...aaannd we're back! Happy 2009 everyone!
So, over the hyper-extended break taken here at TVD, there was plenty o' time spent at the neighborhood haunt, the Fox and Hounds. One evening sitting in front of the big window under the neon sign looking out over the patio, my pal John and I got involved in a conversation about graphic design. John's a web design/development instructor at the Corcoran and at Catholic U., and as an Art Director in my 9-5 guise, he had a few questions for me about what I look for in a junior designer's portfolio.
The timing was good for this conversation too as I had hired a very talented junior designer just about a year ago after reviewing literally hundreds of portfolio submissions, at first via an ad posted on craig's list then afterward in person during interviews.
The thing that struck me then that resonated in our conversation was that student and beginning designer's portfolios seem to just lack the basic fundamentals--super solid typography, type and image cohesion, individual flair, and a communications capability. Most seem to be extended classroom exercises at best and very basic stabs at 'just doing it'. Which I understand really...I was there starting from nothing and hoping for the best. Most troubling ultimately though was a basic lack of executing the fundamentals in a professional portfolio...which IS supposed to be your best stuff on display, right?
What seemed to dilute the talent pool we surmised was the computer. We've all got one and with the help of a little design software we're all 'designers' with or without formal instruction or innate talent. Some can get there, some can get close, and it's pretty easy to tell who's got it and who doesn't. The computer seems to say 'yes, you are' as opposed to 'you just haven't earned it yet, baby.'
No surprise then that he topic turned to music and the parallel that can be drawn with the aforementioned. The computer INDEED seems to say 'yes, you are' as opposed to 'you just haven't earned it yet, baby' YET all these young shavers have their on-line MUSIC portfolios on-display, via Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, or any other shortcut subsequently made worse by the plethora of bloggers (ding!) in search of content who, in the end, champion acts that barely merit the title of 'beginner.'
I've seen it over and over again the past year exacerbated by the thin talent base that became the fodder for 'Top Ten Lists' in vogue at the end of December. I hesitate to point fingers or name names cuz we're all sweet this a-way...but catch me at happy hour and you can bet your tits I'll have names and nausea to spare.
So in the coming year, JUST the good shit. Only the acts that somehow have got it (or HAD it) and none of the Gang of Four copyists in reverso skinny jeans and ironic hippy beards peddling half-formed or worse, ill-formed compositions on shiny young auto-tuned kids. Unless they KILL of course. (Our tent is big enough.)
This by the way places a heavy burden on our 'First Date' series which returns full-throttle in '09. Our 'Daily Wax' becomes the 'Weekly Wax' as we veer more toward the artists as opposed to singular releases. FINALLY I plan to get to the hundreds of LP's added to the TVD shelves over the course of '08 that will become our 'From The Vaults' series or something similarly named.
We've got vinyl LP giveaways already lined up and there will be plenty more than last year. We've got ticket giveaways already lined up and there will be plenty more than last year. We're ramping up our overall vinyl news coverage. AND we have our exclusive Record Store Day 2009 news and updates...so, we anticipate a major bit of blogging over the course of the year. Your continued indulgence is warmly appreciated.
...which brings me to the very first artist this year and the individual I listened to above all others last year: Adrian Borland and more specifically his band, The Sound.
I've rambled on a bit for one day, so go forward and download the following five from The Sound's live 2-LP set, "In The Hothouse." Close your eyes and imagine this band taking the stage at oh, The Black Cat or The R&R Hotel with this level of energy and passion and song-craft and ask yourselves why we're settling for...oh, ...wait.
I'll keep it sweet.
The Sound - Under You (Mp3)
The Sound - Hothouse (Mp3)
The Sound - Silent Air (Mp3)
The Sound - Monument (Mp3)
The Sound - The Fire (Mp3)
".....the stifling heat of The Marquee is multiplied a thousand fold by that generated by The Sound on stage " -Mat Smith, MELODY MAKER
"If I've seen a more intense gig this year , I'd appreciate being told." -Chris Roberts, SOUNDS