Friday, February 27, 2009

*insert clever arcane quote here*

i'm at the coffee shop again. i can't stop listening to the new neko case album- it's just awersome. i've had it for a few weeks now and i listen to it constantly (not much of a surprise)- pretty excited to buy it on vinyl (whenever it comes out on vinyl). i have some recording coming up tonight- a few drum parts that i need to have stefanie do. this record is turning into a really, beautiful and organic affair. the most full-band effort kind of thing that we've probably ever done (or ever will do). i've been very aware of how ridiculously lazy i've been on the recording front lately, but it's really just because i'm not the one who has to do all of the parts- very nice feeling indeed. kind of odd because it slows the pace in a lot of ways- but really in other ways it isn't subject to the vagaries of me getting burnout periodically. i'm not real sure what all we're going to do tonight. it kind of depends on how quickly everything goes and how stefanie feels. the drum parts we're laying down are all songs we've been playing in practise for a few weeks. if all goes well i might attempt the first of the live tracks- it'll be 'narcoleptic' probably because i feel like that song is meant to be the centerpiece of the record and it's been torture to have to wait for so long to record it properly- it's been in existence for nearly three years and we've been playing it live for two years. it's been an elusive animal to capture. there is an earlier attempt that didn't get too far because i had to do it along with a click track- i did it a few times because i wasn't real happy with how it went. i wasn't happy with how i played or the tones i was getting. stefanie had a lot of trouble playing along with the click track. it just sounds incredibly tense- which is not a virtue because there's a lot of open space in the song and hearing our overdubbed distracted playing doesn't make for the a good backdrop for the mood we're after here...
we need to schedule some time to do vocals as well. i'll broach that subject once we're done with the drums tonight and see what's left to tick off on the pages.
yesterday was a really fun day- we did the focus group. it was really just us plugged into a computer listening and watching tv, radio and web ads and reacting to them. it was actually kind of fun. we were both the first two people done. i tried to dumb myself down to the absolute lowest i could and just react to things on the basest level and tried not to focus too much on what was being sold and rather on the ads because i think that that's probably what they're most concerned with. it made for some entertaining times- i actually find tv ads quite entertaining most of the time. they make me laugh. they actually can be clever. i have found that those damned target ads work like a charm on me. it was kind of disturbing, really... but worth $50. i hope that i get to do it again. and again. and again.
back to the working week tomorrow. i am always enjoying myself on the weekends- but really i don't have much trouble enjoying myself during the week. once we get some new tracks going i am really looking forward to getting chris and katelyn together for some more tracks. i think the ideal number for them at night is about three. katelyn did four the other night, but one was a bit of a struggle. 'your pictures' didn't turn out too nicely- a bit vanilla as a string arrangement. it just kind of doubles what's already there. i don't know if i need to rewrite it or what. i also realised that i might have fucked the arrangement up a bit and played the break a little too long when i did the 6-string bass. but maybe not... hopefully not. i am getting more and more lukewarm on that song the more i work on it. i think i might just finish it and it's possible it will be the first on the chopping block. there are going to be casualties.
i think this is probably long enough now.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

shalloboi is never one of the cool kids

i'm somewhat disturbed by what i see going on at i say somewhat because really i'm not that surprised by it and actually pretty much expected it to happen from square one. i don't mean to be excessively negative but i just really resent seeing things like this happen no matter their inevitability. it's kind of become a den self-congratulatory folkies- at least that's who the site mostly celebrates. i don't know what it is about playing folk music that gives people such a big head, but it seems to me, having known and played with tons of 'folkies' over the years, that the two walk hand in hand. i guess it's playing all of those shows in living rooms and travelling the country playing to the same people over and over again for years and years. obviously this is a bit of a bitterness kind of issue on my part- and i'll accept that, most certainly i am a bitter person. i just am incredibly fucking sick and tired of being privvy to all of this high school-mentality bullshit. there are a few people who are part of this cllct clique (nice pun, eh?) who i am looking at as exceptions because they are actually nice people and have bothered to be nice to us when we've been around them and who have demonstrated to me that they are above such mentalities and i'd say they are james eric and patrick ripoll. other people i don't know, but i see them chiming in and i am getting a bit sick of seeing this shit happen over and over. a lot of this has kind of come about because i was having some memories from some stuff that went down when tony was staying with us while we were supposed to be making a record and it just kind of started to bug me again because it's just another example of how we (and i mean my band and stefanie and i as individuals) aren't considered part of the 'cool kids' gang and are often marginalized for being 'weird' or i guess not wanting to join the circle jerk. it isn't so much that we're upset at being marginalized we're more upset that the margins exist in the first place especially amongst people who are supposed to be above that kind of behaviour. i guess it's kind of a moot point as we've met some artistic people here in town who are truly talented and nice people and who aren't slaves to some kind of sheep mentality (ironically their art is a lot better and more heartfelt). i just am pissed because i was trying to post on the cllct board and my user info got lost in a shuffle that just happened (interestingly timed) and i've noticed a voice of dissent who was there (who i pretty much always agreed with) who was basically saying the same things i'm saying here- is conspicuously absent as well. it's just irritating because all of this is done under the guise of cllct being a real community that embraces everyone. unless you say things that the fat cats don't like and then your voice will be silenced. so in the future i'll still post our releases to cllct simply because it's a very user friendly tool to send out promos of an album when i'm feeling out whether or not it's worthwhile to send someone a hard copy. i really was hoping i'd be surprised but, no go. so much for the great experiment. i'm sorry we never bought a ukele and spent five seconds on our recordings fixing it all with autotune and compression later. this is where music is headed.
on a lighter and somewhat related note we had a nice and productive recording session with chris last night- the results were quite pleasing. katelyn and chris sound very nice together. i am going to get the two of them together at the same time for the next strings session. we only got a few songs down onto tape, but what we got is quite impressive. the album is coming along quite nicely. i'm enjoying the process of watching these tracks come to life- mainly because i'm not the one doing the lion's share of the work- the strings are so integral to this album that it is taking on more the feel of an organic band rather than just me doing most of the parts and making it sound like a band. i definitely want to do more of the three different string players kind of work going on- overdubs are all well and good, but what last night has taught me is that it's worth it to get three different performances from three different individuals. it's kind of giving the parts a life and a vitality that wasn't there before. beautiful. also the string parts are taking on the same kind of life that the other parts do- done quickly, occasional bum notes left in. i'm loving it. it's goooooood! one of the reasons i'm so bitter about the cllct thing is because i feel like it'd be nice to have a community of folks to be excited about this around, but as usual these are small victories that i only get to enjoy alone while other people overlook it time and time and time again. what's all the hard work for again- maybe we should start using autotune and all of that other crap. hardeeharhar!
today stefanie is here at the coffee shop with me. we have a market research thing to go to soon and then i think we're going to go and see a movie ('coraline') later. fun fun. we have two new netflix discs as well.
other than all of that last week was pretty good at work. i had a reasonably good time. the weeks have been flying by lately. i don't really know what that means. i guess that this is the point where my daily/weekly/monthly routine is so rote by now that it flies by with little to no effort. i'm still having trouble saving money and such, but hopefully we'll still get things going. this market research thing today is supposed to help with that- i am not touching that money. i hope that i can get more of these going as well. the guy who got this for us told me he'll have us come in as often as he can for as long as we don't mind. i hope that that proves to be enough. as long as i am not used to it as an extra means of income saving the money to use for more releases is going to be good. also i've got a pile of lps earmarked in my mind to sell on ebay and some of my guitar pedals that i don't use anymore that should fetch me enough money to at least get the mastering done. the actual pressing should be around $500. not too much. i hope not anyway.
this is probably long enough now.

Friday, February 20, 2009

heavy deavy

i have a musical crush on grizzly bear. i am a bit bummed that i didn't hear 'yellow house' until now. something that fantastic was out for two years before i came across it- fie for shame! i actually feel like grizzly bear are what i feel like animal collective should sound like given all of the fawning- and grizzly bear are probably more deserving of hype on that level. supposedly they are working on a new record right now that should hopefully come out soon. i haven't even done an internet search, so far. this should probably be rectified. and soon.
the recording session yesterday turned out really well (not really surprisingly). katelyn made it, but chris was sick so we had to reschedule with him. i haven't heard back from him yet though. i should probably go ahead and draft someone else in because i think he's a bit busy with his show. i might email him and ask if he would mind. we did about four songs yesterday. the harmonics didn't really work- kind of a bummer. i think that that's something that one gets into further down the line. maybe i should ask drew if he could give it a shot- the song i'm trying to get the harmonics for is called 'pale' and i'm not real sure what's going to happen with it. i'd probably like to put it on the album, but i'm not sure it'll fit- i'm trying to fit more compact songs on the record and 'pale' is pretty long- 7+ minutes i believe. everything else was just dandy and katelyn did everything very quickly- she's fucking awesome.
i also finally heard back from elastic about the possibility of doing the show. they can do either of the dates i asked for (both saturday nights) so now it becomes a question of if billy can make it up here for the show- which i still think is going to be quite the longshot. i'm going to kc from the 2nd through the 4th (i'm getting back to chicago on that sunday the 5th i think) of april for some recording. i'm going for three days this time because last time was kind of a drag only being home for two days that were real rushed. strangely it was a good amount of time, but it was still kind of a drag. going straight from the bus to work was a complete drag. if i take the bus home on saturday night and get in at 6am on sunday morning that's a bit more doable since the schedule won't be pulled so tight (say there's a delay and i don't make it to work for a few hours- that would be really bad on saturday since i'm the one who is responsible for opening the store) and i might actually have time to drop my stuff off at home before going to work. plus there's a little leeway in terms of time. if i get delayed for an hour or two it won't fuck things up. i've only been delayed on the megabus once so far and that was on the trip to kansas city. the driver stopped every hour on the hour it seemed.
so now with the prospect of the show looming it brings up other questions- now at least when i go home if billy can make it up to chicago for the show we can take some time to go through the songs we're going to play so that he's a bit more prepared for the run-through that we'll have to do the night before. i'd also like to do projections. i can't really afford a projector- i could make some projections on imovie between now and then, but i think i might have to try and find someone to do that for us. i think it's also time for stefanie and i to go through a setlist just to see how long it takes to play all of the songs and figure out a decent order and everything. muse muse muse.
today at the coffee shop it appears to be canoodling couples day. seriously.
i think it might be time for me to start googling schools for the september tour. february is almost over after all.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

you folks are getting off light today

i've spent most of my time here at the coffee shop updating my facebook stuff. i am so ashamed that i have finally broken down and gotten one of those set up. it's very embarrassing and so not my style. more than one person has declared that they are surprised that i am on it. right now i'm listening to the sonic boom 'angel' 12" that i got in the mail as well. i have bought heaps of new vinyl- grizzly bear- 'yellow house,' the aforementioned sonic boom 12", neko case- 'blacklisted,' crystal stilts self-titled 12", eleni mandell- 'miracle of five,' the gris-gris- 'live at the creamery.' i've finished ripping audio from all of the remaining cdrs that kind of fell by the wayside- i had a backup of about 10 albums burned to cd that i had to load into audacity to edit and then convert to mp3 to put on my ipod and i finally finished the backlog so i'm free to start back on the great, ongoing conversion. i'm not sure what the count is- there are 35 records in the bottom section of the record shelf. i think they've been sitting there for quite a while. i go through the stacks all the time and find more stuff i'd like to convert as well. then there's always a big pile right next to the turntable that usually constitutes a selection of stuff i like to listen to while i'm at home and new records that i am going to convert. with all of the new vinyl from christmas at least 20+ have been added to the mix. kind of a shame because i'd whittled the list down from 70 or so by sometime last year and had a good run of keeping on top of burning the audio from new lps right when i got them. so all told i have a ton of converting to do. it's really kind of a thing. i guess i'll get to all of that stuff sometime. there is, however, a growing list of albums i'd like to redo as well because they have too many problems. i know that while i was working at chase i did a good job of getting all of the rolling stones stuff fixed that needed to be fixed. i just found a siouxsie and the banshees album that needs to be fixed as well and if i remember correctly at least one of the dinosaur jr. lps needs to be fixed entirely. argh.
i have almost filled my ipod up with crap as well. i am beginning to think i should take some of the videos off because i really don't watch them- with a few exceptions. i finally watched the whole spiritualized 2004 glastonbury video, which i will definitely be keeping because it's fantastic. i have a 98 glastonbury video of theirs as well, but that one might get the axe because i have a soundboard recording of that show that i like better than the video actually.
i just got a call from my violist that he isn't going to be able to make it to the recording session i've got scheduled for tonight- it seemed like he wanted to reschedule for saturday, so hopefully that will work out. it's a bit of a shame because i was really looking forward to getting him and katelyn together in the interest of saving time and because i thought that they might enjoy it, but he's sick right now (like everyone seems to be right about now- i even felt like i might be getting sick when i woke up this morning). it'll be okay- i can get some stuff done with katelyn i think. i've got four songs written out- that should be plenty to keep us busy.
other than that i have nothing really going on. last week wasn't bad- just very sleep deprived. a lot of fun stuff going on in the next few weeks. next thursday i'm going to go do a focus group thing in the afternoon- pretty excited about it. i hope that i can get a few more of these going so that i can save up some money for the impending release. i still haven't bought the piece for the tape machine that i need. next weeks tips should be for that (i hope anyway). i also need to buy eleni mandell tickets. i'm planning on starting to save money again in march and then sell some pedals that i don't use anymore in order to raise the money for mastering. i'm really hoping everything's okay with the tape machine. fingers crossed. only time will tell. from what i understand about these reel-to-reel tape machines is that you can't just buy a used one and expect to plug it in and be able to use it straight away unless you payed some fairly serious money for it (in which case you've bought it from someone who has spent time restoring it and calibrating it and whatnot). since i bought it for $162 from a pawn shop i'm not quite holding out a lot of hope in that department.
i'm making some lists right now for the 'all hope is blind' album. we are further along than i had initially thought. in fact we are a generous amount further along than i had thought. things are going a bit faster than i had expected. it's possible that we might be able to get this one done fairly quickly although i guess that the first track was started way back in november of 2006 or so (that would be '4am train'). then there was 'down to the willows' pretty much a night or two after i had bought my fender twin reverb- wayyyy back in january of 2007. i've started (belatedly) to attempt to keep track of the recording a bit better this time out. good luck with that... a pile of stuff for stefanie to do just piled up as well and i didn't realise it but we could start recording some of the tracks that i wanted to do live- stefanie's been using the brushes a lot and i don't need any new mics to record those because i can get the sound i'm after with what we have. i wish we could just record all of the drum parts with brushes, but that might be a bit transparent.
the connection is getting a bit sketchy and i'm a bit sick of being here, so i should probably get moving at some point soon. i definitely don't want to lose this gem of an entry...

Friday, February 13, 2009

tyler hearts flinty-voiced female singer-songwriters

yes, this is true. why is it true? i have no idea. i'm listening to jenny lewis right now. we're going to see eleni mandell in march. i am completely obsessed with neko case. nina nastasia. jolie holland. need i go on? i honestly do like the music. seriously. a lot.
it is weird listening to jenny lewis though- she's only a few years older than me and when she was an actress as a child i happened to see several of the movies she was in- my sister watched 'troop beverly hills' constantly for quite a while, 'the wizard' (or whatever that nintendo movie was called), there was even a made for tv movie that i saw a few times over at some house that we used to go stay after school while our parents were at work- the love's house. when i was 15 i baby sat for the love's kids. i took them to the pool and did back flips and cannon balls off of the diving board. it was very fun. but anyway, when i was ten we used to watch a movie called 'a friendship in vienna' (i think that's what it was called)- jenny lewis played a jewish girl whose best friend's older brother was an active nazi-sympathizer before the war. it was a really depressing movie to watch when you were 10 years old. there's some quote in there about how safety is a lie and just something that we tell ourselves exists so that we can sleep at night. but anyway, jenny lewis was in it and after seeing her in all of these movies and the fact that she was about my age caused me to develop a thing for her. i was 10 years old. so it's weird to be listening to her music all of these years on because that's kind of what it makes me think of. the first time i heard about rilo kiley was in an issue of magnet- they were in one of those 'on the radar' (or whatever it's called- those page-long new band profiles where half is text and the other half is a giant photo) blurbs and i looked at it and thought 'is that the girl from "a friendship in vienna"?' i then read the article and discovered it was, indeed. that's some crazy shtuff. after that i think she turned up all over that 'quest for sleep' documentary on the superchunk dvd. i guess that what i'm getting at here in a really odd, roundabout way is some kind of commentary on the nature of visibility. she's been in two public visibility capacities and i managed to be around for both of them. the fact that we are so close in age makes me feel some kind of abstract, bizarre, post-modern, somehow-fake, but somehow-not kind of connections. naturally this does not go both ways. it's a strange time that we live in where such things are possible.
but yes, i listen to tons of psychedelic drone and noise-laced music. and lots of female singer-songwriters. i listen to a handful of male singer-songwriters too, but i generally like the female singer-songwriter better. i don't know why- most singer-songwriters of the male ilk seem to be a bit easier to pigeonhole whereas i can think of tons of brilliant female singer-songwriters and it would be all over the map. someone like mirah, for instance. very difficult to pin down. i also find that these lady songwriters who i listen to write much more profound/interesting lyrics. i normally don't care a lick about lyrics in the music i listen to, but in the singer-songwriter context it really becomes a bit impossible to ignore the lyrics because then why are you listening to them in the first place? other than that it's just someone playing an acoustic guitar and singing over it. it's so bare-bones that the lyrics become something that should grab you as well as the music. i think this is why i'm not a singer-songwritery type. there are elements of that stuff in my music, but really i do best with things that are more abstract and singing that acts more as an instrument than to convey a long thread of clever rhymes and deep meaning. at the same time i think that my singing and stefanie's singing conveys a lot of strong emotion- that's the only reason i can think of that causes people to want to understand what we're singing. i guess we make it sound as though it must be incredibly important.
i will also admit to finding a lot of these female singer-songwriters attractive. it isn't really why i like them by itself- part of the attraction is fed through how talented they are- both in terms of songwriting, playing and often what they are able to do with their voices. it's just a very appealing package- i guess it's just more socially acceptable for the attraction to be female fan to male musician. i do get an awful lot of shit for this, btw. it's kind of getting to be annoying. like i should be ashamed to be attracted to someone who does something that i admire musically. that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, does it? it basically means that i like some substance in ladies that i'm attracted to. i'm not real into the whole plastic-barbie-doll ideal of 'beauty' that people are so swept up in in this country. it seems to me that too many men just expect women to be perfect looking, but completely devoid of substance- opinions, emotions, passions, etc. i still get a bit of that whole 'all those ladies are crazy' bullshit at work. i'm not a fan of that crap- never have been. for anything that is said in that context the amount of truth in it seems to be nothing more than a grain. plus, it cuts both ways. i don't see what's so difficult to understand about that. i guess it isn't a surprise that i like so many female singer-songwriters amongst all of the other stuff that i like musically. in a lot of ways the music world is an unchecked sausage fest (it's precious rare that we play a show where stefanie isn't the only girl in one of the bands). the sausage fest gets old. it's nice to have a little variety. plus i'd much prefer to be in a group of women to being stuck in a group of men.
that said i am still just a dude. i'm not beyond having my own misguided male-insecurity moments. with dudes it's always something of these- cars, sports or guitars. no one is immune.
the guy sitting across from me is doing sign-language in front of his computer. oh, this modern age. we had another 'singles' moment while we were watching a movie recently. i can't remember what movie it was from, but if you don't know what i mean by a 'singles' moment i would be happy to explain it. watch the movie 'singles' and take note of the number of times that there are moments contributing to the dramatic workings of the movie as the result of technology that has been rendered archaic in these modern times. the best example of this to me is the part when campbell scott's character calls kyra sedgewick's character on a payphone while he's drunk and leaves a long, rambling, important message on her answering machine- only to have kyra sedgewick's answering machine eat the tape. such a moment becomes charmingly hilariously nostalgic when it's watched today. 'singles' is the best movie for this too because it's basically a time-capsule of that era- it really hasn't aged well at all. it is painfully dated. this contributes to its inherent charm. something like 'say anything' even suffers less from this even though it was made earlier than 'singles.'
we have a show tonight at a gallery. it's kind of nice that we're housesitting right now too because since we have a car we don't have to arrange to reserve one for a few hours or renting one for a day just to go play a show. the main point of this show is just to keep us up to snuff. we haven't played a proper electric show in almost six months. our last show was in portland back in september. the show over christmas doesn't count because it was acoustic and completely different from 90% of the shows that we play. the purpose of this show is mainly to get our chops back up so that should we happen to get more shows in the next few months then we won't suck and be totally unprepared.
i haven't heard anything at all back from anyone i've contacted about setting up the near-mythical strings show. i'm contacting places that just charge you a fee for use of their space- it's not even up to them to make their living off of anything other than the use of their space. uuuurrrgghhh!
i do have some strings stuff to record next week- which is awesome. we are on the way to completing a few more tracks- 'under the flood' just needs drums and vocals. the two new songs just need strings and drums. we can do the drums for those since they are played with brushes- a good drum sound with brushes is something we have no trouble getting at all. oh yeah. i've got to get a megabus trip scheduled asap as well. that shit needs to get going. i check the site every day nearly.
i am going to kill this rambling and nonsensical entry right now before it gets too much more uncomfortably revealing or long.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

now i wanna mouth off about it

back at the coffee shop. we are housesitting again- this time until sunday afternoon. we started watching 'it's always sunny in philadelphia' and naturally we've been loving it. not much of a surprise there.
work to do? nonexistent. just strings shit, as always. getting people to respond to my messages has become colossally difficult. i haven't heard back from any of the places that i emailed about the show in april- elastic, av-aerie, the whistler. kind of irritating. it's all kind of tying in with the whole cumulative effect of being almost wilfully ignored. it's almost like they can smell the un-coolness on me. i always figured it would get easier to book shows as time went on, but that hasn't really proven true. as usual i can't get anyone from schuba's to email me back even just to tell me whether or not they've heard my cd. as always, sitting on a mountain of gold and unable to get anyone to stop and notice. i'm even ignored on message boards for the most part. it's similar to how it goes in conversation- for whatever reason someone will ask me something, i will give them a correct answer, they won't believe me, someone else will tell them the exact same thing in the exact same words and they will for some reason believe this second opinion and will pretty much act as though that one was the first one and that my opinion doesn't mean diddly-squat. this is a problem that has plagued me my entire life- no one seems to value my opinion at all even when they ask for it. i don't really understand why. i used to think it was because i wasn't a very confident person, but nowadays i am much more confident when i give my opinion and i'm authoritative about any facts that i give out because i generally don't speak up about anything unless i know what i'm talking about. it's all just beginning to become apparent to me that knowing what you're talking about doesn't matter to 99% of people you will meet in life. they don't care about that- people just like to hear things that sound good from people who sound like they know what they're talking about. the truth doesn't really exist anymore and even if it did no one would be interested in it at all.
i still try to cling to that whole 'my music will be recognised once i am dead and long gone' but i'm even beginning to think that something like that has been rendered impossible in this day and age. i guess i could tie this in with my annoyance about animal collective and the critical mass hysteria that is now attached to them. indulge me-
i don't really mind animal collective's music. it's not bad. it doesn't knock my socks off, but i like to hear it occasionally. occasionally. with the release of this newest album of theirs though i can't even bear to hear their names because the heaps and heaps of praise that people bestow upon them just makes me physically ill. i really don't understand why they, out of everyone making 'challenging' music these days have been chosen as the golden indie avatars of artistic adventurousness. it's similar to the praise that radiohead get no matter what they do and how for some reason people who hold them up as loving them because they're 'experimental' but who can't stand to listen to anything else that's moderately mid-tempo or morose because they can't 'handle it' and yet they can listen to an album like 'ok computer' over and over again at any time of day. to me it's just indicative of a complete sheep mentality. plus it's an affirmation that in order to be successful while making adventurous music one has to make it palatable enough to mass tastes in order for it to reach a larger group of people and have them be receptive to it. how, exactly, this works remains a mystery to me. when i'm listening to animal collective i actually don't necessarily see how they've made their music more acceptable to more bone-headed people. i hear a few hooks, but no more than i'd hear in my own music really. i guess it all comes down to envy- and there is some truth to that. when i first heard them i felt like we were working in a very similar area. i think mike went to see them a long time ago, possibly when we lived in portland, and he said that he didn't understand why people were so over-the-moon for them and that they were similar to what we were doing, but we were doing a better job of it. i could be rewriting history there, but that is effectively the kind of feeling i'm trying to get across here. now this ridiculous hype has reached critical mass and to me it's always been the biggest litmus test of that ridiculous pitchfork effect that i'm always talking about. pitchfork has pretty much ruined independent music by making it so accessible to such a large group of people and have been around long enough to develop their own sheep-like herd of followers. this is what i get so incensed about when we go to pitchfork fest and why we never go to the saturday show of the weekend because that is invariably when the pitchfork pets play and the pitchfork pets can all go fuck themselves. would i like to be able to have that many people love our music and come to our shows? absolutely. would i want that just to be betstowed upon me by those smarmy, know-it-all, arrogant, snot-nosed nerds who write for pitchfork- no, i'd fucking rather die because i don't want a sheep-like herd of zombies following me around- that's not what i make music for. music is art, it's not some stupid fashion-victim parade and one-upping environment. all of that's bullshit and none of it matters at all. as if that weren't upsetting enough i've sent a couple of cds to pitchfork. none of them have been reviewed of course because they're too busy picking up the bands that balance their pop hooks with experimentalism to the exact ratios suggested by the pitchfork writers. it's almost to the point where the bands that they are breaking have merely figured out the formula that they're looking for while other bands that deserve the attention way more (i.e. a band like sian alice group- who deserve the kind of critical mass hype of some bullshit like animal collective or serena maneesh but who will labor on in complete obscurity). the only band that i continue to like who's success was 'made' by pitchfork is deerhunter because i think they are perfectly worthy of the praise that they receive.
i don't know- i really shouldn't be concerned with this so much. in the long run i think we will probably come out better than i expect. a lot of people whose opinions i really respect have told me this. i guess i should just try and slog on and be content. it's just that it's really beginning to wear me down and i'm only one person who's only capable of doing so much and it'd be nice if getting the opportunity to play live shows wouldn't be such a hard-won aspect. i only have so much tenacity and even i have a limit to my stubbornness.
a lot of this was brought on by a blog post that psychic ills did on myspace in response to this. this review angered me not just because it gives a good album such a low-rating, mainly just because of the carelessness with which this particular journalist threw it together and most of all the implication that it makes that a band isn't worth hearing unless they are willing to submit to 'toning down oddball inclinations in favor of pop structures and greater accessibility.' basically what this reviewer is saying is that if something strays too far from their way of thinking that it isn't worth hearing and any band/artist who isn't willing to dumb down their art so that everyone can understand isn't worth hearing or paying attention to. it's basically the pitchfork philosophy right there in ink (there's even a reference to animal collective in there). i've seen psychic ills play twice- once was absolutely astounding and the second time they pretty much fell on their faces- it was clear they were having an off night. the first time i saw them was as a result of being bamboozled by pitchfork into going to see serena maneesh play at the empty bottle. psychic ills played right before them and they played an amazing set that really sucked me in- the effect was very strong and i really enjoyed myself. what's more their set was strung together through improvised songs. they built songs from absolutely nothing and managed to make it sound about as pre-determined as something they had spent ages honing. they mixed in a handful of songs from 'dins' and some other stuff i'd never heard, but it worked incredibly well and was an admirable and remarkable feat for a band to pull off live- definitely not an easy thing to pull off without sounding ridiculously pretentious and indulgent. the second time they played at schuba's, were short a person from last time and everything they kind of came up with on the spot kind of fell flat- they were even having problems with the songs from 'dins' that they played. i would chalk it up to the fact that the sound that night was really bad (worst sound i've ever heard at schuba's) and they were just having an off night. that's going to happen when you're doing something that bold and risky- occasionally you're going to fall on your face. i was hoping this newest psychic ills album would be a good one and i was kind of nervous about hearing it but i have to say that i really like it- it's completely different from everything else they've done. it does have a loose, improvised feel but at the same time it's only 8 songs long and probably hovers somewhere around the 40-minute mark as a whole. i'd think if you were throwing an entire album together from improvised canoodling it probably wouldn't be that reined-in and condensed- it'd probably meander much more. i also think that it's wrong to just call it something that they threw together without any thought at all- there is a bit too much in the way of design and structure (however loose) to have been completely slap-dash. there are things there structurally- you just have to listen. whatever my opinion is it's clear to me that this journalist probably put this album on while he was doing the dishes one day and then wrote his review. lazy journalism. this is a shame since he writes for such a make-or-break website that people follow like sheep- he has a responsibility to listen critically and well and be fully informed and try to come from as unbiased a place as possible before writing a review. i've written bad reviews of cds that i've regretted writing because in some cases i really wasn't fair or unbiased. that's of the reasons why i quit writing cd reviews. this is something that was made clear to me when the tables were turned on me when i was supposed to interview deerhoof. it's also one of the reasons i can't listen to deerhoof anymore- i have a problem giving anyone my money who is willing to be that mean to me. it's not like anyone gave me any money for writing cd reviews and it's also not like i was writing for a website with much clout. i also still turned it in and published it even though they made me look like a complete moron.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

sick of sunshine

the nice weather we've gotten today i can't help but feel a bit wary of. it's mid-february- it shouldn't be 60 degrees out. that is a bad sign.

Friday, February 6, 2009

computer meltdown pt. 2,000

we had some problems with the computer last night. obviously they've been rectified (well, somewhat). i have an appointment at the genius bar today (we went all the way down to the gold coast last night). i'm still trying to figure out if i should bother to go. we know that either the battery is completely dead or the power supply is messed up or the plug-in for the power supply is fucked up. my suspicion is that it's all three. we'll see i guess.
in other news i need to figure out an alternative to igo. they are just getting worse and worse and worse. they used to give you a credit for refueling the car (it wasn't very much- i think it was about $2) but now they give you no credit and if you don't refuel the car and it's below 1/4 of a tank they charge you a $25 fine. nice, huh. isn't positive reinforcement supposed to be more effective than punishment? i also don't remember being notified that this was the case now, which gives me the willies because that's something that banks do. i expect it from the bank. i don't expect it from a 'non-profit' organisation with a 'green' agenda. i guess this is just a sign of the times we are living in- shitty. the reason we didn't refuel the car is because there's a number on the credit card that's inside the car that you have to key into the gas pump in order for the card to work and it wasn't on this particular credit card, so therefore we couldn't refuel it. i sure as hell wasn't going to use my own money to do it. getting some fucking company to reimburse you for something like that tends to be an incredibly slow process. it took me three months to get a $300 check from capital one when i overpaid my credit card account transferring the balance and then closed my account immediately. so i sent something explaining the situation, making it clear that i was upset (although i don't think i was rude) and of course there was the obligatory threat to report the problem to the better business bureau at the end. that works like a charm i've found. stefanie and i use that one all the time. this is a good thing because that's what the better business bureau is for and shows that it's actually doing it's job.
i got a myspace bulletin that the warlocks will be at sxsw to play their new record in its entirety. shit. that'd be kind of fun to hear.
i am really loving the silver apples right now.
we are indeed firmed up to play a show at the volcan gallery next friday. i think i'm going to look into just renting a car for the day- it'll probably cost about the same as reserving an igo car for four hours and i also just found out that they go ahead and charge you for time that you cancel once you return the car. they used to only charge you for the time that you used. it seems to change every week. it's something new every month. there are always new charges being added on every month. they send me random invoices charging me for shit i don't always fully understand and the people at the call-center are kind of curt, a bit rude and rarely helpful or understanding. rather than go on a big, lengthy rant i read some yelp reviews and (unlike most negative yelp reviews i read) it was comforting. everyone on there has shared the same frustrations. i'm not holding out much hope that they're not going to charge my credit card for that $25 fine. what's more about renting a car- i can rent it for 24 hours and not have to worry about scrambling home to get it there on time- i can return it the next day without any worries. i just checked actually and it would be more financially viable to do so. their hours are a bit inconvenient, but i could just drop it off before i go to work and still be there in about 10-15 minutes.
so there you go really. i don't know. it's such a crapshoot too- at times like this it's so easy to say 'if we still had the van then we wouldn't have this problem' but that just is not true. at all. even if we rent a car once a month we're spending less money than we would be if we were driving that beast around and having to pay for gas. that's not even taking into account how much we spend on repairs and maintenance and city stickers and people-slashing-your-tires-because-they-don't-like-you-parking-in-front-of-their-house fees.
i'm not sure what else to discuss. i did just get an out-of-office email from the accountant at igo. i guess that means that i'm going to pay $25 and they're probably not going to refund my money. yup, the writing is definitely on the wall. it's ovah! i might even consider looking into zipcar. i've heard they are actually a lot more reliable. they are a bit more expensive but i also suppose that you get what you pay for. so it goes.
is it possible for me to get ahead? i am beginning to think that the answer is no. yes, it's time for this again. it's possible for me to quit music and therefore not have to worry about car-sharing plans/rental cars and other crappola like that. or at the very least it's possible for us to quit playing shows and just continue to release records that no one buys. in all honesty it wouldn't be the most unheard-of thing in the world. i don't know. i just really am getting fucking tired of this nonsense. my debt is just knocking at my door and i'm a bit tired of hearing it sit there and knock all the time. sure, everyone has debt. i'd just like to get back to the days before i had any. they were kind of nice. if i didn't have any now i would be living very comfortably, but noooo i just had to self-release my first record. there's no such thing as a free lunch kiddies. i'm not real sure what else to do. it looks like february is going to be a washout month for my tips as well- just all kinds of unpredicted stuff popping up. quite tapped out. i was supposed to have been able to have raised $300 for mastering by march. i guess that's not happening. a shame because i always hate sitting on a finished record, but that seems to be about the size of it right now. i will do my best not to feel sorry for myself right now. that's not going to help anyone at all, least of all me. there are a few small victories- we locked in our lease for the next fourteen months- we don't have to be out of our apartment until march 31st of next year. that actually would be a decent time to move. we've looked into moving into a hunter properties building on the other side of granville- i'd almost want to just not bother with a moving van or anything- just march down the street carrying our stuff. that'd be ideal, i think. i just can't help feeling like it's all starting cave in around me- our computer's all fucked up and the burden is pretty much on me to buy the next computer, which is impending. things i thought were viable aren't so appealing (as always) and i don't just happen to have $1000 just lying around to use. then there is the joke of these two impending releases. ready or not here they come. then there is the whole issue of the tour- which i have to start planning so we can start booking college shows in march so that we can see if we will be able to get enough of those for the tour to pay for itself. it can be done i say! i just have to make it through the rest of this year and get these things finished so that i can have a year to myself and not have to have some ridiculous release schedule looming overhead making me crazy. maybe then it will be possible for me to take care of some of my mounting debts. one can always live in hope.
anyway, that's all i have to say for now. i need to start taking things a bit more one-day-at-a-time. nothing is fucked. nothing is fucked.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

meltdown is coming...

i feel like there's going to be a total balls-out kind of meltdown at work. my boss has been getting on my nerves like nobody's business lately. this is kind of a recurring problem- my bosses tend to put me under a microscope and scrutinize every teeny little action i do. in this case i don't think it's appropriate since i know what i'm doing at this job. he basically wants everyone to do everything exactly the way that he does rather than for people to do things the way that they're comfortable doing them. he wants no variation. really he should just go down the block and apply for a job at starbuck's because that's the place for that kind of thing. my impression is that anyone who comes into our coffee shop who doesn't want any variation of any kind of anything that they would just go to starbuck's instead since it's right there. the very fact that they come to our shop to me means that they like the way things are done. so there's all of this tension around the place and at this point it's all coming from him and centered around him. i tried to think of anyone else who works there who i have a problem with and i came up empty-handed. except for him. he's a nice guy outside of work, but when he's there he's so fucking tightly wound and rigid that it's just enough to drive anyone crazy.
that said i think it's going to be a nice weekend. i don't have anything to do. pretty much at all. there are a few things i might record, but at this point i am waiting on other things to come together before i can go forward with pretty much anything i'm working on. stefanie has drum tracks to record, there are strings to record, we have a few vocal tracks that we need to do together, etc. i have a handful of things i could do (maybe) and a bunch of sheet music to write out. i'm probably going to go pick up my paycheck, go to permanent records and buy the new psychic ills record, get home and start editing some vinyl conversions. i finally found this cdr that had two neil young albums on it that i burned a cd from a really long time ago that i thought had been lost. i found them after i finished burning a cd from a bunch of 'chinese blue' demos. i have 22 demoed tracks loaded into the ipod and i have probably about 13 more songs that have been at least started. the goal of 50 is edging ever closer. i think the original concept might have to be a bit compromised- i don't think that i'll be able to fit 15 songs on each lp. the songs are all too long- they've become all stretched out and i don't have enough short songs to balance them out. that was a bit ambitious anyway, especially for me.
i just finally started getting into the silver apples. they are very interesting. quite advanced for their day. i can really see why they continue to be so obscure. it's another group that i see as being a possible parallel for shalloboi.
i need to start looking for schools to contact to start booking the tour. i found our atlas (or what's left of it), so i need to attempt to plan a decent route. i am guessing that the tour might be about 10 days. i would like it very much if we ended up playing every night. some days i would like to play two shows- college show in the afternoon and then a club or house show at night.
i think i inadvertently have pissed a few people off through email. i think i sound terse through it or something when i'm trying to be brief and not ramble on too much. one of those people is the guy that books for the empty bottle. i actually emailed him saying i wasn't offended or sarcastic in my email. i don't want to piss that guy off- he's the nicest person i've ever dealt with who books shows. he is always really helpful. i am trying to nail down a venue for that strings show. trying to find one that will be the right fit. so far it's probably still too early to tell. i don't know what's happened to elastic- it used to be so easy to get people to give me the time of day there and now that's just not the case. i couldn't booked a couple of shows there a few years ago, but we weren't quite ready for that and i was still a bit too careful to try and book shows for people there. now that i'm more confident and know people to play shows with and have a concept that would be perfect for us to book our own show i can't get them to respond to my emails at all. elastic would be the perfect place to do the strings show too- i feel like it's the perfect size for us and the cost isn't real risky at this point (i'm very confident we could get enough people there between us and nick to make the cost of using the space back) and their sound system would be perfect for what we are going to do.
i am beginning to feel like i am the great ignored person. or i guess i should say that i am more and more aware of being the great ignored person. sometimes i don't feel as ignored. not right now. it's kind of a pain in the ass and very frustrating with how happy i am with our music right now. but what can we do? there's only so much we can do on our own.
next week i have to make the consignment rounds. that's always fun.
i also bought a crystal stilts lp, and i just bought a grizzly bear double lp with one of my paypal vouchers. i have to redeem my rewards points from all of the fucking debt i've accrued with that damned paypal card. in the future i might try to rack up points by saving money to buy something big on ebay and then using the credit card to pay for it and paying it off immediately.
the great festival of pain involving tons of show tickets that need to be purchased is nearly finished. i would like to go see the appleseed cast at the bottom lounge in a few weeks. i really like them and it would be nice to finally see them play. it's on a friday night and i have to open on saturday mornings. the bottom lounge is kind of far away too. juana molina is playing nearby in a little under two weeks too- and it would be fun to go see her play. i bet that one will fall by the wayside. it's $20 or something like that. i wanted to try to get andrew bird tickets but that second night at the opera house has sold out as well. it's just as well, though- that would've put quite a dent in the wallet. i made an odyssey on tuesday afternoon and went to the metro and bought my primal scream ticket with something called 'cash' and was able to avoid something called 'service fees.' it was quite a concept. in the ad it said the tickets were $27.50 and i got one for $27.50. i remember going to see dinosaur jr. at the metro 11 years ago and paying $13 at the door to get in. oh, how the times change.
i think i'm going to sign off now. what a useless entry.