Friday, June 27, 2008

two i forgot to mention...

1) i am gutted that we will be out of town on tour during the hideout block party for one significant reason- neko case will be headlining said event. fuck.
2) i found the download leak for the new deerhunter album 'microcastle.' it's become too easy to find these- even for me who knows nothing about torrents or filesharing. my main method of tracking these things down is to do a google. so far it's worked every time. the only album i was able to resist the temptation to listen to early was the new portishead album. i also just bought 'songs in a & e' on green vinyl through rough trade east in london. so i still bought the album. it's kind of nice actually- i don't have to convert the lp to mp3 and mr. pierce is still getting my money. i'm happy to give it to him. that's the difference.
the deerhunter album. i like it more and more with repeated listens. i've noticed most people who hear it go on about how they didn't like 'cryptograms' but loooooove 'microcastle.' i always wondered why this was. well it's simple- 'microcastle' is quite poppy and accessible especially when you compare it to 'cryptograms' which is split into ambient experimental passages and more clearly-conceived songs. i admit that when i listen to 'cryptograms' that i look forward to the last half which is much stronger than the first because all of the best songs are all condensed into that last four or five song stretch- fuck- 'spring hall convert,' 'strange lights,' 'hazel street,' 'heatherwood.' those are all fantastic songs and they're all back to back. i also used to listen to 'cryptograms' and 'fluorescent grey' back to back because on my ipod it would play them back to back and the closing of 'cryptograms' segues very nicely into the ep which is just four really fantastic songs back to back. i kind of miss the trippier quality of songs like 'spring hall convert' when i listen to 'microcastle.' the only song i feel like that really has it is 'twilight at carbon lake' (which is a gorgeous song). 'activa' and 'calvary scars' both have it as well, but for some reason, where they were over the four minute mark and quite nice in their daytrotter session here they are both under two minutes. basically you get the verse once and all of the trippy bradford cox cooing once and that's it. kind of a shame. at least for me. that said the album is very tight and compact. something i am always on the look out for is good music for me to listen to during my morning commute to my job. this proves to be elusive as my commute takes slightly less than 40 minutes and can be as early as 6:15 in the morning. when i'm in the mood to listen to music it's not something bombastic or loud- usually something really beautiful, soft and yet not too ambient. a few good ones are 'you follow me' by nina nastasia and jim white and my friend nick butcher's new record 'bee removal' (this one might be the epitome of what i'm looking for to listen to in the morning- to know what i mean you're just going have to get it aren't you). 'microcastle' is good for this too. it's nice in its own way as well- because it never really serves up the bombast either- for the morning commute it's actually a bit of gentle nudging- 'you're up and you'll be at work soon- just a gentle reminder to be awake and with it.' good morning music. i'm not so sure if i like it better or worse than 'cryptograms.' i do like it quite a bit, but i hope that they don't necessarily get immersed in making this kind of poppy music. they are far too gifted at mixing in the weird shit to just go down that road. i assume it will serve well to expand their fanbase- which wouldn't be a bad thing- but at the same time i relish being able to see them at the empty bottle for $7 and i guess i'm selfish and would like to be able to witness them in that context for as long as possible. bands like that where i see that way i'm usually not able to pay $25-35 to see at the vic or the riviera. i usually quit going to see them once they outgrow the metro. time shall tell. but 'twilight at carbon lake' is probably one of my favourite songs of theirs.

get on your knees you freak...

i'm not terribly sure what to write here. back in 1999 i became obsessed with doing some cathy denis song- her one and only hit '(all night long) touch me' sort of straight ahead fuzzy guitars and low vocals. for some reason this morning i awoke with the incredible desire to actually do this. i think after i go home and do the dishes and change the cat litter maybe i actually will do it. or i might give in to ennui and laziness and do nothing when i get home. i also have a strange hankering to take another crack at 'cloudburst' which is a jamc/mbv sounding song i did for the 'down to sleep' cycle- it was a really old song from about 2000/2001. first version had my first ever drunk vocal- i'd been working on the song all week and had tons of trouble recording a decent sounding vocal- went to the velvet dog for the first time and had a giant martini, got nice and drunk and then came home and did the vocal in one take, listened to it, thought i was probably too drunk to judge it properly, went to bed, woke up the next day and listened to it and it was indeed a nice take. i listened to it back when i was reworking the song and it was astonishingly good- totally spot on. there's a drunkennes that you can reach that is almost zen-like with regards to music making.
in other news i overdrew my account. the withdrawal from cdman went down okay, but the 'foreign transaction fee' that my bank tacked on there didn't- it was about $35 and when you add in the $35 overdraft fee i'm behind about $70. it's going to be kind of difficult to get back on my feet after this whole transaction. i guess it's still better to put cds on my credit card. in the future i think i'm just going to save up the money and then pay it to the credit card before i charge it. it's just silliness really. banks are evil. i'd almost say they are giving credit card companies a real run for their money these days. $35 overdraft fees. foreign transaction fees. i've been charged them before with my bank but they've always been very small- it must be like 1% or something. maybe someday they'll be 50% and overdraft charges will be $100. it's not too far off at this rate. and people say that people who say that the system isn't working are too paranoid and alarmist. i'm sure that the day will come when there will indeed be a $100 overdraft fee. god knows what else there will be. i'd like to think i'll be dead by then, but at the current rate of acceleration i'm sure that would be a mathematical impossibility. it's a wonder that costs never go down. one day i guess that it'll be like going to italy where walking around with $50,000 bills in your pockets won't be that strange. maybe the $50,000 bill will have george w. bush's ugly monkey mug on it. you laugh now, but just wait. they're going to run out of good presidents pictures to put on dollar bills and then we'll start seeing things like that. you'd better believe that they'd put ronald reagan on one if they could at the moment.
i've hit a wall with a song i had really high hopes for. just crashed right into it. i thought i had something really amazing and it pooped out on me. i'm also not sure what to do with this new song i've started that's going fairly well. the choices are it can be relegated to being a b-side for a digital single on our website or it can become one of the hidden tracks on the next ep. not a particularly glorious fate on either count, but better than nothing.
who knows... not me.
the next ep is becoming a bit of an afterthought- i don't know why. with those eps i always think they'll be easy and cheap, but they don't seem to be. i wanted to do the mixdown to tape thing for the next one finally, but with the tour looming and the financial pall it is going to cast over everything i do for the rest of the year i'm wondering how this can become a reality.
i'm already in the hole right now quite a bit- i owe stefanie $200 again- a bit of money from some old igo car charges and then i'm going to owe will $45 to fix my bike, my paycheck that i should be getting today isn't going to be big enough to cover my overdraft charges and my rent and health insurance. this is the price that i always pay. i'm trying to get used to it, but it's not really all that possible to get used to. is it time to go to the plasma center? it might be. rush university is doing another sleep study. i'm going to try to get into it because it pays $1500. i probably won't qualify again because i work in a coffeeshop and have such easy access to caffeine, but in the phone interview i will assure the woman that if they need me to quit drinking caffeine that i can in fact do it and be okay- i've done it before. it's not fun for a week or so, but eventually the caffeine headache goes away. if i'm being paid to not be on it then i'm perfectly willing to make such a sacrifice. i think i'm going to have to take this month off of the credit card balances- kind of a shame, but what can you do? it'd be better to pay stefanie off quicker than them. the interest boat has already sailed. i have run up another balance on my paypal card. i'm probably going to buy my pitchfork tickets on them and then that new microphone that i want for my minidisc recorder. o dear... o dear...
will i ever be financially stable? the world may never know...
despite all of this for some reason i still think that we can go on tour and that i will be able to get the ep out by the end of the year. the next record (which we haven't even started recording yet really) isn't coming out until next year. the plan for next year is to concentrate more on the touring aspect. by that i mean we'll probably go on two week-long tours. since the next full-length record isn't going to come out at the end of this year then i think it'll be reasonable to expect for it to come out near the end of next year. it's supposed to be on vinyl. that's what i want for it. it's basically going to cost about the same amount on money it's just going to be an entirely upfront cost all at once. basically this record cost $1600 to master and press. pressing 500 lps will cost exactly that all in one lump sum. i'm toying with the idea of printing the covers myself but it might be cheaper to have the place i want to press them at do the printing as well.
i need to remember to keep my focus on what i'm building here- which is a body of work. no one else wanted to help at the beginning so i took on the load myself figuring it was now or never. i'm glad that i got started when i did- it was actually a bit smart of me. i've done an awful lot and i'm proud of what i've done even if it feels like no one understands it. i can't lose heart now. just need to keep going. we have never been accused of being a second rate derivative version of any one thing which i was kind of always afraid of. maybe we will be with this new record, but even so the next two records are going to be taking things in a different direction again. what's to worry about. a lot i guess...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

there's music on clinton street all through the evening...

i'm not sure what to write today. someone finally found all of the covers and listened to them. i suspect it is dmitriy. hey dmitriy! we need to get together soon.
man, i've become such a flake- i can't seem to get in touch with anyone anymore. i never really realised how much this last record enveloped my life. i noticed that last year was about the least productive show year we've had in a really long time. this year is hopefully going to end up being better. the tour helps. i do hope that we can do another tour next year- possibly a quick east coast jaunt. do we ever do anything besides quick jaunts? do we ever even go on tour? no. we need a booking agent. i'm afraid to send out the record once it's done- i'm worried that people are going to hate it and we're going to get reamed in reviews. no one liked 'learning how to crawl' it feels like. i kind of understand why, but at the same time it feels like no one ever gets what we're trying to do. 'petals' is the exception. people still seem to like that one the very best. i guess that's a good thing because that record was very difficult to finish. it was a bad period. it's standards are pretty high. i do wish that it'd been mixed better. if i ever actually get around to rereleasing all of our old records on vinyl then that one is going to be the first one to get the royal treatment- a remix, facelift and all.
i've started saving money as of last week. i'm going to try to save up all of my tips. good fucking luck.
i also need to buy my pitchfork tickets- i missed the boat on the two day passes. if i want to go see sebadoh play 'bubble and scrape' i'm going to have to pay for it individually. i can't figure out if i should do it or not. i love 'bubble and scrape' but it feels like such a fractured record- the lou barlow half is fantastic but the eric gaffney half almost cancels it out- some of his most obnoxious songs. i like some of his stuff on 'iii,' but it seems like his songs on 'bubble and scrape' aren't anywhere near as good. but then every single lou barlow song is so amazing- those are his best songs. it seems like if he'd been the one to write all the songs then it would've been an amazing breakup record. 'soul and fire' is my favourite sebadoh song i think- 'spoiled' is probably not too far behind. i learned how to play 'soul and fire'- need to bring that one out at a show sometime. hopefully we can get an acoustic show in kc going this year. the hope of going home is a bit nebulous. i can't really figure out if we're going to be able to go home for christmas this year. i asked emily how christmas worked out for her last year, but she wasn't really able to give me a good answer because she was able to go home for two weeks but that was because everyone's families were here in town. that's not really the case these days. plus i'm a full-timer- it's going to be difficult to get the time off. i think we're going to try and go home this year for about five days. it seems that that would be the most reasonable amount of time to be gone. we don't have much time to wait to buy airline tickets. we have to snatch up the cheap fares right when they come up.
i've started a new song that's going pretty well so far. i think i'm going to have stefanie sing it. it has the potential to be a good song to play live, plus it's in the same tuning as 'you turn down' so then we'd have an excuse to play that one live too. i so far have a verse, a chorus, the chord voicings and a middle string line (the beginnings of a fully fleshed arrangement) for the verse part. the lyrics are coming very slowly and in very fragmented pieces. fragmented lyrics from me- what a stretch... not that anyone knows what any of them are anyway.
i haven't heard from chris in a long time- not since my birthday. please write back i really want to work with you again!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

bummer in the summer

well, somewhat. the microphone did not arrive in time for me to record the instore. it also didn't arrive in time for me to record the show. i still recorded the show with what i had (which is a shitty microphone that doesn't seem very minidisc compatible) and the results were depressingly underwhelming to say the least. it seems that it was a repeat of the bjm recording debacle- the music was just loud enough to peak no matter what level i got it to. it doesn't make any fucking sense- but i guess that that's the way it is.
those people at madman audio are lazy assclowns. i went in at 3:30 and the guy was like 'oh it'll be here in 45 minutes to an hour- the guy's driving it right now. i'll call you when he gets here.' i heard nothing all night. they're closed on saturdays too. if i don't hear from them tomorrow i'm just going to buy another mic. i found the one i really wanted on anyway.
it is a drag though because the shows sounded decent despite all of the clipping. what isn't clippy sounds fucking phenomenal. nice!
as for the show- it was pretty good. i was a little underwhelmed by the black angels to be honest- i think my expectations were a bit too high. i liked it, but after about an hour i was ready to go home. 45 minutes would've been about right for where they are at this moment in time. we didn't stay for the encore. i would've much preferred to see the warlocks play a full set rather than the 45 minutes they played- which were phenomenal naturally. the instore was pretty good too- although we were late and missed half of 'song for nico'- kind of a shame- that song's awesome. i'm pretty sure they played it at the metro the first time we saw them.
mebbe next time... *sigh*
the black angels sounded pretty good live, it's just that their music is really not very diverse. i hadn't really noticed until we were watching them play. once they played my favourite song i noticed it started to drag a bit. i felt like their set kind of ground to a bit of a whimper. they ended it with 'never/ever' which is an awesome song on the cd, but live it just kind of sounded sort of weak after the intro part with the stark drumbeat that builds into that awesome noisy stuff in the middle. it was very strange because one would think that the first half wouldn't work at all live and the second half would, but it was the other way around. i shall dub this show 'topsy turvy.' the band that should've played the opening set played the headlining set and the band that should've played the headlining set played the opening set. helpful hint- don't headline after a band that's had way more experience and is better live than you. i think i'd be good with going to see the black angels again when they aren't playing after one of my favourite bands ever. i think in time they'll probably get to the point where they can captivate an audience for over an hour. i don't quite feel like they're there yet. of course i could be wrong- the first time we saw the warlocks we were there to see the gris-gris and said pretty much the same thing and now we love the warlocks and i can't remember the last time i've even bothered to listen to the gris-gris. i don't have their last album.
in other news, our cover record is done and has been sent to our dad's for dad's day. i uploaded it to our website too if you want to hear it. if any of the owners of the copyrights of these songs wants us to remove them then i'd be happy to oblige- just drop me a line here.

1. ring the bells (the kinks)
2. harvest moon (neil young)
3. long, long, long (the beatles)
4. play with fire (the rolling stones)
5. 4th time around (bob dylan)
6. nighttime (big star)
7. suzanne (leonard cohen)
8. knock loud (neko case)
9. candy says (the velvet underground)

that 'candy says' is the first song stefanie and i ever sang together. she couldn't hear the backing track because we only had one pair of headphones so all she had to sing along with was me. kind of neat. we did 'the weather king' right after that in the same way- as in minutes after we listened to it and stefanie's been in the band ever since. hope someone enjoys these.

Friday, June 20, 2008

hee hee- dumbasses

my quest for a microphone was successful yesterday- quite a surprise. i guess i shouldn't get too cocky about it- it's supposed to arrive at madman audio today at 3pm. i'm basically going to have to go down there and pick it up and go straight to lorna's laces to meet up with stefanie right after i get it, go straight to the warlocks instore, go straight home, hopefully eat something, go drive straight to logan square auditorium, leave right when it's over, go home and go to sleep immediately and then process the whole madness tomorrow at work where i will be completely wiped.
here is a beautiful thing- i did indeed get a payment invoice from the assclowns from whom i tried to buy a microphone on ebay. they think i didn't pay. suddenly as i was gathering all of my evidence and formulating my terse email demanding that they return my money or i will report them to ebay i realised that when they emailed me to confirm my shipping address i kept the message. i went back to read it and the guy who wrote said in the email- 'should i send the microphones to the address that came with your paypal payment.' bwahahahahahahahaahah!!!!! they're so screwed. i'm so glad. at the same time it's not a big deal, because i'd rather just get my money back and have that be the end of it. if they refund me with no problems i'm not going to report them or give them negative feedback- i don't see why they wouldn't what with all the shit i have. i even have a member of their staff saying i paid for it.
so i'm pretty excited- my heart's in my throat hoping that this microphone comes in today on time-ish. i hope the whole thing works. i have all of the stuff in my bag already in preparation. wheeee!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

call me crazy, but...

...this just might be enough to get me back on the wagon. i think this is a gorgeous song...

a minor setback

this entry will begin as many bruce springsteen songs do, ready?-
well, i just got a slew of weird, vague and totally perplexing emails that are a bit alarming from the company that i bought my microphones through on ebay. i was wondering why the fuck it was taking so long for them to show up- i paid for them a week and a half ago. today i just got a bunch of emails- one of them looks like a payment invoice or something saying that the 'item will be shipped once it's paid for' and it has the total below it, which is about a dollar more than what i paid already. i even checked my records- it's on my bank statement and it's in my paypal history. so my microphones haven't even shipped yet. rrrr. what i'm going to do is just go find a type of microphone that i've been trying to find for quite a while at some place in town. i have a few places in mind where i should be able to find it. i'm not going to miss recording this show and i do not have the proper equipment to do so and have it sound decent. i listened to the bjm show i recorded and it just sounds like ass. if i'm going to start recording shows again i want to do it well. end of story.
once i'm through here i'm going to go on and go looking starting at the radio shack up the street. i severely doubt that they'll have what i'm looking for- they never do, why should today be any different?
i'm really not that upset- this seems like a reasonable solution to me. if the sound professionals place is going to get all huffy and be like 'you didn't pay us' i'll just report them to ebay, send them my receipts and demand that they refund my money which they did receive. if they go ahead and ship the microphones then i'll have them for another time. maybe they'll be better than the other one i go to buy. maybe the two would be good to play off of each other. even if they do ship the mics i'm going to give them some bad feedback because they registered me on their site without asking me and it's taken them almost two weeks to basically do absolutely nothing and that shit isn't cool. the guy who sold me the minidisc recorder has already had time to send me the minidisc recorder and the manual in the mail in the time that it's taken me dealing with these clowns.
i was riding my bike today too and one of the pedals came off because for some reason it stripped the section where the pedal is screwed in. the pedal itself is fine, but i'm going to have to replace the section that holds the pedal in. kind of annoying considering i've only had it for a week and it's already fucked up. woohoo! i was looking forward to riding it tomorrow too, but i guess it's not to be. such a shame.
i got some recording done today on the awesome sounding hammond organ that just appeared in the performance room in the other building. ace! i think it's a v3, so it pretty much sounds exactly like a b3 but it just doesn't have that giant sweet leslie speaker. it has a smaller one in the bottom- kind of like the fowley (which is the other organ they have in there that i've used on tons of things). it turned out really well- i'd wanted to put some kind of weird organ on 'sleep now...' kind on in the realm of sparklehorse- like an orchestron or a mellotron or something- but the hammond sounds pretty nice. i'm going to try and get that track finished soon- going to try and get stefanie to sing it with me in the stairwell and try to get her to add a glockenspiel part- then i might add a watery guitar part just for good measure to play off of the organ chords. it didn't take me very long to do the part and i was using the footpedals while playing the chords on the keyboard. i was impressed that i got it done so quickly- i'm not really that good with keyboards/piano most of the time and having to play those foot pedals as well was really throwing me off for a while, but it got it! i could probably actually play keyboards in a band if i really wanted to and practised more. it'd be really nice to get a new keyboard- i'd like to get a rhodes, farfisa compact or a hammond v3 or an orchestron or something. i was listening to the 'good morning spider' album and discovered with utter annoyance that my grandma used to have an orchestron in the upstairs at their house and it disappeared at some point after she died. fucky fuck- i really wish that i'd known enough to try and inherit it. someone once offered me one of those old organs with foot pedals wayyyy back in 1998 when i was 2nd hand store shopping with my roommate in wicker park. it was a little different to how it is these days- most of the stores were empty. i bought a sweater for $2. reckless records used to be on north ave. and the size of a walk-in closet. i was in a 2nd hand shop playing it and the store-owner walked up to me and asked me if i wanted it and i was like 'i'd love to, but i have no way to get it home' and he said i should rent a car and bring to my apartment and i was like 'no- i mean back to kansas city- i'm moving back in a few weeks and no one's coming to pick me up.' fucky fuck again! i'd like to get a few of those nice old weird analog keyboards- they're so fucking sweet!
so yeah- that's been my day so far- i guess it hasn't been too shabby. i can't complain. i guess i just did- but it's no so bad.
the brauhaus was really fun last night. it made me feel a lot better about things. i had another one of those freakouts the other night. i always freak out when i release a record- it's just so hard to come up with all the money and then when it's time to pay i always get into the 'no one's going to buy this fucking thing- why am i sinking all of this money into something no one's going to give a shit about?!' and then it goes downhill from there. i think it's probably good to question what you're doing- otherwise what's going to keep you in check? it's funny because i never really got this nervous when i was charging these cds to my credit cards. it's like free money. especially now that i'm paying so much money every month to them. i hardly ever even think about the idea that they might be paid off some day. i'm making progress though. my wamu card balance is under $4000- it hasn't been like that for about two years. it's going to happen dammit! when it does it's going to feel quite awesome. i can go back to what i used to do- i used to use my credit card to buy a cd or record every week and then i'd pay the whole thing off at the end of the month. o debt- you are truly the american way!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

here it comes again

now that i have had to drum up another $200 to get 'down to sleep' released i'm getting that sad bastard feeling. when you shell out so much money and end up having to borrow $200 from someone even after saving up and getting a ton of money rounded up it makes you wonder 'is this really worth it?' especially knowing what i know after having released about four other records that haven't really done much but languish in my closet in boxes. i haven't even sold half of the 80 'learning how to crawl' cds that i have covers for. i've sold about 20 total cds through cdbaby and then a handful here and a handful there. i don't know. i listened to 'voices in the air' the other night after i was done mixing all of the covers we recorded and i thought it was so fantastic and amazing and suddenly it just broke my heart to know that it would probably be doomed to obscurity like damned near everything we've done. i don't know why i keep thinking that something i'm going to do is suddenly going to register with people, but it's getting to the point where it feels like that just isn't going to happen. what am i going to do about? i don't know. just release more records and keep playing shows whenever we can and writing depressing 'woe is me' blog entries like this one. i'm not real sure what else to do.
i got a bike and i've ridden it twice so far- just along the lakefront bike trail. today i rode all the way down past irving park road (which is about 3 miles from our apartment) and back. that was fun. i hope it helps me get into something resembling good shape. it'd be nice to lose some weight and be back to normal again. it was so easy to take being skinny for granted back in the day. from what i understand though riding a bike isn't really going to do anything to make my gut smaller.

space travel rock 'n roll

yes, i went to swervedriver on saturday. i've also pretty much been without internet for about three or four days or so now. i've been forced to bring the laptop to work so that i can get my internetting done. there are also problems with my cdman order. *sigh*. they haven't even started on it yet because the lady who keeps emailing me for my approval of the payment amount can't seem to figure out how to attach a file to an email. she did manage to paste all of the source code into the body of the email which was nice considering it looked like total gibberish. her last email said 'i have attached your payment invoice' and there was no attachment, naturally. i'm not very good at emailing back about such things because i don't like talking to people like they're stupid, but this is getting ridiculous.
so about the show- it was really great! i was very pleasantly surprised. they sent me out of there on my fucking knees. the set was very 'raise' heavy- i think they played about six songs from it- pretty much all of them the ones you'd expect- 'sci-flyer,' 'rave down,' 'sandblasted,' 'sunset,' 'deep seat' and they even played 'scrawl and scream.' they also played a bunch of stuff from 'mezcal head' which was, of course, awesome- 'last train to satansville' (good god that one was fantastic), 'duress,' 'duel,' 'never lose that feeling,' 'blowin' cool,' 'for seeking heat,' etc. and they played a few each off of '99th dream' and 'ejector seat reservation.'
it was a very interesting flow for a set- it started out quite slow and they sounded very very quiet to me and i kind of thought it was going to be a disappointment, but about three or four songs in they started to really get their ire up and the show just kind of lifted off the ground from there and it just kept going up and up and up and up and up and they just seemed to get more powerful and intense with each song and somehow they managed to continue this pattern for an entire hour and a half. they played for about an hour and forty-five minutes. i was surprised at adam franklin's guitar playing- i always thought that the other guitar player played most of the leads, but he hardly played any leads- occasionally he would play a counter-melody or something kind of textural, but mostly he just played that kind of very melodic rhythm playing. mr. franklin was doing a lot of leads while he was singing. the bass was the source of a lot of melody as well and a lot of the brutality as well. all four of them kind of would take turns injecting a healthy dose of brutality into every song- it was pretty impressive- it'd come at you when you weren't expecting it. damn though- they sounded very vital. i'm awfully glad that i went- it was a lot of fun and a great show. mr. franklin also played two beautiful looking fender jazzmasters. nice!
i'm waiting for this spiritualized download to load and it's looking like a no-go. the connection keeps slowing down. i figured this would be a good during-download time-killing activity, but no go.
the warlocks are playing at permanent records on the day of the show (friday). i'm waiting anxiously for my new microphones to show up. please show up!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

race against time

i couldn't find a plug in here at the coffee shop and i'm almost down to 50% of the battery power- which actually means not much time as once it gets below 50 it seems to be dead within five minutes.
the great covers project is going fairly well- we have almost all of it done and i must say i'm quite pleased with the results. so far i'm just not too nutty on the 'harvest moon' cover that we have. it seemed really good when it was just voice and guitar and now i'm just not so ga-ga for it. i had an idea for some stuff on 'long long long' that i might work on when i go home. stefanie has been so busy that it's been difficult to get some good, solid productive time with her- i suspect that it would've been done much faster if she hadn't had so much massage work lately, which is only a good thing really. i think that i'm going to try and get things finished today, mix it all in one go and mail it off tomorrow. i wanted to go to beans and bagels and pick up my paycheck anyway, so tomorrow would be a good day to do so because there is a bank and a post office all within easy walking distance from there, so that would be good. i'm entertaining the idea of doing a few new covers- i was thinking of trying to do 'will to love' very very quickly and then possibly figure out a good nick cave song to do also very very quickly. then of course, there's the question of artwork and such. i think i've got that covered as well- went through my last roll of pictures from my manual camera last night and i think there are a couple of thoroughly decent shots that could be used for arty farty shit.
it'll be nice to have this finished so i can get back to our own shit. i have a lot to do in that capacity as well. i bought some megabus tickets for late october and early november- straight up weekend shit. basically leave on wednesday night, get in thursday morning, leave kc on friday, get into chicago early saturday morning and go straight to work. it's like that on the october one. the other one is just a day long now as i made it wrong and can't get the $2.50 roundtrip fare going. maybe later. who knows... there are about 19 songs total- of those i'm not sure which of them will have strings. i'd like all of them to, but that might be just the slightest bit unrealistic. not to mention that i haven't written most of the string arrangements yet.
other than that not much to report- more freak problems at work the other day. i'm really just not a morning person at all. i've also noticed that if i'm not in bed within seven hours of when i have to be at work i get cranky much easier. i don't take it out on anyone else- it's more that i'm quiet and scowly the entire morning. usually what happens is someone will say something that will get me grumpy- it takes about three things. i can handle two and still be okay, but three makes me grumpy. music is the surest thing. insulting my drink-making skills is another one- i don't mean to be cocky or anything but i was trained in the art of making espresso drinks in portland by people who really knew what they were doing and i've served coffee drinks for people who drink coffee out there to some acclaim and people in portland are about 1000% more discerning about their coffee drinks than people are here in chicago, so when someone out here insults me i don't take it well because often they are trying to tell me about something that they just don't know enough about. i guess i should stick with this job since i actually seem to care about it. i've made tons of drinks for myself and dammit i know what i'm fucking doing and i'm fucking good at it. grrrr. i think we also got into the sad bastard music debate again and i tried to explain myself that i felt like i was a fucking freak and that i don't meet hardly anyone who i feel like i can really talk to and that the music i listen to just makes me feel less alone and he was like 'everyone feels that way.' he also said they just bury it under all kinds of other things. i guess actually that gets to the heart of the matter right there- everyone feels that way but most people spend so much time trying to bury those kinds of feelings that when you play something like elliott smith it elicits a negative, defensive reaction in them because it's acknowledging something that's in them that they go to a lot of trouble to hide and not explore because they're afraid of it or something or it makes them uncomfortable. so there you go- freaks are people who don't bottle up their emotions and try and bury their feelings and their hurts. that's why 'sad bastard music.' ha!
so fuck you all of you repressed motherfuckers- you're the freaks not me!
so fuck you you repressed pieces of shit! you're the freaks, not me

Thursday, June 5, 2008

the black angels are fantastic

a few new things- i bought a ticket to see swervedriver at the metro next weekend. after nina nastasia cancelled her upcoming show and with all the swervedriver listening i've been doing lately, i finally did it. i also finally bought a minidisc recorder, which i just paid for today. it comes with a mic and a bunch of minidiscs. the idea, of course, is to record the swervedriver show and then the black angels and warlocks show hopefully getting the kinks worked out and then onward to glory- spiritualized at pitchfork, my bloody valentine, both nick cave shows (did you hear that stefanie?), our entire tour.
speaking of our tour we made a fantastic breakthrough yesterday. someone from the university of montana at bozeman called us back and said that he had some dates in mid-september to fill. this is quite nice as when i mailed out fliers i accidentally forgot to change the dates on the spokane and montana fliers to early october and now that the route has reversed it ended up being a blessing. this one show will help immensely to pay for the rest of the tour. we have three things to help us now- my dad is planning on giving us some money, we are housesitting for jay and diana in august and now this show. we asked for $600 i think in the flier. colleges pay well. this does not mean that the show will not be a bit demeaning in some way, but at least it's something. so again i'm all antsy to get the rest of it all firmed up. haven't heard back from the metal dudes. i emailed tony york yesterday but he seems to have disappeared completely. he hasn't logged into either of his myspace pages in about six months- hope he's ok. it'd be a real shame for us to go to portland and not get to hang out with him at all.
i also bought the newest black angels cd. it's absolutely fantastic and i've listened to it about three times now. far beyond my expectations. i'd only heard snippets of their live set on kexp. i was listening to it here at the coffee shop and figured it'd be better to just listen to it at home where the connection is better.
i'm slowly but surely working on the 'angels floating on the head of a pin' video. so far it's about 40 seconds long. woohoo- only 6 and a half minutes to go! yeah! i haven't really drawn anything new for it at all either- i was going to try to do somewhat of a storyline, but that doesn't look so promising at the moment. maybe i could do some work on it today? maybe not.
we've been very sidelined with this project that we came up with- we're making cds of cover songs for our dads for father's day. i think we have nine cover songs in various stages of completion. stefanie's only sang on a few of them. like a lot of things we've done there are tons of mistakes- particularly on the version of 'long long long' that i did- i kept the first take, but it had some pretty glaring errors- i held a chord for too long that isn't even supposed to be there and then sang the next line a bit out of key- or maybe a lot. i did another take of it that was better (or so i thought). when i went to add more i'd forgotten that i still had the first take recorded, so i added two guitar parts that turned out pretty sweet- one was a mellow ringing feedbacky type thing and the other was just a high trilling guitar thing before i realised that i hadn't done them over the second take which is what i'd meant to do. once i figured this out i tried to work on the other one and was just getting absolutely nowhere and spending a lot of time doing so, so now i'm stuck with the first take, which when i was doing the parts i didn't really notice anything bad about it, so in the end it might be a good thing. the one that's turned out the best is probably 'suzanne' by leonard cohen. i seem to have changed the vocal melody, i just couldn't do what was on the recording without second guessing myself, so just did what my instincts were telling me to do and really it isn't that different and is in keeping with the spirit of the rest of the melody of the song and it sounds the best out of all of the covers we've done so far. i need to have stefanie sing it and possibly add a stark drum part possibly with some glockenspiel added in. tuning-wise i am really proud of what i did with it- rather than put the capo up really high (like it is on the recording) i tuned the guitar down a step and a half and played the voicings so that i could use all open chords (except one) and then it translated into standard tuning with different bowed-guitar friendly voicings which i added to really nice effect. i think when it's all done i might send it out and make it available as a zip file or something. so far here's a list of the songs we've done-

knock loud (neko case), harvest moon (neil young), nighttime (big star), 4th time around (bob dylan), suzanne (leonard cohen), long long long (the beatles), play with fire (the rolling stones), ring the bells (the kinks), candy says (the velvet underground)

i figured out how to play 'darlin' ukelele' which is my favourite jolie holland song. i might take a crack at that one today. generally speaking we're operating under the quick and dirty rule. it's kind of fun to see if we can get this finished and shipped out in time. we started last weekend. i'm just curious to see if we can do it since we take so much longer with everything else we do that's ours on our own. it's kind of brought the ep to a stop. kind of annoying, but that's ok. hopefully they'll like it. i think i'm going to send this in addition to a cd for my dad. not sure what it will be yet.
what else? i think that that might be it for today.