Wednesday, October 21, 2009

If I hadn't been listening to Elliott Smith all through high school and had future music listening powers...

...this probably would have been the soundtrack to my very sad teenaged existence.

Like other great Icelandic artists before him, Ólafur Arnalds is more talented than you or I could ever be, and certainly more than your mom (unless your mom happens to be Bjork).

The following are songs from his April EP Found Songs: seven songs, one created each day for a week. You know what's awesome? You can download them for free; if you decide you like them, you can purchase the EP in various formats (it is, after all, the technical age.)

If you enjoy bands like Sigur Rós, I'm sure you'll find an appreciation for this young fellow (born in '87, GAH I'M SO OLD), though you may want to be sure there are no straight razors nearby while listening to this hauntingly, achingly beautiful album.

"Day I: Erla's Waltz"

"Day V: Lost Song"

"Day VII: Ljósið"

Ólafur Arnalds - Ljósið (Official Music Video) from Erased Tapes on Vimeo.

(Many thanks to my pal Flash Gordon for pointing this out)

Incidentally, this also caught my eye; who doesn't love wispy fellows on a cold beach dancing around in pea coats? BLACK pea coats? No one, that's who.

Codes In The Clouds - Paper Canyon (video teaser) from Erased Tapes on Vimeo.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Brad Neely, you complete me

So I have really fallen down in my duties of informing you of things that are awesome. I'm sorry.

Though many of my readers are close friends and are already aware of the bizarre genius that is Brad Neely, there may be one or two who are sadly groping through the dark, looking for a light switch, but finding only damp, sticky things of varying sizes and shapes.

Well children, let me get that for you.

Brad Neely is a cartoonist/comics artist wrapped in absurdity and mystery. Not much is known about him, and I certainly have no idea how long he's been around, but by God, my life would be much sadder without him. His distinct simplistic, disproportionate, kind of wiggly line style of drawing perfectly compliments his weird sense of humor. His fingers are in all kinds of pies, but here are some of the best ones:

"Wizard People, Dear Reader"
Many years ago, Neely, who had never read the books, nor seen the movies, did a drunken audio narrative of the first Harry Potter film. The first time I watched the film with the narrative track, I nearly peed myself many, many times. I actually had to take a break so that I could relieve myself, just in case that next wave of tear-inducing laughter was the one to break the dam. There are so many quotable lines from this work that for next few weeks you will just be muttering to yourself, "Ta-daa. Ta-daa forever!" or "HP and the Effin' Bear!"

And do you know what's best? The MP3s are free to download (comes in 2 parts)! The joy and laughter are free! How often does that happen? I mean really?

A sample:
the first appearance of "Roast Beefy Weefy"

the heart-stopping "Cribbage Match"

Do everyone a favor and when you've downloaded the tracks, show it to everyone you know. Have a "Wizard People, Dear Reader" party. Just make sure you don't serve soda, as it will, more than once, come shooting out your nose.

ps. This is not for children under the age of 16.

George Washington video
This was the first video of Brad Neely's I was shown, long long ago in the before times, and still remains one of my very favorites. A wonderful fact-filled rap about our founding father, Mr. George Francis Washington.

The Professor Brothers
A series about two professors who share the same office and despite their opposing personalities, learn life lessons and laugh and cry together.

I truly appreciate how Neely's strained, incredulous voice is exactly what I hear in my head every time life doles out another pile of bullhockey, because, despite having lived twenty-five years in this world, I naively still can't believe the things that happen on a daily basis. And videos like this make me smile at the absurdity of it all.

Check out more of Neely's videos chyeah.

Seriously, the talent never stops with this guy. Even his one-panel comics are sincerely delightful (if you enjoy absurd humor like I do).

My favorite is bear balloons:

I love how the image is actually pretty damn precious, but knowing Neely, the imaginary next panel is probably disembowelment and gore. But really, who wouldn't want some big fluffy bears lazily floating overhead? And the two human characters actually look genuinely happy and sweet. Just another lovely afternoon stroll through the sun-dappled fields with your sweetheart and some bear balloons.

So, there's some stuff. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and share it with everyone you know. We'll see what comes down the pike later this month?

"He'll save children, but not the British children..."