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Archive for December, 2010

Nobody Stands a Chance – 12.19.2010 – Never Sorry [Arrison Kirby, Megan Driscoll, Rachel Jae, Dane Hill, Augustin Bralley & DJ Modifi]

Click to download the tracks:

“Creep” (Radiohead cover)
“Move Her Aside”
“House of Satan”
“Translucent Corpses”

The instrumental tracks border on uplifting, as we continue down the experimental path we carved out in the last session.  The two with lyrics run kind of dark.  I almost thought about calling this session Apocalypse Light but I didn’t want the word “light” to diminish the gravity of “House of Satan.”

Katie is not on this session, as she was still visiting Peru at the time.  However, we were able to rope in contributions from Augustin Brally and DJ Modifi.  We also tackled a new cover song, but you can read all about that stuff below…

“Creep” – Ah.  Radiohead’s classic breakout jam.  It worked pretty well when I recorded it with David Davis.  So we got to talking about it and decided to give it a try in this arrangement.  Dane played bass.  Megan played the omni.  I trashed out my guitar.  Rachel sang, of course.  The beats come to us courtesy of DJ Modifi.  He wasn’t at the session, but he was the composer of those beats.

“Move Her Aside” – This one is well paced.  Punk rock stoner rock or something.

“House of Satan” – A song about the devil having a heavy heart, spilling it to you in the wee hours of the morning, after a night of partying with him.  The lyrics were complete improvisation, yet I think it came out perfect, but for one line.  I won’t say which, but it will be changed on subsequent recordings, most likely.  For the most part, this song sits very heavy.  The creepy theremin is being played by Georgia inhabitant, Augustin Bralley.  He also does a wee bit of knob turning around some of the synth effects.  This sounds like the song you play as the city you are in is burning.

“Translucent Corpses” – This was the pretty much immediate follow up to “House of Satan.”  It really let’s the air back in, thankfully.  I like the idea of translucent corpses following the devil’s moments of…uh…darkness.  This song is like a spaceship out of all that mess.

Megan Driscoll –  flute, omnichord
Dane Hill – drums, bass
Rachel Jae – vocals, auxillary percussion, omnichord
Arrison Kirby – guitar, beats, vocals
Augustin Bralley – theramin, effects
DJ Modifi – beat composition

Universal Rejector

Click to download as a continuous mp3:

Universal Rejector

“Face Your Doom” – Daniel Johnston & His Hyperjinx Tricycle
“Stealing Home” – Shivaree
“Beauty” – Linda Thompson
“Nude” – Radiohead
“Cat Faces” – Ugly Cassanova
“Black Wave” – The Shins
“Go or Go Ahead” – Rufus Wainwright
“I Was a Landscape in Your Dream (Grizzly Bear Remix)” – Of Montreal
“Caramel” – Blur
“Safari Love” – The Beatles vs. The Pixies vs. Aretha Franklin vs. Loo & Placido
“I Lose” – Daniel Johnston

Holiday time again.  The weather in Knoxville right now is pretty damned nice.  Later tonight, though, on the eve of Christmas, we’re supposed to get some snowy snow.  That sounds alright to me.  As for you, you might want to wait until then to listen to this mix.

I know the title is bleak, but I wanted to throw something up for these winter holidays.  This is good, quietish, atmospheric mix that seems to sound good  on cold nights.  Plus holidays are kind of bleak anymore anyway, aren’t they?  Everybody bitching about which is the best one while trying to sell you shit you don’t need so that you can give it to someone else who also doesn’t need it and they can, in turn, give you something else you don’t need.   Everyone keeping it up because it’s traditional or something.

But hey!  I’m no Scrooge.  Not entirely.  The sad desolation of winter is strangely pacifying if one can immerse fully in the death and coldness going on around him or her.  Those things make you appreciate the living much more.  So plastic aside, it is good that there is something that changes our routine as the holidays tend to do.

For all that somberness, and warmth inside of the cold, there is this mix.

“Creep” (Radiohead cover) – David Davis & Arrison Kirby

Click to download the track.

photo by McKenzie Michaels

“Creep” (Radiohead cover) – David Davis & Arrison Kirby

David Davis (the red cloud, Mar) has been hanging out around the studio recently.  We haven’t really pushed a session yet, though we did end up shitting out this cover of the Radiohead standard.   We did use the session set up to record it.  Unfortunately, so much usual pre mixing was neglected because of the spontaneity of this track.  The iffy result is a few vocal lines mixed a bit too quietly.  (We can’t fix it because it’s mic’d with the omni.)  It’s especially evident at the beginning, but the projection increases into form by the end of the song.  All in all, it’s a tolerable flaw.

David is singing and playing guitar.  I’m accompanying on Katie’s omni.  It was my first time actually joining in on a full song with the omnichord.

David Davis – vocals, guitar
Arrison Kirby – omnichord

“Free Day” – Never Sorry

It was a Sunday and a light dust of snow had fallen.  Eventually it got pretty thick in the night, but this daytime onset was pleasant.  We had already had this song called “Free Day,” recorded on the We Are in Love session.  I thought it all worked together.  Here where snow is rare, such days often do become free days.  This tends to be less true, the older we get.

I can be kind of awkward on camera.  I figured the video needed shots of someone and I was the only one there so…you know.  I just don’t know how I feel about looking directly into a camera.

You can freely download the MP3 of this song, as well as the rest of the session by clicking here.

The Door Between Movements – 12.8.2010 – Never Sorry [Arrison Kirby, Megan Driscoll, Rachel Jae and Dane Hill]

Click to download the tracks:

“Vague Champion”
“Cute Little Echo”

This session is two tracks long and clocks in right around 15 minutes or so, total.  There was certainly more content that night, but the majority of it was spent fleshing out new ideas.  It’s between these two tracks, however, that I feel we crossed some symbolic evolution as a band.  Effectively, we are further crossing that threshold beyond humor and good times into realms of beauty and true emotional contact.

Or whatever.

Despite changes in the players, this session is firmly linked to the yet unreleased session from a week before (the same session the “Automobile” video came from).  Explanation is as follows:

“Vague Champion” – This epic spread is a great example of what I was trying to say about humor and beauty.  It’s well in line with the recent explorations into 90’s gangsta rap.  In fact, that’s a sample in there from Dr. Dre’s “Fuck wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)”.  (We used to use that sample for a more formal cover of the song back when I played in Flashmob.)  The guitar gets a little disjunctive at times because I was washing out with a looper pedal, but tonally it all holds up and ultimately makes for some sounds that are good for listening into, but difficult to pick apart.  The third and final act of the thing has me playing synth bass.  This was something of a recommendation from Kenny Gilbert of Destroyed by Magnets, and I think he might be on to something.

“Cute Little Echo” – This is a more proper, compact and versed version of a song conceived at the prior session.  I intend to release its inception, but not quite yet.  Katie helped write it but, ironically, did not play on this cleaner version.  I look very much forward to getting her back on the track.  For this one, though, Rachel took over omni duties.   That’s Dane on the bass.  The lyrics are not too terribly different from the lyrics I made up on the spot over the very first rendition of this one.  Having them recorded, I was able to transcribe them.  Initially I was singing to Dane, Rachel and McKenzie Michaels (the resident painter at the studio), none of which were in attendance that night.  To firm up the lyrics and give them more emotional weight, I changed it up to be about only one person, rather than three.  I also stripped out a few less effective parts and refilled them with as much longing as I could muster.  I also changed the name to “Cute Little Echo” from “Cam Cam.”  With or without Katie present, I could not resist introducing this new version, which was otherwise foreign to Dane and Rachel…who are both playing on it.  One final thing to note is that, while singing,  I totally flubbed the lyrics at a crucial point.  I say, “I want you now” somewhere in last third or so.  The correct line is supposed to be “I want you to know.”  My Freudian slip causes that line and the next not to rhyme.  It also takes away from the innocence of the thing.  It’s not supposed to be a song about fucking.

Megan Driscoll –  flute, harmonica, vocals
Dane Hill – drums, bass
Rachel Jae – omnichord, auxillary percussion
Arrison Kirby – guitar, beats, keys, vocals

“Automobile” (NWA / Parliament cover) – Never Sorry

Yay!  The band has a video!

This song and the video were recorded on 12.1.10 at a session that only included myself, Katie Collins and Megan Driscoll.  It’s cover of the NWA song, “Automobile,” (as they reformed from the original by Parliament) from their highly misogynistic, but wonderfully produced Niggaz4Life .  It’s different than the version we did in the last session.  That one was rockin’.  This one is more chilled out and electro.

Lots of offensive language on this.  Again, I’m no fan of standard camp.  But this isn’t camp…these are gangstas!  They mean it!

And as always, if you’d like to download the MP3, here you go:

“Automobile” – Never Sorry

We Are in Love – 11.28.2010 – Never Sorry [Arrison Kirby, Katie Collins, Megan Driscoll, Rachel Jae and Dane Hill]

Click to download the tracks:

“Free Day”
“Afraid of the Ghost (Hell)”
“Monkey Parade”
“People’s People”
“Tender” (Blur cover)
“Single Politician”
“Automobile” (NWA cover)
“Afraid of the Ghost (Heaven)”

This session was awesome.   Recording these things live, we have to have a certain degree of it set up and sounding right for the room before we even begin.  So I will be the first to admit that the vocals came out a little bit too quiet, and beyond repair…at least in my microphone.  Elsewise, everyone had their shit together and everything felt really full and booming.  This is the kind of spread that makes a person feel very lucky to be engaging creatively with these other persons.

We tackled two new cover songs in this session.  One by Blur and one by NWA.  I’ll spare you the details and give you the standard run down:

“Free Day” – Once again, our opening warm up jam works perfectly as the session opener.  Dane is rocking the mandolin on this one, Rachel took over omni duties.  Katie had not yet arrived.  I love how deep the beats are on this one, and how beautifully all the instrumentation builds around them.

“Afraid of the Ghost” – We had not done this one in a minute, but here are two new and very different versions.  The “hell” version is slow and moody.  It sounds familiar to me.  I initially want to compare it to Pink Floyd, but I don’t think that’s it.  The “heaven” version is a little crazier and certainly more fast.  I soaked out the beginning of this version with some pretty intensive electronic slamming.  Also, I’d like to note the perfect placement of Dane’s drumming choices on both versions.

“Monkey Parade” – This one gets better the more we do it.  I added keys to this one, trading off between them and guitar.

“People’s People” – We had not messed with this song in months.  Then suddenly, it pops up again.  I think it was Megan’s idea to take a current crack at it.  I gotta say…despite the inability to discern what the vocals are saying, this is possibly those most solidly formed, while still remaining upbeat, version of this we have done.

“Tender” – Alright!  A Blur cover!  The thing I love about this is that, when I introduced this song, I don’t think anyone else had heard the original before.  This recording is about the 6th take, at which point, they still hadn’t heard it.  So basically, that’s one more reason to love the people playing on this song.  And how about those vocals?  That’s Rachel on the mains, with Megan and I harmonizing as applicable.

“Single Politician” – Of all the ways we have tried this song, this is my favorite arrangement.  Dane and I actually fleshed this version out right before our show with Katie & The Bass Drums back in August.  This is just the first somewhat solid recording we have done of it.

“Automobile” – This is a cover of an NWA interpretation of a Parliament song.  Anyone that was in middle school when Niggaz4Life came out is likely familiar with this one.  It was the novelty “country song” from that album, chalked full of Easy-E and others spouting off embarrassing, gruff sexual yearns.  I thought it was important to keep all the dirt and smut in tact, though normally I don’t talk this way.

“Blue” – We did this version before Katie had arrived.  I must say, I completely adore this version for it’s minimalism.  And, damn, Rachel can belt this one out.

Katie Collins – omnichord, bass
Megan Driscoll –  flute, harmonica, vocals
Dane Hill – drums, bass, mandolin
Rachel Jae – vocals, auxillary percussion
Arrison Kirby – guitar, beats, vocals

Infinite Everything – 11.17.2010 – Never Sorry [Arrison Kirby, Katie Collins, Megan Driscoll, Rachel Jae & Dane Hill]

Click to download the tracks:

“Coastal Horizon (No Harm)”
“World War 17”
“Let You Down”
“Coastal Horizon (Harm)”
“Gangsta Goodbye”

This short little session seems to carry some strange, hopeful emotion.  Texturally rich instrumentals and a couple heartfelt sing-songs.  Also, this collective has decided on a formal band name finally.  We are called: NEVER SORRY.

So this was the first session after Dane’s father passed away, which – coupled with Dane’s mighty guitar stylings – may be part and parcel for the musically emotive outpour.  And like I said, it seems strange and hopeful.  This, more than anything, seems to be a testament of Dane’s strong and wise character and I put these tones in his hands.

I mean, look.  Katie and I had a “depression session” because it was raining outside and everyone bailed on the session, otherwise.  But Dane’s dad dies and the follow up to that is this – songs we can feel relatively comfortable in, amidst all longing.  It makes the “depression” part seem so trivial.

Further evidence, indeed, that Dane Hill is the fucking man.  Also, I’d like to wish congratulations to he and Rachel on their recent engagement!  Best.  Couple.  Ever.

“Coastal Horizon” – Two versions found in this session.  The first has better dynamics, but the second has Megan playing harmonica.  Dane is emoting through the guitar on these.  I’m handling drums.  Omni for Katie and auxillary percussion for Rachel.

“Blue” – This song is so short and simple that we probably now have more recorded versions of it than any other song.  This seems to be a fairly paramount version.  I’m on the scratchy, dirty guitar.  Dane’s rocking the drums.  Katie on the omni and Megan on the flute.  Most notably here is that Rachel is singing.  I wrote this song and I’m really fond of the way her vocals take it from this simple little yearning and elevate it up to some sort of rock opera type deal.

“World War 17” – This was actually our warm up jam.  It’s somewhat foreboding, with tinges of fringe revelation.  I presume that by the time we actually reach a World War 17, it will be as cloak-and-daggery as this song tends to feel.  That is also presuming there are still people around by then.

“Let You Down” – A brief, mostly solo, performance of and by Dane.  I’m not certain, but I think this is a song he had written recently.  I tried to accompany him on drums.  I did okay, I guess…not perfect, but not distracting.  This was the only take with accompanying vocals.

“Gangsta Goodbye” – I’m pretty sure Megan is playing the synth trumpet on this one, with me on drums and everyone else on their old standards.  I know this one is kind of sloppy at times, but I think the overall vibe of it makes up for the looseness.

Katie Collins – omnichord
Megan Driscoll –  flute, harmonica
Dane Hill – guitar, drums, vocals
Rachel Jae – vocals, auxillary percussion
Arrison Kirby – drums, guitar