50 Nifty, United States

I’d like to post more design-related content on here, seeing as that’s how I make a living, but it’s difficult to feel like I’m contributing much when the internet already has a million and a half amazing blogs and web sites that highlight the amazing work people are doing. But while browsing apartment therapy today, somewhere between an amazing DIY garage sale chandelier makeover and a very hostile comment thread directed at a woman who solicited advice to update her “country” kitchen without actually wanting to make any changes, I found this project.

Dan Cassaro, a designer/animator/print maker out of Brooklyn, enlisted 50 designers to illustrate their state’s motto. (I have included my home state of CT’s illustration because Virginia’s hasn’t been done yet, and part of me still clings to my northern roots.) Only a few states have been completed to date, and I’m hoping there will eventually be an option to purchase some of the prints. I would love to have one or two of these on my wall. (Along with this Giclee print collection that I’ve been eyeing for oh, a year now?)

And just as a side note, Jessica Hische, the artist who created Pennsylvania’s illustration, is one of my very favorite designers. She does some absolutely gorgeous things with type – her motto illustration is no exception.


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What, do I not look like a hip hopper?

Once upon a time, I interned as a page designer for a newspaper. That meant I was essentially a creature of the night. I didn’t have anything resembling “normal” work hours, and pretty much the only people I interacted with were the people I lived with and the people I worked with. My roommate from that summer recommended this Wu-Tang Clan album. (Hi Greg!) I chose it because this is probably the farthest thing from the numerous Paul Simon albums that make up my “most played” list on my iPod.

The other album, Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago was recommended by multiple people, so I’m going to trust your collective judgement and try it out. It’s also probably more appropriate for just how incredibly white I am.

Listen with me here!

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Warning: This album will make you want to boogie

I realize I am behind. So that means TWO albums this week instead of one, you lucky readers! That post will be later this afternoon, and I’m already chuckling at the pair I’ve picked.

Before I get to that, let’s talk about Cee-Lo Green, and how much I loved Lady Killer.

The only song I had heard originally was Fuck You (I already gave you the Tipper Gore warning and my blog is not regulated by the FCC, so there will be no censorship here) which is incredibly catchy. Must be, since the censored version was on an episode of Glee:

Fast Tube by Casper

I suppose this album had a bit of an unfair advantage because I like soul and I like anything mo-town-esque, which is exactly what this album is. The who album is loosely centered around the less-than-original theme of exploits-with-ladies, but I think it makes sense given the music has a bit of a timeless sound. Also – NO AUTO TUNE! I can appreciate auto-tune every now and again, but for the most part I think it’s overused, overdone and frequently, just plain sucks.

Love Gun was probably my favorite track and sounds like something out of an old school, black and white detective movie. I was surprised to read that No One’s Gonna Love You is a Band of Horses cover (one I much prefer, after listening to the original). I also really, really like Cee-Lo’s voice, which makes or breaks most music for me.

Basically, this was a winner. I think I might even do something crazy like buy the album.

New music coming up soon! In the meantime, watch the video for Fuck You. It makes me smile. And want to dance a little in my chair at work.

Fast Tube by Casper

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Week Two

The next album was originally slated for later in the project, but I sort of cheated on week one with it. This is on the recommendation of one of the greatest friends and roomies I’ve ever had – who also happens to have great taste in music. (Hi Sarah!) We never roadtripped without creating a mix for the occasion – my horribly disorganized CD book (I know, I’m dating myself) is full of those mixes from our trips up and down the east coast and my four years at JMU. I haven’t been so good about making them in recent years, which is a shame because I love pulling the old ones out and being instantly transported to the bright orange kitchen where we shared so many dinners, coffees, egg sandwiches, study sessions, and intoxicated conversations about life.

Anyway, enough about how much I love Sarb.

This album got bumped up because I can’t stop listening to it: Cee Lo Green’s The Lady Killer. Listen to it with me on my Grooveshark station here, and catch up on last week’s album if you missed it.

PS: The Lady Killer is quite an interesting phrase to image search. And by that I mean don’t do it on your work computer. Also, Tipper Gore wants me to tell you this album qualifies as “Explicit.”

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I might be too dumb for this project

I’m a day late, I know, but I had Very Important Things to do yesterday. And I had trouble trying to compose this entry, because I’m pretty sure I’m about to embarrass myself terribly with my thoughts on Teen Dream, the first album of my music project.

I’ll start with my non-Google influenced thoughts. I found myself listening to the first three tracks and then being hit with a serious case of ADD. Seriously, I must have played this album upwards of 15 times last week, but as soon as it was done I couldn’t remember more than a few bars of what I just listened to. The songs made me feel like I was in one of those hazes you get when you take a little too much cough medicine – you know things are going on around you, but everything feels a little bit fuzzy and dreamy. Which is bad when you’re trying to operate a motor vehicle.

After my first listen last week I jotted down a few words that immediately came to mind – “synthetic” was right at the top of that list. Walk in the Park’s opening beat made me immediately think of those god awful pre-recorded keyboard beats in the piano labs in college at JMU.

My favorite track by far was Used to Be. It was the one track I really enjoyed the day-dreaminess of (and that’s a highly technical music term, readers). Plus the piano and drums sounded like the actual instruments. The piano on Real Love was gorgeous, but all of those sighing vocals throughout the track were just too much for me.

On Friday, I Googled the album and the band. And holy shit. The lead singer is a girl.

I actually thought my Google was broken for a second and the entire internet was playing some kind of sick joke on me. No such luck. I’m just a total and complete moron. I love a gal with a deep, husky voice (Nico’s Fairest of the Seasons might be one of my favorite songs ever), but I still can’t get over the fact that I listened to the album for an entire week thinking the lead singer would not be someone named Veronica.

In any case, there’s a chick doing vocals and the internet seems to agree it’s an indie success. The dreamy thing appears to be intentional. And no one else seemed to mistake the lead vocalist for a dude.

This is not the sort of album I would normally throw on, but hey, that’s the whole point of this little experiment.

I’m very excited about this week’s album. Check back tomorrow for the new one and the playlist! I am completely sure of the lead singer’s gender this time around, but I’m sure I’ll find some other way to completely embarrass myself.

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