By Mandy McGee
Music Monday is back finally. Here are a few new videos out from some amazing bands.
I have spoken of Gretchen Lohse before and this won’t be the last. This new video of “Spider at the Gate” from her debut album Primal Rumble is both mesmerizing and beautiful just like the song. I love the violin in this song.
Teen Men have a new video and song out called “Rene”. It is a cute video that slightly reminds me of a Wes Anderson film. They are also going on a small tour with Work Drugs on the east coast. Check out the dates and don’t miss them.
Night Terrors of 1927 are a new band out of LA featuring Blake Sennet (The Elected and Rilo Kiley) and Jarrod Gorbel (Honorary Title). The video is creepy but beautiful. I love the pastel colour palette they chose. The music is very different from the bands they have come from, using poppy synths, dramatic guitar and sad romantic lyrics. I am excited for this collaboration between two amazing musicians. Everyone in this band brings something great to the table. Night Terrors are currently on their first tour and have an EP out called Guilty Pleas. Check them out.
By Mandy McGee
Laurel Dodge is a Seattle native and third generation artist who works mostly with linoleum block printing. I have featured her several times at a club I curate art for and I finally got to sit down and have a chat with her.
Mandy: What is your style of art?
Laurel: I paint mostly narrative works that are influenced by myth, folklore and fairy tales. Figurative with influences of both classical and illustrative styles.
Mandy: Who influences your art?
Laurel: I would say in subject, it is books mostly. In style I really try and do my own thing. I have a lot of art its who I love like Egon Schiele, Frances Bacon, Siolo Thompson, Crystal Barbare, Redd Walitzki, Artemisia Gentileschi. I spent a lot of time really finding my own voice for my work. My mother, Jessica Dodge, who is a professional painter, was a deep influence.
Mandy: What are your favorite tools/mediums/brands to use?
Laurel: Lino-block printing for sure if my favorite right now, I have been working in ti almost exclusively for the past 5 years. I like the almost sculptural aspect of it as you carve the block, working in revers, hand pressing the block to paper. I do everything really lo-fi. All my blocks are held with my hands, I have cut myself so many times. I use to go to Utrecht, but they got bought out by Blick, so I go there now. I have also worked in ink and oils.
Mandy: Have you always been an artist? Did you go to school for art, take independent classes or are self taught?
Laurel: I have done art since I was a small child. My mother is an artist and I grew up in an artist co-op. I have taken a class here and there but never went to school for it. Mostly self taught. Never took a class in block printing, that is totally self taught.
I did art because I had to. It was one of the many ways i learned to express myself to the world.
By Mandy McGee
So, this is a little late but it’s here. I have a small list of my favorite albums of 2013. They are in no particular order and it was very hard to narrow it down to just a short list; so much good music last year. I suggest you check out the bands on this list and also find me on various social media to chat about music.
This album was inspired by abandoned houses and made into a story about a couple trying to find each other in a post-apocalyptic world. It is tricky making an album that sounds monotonous in tone but Houses makes it work adding in samples they have made, including making drum sounds from light switches, sweeping around dust and stomping on the floor of the abandoned houses they found. This is the perfect album for finding sleep or just calming your mind.
Their best album yet! I did a review of this when it came out in early 2013. It really shows off their talent in song writing and creative composition. One of my favorite indie pop albums and band!
By Mandy McGee (via The Mary Sue)
This is amazing armor! Deakath is a 26 year old self-taught artist from France. She makes items out of vegetable-tanned leather for herself and her husband to go LARPing. She has only being began doing armor in April of 2012.
She currently is not taking commissions, unfortunately. See more on her DeviantArt page.
By Mandy McGee
Aurora Pringle is a mixed media artist & illustrator. She adores vintage issues of Sassy, girls-girls-girls, & projects of heart-wrenching proportions. I found her fun and whimsical art through musician (and her husband) Ben Pringle (The Rentals and Nerf Herder) and fell in love her brilliance right away. She has amazing style, not just in her art but in the way she dresses too. Aurora is talented and creative from head to toe. I am glad I got to interview her and pick her brain about how she creates her work and views art.
Mandy: What first got you into art?
Aurora: I was never not into art! I was always drawing. I can’t remember not having a pen or a marker in my hand.
Mandy: Have you always wanted to be an artist and how long have you been doing art?
Aurora: I always wanted to be an artist in some capacity; I just didn’t know how it would turn out. And it certainly wasn’t anything I gave serious thought to- until I decided to have some serious confidence in my work.
Mandy: How long have you been getting paid for art?
Aurora: My first paid job was in college. My roommate commissioned a portrait of her and her mother. It was black and white with an orange background, acrylic on canvas. Oh, how things change.
Mandy: What mediums do you use for your work
Aurora: I generally am a mixed media artist. That means I’ll use whatever I can to make my vision a reality. Lately I’ve been drawn to watercolor, ink, and gauche.
Mandy: What do you use for inspiration?
Aurora: I keep inspiration notebooks where I cut and paste ideas, magazines, and other pieces. I also use Tumblr and Pinterest like scrapbooks. I follow friends and other artists on Instagram. I read. A lot.
Mandy: How do you describe your art style?
Aurora: I don’t I’m trying to create a mindset, and my art is a key component. I’m a Girl Pop Visionary, and I think that aptly describes everything I’m about, everything I put out into the world.
Mandy: Do you compare your own work to the work of others?
Aurora: Yes and no. I’m always loving on other artists, and assessing what I adore about them. I know their influence makes it into my work. I have moments of hurtful comparison, of course, but I do consciously try to turn it around and ask what I need to learn from the comparison.
Mandy: When you are first trying to come up with an idea do you sketch it out or do you go straight into the work?
Aurora: It really depends. With clients or professional pieces, part of my process is to sketch. When I’m doing a morning drawing on my Instagram or Facebook, I typically won’t do a separate sketch.
Mandy: What else do you do for work?
Aurora: For me, being an artist isn’t just sitting down and drawing, although that’s a huge part of it. I seek opportunities to share my passion and vision online (blogging at www.auroralady.com, or other platforms on social media) and off (in person appearances and workshops).
Mandy: Any hidden talents?
Aurora: It’s hardly hidden but I do a fantastic karaoke medley. I won’t tell you the songs, because I want you to be surprised if we ever go out together!
Mandy: What is important in contemporary art today?
Aurora: Accessibility. Not just being able to get into museums and shows—but creating at the ground level. DIY is seriously important. Zines are important. Messages are important. Finding a way to express at any economic /social level is glaringly important.
Mandy: What is your favourite piece(s) you have done
Aurora: It changes all the time. Right now, it’s my Fang Gang triptych, which has spawned photoshoots, makeup, buttons, and a zine to be released for LA Zine Fest in 2014.
Mandy: You and Ben Pringle are so adorable together…I personally want to know how you met?
Aurora: I was working an office job at a music magazine in Fresno, Ca, and was invited by the company to see The Rentals when they toured through town. Ben was playing in the band at the time. The rest is a story meant for a rock and roll love song.
Mandy: If you could have a super power what would it be?
Aurora: Muscle Memory! We just finished watching season two of Heroes (the whole trajectory of the show is just so tragic), and I loved the woman with muscle memory. Definitely the most useful superpower!
Mandy: What advice have you been given?
Aurora: I seek out advice all of the time! Feedback and dreaming are brain food. I don’t really know where to start answering this question, but I always go back to “Always be making”.
Mandy: What advice can you give those who aspire to be artists?
Aurora: Don’t aspire. Just do. That’s how you become an artist.
Mandy: Do you have any art shows coming up?
Aurora: I’ll be at LA Zine Fest with my best friend and fellow zine maker, Kim Burly. That’s in February and I really hope you come because it is the epitome of all that is wonderful, inspiring, and active in LA. We are both making new zines for the event and have a few surprises up our glittered, colorful, sleeves.
Mandy: Where can people find out more about you?
Aurora: I’m all over the Internet, and I really love interacting. My website is filled to the brim with fun stuff and is constantly being updated. Hang there, and let’s definitely be friends on instagram (@auroralady)!
By Mandy McGee (via Huffington Post and Green Eyed Gator)
Dolls of Eerie Golgothia opened on December 7th at The Green Eyed Gator in New Orleans and will be open throughout the holiday season. If you are in that area I recommend checking it out. There are some amazing works presented by the gallery owner and artist Shannon Kelley and artist Kook Teflon, and the dolls were created by amazingly talented artists across the United States and Canada. If you can’t get to the gallery then give them a call if any of the dolls strike your fancy.
Here are samples of the show.
Peaches by Ida Harris
Snow Queen by Christine Benjamin
Ghost Princess by Sheri DeBow
By Mandy McGee
Austin, Tx shoegaze band Ringo Deathstarr is releasing a new album called “God’s Dream” is coming out in Japan on December 18th, 2013 and then soon after to the USA and Europe. They have put up the song “Flower Power” from that album to tied you over. Take a listen.
Do you remember Nerd Punk Rockers Nerf Herder? They had a song on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the theme song! Well they are back. They have a song for free download on Pledge Music and are keeping us in anticipation of amazing things to come. Go download the song and rock out to their 90’s classic video below of their hit “Mr. Spock”.
Light hearted folk country by story teller Laura Shepherd from Virginia has a new video out for the song “Stone Soup”. Take a look at look
By Mandy McGee (via Moon Sounds Records)
I work PR for the label Moon Sounds Records and we have an announcement.
The pre-order for Ceremony’s – ‘Distance ‘is now up!!!
Set to come out December 17th and start shipping December 26th!
Pre-ordering will give you an immediate download of the albums two singles ‘I Want To Kiss ‘and ‘Send Me Your Dreams ‘(Previously only available on the delicious Famous Class Records as part of their LAMC series that Ceremony was a part of as a split 7” with A Place To Bury Strangers)
The other tracks from the album will be on CD when it comes out and will be available for streaming from our BandCamp page then.
All international orders will come with extras from Moon Sounds to offset the shipping costs.
Album mastered by Oliver Ackermann (A Place To Bury Strangers /Skywave)
We are so excited to finally bring you this album. It’s been a long time waiting.
By Mandy McGee
I haven’t shared new music in a while because I have been incredibly busy and then I took a much need vacation. I am back in the game and excited to share things with you!
(Photo by Mandy McGee)
Plumerai is a dark dream pop band from Boston, MA who has just released a video for the song “13” off their album Mondegreen. Vocalist Eliza Brown dominates with her sweet jazzy voice in this track leaving you wanting more. The whole album is definitely worth a listen which you can get at their bandcamp.
Plumerai’s Next show is December 20th at Parkside Lounge in New York City.
(Photo by Mandy McGee)
Teen Men is a brand new band out of Delaware comprised of Joe Hobson and Nick Krill from Spinto Band and visual artists Catharine Maloney, a photographer, and Albert Birney, a filmmaker (who has made videos for Spinto Band, Generationals and Ra Ra Riot). They have a great vibrant sound blending electronic samples and ambient accents. Seeing the band live is where it gets more interesting because they use a synchronized video projection that is interactive. If you get the chance to see this band live please do so. It will blow your mind. In the mean time keep up to date with Teen Men as they are working on their first album. Here is the video for “Hiding Records (So Dangerous)” featuring Sylvio.
You can see Teen Men on these next few dates:
December 7th at the Shop in Pittsburgh, PA
December 14th at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia, PA
January 17th at Current Gallery in Baltimore, MD
(Photo by Matt Gaye)
Philadelphia’s psych rock band Needle Points have released their new album, Bom Tugangu, on bandcamp which you can get as a digital download or vinyl. Here is a video they released a month ago for the song "I Drink Rainfalls" off the new album.
You can catch them next at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia on December 12th.
On November 27th they are playing with the amazing Girl in a Coma at Backstage Live in San Antonio, TX.
By Mandy McGee
I found John Kenn’s Monster Drawings through Juxtapoz Magazine and then went over to his website to see more. John is a writer and director for children’s television and in his spare time draws monsters on post-it notes. His work is amazingly whimsical yet dark.
Check these out and then go to his site and view more.
By Mandy McGee
Ltd Art Gallery in Seattle, WA on Capitol Hill is running a new collection, "Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words". It opened last Friday November 8th and is running til December 7th, 2013. If you are in the area go and check it out. There are some very amazing works displayed.
(“RAZORGIRL” BY AARON JASINSKI)
"A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words is a new art show that allows the artist to move away from the cues of visual mediums and instead draw inspiration from the many wonderful characters and worlds from literature. From Edgar Allan Poe to Michael Crichton, over 40 artists will imagine their own literary favorites in a new light.
Featuring the art of: Marjon Accoin, Kari-Lise Alexander, Dane Ault, Dilka Bear, Crystal Barbre, Cory Benhatzel, Jonathan Bergeron, Barry Blankenship, Syd Brown, Craig Church, Daisy Church, Mona Collentine, Nick Comporone, Doaly, Derek Eads, Leslie Gauthier, Levi Hastings, Blain Hefner, Kiku Hughes, Claire Hummel, Aaron Jasinski, Suzanne Kaufman, Christina Lank, Nan Lawson, June Leeloo, Eliot Mechanism, Timo Meyer, Mikeatron, Brian Miller, Moon, Ryan Myers, Damon O’Keefe, Christopher J Olsen, Augie Pagan, Paolo Petrangeli, Chet Phillips, Reid Psaltis, JSalvador, Dennis Salvatier, Mark Sarmel, Amanda Scurti, Paul Shipper, Siames, Tnglr, Todd Spence, Meghan Stratman, Derek Sullivan, Clay Sisk, Emi Tolibas, Rich Werner”
(“DEMENTOR” BY MOON)
(“CORALINE” BY PAOLO PETRANGELI)
By Mandy McGee
I have finally caught up with Vicki of Museum of Robots in between conventions to chat. Museum of Robots designs and manufactures retro-futuristic housewares, home and personal accessories. The center of their design philosophy is that they are fans first: they go to sci-fi conventions and fine art museums, vintage car shows and sci-fi movies, science exhibits and toy shows.
(Richard and Vicki; photo by Frank Pryor Photography)
Mandy: Who are the humans behind Museum of Robots?
Museum of Robots: We’re Vicki Küng and Richard Küng. Richard has been collecting robots for 25 years; Vicki is a lifelong science fiction fan who got her first robot at age 6. We are designers by training and profession, and the line is what happened when we decided to create things we’d like in our own home.
Mandy: Why did you start the site?
Museum of Robots: We started the company 5 years ago. We’re both designers and we wanted to move from design consulting to developing our own line of products. We began selling at large wholesale shows, and immediately had a great response from museum and design stores, so that really inspired us to keep going. We found that it was important to get the products in front of the actual consumer, so we started selling at conventions. It was exactly the right move.
And to clarify - there is not a real Museum of Robots. Someday, we hope. We’ve started with the gift store and we’ll bootstrap a museum you can visit from there.
Mandy: Do you design the items in your store or do you out source?
Museum of Robots: Our work is original design, and we work with manufacturers to produce the products. We use a range of manufacturing methods, from traditional to digital, from sand-cast to 3D printing. When possible, we manufacture in the USA; when we utilize foreign manufacturing, it is with producers of high-quality goods who understand our creative and company vision, working responsibly with materials and processes. We also license art from artists we like, and use that on some of the products we make.
Mandy: Why did you choose the style of steampunk/vintage?
Museum of Robots: We don’t really think of the line as steampunk, or even vintage. Retro-future seems to sum it up better - it gives us a range of design influences to work with, although we do sort of fall into a something-punk arena: atom punk, steampunk, diesel punk, cyber-punk. But our influences come from everywhere. We love toy robots and mid-century modern chairs, and urban vinyl, and Italian design. Add a love of technology, sci-fi books and movies, vintage cars, modern design, Googie architecture and Disneyland, and the resulting mash up is Museum of Robots.
Mandy: What is your most popular item?
Museum of Robots: The Rocket Salt & Pepper continues to be our strongest seller, although the rocket and raygun jewelry are catching up. We find the most popular items are rockets, rayguns, and robots. We’re apparently good at things that start with R.
Mandy: How well do you do selling at conventions vs the web site?
Museum of Robots: Conventions and the web site are two different selling venues, although some customers do both. At the conventions, it gives us a chance to see how people respond to the products, and our designs and products are constantly improved by what we hear from people. Not everything goes online - there are new products and limited production items that are show-only. Online is more of the core line, and we are so fortunate in our customers - they are from across the US, and work at some of the most amazing and innovative technology and science companies.
Mandy: Do you enjoy conventions?
Museum of Robots: Love, love love conventions. We started out on the fan side of the aisle, and I truly can’t think of anything more fun than days spent at a con, marinating in convention culture. As exhibitors, we think it’s our job to be a part of convention fun, so we really focus on having a nice booth and product offering. It is hard to miss a good panel, and we are generally too tired to take in much of the evening activities, but these are small things compared to how much fun the conventions are.
Mandy: What is your favourite convention?
Museum of Robots: That’s like trying to pick a favorite robot! Our favorite shows are the ones with a good vibe - happy attendees, nice people, and management that understands why we are there. Not every convention gets it. The ones that do are the happiest places on earth.
(Me and Vicki at Emerald City Comic Con last March)
Mandy: Do you have any plans to expand the site to a physical store?
Museum of Robots: We’d love to experiment with a pop-up or two as way to dip our toe into a retail presence. No immediate plans for a physical store, but yes, we’d love to have one when the time is right.
Mandy: Are you going to get more merch on the site this year?
Museum of Robots: We’ve got new items that we introduced at San Diego Comic-Con this year, and we are busy getting those on the site. We really listen to comments from people at the cons we attend and use that information to tweak and improve the entire product line. The result is what goes on the web site.
Mandy: Do you take commissions?
Museum of Robots: We’ve done a number of custom projects and are always interested in collaborations. We created a special exhibit t-shirt for the Shelburne Museum’s Steampunk show last year, and a custom product for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Mandy: If you had a superpower what would it be?
Museum of Robots: There is a rumor that my superpower is weaponized sarcasm, but I think something involving flying would be more useful. Although with all the lifting and toting of things we do going to conventions, I think that the ability to pack up all our stuff and smallerize it so that it fits in a pocket would be the holy grail of superpowers for the convention circuit. I always wish we could just pop things back into a virtual inventory like we used to do when Museum of Robots was in Second Life. Then fly home without a plane.
Mandy: Do you have any hidden talents?
Museum of Robots: I make great orange marmalade, and it won a blue ribbon at the county fair one year. I think it was the single malt scotch in the mix that tipped the balance in my favor.
Mandy: Do you have any plans to do anything else creative besides museum of robots like a different kind of design or a different creative area all together?
Museum of Robots: We are both designers by training, so we use those skills - graphics, 3D, exhibit design, fashion design, digital design - on all aspects of Museum of Robots. We have individual projects and clients in addition to Museum of Robots, so we keep our skills and design brains current.
By Mandy McGee
Brian Langan is a musician from Philadelphia, PA. He is more than a musician, he is witty, a true artist and a sex bomb! I was able to catch is fun, witty side in this interview. I highly recommend checking out his numerous projects and see how artistic and sexy he is. Brian really is an amazing musician and has a fabulous voice. HA!
(Photo by Jason Riedmiller)
Mandy: For our readers pleasure who is Brian Langan in a nutshell?
Brian: It’s very tight and dark, it gets hot, real friggin hot!
Mandy: You are in a bunch of different music projects, can you describe them?
Brian: I play fuzzed out loud bass and do some singing about cosmic shit in Needle Points which an experiment in street level boogie.
I play ripper guitar and sing in Sweatheart which a dress up band that kinda sounds like 80’s party movie rock.
I play guitar and LEAD SING in Langor which i guess you’d call my solo project. 60’s fantasy pop/rock type stuff.
I also play dumb guitar and sing in Kock107 a classic rock band in the vein of Foreigner, Bryan Adams and Thin Lizzy. We’re a very sexy band!
By Mandy McGee
Here is a quick rundown of a few bands I recommend you checking out.
(Photo by Dylan Gordon)
Giant Drag is calling it quits but not before a few new videos surface. Here is one that Annie Hardy did recently for he song “90210”.
Austin, TX based indie pop band Tele Novella has only a couple of songs up on their soundcloud now but just wait til November…more will be up along with a new vinyl to purchase. You can follow them on twitter or facebook to get updates. Here is a small list of November shows coming up around TX.
November 9th -Houston- Mango’s
November 10th - San Antonio-Hi Tone’s
November 11th - Denton-Macaroni Island
November 12th - Austin-Hotel Vegas
November 13th - Dallas-The Crown and Harp
Here is a neat video I found filmed by Jim Bailey of Tele Novella performing “Hair of the Dog” at Bows and Arrows in Sacramento, CA on 5-28-13.
(Photo take from the band’s facebook, credit unknown)