Portrait of a Sound Design Artist – By Storm + Shelter

A man standing alone in a shed hitting a bath with a mallet could be seen as mad, but in the world of sound design, it’s the norm. Ali Lacey is an eccentric sound design artist, and this short portrait allows us a closer look into the world of sound design.

Directed, Shot and Edited by Josh Bennett – stormandshelter.com
Music and Sound Design by Ali Lacey – novoamor.co.uk/
Check out his latest sample library – goo.gl/Ng34AQ

Filmed at Stylee Studios in Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.

Produced by Storm+Shelter

MGMT @ Brooklyn’s Barclays Center – December 13, 2013

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MGMT is the American band that’s been shaking up the indie scene for the past five years. Their style is difficult to shove into one genre of music, but contains elements of indie, psychedelic rock, and pop. MGMT broke onto the scene in 2007 with their hit album, Oracular Spectacular, which featured the hit single, “Kids”.

At the Barclays Center in December, MGMT played to an ecstatic (and young) crowd at Barclays Center that was their first NYC show in nearly 3 years. A homecoming of sorts. It’s been 5 years since I’ve gotten to see MGMT live, and that was when they were a young band opening for Beck. Back then they were still coming into their own. After seeing their performance last night, it’s safe to say they’ve definitely done so.

3/4 of first opener Kuroma were actually Hank Sullivant, James Richardson, and William Berman of MGMT. With the addition of Simon O’Connor, they created Kuroma. They had a groovy, jangly indie-rock vibe that was very lose, almost surf-rock at times.

Up next was Dinosaur Jr. who have been at it since the mid-80′s, but were opening for MGMT. Interesting choice, but you’ll hear no complaints from me. It’s always a pleasure to catch these guys, who are legends at this point. J Mascis is always a pleasure to watch at work, punching away at some powerful guitar riffs and slacker vocals that are more than influential. Bring earplugs if you see these guys, they bring the heat.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s been way too long since I’ve seen MGMT. I only saw them as an opener for Beck, and although I enjoyed it, there was definitely room for improvement. From the first note of set-opener “Flash Delirium”, I could tell that MGMT were not the same band. They sounded ten times tighter and more confident that they were 5 years ago, almost a new band entirely.


Ben – MGMT

“Time To Pretend” was the second song played, and immediately upon hearing it I was struck hard with a hit of memories and feelings from my last summer before college. It was amazing to finally get to hear all these songs from their debut album live again, as well as all the psych wonder nuggets from their tremendous follow-up albums, Congratulations, and MGMT.

They were joined by Faine Jade, who wrote the track “Introspection” and worked in a mammoth performance of “Of Moons, Birds & Monsters” which is an interestedly different animal live. It really took me off guard by how good that song is live. From there, it was a eclectic mix of all the best tracks from their career, such as “It’s Working”, “Weekend Wars”, and “Alien Days.” They played all 12-minutes plus of “Siberian Breaks” which was mind-blowing, as well as “Electric Feel” and “Kids”, both of which had fans rising from their seats screaming and dancing once the band started playing them.



MGMT are one of my favorite bands because they have stayed true to themselves all these years. They could have sold out and altered their sound to create 10 albums worth of songs like “Kids.” But they continued to push the boundaries of their listeners, making music that they believe in. This passion and care is carried over to their live show, which is a powerful force not to miss. It was a long wait to finally see MGMT again, but it was totally worth it.

They played most of their new record and some older tracks. Some members of Kuroma joined them onsatge for a few tunes. Sean Lennon was at the show too. (That happens at a lot of big Brooklyn shows.) It was all in all, a fine early Xmas present for a fairly wide-range of alt-rock fans.

Find the setlist below, along with a giant collection of photos from all three bands.


1. Flash Delirium
2. Time to Pretend
3. Introspection (With Faine Jade)
4. The Youth
5. Of Moons, Birds & Monsters
6. Mystery Disease
7. It’s Working
8. Weekend Wars
9. I Found a Whistle
10. Siberian Breaks
11. Electric Feel
12. Your Life Is a Lie
13. Kids
14. Cool Song No. 2
15. Alien Days

16. Congratulations

Andrew - MGMT

Andrew – MGMT


Ben – MGMT

The Strokes to headline The annual Governors Ball in New York City


Julian Casablancas and Jack White

The annual Governors Ball in New York City has scored a major victory: The three-day festival has booked the Strokes to headline, alongside OutKast, Jack White and Vampire Weekend. Unless the Strokes play a gig sometime before June 6th – when the festival kicks off on New York City’s Randall’s Island – it will be the New York band’s first U.S. gig since 2011. Three-day passes go on sale at 3 p.m. EST today; tickets to individual days will go on sale at a later date.

Last week, the fest announced its first performer, OutKast, and proceeded to hint at other performers with abstract images, such as a shot of TV white noise to suggest the band Disclosure (who have a single called “White Noise”), on its social-media accounts. Today, in addition to Disclosure, it revealed the full 68-artist lineup. Highlights include Phoenix, Skrillex, TV on the Radio and a solo set by the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas.

The Strokes’ guitarist, Albert Hammond, Jr., told Rolling Stone last year that the group just liked moving at its own pace. “People like watching us live,” he said. “I just think when that machine starts up, it’s a Titanic, you know, so it moves slowly, so you just, you want to be pointing in the right direction. And when you’ve done something for 12 years in a certain way, you need to reprogram everything. And that takes time to eventually get around and figure out, and since we realized that, we actually have a little bit of time and a little bit of wiggle room.”

Via Rolling Stone

Rap Lyrics on Trial

SHOULD rap lyrics be used in court as evidence of a crime?


The New York Times

Next week, the Supreme Court of New Jersey will hear a case 14declanoped-master495that could help decide just that. At issue is a prosecutor’s extensive use of rap lyrics, composed by a man named Vonte Skinner, as evidence of his involvement in a 2005 shooting.

During Mr. Skinner’s trial in 2008, the prosecutor read the jury 13 pages of violent lyrics written by Mr. Skinner, even though all of the lyrics were composed before the shooting (in some cases, years before) and none of them mentioned the victim or specific details about the crime.

In keeping with rap’s “gangsta” subgenre, the lyrics read like an ode to violent street life, with lines like “In the hood, I am a threat / It’s written on my arm and signed in blood on my Tech” — a reference to a Tec-9 handgun. “I’m in love with you, death.”

Read entire article here

Francois Hollande’s ‘escapades’ – a glossary


Valerie Trierweiler

Followers of France’s political love story may have been intrigued by some expressions used in the media, writes Hugh Schofield. What, for example, to make of a presidential spokesman’s statement that Valerie Trierweiler has succumbed to the blues?

Le blues means (as in English) sadness or melancholy. To have a coup de blues is to get an attack of the blues, to feel down all of a sudden. Used of Valerie Trierweiler, it underplays the extent of her distress. You would not normally go to hospital with le blues.

Some have said that Trierweiler, President Francois Hollande and his alleged new girlfriend Julie Gayet are all from the gauche caviar – the caviar-eating left. This is the French equivalent of champagne Socialists. But because left-wing thinking is very much part of the French establishment, the gauche caviar is an easily identifiable social class.

These people may abhor the pursuit of money, but find it normal to have a pied-a-terre in the Rue du Cirque – an exclusive street a stone’s throw from the presidential residence, the Elysee Palace. This is where Julie Gayet was lent a flat by actress Emmanuelle Hauck, in order (allegedly) to facilitate the affair. Incidentally, had it been Hollande’s flat, it would have been not a pied-a-terre, but a garconniere (bachelor pad).

Meanwhile Hollande was indulging in escapades discretes (discreet escapades) – the coy expression used a few weeks ago by L’Express magazine to describe his romantic adventures. L’Express knew what the president was doing, but wouldn’t spell it out – it left that to the vulgarians of the presse people (celebrity press) .

Discreet exit: The Grille du Coq

Discreet exit: The Grille du Coq

The French have also learned of the existence of the Grille du Coq. This is the ornate black metal gate surmounted by a large Gallic cockerel, at the end of the Elysee gardens, through which, L’Express says, the president would sometimes s’exfiltrer – smuggle himself out.

Other times he went by motorbike – or to be precise by a scooter a trois roues – a powerful scooter with two front wheels and one at the back: a kind of motor-trike. In traffic-clogged Paris, these are now the vehicles of choice for besuited middle-ranking executives on their way to business meetings.

Can you envisage how such a story might be covered in Britain if David Cameron were caught in similar circumstances?

That only one question would suffice speaks of the enormous cultural difference between the British and French media.

But then there is valid reason why President Francois Hollande is shown this deference.

He is the head of state, the figurehead of the nation, and in office he will always be afforded a greater level of respect by the French media.

And then of course Mr Hollande is not the worst offender.

Every president to have held power in France since 1974 has been rumoured to have cheated on their wives. Jacques Chirac came closest to making a public admission of guilt. “There have been women I have loved,” he said. “A lot, as discreetly as possible.”

When the newspaper Paris-Match obtained images of Mazarine Pingeot, the daughter whom President Mitterrand had conceived with his lover Anne Pingeot, they sought the president’s permission before publishing them.

Things changed with the arrival of President Sarkozy – perhaps also with the advent of Twitter.

Jacques Chirac said he had loved "a lot" of women

Jacques Chirac said he had loved “a lot” of women

These days rumours circulate more freely. Besides, Mr Sarkozy was never so presidential, said his critics. His personal life, even his romantic life, was central to his new brand of leadership. The French electors were invited to share his personal misfortunes and his joy – his divorce from Cecilia; his quick courtship and marriage to Carla Bruni; the birth of their daughter, Giulia.

Increasingly, the boundaries between the private and the public have become blurred.

No wonder the establishment shuddered at the revelations of the past week, though there is an entirely legitimate, pertinent question about the way in which Mr Hollande is said to have travelled to these night-time liaisons.

We don’t know how many “stolen nights” there were but on each occasion he travelled – albeit 150 yards – on a moped, trailed by the paparazzi. “On one occasion he was walking around the block,” said the photographer who allegedly caught him in the act.

It is not the women the president chooses, that is the subject for debate here. It’s his judgement. The unnecessary risks he took, say the newspapers, at a time when France faces a heightened terrorist threat.

“No reason to worry,” said the president today. “I was perfectly safe.”


Nicolas Sarkozy’s romance with ex-model Carla Bruni grabbed the headlines when he became president

Which leaves the issue of the first lady. There will of course have to be further clarification – and soon – on any future role Valerie Trierweiler will play. There is the pressing nature of a trip to the United States in February, though it would seem highly unlikely she will now be on that trip.

The president hasn’t given much away today but he has pointed the public to the “difficult situation” in his private life.

No question there’s a problem. The Elysee may be working to draw a line under the affair, but I’d guess that while Ms Trierweiler remains out of view, the story will surely continue to rumble. The less charitable commentators suggest she knows it.

Frederic Gerschel, a journalist from the newspaper Le Parisien, confirmed yesterday that he spoke to the First Lady on Sunday evening. If she is briefing journalists on the state of her health, then it suggests she wants to control some aspect of the media coverage.

For the Elysee it will require some careful handling. A deeply unpopular president can ill afford any further criticism.

A Rock Star, A Novelist And A Super-Producer Write A Musical


T-Bone Burnett, John Mellencamp and Stephen King are the creative team behind Ghosts of Darkland County, a stage show based on a true story of small-town tragedy.

Comedian George Carlin liked to say that art doesn’t have a finish line. The trio behind Ghost Brothers of Darkland County are the embodiment of that idea. Each is a superstar in his chosen field: rock music legend, best-selling novelist, record producer — trades they could have been content to pursue to the grave. Instead, they went and wrote a musical together, 13 years in the making.

Ghost Brothers was co-written and arranged by John Mellencamp,  Stephen King and T-Bone Burnett . It debuted a little over a year ago on a stage in Atlanta. This week the trio released a special CD and DVD edition of the production, complete with libretto and a mini-documentary — and the vocal talent here includes Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Kris Kristoffeson, Ryan Bingham and a host of other showbiz legends.

Hear it here

The plot is based on something that happened in John Mellencamp’s hometown — in fact, as he tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Tess Vigeland, on own his land in Indiana, in a cabin he’d bought. The story dates from the late 1930s; a warning here that the details are on the gruesome side.

“Two brothers were there late one night with a girl,” Mellencamp explains. “They got into an argument; they’d been drinking. One of the brothers hit the other brother with a poker. You know, he didn’t mean to kill him, but he did. And as the girl and the younger brother were driving into town, they lost control of the car on the gravel road, went into the lake — they drowned. So all three kids were killed that evening. And when they went back to get the boy who had been hit with the poker in the front yard, some animal had chewed his head off.”

Mellencamp recounted the chilling tale to a friend of his — a talent agent.

“This was about the time that Mamma Mia and all that stuff was happening on Broadway. I was getting all these requests to do that with a bunch of my songs, and I wasn’t particularly interested in it,” Mellencamp says. “I told this guy this story, and he said, ‘Oh, that would make a great Broadway show.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, if you could get Stephen King to write it.’ He said, ‘Well, I’m Stephen King’s agent.’

Enter the king of horror. The two had never met before, and at first, King was a tough sell.

“I’ve taken calls from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who wanted me to write ‘the scariest devil-worship movie ever made,'” Stephen King says with a chuckle. “And there was a call from David Bowie, who wanted about the same thing. What I’m trying to say is, a lot of times, very talented artists have very bad ideas.”

But King invited Mellencamp to visit his home in Florida, where the rocker again shared the story of he three dead kids, and the idea he had to bring it to the stage.

“And I sat down with my wife, who is the smartest guy in the room at any time, and I said, ‘What do you think?’ Because usually when I say that, she says, ‘I don’t think you should have anything do to with this; you’ve got too much to do,'” King says. “And she said, ‘He’s like you. He thinks like you; he talks like you. I think you should do it.'”

Still, Mellencamp was realistic about the odds of a project like this getting off the ground. Both men were busy with other things, and at the time, Stephen King was recuperating from an accident that almost killed him: He’d been walking on the side of a road when a distracted driver struck him from behind.

“He was on a cane, and I really kind of felt sorry for him,” Mellencamp says. “I said, ‘I don’t mind waiting, Steve. I’m in no big hurry for this, so when you get around to it, you get around to it.’ And literally within 10 days I get, like, 65 pages of synopsis. He’d taken that little ghost story and made it into a Stephen King story.”

They traded songs and dialogue through email for more than 10 years, but eventually found themselves stuck — their musical just didn’t resemble anything fit for the stage. So they brought their work in progress to the man who’d brought the music to the Coen Brothers movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? and TV’s Nashville: T-Bone Burnett.

“The first thing I got was about 20 or 30 songs, that were incredible songs,” Burnett says. “They had no destination in mind; they were just looking at what they had. There was this incredible wealth of material. It was this extraordinary story. And the thought of doing something like a radio play became very interesting.”

Stephen King heard that idea and loved it.

“My thought was, OK, we open this thing and we’ve got an old country DJ,” King says. “The spot comes up on him and he says, ‘Tragic news from Lake Belle Reve, where it looks like a bad accident has occurred unto a double suicide. Right away, you’ve got some of the background that you need. And we just kind of ran with that idea that we’re looking at something that’s gonna be … as much of an auditory experience as a visual one.”

In the full version of this interview, the three creators of Ghost Brothers tell the story of preparing for the show’s run in Atlanta last spring, and why Mellencamp nearly quit the production two days before it was set to open. Click the audio link on this page to hear more.