13 December 2007

Amie Street

hay sup lolhorse
'Tis the season for marketing cleverly disguised as generosity, but the kid above I'm sure would tell you never to look a gift horse (or any horse) too closely in the mouth. If you're a regular here you know I give away my music for free, but I also have it available for a pittance at Amie Street for the rare visitor that'd prefer paying for something rather than getting it for free.

Anyway, Amie Street is running a cool holiday promotion that I've decided to participate in. Basically, you sign up with this link (particular to yours truly) and you get a free $5 and 4 RECs (ask me more if you're curious what to do with these) with which you can buy music. Lots of good stuff is cheap there, so that $5 can go a long way if you're smart about it.

And look, I'm in no way suggesting you spend it on my music. In fact, I think it'd be better spent on folks like Drew & The Medicinal Pen, Brett Dennen, John Bustine, or The Seedy Seeds. Hell, The Format's on there too, though $5 won't get you as far with them. Go nuts. It's a great site. You might like it.

*Update* The Beagle Club has just dipped a toe in the Amie Street pool as well. Reward their pioneering spirit by buying and REC'ing their stuff here.

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16 October 2007

oh hi.

File under: The Kindness of Strangers. Someone at Blogger thinks this blog is "of note," it would appear. If you're here as a result, welcome! I hope that you enjoy your stay, and that your life is irrevocably altered for the better as a direct result of the roughly 35 seconds you spend here (on average...thanks, FeedBurner!).

In all seriousness though, welcome. Since you're here, I figure it's my duty to point you towards what I have reason to believe is the reason this site was singled out. A quick survey of my recent posts reveals neither notable frequency nor notable quality. I don't fancy myself a terrible writer, but I'm not convinced I'm an especially good one, either. The entire reason I ever got my shit together and made this site was to have a place to put some music that I made, and since you're here anyway, it's only fitting that I invite you to download it. It's free. I'd love to know what you think.

One other thing I should mention during these fifteen minutes of Internet relevance. When something that gets a lot of traffic links to one's blog, one is forced to make difficult decisions concerning comment spam. I've never had a problem with it in the past, but today that's begun to change. I am not going to outright block comments until they've been approved because I don't have much time these days and relevant comments shouldn't have to wait to be posted. So I ask you, valued reader, to be selective about the links you click on in the comment section (duh). If the site starts to get overrun by porn links and traffic piggybackers, I might have to just do some draconian moderation, but I really don't want to.

In actual news that I would have written about here anyway, I've been conducting a slow MySpace-message interview with Mike Miller (from Endless Mike and the Beagle Club). Let it be sufficient for now to say that his way with words extends beyond his songwriting. Eventually I'll post it at amiestreet.com and (in part) at wealsoran.com, both of which I've been regrettably negligent in posting to since the new job. Keep an eye out for it. It's going to be good.

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06 September 2007

.flac

Over the past few days I've endeavored to make available to you a .flac version of They're More Afraid of You Than You Are of Them. I've only been partially successful, which I have come to accept as my lot in life. The impasse occurs precisely here: ".flac" is, in the luddite eyes of GoDaddy's server's IIS, an unrecognized filetype. So although the file sits happily on the server and is accessible by ftp, attempts to access it via http are summarily rejected. I've contacted customer service regarding this issue and was told rather matter-of-factly that there were no plans to add .flac to IIS anytime soon. In other words, I might as well go scratch.

IIS does indeed recognize .zip files, though. So if .flac is your favorite sauce and you'd like to see how you like it on TMAoYTYAoT, please be my guest. But you're going to have to download it all at once in a gigantic .zip file. At this point if you have any complaints I'll kindly remind you that the shit is free.

Why bother with all this so long after originally making it available in .mp3? I was going through the master recordings (done at my old office after hours, if you'll recall, so I needed to clear them out before I left the office for good) and I started to be bothered by how much worse the .mp3's sounded to me than the original uncompressed .wav's. So I figured better late than never.

Other things I've had on my mind lately:
  • I'm really pumped for the new Springsteen.

  • I also think the new Counting Crows song "Cowboys" is really good. It reminds me of the heights they reached whilst recovering satellites, which was their high water mark (imho).

  • The day I get my hands on batteries I can power with pee is going to be a triumphant day indeed.

Okay, cool. That is all. Carry on.

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01 August 2007

Some things happened

  1. I did an interview on we also ran with Jaymay, who is marvelous, fantastic, wonderful, and extremely gifted. It's the interview I was teasing in this post...it just took a little longer for us to get on the same page what with her playing shows all over the UK and me having way too many questions.
  2. I bought a new car. It's a Toyota Yaris. It weighs about the same as a lawn mower. I just filled it up for the first time since I drove it off the lot. Initial calculations indicate that I'm getting 37.7 miles per gallon. Nice. Buying a new car is totally weird.
  3. I've been doing some writing for Amie Street, which is cool. I'm finding a ton of great music because of it (The Seedy Seeds, The Absent Arch, False Heroics) and it's really forcing me to sit down and write every single night -- even moreso than I already have been with we also ran. It's good for me. Of course, They're More Afraid of You Than You Are of Them is available on Amie Street for a pittance, if you feel guilty just getting it for free here (which you shouldn't).
I really thought when I set out writing this I'd have more than 3 things. 3 hardly warrants a numbered list. Profuse apologies.

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21 June 2007

more like INcontinental, amirite!?

I've been blogging 2 or 3 times a day lately, just never here. Mostly because there haven't been that many good stories on the web lately about excrement. Thankfully, this story got my creative juices...flowing. Poops on a plane. So awesome. Call Sam Jackson.

Today a nasty thunderstorm was rolling over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge as I was coming home on the Belt Parkway. It was really awesome. Here's something else awesome I just found while googling to make sure I spelled "Verrazano" correctly:
Its monumental 693 foot high towers are 1 5/8 inches farther apart at their tops than at their bases because the 4,260 foot distance between them made it necessary to compensate for the earth's curvature. Each tower weighs 27,000 tons and is held together with three million rivets and one million bolts. Seasonal contractions and expansions of the steel cables cause the double-decked roadway to be 12 feet lower in the summer than in the winter. (mta.info)
I've been playing some guitar again. The other night I scribbled what may become the first verse of the first song I've written in a long time.

It's funny because writing songs has never been easy for me, but it's also never seemed so daunting. The first time around I guess I didn't expect much of myself, and the end result was something I consider to be a solid okay. If I end up writing more songs and releasing another record, I want it to be at least kinda good. And with that at the front of my mind, I've been some degree of paralyzed.

But seriously though...how about that plane with the poop on it? So awesome!!!

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27 March 2007

my fingers smell like metal

for the first time in i-don't-know-how-long, i just spent two straight hours playing the guitar. it had been so long, in fact, that i spent the two hours in question trying to relearn how to play all the songs on they're more afriad of you than you are of them. so now i can play them again, slightly less well than i could a year ago. i'm a schmuck.

i'm removed enough from it now to admit to you that i've never been happy with the way a lot of things on that record came out. bits and pieces of songs, mostly. but basically all of a viking's funeral drives me crazy. i got overzealous and i got carried away trying to make a song rock hard with a programmed rhythm section and a lot of compression and reverb. but truthfully (and you're just going to have to take my word for it for now) it sounds much much nicer on an acoustic guitar. maybe with a real piano, too.

which brings me to some exciting, albeit slightly speculative, news. rob, the ivory tickling of whom you can hear in i spin forever and scutigera coleoptrata is moving to new york city from san francisco in june. i can't promise much since we've only talked a little bit about it, but i'd be lying if i said i wasn't excited at the chance to play again alongside one of the most talented, intuitive musicians i've ever had the pleasure of knowing. allow me to elaborate: both the keyboard parts mentioned above were recorded in about three takes. i brought a portable recorder out to the piano rehearsal rooms back at brown university, told him what chords to play and slapped some headphones on him, and the rest is history.

so, if he can find any time for me when he's not engrossed in his theoretical physics phd program (show off), well, it'll be pretty cool. i'd love to record some songs with him in which the piano is more than a pretty afterthought. stay tuned.

also. it's the time of year now on new york where the sun is right in my eyes as i make my way home from work on long island back to brooklyn. it's probably for the best that everybody slows way down since nobody can see, but it also means it takes me forever to get home and i have a lot of time to think about things. this evening a lyric from a song sean was working on a while back kept popping into my head: "the sun's in my eyes, interstate 95..." i should make him play that for me again. we can make something of that.

if you can't tell, i'm really thinking seriously again about playing music. it's about time.

oh shit! i almost forgot the whole reason i started writing this post, which was to tell you that if you're around new york, endless mike and the beagle club are playing on thursday (that's the 29th) at a really cool bar in bushwick called goodbye blue monday. sean and i will be there.

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19 December 2006

susanne, you're all that i wanted of a girl

it's been a while, no? i'll bet you were worried. visions of my beaten, dusty fingers poking through a tiny hole in the ground above my cell in some top secret prison would wake you from your sleep, drenched in sweat, heart heavy with dread.

well, fear not. i'm fine. in fact, i'm great. god, nothing saps the blogging momentum right out of me like a good mood. i've been working when i should be working, playing video games when i get a chance, and spending a lot of time out on the town doing the kind of things that i think anyone who lives in this town should try to make time to do regularly. eating in questionably sanitary places, drinking in dismally unsanitary places, catching a show here and there. lather, rinse, repeat.

i'm really insecure about my holiday gift-giving prowess. that's something i can talk about for a minute. a lot of people i know are really great at picking the perfect gift. i become paralyzed by the fear that whatever gift i may have picked is less than perfect, which causes me to keep looking, which makes me leave everything until the last minute, which creates more panic. i'm just a bundle of nerves. and huge muscles.

i had been cautiously optimistic that they're more afraid of you than you are of them would make pitchfork's annual top albums list, but those assholes must have been under a rock all year. i guess there's always next time. i'm kidding, btw. christ. don't look at me like that.

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19 August 2006

i have many talents

one time in college i was watching late night television and saw this guy drink some milk and then squirt it out of his fucking eyes.  and i figured i could do it too, so i opened my eyes really wide and i held my nose shut with my fingers and i blew really hard and lo and behold a little bit of air actually did come out of the corner of my right eye.  but then i got a headache and didn't so much like the idea of trying it with milk so that was the end of that.  but that's a true story.  scout's honor.

also, the record is done and you can download it here (.zip file*).  i'll get it all up on the music page sometime sunday, probably.  and i'll sort out some more mirrors for faster downloads, too. 

i really hope you like it.

*if you can't work with a .zip file, or can't figure out rapidshare.de, all the songs are available for individual download on the music page.

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11 August 2006

brooklyn bound

so we found a place. it's got a washer and dryer. and a balcony. and a huge kitchen with a ton of cabinets that we will never be able to fill with actual foodstuffs. we'll be signing the lease tomorrow morning, and moving in the first wave of what will be many many waves of carloads of our shit.

i haven't been myself lately being so worried about not finding a place. now that we've found one and locked it down, i'm hoping i'll snap back to normal. i just took a nap on friday afternoon, and i'm sitting here writing in my boxer shorts before i get dressed to go drink beer in the east village, so i guess i'm off to a good start.

it's been about a year since i cut my hair.

i am amazed aviator shades ever went out of style. i want mine permanently attached to my face with surgery.

james, who played bass and electric guitar on the recording of "i spin forever," is coming to new york tomorrow night. which is a big deal since he lives in switzerland. we're going to see the format. i'm tittering.

by this time next week you'll have "they're more afraid of you than you are of them" in high quality mp3 on your hard drive and perhaps your ipod or competing portable media device. maybe if you can ever pry yourself away from the new hellogoodbye record (i never thought i could love something that reminded me of cher so much, god damn) you can listen to it once in a while.

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22 July 2006

it's like riding a bike

at the behest my little bro, we've been doing some light demo recording of the song we've been working on that he mostly wrote but that we've been rewriting together. it's still a long, long way from done. but it's sounding pretty ok.

it's nice to have someone to make you do shit when it seems that lately if you had to rely on your own motivation you wouldn't get very far. and it's nice to be getting back into a routine of playing and singing at least a little bit every night.

the last song to be completed for they're more afraid of you... is "a viking's funeral," which if you've been following along for a very long time you've probably heard a version or two of already. i kept thinking it was done and posting it and then listening and thinking otherwise and taking it back down.

the last thing it needs is a synth part that i just don't know how to do. it's a tiny thing, too. but now that i've decided i need it i won't be happy without it. so umm...i'm working on it. but it might be a while.

change gears. i wrote before about last.fm. it has totally turned me on my ear. i check it obsessively to see what other people are listening to. i spend a bunch of time listening to awesome shit like springsteen and the smiths and endless mike and the beagle club so that people who see my profile will know that i love good things. it's a pretty awesome way to flex your e-nuts. so yeah. one more reminder from me to sign up for last.fm. it lets you do rad shit like this:



bodacious.

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08 July 2006

oh, hello again.

lately i keep sitting down to write and nothing comes out right away so i go play video games instead. or stuff comes out but it comes out wrong. on the fourth of july i tried to write something about fireworks and watching a girl watching fireworks but it was the sappiest bullshit of all time so i junked it.

i'm always proud of myself when i actually can something that i've spent time on. it's important to be a tough critic on yourself. i wasn't always able to do that.

last night i went to a party on a rooftop with a charcoal grill and a giant film projector showing walk the line on the side of the adjoining building and tons of people who had things in common with each other and for once in my life it was easy to talk to people. (but only after the movie. i hadn't seen it before. loved it.) really though, can you imagine anything better than the right mix of people on the right summertime night on a rooftop in new york city with cheap beer and overcooked steaks? because i am trying and i can't.

they're more afraid of you than you are of them will be done soon. i swear to god.

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20 March 2006

grab your glocks when you see tupac

so it's all a game, right? everyone knows it. but the rules...what are the rules? therein lies the mystery. i'd like to say i'm smarter now than i was then. i'd love to say that i've learned a thing or two, that a scar is a lesson and not just a story. but if truth be told, i think i'm dumber now than i was in high school. and whether i'm dumber or smarter, i'm definitely less lucky.

i bet you think this is about girls. well, not really. kinda. no. it's not. it's about life. and sometimes when i'm sitting here in my apartment by myself and i check the same 5 websites over and over again and i listen to the same songs on repeat and i say the same things on the phone to the same people i think that i've gotten myself into something that i can't get out of.

am i in a rut? can i think my way out of it? can i work my way out of it? or will i just distract myself deeper into it. i haven't recorded any music lately. lately it terrifies me. because i'm close to done, i guess. and when you finish it and you put it out there then it's gone and it'll never be back. and you have to do more. do i have more? sometimes i think so. sometimes i don't and i panic and i think right now i might be panicking.

ride it out. something will happen. something has to happen. you can't go on forever without anything happening.

did you know the big bang happened in one trillion-trillionth of a second? do you know how many big bangs i've wasted sitting at this desk typing on this keyboard to god knows who where what? a lot.

i don't want you to think i'm not happy. in fact, i think this is because i've been feeling happy lately. and comfortable. and holy shit am i afraid of comfort. because i think i've trained myself to believe that comfort means you're giving in. or you're not doing something you're supposed to. or you're not working hard enough. if you've been to the top and then you're not anymore you can kid yourself all you want but you know that you won't be really happy until you're there again. so don't get comfortable. or you won't be the best. i've been the best a few times. not right now though. but i am not that different a fish than i used to be. i am, however, swimming in a huge fucking pond these days. i think i just put my finger on what i haven't been able to put my finger on. and it was slimy and scaly. like a fish. or a snake. in a plane. (cough cough.)

sorry i had to take you along for this ride. although i suppose you could have jumped ship anytime.

also, i was going to embed this video of barney that someone cut up so it's sort of choreographed to a tupac song but then i decided just to link to it because it's got fuckwords in it and i figured i'd let you watch at your own discretion. but it sure made me laugh to beat the band.

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08 February 2006

i used to read a lot of hardy boys books

when i was a kid i did a lot of dumb stuff. i mean, everyone did, right? me and my friend (the same one i rapped with) even had a detective agency for a while. we called ourselves the "slick sleuths" and we were so fucking rad.

we only had one case that i can remember. but i remember it pretty well, all things considered. it concerned a threatening note left on a kid named jon's desk. it said "i hat you." that's hate, spelled wrong. big guns.

i'm afraid there's no way i'm going to be able to tell this story with any satisfactory continuity, so i'll pause here to give you the chance to bail if you don't think you can handle it. also this story showcases what an amazing dork i was (am), and if you squirm easily out of sympathetic embarrassment (like when you see someone really bombing at karaoke) then you might want to go read someone awesome's weblog instead.

right. so slick sleuths, we were. we managed to convince our teacher* to commission us to solve the crime. a whodunit for the ages. we got every single kid in the class to write a cleverly selected word containing many of the letters from "i hat you" on a piece of paper to compare handwriting without raising suspicions about our motives. it was the 'a' that gave it away.

the culprit: a girl named sarah. i can remember about 2 years earlier sitting behind sarah and humming a song that went like "sarah, sarah, no time is a good time for goodbyes" that i had heard on the radio thinking that she surely would've also heard it, would recognize it from my humming, and would fall madly in love with me. how old are you in first grade? because i was sure it would work. what actually happened, though, is that she turned around more than once and told me to stop because i was "annoying" her. so i tried to hum it more clearly (read: loudly) so she would recognize it. eventually she tattled on me and i got in trouble.

i really do remember all this clearly. almost twenty years removed from it now, it sure seems to hint at much that was to come. when you're in first grade that's about as close to making a mixtape full of thinly veiled propositions as you can get. i haven't really had an original idea since then, i guess.

anyway. turns out this erstwhile object of my affection was nothing more than a hardened criminal, the crookedness of her moral compass matched only by the deficiency** of her spelling skills. confronted, she crumbled with little resistance. score one for the slick sleuths.

we demanded payment. i didn't mention this before but that kid jon was a dick. his parents were probably mean or something though, so i don't hold it against him anymore. but he refused. not that we even had a price or anything. and our teacher sure as hell wasn't going to make him pay (though i still to this day think she must've been impressed). eventually we coaxed a single penny from his miserly pockets.

i don't remember how it came about so i'll fabricate this part.

i wanted to reinvest our first take in the business. perhaps put it towards business cards, or some totally awesome long range surveillance microphones like you used to be able to order from the back of boys life magazine. did i mention i was a cub scout back then? i was a shitty scout and i probably wouldn't have ever earned my arrow of light if it weren't for my parents. i did almost win the cub scout regatta one time, but i got overexcited in the end and blew too hard (which just knocks your boat into the side of the rain gutter propped up on cinder blocks) and lost in the finals and i think i cried about it for like 4 hours.

my partner wanted to put it towards a celebration. wine, cheese, everyone who was anyone. the upper crust. a real to-do. we were at an impasse.

back to reality. although the cub scouts stuff was true.

we sat on the bus that day arguing about what to do with the penny. one thing was for sure. you can't split a penny. and if neither of us could have it, then neither of us could have it. i think we counted to three, and yelled in unison "who wants this?" and threw the penny back over our shoulder, convinced we'd be making some lucky kid's day, altruistic pride swelling deep in our bowels.

not the case, dear reader. in elementary school i don't know if you had "bus patrols" but i sure did. these were basically the worst people alive (i would become one at a later date). they were fifth graders, sworn to be horribly bitchy and tattle on anyone who didn't face forward and keep their mouth shut for the 30 minute bus ride home from school. i can remember one girl in particular who would chant all sing-song-ily "sit down turn around and shuuut up!" over and over again. god i hated them. then i wanted so badly to be one when it came to be my time. "repression serves only to strengthen and knit the repressed." that's from the grapes of wrath and i've always loved that quote. it doesn't really apply here.

the bus patrol told us we were both "reported" for endangering the lives and limbs of every tender soul on the bus. that meant we had to answer to the captain of the bus patrol / physical education teacher in the morning and let me tell you: that was bad news. we were so fucked.

the story basically ends here. i think we had some sunglasses with mirrors inside so we could see behind us and maybe a little periscope but i don't remember any other cases we took on so maybe that was it.

i almost just said there was no moral to the story but then i thought of one: if you insist on being a detective instead of just letting be what will be, you'll end up regretting it. at least in two specific cases i can think of. one i just told you about. the other one involves googling the names of girls you once knew to see what they're up to these days.


* for the life of me i can't remember who it was so i forget what grade we were in but i'm leaning towards third and i think it was a she whose surname began with 'e'. epstein? i bet my mom remembers...

** fun fact: i had a really hard time spelling "deficiency". oh sweet irony.

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21 December 2005

i made this with clicks.

they're more afraid of you than you are of themwhat do you think? it's a real rough draft of an idea i've been kicking around for the album art. that thing on the floor is supposed to be a paint brush.

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17 December 2005

were they all just lost in the flood?

i've spent all day so far today listening to old vinyl records. i have a totally sweet turntable that i never use and a really warm sounding old hi-fi amp that i probably paid about $10 for at a yardsale because some yahoo got himself an alpine. old speakers, etc.

the point is that everyone who says rock and roll sounds best on vinyl is 100% right. i have all these records on cd and vinyl. and they all sound better on vinyl. and if it totally doesn't break my bank, i am going to make some vinyl versions of "they're more afraid of you than you are of them" when i finally finish it. from what i hear vinyl is a specialty thing, but is affordable in small quantities. of course i haven't really done much homework on it yet.

but let's talk a bit about the record, since i don't feel like i do much of that anymore and as i've been recently reminded, that is why i started all this writing in the first place.

it's coming along. not without its share of frustration (i just shitcanned all but the drums for "a viking's funeral" so i can redo it in a different key that i can sing better), but it's coming. a song is done when i am still proud of it 2 weeks after the last time i tweaked it. and by that measure, 4/8 songs are done. of course one of those is the centipede song and it doesn't even belong on the album and it's been done for years and it'll probably just be a hidden track but who the f cares? the other three that are done are "if these walls could talk," "i spin forever," and "new york city." i haven't even started "doctor, these headaches" or "triple deke" yet. that leaves "the loudest man on the laugh track" which is the one i earlier intimated might end up sounding like a william shatner song. at this point that is still possibly the case.

in a drawer here at my desk i have about 10 rolls of undeveloped film dating as far back as my sophomore year in college (which is like 5 years ago) and some recent introspection has made me decide to get them developed. for all i know they've expired or something, but they've all been in lightproof cases and all that so i'm just going to hope for the best. the point is, there's going to be a lot on there that's going to hurt to see. but probably a lot also that'll be really nice. and since none of them are labeled, everytime i do one it'll be a surprise. i hope whether nice or not they'll move me forward with this record and with life in general. not that i'm living in the past or anything (not that far in the past anyway) but these film rolls represent to me a lot of shit i've avoided confronting for a long time. i guess i'll keep you posted.

lastly, i know i've linked you to the ex-girlfriend project about a million times by now, but he mentioned the other day how "mary, queen of arkansas" always reminded him of "kara" (who so far is unquestionably the most interesting of his ex's) and that just came on while i was typing all this. on vinyl the way it should be.

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29 August 2005

this is romantic

i am currently drinking a stiffly alcoholic drink all by myself, just for the pure self-destructiveness of it. happy monday night.

pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

i think i am going to title this record i'm talking about "they're more scared of you than you are of them." of course, the subtitle will be "the centipede ep." because that's always what it was going to be.

thoughts? artwork suggestions? i'm serious.

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