We’ll be pairing up with the Mike Dees Band (Mike doesn’t play out much, so this is an exciting thing!) J.D. and Jason will also be playing short sets beforehand. Also coming very soon is the third single from the not-out-yet-but-I-promise-it-exists album. More on that in a day or so.
Now, a little insight: this track was recorded with the first batch with the Near Reaches crew – J.D., Eric, and Jason. It is something of a rarity, as I walked into the studio with barely a sketch of an idea. J.D. suggested the chords for the chorus. I finalized the lyrics sitting in the floor at Five & Dime – the song is about my lovely girlfriend.
I suppose it’s safe to say the song takes musical inspiration from stuff like Slowdive, Mazzy Star, and a lot of that 4AD stuff. The Boss Vibrato pedal makes yet another appearance here on the washed out rhythm guitar.
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With some new people following this blog (picture me frantically waving hello) I figure I should make an update on the record I’ve been working on.
First off, there are some incredible people playing on it. My Near Reaches friends J.D. Reager, Eric WIlson and Jason Pulley have been in and tracked on five songs so far (“We Died Laughing”, “Lost In the Fire”, “Sunday Drunk”, “For My Favorite” and “An Episode”). There’s a lot of energy in these performances. I tracked one song alone, several months ago (“Treat Yourself”). Soon, I’ll be working with Eric again, along with Stephen Chopek on drums and Tony Manard from The Switchblade Kid on a couple more tracks (at least … depends on how fast we work!) Then at some point, hopefully, my dear friend and Pneumatic Girls guitarist Matthew Trisler will come in and play some incredible guitar bits.
There is a GoFundMe site up for this project – please consider chipping in and get yourself some lovely music as well as a few other perks.
Session two was myself and Jason Pulley. He played piano, organ, and Rhodes. I played melodica, toy piano, and synthesizer.
I don’t think I’ve even discussed what this first batch of songs consists of. Well…
“We Died Laughing” began its life as a Near Reaches song called “The Bailer”, but I wasn’t really satisfied with the lyrics. The musical structure is fairly identical to how we played it as the Reaches – like a Costello/Attractions tune with more bite. Also, it’s worth mentioning that personnel-wise, the core members of the Near Reaches recorded it. Full circle.
“For My Favorite” was pretty much made up on the spot – I had come up with the verse chording and vocal melody while sitting around with my girlfriend a couple nights previous to the first recording session. J.D. was shooting for “Wonderwall”, and I think I was shooting for Slowdive. I think we’ve landed somewhere in between. This song is for her.
“An Episode” was originally “Our Spacecraft” which I’ve recorded solo, and brought into the Reaches where it became quite a monster of a song. It’s still huge, but now it’s way more of a late-Seventies Bowie art rock tune. Harry wants me to come up with a spacey line for the end part. I don’t know. Mental illness as explained through a crashing spaceship analogy. Another situation where the Near Reaches ride again.
“Lost In the Fire” was a Pneumatic Girls song that we had played out regularly. It’s a letter to myself. We determined in the studio that it’s a little too close to Radiohead’s “Creep” for comfort, so we did weird it out a little. Maybe it will be more “My Iron Lung” when we get finished with it. This one desperately needs Matthew Trisler, and I think I’m going to get my friend Kathryn Brawley to lend her angelic voice to this tune as well.
Last in this first batch is “Sunday Drunk”, which used to be “Juicebox”, then in the Pneumatic Girls repertoire as “Sunday, Drunk, and Dumped”. It started its life as a slacker rock song (think Pavement) and ended up being the hungover cousin of Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London”. I don’t think my sense of humor really manifests itself in my music, so maybe this is me turning a corner. Again, Matthew’s sweet guitar action is needed. Robert M. Jones did a great cover of this song on his Near Reaches tribute EP Reaching.
Stepping back into the studio Thursday to add keys…toy piano, melodica, Rhodes, organ, synthesizer…should be fun. Also pretty sure Jason Pulley will be in there making magic as well. Looking to add some textures to three tunes. Two of the songs are rock songs and will stay straightforward.
After that, lead guitars and vocals…then moving on to the second batch of songs.
No album title yet, and no idea how I’ll put it out.
The thought of putting out a single to precede our debut album came to me in perhaps early November, when we received rough mixes for the second batch of songs we recorded. A couple of liberties were taken and we had a guest player for the song “Fall” – Jason Pulley, piano man about town whom I spent time with in the Near Reaches.
Stop right there, actually. The original thought was to have him reprise his counter-melody on the song “(If I Held You) Close To Me”, but then Harry had the brilliant idea to have Jason play organ on “Fall”…to tap into the early Nineties Madchester vibe a la the Charlatans.
When the mixes came back, I recall thinking “Fall” had been transformed by this eleventh-hour addition, and I asked Harry if I could do a separate mix using the original multitracks. All told, I don’t know how different this “single mix” will actually be from the final album mix, but I made sure the organ had a prominent role.
It seemed silly to burn CD-Rs with just one track, so I turned to the live recordings we’d been making during our residency at the Poplar Lounge. One particular week turned out fairly well, so I pulled the six most solid tracks from that recording to make up the rest of this EP. Regrettably, you don’t get much of an audience vibe from these tracks – for whatever reason, the Poplar Lounge can be a hard sell – but you can tell the band sounds like four people who honestly enjoy what they’re doing together.
I don’t entirely know when the album will come out – I think the aim is to record maybe three more tracks. It seems pretty obvious that “Girl, Disappear” should be one of them, and perhaps “Lost In the Fire”. We’ll leave that decision to a band fresh off a December holiday, though. Maybe 2014 will be our year.