Hamburger Helper Wins April Fools

Yeah yeah yeah, I know, you think April Fools Day on the internet sucks. I get it, most attempts at authentic humor by major brands fall flat, are completely annoying, or even potentially harmful. And Paul Ford is right when he says, “As the number of users (of a service or product) increases, humor opportunities approach zero.” It’s true, laughter does not scale. And most attempts by major brands to appear to be authentically funny on funny day, just end up not being that funny.

However, that doesn’t mean all attempts aren’t funny, or at least enjoyable, even by the most jaded of internet denizens. Comedy is hard. Very hard. But if it’s good it doesn’t matter the size of the audience. This year, General Mill’s Hamburger Helper bucked the trend by dropping a surprisingly great mix on SoundCloud. I love this. Yo Glove, turn up!!

2016 SXSW Free Music Torrents & Radio

In what has become a sort of tradition around here, I am once again posting a link to the torrents that have all the MP3 files publicly posted on the SXSW Website that will be at the music showcase this year. This year’s torrents include 1,593 files totaling 10.33GB, making it the largest to-date.

SXSW 2016 Showcasing Artists Part 1, 1,006 files, 6.50GB
SXSW 2016 Showcasing Artists Part 2, 587 files, 3.82GB

Links to torrents for earlier years can be found on The (Unofficial) Home of SXSW Torrents website.

If you don’t want to have all these songs on your hard drive but want to have a listen, use this SXSW radio to give a random selection a listen.

Pinball Is A Game Of Skill, Not Chance

Pinball was illegal in New York City from 1940 till 1976. The above short explores the surprisingly troubled history of pinball in New York and why it was banned there for over 35 years. The ban was lifted when WWII ended and the state finally (and rightfully) determined that pinball is a game of skill and not a game of chance. The great Big Story explains:

In 1940, pinball machines were banned in New York City. Like most contraband, this simply pushed pinball underground. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, the “Salvage for Victory” campaign called on Americans to turn in scrap metal to bolster the war effort. As a result, then New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia went on a hunt for pinball machines. By February 1942, more than 3,000 machines has been confiscated, turning roughly 2,500 of them into one ton of metal for the war. Unfortunately for pinball enthusiasts, the ban in New York lasted for decades, outliving LaGuardia, who died in 1947.

Introducing The Quentin Blake Typeface

If you have ever read a children’s book illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake, you are probably familiar with Blake’s playful and original handwriting style. The folks at Monotype were tasked with creating a typeface that replicated the unique form of Blake’s writing in an authentic and natural way.

Monotype’s solution included using four subtly different variants of each letter that was selected from a large collection of writing samples. The variants allow for the typeface to seem to have random alterations and diversity among the letters, making it appear more like handwriting. The result is a typeface that doesn’t just look like Sir Quentin Blake’s writing, it acts like it too.

Quentin Blake Typeface

via Kottke

Emo For Emo’s Sake

Rolling Stone has taken a shot at listing the 40 Best Emo Albums of all time. Emo seems to a pretty polarizing genre so I suspect many will have trouble with the list (and some will even protest it’s existence). There are always problems with lists like this, but this one seems pretty darn solid to me.

The top 10 rounds out like this:
10. My Chemical Romance, ‘Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge’ (2004)
9. Fall Out Boy, ‘From Under the Cork Tree’ (2005)
8. Jimmy Eat World, ‘Bleed American’ (2001)
7. Cap’n Jazz, ‘Burritos, Inspiration Point, Fork Balloon Sports …’ (1995)
6. American Football, ‘American Football’ (1999)
5. Braid, ‘Frame and Canvas’ (1998)
4. Jawbreaker, ‘Dear You’ (1995)
3. The Promise Ring, ‘Nothing Feels Good’ (1997)
2. Rites of Spring, ‘Rites of Spring’ (1985)
1. Sunny Day Real Estate, ‘Diary’ (1994)

For the uninitiated here is a primer called “What the heck *is* emo, anyway?”

A Very Ween Valentines

Valentine Ween

Ween made their triumphant return after not performing together for over four years and Denver is lucky enough to have had three days worth of reunion shows this Valentines Weekend.

The first night consisted of a whopping 33 songs (Dean promised 94 songs, no repeats, over he weekend). The night also offered a live début of “How High Can You Fly?” You can listen to Friday’s show below.

The second night Ween played a six song acoustic block (tracks 13-18). They also live debuted the songs “Kim Smoltz” and “Transitions”. The band also made a tribute to the late Lemmy Kilmister with a rocking cover of Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades.” Listen to Ween’s Saturday show here:

The final show was a great Valentines Day surprise as well. The set was a total of 31 songs bringing the weekend to an astonishing grand total to 93 songs! Valentines night was made up of a live début of “Israel” and another six-song acoustic set (tracks 14-19). The weekend was topped off with a five song double encore.

Here are some stats from the three-night reunion weekend:
God Ween Satan (1990): 14 songs
Chocolate & Cheese (1994): 13 songs
The Pod (1991): 11 songs
White Pepper (2000): 10 songs
Pure Guava (1992): 8 songs
The Mollusk (1997): 8 songs
B-sides/others: 7 songs
Quebec (2003): 6 songs
Shinola, Vol. 1 (2005): 6 songs
La Cucaracha (2007): 5 songs
12 Golden Country Greats (1996): 4 songs
Covers: 1 song (Motorhead)

The Boognish is Back!