Tag Archives: Near Reaches

XLI. Sneak Preview: “For My Favorite”


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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XXIII. If It Has Keys, We Can Play It…and What Was It Anyway?

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.

I. Counting Upward

I remember being a bit gobsmacked when I asked Angela Horton, formerly of one of my favorite Memphis bands ever (The Satyrs), if she was interested in playing drums with me and she said yes. When I started trying to put together what became The Pneumatic Girls, that was the biggest piece of the puzzle for me.

The first lineup was Angela and I, plus my friend Maggie Bausch and man about town Patrick Glass (you most likely know him from Moving Finger, who just put a single out on Goner), and things gelled pretty well. Inevitably, scheduling proved to be a problem and we couldn’t maintain any momentum. Patrick is a HELL of a bass player, for the record, and you should pick up anything that any of his projects puts out.

But I digress…that didn’t work out due to scheduling. Enter Eric Wilson, whom I was playing with in the Near Reaches. It really was a natural choice and so he joined the fold. Soon thereafter (and I don’t actually remember the particulars) we added Matthew Trisler on second guitar. Honestly, I think of him as the main guitarist as he’s managed to elevate a lot of these songs to a level that my rudimentary playing could not possibly achieve. The things that man can do on 12-string.

So we could call the corners, as all good witches are wont to do, and we started bashing around several of the songs that would comprise a good half of our current set. All of it came from music I had recorded on my own and released in 2012, but playing them live far exceeded the ambitious-but-polite versions I made on my own.

So then it was time to try and play a show…and the world-famous Poplar Lounge (as it is billed) gave us a chance on the 33rd anniversary of Ian Curtis’s suicide and we delivered. We delivered in spite of the PA dying with three songs left to play.

We’ve played there several times since and haven’t blown up any more equipment, so I’m willing to believe it wasn’t our doing. We’ve also played the P&H Cafe and the brand spanking new Hi-Tone. The old songs have matured and grown, and a handful of newer tracks are coming right along.

In October-November of this year, we entered the studio and tracked six songs with Harry Koniditsiotis (of Angel Sluts/Switchblade Kid fame) behind the board. Cap’n Harry definitely shares some aesthetic philosophies with the PGs, and the rough mixes are noisy, spacious, and ambitious. Will it be an EP? An album? Still not sure, to be honest. A lot of that will depend on what YOU want.

Yes, this is about you, too. Commerce aside, there is a romance between the performer and the audience, between the art and the listener’s ear. If you want it, then it needs to happen. That said, it’s a pleasure to have you along for the ride, and we want you to be outspoken and opinionated…we want you to let us champion you as much as you will champion us.  Because let’s face it, if we don’t care about what you think, how can we expect you to care about what we do?

– Jack Pneumatic