Brian Feeney
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Reed vs Doom

A few weeks ago, I bought the Procreate iPad drawing app. To test out the brushes, I recreated a page from Fantastic Four #200. Original art by Pollard and Sinod.

January 16, 2021

journal


The Year in Music, 2020

Best Records of the Year

  • Song Machine, Season One - Gorillaz
  • The Prettiest Curse - Hinds
  • Amazones Power - Les Amazones d'Africa
  • That's How Rumors Get Started - Margo Price
  • Punisher - Phoebe Bridgers
  • RTJ4 - Run The Jewels
  • Untitled (Black Is) - Sault
  • Folklore - Taylor Swift
  • Lost in the Country - Trace Mountains

Honorable Mentions

  • Cha Cha Palace - Angelica Garcia
  • We Will Always Love You - The Avalanches
  • I Made a Place - Will Oldham
  • Twice as Tall - Burna Boy
  • Fetch The Bolt Cutters - Fiona Apple
  • American Head - The Flaming Lips
  • Mirrored Aztec - Guided By Voices
  • The Loves of Your Life - Hamilton Leightauser
  • Serpentine Prison - Matt Berninger
  • Anime, Trauma, and Divorce - Open Mike Eagle
  • Untitled (Rise) - Sault
  • Color Theory - Soccer Mommy
  • Optimisme - Songhoy Blues
  • Cuttin' Grass, Vol. 1 - Sturgill Simpson
  • Sorry You Couldn't Make It - Swamp Dogg
  • The Slow Rush - Tame Impala
  • Evermore - Taylor Swift
  • Heavy Light - U.S. Girls
  • Saint Cloud - Waxahatchee
  • What We Drew - Yaeji

So 2020 was a fucked up year, wasn't it? Music felt different. When life is so fully off its axis, a perspective on art is equally as skewed. Though I knew better, I was looking for something more in the music than it could provide, as if anyone recording in 2019 could predict what life would be like in the year those songs would be released. That's unfair expectations.

Despite all that, I was surprised to look back and find so many great records given to us. My list is 29 strong, and 9 of those are what I would say are exceptionally great. Taylor Swift also managed to put out a record in that top tier list. What a weird year. Folklore was the most exciting surprise. I'm as big a fan of Swift as a 40 year old man can be; she just doesn't generally write songs for my demo, I think we can agree. But privately and intimately writing a record with Aaron Dressner was an inspired idea and it really produced. Was Folklore my favorite album of the year? Maybe!

The Gorillaz record this year was more like a collection of singles. Albarn started the year by releasing about a song a month, recorded at odd intervals with a usual eclectic mix of artists. They ended up putting out a collected record of these earlier than I think was the plan, but it all comes together so well. I'm gonna love almost anything Albarn releases, and many of his tracks this year were incredible. In the end, my love of his music really keeps this at the top for me.

It was a very uninspired year for hip hop. Run the Jewels put out another great record, on tier with their best. The intentionally private band Sault put out two solid R&B/Soul records after two even better records in 2019. I liked, but wasn't very impressed with the Childish Gambino record. Burna Boy put out a good album, but not one I'd push on to others. I guess Open Mike Eagle's Anime, Trauma, and Divorce was the second best. I highly recommend it. It's honest and direct.

I've been listening to a lot of world music in the last few years, largely African. But this year didn't seem to produce much that I'd elevate. Les Amazones d'Africa put out a record I highly recommend. And the Songhoy Blues record is wonderful. I'm hoping there were another few great ones I've missed.

And here's my playlist for the best tracks of the year: 2020 Favorite Tracks. As always, it's ordered by the date I first heard each track, to give it a bit of an autobiographical flavor, instead of just ordering by release date. And the other rule is that it includes no more than one track per artist, unless there's some rare partnership release or something.

The Gorillaz tracks "Désolé" and "Momentary Bliss" were probably my favorite tracks of the year. They each got the most listens, by far. Perfect pop tunes that few people in the world are able to produce. "Désolé" has a heartache I really vibed on. "Momentary Bliss" captures the anger we have at today's historical moment, but with a headstrong optimism I want to believe I have. But the one song which really gives me those synaptic chills almost every time I listen to it is the Hinds and CHAI combo track "United Girls Rock'n'Roll Club." It's a track by women and for women and which this guy want's to push further out into the world. More people should know this track. It's for everyone and it's amazing.

January 14, 2021

journal


On Trump's Attack on Capitol Hill

Ezra Klein has moved from Vox to the NYT as an editorialist, and his first column is worth reading:

They stormed the Capitol, attacked police officers, shattered doors and barriers, looted congressional offices. One woman was shot in the mayhem and died

If their actions looked like lunacy to you, imagine it from their perspective, from within the epistemic structure in which they live. The president of the United States told them the election had been stolen by the Democratic Party, that they were being denied power and representation they had rightfully won. “I know your pain,” he said, in his video from the White house lawn later on Wednesday. “I know your hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it.” More than a dozen Republican senators, more than 100 Republican House members, and countless conservative media figures had backed Trump’s claims.

If the self-styled revolutionaries were lawless, that was because their leaders told them that the law had already been broken, and in the most profound, irreversible way.

What happened yesterday was the wildest political disgrace I've lived through. Donald Trump incited his mob to terrorize everyone inside the Capitol building, including Senators and Congressman. Our highest levels of government was violently vandalized. The domestic terrorists carried Confederate flags among the Trump banners. Some of those inside were known neo-Nazis. This is the American carnage Trump declared on his own inauguration day four years ago. Terror, smoke, broken glass, and death.

On top of it all, there is a suspicion that the poor security defending the congressional leaders inside was a planned failure. A month ago, Trump removed a number of top officials in the Department of Defense and replaced them with inappropriate lackeys. Trump's Attorney General, Bill Bar, made a surprise announcement he was stepping down early, making his slithery exit before Christmas. It's a conspiracy theory to claim that everything which happened yesterday was premeditated. It's not a stretch, however, to say that this is exactly what Trump wanted. It's a final fuck you to the people of America who rejected him, who never accepted him into polite society. He really does now wish to see everything burned down behind him.

The terrorists had been inside the Capitol for more than two hours. It was long passed time to call in the National Guard and other security forces, yet Trump declined. It was Pence, who had been scurried out of the Senate chamber to safety along with everyone else, that finally made the call to retake control over the building. Trump was ensconced inside the White House, watching television, doing nothing.

Trump should not be allowed to remain President another second longer. He has less than two weeks left in his term, but that shouldn't be allowed to play out. Impeach or invoke the 25th Amendment. It should have happened after his first week in office, but it might as well happen in his last.

January 07, 2021

blog


Interview on the WSJ Design Blog

A few years ago, we started a blog for the WSJ Design team for posting about various design-related things. Among the article type is a Get To Know series and I was selected for interview number three. It was nice to share a bit about myself and my career path. If you'd like to hear me talk a little more personally about myself than I even do on my own website, well here's the interview.

January 04, 2021

journal


December 18, 2020

journal


Rainy Day Painting Hour

Nine months into the pandemic, and we finally bought ourselves some painting supplies. Here's my output on the first go-round.

December 17, 2020

journal


Links for 12/17/2020

  • Photo essay by Alec Soth on the inequality in Chicago.
  • I was mesmerized watching this video of paper marbling craftsmen working in the 1960s.
  • CHAI is the best newish band I've heard this year. Start by listening to absolutely everything they've released. Read this Pitchfork interview if you need further convincing.
  • I'm excited to see what happens with Glass, "A community of photographers, amateur and professional alike." Currently awaiting my invite.
  • A new code editor from Panic, looks promising.
  • The WSJ has a great explainer for antifa. This is useful if someone you know has been misled by Fox or other disinfo networks.
  • Neural Networks Create a Disturbing Record of Natural History in AI-Generated Illustrations by Sofia Crespo
  • These images of natural history illustrations have been created by neural network AIs and they're beautiful.
  • Why Chrome Is Bad. I wish I could delete this browser for good, but I need it for work. :/
  • I love Wayne White's word paintings. Would absolutely love to do this Fanfuckingtastic puzzle someday.

December 17, 2020

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CSS-Only Masonry Layout

Once this is added to enough browsers, I'll be one of the first to implement it! I have a masonry layout for my portfolio using jquery, but there's a bug with it. Often, the images all load scrunched up at the top. I've made adjustments which fix it, but only for a while, and then it starts happening again. Can't wait for this alignment to be possible with a single line in my CSS.

December 04, 2020

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Nature is Healing

My Twitter feed has slowly been filling with more design and development chatter. Less politics. It's a very noticeable difference, and so very welcome. If I were to unfollow all the lawyers and reporters I followed these last four years, I bet it would even feel more like 2016, again.

Of course, I should probably just leave Twitter altogether. I know I know.

December 04, 2020

journal


Cult of Ignorance

John posted this Isaac Asimov quote on Daring Fireball, and it's worth sharing further:

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge”

The current state of this country leads one to assume a quote like this is a partisan attack. It's not. But it does accurately describe the position a troubling number of Americans have taken.

November 30, 2020

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