Thursday, July 31, 2008

safely said- a landmark week

some crazy stuff happened this week- we firmed up about six shows, two of which were originally unsolicited. one- we're playing a fundraiser for a local literary magazine on the 7th, playing the record bar in kansas city on the 8th, playing live on wzrd here in chicago on the 16th, a record release show at the empty bottle on the 3rd of september and then the tour starts in minneapolis on the 13th. we're playing at a place called the terminal, which to me sounds like a totally divey hole-in-the-wall kind of place which means it could go either way. stefanie's and my attitude is 'well, whatever...' i'm mainly just hoping it isn't too awful. the guy from big v's told us to try and get a show there and most of the bands that have played at big v's are good so i assume he wouldn't have sent us over there if he'd thought that it would be a bad place for us- after all he would know better than us. we also firmed up the show in oakland on the 23rd too. it's not a shabby tour anymore either- we basically need about two or three more shows to come through and then it will be an incredibly worthwhile trip. so far i haven't heard back from two or three places in san francisco proper, only one place in davis- basically the guy at DAM house gave me a few other email addresses for davis and sacramento and told me if those don't work out then he would set something up at DAM house- but it can't be too loud because it's a sunday night. last is the l.a. show. i sent the cd off. we'll see what comes of that. it should have arrived by now. i've been keeping my eye on the smell's website as well to see if a bill pops up at which point i will try to contact the bands and the venue to see if we can hop onto the bill. honestly if it doesn't work out i will not be heartbroken- although it is a shorter drive from l.a. to here than it is from san francisco. strange since it's so far south and west- you'd think it'd take forever but it's faster.
so i'm waiting for a meteor to hit the earth and knock it off of its normal rotation. this sort of thing never happens to us. fortunately we also have a rolodex of promotional addresses and people to bother before the tour as we're going to try something called 'promotion.' it just might work, who knows? we're definitely going to promote the show in minneapolis- i think that that might actually be something that could be a saving grace about playing somewhere where you're not 100% sure of. it's the least you can do.
we have been very encouraged by the initial response to the new record that we've received. it's been very positive. shit, there's been a reaction at all. i guess in a lot of ways we've kind of figured out what we're doing with this one. real drums make it all make sense. woohoo!
i've been getting into lots of new music in unsavory ways lately. i have a backlog of debt at the moment. stefanie loaned me $200 to cover the unexpected extra costs of pressing 'down to sleep' (cdman used to include the shipping costs in the amount they quoted you, but that has changed evidently). i've paid about half of that. i still owed her some money for the ft. wayne trip charges- again unexpected charges popped up. we know the drill now. the kansas city trip is going to cost us some serious money too. i hope we get paid a significant chunk of it, but that would have to be quite a bit of money indeed. all told it's probably going to cost about $320. we booked it before we knew that igo charges you mileage past a certain point if you reserve a car for an entire day. this makes sense really- they probably don't want to encourage people to do what we're doing in their cars.
the 'songs in a & e' green vinyl debacle goes on. after getting so unbelievably upset about what's been going on i finally hatched a plan that i'm fairly happy with- since i still want the record i placed an order through their website. i now have a confirmation number through the site. i am going to wait until the vinyl has shipped before trying to open a dispute and getting my $50 back from them. i've contacted every email address that they have in most of the interactions i've had with them and no one has responded at all. so once i know that the record is safely in the mail i'm going to leave some nasty feedback. i've never had to do that on ebay before and i'm not really relishing it. this is about the third or fourth problem i've had. speaking of which my tube preamp should probably be coming in the mail soon. i think that that was a problem that was taken care of a week or so ago. probably another case of them not wanting to ship it to me because i won it for very cheap. that's the new thing- if you win something for very cheap the seller's will take your money and not send it to you unless you hassle them. very fun. stefanie is suggesting that i don't bother buying items on ebay any more. this is very bad because coming up is the recording of the 'all hope is blind' album for which i was planning on buying a bunch of nicer new microphones- i'd mainly like to try an sm81 to record the strings because i think it'll turn out way nicer and then i wanted to get some ksm27s for vocals, drum overheads and as ambient mics for things like recording reverb in the stairwell. had i gotten into that sleep study i wanted to use the money possibly to buy a bunch of api preamps to make things sound nicer. not sure how that's going to go now, but i haven't given up hope just yet. i just thought they'd be nicer to use for the drums than what i currently use, although after listening to the newest mixes from the 'dandelions' ep the drums sound quite nice as does pretty much everything else. the recordings sound surprisingly clean and clear consider how ridiculously cheap everything i use is. it should sound like a giant slab of hissy bullshit. that said i still think that getting nicer mics would really help. it probably wouldn't change the ways that i've been recording guitar sounds for that album as i can attain the sound i'm after with what i have- it's more to make the drums just that much better.
we'll see i guess. as usual. i've already started on that record anyway- mainly just things that we can't do live together. the emphasis is going to be on both of us playing drums and guitar tracks together as we would live. the 'voices on the air' experiment turned out so well that it was something we wanted to do much more often. due to the limitations of the 8-track cassette machine we can't do it that way if there's a loop that we need to both play along to- because you can only record on two channels at the same time so i have to play along with the sample and then stefanie has to add the drums later. i also did metronomic tracks for a while where stefanie would have to play along with a drum pattern from a keyboard i have. we tried that on 'narcoleptic' and it was a total disaster. the guitar parts were very lacking as well and it didn't sound anywhere near as good as it did when we played it live.
well i think that's it for this entry then.

Friday, July 25, 2008

slogging it all away

my ever-growing list of places i've contacted for shows on this tour continues to astound me. it has grown to epic proportions. epic, i tell you. we are closing in on it though- things are getting very close. so far we really just need a show in minneapolis, san francisco and l.a. i tried to work in the possibility of playing in omaha or lincoln, nebraska but ultimately what our main concern should be at that time is getting home. i think it might be a bit much to stop on the 26th, play a show in nebraska, get up at 7am and load our shit and get our asses to our house, unload all of our stuff only to get back in the car, drive it to the airport, get that whole deal settled (god knows how long that will take) and then get our asses back home before then leaving again to go see my bloody valentine. it seems like tempting fate a bit too much. i'd much prefer if we just try and get ourselves home as quickly as possible- ideally in two days' time if at all possible- and then being able to get the whole rental car situation squared away in the morning and not have it hanging over our heads. i have the car reserved until 7:30, but i definitely don't plan on having it that long.
so i guess we'll see what happens. i have a few more places i could contact, which i probably will do before i leave here. i'm at the coffeeshop of course. not where i work, but around the corner from where we live. i am going to have to drop by beans and bagels later on today to pick up my paycheck and run some errands. i have to go to the post office and the bank as well. i have about 15 cds to mail off. will called me from work today to tell me about how him and jenee listened to the cd together and they really liked it. he said they both almost cried. sweet!
i'm preparing for complete ignorance, but dammit this record deserves to be heard motherfuckerrssss. i was even pondering placing an ad in magnet or something. i'm not sure what good it would do- it wouldn't necessarily sell any more copies of them. i am beginning to think that all it will do is increase our visibility a hair, which i guess couldn't hurt. it is also possible that if i buy an ad and send it in they actually might review it and probably rip me a new one. har-dee-har.
i'm sending one to pitchfork. i've sent them something since 'invisible against the sun,' though. rrrr. now i'm starting to get ticked off. better stop before the next stop is self-defeatist land.
i did absolutely nothing yesterday. absolutely nothing. i couldn't seem to type anything up and i ended up getting pissed and screaming, which didn't make me feel too good. ironically the screaming gave me a headache that wouldn't go away- i deserved it. oh yeah. i think that today is the time to stop by staples and get some correction tape because that would fix the problem. i don't know why i have the pathological need to use my typewriter, i just do. it's not something i can explain at all, it just works so well. it almost feels like it has become my new handwriting since i used to handwrite the little notes as well as the artwork and liner notes and such. no good- people can't read it so good. i have a massive shipping list. i have to spend some time at kinko's as well.
i bought a nina nastasia 7" on itunes last night too. i can't find the 7" anywhere, so i just shelled out the $2 and bought it online. that way if i, by some ridiculous miracle, am ever able to find it then i can buy it and not have to convert it. i have a massive backlog of new stuff to convert as it is. the bonus material on the 'daydream nation' vinyl box and all of 'low level owl' to convert. i wanted to do some mixes for the ep as well to put up on our myspace page. 'voices in the air' and 'fade to white.' both finished tracks. woo. hoo!
annoying point- can't get ahold of christopher gagnon again to add the violin parts to 'petals in a rainstorm' and 'sleep now...' which would pretty much finish that track off. i wanted to go use jim licka's mellotron possibly on that song- i think it'd sound fucking awesome and beautiful and pretty much exactly what i'm after, then it needs glockenspiel, new vocals for the second half and then bada-boom tada- finished. still haven't made much in the way of headway as far as finishing the two new songs- stefanie calls them 'smorgasbord' and 'leprosy' because they don't have titles (or lyrics). i have written tons of lyrics for both of them but am not happy with anything i've written. 'leprosy' is a problem now too because even with just two verses and two choruses it drags a bit. plus the rhythm was changed so the current lyrics and melody sound a bit droney with the way that it is now, whereas it didn't before. i guess we have some time to work on it. i'm just antsy and a bit frustrated. 'smorgasbord' i've already attempted two takes of- one was wayyyyy too long at about 15 minutes, the other is maybe about 8 or 9 minutes. we tried to play it live and again i tried to make it more to the point and it was still over 8 minutes. *sigh*. it is my curse. 'smorgasbord' has had two different sets of lyrics. one is alright. i might do what i like to do occasionally and cut and paste between the two versions. it's also an extremely dramatic song. a little bit much at times, but maybe people will love it. that's usually how it goes. yeah-yeah.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

'down to sleep' has finally arrived

yup. i've got the boxes of cds stowed in our apartment. it was very difficult to find room for them. i'm also a bit disappointed in the printing job- it just isn't very clean, which could be my fault and it might not be. i'm beginning to believe that it must be the pressing plant's fault because the proofs looked better than the actual cds do. the front and back covers both look like they were made of colour copiers at kinko's. the inside of the booklet pictures look fine as does the inside of the traycard. i'm beginning to think that we should just do the cover artwork ourselves from now on and that way the responsibility will be purely up to us. i'm pretty happy with the way the 'learning how to crawl' covers look even with the hand-mounted pictures printed from our printer. i'm more happy with the way they look than i am with how this looks. the little breaks in the pictures that are in it did not show up on nick and nadine's computer screen- which i feel it would've if it had been there on the original old digital photos. what's more if it had been on them then it would've been blurred since those photos were all blurred into oblivion partially because that was the look i was going for and also partially because they were lo resolution digital pictures that i had to change to high resolution ones.
our problems might be over in that department now since stefanie got her sister's old digital camera in the mail, so now i might appropriate stefanie's old camera so that it will take 300dpi resolution pictures that it will be possible to use for album artwork in the future.
i don't think i want to use cdman anymore anyway- disk factory recently sent us a convincing booklet with much better deals in it for our duplication needs. cdman was always the best for a long time, but i have a feeling those days are over. it's also a bit of a moot point since it looks like i want our future releases to pretty much all be on vinyl. the next ep will come out on cd since it's one of those secret full-lengths and with the 8 songs it's going to be too long to fit on a single lp.
speaking of which listening to the 'low level owl' albums on vinyl has renewed my interest in doing something similar. i keep thinking about the 13 long instrumentals that i did back in 2000 and 2001 after i got back from london. since we now have real drums i am beginning to think about the possibility of redoing them and getting the ones that seemed incomplete to the place where they are more fully-fleshed-out. the only problem would be that we would never be able to recreate them live as it would take about a nine-piece band to recreate them properly and i'd never be able to get that many people together to be cooperative and do my evil bidding.
plus it'd be a bit strange to go from what we're doing now to these fully fleshed-out orchestral instrumentals. it just wouldn't make much sense. but who knows, maybe people would fucking shit themselves over it. i don't know.
other than that today is going to be about getting the first few copies of 'down to sleep' out to some people in kansas city even though it's probably too late for them to write about us at all, but i guess i have to give it a try. i'm so sick of buying those fucking cd bubble mailers that i considered making my own packaging from the gaggle of cardboard boxes i just got in the mail. it'd probably be protected better than in those stupid flimsy bubble mailers, and we have our own bubble wrap. it'd certainly save me a ton of money.
so that's my plan at the moment- go down to beans and bagels and pick up my paycheck, drop by the post office and mail some cds, go to the bank and deposit my check, etc. here we go again.
got a message from tony that he's living in portland and rides by rererato every day. very strange that he's living in portland right now. it makes sense though- it's not like he is after a permanent living-wage job out there, so really it's the perfect place for a person like him.
well, enough fun anyway, i have to write some fucking press releases. i hate writing these. i guess i shouldn't sweat it too much. it's all kind of a joke anyway...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

pitchfork in slow motion

alright- at last i am going to write about the whole pitchfork fest. i went on friday night and sunday night. on friday night i was there right when the doors opened- i got a coupon for a free burrito at chipotle right at the gates. i got my minidisc recorder past the bag-searchers as well. it's a good thing i went to college or else... oh man, who knows what would've happened. i recorded mission of burma's set. i actually still haven't even listened to it as of right now. the set was very good- i was quite impressed. they sounded a bit like how i suspected they sound based on the type of people who are ga-ga over them (namely shellac and fugazi fans), but i really liked them. i do actually like shellac and fugazi as well, i might add. it is kind of a shame however, since recording mission of burma left me with too little battery power to record all of sebadoh's set- which was, of course, all of 'bubble and scrape.' i think i made it into the first minute of 'homemade.' bummer- i fucking love that song! naturally i also didn't get lou barlow doing a beautiful solo rendition of 'think (let tomorrow bee)' which i was really looking forward to. i got some other gems though- and the last time i listened to it it sounded pretty tasty- a bit bassy and muffled, but so was the spiritualized recording and i was able to fix it to my own satisfaction, so look here for something in the future. it is also possible that i'll just record the stream of the performance from the kexp site and then edit that. it'll sound better anyway. i haven't listened to the spiritualized one yet- i'm kind of enjoying listening to my recording for right now since it basically sounds exactly the way i remember it sounding. i'd do the same with the sebadoh recording probably if it had been complete. but then after all of this talk the necessity of a full-length live version of an album begins to reveal the questions of its own necessity. i like live versions of albums, though- there's something that lends it an extra amount of clarity when it's played live in its entirety. i used to make cure live compilation versions of their albums. the best ones were the ones where i had all of the songs in decent quality played live. so sebadoh i shall edit. woohoo! i'll probably give that spiritualized stream a listen as well. probably the public enemy one as well. i did stay for most of public enemy doing 'it takes a nation of millions to hold us back' and it was fucking awesome! i wished that i could've stayed for the whole thing, but not as much as i wanted to get home on a non-packed train. sorry about that, but it's the truth. what i heard i was totally blown away by. i was surprised to hear the source for that drum loop that ties together 'instrumental b' by my bloody valentine. quite nice.
when i walked in on friday night and went exploring as well and immediately wished i'd brought some money along. doh! it was the one thing i'd forgotten. they were selling jay's poster for this year for $10. tough to pass up. i'd just as soon buy it from jay if i thought that he'd take my money- which he fucking won't the jerk! it's so annoying- none of our artist friends who make their living through their art will ever charge us for the things of theirs that we want to buy from them. grrrr! even when stefanie bought something through the sonnenzimmer website while nick was having a big sale he threw extras in for her. shame, shame. we are quite lucky in our friends here i will say. not only was i bummed about the poster, but also when i went into the record fair tent- i found two records i wanted. they were the triple vinyl version of 'low level owl- vol. i and ii' by the appleseed cast and 'switched on vol. 2' by stereolab on vinyl. i ended up bringing $40 to the show on sunday, but the posters were gone by then (of course), but i did get all of the vinyl. i'm listening to 'low level owl' right now. it's pretty sweet to listen to on vinyl. i'm a big fan of the sprawling vinyl set as well. never a chore to listen to.
sunday i had to work, so i wasn't at the fest as early. a co-worker did close for me- she offered to after listening to my little moans about how much i couldn't wait to get there. so she sent me off at about 2:30 after i did a few closing chores. so we got there while the apples in stereo were playing- went around and said 'hi' to all of the flatstock people- really just jay and diana; nick and nadine didn't do flatstock this year because they usually just make enough to break even when they do, so this year they just sat it out. then i did go around and buy my stuff, bought and drank a beer and then we headed to watch les savy fav which we didn't think would be that good at a big festival, but naturally we were wrong wrong wrong wrong. we've seen them three times before and always in smaller places. the first time we saw them there were only about 15 people at the show. we shall now bottle our sweat and sell it for money because we are so fucking cool.

i don't know if the picture is fully clear- but it is of the part of their set during 'we'll make a lover of you' when tim harrington was running through the crowd in a sherlock holmes hat and cape and suddenly he popped up from within the crowd being carried while singing from inside a giant trashcan. holy shit. i have never seen anything as hilarious at a show- how wrong we were to doubt mr. harrington. he wore a weird half leotard thing that was red- one leg was covered in spandex, the other wasn't. he also wore the skin-tight bodysuit that doesn't leave much to the imagination during the last few songs- 'rome' and 'who rocks the party.' then the nicest, most unexpected surprise came- they suddenly launched into 'precision auto.' stefanie took a video of most of it, but i accidentally deleted it. she reminded me that some weird spaced-out dude walked up to her and started talking to her during the filming of said video. here is the exchange as her memory served and then filtered through my recollection-

random dude- uh... is this superchunk?
stefanie- no, it's les savy fav, but the song is by superchunk.
random dude- oh... so it's not superchunk?
stefanie- no, the song is BY superchunk, but it's not superchunk playing.
random dude- oh... so it IS superchunk... i thought it was les savy fav.
stefanie- it IS les savy fav playing the song, but the SONG is by superchunk.

and i'm sure you can figure out how the rest of the conversation went from there. awesome. i'd totally forgotten about this somehow.
so after les savy fav played we went in search of food and went to the old classic standby- the star of siam tent (my personal favourite from last year's fest- and also my only option as i was still a vegetarian back then). we ate standing up since the festival was sooooo fucking packed and there was nowhere to sit in the shady area by the food tents (big surprise). stefanie gave me the eggs out of her phad thai. we met up with claire and her new boyfriend scott (who is incredibly quiet) and talked for a while then we split up again. stefanie and i walked around in search of the water fountain (which was surrounded with people, of course) and instead found a nice shady spot behind the ambulance where we waited until the dodos were finished playing on the a stage. we would've stayed there to hear them play because they sounded interesting, but we'd already missed most of their set trying to get some food and we didn't want to wade through all of the people until they were done and then we would go to the a stage and stake out a good spot to watch spiritualized from which was really the only reason we were there in the first place.
we ended up sitting down on some discarded newspapers in front of the white sound tent and listening to and watching m. ward play on the c stage. it didn't sound as good as it would've from over there, but at least we got to hear him play and he was really good (big surprise). he's another person we've seen play twice. i don't even have any of his albums, but know a decent chunk of his songs. he played an awesome daniel johnston cover that i really love but don't know the name of. after he played that song that glorious pure phase sound started and our wait was finally over.

stefanie took a few pictures of the jumbotron. she took some of the stage as well, but they look much further back than we were for some reason. the zoom on her camera is very weak, so these will have to suffice.
if you want to listen for yourself the recording i made is in the blog entry below in flac and mp3. it sounds pretty decent to my ears (and they are discerning ears). i like to listen to it and i can't stop at the moment. basically it was a sublime set- it was no-holds-barred brutal where it needed to be and just transcendently beautiful where it needed to be and sometimes a combination of the two (i.e. 'shine a light'). a few favourite eye-popping, almost-passed-out kind of moments- 1) during the noise break at the end of 'you lie you cheat' while i was waiting for them to switch into 'shine a light' (which i was expecting from hearing so many bootlegs of previous shows and seeing it in all of the setlists) and as it builds and builds and builds and i'm watching the five of them onstage trying to figure out how they're all going to go from sheer free noise to that gloriously beautiful intro it just happened all of a sudden with absolutely no warning. how they know when to switch like that i have no idea. the rush almost made me pass out. i shit you not. it was so gorgeous. worth the wait- they didn't play this one last time and i've always wanted to hear it live. 2) the moment most people have been talking about. during the last long build up where they hold the a chord during 'take me to the other side' the sound coming through the p.a. completely cut out and you could faintly hear the band still chugging away onstage and then the bass drum came back through the p.a. and then the whole thing again just after it goes back into the three chord part before jason starts singing again and then during the last part jason pierce- mr. stand rigor mortis still and strum ungodly brilliant sheets of noise from your amp and guitar with the calm of a surgeon afraid to make the slightest move suddenly comes to life and starts screaming (as he sometimes does during the songs) and suddenly knocks the microphone stand over with his guitar and then stamps his feet a bit and turns to his amp and knocks the head off of his marshall half-stack and then stabs the guitar into the grill clothe and speaker and turns away and then throws his guitar towards the drum set and leaves the stage. talk about unexpected.

stefanie took this picture just before he threw his guitar. so it was an amazing show- even better than the last time we saw them. wow. we could've left happy but instead we went to the other side of the tent and watched dinosaur jr. they were good too- it was fun to see them. not quite the full experience since they couldn't achieve the ear-splitting decibel range that they normally play at, but at least stefanie finally got to see them. i should probably buy 'beyond' already- i still 'never bought it' har-dee-har (sorry, i couldn't help myself). they played two songs from 'beyond'- one that j. mascis sings and one that lou barlow sings, 'little fury things,' 'the wagon,' 'out there,' 'feel the pain,' the first track on the first album (i don't own that one either) and of course 'freak scene.' we thought they were done so we started our trip across the field to say bye to jay and diana and then leave and they came out to play one more song and it ended up being 'sludgefest.' sweet! fucking spoon was doing a really loud soundcheck while they were playing tho- how fucking rude. as the crowd was migrating one girl turned toward the a stage and yelled 'fuck you spoon!' our sentiments exactly- bad form. we didn't stay for spoon at all. unfortunately a ton of other people had the same idea we did, so we were on a packed-to-the-gills train. fun stuff!

so all in all it was a really awesome day. yay! i'm glad i didn't go on saturday too- that would've been a bit too much. the only thing i really wanted to see that badly that day was jarvis cocker. everything else would've been things i was mildly interested in and wanted to give a change- i.e. jay reatard, animal collective (everyone at work loves animal collective so i hear that album with the strawberries on it all the time), atlas sound, etc. etc.
it'll be nice to not have to do anything next weekend because the weekend after that we're driving back to kansas city to play and then the weekend after that we may be playing live on the radio at wzrd. that's going to be our cd release show in town since permanent couldn't have us play. kind of a drag...

Friday, July 18, 2008

early early

i'm having a lot of trouble killing time right now. i haven't even been at the coffee shop for an hour yet. i woke up at about 9:30 this morning. it was too hot for me to sleep in the bedroom last night and i was mr. cranky-pants so i went ahead and slept on the floor in the living room with the ac on. tilly kept waking me up. at one point i think that she slept right next to me on the futon though- which was kind of nice actually. i woke up at 8:30 because i stretched out my leg and my foot hit robin's leg because he was sleeping at the foot of the futon on his back. i never talk about my cats on here- i guess that i'm just that used to them being around. anyway, yeah, i have two cats- one is tilly, she's female and a tortoise-shell colour and robin is the other- he is male and grey. robin sleeps on his back a lot. he also snores and makes groaning noises when he's in the litter box trying to poop. pretty funny to hear.
so the dog days are officially upon us. they are getting more frequent and closer together it seems. *sigh*. i actually tried to alert my co-workers of the fact that as the temperatures rise i will become more and more irritable and touchy. i said it kind of as a pre-emptive apology and also in the hopes that they will respect this and go easier on me on really hot days. i severely doubt that the latter will occur. no siree.
i tracked the 'down to sleep' cd. it's in portland right now. the estimated delivery date is july 23rd. it would be infinitely hilarious if i get my order from cdman before my spiritualized- 'songs in a & e' green vinyl. i suspect that the production of the vinyl has been delayed and no one has notified us or that they didn't go out in the mail until the fourth of july which would put the delivery of said artifact probably in the neighborhood of today. that is if rough trade actually did get the vinyl in stock on the fourth of july, which i suspect is not the case. there is a sign on the ordering page that still says that they will come in stock on that date. it's been there for a while.
i listened to nearly all of the black angels album on vinyl. it's pretty nice- it sounds really awersome. i believe that my theory about the two extra tracks was correct- that i already had them on the tour ep that i bought at the show. one i'm sure is (that really awesome 'surf city revisited' song- which i think is the bee's knees now) and the other i suspect is. i've only listened to the ep once to be brutally honest. i'm wishing more and more now that the show recording had come out better as i am just dying to listen to it now, naturally, but that's how it goes kiddo. hopefully luck will be a little better this weekend and in the future. mike told me that at the record bar they can do decent recordings of live sets and he advised me to ask them to record our set.
speaking of mike i asked mpshows to add us to the ad astra show at the bottom lounge in mid-august. it would be really nice if that worked out, but i'm definitely not holding my breathe that's for sure. if that happens people from work could come see us play before the big show in october (that i haven't even looked into booking yet).
on a completely unrelated note the writing monster has reared it's ugly head. i was going through a bunch of storage bins the other night looking for my old notebooks from pre-2000- i used to fill these gigantic spiral bound blue notebooks with songs starting with when i was at columbia and on until i was at umkc and started switching to those composition books. basically there are boxes and boxes of notebooks that i've filled throughout our entire apartment. i couldn't find the blue notebooks, which is a bit worrisome as there are a few songs in them that i am beginning the process of reworking and adapting for the seventh album. since i couldn't find them i had to refer to an old 4-track tape of a song and figure the keyboard part out on a guitar and then rearrange it to be played by strings. while i was trying to find my notebooks i found a bunch of my later umkc notebooks. i kept some of the ones that i wrote my class notes in because sometimes i would scribble things down for songs in them while i was in class if it was a boring day or whatever. a good chunk of the 'blue-eyed' artwork came out of the notebook i kept for my poetry class because the teacher was such a boring, unengaging snore that it caused me to start drawing again. kind of a miracle as i hadn't done it since i was about 14 or something like that. i found my notebook for my senior project- which was my creative writing assignment- i had to write a 60-page piece and for that i tried to rework a novel that i wrote when i was 18. i was reading through it a bit and i was actually really impressed with how good the writing was. i'd always thought that it was too meandering and flowery, but at that point i had gotten it to be so focused and incisive and it's really a shame i didn't keep at it. i've always had problems writing anything longer than a short story because as i was making things up i kept having problems getting them to resolve in an organic, realistic way and that would usually cause me to hit a wall. i noticed that if i based it on my experiences more and coloured a bit outside the lines that things flowed so well and i could really churn something out that was really impressive. i gave up on reworking the novel because the way that the original novel had resolved was just so unrealistic. i still kind of am at a loss for how to do such a story- it just doesn't seem like it could be done in a realistic way but it's such a shame because i actually can write. or at least i could back then.
my creative writing teacher was always a huge help, i must say. when you'd write a story for his class he would do something called the cut draft where he'd take your story and cross out everything he thought was unnecessary to the story and you'd be forced to look at it with the bare bones and decide if you wanted it that streamlined and it really really helped me cut all of the fat and it just made everything i wrote about 2,000% better. after a while of him doing this i figured out ways to do it on my own and i noticed that the more stories i'd turn in the less cuts he'd make until he'd barely make any and that was when i felt like things were absolutely at their best. it was also after reading joan didion's 'play it as it lays.' i started kind of reformulating a new style that was seeming to work. or so i thought. when i was in portland i tried to write another novel and the same thing happened with that. i have about fifty pages of it left over in a few notebooks and that was sort of going in an interesting direction but it kind of fell flat on its face after i started introducing all of these new elements that just didn't work at all and by the time i'd worked them in and they'd become kind of essential the whole thing just lost all of its power because it was so clear what i'd really been through and what i absolutely hadn't. the other problem was that for some reason i tried to make it such that the narrator had made up the part that i'd actually experienced and that the part that i (as the writer) had made up was the real part. as you can imagine since it was switched like that and the made up part seemed incredibly fake why the thing fell flat on its face.
fuck, i got up too early today- what the fuck am i going to do with the rest of my day? i have some cleaning to do- my weekly chores and what have you. i've already done some pre-cleaning and such. stefanie's giving a massage in our apartment on saturday and when she does that she likes to clean it up a bit more than it normally is. i just don't want to go home where it's going to be all hot and sticky. ugh.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


i'm quite excited about pitchfork. i've got a ticket for tomorrow nite. i am bringing my recorder and i am definitely going to try to record it. i hope it works. i'm planning on recording mission of burma and sebadoh. on sunday i want to record spiritualized (obviously) and probably dinosaur jr. and spoon. power is kind of an issue (as in battery power), but i will do my best. i burned the juana molina set to a cdr. i only got the last two songs of her set- one of them i didn't even get the whole thing- the intro is cut. but it does sound quite good, so that's what's important. as long as i can get the shit to work then it should be just fine. since it's outdoor as well and the sound at pitchfork is never very loud then volume won't be an issue so i actually probably won't even have to adjust the level. we'll see what happens. mission of burma is kind of going to be a guinea pig in a lot of ways- i'm just going to record it as is and see if it turns out better and then sebadoh i'm going to do the manual volume mode to see if that works better for the festival because it's most important to me to get sebadoh's set- all of 'bubble and scrape' for god's sake! woohoo!
i actually was at work all day today. it was kind of a big to-do. i was originally supposed to close tonight for anthony, but then ty had something he had to do this morning so will switched it out yesterday and asked me to come in at my normal time. it was quite a crazy busy day, but i made about $36 in tips so it worked out. i spend most of it on 'directions to see a ghost' by the black angels on triple vinyl. it appears to have two extra tracks. we shall see what they actually are. i suspect they'll be songs from the tour ep, just a hunch.
the tour is so far coming along pleasingly. we have four shows booked and confirmed and possibly a fifth on the way. i'm not sure. the people mama buzz emailed me back and said we should do the 23rd. i think that the second wave of emailing and such will begin tomorrow. i originally was planning on getting in another portland show on thursday the 18th, but since we're playing on friday night and doing the radio show it might be nice to just do something low-key on thursday night rather than play another show. i am going to try and get us another bay area show since if we do get the mama buzz cafe show it's likely that we'll have to play without a p.a. and it would be fun to be able to do both. i also did finally make contact with someone in l.a. and i'm going to be sending her a cd, so hopefully a show at the smell will work out. it's nice that we still have over two months until the date arrives. it goes to show you kids- it never ever hurts to plan ahead. i'm also supposed to email about a show in minneapolis tomorrow from a promising source. so far the only place i really haven't gotten any kind of response (apart from a few 'no's) at all is from davis, arcata, or eureka. we also haven't really had any luck in missoula- one of the booking we emailed said 'we already have two out of town bands on that night.' that's a favourite booking person trick- you email them and they don't respond to you for weeks until they have something better come along and then they say 'we already have people booked- sorry.' even if you email them months in advance they will still do this- not respond to you at all until something better comes along. basically if we don't get a show in missoula then we will likely just head out to spokane as soon as we're done playing at the university and that way we can relax with sara there and have a place to sleep for a few nights that's free. same with the northern california shows- if one doesn't work out then we can just drive straight to the place in stinson beach and then we'll have an extra day to relax and such there.
i was pondering seeing about going back to chase for a few months. misty staffing called me to see what i'm doing right now since chase were looking for new people. if i don't have to do the background check and the training again then i'd like to at least give it a try- i could certainly use the money and it would basically be just as much money as the sleep deprivation study would've been. it would be quite a bit of a sleep deprivation study in and of itself, for that matter. i'd never be able to get more than about five hours sleep a night for about four nights out of the week. whatever didn't get used on the tour could be pumped into another release or some recording equipment- i need a few more microphones to record album number seven and i would like to finally get a 1/4" 2-track to mix down to as i mention all the time here. i seriously doubt that they'd just take me on for two months and then that'd be it- they are probably looking more for people who can do the whole project... worth a shot, tho... we'll see...

Friday, July 11, 2008

daydreaming days

i finally bought the 4lp box of 'daydream nation.' it's quite good- i haven't listened to any of the extras yet but holy shit does the album sound AMAZING this way. seriously worth shelling out the money for. you might as well buy the vinyl as well since the double cd costs just as much and i am just loving owning this album on vinyl. it works way better as a double lp than as a single cd. i'm wondering now if they're going to go through the whole back catalogue and reissue 'sister' and 'evol' which would be awesome as well. i'm quite sure that those two albums would sound better far and away on nice remastered vinyl- especially 'sister' which sounds kind of crappy on cd. i also bought a vivian girls 7" and the 33 and a 1/3 book on 'loveless.' last night after stefanie went to bed and i got sick of trolling around on the internet i just sat on the floor and listened to 'daydream nation' through my headphones while i was burning it to cd so i can load it onto my ipod and reading the 'loveless' book. it was a really nice experience. very fitting. the author very wisely lets kevin do nearly all of the talking in the book. he interviews the other members of the band as well, but reading what kevin has to say is quite fascinating.
i really hate to do this and even put myself in the same universe with kevin in terms of music making, listening what-not but i was incredibly fascinated by a lot of what he had to say about music and sound and that it was stuff i had been fascinated with for a long time as well. one part that i found incredibly fascinating was that he also is big into sleep deprivation and talked about organic ways to induce altered states- i.e. strobe lights, sleep deprivation, etc. this i found incredibly fascinating. he hasn't done a lot of drugs. this is something i'm usually a bit insecure about sometimes because it seems like, writing psychedelic music and playing it and listening to it that i should be mr. druggie man but news flash folks- i hardly ever do any drugs at all. the most i've ever done is smoke pot. i've never done acid because i don't have the right kind of personality for it. i would definitely be up for doing mushrooms but i've never really known anyone who knows where to get ahold of them. when stefanie and i go to amsterdam we want to drink absinthe and take mushrooms since all of that stuff is decriminalized there. but really that's about it. cocaine i don't particularly have any interest in doing. heroin either. that one seems like one you just shouldn't fuck with at all although i have known people who've done it and quit- they tell me it's easier to quit using heroin than it is to quit smoking. i don't know- drugs seem a bit like a cliche these days. nearly everyone's done some kind of drug or drugs. i don't really understand what's so subversive apart from the fact that they're illegal. all they are is something that puts you in an altered state, which you can get from other things anyway. my dreams are fucking weird enough, thanks very much. one dream i had written into a song i wrote the lyrics out on a message board for people to read and one guy told me about how it read like a ridiculously intense acid trip.
i heard back from the sleep study folks and i didn't get it. i suspect it might have been because of my psychological profile test. one of the questions that i answered honestly i was like 'oooh, i should probably lie at this point.' i can't remember what it was but it's just a bunch of statements and then you either write down true or false. i sometimes believe that i'm borderline damn near everything- borderline clinical depression, borderline ocd, whatever. i used to be worried that i'd become schizophrenic, but i don't worry about it so much anymore. i believe that the onset is often at around the age of 24-25 or so and if you make it past then then you're probably okay. plus i really don't hear voices in my head that aren't there at all and i never have.
wow, this is a super boring entry.
tonight we're going to see feist at ravinia courtesy of my dad who i talked to today. pretty sweet! i'm going to try out the microphone i got. if i don't like it i'm going to buy the other one and try to get it shipped here quickly through amazon (not through the folks that i tried to buy it through before) and try and sell the one that i have now. it's just not very discreet and i really wish that it was more discreet. when i go home i'm going to try and test it again in a similar way that i have tested mics before. i'm still quite gutted about the way that the warlocks and black angels shows turned out. such a bummer because where it isn't peaking it actually sounds quite nice. well, we'll see i guess.
if the results are good i'll post them on this blog. woohoo!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

oh, such a shame...

i have been fully screened for the sleep deprivation study. i am wondering if i will be accepted or not. after filling out tons of forms and taking a psychological evaluation test i left the testing center realising that the first all night session is on the 20th (a week from sunday) which is, of course, a day i would have to get off from work that people are already trying to get covered and, a teeny little thing called spiritualized playing at pitchfork fest for which i have a ticket. shit. doh! i also looked at the rest of the schedule for the test and it would be much more time off than i thought and i severely doubt that it would be considerate of me to ask for all of that time off at work and then leave for two weeks less than two weeks after the study is over. it would be a bit incredulous to do all of that and then also ask for time off over christmas. i think that the bartering would be a bit difficult. yes, indeedy. so what i think i'll do is wait until they call me tomorrow and if they don't accept me, then no biggie, but if they do i'm going to kind of talk to them and let them know that i didn't realise that i couldn't do it after all, but hopefully if they accept me that might mean i could be considered for future studies later on. bummer dude.
a funny thing i will discuss now- when i was taking the psychological evaluation form i suddenly got very optimistic and hopeful. this happens quite often. for some reason my view of my 'problems' becomes very transcendental and level-headed. an interesting thing for those of you who read this blog and are alarmed by my desperate-sounding entries. this is going to sound ridiculous, but oftentimes i flee to write on here when i'm at the absolute end of my wits and just write out everything i am feeling. it doesn't make bad feelings go away, but it does help get more perspective on them and thus makes it easier to cope. saying morbid shit on here helps me keep myself in line from being too much of a misery guts. i sometimes think that while i am a bit prone to suicidal thoughts i could never actually go through it. life is a very precious thing and i have too much to live for to do something like that and even in my darkest moments these days i can see that. while i don't necessarily have a lot going for me financially my situation is remarkably stable for someone who gets by on what i do. the only bill of mine that i pay late is my car insurance. to be able to have such modest means and to have done all that i've done is something to be proud of in and of itself. i've managed to release five records and still always pay my rent. i even managed to keep up my credit card payments while i was unemployed. a lot of my friends sell drugs to maintain their lifestyles. i know one guy who has all of this awesome music equipment that i would just die to have all he does is sell pot and that's just how he makes his living. i've somehow managed to maintain a ridiculous amount of integrity and purity. it's a tradeoff of course, but i think that that's all that life really is- if you want to do something you love most likely you will bypass financial stability in order to do it and your alternative is to make a lot of money and enjoy a lot of financial stability that will allow you to enjoy your life more, but everyday you might have to do something that you don't particularly enjoy. a trade off. that's just the way i see it. when i used to moan about my jobs to my dad he used to say 'do think that i enjoy most of the crap i have to do everyday for my job?' and then he'd tell me about how he isn't even remotely doing something that he wants to do, but he's good at it and it allowed him to provide for his family and to enjoy his life to an extent that he was willing to put up with all of the things he didn't like in order to maintain that. plus his job wasn't one that ran and dominated his life.
in a way this is a very good thing. i'm doing what i always wanted to do. i feel like i'm doing it more on my terms than i have before. my job doesn't make me miserable- even though i complain about some things about it it is still a good job that i plan on keeping for quite a while. what i'd do after that i'm not real sure, but i need to stay put for quite a while.
revived musical discovery of the moment- the cranes. i've been meaning to listen to all of their stuff again lately and i've started do so lately- listened to the whole 2-disc ep collection, which is a really beautiful bunch of songs. some of their best stuff. luv it! highly recommend it. of course, all of their albums are out of print except for the latest stuff. they released a new album at some point recently and i still haven't bought it.

Friday, July 4, 2008

angels floating on the head of a pin

this is the newest digital single. these two songs are in the same tuning and i feel like they bleed into each other nicely. there was even a point where i considered putting them on the album together, but i tried it and in the end having 'sloba' follow 'angels...' just worked way better. plus go ahead and listen to 'wake up' and tell me it doesn't shamelessly steal from a certain my bloody valentine song. go on- have a listen.

angels floating on the head of a pin
wake up

slowly, slowly

i'm not sure what to write about today. i did like three entries yesterday. go me. i've got a music post in the work after this one as i've got a digital single for 'angels floating on the head of a pin.' i've been doing these digital singles as sort of a way to gather them up later and release them on lp. i could then also take the mastered versions and replace them on the website since the versions on the website are unmastered. yeah, they are just mp3s, but they would still sound better if they were mastered. it's mainly due to my love affair with vinyl. after wondering if i should do this latest digital single as just the two tracks or if i should add another one i wrote them all out and realised that as it was it would make a great double 45 speed lp because it'd be too long to fit them all on a single lp and yet not quite big enough to fill four sides, but if it was a 45 speed lp that would work perfectly. i'm quite enamored of the way that the social registry does all of their vinyl at 45 speed. the sian alice group album sounds particularly nice. once again, not sure where i'm going to get the money for this project, but we'll see i guess...
the place is getting quite crowded. might have to take off and actually get going on what i've been wanting to do today- quite a bit. what's more the battery's getting low and the connection is slow. if only that couplet could find it's way into a song...

Thursday, July 3, 2008


i posted this further down, but i'm making this posting purely to share the covers record more widely. i feel like this turned out really well considering how easy it was to do- it only took us two and a half weeks to do from start to finish including mixing. these were done as a father's day present for stefanie's and my dad. 'candy says' is the first song stefanie and i ever sang together. the second was 'the weather king.' she couldn't hear the backing tracks because we only had one pair of headphones and she is just singing along with my voice. enjoy!

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)

more personal

after rambling on and on about boring band shit i figured i should write some non-band stuff. i was going to delete the whole entry, but i don't really see the point even if no one wants to read it.
everyone at work is very cranky. myself included sometimes. i had a startling realisation yesterday. my manager is particularly cranky because he hasn't seen his girlfriend in several months and she was supposed to be living with him by mid-june or so but had to stay in louisiana to retake a test that she failed. the next time she can take it is sometime in september. basically my manager's been mr. cranky bitchy pants lately- he's a nice guy most of the time- so it hit me like a mack truck yesterday that he's just in a bad mood because he probably hasn't gotten any in a really long time. i also have realised that regardless of how much people go on about how much they love summer extreme temperatures make everyone cranky and irritable. everyone.
i think i might be getting to the point where i'm resigning myself to the life i've picked out for myself. i've made my own bed and i'm going to have to just lie in it and shut up and just enjoy it. it's not bad. it's actually quite good right now. i do a lot of bitching about a lot of different things but what isn't always clear is that that doesn't mean i'm not enjoying myself or that i hate my life. usually i bitch about things that happen when they are kind of spoiling my good time. if i'm in a bad situation i tend to just shut up and try and slog through it. very strange and i don't know why that is, but i suddenly begin to see how it appears to people who aren't seeing things from my end and i understand that it can be a bit wearing on them. i think this might be one of the reasons i have only a few friends. that and i just don't like/trust a majority of people that i meet and of those that i do like/trust it still takes me a generous amount of time to fully trust them and let them know much of anything real about me. i'm going to be so cranky and curmudgeonly by the time i'm 35 that i wonder if i'll be able to stand talking to anyone. quite funny i think.
i'm just trying to muddle through a slightly difficult financial period at the moment. my bank account was overdrawn by an unexpected 'foreign transaction' charge that my bank imposes on my overseas purchases. this one was $38 and it was for the cdman charge. i think that it's proportional to the amount of the payment, but it put my account in the red. fortunately it didn't result in an overdraft fee. one nice thing about this- washington mutual gives their account holders one free overdraft a year. this is the only time i've overdrawn my account this year- which i actually find quite encouraging. it means to me that my system that i'm using right now is working. it is amazing to me though how much a mere $40 charge has thrown me off. it hit right at the same time as a sort of underwhelming paycheck as well which didn't help things much. so far i've done better than i expected to- i've managed to buy my sister a birthday present and i'm here at the coffee shop by our apartment like i am during all of my weekends. tonight we might be going to get sushi to celebrate my sister's birthday. exciting!
will fixed my bike. it only cost $60 and he fine tuned a lot of things on it, so i've been riding it again. it's pretty fun to do and i like it a lot. i need to grab the helmet from the basement at work and start riding it to work. i'm not sure when my monthly pass is up but once it is i think i'm going to have stefanie switch my transit card to a pay-as-you-go kind of thing. this will free up at least another $50 a month, which will help me pay stefanie back for the $200 i had to borrow so that the cdman transaction would go through. once the tour is over i'm looking forward to attempting to get my credit cards under wraps. my paypal card expires at the end of august. i'm almost hoping they don't bother sending me a new one, but i'm sure they probably will.
after i leave here i'm going to go on my usual ride- just down and back up the lakefront trail. it's very relaxing and i can go at my own pace and interaction with cars is minimal so stefanie has no problem with me riding without a helmet.
my favourite listening at the moment are these four my bloody valentine bootlegs from the recent shows- one from the ica 'rehearsal' show and the other three from the first three of five shows at the roundhouse in london- they sound phenomenal and are quite a good listen. from what i've read the bootlegs pale in comparison to what the experience of the live show is so if that's true i can only imagine what the show will be like in september. very exciting.

add another one to the list...

sian alice group are playing at the empty bottle on september 21st. rrrrrr. they're only opening, but still. i'm sure they'll probably play the exact same set, but it would still be nice to see them again.
i'm crawling out of my skin trying to get this tour set up and finalized. i posted all of the shows that we would like to play on our website and it came out to about 9 shows total. amazing! it'd be nice if we could get them all together. haw haw haw. i even emailed some people from missoula and i haven't even heard back from them yet- what the fuck? it's fucking missoula people- you shouldn't have to beg for a show there, that just doesn't make any damn sense.
started some new tracks last night- one that is between a few song titles- 'forever drowning,' 'drownsong' and 'plainchant' i think (i'm most lukewarm on the last one) and the other is called 'ashes, ashes.' both had percussive loops from the hitting the guitar and sampling it and sending it through tons and tons of gooey reverb. i just sampled the rhythm, recorded it along with a guide vocal where i would count off when the guitar should start and sang the verses because both songs will be using the same rhythmic backdrop and meld into each other. the bowed guitar is back kids- what works best for these songs is excessive volume paired with extremely restrained playing. it gives a nice amount of tension and some unexpected surprises. it was very nice to do something quieter that went a lot smoother. when i got home yesterday i tried to finish a song called 'fall' that was started as part of the 'down to sleep' cycle. i'm kind of going back to finish a handful of those tracks as it occurs to me to do so. it looks like most of them are finished except for a few that don't have any drums. i was pondering redoing 'all i have' because that song occasionally comes back to haunt me. i filmed myself building parts of that song for that whole 'down to sleep' diary thing that i never put on youtube. i don't know if anyone would like it very much. it is pretty funny and actually shows us as fairly normal people. there are also a ton of shots of me in a room by myself playing guitar really loud. i was thinking of attempting to do the drums for them as it occurs to me to do them. very few of the unfinished ones are grabbing me at all as being serious candidates for release in much of any form. we did finish 'wake up' and it turned out pretty nice i think. i've earmarked that for a digital single for 'angels floating on the head of a pin.' i'm trying to figure out if i should bother with extra tracks for that one. the tracklist for the hidden tracks on the ep has kind of changed around a bit- two new songs that were written in that 'down to sleep' style kind of popped up. both could possibly be really good live songs. stefanie needs to add drums to one of them, the other we were going to do live like we did 'voices in the air' (which stefanie needs to redo her vocal for- it was a bit flat before and then when billy added his cello part the two sounded so awful together that it occurred to me that it would be best to just have her redo it as there was also a ton of unwanted hiss and such). one doesn't have any lyrics- it has a full bunch of lyrics that had to be scrapped- and it has a nice bass loop with some other percussion in it. the bass line was pretty much lifted from my favourite black angels song, the main guitar chords were lifted from a warlocks song, the chorus chords i came up with on accident. the other song will allow us to play 'you turn down' live which has been sounding thoroughly decent lately. what's more it's an easy one to play- a good candidate for a set opener and close to the 'angels...' tuning. last practise was pretty fruitful if you can't tell. we played all of 'down to sleep' in order minus two songs ('ahn' and 'so goodbye...' because stefanie doesn't want to play it) in the hopes that an instore will come together. we haven't heard anything about it just yet- i've emailed the permanent records folks and normally they are very prompt in responding, but not this time. i think i might email them again because playing the whole record was really really fun. only one of the songs really didn't work i felt like but it's that damn 'crawl to you' song that's hard to get to work live. the best time we played it before was actually at permanent- we just did it acoustic with the little floaty samples like we normally do. we also did two from the new ep- 'voices in the air' and 'sitting in the dark' which is a fantastic live song- the vocals are particularly gorgeous if i do say so myself. it's a bit long, but that's nothing new i guess.
when i go home today i'm probably going to do some more work on the next full length (which is supposed to come out on vinyl). i'd like to post some samples some time but the songs are in an embryonic state. i discovered that we have a way to use some nicer mics and such through a friend of mine at work whose boyfriend has a really nice home studio setup- he has some nice analogue keyboards that i'd like to rent some time to play for some things and he also has a 1/4" 2-track which i would like to see if i could use to mixdown the ep once it's finished and the record as well. it's nice to have something to fall back on in these troubling times. they keep telling me to come by sometime and see the studio. i'm almost afraid to- i feel like it'll open a pandora's box and they'll never be able to get me out of there.