Each Passing Day free track!

Check out the newest track from Loren Radis and his band Each Passing Day. It's a free download of an exclusive track.

Download MP3: If You'll be Mine

Here's a video of Loren explaining the free song promotion, in which Microsoft is going to give the band 50¢ per download.

Interview with Flight Crash Companion

This week I caught up with Evan Cooney, the man behind Flight Crash Companion. He released his fourth album, No New Message, on June 23rd, and it’s currently a free download at his web site.

Max Bumps: So tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started with performing and recording music?

FCC: My dad always had really good taste in music, so I grew up listening to a lot of great records. But it wasn't until probably Nevermind that I got really interested. That record was so raw and different and exciting (at least for my little sanitized world). It was the first time I remember music really making me feel something. After about the 500th spin, I got the idea that maybe I should be making my own and convinced my parents to buy me a guitar. Playing guitar was fun, but it wasn’t until I added other people into the mix that I truly fell in love. I LOVED writing songs and playing. It never got boring, it was never finished, it could always be better. And then, thanks to the home studio revolution, I was able to actually record my ideas and that was it for me. Music was all I wanted to do.

What's behind the name "Flight Crash Companion"?

FCC: It's a little morbid, but the name came to me while sitting on a plane. I thought about the plane going down, and having a minute or two before I die, and this person sitting next to me experiencing the same awful set of emotions and thoughts, and that maybe having someone with me would make it a little less awful. Later it sort of morphed into a metaphor for saying we're all in a slow descent towards death, and there’s a person or thing in your life that could be your companion, and make it a little less awful. So it's hopeful, and morbid.

What other musicians influenced you? I saw that you did a Pink Floyd cover.

FCC: My biggest influences are NIN and Elliott Smith. Between the two of them, you have every range of emotion perfectly covered. I am constantly in awe of Reznor's work. His ability to create these incredibly intense emotional soundscapes within the confines of classically good songwriting is brilliant. So heavy, so dark, so beautiful... And Elliot Smith is so fucking next level, I can't even begin to dissect his body of work. I hate using the term 'genius' to describe artists, but he really is.

What instruments do you play, and what goes into writing/recording a song?

FCC: I play drums, guitar, keys and sing. Each song is approached differently, but they always end up the same -- me obsessing about every stupid detail. "Are the vocals too loud in the chorus, should the snare be 2dB hotter." All the stupid things that no one notices and have nothing to do with good songwriting. All the FCC songs that poeple like were written in about 2 hours, and recorded over two or three weeks. If it's a good song, it comes naturally. It's a big red flag when you start spending 3 weeks working on the second verse lyrics.

Have you found that the more you record, the easier it gets? The response to No New Message seems to be overwhelmingly positive.

FCC: It gets easier and it gets harder. Easier in the sense that you can reuse equipment settings and techniques to achieve similar sounds, but harder in the sense that the more you know about recording, the more you obsess about the sound quality. I've recently decided it's really better to leave all the technical decisions to the pros and focus on the music yourself, but when you're a one man show, you have to be involved in every aspect of the song production. So it's good and bad.

You're incredibly involved on thesixtyone. Has the response from the community changed the way you promote your music?

FCC: My fans on T61 have been incredible. I owe them a lot. Everyone on that site is an avid music fan. I use the feedback from songs to help me determine things like "what should I put in a set," "what should be the single." T61 is the ultimate focus group: informed, brilliant, no bullshit. People on the on the T61 have incredible taste and passion. The guys who created T61 are brilliant, and the people on that site are top fucking notch. I really can't express how much I love it.

What is the song “Mr & Mrs Fader” about?

FCC: That song is actually so all over the place, it's hard to summarize the main message. It covers a lot of FCC topics...pining, decadence, loneliness, drugs, wanting to fit in, the absurdity of human emotion. Out of the 25 or so songs I've released, it's one of the least focused (lyrically) but also one of my favorites. What does it mean to you?

I had this image of a detective investigating a married couple, while at the same time enamored with whatever it is illegal that they're doing.

FCC: Haha, awesome. People’s interpretations are sometimes better than my own ideas.

No way, your ideas are fantastic. Thanks so much for your time.

FCC: This was a lot of fun. Your questions were great!

- Laura Bradford

Video: Fleet Foxes - Mykonos

Alicia who works with me at Toolfarm posted this new video from Fleet Foxes today. Stop motion paper animation by director and animator Sean Pecknold along with artist/illustrator Jesse Brown for Fleet Foxes. After Effects was used to finish the final sequences.

Making of video:

"Our last 4 weeks stitched together. Mainly timelapse of setting up each shot."

A Conversation with Sum: The Lone Wolf

All of you from The Sixty One are certainly familiar with SumKid. I spoke with him about his incredible new album with Belief, The Lone Wolf. It is available at iTunes, The Orchard and all over the web and I highly recommend it. It's one of those albums that gets under your skin and you just want to listen to it over and over.

A Conversation with Sum: The Lone Wolf from Michele Yamazaki on Vimeo.

My First Earthquake: new album and video

You only wish you were as cool as My First Earthquake. The San Francisco indie-rock band, generally known for being awesome, just released their music video for "Cool in the Cool Way."

Their songs are delightfully quirky, and worth a listen for their hilarious lyrics, groovy beats, and fantastic vocals and delivery. Their first full-length album, Downstairs, is out now.

Video: N.A.S.A. - A Volta

Note: Not Safe For Work (NSFW): Language, nudity, violence (of course, it's all animated and in Spanish!) This is some seriously cool animation. Pretty freakin' amazing work.

Video by Logan, who are most well-known for its work on the Apple iPod Silhouettes campaign. Art by The Date Farmers, aka Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez.

I love this quote: "Ingenious beats + more guest stars than 'Love Boat' + Martian booty dancers = the party album of the year" - SPIN Magazine

Here's the "Mocumentary Making of" video:

Extra bonus: MP3 download: Download Treasure Fingers Epicwave remix mp3 of N.A.S.A.'s "Gifted"

MGMT - Kids Video

I've been waiting for this video, and man, the poor kid in this video is probably scarred for life. Lots of cool scary monsters. Such a great song. Make sure you watch the animation at the end of the video. Lots of fun, trippy cell animation.

Ernesto Remix Competition

Exceptional Records are excited to announce that, in celebration of the forthcoming Ernesto single 'Bassline', we are giving all of you talented producers out there the chance to remix and rework the song.

Have a listen here: http://soundcloud.com/exceptionalrecords/ernesto-bassline-out-june-29th

Ernesto himself will pick our glorious winner who will be sent an exceptional goody pack which will include a signed copy of the new Ernesto single 'Bass Line', a goody bag of CDs from the Exceptional back catalogue, plus of courseglowing respect from your peers. In addition your mix will be put up as a streamable track on the exceptional web pages with link back to your own website. What better way to show people what you can do?

  1. Just download the zip file from here... http://www.mediafire.com/?4jyyy1jonzy
  2. Get your creative juices flowing
  3. Email your finished work to info@exceptionalrecords.co.uk as a low res MP3 by 6 July, with the subject line 'Ernesto Remix comp'. Include your name, contact number and website address (if any)

Best of luck and enjoy!
From: The good guys at exceptional

Got a spare minute, why not check out Exceptional Records on...

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/exceptionalrecords
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Exceptional-Records/57949048800?ref=ts
Website: http://www.exceptionalrecords.co.uk

Ernesto "Bassline" EP is released on digital download on iTunes from June 29th.

Jonatan B├Ąckelie aka Ernesto is a 27-year old swedish soul singer from Gothenburg Sweden. He was last seen in action on exceptional records with the mind-bending, jaw-dropping album "A New Blues". When his last album ”Find The Form” was released in Sweden it was hailed by the leading music magazine as ”everything that is good with modern Swedish soul” and ”in his biggest moments, Ernesto makes the listeners pinch their arms”.

Since 2002 he’s been frequently played and supported by Gilles Peterson, Jazzanova, Mr Scruff and girls all over the world. Jonatan has lent his disarmingly soulful vocals and collaborated with numerous producers including Seiji (Bugz In The Attic), Swell Session, Jori Hulkkonen, Beanfield, Plej, Atjazz, Drumagick, Blu Mar Ten, Nu:Tone, Logistics, Kyoto Jazz Massive, Motorcitysoul and Stateless.

The single preceeds his new album ‘Ernesto Sings’, which is due for release on exceptional later this year.

Patrick Wolf - Who Will (Buffetlibre Remix) : Free Download 320 Kbps

Patrick Wolf Mix

DOWNLOAD: Patrick Wolf - Who Will (Buffetlibre Remix): http://www.buffetlibredjs.net/patrickwolfbuffetlibre.mp3

ALTERNATIVE LINK: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=FDUYOS5O

Format: MP3 (320 Kbps)
Release Date: June 2, 2009

Produced by: Buffetlibre
Mastered by: Sidechains
Artwork: Roboto
Acknowledgements: Radiocontrol

Coming soon: Patrick Wolf - Who Will (Buffetlibre Radio Edit) , Patrick Wolf - Who Will (Buffetlibre Dub Version)

Review: Margot & the Nuclear So and So's, Not Animal

While you were raking leaves last September, Margot & the Nuclear So and So's released two companion albums: Animal! and Not Animal. The unusually-named, eight-piece band from Indianapolis plays a blend of alternative and chamber pop, and has been compared to The Shins and Arcade Fire.

So why isn't the band more popular? Who knows? The lyrics of Not Animal positively drip with melancholy, and they're so catchy that it doesn't matter. The band blends vocals, guitar, and piano with synth, hand claps, percussion, harmonica, bells, a trumpet and violin. And despite the large number of instruments, the band layers the songs neatly.

Not Animal starts with the soft, dreamlike "Children's Crusade on Acid," followed by the interesting, mellow "German Motor Car" and winding, ballad-like "Broadripple is Burning."

"Holy Cow!" and "Cold, Kind and Lemon Eyes" have some great instrumentation with violin and keys, and the vocals don't disappoint, either. But when "As Tall as Cliffs" finally arrives, you'll wonder why the band held out for so long. It's one of the best tracks on the album, and especially shows off their talent at percussion.

"Pages Written on a Wall," another good track, lures you in with a slow tune and then rises dramatically, favoring the brass and drums and creating an eerie mood. "Shivers (I've Got 'Em)" is also great, if a bit dark--which also stands true for the whole album.

The band is currently on tour in the US.

Flashback Friday: Midnight Juggernauts - Shadows (2006)F

I am posting this Flashback Friday a bit early, but I heard this song at the DJ booth at Lollapalooza a couple of years ago, before the iPhone and Shazam, and I couldn't figure out the musician for the life of me! I loved the psychedelic-electronic sound. Since then, it has been my quest in life to find out the band. A lot of my friends think Pearl Jam is the greatest band ever, so they're no help on music questions like this. I couldn't even google it because I didn't know the title. I was just playing a Pharrell Mix (Sunny Fall Mix) and it was there, on my iPod all along. Shazam to the rescue! (I know, you probably knew the song all along!) I'm so excited about my newfound knowledge that it's getting posted a day early. Awww yeah.

The band is Midnight Juggernauts, a Melbourne, Australia-based band, and now that I have that information, I can finally sleep at night. I need to check out their full catalog.

juggernautsI checked out the video, directed by Krozm, and it has some crazy futuristic Tron thing going on in a small piece, making it worthy of a post. I love the prismatic shapes coming from the instrument. Krozm has also done vids for some of my other favorites: Cut Copy, Architecture in Helsinki, Van She.

Total Eclipse of the Heart - The Literal Translation

A few posts ago I was ranting about how current videos are not all that interesting and videos from the 80s were bizarre and awesome. Here's the PERFECT example of surreal and strange from the 80s, retold in a completely hilarious manner. Seriously I thought I was going to pee my pants it's so funny.

TheSixtyOne Guide for Musicians

Bryan Hazard of Color Theory has written a great article to help musicians get started and have a presence on TheSixtyOne.com. It's his favorite music site (and mine), and he has great advice.

Read the article: What artists should know about thesixtyone .

A Conversation with Garcia Freundt

modernage Garcia Freundt

I was contacted about the band Modernage about reviewing their album Sirhan Sirhan. The music is fantastic, with sort of a Joy Division feel, but with much more warmth and melody. What really struck me, though, was the cool video. I had recently been complaining about how videos nowadays just seem like a way to market a band and there's a lack of art in a lot of music videos. The music video for the song Creatures uses stop motion with wired up stuffed toys. What is also great about Creatures is that the video was created by a band member. I talk with the multi-talented Garcia Freundt of Modernage, musician and visual effects artist.

MY: You did an amazing stop motion video for your band Modernage for the song Creatures. Do you have a background in photography and video?

GF: I've been working on tv and film for about 12 years. I've never been into photography, just took a couple of classes in college, but I'm thinking of buying a still camera but mainly to work more on stop motion.

MY: Have you done much stop motion work? This looks like a huge undertaking.

behind the scenes

GF: This is my second project with stop motion. I've always liked stop motion because it is a unique medium. I fell in love with the textures of the environment and the not-so-perfect movements. My opportunity to explore this medium for the first time was last year, when I was asked to develop some Halloween IDs for a TV cable network. I instantly knew that it would be a great opportunity to create a bizarre world... the short length of the pieces - 10 to 12 seconds - was perfect for a first timer using this technique.

Another reason I like stop motion is the fact that you don't have to work with a lot of people. It's kinda like sculpting and painting, it's very different that normal filmmaking. Roberto Vasconcelos, a great DP I love to work with, worked with me on all the shots with the yellow background, but that's the only person I had to work with.

ligiting set up

MY: One shot in the beginning that grabbed me was the change of focus from the rocker to the marble. There's a lot narrow depth of field shifts thought the video, actually. Was that type of effect something you pulled off in camera or in post?

GF: That change of focus was done just with the camera. I was using an HVX200. For the stop motion, I just used the feature in which the camera takes only 2 frames each time you press the record button. In that rack focus I was rolling at 24fpsand with one hand out of the frame I was moving the rocking chair and with the other one I was turning the focus wheel. In general, I've always loved a narrow depth of field and using mainly close-ups to tell stories, and it's easier to get a narrow depth of field when using tight close ups.. so it just works for me.

MY:I'm guessing you took large images and did your pans and zooms in a program like After Effects. Can you talk a bit about your post production process?

GF: Almost all the pans and zooms were done with the camera rolling at 24fps. I tried to stay away from moving the puppets while doing camera moves... maybe for the next project.

MY: What type of plug-ins do you like to use? For the film effect for example, did you use a plugin on that or use some other method to achieve the old film look?

GF: For the film look I just put a vignette (to give it a more fairy tale look) and just added some grain to reduce the sharpness of the video.

MY: Nice particles too!It looks like you shot a portion of it over greenscreen too. You really have a lot of different techniques in a single video!

GF: The only 3 sequences with post effects where done with Motion; the first one is the ball going up and turning into a "planet". The second was the pink puppet going up to the planet (the puppet was on a green screen). The last one was a composite the grey puppet looking at the pink one who is in the planet. The star field is a Motion particle.


MY: I love Motion particles. They're so easy to use and so fast. I'll admit, I've only done stop motion work once and it was in college. It didn't turn out too well. I know stop motion can be tedious work... everything must be so precise. Do you have any methods that you use to time things out?

GF: It really didn't take me a lot of time to do the filming, maybe 20 to 25 hours. The post didn't take me that much either, just working on the three composites I described earlier. With stop motion you don't do much editing, because you don't do any coverage - its very time consuming; you just plan every scene and know in you head how it's going to cut. However, the pre-production part was the longest one but to me the most fun - it took me 5 months, working whenever I had a chance; this involved designing and sewing the puppets and building and painting the set. I guess I didn't want it to end because I love doing stuff with my hands.

MY: So, the dolls... did you put wires inside to get them to pose or did you have another technique?

Yes, I used wires. Now I'm actually learning how to make proper dolls with armatures. The dolls I made were very rudimentary, and I had a lot of problems making them stand right or to have controlled movements...it was a bit of a nightmare, but a learning experience.


MY: How long did it take to make the video? Did you learn any good tricks?

GF: Over a period of seven months, working on it whenever I felt like it. If I had worked on it not taking breaks, maybe 20 days for pre-pro, 6 days for filming and 5 days for post. I started working on it long before the song was recorded. For me, like everything I do, it is just a stepping stone: don't make the same mistakes and build on the good things. I learn by doing.

MY: The opening scene reminds me of something by The Brothers Quay? Do you have any influences in your work? That moving potato is very creepy! The "eyes" look like tentacles.

GF: Yes, among my favorites are the Quay Brothers, Henry Selick and the works of czech animators like Jirí Trnka and Jan Svankmajer. I included the potato cause I always like the "eyes" that grow on them. It gives the potato character...


MY: What do you do in the band?

GF: Keyboards, guitars...and the videos.

MY: When you do a video like this for your band, does everyone have input or do you just do what you envision?

GF: I enjoy doing videos for Modernage mainly because I love the music. I love Mario's lyrics because he has a great sense of storytelling. When I heard the track I felt that it would be good for stop motion. I do most of my creative thinking in bed, right before going to sleep, when my mind is in that weird half-sleep state. I developed the main story line in my head and on the next band rehearsal I showed Mario, the singer, the IDs I had done using this technique, to see his reaction and propose to do a stop motion video for "Creatures", since he was the one who wrote the song. After I showed him the IDs, before I proposed anything, he said: "that's exactly what we should do with Creatures!".. and with that I started working on it.

set up

MY: Have you done other videos as well?

Creatures" is the fourth video I've done for Modernage. I've also done one for a band called "Santos Renuentes" and another one for "Union Cell".

The other 3 Modernage videos are here if you wanna take a look:

  • 7/9/12 video for Modernage's 7/9/12 from the EP Sirhan Sirhan.
  • Bella - The second video-single off of Modernage's debut EP Receiver.
  • Four Eleven - The first hit video off of Modernage's 'Receiver' EP.

MY: Thanks so much for the interview. Best of luck with your music and music video careers! I really love your video work. You have a lot of variety in your style and you're so talented in both fields.

GF: Thanks again!