Future Islands | The dramatic synth-pop I didn’t know I was waiting for.

Filed under: Music I first heard in a coffee shop that I actually liked. That is the origin story of my latest infatuation. I tried to be stealth by opening up my SoundHound app to find out what I was hearing, but Chan had already spotted my actions, “Yeah, this is Future Islands.” It was a band she was already familiar with, so like an excellent friend, she shared the small wealth of songs she had from them.

The song that had plucked so roughly at my heart strings was “Inch of Dust”, from their 2010 release ‘In Evening Air’.

My interest had started right before the release of their newest album (and first on 4AD) ‘Singles’, so I felt like I was simultaneously playing a game of crunch time, while also– dare I say– listening to current music. An extremely rare occurrence, and that’s not to say I’m too cool for pop music, the complete opposite in fact. I’m just never on board while a band is actively releasing new music. So the feeling of being on the ball happens maybe 3 times a year, if that.

It was T-minus 2 weeks until the release of ‘Singles’, so I focused mainly on their 2nd and 3rd efforts, ‘In Evening Air’ and ‘On the Water’ to get an honest feel of where they were at. And I loved every second of it. The vocals that Samuel Herring delivers are not for everyone, and I can admit that. He sings like his very life depends on it, minimal instrumentals be damned. Both albums are practically dripping in virtue, and leave you hanging on every word he belts out. His theatrics even go so far as his (now famous) dance moves during live performances.

The combination of the performances, the voice, and the almost complete lack or care of personal style fill that hole I had for something undisguised, and I can respect that 100% and beyond.

Truth be told, I’m still sinking my teeth into ‘Singles’. But, I can’t deny the fact that the first… single off of ‘Singles’ is pretty great. The feel on the new record has definitely switched a bit. The vocals seem not as pronounced, and the production value seems leveled out to be more “consumer-friendly”. It’s still an enjoyable record. And if you crave that raw feel, you’ll always have the two previous records. But personally, I can’t shrug off a catchy tune, and that’s why I’m still into ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’.

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‘Singles’ is their first release from 4AD (previous two were on Thrill Jockey). It’s hard for me to corner or recommend this band to a certain audience. Those who love an almost ballad-like theatrical synth-pop song, those who love crazy dance moves, those who couldn’t give a fuck that Future Islands is “the next big thing”, and just accept that good music is good music.

If you want to dive into the new stuff, ‘Singles’ is available on iTunes.

(And if you know anyone who has two extra tickets to their show at Webster Hall, I’ll be here.)

Until then…

- Katie

A 3 Hour Tour – Camden Comic Con and beyond

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Let’s keep things in motion with a mini-update, shall we? On Saturday, I went to Camden Comic Con, a small convention held at the Rutgers-Camden campus for one day. For a first year convention, it went rather well. I’m going to say it was run better than most of the large cons I’ve attended. Admission was free, consisting of live music, a vendor’s room, and a small artist alley. I’m curious to see how this convention will evolve, as I had found out they only had 2 months to prepare everything. Like I said, with that amount of time, I was really impressed with how smoothly everything turned out.

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(Campus Cosplay, mandatory.)

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(In my natural habitat, slinking off a couch as someone sat in the chair that I was clearly using.)

We (me, Chan, Drew, and Nikki) stayed with our friends (and fellow creators) Bryan J.L Glass, his awesome wife, Judy, and their collection of adorable kitties. Combined, I think we were all running on 7 hours of sleep. Oh Con Season, how I’ve missed you. When you take away sleep, you realize things that once went unnoticed. Example, when trapped inside a car for a 3 hour tour, our laughter resembles that of Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park. Attractive.

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My post won’t be complete without some sweets. So here is an ice cream cone that I bought on the way back to New York City. I know I revealed promises of milkshakes on Twitter, but this flavor (Mint Moose Tracks) would have been obliterated if I had chosen to go that route. Seriously, I wouldn’t have been able to have half a slab of pure chocolate hanging from my mouth if it had been blended!

I leave you now, my Unconventional Conventionalists. C2E2, a favorite con of mine, is up soon! We’ve much to prepare, and I’m so excited to return.

Until next time…

- Katie

From whence I came.

2014-03-28 21.51.12-1(In search of Kazoozles at Dylan’s Candy Bar)

My beloved blog. I’m not done with you yet! I’m a slacker when it comes to updating things in a grandiose manner, and I’m fully aware it’s been almost one year since I stopped updating. Ya know, things get hectic and there’s little time to sit down and write it all out. I’m not too keen on platforms that make me shorten statements or events. I’m a born rambler. With that said, I’ll try to be more frequent here. There’s got to be people who appreciate a good read of someone’s mundane life, right? Of course. It’s the internet.

 

2014-04-03 16.13.59-2(Red velvet donut from Peter Pan Bakery – Greenpoint, Brooklyn)

So, I’m making a sweet post to entice you all back to me, and to debunk the myth that I eat healthy at all. No sir, it’s Easter candy season. You can’t expect me to just leave a bag of mini eggs untouched!

See you soon~

- Katie

Playing catch up: June 2013 edition

It’s been one of those months where I keep having to check what month it is and I’m wrong 4 out of 5 times. I’ve been mostly absent from this little space due to getting things in order and preparing my brittle nerves for San Diego Comic-Con while also researching and preparing the newest projects for work (Buck Rogers and Frenzy) But now I’m stealing some time, and I’ve got quite a lot to catch up on..

Even if at the time I’m typing this out, I’m watching Jaws while waiting for the 4th episode of the new season to air, it’s very much worth mentioning. I was amongst the few (and the proud) to score tickets to the Venture Bros. Season 5 premiere at Nitehawk Cinema.

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(Adult Swim mural in Williamsburg. Photo by: Me)

By now I think we’ve all seen ‘What Color is Your Cleansuit?’ , so I needn’t go on about how amazing and great that was by itself. The premiere however, was a surreal experience. Season 4′s finale and the Season 5 premiere played back to back in beautiful surround sound and on a big screen, hopefully not the last time we’ll be seeing anything Venture-related in a theatre. It was just very strange to get to watch a show I’ve supported since I was 16 on a big screen and surrounded by people who love it just as much as I do. Of course, the premiere was made all that much cooler by the presence of it’s creators..

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(Jackson Publick & Doc Hammer fielding questions beforehand. Photo by: Me)

At the premiere, Chan and I were asked to do something of a recap by John J. for [adult swim] central’s Swimcast. A little less than a recap, it lies between slight recollections and entertaining banter. But if you’re so inclined to bend an ear to “Venture experts” (a title we did NOT appoint to ourselves, we promise), you can listen to it right over here.

Somewhere between here and there, I went to a WEEP show at Otto’s. My evidence lies in a set list that found it’s way to me through magick and happenstance. (Or through Doc handing it to me.. Same thing.)

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And conveniently, here is my space for Plug #1: WEEP at Maxwell’s

WEEP and a few other bands will be playing one of the last shows at Hoboken’s legendary Maxwell’s, a venue rich in music history. Maxwell’s will be shutting down at the end of July.

Maybe fortunately for you, WEEP is playing a show there on July 3rd. If it’s the opposite, I’m sure their tour of Australia will begin soon.

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Admission is $10, and the doors open at 7:30. More information can be found on the Facebook event page.

Links for your pleasure:

  • Welcome to Night Vale: The most delightfully creepy tongue-in-cheek podcast. A twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.
  • They also have quite the amusing Twitter feed that I’m guilty of retweeting almost every other day.
  • WEEP @ Maxwell’s: RSVP!
  • Frenzy on Facebook: A project I am part of. Illustrated horror/thriller shark novel written by Andrew E.C. Gaska. Kickstarter is on it’s way!

Next we meet, I’ll probably be spilling my anxieties about San Diego Comic-Con. Fun times!

Until then..

- Katie

 

On why you should help out the Century Guild Magazine Kickstarter

In my time on this great Internet thing, a handful of Kickstarter projects have caught my eye enough for me to support their cause.

Thomas Negovan is a friend of mine and he started Century Guild, a gallery specializing in Art Nouveau and Cabaret art from 1880-1920. Quite an aesthetically pleasing lot, Century Guild is now a magazine, with your help!

We’ve been a staple at International Antiques Fairs for years, and most recognizably a staple at San Diego Comic Con International, where we bring rare and important Symbolist artworks every year to inspire and educate art fans from across the world.  The focus of the gallery is late 19th century Art Nouveau through German Expressionism of the 1920s, but we do also show a few select artists whose work is of significant importance as a bridge between these movements and the present.

Instead of the format we’ve used in the past where we document specific exhibitions, we want to make a “Summer” booklet that captures what we do at Century Guild… and YOU will decide how much content goes into it!

To get the full rundown of information (including a super helpful video with music by Ysanne), check out their Kickstarter page: Century Guild Magazine 2013: from Klimt to The Great Gatsby.

I’m pretty excited for this project because it will create a 48 page art-catalog style book filled with things to devour with your eyes and mind. With your help, this magazine can be taken a step further to a 100 page hardcover book with double the content! Besides the fact that this is an art magazine that I’d actually purchase, it includes (so far) two creators who I fully support.

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1. The first edition will feature a good friend of mine, Doc Hammer. The magazine will print images of his “Saint” series of paintings along with an interview elaborating on his unique path towards classicism.

A pledge is available on this Kickstarter that includes a copy of the Century Guild magazine, your name in the ‘Thank You’ section, plus a special exclusive art print of Saint No. 42 (above), created exclusively for this campaign and hand signed by Doc Hammer.

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2. The first edition of the magazine will also show sections of artwork by Jeremy Bastian (above: “Sacking of the Royal City of Cub”) with Jeremy’s commentary. I’m a huge fan of his work, a mastery of whimsical detail. If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of his graphic novel “Cursed Pirate Girl” (published by Archaia) which I can only describe as like a really delicious dessert on every single page, if you like your desserts a little bit salty.

There is a pledge package available that includes a copy of the Century Guild magazine plus an exclusive 8×10 print hand signed by Jeremy, only available through this Kickstarter and limited in number.

On the date of this post, this Kickstarter has 31 days to go and is almost halfway to their initial goal of $7,000. If any of this has piqued your interest, head on over to their Kickstarter page for more information and to help make this happen!

A Venture Installment: #3 – What Color Is Your Cleansuit?

It’s been a little over a week and already a new installment has been necessitated. The Season 5 premiere title has been released, showcased in the title of this post, “What Color Is Your Cleansuit?”. If you haven’t been on the up and up or you need a reminder of what the hell is going on, sit tight. We can take this journey together!

First order of business: Season 5 Premiere at Nitehawk Cinema & Alamo Drafthouse

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Opportunity arrises to earn some bragging rights for seeing the premiere before everyone else! The Season 4 finale and the Season 5 premiere are set to be shown at Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn (May 29) and various Alamo Drafthouse locations (May 28) as well as Cinemaworld in West Melbourne, FL (May 28). The Nitehawk screening is sold out, but the Alamo Drafthouse screenings are free! Space is limited, so if you plan to attend, arrive early! Also, both Nitehawk and Alamo are giving away free limited edition prints, and a chance to win original animation cells to those who get there early.

I  made haste and snagged tickets to the Nitehawk screenings as soon as I heard that it was a thing. Just envision a girl nervously trying to get their website to work on a phone browser for 10 minutes, and there you have it. Seconds later, the screening sold out. So, I will see all of the other lucky bastards May 29th!

Second order of business: Season 1-4 Recap (Narrated by Gary)

 

Just in case you needed a bite-sized refresher course. Or, for that special person in your life who “kind of doesn’t get what the fuck is going on” in The Venture Bros. Their favorite character might be H.E.L.P.eR. “because he’s a robot”. You may have tried to sit them down to watch all 4 seasons, and their brains simply cannot comprehend everything that just went on. That’s all fine, but these people in our lives need guidance. Steal 8 minutes of their time and show them this. A complete and thorough rundown of Seasons 1-4 as narrated by Gary (who turns into Doc Hammer in the middle of this breakdown, and then turns back into Gary. Magic!)

Third order of business: Interactive Relationship Action Map

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This is pretty neat for any caliber of Venture fan. Adult Swim released an interactive map detailing every relationship in the Venture-verse. A daunting task presented with all the clickable fixings of a functioning soundboard giving just a taste of each character’s personality.

So you can totally mess around with that, right over here. Also, it should go without saying that the chart and the video are FILLED with spoilers. They are spoiler incarnate. If a spoiler could be a physical thing rather than some jackass mentioning the ending of a movie to you, it would be that video and chart.

Fourth order of business: The return of Shirt Club!

The bit of news that I’ve been patiently waiting to become “official”, Shirt Club returns for Season 5! What the fuck is Shirt Club? I’ll tell you what the fuck it is! A pretty cool thing that happened alongside the duration of Season 3. Each week a new shirt was put up on the Astrobase Go! website for people to buy. The shirt was primarily a sweet looking logo that coincided with whatever episode was premiering that week. The shirt was only available to purchase for a week, and then after that it was gone. Shirt Club was a way to wear your Venture pride while fully supporting the show. Also, each design was pretty swank, you may have seen them:

So now with Season 5 fast approaching, another Shirt Club comes with it. Will this be the end of subpar T-shirt designs on various websites? Will it produce MORE awful designs painfully ripped off and “remixed” to a point where you can’t recognize the original design? Oh, probably. But that’s all fine, I trust that the true believers will put their cash where it counts and get the real deal.

Fifth order of business: New promos!

We are less than a month away from the premiere, and if you haven’t taken notice of basically everything in this post, we’re all gearing up for it. But what good is the rush of steadily mounting excitement without some flashy new promos? An awful climax, that’s what it is. Head on over to MantisEye to check out the impossible to embed videos. The first promo is more of a quick-cut sizzle reel, but the second promo has some tender meat hanging from it, like say Molotov not being dead. Ya know, that thing that 70% of fans accepted as rational humans, and the other crazed 30% deny up and down.

I’ve dished out all the snark I can for this post. A reminder to those not attending pre-screenings, 23 more days ’til Venture! 

A Venture Installment: #2 – C2E2 & June is soon.

It’s time for another one of these things, loaded with news that I’m sure most of you already know. Or perhaps you don’t! I am led to believe this by an occurrence that happened at C2E2 last weekend. I was walking through the bar area of the Hyatt wearing my Hench shirt when a random guy yelled at me “Hench! May 19th!”, I corrected him by yelling “June 2nd!”. Clearly he was so confused, I had to walk over and explain that the date had been pushed back due to interference of the network and I was met with a grown man almost crushed like so much aluminum can that I had informed him of this. After I had consoled him for a minute or so, he showed me his Bat Hank tattoo on his left forearm and told me that he was getting the Hench logo on his right forearm. I had picked up his broken pieces, Gorilla Glued them back into place as best I could and left him with the information to look forward to. At any rate:

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Yes, the premiere of Season 5 has been moved to June 2nd. Not a giant change when you look at it, and I super promise that it will be worth it.

Now, speaking of C2E2, I especially had my eye out for Venture Bros. cosplay. This convention is not as huge as the others, but I did find some!

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1. Sgt. Hatred, I could spot that tattoo from yards away..and I did.

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2. An alternate version of Dr. Mrs. The Monarch (kimmi-page on Instagram and Tumblr).

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3. Henchmen! The cosplay I was expecting to see first at the con. Dude on the right did a pretty decent 21 impression and stayed in character pretty much every single time I saw him.

Finally, have some art things! In the spirit of C2E2, Miss Chandra Free took on a commission from Jason (jpjones1970 on the Tumblr / provider of Venture buttons for our lonely lanyards). The prompt was a rather loose “Triana or Molotov”. Chan went the way of Molotov, “hood rat” edition.

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(Photo from Jason’s Tumblr, art by Chandra Free)

At C2E2 I had a chance to meet Ben Templesmith, a very talented fellow and I was reminded of a commission he recently did of Molotov.

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(via Templesmith’s Instagram)

And with that, I hope this post gives you something to hold on to through the long month of May. Reminder: Despite many titles being removed from the Netflix Instant watch platform, Season 1 of The Venture Bros. is still available. And if that isn’t enough for you, you can PURCHASE the DVD’s and tap into some sweet commentary for what has been described time and time again as “Like watching another show.”

You can do it, stay strong!

- Katie

ETA: Jackson Publick recently posted an image on his Tumblr (pulling inspiration from Saul Bass), with promises of being an actual billboard. So, NYC/ATL people, keep an eye out!

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