Something about the barrage of images from Japan and Libya over the course of the last few weeks reminded me of the film Baraka, which was released almost twenty years ago. The movie has no plot or narrative, instead relying on powerful imagery and a dramatic soundtrack to convey a deeply resonant message about the relationship between mankind and nature, mankind and each other, civilization and the wild, good and evil, and the common thread that connects it all.
Music by Dead Can Dance draws you into the imagery; the lack of narration lets you draw your own conclusions. In today’s digital world, where we consume visuals in a montage-like way, this film forces you to slow the carousel down a bit and meditate on the blessing that is Earth.
This jam from the forthcoming Guided By Voices tribute album Sing for Your Meat—featuring Flaming Lips, Blitzen Trapper and Thurston Moore to name a few—builds perfectly and actually allows you to decipher the lyrics, which are almost inaudible in the perfect, crunchy original. Hard to believe this live cover has higher production value than the original, but hey—it’s a GBV song.
Get an MP3 of the Cymbals Eat Guitars version below.
CYMBALS EAT GUITARS | GLEEMER (GBV COVER) | DOWNLOAD
Japan is facing a monumental challenge in the wake of last week’s earthquake, tsunami and the resulting volatility of several nuclear power plants. In times like these, we ask ourselves what we can do. Several artists/craftspeople have started to contribute by donating proceeds from the sale of their work to relief efforts. A few of our favorites are displayed above (top to bottom):
Corter Leather | For Japan Bracelet | $20 to benefit the Red Cross
W+K Studio | Help Japan Poster Series | Minimum $25 donation to benefit the Red Cross
Michael Rubenstein | Selected Prints to Help Japan | $100-$150 to benefit Japan Relief Efforts
Grant Cornett | Prints via TheLivest1.com (scroll down) | $50 to benefit the Red Cross
It’s Friday and the sun has broken through, giving us a taste of spring. Biking with somebody you’ve got a crush on to somewhere you can get a buzz on is one of the things we look forward to most when the mercury rises. Which brings to mind a couple pieces of art that capture that feeling, no matter what the weather is doing. The top image is a poster available for $10 from Buy Olympia and the second is from PaperCutsbyJoe on Etsy, the ideal $40 “paper anniversary” gift.
James Blake’s music has been dubbed “Robot Soul” for its warped dubstep-in-slo-mo sound, over which he lays some seriously heartfelt vocals. After hearing his heralded debut album The Wilhelm Scream, one might think he relies on auto tune or some other digital trickery to hit the highs and lows throughout. But his acoustic rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Case of You,” which he recently performed on the Beeb, puts any doubts to rest—dude’s got skills. The songwriting also reminds you of how amazing Joni Mitchell’s 1971 album Blue was.
Get the track for free below, grab a bottle (or a case), and enjoy.
A Case of You (Joni Mitchell Cover) – James Blake | Download
Will smart design put the first step to better air quality—awareness of an invisible problem—in our own hands (or on our chests)? We hope so.
We all know that Portland is a marvelously green city. So green is the haze around here, in fact, that most residents are oblivious to the offensive air quality caused by industrial waste. Two years ago, USA Today published an in-depth article called The Smokestack Effect that looked at the impact of industrial pollution on children, particularly those who attend schools near factories that emit toxic chemicals. The results were shocking: higher rates of cancer, mental problems and respiratory disease seemed to tie directly to a school’s proximity to polluters. And even more shocking was the fact that Northwest Portland is in the lowest 2 percentile of air quality in the nation. (A form on the website allows you to check how your neighborhood ranks.)
Our office is in the Pearl District of Northwest Portland, around a mile from Portland’s worst culprits for air pollution. We have kids who attend school in the neighborhood. So the question is, what can we do? Read More »
Now that the Portlandia hype is simmering down a little, we’re settling into watching the show like normal people (ie, on-demand or via youtube clips). A few episodes ago, our Riding Jacket made a cameo alongside another Pacific Northwest classic, Kyle MacLachlan, who plays Portland’s yoga ball-bouncing mayor.
So far, they’ve poked fun at Stumptown’s bike culture, ad agencies, book stores, locavores and adult night clubs, to name a few. Now IFC is giving them a second season, proving that Portland humor has national appeal. Which Portland stereotypes do you think they still need to tackle?
This track is stunning. The original was already pretty perfect, but there’s really something incredible about the remix Fool’s Gold put together, featuring rhymes by Aristotle. Often remixes don’t add much more to a track than a heavy bassline and distorted vocals, but this one goes way above and beyond. Download it for free below and throw it on a Valentine’s Day mixtape for your sweetheart!
Local Natives – Eyes Wide (Fool’s Gold Remix ft. Aristotle) | Download
Skateboarding has always been a controversial sport around here, not in a “skateboarding is not a crime” way, but from a brand perspective. Basically, there are some people who feel like skating isn’t a “Nau sport” and others who do. A couple weeks ago we came across a video that we all agreed upon—Killian Martin: A Skate Regeneration. No doubt, his style is highly influenced by ‘80s freestyle skating, along with his background as a gymnast and his obsession with surfing. Killian’s also getting a lot of love in the fashion blog world for a video that shows a totally different take on street skating, where he’s decked out in ‘50s-style clothing and pulling off his crazy acrobatic moves to a soundtrack by Ricky Nelson. We’ve always appreciated athletes who push boundaries, and if this style proves to be a new direction for skate culture, we’re all for it.
There’s this band called MGMT (pronounced Management) and most of their music sounds like a debaucherous 3AM party soundtrack, but I was listening to their song “Kids” the other day and I heard these lyrics:
Take only what you need from it.
A family of trees falling,
To be haunted.
The water is warm,
But it’s sending me shivers…
Decisions are made and not bought
But I thought this wouldn’t hurt a lot
I guess not…”
My interpretation is that these guys are talking about sustainability, global warming and considering the consequences of our actions, so that there will be something left for the “kids” in the future. I could be wrong. Whatever the meaning is, it’s a pretty good jam for a Friday.