Friday, June 26, 2009

i'd weigh in on what everyone's talking about...

... but i think that enough has already been said- and there isn't really anything that i disagree with and i have nothing to add. for once in my life- quite an anomaly. read this if you want to know my thoughts- i pretty much agree with this word for word and mr. raymer is a far more articulate man than i am.
i think i'm going to just listen to the black lips and raise my lighter for sky saxon of the seeds. i haven't really heard the seeds, but their records are something i have been meaning to buy for a long time as i've heard i would love it- grimy garage psych. perfect for the kind of kick that i'm on right now. who would've thought- me into garage rock?
i can't remember the year but i remember a ton of sad deaths one year- it was probably 2003 (i'm mainly guessing this because that's the year that elliott smith died). i guess this is a repeat of that year. a lot of high profile folks have died this year. a lot. it kind of sucks to get the news on such a miserably hot day (like yesterday). i'm having some difficulty enjoying my days off at the moment because of the excessive heat. i don't care what side of that whole winter vs. summer debate that you land on- anyone who loves this kind of weather needs a lobotomy. or they just can afford to keep the ac blasting all day long.
i had the weirdest night of sleep i've had in a really long time last night too- getting up constantly to go to the bathroom between vivid, hallucinatory dreams. during one i was chasing a ghost through jay and diana's house- it was evading me by going between the rooms via the closets. that's how i knew it was a ghost. at one point i think i was making a bagel on a bed that used to be up in the upstairs of my grandparents' house in wichita- but the bed was in jay and diana's kitchen. i think i spilled jam on the sheets. there was one part in a hotel pool as well that i probably shouldn't go into here. it was my turn to feed the cats in the morning- we are housesitting for jay and diana in evanston by the way. tonight i get to sleep at the apartment though due to my unbelievably early morning wake-up time (about 6:15am) to ride my bike to the shop and open.
our money right now is completely non-existant- there is too much going on right now. i have to buy tickets to see the raveonettes at the empty bottle because i am dying to see them and their appearance at lollapalooza is probably the first time they've played in chicago since 'lust lust lust' came out. let's see $80 to go to sunday at lollapalooza and see deerhunter, raveonettes and neko case (it is tempting- but even i have limits) or $15 to see them at the empty bottle where they will probably play for a really long time and pad their set with a ton of new material (their new record is almost done). i'm really bummed i can't go to deerhunter's aftershow at logan square auditorium, but it's the same night as the second of two warlocks shows at the empty bottle. you see what i mean? too much going on. i might just try to figure out the geography of the festival and go up and try to catch neko case's set in some kind of ridiculous abstract way. maybe it'll be streamed. *crosses fingers*. i watched her set at austin city limits that way (of course there were some problems- i missed the beginning and our computer stopped working during 'star witness' and i couldn't get it restarted before the end of the song- a shame because it's one of my favourites of hers). at least i've seen deerhunter twice. i would like to see them again- i naively figured i'd get another chance to after i couldn't go to their show at the metro last year- it fell on the night before stefanie's birthday and we had a dinner to go to.
'all hope is blind' might be finished. it might be mixed even. i have a few final mixes of 'christmas song pt. iii' (which is going onto the record for sure now) and i need to remix '4am train' but i can't think of any improvements for the other songs. i'm going to listen to them again several times, but i don't anticipate any changes. the tracklist is good too and would fit on an lp and has 11 songs. i'm still not done with the title track yet, but i don't think that one's going to make the cut- o the irony. i think i'm going to do a few more mixes when i go back to the apartment and then go to visit zea at her new job (i said i would and i'd like to start being places that i say i'll be) since i have the car to drive around in. fuuuuuun! recording piano today? hopefully... but i doubt it very much. the other night i was walking by the practice room and saw that no one was in there and it was about 8:30 or something and i was very tempted to drag all my stuff into there and record the piano part for the title track- but i lazed it up instead. that's generally the theme of the moment.
i can't believe how early i was up this morning. i never seem to get enough time to sleep anymore either. i tend to blame these housesitting trips for my massive sleep deprived feelings all the time- but really it doesn't matter if i get seven hours every night and then 9+ on my weekends- i still feel tired.
so there you have it- how about wrapping this one up?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

right now...

... would be a good time to disappear...

'although i wear a uniform, i was not born to fight...'

all of a sudden i have a completed version of the 'all hope is blind' album. i have loose ends to tie in, but other than that if i wanted to start mixing right now i'm pretty sure i have the final tracklist. i wanted to finish the title track and see about fitting it in as well, but it's a very long track and at this point it's just under 50 minutes with 11 tracks- which is pretty much the ideal length in my mind. the goal was 12 songs, but 'narcoleptic' is almost 8 minutes long, as is the title track. i'm beginning to think that it's going to have to end with 'narcoleptic'- it's sort of an 'up' ending. at least it's as much of an up ending as i'm probably capable of. it ends very abruptly as well- which i quite like. i'm going to try a mix with the title track and 'narcoleptic' but the title track is incredibly gothy and i'm not sure that i want to include it because, apart from the first track, the album doesn't have a gothy feel- which i thought it would. i'd rather not impose a gothy feel on the whole thing because it'd be nice not to do something too gloomy. plus as it is right now it's a good listen- after i was done listening to it i could barely breathe. every track was very affecting and i couldn't quite figure out which ones were the weak ones. they all sounded really great! a lot of the finished ones are pretty much mixed- i am planning on keeping a majority of these rough mixes as final mixes. it's pretty simple to mix them because all of the stuff that i normally have problems getting it to work aren't variables with these tracks- it's very simple and spare and the toughest thing has been getting the strings at the right level. i really outsmarted myself in that department for the most part because of the mics i used and a majority of the strings don't need any eq- something that's also decreased the amount of tape hiss. it's the same with the vocals. today i was going to go ahead and mix down a few other tracks that i have completed that are extraneous. i'm pretty sure that i'm going to do the christmas single, i'm going to do it purely as a digital thing for the time being- it's possible that i'll include the title track in that if it turns out really nicely. i'm not too certain at the moment. i might actually ask for a bunch of input from everyone (if they're up for it).
last week was a bit difficult in some ways- i'd say it was a bit more difficult than it needed to be. the day that i spent getting home last saturday was a bit of a bear. mainly i just got home much later than i expected and once i got back to chicago time started moving at warp speed- i'd blink and 15 minutes would be gone. once i got home and was trying to relax before taking a shower i somehow lost about 45 minutes without being aware of it- which was really valuable since i had to wake up at 6:10am the next day to open the shop. before i knew it midnight had come and gone and i got really pissed because i didn't have that much time to do much of anything that i needed to do. funny how that works. that ended up being a recurring theme throughout last week. on tuesday i did what i call the walk of shame- while i was in kansas city recording with billy i got a call from reckless records telling me to come pick up my cds. never a fun call to receive. they basically give you a week to come get them before they just flat out give them away. so i went down to wicker park from work, then looked for some stuff i wanted on vinyl (they didn't have any of it at all) so then i went down to permanent records in pursuit of the new spacemen 3 'tones for djs' record and they had it there, along with the new deerhunter ep on vinyl- so i had a little cash therapy as well. from there i went to the lakeview reckless records, ran into a friend of mike's who was in crap corps (it was libby the drummer- who is the nicest of that bunch) and chatted for a bit and then got my cds and left to meet stefanie to go back up home on a crowded as shit rush-hour train on a game day after getting soaked to the bone. i didn't mind the rain at all at that point- i was more annoyed at the giant crowd and it put me in a terrible mood. i also did get ridiculously soaked despite having an umbrella- my shoes still haven't dried.
i dunno- it should've been a breeze since it was so short, but it wasn't. i don't know why. then my transit card reloaded again- i can't for the life of me figure out the system by which it is constantly reloading. it seems to do it whenever it feels like it- sometimes it waits until as low as $5 and sometimes as high as $9. who knows?
i'm trying to quit questioning my station in life. it seems kind of futile to do so. it would be nice to make more money, but i don't really see how that would solve that many of my problems. obviously i need some money, but realistically money is something that no one feels they have enough of. i suspect that even millionaires think that they're underpaid. i once read a story about the phenomenon of the working class millionaire in palo alto, ca- where microsoft is based. it basically interviewed a ton of microsoft workers telling their tales of woe about how even if you're making 2 million a year you're 'struggling' because palo alto is so expensive. fair enough, it certainly is- but it's california and any property you're going to buy is going to be obscenely expensive. they also interviewed a lot of these people at a popular local winebar and all of them were sipping on spendy glasses of wine. so basically i'm just trying to be a bit less negative. i can't really tell if it's working or not. i still have the hurdle of how to get the next record released. i can't remember if stefanie was telling me that grant money for artists has dried up or not- but the time is approaching where i need to go and check into that option and apply and whatnot. i have a semblance of the finished product ready to go. in fact i might have to start raising money to get it mastered. i think i'm going to tack the single onto the end of it so that it's all done at once. i found out i'm on a fixed rate at magneto mastering- $300 per album. at least i never have to wonder how much it's going to cost. very nice indeed!
we're slowly raising money to go to portland- i think the new date is around halloween. i'm hoping that the show at the record bar works out- because that would make for a nice long weekend in august and ideally we can get another show sussed out in lawrence as well. looking forward to it. hope it works out. then there's the possibility of playing a free monday night show at the empty bottle with this band called soft speaker. keep your fingers crossed for us folks.
over and out.

Monday, June 15, 2009

diary 6.13.09

new playlist made from the road-

1. silver lining- jenny lewis- glass house bootleg
2. lose my breath- my bloody valentine- 6.23.09- london roundhouse bootleg
3. slowly disappearing- the warlocks- the mirror explodes
4. he hit me- grizzly bear- friend ep
5. last year's man- leonard cohen- songs of love and hate
6. let it flow- spiritualized- pure phase
7. atlantic city- bruce springsteen- nebraska
8. hear my call, here- holly golightly- christmas tree on fire 7"
9. stormy weather- nina nastasia- dogs
10. elena- juana molina- son
11. heartless- sian alice group- 59.59
12. my baby wants me dead- vivian girls- wild eyes 7"
13. the world is dying- spacemen 3- hypnotized 12"
14. everyone says- the brian jonestown massacre- methodrone
15. touch upon touch- cocteau twins- unreleased
16. true love is a rose- elliott smith- from a basement on the hill disc two (unreleased)
17. tightly- neko case- blacklisted
18. before i sleep- mazzy star- she hangs brightly
19. all souls- opal- early recordings

Friday, June 12, 2009

so it goes...

just finished recording with billy for possibly the last time in the foreseeable future (probably until i figure out what i'm doing next). we did five songs yielding two finished tracks- a third will follow once i get home and add some noisy textural elements. that will bring the count to 11 total. the remaining seven mostly need stefanie's vocals, strings and the title track still needs drums and a few other things (i'm pondering taking my recording setup into the lobby at my parents' building really late tonight to record the piano part for the title track- i figure why not? i need a good sounding, in tune piano and one is just sitting in the lobby). then that's all she wrote. wacky and totally crazy... and maybe just a touch sad. i'm sure i'll have plenty to keep myself occupied with. my prediction is that i'll just be recording all the fucking time working through this ridiculous backlog i've worked up so far- one thing i have to do is go through all of the old instrumentals that i made up when i got back from london. briefly i went through a phase where shalloboi took on the guise of a godspeed-type of instrumental ensemble- something i could actually achieve fairly easily nowadays. i'm sure it will be appropriate to use strings in this project where necessary.
i'm at filling station right now, my second visit of the day. i was going to wait until my mom got back from her errand-running and go to winstead's, but let's face it- i'm going to find time for at least one more visit before i leave tomorrow. as always i've been having a nice time. it's kind of a nice thing that when i come back everyone has their own lives and it forces me to be bored. things tend to snap right into focus whenever i find myself bored for a period of time (no matter how short- and it usually is an incredibly brief period). the best boredom time was when i came back to kansas city while i was feverishly working on 'down to sleep' and i didn't even bring my guitar back with me and i remember almost going completely insane with utter boredom for three days. it was truly glorious at that time because i was working for chase and things had been ridiculously nuts and crazy. i would like to book another trip here just to relax and be bored, but too many things are planned for the period i would want to take the trip- we might be playing at the empty bottle in september or october and we are planning on going to portland at some point during those months. i've been saving my pennies for that trip- quite literally, in fact...
it feels like the rest of the year's already all mapped out... crumbs... on top of that i wanted to try to get us another show at the record bar- in august maybe? that might be doable. i sure as hell can't seem to get schuba's to respond to me... bummer. so i'd like to play some kind of gloriously shambolic show soon (hopefully the hotti biscotti thing will work out)- that'd probably be good as a warm-up show for the kc show if it works out and then it'd be nice if the schuba's thing would work out before the empty bottle show (if that works out) and then we'll have the christmas show in early december. nice. let's hope it all comes together. the tour emails have so far yielded a total of two responses- one from pittsburgh, one from philadelphia. one a complete rejection, the other good advice for what will become next time. i'm beginning to think that we should get geared up to do the tour in march. since we're not doing any releases it might be possible to do more touring next year. that would be a good way to fill the time. we shall see!
i think i'm going to leave here soon- i've been here for a long time. it has been nice though to be able to just hang out at a coffee shop that i don't work at on what would already normally be my day off. very nice indeed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

poor nardwuar...

i don't know how i found these, but they made me feel like sonic youth were kind of jerks... it's a bit sad... of course it is also funny...

i do like the part at the beginning of this where they start making fun of him yelling 'you ripped my card!'

icing on the cake-

and then, of course, just because i am a very sick little man-

before i sleep...

today was okay. not dynamite, but ok. not awful, but not great either. i got a bit lippy around lunch-time. anyway, it's over and i'm home now- listening to the new grizzly bear album (this will make time number two today). i'm waiting for everyone at work to get sick of me playing it every day. it's very good- so good in fact that i haven't listened to 'yellow house' in ages. or 'friend' for that matter. there's a new deerhunter ep coming out- i can't figure out if the vinyl is out right now. i have discovered a useful feature- will tell you which reckless records locations have what you're looking for- they'll even tell you formats. THIS i love! it's getting to the point where there is nothing more annoying to me than taking the train down to the record store only to find that they don't have a new release that i'm looking for on vinyl. it's also getting so confusing these days because just because a new release has come out on cd, that certainly doesn't mean that it's out on vinyl at the same time. the vinyl version of 'middle cyclone' isn't coming out until after father's day. RIDICULOUS!
life is okay at the moment- i'm getting more and more wistful and a bit sad about the impending end of the 'all hope is blind' album. i haven't even had the 'dandelions' ep replicated yet (i have the final masters in my possession and the cdman order forms filled out and ready to send- i even have all of the money accounted for- right now i'm waiting for a quote from them because i got a 10% off coupon in my inbox a few weeks ago and i intend to use it, dammit!) i'm going to try to enjoy myself during my 'time off' (which will be spent going through old recordings and probably doing a lot of demos and possibly getting back to making another record towards the end of it). i do still want to get ahold of a nintendo and a few of the old classic games... supposedly my friend adam snow wants me to score a film for him- which i would LOVE to do and i hope that this comes to fruition... i'd also like to play more shows during this 'down time'- although i suspect this will be a bit difficult as well and probably a carbon copy of this year's show list (we've only played three shows so far this year). i did make contact with someone in a pretty darn good band on the spiritualized message board and it looks like we might be able to play a free monday night show at the empty bottle in september or october. not much else to report- i get to start bugging the guy at schuba's again in a week. definitely looking forward to that one! it's fun to bug people endlessly without any real results...
we are still planning on doing a christmas show at the end of the year with our string players. i'm thinking that if we can't get that together anywhere else we'll do it at elastic. i thought about doing it at the church that we saw nick play at once. he played with this really terrible duo called hecuba and i just saw that they have a record out and that you can buy it at permanent records. how the fuck did they get signed- they were really awful. there were only two of them and they used tons of sequenced beats and whatnot and the dude in the band had electronic drums and a few real cymbals, played the piano and the girl in the band wore a leotard and sang and did weird dances. their lyrics were awful. we couldn't figure out if they were being serious or if it was some kind of a post-modern 'the joke's on you' kind of thing. either way we didn't like it. and now, naturally, i'm seeing that they've been signed and have a record out. it truly boggles the mind, doesn't it? i think as a bit of self-preservation it would do me a lot of good not to take things like this personally. even without taking it personally that some terrible two-piece band that might possibly be intentionally awful gets signed and i've never been approached by a label despite being ridiculously committed, passionate and having created a sizable body of work of formidable quality while not taking ourselves too seriously and becoming completely hopeless pretentious assholes on a less-than-zero budget (how did we do that again- even i don't know) it still boggles my mind that a band like that is getting signed right now- especially in the current 'music business' climate. this is true of a band called mi ami who were just signed to touch 'n go. also of crystal antlers- i really don't understand why they've been signed they are insipid and obnoxious. the only conclusion i can draw is that even indie labels are now forced to sign ridiculously pretentious acts because, if nothing else, in a pinch, a painfully pretentious act is going to sell more records than an unpretentious one. i guess we should just get some stupid costumes and start acting like idiots. i'm joking, but in my heart i am aware that this would probably actually work. you've seen the king khan bbq pictures. who hasn't for god's sake?!
anyway, i think that's all i have to say right about now...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

this one might be a positive one folks...

... hold on to your hats. i've been really enjoying this weird weather week a lot- cool summer days are kind of a beautiful thing- they are very scarce. it actually makes me a bit angry when people complain about them- i really don't understand what's to complain about- tons of sunshine and nice, cool air. it's not like it's below 60 degrees. enjoy it while you can- july and august aren't that far off, now and when the 90+ degree heat and humidity hit you'll be pining for these beautiful, cool summer days. our neighborhood does become very beautiful in the springtime- the streets are all lined with really tall, green trees and a fair amount of people do that amazing english-style landscaping in their front yards (although no one does this like the english i have to say- the portlanders are the closest i've seen). i like that stuff believe it or not. we drove down to a sort of no-neighborhood limbo last night to deliver a cd to hotti biscotti (a place people have recommended we play for a long old time) and driving through all of those strange neighborhoods near logan square really had me feeling pretty grateful about where we live- it's kind of a unique amalgam. for one thing it's got sketchy pockets to be sure, but for another it has an almost suburban vibe with the whole tree-lined streets and sidewalk gardens and whatnot, the yuppies are here but they certainly haven't taken over, there are gigantic ridiculous houses, but there are also run-down four-plus ones and some really sad looking buildings, and there is some ridiculous diversity going on in this neck of the woods. our neighbors are nigerian. there used to be an indian family living across from us. you mix that in with all of the loyola students, the scruffy artists and the other types i haven't mentioned and it's kind of nice because no one's in the majority here. it's almost like still being in portland in a way but it's not just 80% white and crawling with scruffy hipster-types.
today i'm chirpy because a few good things happened yesterday that really turned a crappy week around. this is strange because normally my weeks are either all-fantastic or completely crappy. last week was looking really crappy. i was supposed to have jury duty today, for instance. yesterday i was at work and having kind of a crappy time and will accidentally scheduled too many people- he went to the basement to do a bunch of cleaning and it didn't end up taking him very long so then he asked me if i wanted to go home and that's where the day completely turned around. i did walk about three miles with a heavy six-pack of hoegaarden in my bag trying to get stefanie a jenny lewis ticket (unsuccessfully, as it turns out), but then i got home and took a nap, played some guitar and then called the number on my jury summons (i was called as a standby juror) to see if i needed to show up tomorrow and it was a big negative! awesome! things like this happen so seldom i try to enjoy them more.
so i'm here at the coffee shop typing up my private thoughts in public. so there it goes...
i'm not sure what i'm going to do today... it's kind of a giant question mark. i'm not even sure if i have any work to do on the new album- a lot of my work is pretty much done, which is really odd and unexpected. last week we worked on the title track and it so far hasn't come out as well as i'd hoped. what's more it's a little longer than i'd hoped and 'narcoleptic' is also a tiny bit longer than i'd hoped as well. this is kind of a problem since i'm now trying to work within the confines of the vinyl format and i don't want it to be a double lp- therefore it has to be under 50 minutes long. i'm itching to get the 'dandelions' cd sent off in the mail. i'm beginning to think that i should just send off a copy of the reference disc and be done with it. i've got the pdf mostly filled out for cdman. i have to deposit all of my saved cash (about $550) into my bank account so i can pay my credit card bills and whatnot, which will be due while i'm gone because my paycheck is going to come up while i'm in kansas city- kind of a good thing since i (ideally) won't spend all of the money.
it's strange and a bit sad to me that the record is almost done. i realised that this might be the last time that i take one of these trips specifically to record with billy. it depends on what we do next, we might not use as much in the way of strings and if, by some miracle, we ever get the 16-track setup going then i'm not going to be able to record with billy- it's just not going to be portable anymore. i will still try to visit as often though. it's so cheap and easy and fun to go down to kansas city and i like being able to have it so easily accessible- it makes it so close by.
but it's a bit sad- i'm a bit bummed that it's almost over. most of my work is done- i don't know how that happened...