C30, C60, C90 go!

Far from disappearing, the humble compact cassette has found fresh favour on the DIY music scene, with the return of tape-only labels being one of the most surprising developments of recent years. However, taking into account the digital ‘loudness wars’ eloquently deliniated in Greg Milner’s Perfecting Sound Forever, which saw the likes of Metallica’s huge fanbase lambasting the ‘everything louder than everything else’ approach, mebbe the humble analogue cassette’s ability to absorb serious overloading and sound simply triffic makes more sense… and then there’s the excellent blank tape insert art, as reflected by this excellent Flickr set.

Tractor music

It’s the post we’ve all been waiting for! Ladies and gentlement, I give you, one creative use for your old tractor…

Still state of the (street) art

Filmmaker, author and photographer Henry Chalfant, the director of much-loved early-1980s hip hop street art documentary, Style Wars, has just launched a new website that is set to feature his astonishing Big Grafitti Archive. Henry’s portfolio features countless breathtaking shots that effectively helped to communicate grafitti art to the rest of the world, and he plans to make the Big Graffiti Archive available as a DVD set. That’s one for the OG Christmas list, then. Click on the image above to check the subway car in all of its glory.

Another ingredient in the crucible of hip hop, New York’s street gang culture, is explored in Rubble Kings, a new documentary from director Shan Nicholson that’s currently on the film festival circuit. Check the trailer below…

Letterpress heaven – Hatch Show Print, Nashville

Opened in Nashville by brothers Herbert and Charles Hatch in 1879, Hatch Show Print is America’s oldest printing business and is still creating beautiful letterpress posters and handbills using its huge library of hand-cut blocks. From Elvis, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, to The White Stripes and REM, Hatch has advertised ’em all. And as Hatch still turns out around 600 print jobs each year, t’ain’t goin’ anyplace soon, bub…

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The Little Apple – New York as Toytown in The Sandpit

We first showed a tilt shift movie with the video Little Big Berlin and this film, which makes shots of New York seem like a toy town is also a must-see. Surely it’s only a matter of time before this technique is brought to wider public attention in a music video, advertisement or film – it’s an innovative, charming and quirky way to show a city at work.

Google Instant Search vs Billy Joel – Can it keep up?

The FuturePlus heavenly jukebox…

Inspired by a unique new service, And Vinyly, which will preserve your ashes as a limited edition run of vinyl records (no, really), the great and good at FuturePlus have put their heads together and come up with suitably pithy A- and B-side choices for their be-grooved epitaphs…

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Arcade Fire – The Wilderness Downtown

This interactive music video for Arcade Fire by those Google chaps shows some of the more amazing stuff possible with HTML5. And it all takes place in your hometown.

Really worth a look.

Elektra hits 60 — art and commerce in perfect harmony

The label’s masterpiece? Love’s third album, 1967’s Forever Changes.

Elektra records is celebrating its 60th birthday this year, and as far as independently-minded, hugely successful labels are concerned, it’s managed to surf atop six decades of musical mayhem with great aplomb, maintaining a textbook mix of art and commerce — from Love and the Doors, through the Stooges, MC5 and New York Dolls, to Charlotte Gainsbourg, Björk and Cee-Lo Green.

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From bubblegum pop to a haunting sci-fi epic soundtrack…

Producer Nick Pittsinger slowed down Justin Bieber’s (us neither) fluffy pop single U-Smile by 800% and magically created a 35 minute soundtrack to a Blade Runner sequel (if they ever need one). Check out before and after below…

BEFORE

AFTER