Unconsumption logos — for you!

A few weeks back the Unconsumption team unveiled Mr. (or is it Ms.?) Cart — the official Unconsumption logo designed by Clifton Burt. Today we complete the visual identity by sharing the logo in its official word-mark version, plus official variations. See below. Actually you’re welcome to more than just see — as I’ll explain below.

In reactions to the original logo post, the idea emerged that Mr. Cart could be added, DIY-style, to existing garments or other objects, by way of stencil, screenprint, etc. We love the idea of Mr. Cart as a one-symbol stand-in for the idea of creative repurposing, smart consumption, and enjoyable upcycling.. Sprucing up something you own by “rebranding” it with our logo is a beautiful manifestation of the spirit of this project. So below the images, you’ll find our Creative Commons license. The upshot is you are welcome to borrow and remix our logo (in noncommercial manners).

Creative Commons License The Unconsumption Logo (“Mr. Cart”) by Clifton Burt / Unconsumption is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

MySpace aesthetics revisited: “The vintage Internet”

Just this weekend I was thinking about an old series of posts here, from 2007, in which I mused about the aesthetics of MySpace. At the time I was trying to figure out why something so “ugly” was also so popular, in an era of supposed mass-good-taste in design/aesthetics. Since then of course MySpace has become much less popular. Are aesthetics part of the reason?

Well before I could hash out an answer, I saw this Observer story with a totally different take. MySpace aesthetics connote the “vintage Internet.” Now that’s a great concept, the vintage Internet. Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

“It’s kind of like how you have those bands where they’re like, ‘Yeah we’re putting our record out on cassette,'” said Matthew Perpetua, the founder of the music site Fluxblog and a contributor to Pitchfork and Rolling Stone. “It’s that kind of contrarian impulse.”

At the Williamsburg party, where one of the opening bands had released an album on cassette, a bald design student named Kyle was standing near the merch table and praising a MySpace competitor, the San Francisco-based Bandcamp.

“I go there now. But I don’t want to go there,” he said of MySpace. “I want it all to be on Bandcamp.”

“O.K., I’ve never heard of Bandcamp,” said his compatriot, a diminutive green-eyed artist named Meghan. She blew cigarette smoke back and forth. “So I’m still going to MySpace.”

“No, no, and that’s totally O.K., too,” Kyle said quickly.

Much of the MySpace nostalgia is a response to Bandcamp, the glitz to MySpace’s gutter and a necessary part of the equation, just as cassettes and vinyl would have no cachet without the dominance of MP3s.

In The New York Times Magazine: Ghosts In The Machine

I’ve mentioned this everywhere else, so may as well note it here: I have a cover story for the Times Magazine this coming Sunday about “digital legacy.”

Suppose that just after you finish reading this article, you keel over, dead. Perhaps you’re ready for such an eventuality, in that you have prepared a will or made some sort of arrangement for the fate of the worldly goods you leave behind: financial assets, personal effects, belongings likely to have sentimental value to others and artifacts of your life like photographs, journals, letters. Even if you haven’t made such arrangements, all of this will get sorted one way or another, maybe in line with what you would have wanted, and maybe not.

But many of us, in these worst of circumstances, would also leave behind things that exist outside of those familiar categories. Suppose you blogged or tweeted about this article, or dashed off a Facebook status update, or uploaded a few snapshots from your iPhone to Flickr, and then logged off this mortal coil. It’s now taken for granted that the things we do online are reflections of who we are or announcements of who we wish to be. So what happens to this version of you that you’ve built with bits? Who will have access to which parts of it, and for how long?

The story is online now. It’s pretty long.

Who is this man?

Who is this man? Where is he going?

He walks with purpose. There is something in his hand, and it probably has import. He moves, I believe, toward a place, not away from, let’s say, an idea.

He is in no hurry, yet he seems sure of his direction, his goal.

Will he ever arrive?

No. I’m sorry to say he will not.

Annual semi-data-driven favorite songs list

Once again: It’s a new year, so it’s time to take a semi-data-driven look back at my 10 favorite songs of the year just ended. (I have previously conducted this empirical/subjective exercise for 2007, 2008, and 2009. )

Here’s the top ten. Number-crunching follows.

[table id=5 /]

As always: I start out by seeing which songs I played most often, per iTunes data. And I cross-match that with my one-out-of-five-stars ratings, and tweak accordingly.

There’s no question that “Liquor Pang” and “Heart of Steel,” in addition to dominating the most-played count, were my top two of 2010. My third-most-played song, “Lever Pulled Down,” by Sam Phillips, got 19 listens, yet my subjective cross-check bumped it out of the top 10. It’s good, but … Well anyway, the only other song I bumped was “Baby Don’t Go,” by Dum Dum Girls. (Also “good, but…”) I made room for “Snowden’s Jig” and “Fuck You” — the latter being the most questionable call. I really loved it the first time I heard it, but despite the lowish play count, I’ve heard it probably too much since via other non-quantified sources, and I have doubts about whether I’ll continue to enjoy it. Maybe if I wait five years.

Anyway the rest of  the list pretty much tracks out.

Some random notes:

  • Looks like I added about 1,300 songs to my iTunes in 2010, about 350 of which were actually released in 2010. Last year I did a breakdown where I integrated non-current releases with current releases, but this year I don’t have time.
  • I do also use Pandora, but not really in a way that results in hearing a lot of current music there. I bring it up because that’s one of a number of examples of ways I might hear music that’s left out of this exercise.
  • I came upon “Blue Gowns” by way of Hype Machine, which I’d never really played with until last year. It was probably the only thing I heard via Hype Machine I that I think I would otherwise have missed.
  • “Daydream” is something I heard via Popcop.
  • The Corin Tucker Band album is great through-and-through. The Galactic album is also full of great stuff, and if you’re writing them off as a lame-o “jam band,” it’s your loss. I have zero interest in “jam band” music, but that’s not what this record is, at all.
  • I feel bad that nothing from the Los Lobos record made the top ten; it’s also very good all the way through. Similar feelings about Girl Talk’s new one.
  • A very late entry this year that might have made the cut under different circumstances is the most recent Mexican Institute of Sound EP; I only bought it a few weeks ago, but at least two songs (“Territorio” and “Educación”) are clearly five-star-worthy.
  • One more in the sort of honorable mention category: “Repetition As Culture Force,” by Sherbe, which I heard via Disquiet. Recommended.

As last year, I thought it would be interesting to use Normalisr to see which artists I spent the most time listening to in 2010. (Normalisr pulls listening data from LastFM.) The results:

[table id=6 /]


  • I’m glad I went through with this phase of the exercise again, as it reinforced my general feeling about the Los Lobos, Girl Talk, and Corin Tucker records noted above.
  • No surprise that Elvis C. wins once more.
  • I hope Cousin Lymon is happy to see the Kinks put in a stronger showing.
  • Speaking of Cousin Lymon, I think he’s the reason for the Moritz von Oswald Trio listening. Thanks for that, C.L.

Consumed links

Hey, so, I’m not going to do links to Consumed from this site anymore — a notable moment, since I basically created this site for that purpose, back in the days when it was impossible to follow Consumed via RSS any other way!

As of right now, you can follow the column through any of these methods:

Tomorrow’s column now available through all those sources right now. Pick your poison.

And happy new year.