Stockholm Design Lab may be most familiar as the design agency behind the rebranding of several chainstores, like Swedish Åhlens, Hemtex, KappAhl, Stadium and Danish Cubus. But their most interesting work, I think, was the identity for 2009’s Venice biennale – still one of the biggest events in the art world with the 54th in sequence coming up next year. SDL’s concept was brilliant, and by keeping it simple they really managed to let the elegance of the underlying ideas shine forth. The concept stemmed from the theme Making Worlds, chosen by that year’s curator Daniel Birnbaum. The identity seems to have been limited to print and signage, but works really well on the screen too (see the SDL site for more pictures). It won the 2010 DesigNu award.
Archive for February, 2012
I’ve seen two interesting exhibitions recently, the first being Berg Størseth’s master degree show at KHM Gallery. The flyer was an animation of squares and circles, printed on plastic and paper, as you can see above. Ejected From an Ion Source closed today, but keep an eye out for news on his website. The most impressive work was an installation of three paintings covered with heat-reactive paint. Three spotlights directed at the respective paintings switched on in sequence, revealing a motif underneath the first layer of each painting.
The other exhibition was Universal Appeal by Dora Budor & Maja Cule at CEO Gallery. It featured video works and some quite fascinating still life photographs of people and objects covered in various types of texture. Here’s one with woodgrain, that unexplainably gave me associations to The Neverending Story (1984).
Here’s a mix sleeve I made for a friend, inspired by the Smithsonian catalogue Design In Germany Today (1961), which you can find in its entirety on Internet Archive. It’s set in my favourite, Akzidenz Grotesk, and the real trick was feeding two sheets of paper into the printer at once, so I wouldn’t get toner all over the printer’s interior. The type wasn’t meant to end up like that, but the recycled paper proved a bit too heavy for the setting I used – but it ended up all the better for it. This went to New Zealand yesterday!
And here’s another LP I would have loved to have on my 2011 end-of-year list. Paul Messis, who did appear on it, has now joined the band on bass guitar but does not play on these recordings, made throughout last year. Musically, the group have taken a slightly new turn, which soft rock and psych fans will appreciate. There’s a new air of San Francisco area folk-psych on tracks like “These Things Take Time”, included in the latest podcast (check next post). They deliver two ballads, “Bus Song” and the sitar-based “A Thousand Yards”. Sitar is also used on the album’s longest track, the WCPAEB-flavoured “If At All”. Furthermore, “Everything I See” and album closer “Hey In There” sound fresh as well, pointing perhaps in Buffalo Springfield’s direction. This strand of their output could be heard also on their previous album Darker By the Day, on e.g. “Electric Cowboy”. Apart from those, this 3rd LP delivers three to four solid folk rock tunes with the signature Higher State jangle, including the preceding single on Get Hip, “I’ll Always Be Around” (which fittingly has the WCPAEB song “Transparent Day” on the flip). It’s no exaggeration to say, that with Freakout At the Gallery the group leave their fascination with early Love behind and step out of their comfort zone. And they do it well considering the album doesn’t have a single upbeat garage track on it. Get it from 13 O’Clock.
It’s about time for another club night back in Sweden. I’m planning to make this one vinyl only, which I haven’t done for a good while, since my sixties 45 collection is growing very slowly, but should be able to support a full set by now. And if not, I can always throw in some The End from the 2005 reissue of Introspection. Event here. Also a chance to try out the brilliant All Occasions double IPA from Evil Twin, at På Besök.
Here then, is the first mix since before the holidays. This one is full of 60s garage, psych and soul – the only new track being from the new Higher State album, which you’ll soon be able to read more about here. A few noteworthy things are: The Roemans was the backing band used by Tommy Roe, The Rose Garden (also known as The Giant Sunflower) appear with an exclusive track penned by Gene Clark. the Bobby Jameson track also appeared on his LP as Chris Lucey (under the presumably censored title “Metro Man”) and thanks goes to Expo67 for that recording. Last but not least The Bitter Sweets appearing here is the Arizona group with two amazing double-siders. This Byrds rewrite is the flip of the Hype 45 featuring the hauting “She Treats Me Bad” on the a-side. Their of-equal-caliber Original Sound 45 featuring “In the Night” b/w “Another Chance” has been comped on Wyld Sydes Vol. 2 and Mindrocker Vol. 13 respectively, dig them up.
The Rose Garden – Till Today
The Contents Are – In Trouble
Lonnie & The Legends – Baby Without You
The Checkmates – All The Time Now
III & a 1/2 – Don’t Cry To Me Babe
The Skunks – Do The Duck
The Barons – Since You’re Gone
The Cavaliers – It’s Guaranteed
The Chiffons – Stop Look And Listen
The Teardrops – You Wont Be There
Jaim – Your Lucky Man
The Ricochettes – I Don’t Want You
The Celtics – Looking For You
The Roemans – Don’t
The Five Americans – I’m Feeling O.K.
The New Order – You’ve Got Me High
The Buckinghams – Don’t Want To Cry
Bobby Jameson – Vietnam
Dick Domane – Bad Dream
The Higher State – These Things Take Time
The Initial Shock – You’ve Been A Long Time Coming
The Groop Ltd. – As Time Goes By
The Bitter Sweets – Cry Your Eyes Out
Who’d have thought Thee Makeout Party would return with another record? After the brilliant Play Pretend from 2008 they got busy with Burger Records instead, but here’s a new 7″ on Bachelor featuring two tracks from the ditched 2nd album. “Jungle Cruise” comes in custom handmade sleeves, but to save time and money you’ll get to customise it yourself, using the complementary set of crayons from Bachelor! The b-side, “Bubblegum Song” could be considered as much of an anthem of the TMP ethos as the old LP opener “Wreckless Epic”. This 7″ should win the band some new fans, but makes no promises of the band getting back together. Check out “Jungle Cruise” on soundcloud.
The other new 7″ on Bachelor is from local Austrian girl-punk group The Shirley Maclaines. This by now seasoned group of musicians already released a single six years ago on American label Heads Up!, but whether or not it’s the same line-up the new 5-track ep sounds a lot more spot on. Stream the whole thing on bandcamp.
I really regret not having got into the great Flip-Tops until I heard about their sophomore realese just out on Bachelor, The Flip-Tops Are Still a Band. If you like bands like The Hi-Fives and The Lids, you’ll absolutely love their 2002 LP All Worked Up. Now they’re back, and the new set of 11 tracks still rips through enough hooks to stay on the right side of punk crudeness. “Lock Me Up” is a new contemporary classic and almost as good is “Retard Love”, streaming below. The Flip-Tops bass player Sarah Epstein is also in the more widely acclaimed group The Hunches and some of the others previously played in Jetpack, whom I have yet to hear.
The first sign of the established rivalry between Copenhagen agencies E-Types and Kontrapunkt appeared to me in connection with the Metro project. Apparently E-Types updated their identity not very long ago, but it hasn’t been implemented much beyond the “Metro som nabo” broschure that the image above is from, and signage for a trailer made by Lauritsen Skilte. The new Metro typeface designed by the excellent Jonas Hecksher is available commercially, which is another sign it probably won’t be used for the City ring project.
I’ve just started working on a really interesting project for the Copenhagen Metro. They’ve got a ‘city ring’ opening in 2018, that involves two new train lines, that will intersect with the current M1 and M2 in accordance with the temporary map above, which is currently on the Metro website. There might also be extension north from Nørrebro and the future will definitely see additional lines added. See the website for all public information about the Cityring project.
There are plenty of promising releases in the pipeline this year, including a Hollows LP on Trouble In Mind, but here’s the first post about 2011 records I missed out on. I was most shocked to find that Edinburghians Les Bof! have finally released an album after promising a 2nd EP for several years. Two of those four songs, the fantastic original “Ils Vont Tuer Le R’n’R” and a cover of my favourite French-language garage stomper “Vivre Avec Toi”, have made it onto the record. It actually contains only three covers, although several of the other songs borrow generously from familiar territory. The compositions and arrangements help bring home what would have been one of my top records of 2011, and the best of its kind since that 2nd Les Terribles album. The record, called Nous sommes les BOF!, is on Spotify, so you don’t even have to wait until your copy arrives from Copase Disques. (And while you’re at it, get the self-released 7″ from Les Aspirateurs too!) I hope they will tour soon, and they’ll play this version of “La Fermeture Eclair” (a French cover of “In the Past” by We the People).