Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Plastic Bags

here's the bigger & longer side of our two-part release.. this song has been around since the days of the practice space (sometime in the summer, i suppose..) and that's probably obvious from the live drums. i had this crazy idea for a groove similar to Primus' My Name is Mud song.. sorta the inspiration for the end of the song, although my version comes out all square and full of guitar solo. ha!

Plastic Bags

life ain't that precious

we keep getting closer to the end of this crazy album, sort of.. and here's a few more songs - but i also keep writing more, which is good and bad. today i'm gonna post two songs, but in two separate posts. crazy, huh?
yep. crazy.

anyhow, part of the reason i'm posting two is 'cause they're connected and this one is super short.

life ain't that precious

Monday, December 19, 2011


yeehaw, december 19th. good times.

it may seem quiet around here, and i suppose it is - but not for lack of noise. we've been working on the new album for awhile now, and that recently included a long stretch of something like writer's block and dissatisfaction with the lyrics.. whew, tough times. we had a dozen songs all half finished, and i didn't like any of 'em.

but the good news: we seem to have found some new energy, and a lot of songs started to come together last week, even some new songs... all fitting together into the concept nicely, so it's probably time to start posting 'em.

this new song, Bullies, is kinda tough.. it's got some dimished chords, me trying to sing falsetto, a big thick bass/low-end mixdown to go with my dance-y hi hat stuff, all those crazy lyrics.. ha!


yeah, so i hope to be able to post a bunch more songs in the next few weeks, as we can get 'em squared away. and things are going well in both American Friction and the New Mexican Revolution. The Revolution just played the best show we've had in a few years - down in Eugene, OR at Luckey's on a Saturday night, with a traveling posse of drunk Santas filling up the bar and dancing. hard to compete with that. i also think jonpaul took a few photos from stage, so i look forward to seeing those. the band is really starting to gel, Geoff's back in shape already, it seems..

yep, dec 19th, good times.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Truly Daring

Another for the A.F.C. album - Truly Daring is a song I wrote one night while at the practice space, all alone with a single strand of christmas lights for illumination. i was working with the big dynamic shift from the get-go, trying to figure out how i can come in with big guitars and live drums and screamy vocals, yet still contrast that with acoustic guitars.. and then, somehow along the line, we put together the intro - it started off with some more random piano bits, but really came together with emily's film noir trumpet solo..

Truly Daring

Boney is just this kid from back in grade school
a lizard's light beneath his skin 
but he showed doubt and word got out 
now i don't get to be his friend 

Truly Daring is just the way I was in high school 
a madness i could try and call my own 
it rippled out in the dark - i swear i gave off sparks 
to keep us warm against the cold

Thursday, August 11, 2011

lets get wasted

alright, so it's been a little quiet on the front these days, but it's not for lack of activity. emily and i have been working on a new album, a.f.c., for a while now, in addition to some other projects, but we're just now starting to see some results.. for our first offering, we've got "lets get wasted", a short little number that turned into something i'm really kinda proud of..

lets get wasted

i think it's cool, hopefully it sounds alright to other people.. i kinda struggled with the mix to this one, partly 'cause i don't have a strict deadline, and also 'cause i really like the song.

in addition, one of my other projects, American Friction, has been pretty busy lately, recording and playing shows.. and this weekend is gonna be kinda cool - friday at dante's, and saturday at slabtown. either show alone would be awesome, and back-to-back is kinda exciting - a tiny bit like tour.

as if that weren't enough, another awesome old friend is in town this weekend, one of the original guys i moved to portland with, from the first band.. neat-o.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Unreadable 2

Unreadable version 2

i got a friend coming into town today with his fiance, a great guy i've known since kindergarten or something, a long time, *and* we have the same birthday, so that's kinda cool. and portland has had some awesome weather the past few days (70-72.. hmm.. can't find the degrees symbol).. so i'm in a pretty good mood, fairly excited. ha!

so, in light of this weekend's upcoming distractions, i can't foresee a lot of writing and recording in the immediate future.. but that's alright, i started some new stuff yesterday that has promise, with a neat tempo & feel change in the middle.. so next week, i figure, will be be pretty productive. i've gotten sorta comfortable in the space, working on quiet stuff during the day and getting louder (drums!) around 6pm..

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

a puny and a whopper

so, working swing shift is basically less cool than working the early day shift, but there is one redeeming aspect: an awesome view of the sunset from the hill, giving way to dusk by the time i'm waiting (for what seems like forever) for the #9 downtown. there is a scrappy little rhododendron at the bus stop that glows a brilliant red-and-green in the gloaming.

swing shift does not leave much time for me to work on songs with aaron, but we dug up this old gem from the archives to post today --

a puny and A WHOPPER!

this song has existed for a while now, but the recorded version is pretty simple -- just the idea of the song, really. it germinated at dan and colae's wedding (which must be a couple years ago by now, since julien just had his first birthday and baby girl couch is on the way!), when i overheard a toddler named ziggy (impressively well-behaved for such an occasion) discussing garden bugs with his grandmother. i didn't actually see the bugs, but grandma described their relative sizes using the delightfully obscure terms "puny" and "whopper." later, this song emerged, co-written by leah.

if i had a photo of miles and indie side-by-side, or indie riding miles like a horse, i would post that for sure. but i don't. so i can't.

edit: jonpaul sent a photo!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Beauty and Suspicion

Beauty and Suspicion 2 - with live drums

more time in the practice space (which needs a name, by the way) recording drums and such.. yesterday/last night i spent a lot of time there, playing drums, singing, even turning up the guitar and playing with some feedback.. so that was pretty cool. i had plans to stay there late, until emily got off work, but the neighboring metal band showed up, and their concept of loud and mine are still somewhat different..

so that kinda forced me out, but not before i'd made some progress.. for the record, i've "played" drums on all of the OneADay5 stuff, i think. some of it was beneficial for the songs, but not all of it. i re-sang some stuff, too.. but i'm not sure that it's really important enough to post. so maybe i'm being a little bit picky about some stuff.. maybe.

anyhow - i like the drums on this one.. a lot of energy, some silly fills, and in this case i think it improves the song. blah blah.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In The Belly 2

In The Belly 2 - with live drums

i think this is the last one to be re-posted.

it's a shame about all my blurry christmas light photos.

hmm.. so the post re-appeared, so i cut and pasted..

In The Belly 2 - with live drums

i spent hours at the space last night, trying to work on drums and guitars - but i must've been there for the same 3 hours that another band was practicing, and it was kinda frustrating.. not nearly as successful as previous attempts. oh well.

that being said, i was able to try out some different things last night, getting pretty loud in the middle of the night, in beautiful downtown portland. fun.

Judith 2 - live drums

Judith 2 - with live drums

fixing this blogger stuff is not very much fun, but i found this (an old saved draft!):

i kinda thought of this song a little bit like Wilco's "At Least That's What You Said.." - which is an awesome mix of little sad intro and rocking outro.. so the blueprint is there, but our original attempt was a little flat (i think) and the outro didn't really work for me.. i wanted more rocking, and less singing, i guess.

and Wilco's drummer, Glenn Kotche, that guy has such a good feeling behind the kit, it's always neat to try and channel some of his groove..

and also, emily and our fledgeling rose plant, enjoying the sun break.

Reasons On The Way 2

Reasons On The Way 2 - with live drums

not too sure about blogger here, but it's free and has worked this long.. so we'll just keep the faith.

there used to be a story here about recording with Basho all day yesterday, full of gorgeous harmonies and some nice violin playing.. but i lost that post somehow, and then a few more.. blah blah. so i'm just gonna try and rebuild real quick.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Focus for Color 3 - more live drums!

Focus for Color 3 - with live drums

more of the same experiment.. which i'm gonna go do more of tonight, fingers crossed. it's hard working odd hours, in a weird lonely room, but it's cool to record some drums.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Just A Ghost 2 - with live drums

well here's the beginning of an experiment. at the practice space i've been spending time playing drums with stuff, working on things.. and most of it has involved the recent song a day 5 stuff, so i thought about fixing something, remixing some bits, and so on.. and i've been recording drums on most of the songs we just wrote.

it's not in the spirit of previous song-a-day stuff, but it's good to try some different stuff i figure.. and we'll see if i'm making things better or worse. or if it matters at all.

Just A Ghost 2 -with live drums

in this case, its pretty much only live drums were added.. i might re-sing it and add some guitars for the second chorus stuff, but i got distracted with other songs that might need drums. ha!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day!


Yep, today is Mother's Day.. i bought a card for my mom years and years ago that i never ended up mailing her - and i find it every now and then, stamped and enveloped, ready to go - but i always misplace it before i go back home. i'm not very good at keeping track of dates and such, but i do intend to give my mom her card one day.

happy mother's day!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

song-a-day 5.1

i think aaron's grass-seed is working:

also, the weather was nice enough for the first concrete-slab cookout of the season on thursday. hebrew nationals. mmmm. . .

guess we're all moved into the new rehearsal space, too. aaron's been down there just about every day this week setting stuff up and recording drums on a bunch of stuff, finally. this post marks the official ending of song-a-day 5, the beginning of song-a-day 5.1, and the promise of more songs to come.

must have been a miracle that you'd already had your fill of all life's cracks that didn't contain me.
didn't know what hit me. you glowed a complementary mode that mingled into memories that would be.
now i'm running out of cigarettes to light, and i'm leaving all the houseplants outside tonight. it's hard to spread your wings when you never wanted flight, but this is the way it is, ain't wrong or right.

startled you by saying 'bye, cuz you can't help but catch my eye -- that tiny glance between ignoring hours.
wonder what i'm waiting for. hasn't this happened once before? you're milking the excuses for your powers.
now i'm running out the back door again, in the middle of the night,
anxiety my friend,
hoping in my dreams i won't be toothless again.
tomorrow there'll be better plots to tend.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Just A Ghost

here's a strawberry plant, for Adrian.

Just A Ghost

this is the song i wrote first thing yesterday morning.. with a neat Amaj and Emin7 going back and forth, and then that giant descending line, which is actually a big part of an old king hen song i thought of last week - but these days i can't even really remember how it went, and this line might be the only part of it that survives.

it's funny, recording in the apartment has a lot of challenges, especially with such a hard deadline.. no drums, can't play loud, can't do all sorts of things early or late, even singing and such - but what i really want are feedback swells with the guitar, and it's impossible to do here and hard to simulate.

how awesome can my guitar parts be without feedback? not very.

anyhow - yesterday after recording most of this one, i got depressed and distracted - singing "in the belly of the whale" all afternoon and trying to nap in the sun, so i figured this one'll have to wait. late last night/this morning i put another little ascending guitar on the second break and decided to call it done. even without the feedback swell.

we did a little minor surgery on jonpaul's xbox last night, which seems to be a success, and that's good news. hopefully we can shoot some zombies tonight.. in celebration.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In The Belly

In The Belly
of the whale.

i'm going in the belly
the belly of the whale
i'm gonna say i'm sorry
i said i'm gonna make confession

i think i'm gonna kill another
i'm gonna rip apart my brother
i'm gonna open up the roses
i'm cleaning off the cobwebs
i'm shaking all the cats off

wrote two songs today, this is actually the second.. the first one needs another line or two of lyrics, and it'll be all done, i think. it's good to be a few hours ahead of the game, eh?


today was a pretty nice day in portland - the sky cleared up all afternoon, which is pretty awesome.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Doctor Is A Tool

The Doctor Is A Tool

sorta depressing day today, kinda hard to muster up enthusiasm for some song writing, but maybe emily's cake will cheer me up. ha! of course it will. chocolate cake.

i wonder about psychiatry, especially the pharmaceutical side of it. seems suspect.

finished watching The Stand on Netflix.. started off strong, ended pretty poorly - but i guess that's probably old news. we hadn't seen it before, and it was worth watching once.. but it kinda makes me wanna read the book, which is probably a lot better.. also, Twin Peaks is up now, so we might re-watch some of that stuff.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Quiet Room

The Quiet Room

yeah i heard you
i don't think i've ever heard you better
the out-of-focus life is softer
you frame the devil on your dresser
it's a quiet room
i don't think i've ever heard you better

and you need a quiet room
for recording a confession
for pouring over lessons
and if it's happening too soon
the proof is right there in the room

it's a very quiet room
made lesser be the presence
it was right there on the dresser
do you change pictures now when i come over?

wrote this in the middle of the night last night.. if it's a little noisy, i apologize.. it was played pretty quietly, delicate little finger plucks and mumbly vocals, and you can really hear the computer fan. you could probably hear the upstairs neighbor, if you tried. they keep odd hours, i think.

anyhow, we have some *other* recording to do, with *other* people, so there is not a lot of time to write anything today.

also - i think we've got the keys to a new rehearsal space and we're supposed to check that out tonight, and that's kinda exciting.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nothing but a labcoat

Nothing but a labcoat

this is just a simple song about a sexy scientist. we love sexy scientists. literally.

it started with the lyrics "nothing but a labcoat" and worked backwards from there.

it's been a pretty slow day around here, dark and cloudy with a bit of a hangover.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Reasons On The Way

Reasons On The Way

you said i would never make it on my own
well i guess i have to try
you said within a weekend i'd come home
well i'm proving that a lie

i don't really care if it's raining
i don't really care if it's your birthday
i ain't making no excuses
and i got reasons on the way

the truth is
we were never meant to be together
we were just living on a loan
and the truth is
i don't mind a little stormy weather
if i'm heading on down the road

i don't really care if you're famous
i don't really care what your daddy said
i ain't hearing no excuses
and i got reasons on the way

i wrote this song yesterday, trying to write some acoustic guitar stuff to balance out my future synth-pop experiments.. and use the mandolin, if only a little bit. i almost put accordion on it, but i figured the little organ part was the same thing, essentially - so i left it fairly simple. it sorta reminds me of the rolling stones doing country music, or something..

in other news, it seems like a rehearsal space is on the horizon, which may be super cool for the music production.. having a place to play the drums would be pretty nice, and would help the songs out a lot..
it's a big challenge, not using my "first instrument" when i'm writing songs, but it keeps forcing me to be creative.
and i like spending time with the drum machine, trying to squeeze more and more out of it, but it'd be a lot easier to just play the drums, making the changes more obvious, setting 'em up with cool fills.. ha! the drums.


Thursday, April 14, 2011



life came at me sideways
a dirty half-breed
it was fast but not the speed
and the filth,
it was invasive
i stay wasted
so i won't remember shit
i like your new mask
i'll help you lace it up
no friend of love
is the discovery a curious one?

so now you like Judith?
"after a fashion"
more disappointment,
a puppet trying to wrestle with passions

i'm gonna win
Judith ain't never gonna see me unhappy again

i started this song a few days ago, but i wasn't really sure what to do with it.. i had more of the outro rock out bit than anything.. and i tried to work backwards and write lyrics for the first part. and then that changed my ideas for the second part, and on and on, blah blah..

but this morning i really started to like it, and while i was working on another song i kept thinking about it, so i figured it must be time to call it finished.. emily came home and we wrapped it up, doing a little more singing and stuff. we were gonna put real trumpets on it, but we didn't. i've been thinking about the saxophone a lot lately.. that might sound nice.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Butter Brickle

Butter Brickle

this was mostly written yesterday, with a bulk of the lyrics and singing done after emily got home, with the help of leah. i don't wanna use her full name 'cause she might get in trouble - but i gotta mention her, because she sang a bunch at the end and helped write lyrics.. always appreciated.

it reminds me of ween, i guess, which is pretty cool.. also it has something about old st. nick and some butter brickle, which is pretty cool.

today i got most of a weird dreamy electro-pop song put together, but no lyrics yet. with another American Friction practice tomorrow night, i gotta plan ahead a bit.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

they own everything

they own everything

on the other side of the mountain
i lost my fascination
dazzling hum of insects
a stranger married my sister
they own everything

this song started on jonpauls' ds-10, using that cool little korg synth/sequencer thing.. all the weird syncopated blip-bloop stuff, that was the ds-10. once i got it into protools, i tried playing all sorts of little noises along with it, trying to build a rhythm track.. another glitch-y nod to radiohead, i'm sure.

i used the rather arbitrary length of the ds-10 source events to define the parts of the song.. if that makes sense, umm.. i just built around what jonpaul exported for me, and tried to find musical bits that filled the holes and stuff.

anyhow, it was a pretty weird day - working on this song a lot(listening to this over and over became really meditative).. as well as two other bits i'm trying to turn into songs.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Something Worse

Something Worse

have you looked at her?
i've never seen her eating..
have you even looked at her?
you'll never catch her sleeping
i don't think she's human anymore..
what was she before?

i must be dreaming -
i can't get close to her
without reaching for a knife

have you taken life before?
there's something worse than wolves at the door

this one comes in just under the wire, i guess.. it's about 10:30pm here, and i'm still kinda thinking about the mix. ha! i should really move on to the next song, right? right.

umm.. this song started off with some odd glitch-y drums and piano loops, (maybe a little bit like thom yorke's solo stuff?) - and just steadily got out of control, with a whole bunch of overdubs. it turned into a bit of a mess, perhaps, but i really like the creepy lyrics.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Focus for Color

Focus for Color

You take a path that I might've taken, but didn't. Goodbye. Good luck! I hope you break a leg!

How do we win the future?
Got to see you in the future.
You (i) might be me (you) some day.
What will you have to say?

The more you like it now, the less you'll like it later -- trading in all the focus for the color. WE WANT THEM BOTH!

i wrote the music for this one a few weeks ago, trying to come up with cool metal riffs for American Friction. ha! anyhow - i'm not really much of a metal guitarist, or guitarist at all.. so it's almost always luck when i come up with something that i think is super-cool, like this main verse lick.. umm, it's like a Fmaj7 and a Fmin/maj7 back and forth.. with a chorus in Cmin, with some circus-y chromaticism.

or something like that.

i thought it sounded like a sonic youth song at first, sorta.. not sure now, with the crazy double time change and all, and the acoustic guitar skank part.. and the cheesy keyboard trumpet sound. now it's more like the leaning towers, i suppose.

finished it just in time, too - we're gonna go over to jonpaul (i like your new haircut) and indy's house to make CD merch..

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Gravitational Turnstile

gravitational turnstile

One of these days, I will alight.
The stars'll align and you'll see me back in the game.
Until that day, I'm bound to flight.
The planet's a sphere far, far away from here.

This is better, but hard to maintain.
I'll soon be out on the streets again.
I know this can't last for long.
I've already sold myself to a somber song.

Comets only come around once in a while, blazing through the G-turnstile.

this is the music i wrote first thing yesterday morning, that seemed (at the time at least) a little too dark and depressing for a sunny Friday.. when emily heard it last night she liked it right away, and when we woke up this morning we managed to do all sorts of things to it..

in fact, i think she did most everything today.. except the little tiny super-quiet drum part.. i did that. she wrote the lyrics, played the bass, accordion, and trumpet.. and sang, of course. i played the clumsy mandolin part. and the accordion part that got muted 'cause it's full of mistakes.

Friday, April 08, 2011

the not mean song

the not mean song

i'm not gonna say anything mean about you today
it's too beautiful for that
the sun is out
i don't see any clouds
it's just too beautiful to stay mad

it has already been a pretty good day here in portland, oregon.. and it's only noon! yeehaw.

this is actually the second song i wrote today (wow!).. 'cause the other one was too ponderous and minor-key, full of accordion and mandolin and big chromatic walkdown stuff. it was neat, but almost inappropriate, i guess.

so i took a break, pulled out the ukelele and sat in the sun for a moment, and this was the very first thing i played.. words and chords and everything. if there is a record for fastest song i've written, i think this one would win.

which isn't to brag, or anything.. it sounds for all the world like a demo, not as fleshed out as other stuff we post here - and i could've written more words, figured out a cute little piano bit and made it longer.. but all those ideas seemed to take away from feeling of it.. a little rough, but innocent. or something.

anyhow, i think i'm gonna celebrate by sitting in the sun, playing the uke some more. ha!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Making Birds From Angels

Making Birds From Angels

pouring noise like concrete
trying to build a wall
hoping it won't fall

making birds from angels
a cage big enough for all
but they won't return my calls

it seems amazing, but we can't judge before we're through

opened up the floodgates
invited everybody in
all my enemies and friends

once they saw what i was making
some labeled it a sin
others offered to pitch in

it's amazing - what our ambition leads us to..
it seems amazing - just a modern man with tools

i like the lyrics to this one.. odd stuff, which is usually my favorite. i really like the little verse about "labeled it a sin/offered to pitch in".. somehow reminds me of something a little dylan-esque. when i started (with the acoustic guitar stuff, walking up & down the chord changes) i thought i might do a little folksong/storytelling thing.. maybe a southern gothic song, or something. i even had some lyrics written, but it wasn't making enough sense for a 'story'.. oh well.

i also got to use the mandolin on this one, and it's the first time i've played it in 2 years or so, easy... it used to live in Eugene, while i had the banjo, but a few months ago we swapped - which was sad at first, 'cause i really like the banjo, but it's always good to switch it up.

lastly, the outro to this guy is a little tricky.. i kinda see it in 6, but i think you could see it in 10, or a shifting 2 and 4 back and forth.. with the 3 chords moving on top, in a cycle. i spent some time thinking about it, but listening to it now, it doesn't seem that weird.

today's a busy day, with American Friction rehearsal tonight - now that this song is posted, i gotta go write a new one for tomorrow.. whew.

maybe something with mandolin..

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

dreams of flight

dreams of flight

a long long time ago, back in santa fe, wes shirley (from the New Mexican Revolution) had a song called dreams of flight - which i vaguely remember, but all those vague memories are positive.. i think it may have ended up on his more experimental solo album, but i can't be sure.

in any case, i felt i should mention that, 'cause that must be where the main turnaround lyric comes from.. and while i don't know exactly what his song was about, i can tell you this song is mostly inspired by that movie "the boy who could fly" - i watched that movie a lot as a kid, and i loved it. fred savage burying GI Joe toys in yard, making it around the block on a big wheel.. good stuff. it also had a boy who could fly (not fred savage). and while the movie was more about the power of belief or something, mine is more about dissatisfaction, gravity as the status quo, stuff like that. a real head-y rebellion. ha!

i had trouble getting to sleep last night because i had songs on the brain. this little math-y phrase kept trying to write itself while i wanted to sleep.. so i ended up thinking it all through (sort of) and mapping it out.. and first thing this morning i was able to record it, so that's kinda cool. maybe that'll be tomorrow's song..

the news this morning talked about snow, hail, and thunderstorms.. with a high of 49. sigh.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

another way out

another way out

a large chunk of the music for this song was done on Nanoloop by jonpaul, which is this nifty little iphone app that kinda simulates old 8bit videogame noises, using similar sounds and noises and stuff.. he sent me a short bit that we chopped up and re-arranged for out verse/chorus/rap, and then started to overdub and stuff..

it wasn't too difficult, but the scheduling was - now that emily is gainfully employed we have a narrow window in the early evening, and it's kind of important to plan ahead a bit.. in this case, i spent ALL day working on a completely different song, agonizing over lyrics and such, struggling with it, hoping emily could fly in and save it - but then emily came home and wasn't really feeling what i had worked on, so we just moved to a different song, and this one came together fairly quick.

i think i should have known - if the next song is such a headache during the day, maybe i'll just start another one.

in any case, a big thanks to jonpaul for the 8bit electro-pop.

also, it's cold and wet here. with the promise of more cold, and more wet.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Mister Sun Punch

Mister Sun Punch

we stayed awake
we tempted fate
she asked me to stay
the beast grew tame
a storm astray
a doll with lightning face
another rainy day
but i stay entertained

how could mister sun punch let this happen?

this song took some head-scratching to figure out.. i had this drum groove in 5 from way way back.. i think i came up with it playing drums in The Volumes, many years ago, and then tried using it in a John Elton tune.. and now it pops up here, using my trusty DR-880 guy.. the music started on the moog, with a stairstepping descending line, but the hard part was 'hearing' a melody over the thing, and then coming up with words - but i guess that's almost always the case.

this time, late last night after finishing up with the moving i was able to put pen to paper, and had a whole page of weird poetry/lyrics.. and this morning, with some editing, i was able to put 'em down on the song.

it might've been nice to have emily sing on it, she could make it prettier - but she's busy today, because:

today is emily's first day at work, woohoo! i hope she's not too nervous about it, and that she finds where she's going okay, and her clothes are appropriate.. and i don't want her to have to worry about posting a song today, it'll be nice to let her just come home and relax, so it's probably best just to finish this one up.


Sunday, April 03, 2011

Brand New Man

Brand New Man

grew up thinking this was family
spending all my time at home
they had me convinced but i've learned since
i'd be better on my own

he had the space and desperate taste
it takes to make a man
he got the parts and learned the arts
and came up with a plan

and when they walked down the streets
everybody would cheer
they came to celebrate
the automaton was here

with straight white teeth, a perfect crease
he really looked divine

we'll build a man to prove we can
to follow our own line

and when he started to breakdown
all the people shook their heads
you should have known
you'd be better off alone
just like your father said

this song was pretty fun to write, with emily and i splitting songwriting duties about 50/50.. i wrote the lil guitar line (descending/ascending Eminor) and came up with a chorus, and then kinda recorded those bits w/out having a clear idea what to write about.. the next morning emily and i wrote a bunch of kinda inspired lyrics about a sort-of frankensten's monster character. i've always wanted a robot friend.

once it started to head in the direction of ridiculous musical theater, emily was all set.. we just had to spend sometime going over things, trying to get the fermata and outro parts.. this afternoon we overdubbed electric guitars, accordion, organ, trumpets (real and fake).. and some singing. i think this song might be better with a more over-the-top theatrical vocal performance, full of character and what not. oh well.

and in the meantime, helping jonpaul and zach and melissa move. and playing a new mexican revolution show at the tonic (which went well, thanks to alfred) - it's been a kinda busy weekend.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Beauty and Suspicion

Beauty and Suspicion

she's a clean break and i'm quick healing
an open hole of love sick feelings
a laughing accident
you knew exactly what i meant

i thought it best to keep to myself
to decorate my private hell
i got no alibi
i got no heart to try

does beauty lead to suspicion?
you mentioned mystery -
i'd give it all up willingly

i thought this was what i wanted
to see the whole town choke down on it
taste was bittersweet
it was better incomplete

she's a clean break and i'm quick healing
but the whole exchange has left me reeling
it was all an accident
i know exactly what she meant

beauty and suspicion
an ancient mystery
i'd give it all up willingly
for the gods of atlantis
i wrote a symphony
i'd give it all up willingly

i wrote this song in the middle of the night a few nights ago.. chords and words pretty much all at once. if you can find a reasonable melody, sometimes the words come easy.. i wish it was always like that. in addition, yesterday emily and i put together a pretty awesome and hilarious song, which i imagine we'll post tomorrow.

also - now we can stream all the songs throughout the website, which is pretty awesome. i'm using Streampad, which works well on my end, and i trust it'll work for others 'cause i'm surprisingly unfamiliar with some of this stuff.. but so far so good. i guess it just reads html script and finds .mp3 files, and then streams them in a queue. neat-o. it works for the blog, obviously, but also for all the back catalog stuff, each "album" page has it's own streaming thing.. it might be cool to randomize it something, or maybe be more particular, but for now it just goes in order. in any case, i like it a lot. and we can all thank Erik Baldoni for that (american friction's bass player, hoo-ray!)..

so it's pretty tight this weekend, helping jonpaul and zach move, playing a show tonight with the New Mexican Revolution (at the Tonic, 1 of 4 bands.. whew.).. and working on these songs, but i think we can manage.


Friday, April 01, 2011



come from a time when holes had all the meaning
before all this concentration happened
we chose the macroscopic
but now

we're unreadable
with our face to the sky
our lack of shame a disguise
if we can sacrifice all our brothers
we can save all their wives

we're unbeatable
with our pits full of fire
burn our mouths free from the lies

we're unreadable
a machine with two eyes
and we can still change the tide
if we could let go of mother
we could get back our pride

we're untreatable
but don't act surprised
just watch out for the smiles

this song started of with that big simple G, D, C chord progression, and then those crazy horn breaks.. and with that big celebratory thing going, i added on the Dmaj lick at the end (sorta like Rocket, one of my favorite Smashing Pumpkins tunes..), and i had a four minute guitar solo outro, and it's only got like two minutes of song before that.. so i chopped a lot of that off.

then emily added more trumpets.. just to add to the fake keyboard trumpets i was using. that's probably some of the loudest stuff we've done in this apartment, and i think it's about the limit.. i had a fantasy of setting up the kit in here, and muffling it all and playing some real dry old soul/funk style drums, but that'd still be too loud, i fear. oh well.

and speaking of drums, this song has a repeating drum fill that made me think of Matt Sorum playing on November Rain.. same fill over and over, 'cause that's what Axl wanted. so i'm like that.

in other news, it's friday afternoon and the sun broke out in portland, gorgeous and much needed, so i may take a break for awhile and read a book outside.


Thursday, March 31, 2011


this song is almost entirely emily's - but i think that's kinda obvious.. she wrote the music on acoustic guitar, including the little minor mid-eastern-ish breakdown section, and had the chorus vocals figured out from the beginning. i went to bed last night thinking about some other song and when i awoke she had written all the verses and figured out most everything else.. and we spent this morning and early afternoon putting bass down, singing all the bits, and recording weird noises.

here's an opportunity to learn about amigurumi (編みぐるみ), and by extension, zombigurumi. (ゾンビぐるみ ?)

Amigurumi Wikipedia

I wanted it to be a special night
Amigurumi by candlelight
But the face came out all wrong again

So I tried adding on a little woolen mustachio,
Stitched on some blush.
I knew that I had made a new yarn friend.

But then. . . . .

I don't know what we're doin here.
We were in my room, now we're at the pier.
I don't think I ever wanna go home.

Acryllic boats filling up the sea,
Knitted jellyfish surrounding me,
And a lego lighthouse not too far away.

My amigurumi grabbed me by the hand,
Skipping gaily down the moonlit sand.
We began the steep ascent, the stars so close.

Now it looks like I've come out on top.
I get it, I don't wanna stop.
I don't need nothin I ain't got right here.

I don't remember giving you those teeth.
And why are you looking that way at me?
You know you're only polyester fiber underneath.

You're looming in so very tall,
Near my neck, it barely hurts at all.
And now I'm sprouting multicolored yarn all over me.

I must seem a spectacular sight,
I could never wake up, now I'm out all night,
and I don't think I ever wanna go home.

And, the photos: old-school audio repair. a cardigans tape i've carried around with me since the mid '90s. warped by sundrenched dashboards and dusty boxes (no case of course).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gorgeous Bruise

Gorgeous Bruise

this song has a neat Abmaj/Cmaj thing going on, which sets up some neat half-step motion.. umm.. like G and Ab, or Eb and E.. that sorta stuff. and it's got a middle section in A minor. and horns and guitars, and lots of singing, and chimalong, even a couple of theremin tracks..

it started off with the acoustic guitar, playing through all of it.. and the lyrics came pretty quick, once i got a bit of a melody, but i had a hard time singing it - i was trying to do this harmony part, not really my strong suit.. so i got sorta discouraged. but emily fixed it all up.

she's got a problem saying numbers
something more than just a stutter
a gorgeous bruise on her left thigh
those kinds of marks will make you wonder
can she see the warmest tundra?
did they just laugh to be polite?

i earn medals i guess..

it's just enough to make you shudder
crawl back underneath the covers
another beast has learned to bite
did you see amy at the window?
did you ask about the candle?
did mary think it was too bright?

i earn medals i guess.. it don't mean much now, but it's all i got left

she's got a problem saying numbers
something more than just a stutter
that gorgeous bruise on her left thigh
those kinds of marks will make you wonder
can she really see the tundra?
did she just lie to be polite?

a lot of self-referential lyrics there. i won't go into it too much, but amy & mary pop up, and the warmest tundra. and the candle. ha!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011



this song went through a bunch of versions.. which is hard to believe for a song-a-day. it started with all the acoustic guitars - i had that little chord thing in seven, which i was kinda proud of, and i was trying to sing real fast over it, with no luck. emily came in and changed the vocal melody, and we tried to write a song about a treehouse and adolescence and stuff, which i thought was a good idea, but all my words were terrible.

so we shifted gears a bit, worked on the outro.. emily sang a bunch of stuff we later got rid of, and put piano bits down.. and we shelved the whole treehouse line of thought for new lyrics. kinda crazy - 'cause song-a-day is really more of a first thought/best thought sorta deal. no time for second guessing.

and i spent all morning working on two other songs, both of which are close to finished, even if one is a little silly. so we're in good shape for tomorrow, i think..

in other news - it's pretty wet and little cold outside. not so great for taking indiana jones outside.


Monday, March 28, 2011

you are a hell and here's proof

you are a hell and here's proof

this song started off with an experiment in building a note-pool and stacking triads to get chords.. in this case i just ended up with a dreamy Cmaj chord, with an f# popping up every now and then.. kind of a lydian style thing. and it was getting late so i just tagged on this mumbled outro bit, which turned out to be my favorite little bit, 'cause i really dug the lyrics.

then today emily recorded the vocals and trumpets in the middle, all super echo new agey psychedelic. .. and some more moog.

you are a hell and here's proof
full of old ocean water
a minotaur in a mansion garden
but don't talk about the beauty
william never really started any fires
he saw you glance at your watch
you better pray i stay asleep
ended up with the jitters
a passionate critter
with no friends
hanging out the window

And as for the photo: meta!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

lest ye be judged

another round of song-a-day begins, officially, with this little number - lest ye be judged - a pretty little song with guitars and moog and emily singing. it's got some neat timing issues, with a verse in seven using these dreamy chords (Eb-7 with a B, and a E-7 back and forth), and it straightens out for the turnaround stuff.

The same things we're running to for comfort
are the same things they're fighting for.

Can you blame them?

Can you feel the perspectives of people who've been taught to care about different things?

On an unrelated note -- the amigurumi is a little Formaldehyde friend I made for the ladies at the lab, sort of a parting gift. They call him Aldy.