Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wacom portraits

With the recent addition of the M. Ward portrait, I think you could call it a series.

More to come ...

Monday, July 26, 2010

She's so heavy

Check out this blog post about an art/music event that went down at an ornate old church in Albany this past weekend.

A friend of mine was involved. Check out his new design firm Freshrr here. It's a really beautifully designed website and identity. I asked him what font he used for the logo and he said it is called Elephant. I am definitely taking notes.

Mmm Elephant font. Logo is partially cut-off here, but click on the image to check out the site.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010


How can a magazine cover bring me so much joy?

I discovered the Portland-based nonprofit Orlo in a roundabout way. I saw its award-winning design for its in-house publication The Bear Deluxe Magazine in Print Magazine's design annual a couple years back. I was instantly attracted to its earthy appearance and its mission to be an "innovative voice in the ongoing cultural dialogue about the environment through provocative outreach, education and media productions."

Currently, Orlo’s focus is publishing The Bear Deluxe Magazine, facilitating visual art at the Orlo Exhibition Space and elsewhere and providing leadership in the field of environmental art.

Become a friend of Orlo and for 35 bucks you also get a subscription to Bear Deluxe, which is alone worth the price, but also get in touch with some really progressive stuff happening in sustainable living.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Love Affair with M. Ward

By Shanna Farrell
cas: ev contributor

She & Him released their first record, appropriately titled Volume One while I was living in California. A big fan of Zooey Deschanel (read: my girl crush), I didn’t want to be disappointed, as many actor-turned-musicians have failed to gain my appreciation. However, this duo had the opposite effect on me- I was intrigued by their nostalgic, light, folk-pop sound. Though, as I said, I like Ms. Dechanel a little too much. I don’t think she could have pulled this album (or their most recent release, Volume Two) off without the musical stylings of Matt Ward, or M. Ward, the stage name he prefers.

Later on, after I had left California to pursue graduate school, I walked into my apartment and my roommate was playing Ward’s Post-War. I had never heard this album before, but I was drawn to it instantly. I immediately acquired this album and started researching past solo music projects Ward had been a part of, as well as his soon-to-be released album Hold Time. It was after this research that I realized he was in large part why I like She & Him so much (honestly, it’s not because of their deep and meaningful lyrics). I liked the movie “The Go-Getter”, in which Ward has a guitar-playing cameo and is heavily featured on the soundtrack.*

I bought Hold Time the day it was released last year and it’s proven to have staying power, as it continues to be in my regular rotation. Ward Wisely chose several covers on this record, including “Rave On” by Buddy Holly, “Oh Lonesome Me” by Don Gibson, and “Outro (I’m a Fool to Want You)” by Frank Sinatra. Three of the tracks feature guest vocals by Deschanel, Jason Lytle, and Lucinda Williams, respectively. I even enjoy the cover art.

Last week, I had the good fortune to see She & Him perform live at a crowded (but air conditioned) New York venue. While Deschanel was having problems with her Wurlitzer, Ward made up for it with his guitar playing. Though I always appreciate someone with good guitar chops, I am usually more interested in the drummer/ings (an instrument I picked up in college), I was blown away by Ward. He’s just so good! So talented! So easy to watch and fall in love with!*

True to the stories I’ve heard or read, Ward opted out of the spotlight, literally and figuratively. He didn’t say much during the show, but when he did the crowd showered him with applause and admiration. Personally, I got a special treat when the first song the band played during the encore was my favorite Ward song, “Magic Trick”, from Post-War. A review of the show can be found here.

I guess my point is that I love M. Ward, and you should too. Or at least check him out.

*M. Ward had signed onto the film before it had a budget or had been casted. Also, it’s how Ward and Deschanel met.

*Deschanel’s voice is actually also way better live. She belted out a cover of Nina Simone’s “You Put a Spell on Me” during the group’s final encore song. She kept getting interrupted by applause. It was really incredible.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lewis & Clark

In the spirit of Fourth of July and summer in general, I ask you to offer up a caption for the above photo of daring explorers (and prospectors) Lewis and Clark, who mapped out the great land we live in (and may or may not have marked the end of Native American settlements along the way).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Drive-By Squidbillies

After Widespread Panic recently appeared on Squidbillies on Adult Swim, I knew it would only be a matter of time before the Drive-By Truckers made an appearance.

I'm not sure what it is about their music that says deranged, deformed talking squids that live in hickville USA, but I dig it. I also dig Squidbillies and the brilliant background art done by Ben Prisk.

The episode will run on Sunday, July 18. Check out the Facebook page dedicated to it here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Casual Listening: Pillowhead

Outside, it looked like just another nice house in a picturesque housing development called "The Pines."

I got out of my car; camera, pen and notepad in hand, and walked toward the door.

It was a nice summer day and I was following a of a bear of man, a drummer with self-proclaimed "big hands" named Matt .. or Mateo, I'm not sure he or I knows which.

Once through the door I was met by a surreal scene. In place of furniture in the living room, it was full of mic stands and cables. Various music gear was strewn about the house; on the kitchen table, in the den and so on, all leading to the ultimate gearhead paradise, a DIY recording studio in the basement.

I was on assignment doing a profile on a local band, alt/rock act Pillowhead.

They just got finished recording their second self-produced EP "The Bad Sleep Well" that they recorded in the basement (and in other rooms) of Matt's house, where he and childhood buddy, Pillowhead lead singer Paul, "spent a lot of time" growing up.

"Paul lived here for three years, so we're basically brothers," Matt said.

Paul and Matt played in a bunch of garage bands growing up. One, Horse In A Box, lasted five years and did fairly well before goin their seperate ways.

Matt attended Emerson College to study film and he and Paul stopped talking for a time. Meanwhile, Paul played with a regionally successful band The Loyalty and Matt moved to L.A. to join friends from film school and record as a session drummer in Hollywood.

But he returned after a year to join a band in Saratoga Springs. He later left that band and probably won't talk about it if you asked him.

In the meantime, The Loyalty had run its course and split up. Paul and Matt reconnected and formed Pillowhead.

Pillowhead are, from left, bass/keys/guitar Colin Miner, lead singer Paul Hake, lead guitarist Jared Piper, and drummer Matt (or Mateo) Vosganian.

As is only natural, my first instinct when I recieved an e-mail from Matt was to check out their MySpace.

I discovered a band that was obviously talented and although young (the oldest member, lead singer Paul, is 24), were very mature as musicians.

But, I'll be honest, I didn't spend much time listening at first. I went through a very brief emo/punk/alt-rock phase: Jimmy Eats World, Yellow Card, Less Than Jake, and a harder edge band called Senses Fail. But, I had the naive preconception that once you've heard one emo/alt rock, you've heard them all.

But after meeting Matt and Paul and seeing how down-to-earth and driven they were as musicians (and learned they loved Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket), I returned to the MySpace page and discovered more complex themes, both musically and lyrically than I'd heard before. Not to mention, a tight cover of The Postal Service's "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight."

They are giving their music away, literally, on their MySpace page, so you'd be ill-advised not to check it out.

Don't let their outside appearance fool you.