Click to download the tracks:
This session began as a semi-regular Never Sorry set without Dane. The girls and I were having some trouble breaking out of the mediocre, though we did get some newer versions of things in line for a good future nail down. Basically, though, it was a short night that was more building than interesting.
Katie and Rachel cut out relatively early, each for their own reasons. Not content to leave a record of practically nothing, Megan and I pressed forward with beat, bass and vocal improv. DJ Modifi, again, was not present in person, but we used his beats for the final track.
The recording, itself, could have been better had I ran Megan’s microphone directly into the board, rather than into a board into a board as we usually do. Here, it’s just too minimal for that and the result is this terrible hiss that persists throughout. Eventually, you may forget that it’s there as you listen…but it drives me crazy.
“What is This? (David Dalton Returns to the Sea)” – Megan didn’t have much to say at first, what with me all but shoving a microphone in her mouth and demanding she say something. I covered it myself by the second half, though. David Dalton is one of my personal heroes. I used to play in a hip hop band with him. It was called Flashmob. We used this beat relatively close to the end of Flashmob’s brief but powerful tenure. So it’s natural that my own vocal musings would begin mentioning that. Eventually it builds into exactly what it says in parenthesis up there in the song title: David Dalton returning to the sea. He is, after all, David Dolphin: The Porpoise with a Purpose.
“Life is Terrible” – I may have to make an executive band decision that Megan doesn’t talk about her job anymore at sessions. When such dialog bleeds into the music, you get this. It’s nicely sung…but very depressing.
“Party USA or Something” – I let someone secret hear this one and they remarked that it sounded like a Miley Cyrus song. I have to concur. That sample is from the song “Dime” by Cake. Also note my only vocals on this one: an interpolation of “Sweet Jane” by the Velvet Underground.
“Stand By Me” – A cover of the Ben King classic. She’s singing a lot better than I’m playing the bass. For whatever reason, I thought it would make some dumbass artistic statement if I played the whole song on mostly open strings, focusing not on variety, but cadence of simplicity. In the end it works…but I might should have actually stopped and thought about it somewhere in the five or so takes we did. That’s the same beat from “Free Day.”
“Forecast: Marked” – This beat was created by DJ Modifi and I love it. This is a mostly instrumental track and probably the best of this bunch.
Megan Driscoll – vocals
Arrison Kirby – beats, bass, vocals
DJ Modifi – beat composition
Click to download the tracks:
First legitimate session of 2011. We were lucky to have Davis Davis (the red cloud) join in on the bass guitar.
I called it Loose Roots because this session made me feel like we were getting back to some low down, junky roots that we probably never really abandoned in the first place. Also, the name feels appropriate considering that this one feels like a macabre ol’ time gospel session (except for “Wok it Out / Sarabeth”). This may have the most to do with the lyrical content. Heaven, hell, the devil and all that.
The picture is my cat, Quinn, when he was a kitten. His roots are in New Orleans where I picked him up from a group of kids on the side of the road. However, now in Knoxville, he’s addicted to the cold weather for some reason.
“Afraid of the Ghost” – We play it soooooo much. It’s an easy one for people to remember, though, so it works well with session guests (such as the present David Davis). David’s bass alongside my deep synth makes for some good tonal ground punching.
“Tender Anomalies” – This began as a jam between Dane and David. I joined in and we became a three piece. The girls were all in the room doing something else. I’m not certain what, but their dialog in the background seems to fit right with the jam.
“House of Satan” – I could not resist resurrecting this one. I changed the lyric I was not fond of the last time we did it. Unfortunately, we lost the theramin for this version, but we did gain the bass. I feel like I should have sung “the chous” one more time maybe. Who cares, though? I love this ballad ass shit.
“Wok it Out / Sarabeth” – I’m not sure how this came to be, but we all felt really really good about it as it did. That’s Dane rapping. The beats come from a song called “Sarabeth” that I’ve performed live, and we’ve tackled as a band, but don’t have a solid recording of for some reason. Because of the source of the beats, we decided to interpolate elements of “Sarabeth” into this song. It’s great, because “Sarabeth” includes the primary lyrics, “Eight sixteen,” which I wrote in reference to the title person’s birthday. However, in weaving it into “Wok it Out,” Dane places the numbers into the completely different context of hours and minutes. Ah, sweet expansion!
Katie Collins – omnichord, bass
Megan Driscoll – flute
Dane Hill – drums, vocals
Rachel Jae – auxillary percussion, omnichord
Arrison Kirby – guitar, keys, beats, vocals
David Davis – bass
Click to download the tracks:
“Bristol (Bare Bones)”
“Afraid of the Ghost”
“Bristol (Katie and the Drums)”
“Anemone” (Brian Jonestown Massacre cover)
“Untitled as Yet”
“Bristol (Katie and the Bass)”
This is actually an accumulation of material from two sessions, each with it’s own unique processes for evolving the material. Of course, that could really be said of any series of sessions involving the same material with the same people. Here, however, the session from 9.1.2010 had us fleshing out a newly written song, and trying new arrangements on older songs. The later session, from 9.8.2010, revolved around a thick underbelly of “organized improvisation.” Several of these tracks contain vocal direction as we worked them out on the spot.
“Bristol (Bare Bones)” – I introduced this song acoustically in my office at first. This is the first time it was played in the studio. I like the minimalism of this version and kind of hate that I cut it off before finishing the song. The interplay between ukulele (Katie), bass (Dane) and guitar (me) is particularly nice in the first verse.
“Afraid of the Ghost” – This was one of those sudden improv deals. The entire track consists of three chords, borrowed from the bridge of a song I wrote called “Sarabeth.” It was Katie’s idea to “jam” on this, I believe. The lyrics are freestyled right out of my head and not entirely on key…also a bit loud.
“New Beginnings” – Anyone who has ever seen me play live a few times is familiar with this song. Dane played bass on this version. His idea. Worked out well. I kiss the tips of my fingers, in fact. As to the abrupt ending of this track, it came at the precise moment that a glass of beer totally flew off a speaker. We chalked it up to vibration. Though I have set plenty of bottles and glasses there in the past with no problem.
“Bristol (Katie and the Drums)” – We had an early inclination on this song to try Dane on the bass with Katie on drums. You know…just to see. We let her begin the drumming and we filled in around her. It totally worked until we got to the arena-rocky, time changed chorus that didn’t happen.
“903” – This was another improvisational tangent. I don’t know why everything is all “devil and hell” but I think it works for the overall themes that emerge in these sessions. Anyway. Dane called out the time. 9:03pm. When he said it twice and there was a quality to the way he said it that made it sound like it came out of a rap song. Thus I suggested we do a rap song. We picked a single key and went with it. The “rap” is completely free-styled.
“Anemone” – This was recorded on the earlier, more focused session. Yes. The Brian Jonestown Massacre cover returns. This one is much fuller than the previous one, with Dane playing bass (check out the badass slide shit toward the end) and a good grainy underbelly to the guitar. Not to toot my own horn, but I handle my improvy little guitar solo bridge thingie pretty well, too.
“Untitled as Yet” – Despite it’s missteps, this may be my favorite version of this song so far. Dane’s deep, concussive drumming juxtaposed with the reverb-soaked club beats is of particular bounce. I also am fond of the second half where I find myself able to channel my inner Jeff Tweedy (or was it Neil Young?) on guitar.
“Bristol (Katie and the Bass)” – It’s not perfect but, so far, it’s the best recorded version we have of the newest written song. This one has Dane back on the drums and Katie playing bass. On the omnichord is Rachel Jae.
“Katie’s Waltz” – This was initially “just fuckin’ around” while I got the levels kind of correct. But how could anyone resist the call of a waltz?
“Feedback” – If the beer flying off the speaker was not a supernatural experience then maybe this was. There was a small but not unbearable microphone feedback going on. We all joined in, harmonizing with it. As we moved around the feedback stopped, but we all kept yowling or whatever. When we all ceased. there was a new feedback, louder than before. It was none of the microphones. Then we realized it was the guitar, which none of us had been standing anywhere near. So either the guitar string struck itself or the vibration of our voices caused the guitar to vibrate with us. I’m not certain but it feels magicalish.
Katie Collins – ukulele, omnichord, drums, bass
Megan Driscoll – vocals, flute
Dane Hill – drums, bass
Rachel Jae – axillary percussion, omnichord
Arrison Kirby – guitar, beats, vocals