Tag Archives: recording

XXIX. Studio Talk: Session Three

Another session at Five and Dime with J.D. (and Eric dropped in … as it turns out he was an integral part of things) for acoustic guitar, hand percussion and vocal work.

Harry and I *did* sneak away to watch about five minutes of Happy Days, and managed to catch the end of Gilligan’s Island, too. Ahhhh, Tina Louise.

Let’s be honest, here. It got pretty silly last night. We did some “gang vocals” – for the uninitiated, it’s where you do a vocal take with several people all at once. It can be powerful, or it can sound a bit like a bunch of drunkards singing a song together in a pub. Well, we sort of hit both with a little bit of “chorus of Muppets” (I’m so sorry, Jim Henson) mixed in. Specifically on “Sunday Drunk”. On “We Died Laughing”, the gang vocals carried the song in more of a Queen-ish direction. Or Journey … to be honest, maybe more like Journey than Queen. We did some on “An Episode” as well, but I don’t think they come off as silly in the least.

J.D. and I played a few takes on acoustic – meaning we both played acoustics at the same time. I am NOT known for my acoustic guitar prowess, so I really hope his parts come off a lot louder. Also, he threw down some percussion on all five tracks. This will be the album for tambourine lovers, that’s for sure! He did actually do some electric guitar on a couple tracks last night, too. Rhythm stuff. I think that worked out well, because my electric guitar work is usually pretty moody and murky, and a couple of these songs kinda needed straight up distorted guitar. There’s a good rhythm bed now, and Matthew’s guitar work will take these songs to yet another level.

Then there was the matter of “Lost In the Fire”. It, in its original form, definitely bears a strong resemblance to Radiohead’s first big hit, “Creep”. Honestly, I don’t mind that too much, but we felt like we could make it a little more interesting by making it less so. So we fired up the organ and I ran through a couple droney takes. The first organ-driven shoegazer song? Hmm. No, probably not, but I like what it brings to the song.

Lastly, there was some work on the mix. Eric sorta called me out on wanting to fuss over the mix too soon, but to be honest I would prefer not to spend a lot of time at the end cooking up the right sound. Let’s catch it on the front end as much as possible, I say.

V. The Story of Imperial Lanes

This EP got its name from the now-closed bowling alley on Summer Avenue. The only other name under consideration was Slow Numbers, but since four of the songs were not slow this title seemed misleading.

Not that Imperial Lanes is any better…none of the songs are about bowling.

The cover is my cat, Dot, and a skull my girlfriend and I bought at Garden Ridge last October but didn’t actually get around to hanging up in the window. I was being goofy and put it on the wall, and Dot was checking it out.

Mastering was taken care of by Carl Saff. When we asked Harry who he used for all his other releases (which made sense…you sort of want someone who knows the nuances of the producer making the record), this was who he sent us to. Carl got it nailed down pretty quick, only making adjustments to the first and last songs to bring the bass EQ to a point consistent with the other tracks.

Audiographic Masterworks here in Memphis did the duplication. They were very easy to work with and turned it around quicker than expected.

As for songs, we had considered recording two other tunes before calling this one an EP. Those songs were “Girl, Disappear” and “Lost In the Fire”…actually slow numbers. Maybe we’ll get around to using that name eventually.