June 26th, 2013
Hello Internet, you great yawning maw that consumes our every waking moment, what do you have for us this time?
Glam rocker or Drag Queen? Take the quiz!
Interesting article from David Lowery (Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven) on why online radio and music services like Pandora aren’t being fair in how they pay royalties to bands.
And while we’re on the subject of songs, I loved this post from The Onion’s AV Club on the Best Album-Opening One-Two Punches.
Okay, so this article is from January, but let’s face it the Indiepocalypse is here!
Have you ever wondered what country is the most metal? Well find out what country has the most metal bands per capita!
And once you get there make sure you know your metal, because metal fans write letters to the editor!
Love classic album covers? How about kittens? If you answered yes to both, this Pigeons and Planes post is catnip for you!
And if you loved that last one, how about the same thing done with athletes?
Arrested Development is back, and what better way to celebrate it’s return than with fake album covers!
And Cris Shapan created these hilarious album covers that never were, but should have been!
I love architecture, so this Architizer post appealed to me.
And I absolutely loved this post on Music Machinery asking the question – Have Artist Names Been Getting Longer?
Speaking of band names, if you’re having trouble coming up with one you’ll want to use this great tool frizbee sent to me.
Larry sent me this Paste magazine article on the 30 Worst Album Covers of the 80’s and 90’s. Discuss.
Tastebuds.fm claims these are the Worst Album Covers of All Time!
And if terrible album covers are your thing you’ve got to join this Facebook Group.
I know a few of you thought the cover of David Bowie’s latest album was terrible, but it turns out David doesn’t even want his visage to appear on a new reissue of a Morrissey single. Someone’s getting shy in his old age.
Thanks to Deadspin for making Beyonce the focus of one of their recent Photoshop contests.
theHoseman recently sent me this fascinating City Page article on the legendary Minneapolis watering hole The CC Club. Definitely give it a read.
And lastly, for those seeking to use Photoshop to create their own vision of beauty, Dove got the last laugh with a Photoshop action that punked them. But in the end, their “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign while powerful also got punked, and punked, and punked.
January 30th, 2013
The internet is a treasure trove of arcane stuff that’s not always easy to uncover, but fear not, because I, and at least one other Figment player, have scoured the interwebs to bring you this very special “Spinal Tap” Vol. 11 Edition of Cleaning Out The Bookmarks…
Let’s get it started with this great Buzzfeed article sent to us by Figment player frizbee. It details “17 Ways to Make Graphic Designers Cringe”. I know I’ve made a few cringe in my time, how about you?
And speaking of design, ever wonder what happens to the people whose pictures adorn famous album covers? Well, NME tracked a few down.
Don’t call it a comeback, because to many vinyl never went away. Eilon Paz, a Brooklyn based photographer, started “Dust and Grooves”, his interview-based photography project, to document various vinyl collectors around the world. It’s a pretty cool collection of interviews and photos with fellow music junkies that he’s compiling into a Kickstarter funded book (yours truly was a backer) so check it out!
To many, Metal is more than just a music genre, it’s their life. So why not live that life in one of “The 5 Most Metal Places On Earth”.
A lot of musicians think they have that something special. Jennifer Yeko, President of True Talent Management, wants them to ask themselves, Do You Want a Music Career? Or a Handout?
And while we’re on the subject of what you need to do to have a career in music, Thor Harris has some rules regarding “How To Tour In A Band” he’d like to share.
God knows Jay-Z and Beyonce know the first rule when it comes to a music career. Protect your intellectual AND personal property people!
And frizbee provided us with this great comic from The Oatmeal detailing the current state of the music industry.
Inspiration takes many forms, but Jazz record covers inspired by the HBO Show “Homeland”? Now that’s cool daddy-o.
According to this “D News” report, Figment isn’t the only place fake bands are on the rise.
And to end this very special “Spinal Tap” edition of “Cleaning Out the Bookmarks”, we’d like to leave you with this classic design snafu courtesy of “the Tap”.
Until next time, surf’s up, but don’t get caught in the tubes!
September 24th, 2012
It’s that time again…time to clean out the old bookmark list of all the crazy things I run across I think you all might find interesting. So here we go!
I’m not sure what side you take on the whole music tech dilemma ( illegal downloading, etc.), but I have to say I found this presentation David Lowery (Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven) gave to the SF Music Tech Summit VERY interesting. It’s a long read, but well worth your time.
If you’ve never heard of Jason Becker it’s high time you did. I know it took me a while to hear his story, so I didn’t want you to miss out – check out this trailer to the documentary “Not Dead Yet”.
Another documentary I’d love to check out is Last Shop Standing about the decline of independent record stores in the UK. Some great cameos in this one. Thanks to Billy Bragg for bringing this one to my attention.
This may well be the best music-related promotion I’ve ever seen…leave it to Snoop.
Buzzfeed recently posted something on actual NYC locations used on album covers. Check ’em out.
And the folks at AV Club have compiled a list of the 25 band names designed to confound listeners and irritate copy editors!
Where did punk originate? New York? London? Peru!?
Derrick Castle designs all kinds of merch for bands as diverse as John Mellencamp, Ozzy Osbourne and Neil Young. I thought this video he posted of the process involved in doing a block print was pretty interesting. He’s doing a series of videos on his work, so if you find that kind of stuff interesting check out his site.
Now this is a novel way to punish our enemies!
Who says Death Metal musicians have no sense of humor!
And for you Replacement fans out there, Larry has something for you – Bright Little Lights are putting out a tribute album to their favorite 80’s indie band. Nothing new here right? We’ll, how about doing the whole thing on ukeles? Intrigued? Then check out their cover of “We’re Coming Out”.
Do you love Mastadon’s album “Leviathan” as much as I do? Well then check out this guy’s take on it!
Having trouble finding a significant other to make beautiful music with? Check out Tastebuds.
Even I geeked out on this article in Paste featuring 16 guitarists talking about their pedal boards.
The 80’s, a time of…well, hair.
And speaking of the 80’s, I really enjoyed this article from The Guardian about how Indie labels changed the world.
Indie labels may have changed the world, and the internet may have made it easier for those bands to reach their fans, but it’s still hard to manage those interactions online. Would developing an open-source ethos help? Enter the ironically titled non-profit group CASH.
And now back to the 80’s again…I just love this blog.
Looking for a fake band name and can’t think one up? Why not crib one from this guy’s project! Just heed his advice and stay away from Caldera Catnip.
Remember when Tower Records stores dotted the country? I know, it’s quickly becoming a distant memory, but at least you can relive the store and your memories of buying music there by visiting the new Tower Records Project.
I love anything that is well designed. So this ShortList.com piece on the 50 Coolest Book Cover Designs was one I poured over for some time.
And speaking of covers, if you love to stare at old LP Covers then this site is the place to do it!
Lastly, I’ve heard of in-fighting in bands, but this is over-the-top.
Don’t like Billy Joel’s music? Neither does this guy, but it didn’t stop him from embarking on a year long quest to see if he could stomach his music.
Until next time…
March 9th, 2012
My bookmark list has been bulging at the seams for some time now, so it’s time for an expanded edition of Cleaning Out The Bookmarks. So sit back, click and enjoy some great internet ephemera!
Anyone who knows me, knows that I have no time for Bon Iver, nor do I care for Bon Jovi, but Bon Joviver I can get behind.
frizbee always sends me great stuff, and this link to a Cracked.com & VirusComix.com Rock Timeline is no exception.
In November of 1979, Pink Floyd released “The Wall”. The 30 shows they played on “The Wall” tour in LA, NY, Dortmund and London are legendary for the sheer scope of the production. “Pink Floyd: The Lost Documentary” is a rare look behind the scenes of the shows the band did at Earls Court in London, and really shows how much work goes into putting on a rock opus of this kind. Make sure you watch Parts 2 & 3 as well.
Turns out the old rock n’ roll maxim “Sex, Drugs and Rock N’ Roll” may only apply to men…well at least the first part, according to Ellen Campesinos! bassist for the rock band Los Campesinos!
And while we’re on the subject of women and music, I enjoyed this article “On Being A Feminist Metalhead”. Black Metal ain’t just a boys club gentlemen.
Do you love Nirvana? Then you’ll want to check out “A World of Nirvana”, a mash-up of Google Maps and YouTube, that allows you to view Nirvana shows by year from the band’s early beginnings in 1987 through some of their last shows in 1994.
And speaking of live shows, you gotta love this Flikr pool.
Bob Dylan as a zombie? Madonna as a zombie? Keith Richards as a zombie? Wait a minute, Keith IS a zombie! Check it!
Alternative- pop song lyrics got you wondering? No need to worry, McSweeney’s provides “Common Sense Solutions to Alt-Pop Song Problems”.
Project Thirty-Three is a blog devoted to “the seemingly infinite number of vintage album covers that convey their message with only simple shapes and typography…”
If this house is rockin’…you CAN come a knockin’!
I love to lie in bed and listen to music, but this is ridiculous…ly cool.
This real band used fake band member names to drum up some mystery that turned into internet hype that turned into an album, tour, etc. Funny how that works…huh?
Moyssi.com is a website collection of the more than 300 concert programs created by James D. Moyssiadis aka Moyssi for John Scher Productions from 1977 – 1984. The cover illustrations all depict something original about the artist performing. It’s really great stuff, so check out the whole site.
frizbee also sent me this article from Webdesigner Depot that showcases some of the Common Design Styles Used In Album Artwork.
Turns out rock bands cop more than just riffs from other people! Who knew a font could cause so much trouble!
Who needs a Vegas wedding when you can have Reverend Sister Go-Go perform your nuptials.
Inspiration Feed posted this great article on “10 Ideas Smartly Expressed by Awesome Typography”.
They also had this cool post on “40 Exciting Occupy Movement Poster Designs”.
Graphic designer Simon C. Page created these alternate album cover designs for a series he called “Music Inspired Album Covers”, all of which “were created, influenced and inspired by just listening to the music”.
About.com’s Chad Bowar released his Best Heavy Metal CDs of 2011 list, and it’s a doozy. Plus he compiled a list of his Top German Metal Bands.
And in the WTF Dept., Disney Is Selling a Joy Division Mickey Mouse T-Shirt.
Looks like Figment News isn’t the only one interviewing fake bands!
Ever wonder how Grace Jones managed that arabesque on the cover of her Island Life album cover? Here’s how.
September 30th, 2011
It’s time to surf through the flotsam and jetsam of the interwebs, so don’t miss this wave…
I love the Muppets and in particular Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem! Illustrator Michael De Pippo clearly does too!
And if you liked that, then you’ll love these fake band t-shirts designed for history’s greatest minds. Long live the Monsters of Grok!
Frizbee is a big fan of Harry Potter, so he sent me this link to some classic rock album covers reimagined with various characters from the Potter films.
He also sent me this great link to some really clever pictogram music posters. So thanks Friz!
This article gives “Shake Your Moneymaker” a whole new meaning!
And lest you think Canada has never produced a good fake band for TV or movies – think again! My personal fave? Rod Torfulson’s Armada Featuring Herman Menderchuk!
Do you love Graphic Design and Creative of all kinds? Then make sure you check out Creattica.
I enjoyed this article on how cassettes mobilized music and thought you might too.
And speaking of old school, CBS Sunday Morning did this great piece on that once ubiquitous cassette player/radio the “Boombox” and photographer Lyle Orweto’s new book “The Boombox Project”.
LargeheartedBoy alerted me to this great article from West Coast Sound on The Five Worst Ironic Indie Rock Band Names, Besides Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
And last but certainly not least, leave it to The Flaming Lips to come up with a most novel way to package their latest recording!
July 20th, 2011
The bookmarks have been piling up, so it’s time to clean em’ out! Here we go!
Band names have their genesis in many forms, but this band’s name is literally a joke!
When Dave Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart, died late last year we lost a true musical explorer and eccentric sage. Thankfully he left his fellow musicians with some great advice, so heed the Captain!
The harcore punk band Fucked Up recently released their long awaited “punk opera” album “David Comes To Life”, but prior to the album’s release on June 7th they also released a compilation album of songs from all of the fake bands from the fake town in which the fake story is set. Got all that? Good now go check out the cool site they created for the album.
Musicians are always finding new ways to make music, behold the music of EXE files!
How iconic is a musician’s hair? Comb over this infographic to find out!
Every year we lose more record stores, a sad fact that is the subject of this Buzzfeed pictorial post.
At Figment we’re devoted fans of rock posters, so we were excited to hear about the release of “American Artifact.” If you love documentaries on rock posters you should also check out our interview with Eileen Yaghoobian about her film “Died Young Stayed Pretty”.
Want to actually play air guitar? You may soon be able to since this project just got funded on Kickstarter!
Now this is some great fake album artwork!
Do you like some album cover artwork so much you could eat it up? Well now you can!
That’s it for now. Until next time…
January 24th, 2011
While scouring the web for all things fake band related, I often stumble across great design sites, interesting music articles and even some great internet ephemera. So what do I do with it all? I bookmark it and eventually when things are a little slow I share them with you. So without further adieu here is the latest installment of “Cleaning Out The Bookmarks”:
I just finished reading Keith Richard’s memoir “Life”, and it was a great read that I highly recommend. Needless to say it put me in a all things Keith mood and led me to this classic Hunter Thompson interview with Keith Richards.
Now if you read “Life” you’ll know that Richards blasts Mick Jagger throughout the book for a variety of things, but mostly for having what he refers to as LVS (Lead Vocalist Syndrome). Jagger supposedly fired back in this letter which is a fascinating read in it’s own right.
frizbee also sent me this incredible portfolio site for Icelandic designer JÓNAS VALTÝSSON.
And speaking of album covers he also sent me this!
If you haven’t already seen this incredible marketing piece for the latest Arcade Fire album then you’re in for a treat – watch it!
Larry turned me on to this guy Craig Robinson’s incredible site FlipFlopFlyBall. If you like baseball, and infographics, you’ll love this site, but I particularly loved this infographic of REALLY fantasy baseball.
These progressive metal drawings by Justin Bartlett are pretty cool too.
For you metal heads I thought you’d like to check out this new distortion pedal from Tone Box.
If you like movie posters this is a pretty cool post on vintage takes on modern movies.
And speaking of posters…Larry sent this post from the staff at Consequence of Sound.
This guy might be homeless, but that never stopped him from living out his metal dreams!
And this blogger not only creates fake metal bands he’s been breathing life into them by releasing a steady stream of albums from them.
Whiskey has inspired me to do a lot of things…nothing this creative however!
Like your comic book heros? Like 80’s album covers? Why not combine the two!
You gotta love this Sleeveface post!
But my favorite has to be this Noise Addicts post on some photos from the Life Magazine Archives. Ever wonder what the house Frank Zappa grew up in looks like? Wonder no more!
If you’ve run across something you’d like to share send it to us using the feedback link at the bottom of every page on Figment.
Until next time…
September 15th, 2010
Well it seems I’m not the only one who is a fan of internet ephemera, our own frizbee keeps track of it too! In fact, he sent over 3 of the links I’m sharing with you today. In return for his link “largesse” we thought it only fair that we dedicate this very special episode of Cleaning Out The Bookmarks to him!
In Vol 1. of this feature we introduced you to Pitchfork’s great “Take Cover” column. The latest installment features Stanley Donwood who has designed all of Radiohead’s covers. He has a new exhibit that is currently showing at San Franciso’s FIFTY24SF through October 27, 2010.
I stumbled across this treasure trove of Jazz album covers that were released on Columbia Records when I visited the Birka Jazz Archive.
And speaking of album covers, frizbee hipped me to AlbumArtExchange.com an online repository of high quality album artwork.
He also sent me this link to SoundofDesign’s minimalist take on 19 classic rock album covers. It’s awesome.
And in keeping with his minimalist streak, frizbee sent me this link to some minimalist rock posters done by Federico Mancosu.
I ran across this trailer for a UK indie documentary about the last vinyl record shop in Teesside, England. The film is called “Sound It Out” (after the name of the shop) and at the time of this post they’ve only raised $265 of the funding they need to for the film’s post-production, so scrape some nickels together and help out a struggling artist by donating what you can. She’ll send you some great freebies depending on how much you donate. I went for a simple $10 thank you!
Having a kick ass logo is nowhere more important than in the world of metal – here are a few I happened across on a Russian design site that should get your creative juices headbanging! If you scroll down there’s some pretty good album cover designs as well.
And speaking of metal, Invisible Oranges asked a classically trained voice teacher to give her thoughts on 5 of metal’s most well known singers.
Ran across this great blog post about how someone’s fake band “Bible Party” got big by word-of-mouth. Go figure.
Cover Arts is another great album cover design site to check out.
Rock stars love tattoos right? The problem is that they don’t always make the best tattoos themselves do they? Think Before You Ink proves it!
And while we’re on the subject of rock n’ roll anatomy why not check out Flavorwire’s 10 Most Iconic Bare Torsos in Music!
Everybody knows rock n’ roll is an incestuous business, but this woman actually mapped it out!
And last but not least, I love wildlife, so I was thrilled to see this photograph of the elusive Heavy Metal Tiger!
July 19th, 2010
Time for the latest installment of “Cleaning out the Bookmark List”, so let’s get to it!
- Stumbled on this incredible blog post on FontFeed while reading another of my favorite blogs – HardFormat.org – it’s a rundown of the album art on some of the newest releases with special attention paid to the font and typefaces used. I know this something that Will Schaff pointed out as being very important in his selections for the 2010 Album Cover Design Contest, so give it a read.
- HardFormat also had a link to this incredible new documentary “Taken By Storm” that is being made about the legendary album cover designer Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis, the team that designed famous covers for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Bad Company, Yes, Scorpions, Peter Gabriel and many more. Check out the trailer, it looks fantastic, or visit Storm’s site.
- If you like Def Leppard you’ll love this set of blog posts by Andie Airfix, the designer behind all of their album covers since Pyromania. Check out the original designs, etc. It’s going to be part of a show at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame opening in December of 2010 and running through 2012. Speaking of Def Leppard, Hipgnosis designed their “High N’ Dry” album cover.
- Love Black Sabbath? Then you’ll love this!
- While not technically what we’d call a fake band (since they actually recorded & released music) Sex Bob-Omb does have some famous members (no pun intended).
May 17th, 2010
Hey it’s that time again, time to clear out ye olde bookmark list and share some cool odds and sods with you! So here we go –
- How important is a band name? The NY Times ran an article on this subject, and how even classical groups are getting creative with their names.
- If you want to check out a really cool graphic design project, check out Michael Deal’s exploration of The Beatle’s work through infographics. It’s fascinating.
- Don’t believe that you can get people to believe in a fake bands, albums or concerts? Guess again! Even the art community is getting involved – whether it’s creating fake bands or record stores! So imagine it and they will come!
- Sleeveface rocks…it simply rocks. I dare you not to agree.
- Change the Thought is a great design blog, but I particularly liked this article on gig posters.
- 7 Deadly Sinners are 7 artists who among other things seem to like to create gig posters for fake bands!
- Nylvi’s Best Vinyl Cover Art of 2009 is worth a look!
- frizbee pointed this Wired article out to me. A must read for Lost fans. BTW frizbee I’m still working on getting a hold of them…I’ll keep you posted.
- Congratulations to our good friend John Coulthart (last year’s guest Album Cover Design Contest judge) for winning the 2010 Spinetingler Best Book Cover Award.
- Michele Catalano wrote a great post for her Sound System column on True/Slant. She writes about “Albums I Forgot I Loved” and talks about how she created a fake band, Pond Scum, with her sister and a few friends. Unfortunately the band broke up over their fake direction, but it goes to show you how many people create fake bands based on their love for a real group.
That’s it for now. Until next time…