MUSIC MONDAYS: What the heck, Beck!

Happy Week!  (Yep, there’s enough Beck out there to keep everyone attuned for weeks. Pun intended. Ha ha.)
Tonight, I’m taking on this late post while Rob is busy contributing to an upcoming book about duct tape (!!!). He will reveal all when he’s able. Exciting stuff!
The fab thing about Music Mondays is that no matter what band we cover, it happily forces us to immerse ourselves into the music. We ask ourselves to relive, discover, or learn more about a band. This weekend was no exception.
Beck is outrageous. In the best way possible.
One of Rob’s fave memories is blasting Odelay as a bartender at this super fun bar of yesteryear called Molly’s in Chapel Hill, NC. Since it’s one of his favorite party albums of all times, he’d crank it often.
Even cooler is that Rob remembers listening to it while reading literary sensation Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius . Recollected Rob, “Somehow those two things seem apt together. I don’t think they came out at the same time or anything…just a random thought!” Ironic + apropos.
(Odelay was recently noted by Rolling Stone as one of the top 500 greatest albums of all time. #306.)
Beck is pretty darn super great. Sometimes he makes sense. Sometimes not. His wordplay is worth the ponder. He’s an artistic chameleon that is influenced by numerous musical styles from (anti) folk / indie to hip hop to country to psychedelic rock to Latin to funk to Blues. It’s crazy how he blends all! But somehow he does. To wit, his multi-facetedness:
  • Singer-Songwriter.
  • Street Musician.
  • Multi-Instrumentalist.
  • Mic Opportunist.
  • Poet.
  • Experimentalist.
  • Synthesizer.
  • Producer.
  • Collaborator.
  • Contributor.
  • Philanthropist.
He’s kind of like a modern day Henry David Thoreau. Marching to the beat of his own drum – and then some!
I’m personally fascinated with his collaborations and contributions, including: Air; Emmylou Harris; Charlotte Gainsbourg; Jamie Lidell; Thurston Moore (of Sonic Youth); Twilight: Eclipse (soundtrack, “Let’s Get Lost” with Bat For Lashes); True Blood (song “Bad Blood”); supermodel Karen Elson (as in Jack White’s ex-wife + mother of his children) + others.
For Karen, Beck produced her really good upcoming cover of “Gold Dust Woman” (listen here) on the upcoming Fleetwood Mac Tribute album, Just Tell Me That You Want Me. (I pre-ordered it + looks fantastic!) 17 covers. Wild range of talent included on it.
He also offered a beautiful – teary for me – rendition of  “Corrina Corrina” (listen here) for Christy Turlington Burns’ charity album in partnership with Starbucks, Every Mother Counts 2012, to stem maternal mortality particularly in developing countries. Other artists included David Bowie, Lauryn Hill, Patti Smith, Sade, Coldplay, Bono and the Edge, Rufus Wainwright, Eddie Vedder, and more. Wow.
And just when you thought you had Beck all figured out (not), tonight I found a cover of Woody Guthrie’s “Ain’t Got No Home ” (listen here) from the mid-90s on his website (he’s come a long way from open mic nights…). Very cool. Very old skool. Very dear.
Nope, Beck has not found his calling…No status quo for him…That’s what makes him interesting.
And that’s what keeps us listening.
Our combined playlist (album info here):
Sea Change 
The Golden Age
Lost Cause
Little One
The Information
Elevator Music
Strange Apparition
Devil’s Haircut
The New Pollution
Lord Only Knows
Where It’s At
Mellow Gold 
Pay No Mind
Nitemare Hippy Girl
Que Ondo Guero
One Foot In The Grave
Sleeping Bag
Midnight Vultures 
Mixed Business
Nicotine & Gravy
(for fun) DJ Reset - Mash-up of Beck, Pharrell Williams, Jay-Z   
Frontin’ On Debra
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COMMUNITY CRAFTERS: Raising Awareness about TSC


We were recently contacted by a customer, Julia, who made these gorgeous clutches. She runs a company called Duct Tape Fun ( We always enjoy seeing what our customers are up to, but we wanted to share Julia’s site with you because of why she started this business.

She’s been making duct tape crafts for two years to help raise awareness for a genetic condition called Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC). Her little sister was born with this condition, and Julia wanted to help in any way that she could. You can purchase these clutches on her website for $15 and help her cause in the process.

We particularly love the clutch that uses our Pool Chevron and Saddle Leather tapes.

We wish you and your sister the best, and hope that your business can continue to raise awareness of TSC!




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TUNES FOR TUESDAY: Kevn Kinney & Drivin N’ Cryin

Kevn Kinney is the best songwriter you’ve never heard. He is the front man for Atlanta’s Drivin N Cryin. I once read that they named the band based on the two types of music they identified with–emotionally heartfelt songs and hard-driving rock songs. There may be some truth to that since their music is a mix of acoustic songs and blistering rock. I’d describe it as Hard Folk Rock. Yet, the image of someone crying while driving has always resonated with me more and seems true to the stories that populate his songs.

When I was a freshman at UNC-Chapel Hill one of my new friends, a guy named Billy L., sat me in a chair in the middle of his room and made me listen to one song by a band that he declared would soon be my favorite. That song was Check Your Tears at the Door off the album Whisper Tames the Lion, and he was right.

That’s still the song I want played at my funeral for anyone taking notes. I was 18 years old the day I heard that song, and now, 25 years later, Kevn’s music still takes me to that same place that I’m proud to come from–a place of high hopes, tough shakes, grit, hard play, and good times with friends.

Through his songs, Kevn reveals poetic stories.  He has the voice of a blue collar workingman taking a gut-wrenching heart-ride through life. It also contains the celebrated camaraderie of going through it with a few good friends by your side.

Lissa and I met in Chapel Hill and that’s where we became fast friends. We listened to these songs again last weekend–she in San Fran and me in Raleigh–and relived so many of those days. We found ourselves listening to the Friend Song at the same time and getting lost in memories of those days–some great, some not so much. Regardless, Kevn Kinney’s music is for the reality of  life, its beauty and its toughness, all told through one of the most distinctive sounding voices in American rock.

A few years ago he had to have surgery to remove nodes on his vocal cords. Fortunately, it was successful and he’s now singing as strong as ever. Go see him live if you can. You’ll find a very loyal group of fans, many of which have been seeing him for decades and also new fans, hopefully like yourself, that have discovered him through his association with other bands like the Allman Brothers, Edwin McCain, 7Mary3, REM, the Black Crowes, Neil Young,  Blues Traveler, Gov’t Mule, or Soul Asylum.

Kevn has flirted with critical success several times in his career, but never attained it. His music is often about where he/we fit into the American dream.  I’ve often wondered if he would have written so much insightful and relevant music if he had achieved the cookie cutter definition of success. It’s hard to imagine him writing these kinds of songs in a true voice from an oversized mansion in Beverly Hills. It may be that he’s exactly where he writes and lives the best—standing in the shoes of Everyman. Hell, I’ll bet he even likes duct tape. I can tell you this–I’d send him a few free rolls for sure if he wanted some.

Here is a great playlist to get you started. I’m listing mine and Lissa’s together because we had so much crossover:

Whisper Tames the Lion
Catch The Wind The Friend
Song Check Your Tears At The Door
Can’t Promise You the World
Riding on the Soul Road

Mystery Road
Ain’t It Strange
Honeysuckle Blue
Wild Dog Moon
Straight to Hell
With the People

Great American Bubble Factory
I see Georgia
Midwestern Blues
Don’t You Know That I Know That You Know?

Fly Me Courageous
Let’s Go Dancing
Chain Reaction
Fly Me Courageous
Around The Block Again

MacDougal Blues
MacDougal Blues
Last Song of Maddie Hope
Hey Landlord
Goodnight Song

Down Out Law
Bird (acoustic)

Scarred But Smarter
Scarred But Smarter
Stand Up and Fight For It

A Good Country Mile
A Good Country Mile
Bird (great contrast to the acoustic version)
Never Gonna Change (cover of Drive-By Truckers)
Southwestern State (cover of Seven Mary Three)


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AMERICASMART: Come see us!

For those of you traveling to AmericasMart for the big wholesale gift show, come visit us in Building 3, Floor 5, booth 2502! Hope to see you there! If you want to make an appointment for a meeting, please email Rob at



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MUSIC MONDAYS: Boxes + Big Head Todd

Welcome to Monday Blues – sort of.

Today’s band: Big Head Todd and the Monsters. One of my fave indie bands of yesteryear.

I told Rob that I would pick because I am in the middle of boxing stuff up to move while listening to tunes + feeling super nostalgic. Big Head Todd featured prominently in my past life. Just like today.

The backstory:

After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill, I brazenly moved to Chicago. Sight unseen. Bright lights, big city! Those who knew me well (and Rob can corroborate this story) understood that I was hell bent to find fame and fortune in the “glamorous” world of advertising. To me, it seemed so terribly exciting – and I was always up for a new adventure! So off I went…Without an apartment. Without a job. With big dreams.

Pavement pounding, I landed a job at Foote, Cone & Belding, an international ad agency on Michigan Avenue. Felt like I hit the big time! (Even though I had to work two side jobs to pay my rent including Brother Jimmy’s BBQ…Yep, my Southern drawl helped me snag a weekend gig as beer tub girl / waitress…slogging drinks + pig, so much for the glamorous life. Ha!).

Soon after, I was invited to a small launch party by Giant Records for Big Head Todd’s upcoming album, Sister Sweetlyat Schubas, a music club housed in the former Schlitz Brewery building built in the early 1900s. It seemed like the Colorado-trio of guitarist/keyboard player Todd Park Mohr, bassist Rob Squires, and drummer Brian Nevin were destined to go somewhere, if not far. The show was so much fun and afterwards I partied with the band upstairs in the saloon. Todd turned out to be a totally nice guy (not to mention a real cutie with his long jet black hair…). I remember sitting next to him chatting about life in Boulder as we downed a few shots of whisky. It was mid February 1993. A pivotal time in my personal life. Four songs. On repeat.

(Yes, I have actually kept this CD with me for almost 20 years, from city to city. Some stuff I find hard to part with. Pictured here.)

Sound-wise, I liked  Another Mayberry with its R.E.M influence but  Midnight Radio is what really turned me onto BHT in the first place.

(Rob just shared the 20th Anniversary Live at Red Rocks with me + I love it! He + his brother actually saw the whole album performed in Atlanta this past January.)

Not only do I get lost in Todd’s raw sexy voice, but also I am moved by the riffs on so many songs. In those moments, the notes speak to me as much as many of the intense lyrics do.

I also think it’s cool that John Lee Hooker contributed “Boom Boom” to Beautiful WorldHe happened to be recording in the same studio that day as BHT. And I read he was dizzy when he recorded! Now that’s serious commitment to a craft. He’s pretty awesome.

Live at the Fillmore is raucous crowd-loving stuff. Hazel belts it out in back up. It is a jammin’ album! Near to my heart, you gotta love San Francisco (I have lived here off and on since 2000). I wish I had been at that show.

Rock Steady‘s “Beast of Burden” (a fun twist) and “Smokestack Lightnin’” (love the howling) are super fun covers!

BHT also plays under Big Head Blues Club (great article in San Francisco Chronicle here). The band recently released a tribute album to Blues legend Robert Johnson, showcasing a 100 years worth of his tunes along with a serious supporting cast of Blues luminaries! So much talent. So many instruments. Some sizzlin’ stuff! So it seems befitting that “Sweet Home Chicago” wraps up the song selections for this post. Because back then at Schubas, Todd was sizzle – and The Monsters rocked too.

And just as I was trying to make sense out my life there, I find myself doing the same thing here. Box after box. Move after move. Feels like one big circle.

Our picks:

Another Mayberry – 1989

  • I Will Carry (wow words)

Midnight Radio – 1991

  • Vincent of Jersey (per Rob, “just a perfect little morsel of a song” + I agree)
  • Dinner with Ivan
  • Monument in Green
  • Bittersweet (Rob and I both think this rendition is the best recorded version…and this acoustic performance on YouTube is worth a watch)

Sister Sweetly – 1993

  • Circle
  • Broken Hearted Savior

Beautiful World – 1997

  • Heart of Wilderness
  • Boom Boom (with John Lee Hooker)

Live at the Fillmore – 2004

  • Circle (this version is a-m-a-z-i-n-g, I think)
  • It’s Alright

Rock Steady – 2010

  • Smokestack Lightnin’ (cover of Howlin’ Wolf)
  • Beast of Burden (cover of The Rolling Stones)

Midnight Radio – 20th Anniversary Live at Red Rocks – 2011

  • Soul Children
  • Love Betsy


Big Head Blues Club – 100 Years of Robert Johnson – 2012

  • Crossroads Blues (feat. BB King)
  • Sweet Home Chicago (feat.  David “Honeyboy” Edwards & Charlie Musselwhite)

P.S. Thinking Rob needs to hit the BHT show in Raleigh on Thursday. How ironic. I’m jealous!

platypus designer duct tape

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UPLEVEL: Brenden’s Cool Crutches

Hey everyone, I hope you all had a great 4th of July. I had a wonderful time with my kids, friends and their families. It made me truly appreciate how lucky we are to live in such an amazing country, where we are free to express ourselves and be what we want to be.

That brings us to the point of this post. Brenden is on crutches, and was tired of having them define who he was in the eyes of others. He wants people to see who he is first and foremost, and had the idea to transform his crutches–to make them express who he is, instead of him be defined by them. I gotta tell you, when I spoke with his family, this idea really moved me. We’ve always said we want Platypus to be a creative tool for upleveling and upgrading your environment, but never has it meant so much to me to be providing that tool as does here. Please leave some comments for Brenden and tell him what you think on this blog and on Facebook. I’m sure he’d love to hear from y’all!


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My little brother Thomas told me to listen to Arcade Fire years before I ever got around to it. I should have listened to him then. If you haven’t heard them, you should probably listen to me now too, but everyone has to discover music in their own way and time. I came to find them through seeing the movie trailer to Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are. Something you should know about me–this is my absolute favorite book from childhood. Me and Max, well, I felt like I was right there next to him sailing to that land of horribly fantastic wild things, everyone else be damned…and I was also the little boy that chose to come back to love and a warm meal. My heart and imagination swelled and dwelled in the pages of that book. That’s why I was taken aback when I heard the music for the movie trailer…it was, it was, well, perfect would be the only real word for it. The way it feels like the anthem for all introspective adventurers, as it builds to a celebratory but nostalgic crescendo that I am still not tired of experiencing.

That song turned out to be Wake Up from Arcade Fire‘s first album, Funeral.

When Arcade Fire won the Grammy for Album of the Year last year (for The Suburbs) it made me pay attention to the Grammys in a way that I haven’t for years. They are unusual enough as a band that in spite of winning a Grammy many people I know still don’t know who they are.

They are anything but your average pop-drivel band. They bounce between hard stadium rock, 50′s bop, punk, new wave, and saturate their songs with poignant and lush string arrangements. They deftly pull from so many musical styles that they somehow become incredibly modern. They rock.

You need to watch them play to truly appreciate how much is being woven together, and to see how many instruments the band plays. I’ll bet everyone in the band can play at least 5 instruments.

Here’s a video of Wake Up.

Well, it’s getting late and I’ve got a big meeting tomorrow and it’s almost Tuesday. Here’s a playlist to get you started. I hope Arcade Fire resonates with you as much as they have with me.

Goodnight, Monday!


Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
Wake Up
Rebellion (Lies)
Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)

Dark Was the Night

The Suburbs
Month of May
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

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PLATYPUS PARTY: Taped up for the 4th of July!

Are you getting ready to throw a 4th of July party?  Here’s how you can liven things up with our Paisley, Denim, White Linen and Picnic Gingham tapes. This is a very inexpensive way to celebrate our independence with style.

Platypus Designer Duct Tape July 4th Party

My family lives in the South where duct tape and culture mix rather easily. Summer evenings, fireworks, flags and duct tape are a recipe for good times wherever you live though. It’s fun to create party decorations and toys with Platypus Designer Duct Tape. You just might be able to get the whole family involved! I know we did. Here we’ve used our Denim, Blue Paisley, and Picnic Gingham designs to uplevel mason jars. We tied baker’s twine around the mouth of each jar to create even more red & white accents.

The place mats are made by covering 14″ cardboard cake circles with our seamless Picnic Gingham tape. The seamless designs leave you with a finished product that looks like a gingham fabric, doesn’t look anything like duct tape at all, and is very easy to clean!

We also cut stars out of the White Linen tape and placed on the flower pots.

No outdoor party for the 4th would be complete without a bit of America’s second favorite past time. That’s right, I’m talking about Frisbee!

Designer Duct Tape circles and stars work perfectly to make these Frisbees even more fun. You can decorate them with any shapes you like of course, but these worked well for our party.



You can put duct tape decorative shapes just about anywhere to make the party more festive. We put these gingham stars on all the bottles of root beer.


Using duct tape to decorate can make even the party planning fun. We hope these easy crafts give you some ideas for family fun for this upcoming holiday week. Have a happy 4th, and send pics of your party crafts!


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MUSIC MONDAYS: it’s Galactic.

Here I am…Outside. Beachside. In the dark.

Quite befitting. The band for today’s Music Mondays is Galactic.

The cool thing is that the Milky Way can be seen from anywhere. It doesn’t really matter where you are in this world. We all see the same night sky.

(And right now, I’m digging some super cool illegal fireworks. Feels kind of cosmic as I’m writing this p.m. post….)

Galactic is jazz / funk band hailing from New Orleans. In and of itself, that’s cool. But what’s even more cool is their musical style infuses some super fun hip hop, electronica, world music + rock influences. And that just feels very Louisiana melting pot to me. Crawfish boil, what have you. It’s a mixture that works.

As John, one of our Platypus People, insightfully says “‘unscripted’ grooves act as a soundtrack to the stories WE create for ourselves! The more barren canvas, if you will, the more tremendously exciting.” And he is right.

While I am a self-professed “Word Girl,” I think that the band’s instrumentals are pretty great and totally up for interpretation in this big ‘ol universe of ours. And we can create our own realities. No matter what they might be.

They also take on some covers of the talented likes of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones + more. Ballsy. (Rob especially liked those.)
No matter what, take a late night listen. Like  I am. Under the stars tonight.
What a sparkly ride.
platypus designer duct tape.
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ON A BUDGET: Whip up a bright and playful table for a summer soiree

Platypus Designer Duct Tape is the perfect creative tool for up-leveling your party with unique and colorful decorations. The seamless nature of each of our tape designs makes it super-easy to transform everyday items (these herb pots used to be dog food cans!). The smooth matte finish of Platypus tape does not look like regular duct tape. This refined appearance allows for countless designs of party accents and ornaments.

These herb pots are covered in Platypus Orange Linen, Argyle, Pink Polka Dot, Pool Chevron, and Sour Apple Linen Designer Duct Tapes.

 The candle bands are made from Pink Polka Dot duct tape on top of our Orange Linen tape. The napkin rings create a light and playful setting and were made using matching patterns of tape combined with toy butterflies from AC Moore. Everyday items were transformed into a table setting with a bright organic feel. The up-cycled cans of herbs can be placed on a windowsill after the party to continue their growth and be used for cooking later. The bright cans look great all by themselves! 



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