Saturday, December 31, 2005

City Signs

New Year's Eve!

this is a quality holiday, as far as i'm concerned.. like mardi gras. everybody's partying, having fun, out in the streets.. makes a city live. i like that stuff.

to do our part, to encourage the fun, emily and i put together this little guy - 'City Signs' about the mythic/fantastic loft building here in portland, where i've been lucky enough to enjoy many a night, meet all sorts of people, and cement a number of budding friendships.. no regrets here. it's also where we were able to record the Volumes album, Love & Squalor. i feel indebted, almost.

the song itself was a blast.. two drum machine tracks, then emily came up with the trumpet parts.. then i figured the guitars (my first wah stuff!) and bass and started fitting lyrics in.. i put the piano bit at the end almost as an afterthought, but it's one of my favorite bits. a little guitar solo and it's done! easy and delightful.

thank you city signs. thank you matt and colin. hopefully i've done you proud. ha!

happy new years!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Please Plant This Song

friday, and i'm feeling much better and so is emily, so i think we're past all this sicko stuff. good.

well, i managed to stay working, and this song is a great one. 'Please Plant This Song' is a short little ditty written for/around/because of Richard Brautigan. He was a poet/novelist who spent a lot of time around the west coast, the bay area and oregon, and i love this guy.. he's dead now, but he's got a good body of work behind him, and i've been reading a lot of it lately. the guy rocks.

so i had this progression on guitar, but i didn't know what to do with it.. and i was sick, so i was lazy and sad. i started recording it anyway and all i could think of was the 'chorus' bit.. titles of brautigan books. i layered on an electric guitar (fingerpicked! yikes!) and a few drum machines and got some more fragmented lyrics.. then i did the real drums, which i'm pretty proud of.. and finished the lyrics. i decided to put the mandolin on there 'cause i need to practice it, and i think it worked out pretty well. then emily came home from work and we both thought accordion would be nice (or piano, but it's outta tune).. so she did a take, and i did a take. we ended up using both, but her's is the louder, busier one.. mine is in the background, just comping chords.

i think thats it. for some reason, i like the little solos. maybe i've been leaning on the guitar too much. maybe the mandolin isn't entirely awful.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Amy and Mary

still a little bit sick. when i was recording yesterday, i had coughs and sniffles all over the place.. it was pretty funny/sad. i left 'em all in there. i'm having particular trouble getting motivated lately.. the sickness doesn't just mess up my voice or anything, it drains me.. it's much more work just to record a guitar take. blah blah blah. i have to be getting better, right?

we'll see, i suppose.. today's song is called 'Amy and Mary' - about two girls who fall in love while sniffing glue. (i wanted to call it Helen and Tony) it's a short one, based entirely on the narrative of the story. i'd never really done that before, so it was interesting.. even though i knew the whole story, it was difficult to bend and cram and smash it into place and still make some kinda sense. all that and back it up with weird glue sniffing music.. ha! it has a dreamy guitar off in the background for the intro, then banjo and spacey keyboard.. oh, and two bass tracks! one distorted, one normal.. that was just an experiment, not entirely successful. the bass is difficult, especially for mp3s and computer speakers and stuff.. it doesn't give itself up easily. more glue sniffing.

which reminds.. emily thinks i've been doing too many drug songs. i laughed it off (i write a bunch of songs that aren't about drugs, you know.) but i was looking at the list, and the last three or four are drug related... hmm.

kids - don't do drugs.

unless you have AD(H)D, and most of you do anyhow.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Plastic Leviathan

i like this song.. it's pretty bizarre, but it's awesome. it's some kinda electronica techno tune, but i don't know what you'd call it.. it sounds a tiny bit like U2's lemon, with the edge droning on and on about something. ha! the lyrics to this are pretty bizarre, also, but i like it. i guess 'Plastic Leviathan' is a little more out than most of my lyrics. maybe.

lets see here.. i came home for lunch yesterday and put down the drum machines and the guitar.. and the bass. i had a blast with those, the bass is rad. and the keyboard.. it actually all started with the keyboard, trying to voice chords and make harmonic motion with less notes - alluding to a chord or resolution without spelling it out. then i just had to learn those voicings on guitar and such, not too hard.
like i said, it was a lot of fun.
came home in the evening, then i did some vocals.. we're both still pretty sick, so there wasn't much actual singing going on.. i did two tracks, emily comes in at the end.. pretty much done. a few little techno flourishes and such..

i was pretty excited after all this, so i kept working on this other neat song.. it's kinda like a country tune, i suppose, but it's odd. i'm trying to get a guitar solo over right now, but i think i can finish it today.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Just Stay Gone

ahhh.. back to work after christmas. it's not so bad, but i'm still kinda sick. oh well.. it should be an easy day.

so today's song is about a 'triangle' i was involved with back at the end of college, which isn't the most awesome thing i've ever done.. i was friends with this couple that lived together, and eventually the girl and i started hanging out more without her boyfriend, blah blah blah.. 'Just Stay Gone' is my 'trappend in a closet'.. you know, R. Kelly? ha! i wish - that thing is brilliant.

this song was neat to put together.. it started with the guitar figure, another open-tuning experiment (i'm starting to really like those) that made a lot of sense right away.. i put down organ and bass and a few acoustic guitars, then drumset and started to figure out the melody/storyline. emily came in and dropped an awesome little trumpet line in there.. i think i put the banjo on last, it still seemed kinda naked with all that other stuff.

it's a neat song - a cross between wilco and ani difranco, perhaps.
i was on a track to make it even longer, the song ends where the solo should be starting, but i'm trying to figure out short songs and tempo and stuff, so there it is.

breakfast and work.

Monday, December 26, 2005


still sick. bleah. throat hurts, nose hurts, head hurts.

i like this neat thing.. 'Smithereens' i can't really sing, (sick or not! ha!) so i was looking for something else to do, and this turned out alright. it's mostly atmospheric keyboards and violins, with a little guitar line and some odd processing thrown around. it reminds me of Pink Floyd, maybe the first track of Momentary Lapse or something else..

i like the little guitar line.. it sounds almost defeated - tired and defiant.

so there you go. i almost put a weird electronic drum track underneath, but that probably would've messed up the phrasing already there.. perhaps i'll just have to write another song. hmm.

more likely, i'll go back to sleep.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

ugh.. sunday evening. emily and i are both kinda sick, some sort of head cold. we just got back from seattle, thought i'd try and keep up with the blogging and all.

let me think...

My Favorite Daughter is me with a piano and a guitar with a bunch of delay.. and a drum machine. the outro is a neat round that emily and i did, i really like it.. - now that we're torn asunder, i barely have the strength to shrug my shoulders. good stuff.

The Cheer is self explanatory, i think.. we were very loud when we recorded it, late one night.

All Of This Is For You is our punk rock tune for leah.. i wanted to try and write more 'Volumes' songs, and this definately applies.. emily put down a cool bass line that does neat melodic stuff.. i yell over it.

Mystery of a Girl is a classic leah/emily/aaron song from wayback, that emily wrote. she sings a neat harmony.. i only did the banjo on this.

Dry Hands is our hiphop tune.. i think it worked out pretty well. this is actually the second version, 'cause the first wouldn't give itself up. frustrating. i really like layering all the drum machine bits and weaving them through each other.

Leah B. Green - this is harder than it seems, and we went through a few songs before we found a good one that was easy enough for us.

sick sick sick. i think i wanna go to bed for awhile now.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Portland Ukelele

Christmas Eve! Saturday Morning!

but no coffee.. oh well, i'm sure there's some coffee somewhere in portland, i just gotta find it.

anyhow, we're about to go up to seattle for christmas, spend the day with leah - so i wrote and posted a song for today and a few for leah's chrismas present tomorrow. i kinda just sneeze out songs right now. it's weird.

today is 'Portland Ukelele' a funny little song about bar-hopping the next day after staying up much too late the night before, getting into trouble. good times.

it was written around the ukelele, which i'd been trying to do for awhile, but this was the first/best thing i came up with. it has this neat descending bit between the C and the F that i really like, and then i learned that on guitar.. emily put the steel drums and the shaker, i sang a few times.. even tried a harmony on the bridge while emily took a nap. if she were awake it'd have sounded better. she would've done it for me. oh well. i'll just write another song.

andy's drum machine has all these kinda dumb rock and hard rock grooves, but near the end it has a whole assortment of latin beats, including some odd ones.. those are golden. thanks andy.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Free From the Wires

friday friday! it's been a good week, to say the least.. lots and lots of music everywhere, all the time. i wonder if emily can stand it? i hope so.. she's genius. last night we kinda wrapped up our new year's eve song, City Signs - this hilarious/awesome funk number about the legendary loft. legendary? yes. and we got a lot of the xmas tune figured out, also. good work all around..

but for today: Free From the Wires

it's a good major key song. those are definately harder than any other. in this case, matt, emily, and myself all wrote this guitar bit (the snaky odd-time bit) sitting around one night, drinking whiskey.
i liked it, but it was hard to get around, nobody could really sing and play it at the same time.. so i ran off with it and wrote this. once you figure it out, it's kinda funny, almost easy.. well, the guitars are. emily played this awesome accordion part that winds all around. brilliant! ...and the end is just a straightened out re-interpretation of the riff, but the drums underneath try and stress it differently.

hmm.. even i didn't understand that last bit.

oh well, it has a nice guitar solo at the end.. it kinda lifts me up, like i'm floating. major keys are hard.

AND - the Portland Mercury wrote a little blurb about me yesterday or the day before. Adam Gnade's gossip bit, It's Who You Know, mentioned the site and project. and cake and beer. neat stuff. it's probably the first time my name has ever been in bold print.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Exploded Against Me

thursday - just about christmas. i gotta work tomorrow, but then i'm free for.. maybe a week or so. pretty remarkable. i hope i get to eat some good food over the weekend. holidays rock for food, if you're lucky.

and the music.. this one is a bit weird. i like the song, but it was different coming together.. it's got three or four guitars mashed up inside, plus two violins (emily!), at least one toy keyboard.. and three different drum machine tracks, all weaving around.. it's a bit of a mess. i guess i kinda got some inspiration from Scott, the ad guy at the mercury.. he re-opened my eyes to metal. ha!
but i really like it. the lyrics are short and sweet:

this ringing sensation in my head
means last night must've 'exploded against me'
is that applause?
sounds more like a fire.

yeah.. short and sweet. i read somewhere about the history/origin of applause, clapping your hands together and things like that. someone referenced it back to communal bonfire experiences, deep in our psychology. all that is probably unprovable, but i carried that bit of trivia around for years before it found a song. i like the idea of confusing the two, especially after a hard night of drinking. you can't quite remember if you were charming and hilarious, or obnoxious and embarrassing.

i figure i got about six - ten days with the all of andy's gear, then he takes it back. gotta take advantage.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


man.. the bass guitar is a pretty cool invention. i suppose i gotta get better at it, but it supplies all sorts of motion and groove to a song. you can phrase things just by letting notes ring, or choking it off.
its got a powerful impetus.

anyhow, i think this is the first song with bass.. 'Ponys' it's got everything to do with two local bands, Cicada Omega and Hillstomp.. they both have the open-tuned distorted slide guitar figured out, which is a pretty awesome noise. so i asked Barry (cicada) about it one day and he told me the tunings and such, and i went home and eventually got this. i've put slide guitar on all sorts of songs, but this lick was written around open strings and such.. so it's a more officiail attempt.

did i mention it has bass guitar?

'cause it does.

it also has a few open tuned acoustic guitars.. open with a slide, one without. plus some drumset.. the beginning is more open tuned guitar stuff, but different. with that toy keyboard of tonys. tonys. ponys. hmm.

it's gotta be close to the solstice about now.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Falling Apart

i like listening to emily play the piano.. she just does a lot of stuff by ear. kinda remarkable. i usually have to work a lot harder to acheive considerably less. frustrating.

in any case.. i wrote a song about getting older, but i started with the creepy trio of banjo, piano, and theremin.. that really set the tone. morgan came over to record some christmas stuff and he let us hang onto the theremin for a bit. i've only managed to find one song for it, so far.. it's a pretty hard instrument to play on purpose. but i put it through a compressor pedal and a little delay stomp box and into an amp.. certainly made it much dirtier - it's similar to how i want my guitar to sound sometimes. ha! anyways, the song is odd - it's an old poem i wrote at o'malley's one evening, and it seems kinda bitter when i listen to it.
'Falling Apart' yr a stain to be seen in. i'm not a boy without feelings. i'm not a sociopath.

but all that is nonsense compared to my birthday.

i got the two things i really wanted/needed, in order.

i got a bass guitar. and subsequently put it down on two funk/dance tunes.

i got a banjo mic/pickup thing. that'll make it possible for me to play banjo with the revolution. yee haw.

now i just need a drum machine. and a panda head.

Monday, December 19, 2005


today is my 'Birthday'.

yesterday in portland there was an ice/snow storm that lasted most of sunday day, and some into the night..
so in Portland style, the town is pretty much shut down.

i think i'll take the day off.

i just made a pot of coffee.

thanks mom.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

In The Snow

man.. i'm on a roll, and i really like this song. it's full of creepiness and menace and guitar rock out and a cool little drum groove, it really came together. i think i was pretty lucky - it only took a short time, and it really started to "snowball". it reminds me of a particular type of radiohead song.. something around the bends or ok computer, where they were mixing up the pretty and the freak out rock. hmm.. maybe even hail to the theif. if only i could sing like thom yorke.. you wouldn't be able to tell what i was saying, but you wouldn't care 'cause it'd sound beautiful. oh well.

its got a long piano groove, going back and forth between Fmin and Abmaj, ending the phrase on Ebmaj.. kinda odd, especially once i got around to putting guitars and banjo on. i've had to get better at playing in a lot of keys.

the clean guitar that plays the whole way through was nice, there were lots of little pretty bits.. the gnarly guitar that comes in was more trouble, stupid guitar tones and all.. i ended up retuning the guitar a bit and pushing the amp in a funny direction.. but i think it worked. and the banjo sounded kinda hollow and silly at first, but i maxed out this plate reverb in a way i'd never considered before. ha! just keeping turning things up, i guess.

the lyrics are kinda obvious, i suppose. i found an axe 'In The Snow'. ha! now i gotta work on this other tune, with a ukelele on it. it's adorable.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Arrows of Apollo

oh man.. all sorts of good work done today, and it's only early afternoon. i got guitars down on two or three songs, theremin on a song, piano.. and all sorts of scratch vox. productive.

which is odd, 'cause last night was a good time.. new mex rev practice, then i went to the wonder ballroom and saw Pepe and the Bottle Blondes, this weird latin band.. very good music, but odd stage presence. but it was free (thanks mercury). then i went to a party up in north portland, Eric from the King Hen's house.. he had a fucking ice sculpture. very pimp.. pretty good night.

and yet, so much work got done. today i'm posting 'Arrows of Apollo' the most epic two minutes i've ever written. early on emily said it was kinda like a movie soundtrack thing.. i thought of willow, for some reason.. its kinda like mercury rev, to me - maybe flaming lips and mercury rev working together.
i wrote it on piano and started building it up.. drums and a few guitars and accordion.. then emily came in and put trumpet parts down.. three, i think. she's a genius. i also really like the lyrics on this one. very short, but it worked out well.. i kinda proud of this song. big and majestic, all in two minutes.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Too Much Sunlight

heh.. lance chess brought an axe to a white elephant party, covered in ribbons. later, he said he had just bought 'the Shining' on DVD, for himself. funny guy.

it's too cold here in portland right now. we should all move to costa rica or belize or something. or i should. but instead, i'll write a song about the rapture. a lotta people (23%) think that aliens and angels are the same thing, you know.. which got me wondering about the landing of the aliens, and how that would probably be the rapture. people are always (90% of the time) mistaking extra-terrestrial visits for religious fervor. it's funny. 'Too Much Sunlight' is my religious song. ha!

this song has emily on violin, and that's pretty rad. it's k-rad, i guess. it's got some guitars and drums and banjo, some back and forth vocals.. that's the first time i'd ever done that. it's close to a hoe-down song.. maybe it needed to be faster or something. i like the solo at the end. hmm.. i'm kinda all over the place.. too much of the gin and tonic last night.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Straight Up

ahh.. Paula Abdul. Is there anything she can't do?

I had the idea that The New Mexican Revolution could do this song while we were on tour last time.. I even found the music on the internet in Albuquerque and tried to figure it out, but we were mashing it all around and playing it in 9/8 and silly things, and we decided it wouldn't work. I still like the idea, but I don't think it would fit Wes particularly well..

On the other hand, it fits Emily perfectly.. we put some guitars down, a banjo, a bunch of Emily singing harmony (wow!) and i think that was that.. there's a twiddly guitar at the end, for the morose outro, but it was pretty simple. the only hitch was going back and forth from 6/8 to 4/4 - from verses to choruses. I was too lazy to program a click track to do it, so i just listened ot the beeps and powered through. anyhow Straight Up turned out kinda nice. it's less celebratory than the previous dance version.

man, yesterday was tough. i messed up at work, wiring this guy's kitchen - then proceeded to insist that it was right, and i would've noticed anything odd. of course, i had messed up, and it took us hours to getting around to checking my work. i was chagrin, to say the least. where is my head?

tomorrow is friday. tomorrow is friday. maybe i can write three or four songs this weekend. that'd be nice.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

She Is So Impossible

whew.. i haven't been feeling well the past two days, some kinda cold or something, so last night i didn't do much work. i didn't have to, 'cause emily did all sorts of amazing things on three or four songs. incredible! she was playing violin, theremin, singing.. trumpet on this awesome thing that i think will become a funny funk number, i may even rap over it. genius.

anyhow, yesterday we wrapped up 'She Is So Impossible' a skewed pop song about a girl. this one was a bit difficult, 'cause it has about 20 stops and starts throughout it, and i was running all these ideas across it.. drum machines, live drums, hand claps, two guitars, accordion, two vocals... it took some editing and such to cut it into shape, and i still wish i had a bass. this song needs a bass. oh well.

it kinda reminds me of this song i used to see on MTV, where a girl climbed up on a tightrope and dived into a glass of water while a guy sang about cleopatra and aphrodite. i don't remember much more than that, and i only see MTV in tiny windows.. mid 90's pop rock, i figure.

i got this new song, which i'll probably post thursday or friday, that reminds me of mercury rev's all is dream. i like that album, i like this song.. we'll see if i can finish it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Duct Tape Wallet

man, i was kinda sad and upset yesterday. i have a big white van, you know, for bands and work and such.. and i had this robot on the front with a panda head. i found him hilarious. well, somebody stole the panda head right off him! appalling and sad - the world is an upsetting place.

in passive retaliation, i wrote a song. it's kinda like the volumes, my old psych/soul/punk band. more of the punk, less of the psych/soul. in any case, i'm sure it'll get my panda head back. i call it 'Duct Tape Wallet' but i don't know if the thief had one or not. the lyrics are a smash up of hipster hating and some references from a bukowski book, PULP. that's a funny book. also, there's some paula abdul in there.

i also saw something neat, one time. pail wrote a little something about me, a neat description and posted a picture. good stuff. it's hard to describe yourself and your music, it's better if other people do it. i'm not sure how to link to specific things in blogs, (i'm not so internet savvy, you know) but it's the entry about me.

Monday, December 12, 2005

the Last Eclipse

ahh Monday. Sometimes it's nice to start a week..

yesterday i worked with the remnants of the Volumes on a christmas album, four or five songs, and that took most of the day. i may post one, but i find it against the "spirit of the project" and all.. blah blah blah. stupid rules.. notably, we did a nice slow cover of 'born to run' with me on piano, and matt and morgan on guitars.. morgan plays theremin, even. it's nice.

anyhow, today i'm posting 'the Last Eclipse' - a song i discovered half finished on my computer one day. i went in and sang over and played guitar and edited the bits together. it's got bass (!) which none of the other songs have.. i need a bass. it's also got a moog! i need that too. a few guitars, some drums.. maybe that's it. Matt and John Paul played all the foundation stuff, and Coleen sang the little tag ending. that really kinda makes the song, in my mind.

i've been working on a full on punk song (ha!) a kinda metal song (ha!ha!) a rompy rock/country tune about the rapture and aliens, and a movie soundtrack thing. whew. that'll probably fill up this week.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

At Least We're Not Alone

i wrote a sad song about an extended hospital stay, where you kinda fall for a nurse in a morphine dream, and upon release find yourself estranged from your old girlfriend. not because you love the nurse, but the experience has changed you. like a raymond carver story, but i didn't write about liquor and cigarettes. it reminds of when people come back from war and find trouble connecting with their spouse.
i really like the lyrics to this one, especially the chorus -

in a drowsy hypnosis, there is a nurse with wings
in the whale next to jonah, there is a ghost who sings
at least we're not alone.

i think that's neat stuff. i also like that jonah story. god sure is crazy.
it's a very nice sunday, cold crisp clear. good winter weather. i think i have two songs in mind, and i'm almost done with two i started last week.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Tippy Tommy

i don't feel good. i want you to feel awful.
let's leap with diseases, and chew through the barbed fence.
we'll emulate angels - standing alone.
i don't feel good, and i want you to feel awful.
like back when the dogs could talk:
they'd sing songs to point out your friendship.
a trick of the light.

no, really. i don't feel that good.. stayed up kinda late last night partying. ugh. i did win at scrabble though.

the neatest bit about this song is when it goes to the chorus, it switches into a swung 6/8 bit. i really like that. it could probably use an electronic piano sound, like a rhodes or something, but i don't have that. instead, i've got a few guitar tracks, acoustic and electric, and a really cheesy keyboard in the background. thats the little toy that i got from tony again. emily doesn't think much of it, but i'm inclined to leave it alone. i don't find it that offensive.

this whole song i wrote in just a flash, and tried to record it at city signs one day. i liked that version fine, but i had that same issue with trying to get protools to bounce it down. i wasn't as broken hearted about it, though. this time i used a click track and the drums were much easier to record.
the lyrics are a fairly topical reference to falling out with a friend, i named it 'Tippy Tommy' for an old friend who drank red wine out of a sippy cup.

i play a show tonight at mississippi pizza pub, that'll be a nice change from recording all the time.
i hope i break a leg.

Friday, December 09, 2005

A Home Is Not A Hotel

friday morning. i think i'm gonna go out to breakfast. i hardly ever do that.. the Blue Moose Cafe, 50th and Fremont or thereabouts. they just opened. it's gonna be great. portland is famous for breakfast, you know. that's what i was told when i moved here, by a trustworthy friend.

he never mentioned 'A Home Is Not A Hotel' though.. ha! i'm a little loopy.

i wrote the lyrics and guitar parts to this a short while ago, thinking about the divorce of my two friends. that divorce stuff really tears me up.
i like that the vocal meloy and the guitar melody are the same, or at least they're trying to be.. and the whole second half is a mellow guitar and piano atmosphere in 7. it's also got a few electronic drum tracks, a live track (all the clatters and rolls and echoes) plus a mandolin near the end.

it's got a nice soundscape sort of feel, and i couldn't bring myself to screw with it anymore. i'd just mangle it somehow. i also finished two (!) other songs yesterday. three songs in the can. that's kinda cool.

breakfast, work, work-party, rehearsal, then a whiskey/scrabble evening.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


ah, thursday.. it's not even 8 am yet. wow.

last night was a good night, a old-time new mex rev practice with jana really flying on the clarinet. some people are pretty good at playing neat things really fast. she's a devil. or at least in league with 'em.

anyhow, i got two songs finished, 'tippy tommy' and 'Desolate'.

this one here had a difficult birth.. protools somehow got a stranglehold on it and wouldn't let go, i couldn't bounce it down and get it all finished. some odd audio property error, and i couldn't solve. so i started over, from the beginning and re-did everything.. just about everything. it seems almost against the spirit of the songaday project, but it is a neat song.

it's got one of the neatest piano parts.. in the middle break the piano and drums supply all the motion, the guitars take a backseat. i like that, it's too easy for me to do guitar driven stuff. having said that, this song has two or three guitars on it, including one neat line panned off to the side. this song used to have a high harmony, i was singing an octave up i think (wow). it was kinda neil young/my morning jacket-ish, and i liked it. it was hard for me to do, but emily had her concerns (she didn't think it sounded like neil young), so i didn't bother revisiting it on the second version. i'm sure it is better without it..

the lyrics are a mash-up between an episode of globe trekker (the arctic circle) and this nightmare-esque dream i had where a drunk indian guy tried to break into our house and he ended up curling up and falling alseep on the outside grill, which was on and he got cooked to a crisp - i remember screaming and crying and trying to revive him. very disquieting.

today is a short day at work, so maybe this afternoon'll be particularly productive.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

We Can Overwhelm

i'm gonna be late for work.. and i work both jobs today. wow.

spent a lot of time last night working on songs, but i think i got two finished.. and they're both pretty cool. plus the new one i finished two days ago, that's a pretty good run.

this one, 'We Can Overwhelm' is probably my best lyrical effort.. more buddhist crap, i suppose. but i like it. lyrics are hard.

it's got a few guitars, including an awesome noise guitar solo - it somehow saves the song from being overly 'feel-good cheesy' - i hope. i thought i would put a big epic 'november rain' solo down, but that sounded kinda awful. this is more exciting, kinda makes me sick to my stomach.
i played the drumset and a few guitars and sang a guide vocal, then redid the drums and guitars and vocals and emily did a piano part. in a way, this was the most frustrating song to work on yet. harder than it should've been, probably. emily sang a bit near the end, but we masked it with all sort of reverse reverb stuff.. like the poltergiest effect, when the little girl is in the television.

i really like the harmonic progression - all Bb's and F and Gmin and stuff.. really neat, but a bitch to figure out on guitar. apparently i need to practice more. hmph.

i gotta go to works.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


tuesday evening.. whew. work for awhile today, then came home and kicked this song into shape.. and what a shape!

i really like this song.

it's kinda like postal service, but it started off with a casiotone for the painfully alone-type sound, which i really like. but once it started coming together it got catchier and poppier and the drumset got going and blah blah..

i stayed up late last night with that new keyboard from tony's house, and just started to figure it out when i wrote the solemn chords that start the song.. and then i got that tinkly descending line in my head. i kinda wanted that to be on piano, but that was a lot of work, and would've been kinda loud in the middle of the evening. sheesh. i layered a few drum machine bits, and tried to subvert the pop nature of the song with odd length phrases. didn't work. nobody was fooled.

then i came home today and played the drums.. it was harder than i would've thought. emily and i sang the vocals a few times to get it together, and the song was done.

i really like this song. it was called skeezeball, but now it's called 'Hero'. ha!

my finger is looking better, also.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Banjo Lament

monday morning. i spent yesterday helping jana move, and then eating dinner at tony's.. not a lot of musical productivity. it's disheartening, almost. but we gotta keep moving. i work every day but sunday, so if you don't write a bunch of songs on sunday you gotta cram songs into every morning and evening.

and speaking of sadness, here's a real winner: 'Banjo Lament'. it's a good sad rainy sunday evening sort of thing, with a nod towards wilco and the beatles. it's a little bit on the short side, also - apparently i write longer songs, with big solos and outros and stuff. i gotta start trimming the fat a little. anyways - banjo lament is mostly banjo and harmonica, in a further effort to learn how to play those guys. ha! i triple-tracked the vocals, all bouncing around each other, and put some through some filters and distortion stuff.. give everyone some space. there's also a second banjo track that has been pitch-shifted way up, two or four octaves i think... it sounds really squirrely, but it's low in the mix.. you hear it most at the beginning and end.

last night at tony's i got this odd little yamaha electronic keyboard.. it's a little cheesy, but it's got some variables you can play with, and as soon as we got home we tried it out on a song, 'tippy tommy', and that song is now just about done.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Fend Off Autumn

'Fend Off Autumn' is a little story about a dog i had and loved, a german sheperd named Tsuki.. she died some months ago, but every now and then i get reminded of it, and i had just read a story about a guy who leaves his dog behind to go make some money and she dies while he's gone. poignant.

anyways.. i like the lyrics to this one, 'cause it's a little bit veiled.. the imagery doesn't really have anything to do with a dog, more about killing regret - largely with drugs. oh drugs - is there anything you can't do?

'we should've kept moving, into the sun. we should've kept looking, for something or someone, to fend off the autumn, we should've shot straight for the sun.'

it's got a couple of acoustic guitars, with some neat harmony.. i think A major, kinda.. and emily put down the awesome accordion part.. i was gonna put mandolin, but it was fine with out it. the outro wasn't gonna make the final cut, i didn't think it fit that well, but emily and i talked about it and it started to make more sense. i find it very flaming lips-ish.. it's all in a weird key.. with a few different leading tones, like a lydian scale, but minor. i don't know. i was going for an epic death/into the sun sort of march thing.. with a banjo. ha!

i also did a bunch of work on some other songs. a dramatic ballad, a fast pop tune, and a funny catchy thing with electronic and real drums coming in and out. hilarious. ha! ha!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Set Yourself On Fire

ha! saturday night.. still kinda hungover, thanks to those mercury kids and their beer and whiskey. good times. but i didn't get any music done, and i worked all day today. grim.

and yet - i have finished two songs, one of which is 'Set Yourself On Fire'. i guess it's a song of advice, for life. ha! ha! hungover.

i really like the ascending bit.. i wrote it on piano or guitar, awhile back, and just kept trying it. i practiced the piano parts while writing it for maybe a week, and struggled terribly, but in the end, emily just came in and played 'em better. i like playing this song on guitar better anyway, 'cause of the neat bass line you can pick out. the drums were pretty easy on this song, i wanted a really big flaming lips kinda thing.. something kinda epic to back up that neat line.
never apologize for the train inside your head. it's the coursing all-encompassing proof that your not dead.

this song kinda wants to solo over the outro or something, either with piano or guitar.. but time kept passing. i'll half to write some other song with an outro solo. ha! hungover.

i also hurt my finger at work today.

Friday, December 02, 2005

the Bed-Time Procession

friday morning. i think today is payday, which is good.. 'cause the van's in the shop, i just paid auto insurance, and rent is due. wow.

and yet, we've still been recording - i got a new one last night, so far just acoustic guitar, but it's promising.. and i put down drumset on 3 or 4 different songs, including one that's really kinda haunting. very exciting.

but for today: 'the Bed-Time Procession'.. it started with these chords on piano, which i found very radiohead-esque. i thought i could turn it into something like pyramid song, but with all my limitations.. instead, once we started working it developed into a whole other thng, with emily putting a couple of trumpets down and i started playing with some loops.
at one point, this song had a very jazzy drums with brushes and cymbals effect going on, but when i took 'em out, the whole piece sounded much more regal.

soo - i gotta go make some money, pickup the van, pay rent, and then come back home, hopefully finish a song or two and eat dinner. a full day.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


two different songs i've got done i can't get the computer to let go of.. stupid box.

anyhow, after working all day, both jobs, i came home and finished up a few things and started a few more.. one is a weird creepy march thing, and the other is super poppy. in the meantime, i recorded 'Today' that smashing pumpkins song, in the kitchen while emily cooked dinner.. you can hear her chopping and such all over the tracks, it's almost a drum track.

i tried to learn all the parts, note for note or so.. but it was kinda hard, and i wanted to play banjo and piano, but that was too much work.. so you got a few guitar tracks, a piano, a few vocals, and some kitchen clattering. i also thought about putting drums on here, kinda like violent femmes, with brushes on the snare, but it was pretty messy.

i really want to put 'desolate' or 'set yourself on fire' on the site.. both of those are neat, but protools has a firm grip and i gotta find a way to wrestle them away. fingers crossed. stupid box.

now i go to work again.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

We're Just Dropped Here

work and work and work. sheesh.

'We're Just Dropped Here' is a sad acoustic number, with a sad little chorus that i really liked. it has a neat turn of phrase.. emily played piano on it solo after we tried a four-hands approach, which was real busy and cluttered. it's a nice sorta country shuffle thing, which reminds me of norah jones, kinda. which means i'll probably win a grammy. there's also some background vocals, me trying to sing a higher harmony, but i got kinda shy and they're low in the mix, with a neat plate reverb on 'em.. which i thought might give them space, but it might've just masked them further.

but there's no time.. on to the next song. today i work both jobs, and find a way to finish a song.. wednesday is the worst.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sunset & Rapture

i gotta go to work really soon -

today i finished 'Sunset & Rapture', but i had to stay up pretty late to do it.. after a fairly good new mex rev practice, so i'm a little tired.

it's a rock out middle eastern sorta thing, in 7/8. it's mostly drumset, piano, and trumpet.. but i played a doumbek over it and put a guitar solo in the outro bit. emily's trumpet part is the cool thing, but the drumest stuff is alright. one take!

almost done with 'fend off the autumn' and 'were just dropped here'.. but they're both kinda loney acoustic numbers. maybe i can write something else tonight.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Rain & Rain & Rain

monday morning, and it's frozen over here.. all ice and such. which is tough, 'cause i gotta go drive all over town for my job, in the cold and dangerous world.

but last night i finished 'Rain - Rain - Rain' - which is a kinda lonely modern psychedelic thing, with a swirly noise rock guitar part that reminds me of a smashing pumpkins tune 'spaced'.. i played piano and banjo and guitar, and then sang over the tail bit of it, while emily made kitchen noises in the back. i like it, it's weird and a little creepy - very atmospheric. and the guitar solo has all these little bits of static and sometimes sounds like a wolf howl, very lonely.

also spent a bit of time on this middle eastern-eque thing in 7/8.. (which isnt really a fraction, hmm). and it's turning out pretty cool. and i wrote a new song about leaving your dog behind and not taking responsibility in your life and getting high to forget about your own weakness. although the lyrics sound a bit more hopeful than that descripton. that'll get finished soon.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Don't Hang Up On Me

sunday morning, after going out to the Mississippi Pizza Pub last night and seeing Cicada Omega.. whew. those guys did well last night, somehow the sound worked out well for them, and Barry puts on a good show. nice. hot stuff.

lets see here - woke up and worked on piano for 'set yourself on fire' - but then emily came along and played it better, so we recorded that. maybe a solo on the end of that.

and then i spent time mixing down 'Don't Hang Up On Me' - which is the song i finished today and put up.. it's kinda funny, a sad song with echo-drenched guitars and some drumset stuff.. big silly drum fills and such. plus piano. i think i played everything on this song, and took an epic acoustic guitar solo from one version and grafted it onto this one.

theres also an open tuned arpeggiated guitar for the outro which i was kinda proud of, but it's not very loud in the mix.

i think theres probably a glaring mistake in each and every part, but we've got deadlines.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

the Words You Meant

today i got 'the Words You Meant'...

it started off as a joke song for Emily that was kinda like Green Day or Bright Eyes.. but then it took on a life of it's own and i had to take it kinda seriously..

it's got some topical lyrics, all about a girl and dumb stuff like that, with a few clues to cocaine abuse and demons in the past.

i ended up playing the snare drum with brushes in the kitchen on this one, really just joking around, but it came off kinda neat.. lotsa cool rolls and ruffs and such.. i sang and played guitar, then layered a banjo in there.

and to top it off: a trumpet solo!

i had tried to put a mandolin solo on there, but it was too frustrating.. i gave up gladly when emily came in, and now it has a Belle & Sebastian thing. nice.

Friday, November 25, 2005

an obvious sort of satori

alright. i finally got enough of this sorted out to try and start posting stuff..

the game is to get a song a day finished, and a song a day on the net.. maybe not the same song, though.. we shall see.

today i'm posting 'An Obvious Sort of Satori'.. based off a poem i wrote a few years back about trying to be an enlightened buddhist monk and then fathering a child. i didn't think much of the poem at the time, but the music i was recording had an odd country samba mix going on.. it reminded me a lot of Beck, and the lyrics seemed to fit.

anyhow, i recorded a couple of guitars over this drum machine samba beat, and did the vocals a few times, trying to layer them up kinda oddly.. then i put the harmonica on for the breaks.. and then went back and distorted one of the vocal overdub tracks.. and then i programmed a little hi-hat percussion track - it's pretty subtle but i liked it enough to keep it in.

emily's been working on trumpet parts for a few things, so maybe i'll get one of those up next.