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Lace May 2012 • Vol I • Issue I







Lace| May 2012


am a proactive, independent


I live for challenges, overachievement, and “can”-ing the “cannot”s. I load too much on my plate and blossom in the stress. I plan to do it all, to conquer the world, to be kind, compassionate, and well-rounded. To be humble and yet confident. Or at least, I used to do that. I used to be that girl, until about a year ago when the black wave I had been running from for years broke, and crashed on my head, dragging me to the depths of all of the things I had been ignoring- my loneliness, my anger, my constant anxiety, my 8-year relationship with my eating disorder. Suddenly, I was spending two hours just dragging myself out of my sheets in the morning. I left everything in my car when I came home from classes, and would lay face down on my bedroom floor for hours upon hours while my dog whimpered at me and licked the salty stream of tears that flowed from my blank eyes. Despite perpetual sadness, I made it through the Fall semester alright, used what little energy I had to keep a smile on my face and to “check my attitude at the door”. By December, I was on Prozac and had convinced myself I was on the road to chemical balance and happiness. Spring semester came around, and while I have been, on average,

happier, the times when I am sad, I am dramatic and dangerous. In situations where I once would have been rational, I now respond in an anxious panic. Someone canceling plans leads me to hyperventilation and suicide note drafting. I am less and less in control of myself with each passing day. Now, I sit here, with a week left of classes, and I am nearly three weeks behind on my work. I contemplate the consequences and the options I have if I drop out. I fantasize about returning to my parents’ house and sleeping in my childhood bed for the rest of my life. Forget dreams of singing at the Met, of traveling the world, of being proud of myself for onceno, I dream of being in a coma. I am so far from who I was, but I am so unsure of how I got here, and while those who have known me for many years attempt comfort that I am not as far from myself as I think, I have spun in the circle so many times that I don’t even know which direction I face. Last Thursday, one of my professors called me on this. On one hand, it was terribly shocking- I had been quite certain that I was fooling everyone with my facade; that this school year I had merely left the impression upon those professors who did not know me from years past that I was


a bright student with a tendancy to slack and under-achieve her potential. On the other hand, it was exactly what I needed to hear. I had blatanly blown off her extention she gave me on a project that I should have had completed almost a month ago-- a project that was not only easy, but something that interested me. At the end of our discussion, it was clear that my main challenge is that I refuse to ask for help, in all things in life. I refuse to admit I do not understand, that I cannot do what has been asked to me, or that I am not okay, and it is killing me. Thus, I have made a summer resolution - to learn to fuck up. I want to accept accidents, misunderstandings, imperfections, and struggle. For if I can stop running from all of the things I have loaded on my back over the years, I know I will find that happiness I’ve wanted, without the Prozac, without the mood charts and the meal plans. And, I will begin by asking for help; from my parents, my friends, my professors, my coworkers, etc. I can’t do this on my own; will you help me? -Raquel Román

Lace| May 2012


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Lace| May 2012




INDIE SHUFFLE By: Raquel Román

If you’re like most trendy, indie, hipsters (and let’s face it-- you are) you strive for that moment of glory when someone else has never heard of your favourite band (of the week). The lust for hipster cred is a bloody thirsty battle for the underground that requires savvy sifting through (mostly terrible) unsigned, unknown bands. Everyone is looking for their leg-up in the race to musical elitism, and this week Lace is providing you with one more weapon anti-mainstream destruction-- that is, if you haven’t already been using this site since ‘09, man. You we on the original email list! May we present, Indie Shuffle; a charming music blog and player that is so well-organized, I’ve been using it to treat my ADHD (results remain inconclusive). As previously stated by my mockery of my own

counter-culture, Indie Shuffle was started in 2009 by Jason Grishkoff. It blossomed over the past three years into the Pandora of the underground music scene. While the player can be a bit finicky, it’s more than worth the struggle. The articles are concise and entertaining, there are always download links included, and you can go back! Because sometimes (*ahem* Pandora *ahem*) you want to listen to that song one more time. Or six more. Whatever. In a recent interview Jason Grishkoff revealed that IS is looking to add a feature to be able to bookmark posts/ songs, which will pull them right up there with Hype Machine. Except way more organized. So, check them out. I can’t even believe you haven’t heard of them before this, anyway.



OF Monsters and men


ARCTIC IMPORTS For a country as small and seemingly obscure as Iceland, musicians from the little island sure have produced some pretty darn influential and cult-followed discographies. Although I’ve never been a fan of Bjork and her eclectic style, I guess I understand the bizarre appeal that brought her — and Icelandic music in general — extreme amounts of attention in the 1990s. Another well-known, band Sigur Ros, also from the Nordic European island, added a new element to the country’s worldwide musical influence through classically unique songs all sung in Icelandic. This year, the new indie folk band Of Monsters and Men has joined this slowly but surely growing Icelandic musicians’ club with the release of their debut album “My Head is an Animal,” released on April 3 in the United States. The six-man group originated in Gardabaer, Iceland and gained popularity just two years ago by winning the annual Icelandic battle of the bands called Musiktilraunir. In Iceland, “My Head is an Animal” was released in September, quickly topping the Icelandic charts and eventually reaching number six on the U.S. Billboard 200. The album includes their most popular song and debut single, “Little Talks.” Unlike Bjork or Sigur Ros, Of Monsters and Men has

such an American influence that I barely believed they were from Iceland at first. They sing in pretty much perfect English, and on first listen they sound like an interesting mix of Bon Iver and The Hush Sound. Their sound has a strange element of familiarity that makes you feel as though they have been around forever. “My Head is an Animal” is a whimsically upbeat album featuring the band’s lead singers Nanna Hilmarsdottir and Ragnar Porhallsson, who are backed up by the remaining talented musicians in Of Monsters and Men. The band’s use of varied instruments — many of which I don’t even know the names of — and dual vocals add a lot to the album, which at times feels a little stretched out and lacking structure. But at its best moments, it really is something special. The popular track “Little Talks,” which was separately released as a single that broke onto the U.S. top 100 charts, is a fun example of the upbeat flightiness that Of Monsters and Men possess. It’s an incredibly catchy song that from the first trumpet solo has the listener rocking out with an “I-can-dig-this” mentality. Unfortunately, the rest of the album is not quite as whimsically fun, but at times it still shines. There’s a disparity between the upbeat songs like “Little Talks” and the countless other slow and interestingly mellow jams such as “Yellow Light,” which, although great alone, don’t seem produce a cohesive album. The second song on the album “King and Lionheart,” which is more mellow but incorporates some upbeat riffs, is actually my favorite song on “My Head is an Animal.”


“Our first c

at a bike lot of peo up, and we ally expect

The track picks up about halfway through with the addition of the male vocals of Porhallsson. Every bit of prettiness, catchiness and whimsicality the album artfully possesses can be heard in this one song. It’s a great example of the talent and potential Of Monsters and Men possess. Another fun element of the album is the somewhat hippie and earth-loving lyrics of each song, which are full of natural imagery and prose. The opening track on the album, “Dirty Paws,” a two-sided ode to the natural world and the animals that live in it, features some wonderfully mysterious and environmental lyrics. Hilmarsdottir sings, “Her dirty paws and furry coat, / she ran down the forest slope. / The forest of talking trees, / they used to sing about the birds and the bees.” If anyone can show me an indie folk lover that doesn’t dig an Icelandic band whimsically singing about the “forest of talking trees,” I’ll show you a liar. I’d definitely recommend the better parts of “My Head is an Animal” to anyone who loves the laid-back and easylistening indie folk sound. Of Monsters and Men is an awesome up-and-coming band from whom I expect great things, although listeners should be warned: If you’re expecting some Icelandic music that follows in the somewhat crazy steps of Bjork or Sigur Ros, you’ve come to the wrong place. “Our first concert was at a bike shop — a lot of people showed up, and we didn’t really expect it at all,” says Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, one of the group’s two lead vocalists, along with Ragnar ?órhallsson. “We were up on stage, going, ‘What is going on?’ We were so happy that a lot of people came out to see us. It was very unexpected, so we really loved it.” A monster hit: With a galloping chorus and reverb-heavy

concert was shop — a ople showed e didn’t reit at all,”

production that has earned Of Monsters and Men comparisons to Arcade Fire and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Little Talks is a hit at both adult-alternative and alternative-rock radio formats. That’s thanks largely to two early radio champions, KEXP, a Seattle public station, and WRFF, an alternative-rock station in Philadelphia. In December 2010, KEXP made Little Talks its song of the day and posted a performance video of the song. “We didn’t know how big that radio station was,” Hilmarsdóttir says. “They recorded us in this living room. We just kind of came there a bit hung over and played.” MORE: Listen to their songs on Spotify If these walls could talk:Little Talks relates a loving conversation between two people that don’t appear to be communicating completely. “We kind of had in mind the people that lived in my house, because I moved into a very, very old house,” Hilmarsdóttir says. “They had lived their lives there, and the woman had just passed away. It’s a conversation, and maybe one person isn’t really hearing the other one.” The song has sold 144,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan. A foursong EP called Into the Woods has sold more than


ALBUM: My Head is An Animal RATING: Five Stars 1. Dirty Paws 2. King and Lionheart 3. Numb Bears 4. Sloom 5. Little Talks 6. From Finner 7. Six Weeks 8. Love Love Love 9. Your Bones 10. Lakehouse 11. Yellow Light

50,000 copies since its release in December. The band’s debut album, My Head Is an Animal, arrives April 3 on Universal Republic. Best band in the land: Of Monsters and Men came to prominence in its native country by winning Músíktilraunir, a national battle of the bands, in 2010. “A lot of bands actually form around this competition,” Hilmarsdóttir says. Of Monsters and Men was one such band, growing out of Hilmarsdóttir’s solo act, called Songbird. “I was recording a lot at home. I would layer stuff, and I couldn’t really get that in concert, so I asked my friend, Brynjar Leifsson, who is the guitar player now, if he could join me. Then I asked Raggi (Ragnar) if he could come and join me, too.” When they brought in drummer Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson for Músíktilraunir, “that’s when we really decided it wasn’t a solo project anymore.” The group added bassist Kristján Páll Kristjánsson and accordionist/keyboard player Árni Gu?jónsson after the competition. Monsters and myths: The group’s members show a keen interest in myth, not only in their choice of a band name but also in the cleverly animated video for Little Talks, which shows them on a epic quest battling all sorts of creatures. “We’re fascinated by the mythical things around us,” Hilmarsdóttir says. “It’s much more fun than reality, really. It’s very rich in our heritage to believe in that kind of stuff — and to let your imagination run wild.” Ready to plug in: Aside from Little Talks, most online clips have shown the band performing in living rooms and


backyards. They’re not adequate representations of a full Of Monsters and Men show, Hilmarsdóttir says. “We’re not totally acoustic, though some people might think that because of the videos that are around,” she says. “We have a very loud drummer and a very loud guitarist, and they like to have noises.” Playing in a traveling band: A line from the Of Monsters and Men song From Finner (“We are far from home, but we’re so happy”) could describe the band’s current status: They’ll tour North America through April 12. “It wasn’t written in this context,” Hilmarsdóttir says, though the lyrics fit. “It was more of a fairy-tale kind of thing, with people traveling on a whale’s back and very far from home. I like when lyrics can have different meanings for you during different parts of your life, and that’s definitely what it’s doing right now. We are very far from home, but we are laughing and we are having so much fun.”


With just a few relatively inexpensive items from your local craft shop, you can try your hand at printmaking — a fun process that begins with carving a design into linoleum, and then transferring the design onto paper. Channel your 11th grade art class and set up your own little printmaking studio at home; here’s a quick tutorial!


1. Gather your materials. There are many ways to go about printmaking — everyone prefers different substrates, brayers, inks, and techniques — fortunately, the supplies are relatively inexpensive, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find what you like best! I used : • double-sided linoleum blocks, similar to these; $2.10 for a 5x7 block.



• carving tool with interchangeable blades, such as this set; $7.56 for one handle and five blades. • printing ink or paint; look for inks that are made specifically for printmaking, like these; $2.89 for 1.25 ounces. • brayer or roller, like this 4” one; $7.85. • smooth surface for rolling out ink; I used a piece of glass from a picture frame and taped an edge with painter’s tape for easy handling. • pencil and marker for sketching design. • cardstock or printmaking paper; I used basic cardstock from my local craft store. 2. Draw your design. Don’t forget that your print will be the mirror image from the block, so keep this in mind if you incorporate type into your design. Some people prefer to take a permanent marker and shade in all the negative space so it’s easy to tell what gets

carved out and what stays. I opted to just sketch with pencil and go for it! 3. Carve out the negative space. Your carving tool will come with a variety of blade shapes, and they’ll carve out lots of different tracks — some skinny and narrow, some wide and shallow — so choose a blade and start carving! Always carve away from your body and fingers, and try for a level, even cut — start with shallow cuts and get the feel for your substrate, and try not to dig too deep all at once. 4. Pour out a small amount of ink onto a clean surface. Once you’re ready to start inking, start with a small amount on your glass.

5. Roll out ink with your brayer until it is smooth and velvety. Roll the ink until you feel like it’s coating your roller evenly; it may take quite a few strokes! 6. Roll a thin layer of ink onto your block. Be sure and cover all of the design evenly. 7. Use steady pressure to lightly press cardstock onto your block. There are lots of ways to transfer ink to your paper — you can experiment and see what works! Try rolling a dry brayer over the paper to evenly distribute the ink, or place the paper on the table and press the inked design face-down onto the paper instead. Don’t worry about getting the design perfectly straight — you can always trim off excess paper after the ink is dry.


8. Carefully remove the paper from the block. You may find (as I did) that the very first print you make is less than perfect… don’t give up! It may take several tries to make a print you’re happy with. You can go back at this point and carve more from your block if needed… and don’t forget — part of printmaking is embracing the imperfections. 9. Let the print dry thoroughly, and enjoy! 10. Rinse ink off, let dry, and repeat. The neat thing about printmaking is the ability to make lots of copies; make a set of notecards, a pretty book jacket, or prints for friends!



Lace| May 2012


Seaworthy Style Summer is upon us, and so is nautical nonsense. Stripes of primary colours, anchors, gold jewelry, and leather accents are the foundation for this maritime look. So grab your Sperry’s, a sun hat, and a cute tote and get ready to hit the beach in style.


Lace| May 2012

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Cover art by Kelli Murray w w w . k el l i mur r ay . com



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