Thursday, 20 February 2014

The Art of Hot Water Music

Although unfortunately I don’t actually own physical copies of any of these albums (I only have Exister in CD form), I can still very much appreciate the interesting and unusual album artwork. Even if it is fairly small in iTunes/Spotify, I still noticed them. However, I’ve been listening to HWM for several years and it took until yesterday for me to look up who created the artwork… but I’m glad I did.

Scott Sinclair, or Sinc, is the man behind these intriguing album covers, as well as being an all round talented illustrator/artist – both digitally and traditionally. Plus, he’s a creative involved in the making of the video game Bioshock. Cool, huh?

Two things that are particularly striking to me:
1. The artwork reminds me of Picasso… and another artist that I can’t quite recall.
2. It’s really lovely that HWM chose one illustrator/designer/artist to create their album artwork for so many years. Although their last album cover, for Exister, is strikingly different to these – and not designed by Sinclair, which is a shame.

The Image Archive on Sinclair’s website is really great.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Sir David Attenborough’s Alternative Curling Commentary

When I’m feeling too lazy (or running too late!) to plug my phone into my car radio and stream Spotify, I listen to Radio One whilst driving to work. Which, considering I like less than 5% of the music they play, is generally quite enjoyable. Pretty much just because I like the DJs Nick Grimshaw and Greg James that are on air during my daily commute to and from work. They’re amusing and have good features – Call or Delete on a Wednesday morning (Nick Grimshaw) is a particular favourite of mine… although I was listening to The Menzingers this morning.

Anyway, Greg James had the legendary Sir David Attenborough on his show yesterday afternoon and I listened to the interview during my drive home. This amazing thing happened at the end of the interview (which I have only now seen in sync with the video). Quite possibly the best thing I have ever heard on the radio:

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

In Remission

I can’t put into words just how excited this video/song/band makes me. I’m not even going to try… I’m just going to continue listening to this on repeat until April 22nd when the new album Rented World is out. (Nevermind the fact I’ll be in Japan – it’s cool, I’ve got Spotify mobile.)

I ♥ The Menzingers
Posted a few hours ago on Noisey. I have pre-ordered the album on vinyl!
I haven’t used iTunes in a while…

ps. noone tell the band but I don’t like the album cover. It doesn’t matter too much, I know the music will be brilliant, but I am a graphic designer and I do design record sleeves myself (sometimes). I am generally not a fan of album covers with a photo of the band on… and where’s the band name/logo? Hmmm… 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

The LEGO Movie

I went to see The LEGO Movie last night, on it’s release day – which also happened to be Valentine’s Day but that’s really irrelevant because I didn’t go for a date… I have to say it was probably the best animated film I’ve seen in a very, very long time. Just saying it was good is a massive understatement.

The animation was absolutely perfect – it couldn’t have looked any more like a convincing world of Lego even if it was all filmed stop motion with real Lego pieces, which it wasn’t. It was witty, fun, clever and the characters – including known Lego stars such as Batman and Gandalf (although he only had a tiny part) – were great. Plus the storyline was simply wonderful.

“The LEGO Movie follows Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world.” – official movie summary

But what I enjoyed the most is that it really wasn’t just a kids film, if at all. I mean, sure the kids would enjoy it but they wouldn’t get it on the same level as us adults. It was all a bit 1984. Which you should get from the two video clips above.

This review on The London Film Review sums up everything about The LEGO Movie in it’s first paragraph (which I can’t copy and paste to quote here because they’ve done something to the website that prohibits copying text!)

And here’s what Rotton Tomatoes have to say:
“Boasting beautiful animation, a charming voice cast, laugh-a-minute gags, and a surprisingly thoughtful story, The Lego Movie is colorful fun for all ages.”

Finally, this ad break that aired on UK TV last weekend, made entirely of Lego, has been doing the rounds of design blogs this week so you may have already seen it. But I can’t post about The LEGO Movie myself without sharing it too. Who doesn’t appreciate a Lenny Henry Legoman?

Thursday, 13 February 2014


Last night I had the pleasure of seeing my favourite skinny half-arsed English country singer Frank Turner for the tenth time at the O2 Arena in London. Tenth and probably the best yet! But this blog post is not about Frank – there’s a good review by someone else and some photos here – excellent as it was. This is a post about a music video.

In between acts (the great Beans on Toast and awesome Flogging Molly supported) there was a showreel of sorts for Xtra Mile playing on two large screens – but without sound. Xtra Mile being the record label that Frank Turner is signed to as well as other favourites of mine; Crazy Arm, Jim Lockey & the Solemn Sun, Dave Hause and Against Me!

It was the Against Me! video for FML666 that caught my eye and hooked me almost instantly. Even without being able to hear the actual song! Why? Because the lyrics were spelt out throughout the song – and I not in a conventional way – interacting with the story being told. Anyway it meant I could play the song in my head instead, by reading the lyrics.

While I’m talking about Against Me! I should point you in the direction of this review of Transgender Dysphoria Blues, their latest album. The reviewer, a punk rock pal of mine, listened to this album after my persistent recommendation. Plus, they summed up all my thoughts and feeling far better than I ever could – the album is f•••ing great. I can’t wait to see the band live later this year. Incidentally, the only time I’ve seen AM! is when they supported Frank Turner at Hammersmith Apollo a couple of years ago…

Monday, 3 February 2014

Drop the needle again

Well, it was about time I got granddad’s old record player back up and running. Given that I’m partial to a bit of record sleeve design here and there, it makes sense that I have something to actually play them on. I mean, they’re obviously nice to look at and all but…

Here’s one I didn’t design…

Plus my nice friend Steve sent me [his copy of(!)] The Menzingers’ On The Impossible Past so that I wouldn’t have a crappy record for my first record. Freebies of records I’ve designed the sleeves for don’t really count. If more people gave away records from their own collection – or anything like that – to their friends, whom they know will really appreciate it, then the world would be a better place.

Now what to buy for myself…

Now playing one designed by me…