Category Archives: Things We Love

Each week in the “Things We Love” section, we post three things that we think are worth bringing to your attention.

Things We Love: April 9th, 2013

Here are the things that we love this week:

1. The work of Paul Octavious

Paul Octavious Portrait In The Snow

The most talented photographer I know. Through the use of clever camera tricks or creative lighting, his works take every day subjects (colored books, a hill near his house) and set them against their surroundings, creating surreal, alternate universes with each shot. I highly recommend taking a stroll through his flickr profile, his personal website, or better yet, follow him on his hugely popular instagram account.

2. The Monome

For those of you who have seen the Manwomanchild “Reasons” Video, the Monome is the grid-like device the main character receives in the mail. We own one of these and couldn’t resist featuring it in our first video.

It’s difficult to explain what’s so cool about the Monome. Sure, it looks great, but when you think about it, it’s really just a box with a bunch of lighted buttons on it. And yes, it is very well designed, and the buttons are beautiful buttons, but still, is that it? Of course, as any Monome owner knows, the most beautiful thing about the device isn’t the device at all, but rather the software people have written for it. A large community of enthusiasts and developers exists, each with their own sense of how the device could be used. Check it out here.

3. Free full-length classic movies on YouTube

Ever since YouTube lifted their 15-minute length restriction on videos, free full-length versions of classic movies have been popping up all over the site. I’ve watched half a dozen Hitchcock movies in the past few weeks. Here’s one to get you started:

Spellbound (1945):

The Perfect Disaster – Asylum Road

About ten years ago, I was sorting through the marked-down LPs at my favorite record store (Mystery Train in Amherst) when I stumbled on an album by a band I had never heard of called The Perfect Disaster.  The album was “Asylum Road” (Fire Records, 1988).

At the time, I had a firm policy of never buying records I wasn’t explicitly looking for, and I probably would have just brushed right past this one if not for a handwritten note taped to it. This particular copy had apparently belonged to WMUA, UMASS Amherst’s radio station, and the student DJ who had listened to it way back in 1989 had scrawled a review on the cover:

“Unheralded, the PERFECT DISASTER sneak up from behind the stereo and land a Top LP of ’89.  Cross Peter Perrett (ENGLAND’S GLORY ONLY ONES), YO LA TENGO, & LOU REED and the result could be Asylum Road, a stellar representation of what can happen when all the correct elements of self-referential gtr. rock are filtered through angst-ridden emotionalism and drone (was that a run-on sentence or what).  “Aching” gtr, fleshed out vox, totally downer lyrics + vocals, this is gorgeously depressed. This stunning endeavour [sic] lands an uppercut to the drugged up jaw of SPACEMEN 3, and blows MY BLOODY VALENTINE’S head off.  Thanks to Cal Zone for forwarding this gem. PLAY.

I immediately knew I had to buy this record. As weird as this description is (“drugged up jaw”, anyone?), it does a great job of capturing what college radio must have been like back then (i.e. Spacemen 3 were very much on the radar). To boot, the fact that it was handwritten and probably hadn’t been read by anyone since 1989 made me feel like I had received a intimate personal recommendation from a total stranger (a recommendation I’m now passing on to you).

This is a wonderful album—one that I’ve listened to many, many times since that day.  If you’re a fan of eighties jangle pop in the vein of the Feelies, Dream Syndicate, and The Go-Betweens, you will love this record. In particular, make sure you listen to TV (Girl On Fire).

It’s shocking to me that this band isn’t better known, particularly given that Josephine Wiggs of the Breeders was their bassist.  I looked around and, aside from a great fan page on Facebook, the Perfect Disaster is almost totally unrepresented on the internet. I did find one great blog post from 2010, at the bottom of which none other than Phil Parfitt (lead singer of PD) himself had commented to say that not only is he around, but that he is still writing music (!!!).

I went to the website of their label, Fire Records, but found scarcely any mention of the band. Fire Records itself is alive and kicking.  I would *love* to see them issue or reissue the Perfect Disaster catalog in MP3 format.  In the meantime, I’ve digitized the Perfect Disaster’s “Asylum Road.” You can listen to it here:

You can download it here. You can buy it used on vinyl here.

Needless to say, this is copyrighted material which I’m sure belongs to Fire Records.  I’m providing this to the internet in the hopes that someone will hear this and realize what a great, overlooked band this was. At the first whiff of a copyright complaint I will, of course, take this down.



Things We Love: The Art of Alighiero e Boetti

I just discovered the work of Alighiero e Boetti thanks to this post over at Little Paper Planes.  Here’s a sample from the MoMA archives:

"Microphone" - Alighiero e Boetti (Italian, 1940-1994)
“Microphone” – Alighiero e Boetti (Italian, 1940-1994)

Primavera - Alighiero e Boetti (Italian, 1940-1994)

“Primavera” – Alighiero e Boetti (Italian, 1940-1994)
I sei sensi (The Six Senses) - Alighiero e Boetti (Italian, 1940-1994)
“I sei sensi (The Six Senses)” – Alighiero e Boetti (Italian, 1940-1994)

See all of his MoMA stuff here. And his Wikipedia entry here.


Things We Love: 10/17/09

1. This profile and interview with Fernando Llanos


This week, “We Make Money Not Art” has a profile of and interview with Fernando Llanos. I didn’t really know anything about him before reading this, and I’ve never seen his installations, but it was both fascinating and inspiring to hear about him.

Check it out:

2. Newsweek Interview with Maurice Sendak, Spike Jonze, and Dave Eggers.


Great interview. I’d never actually read any interviews with Sendak before, so this was a treat. Good stuff.

Check it out:

3. ‘Suicide’ live on WFMU


Apparently, earlier in 2009, legendary NYC electro duo, Suicide, got back together. I hope it wasn’t just a one-time thing. Either way, now it’s on the internet for everyone to hear. They’ve actually only put up two songs…but still it’s very rad.

Check it out:

OK, that’s it for now. There will be more of these posts soon. I promise.

Yours truly,

Things We Love: 6/12/09

1. The “deerhunter / atlas sound / lotus plaza” blog

Atlas Sound Blog Screenshot

It hardly needs the shout-out — it’s already totally famous — but credit where credit is due. This plain-jane blogspot blog is a vehicle for countless rants, free songs and shout-outs — not to mention dozens of beautifully curated classic rock “microMixes” — all from the mind of Bradford Cox, singer of Deerhunter and Atlas Sound. What really distinguishes this blog from most other musician blogs is not just the level of access and intimacy that we get into Bradford’s life and thoughts, but also his generosity. He gives away content left and right. I don’t know what his philosophy behind this is, but it really makes you think about what the internet could be. Instead of getting lost in some sort of weird pre-digital notion of copyright law or some valiant effort to protect his intellectual property (a pursuit that would in any case be in vain) he goes the other route: He gives most of his songs away for free. And he gains droves of fans in the process. Also Bradford’s voice is beautiful and the songs are just great so that doesn’t hurt either.

Check it out:

2. The Art of Ian Dingman


Yes, we’re finally getting around to writing about Ian Dingman. It feels like we’ve known about this man forever. We loved and bought his prints when they came out over at Tiny Showcase. We loved his sketches and his watercolors when they were commissioned and featured in countless magazines. And when he drew the artwork for the Criterion Collection re-issue of Bottle Rocket, well yeah, that was pretty awesome, too.   Time and again Dingman delivers. So by all means: Go to his website. Sign up for his newsletter. Buy his art.

Check it out:


Things We Love: 6/5/09

1. The Art of Blake Suarez


We only just discovered Blake’s work this week and already we love it. Not only has he done tons of projects (stuff for small magazines, t-shirts, screen prints, etc.) but he runs a great blog. Everything seems top notch but don’t just take our word for it. Check it out for yourself.

Look here:
And the blog is here:

2. Bupp! for Mac/PC


This is an amazing audio App. Sort of midway between an old-timey arcade game à la Pong or Asteroids and…maybe some sort of sampling engine?  Totally weird. Basically, you construct a maze containing any number of obstacles. Balls are then dropped into it. The balls move around and ricochet off of obstacles, triggering vocal samples in the process. (There seems to be pretty much no way of predicting what sample will be produced by a given obstacle and position. You just have to experiment.) The graphics are simple and the motion of the balls is a little jerky but the whole thing is totally addictive. Seriously. We haven’t gotten hooked on anything this quickly since they opened up that breakfast burrito place down the street.

Check it out:

3. George M.’s “Musical Episode” Podcast


Sometimes you just need some classic R&B in your life. Not just sometimes. Often. Maybe it’s because you’ve just lost the love of your life. Maybe it’s the end of the week and you’re tired; you need something to take your mind of work. Or maybe it’s because you’ve been driving for a really long time and you know this really good college radio station but you can’t seem to get it on your radio because their transmitter is so weak and also it’s your car’s fault and what the hell why didn’t you just replace the radio when you bought the car but now it’s too late because you’re probably not going to hold on to the car for that much longer anyway. We don’t know what it is that keeps us coming back but we know a good thing when I hear it.

Check it out:


Things We Love: 5/29/09

1. The art of the Andy Kehoe.

Andy Kehoe Portfolio
Andy Kehoe Portfolio

He had a piece go on sale at earlier this week which was great. Some of the art on his own site is even more amazing. (link)

2. The new Need For Speed: Undercover for the iPhone.


I’ve played just about all of the racing games that have come out for the iPhone. A lot were great, but NFSU takes the cake easily. (iTunes link)


I don’t read very many blogs consistently. I have a whole mix of things that I’ve put in my Google Reader. Occasionally I’ll log in and nervously flick through the posts that have queued up before losing interest or clicking one of the outbound links. Suffice it to say that no one blog has inspired me so consistently as Creative Applications. I can literally go to this blog any day of the week and be guaranteed I’m going to see something totally amazing that will change my life’s ambitions. Outstanding curatorial effort. (link)