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Archive for November, 2010

The Politics of Aging

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The Politics of Aging

“Sgt. Pepper’s Paradise” – Guns N’ Roses vs. The Beatles vs. Jimmy James
“Fine Line” – Paul McCartney
“Coffee & TV” – Blur
“Once Upon a Time” – Air
“Le Premier Amore” – Anaïs
“Golden Age” – TV on the Radio
“Strange Overtones” – David Byrne & Brian Eno
“A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger” – of Montreal
“Just a Friend With the Clap” – Shirley Ellis vs. Biz Markie
“Go There With You (Radio Edit)” – Chin Chin
“Bull Black Nova” – Wilco
“Longing for a Frozen Sky” – Ernst Reijseger, Patricio Mura & Gianluca Frau
“Divine” – Sebastian Tellier
“Tonight” – Koop & Mikael Sundin

So I’m 30 years old.  Suddenly age seems to matter more.  My generation is largely discontent with the political agendas of the baby boomers.  We’re also relatively vocal about that.  Baby boomers don’t seem too fond of us, either, often opting for some weird victimization complex as their arguments against social change.  They think we’re bitter and we think they are bitter.

It’s trickier than it seems, though, because this is my parents’ generation.  People who were around for the 60’s, before the “revolution” became a televised pop concert.  I understand their victimization insomuch that most of them really did try (and often still try) to make life better for our generation and yet we largely still refuse to accept their stringent conservatism.  This so often boils down to logic vs. emotion – and that seems to be where the divide exists.  Perhaps if the baby boomers had access to the internet when they were young, gay marriage wouldn’t be such a big deal.  In any case, the two generations have a lot to sort through if any real progress in social reform is going to be made before they die and we take their place.  By that time, we may hold on to our outdated belief systems with the same jaded pretense.

For now, though, the least we can say is that things slip and slide with age.  The changing of beliefs and boundaries goes many different ways, with many different effects.  The relationship between these meandering generations is a bittersweet one.  Kids don’t want to hate their parents.  Parents don’t want to hate their kids.  But yet the kids, seemingly ungrateful to the provisions of the parents, are refusing to follow them to the end.  And the parents, disillusioned by the corruption of past hopes, have hardened to the point of taking offense to their children striving for so many of the same ideals.

I wish this mix was as crisply discernible as all that.  All that, however, is just one current observation amid a slew of new political motivations we come to take on in response to growing older.  As you try to figure them out and accept them, refer to this mix as necessary.


This song has been getting a lot of activity and restructuring since we first introduced it during the depression session.  Obviously, I felt inclined to record myself performing it acoustically, while draped in blue garb and sitting in a blue room.  How…novel…

I also used strobe  lights and shit.  You gotta admit – it’s gotta be slightly more interesting than it would have been had I just sat stone faced in front of the camera and played the song.

Depression Session – 10.27.2010 – Arrison Kirby & Katie Collins

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dinosaur by Mark Cline

“Crap Out”
“Seeking the Sun (Before the Threshold)”
“Liquid Courage”
“Seeking the Sun (After the Threshold)”
“Getting Out of the House”

The sky is overcast in Knoxville today.  Much the same as on October 27th, when we recorded this one.  It was a Wednesday, our standard meeting of the minds.  Raining outside.  Solemn and subdued.  All of this increasingly so, as everyone except Katie and I decided to take the night off.

So it’s called the Depression Session based on the premise that we should be sad that everyone canceled on us.  The reality, however, is that Katie and I, working as a duo, pulled through just fine…even merrily at times.  In fact, we stretched ourselves further than we might have with everyone else there.

But it’s a good session name.   It still fits the tone of the day and the tone of the recordings.

“Crap Out” – This was how the session began, with the idea in mind to play in minor key and improvise lyrics about everyone canceling and how it made us feel.  I don’t know.  It’s hard for me to maneuver through that kind of lyrical mindset without eventually veering into the ridiculous.  Then again, it is perhaps refreshing to hear the ridiculous within the opening track of something called Depression Session.  Especially if you’re listening because you’re depressed.

“Fighters” – This is the only song from this session that we used beats on.  Katie was rockin’ the mandolin while I did triple duty with beats, keys and banjo.  Actually, that’s not nearly as difficult as it sounds.  It’s all about timing.  It’s not like I’m busting out some crazy solos or anything.  The end result is kind of fun.

“Blue” – I’m not sure how finished this song is, but it was definitely finished enough to use for this session.  I figured if we were calling it the Depression Session, we would need a truly sad core to it.  I think this one fits.  I’m doing vocals and guitar.  Katie’s playing the keys.

“Seeking the Sun” – These two little banjo / mandolin tunes sound more hopeful than depressing.  That’s why they are called “Seeking the Sun.”  Ideally, though, there’s always a little hope in depression, right?  Yeah.  So we got some trace amounts.

“Liquid Courage” – This is Katie’s chord progression completely and I love it.  Again, I am improvising lyrics about heartbreak and again, I am unable to do so without eventually touching on the ridiculous.  The devil.  I always talk about the devil.  It was such a nice little song until I did here.  I still stand by most of my cadence decisions, though.  Anyway.  Katie on ukulele…me on guitar.

“Getting Out of the House” – We quickly sketched out and rehearsed this little instrumental for the end of the session.  I’m playing banjo and she’s on the keys.  I am in love with E minor played on banjo.  Find it here and melt.

Katie Collins – ukulele, mandolin, keys
Arrison Kirby – guitar, banjo, keys, beats, vocals

One for the Brothers

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One for the Brothers

“Superlangalang” – MIA vs. Super Mario Bros. vs. Johnny 180
“Underground” – Curtis Mayfield
“Wanna Be a Baller” – Li’l Troy
“Coinsequences” – Public Enemy feat. Paris
“Battle (Remix)” – Blur vs. UNKLE
“Flip Flop (Rock and Roll)” – Outkast vs. Prodigy vs. DJ Murder
“Styrofoam Boots / It’s All Nice on Ice, Alright” – Modest Mouse
“Haterz Everywhere” – B.O.B.
“Rapperfection” – Radiohead vs. Edan feat. Mr. Lif
“Swing” – Savage
“Bombs Over Bagdad (Remix)” – Outkast vs. Rage Against the Machine
“Super Terminator Sunshine” – Public Enemy vs. Super Mario Bros.

I made this mix quite a while back.  I was working as a sports bar DJ at the time and that influence bleeds through here.

Generally, I like to have a fitting reason to post a mix.  Something in time, or at least the air, that seems to fit with the music.  This one, however, is simply a good time with a little bit of aggression.  So if nothing else, let this represent some hopeful anger at the recent republican victories in the American midterm elections.

Yeah.  That works.  The accompanying picture was taken of two attendees at Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s Rally for Sanity and/or Fear.  Considering what it is and where it was taken, I think that actually ties the whole thing together fairly well.

So I dunno.  Maybe the Mario Brothers can save us from all these corporatists.  Maybe they will be listening to rap music when they do it.  That’s ultimately what this mix is about.

Improvisations on Lennon and Cyrus – 10.20.2010 – Arrison Kirby, Katie Collins, Dane Hill & Megan Driscoll

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photo by Annie Leibowitz

“Opening Bell”
“Give Peace a Chance (Seriously)”
“No Destination”
“Jumble Bumps”
“La Tee Dah (Give Peace a Chance)”
“Locked Doors in Mexico”
“Failed Fire”
“Afraid of the Ghost”
“Give Peace a Chance (Or Something)”
“Achey Breaky Heart”
“A Double K C”

This is, so far, has perhaps been my favorite session.  It’s loose and dirty, but flows quite merrily.  Definitely fun to play and, hopefully, listen to.  The use of the keys with the larger sound is new to this arrangement of players.  Instrument swapping also continues.  And everybody’s favorite…cover songs!  [kind of]

“Opening Bell” – One of our traditional, improvisational, come-from-nothing, random openers.  It begins with the beat and ends with Dane’s live drumming.  The latter is the better.  Pretty happy shit.

“Give Peace a Chance” (John Lennon cover) – Oh yes.  Three different versions.  Everybody knows the chorus, for sure,  but everybody’s talking bout…what?  So I just made up new verses.  It’s the giving peace a chance part that matters, after all.

“No Destination” – Dane on guitar.  Katie using the omni to add a really nice, easy going vibe – especially at the beginning.  I’m drumming.  I felt pretty on top of my shit with drums that night, too.

“Jumble Bumps” – This is probably my favorite song from the session.  I believe that I made very good choices with the keys and the guitar solo.  The only problem is that I did not necessarily do this at the same time.  There is one very particular aspect of this one that is like nails on a chalkboard to me…but it runs alongside the really really good aspects.  I’m not going to point out anything beyond that.  Hopefully your ears will hear it differently than mine.

“Locked Doors in Mexico” – This one is just Dane and I.  He on guitar.  Me on drums.  That dude is a great communicator, musically.  I love the last third, in particular, where we drop it low and bring it back.

“Failed Fire” – This is just Dane and I again.  It’s kinda like one of those “musical comedy” deals that tend to manifest themselves sometimes.

“Afraid of the Ghost” – I don’t know why I want to do this song so much.  I guess because it’s so simple to work within.  I still want something more ideal for the 1st half or so.  Tried it with some low organ sounds on this one.  I dunno…it’s okay.

“Achey Breaky Heart” (Billy Ray Cyrus cover) – Hence the Cyrus part of the session name.  Once again, this is another one of those songs where you totally know the chorus, but only get the general idea of the verses.  In this case, however, that circumstance may vary from person to person.  I know it’s kind of scary, but some people out there probably do know this song word for word, beginning to end.  We are simply not those people.

“A Double K C” – Me on drums.  Katie on the keys.  A little bit of night magic.

Katie Collins – omnichord, keys
Dane Hill – guitar, drums
Arrison Kirby – guitar, keys, drums
Megan Driscoll – tambourine