Pitchfork   The Dissolve   Festivals: Chicago | Paris

Well-known in design circles and on blogs for its folded polypropylene backpack and unusual iPad cover, Solid Gray looks to fill the gap in the mobile boom box market with its speaker-outfitted backpack, dubbed the Basspack. Currently just a working prototype, the collaboration with Case of Bass adds boombastic sound to the geometric backpack design. No word yet on availability or audio specs, but the very idea of it makes designophile music fans giddy, but their neighbors? Perhaps not so much.

Get more info at Solid Gray online.


Andrew Huang directed the "Brennisteinn" video for Iceland's Sigur Rós which is currently touring the states ahead of new album Kveikur, due this summer. The video conjures both the mythical Hades, an ancient volcano and builds some kind of narrative around the yellow gas/liquid/rope that breaks up the stark and intense black and white images. We're still mulling it over.

The Jónófón gramophone is a new project from Icelandic designer Jón Helgi Hólmgeirsson that recreates the phonograph, an early means of playing recorded music at home. For Hólmgeirsson, the design isn't just about the quality of the final product. He wanted to ship the Jónófón in a flat-pack, so the user learns about how the player actually works as they assemble it themselves. Therefore, he's made his gramophone out of paper. Hear what the Jónófón sounds like in the video below. [via TFIB]

The Knife has quite a cult following, so the news of its new video for "A Tooth For An Eye" hitting the net is a big deal in some quarters. It's the single off the forthcoming Shaking the Habitual album, the band's first new full-length in seven (gulp) years. Some might see a reversal of gender roles in the video, but it feels more complex than that. The mixed-up context brings modern dance into a gym class for grown men—which is just odd enough to make it compelling viewing.

Factory Records designers Peter Saville and Brett Wickens created an incredible sleeve for New Order's "Blue Monday" single. Released March 7, 1983, the design remains a stark, modern time capsule of the era. The floppy disk-inspired, die-cut outer sleeve featured only FAC SEVENTY THREE as text for the label catalog number, while the show-through inner sleeve was silver. The records were expensive to produce and "Blue Monday" was an unlikely but massive hit. The record label said it lost a few cents each on the original singles sales, though it is likely that it was losing money in various other ways as well.

Luke Brown, Jordan DolheguyTotem Visual and photographer Dan Crawford collaborated on a flag-draped look for an EP cover and additional images for Melbourne industrial producer P C P. It's inspired work. And no wonder as P C P just happens to be Brown, himself.

Listen to PCP on SoundCloud and see more of Luke Brown's work at lukebrown.com.au.

Instruction manual for an obscure brand of personal computer. Slightly yellowed but completely unused, as the machine itself never worked.

A brilliant concept—If best-selling albums had been books instead—executed cleverly is one thing. But Christophe Gowans takes it one step further, writing clever synopses for the imagined tomes he's designed. We've excerpted some of those descriptions in our captions above. If the Record Book was a book, we'd buy it. We've only posted a select few from The Record Books series, there's many more at ceegworld.com and hopefully more to come.

Globe Poster, 1980s. Collection of Roger Gastman.

It's stunning how well the '80s underground has aged—and we're not just talking about the music. Take D.C. for instance. This weekend, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. hosts "Pump Me Up, DC Subculture of the 1980s" which explores the capitol's thriving underground of that decade via surviving visual ephemera of the era. Go-go posters by Globe, photos of "Cool Disco Dan" graffiti, and handmade punk and hardcore flyers as album and single sleeve designs from the era will surely figure in. There's also a "Throwback Jam" concert at the 9:30 Club this weekend featuring Trouble Funk, Scream, Henry Rollins, Youth Brigade, Black Markey Baby, and more. To say we're jealous we can't make it (and a bit nostalgic) would be an understatement.

"Pump Me Up" runs Feb 23–April 7, 2013 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Get more info at the Corcoran Gallery. The "Pump Me Up" exhibition catalog is $45.

Norwegian design studio Skrekkøgle obviously has fun with their work. Everything they do has an element of whimsy and cheekiness to it, which somehow never seems to take anything away from the functionality of the concept. The Plugg radio is no exception; the sunny little cube is simply operated by removing the cork from the top. Much like the satisfaction in uncorking a bottle of wine, as soon as you uncork the Plugg, the sounds start spilling out. The kind of tactile relationship this creates with something we tend to take for granted is a welcome idea. Unfortunately, it's still just a prototype. Any angel investors reading this?

Fans of shoegazer gods My Bloody Valentine were thrilled to hear the band's first new record in two decades this week. Critics weighed in, making sure to pay tribute to the legendary Loveless. But amid the hullabaloo, some of us were left wondering one thing: Is that really the cover art for the new My Bloody Valentine album? Frankly, it's dreadful. Not only that, but it makes us long for the quality control and artistic vision of the creative directors at the mighty independent labels of yore. DIY, in this case, may have done wrong.

For those that believe that's unofficial artwork, we hate to disappoint you but the band's site informs us that it is the real deal. "The vinyl and CD artwork is currently being finished and each format will have slightly different but similar artwork to the download artwork that will be attached to your download."