Lansè Kòd (The Rope Throwers) 1996
Every year, Carnaval comes and goes across the entire world, tantalizing everyone with its fanciful costuming and celebratory antics. But beyond the tourist circuit of Carnival lies another Carnival, in locales with a connection closer to the festival's origins. Haiti is one of many countries that celebrates Carnival at their own pace, and over the course of many years, photographer Leah Gordon was able to capture the beauty of those festivities in Jacmel, a coastal town in the south. Kanaval is a black and white photographic series, true -- but it is, more importantly, a series on awareness, about culture, and inclusive of mythology. After this series was taken, Haiti suffered its devastating earthquake and Jacmel was completely decimated. Gordon's photographs, along with her heart-felt introduction to the series and the many oral mythologies passed down to her from carnival participants, can be viewed in the full post. Together, they forever capture a wonderful space in time and call attention to Haiti's creative and spiritual existence. We begin with a tale from Madanm Lasiren, which is just the first of many.
Madanm Lasirèn (Madame Mermaid) 2003

Madanm Lasiren Andre Ferner, 59 years

Lasiren is a spirit that lives under the sea and does mystical work there, she is a Vodou spirit, I dream of Lasiren all the time. That is the reason I do Lasiren for Mardi Gras. I chose Lasiren because my grandmother, father and mother all served the spirits, I love her & honour her. The baby that I carry in my arms is the child of Lasiren who is called Marie Rose. When I walk the streets I sing her song which goes ' I am Lasiren and I cry for Lasiren, when I work mystically in the night bad luck can come my way'. I prepare for Lasiren by putting on a hat, a mask and carrying an umbrella. I put on a necklace and gloves. This necklace is called Mambo Welcome, it is a fetish. Because Lasiren is a fish she has to disguise herself as a woman to be at Mardi Gras. My mask and hat cover her fish's head. And the dress she wears covers her fish's tail. The chain I wear is a sacred chain. Each year I change the disguise and fashion a new baby. In order to get inspiration I go to the place where the big beasts live and they instruct me how to do Mardi Gras. I have been doing this for 18 years. Before that I did another Mardi Gras call Patoko. This was a group of men who were dressed as women, with a nice dresses and high heeled shoes. We did a marriage between men and woman on the street. After that we had a group called the duck who carried brushes in their hands wearing blue trousers, white t-shirts, new sandles and a scarf around our waists. We swept the streets of Jacmel. I have always found a way of doing a Mardi Gras.
Kanaval will be on display for free at PHI Centre in Montreal (407, rue Saint-Pierre), from February 25th to April 27th, 2013. Opening night happens at 7:30pm on February 23rd, and its $175 ticket price (or a $400 VIP ticket) includes Haitian food, giveaways, and performances by Haitian dance groups, Haitian band Doody and Kami, and The Arcade Fire, who have a blog dedicated to their own trip to Haiti. All proceeds will go towards KANPE, a non-profit "born of a desire to play an integral part in the fight to help Haiti break free from a vicious cycle of poverty", through programs in health, education, agriculture, counseling, and other community services. Full event details can be seen at PopMontreal.


Our third-annual album cover art feature uses interviews with artists and musicians to highlight the philosophical, thematic, and conceptual significance of great album cover artwork. THE BREAKDOWN    12 Collage + 14 Digital Illustration, Drawing, Design + 19 Illustration, Painting, Drawing + 8 Black And White Photography + 22 Color Photography + 6 Deluxe Packaging + 10 Fashion, Sculpture, Installation _____________________________    91 Album Covers For 2011 Best Of 2011 Album Cover Art

Battles - Gloss Drop
A suite of amorphous blobs unify Battles' year of singles and full-length releases. Different in material and style yet similar in overall form, these sculptured mounds are colorful, strangely compelling, and without a doubt represent some of the most visually iconic album art off 2011.
Record Label Warp Records The Artists Design & Art Direction - Dave Konopka Photography - Leslie Unruh Mediums & Materials Photography, Sculpture


Our third-annual album cover art feature uses interviews with artists and musicians to highlight the philosophical, thematic, and conceptual significance of great album cover artwork. THE BREAKDOWN    12 Collage + 14 Digital Illustration, Drawing, Design + 19 Illustration, Painting, Drawing + 8 Black And White Photography + 22 Color Photography +...

This video for Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaur's "Trouble" resides mostly in a David Lynchian universe, with heroined-out slow-motion vibes. Interspliced, however, are quick flickering shots of TEED (Orlando Higginbottom) being adorned with mysterious headdresses -- an art form that has become a staple in TEED's...

With people like Lady Gaga cornying up the music scene with Madonna rip-off tracks -- and with everyone else getting more dancey all the time -- I'm glad Yelle is back, with a back-to-back double video for "Safari Disco Club" and "Que Veux-Tu." To continue with...

At a little over five feet tall and barely over legal drinking age, the woman behind Zola Jesus, Nika Roza Danilova, wields surprising power. The release of her latest EP, Stridulum, has placed her in a strange position; she now finds herself opening for indie rock powerhouses like The xx, Wolf Parade, and Fever Ray, on tour dates throughout the world. The growth has been rapid, and Danilova has accumulated a diverse array of fans along the way. Those who are drawn to her beauty-meets-darkness, pop-meets-brutality style acknowledge readily that she has a presence. Even on a virtual front, she seems like an intimidating, powerful figure; her public-facing self is meticulously honed to a degree that makes her seem difficult to approach, but this image is very much an extension of the complexity of her as a person. Such complexity is what makes the music and aesthetic of Zola Jesus so fascinating.
Ostensibly, for instance, Zola Jesus may seem largely defined by gothic and industrial music and fashion. The music videos for "Night" and "Clay Bodies" feature, respectively, whopping doses of black nail polish and buildings with vaulted Gothic ceilings. But it is not simply a blind adherence to that aesthetic style that shapes the musical project; just as important -- if not more so -- are factors such as Danilova's schooling. She is double-majoring in French and Philosophy, and philosophical ideas lie very much at the core of Zola Jesus.

"Philosophy and any scholarly pursuits have a sort of osmotic influence on my music," she explains. "When I'm songwriting, I'm not pulling from anything specific other than my own person, impacted by all these forces collectively."

Listen to "Night" - DOWNLOAD MP3

Interpol's new video is classy in its use of black and white. It somehow makes mysterious medical equipment seems sexy, and shot after shot looks like it could've been lifted from the pages of Surface Magazine or Zink Magazine. ...

This is our first Blog Alert, but you can bet we're starting it off with a good one. The Brazilian blog, From Brazil, With Love, features collages by all types of artists. The idea: artists collage fashion advertisements to create newly remixed works of art. I...

With the release of their self-titled album in 2007, HEALTH, clad in tight jeans and neon t-shirts, solidified their place amongst hipsters and teens. But while the group quickly appealed to these demographics, they had alienated themselves from the mainstream, written off by many as musicians more concerned with style than music. Two years later, their new album, Get Color, exemplifies their newfound maturity as songwriters and renders them whole conceptually. Whereas HEALTH went completely over the heads of mainstream audiences, Get Color is a bit more accessible to the layperson. Its tracks are more discernible as songs, and for the most part, they are no longer just noise, proving that HEALTH are more than a group with just a distinct fashion sense. While still experimental, the songs now harbor more melodies and qualities found in traditional songwriting.
"I think we just got better at writing our songs," says bassist John Famiglietti. "We don't want you to only like [our music] because you're supposed to like it or you like it because it's cool. I don't want you to scratch your fucking head. It should be immediate... I think [the new album] just makes our music more effective." To drive this message home, the quartet recently come off a tour supporting Nine Inch Nails, and despite getting pretzels thrown at them in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and an equally terrible show in Jacksonville, Florida, Famiglietti has only great things to say about the experience. "Trent is just about the coolest dude there is, especially for being someone who's like pretty openly worshiped by all people coming to the show," reveals Famiglietti. "After [our] first show, Trent was like, 'Hey, I don't even know what the hell's going on up there... why don't you guys use all the screens behind you?' We used literally several multi-million dollar LED screens which were like 20 feet high, and infrared cameras were put on all of us... our shows went way better after we had this gigantic light show." BAND INTERVIEW CONTINUED BELOW