Recent Records Rocking the Studio 2012 / PT. 01

As a musical public service blog-a-nnouncement, we wanted to share some recently released records that are gaining serious play in the studio (and since people always seem to ask what we are listening to at the moment).

 

Young Knives > Ornaments From the Silver Arcade // rev’d up, Brit rock featuring hooky tracks, snarky vocals and gorgeously obsolete synth patches // HIGHLIGHT “Love My Name”

Cloud Control > Bliss Release > trippy, super creative, spaced-out indie melodic rock heaven // HIGHLIGHT “There’s Nothing In The Water We Can’t Fight”

Plants and Animals > The End of That // surprisingly catchy, laid back, organic rock with killer dynamics // HIGHLIGHT “Crisis!”

Yellow Ostrich > Strange Land // jaring dissonance pared with pop sensibilities and much in the way of percussion // HIGHLIGHT “Marathon Runner”

Ben Kweller > Go Fly a Kite // sing-a-long 70’s songwriter sensibilities crowbar’d into a contemporary slant HIGHLIGHT “Gossip”

Good Old War > Come Back As Rain // subdued acoustic rock sounding both vaguely familiar and brand new with more hooks than a bait shop // HIGHLIGHT “Calling Me Names”

22-20’s > Shake/Shiver/Moan // epic guitars and sparkling harmonies make for an intriguing intersection of British Invasion inspired Arena Rock. HIGHLIGHT “96 to 4”

Jack Peñate > Everything is New // imagine Robert Smith sounding 64% less annoying while fully embracing a quintessential UK pop aesthetic // HIGHLIGHT “Pull My Heart Away”

Thomas Dolby > The Golden Age of Wireless // okay, busted, this is not a new record. but, it’s a brilliant collection of cinematic synth tracks circa 1982…don’t hate // HIGHLIGHT “Europa And The Pirate Twins”

 

How about You?

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No Assembly Required

A short time ago, one of our existing clients — who shall remain nameless at this time — asked us to create a mascot to use as a secondary branding tool for their I.T. company. We proposed a short list of possible directions that included an otter, a mongoose, a robot, a crime fighter and several other quirky choices. Of course, the robot was the winner (because robots are the best… duh). We wanted to make her a lady robot (or “Shebot” as we’ve been calling her around the studio) to give a twist to the typical notion of a retro tin robot. She’s smart, a bit sassy and she’ll fix your computer in the blink of an eye.

Here is a quick look at the process that made her the robot she is today. As you can see, the smirk gives her just the right bit of attitude.

Through the process, we also developed this crime fighting super hero. She didn’t make the final cut, but we were really excited with how she turned out. In other words, we couldn’t bear to see her fade away into the logo graveyard without showing her to the world.

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Calamari with attitude

Desktop Patterns,Don't Take This Too Seriously | Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

We came up with this squid illustration a few years back in honor of our shared affinity for anything inky. He hadn’t seen the light of day for quite some time, so we thought we’d bring him out of the deep to live on your very own desktop.

What are you waiting for? Get started downloading! You can either right click and then “Download linked file” or control-click to do the same.

Download the squid. You’ll receive a zip file containing the following desktop resolutions:

2560 x 1440
1920 x 1080
1280 x 720
1280 x 800

 

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say hi to pete…

Sad to say, but this post concludes our series of skate decks as fine art.

This decks was inspired by a book of soundtrack artwork from the 60’s we have in the studio.

After acquiring a couple new typefaces we were all geared up to use, and wanting to work up a whimsical deck to offset some of the slightly more serious directions already completed, this one came about. We also like the play of “for Pete’s sake” to “for Pete’s skate.” We’re just hoping Mr. Sellers would approve. Expertly printed by BoardPusher.

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Comfort For Less

 

Here is the latest segment of our ongoing series of skate decks as fine art. This one just fell into place and it didn’t even seem like we were trying — a rare (but highly coveted) project where there is very little artistic struggle and it just feels right. It started as a loose pen and ink drawing (see process photo below) and finished with a quick brayer of yellow ink, some zipatone dots and a bit of photoshop. Done and done. Expertly printed by BoardPusher.

 

 

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Rainy Day Deck

If you are a frequent reader of The Bloggery, you might recall the previous decks we designed for the gallery show Human Powered Works, here’s another one in the set. This piece is appropriately titled Rainy Day Deck. It features a little character we illustrated for a skateboard shop in Austin 5 or 6 years ago. They skipped out on the balance of their invoice and this fella (“Harry Knees”) was archived, never to see the light of day. We finally brushed him off and gave him some shine (not literally – mind you – he’s attempting to outrun a lightening storm). For the record, this design was printed courtesy of BoardPusher.

 

For the record, it’s raw and rainy here in Boston today, how is that for keeping it real?

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Masked!

This masked lucha head came about while we were designing a marketing piece for the studio (it’s since appeared in a number of applications).
It was only after each person who received the piece stated, “this would make a really sweet t-shirt,” did we think to ourselves, “this would make a really sweet t-shirt”. Not only are they offered in the glorious blue + heather red option, there is an equally kick-ass gray on gray version available! Both are screen-printed on American Apparel – and wouldn’t you know – make a joyous holiday gift (sorry, tacos no longer included)!

For your viewing pleasure > various uses of the famed lucha libre character.
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Merch Media Mania

All around bad-ass MC, Mr. Lif, just hipped us to the fact that he is repping Alphabet Arm in a new Thievery Corporation video for “Culture of Fear” in which he is featured. Rocking a classic El Cahote / Designbot t-shirt, he’s looking fresh as ever. Although the original El Cahote shirt is sold out, these two complementary counterparts are available and in stock (for the time being at least).

 

Longtime friend of the studio, Fred Eltringham, is also looking razor sharp in one of our Reel Audiofiles Unite shirts for is recent Vater Percussion profile. Fred is currently touring with K.D. Lang, but has played with a who’s who list of artists: Dixie Chicks, The Wallflowers, Ben Kweller, Tears for Fears, etc. since playing with the former Boston quartet, Gigolo Aunts.

Now you can look as hip as these two cats!

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O U SK8 1 2?

Not long ago, artist, former intern, and curator extraordinaire, Silver Oris, assembled a gallery show aptly titled, Human Powered Works.

She asked Alphabet Arm to design a few new pieces for the show and we collectively agreed skate decks would be the ideal medium. Not only do we appreciate skate culture, the decks themselves allow a great deal of creative leeway. Whether it be conceptual, playful, ironic or topical, we embrace the fact boards have become a medium for fine art. The format itself allows us to break out of the typical rectangular framework we find ourselves often working with. We’ll be post some new deck designs over the next few months, here the first installment of the series.

As one of us here at the studio has become somewhat consumed with the social-media-image-driven-craze of Instagram, it made perfect sense to design a board using some of our favorite shots. The idea of having a print medium for these images was rather exciting as we’re usually held to the confides of the interwebs. Ride on.

 

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Laurie Boire Alice

Hello there! My name is Laurie Rane Mildenhall and I am a newly enlisted member of Alphabet Arm’s intern army. I can’t believe I get to work here. I hail from San Diego-Encinitas if you want to get technical-where I learned to love the beaches, cheap Mexican food, traveling and music.

It was not a struggle. I’ve always loved drawing, but I suppose my passion for typography began in middle school when I started making these elaborate hand-lettered doodles in my school notebooks, often to the chagrin of my teachers. However, it was many years, two unfinished majors, and three years in college before I met with the head of graphic design at BYU and asked, “What exactly is graphic design?” Instead of throwing my ignorant behind out of his office, he explained that graphic design is about solving problems and communicating through type and images. He also said that if I wasn’t committed to excellence I should find a different major. Sold. It has been about a year and a half since then and my life has been a giant design explosion. I graduated a couple of months ago and then moved to Boston which, it turns out, is just about the best place ever. Some other fun facts: I love black liquorice, I’ve fractured and sprained both of my arms, and I’m married to a guy named Nick.

To wrap things up, I can’t think of a better place to be learning the ropes than Alphabet Arm. Aaron, Ryan, and my fellow interns are quite simply the cat’s pajamas, and I’m lucky to work with them.
Feel free to say hello! laurie@alphabetarm.com or check out some of my work:http://cargocollective.com/laurierane

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