Friday, April 18, 2008

a chain of dandelions

the next record is nagging me to get going on it. half of it is already in the can, really, but this morning i woke up and all i could think about was getting it going. i have a new song called 'voices in the air' that i am planning on getting started today.
on another note i have to go home next week for my aunt jeanne's funeral. i need to buy my bus ticket. i think i'm going to go down on thursday night and come back over saturday night so i can work on sunday. it's going to cost about $100, but i really feel like i should go- the last few relatives that had passed away my parents have told me they don't see any reason for me to travel for the funerals. when my grandfather died (my mom's dad) my mom said that since i hardly knew him at all and that there wasn't really going to be a service (they were just going to take his ashes somewhere where he wanted them scattered) that i didn't really need to be there for it, but since we saw my aunt jeanne a lot i feel like i want to be there for the service. we shared a birthday and she was a really nice lady. we used to paint easter eggs in her basement every year with her grandchildren (who are all older than me and lauren). i'm also thinking of the next record because, naturally, i was thinking of getting some of the cello parts recorded if billy's up for it and then that way i could not do any recording when i'm back again in may. that would be really nice and it would make the time over my birthday a bit less frenzied, at least for me. i'm going to give billy a call today to see what he'd prefer to do. i think that if i work things right it would be about five parts i'd need him to do- about three of them ones that he would be free to make up himself. having chris to work with helps as well to give me more flexibility working with billy. some prewritten parts that i would normally give to billy i can have chris play since he plays the viola so if those don't get done by billy i can always have chris play them.
as far as how other things are going, they are fairly good as far as i know. i'm anxious to see my paycheck for the last two weeks- which i'll get tomorrow. it was my first pay period working the five day schedule i'm currently working. i clocked in almost 80 hours- which was more than i expected and this means that i might get a paycheck that will pay all of my bills for the beginning of may- the rent, car insurance, health insurance and some igo bills. if it's large enough to cover those bills (that is my difficult period during the month) then i can pay more money to my credit cards. it also makes it easier to save some of my tips and i can still do enough fun things with the rest of my tips. the goal is to get my debt under control and then when it's paid (in about two years or so) i will have a ridiculous amount of financial flexibility and it will make it easier to build a studio or take stefanie to europe- two things i've been trying to do since about 2005 or so. not to mention it'll make it easier for us to go on tour.
speaking of touring i finally sent out the fliers to the colleges. we finally printed them up and stefanie is going to drop them in the mailbox to go out today. i am really keeping my fingers crossed for these- even if only one of them works out it will really help us make that happen. i do predict it is still going to be quite the financial undertaking. i haven't really looked into car rental deals- but from what i've heard renting by the week is cheaper than renting by the day. i'm trying to stay positive about it- it's a very scary prospect- it's going to require a lot of time off from work and it's going to be quite a feat to pull off- we are trying to get it so that we are playing every night until we get to seadrift and then portland. if the college shows don't work out i have places where i can try to get house shows, but the college shows really need to work out so that we can break even (or at least dramatically lessen the blow). house shows aren't paying for a two week tour where we have to rent a car and buy gas with prices as they are right now. i keep kicking myself that we sold the van, but driving around in that van on that lengthy of a tour would definitely cost just as much as renting a smaller car with better gas mileage. the ideal would be if we still had my old honda civic. even that would be a wild card as that car had a lot of problems as well, so really we aren't in that bad of a position. i wish it was ten years ago because doing a tour like this back then would've been a snap. 79 cents a gallon. it was real, folks.
this is really long again and just contains boring musings, so i will end it.

Monday, April 7, 2008

nice sian alice group video

this is from the tap room in lawrence the night after we saw them here at the empty bottle. they are fantastic live. hopefully they will come to the u.s. again soon (i'm not holding my breathe though).

i am weak

i downloaded the new spiritualized album early. shame on me. fortunately i really love it. i just listened to it again earlier today after i listened to the final mix for 'down to sleep.' there are a few things i'm not 100% sure of in the mix, but i can't really always tell what they are, but i do know that i am very happy with this final mix and i don't want to labor over it any more because to my ears it sounds wonderful, fresh and completely full of life. it also sounded amazing coming out of the car stereo speakers when i was driving the prius that is kept down the street (we are car share members). i fixed the two weak mixes too and finally got to listen to the whole thing without interruption today and the album is incredibly strong i feel. definitely the best thing we've done so far. i am very happy with it because it really does achieve pretty much everything i wanted it to achieve- especially in the vein of the guitar sound and integrating the strings and more real drums into our sound. i am quite happy with the drum sounds that i got- they were closer to the sounds i was chasing than i expected which is quite an accomplishment considering how little i had to achieve those sounds. they certainly are their own thing and they don't sound bad at all.
back to the new spiritualized album though- i really love it. it's a unique album in the spiritualized/spacemen 3 continuum. i am always amazed at the internet furor that is currently surrounding it. i must confess that i really don't get it- they've really managed to push their sound in a new and wonderful direction that is wildly unexpected. that is saying quite a bit as most spiritualized albums are not without their hallmarks. ironic as well- i think that people thought that 'amazing grace' wasn't enough of a departure (which i don't think is necessarily that true either- but i am a big fan of that album) and now people are upset and up in arms because 'songs in a&e' doesn't return to the sound of 'lazer guided melodies' or 'pure phase.' what i'm struck most by on this record is how all of the songs hold up on their own. even songs that i considered 'weak' at first begin to reveal more to them with repeated listens and it is the first spiritualized album to feature a wide array of incredibly tight, compact and economic songwriting. 'ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space' is a good reference point in this case- all of the songs (the instrumentals aren't what i mean in this statement) on it are incredibly strong, but they are less compact- there are only a few songs on it that clock in at under four minutes. the title track is the most economic and compact in that regard. i wouldn't say that 'songs in a&e' is as good as 'ladies and gentlmen...' it will probably always be the best spiritualized album. it's also nice that they've gotten kind of bold and not put long repetitive instrumentals on the new album. as much as i love 'electric mainline' and 'the power and the glory' etc. i am impressed that they have attempted to not fall back on that kind of thing on this record. hats off. the only other album in their catalogue to rely solely on song songs is 'let it come down' and there are a few fairly weak ones on there that don't quite accomplish what they set out to accomplish, which is a shame because if all of the songs on that album did accomplish what they are supposed to that album would be an unstoppable phenomena. i still like it quite a bit, though. i don't listen to it that much, i must confess, but when i do i like it still. i thought that the stronger songs on 'let it come down' were really revealed during the acoustic mainlines performances- 'anything more,' 'stop your crying' and 'the straight and narrow.' even 'let it come down' doesn't have as many songs that are so to the point. one is incredibly long and repetitive and another is a rehash of an old spacemen 3 song. 'songs in a&e' is squarely forward-looking. it'll be really interesting to see what kind of precedent it places for future spiritualized albums (who knows how many more there will be). i just really love it- it's such a unique album and i'm so impressed that they were able to get so many new hallmarks into their sound and really flip the finger at the naysayers who believe that they are a one-trick pony (i'm looking at you andrew earles- you deserve a spanking). my expectations were pretty high after hearing most of the new songs in the acoustic mainlines format. i particularly love the album version of 'baby i'm just a fool'- it's so completely different to what i imagined and so full of creativity and inspiration. wonderful!