Friday, December 25, 2009
1. christmas song
2. christmas song revisited
3. christmas song, pt. iii
4. the sun is so bright...
5. falling stars
6. paper doves
7. voices in the air
8. on the bridge
9. sleep now.../lord can you hear me
running time= 52 minutes
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
1. 'the call'- zaza- cameo 12"
2. 'when i'm gone'- vivian girls- everything goes wrong
3. 'the midnight sun'- the warlocks- the mirror explodes
4. 'destroyed fortress reappears'- thee oh sees- help
5. 'the serious matter'- brian jonestown massacre- smoking acid
6. 'love is a wave'- crystal stilts- love is a wave 7"
7. 'hellhole ratrace'- girls- hellhole ratrace 10"
8. 'circulation'- deerhunter- rainwater cassette exchange
9. 'troubled, shaken, etc.'- sian alice group- troubled, shaken, etc.
10. 'middle cyclone'- neko case- middle cyclone
11. 'foreground'- grizzly bear- veckatimest
12. 'i hear the vibrations'- wooden shjips- contact 12"
13. 'walking & falling'/'over & over'- spectrum- war sucks 12"
14. 'wine'- the raveonettes- in and out of control
15. 'sweet come down'- the black ryder- buy the ticket, take the ride
16. 'satellite'- hope sandoval & the warm inventions- through the devil softly
most of my favourite tracks came from eps, 12"es and 7"es as you can see from this list. wooden shjips managed to outdo their own full-length release 'dos' with the two tracks that make up the beautiful 'contact' 12". the 'war sucks' ep would've made the list if it hadn't been an ep. an ep with only 4 tracks does not an album make. i've included 'walking & falling' and 'over & over' because personally i can't seperate the two and refuse to do so. i didn't think much of 'rainwater cassette exchange' until fairly recently- it's problem for me had been that every single song on it was equally amazing. it was tough to pick one track for this to be honest and there are only five tracks. the greatest shame about the new raveonettes album is 'wine'- because it's so fantastic and beautiful and the rest of the album is so pandering and a bit too eager to please. i wanted to put 'troubled, shaken etc.' and 'everything goes wrong' on my top five, but there were just other records that i bought that i listened to a lot more. lastly, i have wanted to buy 'album' by girls, but after buying the 'lust for life' single and being TOTALLY underwhelmed by it i figured i should skip it and just enjoy that first, brilliant 10". it's a shame they can't stick with the styles and possibilities posed by those two tracks and instead are opting for the bone-headed jangly fluff that is 'lust for life' and 'life in san francisco.' i'm sorry but 'i wish i had a pizza and a bottle of wine' just makes me bristle completely. well, that's all from me. stay tuned for the 'christmas suite' video. it's 2/3rds of the way done.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
1. thee oh sees- 'help'
holy crap is this a fantastic record! the only oh sees record that i would've rather put up here in its place is 'thee hounds of foggy notion', but it was released last year. how does jon dwyer manage to craft so many cohesive and well-crafted records full of great songs in such a short amount of time? is his reserve well that deep? i'm on pins and needles to hear 'warm slime' next year- if you don't know what i mean try and pick up a copy of the 'blood in your ear' 7"- they still have a few left at permanent records i believe. if not then you could troll around on ebay and try to get it that way or go to http://ongakubaka.blogspot.com/2009/11/thee-oh-sees-blood-in-your-ear-bw.html (this is where i've gotten downloads of all of their hard-to-find stuff).
2. hope sandoval and the warm inventions- 'through the devil softly'
one of my favourite things about this record is how it appeared so suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere after an eight-year gap between this and the breath-taking 'bavarian fruit bread.' somehow this record manages to sound similar to 'bavarian fruit bread' while also building on its brilliance in a way that's done so subtly in so many different ways that i wouldn't even begin to explain how it's different. anyone who has one of those sublime bootlegs from the last mazzy star european tour back in 2000 will recognize the heavily-delayed bass line from 'for the rest of your life.' now if the stupid record company could just cough up the vinyl version already i'd be happy to lay down some money and finally pay for this excellent release! (actually i've bought this release officially- i bought the cd as a gift for my dad)
3. neko case- 'middle cyclone'
yes, it's true that i have it bad for neko case. there are myriad reasons for this but truth be told i would have it bad for her just from hearing her music- this album and 'fox confessor...' especially. i'm not going to wax philosophical about her voice because it's been done to death. this record is an underscore to her unique talents as a songwriter as well as an arranger. all of these elements crystallise into a mass of hissy-analog-recorded warmth here in such an amazing way that it becomes an addition to what i like to call 'down comforter albums.' once it has you in its grasp it's difficult to get out because the music wraps you up in so much warmth that it's difficult to pull yourself out of because you're so warm, happy and comfortable in its arms. that said i don't think that this album is quite as strong as an album as 'fox confessor brings the flood'- but 'fox confessor...' is also the most cohesive album that anyone's made in a really long time- as in it's songs are threaded together carefully with a common thread that doesn't weigh the songs down with its own important-ness. that's going to be a tough nut to crack. probably impossible. that said this album is amazing.
4. the warlocks- 'the mirror explodes'
i got a bit cavalier listening to this for the first time. it arrived in my inbox from teepee records for some reason. apparently they believe i am some kind of music journalist and they sent me a free download of the album and i was powerless to resist it being dropped into my lap about a month before its release. i did write a review. i did send it out. it did not get published. i also ended up pre-ordering it on vinyl. upon the first listen it didn't seem that special- i think that only about three tracks leaped out at me. i'd already heard 'red camera' a jillion times because i had heard the demo on their myspace back in 2006, bought the 7" (which has a live version recorded by the 'surgery'-era group at kexp) and then heard the new version when they premiered it. it wasn't until i was driving to the spectrum show at the darkroom in april that i got it. the record sounded so GREAT blasting out of those car stereo speakers. the impression the album left stuck with me more than the rather rote and lackluster live set played by pete kember and his band that night (i ended up leaving after they played 'when tomorrow hits'). read the review that pretty much says it all. also- this is one of the saddest cases of a brilliant band who will never get their due that i've ever seen.
5. grizzly bear- 'veckatimest'
i almost didn't want to put this in the top-five given the grizzly bear fever-pitched hype that's going on as we speak. i also don't like this album quite as much as 'yellow house'- it's definitely leaning more towards the poppy side of things than that one was. even given all of this i listened to this album a TON this year and it has some songs on it that i absolutely love. plus the arrangements are still way on the weird side. i did skip out on their show at the metro despite having tickets- it was sold out, the line was full of pitchfork-reading hipster-types (who are REALLY annoying to be stuck in sold-out shows with- holy shit kids, grow a brain) and i'd just seen them at pitchfork festival a few months earlier (i enjoyed it a lot despite being in the talking section). i hold to my stance that grizzly bear are much more worthy of their hype than animal collective will ever be (the frenzy surrounding animal collective continues to confound and annoy me to this second). 'foreground' is one of the best songs they've ever done, 'all we ask' is about as sublimely weird of a pop-song as one could ask for, side two (yeah, i've got it on vinyl) is mesmerizing and the whole thing just has a beautiful flow as an album (which actually is one advantage it holds over 'yellow house'- which sags under the weight of its own sleepy weirdness from after 'knife' until before 'marla').
a few honorable mentions that i almost put in the #5 slot-
the black ryder- 'buy the ticket, take the ride'
i'm listening to this right now, actually and have listened to it about two-thousand times since it came in the mail this week all the way from australia. all-in-all i think this is a fantastic debut- the band arrives in the world almost fully-formed. almost. i feel like the less ponderously-shoegaze-y tracks are the ones that work the best- 'sweet come down,' 'the greatest fall,' (this track reminds me of what a raveonettes songs should be- i can't help but wish that 'in and out of control' had turned out as well as this song) 'outside' (churning warlocks-esque drone done beautifully) and 'what's forsaken' (that spacemen 3 tornado-wah-wah effect is fantastically done here as are the vocals). 'burn & fade' and 'rise' work beautifully as a closing couplet as well. one thing is for sure- the morning after girls should've kept these two on board and accepted their contributions- 'alone.' might've made this list if they had. on the other hand it's clear that aimee nash deserves to have her voice HEARD. and a lot. as a footnote this record works best as a headphones album- for some reason i don't enjoy hearing it come out of speakers anywhere near as much as i do through headphones. it seems that the loud shoegaze-y stuff would really shine that way, but it just works better through headphones.
the duchess and the duke- 'sunset/sunrise'
i still don't own this record, so i couldn't put it in my top five because i haven't had the time to fully dissect it. i've only heard it mostly at work played by two of my co-workers. one of them maintains that the first duchess and the duke album is probably better, but i am loving the more fully fleshed-out arrangements on this one. this is a relative term as, even with more instrumental variety over each of the tracks they still retain their sparseness- the violins, organs and tambourines tend to actually enhance the sparse, intimate nature of the songs causing the melodies to leap from the recording and hang in the air. i'm ashamed to say that i will probably end up buying this one for myself before christmas... it's okay though- no one even knew that i wanted it. not even me until about two days ago.
i have a lot to do today, and yet i'm still sitting here whiling the hours away at metropolis. listening to the hope sandoval show and dicking around on facebook. yipes. i was invited to join some sme group and found some people i haven't heard from in AGES- namely my best friend from grade school and middle school who i lost touch with once i started hanging out with mike and billy. kinda sad, but it happens a lot. people kind of suck in that they'll just kind of become wrapped up in whatever bunch of people are around them at any given time (yup, i'm one of the ones that sucks in that generalisation). i think he's a professor at ku now and married as well. we're at the age now where practically everyone is married. stefanie and i are no longer special. right now seems to be the era of people around us getting married left and right. super-weird to watch. i'm kind of enjoying it because it makes us look like veterans and people ask us for advice. we don't know what to tell them, but it's still fun.
as far as the work i have to do- i have finish 'christmas song'- i had to record over the 6-string basses in that song in order to have a functioning input to record katelyn's violin part on. kind of a bummer because if i'd just been able to get all three of them together at the same time this problem could've been avoided and it would've been done last week without much fanfare. bummah! the 5th input keeps doing this REALLY fucking annoying thing where it gets demagnetized slightly causing this odd tremolo-like effect. so now the strings are on and i have to figure out a way to get the 6-string bass back on and also duplicate the guitar track. i also have to figure out if it's possible to do all of this AND keep the guide guitar track. i've developed a tradition of trying to keep it in if i can because i've found it makes it possible to make some very nice bare-bones mixes that i've been calling 'strings mix'es. i think they'd be nice little tidbits for the future. i also was able to keep the original guide tracks intact for a few 'down to sleep' songs- a few of which have the guide vocal track as well- the first piece of the puzzle. it's very difficult to do this on the 8-track cassette machine. urgh. because of this when i practiced with katelyn on tuesday night it doubled her time at our apartment- which i felt terrible about. we did the track about five or six times. not normal for me.
i struck upon a nice idea for the 'christmas suite' single- i thought it would be cool to go ahead and make a video for 'pale' as well so that i could string the four of them together and make a dvd- which would be the perfect way to package it and sell it at shows. i wanted a double 7-inch originally, but since that costs just as much as a 12-inch it became apparent early on that that wasn't the way to go with money being as tight as it is right now. i then thought it would be better to just make cdrs of it for sale on tour, but this will be much better. i was going to go ahead and just burn them at home. i still haven't tried to use idvd on the new laptop, but i think it'll be good.
i also think that my top five records of the year list is all done as well now too. all the results are in folks! it was actually a bit difficult to figure out five of the best out of all of the stuff that i bought this year. i bought more new music than i normally do- there are a few i missed.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
i just deleted a massive out-pouring entry that can be summed up with this phrase- managers can't be friends with their employees. it just doesn't work.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
the great remastering project has been put on the back-burner. i think that my old shows sound too crappy to bother with. i tried to fix the first hope sandoval show that i taped and it didn't work. the version that i've got on my ipod right now sounds better- and that isn't saying much. i wish i'd sprung for a better microphone back then. crap! i guess it's not the end of the world, just a bit of a bummer. i'm going to have to try and trade someone for a better-sounding show.
it finally snowed today- i'm so ready for a long, cold winter. i'm looking forward to it in fact. i don't enjoy all of the whining (seriously people if it's that miserable for you just fuck off and move to california already), but winter's always been my favourite time of year. always. love it! while i liked the winter-time in portland it was nice to get back to the midwest where they have a REAL winter!
stefanie's parents are coming into town tonight- kind of dreading it a bit. mainly i'm just dreading all of the riding of the train that will be involved. they are staying wayyyyy down off of the roosevelt stop and every time we go walking around with them they ask us to ride the train back to their hotel with them and then we have to ride it alllll the way back home. it takes ages. stefanie has a really huge, packed itinerary too so it'll be a ton of bouncing around from place to place. it'd be nice if they'd spring for a cab every once in a while, but they never do. naturally i have no money right now- i wouldn't have a problem doing the springing.
we're having the first practice for the string players on saturday for the upcoming radio set. i'm always enjoying practicing with them and adding more songs to the repertoire. it's getting to the point where there are songs that we don't have to practice at all with them and the amount of those songs is growing which is just going to make playing shows with them easier and easier which encourages me to have them play more and more. i'm trying to get a show going at the empty bottle in the new year and usually i just want to do empty bottle shows as just stefanie and i but now i think i want to bring the string players along. i see little point in playing any shows where they aren't involved. they're game, so why not?
i'm going to wrap this entry up and then post the remaster of the hope sandoval recording- which sounds loads better than the previous version. plus someone let me know that the flacs in the original post were corrupted. bummer!
Friday, November 27, 2009
once again the doledrums have made their appearance right around the time that a new album's going to drop... more variables to make it go nowhere. maybe it's time to take the fucking hint... for some stupid reason my brain understands that it might be time to let it go, but my heart just can't...
the song in that video up above is the crystallization of everything i am feeling right now. why bother with a long-winded circular misery-filled entry when it can be summed up by a pair of actual GOOD musicians in under three minutes...
Friday, November 20, 2009
i'm selling some stuff on ebay right now to help raise the money for the mastering quicker- a big black ep, a deerhoof album and a bright eyes ep. the last two are actually very rare and out of print so i'm hoping i make some money on those. they're all free shipping, so i hope that the price for them is still pretty decent. we shall see i guess...
i'm getting a bad feeling about this whole telecommuting internet job- the guy's emailed me twice in broken english and some of what he's saying doesn't make any sense at all... i think i might do a coin-toss kind of thing to see if i should reply or not. he emailed me yesterday, but what he was saying didn't quite match up with the job description he sent me.
anyway, this is a nice preview for the coming year i guess- what am i going to do with myself if i don't have these crazy releases breathing down my neck? i want to keep the recording going, but i'm wondering what i'm going to do with myself. i guess i'm going to try to get more shows going, but i'm not sure how that's going to work out... once i get the promo cdrs for the record pressed up i'm going to start trying to do some promotional work and then there's the tour in march or april to start trying to book... i've been trying to think of this break from releasing stuff as a bit of an opportunity to start playing catch-up in that area. i haven't done much promotion at all- 'dandelions' wasn't promoted hardly at all. 'down to sleep' got some really great reviews, but there were still a lot of copies that were sent out that fell completely by the wayside. i'm a bit lost in this regard to be honest. i found a promotion company that looked very promising but it was VERY expensive- about $2400 or something like that for the full year-long promo package. they had a 6-month package that was half of that- still a lot of money for me. the rate at which i've managed to crank out these albums has really paralyzed me financially from that standpoint. the west coast tour last year was a nice exception to the rule since we didn't lose that much money on it. most of the debt i worked up in its wake was due to buying some recording equipment- a bunch of microphones that i needed and the contact mics for the strings show back in april. i'd say it was worth it- that stuff has really helped me make better recordings and having the capability for live strings is completely invaluable- especially with the bunch that we've got right now.
we did get a christmas-time show going- it's on wnur 89.3- 'airplay' again. we're going to play the entire 'christmas suite' that we've got going (hopefully we can get that new version of 'christmas song' finished as well)- hopefully the single itself will be released digitally before that- all that really depends on is if we can get it finished in time, which shouldn't be a problem... i guess i still have a great deal to get finished before the end of the year- no whining about boredom.
i think this is mammoth entry might be enough for now. talk to you folks later...
Friday, November 13, 2009
i'm still quite coughy today. it's kind of hard to tell if my condition is improving. i slept through most of the night- i think i got up at 6am maybe and then i woke up when stefanie woke up but then fell back asleep until almost 10am. other than this cough i'm feeling pretty damn good though, i have to say. my throat doesn't hurt and the headaches are dying down- i can go for fairly long periods of time without coughing and it seems like if i wanted to i could go out today and feel fairly normal.
today is the day, however, that i will NOT go anywhere! i have a song to work on today and hopefully that means that i will actually stay home and get to work on it.
i bought 'thee hounds of foggy notion' by thee oh sees yesterday- came home, put it on immediately, ripped the audio into the computer (i have one of those usb record player things) and then watched the dvd right afterwards. i'm listening to it again right now. beautiful stuff- i completely fucking love it. after all of that i went in search of more of their stuff only to find that it's still available, but only on cd. instead of moping about it i put all of it onto my amazon.com wishlist. i don't know what's up with me right now, but as it goes this particular record is EXACTLY how i feel. nothing quite matches that feeling. ironic that a band from san francisco can make such a fitting soundtrack to fall and winter in the midwest.
the zine pages for 'all hope is blind' are almost finished- i have all of the large prints (they all look really nice btw) and just need to finish copying the lyric write-outs for the rest of them. stefanie is going to do some pages as well. one of her pages is going to be a knitting pattern- which i originally thought was something i didn't want to include, but now i think it's a totally sweet idea. i guess it's coming down to the wire and we need to get our act together. i should probably start trying to get some more 1/4" tape to prep up a production master for the record duplication.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
i don't have anything else to report really- i have no plans for the day at all. perhaps some more recording would be in order? i dunno... i should probably try to be somewhat active and that would be a good distraction- i've found if i have something to distract me it keeps me from coughing too much which i've noticed makes me feel better as well. the most irritating thing about all of it is that i feel completely fine in every other way- no aches and pains, no chills, no fever. i just felt completely bone-dry yesterday.
so right now i'm listening to 'loveless' and i'm at the coffee shop. i'm in a bit of a sectioned off corner in the back that i like and figure would be good for not making people uncomfortable/irritated with my coughing. i've been working on a 'best tracks of 2009' playlist for the end of the year list that i'm always doing- so far it's pretty great stuff. i always do a list of my five favourite records of the year- not very much so i thought it'd be good to do a full-on playlist so that i have a bit more to talk about. not that anyone's reading... or are they?
Thursday, November 5, 2009
basically all in all this move has been very good to us- it's been easier to find jobs, a place to live that we love, it's a more diverse city, there is no shortage of good food to be found, it's not terribly difficult to get around with a car (of course, this is true in portland as well) and we have tons more friends here than we ever did in portland.
i'd go on in greater detail but i'm not really sure what the point of that would be at this point.
song- artist- album
1. surf city (revisited)- the black angels- 'directions to see a ghost' 3lp
2. love is a wave- crystal stilts- 'love is a wave' 7"
3. o katrina- the black lips- 'good bad not evil'
4. pretty suzanne- the monks- 'black monk time'
5. don't you just know it- the sonics- 'boom'
6. my little red book- love- s/t
7. little red rooster- the rolling stones- 'the rolling stones, now!'
8. nevertheless- the brian jonestown massacre- 'bravery, repitition and noise'
9. he hit me- grizzly bear- 'friend'
10. oh baby- spiritualized®- 'amazing grace'
11. you're the one- sonic boom- 'spectrum'
12. blind spot- vivian girls- 'i can't stay' 7"
13. medication #4- the gris-gris- 'for the season'
14. the killer- thee oh sees- 'sucks blood'
15. hear my call, here- holly golightly- 'christmas tree on fire' 7"
16. tightly- neko case- 'blacklisted'
17. dreamless days- the warlocks- 'heavy deavy skull lover'
18. to here knows when- my bloody valentine- 'tremolo'
19. nightsong- sian alice group- 'nightsong' 7"
20. lord can you hear me- spacemen 3- 'playing with fire'
Saturday, October 24, 2009
song- artist- album
1. a new silence/the best explanation- the morning after girls- alone.
2. disappearing ink- deerhunter- rainwater cassette exchange
3. hellhole ratrace- girls- hellhole ratrace 10"
4. go meet the seed- thee oh sees- help
5. service bell- grizzly bear- horn of plenty
6. ghost car- helium- superball 7"
7. little stars- holly golightly- little stars 7"
8. for you/dreamlanding- jessica bailiff- even in silence
9. walking & falling/over & over- spectrum- war sucks 12"
10. i need no trust- my bloody valentine- feed me with your kiss
11. medication #4- the gris-gris- for the season
12. wine- the raveonettes- in and out of control
13. stay with me- spiritualized- 2009.10.12- london, uk- royal festival hall (all tomorrow's parties 'ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space' bootleg)
14. fall aside- hope sandoval and the warm inventions- through the devil softly
15. the kick inside- kate bush- the kick inside
Thursday, October 22, 2009
listened to the new raveonettes album on the ipod for the first time (i usually just listen to it on the computer). i like about half of it a lot and the other half not so much. i guess they'll never make a record as great as 'lust lust lust'- the lukewarm response to that record is something that i've never found anything short of completely baffling, but whatever. so this raveonettes record goes in the drawer with most of their other records- a handful of really amazing songs coupled with another handful that are trying a bit too hard and fall a bit short of their intent. i am impressed by 'boys who rape (should all be destroyed)'- it is an impressive thing to make a song that poppy about disturbing subject matter- it's probably enough to give the sense of what it was like in the 60's to hear a song like 'there she goes.' but things like 'last dance' and 'suicide' and 'd.r.u.g.s.' (there's a line in there about burping and farting- what were they thinking?) just really aren't doing it for me at all. that said 'wine,' 'gone forever,' 'heart of stone' and 'echoes' (i bought the album on itunes and it had two bonus tracks) are all fantastic songs! i guess i'd rate this album above 'pretty in black' as that one has some truly wretched songs on it (why did they cover 'my boyfriend's back' again?). i'm not so keen on 'chain gang of love' as an album either, but at least it's doing what it's originally set out to do. given all of this i still wouldn't mind going to see them at the metro- i'm on the lookout for free tickets. the black angels are opening and i wouldn't mind seeing the raveonettes again- my theory was if i got the free tickets i'd watch the black angels, wait for 30 minutes and if they weren't onstage at that point then i'd just leave rather than wait the full hour. seriously- that shit is inexcusable.
i'm back on a cure kick. listening to 'pornography' right now- i don't think i've ever listened to it on my own through my ipod. adam snow played it once at beans while we were closing on a sunday afternoon. i'm kind of back on the cure wagon because the 'disintegration' remaster is finally coming out in 'spring 2010.' i'm hoping that doesn't mean may or something like that. it's going to be three discs and the third disc will basically be a remastered version of 'entreat' which will include the remaining 'disintegration' tracks that weren't on- so it's basically a live version of the album. that is just ducky with me because there is a fucking amazing live version of 'the same deep water as you' from the fourth show at wembley arena (which is where 'entreat' was recorded) that i have on a bootleg, but certainly wouldn't mind having on a cd. i'll probably actually buy this one- i skipped most of the other reissues simply because i had vinyl versions of most of them and went with those in lieu of expensive reissues- i also found out that i could get ahold of the individual extra tracks through itunes. i had a download of the bonus disc for 'faith' and i didn't like it very much. i haven't listened to the whole of the 'pornography' bonus disc either. as if that weren't good enough news supposedly 'show' is finally going to be released on dvd and blu-ray next year as well. AT FUCKING LAST! i'll buy that one even if there aren't any bonus tracks (although i'm hoping for some pretty nice ones knowing the cure). it's always been baffling to me why they released another live dvd from that 2005 festival tour with all old songs right on the heels of the amazing 'trilogy' set.
i was wracking my brains trying to figure out what album to play on mr. james eric lazckowski's new series of people playing albums in their entirety, but last night as i was discussing it with stefanie we kind of figured it might not be worth doing. the best idea i think that i had was if i can get the string players to come along we could do a 40-minute selection of acoustic arrangements of cure songs- i had some ideas for some decent ones. i even have a string arrangement mostly done for 'plainsong.' arranging the cure for strings is pretty straightforward. i had this idea that i wanted to record versions of all of the songs on 'disintegration' for my 30th birthday, which is also the 20th anniversary of the album. i started a cover of 'untitled' as well since i thought that i was selling my 6-string bass for the vox ultrasonic and the irony was that i was getting the tones i've been chasing fruitlessly for years and figured out a simple way to capture them accurately. basically at this point i'm planning on spending the next year saving up to buy one of those vox ultrasonics- it'd be easier to have the money once one pops up rather than trying to find anything and everything i could sell in order to afford it. this way i am also able to keep the 6-string bass around.
anyway this is long, rambling and weird enough to be over. listening to 'a strange day' right now- how fitting.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
i'm listening to the final mixes at the moment. the tape captures a lot more low-end than the cd burner- i normally have to push the low end up so high to get it on cd. i'm wondering if the digital mixes will end up sounding better or not... it could also just be my shitty ipod's sound quality (it is really bad when you listen to it through headphones). the thing is it doesn't sound muddy. i also think that my ears are completely fatigued... my left ear started ringing out of nowhere last night just as i went to bed. totally weird. i hope against hope that i'm not losing my hearing, but i'm pretty sure that that might be the case. i feel like if i'd really done too much hearing damage from all of the noisy guitar playing that i would've contracted tinnitus by now, but i haven't.
well, i'm completely out of things to say at the moment. tah-tah for now!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
It occurs to me that this is indeed a rather cold way to live and indicative of a great deal of cynicism and elitism and I’d just like to footnote that by saying that I don’t think that I’m better than everyone else, it’s more that I don’t think that there are a lot of people in the world who I can share a true understanding with- a reciprocal kind of thing. It’s kind of my opinion that most people don’t really care about this fact- they just are more social people and like to have a lot of friends. I guess that they’re more forgiving than me. At the same time I find I’m more forgiving than a lot of people I come across and when I decide someone isn’t my friend anymore they’ve been given tons of chances and just tossed them all aside and I take that to mean that they don’t view me as an equal and expect more respect from me than they are willing to give back- then you have a textbook one-sided friendship and I’m not doing those anymore- they’re pointless. Someone who wants you around as their doormat isn’t really interested in you as their friend. I’ve been through this pattern enough times to know.
I’ve been really pissed for the last week or so but I wouldn’t call this an all-out depression by any means. I don’t really know how that’s possible- but that’s what’s going on here. I’ve definitely been down in the dumps feeling really really low before and I’m definitely not there yet. I actually am enjoying having the experience and knowledge to be able to catch these things before they become a problem and start doing a number on my self-esteem and self-worth. It’s a positive effort to turn my problems with those two things around. It’s actually what you’d call being proactive.
On a happier note I’m listening to an awesome recording of the spiritualized show at the royal festival hall earlier in the week. They played ‘ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space’ in its entirety with a giant gospel choir, horns and strings. I was walking around listening to it yesterday and there were several times that I found myself with tears in my eyes- powerful stuff. I can only imagine what it was like to actually be there.
We have a strings show coming up a week from Saturday- a bit of a shame that chris won’t be there, but after all of the run-throughs it seems clear to me that it’s going to be pretty fucking awesome and the groundwork has been laid for many future strings shows- I’ve noticed that once they’ve practiced a song several times it’s pretty much in the vaults- at the first practice we ran through three songs from the other show back in april and Katelyn and aleksa were right on point. All we have to do is run-through them now. Nice. They’re really part of the band now- that’s pretty much how Stefanie and I do it- we practice a song a few times, play it live, work out the bugs if there are any and then once that’s all done we never have to practice it again. I’m quite excited about the show. Quite excited. The only thing is that we don’t really have anything else set up at the moment and I’ve kind of dropped the ball in that regard because the dates we wanted in December are coming up too soon and I wasn’t on the ball enough to ask for the dates far enough in advance and it looks like it might not be happening… fucking BUMMER…
Friday, October 9, 2009
someone emailed me this morning about buying my bass vi. fingers crossed. i talked about recording a cover for that cure song 'untitled' with it if someone showed any interest in buying it. i guess i should get to work on that one today when i get back to the apartment.
something strange- i'm kind of looking forward to the working week. i don't really understand this development as it's most unexpected. i've got a practice with aleksa on tap on sunday and i'm going to have her record some cello parts for the redone version of 'christmas song'- three to be exact. woot! hopefully we can get that one finished quickly and then i can finally do the 'all hope is blind' mixdown and see if i can tack on the 'christmas suite' single and that way it'll be ready in time for christmas. it will just be a downloadable thing, but since i'm already getting an album mastered and there is enough space to fit it on there i might as well do it concurrently for $300. i'm already paying the money as it is.
listening to the hope sandoval and the warm inventions show right now. i haven't written about it yet, so i thought i might as well right now. i'm going to post the audio as soon as i can anyway. just like when i saw her the first time at the aladdin theater in portland back in 2002 she played an unreleased song- back then it was 'friends of a smile' (which later came out on an ep). this time it was 'courting blues'- which is a fucking EXCELLENT song! i hope that it comes out on an ep of some kind as well because it is so awesome! yeah, she performed in near-complete darkness. yeah, she seemed uncomfortable onstage and didn't say hardly anything to the audience at all. they had some film projections that were pretty nice. good stuff. i didn't really care too much for the opening band dirt blue gene- but they were also her backing band. their songs were too blissed-out and airy even for me. they tried to do a 'rockin' number to close and i really didn't feel like it worked. it just seemed a bit obligatory. normally i eat that shit up like candy, but not this time. that said they were great musicians and i thought they were great as hope's backing band. i guess that their music isn't that song-based. i'm never a fan of style over substance. it was great to see colm playing again as well- i'm always tickled by the contrast between his drumming in my bloody valentine (now that i've seen them live as well) and with hope. he is fantastic at both- an excellent drummer- very song-sensitive which i admire more than anything. i'm beginning to really loathe the lakeshore theater- it just seems like an awkward venue for a music show. i've only seen two shows there- jolie holland and this show. i really hate how they open the doors and cram everyone into the hallway-sized lobby area and make them wait until they open the theater doors. the place just isn't laid out for something like that and they always seem to be running late with the soundcheck (i could hear the band soundchecking 'blanchard' as i was waiting out in the lobby despite the loud music they were blaring to try and cover it up). considering how small and intimate and beautiful the venue is (seated shows of this nature are the apple of my eye) the sound should really be better. it just seems a bit muddy for whatever reason- what's more it doesn't even seem like they send barely any of the drums through the p.a. if the p.a.'s that quiet then the sound should be crystal clear. i think this just ties in with the fact that it's primarily a comedy theater. another wonderful thing- the crowd was AWESOME! so quiet and reverent. such a rarity for such soft and beautiful music- if only every crowd could be so respectful. wonderful stuff. the people behind were obviously a bit three-sheets to the wind and elicited a few eye rolls from me at the time- but they were able to confine their annoyingness to the period inbetween songs. in retrospect they weren't bad at all- i am just very grouchy when i'm amongst a giant throng. all in all it was a great night and i'm so glad i went! i will go see hope sandoval whenever she plays. i'm beginning to kind of wish that i'd gone to see the milwaukee show as well.
not much else on tap today- i'm hoping a shitload of recording will happen. i carried all of my stuff over the other building to try to use the piano yesterday as well but chickened out. there were a lot of people in the computer lab and i didn't feel like subjecting them to an 8-minute long piano dirge that has no changes in it at all.
that's about all i have for today i think.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
not much else to say- i'm planning on having a go at mixing 'all hope is blind' down to tape today. not sure when the hell i'm actually going to have the money to master it- i have been getting better about putting money aside, but the trip to portland is looming and i'd be very surprised if i managed to fritter away enough money in that time to afford mastering and have any amount of mad money to spend in portland. right after that is stefanie's birthday too, which i need to save money for as well. right after that i have my dad's birthday. it's kind of a now-or-never situation in a lot of ways... hmmmm...
this blog has really died a death lately- i never have time to write here or anything. it could have to do with the in-the-red hectic schedule we've been keeping for the last month or so. today was the first day in about a month that i was able to get a full night of uninterrupted sleep and not wake up to an alarm- truly a beautiful thing. truly beautiful. i think due to the chaos of the last three weeks and the sleep deprivation and the onset of colder weather i am now in the midst of a cold- much like everyone else around me. everyone at work has the sniffles right now. it's kind of frustrating as i'm pretty sure it's not going to go away by the time of the show- or the time of the portland trip. maybe so, maybe not. i'm doing my best to get it under control. not sure of how good of a job i'm doing. i had a sore throat for a few days, but it seems to have gone away. i can't tell if i'm entering the nasal salt-flats period of the cold or not yet- that's the most fun stage.
i dunno. i tried to get some artwork together for the proposed zine that's supposed to go with the 'all hope is blind' album- i was just going to put together a xeroxed zine with it with artwork and cut up lyrics along with the run-of-the-mill liner notes thrown in there. i thought it would be a special thing to do with this very special album.
i've cleared the hurdles for the album that were in the way- fixed the problems that i was having, etc. etc. i've gotten the revamped 'christmas song' up and going- recorded a nice bowed-guitar part in one take that i'm pretty happy with and now just have to add strings and such and vocals... good stuff!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
we have some kind of plans to do something expensive and social tomorrow night- so i'll be stuck with the dog at the house in evanston all day (when will we feed our cats? who the fuck knows?!)- not that it really matters. here's my schedule for my 'days off' when we housesit- 6am wake up to feed the two cats, 7am wake up to drive stefanie to work, 9-9:30am (sometimes 10am if parking's bad enough in our neighborhood- like today for example) arrive at our apartment. from there the options become whether or not i should get a few more hours' sleep or go ahead and head to coffee shop for my mandatory loafing time. today i'll basically have to leave the apartment after being there for only an hour and a half today- not long enough to really commit to doing much of anything.
rolling into month four after having ordered that ever-elusive spectrum ep i STILL DO NOT HAVE IT IN MY HANDS! this time it's thanks to the never-ending idiocy of the chicago postal service. it's flashes of the spritualized green vinyl debacle of last year- even after waiting for two months for the vinyl to be mailed it took TWO FUCKING WEEKS TO GET TO ME! earlier in the year magneto mastering was trying to send me reference discs from minneapolis- they shipped them via priority mail and it took four weeks to get to me- for some reason the package just sat in a warehouse in glen ellyn for two weeks. i think they have me on a 'do not deliver' list and it's really goddamned fucking annoying. i think i've decided to go to permanent records and buy a copy there, that way it'll finally show up in the mail and then i'll have two. maybe they'll become valuable and i can sell one (which i did with the extra green vinyl lp i had and ended up selling for less than what i paid for it because some numbskull didn't know how to use the 'buy now' feature on ebay). i dunno.
i'm in the middle of the hopeless task of 'saving money' to pay for more 1/4" tape and mastering. the tape machine has a feature i wasn't aware of- the 'repro' head which is basically what you're supposed to use when you're doing your final mixdown. basically i suspect that if i'd done this with the 'dandelions' ep then it wouldn't've had quite as much hiss as it ended up having. i was going to go to the trouble of calibrating the machine before doing the 'all hope is blind' mixdown, but then after reading about this feature i decided it would be better to just give it a go using this new knowledge.
i have nothing else to say. at all.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
i'm a bit rattled though- i'm beginning to wonder if i should bother pre-ordering such limited edition types of things. i do so to avoid having to pay ridiculous prices further down the line to some kind of ebay price-gouger. speaking of which i was going for the wrong vox guitars during that whole ordeal- i saw a 12 string vox phantom go for less than $700. DOH! i found out that the one at chicago music exchange is $2000. nice. i did find someone online who restores old and weird vintage guitars and collects airline guitars (an airline guitar is a guitar that is currently played by the likes of jack white) is selling a 12 string phantom for $1100. i'm thinking of asking anthony how much he wants for his epiphone les paul and putting some time and a little money into fixing it up somewhat and maybe i could sell it (as well as selling my fender mustang) in order to afford a vintage vox guitar. kind of pipe-dreamy, but perhaps it could work. you never know until you try. probably not going to happen tho.
what else? i'm not really working on anything but the preparations for our show on the 24th. i am going to save up the money for the mastering of 'all hope is blind.' i'm hoping i can pull this off by the end of the month (hilarious huh?). i'm still clinging to the notion of being able to get the whole thing out and released. don't know what that's about...
tons of concerts. i have some extra moolah on my paycheck that i have to go get today. i do have to pay my normal $300 to the credit card bogey-men- this is essential. essential.
Monday, September 14, 2009
part 1- http://www.megaupload.com/?d=6SDGQZ06
part 2- http://www.megaupload.com/?d=IMEPTDL1
enjoy the icky ads!
Friday, September 11, 2009
other than that it's very hum-drum again. not much to do lately. i'm already sick of converting lps. it looks like we're going to have some trouble with the show coming up on the 24th. i don't think chris can do it- he's in a show that runs until nov. 1. i'd really rather not do it without him, but we already said we would so now i have to figure out how to get ahold of another violist. bummah! plus all of his parts are written in treble clef already and i don't know if i can take rewriting all of it in alto clef. pooo! oh well- i shall see...
Thursday, September 10, 2009
stefanie and i have a two week reprieve from housesitting. after that we have an intensive two-week stretch of seth time. the week-long session wasn't too bad- there were a few crummy elements- namely one of jay and diana's neighbors who have a pit bull that keeps getting out of the fence. not cool. at all. and it happened twice while we were there. once while we were getting out of the car with seth- or rather while we left seth in the car until the dog was behind the fence.
i don't know if i have much in the way of thoughts to share- i'm glad this week is over. it was incredibly nice to have monday off- but it's always nice to have a day off with stefanie since it happens so irregularly these days. hardly ever i mean. i really need to get a new job. i have found a few things on craigslist that seemed like they might be okay to apply to in addition to my current job. i need some more money, of course. i didn't win the vox starstream from last week- not a huge surprise. it stayed completely unbid on until a few hours before it closed. by the end of the auction the price had sky-rocketed from $500 to $1300 or so. damn. shot down! it's probably for the best- i really didn't have the money to afford it and this way i can use the money from the next house-sitting adventure to have 'all hope is blind' mastered. i've got to buy some fairly expensive calibration tape and calibrate my machine so that it sounds better. i felt like it sounded very good without being calibrated, but the calibration will take care of the bulk of the tape hiss i think. i also hit upon a good idea for the tour- i was going to make cdrs of all of our single releases. it would give me a reason to master those finally, as well.
this month ended up being a triple paycheck month. the money i'd saved from my small paycheck to pay for the proposed guitar purchase wound up being spent on records and dvds- i got '30 rock' season 1, 'weeds' season 3, the new vivian girls lp and the cramps 'songs the lord might have taught us' lp. besides that there was tons of eating out in evanston. good stuff. my next paycheck will be for my credit cards.
anyway, off i go.
Friday, September 4, 2009
yesterday was kind of a rough one- i thought that stefanie wanted to scale back on band activities, but as it turns out i was mistaken. besides all of that it was an incredibly stressful day- i probably would've been brutally depressed even if that hadn't happened. no one told me, but yesterday was chicago's 'holy-fucking-shit'-level of traffic day. i spent about three hours in gridlock yesterday. at least i know what it's like to live in l.a. now. good to know. i did a ton of running around yesterday as well- i somehow managed to break in the new turntable we got that has a usb chord hookup. i converted the monks record and the vivian girls song from the 'the world's lousy with ideas' comp. not the crystal stilts record just yet- i lack the proper 7" adapter (it has a large center hole). the crystal stilts 7" is very good, though. i also did an alternate version of the vivian girls song through the cd burner. i still have the old turntable hooked up.
today will be nice because i have absolutely NOTHING to do whatsoever. i did my chores yesterday while transferring the monks record.
i have my eye on a vox starstream that's up for auction on ebay. i am prepared to basically sell my soul to get ahold of it. no one's bid on it yet. yet. there are a few things on it that don't work- namely a few of the built-in effects (which is what the vox starstream is known for). sadly the repeater is one of the effects that doesn't work on it- and i just did a google and discovered that the likelihood that it could be fixed is indeed very very low. i did, however, find an effects box that does a good job of emulating the repeater effect. obviously this would be an acceptable substitute for me. in a way i am going to think of this as good news- perhaps no one will want it now and perhaps that will keep the price static. it will take a good deal of maneuvering to get my slimy little mitts on this beauty, but dammit i'm going to do it if it's possible. if the price holds i see no reason not to score one of these beauties- especially since i'd just gone through a phase of being completely discouraged about the fact that i wanted to use hollow bodied guitar tons on the 'chinese blue' record and even possibly a vox 12 string of some kind if possible- seeing one at this price is just a little too good to be true! a fully functional one would easily cost 4x that price. it's mainly that specific tone that i'm after anyway. also it's missing a bridge plate and comes without a hardshell case. i'm hoping this will be like when i got my jazzmaster way back ten years ago- it was obscenely cheap because it came without a hardshell case. basically my plan is to sell my fender mustang in order to acquire this thing. pretty much what i have to do is wait to see if i win it and then start to list my mustang while paying for the vox with a credit card- which i'll pay off once the guitar is sold and we're also getting some serious money for a two-week long housesitting gig that's coming up later in the month. it's a bit risky, but i believe that the risk would be worth it in the long run. if this works out it'd be quite a coup- something that most likely wouldn't come along again.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
so basically the long and short of it is that i'm back to the pit of never-ending discouragement. this must be payback for when i was walking around with stefanie in kansas city and talking about how i'm really happy with where the band is right and that we are making progress- no matter how slowly. the never-ending pit of discouragement usually means that it's time to concentrate on getting the record released/mastered/what-have-you. at least cllct.com's back up and people are listening to the records again. i've done an awful lot of shit-talking about that place over a long period of time, but right now i'm grateful that it's a place where we at least are heard. we get a reasonable amount of random myspace views and stuff, a fair amount of strangers getting to our stuff through our website, but cllct.com is where most of the random listeners we have find us. so that's about the long and short of it. i dunno. i suppose i should get the fliers together and ready to mail out. i should start to plan the near-mythical tour. if nothing else it'd be nice to get at least a few out of town shows out of the effort we will make. one would hope anyway...
yesterday i experimented with syncing up two cassette 8-tracks. i got it to work fairly well by the end of the time. yes, i have two cassette 8-tracks right now- i brought joe's 8-track back to our apartment because i feel it would probably be good to mix our records on. it's a bit more functional than mine is (a bit i said). it's been sitting in the closet at my parents' condo for a long time, so i just grabbed it and took it up to chicago. it seems to me that joe isn't really that anxious to get it back. if i ever have to do more travelling recordings then i guess i could just use my fucked-up cruddy one. i don't really anticipate this happening any time soon, of course.
i worked on a song yesterday that had previously only existed as a bare-bones instrumental- i did an experiment where i recorded four guitar parts direct to see what i could come up with by adding the effects later. it worked fairly well, but i found that i was kind of stuck with something that seemed all too familiar- just another reverb-drenched, ambient, slow and sad instrumental. this is what spurred the whole dual 8-track experiment. i figured it would be a good idea to try and add more stuff and kind of mix everything together later- do a drum mix, add strings, possibly organ. i even hit upon an idea to ask stefanie to write her own lyrics independent of the ones i'd already recorded. i think it might work pretty well, so i guess i shall remain optimistic on that front. half the time when i have a difficult time getting shows it means i just need to get to work on getting some more recordings going. now might be a good time to go through all of those old instrumentals and start redoing them on the 8-track. my idea is to get them very stacked. i might even refine my whole 8-track syncing idea and doing submixes and whatnot so that i can build them up into just massive tracks. i'm already quite sure that we won't be able to recreate them live, so i might as well go all out.
i've been loving this weather we're having at the moment- it's nice and quiet and empty here at the coffee shop. very rare. i'm hoping this carries over into the next working week. i am sort of dreading getting back to the old, normal 5-day schedule. september's going to be quite a difficult month.
oh, i also almost forgot to mention that katelyn, the violinist, was supposed to come by on wednesday and wasn't able to make it- i think this was the second time we've had to reschedule. she's back in school and in my mind it's kind of become indicative to me of the fact that the era of using a ton of strings might be over. she basically told me that she most likely wasn't going to be able to find time to do any more recording for a while. i think if i need strings what i might do from here on out is just call aleksa and chris and have them record at the same time and have chris overdub the violin part. i don't really know what to do any more...
i emailed elastic to see about doing another show on the 23rd of october. hopefully that'll work. after that i wanted to an acoustic show in december- one that wouldn't cost us any money or anything- maybe with james at uncommon ground or something like that...
Thursday, August 27, 2009
the show at the record bar was really good- it went really well and a ton of our friends and family came out to see it. sadly they all left right after we played and why i must be careful played to me and all of the record bar bartenders and servers. that's kind of a shame because they were quite good. i don't really know how they do what they do and i can usually figure out how most bands i see do what they do. with them it seemed like they were eerily and ridiculously in sync with each other. i enjoyed them a bunch. we played for a pretty generous amount of time- we were done with four songs within 20 minutes- quite a record for us. we strung most of it together. i wasn't real happy with the last song- mainly because i kept having trouble grabbing the chords and i didn't sing it very well, which was a bummer because i sang so well for the rest of the set.
after the record bar show we packed up our lovely red chevy cobalt (the type of car i am sure we are damned to be given at every rental lot that we pull into for the rest of our car-renting days) and headed over to kkfi to play on radionic's show. we got there and he informed us that the door we were supposed to go into was surrounded by homeless people. we were a bit nervous, but went in. they were actually very polite. the setting up and playing was all a blur and i was still a bit dazed from the show at the record bar. i think that stefanie was too because while we played on the radio we made a fair amount of what i thought were very obvious mistakes (i heard the recording later and as it turned out none of them were as obvious as i'd thought at the time). we played four songs sort of quiet-like and made some delirious banter.
after that we were able to park the car in the garage at my parents' building and go straight to sleep. the beauty of a secured garage. at first my paranoia was nagging me not to leave my stuff in the garage, but then i remembered that my dad keeps both of his $1000+ bikes in the garage and they've never been stolen, thus putting things into perspective. there is a gaggle of other stuff that other people in their building keep in the garage as well. in the morning we unloaded everything from the back seat (the fender twin and stefanie's floor tom mainly) and never unloaded the trunk at all. while i'm not such a huge fan of the chevy cobalt one thing about it that i love is how deceptively huge the trunk is- it held every piece of equipment that we had except for the two previously mentioned pieces. good stuff.
i don't remember much about what we did from day to day, but we went to the filling station every day (of course), i went to winstead's two or three times, we watched 'fletch lives' and most of 'teen wolf.' 'definitely maybe' was on again as well and we watched some weird lifetime movie that starred thora birch with my dad. our parents took us to some really awesome restaurants. at least half of the trip was funded by my credit card- but the money was paid back immediately once we got home because i had a giant fat paycheck waiting for me that had two six-day workweeks on it. i actually had the urgency to pay the money that we spent back. i'm surprised at how much we did on the little we had. it helps that my dad stocks their fridge with beer. he also has a cooler with wine racks that's usually pretty stocked with beer as well. going to bars has begun to become a fairly restrained act for me as well these days- i can have a maximum of two or three beers and not really feel much of anything (or at least anything that lasts for more than an hour).
stefanie spent all of saturday with her parents. i joined up with them after they got back from visiting their grandmother (which took up more than half of the day). we even had the foresight to leave by 10:30 on sunday morning so that we were home and unpacked by about 8pm despite a few construction setbacks once we got back to chicago (this portion of the trip took 20-30 minutes alone). my dad had given me a bunch of money for gas and we had enough left over to order takeout from summer- perfect after a 9 hour drive. we even had some time to relax and watch some dvds.
despite last week being a three day workweek it seemed interminable. i don't know why this is- but at least it's over now and things will go back to normal somewhat for at least another week. we're housesitting for jay and diana through the majority of the month of september. it's probably not going to be too pleasant after a while, but at least we'll make a bunch of money that we will desperately need. this money will be enough to buy us our train tickets home for christmas. yay! i'm not sure but the money from the two-week trip might not be spoken for so i might be able to use it to master 'all hope is blind.'
speaking of 'all hope is blind' it's done. i have to listen to a few new mixes that i made, but it's pretty safe to say that it's all good. i might take a song off of the final tracklisting- the one that will most likely get the axe is 'under the flood.' it's loop-based and despite the fact that we are able to we haven't attempted to play it live yet. one of my main rules with songs tends to be that if we aren't dying to play it live then it probably isn't worth putting on the album. i have some loosely-tied plans for the release. i'm going to press up 100 promos first and send them out all over the known universe while getting the pressing of the lp going. i'm not sure how this will be done, but it will be done i say! i have about four months to get it done, but i will remain optimistic that it is still possible.
we need to get some fliers printed up to attempt to go on tour in march. i am still going to apply to play at sxsw. i don't know why i continue to apply and apply and apply every year and never get in, but i'll give it five years. i've already done three. i actually might call in some favors to try and get on some unofficial parties. it's about time i at least tried, dammit!
i'm currently musically obsessed with the morning after girls. i don't really understand this phenomenon, but nearly every psychedelic band that i love i've seen live for the first time and not liked only to track down their records later and completely fall in love with them. i guess this is a good thing as i tend to end up really loving music that i don't get at first.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
first, the warlocks shows- we missed sadhu sadhu the first night, and grimble grumble and the vandelles the second night. we caught gliss and the morning after girls- neither of which were particularly remarkable. at first i thought my standards were just too high, but then once the warlocks took the stage it became apparent that music that pulls me is music that pulls me in. if it doesn't there's really no other explanation. that said the first night the warlocks were on fire the whole night- fantastic! the setlist was-
red camera (w/ an amazing jam as the end-section), isolation, so paranoid, midnight sun, shake the dope out, the dope feels good, caveman rock, angry demons, hurricane heart attack, zombie like lovers, stickman blues, worn thin (back to the 7+ minute version from logan square auditorium two years ago that oozes into a beautiful feedback-fest); encore- red rooster (hallelujah!!!), inside/outside
there were a few other songs that were extended with some nice jammy sections as well. i'm not 100% sure of the order, it was reconstructed from memory on the bus on the way home but it's pretty likely and all of the songs they played are included. i've always wanted to hear 'red rooster,''stickman blues' and 'so paranoid.' anyway, they were obviously really feeling it the entire night- there wasn't even a moment that wasn't heartfelt and going for broke.
the second night-
red camera (again w/ the jam at the end), isolation, we need starpower, midnight sun, song for nico, bleed without you babe, baby blue, shake the dope out, the dope feels good, caveman rock, angry demons, stickman blues, cosmic letdown; encore- standing between the lovers of hell, warhorses, worn thin
the second night was definitely sold out- the first night was packed, but not sold out and people drifted off as they kept playing (don't know what's with that, but it happens at every warlocks show i've been to- a shame because the songs at the end are ALWAYS the best ones). we left before they were done the first time we saw them because it seemed to us that bobby hecksher was in a bad mood and that they probably wouldn't do an encore- he seemed pissed and walked off before 'we need starpower' was over so we figured they wouldn't play any more songs and we left. anyway, the second night he seemed to be in a bit of a bad mood at the beginning- it seemed like he thought it wasn't going well and after 'song for nico' he put down his guitar and said 'i'll be right back you guys, hold on a second' and then he came back, they played 'bleed without you babe' after which he perked up and said 'thanks for fixing the vocals- it sounds a lot better' and then they started 'baby blue' which he told us they hardly ever play because they usually mess it up when they play it. well, they played it perfectly and from there the show kicked into high gear and by the end of the main set they were on fire! naturally the encores were fantastic and 'worn thin' was even longer. the sound was MASSIVE- incredibly loud- my ears were ringing most of the next day. thick and sludgy. mmmmm, good! stefanie made a little knitted alien for bobby hecksher and she put it on his pedal board during the last song. he came out from the back room too and we were talking to him a bit- he was very nice! stefanie did most of the talking, though. it was a great night. the next day i felt okay at work as well despite only getting about four hours of sleep.
last night was the raveonettes show, also at the empty bottle. we met up with kylie at sultan's market and hung around at her house in humboldt park before walking to the show from there- we went through the park around the lagoon- which i had no idea even existed. it was very beautiful! we got to the empty bottle right at 10pm and hung around listening to the dj and people watching- the place was full of people who had obviously been at lollapalooza that day- a lot of boners and trixies (basically tan girls in a variety of skimpy dresses and stiletto heels or gladiator sandles). not really kind of the crowd i thought they would draw- the crowd at the warlocks was an interesting mix of people, but this crowd was more homogenous- as in made up of the kinds of people i just described in some very sensitive stereo-types. everyone was very duded up at the raveonettes show. after a while the opening band started- living things. they are huge contenders for worst opening band that we have ever seen. it was just kind of sad to watch- there's nothing worse than an opening band playing and acting and posturing like they're playing in a giant stadium full of people. at the end of the set the singer had a huge american flag around his neck and was singing some cheesy trype about 'keeping the peace, u.s.a. is number one' or some other such bullshit. these people obviously thought very highly of themselves. they had two girl singers too who danced the whole time. it was awful. the sad thing was that they were good musicians and played their music well- it was just a completely wretched style and wayyyyy too much undue posturing. their little keyboard/sample-player dude doubled as the 'band roadie'- stopping whatever it was that he was doing to immediately pick up the microphone stand that was cast off by the singer as well as handing the singer his guitar and returning the mic stand to its place. once their set was over he was the one that tore down most of the equipment and the rest of the band just disappeared. he even carried the guitarists' gigiantic cabinet by himself.
what happened next begat a new show-going rule for me. another roadie with a parliament funkadelic t-shirt set up the raveonettes equipment- moving the bass cabinet and head to stage right, setting sune and sharon's twin reverb amps, tuning their guitars (each guitar was tuned a total of at least three times), putting towels and bottles of water in easily accessible areas (which i didn't see either of them use at any point during their set), leaving the stage for periods of five minutes, then coming back and fiddling with something, leaving again, coming back to make another small 'adjustment.' it's the charade to justify an hour between bands- which is now something that if i witness at a band's show i will never go see them live again as it is so blatantly disrespectful and rude to the audience- like we're just expected to sit there in a crowded room like cattle for a fucking hour despite the fact that the equipment is readied in about 20 minutes. i usually think that the venue is what forces this ridiculous transition, but i know for a fact that this is not a policy that the empty bottle has. all of the members of the warlocks were onstage setting up their own equipment (except for bobby) and were ready to play in 20 minutes and did so rather than make us wait a fucking hour! same with bjm when they played at the metro. fuck, even spiritualized was onstage and ready to play after a 20 minute break. so the mix would probably be really good with that much prep time right? well, one would think that this would be a benefit of such a ridiculous bullshit (and sadly time-honored) rock 'n roll tradition. when the raveonettes finally got onstage to play the guitars were almost completely inaudible and this was only fixed somewhat after some yells from the crowd to turn them up. they played a bunch of stuff from 'lust, lust, lust' my favourite song from 'pretty in black' and the old standards that they play at every show ('attack of the ghost riders' and 'my tornado' for instance) and then they started playing some of the new songs that are on their new album that's supposed to come out in mid-september. this is one of the main reasons i wanted to go to this show because i knew they'd be playing a bunch of these new songs that i was excited to hear. well... the new songs were all pretty bad. quite disappointing- very consciously poppy. quite a letdown as they'd just made those two digital eps that hinted at a world of possibilities for new directions they might take. instead it looks like they're just trying to make a really commercial record and ramp up their popularity (which they already owe to doing what they do best and that doesn't mean that i think they should just stick to ripping of the jesus and mary chain- which i don't even think is true to begin with). they were kind of like the poppier moments of 'chain gang of love' mixed with the most misguided tracks on 'pretty in black' (which is without question their weakest album). it was a HUGE disappointment. at first i thought that i probably just didn't like them anymore or that the warlocks were so good that my standards had been set too high for what i was expecting to see. they played 'lust' after the new songs and i realised that this was not so- i like the raveonettes, i just thought that they would build on what was their best album 'lust, lust, lust' and felt like my suspicions were correct after hearing the aforementioned eps (which do just that). so then they get to 'aly walk with me'- which is their shit-hot all-out noise-fest set-closer. i figured 'at least this will be good.' well, sadly when the guitars are mixed so low in the overall mix it kind of makes a knock-down drag-out noise-fest impossible so what was supposed to be the high point of the set fell flat on its face. it was made all the sadder by the boners in the crowd yelling in ecstacy like they were witnessing something transcendent. i'm sorry but the knock-down drag-out noise-fest is not something you can water down- that kind of ruins the whole point. so after that we all decided we should leave because we really didn't care to hear an encore. we'd had enough. once outside we were airing our grievances (which were all the same) as the band played a two song encore- 'that great love sound' and some other song i couldn't quite place from out on the street. in the end they played for 45 minutes- 15 minutes shorter than they made us wait to hear them play. i'm sorry but this is complete bullshit and i will never see the raveonettes ever again.
however, the warlocks have my undying devotion for playing the best two-night stand i've seen since the cure in new orleans in 2000. the bands that deserve to be famous never are. i guess that means we should cherish them all the more.