Fifteenth is the peerlessly groovy production duo comprised of Brooklyn’s Sammy Bananas + LA’s Thee Mike B. These bicoastal DJ bros have combined forces on Fool’s Gold once again with “Yesterday,” a dreamy slice of sunset-ready house music. It’s the rare jam that’s perfect for pool parties & heartfelt homemade mixtapes alike, backed by some amazing remixes from international homies His Majesty Andre, Funkin Matt, + Jerome LOL. Crank this up & make some memories.
On Tuesday July 2nd, A Grave With No Name will return with a new album titled Whirlpool. Recorded over the course of a year at Holy Mountain Studios in London, Whirlpool completes a narrative trilogy for A Grave With No Name - a trilogy that began in 2009 with the release of Mountain Debris, & continued with 2011’s Lower.
It’s a narrative that confronts the theme of loss, something which could be considered a well trodden path within popular music, but Alex Shields has managed to mine his own distinctive voice , tracing a delicate fissure in the emotional radiography of longing to spellbinding effect. And in Whirlpool he has created his most accomplished + self assured work to date.
Aurora // download
The second week of Small Cool turned up the heat, featuring a whole new batch of amazing homes, all under 1000 square feet that are full of inspiration, stunning design and inventive ideas. Here's a peek at some of new entries that were posted this past week...
by Bill Pearis
Fred Armisen & friends / Stefon & Seth / Kanye & Ben on SNL
Even without Kanye's musical appearance, last night's Ben Afleck hosted Saturday Night Live season finale was especially eventful (and teary) as it was the final show for three long-running star players: Bill Hader, Fred Armisen and Jason Sudekis.
Fred got his farewell moment via a sketch featuring his punk character Ian Rubbish who performed song called "It's Gonna Be a Lovely Day." His band featured fellow departing castmembers Hader and Sudekis (and Taran Killam, sure to be a big player next season), and then he welcomed a cavalcade of musical talent onstage, including his Portlandia costar Carrie Brownstein, Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis, Aimee Mann, Michael Penn, and the Sex Pistols' Steve Jones. With a chorus of "It's been alright, I've had a lovely night," it was a nice little sendoff. Video of that is below.
Hader got his sendoff moment, as expected, as Weekend Update nightlife correstondent Stefon, where anchor -- and soon to be Late Night host -- Seth Meyers finally gives in to his advances. "Weekend Update" also featured a surprise appearance by former co-anchor Amy Poehler who came out for "REALLY??" and stuck around to read the news. Seth, who is also SNL's head writer, will leave midseason next year to take over for Jimmy Fallon who is moving up to The Tonight Show.
Hader, Armisen, Sudekis and Meyers' departure leaves a giant comedy hole for next season. It will be interesting to see how Lorne Michaels fills it.
Sometimes, more medical information is a bad thing. The influential United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends against most women getting genetic screenings for their susceptibility to breast cancer. Why? Because the tests are imperfect: for every woman who gets tested for genes associated with onset breast cancer, even more will falsely test positive, leading spooked patients into needless surgery or psychological trauma. Super cheap genetic testing from enterprising health startups, such as 23andMe, have complicated cancer detection for us all by increasing the accessibility of imperfect medical information.
After discovering a mutated BRCA1 gene, known to increase the likelihood of breast cancer 60 to 80 percent, actress Angelina Jolie underwent a radical preventive double mastectomy. Her brave confession in the New York Times brought much needed attention to breast cancer awareness, but it’s dangerous in the hands of a statistically illiterate population.
For instance, as New York Times statistical guru, Nate Silver, once reminded me, while breast cancer mammograms are 75 percent accurate, a woman who tests positive only has about a 10 percent chance of actually getting cancer. Since the vast majority of women don’t have cancer, there are far more women who will falsely test positive (here is a helpful blog post with the numbers worked out). Most importantly, surveys reveal that many people don’t understand the math behind false positives in cancer testing, and may make uninformed decisions as a result.
The same math holds true for the mutated BRCA1/2 gene of Jolie’s confession: researchers estimate that a tiny 0.11 to 0.12 of women have the faulty gene. “I believe in doing genetic testing for BRCA1/2 with appropriate counseling,” writes University of Southern California’s David Agus, one of Steve Jobs’ cancer doctors. The answers are not simple in this case and require experienced professionals to discuss with the patient.”
Traditionally hundreds of thousands of dollars to test, a cottage industry of cheap genetic testing has sprung up. 23andMe, one of the most popular, offers the service for as little at $99, and has even dared to weigh in on the BRCA controversy on the company blog.
Citing a new study that found no negative emotional consequences from patients after learning about their BRCA1 mutation, 23andMe concludes, “The findings are important given that a frequent criticism of direct-to-consumer testing is based on the assumption that it causes either serious emotional distress or triggers deleterious actions on the part of consumers.”
Given the absence of evidence for serious emotional distress or inappropriate actions in this subset of mutation-positive customers who agreed to be interviewed for this study, “broader screening of Ashkenazi Jewish women for these three BRCA mutations should be considered.”
Sometimes, however, voluntary surveys don’t tell the whole story. In its cover story on Jolie’s decision, TIME magazine recounts the tale of one woman who likely had unnecessary preventative surgery after learning about a genetic defect. “She freaked out and had a bilateral mastectomy,” said Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, who worried that this patient’s particular mutation was not as troubling as she worried it was.
Interestingly, TIME’s author, Kate Pickart, argues the financial costs of genetic testing has stall mass run on genetic tests. Even a new provision under the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) only mandates 100 percent insurance coverage for patients with a family history of genetic flaws.
But, at just $99 (and probably far less in the future), financial barriers are crumbling. This isn’t to say that genetic screening is bad, it just complicates things for the rest of us, especially those who don’t understand statistics. The more women get tested, the more false positives exist, the less confident patients and physicians become in a course of action.
Maybe our only hope out of this cheaper testing spiral is technology that makes detection more accurate and more predictive. One promising solution is a new bra that constantly monitors deep tissue for cancerous signs (below).
So, perhaps, before long, we will innovate our way out of this dilemma.
IV is the new release by Bravestation, brothers Devin & Derek Wilson alongside childhood friend Jeremy Rossetti. Together, they began making music in the City of the 1000 Islands several years before moving to Toronto in 2008 & adopting the moniker Bravestation. The name is derived from the titles of Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World & Robert J. Hasting’s inspirational essay, The Station. Like their previous releases, IV draws upon themes written in these evocative literary works through lyrics that shape fantasy & reality into a speculative fiction over top of colourful and winding song structures. “We use emotional experiences from real life and try to recreate them in another world” says Devin. While ethereal vocals, spaced-out guitars, intricate percussion & peculiar synths have always been characteristics of the group’s sonic identity; these 4 tracks are decidedly more electronic + beat-oriented than their predecessors.
Stream the whole EP below & grab it for free on Bandcamp.
Android UX and interaction design leads Helena Roeber and Rachel Garb gave a talk at Google I/O this year about the Android Design Principles (ADP) they helped create and introduced back in 2012 with the launch of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The ADP foll three simple principles, essentially “enchat, simplify and amaze,” but there’s much more to those principles that that relatively slippery and non-scientific language might lead you to believe.
In fact, Garb and Roeber have based the ADP on compelling recent research that suggests eliciting negative emotional responses have an outsized effect on user experience, and require lots more counterbalance in terms of positive experiences to achieve a net positive, or even net zero lasting impression.The Math Of Joy
They cited a John Gottman study that found successful marriages maintain around a 5:1 ration of pleasant feelings to bad, whereas those with more like a 1:1 ration have a far greater chance of ending in divorce. Another study they cited offers insight into team productivity, which suggests that positive-to-negative interactions in a work group setting operating in at least a 3:1 ratio result in much more productive teams than those with more negative experiences. Finally, they suggested that humans need three positive experiences to compensate for every bad one.
A lot of that may sound obvious when simplified; it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that designers and app builders should strive to please their audiences. But the execution of enacting that pleasure is where things get interesting, and where Roeber and Garb’s insight really shone through. It’s one thing to say “okay, we won’t anger a user here, and we’ll make them happy instead,” and quite another to actually do it.Putting Theory Into Action
Hearing them describe it, the ADP almost came about under a sort of moral obligation. Roeber described how the teams in charge of Android UX and interaction found that tech now has “a profound impact” on all of our lives, and as such, when things go wrong, we have a tendency to blame ourselves, and that can have a subtle but ultimately strong impact on people’s wellbeing.
“All those non-ideal implementations eroded people’s confidence in their own abilities and caused frustration,” she said, describing how even small things that you might not think that much about ultimately leave you with a tick in the negative column if left unresolved. So if you can’t figure out what you’ve done wrong in setting up Gmail on your phone, for instance, that’s something you’ll carry, and something that requires that much more to negate in terms of the overall karmic balancing act.
The example offered by the presenters of how exactly this works in action in Android right now is the visual signal given for when you’ve hit the last of your home screens. Android users will know that you’re greated with a blue glow animation and a visual representation of a page turning up to suggested nothing underneath. It’s clear in what it indicates, but it’s less accusatory or finger-pointing than a text alert, Roeber explained, which can still make users feel admonished and leave them internalizing some blame.
Another example meant to explain how interface elements can not only minimize or eliminate bad feelings, but actually generate good ones was the Google Now art which occupies the search box when you call up Android’s digital personal assistant. It changes based on both location and time of day, and Roeber and Garb explained that in testing, the produced a reaction of wonder and enjoyment not just the first time it was encountered by users in testing, but every time after that as well, thanks to its dynamic nature. Experiences like this rack up positive emotions on the part of the user.The Interface As The Ultimate Customer Service Rep
Essentially, what Roeber and Garb described in their chat is a means of combining the best possible way of tiptoeing around a potentially negative interaction with positive ones that excite and delight. It’s a simple calculus designed to result in an overwhelmingly net positive experience, the ultimate aim of which isn’t just to minimize the negative impact of the tech we now use constantly, but also to add points in the wins column that can be used to offset negative interactions that happen anywhere in our lives. The ADP isn’t conceived as a way to make using apps not suck, in other words; it’s actually designed to turn Android into a means of spreading happiness.
That’s an ambitious goal, but it’s impossible to deny that the experience of using Android on a daily basis has improved dramatically since the introduction of the ADP. And all of these improvements serve to illustrate how mobile software is perhaps at its best when it’s acting as the idealized customer service representative: friendly and informal, but not overly familiar; attentive to and anticipatory of your needs; gentle and kind when you’re barking up the wrong tree. A truly great customer service experience leaves you feeling lifted, capable, intelligent and happy. It’s more than fair to expect the same out of our device interactions.
The artist, born Anthony Moore, reportedly passed away at his home in Austin, Tex. on May 7. As Chicago's 5 Magazine points out, Romanthony's sister Mellony Moore confirmed the passing in a Facebook post on May 9, and friend/collaborators like Boys Noize, MikeQ and Daone Remmidy (better known as Eve Angel) have all taken to social media to confirm the news and express their grief. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed. - [Billboard]Romanthony lives on in his music. Rest in peace.
A few streams and videos are below...
Read the rest of Blackbody Shows Off Beautiful Life-Size OLED Trees at ICFF 2013
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Read the rest of The reCYCLER Upcycles Old Bikes into Funky Chairs
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"Yahoo's board of directors has approved a $1.1-billion cash acquisition of blogging site Tumblr. A deal could be announced as soon as Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday." [LA Times]
New video for London Grammar’s upcoming single “Wasting My Young Years”. Shot on 35mm film, using a ‘homemade’ camera rig consisting of 625 individual pinhole cameras that are exposed at the same time.
See the behind the scenes video here. Directed by Bison.
Melodiesinfonie & Kuchenmann
Yolohswag // download
Read the rest of The Best Green Designs from ICFF 2013 Day One!
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23-year-old producer Lancelot from Sydney, Australia will be known to many off the back of his debut EP We Can Dance. Released in March 2012 & featuring the breakout summer anthem “Spoken Word”, the EP proved an immediate hit & drew high praise from fellow producers The Magician, Alan Braxe + Goldroom.
In 2013 LANCELOT has been further defining his take on Modern House, crafting his forthcoming EP Thinking of You, slated for release on NYC’s Nurvous Records this June.
To tide you over until Thinking Of You drops, Lancelot has released You’ll Never Be Mine, a 2-track affair which offers a tantalizing taste of the deeper direction Lance is pursuing via rich samples from 1970’s American R&B ensemble S.O.S. Band.
“I’ve always been drawn to music expressing emotion, a message, a musical gesture. One coloured in rich textures, great full arrangements that somehow still seem to have space in the mix. Real musicians playing real instruments (not laptops) through chunky, analogue hardware in expensive studios.“
You’ll Never Be Mine // download
The Way I Feel About You // download
Kanye on 'SNL'
Kanye West has had a busy weekend. On Thursday (5/16), he played a private show at Roseland for Adult Swim where he performed a few new songs. He also, as is his wont, let loose one of his stream-of-conscious rants, this time mostly about celebrity culture. You can watch video of that below.
One of the songs Kanye performed at Roseland was new track "New Slaves." A video for that song made its debut on Friday night (5/17), projected at, according to maps on Kanye's website, 66 locations around the world. Nine of them were in NYC, including two in Williamsburg: one being outside the Bedford Ave L stop, and the second on the Wythe Hotel, and there's video of the former below.
The song, which features a sample of 1969 single "Gyöngyhajú lány" by Hungarian rock band Omega and vocals from Frank Ocean, will feature on Kanye's follow-up to 2010's My Dark Twisted Fantasy which is, according to Pitchfork, titled Yeezus and has appearances from Daft Punk, Skrillex and more.
This activity was all centered around Kanye's appearance on Saturday Night Live's season finale hosted by Ben Afleck. (The teaser videos are below.) He performed "New Slaves" and debuted another new song, "Black Skinhead," and video of those, along with the other clips mentioned in this post, are below.