Monday, August 29, 2011

The Red Album, Reissued

The Red Album is now available at Bandcamp.   I've made it available on a "name your own price" basis (where that price can include "Free"), and both individual tracks and the whole shebang are download options.

In 2000 as we were getting set to leave Tucson I decided to put an album of music together to give out to friends.  While I'd recorded myself playing guitar on and off since starting college, and had a four-track recorder since 1994 or so, I was now using our Windows 95 machine and was able to put together that sounded much better than before.  Not that it sounded perfect, of course, as some of the low-level electronic noise can attest.  It was fun to put together, if a learning process.  I spent a lot more time on doing multiple takes and backing vocals than I have since, though some of that time and effort was just figuring out what was going on.

The set of songs was largely drawn from Science Diet songs, and all the members of Science Diet appear on two of the entries (To All The Girls and Taking Matters Into My Own Hands).  Get Out of My Life (aka Psychopath) was another crowd favorite and the original closing song, but after deciding that was a bit too harsh as a closer I quickly recorded Any Other Way.  The non-Science Diet songs tended to be those for which I both had a soft spot and felt like I could do well.  The day before we left we had a friend burn some CDs from the files (it was still a big hassle back then) and we stuck them in mailboxes.

Depending on how this goes I may post the other albums (and future "real" releases) there as well; the Bandcamp setup looks like it supports album covers and extra stuff pretty easily.  They require the poster to hold all rights to songs, so any cover songs (or near-covers like We Didn't Start The Science) will continue to be posted here, as will the random oddities and early versions that are of even more limited interest than my music in general...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Another stop, another song

So, I'm in the Los Angeles basin.  Pasadena to be exact.  While I was in Seattle, just after recording the previous post, I thought maybe I'd commemorate my upcoming travels by recording a song in each location by a band from that location.  I may not schlep the guitar to France, but I'll see if I can work around that anyhow.

There are a great many bands from LA.  However, I loathe one of the most obvious ones.  Other songs I considered are a bit hard to play on acoustic guitar.  Still other songs I'd like to take some time to do more properly.  And who knew that this obvious choice was by a band from New York?*

So I turn to covering a song by hair band from LA (Motley Crüe), with a song that was popular during my college years.   Here you go:

Girl Don't Go Away Mad

*OK, put your hands down.  I probably should have realized it with a little thought.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Emerald City, Pennyroyal Tea

First, as usual, the song:  a cover version of Nirvana's Pennyroyal Tea.

Next, a disclaimer:  The vocals are mixed kind of loud.  The arrangement is pretty sparse.  If you're not already a relatively big fan of my singing voice, or of questionable Nirvana covers, this might not be for you. :)

I'm attending a workshop in Eastern Washington this coming week, and have a free day in Seattle before heading there.  I've done a little poking around and am hitting the Mariners game tonight, but I haven't made any music-related tourism stops yet (whether Viretta Park, the Sound Garden, or even the Aurora Bridge).  Yes, I've also been doing some work.  I decided to bring my brand-new travel guitar (a Washburn Rover) and figured as long as I was here I should commemorate it somehow.

So I banged out a quick version of the Nirvana song Pennyroyal Tea here in my hotel room.  I liked In Utero a lot (better than Nevermind, actually), in particular this song. I never did get to see them, my best chance (in many ways) being when they played the dorm across the street during junior year at college.  The guitar's not necessarily great for this sort of thing-- it's not deep so there's not a lot of bass.  But it's the thought that counts, right?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pastoral #1

First, the song:  The pretentiously-named Pastoral #1.

I was in Japan twenty years ago, during the summer of 1991, and didn't know anyone when I got there.  I made some good friends there, some of whom I'm still in touch with, but since they were grad students and I wasn't I had a lot of time on my own.  It was wonderful to spend some time exploring Kyoto, where I was living and working, but still somewhat lonely.  I had enough foresight to bring my guitar with me, even though I wasn't terribly good at it.  Still, between all the sensory input of being in such a foreign place and spending so much time alone with my guitar, I wrote a ton of songs.  The best song of that summer has already appeared in a "real" recording (as real as they get for me, anyhow).  But there were many others.

This one was inspired by one of my favored spots, a little park at the spot where the Takano and the Kano River meet, near Imadegawa Street.  Kyoto summers are hot and sticky, with the constant hum of cicadas.  Looking back, this clearly evokes some of the aimless, languid quality of my weekends there.  I never really came up with a good title for this song, with "Pastoral #1" something of a placeholder until something else came along.  It is, at least, better than "The Simile Song", which was the first thing I thought of.

Since the weather today in Maryland is a reminder of how it was in Kyoto, and since I've had a bit of an aimless day, I figured I'd do a quick Garageband recording of Pastoral #1.  Guitar was recorded first, then the voice.  No effects were used, as is probably obvious. :)