Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Artist of the Week

Pierre-Paul Pariseau

In music they call it sampling, but when placed in the hands of an artist the results can be vibrant and surprisingly original. The same principles apply, cutting and pasting, layering images upon a bed of creative expression. It is more than just a remix of images, the product is a completely original piece. What is exciting is the endless supply of images and all the possibilities that lay within. The genre of mixed media is consistently growing, and the work of Montreal's Pierre-Paul Pariseau has been involved in the scene for years. His work has been seen in numerous magazine and he has won several awards.

Buzzing with vivid colors and an endless array images his mixed media work is bold and ever-changing. Recently, Pierre-Paul was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): As a professional illustrator how do you balance personal work and professional work? Are there qualities in your personal work that you do carry over to your professional work?
Pierre-Paul Pariseau (PP): Personal work is as much important as professional work, and the contrary is true also. There are different qualities in both kind of work. The personal projects are very important because then you can let yourself go completely in the depths of your imagination, into a loose narrative. You can be "crazy" as you want, to surprise yourself as you never did before. My personal works do not always have clear meanings, they allow a wide space for interpretation. Being totally free it is more easy to experiment with the different technics (no deadline to respect, you have the time to re-do as you want) and to come out of this with interesting discoveries that you can use in commissioned works later, if relevant.

The constraints (subjects, sizes, delays, etc.) brought by the professional works can be an important challenge for the spirit. It is a positive experience that brings you into areas of discomfort that could be, at the end, very freeing. Again, you discover part of your imagination that you would probably not have otherwise. This state of mind can be used in your personal works later on.

Both kinds of artworks, the personal and the commissioned, are feeding each other.

OA: You work a lot with found images are there any legal issues involved with this type of art?
PP: Of course you have to be aware of the copyright laws when you use this medium. It is allowed to use part of photos. I transform so much the cutouts I use that the final image has absolutely nothing to do with the different sources it comes from. I never had any negative feedback about this all along my career so I must have "well behave", be respectful.

OA: You seem to utilize a lot of vivid colors in your work. What role does color play in your work?
PP: The colors play a very important role in my work. After the composition is done and it is pretty clear where I am going with this image it is the colors that brings everything into life. They create the energy between each part of the image, put emphasis on certain parts, give the general mood. I like vibrant and lively colors but working in b/w would be great also or in a certain tone if needed.

OA: In your professional work, is it difficult or painful to make alterations to your images? Have you ever refused to change an image?
PP: I never had any problem making alterations to my images. I probably have been lucky to work with experienced and sensitive art directors because I have learned a lot from them and the changes they asked me to do. This, especially, at the beginning of my career as I am a self-taught artist; I have learned the craft day by day doing commissioned works and the personal ones. I remember doing some compromises that were not at the best for the final result, according to me, but everybody was happy except me. I wouldn't do it again now.

Now that I have more experience I am not ask so often to change anything, I have a good idea what would be best for the picture and what is wanted from me by art directors. If there is a change although I always keep an open mind, I listen and I learn what there is to learn, concerning the picture or something else.

OA: Is there a specific quality or trait that makes a piece a Pierre-Paul Pariseau piece?
PP: I think that my style is easily recognizable. It is difficult for me to describe it although, you see it and that is it. The way I use the color, surrealism, pop, composition, humor; all these are used in my own personal way that makes a picture of mine easily recognizable. Other people can tell you more about this than me, perhaps I do not have enough distance from my work to describe my style with words easily.

OA: What's next for Pierre-Paul Pariseau?
PP: More illustrations to do with a various range of clients, plus a continuous collaboration with the current ones, I wish. A trip to Europe in the current year is also something expected.

Bonus Questions:
OA: If you could sit down for coffee with anyone (living or dead) who would it be?
PP: There could be so many people I would like to have dinner with. This question comes right at the time when I was discussing this with my girlfriend the other day and we had just seen an interview with Alice Cooper on TV. He was witty, humble, saying all kinds of interesting and funny anecdotes, that we said we would love to invite him for dinner (curious choice isn't it?), with friends and other famous people. These days I am reading books by Alexandro Jodorowsky and I would love to meet the man. Next week it could be someone else.

OA: In a past interview you mentioned that you listen to music while you work, who are a few of your favorites while painting and in general?
PP: I listen to all kinds of music but comes often electronica when working, bands like Fila Brazillia, Thievery Corporation, Bonobo, The Cinematic Orchestra, Morcheeba, etc.... But lately I have been listening to John Coltrane and Chet Baker. Tomorrow it could be French singers... and the day after some groovy hip-hop.

For more information on Pierre-Paul Pariseau please visit his website.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gallery Watch

Jason Robert Bell @ Thomas Robertello Gallery

Last month we talked to artist Jason Robert Bell (interview here) about his new inventive series of paintings, and now they will be unveiled at the Thomas Robertello Gallery. The Unreasoning Mask: New Revelations in Figurative Metaphysics opens on January 9th and runs through Feb. 21st. The title for the exhibit comes from Melville's Moby Dick, describing the nature of reality: "All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event - in the living act, the undoubted deed - there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask!...How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall?" - Ahab to Starbuck

Jason's work freely explores the boundaries of reality and a world that only exists inside his mind. He is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and we are glad to have him back in Chicago. Opening reception Friday January 9, 5:00 - 8:00 pm at 939 W Randolph.

Monday, December 29, 2008

New Contest from Verve Bath Press

verve bath press is holding a giveaway to ring in the new year! Win a copy of Fossil Fuels by Jessica Dawson! Review & Excerpts: (review, poem one, poem two)

Check out the details here and good luck!

Orange Alert Presents...


If you thought that video was exciting you may have had too much egg nog, but you will not be disappointed this Friday at The Abbey Pub as Orange Alert sponsors Minnesota's One For The Team.

Here is my interview with the band from last May. Their sophomore album Build It Up was released in August by Militia Group. Addicted to the road, this is a band that has a tight set and great indie pop sound. If you're in Chicago come down to Abbey Pub this Friday, doors open at 8:00pm and the show starts at 9:00pm. Tickets are Tickets $6 in advance and $8 at the door.

The Orange Spotlight

Blackout Beach Skin of Evil (Soft Abuse, Jan. 20th 2009)

"I walk into the gossip, fulfill my needs, eat to satiate that which has flown"

There is fine and delicate line between genius and fool, and Carey Mercer (Frog Eyes, Swan Lake) stumbles around that line like a drunk and rambling jester. On his latest effort as Blackout Beach, Carey takes a frightening look at emotional abuse, rejection, and all of the darkest emotions and thoughts of a lost soul. A soul who is tried of fighting, tired of losing, tired of a being assaulted by life. In these songs with titles that read like riddles you can hear cries and screams and the full on rage of someone who has reach the bottom of all that love and lust have to offer and is determined to scratch their way back up.

The subject of this story disguised as an album in Donna, who is unsure of who is in control but screams at the clouds nonetheless. She feels life at its most dramatic, and exposes skin and heart and mind. This album is theater, and is an extremely challenging listen. I had to listen to it three times before I began to feel like I understood where Mercer was going or intending to go. This is not a casual listen despite the electronic crunch of the opening track, "Cloud of Evil". As you will notice with the song titles, this is a complex tale and a journey into the soul of woman as perceived by a mad man.

Cloud of Evil (mp3)/Biloxi, In a Grove, Cleans Out His Eyes/Three Men Drown in the River William, the Crowd, It's William/The Roman/Woe to the Minds of Soft Men/The Whistle/Nineteen, One God, One Dull Star/Sophia, Donna, I Was Down the River Waiting/ Astoria, Menthol Lite, Hilltop, Wave of Evil, 1982 (mp3)

Bill Shute We'll All Get By... (Kendra Steiner Editions #123, Jan. 2009)

"to economize he's been drinking the teas from boxes he could not finish in better times"

Is it enough to "get by"? For many Americans the dawn of 2009 finds them in a mode in which they are fighting and scraping and screaming just to "get by". In the times that the media says we are living in, I ask is that enough? Now is the time to push harder, move farther and "see your way clear". This is the time to throw out the last remaining bags of tea and create your brand of tea. This year we must all strive to utilize our skills and wisdom and experience to push through and move far beyond any thoughts of struggle.

"Wisdom visits not through statement but through texture, through glance, through glance, through quivers and clammy handshakes, through overheard lies and unspoken hunger."

The phrase "unspoken hunger" grabbed me tonight. We will continue to just "get by" as long as our hunger remains unspoken. In 1969, Buzz Clifford may have had a hunger and desire to see his way clear. He had already been to the top and was trying make it there once again. In this collection by Bill Shute, he uses the thoughts and sounds of Buzz Clifford as a point of reference, but he is unable or unwilling to leave behind the panicked reality we are living in. He challenges the idea of struggle, and the appreance of a problem. He doesn't demand an answer, but challenges the reader to come to thwie own conclusion.

"We All Get By..." was printed in an edition of 32 copies, and I am holding #3. To order your copy pleased visit Kendra Steiner Editions today.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Break!

December Playlist

Orange Alert is going to take this week off for the Holiday's, but while you anticipate our return you can (if you haven't already) download and enjoy our Holiday Guide. Here is a 9MB edition that contains just the guide. Enjoy and have a safe and blessed Holiday!

Artist: Megafaun
Album: Bury The Square
Release Date: Feb. 19th (Table of Elements)
Song: Lazy Suicide (mp3)

Artist: Basia Bulat
Album: Oh My Darling
Release Date: Feb 5th (Rough Trade)
Song: Why Can't It Be Mine (mp3)

Artist: Arms
Album: Kids Aflame
Release Date: July 22nd (Melodic UK)
Song: Whirring (mp3)

Artist: Fujiya & Miyagi
Albums: Lightbulbs
Release Date: Sept 9th (Deaf, Dumb & Blind)
Song: Knickerbocker (mp3)

Artist: High Places
Album: 03/07 to 09/07
Release Date: July 22nd (Thrill Jockey)
Song: Head Spins (mp3)

Artist: Chandeliers
Album: The Thrush
Release Date: April 14th (Obey Your Brain)
Song: Gold Rush (mp3)

Artist: Wild Sweet Orange
Album: We Have Cause to be Uneasy
Release Date: July 29th (Red Ink)
Song: Ten Dead Dogs (mp3)

Artist: The Dodos
Album: Visiter
Release Date: March 18th (Frenchkiss)
Song: Fools (mp3)

Artist: Passion Pit
Album: Chunk of Change
Release Date: Sept 16th (Frenchkiss)
Song: Sleepyhead (mp3)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Orange Alert's Music Minute

Morrissey will release “Years of Refusal” in the US February 17, 2009 on Attack/Lost Highway. “Years of Refusal” will be Morrissey’s first studio album since 2006’s UK #1 “Ringleader of the Tormentors”. In February, Morrissey will begin the US leg of his world tour that includes rare intimate club dates. For this album, Morrissey returns to Jerry Finn who previsouly produced the hit You Are the Quarry.

Years of Refusal Tracklist
1. Something Is Squeezing My Skull
2. Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed
3. Black Cloud
4. I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris
5. All You Need Is Me
6. When Last I Spoke to Carol
7. That’s How People Grow Up
8. One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell
9. It’s Not Your Birthday Anymore
10. You Were Good In Your Time
11. Sorry Doesn’t Help
12. I’m OK By Myself

Formed from the ashes of Troubled Hubble, Geneva's Kid You'll Move Mountains has been moving a few lately, and are primed for a big surge. Playing together since 2006, the band is now ready to release their debut album, Loomings. With a healthy mixture of standard indie pop and a slight tinge of midwestern country charm, KYMM is kicking of 2009 with energy and excitment. With a cover designed by MidwestLove Art & Design, the record release celebration will be held on January 2nd at Metro with The Sapiens, Picture Books, and Pool of Frogs.

Listen to: Volts (mp3)

The Present is the new project from Rusty Santos who just happens to be producer for Animal Collective, Panda Bear, and Gang Gang. Their first album was called World I See, and it was released back in October. The band is currently working the follow-up due out in the Spring.

Listen to: Love Melody (mp3)

Elizabeth Willis is a child-prodigy turned soulful grown woman. Willis, now 21-years-old, began playing violin and piano when she was only 4-years-old. Clearly evidenced by her lush, meticulously structured self-produced album, Willis’ lifetime of training and discipline adds particular sheen to each song’s heartfelt delivery. Her self-titled album was released back in September, and has recieved praise from NPR, Newsweek, URB, and more.

Listen to: One (mp3)

On December 23, Wallpaper.'s T REX ep will be re-released in new form, as T REX RMXd (eanie meanie records). Enlisting the help of friends Andrew Maury of The Remix Artist Collective, Bomarr of Restiform Bodies (Anticon), and Gavin Castleton (Five One, Inc.) to remix the ep, Wallpaper. breathes new life into the songs that earned them the SF Weekly Music Award in the Dance/Electro category. This EP will rock any party you have coming up, and recently they flexed their remix muscle and won Passion Pit's remix contest.

Listen to: Passion Pit - Sleepyhead (Wallpaper. Dio Remix) (mp3) and Wallpaper. - Evrytm We Do It (RAC Maury Remix) (mp3)

Don't miss out on the Thrill Jockey Musical Advent Calander. You get a free song everyday! Here is my favorite, The Cocktails - First Snowfall (mp3)

Haven't you always wondered what an album inspired by Mars would sound like? Well, Spain's Malaventura may have the answer. They are releasing a 26 minutes journey of electronics beats and pads, analogs drums and basses, noises and crashes, quiets and louds ambients inspired by and called Mars. Listen it and drawn into your mind the lowell’s canals or chat with Helene Smith and his martians friends. Take a journey through the Cydonia region and be careful in the Laestrygon area.

Listen to: Cydonia (mp3)

This is quite possibly the most honest Christmas song ever written, and it comes from our friends at Death to Anders.

Listen to: Our Manager Says That Writing A Christmas Song Is a Good Business Decision (because blogger will eat that sh*t up) (mp3)

The Peel Back: Pigface Washingmachine Mouth (Invisible Records, April 1993)

I always wanted to understand industrial music, but I never quite did. I was always more into the electronic aspects of the music, and only appreciated remixes or songs with a abstract dance beat. So it would make sense that the only Pigface album I ever owned was the remix ep Washingmachine Mouth. I bought it because (at the time) I thought it would be cool to own a Pigface album, but I enjoyed every inch of that tape. From ambient chopped up spoken word to club feel of "Satan on the Inside Looking In" to post punk of "Cuting Face". It may not be their traditional sound, but it is now what I think of when I hear the name Pigface.

Flowers Are Evil/Cutting Face/Satan On The Inside Looking In (Red Around The Eye)/Satan On The Inside Looking In (The Calm Before The Storm) (mp3)/Satan On The Inside Looking In (The Return of Wet Brain 2000)/Cutting Face-Gas Mask Mix/Satellite-Needle In The Groove No Damage Done/Prepare To Die Go! Go! Go!/The Last Word

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Watch List

1. Winter Gloves: With a full-length album due in March this Montreal band has recorded a cover of one of my favorite songs of all-time. You should also check out their digital ep due in Feb. called Let Me Drive (mp3). Listen to: Someone Great (LCD Soundsystem Cover) (mp3)
2. Thunders: Indianapolis is home to this fuzzy jangle-pop group. Their music is fun and fresh. They just released their debut ep THE SYMPATHETIC OSCILLATIONS.
3. Brighten Up: Combining electronic music with organic instrumentation and vocals, this Chicago band is tearing up the local scene. Listen to: Fond (mp3)

1. Shaving by Ben Segal: Duct taped eyelids are not the best way to avoid eye contact.
2. A Thousand Miles Away by Kyle Hemmings: A chilling winter tale.
3. Two Poems by G. Emil Reutter: Stories from Philly.
4. Punches by Daniel Casebeer: Short, but action-packed. It made me want to listen to The Shins.
5. A Manifesto is an Invoice by Tung-Hui Hu: A manifesto about writing a manifesto.
6. Duck Sauce by Mike Topp: It's a minute, but read it twice.
7. Flash Flicker Fire by Mary Hamilton: Mary read this at the last Orange Alert Reading and it was amazing!

1. Keyhole Issue #5
2. redblackbrown calander

1. Adele "Melt My Heart" (Johnny Polygon and Green Lantern Remix) (mp3)
2. Novel's 808's & Mixtapes

1. Theresa Andersson "Birds Fly Away" (mp3)
2. Tokyo Police Club "Your English is Good"
3. Sidewalk Chalk "Lights Out"
4. Yea Big & Kid Static "Mega Man" (Live)
5. Gable "Drunk Fox in London"

GaBLé / Drunk fox in London
Uploaded by yannick-lecoeur

Friday, December 19, 2008

Band of the Week


The sounds you record while hidden away in your bedroom or deep in the basement are always recorded with an audience in mind, but you never know if your recordings will see the light of day. As you see live footage of Skew's studio or of his live performances it is clear that his sound is the result of personal experimentation. He combines live distorted guitar with an MPC2000, and the results are incredibly complex, danceable and surprisingly organic.

Skew is a NYC musician, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, he enlisted the help of fellow New York producer Shakeyface to help created his self-titled debut album. The results were released on Shakeyface's label It's Bananas Label on November 11th, and has been receiving very positive press.

Recently Skew was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): I really enjoyed your debut album, but I have seen a review or two that have not been as positive. Do you read the reviews, and do they every affect the way you look at your album?
Skew: Well the cool answer would be to say that I don't read reviews. The honest answer is I read pretty much everything written. I try to not let it affect me too much but when you're a solo act and you don't have a band who all believe in the record, a less than favorable review can create momentary but crushing waves of self doubt.

OA: They album was released on It's Bananas Music. What has it been like working with Shakeyface and It's Bananas?
Skew: It's been great. Shakeyface (Doug) is a long time friend so it makes the whole process a lot more fun. Also he's a great producer so it helped to have someone who's opinion you trusted particularly when it came to choosing what tracks would end up on the record.

OA: The video for Stadiums Are Ok Too is great. How did you get involved with Stephen Key and how much input did you have on what he created?
Skew: I really wanted a video for that song but didn't know anybody who was up for the task. So, my girlfriend placed an ad on craigslist and we got a fair amount of responses. After looking at samples of their work I knew he was going to be the perfect choice. His work has a certain whimsical quality that I thought would fit the song well. When it came to him doing the video I gave him zero input. More or less just told him do your thing.

OA: I watched the brief clip of your studio and all of that vinyl on your shelves. What is your songwriting process like? How much of your music is sample based and how much is live instrumentation?
Skew: I used to do a lot of sampled based work. In regard to this record I didn't use any samples. I recorded with an MPC2000, a Mikrokorg, Guitar and some effect pedals.

OA: You also record as I LOVE MY MPC 2000 BUT I'VE CHOSEN PROG METAL, what is the difference between the two projects? When you record or think of a melody how do you know which project it should belong to?
Skew: ILMMPC2000 was initially started to be a dark, experimental project. Something that was and is supposed to be a bit self indulgent in terms of doing lots of edits and time signature changes etc.. With Skew I always want to keep it somewhat grounded in pop music in the broad sense.

OA: Instrumental and electronic music seems to be gaining in popularity. What are your thoughts on the current state of electronic music?
Skew: My listening habits tends to shift a lot. The past year I've been listening to a lot of pop stuff both old and new. Kanye West, The Killers, Syd Barrett and The Kinks have all been in heavy rotation. As far as electronic stuff that has excited me people like Burial, Flying Lotus and Eliot Lipp are all doing stuff that's really amazing, individual and with out concern for flavor of the minute trends.

OA: What's next for Skew?
Skew: I hope to doing a lot of live shows this year. And I've already started working on the next record which I think is going to be a big shift musically and will most likely have vocals on every track. But right now I'm just excited about having this record out and I want to do whatever I can to support it.

Listen to: Stadiums are Ok (mp3) and Stadiums are Ok (Sound of Arrows Remix) (mp3)

For more information on Skew please visit his website.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Reader Meet Author

Andy Riverbed

"My thirst is quenched by the flavors of cinematic waters."

The word experimental can mean different things to different people, but essentially it means to test what you know. To experiment is to make an effort towards discovery. In his debut collection, Damaged, Andy Riverbed experiments with several different styles. What he discovers is an ability to convey a idea regardless of form. The ability to creatively express his experience thus far.

Andy Riverbed is a young poet with a punk mentality. His debut collection is being released by Coatlism Press on January 1st, but it is available for preorder now. Recently, Andy was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): What does it mean to be experimental?
Andy Riverbed (AR): In context to Damaged, I think my being experimental only means that I was young and I was obsessed with certain aesthetic principles. Some poems from that collection are from when I was obsessed with French Symbolist poets, others are all about letting it all out, and then there was a while I wanted the poem in print to look exactly like the poem I had written on paper, or wherever it happened that I wrote the verses on; so, then if I crossed out a word in the hardcopy, there’d be a representative space for it on the printed version. Then there was me being obsessed with saying a lot with nothing, and that created some nice experiments as well, I think. Now experimental doesn’t mean much to me. Now I’m all about people understanding me. I’m all about connecting.

OA: I really like how you had William Joyner do illustrations for Damaged. Where did that idea come from and how did you decide on Williams’ work?
AR: My first desire to make a collection was to get into the Jack Micheline Memorial contest. I thought that with drawings by William, I’d win, but that didn’t matter because it was a contest judging poetry. Just me being young and retarded. But William is a great man. I met when I lived in West Palm. I worked full-time as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble. William, at the time, was homeless. From my understanding, he’s been that way since the 80s. He was there every morning when I worked, reading and drawing, so I made a connection with him. We’d talk about everything; I’d tell him my problems, how shitty I felt, my jonesing. We’d talk about anything. He’d come over and smoke pot and eat with me and once we watched I (heart) Hukabees, and he made a comment about there being no black people in the movie. I told him that wasn’t true, that in the movie there was a man blacker than he (William) was. A couple months later he called me laughing, telling me I was one of the funniest people he’d ever met, because he saw the movie again, and he told me, “Yes, you were right; the black man in the movie is blacker than me. He’s from Africa!” I laughed so hard that day. I think it was a sad day too. Maybe it was cold that day. Maybe I felt alone. That happens a lot. William kicks ass, and how could I not decide on a man like him. I think working with William, and knowing him, is, in my opinion, one of the most important and fulfilling occurrence of my life.

OA: Speaking of Damaged, what has your experience been like thus far with Coatlism Press?
AR: At times working with them is awesome, at time it’s very problematic. There’s a lot of distance between us. All interaction is done through email. It’s faceless; there’s a lot of room for misunderstandings, and I think at times egos jump up and fuck shit up. This is my first time working with a publisher, and I have learned a lot. It’s been a good experience and I’m glad I’ve gone through it.

OA: I saw a video of you reading at a punk show. What was that like? Do you feel your work works well in that setting?
AR: You need to understand that I’m a punk rocker. I feel traditional readings are too tame. They can be boring, except when it’s Pete Dexter. Now that’s one funny motherfucker. Punk rock shows are spontaneous. Shit gets fucked-up. Sometimes I go to MFA readings and look at people’s faces, then I fall asleep with my eyes open and smile and fall on my face. I think some of my work goes better than other works. It depends on the crowd. I’ve read for a variety of crowds. When it’s folky-punk or indie-pop stuff, then the crowd tends to be more into it. Once I read before Battle! and all the kids were being obnoxious, so I read with a lot of attitude. Some kids were funneling beer, I think it’s called a beer pong, I don’t know, seems a very disgusting way to consume any liquid, let alone shitty, cheap beer. So, point is, I slapped the fucking thing out of their hands and kept on reading, and the kids started shouting, and people were asking for Battle!, so I just got through two pieces, and half-way through the third, I left without saying anything. But while I was reading, till then, I was being as annoying as possible.

OA: You have an interesting title over at Thieves Jargon. What is your actual responsibility with them and what are your thoughts on the "winding down" that Matt has mentioned?
AR: My responsibility is to read certain works rejected by the editors and to respond to them, giving that submission a personalized, creative rejection, as opposed to the standard, “I’m sorry but you work just doesn’t fit in here. Thank you! –faceless editor you shall never connect to.” The reason why the editors choose one work to send to me as opposed to another is a secret I do not know and have spent many hours, while creating these messages of light (as I like to think of them), trying to figure out. I read the work and if I see that some aspect of the piece held it from getting into the Jargon, I will exploit that and try to make it as clear to the writer that that was (or at least was partial) the reason they got rejected.

Here’s an example:
A Cold Lunch
The jukebox held nothing but old metal. The kind that scared parents back in the early 1980's. Every album cover depicted a cheesy demon and fire ensemble. It was enough to make one throw up which is why there was most always a trashcan next to the jukebox filled with puke.

Andy Riverbed
Ambassador of Occasional Sorrow
Thieves’ Jargon Rejection

The kids came after school every afternoon and took the trashcan with them. They always knew what to do with things like that. They were creative and efficient, the bartender thought, and he allowed them to take the trashcan full of puke. Now he didn’t have to deal with the stench, and the drips. What they did, he did not know, probably something to help the environment. They were always talking about this thing called “Global Warming.”

But the victims knew. The kids, between themselves, would tie a rope to the trashcan and lift it up to varying roofs of the neighborhood. On the roof, they’d roll up blunts and open cans of dollar beer. They’d feel buzzed and begin shouting obscenities at people. Their victims of choice were frat-boys, but at times a good citizen would suffer; and maybe at times a pretty girl, one of those hipsters with a trendy haircut, a nice jacket, and a cool, neon purse, would have the trashcan full of puke fall on her.

About the winding down: que sera, sera. I’m being moved up to co-editor soon. I might still be the Ambassador if need calls.

OA: What's next for Andy Riverbed?
AR: I’m trying to get my BAs and move to a big city, maybe out of the country. Till then, I’m going to keep on doing what I’ve been doing: living, writing, making art with my friends here in Gainesville. I want to do more translations. I’ve been inviting people. I want to distribute indie lit too. I volunteer at the Wayward Council, a D.I.Y. volunteer-run record store, and have some stuff on consignment (Delphine) there. I want to expand this and get more stuff down here. I also want to get connected with some more Hispanic writers. I’m trying to do shit with homeboys of mine from Puerto Rico. I want to come out with a story collection next year, and I’m planning on getting a whole bunch of similarly themed pieces into one and come out with a novel or novella, whatever it turns out to be.

Bonus questions:
OA: What type of music do you listen to and who are a few of your favorites?
AR: I love punk rock, indie-pop, postpunky shit, ambient-noise; I like bebop jazz. I like a lot of shit. If it’s good and not sell-out contrived bullshit, I’ll probably be into it. I like that dance-punk shit too. Records I can’t stop listening to lately: No Bunny, “Slippery Subject” – the Bananas, Elliot Smith (anything), “Disconnected” – Stiv Bators, “Ten Rapid” – Mogwai. I’m at the library now, and my records are at home. I’m also an affected boy, so therefore, my memory lapses. “Soy una punk” (song) – Aerolineas Federales.

OA: Beside your own, do you have a favorite chapbook of 2008?
AR: “Down where the Hummingbird goes to Die” – Justin Hyde
“Gravity’s Rainbow/Mason & Dixon” – Shane Jones & Chris Killen
“Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” – Tao Lin
“Hey, Baby” – anonymous
“Yum, Yum, I can’t wait to Die” – Sam Pink

I think I have some more, but like I said with the other question, my good shit’s somewhere else and I got a shitty memory.

For more information on Andy Riverbed and Damaged please check out this website.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Artist of the Week


As I walked through the isles of this years DIY Trunk Show here in Chicago there were so many discoveries to be made. From jewelery to plushies to prints to shirts, but one of my favorites was a collection of shadow boxes filled with tiny collections of discarded items by VoodooToaster. From old cassettes (still functioning) to stamps to seashells and bells, these mirco-collections are a salute to the forgotten and rejected. Each box is unique, and as I talked with Anna Gregoline and Jesse Thomas (who is also a local musician) about the boxes they could not have been nicer.

It became clear that these boxes had purpose and that Anna and Jesse were passionate about giving meaning back to the forgotten. What fascinated me was the detail and nostalgia of it all. It felt like each collection had been hand selected and placed in a specific way. These were not mass produced, these were honest representations of what Anna and Jesse felt needed to be gathered together.

Recently, Anna from VoodooToaster was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): Where did the name VoodooToaster come from?
Anna Gregoline (AG): I've always been intruiged by toasters - they are the only common kitchen appliance that has one function - to magically change bread into toast! Such a slight and yet important change. One day I started thinking about this transformation and how it changes bread into something else that is almost the same - the undead bread! The name VoodooToaster was born out of that somehow.

OA: I am fascinated by your shadow boxes. Where do you find the items that go into the boxes?
AG: Everywhere! We get our shadowbox items from all over the place - we've collected scrap metal from other artists, found broken eyeglasses on the street, received boxes of broken jewelry from friends and sometimes purchased weird miniature toys in junk shops. Once you let people know you're in the "cast-off junk" collecting business, it's not hard to get a collection of things ripe for gluing to other things.

OA: How long does it take to complete a box and when do you know it is finished?
AG: It ranges - sometimes a box is completed in a flurry, over one day or a weekend, but much more often we work on one for a while and then hang it on the wall. It usually stays on the wall for a few weeks, coming down every now and then for additions, and then returning to the wall. Once one feels done, it is, and we name it and label it. Even after that, sometimes we find the perfect addition and have to alter it further.

OA: With stamps, cassettes, and pocket watches, it seems like you both are rebelling against progress while making beautiful art. Is this a fair assessment?
AG: Yes. We are children of the end of the 20th century, and beholden to such wonderfully obscure ephemera as instant photos, cassette tapes, and snail mail… and we think perhaps people at times long for these ancient technologies, for the limited range of choices they entail. It’s important that all the cassettes still function too, so the shadowboxes can be experienced on an aural as well as visual level. Tape decks not included.

OA: How did you get involved with Sacred Art and what has your experience been like with them?
AG: We met Sara, the owner, at the DIY Craft Show a few years ago, and she expressed interest in having our work at her gallery. Our relationship has been nothing short of a blessing. Sarah has not only given us a venue for our ideas but, because we are always trying to generate something new ostensibly ‘for the gallery’, has had the remarkable side-effect of advancing our work, mutating it at an accelerated speed. We love Sarah and hope to continue working with Sacred Art for as long as possible.

Bonus Questions:
OA: Coffee? If yes where can you find the best cup in your area?
AG: Jesse works at Kopi Café at 5317 North Clark, and the coffee is excellent.

OA: What type of music do you enjoy, and who are a few of your favorites?
AG: We both enjoy DC Dischord rock and roll, electronic music, and howlingly intense noise rock. We sometimes dance in our kitchen to the Slits Cut. If you just happened to drop in on us, there’s a good chance we’d be listening to Talking Heads The Name Of The Band Is Talking Heads. But a lot of our music listening time is spent actually making music. We have our own live music act called Feedbacula which is improvisational electronic free-form love jazz…and Jesse is the leading man in a power trio called Genius School, like a 21st century Grand Funk Railroad…he is also the guitarist for local legends ONO who do things like slam sheet metal around and such.

For more information on the work of VoodooToaster please visit their website.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Release Tuesday

JT Nero - Demons/Demons Listen to: Who Shot Sam Cooke (mp3)
Fall Out Boy - Folie á Deux
All-American Rejects - When The World Comes Down
Ghostface Killah - Ghostdeini The Great
Heavy D - Vibes
Plies - Da Realist


Monday, December 15, 2008

The Orange Spotlight

Now, Now Every Children Cars (Afternoon Records, Dec. 9th)

"Go where you want to"

What seems like high school fancy and fairy tale can quickley become reality. High school friends and marching bands mates, Cacie Dalager and Bradley Hale (aka Now, Now Every Children) have been making brisk Minnesota music together for a few years now. Last year they signed to Afternoon Records and released two critially acclaimed eps. Their sound quickly became well loved and respected. It's a simple method, but Cacie vocals ring clear and vibrant over her aggressive guitar play. Bradley keeps the beat and drives the artistic direction of the band.

On their debut album, Cars, there is a complex innocence that radiates in Cacie's vocals. Your charmed, but as you listen deeper you witness the struggle of youth. It's the battle between boredom and desire, endless days and the drive to become all that you have dreamed of. It is that battle between enjoying your youth and living your life. Cacie captures that tension perfectly and makes you wish you were starting your journey all over again.

Not One, But Two/Everyone You Know/Have You Tired/Sleep Through Summer/Friends With My Sister/In My Chest/Headlights/In The City/We Know Martha Webber/Little Brother/Cars (mp3)

Drew Kalbach The Zen of Chainsaws and Enormous Clippers (Paper Hero Press, Oct. 2008)

"The menu never changes. Nobody complains. Salt is the spice of life, but lawns are kept manicured, immaculate and almost false in their unchanging greenery."

Life is basically nonsense. We attempt to organize and plan and make some sense of everything. Yet, most moments feel random and uncontrolled, but as wee dig, explore, and evaluate we may discover a fleeting purpose. It is this odd sense of random logic that Drew Kalbach throws on to paper. Words and phrases seem to collide without focus and purpose, but suddenly there is a brief flash of subtle but substantial intention and clarity.

For example, "Problems With Missing Sock Logic", "Bits of chocolate wrappers dot the desk like eraser shavings and pencil skin." or in "How to Remove a Pair of Pants Without Causing Jealousy", "There are different methods of waiting, like tulips wilting or cars honking at a red light." It's a clever combination of thoughts that may or may not mean something at some point. I feel this thoughts should be taken at their suface level. In fact, Drew alludes to this in his authors note, "there is no depth, i wrote it all in a word document in 24 hours, it's meaningless, just random words from television commercials strung together." Where I don't fully believe that I also don't discount it. Whether the meaning is projected by the reader or it is actually implied there is a meaning and purpose to this collection. Perhaps you should investigate the contents for yourself.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Orange Alert's Music Minute

If music notes were colors, Dim Dim would be the brightest rainbow imaginable. Dim Dim is back with its sixth full-length album, Whip (Audio Dregs) and an obsession for all forms of sonic pop culture. Tossing fistfuls of guitar, ukulele, programmed beats, twisted synth and toy instruments into a blender, Dim Dim hits "liquefy”, and surfs the sonic mixture as it spills across his musical universe. Deconstructing all things known and leaving a trail of brightly colored debris, Dim Dim has turned his back to the norm and rip-shredded a technicolored path to a genre unknown.

Check out this video preview!

Is there already a genre for slacker surf rock? A lazy, drunk, San Diego Punk who blogs about classic hop, Wavves has recorded another album filled with hazy and distorted melodies. The first album was called "Wavves", and the forthcoming album, due in February on De Stijl is called "Wavvves". It subtle, but still a little disturbing. In fact the two albums have similar covers. Maybe one day Nathan Williams move beyond fuzzy basement rock and blurry skate tricks, but in February we can once again revel in the boredom and the simpleness of youth. Beside any album that features three songs with the word "goth" in the title has to be worth a listen, right?

Listen to: So Bored (mp3)

Early Warning! Lady Sov is back! Lady Sovereign is releasing a new record called "Jigsaw" out April 7, 2009 on Midget Records which is her new independent label that has a global partnership with EMI. She is giving away her new song "I Got You Dancing" on her website and myspace.

Listen to: I Got You Dancing (Link)

From sloppy slacker punks to well constructed and thoughtful indie folk ballads. Or, The Whales have managed to combine the mainstream country pop of Counting Crows with the epic storytelling of the Decemberists. The band's debut album Light Poles and Pines (Seany, Jan 20th) can be omnipotent and epic ("Life and Death at Sea"), painfully reflective ("Rope Don't Break"), or both ("Fight Song"). On "Life and Death at Sea," defeated, raspy lead vocals sink under a whining pedal steel until pulled up by rousing harmonies. In contrast, "Call and Response", the CD's lead single, is a whiskey-soaked energetic anthem with a raucous and contagious rhythm that belies a reflective commentary. And really, that's the secret behind Or, the Whale's draw: their songs are honest, intelligent, and offer a refreshing modern connection to traditional American music.

Listen to: Call and Response (mp3)

Can you imagine a co-ed boy band assembled to create teen pop experimental on a label run by Negativland? Well, you don't have to imagine anymore, meet Poptastic. The basic concept is accessible and humorous, yet buried in the layers of sound is a complex web of mixing, remixing, editing, re-editing, arranging, and de-arranging that continues to reveal something new with each listen. What is interesting is that Poptastic creates music with the purpose of sampling their own music and rearranging it to create a new pop sound.

Listen to: Are You Happy? (mp3)

Erran Baron Cohen (brother of Sacha Baron Cohen and composer of the original music for Borat and Da Ali G Show) released a Hanukkah CD on November 18 called Songs In The Key Of Hanukkah (New Line Records.) On the record, Baron Cohen updates, remixes and expands the music associated with Hanukkah. Based on the work of Erran's brother I fully expected this album to be a joke, but this is seriously an entertaining, sincere, and diverse collection of songs. With everything from hip hop to latin tinged to reggae to r&b ballads, Erran uses all forms of music to his respects to this Jewish Holiday.

Listen to: Dreidel (mp3)

The latest album on the Joyful Noise label is the debut album from The Delicious. It was back in October that I first heard about The Delicious on Daytrotter, and I was captivated by their strong pop sensibilities. If you are looking for good, clean, joyful pop melodies then check out The Delicious' self-titled debut album on January 20th. Also, if you are a fan of Joyful Noise then you need to check out their 2009 Digital Sampler and get a sneak peak at all their upcoming releases.

Listen to: Suspended in Air (mp3)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Watch List

1. The Mystery Books: A young band from Florida with a history that includes a video by Tao Lin. You can download their debut album Russia from for free.
2. Dead Pixels: A new band from very diverse backgrounds including Egypt, France, Denmark and the UK. Listen to: So You Say (mp3)
3. Soft Speaker: This Chicago band is currently recording their debut album, but they are playing a free show at the Empty Bottle on Dec. 29th.

1. Let's Drink Our Way Through Winter by Ted Powers: Something has to get us through winter.
2. Slide it across the floor with your foot by Becky Hunt: Birthdays can be tough.
3. Generation by Meagan Wilson: This has some unique visuals.
4. Insulate, Insulate by Martin Brick: A rapid description of an early mid-life crisis.
5. HAIRHEADLAND by Shane Jones: This seems to be Shane's attempt at writing a fairy tale, and what an enjoyable but strange attempt it is.
6. An Occasional Bird Finds Itself in the Wrong Dream-Set & Exits after Disorientation by Jessica Bozek: Got Milk?
7. Shoplifting From Urban Outfitters by Victoria Trott: I feel sorry for Jane.

1. Wearable Toy Piano
2. TLE Holiday Special: Music + Comic + T-Shirt = $49!
3. Knuckle Sandwich Necklace

1. Count & Sinden's Mega Mega Mega
2. "Interlude with Starlings" from littleBANG!: This one of my favorite finds of the last year.

1. The Acorn "Crooked Legs"
2. The Shys "Savior"
3. Team Genius "Take Me Home"
4. Interview with Khaled Hosseini
5. Fol Chen "Believers" (mp3)

Fol Chen - The Believers from Asthmatic Kitty on Vimeo.