Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lace Anniversary

Perfect fall days don't fill me
with that same
But I remember

The smug feeling of hearing
someone else's flight
get canceled
in the moments before my flight was also

I'd used a self-serve kiosk
for the first time
carefully picking a window
seat on the left
so I could see lower Manhattan.
At the time
I should have boarded
I saw lower Manhattan
on the TV in the airport bar

The towers groaned and all
that it made sense to do
was order the largest beer they had
and steel myself for the perfect
fall day

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Watching Rainbows turns 30

Today is the 30th anniversary of one of my first songs. I wrote "Watching Rainbows" for my first girlfriend, with whom I had a typical angsty teenage thing. We got together near the very end of 9th grade, she went off to Catholic school in Jersey City to start 10th grade. So, there were lots of letters etc. After we broke up we stayed friends, and we even went to my senior prom together.  So, all good.

At various times I've looked back and said "X was my first real song".  This is in the running for that-- I didn't know how to play any instruments but drums at the time*, but the lyrics are decent enough I think.  Since other (more famous) people have semi-famously recorded songs written when they were a similar age, I figured I'd have a bash.  I could record this in a Gedankenband version at some point, though it's not obvious to me what that would sound like. I do have a few songs that are even older, but to zeroth order this is as ancient as it gets.

With no further ado:

Watching Rainbows (solo acoustic, 2014)

*Indeed, I wasn't proficient enough at guitar to even figure this out for a few years. This uses the set of chords I retrofitted for the song in 1989. I don't know that it's what I would have come up with at the time (or at a different time), but it is what it is. I suppose I'm also celebrating the arrangement turning 25. :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Gedankenband on Spotify and the iTunes Store!

Technology marches on. The first music I distributed was via cassette. For the Red Album, In-Jokes, and Do Not Tip I made CDs for interested (and some uninterested) friends. Since then I've been posting mp3s for people to fetch.  But music distribution technology has continued to evolve, so I've been trying to keep up.

So I signed up with a distribution service, and am happy to announce that the first music I've submitted, the Local Technique and Not for Having, but for Tasting EPs can now be found on Spotify and the iTunes store!

They also remain available at the Bandcamp site.  I plan to submit more of the back catalog (and future releases) via these venues, too.

Thanks for your continued support and interest, or at least your benign disinterest. :)

Local Technique:
Bandcamp link  
Spotify link
iTunes link

Not for Having, but for Tasting:
Bandcamp link 
Spotify link 
iTunes link

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Lo-fi mini-concert. Or something.

I picked up my guitar for the first time in a while intending to try some songwriting but I seem to have recorded some songs for the blog instead.  Your gain?  Whatever it is, they're recorded live with Audacity and with the gain set a bit too high, so the guitar is kind of distorted. However, since I haven't picked up my guitar in a while (see the first part) I need to get my calluses back in shape and I figured I'd live with the results. And now, so will you.

1. Middle of May (Gedankenband version on the Local Technique EP found here)
2. Take It On The Run (REO Speedwagon cover, because why not?)
3. Down from the Skies (Gedankenband version on the Do Not Tip or Rock album found here)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dr. Lüst at the 1991 East Campus Picnic

I've mentioned Dr. Lüst and the Chiefs of the European Space Agency several times here on the blog. It was the first real band I was in and I wrote a whole bunch of songs for/while in the band, including Solitaire, Insecure, Gonna Be Around, and Hubris (among many others).  The other members of Dr. Lüst also wrote songs for the band, especially Dan Schmidt, and he's continued to play some of those songs in his successor bands (as I have with mine).

We also played a ton of covers, of course, and that's what I'll be posting today. Four of the five band members lived at or were alumni of the East Campus dorm at MIT, and that was where we would practice, but we only played the East Campus Spring Picnic once--my senior year of 1991. This would be our penultimate live performance, the final one coming at Bexley's Beast Roast a week or two later (not counting the inevitable reunion performance at a party in 1992).

I'm posting here five cover songs from that performance. We were pretty loose (to the point of sloppy) with some (all?) of these, but they're reasonably representative. Since I'm not sure how Dan, John, or Doug would feel about my posting their songs here I'm just going to stick to songs that I sang (along with one of Pat's):

1. When The Girls Get Here Pat sings this Young Fresh Fellows classic, in part because everyone else wanted to sing it and Pat was the only real compromise candidate.
2. Different Strokes I don't know what came over us but somehow we hit upon doing this song, which became a staple of our performances. We followed it up with The Facts Of Life at Bexley.
3. Head Over Heels Man, I loved this song. I took it with me to Jury Rig and Science Diet, though only Dr. Lüst had the keyboard part going.
4. Super Freak/U Can't Solve This A different version of this song appears early on in the blog's history. We'd been playing this one for years, and it shows as we wander through it injecting in-jokes and interrupting each other a bunch.  I love playing this song.
5. Free Bird You can hear the crowd yelling for Free Bird through most of this set, as they did through many of our sets (as was the style back then), we learned the song in response and as a way to punish the crowd. The audio tape ran out most of the way through our performance, so you don't get to hear the response from the crowd once we finished:  "Free Bird!"

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 30: Sky Flat

Stars fade and sleep calls
after a night rich
with callers from other worlds
but one task remains.

We could close the dome,
fire up the lamps,
and stare at the wall.
But why end the night on such a
sterile note?

Instead, let's turn off the drive
and luxuriate
as the dawn performs works
of modern art for our use:
Jasper Johns or Mike Rothko
or Brice Marden.
The sky will give us
a proper send-off until
next we work together.

(Image: The Dylan Painting, Brice Marden. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)


This is the last poem of NaPoWriMo 2014 for me. Thank you all!  Now back to irregularly non-scheduled music until next year (unless I feel like writing something before then)...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

NaPoWriMo 2014 Post 29: Herschel visits Laurel

Would Herschel envy me?
The world's books at a few keystrokes,
and excellent calculations.
Spacecraft imagery and
photographic portraits
adorning my office,
an electric kettle
to offer him tea
while we listen to a recording
of his symphony 17 in C major.

Or would he watch
as I slog through spam
and don't listen to telecons,
and struggling to find time
to write
to observe
and much rather find himself
in the Bath?