The Null Device
Despite being on indefinite hiatus, Melbourne/Brisbane krautesque art-pop combo Minimum Chips are following the likes of The Lucksmiths, Sodastream and Architecture In Helsinki into Europe, having just released a retrospective album. Titled "Lady Grey", it combines tracks from Sound Asleep and Kitchen Tea Thankyou (their last two releases). Reviews have so far been pretty good, with the expected comparisons to early Broadcast and Stereolab, with added Australian sunshine.
If you like Lady Grey, you may want to check out some of their earlier tracks; they've made MP3s of everything before Sound Asleep available on their web site.
"Poor Aim: Love Songs", an EP by US indie electropop band The Blow, is available for free download (in MP3 format) from the K Records web site. This offer is valid until the 24th of October, when their new album, Paper Television, is officially released. The EP is fairly good (it's somewhere between Talkshow Boy and Pony Up!), so grab it.
The latest architectural fashion in America is building houses with secret rooms. Not so much out of fear of home invasion by terrorists/gangbangers/zombies, but out of the sheer fun of having a secret room behind a sliding bookcase (the usual cliché), retractable staircase or similarly cool (if expensive and cumbersome) alternative door:
Since March, when the Beghous moved into the house, Cami estimates that she has had about 30 friends over. Not one was able to detect the bookcase's secret without guidance. "Most people don't even recognize that it's there," said her father, Eric Beghou, who owns a consulting company with his wife, Beth. "When the home inspector came by to examine the house, our builder shut the bookcase, hiding the room. The inspector went up and down the stairs a couple times - he knew that something was unusual - but he couldn't figure out what was there."
One popular trick is to hide a room behind a bookcase that looks like a standard built-in but is equipped with hidden hinges, rollers and handles, as at the Beghous' house. Contractors can either build the bookcases themselves or buy a piece from a growing collection of companies, including Niche Doors, the Hidden Door Company, Hide a Door, Secret Doorways and Decora Doors. Prices range from about $800 for the most basic models to more than $10,000 for custom-made versions.
She remembered a woman in St. Paul who asked for a room hidden behind the rear wall of a closet. "She said she wanted a secret room for her art studio," Ms. Susanka said. "She was a very introverted person, and she had to hide in order to let this expressiveness out."
(via Boing Boing)