote, performed, and recorded these songs fifty years ago. Her poignancy, feminist leanings, hints toward atheism, and delicate storytelling place her half a century ahead of her time.

Connie Converse in her New York City apartment in the 1950s

A brief synopsis of Connie's life from WNYC's "Spinning on Air":
"During the 1950s Connie Converse lived in New York City writing and singing thoughtful, emotional, smart, witty, personal songs. She accompanied herself on guitar, a "singer/songwriter" before that term or style existed. Connie sang her songs at gatherings of friends, and once on television. The music industry of her day couldn't pigeonhole her, and didn't welcome her. Discouraged, Connie left New York in 1960, and in 1974 she wrote a series of farewell letters to her friends and family, packed up her Volkswagen Bug and disappeared. She has not been heard from since."

"Talkin' Like You (Two Tall Mountains)" by Connie Converse:

Connie Converse - How Sad, How LovelyThe first volume of Connie's devastatingly poignant—and, at times, brilliantly sardonic—songs was just released by Lau derette, a label founded with the explicit purpose of sharing her music. The album is aptly titled How Sad, How Lovely. It is available HERE.

Find more about Elizabeth 'Connie' Converse and her captivating story HERE.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I got a proposition, goes somethin' like this...

Repost of a repost of a great YouTube series on Riot Grrrl. It's an era I never got to truly experience, as I was born a bit too late. But it didn't stop me from pretending, in 2001, to have been a part of the revolution. Admittedly, I was totally down for the dance party that occured after the grrrls discovered the beauty of drum machines, but I still loved the punk origins of this music and its message.

Things to Read, Drinks to Drink: Kevin A. González's Cultural Studies, Rum, and the Kill-Divil

Kevin A. González's Cultural Studies, Rum, and the Kill-Divil

YSC friend and all-around excellent human being Kevin A. González happens to be a hell of a writer (and, as luck would have it, a hell of a drinker). His first book, Cultural Studies, is just out from Carnegie Mellon University Press, and it's an incredibly smart and beautiful collection of poems. González's observations are serious and frequently hilarious without ever being overstuffed or maudlin. He's a writer capable of both incredible lyricism and insight, and—as in his fiction—the poems in Cultural Studies make you laugh before they punch you in the gut.

The book!

It would be very difficult to discuss González's work without also discussing imperialism and the odd and controversial political status of González's home, Puerto Rico. And while I'm woefully unqualified to discuss the historical and political ramifications of European colonization and cultural hegemony in the Caribbean, I'm vaguely more qualified to discuss one of the island's most famous exports, rum.

The author (and his drink)!

As any spring breaker could tell you, Rum is traditionally a well-spiced liquor with a sweet nose and a strong, sharp finish that's characteristic of liquors with high alcohol contents. What most of those drunken morons won't know is that the sweetness comes from the sugar cane byproducts from which the liquor is made (essentially fermented and distilled molasses and sugarcane juice). Early versions of sugarcane-based hail from as far off as China and India, and have been made for centuries. Fast-forward from the 14th to the 17th century, and the various rum-like liquors that had been developed in the Caribbean had become quite popular in the colonies and Britain. Kill-Divil, an early variant, was supposedly a harsh, unfiltered, grainy liquor that sucked to sip on.

The production of rum required a significant imports of sugarcane and slave labor, and the drink's popularity is evidenced by early distilleries on what is now Staten Island and in Boston. This more refined version of the liquor was so popular, in fact, that George Washington reportedly had a cask of Barbados rum at his inauguration.

And then came wheat and the American whiskey industry. Because wheat (as opposed to sugarcane) grew well in the colonies, it became cheaper and more efficacious to produce wheat-based liquors than sugarcane based liquors and by the early 19th century, whiskey had taken a serious crap on the rum industry. That incredible shift left a major opportunity, however, for Caribbean producers to capitalize on what demand was left for rum. Spain, sensing an opportunity to build a solid export industry from their colonies, offered a prize for the improvement of the rum-making process. Enter Don Facundo Bacardi Masso, who founded his company in 1862. Improved methods of distillation, filtration and cask aging revolutionized the industry in the Caribbean and led to the high-quality rums we know today.

The booze! (Some awesome, vintage bottles of 19th century Jamaican rum.)

Cuba, Barbados, Martinique, Jamaica and Puerto Rico became famous for their rums, but Puerto Rico has come to the head of the pack of Caribbean rum producers. Currently, Puerto Rico is the largest exporter of Rum, and is home to the largest Bacardi distillery in the world. It's also home to Barrilito and Don Q., and is particularly known for the production of silver rums.

We leave you with a cocktail that bears the name of that gross, grainy granddaddy of rum, the Kill-Divil Cocktail (from That's the Spirit):

The drink!

The Kill-Divil

* 4-5 pinches freshly-grated ginger
* 1/2 oz. honey (or to taste)
* 1 1/2 oz. Don Q. silver rum
* 1 oz. brandy

Mixing instructions:
In an Old Fashioned glass, stir all ingredients with a little water until honey is dissolved, add cracked ice, invert into shaker and give the mixture a few hard shakes. Serve in the Old Fashioned glass with a twist of lemon.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Behind the Scenes with Ricky Gervais and Elmo!

Props to puppeteer Kevin Clash for keeping up with Gervais!


One of the highlights from our YSC 08 Year-End Extravaganza was the tour EP from Brooklyn new new wave band Violens.

Here is what Hong-An had to say at the time:
"Prefab Sprout meets the Zombies meets Wire meets high sarcasm (e.g.: "I've been waiting for this day / Don't kill it with what you say.") It's sort of perfect."

Well, that self-titled sampler is being re-released on March 17, appended with the new single, "Doomed," the video for which you'll find below...

Directed by Mateo Ramirez, the video exudes the same sort of refined classiness as the tune... Books! Flowers! Wallpaper! Mascara! Polaroids! Dead guy! Wait, what?!

As the melody weaves 'round sprightly drums, bobbing bass, and jangly acoustic guitar, all seems tranquil beneath the polished (and, as Hong-An noted, very 80s) veneer. But that ominous synth hints at an undercurrent—the possibility of something maybe a bit devilish and, well, doomed.

All the same, is there a room available?

Violens // "Doomed" from Cantora Records on Vimeo.

Photo of the Day: Schleusenkrug Lights

schleusenkrug lights | berlin | by hong-an

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

David Byrne with Stephen Colbert

Photo of the Day: Branches

"we were there" | double exposure taken with an lc-a+ camera from lomography | by disasterconvergence