Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Urban Marionettes

CTA during the 5 o'clock commute is jam packed. Everyone stuffs into tiny little boxes leaving only enough room to feel your butt fondled by the woman's purse behind you. As we pulled around the corner from the Chicago stop and approached Sedgewick, I noticed something going on on the side of the parking garage ahead. Getting even closer I noticed that it was three guys: at eye level with the tracks, two dressed as traditional man and woman marionettes who were connected by strings to the last guy dressed as a puppeteer one deck above. As we passed they began putting on a freakin' puppet show. I thought this was hilaaaarious and could not believe that I was witnessing something like this. I start whipping my head around the train thinking surely someone else was seeing this.

No. Everyone was so busy not looking at anyone else that they missed it! I am almost certain that not one other person on my car saw it, and in true Chicago fashion I am reminded of that (perhaps abused yet poignant) Ferris Bueller quote:

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kings of Leon's NEW HIT SINGLE!

When I listen to Youth and Young Manhood, Kings of Leon's brilliantly simple and simply brilliant debut, it makes me sad. Those 11 songs showcase the type of song writing that they're capable of, and yet they continue to favor this new arena rock sound that sells tickets but certainly lacks the panache and attitude that I fell in love with in 2005 (I caught on a little late). Don't get me wrong, I do like their new stuff as well - for example, the infectiously groovy "Manhattan" on Only By the Night. However, I think a lot of the difference between the whiskey battered licks from when the band started and the anthemic atmospheres they put out now is that they’re completely different musicians in 2010. They’ve said in interviews that they could barely play when Youth and Young Manhood came out. Lead singer Caleb has said that he used to mumble his singing in the beginning because he was self conscious about his lyrics. The first two albums were the result of a zeitgeist - the rebirth of an edgier disposition in rock in the early 00's, and it doesn’t look like we’ll be hearing that kind of stuff from them again.

Kings of Leon just released the video for their new single "Radioactive" off of the forthcoming Come Around Sundown (a lame title if you ask me). I opened the blog post like a child on Christmas morning, hoping that inside I would find just exactly what I wanted and expected all year long. Alas, "Radioactive" is an overall very forgettable song with a Breeders-esque bassline that is completely ruined by obnoxious guitars that hearken to Band of Horses' "Infinite Arms" let down. I will not post "Radioactive" - not because it is just an "eh" song or because it reminds me and others of Aldous Snow's "African Child" video - but because I would rather not think about its existence. Instead, I offer you two crowning achievements in the Kings of Leon catalog, and a glimmer of what once was:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Modern Medieval Artwork

I've always been fascinated by medieval style artwork and super old school religious iconography (you know, really solemn monks/emaciated Jesus/gold flake stuff). I stumbled upon a couple of modern artists that draw inspiration from the past and create works that are just as striking and captivating as their predecessors.

Chris Sedgwick

Jason Hernandez

Junip - strange name, strange video, awesome band!

Here is the first single off of Junip's debut full length "Fields." The song is called "Always." It was directed by the same guy who has done most of Jose Gonzalez's videos. If you're familiar with those at all, you would have clicked play already!

The Perfect End of Summer Video

So long, summer! Fall has drunkenly stumbled into Chicago and spilled my mojito. Here's the new video for "Hearts of Love" by Crocodiles. There's got to be some sort of end of summer metaphor at the end, right?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Wilderness Downtown

The blogosphere has been abuzz about Arcade Fire's new venture into interactive film. The band, whose popularity will have grown exponentially even before you finish reading this, has collaborated with Chris Milk to create an interactive film entitled "The Wilderness Downtown" featuring the song "We Used to Wait" off of Arcade Fire's new album. The film uses google maps to place your childhood home as the setting for the music video! MMM, Lovely is a really cool blog, and in many ways is what this blog strives to be. They have a pretty cool post about it here, so knock out two birds with one stone and head on over.