Thursday, April 30, 2009

the computer crashed (again)...

... strangely enough life as i know it did not stop.
we got some recording done today and how little i actually physically have to do to finish this album became apparent in very sharp focus. it was very strange- i don't have that much left to play. everyone else has more than me at this point- which is nice for a change. it's like an entire album of 'christmas song revisited'-type songs. all i did on that song was sing and play the guitar and then i ended up doubling stefanie's drum part. stefanie played drums, sang and played the glockenspiel. andrew played two violin parts. that's kind of what this record is like- i rarely have to do more on any of the songs besides play a guitar part and sing- occasionally i have to play a second guitar part. we did a song called 'you can choke on your own breath' today. it went well. it was a first-take kind of jittery kind of thing- we could've done it again, but we like to keep it jittery. stefanie also did the drums for 'christmas song 3.' tomorrow we might do some more- i was thinking of having her add her part to 'pale' and then all that song would need would be more strings and a textural loop i was going to make. next week might be textural looping week- i basically just will play a bunch of repetitive parts very noisily, flip it backwards and make a loop of some kind out of it. i'm trying not to go overboard with this stuff- i've been trying to add textural loops to damn near all of the songs and i have to remind myself to keep things minimal and spare- that's the whole point of this album.
this entry is now doomed. i don't think i have anything else to say. goodnight.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

sort of neko case 'review'

yeah, as if i'd be even remotely capable of writing something about neko case objectively. i woke up yesterday morning and my first waking thought was 'the neko case show is tonight.' i watched austin city limits dvd. i listened to my two favourites of hers- 'middle cyclone' and 'fox confessor brings the flood.' what can i say- she was really awesome, as always. few singers are even remotely that reliable these days. that said i think i enjoyed the first time i saw her at the park west more. she didn't play 'favorite' or 'star witness' but she DID play 'knock loud'- which is one of my very favourite songs of hers (my favourite is, ironically, 'favorite'- that's the song that first got it's claws into me). she played nearly all of 'middle cyclone'- which was pretty sweet. as is always the case some of the songs that i wasn't so nuts about on the record ended up really wowing me live ('this tornado loves you' is an example of this) and some that i really love on the record kinda weren't doing it for me so much live- actually i am at a loss for an example- i still am not too gaga for 'never turn your back on mother earth.' she played my favourite song on the record though- the title track and it was just oozing perfect gorgeousness and made me want to cry. the obnoxious crowd even toned down for that one- at least they let me enjoy that one in peace. a nice segue into my next little complaint- holy shit was it a crappy crowd. i don't really know why- the energy just got kind of weird towards the end- a little intense and unpleasant. i don't really understand why- it was a fantastic show and the good vibes abounded from the stage. the two girls sitting next to us were, of course, talkers. i couldn't hear them the whole time but stefanie could. i do a lot of pissing and moaning about talkers at shows- it usually is something i can ignore if it's not a huge show or i DIDN'T pay more than $50 to be there, but once i've shelled out some major money to get to a show (and yes, to me $50 is major money for a show) i get cranky when the two people sitting next to me, out of maybe the 20-25 people surrounding me in a general vicinity, are sitting there yapping loudly to each other over the music the entire night. the odd occasional comment does not bother me- totally harmless and understandable, but talking over the songs loudly all night just boggles my mind. if your attention span is so short that you just can't stand to sit and shut the fuck up for a fucking song then why the fuck don't you just go to a bar rather than pay $50 to chat with your friend about what you did at work that day, where you got the clothes you're wearing, etc. and just take your $50 and do that at a bar. after all- all of your neighbors who are trying to listen paid $50 to listen to THE FUCKING BAND not your inane babble.
i dunno- it's the classic case of when an artist you love hits the big-time- do you continue to go feeling farther and farther away from them while still paying more and more money? honestly, if neko case comes back in a few months i'll go again. who am i kidding? but it is a bit of a depressing feeling. in the sun-times review they mentioned something about how she's broken through to 'the starbuck's generation' like that's a good thing or a symbol of success that people who love everything in their lives to be homogenous and easily contained in its little box realise that neko case is talented. it's a bit of a bummer because they tend to be the types of people who pay $50 for a show and talk through the whole thing about their day at work or where they bought their clothes. if that sounds harsh, then fine- at least this judgement is based on experience. i did work in one for about nine months and my general feeling was that people who came through that door who gave a fuck about anything beyond 'i want my venti sugar-free vanilla, 120 degree, non-fat, no-foam, with whip latte in under 30 fucking seconds despite multiple lines that lead out the door and if i don't get it i'm going to be super pissed.' starbuck's is geared towards a strata of society that don't care about anyone or anything but themselves but like to delude themselves that they do care- a giant mass of overgrown, whiny babies crying into their lattes if they don't get exactly what they want exactly when they want it. i'm sorry but that is just not life.
this is supposed to be about neko case...
i'll piece a list of stuff she played-

maybe sparrow, that teenage feeling, deep red bells, i wish i was the moon tonight, polar nettles, people got a lotta nerve, middle cyclone, magpie to the morning, the tigers have spoken, margaret vs. pauline, hold on hold on, never turn your back on mother earth, prison girls, don't forget me, vengeance is sleeping, the pharaohs, this tornado loves you, i'm an animal, fever, red tide, knock loud

this is not the correct order- but the first and last songs listed are accurate. it all happened so fast i couldn't possibly piece it back together. it felt like it was over in about 10 minutes maybe somehow. i know her songs are short, but she announced her last song and i was just like 'wait i was just getting completely lost...' plus she played 20 songs. that's a lot- and the show was almost an hour and a half long. crooked fingers opened and i'd never heard them before and they were awesome. i particularly liked the opening song they did and the last song and another few in there (one was real stark and reminded me of 'pink moon'- just guitar, vocals, some female harmonies and a real stark piano melody). 'this tornado loves you' was really good live. much better than on the record- a beautiful song live. that one really got me as well and i wasn't expecting it- very moving. the highlight was still the title track though- so beautiful. that one is definitely in my giant list of my favourite songs of hers. beautiful song that no one else could've written or sang. i don't know- what's the point of even talking about it? when i was first listening to 'middle cyclone' i was kind of of the opinion that it was a bit of a let-down but it's really just a grower. it's a very distinctive record. stefanie maintains that it's not as good as 'fox confessor...' which i think is probably a fair assessment because 'fox confessor...' is an album with a capital A- it has recurring themes and the songs sit together and are extremely cohesive. it carries a narrative throughout- no matter how loosely. it could almost be a concept album. 'middle cyclone' doesn't quite have the same rock solid cohesiveness but it comes close- it's more cohesive than 'blacklisted' is really. by cohesive i just mean a collection of songs held together by a common thread that's at the heart of each song rather than just a mish-mash of songs that twist and turn and pull everything in a different direction.
anyway, i should stop now- this is getting really messy.
i've done googles looking for images, but people were very respectful of the band's wishes not to be photographed- i guess that's something to look to as encouragement. it's kind of going to work not to break the spell or mystique. i also have a bootleg of the philadelphia show coming to me in the mail soon- hopefully the setlist is similar. i pondered recording this show but i think i'm glad i didn't. it would break the spell...

Friday, April 24, 2009

a bold adventure...

that's what taking the computer to the coffee shop has become these days. it was a bit dicey getting the power supply to work, but as it turns out the hinged screen is good for holding the chord in the right place to keep it charging.
i had some really wacked dreams last night. at some point it became apparent that stefanie and i weren't married yet and that we needed to move to texas for some weird reason. i was telling someone this and they informed me that stefanie had flown the coop to portland. i ended up packing my possessions and going there. first i was in a carpeted cafe of some kind. i think i was trying to play a show. i had no car and no place to stay and i believe jim mcadams showed up at the show and i had to get him to give me a ride. i think he offered to let me stay with them until i found stefanie. i don't know why it didn't occur to me to go straight to her sister's house- but it is a dream. the streets were desolate and sad (of course). what ended up happening after that was i went to powell's and found a hidden room where kim and kelley deal and a few others were sitting around a table reading poetry through these microphones that were shaped like parking meters. i think i woke up after that.
tonight is the night of the much-anticipated neko case show. woooooo!
i didn't end up going to the empty bottle to the poison arrows/life and times show. i never got the call from will, so i was content to just sit at home and watch 'walk hard' with stefanie. as i'm watching the director's cut of the movie after she'd gone to bed i get a text from will saying 'i'm watching the life and times right now. they're from kc!' which is something i think i've been saying about them since the poster for the show was put up in the shop (about two weeks maybe). seriously folks- STONER! i didn't know what to text back because either way i cut it would be unequivocally bitchy. 'thanks for remembering to call me butthead!' or 'no shit sherlock- i've told you that at least three times!' so yeah, i think i'm just going to give a bit of shit at work on monday morning. *sigh* so in the future i think the best policy with him is to just show up at his place before said event. fucking. stoners. the funniest thing is that i knew that he'd forget. it's okay though- it was kind of nice to not have to be anywhere, although i would've liked to have seen the life and times again- they were probably super loud. i hope they'll be back through. i still have that pitch article about them in the suitcase from my last trip to kansas city. i need to read the rest of it- i never really had a chance to.
the 'dandelions' ep has been sent away for mastering. i have been chipping away at that extra paycheck i got- so far i've spent $100 of it eating out in evanston and buying various limited edition records. my new disease is buying up limited edition vinyl the second i see it for fear that it will instantly go out of print and i'll be mad at myself for the rest of all eternity. today's aquisition is the double 12" ep on coloured vinyl for 'smoking acid'- the new brian jonestown massacre ep. i held off buying the mp3s for it in anticipation of a vinyl release. i was rewarded. that's my new thing- it's like tantra. it's quite difficult and a bit maddening- knowing that something you want to hear has been released but not being able to buy it yet because you don't want to end up buying it twice. i am waiting for 'middle cyclone' to be released on vinyl right now. it's difficult to have to wait so damned long. it makes me feel less guilty for downloading the leak of it early. that's almost a model for stealing music right there. take note you riaa police. i remember back in '93 or '94 when alice in chains released 'jar of flies' on vinyl EARLY before the cd came out to try to motivate people to buy the vinyl. kind of a good idea- don't you think rather than releasing the coaster first and then waiting an indeterminate amount of time before releasing the vinyl (which might not even come out). particularly cruel- 'microcastle' being released initially a month or so after the cd release AND then re-releasing the vinyl as a double lp package with the awesome cd artwork AND 'weird era continued' on vinyl instead of cd. i'm sorry- that shit was just cruel. what was i supposed to do? just think 'oh they'll probably release another version of it with both on vinyl- i'll just wait six months for it.' it just doesn't make any SENSE! it seems that you will be screwed time and time again for being on the ball. sometimes.
now that i've gone on for far too long about that i'm going to change the subject. i have almost all of the money for the 'dandelions' ep. i am short about $80. i can get that together by the time the cd-pressing rolls around. i don't know how much shipping will be, but it shouldn't be too expensive. hopefully not $200 like it was last time- that shit was pure cruelty- i ended up having to borrow it from stefanie with about a day or two's notice last time. i'm just very anxious to get going on this because then i get to live again after this. i am going to get to enjoy somewhat of an enjoyable existence after this. after my birthday i'll be able to buy music fairly freely for a period. we are planning on going to portland in august for our special trip and then booking a few nights at a nice hotel over stefanie's birthday in november. staycation they call it. the final expense is the mastering of the 'all hope is blind' album, a few reels of tape and then that's it. at fucking last! i only ended up using two of the four reels for the 'dandelions' ep- therefore i only need to buy two more for the making of the backup reels. irony- the 'all hope is blind' album will be shorter than the 'dandelions' ep AND have more songs on it. what those songs will be i do not yet fully know. i might do a little work when i get back. that 'christmas song 3' is bursting through the flood-gates right now. i am a bit reticent to hold it back. plus it has a watery guitar part- and those must be recorded seperately and therefore needs a click-track to hold the whole thing together.
speaking of click-tracks i saw the most amazing thing on youtube the other day. some 15-year-old girl posted a video or herself constructing a cover of 'soon' by my bloody valentine. she played all of the instruments herself and it was a pretty dead-on-sounding cover. i was a bit green watching it- i can't play the drums for shit. she did the whole song without a click track meaning that she played the drum part first and added everything else over it. holy crap. such a talented young girl. yikes. you get a tasty treat for reading an entire paragraph that begins 'i saw the most amazing thing on youtube the other day.'
speaking of amazing things that are on youtube here are a few-

Thursday, April 23, 2009

the voices of angels ring in my head

i keep having this nagging voice in the back of my mind telling me i should write some kind of book. about what? i haven't the slightest clue. i'm guessing it would have to be some kind of memoir plundering all of my old journals or something like that- a messy affair. i try to put it out of my mind. or at least not worry about it until it makes its own form more apparent.
the name of the game at the moment is arranging songs. since no one is ready to record yet (i'm giving the string players a bit of a wide berth, and stefanie has requested at least a week from tomorrow) i'm going to try to get the songs that need to be laid down very clearly arranged- which really just means that i play and sing them through and figure out which way is the least boring and then write out the string notation appropriately. this was just done to the third christmas song, which is called... *gasp* 'christmas song 3.' yes, i know- i'm a fucking genius.
we watched 'walk hard' tonight and it was pretty entertaining. it took a few minutes for us to recognize jenna fisher in that movie- pretty dramatic change from how she looks in 'the office.' we also have 'the savages' to watch- which i'm guessing will be a bit of a gut-wrenching kind of affair, but also funny.
i don't have much else to say at the moment- kind of a different kind of problem for me i guess. i did go to the coffee shop today sans computer. writing out sheet music is the best time-killer in the entire universe.
i'm listening to 'my bloody underground' right now- an excellent record. i've been digging out the bardo pond lately as well- they are a band i listen to obsessively for a brief period and then forget about until something reminds me of them and then it repeats... don't know why that is.
neko case is tomorrow night. i was possibly going to go to the empty bottle tonight, but i was expecting a call about the possibility of a ride and i never got the call, so no dice. it's not difficult to just decide to stay put, especially since i'm going to a show tomorrow night. looking forward to it like crazy. like crazy.
it's now clear to me that i have absolutely nothing to say- so goodnight.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

and now

here it is at last- the recording from the strings show from saturday night. it turned out a good deal better than i expected it to. the show was also possibly the best show we have ever played. the strings sounded good (and were audible- which was a sizable concern on my part) and we played well. we played nearly all new songs. i think we only played one released song.
as if that weren't enough the finished master of 'dandelions' which was burned from the master tapes. 'field of flowers' is on it. i don't know how long it's been since i updated this thing- but a lot has happened. we've been very busy this last week. between rehearsing for the show and housesitting twice for jay and diana. the month-long rollercoaster has finally come to a stop. about time. just in time for the weekend.
enough talk-
the recording-

1. the sun is so bright
2. christmas song revisited
3. whisper
4. paper doves
5. falling stars
6. 4am train
7. narcoleptic
8. glasslands
zip file of the whole recording

Sunday, April 12, 2009

diary 4.5.09

this is my diary from my trip to kansas city. i make these to imply the mood i was in and reflect it in the music i was listening to. as you can see here i was in a bit of a muted mood-

1. girls- eleni mandell- miracle of five
2. don't go (please stay)- sonic boom- true love will find you in the end 7"
3. blind spot- vivian girls- i can't stay 7"
4. vengeance is sleeping- neko case- middle cyclone
5. flood of dreams- jolie holland- king of california soundtrack
6. damaged- primal scream- screamadelica
7. hallucinations- the raveonettes- lust lust lust
8. here it comes- the brian jonestown massacre- 3.28.09 chicago metro bootleg (see below)
9. marla- grizzly bear- yellow house
10. falling stars- shalloboi- all hope is blind
11. taste of cindy (acoustic)- the jesus and mary chain- barbed wire kisses
12. around my smile- hope sandoval & the warm inventions- bavarian fruit bread
13. won't get to heaven (the state i'm in)- spiritualized- 11.13.01 l.a. wiltern bootleg (check the spiritualized forum- it's on there somewhere)
14. take care- big star- third/sister lovers

a lot of this is stuff i listened to on the megabus. a few things just flashed in my mind as i was wandering around aimlessly. 'taste of cindy' though is from seeing 'adventureland.' one of my favourite mary chain tracks because it's a beautiful acoustic version of an amazing song on 'psychocandy.' i love both versions but the acoustic one fits with this mood.

o, the humanity

so we played on the radio yesterday afternoon. everything worked out and we were right on time and things went pretty smoothly. it sounded really nice. we played pretty well until the last song- at which point we completely fell flat on our faces. on live radio. awesome. if it hadn't been live then they could've taken that out- but that's okay. that's the glory of live radio. the lesson is this really- just play songs that aren't reliant on samples to keep us in time. we fell on our faces during 'angels floating on the head of a pin' because we couldn't hear what we were supposed to be playing along with very well and we just completely lost it during the last half of the song. we still finished it, though. i don't know if that's a good thing...
anyway, i have a cdr of the audio and i'm going to post the other four songs because we did something where we ran them all together and 'sloba' sounded fantastic- a pitch-perfect version of it and the freak-out at the end was completely unreal. fantastic stuff. so i'm going to load it into audacity and compress and normalize the whole thing and post it on our website. there are a few shaky moments in the vocals, but other than that everything sounds really nice. i'd rate it higher than our live set on kpsu- we both sang kinda crappy at that one.
other than that i have today off. kind of a nice surprise. it's going to spoil me a bit though because that is now two four-day weeks in a row. next week is probably going to suck bad because of this. but we get paid on thursday. joy! it's an extra check too so it's not really spoken for. not sure what i'm going to do with it. i would like to cash it and save it for the impending release. i was going to pay it to my credit card, but i am beginning to think that the sooner i can get this whole cd release thing in the can and done with the better and then i can concentrate damn near all of my extra money on my credit card balances. we are going to try to get an arts grant to release 'all hope is blind.' i don't know if it's going to work. we also still have the mastering for that to worry about- but that's not quite as daunting as the task of raising all of the money to get it released. it's coming along so nicely- i am looking forward to it. woot! another one of my goals for this year is to figure out everyone's royalties and what not and try to figure out how much i owe to people who've helped out- namely billy.
so i'm here at the coffee shop again. on my day off from working at a coffee shop. good stuff. i don't have much planned for today. i wanted to do some recording, but everything that needs to be done requires stefanie, so that pretty much means that nothing will get done today because she just wants to share a day off together. fair enough. i'm just going to be mr. antsy until some things are finished. namely until that new song is finished and the 'dandelions' ep is off at the mastering house. weird and mind-boggling occurrence- i have all of the money to pay for the mastering and have started saving towards the release and the cd hasn't been sent to the mastering house yet. the wait is due to waiting for 'field of flowers' to be finished- it just needs stefanie's vocal overdub and we were going to try to have her double her drum part while i shook the christmas bells. the song is pretty much done- i finished my part of the vocals over my weekend. it's kind of a record- the entire song might be finished in under a week. of course, we are housesitting starting on tuesday night- so that will throw a monkey-wrench into the works. not to mention the whole strings show and practice on thursday. i'm a bit impatient to get back to working on the record again because it's getting to the point where we're getting over the hump and i'm excited to see the direction that the record takes because it's starting to change and things that i was depending on and expecting to work out as i had imagined them are beginning to change. new songs are stepping up and making themselves known and becoming serious contenders to be on the record- which is most unexpected in most cases. plus there's that june deadline looming rather large. i'm not going to be able to go back to kc to record more with billy before the tour i don't think. if i need to the megabus is no longer an option at this point- it would have to be the amtrak i think. i guess we'll see after a while, though. the tour is obviously kind of a big variable as well- as well as something that i need to save some money for. not as much as last time because it is going to be considerably cheaper mainly because we won't be racking up as many miles and won't have to be away from work for as long. time will tell.
it's getting to the point where i might book a megabus trip to kc in october and that way if the record still needs some work then it will be a recording trip- otherwise it'll end up being a pleasure trip. who can argue with a pleasure trip?
anyway, over and out.

Friday, April 10, 2009

productive, non?

yesterday was a pretty productive day- that new song 'field of flowers' is almost finished. i got the main vocals done and stefanie played the drum part. i doubled it, but i'm not sure that it's necessary. an interesting tidbit i discovered- when stefanie can't hear herself very well she hits the drums incredibly hard- harder than i can in fact. she had some problems shaking a maraca for six minutes and she seemed to have some problems keeping it the same a few times but the rest of the beat is incredibly solid and ridiculously fat- mine is wimpy in comparison, so thus it probably won't be necessary. plus i got a great drum sound for her part. i am so happy that i was able to get the sound i was after without having to buy new microphones- it is incredibly refreshing to not feel dissatisfied with my drum sounds- it's usually the one part of a recording that i am most disappointed with. i also did some fucking with natural reverbs in our bathroom- i was really happy with what i had until i hooked up the 8-track through the stereo to play stefanie some mixes and then i was incredibly disenchanted with it. it's its own sound really- but no substitute for a good stairwell and, let's face it, that's the sound i'm after. i think i'm finally at the point where i'm going to buck up and try to go back to the stairwell- i'd like to do it today. i actually came up with a new way to try it down there that would prevent the previous problems and possibly be a bit less disruptive- something i don't know why i never tried before. baffling. i'm going to try my hand at the same vocal parts again- it's mainly just trippy 'oohs' and stuff and then a chorus. i'd then like to give it a shot with stefanie singing harmonies on the verses. if that would be the case it would make it the ideal live song- a fat, driving beat, a beautiful and textural guitar part, another use for the fender jaguar (it's in the open-C tuning) and a song that we both sing. i am always trying to put sets together where the vocals are varied throughout the show- i don't like it when one person has more to do in that area than the other. it's gotten easier as we've done more songs that stefanie just sings and more and more of the songs she sings are working out well live. i think it works very nicely and i think that people are enjoying it.
tonight we are going to see 'adventureland' and going out to eat at burrito house again. a few weeks ago we did something like that- a date night, if you will. we went to see 'i love you, man' (i too am a bit tired of the term 'bromance') and went to burrito house. jim derogatis was there with his wife ordering takeout- surreal.
other than all of that i'm doing okay i'd say. the rather large task that looms over tomorrow after work hasn't really hit me yet- i am going to have to ride my bike to and from work no matter how cold it is. time is just a bit too precious at that point. we are supposed to load-in at wnur at 3pm. not too much of a big deal (at least it's close by), but with work it's going to be a bit of a tight squeeze. i really hope it's not busy that day- but that entirely depends on the weather. it shouldn't be too much of a problem- if i have to be gone by 2pm i don't think anthony or adam would fault me much. even on the day of the downtown st. patrick's day parade i managed to get away at 2:30. we've got our set all worked out so it should be pretty smooth- it all clocks in at a little over 30 minutes i do believe. i think it should be alright. after that it's back to evanston for some more housesitting, the strings show, and then another little period of inactivity which will doubtlessly be filled with recordings and whatnot.
i posted a bunch of new tracks at the myspace page- they allow you to upload 10 songs now- kind of nice. i've got tracks from 'down to sleep,' 'dandelions,' 'all hope is blind' and the christmas compilation track. 'falling stars' and 'paper doves' are now finished tracks. i was going to add some drony, dreamy guitar textures, but when i mixed them down i was so happy with the fact that you could pick everything out and the space that everything was occupying i figured that i should stay true to my original ideas for the album- giving the songs space. so there you go. done. kind of nice. i'm close to having a handful more finished tracks. a lot of the earlier tracks just need one or two things- vocals, a redo of a string part, etc. it would be a nice goal to start ticking off the pages during the rest of the month and pretty much all of may. i think i might institute a regular recording schedule for that entire month, dependent on what still remains to be done. that last recording trip to kc is looming large in june. i hope to have the record completed by then- that trip being the icing on the cake. a bit of an optimistic prospect as there is still a generous chunk of the record that i haven't gotten to yet. everything kind of switched around on me- a few songs i'd given up on were resurrected and a few songs i'd planned on doing refuse to reveal themselves- some are so old that the notebooks they belonged to are gone.
all of this is beginning to make me wonder where the hell i am in all of this- i guess that it means that i'm happy. i'm usually pretty happy when i'm working. i think that stefanie and i have carved out a little corner of contentment for ourselves. it's the oddest thing and really unexpected. i didn't really notice it too much until very recently. it makes sense really. i guess that what we're doing is working in its way.
we watched 'lust for life' last night- a movie that neither of us remember adding to our netflix queue but we figured out that it was me during an adding spree- i'd just added 'king of california' and 'lust for life' must've come up under the recommendations and i must've accidentally clicked on it or something. we figured that must be what happened since 'king of california' features michael douglas acting crazy and having an unkempt bearded appearance and 'lust for life' features kirk douglas acting crazy and also having an unkempt bearded appearance- obviously we would love both of them! it is funny that we never took it out of the queue- i wouldn't take it out because i thought stefanie put it in and stefanie wouldn't take it out because she thought i put it in. o, universe!
right now i'm listening to 'amazing grace' which i think is one of the most underrated spiritualized albums- that one and 'let it come down.' i am really loving both at the moment. i had another neglected album in mind to write about but, naturally, i forgot it. funny that. 'amazing grace' i've always loved from day one really- i don't know why. when people start bashing on it i really don't understand it- it boggles my mind. it's the most proudly shambolic of the spiritualized records- the least labored over. my conclusion as far as people who don't like it is that they fall into the camp of 'we wish they would just make "lazer guided melodies" and "pure phase" over and over and over and over and over again' and fuck all that shit. i love both of those albums (actually 'pure phase' is kind of weak as an album in my mind- it can be a bit of a chore to get through the whole thing in a sitting) but it seems bafflingly stupid to expect someone like jason pierce to just repeat himself forever and ever. i really didn't like 'let it come down' that much at first- i always thought it was the weakest link but it really was just a question of getting past the unabashed sentimentalism of a lot of the songs on it- or at least what one perceives as sentimentalism. i'd even say that it takes a considerable amount of time to figure out how to listen to it- so much is going on it can sound too dense, but lately i've been able to listen to it better- pick more things out and draw more from it. it's incredibly rewarding. 'amazing grace' just doesn't give a fuck that there are mistakes all over the place on it- it plows forward with abandon. but then the end section of the record features that suite of gorgeous songs that kind of tie it all up. a lot of people perceive that section of the record as 'boring.' kind of how people at work (read: will) claim that i am always listening to boring slow shit. one day will was playing a bunch of obnoxious, rocky stuff, even some metal, from 7am onward and i went to change it and he said 'just play something rocking dammit- keep it going' and i said 'you know- not all music has to be loud and fast- there needs to be some relief at some point or else it all just starts to sound the same.' this is something i actually did say for a change- oftentimes (a lot of people do this i know) i say that i said something that i wish i'd said when telling a story like this. but i think it's true- i feel like so many people totally lose sight of this feature in music. they just want something loud and raucous all of the time that they don't have to think about. i guess it's just like anything, really. that said whenever i play 'amazing grace' at work will manages to turn it off during 'lord let it rain on me' which is my favourite song on it. it's very irritating because he claims that he thought it was over because it was so quiet- to which i always say 'well if you look at the display don't you notice that it is indeed still playing?' this excuse really just means- 'i am turning your music off in the middle of it because i don't like it and i am too much of a wuss to be honest about it and therefore you won't point out what a hypocrite i am being since i totally lose my shit whenever someone changes my music in the middle of it.' ah, the hipster job. it's not all it's cracked up to be kids- don't let anyone tell you differently. pettiness is everywhere and no one is above it- least of all me.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

brian jonestown massacre- 3.28.09- the metro

here it is at last-
flac- disc 1-
disc 2-
and some really nice cd art that iamcims from the keep music evil forum made that's worth downloading if you intend to burn cds.

a few notes- 'whoever you are' and 'vacuum boots' are a bit peaked- i had the level set too high at the beginning of the show, but this problem is fixed after those two songs. also, the new song (the one with the sampled drumbeat)- it's listed just as 'new song' in the mp3s zip file and 'someplace else unknown' in the disc 1 flacs zip file- is actually called 'someplace else i know.' i would change it and reupload but that seems like a lot of to-do to just fix some song titles and i spent soooooo fucking long getting these files uploaded that i'd rather not go through that again (the two flac zip files took a total of about 20 hours to upload).

this pic isn't from the metro- but i love the dreamy quality so much that i stoled it (well someone posted it on a webforum so that to me means that the love is being shared).
about the show- if you are hesitant to download the show for fear that you might be in for a slightly sloppy set with copious amounts of stage banter and drama then may your fears be allayed- this is the bjm at the absolute height of their professionalism. the set is lengthy, but also ridiculously tight and not to mention that the setlist is all over the place. speaking of the set list here it is-

1. whoever you are
2. vacuum boots
3. b.s.a.
4. nevertheless
5. when jokers attack
6. sailor
7. someplace else i know
8. got my eye on you
9. servo
10. yeah-yeah
11. that girl suicide
12. hide and seek
13. not if you were the last dandy on earth
14. anemone
15. the serious matter
16. who?
17. telegram
18. wisdom
19. soundscape
20. oh lord
21. nailing honey to the bee
22. here it comes
23. pre fab ambulation
24. satellite
25. swallowtail

the line-up was eight-strong- all of the best in bjm over the years. collin hegna on bass, matt hollywood on guitar, joel gion, rob campanella on guitar and keyboards, frankie teardrop on guitar, dan allaire on drums (the best bjm drummer rivalled probably only by brian glaze) and ricky maymi on guitar. it was really fantastic. i'm not sure why the sudden burst of professionalism- they are normally gloriously shambolic and anton newcombe is normally quite drunk during their shows- but i'm not going to complain. at some point i was wondering to myself what they would sound like if they were incredibly well-rehearsed and tight during their shows and this is the answer. they walk the line very nicely- tight but not at all rigid. just focused and assured. is anton trying to prove all of his naysayers wrong? in my mind all signs point to 'yes.' i think this answer would also suffice for the question of whether or not he has succeeded in proving his naysayers wrong. i am particularly fond of the write-up they got in 'time out' that pointed out the irony of the bjm's longevity versus their reputation (i.e. idiots who just go to see them play to see them be a dysfunctional trainwreck). they've been releasing records for almost fifteen years now and the quality is showing no signs of dipping at all. i wasn't that jazzed on 'my bloody underground' until i bought it on vinyl and listened to it that way a few times- it's unique amongst everything else they've done and it's drenched in fresh ideas and energy.
at this show i heard nearly every bjm song i've ever wanted to hear before- 'wisdom,' 'anemone' and 'that girl suicide.' no 'wasted'- they've been doing that one lately. that's the only thing they've been doing that i didn't get to hear- but it's on several live recordings making the rounds. plus i saw them do 'evergreen' and 'a new low in getting high' on the 2006 trip. i recorded that too but it didn't turn out well at all- kind of a bummer. they also played 'here it comes' again- a beautiful song. this time was undoubtedly the best time we've seen them play- and that's saying a lot. i am still a bit green that i wasn't able to record the first time we saw them- which was also at the metro back in 2005. that show was them at their stretched-out best. they only played about 10 songs in over two hours but it was amazing.
so good night and good luck people. enjoy the show. it will probably be the last one that i record for quite a while- i'll probably record the spectrum show in may.

it just made me tired

i am now officially back. this is a week-long interval until we are back housesitting for jay and diana again. i thought that it would be a bit too much at the point that we're at, but i've come down from a four-day work-week after my trip to kc. the trip to kansas city also ended up being exactly what i had been craving after all of the craziness of the last month. what ended up happening- i spent tons of time at the filling station (the coffee shop across from my parents' place) and i went there with my mom's computer and i couldn't figure out how to get online there. the result of being at a coffee shop with no internet? i ended up writing two new completed scores and writing out the sheet music right then and there! boredom is nice these days because the creativity kicks into overdrive and i am able to get an astonishing amount done. i did end up recording with billy (who was coming down off of his own ridiculously hectic-sounding work week himself) on saturday afternoon. i haven't listened to the playbacks yet, but honestly i have noticed that i don't really have to anymore- i can hear what is going down to tape so clearly that it has rendered listening to playbacks completely pointless. we did five songs in about two hours? maybe less- i can't remember. it was very fast. 'narcoleptic,' 'whisper,' (i was able to hear so well that i was able to fix a problem with the string parts that had been bugging me while we were rehearsing it for the strings show) 'falling stars,' 'paper doves' and we redid some parts he had done previously for a song called 'down to the willows'- for some mind-boggling reason when i'd recorded the meat of that song (i'd just gotten my fender twin reverb and did the track live- it's just stark guitar, vocals, some textural guitars and two cello parts- i might add some more string parts if inspiration strikes and i did all of the guitars and the vocal in one very fast session) i had failed to tune before starting the recording (which happens a lot when i get a rush of inspiration- it usually isn't a problem because i can almost always tell if the tuning is out of wack) and for some reason it was in a tuning that i don't normally use- basically just normal tuning tuned down half-a-step (Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Bb, Eb). very strange because i don't keep my guitar in a tuning like that for any reason- i think i have one other song that i tuned my guitar to that tuning for and it was 'just like you used to be' because i'd done it on mike's mom's piano and that piano was tuned perfectly half-a-step flat so i just adapted everything else to it. when we'd done the first cello recording session i'd just thought that it was in standard tuning, so when billy played it it sounded out of tune and i thought it was just my mind playing tricks on me so i mixed it down and let it lie for a while and listened to it before heading home and indeed it sounded dreadful so i sat down to try to figure out the problem and the answer was very strange. i rewrote the sheet music so that it was in tune and it seems to have worked quite nicely. most curious.
as if all of this weren't enough i wrote a new song on the megabus ride back home. i got really depressed and listened to 'bavarian fruit bread' by hope sandoval and then drifted off for a little while and while i was out evidently a crazy rainstorm had started outside of kansas city and i had a sort-of half dream that resulted in the first verse for a song. as the trip went on and i kept drifting off i kept getting more and more depressed and ended up writing a second verse. i had a vague idea for a chord progression. when i got home i fucked with the chords and such a bit and came up with something i liked, then took some bits from some other incomplete ideas from another song. i sat down when i got home from work yesterday and sussed-out a structure and such and got the tones i was after and then the little tick in my brain let me know that the song was ready to be recorded, so then i immediately set up a click-track and the ungodly task of setting up recording the guitar part- the whole pointing the two amps towards each other and miking them a bunch of times. it was kind of a shame because the first take was going so perfectly until the very absolute end when i tried to turn on the wah-wah pedal (which i hadn't planned on) and it killed the whole signal and i had do more takes. kind of a bummer because i had some problems on the next few takes with the cadence of the guitar part. what i mean by this is that when i have the guitar part so loud and then start adding effects- the reverse reverb, the delay, the vox tone-boost and then, of course, the distortion sometimes if i'm not playing the rhythm in the right way the signal gets overloaded and it can just turn into total sonic mush. i had to strum very lightly in a very specific way to get the tone to stay balanced and on the third take i did it exactly the same way as i had when i'd done the first take and man did it work! woohoo! i am going to get stefanie to do the drum part tonight- i think two drum parts are in order. i am going to try to do the vocals when i get home- i have several different ideas for the approach and tone of the vocals that i'm not sure of at the moment. i also think i might want stefanie to harmonize- maybe not through the whole thing- but i do want her to at some point in the song. i am wondering if i want to give the song the string trio treatment or not. i haven't written a score for it and i don't have anything at all in mind- that's one thing that all just comes in an inspirational flood that's all its own thing. as it stands right now i want to put this new song on the 'dandelions' ep. what brought about getting it getting recorded was that i was going to redo the guitar part for 'willows' because i've been having problems with that song- it is just begging me to either fix it somehow or just replace it completely. it's a hidden track (one of three) but it's at such a pivotal point that i feel like since it's the weakest of the tracks it comes at too important of a point- second to last- so it either needs to be fixed or cut. i am going to speed it up and give it another shot, but i am thinking that this new song will fit in so nicely and it has no other possible place that it would be ideal for the 'dandelions' ep. plus i am dying to play it live- as good a sign as any. that tends to mean that it's one of our better songs. it's called 'field of flowers'- which is the name of an album cycle i am toying with doing after 'all hope is blind.'
i will write about the bjm show in greater deal in the next entry- which will also have links to download the show in flac and mp3. it's a pretty nice sounding show- one of the better-sounding ones that i've done.
not much else is going on in tyler-land, really. i scored some extra money from my 6-day work-week. i bought a few tickets- one for jenny lewis in june at the park west and i bought two tickets for the crystal antlers/vivian girls show in may at the empty bottle. great stuff. just a few more to go. i'd like to go to the mogwai show at the congress theater even though i don't have their new album. i think that would be the fourth time i've seen them. i missed them last time- we were on tour when they came to town. i hope that doesn't happen again in september- so many great shows are coming through during the summer months that i'm hoping it won't. it was unbelievable how many amazing acts we missed while we were out of town- several of our perennial favourites. i am still a bit sick about missing the hideout block party- the 'middle cyclone' bonus track is a live version of 'people got a lot of nerve' from that show. grrrr.
but onward and upwards.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

and then the room stopped spinning...

so now i'm in kansas city and i am stuck with absolutely nothing to do! joy! definitely something i can live with right now. last week was so crazy- a full-on 6-day work week and a brian jonestown massacre show (our 3rd). by tuesday afternoon i was supreme cranky-pants. yup, that was me. the bjm show was fantastic (not a huge surprise although i did think we were due for a full-on meltdown) and i recorded the entire thing. it sounds thoroughly decent and i've listened to the whole thing (it took me about four commutes- it's long). i had some problems getting it edited and finished- the computer kept running out of storage space and i ended up having to keep using the back-up drive to export the file (it was a monster- a 2 and a half hour 1.5 gb monster. i shared the show in mp3 form on the keep music evil webboard (to some really gracious people) and i'm working on trying to get the flacs for it uploaded. i have the first of the two files uploaded and i have the address but the upload of the second half wasn't started until i was about to leave to catch the megabus. i can't get ahold of the address of it (if it is indeed completed). i texted stefanie to try and get her to email the link to me when she gets home.
i made it to the megabus with very little time to spare (maybe five minutes- a little too close for me, thanks) but i was still able to get my favourite seat. as with most things i take the seat that allows for the easiest access to the bathroom- the two seats facing the stairs that lead down to the bathroom. one time i got stuck boxed in by someone who was stretching their legs across the aisle- i really hate that. grrrr.
i slept through nearly the entire ride. i think in the end i was up for maybe an hour or an hour and a half of the whole trip. nevertheless i am very tired right now. i am also really hoping i can get in some quality sack-time during this visit. my parents' cat is kind of annoying me and in fact i lured it out of the bedroom with a cat toy and then closed the doors as it wouldn't leave me alone while i was on the computer. i'm just mostly used to our cats who mainly just want to be petted- so the only time they want attention is when they want to be petted. my parents' cat is an only cat so it always wants to play and it likes to bite and scratch- which i'm not such a fan of. it climbed up on the desk and started swatting at me. i tried to play with it with the cat charmer while typing but the cat kept coming over and swatting at my foot.
i have already had a winstead's lunch and i have also already had a latte at the filling station (fucking love that place). my mom and dad are at the hospital right now because it is possible that my mom broke or fractured her wrist. since it's taking so long i am beginning to suspect that this is indeed the case (they've been gone for a few hours).
i'm recording with billy on saturday- my final day here in town. until then i shall be forced to do absolutely nothing- such a cruel fate! no- i'm really looking forward to it. when i get back we have practice with the strings players on tuesday. it was going to be on sunday after i got back from work (after getting in at 6:45 am that morning on the bus). i was a bit bummed that we weren't going to practice on sunday but now i think that it will be a lot better to not have to come from the bus, go to the apt. to drop off my stuff, rush down to work, work for 7 hours and then go home and practice for a few hours. i'm pretty pumped about the strings show though- it's going to be really good i think.
i think that that is all i could possibly write here for now. i have an wishlist to complete... *night*