Renowned independent game designer (and landscaper-turned-amateur-lawyer) Jason Rohrer launches his twelfth game, an occult themed online strategy game played for real money, Cordial Minuet. (CM previously, Jason previously, Jason's games previously) [more inside]
A professional photographer for more than 20 years, and published in Q, Melody Maker and Rolling Stone, Pat Pope has worked with many of the biggest names in pop and rock music, including Oasis, David Bowie and Radiohead. One act with whom he has worked several times are 90s indie titans Garbage. Indeed, they admire Pope’s work so much that recently, as they put together a forthcoming self-published book, their management asked his permission to use one of his pictures of them. So far, so good... Pat Pope’s row with Garbage.
Sufjan Stevens's new album Carrie and Lowell can be streamed in its entirety at NPR and The Guardian. Four (very) early reviews. Previously
Pearl and The Beard are awesome Blending folk, gospel, pop, and Americana, eclectic Brooklyn-based trio Pearl & the Beard formed in the late 2000s around multi-instrumentalists Jeremy Styles, Jocelyn Mackenzie, and Emily Hope Price. Employing an arsenal that includes glockenspiel, guitar, cello, accordion, melodica, and pitch-perfect three-part harmonies, the band's skillful and soulful brand of acoustic art pop has drawn comparisons to artists like Andrew Bird, Beirut, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, and the Low Anthem.
Jim O’Rourke Live in Tokyo in June of 2014 [Part 1] [Part 2] Jim O’Rourke Plays “Women of the World” (Live on Christmas Day, 2013). Jim O’Rourke at Work on the Grizzly Man Soundtrack; Special Appearance by Werner Herzog. [more inside]
Sufjan Stevens has released a new track, "No Shade In The Shadow of the Cross", from his forthcoming album Carrie & Lowell. The album is named for Stephens's mother and stepfather, and the musician recently spoke with Ryan Dombal at Pitchfork about his past and the album's origins.
An Oral History of Shoegaze In this oral history, Wondering Sound speaks with the bands and other figures on the margins of “the scene that celebrates itself” to discover from whence this distinctive sound sprung, and why it has stood the test of time.
- L.A. Weekly: I Went to UCLA, But My Real Film School Was Vidiots
- Laist: Filmmakers And Fans Mourn The Loss Of Los Angeles' Greatest Video Store
- Academy Originals: Rewind: The Story of Vidiots
Vidiots video store set to close in April after 30 years
- Vidiots Foundation
Pixel Dungeon is a coffee break roguelike, one which distinguishes itself with pixel-art graphics and distilled roguelike gameplay. [more inside]
The Monkey Fortunetell (first known as the Monkeybalah as having its roots in Monkeyccultism) is an ancient divination casting game (most common to Tansylvania), used from the mid-15th century in various parts of the Carpathian region. From the late 18th century until the present it remained largely unheard of until now. [more inside]
무키무키만만수 (Mukimukimanmansu) is a South Korean indie band that's gone mildly viral thanks to a thirty second clip from a television performance of their song Andromeda. The acoustic guitar and janggu drum duo released their first album 2012 in the eponymous year, and they played other songs off that album on television, which have been gathered into a handy playlist by YouTube user HachikoTanuki. Here are a few other videos: Studio versions of 내가 고백을 하면 깜짝 놀랄거야, 2008년 석관동, 너의 선물; television performances of 방화범 (with guests) and 투쟁과 다이어트; music video maker Vio Kim has recorded them many times, including up close at a concert last year (1, 2, 3, 4, 5); here they are performing with a jazz band earlier this year. And finally, here are demos they made in 2011.
Locomalito describes himself as "a free developer of NEW TRADITIONAL VIDEO GAMES", and his games- all freely downloadable- bear that out. "I grew up with arcade gaming values", he says, and he wears his influences on his sleeve while creating his own style. From the horror platforming of Maldita Castilla to the autoscrolling shmup Hydorah, Locomalito's games have that old school feel- beautiful pixel art, music by frequent collaborators Gryzor87 or RushJet1, and a difficulty which is challenging, yet fair. Each game also has downloadable posters, trading cards, box art, and more to complete that old-school feel. [more inside]
In the imagination of a young Parisian named Pablo Padovani there’s a land called Moo. It’s a fantastical place that celebrates nature, the elements, romanticism and sweets [NSFW]. “I think you may like it if you like childhood, sex, dreams and surrealism,” Padovani [says]. “It’s a pornographic episode of Teletubbies mixed with Lord of the Rings.[...]The disc (Le Monde Möö by MOODOÏD) is a walk in the world Möö. This is a soft world made of cream hills and Turkish delight mountains. There are also Camembert mattresses and waterfalls of wine. This is a great, epic adventure."
Struggling UK indie developer PuppyGames' uncomfortable truths about selling indie games: Steam and bundles have destroyed the market for games, individual customers are now worthless, but everyone has to keep on smiling. Oh, and the demo is dead: 1, 2.
Look: it’s not that I’m a dick when it comes to this stuff. It’s that I like to think that I have standards based on exposure to the interdependent duo of lit and life. But if I decide not to wuss out and instead uphold my particular notion of standards, I’m a dick, and being a dick could lead to dickish reviews of my own stuff from Shane Jones, his friends, and friends of the publisher. George Saunders told us all to “err in the direction of kindness.” But is this essay/review I’m writing unkind? Is it selfish? Is it generous? Is a kindness policy maybe too simple?Lee Klein worries about small-press book reviewing in an ambivalent, lukewarm take on Shane Jones's new novel Crystal Eaters (excerpt) that others have, all the same, called cowardly and dickish.
Terry Cavanagh's indie hit VVVVVV was an instant success, melding a Commodore 64 look and feel to a difficult but forgiving platformer whose only controls are move left, move right, and reverse gravity. The second edition of the game expanded from Windows and OSX to Linux, and added a level editor which could be used to make and export custom maps. Today, Cavanagh has announced VVVVVV: Make and Play Edition, which contains only the level editor and the ability to play custom levels, and which can now be downloaded for free for Windows, OSX, and Linux.
90's Southern Gothic rockers The Rock*a*Teens have reunited and are going on tour. Their unique mixture of dark, swampy rock influences have been praised by Dan Bejar as "the most underrated American rock ’n roll band of the ’90s," and Will Sheff of Okkervil River as, "masterpieces buried in muck." The band features Chris Lopez, who you may know from aughties band Tenement Halls, and Kelly Hogan, who's worked with Neko Case. Playlist after the jump. [more inside]
Jared Rosen offers a postmortem of GAME_JAM, a failed reality show about game development produced by Maker Studios and sponsored by Pepsi. Contestants Adriel Wallick, Robin Arnott, and Zoe Quinn also offer their perspectives.
"If you think you know what Middle Eastern music sounds like, think again — because Beirut-born electro-pop singer Yasmine Hamdan is positioning herself in an incredibly interesting place."
After two decades of absence, Slowdive have reunited, and announced that they will play the Primavera festival in Barcelona. In an interview with The Quietus, Neil Halstead hinted that there might also be new material forthcoming. [more inside]
So Money. An oral history of Swingers.
When Jason Rohrer's Castle Doctrine hits Steam later this month, it will be on release sale for 12 dollars. After that, it will be 16 dollars. Forever. Rohrer talks to Giant Bomb about why he thinks constant sales are bad for games. (previously)
Pavement's album Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain was released twenty years ago next month. Stereogum has the oral history.
freeindiegam.es has posted a bunch of "Best of 2013" lists for your enjoyment. Some of the games can be played in your browser (HTML5/Flash/Unity); others require a download—but they're all free! (And indie!) [more inside]
Inspired by a field game with foam swords, Killer Queen Arcade, a giant 10-player dual-sided arcade cabinet that premiered at NYU's No Quarter 2013 has been described as Half Joust, half StarCraft and one giant snail.
Dexter Tortoriello makes various forms of sad music. The most prolific persona is Houses, which is a duo with his girlfriend Megan Messina, which Tortoriello thinks of in terms of "old Elephant 6 recordings," though it's been classified with the chillwave craze of the recent years, escapist songs are understated in mood and minimalist in structure. Then there's his solo project, Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross, named for the centuries-old secret occult sect Golden Dawn and the symbol of Rosicrucianism, built with intensely sculpted collection of skittering electronics and delicate acoustic textures, ... marked by heavy beats and synthesizer pads. You can hear tracks from both projects on Soundcloud (Houses; Dawn Golden) and YouTube (Houses official channel, and a playlist for A Quiet Darkness, the newest Houses album).
In which Anglo-Scottish golfer and sometime singer-songwriter Lloyd Cole is interviewed by the Italian leftist tabloid La Repubblica. Features a gorgeous, solo version of his early masterpiece.
It's been twenty years since Dante Ferrando opened the Black Cat Club on 14th St in DC. The neighborhood has changed immeasurably, but the music is still going.
A polka band that accompanies a yearly ski train. A musk ox farmer. A bush pilot. A Native youth Olympian These are some of the subjects covered in the new web series Indie Alaska. Each episode aims to capture a colorful aspect of life in Alaska, whether it be someone's work, art, or play. A collaboration between Alaska Public Media and PBS Digital Studios. [more inside]
Literate indie rock band Okkervil River have put together an adventure game to celebrate their new album, The Silver Gymnasium. It's the best Okkervil River game since Saints Row 2.
Collect feathers. Observe quiet beauty. Act with bravery. [PDF] Brave Sparrow is either a roleplaying game, a cult, or a life philosophy. Or maybe all of those, or none. [more inside]
C.J. Boyd is a wandering bassist improvisor/composer who has found time to make 11 "multimedia mixtapes" for his Obsolete Media label-mates, and you can stream or purchase (for a price of your choosing) more than 16 hours of enjoyable, experimental music, featuring a ton of artists.
Some punk from Iowa is hoping to go number one in the charts with an album that technically came out over a decade ago, was recorded on a boombox, and which has divided opinion. The record in question is called All Hail West Texas and that punk from Iowa (technically Indiana) is named John Darnielle and releases music as The Mountain Goats. The album can be streamed on the record label website as well as most of your favorite streaming services. You can download a couple of the outtakes here, listen to a recent interview Marc Maron did with John Darnielle that covers his youth and some of his Iowa period, and read Notes on imaginary extant, lost, deleted, and unrecorded tracks written, performed, recorded for or during the period of time in the life of John Darnielle that would produce All Hail West Texas not included in this collection because they are all imaginary by Matt Fraction.
With the TV premiere of Mary Harron's Anna Nicole Smith biopic fast approaching, The Hairpin wonders what other indie/art house filmmakers would do with the same subject.
A minute is a long flippin' time. Fill it like you care. One of the most minimalistic games to be released last year, Super Hexagon has been praised by many as being hypnotic, addictive, briiliantly designed, and devilishly challenging. It's a game that, like Tetris, delivers pleasure with each inevitable failure, and is simply about reaching escape velocity from your own feeble reflexes. The game has a reputation for turning one's appreciation and apprehension of its challenges into intense addiction, constant improvement, and fervent devotion. [more inside]
Footage of the "Sync" level from the indie game Fez. While Fez is mainly known for its central gimmick – it's a 2D platformer set in a 3D world – and for the complexity of its puzzles (which include a constructed alphabet, a code based on Tetris tetrominos, and a "practically impossible" final puzzle) – "Sync" is a retro-colored world with blocks whose rhythmic appearances and disappearances trigger notes when the player is near them. The result is somewhat enchanting (as is the rest of the game). [the Fez soundtrack with the Sync backing track; a Fez remix soundtrack with the various block rhythms added in; Fez previously on MetaFilter]
The criminally overlooked work of independent Canadian animator Myles Langlois has my vote for best thing on the internet right now. Specifically Apollo Gauntlet, the tale of a lone hero prone to quips and violence wandering an (imaginary?) wasteland in search of Dr Benign so he can return to Earth, and Superspace, the saga of two mounties, a woman and her son, a criminal, a pilot, a robot and a bald guy who find themselves trapped aboard an alien spaceship. The low-rent production style, like highschool binder doodles come to life, and hazy Sifl and Olly-style humour might take a little getting used to, but it's all part of the charm. Here is a teaser, a trailer, and a 1992 Sales Presentation for Apollo Gauntlet. [more inside]
Kim Gordon talks to Elle magazine about her split from husband Thurston Moore and her life at age 59.
Youtube user Seth Cutler lovingly crafts powerpoint presentations of various Christine Lavin songs, including this test for psychic powers. [more inside]
"When we first started working on Dustforce, it was frustrating to not be able to find much data about whether indie game development is a realistic thing to do with your life." Hitbox Team helps remedy that for future designers in this article about the finances and sales of their game, Dustforce.
Anthemic indie rock band The National have just released 'Demons', the first single off their upcoming album Trouble Will Find Me. The band is perhaps best known for their song Mr November and its association with the Obama reelection campaign.
Last year, a free indie horror game called Slender, previously, based on the Slender Man meme (previously), became moderately famous for being terrifying despite its simplicity. Now, its creator has teamed up with the writers behind Marble Hornets video series (previously, previouslier) to create the sequel. Slender: The Arrival is available for PC and Mac for $10, and promises a much bigger and more varied environment with better and scarier graphics, and an actual storyline that will take an average player "a few hours" to complete. There's a teaser trailer showing off the moody new environments.
Singer-songwriter Laura Marling will release her latest album, Once I Was an Eagle, this May. She's shared a first song off of it, "Where Can I Go?" [more inside]