Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Watch List

Listening:
1. Canon Blue - Daniel James is Canon Blue, and he is about blow up. Last fall he independently released a four track ep entitled "Colonies", and sent it out to anyone who asked, free of charge. These four songs were so amazing, with gentle piano drops, soaring soundscapes, chaotic electronic, and Daniels honest vocals, that he was just signed to Rumraket this week. His songs are being remixed by Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear and and mastered by Christian Vogel. Check him out today!
2. The Mare - Stockholm, Sweden is home to The Mare. They create sweet little indie pop morsals with heart and energy. Their latest album will be released by Cloudberry Records on July 15th. Listen to: I Didn't See You (mp3)
3. Vivek Shraya - I open my e-mail yesterday I find a nice little message from Toronto musician Vivek Sharaya introducing me to his fun and danceable brand of electro-pop. So now I am introducing him to you, and telling you to check his new album "If We're Not Talking". Listen to: Chemistry (mp3) and I Wont Envy (mp3)

Reading:
1. The latest from Zachary C. Bush, published in Silenced Press, "Her Eyes Are Cream-Pink The Color Of A Dog’s Shaved Undercarriage".
2. The Illuminati and The Council on Foreign Relations by Myron Fagan - This is the transcript (and the audio) to a recording made by Mr. Fagan back in the 1960's. I had listened to the recordings several years ago, but you can really did into the information he is presenting when you read the transcripts. He clearly explains the history of The Illuminati and it's connection to the government (specifically the United Nation) and to big business, and the "great conspiracy" for a "one-world government".
3. "New Poll Finds That Young Americans are Leaning Left" by Adam Nagourney - This doesn't seem new to me, but polls are always nice. Youth, especially through college years, seem to be drawn to a more liberal mentality, but with age, wealth, maturity, family, etc. many of those sharp points of view seem to dull and possibly swing the other way.

Wishing:
1. Rob Swift's "As The Table Turns" - This documentary follow the career of one of the most innovative turntablist of all-time. With never seen before live footage and appearances by the biggest and the best. $16.99
2. Mike Boyle's "Dollhouse" - Recently released by Thieves Jargon Press, this 176 page novel should be on your nightstand right now. Here is a sample from the book: "The Dakota". $10

Getting:
1. Rural Messengers Press Mini-Mailer 1.5 - Featuring the poetry and photography of Aleathia Drehmer. This is a free release, simply send your address to the following to rmpress@gmail.com.
2. Anti #4 - Showcasing all styles of visual media, this is a nice little zine. The theme for the fourth issue is "Seasons", and it is free.

Watching:
1. J Mascis vs. David Cross in a Guitar Hero II challenge - In my opinion J Mascis is the greatest living guitar player, and possibly the best of all-time. However, he was no match for comedian David Cross. As usual, J gives an incredibly energetic interview.
2. New Benni Hemm Hemm Video: "I Can Love You in a Wheelchair, Baby"
3. Black Gold - The Truth Behind Your Coffee. I have been drinking coffee for many years, and now I know the truth.

Saturday Morning Cartoon

I have really been feeling the Jazz (and not the Utah Jazz, even through both interviews this had a Utah connection), and so this song simply has me jumpin'. So this morning, while you enjoy over sized bowl of Vanilly Crunch, watch this brand new video from Mocean Worker.

"Shake Ya Boogie"




Friday, June 29, 2007

Band of the Week

Ghosthustler

Up from the ashes of mangled and manipulated casio's, three decades of hip-hop aesthetic, and computer knowledge that dwarfs any generation, is quickly rising a new genre of music. It is electronic, it is retro sounding, it is extremely danceable, and very much pop. It is 80's in principle, but very modern at the same time. Not being one for labels, I will leave it at electro-funk. Dj duos or programmer and singer duos or full on electronic funk bands are springing up all over the country and everyone is dancing to the product.

A great example of a group that just seemed to pop-up and jump into the eyes of the internet media (a.k.a bloggers) is the quartet from Denton, TX, Ghosthustler. Lead by the energetic Alan Palomo, this band knows how to groove while maintaining a lofty electronic feel. Their best song, "Parking Lots Night", starts out in a traditional Draft Punkian way with keyboards and computer effects, but the second Palomo jumps in you know you are hearing something special.

Currently unsigned, Ghosthustler has released three demo songs through their myspace page and various other music sites. Each is equally amazing, and I look forward to hearing the full-length album (once they get singed). They have also released a video for "Parking Lot Night"



On June 20th, Ghosthustler posted this incredible Dj Mix on their myspace page.

DJ MIX TRACKLIST (mp3)
Mr Oizo - Patrick 122/Does it Offend You, Yeah - Battle Royale/Chromeo - Call Me Up/Alan Vega - Saturn Drive/Crystal Castles - Air War/Jackson & His Computer Band - Radio Caca/Klaxons - Gravity's Rainbow (Van She Remix)/Bumblees Unlimited - I wanna be Your Ladybug/Daft Punk - Technologic (Vitalic Remix)/Simple Minds - I travel/Justice - New Jack/ Chris and Cosey - October Love Song


Listen To:
Parking Lot Nights (mp3)
Losing Tracks (mp3)

For more information on Ghosthustler please visit their myspace page.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Writer's Corner


justin.barrett


It was last August when a collective of "outlaw" small press poets had a simultaneous moment of clarity. Tired of the lack of credit and attention given to the small press, and feeling a need to spread the word, these poets, armed with an arsenal of quality poems and an antique printing press, set out to change the world. According to the Guerrilla Poetics Project (GPP) manifesto, they "endeavor to return poetry to whom it was originally intended: the reader. And we feel there is no better way to accomplish this goal than to use the existing hierarchy and structure of the publishing world to our advantage: by subversively hiding high-quality broadsides of high-quality poems inside books in bookstores and libraries to be found by unsuspecting readers". Over the last 43 weeks they have "covertly smuggled" 14,840 broadsides in bookstores across the U.S. and in Canada and as far away as Sweden.

The first broadside issued by the GPP was entitled "like fireworks" and it was written by Salt Lake City poet justin.barrett. Justin has been writing for over 12 years and in that time he has released 4 chapbooks and over 400 quality poems through various outlets. He was the editor of the poetry webzine remark. He started Hemispherical Press in mid-2003.

Currently, Justin is on an indefinite hiatus from poetry, but he is still very passionate about the mission of the GPP. Recently, we asked about this passion and about his decision to take a hiatus.


Orange Alert (OA):I love the concept of the Guerrilla Poetics Project. How did this project come to be, and how has it affected your career as a poet? What has the feedback been like from your broadside "like fireworks"?
justin.barrett (JB): The project started by parallel evolution: a few different people in different places coming up with the same (or similar) idea at around the same time. These people just so happen to all be small press poets who were ready for a change; who were ready for something big and new and inventive. It really hasn't affected my career as a poet. Unfortunately for me, the GPP came about just at the tail end of my current incarnation. It might garner me a few new readers, but that remains to be seen. I still participate in the GPP because I deeply believe in its cause and mission; and I feel the poetry needs to be taken to a wider audience. As far as my broadside, I've not received much in the way of feedback. I was honored to have been voted by a panel of my peers to have the first broadside the GPP ever made. This was pretty much the magnum opus to my career. That alone is feedback enough.

OA: Currently, the first page of your website state that you have "retired" from writing. Are you really retiring? What are some of the reasons behind this "self-imposed hiatus"?
JB: Well, retiring is probably not the right word. One doesn't really "retire" from something like small press poetry, right? Hiatus is more accurate. Basically, there are some things going on in my life right (physical, psychological and emotion) that are eating up all of my energies. Between dealing with these issues and earning a living, I don't have anymore time for poetry. I definitely don't have anymore time for the bullshit, small-press mindset. I gave it a good run (12+ years) and had a few minor successes (relatively speaking, of course). This is good enough.

I don't know if I'll ever write again. I haven't written in months and don't see myself writing ever again, but the possibility hasn't been ruled out. If it happens, and I feel the results are good enough, then maybe you'll see me once again in the pages of the littles.

Some other reasons for my hiatus include: the desire for something more than scatological and misogynistic poems; the need for less bickering and backstabbing in the "community" of writers; tired of seeing mediocrity being lauded and applauded time and again.

OA: What is your opinion of the current state of poetry? Is it thriving in an internet era? Is it being watered down by an overabundance of outlets ( i.e. blogs/myspace/lit zines, etc)? Is there an audience for the modern poet?
JB: Thriving? Absolutely. I say it is thriving, but only in a cannibalistic way. The people reading the poems being published today (especially on the internet) are fellow writers who are hoping to also be read by the same writers they are currently reading. It's a massive circle jerk. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, it just depends on your point of view and intent. For a long time, it was okay with me to be published my small magazines who only sell to other poets, and to be read only by fellow writers. But, ambition is such that the stakes must get larger and the audience must grow and the scope must get broader. That certainly happened to me, and others I know. And in that frame of mind, it's hard to not get disgruntled.

As for the overabundance of outlets watering down the product, I say it is definitely happening; but it's not across the board. Places like blogs and myspace definitely water it down as there is no editing. Some e-zines are guilty of just accepting whatever comes across their email (or most of it, at least) and this also contributes to the watering down. However, the onus is on the editors to select good poetry (of which there is much) and to put out a good product. Just as there are plenty of mediocre writers, there are plenty of mediocre editors. There are even some bad ones. This only leads to a further breakdown of what the public sees as "poetry". 15 years ago, only those editors who were diligent and who cared about putting in the time would publish a magazine. Those editors would select only the best of the best that came to them (through traditional mail) and the whole thing took a lot of time and energy and passion. Nowadays, a weekly poetry e-zine is easy to put together and takes very little work. This ease hurts the poetry community.

Now, lest I come off as an elitist, I don't feel that most venues are bad, nor are most writers and editors (well, maybe writers). I DO feel there is a definite audience for modern poetry. I think, though, that the biggest obstacle is that this audience isn't aware of the fact that they like modern poetry. Most people, when asked to think of poetry, think of Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Dylan Thomas and then the people they see on slam poetry television shows screaming their hip observations into the void. What they are unaware of is the fact that there are many writers out there right now, writing poignant, important poems t hey can relate to; poems that will touch them and mean something to them and teach them a little about themselves. This part of poetry hasn't changed; only the language and structure.

OA: Who are some of your biggest literary influences?
JB: Mark Strand, Charles Bukowski, Walt Whitman, Katherine Dunn, Gerald Locklin, Harry Crews. There are many others who have hit me in the various stages of my life; some contemporary some not; some known some not. But, the above poets and writers are the ones I seem to always come back to.


OA: What is next for justin.barrett?
JB: Next for justin.barrett is a few months/years/decades off; trying to get things in order and to survive. For Justin Barrett, the same. There used to be a dichotomy, a difference between the two. Now, there is no difference, and I'm trying to come to terms with that.

Bonus Questions:
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
JB: No. I hate coffee. It tastes like dirt. Plus, caffeine and I don't get along.

OA: Who are some of your favorite musicians currently? Do your listen to music while you write?
JB: In list form:
The Shins, The Beatles, The Aggrolites, Modest Mouse, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Smashing Pumpkins, The Sea and Cake, The Fruits Bats, The Bees, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. To name a few that are in my current rotation.
I used to listen to music when I wrote, especially jazz, specifically Miles Davis.

OA: List your five favorite chapbooks on your bookshelf currently.
JB:
First Touch -- Glenn W. Cooper
Thru The Heart of This Animal Life... -- Christopher Cunningham
Deep Surface Fissures... -- Hosho McCreesh
The Effects of Drugs and Prostitution -- Owen Roberts
The Active Ingredient -- Gerald Locklin

For more information of Guerrilla Poetics visit their website, and for information on justin.barrett and to read a good sample of his work visit his website.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Artist of the Week

Casey Jex Smith
The symbols of the church posses a strength, a beauty, and an overall power that goes beyond one's own personal belief. These symbols and images transcend generation and have been maintained, enhanced, and manipulated by the artistic mind for centuries. It is through these images that the rich history of the church has been preserved and relayed to generation after generation. The hand of the artist has frequently updated and enhanced the familiar images with there own personal touches and abilities. One artist who is taking the symbols and figures of the Mormon church and mixing them with his own skill, passion, and soul is Detroit native Casey Jex Smith.

Casey spent his formative years in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up immersed in the culture and history of the Mormon church. He spent two years in Brazil as a LDS missionary, and draws from this foundation to create many of his pieces. Once back from Brazil, he switched majors and transferred from BYU to San Francisco Art Institute to complete his BFA in painting and drawing. Since graduating in 2005, Casey has gone on to create a collection of dramatic, soulful paintings and participate in numerous solo and group showings in across the country.

Recently, Casey took some time out to answer a few of our questions on his work and his faith.

Orange Alert (OA): How would you define your style of painting?
Casey Jex Smith (CJS): post-mission-neo-religious-symbolist

OA: In an interview last year with Chris Pew, you mentioned that you had spent two years as an LDS Missionary. How does your faith impact your art?
CJS: It impacts my entire perspective on life and art. I make art through the lens of someone raised in Utah as a devout Mormon and who still is. I spent two years knocking on people's doors (in Brazil you clap) in Brazil. That was a profound experience that shapes everything I do today. Luckily this church has a rich visual history as well that attaches itself onto the Christian tradition. Lots to decipher, deconstruct, steal from, and re-contextualize.

OA: Who are some of your biggest influences artistically?
CJS: Sufjan Stevens and Half-Handed Cloud are big influences. Too many visual artists to name here so I'll list seven: Jared Lindsay Clark, Brice Marden, Mark Mulroney, Vija Celmins, David Lynch, Colter Jacobsen, and C.C. A. Christensen.

OA: Do you listen to music while you create? Who are some of your favorite> artists to listen to while creating and in general?
CJS: Yep. Sufjan Stevens, Half-Handed Cloud, The Rapture, TV on the Radio,White Stripes, M83. Way too much NPR. "I heard blah blah blah on NPR the other day..."

OA: I love the colorful explosion that occasionally occur in your pieces. What is the inspiration behind these "explosions"?
CJS: Making the soul visible.


OA: I read you have a passion for Jello, are some of the colors drawn from that passion?
CJS: Actually, I don't really ever eat jello. I had my girlfriend make me some jello for the show that I just had at Swarm Gallery for the opening. Jello is the official food for the state of Utah. It's a Mormon/Utah culture thing. Mormons (for the most part) don't smoke, drink alcohol or coffee, or use drugs. So sugar is our substance of abuse. We eat lots of ice cream, baked-goods, and jello filled with whatever you can think of. And it's colors are pretty.

OA: What is next for Casey Jex Smith?
CJS: I'm curating a show called Fired! for the Garage Biennale that will show afterwards at Swarm Gallery in Oakland. It opens June 30th. My girlfriend, Amanda Lynch, will be one of the artists in the show. She introduced me to the "clay world". I wanted at first to curate a drawing show but decided I would be showing the same old artists that already get a lot of play in SF. Clay people on the other hand seem to stick to their own like printmakers. They need a little more attention. Some of them.

Bonus Questions:
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
CJS: Well, I don't drink coffee. I love the smell though. Love coffee flavored candy and ice-cream.

OA: What was the last great book that you read?
CJS: I just read Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 for the first time. To figure out what utopia is, I suppose I should know what dystopia is like. Can't wait for the new Harry Potter.

For more information on Casey Jex Smith please visit his website.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Release Tuesday


Music:
1. The Beastie Boys - The Mix Up Listen to: The Gala Event (mp3)
2. Nick Lowe - At My Age Listen to: Long Limbed Girl (mp3)
3. Metric - Grow Up and Blow Away Listen to: Grow Up and Blow Away (mp3)
4. The Chemical Brothers - Do It Again (Single) (mp3)
5. Bad Brains - Build a Nation Listen to: Build a Nation (mp3)
6. The Automatic Automatic - Not Accepted Anywhere (US Release)
7. Pixies Tribute - Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of The Pixies - What makes this more shocking is that "Wave of Mutilation" is on this disc. It almost seems like a joke, but it not! The Pixies are a great band, but not for babies and toddlers.


You can stream the albums from the Beaties Boys, Bad Brains, and The Automatic Automatic over at Spinner.

DVD:

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday Morning Mix


It is offically summer, and who doesn't like to spend "a day at the beach". This morning enjoy music from Tenor Saw, Cibelle, Aloe Blacc, Islands, The Bees, and more...

Artwork "The Ark" by the late Dan Christensen

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Orange Alert's Music Minute


1. Dirty Projectors announced the details of their latest album this week. Dirty Projectors is the project of Dave Longstreth, with a rotating cast of characters supporting him. The band will release its fourth full-length, Rise Above, on the newly launched Dead Oceans label, on Sept. 11. On the album, Longstreth re-imagines songs from one of the most beloved albums of his youth, Black Flag's Damaged. It should be made clear that this is NOT a covers album.

Rise Above Track list:
What I See/No More/Depression/Six Pack/Thirsty and Miserable/Police Story/Gimme Gimme Gimme/Spray Paint (The Walls)/Room 13/Rise Above

Check out: No More (mp3)

2. Jens Lekman announced that the first single from his, yet to be name, new LP will be "Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo". The single will be available for digital download on July 31st or you can puchase the 7" directly from Jens via his website. The 7" will feature the exclusive b-side "Radio NRJ". Jens descibes the b-side like this: "The B-side 'Radio NRJ' sounds less like it's title. It's more of a friday night spent inside. The top 20 of september 1994 recorded on a C-90 cassette. The tears streaming down your face." The artwork for the 7" was done by Karin Cyrén.

3. Z-Trip has been asked to do the soundtrack to 2k Sports, All-Pro Footbal 2K8, and he really pulled out all the stops. The soundtrack will be released separately, and will feature Rakim, Chali 2na, Lateef, Slug, and more. Z-Trip's soundtrack will be released by Decon records next month, and it will correspond with the release of the game. Once the album is out Z-Trip will embark on a next wide tour, please go to his website for updates on tour dates and times.



4. The Peel Back: The Creatures "Boomerang"
On the heels of the news that we will be treated to a new Siouxsie Sioux album this fall, I felt it was a good time to dig to the bottom of closet and start a new weekly segment entitled "The Peel Back". Each week I will pull out an release from years past and share some thoughts and sounds.

In 1989, Siouxsie and Budgie (The Creatures) decided to record their follow-up to their successful debut album, 1983's "Feast", in Spain. They had previously record their debut in Hawaii, and the sound of that album was heavily influenced by its surrounding. The same holds true on Boomerang with tracks like Morrina, Strolling Wolf, Simoom and Fruitman detailing their experiences in Spain. The instrumentation on this album is percussion heavy and horn laden, creating a great rhythm, and a true sense of being in a different land. It is truly an exotic experience.

The main single on this album was "Standing There" (The verbal abuse and misplaced bravado of & from men mainly towards women. "It's about the direct contact you get on the street, it's not just verbal abuse anymore. You see them up ahead and wonder, 'Should I cross over the road or turn around and go back?' (Budgie) Source: Record Mirror 11/11/89.) and it reached #53 on the UK charts. "Fury Eyes" (Inspired by the novel In The Eyes Of Mr. Fury, by Phillip Ridley) was also released as single, but it failed to chart.

Listen to:
Standing There (mp3)
Pity (mp3)
Fury Eyes (mp3)
Untiedundone (mp3)

Boomerang (Geffen Records, 1989) (currently out-of-print)
Standing There/Manchild/You!/Pity/Killing Time/Willow/Pluto Drive/Solar Choir/Speeding/Fury Eyes/Fruitman/Untiedundone/Simoom/Strolling Wolf/Venus Sands/Morrina



5. Lollapalooza Band of the Week: Mickey Avalon
He claims to be the boy next door who was always listening to records and bothering little girls. One day he disappears and you don't hear from him for years. Hollywood, CA is claiming the dirty laid back flow of Mickey Avalon. If Tim Fite lost his edge, watched Jerry Springer for a year straight, and dropped the country bit then he would be Mickey Avalon. What I am saying is Mickey has chops, but he has nothing to say and in turn says nothing. There is always a market for mindless hip-hop, but I take mine with a bit of intelligence thrown in the mix. Mr. Avalon released his self-titled debut album last November on Interscope/Shoot to Kill Records. Mickey is playing the Mindfield stage on Friday Aug. 3rd from 7 - 8pm, and going up against LCD Soundsystem. So I wish him luck, but I will have to pass at Lollapalooza. Check out: Jane Fonda (mp3) and Hustlers Hall of Fame (mp3)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Watch List

Listening:
1. Saint Joan - This band from the UK will be releasing their full length debut on Camera Obscura Records on June 25th. The album is called "The Wrecker's Lantern", and it has a beauty and soul that I am sure you will enjoy. Ellen Mary McGee pours so much emotion, dusty gravel roads, and cigarette smoke into her vocals. Check out: Satellites (mp3)
2. Dj Day - Everything about his music calmly whispers Palm Springs, CA. Dj Day has been in the game since 1989, and contributed to some major compilations. His style is smooth and funky, jazzy hip-hop with gentle cuts and scratches. He recently released his first full length album on Melting Pot Records "The Day Before". Check out: Four Hills (mp3)
3. Bad Animal - Shawn Gallagher is from Knoxville, TN and he clearly own a keyboard and a computer. This is lo-fi bedroom music at its most primitive, but also at it most enjoyable. This music is "not perfect", but it is honest and fun. He also draws some pretty cool pictures of wrestlers. Check out: The Hunted (mp3)

Reading:
1. OJ Simpson "If I Did It" - Not all that well written, but a fascinating look into the mind of a killer. Not just any killer, but one who got away with it.
2. Bookslut Issue #61 - Always interesting and relevant, the folks at bookslut have posted several great interviews and articles for the month of June.
3. The fairwell letter from Anne Elizabeth Moore of Punk Plant Magazine, announcing that the magazine form of Punk Planet will cease to exist after this issue. This is an outlet that will truly be missed in the literary world.

Wishing:
1. The Maniac by Skwak - This vinyl, released by MINDstyle, is colorful and crazy! There will only be 300 released in the US, so act now... Skwak is the man! $80
2. Ben Frost Coasters: Frost has released a series 22 different cork backed coasters features his incredible graphic pop art via his website. He of course is located in Australia, but he is accepting international purchases. $10 AUD ($8.46 US)
3. "Whales Hover(ed)" by Jeff Poniewaz - You can never have enough poetry about whales, right? Centennial Press has released Jeff's latest chapbook they are donating $1 to the WWF (the one without the roided up pretty boys rolling around and beating each we chairs) for every copy sold. $5

Getting:
1. Embryo #4 - I know I probably don't have too many German readers, but the artwork contained in this zine will bridge the communication gap. I love the cover, it looks like a page out of a German phone book. Also check out the work by Lisa Stetner. It doesn't hurt that this stylish zine is free.

Watching:
1. New videos from Ghosthustler "Parking Lot Nights" and The Go! Team "Grip Like a Vice".
2. This amazing clip from The Sound of Jazz, 1958, Thelonious Monk "Blue Monk". My favorite part is watching Count Basie enjoying the magic of Monk.


Saturday Morning Cartoon

This beautiful morning while you enjoy your bowl of Frankenberry at sunrise, watch this upbeat video from Trevor Childs.

"Deathwish"



Friday, June 22, 2007

Band of the Week

Bodies of Water

They sound like a massive indie choir raising their voices to the heavens, when in reality they are just a quartet that likes to sing in unison. Jessie Conklin, David Metcalf, Meredith Metcalf, and Kyle Gladden evoke images of back road streams flowing through mountain valleys lined with small churches. The harmonies flow freely from these churches and blend with the countryside guitar and piano melodies. However, this quarter is not from some back ally church choir, they are from Los Angeles, CA and they a set to release their full-length debut, "Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink" on July 24th.





The album will be self-released on their label Thousand Tongues, and from what I have heard already it will be amazing. Aside from the angelic soaring of voices, their instrumentation is also quite grabbing and consuming. Their music stomps along proudly with organ and drums pounding out a rhythmic and rolling path for their voices to collectively fly over.

When on tour the Bodies of Water double in size adding viola, trombone's, and more drums. The result must be breathtaking to witness. They currently do not have any upcoming shows listed, but continue to check their website for updates. It doesn't appear that you can currently preorder the album, but they do have some nice homemade t-shirts for sale, as well as their debut ep from 2005.

Check out: (from Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink)

These are Eyes (mp3)

I Guess I'll Forget the Sound, I Guess, I Guess (mp3)

Doves Circled The Sky (mp3)

For more information of please visit their website or the myspace page that they mantain.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Writer's Corner


Patrick Somerville


Patrick Somerville is the author of last year's short story collection "Trouble", which has gained him some very positive press. His story "Friends From Cincinnati" was recently published by THE2ndHAND, and he has had several other stories published in recent years. Patrick currently teaches creative writing at the Graham School in downtown Chicago.

Recently, Patrick was able to take some time out to answer a few of our questions.

Orange Alert (OA): I know you are originally from Wisconsin, do you consider yourself a "Chicago" writer? What is your opinion of the current Chicago literary scene?
Patrick Somerville (PS): Oh, I don't know. Wherever I go I slowly start writing about my location, but it usually takes a few years for it to seep into my consciousness. When I was in New York I was writing about Wisconsin, when I was in San Francisco I was writing about New York, and now that I'm in Chicago I'm writing about Wisconsin again, plus a few Chicago stories here and there. Wisconsin will always seem like home to me--it has a gravitational pull in my imagination. Part of why I love Chicago is that it's sort of the urban incarnation of the Midwest. The people feel recognizable to me in ways they didn't on either coast. And by that I don't mean fat--that's just a coincidence.

People in Chicago care about literature a lot, but beyond that I don't have much opinion about the literary scene. I'm lucky in that I have some friends here who are writers. Sometimes we are in public places with other writers, and I have fun. But I have other friends, too. You're in a lot of trouble as a writer if you spend much time planning your life based on those things. What's important is the time you spend alone, working, writing, and struggling with the problems of your art. That doesn't happen at bars.

OA: Who are some of your biggest literary influences?
PS: John Cheever, Joseph Heller, Virginia Woolf, Charles Portis, Lorrie Moore. Secretly: Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Recently: Paul Bowles, who is stranger and darker than any writer I can think of.

OA: What are your thoughts on book tours/readings? Do you feel differently about your pieces when you perform them at readings? Should fiction be performed?
PS: I think I've both improved and damaged stories during readings, depending on the situation, the audience, the particular piece. One of the best readings of my life happened in this dark, nearly-empty bar in New York maybe four years ago. The microphone was perfect and the audience was really generous with reacting to the story, and near the end I felt like a storyteller, not a fiction writer, you know? Like it was a performance, and it mattered that it happened live. But I've given bad readings, too. I've stumbled over words and read too fast and chosen the wrong thing. My grandmother talked through an entire reading I gave in Green Bay. I started shaking at a reading once and had to hold the story against my stomach. They can get weird.

OA: How did you come to teach inmates at Auburn State Correctional Facility? What was that experience like, and what did you take away from your time there?
PS: Cornell had and has a kind of patched-together prison program run by an insane man named Pete Wetherbee, who is now an Emeritus professor. Creative writing is usually popular in prisons, and I found Pete and told him I wanted to teach the class. A couple of other writers and I went every week for a year and ran a workshop with about 25 students.

I took away a lot, but I'm not sure I can articulate it. Prisons are dark, powerful places where imagination is massively important and constantly under fire. I think, in a way, it's a commodity. It's like a drug in and of itself--I can't tell you how many times someone submitted a short story or a poem that had to do with teleportation, or floating out through the walls of a cell, into the world. I had students with unbelievable talent and other students who could not form sentences, who were there because class constituted a kind of escape. One of our students got a three book deal to write hip-hop thrillers. That was the dream that many of them had. I think I became a better teacher in that I had to work to connect to students. 90% of them were black and poor, and I'm a rich white person from the suburbs. And yet fiction-writing and storytelling was more than enough of a bridge to bring us together into a kind of community. It was interesting, to say the least, to go up to Auburn on Wednesday nights to run the workshop and then go to class on Thursday mornings to see my Ivy League undergraduates. What was really great was that they were often having the same problems with shit like flashbacks.

It's beyond stupid that the federal government doesn't spend more money on education in the prison system. During class you could just feel new kinds of social experiences opening up for the students. If anyone is going to have a chance to start a new, different life when they get out of prison, it will be the people who have confidence and flexibility working with mainstream institutions, not to mention the people who can write. I look at that little Cost-of-Iraq-War-Widget on your sidebar and just cringe. $3000/second for that, nearly nothing here.

OA: Your first book, a collection of short stories entitled "Trouble" came out last fall, how are dealing with the critical success of this collection?
PS: I feel almost exactly the same as I did before the book came out--anxious about finding time to write and learning more. I'm proud of Trouble and I like all the stories, but I want it to be a starting place.

OA: What's next for Patrick Somerville?
PS: I've been working on a novel for the last two years, and I'm also getting pretty close to having a second collection of stories ready to go. We'll see what happens. The novel takes place in the woods, in northern Wisconsin, and is not very funny at all. There is a monster and it has wings. I know that sounds funny, but it's not.

For more information of Patrick Somerville please visit his website and also check out his blog.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Artist of the Week

Scott David Johnson

Imagine that you live on the 40th floor of a high rise downtown Chicago, you look out your window, and see a swarm of people or a massive swat team, or emergency vehicles. However from your point of view you can't make out what actually happened. You want to look closer or find a different angle, but then the moment the has passed, the crowd disperses and you go on about your day. These are the scenes that fill the mind and the canvas of Chicagoan Scott David Johnson.

Viewing the world from that perspective makes for an interesting study of life without many of added cultural, racial, or religious aspects. In fact, in several of Scott's pieces the faces or other body parts blend or flow into one another, removing identity from tragedy or from joyous celebration, leaving a true huddled mass observing the unknown. In the statement on his website Scott puts it like this, "Up close, the unique personality of an individual can be detected. Upon retreating to observe a large group of people from a distance, individual sentiment will dissolve into the abstract patterns of a crowd. Whether these patterns suggest a street fair, a protest, or a tragic disaster, the negative space surrounding the event offers an absence of context, isolating the brush strokes in a sea of neutral color as if they were a school of fish".

Recently, Scott was able to answer a few of our questions regarding his work.


Orange Alert (OA): How would you describe your work?
Scott David Johnson (SDJ): My work could be described as "half-completed", not so much as the composition is concerned, although I do like to leave a lot of empty space. Half completed because the viewer gets a hint of what's going on in the crowd scenes, to make room for interpretation. I also sometimes like to stop working on a painting before I think it's finished. I don't like putting "finishing touches" on a painting.


OA: I enjoy the way the figures in your paintings blend together and virtually eliminate race, religion, profession, and most individual characteristic. You present a mass of people or scene in time and allow the observer to draw their own conclusions. How did you come to develop this style, and what was the original sentiment behind these paintings?
SDJ: I've been working on these crowd scenes for a few years now. This series grew out of a previous series I called the "Public" paintings. In the Public paintings I painted specific portraits of various people I had photographed without their knowledge. The figures were also surrounded by a neutral color. Eventually I got tired of painting detailed portraits straight from photographs and I wanted to create some more abstract compositions out of my head. So I widened my viewing angle to depict much larger crowd scenes. I was able to eliminate individual detail and concentrate more on the composition of a crowd as if it were an individual itself. I include a lot of things the viewer can recognize,police uniforms, ambulances, playground sets, etc. I balance this rhetoric with an ambiguity. A crash scene will be off to the side so you don't really see the gory details.A protest scene may include hundreds of S.W.A.T. police, but only a few civilians.Kids in the playground jungle gym will show no body movement, as if they were just passing through the structure as if on an assembly line. I like working this way because the line between representation and abstraction is blurred, and I'd like to take it much further.



OA: Who are some of your biggest influences artistically?
SDJ: A lot of my favorite artists are from the past, Velazquez and Goya, Beethoven, or "Moby-Dick" for example. I enjoy the weird sensuality of recent abstractionists such as Terry Winters, Jonathan Lasker and Luc Tuymans. I love Morandi's still lifes. I see so many wild things at the art shows, and I sometimes prefer books or some music more than paintings. But I don't think of these things while I'm working. The last thing I want to do is "quote" another artist or "pay homage" to another artist, especially another painter.I don't even want Scott Johnson in the painting. I want to give anonymous reports.

OA: What is your opinion of the current Chicago art scene?
SDJ: There are a lot of fantastic artists here, Nichole Janan Chandler, for instance. There are multiple organizations an artist can get involved with for exposure of their work, and there are some grants here that are accessible.

OA: What is your typical starting point for a new piece and how long does it take to complete that piece?
SDJ: It seems that a lot of the time put into my work involves prepping the canvas and layering the backgrounds. I work on a handful of canvases at the same time so others can dry. When things are going good I'll get 2 or 3 smaller pieces done per week. It takes longer for the larger work.

OA: What is next for Scott Johnson?
SDJ: The biggest news for me right now is I have a show going on at Tinlark Gallery in L.A. In the fall I'll be participating in the Bridge Art Fair in London. Hopefully by then I'll have a lot of new work ready. I better get started.

Bonus Questions:
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
SDJ: Yes to black coffee. Anywhere.

OA: What type of music do you listen to, and who are some of your favorite musicians? Do you listen to music while painting?
SDJ: I've been listening to vintage underground new wave music from the Flexi-Pop label. I'm also continuing my personal compilation of 70's AM pop. I've been perfecting it for years and it may never get done.

For more information on Scott David Johnson visit his website.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New Release Tuesday


Music:
1. Chromeo - Fancy Footwork Check Out: Fancy Footwork (mp3) (pictured above)
2. The Polyphonic Spree - The Fragile Army Check Out: The Fragile Army (mp3)
3. Art Brut - It's a Bit Complicated Check out: Pump up the Volume (mp3)
4. The White Stripes - Icky Thump Check out: Icky Thump (mp3)
5. Rocky Votolato - The Brag & Cuss Check out: Lilly White (mp3)
6. Bumps - Bumps Check out: Tryplmeade Gorsmatch (mp3)
7. Videohippos - Unbeast the Leash Check out: The List (mp3)
8. Fridge - The Sun (US Release) Check out : Eyelids (mp3)
9. Savath and Savalas - Golden Pollen Check out: Apnea Obstructiva (mp3)
10. Digitalism - Idealism Check out: What I Want (mp3)
11. Matt Pond PA - If You Want Blood Ep
12. Minus Story - My Ion Truss Check out: Stitch Me Up (mp3)
13. Two Gallants - The Scenery of Farewell Ep
14. Panda Bear - Take Pills/Bonfire of the Vanities (Single) Check out: Bonfire of the Vanities (mp3)
15. The Mooney Suzuki - Have Mercy

You can stream the albums from Mooney Suzuki, Art Brut, The Polyphonic Spree, Rocky Votolato, Digitalism, and Chromeo over at the Spinner.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Monday Morning Mix

This week's mix is inspired by this painting with the same name from Chicago artist Kristin Komar. It may be more drum heavy then heart heavy, but it grooves nonetheless! Enjoy "Hearts & Drums" featuring music from The National, Liars, Justice, Joy Division, Illinois, and More!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Orange Alert's Music Minute

1. It has been several years now since "mashups" or blends were the hottest thing, but there are still several bedroom sound manipulators out there cranking out quality hybrids. The Illuminoids having been in the mashup game for awhile, but this last month they finished a project that not many bootleggers have done before. They were able to partner with CSS, L7, and Donita Sparks to produce a legitimate product that all involved agreed upon. The downside to all of this loving and cooperation, the song is not available for download. However, you can hear it a number of places... Illuminoids myspace, CSS myspace, or L7's myspace. Maybe it will turn into an Ep or something bigger, who knows.

2. Illinois recently performed a session for the fine folks over a daytrotter. They are quickly becoming of my favorite bands, and this session only added to that love. They perform and three unreleased songs and great version of "Alone Again". My favorite of those songs would have to be "Blue Hands", it is an upbeat infectious piano driven number about being infected and not wanted to be helped by modern medicine. Check Illinois free downloads here.

3. Yep Roc is offering a free sample Ep from Simple Kid. This Ep features a live version of his new single "Serotonin" along with a self-produced video the song. Check it out here.

4. Exciting Lollapalooza line-up announcements! This past week Lollapalooza released their schedule, and the added several bands to their impressive line-up. First and foremost, Apostle of Hustle! After that you have The Switches, The Diffs, and my favorites Klever and Dj Craze. Also "added", but not confirmed are Mickey Avalon, The Cool Kids, and Flosstradamus. Now we are talking!

5. Lollapalooza Band of The Week: High Class Elite
New York, NY is home to this quintet that reminds me a lot of 2005's Louis XIV, in that, as far as i can hear, they only have one song, "Turn of the Century" (mp3). However, it is hard to judge this band since they have only released a four song ep. The difference is I have heard great things about the stage show of High Class Elite, and Louis XIV do not put on much of a show. They are lead by the energy and charisma of lead singer Franco V. This band will be playing Saturday morning opposite I'm From Barcelona, so it is your call, but I say check'em out.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Watch List

Listening:
1. Gentlemen Drivers - This duo from Paris will get you shaking! If you are a fan of Justice, SabastiAn, or really anything Ed Banger, the you have to hear this music. Check Out: Paris Texas Remix (mp3)
2. Minipop - San Francisco is home to this indie rock Quintet. Lead singer Tricia Kanne has an incredible voice, and belts out anthem after anthem. Check out: Like i Do (mp3)
3. Oldfolks Home - Winnipeg, Montreal is home to this mysterious electro-pop producer. The best part of this music are the delicate vocals.

Reading:
1. A Math Lesson on College Loans - This is what they don't tell you when you enter into these loans.
2. After the Bomb - What would it be like if a nuclear weapon went off in a major city in American?
3. The latest issue of Zygote in my Coffee - The June issue features some great new work. My favorite is "Free Falling" by Nicole Henares



Wishing:

1. iPhone - I don;t know how much it will cost, but I can't wait for it's release on June 29th.
2. Teaching Metaphors by Nathan Graziano - This is recommended collection of poetry written about life in public high school. $15
3. Fun With Milk & Cheese - a carton of hate and a wedge of spite! $9.56


Getting:

1. xlr8r - Issue 108 was just released and it features Digitalism, Devin The Dude, Feist and more, oh and it's free!


Watching:

1. This is one of my all-time favorite songs, it is from last year's debut from Tobias Froberg, watch "When the Night Turns Cold"
2.Here is a great video and song from Bonde Do Role, check out "Solta O Frango":



Saturday Morning Cartoon

In honor of this week's band of the week, watch this great animated video from Quasimoto while you consume your bowl of Waffelos.


Come On Feet


Friday, June 15, 2007

Band of The Week


Madlib

"Madlib tha bad kid, all up in your ear hole"

Otis Jackson Jr. (a.k.a Madlib) was born and raised in Oxnard, CA, and that is where he first learned the ways and the roots of hip-hop. His father Otis Jackson Sr. was a soul singer, and eventually help Madlib launch his music career. It was 1993 when The Alkaholiks introduced us two unknown trio called the Lootpack, Cracka Jack (later known as Wildchild), Madlib, and Dj Romes. The track was called "Turn Tha Party Out", and it was probably the highlight of Tha Liks debut album, "21 & Over". In 1996, Lootpack released their debut EP "Ill Psyche Move" on their CDP (Crate Diggas Palace), and legend began. Back then Madlib produced the beats and laid down someone the most subdued and rhythmic rhymes that I have ever heard. His flow was almost hypnotic. It was this EP that caught the eye and ear of Stone Throw's founder Peanut Butter Wolf, and the Lootpack were signed. They released their debut Lp in 1999, the underground masterpiece "Soundpieces: Da Antidote!". Madlib was the Beat Konducta and Wildchild was the Ryhme Constructa, it was the perfect combination. Madlib was roughly chopping up old jazz and soul records at time when other producer where making cookie cutter manufactured beats, and the difference was clear. This was the first time that we heard from Madlib's first alter-ego Quasimoto, who is create by rhyming over slow down beats so when they are brought to a normally the vocals become high pitched. Quasimoto's first solo album in 2000, "The Unseen" was Madlib's biggest success as a rapper and producer. However, he wanted to achieve success in other areas of his career.




Madlib has gone on to be the most prolific producer/DJ/Mc in the history of hip-hop. He is consistently making music, in a recent interview he had this to say about making music; "I don’t really do anything other than make beats. I’m either in the studio or with a chick. So I make a lot of tracks". From his simple start in a West Cost rap group, Madlib has branched off to create numerous alias and partnerships, among them Yesterday's New Quintet, Dj Rels, Jaylib, Madvillian, Sound Directions, and so on. According to Stones Throw, Madlib has appeared on in some form or another 123 records/tracks since 1993.

What I enjoy about Madlib is his attitude towards music and the industry in general. He is not in this fame, or bling, or even money, he has this internal beat that simply has to come out. My favorite of all of his monikers is sound of Yesterday's New Quintet (YNQ). Madlib records and produces each of the part of these jazz influenced albums himself. They are a unique form of jazz, while retaining many of the aspects of hip-hop. His compositions are at times brief and choppy, but their backbone and flow is always firmly in place.

This summer Madlib will be release two new albums and the reissue of Jaylib's "Champion Sound". The first will be the third installment of his Beat Konducta series "Beat Konducta Vol. 3: In India", and shortly there after will be his latest YNQ product "Yesterday's Universe" on July 17th.




Download: Masala (mp3)
Enter: Hot Curry/Indian Hump/Movie Finale/Raw Tranquility Pt. 3/Freeze/Masala/Onthatnewthing/Indian Deli/The umble/Dancing Girls Theme/Piano Garden/Dark Alley Incidental Music/Early Party/Fifth Chant/The Rip Off (Scene 3)/Sitar Ride


01. Otis Jackson Jr Trio - Bitches Brew (M. Davis)
02. The Jahari Massamba Unit featuring Karriem Riggins Trio - Umoja (Unity)
03. Young Jazz Rebels - Slave Riot (D. Smith)
04. The Last Electro-Acoustic Space Jazz & Percussion Ensemble - One for the Monica Lingas Band
05. Kamala Walker and The Soul Tribe - Street Talkin'
06. The Jazzistics - Marcus, Martin & Malcolm
07. Suntouch - Two for Strata East
08. Sound Directions - She's Gonna Stay
09. The Last Electro-Acoustic Space Jazz & Percussion Ensemble - Cold Nights And Rainy Days
10. Otis Jackson Jr Trio - Free Son
11. Jackson Conti - Barumba (L.Eca, Bebeto)
12. Ahmad Miller - Sunny C (California)
13. The Eddie Prince Fusion Band - Mtume's Song
14. Yesterday's Universe All Stars - Vibes from the Tribes Suite (For Phil)
15. Jackson Conti - Upa Neguinho

Download: Madlib "Live at Chocolate City" circa 2001 (mp3)

(Photo at top by Hannes Mezger)
For more information on Madlib visit his page over at Stones Throw or visit his Myspace.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Writer's Corner


Amanda Oaks

When a poem is written what is its intention? Is it intended to be distributed and read among peers, to be published and shared with the general public, or is the poem an extension of the poets true voice and therefore meant to be read aloud. When words are typed they have a certain look and feel, but the sound remains a mystery. When read aloud, a poem can take on a whole new life, it almost becomes a living an breathing entity, moving through time and space and meeting the audience with intention. When writing you may be able to clear your head enough to hear internally what your poem may sound like, but the reader next door or half-way around the world may not hear it the same way. One poet who is taking some steps to have her voice heard is Pennsylvania based writer and editor Amanda Oaks.

Amanda is the founder and editor of the biannual print journal Words Dance, and has published a couple of chapbooks through Verve Bath Press. Among those chapbooks are the handcrafted and beautifully done "Love Notes" and " Balancing on the Brink", she has also been published in numerous literary journals and sites.

Recently, Amanda took some time out to answer our questions and record a few of her newer pieces for us.

Orange Alert (OA): I have found a few sound files of you reading your poems, instead of simply having them printed. How important to you is the sound of a poem?
Amanda Oaks (AO): Recording my poems was & still is a learning experience for me. Poetry, for the most part, was a spoken art for ages. I feel that the sound of a poem is pretty vital to it’s meaning. Sometimes the sound of a poem is as crucial to it’s meaning as the words printed on the page are. The way the words roll off the tongue, which ones are stressed, the beat, the list is long as to why. This plays true not only with my poems but in my reading of other’s poetry. If stumble across a poem that cracks my skull open, I reread it out loud because there’s no doubt my other senses missed something. Still, the depth you get when you hear a poet read their own work is precious & if you’re lucky, earth-shattering. If I find a poet who’s work I admire I’m always eager to listen to them by some means.



OA: Who are some of your biggest literary influences?
AO: I would say Richard Brautigan is pretty high up on the list. Anais Nin,some of the men but mostly the women from the Beat Generation, Neruda to Bukowski, Plath, Olds & Cummings to name a few. Though the core of my inspiration comes from my peers. The main reason I started Words Dance was to have access to such work. I wanted to help spread the work around that I was reading in publications that I had been in. Besides being so moved by it, it at times was the trigger for my hand to be against the paper & writing.

OA: What is your opinion of the current state of poetry? Is it thriving in an internet era? Is it being watered down by an overabundance of outlets ( i.e.blogs/myspace/lit zines, etc)? Is there an audience for the modern poet?
AO: Oh dear, one day I am floored by the sense of connection the internet has given poets, others times I feel it to be the switch that sheds light on big egos, child-like drama & needless competition. Although we don’t always have to agree on things I feel like we should at least support each other, which is what is going on most of the time with a few exceptions. I cherish the relationships I’ve developed through the small press. There are some bright lights out there, you just have to search for them, be it people, publications or presses.



OA: Your latest chapbook, "Love Notes" is handmade with lace and a vintage button. It seems like a lot of time and care was put into the finished product. How important is the presentation of your poetry to you?
AO: I’m very proud of Love Notes. I had this vision of what I wanted the book to be in my head & I am thankful that I achieved it. I had a few of years worth of short verses that didn’t want to be worked into larger pieces, so I compiled them. They are just what the title suggests, Love Notes. Some may find the lack of misery to be dishonest but I promised myself long ago to be more of a hopeful romantic than a cynic & that works for me most of the time, be it when writing or in life. As for the importance of presentation, it’s not necessarily important to the poem itself or to everyone but to me it is. My intentions were & still are very modest. I enjoy making books, especially for poets that I enjoy as poets & people. Many of the presses I love, Centennial Press & sunnyoutside to name two, take pride in the poem & have turned it into something visually pleasing, a piece of art— I love that.

OA: Being both poet & publisher, how has this affected the way you look at
a poem, be it yours or another writer's?
AO: Well, being a "publisher" certainly hasn’t helped me in catching errors in my own work. It hasn’t changed the way I read poetry outside of submissions either. The only time I go into "publisher" mode is after the first draft is printed.



OA: What's next for Amanda Oaks?
AO: My family is my number priority, always has been. I’ve been extremely fortunate in that respect, the family card that I was dealt aces out a good lot of the time. Kurt, my fiancé & I are getting ready to start our own little family of three soon. We have a little one due this autumn so I’ve been steering most of my energy toward being a good mama & partner. This has put a good many of things in the back seat but that doesn’t mean that I’ve totally kicked them out of the car. Issue #11 of Words Dance should be out this month (I said that last month!) no really, it’s nearing completion & it rocks a whole lot. Sometime soon, this summer, Rose of Sharon Press will be releasing a joint chapbook of mine & John Dorsey’s, "dreams that would drown most men". S.A Griffin & David Smith do an amazing job over there, you should definitely check them out. To be honest, I'm a writer when I am. I haven’t written a poem I’ve liked in months. I tried for awhile & everything seemed so forced. I am not above putting the pen to rest for a little while, it’s much better than writing contrived shit. I can’t do that to myself or the people who occasionally read my work. I have faith the magic will return, patience is the key to most everything.

Bonus Questions:
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
AO: Yessum! But I quit cold turkey when I found out I was expecting, coffee along with cigarettes. Much like wine & literature, I am not a coffee snob. Cream, preferably Vanilla flavored, no sugar & I’m good. There are no "coffee spots" where I am currently living, middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania. I’ve had my share of them other places I’ve lived though, one being Webster’s Bookstore in State College, amazing locally roasted organic coffee, the best.

OA: Who are some of your favorite musicians currently? Do your listen to music while you write?
AO: Music is my mistress & I’m a slut. My tastes range wide & I welcome suggestion. Iron & Wine, Devendra Banhart, The Mars Volta, Midlake,Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Miss Derringer, Gomez, Cocorosie, PJ Harvey & The Beatles of course, the list is so very long. Yes, I always have the headphones on while writing unless I’m writing outside.

For more information on Amanda Oaks your can visit the Words Dance website, and to puchased any of her chapbooks and some other interesting items you can visit her etsy site.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Artist of The Week


William Bryant (a.k.a. Sir W. Woods)

When in college, the artistic aspects of most people are brought to the forefront, and a lot of experimentation and trial and error takes places. Many individuals try their hand at writing, painting, or any number of artistic avenues, but many times it is merely a momentary release on the their way to whatever their true calling may be. However, in the case of William Bryant, who is currently attending Mississippi State University, this is not the case. While attending the various art classes and workshops at school he has discovered his true calling. One of his pieces was recently featured over at Brooklyn Vegan, and he is currently working on several other projects while completing his degree. Fortunately, he was able to take some time out to answer a few of our questions on art, music, and U-Haul's.

Orange Alert (OA): How would describe your style of art?
William Bryant (WB): pseudo-tribal flirting with hyper psych-del wanna be outsider mixed with healthy serving of crude creepy light-hearted experimental post-apocolyptic seasoning. That should do it?

OA: Who are some of your biggest influences artistically?
WB: Mike Perry, Kate Bingaman-Burt and her husband Clifton Burt, Brent Funderburke, Dave & Abby Portner, THINKMULE, M. Sasek, Henry Darger, Stanley Donwood and Ray Fenwick are just a few.



OA: Music seems to play a major role in a lot of your pieces. Can you talk about this relationship and who are some of you favorite musicians currently?
WB: Music became a huge part of my life in high school. Over the years having savvy friends, visiting Good Records in Dallas, and the internet shaped my taste in music. And music has become an important influence in art and in making art. It's hard for me to think visually without it. But creation has to be my greatest influence. Currently, Animal Collective is my favorite band. Dave Portner & Noah Lennox have gots it going on! pure gold. I'm excited about all their upcoming works along with new albums from Architecture in Helsinki and my good friends Pilotdrift. Also, I've started getting down & dirty with older projects like Os Mutantes, Caetano Veloso, The Zombies, Vashti Bunyan & The Kinks. I'm behind on the grate, I mean great bands of ye olden times. Other current loves include Derek Webb, Grizzly Bear, Devendra & friends, YACHT, Peter and the Wolf, Akron/Family, The Dodos, Of Montreal, Brightblack Morning Light, Islands....there are a lot! Maybe this should be a separate interview? I just love this band and that band. This band has amazing artwork, this band makes me laugh, that band has killer hand drawn type, those dudez make me get my groove on and so forth.


OA: I love the concept of the U-haul show, have you had any other shows? Can people purchase any of your work at this time?
WB: Thanks! i really enjoyed that u-haul show. It wasn't part of my grade, I just wanted a gallery space. I put a lot of hours into the work and the installation and even the playlist. But, I haven't really had any other shows, although i hope to have more very soon! And yes, people can purchase just about anything from me. I'll sell my art, shoes i don't wear often, cinnamon tooth picks, and even magic. It would all have to take place via cybermail. Hopefully next semester i will have a website so people could better view my work and perhaps make purchases in more of an official manner.

OA: How has your experience at Mississippi State affected you as an artist?
WB: I will have to say that my experience at Mississippi State has made me an artist. It has defined me in drawing, painting, graphic design, and especially in typography. I took an art class in 8th & 9th grades, but I didn't really find myself to be an artist until I started college at Mississippi State in 2004. The Art Department/Graphic Design at MSU is outstanding! There are some rad profs here.

OA: What's next for William Byrant?
WB: Well, I have 3 more semesters of school. I plan to do more freelance illustration, perform dj sets as The Hooded Deer, drink lots of water, begin to dabble with web & video art projects, figure out my artist identity (maybe W. Woods) AND get engaged to my lady!


Bonus Questions:
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?WB: Yes, i like it black. I like to think of myself as a cowboy in that way.

OA: What was the last great book that you read?
WB: My wonderful girlfriend suggested I read "Bridge to Terabithia." I loved it! Such a great story. I'm still struggling to become a major league reader. The attention span is an issue.

For more information on William Bryant visit his flickr site.