Wednesday, February 20, 2008

suddenly, the veil lifts...

i was expecting to be working at chase for another week almost, but today they pulled all of the temps into a conference room and told them the assignment was over. 40 were going to be kept on for a while longer, of those 40 ten were going to be hired permanently and then the remaining 20 were let go as of today. i was one of the 20. so i now, all of a sudden and completely unexpectedly, have two full days off. it's kind of a bummer because now i won't be able to keep as much of the money from beans and bagels to put towards the cd as i had wanted to, but i was already planning on selling the digital piano to pay for the remaining cost of the cd, but it would also help me pay for my half of the taxes that we owe this year. so, it's over all of a sudden. i'm not sure what to do with myself now- it's been almost six months since i started there. i all of a sudden have my nights back again. i'm looking forward to getting some work done tomorrow- i've been itching to record some new songs. i have boatloads of them as many of you who read this know. i can also start mixing down the finished 'down to sleep' tracks. shit, i have a fucking list of things i need to fix on the record too and i can start to check those off now. so excitering... oh yeah, i can start to plan our proposed tour sooner than expected as well. woohoo!
when i was in the room with everyone else who was let go the atmosphere in there was real grim. i felt much like that character in that kate chopin story where the woman is told that her husband has died and after her initial feelings of grief she realises that she's finally free and it makes her so happy that she dies of joy. i wanted to smile and jump up and down, but not everyone was feeling that way at all. most people didn't have another job lined up, yet. so now it's over and i get to get back to leading a normal(ish) life. i'm planning on looking into playing music at potbelly's. if that brings in a tiny bit more money then my paychecks could pay my rent and my bills and my tips can be savings/beer/fun money. even better i was worried about whether or not i was going to be able to make it to see shannon wright on friday night and now i don't have to worry! i'm very excited- her new record is so fantastic and the show is at schuba's. welcome back to life.

Monday, February 18, 2008


i got president's day off! woohoo! i worked a full day at beans and bagels and then came home and set up an awesome drum recording set up that worked quite well if i do say so myself. i got two drum parts out of stefanie- 'down to sleep' and 'angels floating on the head of a pin.' unfortunately now the vocals sound like they're out of sync a bit, so now i have to redo the vocal synching shit again- which is incredibly tedious and maddening. she tried to do the drums for a new song called 'fade to white' which is really nice- it's very stark and there are tons of wide open spaces and such. we managed to learn to play it together last night and then we went through the vocals since it's sung in a super-weird way that really only makes sense to me and changes pretty much every time i sing it. difficult for the person who has to harmonize with me (her, of course). we managed to get a first take of it really quickly that i am too scared to change. i listened to it today briefly and it didn't sound as good to me as it did last night, but i also didn't listen to the whole thing. last night when i listened to it i was totally bowled over by the raw emotion and hair-rising moment-capturing type of mojo, therefore it will not be changed. i've found that it's always best to keep the first take unless it doesn't sound good enough to you at the time. if it captures the emotion and power and weight you want in it, don't fuck with it even if it isn't glisteningly perfect. i have learned this lesson over and over. when we first did 'the weather king' i always thought there was something wrong with it, but was always too scared to change it. i listen to it now and it sounds exactly the way it's supposed to. same with 'on the bridge' (both versions). shit, point and shoot every decent recorded vocal we've ever done has been that way.
stefanie only has a handful of drum parts to do now. i still have a lot of guitar parts to do and some other stuff. i might have to do some work tomorrow. i'd like to finish the 'born on a train' recording. i meant to have stefanie do the glockenspiel part tonight, but it looks like i'm going to have to do it tomorrow. it probably isn't even worth it at this point- the track probably doesn't have anything to merit any further work on it. i still am not happy with the guitar sound i got for it and am still not quite sure of the direction for the guitar part to take. we shall see... *sigh*. i'd like to just loaf tomorrow, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen, as usual.

Friday, February 15, 2008

elbo room=shit

yup, our show was totally shitty. we played really well for the first two songs and then the third kind of was a hiccup in a lot of ways and the last wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't the best song we'd played all night. the other band was total fucking schlock. pretty-boy frat daddies whose friends all came out and talked very loudly through our entire set. i'd say that they sucked, but it's kind of irrelevant what i think about the type of music they play- it's not really comparable. they probably thought that we sucked. i don't know- it is totally baffling to me to see an onstage sausage fest 'rocking out' like they're playing some huge arena when they're actually in the elbo room playing for twenty of their friends. i guess that that's just another example of why it's not comparable. that's probably exactly what the people that like them admire about them.
i think we need to stick with the house shows and more intimate settings. we really need to not break our 'no bars' rule. the empty bottle doesn't count, though, for obvious reasons. it serves us right for breaking it.
anyway, i have to go to get some groceries.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

nina nastasia and my freaky, freaky neighbor

i've just spent the last half hour in an acoustic guitar playing competition with my upstairs neighbor. he started it by playing a ridiculous version of 'b.s.a.' by bjm. he played wanky solos and strayed from the vocal melody- fie for shame! so i responded by playing bjm songs when he wasn't playing anything. he seems to enjoy sitting in one part of the room, playing a song, clomping across the apartment and moving some furniture and then sitting in another part of the room and playing another song. he has done this four times. we have been trading songs back and forth. i try not to let this annoy me but it seems incredibly weird to me. he also doesn't seem to leave his house much- just sitting around and strumming his guitar and stomping his feet and occasionally mangling a decent song. the other times are aimless excercises in which he tries to make up strummy indie-boy bleating neutral milk hotel rip-off type songs. i like neutral milk hotel, but their imitators i could definitely do without because they do it so fucking poorly.
nina nastasia was on monday night. i took the night off from work to go. we are playing at the elbo room tonight, which i also took the night off for. nights off are so awesome, but they are also kind of bad because everything catches up with me on any free night that i have now. she played for a long time- at least an hour and a half and played every song i wanted to hear. she didn't play anything from 'run to ruin' but played some other stuff that surprised me. i liked hearing the new stuff with just her playing a lot better. i love jim white, but the stuff took on a different tone with just her by herself- loved it. wow. her voice live is something entirely its own. she played two or three songs i'd never heard before. three people were filming the show and no one has posted it anywhere yet. SHARE YOU MOTHERFUCKERS! i found links to several different peel sessions that she did but all of the links are dead and naturally her peel sessions are a treasure trove of unreleased songs. go figure. she played 'bird of cuzco,' 'stormy weather,' 'jim's room,' 'late night' (really nearly everything from 'you follow me'). wonderful.
i can't tell if i'm nervous for tonight. probably more anxious to play already. i've got to go pick up the car at 6:30.
13 days and counting until the chase nightmare is over. unexpected surprise- i get president's day off. i have my microphone stands, thus next monday will be a work day (once i get home from beans and bagels). oh, how much work i have to do... oh lordy...

Friday, February 1, 2008

(...lay me down in sharp clean silence...)

today all i did was sit around and watch a few 'seinfeld' episodes and play some songs on acoustic guitar and then worked out a new song called 'sloba' that i wrote just before christmas. how nice it was. then i had to go to shithole chase. here's a video of us playing the title track from the next record at uncommon ground. james made the video and it's pretty nice. i like the layered effects that he did- especially the ones he did with the candle. kudos!