I’ve always been intrigued by illustrations, art, design, etc. Lately I’ve seen a lot of great looking posters. One thing that I’ve noticed is how the Text Plays off the image and colors behind it. I believe – my opinion being influenced by many different observations – the text should stand for itself, seperate and functional by itself, yet still falling along hand-in-hand with the rest of the poster’s contents. I think watching the documentary “Helvetica” sparked this type of interest and ways of thinking. It was neat to see both sides of a seemingly eternal argument over a single font and it’s design implications and interpretations. I found myself siding with the Swedish designers who from which I developed my theory on text and fonts in posters.

I’m honestly not sure who designed this, but this is the type of focus I’m getting at. Working with colors and the space around the text rather than the text itself.

And my own attempt at a poster

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There’s a rule that was once told to me by my Intro Creative Writing Professor that, after 10,000 hours of experience – directed and focused involvement working towards a goal – that you become an “expert” in that area. Now I may have muffed the rule a little bit, but the basic concept is still intact. To give you an example of this, I present to you an artist who goes by the name of A-Trak. You may have heard of him before, you may not. For background he was Kanye West’s DJ of choice when touring some years back. If that turns you off, then I’m sorry, you’ll be missing out. He’s been mixing since he could twist a knob it seems – winning DMC’s World DJ Championship in 1997 at 15 years of age, still the youngest winning DJ in history. I call the 10,000 hour rule in effect on Mr. A-Trak and advise you to search out his stuff. For convenience I’ve supplied his latest mix, a more hip-hop infused listen than some of his other mixtapes, for you to pick up. Totally Free. From the wonderful people at bandcamp.

Summer Solstice is almost here, which means it will officially be summer. Every summer there seems to be some airhead pop song that takes over. This summer choose wisely by knowing what else is out there – take the mainstream radio tube out of your esophagus and perk up your ears ’cause there’s something here for everyone.

1) Sleigh Bells – Treats
A combination of hardcore guitar riffs, rhythmic beats and a soft female voice gives this band a fresh sound which begs to be danced to. Their debut album – Treats, released in early May is already a top ten album on iTunes, so it might only be a matter of time before mainstream gobbles it up. Check out Riot Rhythm, their poppiest sounding song. Also their Myspace

2) Neon Indian – Psychic Chasms
I was given this album by a professor and really really enjoyed the sounds this artist produces. It’s funny because I listened to this album all through winter and finally summer rolls around when it would fit much better. This one’s a little slower, but fittingly so for a hot summer. His Myspace

3) Mimicking Birds – (Self Titled)
I’ve posted about these guys very recently, but since have sworn by them. You can flip back a couple posts to get more info on them, but main thing is the link to Modest Mouse through Isaac Brock and his assistance in producing their debut album. Myspace

4) Arcade Fire – Funeral
Started listening to them after Spike Jonze’s ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ at the suggestion of a friend and it’s really great stuff. If you’re looking for an album to sing loudly as you drive down a country road, this would do well. Myspace

*NBC almost killed this during the winter olympics…

5) Bear In Heaven – Beast Rest Forth
Again, another album given to me by the same professor, another really, really good listen. A Brooklyn based band – 1/2 of Sleigh Bells is from Brooklyn. More calming stuff than anything, probably not your greatest pick-me-up, but deserves it’s own time in the summer none-the-less. Myspace

6) Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles II
Just recently got this album. More glitchy than anything else on this list, but somehow very finely crafted glitch to the point that it’s not really noticed. A melodic mix of beats and synths allows this to be one of the best albums I’ve listened to in the recent time period. Myspace

7) The Dead Weather – Horehound
Another Jack White infused group featuring Alison Mosshart from ‘The Kills’ as the leading female voice. Some real dark, bluesy stuff going on here that makes you wana kick someone’s teeth in. Good for relaxing by yourself to ensure everyone keeps their teeth in their mouths. Myspace

8) Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – (Self Titled)
A very unique looking group of individuals who might or might not be left over from the 70’s, I’m still researching their age. A great summer listen for grilling out, or road tripping. Check out their music video to ‘Home’ for a better idea of what they might be doing right now – hitch hiking on their tour? – can be seen on their myspace. Might or might not be seeing them in NY later this summer. Myspace

9) Felix Cartel – Popular Music
The guy knows how to build you up and at that last little second bring it back to make you go crazy. Would love to go to one of his shows, but alas, like many other electro artists, he is touring abroad right now. Myspace

*Bonus: Popular Music in action

10) Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
One of the best albums I’ve listened to in years. First to last song, cover to cover, clean and hauntingly amazing. One of my all-time favorites. My kids will have to deal with this. This one’s already been picked up by the radio, but doesn’t make it any less fantastic. Myspace

11) Steve Aoki – Pillowface And His Airplane Chronicles
A top three in the mixtape category for me. I’ve played this over and over and over. I believe I read somewhere that his father owns a huge chinese food chain. He went to University of California and has since started his own record label, clothing company, etc. Busy man. Myspace

*Unfortunately this isn’t on the album, but enjoy it anyways.

12) Major Lazer and La Roux – Lazerproof
Totally free album. Favorite is ‘I’m Not Your Lemonade’. Just recently got this so… still deciding, but since it’s free, go ahead and decide for yourself.

It’s actually the name of the song. Look by Sebastian Tellier. Don’t think you know what it’s all about in the first thirty seconds, cause it’s not al about that sometimes. Just thought it was an interesting video – simple, yet intriguing. Enjoy.

It really doesn’t matter whether you’re a soccer fan or not. You can call it whatever you like any other day of the year, but I guarantee that if you have any american bone in your body you will be watching the US vs. England game on June 12th. Not only is this an opportunity for US Soccer to assert itself as one of the top countries in the world after one of the most successful campaigns leading up to the cup in many many years, but it’s the WORLD CUP – kinda like the olympics, only there’s one team to follow in one single event. More focus = more energy. The US, for years, has been knocking on the door of opportunity on the international stage and finally will have one golden chance against England. I’ll be straight, the odds are against us, but really, that’s nothing new. Coming off a very successful Confederations Cup in which we beat the Spanish national team – previously undefeated in 35 games. To give some facts, Spain out shot the US 29-9 that game, which makes you think, ‘how the hell did the US pull it off?’. Well, thanks to arguably the best keeper in the world right now – Tim Howard. Next weekend is one of the biggest US Soccer matches in history. I hope you’ll watch….

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