Monday, June 30, 2014

Lee's Liquor Lounge 6/26/14

I played at Lee's Liquor Lounge last Thursday. It was a solo set, but the two fellas I split the bill with (J.W. Schuller and Billy Dankert) and myself decided to play a bunch of mini-sets to keep things fresh all night. We would each play 3 songs and then the next person would come up and we kept that rotation going all night. It was a lot of fun and really freed up my set choices. I just wrote a list of all of the songs I knew and then picked somewhat randomly as the evening went along. My only disappointment was the audience turnout. But, it was a weeknight at a bar that's kind of tucked away, so what can you do.

Set list for Lee's Liquor Lounge 6/26/14
  • A Story
  • The Paul Simon Song
  • The Reminder
  • Can't Even Tell
  • Oh, Sun
  • Cohabitate
  • Beg, Borrow, or Steal
  • Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry cover)
  • Flavor
  • The Party
  • Good
  • Old-Fashioned Hat (Anais Mitchell cover)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Acoustic Squeak

Last Friday I went into the studio to record the acoustic tracks for the new record. I get so tense as soon as I'm told it's go time. I can sit there and play the song perfectly 15 times in a row while we set up and I warm up and as soon as I'm told we're recording my hands get super tense and I press down so hard on the strings that I end up creating this super loud squeak on the fret board.

The fret board squeak is nearly always there on an acoustic guitar when you are sliding between chords and sometimes it's even charming and adds a sort of presence to the song. But the sounds that were coming off that fretboard last Friday were anything but pleasant. Nail on a chalkboard kind of stuff. I don't know what was going on with me. Some days I get more panicky than others when I record. It must have just been one of those days.

But we did manage to get the tracks down with minimal squeaking and we are now just that much closer to completion! We've got some electric guitar tracking to do, vocals, and then some additional instrumentation bells and whistles to add. Not literally bells and whistles...although, maybe? But some piano sprinkles, bits of percussion, and whatever else we find serves a purpose. I'm still trying to get a trumpet onto a song. Maybe this album will be it?

Tonight I'm heading to Lee's Liquor Lounge to play a solo set in an "in the round" sort of style with J.W. Schuller and Billy Dankert. We're gonna trade off little mini-sets all night long. Music starts at 9. See you there?

I could play any one of these songs...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Caesar Salad

Me: I would like the caesar salad with no olives or tomatoes.

Salad Maker: Would you like anything else additional on that?

Me: Nope. Just the croutons, cheese, and dressing.

Salad Maker begins to cut up chicken.

Me: No chicken.

Salad Maker: No chicken???
Me: Nope. Just the croutons, cheese, and dressing.

Salad Maker: What kind of dressing?

Me: Caesar.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Lost...Once Again

I just finished watching Lost for the fourth time. I think it's been four times now. It's such a mix bag for me as a television series. It starts out so strong. It immediately sucks you in and builds such rich characters that you just keep coming back.

Then it throws them away and you don't see them again until the very last episode.

They come back here and there throughout and it's nice when they do. But they get lost in the excessive use of so many new characters that come into play season to season. I'm sure it becomes difficult to write interesting things for the same set of characters over many seasons, but by season 6 when they are at the temple and the other friends of Jacobs and Widmore's people and OMG who are these people and why should I care????

Some of the new people work. Mr. Eko, Libbey, and Bernard were nice additions. So was Juliette. And I'd also include Miles and Daniel and Lapidus. And obviously Desmond, who doesn't really count as he was such an integral part to the entire story.

"I love you, Penn-ay!"

I remember first watching Season 2 with all of these new people and I was so excited to find out all about the tail section and thought it was such a cool storyline.

But by the fourth time through, when you know how frustratingly awful Ana Lucia is and how short of a stay Mr. Eko and Libbey's stays are and their completely unsatisfying becomes really hard to trudge through.

In Season Three, we meet all of The Others. Once again, most don't make it through the season. Just a bunch of filler people to kill off so that the main cast can stay in tact.

Not that they don't ever kill off the main cast, but really, the only one that comes to mind is Charlie. Everyone else came back to life. Jin and Sun, sure, but not until the end of Season 6. (I had to skip that scene this time as I knew I just couldn't take it and it's also very frustrating because, come ON, what about their kid? It's like neither gave a shit about her. It's amazed I cared about Sun's death at all as at this point in the storyline, Sun had been reduced to two lines: "Do you know where Jin is?" and "Can you help me find my husband?" Oh, and her brain injury storyline where she could only speak Korean but could understand bad.)

But, really, even with all of those issues, I still very much enjoy the show as a whole. They are great characters. But the final season is very difficult - especially after many viewings - because you know that 90% of it is bullshit and unnecessary. The side story is filled with so much filler that I find I tune out for most of it.

But the finale...the finale I do enjoy. I think it's very well done. I enjoy the idea behind it, even though I'm not a religious person. I like seeing everyone remember each other. Charlie and Claire, Jin and Sun, and John with Jack make me lose it. I heavily sob with each one.

The worst one, though? Sayid and Shannon.

You spend the entire series watching Sayid pine for his childhood friend Nadia. He carries her picture with her everywhere. He was in Australia only to turn in his friend so the US government would tell him where Nadia is. He was only on the flight from Sydney to Los Angeles to get to Nadia. She was there when he returned home. They were married. She was killed suddenly. He went on a killing spree for Ben Linus to avenge her death....but he chooses to go to the afterlife with Shannon. A woman he met on an island for a few weeks. And in his purgatory time, he envisions Nadia married to his brother.

What? No.

The one side story during Season Six that makes the whole thing worth watching, though, is John Locke's. They completely destroyed his "real time" character in the final season. Sure, it wasn't really John Locke killing everyone on the island. But it was his likeness and everyone called him Locke so you start to associate the two. The real John Locke's story was devastating enough. A real tragedy. I could live with his death, as depressing as it was, as it fit his story. Nothing ever went the way it was supposed to for John. But using him as the Smoke Monster was just too much. So it was nice to see sweet, smart John Locke in the side story going about a really nice life. He'd earned that.

But the real kicker in the finale. The scene that just fucking kills me and I have to mentally prepare for it every time because I know I will be a puddle of tears and even though it is so contrived and created to induce many tears, I still sob anyway:

Every. Single. Time. Even just the picture brings the sad face.

What a good dog Vincent was.

I had put off watching the finale for a week because I knew I would be a mess and nobody ever wants to be a mess. But I had time to waste last night and I went for it. And I was a mess.

As for all of those unanswered questions and mysteries that everyone complains about on the internet, they were answered. I'm not going to go through them point by point, but the answers were there. They may not have been the answers you wanted, but they were answers. Really, the one big mystery that remained after the show was over was this:

Where did Ajira Flight 316 land when they returned and how did that not cause all sorts of issues? How does a large passenger plane suddenly reappear in the air with no explanation carrying one passenger from the famed Oceanic 6 and two other passengers from Oceanic Flight 815 that the Oceanic 6 person had already said died in the original crash and then two other people who weren't on either flights, including one who is over 200 years old?

How did they explain that to the world upon their return? I would like to see a two hour special on that.

Also, I wonder how many posts about this show I can have on this blog?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Recording Update #1

Where does the time go?

We hit the studio two weekends ago to start recording the next album! Without giving too much away, the band and I got the basic tracks down for the 10 full band songs - so far - that are being recorded for this album. (We're looking at 12 songs total and instrumentation is always subject to change.)

Bass and drums are done. Most of the guitar work is done. I go back in about a week and a half to record the acoustic tracks. Things are moving along quite nicely.

I'm very excited about the new sound. It's definitely bigger, though the core of the sound we've put together is still there.

In other music news, I'll be playing a solo show on June 26th at Lee's Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis with J.W. Schuller and James Dankert. We'll be trading off sets all night, so stop by when you can!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It's Been A Long, Long, Long Time

Once again I am at the point where I haven't written anything here in a while and so I am overwhelmed with things I could write about, yet nothing too crazy or major has happened so it's been hard to write.

Maybe general update time?

If there's one thing that's overwhelmed me lately, it's the ridiculous amount of new music that has come out in the past 6 weeks. I've been immersed in new music so much that I'm not even sure if I'm really enjoying it. That's not saying that it's not good, it's just things keep coming out each week that I get the new one, stop listening to the one that came out the previous week, and then the cycle continues the next week.

A couple standouts though...

Alpha Consumer's Meat is so far my favorite album of the year - besides Beyonce (I feel like I have to put that disclaimer out every time I talk about the best music of 2014 and yes, I know it technically came out in December, but that is barely 2013 anymore). Anyway, it's super fun Devo-esque brilliance with some top notch alt-country thrown in because why not. Excellent driving around with the wind down or dancing in your living room music. The release show is this Saturday at 7th Street Entry. I will be there.

Haley Bonar has released yet another stellar album, Last War. I don't think it's possible for her to write a dud. She's just really really good at writing songs. And we are all better off for it.

The band and I have started recording the new album. We spent last weekend in a studio for about 15 hours recording all of the basic tracks. Drums, bass, guitars...those parts are pretty much done. It's sounding really good. And, of course, now that we are rolling, I just want to finish it! But it will take some time. And I need to be okay with that.

But, a couple of weeks ago, Shawn and I recorded a demo version of one of the new songs. It's called "Daughter" and you can listen to it here:

Other than all that, it's basically summer in Minnesota which means every weekend there is some opportunity to stand in a parking lot outside of a bar and watch live music and drink canned beer. Art-a-Whirl and Memory Lanes Block Party are the two I have attended so far.

Day Job Land has been crazy busy for the past few months and it has finally mellowed out. My brain feels free again to think about things other than work. Of course, now it is filled with constant thoughts on the new album. I suppose it's good to keep the brain occupied.

I feel like I'm missing some major updates, but really, I've just been buying new records, recording my own, and going to shows. Pretty status quo. So I'll end with a picture of Robbie hanging out with me while I listen to the early rough mixes of the album because o my goodness he is the cutest...