Sunday, May 30, 2010

Union Station

© Joel Thomason
My favorite building in Kansas City is Union Station. One of the city's most historic sites, Union Station came into being after a flood wiped out Kansas City's railroad station, located in the West Bottoms, at the turn of the century. Upon completion in 1914, Union Station become one of the nation's busiest railroad stations. During World War II, as soldiers crisscrossed the country, it saw more traffic than any other station in the world. However, as railroad travel declined in the 1970's, Union Station became more dilapidated, ultimately losing all passenger traffic in 1985 and shutting it's doors completely in 1989. Yet, a 1990's public campaign helped raise $250 million to restore its once ornate condition and historic prominence. Union Station reopened in 1999. Today, it stands as a crown jewel in Kansas City's rich tradition.

I was reminded of my love for Union Station this evening when more than 50,000 people gathered in it's shadow to watch the Kansas City Symphony perform patriotic favorites in honor of our soldiers for Memorial Day. This outdoor concert, known as Celebration at the Station, has become a popular way for our citizens to kick off the summer season. The fireworks show over Liberty Memorial adds a nice touch to the festivities. No matter the season, Union Station stands in magnificence, it's intricate ceiling dazzling above lavish decorations. I may not always live in Kansas City, but Union Station will always be my favorite building in the United States.

- Joel

© Joel Thomason

© Joel Thomason

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Summer Jams: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Two different people (Anthony & Cassie) mentioned Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros to me last week. I haven't listened to the entire album yet, but I do like their album's most noteworthy track, "Home". It conjures up memories of the country twang and playful banter of Johnny Cash and June Carter from the 1960's. Plus, something about the whistling makes me think of summer. Download the track and enjoy the music video below.

- Joel

Summer Jams: Big K.R.I.T.

I think I enjoy hip hop more in the summer than any other time of year - when the sun is setting, the heat of the day has passed, and I'm driving across town with the windows down. A few summers ago it was Kid Cudi for me. This summer, though he may not get radio play, Mississippi M.C. Big K.R.I.T. might be an evening regular in my speakers. Download his debut album/mixtape, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, for free below. Also, watch a video of the track "Children of the World".

- Joel

Big K.R.I.T. - K.R.I.T. Wuz Here

Friday, May 28, 2010

New Banner

I finally have a blog banner I can be proud of thanks to the talents of my brother Cory and Brian Jaramillo of Agency26 (and maybe an ounce of creativity on my part). The banner combines a public domain political ad for Abraham Lincoln from the 1800's, which I found in the Library of Congress, with custom lettering created on the fly by Brian Jaramillo. Cory put it all together this morning. Thanks for the help guys.

If you'd like to purchase their services, click on the links above for more information on how to contact them.

- Joel

New Kanye

Like him or love him, Kanye West makes music that people talk about it. So why not take a few minutes to take a listen to the first single off of his upcoming album, set to drop later this year. Something about the choir in the background is reminiscent of "Jesus Walks" to me. This track is called "Power".

- Joel

Update: Video deleted from YouTube

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Public School Gear

My friend Cassie took a trip to Austin, Texas for the Renegade Craft Fair. At the Fair she stumbled upon a booth set up by Public School, the artist dudes from Austin who I've blogged about (and who I'd love to meet one day). Knowing how much I enjoy these guys from afar, Cassie texted me to let me know they were selling their gear. Then, over the phone in the midst of the crowds, she graciously described what they were selling so that I could buy some stuff through her. I bought the poster shown above. Now, after seeing all the goods online, I want to buy the print below. It's pretty cheap (as in price, not as in quality). You should check it out.

- Joel

Smithville, Texas © Jay B. Sauceda

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Downtown © Joel Thomason
I have banished myself to my room while the rest of my family finishes watching the season finale of LOST. My Monday may be a rough one as a result, but I will be staying up as long as necessary to watch it tonight. In the meantime, here is a quick recap of an eventful weekend in Dallas (with a few photos as well).
  • helped Cassie chaperone the Arts Magnet High School prom.
  • served as a photo assistant for the talented AVS as she shot portraits for the family of Tim Delaughter (the creator of The Polyphonic Spree)
  • had a lovely dinner at Matt's Rancho Martinez with seven friends.
  • sat beneath the stars at Lee Harvey's and watched Hunter Sullivan and his orchestra play all the greatest big band hits.
  • visited The Village Church for the first time with Mat and Kelsey Hency.

A fun time was had by all.

- Joel

Matt's © Joel Thomason

Jeff & Nicole's Chickens © Joel Thomason

Friday, May 21, 2010

Girl Talk

Finally the website that most fans of Girl Talk, or at least this particular fan of Girl Talk (me), have been waiting for - The site allows users to stream Girl Talk's most recent album, Feed the Animals. As each new sample pops up, the site gives you the artist/song title so you can know what Gregg Gillis used to create the album.

Check it out.

- Joel

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Photographer of the Day

© Christopher Wilson
Christopher Wilson. Wilson's photography has found itself on the cover of all three Band of Horses albums. Actually, in my opinion, the best part of the most recent BoH album, Infinite Arms, was the album cover (the music was just average and much the same to what the band has already released). I find Wilson's outdoor photography to be striking.

- Joel

© Christopher Wilson

© Christopher Wilson

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

W.H. Auden

I'm not sad right now, but I've known the sadness W.H. Auden desribes in "Stop all the clocks...". In the midst of it's heaviness, I find it to be an incredibly beautiful poem.

- Joel
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
- W.H. Auden

The Black Keys

The song "Tighten Up" comes from The Black Keys' latest album Brothers which was just released this week. It's pretty good. So is this music video. You can download the song below as well.

- Joel

The Black Keys - "Tighten Up" (link removed by request)

The Black Keys "Tighten Up"

The Black Keys | MySpace Music Videos

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

LCD Soundsystem

This is the album that will be coming through my speakers today and for the foreseeable future. LCD Soundsystem, aka James Murphy, is the hippest of hipsters. This Is Happening, the 3rd and maybe last album created under the LCD moniker, drops today. If you're put off by the low key nature of the first song I've added below ("Dance Yrself Clean"), just wait until the drums and synths kick in at the 3 minute mark.

- Joel

LCD Soundsystem - "Dance Yrself Clean"

LCD Soundsystem - "I Can Change"

Quote of the Day

"A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle."

- Benjamin Franklin

Monday, May 17, 2010

Roadside Stand near Birmingham, Alabama, 1936 © Walker Evans
If you are on Flickr, you should be following the Library of Congress. I could spend hours looking through the old photographs they have archived.

- Joel

Jim Norris, homesteader, Pie Town, New Mexico, 1940 © Russell Lee

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sean Stiegemeier

Watch this incredible time lapse video by Sean Stiegemeier. This could be the most beautiful time lapse photography I've ever seen. The accompanying song is by Stomacher and is entitled "Dark Divider". You can download the band's entire album for free at this link. Go here to view more videos by Stiegemeier.

- Joel

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shabazz Palaces

If you like hip hop, give Shabazz Palaces a listen. Yes, that really is the name of the track below. And yes, like most hip hop, Shabazz don't clean up their language, so beware if/when you click on the link below.

- Joel


Oklahoma Joe's © Joel Thomason
I stood in line for 45 minutes with my cousin Brad tonight waiting for the incomparable Oklahoma Joe's BBQ. The Z-Man Sandwich and fries were well worth the wait. No barbeque place on earth rivals Oklahoma Joe's. Anthony Bourdain, of Travel Channel fame, even put it on his list of 13 Places to Eat Before You Die. The list features restaurants located around the globe. It's nice to see Kansas City get recognized for what it does better than anyone - barbeque.

- Joel


My friend Allison sends the greatest postcards. Beyond the superb photographs on the front of each one, her handwriting is second to none. I received one from her this week with the photograph by William Eggleston above.

- Joel

Friday, May 14, 2010

Song of the Day

The Books rove through thrift shops and other junk stores, find discarded tapes, and turn those snippets of sound into melody. Check out a track from their album The Way Out, set to drop in July.

- Joel

The Books - "Beautiful People"

Sufjan Out of Hiding

Fans of Sufjan Stevens will be happy to know he is still alive. He sang back up for The National during their performance on The Late Show with David Letterman. Watch the performance below. Sufjan is the timid looking fellow on the right. If only he would pick up the 50 states project again...alas. In other news, The National really did nail their performance.

- Joel

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Photographer of the Day

Hammock © Elizabeth Fleming
Elizabeth Fleming. You can purchase this print for a mere $40 on collectdotgive. All proceeds go to support the Austin Children's Shelter.

- Joel

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Though a candle is consumed by shining, yet its shining is its truest life..."

- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, pastor of Metropolitan Tablernacle, London, England (1834-1892)

LCD Soundsystem

My most anticipated album of the year drops next week. LCD Soundsystem releases This Is Happening on May 18. Watch a live performance of "Drunk Girls" on Jools Holland below and the music video for the song below that.

- Joel

Kate Prior

Kate Prior. Cool hand lettering.

- Joel

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The National - High Violet

Another great album drops today. The National, with their baritone, melancholy indie rock release High Violet today. This is music made for a rainy day or a late night drive home. But the band's energy make them a soundtrack for any day really. Listen to a track below. My personal favorites are "Conversation 16" and "England". They have some great album artwork as well.

- Joel

The National - "Bloodbuzz Ohio"

Sunday, May 9, 2010

© Joel Thomason
I spent the weekend in Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tennessee. The travel time gave me an opportunity to dive into Forgiveness Rock Record by Broken Social Scene. You can find my two favorite tracks below. I also really like "Sentimental X's" and "All to All" among others. My only disappointment is that Leslie Feist doesn't play a more prominent role on the album. But overall, I got my money's worth.

- Joel

Broken Social Scene - "Sweetest Kill"
Broken Social Scene - "Meet Me In the Basement"

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Google Chrome

I'm a Safari user myself, but this video for Google Chrome is nuts. Peanuts (the best kind of nuts).

- Joel

Hospital Hill Run

One month from today I'll be taking on the Hospital Hill Half Marathon. I ran a half marathon about a month ago, so the distance is not new to me. However, this course takes on some of the more rigorous hills in downtown Kansas City. You should run it too - they've got a 5K and 10K option. You can see the course map above. Click on the photo to enlarge the map.

- Joel

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Public School

Public School is an artist-collective based in Austin, Texas. Their blog, which I've posted about in the past, is a daily read of mine. Much to my delight, the group has been posting more frequently lately. Feel free to make it one of your daily reads. But don't read too closely or you'll notice that on the rarest of occasions I steal their ideas and put them on here.

- Joel

Monday, May 3, 2010

BSS - Forgiveness Rock Record

I'm sure there will be a debate in the indie world about the quality of this album. I've already read a few blogs that say Pitchfork's rating of Forgiveness Rock Record by Broken Social Scene was far too high. I'll let you decide for yourself. If you are going to purchase any album this week, this is the one to get. I've been a fan of these Canadians since first hearing You Forgot It In People back in college (PS - it's terrible that I can now say "back in college"). Their Halloween show in Lawrence, KS with Leslie Feist ranks as one of the top 3 greatest shows I've ever seen (Daniel would back me up). So I may be biased, but that's ok. See what you think.

FYI - if you buy the album on iTunes, you also get a 10 song EP at no additional cost. Maybe the EP also comes with physical copies in stores. I don't know, I couldn't wait long enough to find out.

- Joel

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I always thought that the most important measure of how good a game I'd played was how much better I'd made my teammates."

- Bill Russell, Boston Celtics great, 11-time NBA Champion