Friday, July 18, 2014

Recording Day 4

This update is a bit late. Shawn and I went back to the studio last Saturday to do some electric guitar overdubs. And after many hours, they are done! That means that all of the instrumental tracks are done!!!  Well, okay, I might go in and add some organ here and there and maybe some additional percussion, but basically they are done!!!!

We played around with all sorts of amps. From little teeny tiny ones... a big ol' Marshall stack....

What's next?  Vocals. Vocals are always a challenge because no one likes to sit and listen to their own voice for hours on end. It's awkward. I'm also bringing in additional backing singers, which I've never done before but I'm very excited about. Lots of harmonies!

Unfortunately, I probably won't be able to get started on that until late August as recording costs money and I've now spent all mine. Maybe a Kickstarter is in order? But that's a terrifying thought. What if I didn't make the goal??? Ugh. That would be awful. I would definitely cry.

 Shawn between the wires.

Mike running the board.

I should probably also tell you that I've got a new show coming up! Full band and everything. It's at The Nomad in Minneapolis on Friday, August 15th. Yep. On a Friday and everything. So no excuses. You probably should be there.

Facebook event invite here:  . Let me know that you're coming! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sharon Van Etten At First Avenue


I discovered Sharon Van Etten via her 2012 album Tramp, so I am a bit late to the party. She's one of those artists where I'm like, fuck! How did I not know sooner???

Her show last night was gorgeous. Her voice is stunning and she has so much control over it. She stuck mostly to her latest album, Are We There?, which was only slightly disappointing as the songs are stellar, but I also love her earlier stuff so much. It would have been nice to hear more of those.

What struck me most about her is how personable she is. I expected her to come out on stage, hair in face, head down, sing the songs, maybe say hello or make one random comment or tell one story, but she was super funny and happy and self-mocking, often addressing how we are all so energetic on a Wednesday night while listening to her mid-tempo breakup ballads.

I had a great spot right in the first row, right against the railing. I almost left the spot before she started so I could run to the restroom, but I stuck it out and I'm so glad I did because it was a great spot and it really makes such a huge difference to be at a show and be right up front. You just become completely engrossed.

It was great to be up close and see how she and her backing vocalists relate to each other on stage. I'm fairly certain they just sang to each other all night. It was great to witness that connection.

 Singing to each other.

The one bummer note of the night was the opener. I am not against "digital" music or beats made by laptops, but if you are going to come up on stage and perform it, then perform it. Jana Hunter sat in a chair with a guitar that she sometimes played, with a laptop sitting on a table next to her that she would press a button, some backing track would start to play and then she would sing. It was dull. I mean, you are on the stage that Prince built and you are going to sit in a chair with your computer? No no no.

But Sharon was awesome. All live instrumentation. Oh, and Justin Vernon from Bon Iver joined her on stage during the encore. I thought something might go down when I saw him outside of the venue earlier and then he was hanging out side stage all night. I've actually never seen a Bon Iver show before. Crazy, I know. Considering where I live. So it was cool to see him do his thing.

 With Bon Iver

And I got one of her set lists at the end of the night! Note: she started out the encore with a solo, unplanned cover of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" claiming the whiskey she'd been drinking gave her courage to do so. It was a stunning cover.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Fox And The Hound

Recently some foxes have moved into the neighborhood. First, it was just sightings of one. Well the one turned out to be a mom and she had four pups. Here they are frolicking in our backyard a few weeks ago:

They were adorable scampering about the yard, tumbling over each other as they played. I brought Robbie out to the porch to see them as they played. He seemed a bit concerned, but he didn't bark. He just sat and watched them.

I posted that picture on Facebook and some of my neighbors voiced their concerns about the diseases that these animals can bring. I read up on foxes on the Humane Society of the United States website and everything says that they are not a threat and you should let them be and even if they've built a den under your porch, just let the mom raise the pups. They won't bother you.

They can be a carrier of a potentially lethal parasite, but no website labeled it as a concern. They all spoke to how they are harmless and should be left alone.

So I felt pretty good about things. They didn't seem to come around when Robbie was out in the yard. I wasn't too worried about it.

But then I started spotting fox poo everywhere and I started getting concerned that Robbie would get a little too close to it. He's not a poo eater, but I don't know how that stuff transfers.

Then my neighbor mentioned that one of the foxes charged their little cockapoo dog.

Then Robbie's outside toys went missing.

Then yesterday, one showed up in our yard while Robbie was having his morning post-breakfast backyard wander. I was sleeping still, but Matt was up with him. He went to go bring him inside and saw the fox standing at the edge of the yard barking at Robbie...and the Robbie took off. He's on a tie-out, but he went after it sound hard that he snapped his collar. He was gone.

Robbie is ridiculously fast. He's a blink and he's gone kind of dog.

Matt came running down the hallway yelling at me to get up. I though the house on was on fire. He told me what happened as he threw on some shoes and told me to get the car. We were both frantic. He got back outside before me and as I got out the front door with car keys and leash in hand, I heard Matt yell "Robbie!" and around the corner came Robbie running full speed to the front door. I was so proud of him for returning right home, though I had to bite my tongue holding back any scolding as you're not supposed to scold a dog when it returns. You're supposed to praise it for doing the right thing.

Matt said he saw Robbie and the fox having a stare down in the neighbor's front yard before Robbie came running back.

My concern is starting to grow.

This morning I woke up around 5am to the most awful shrieking outside our bedroom window. It sounded like a witch's cackle...or a cat being tortured. But it was the fox barking. Just wandering around the yard and barking for no reason. Eventually, it went away. But then around 7am, it came back when my neighbor was letting out that same Cockapoo. The dog and the fox had another barking match before my neighbor was able to get the dog back inside.

I'm finding fox feces everywhere.

I'm worried that this particular fox is not all that healthy.

I called Animal Control and I got the same rundown about how foxes are harmless and that it's just trying to raise its pups and will be gone soon enough.

Not sure what to do. It sucks not to be able to just let Robbie lie around outside in the sun like he likes to do so much. 

I also don't know if we're dealing with one crazy fox or - potentially - five of them.

I know I haven't seen a rabbit in the neighborhood in a long time.

I guess for now we just wait and see.