Earlier this month we released our new song "Stuck With Me". IMR published a lovely little review of the song, saying "the beauty in this track is that huge cavernous sound that builds and grows at every turn."
But first we look back- WAY back with this sprawling send-up to giants of the 90s like Smashing Pumpkins, Afghan Whigs, Pixies, and Garbage. "Stuck With Me" is a big earnest love song with huge guitars and crazy drums, and we hope you dig it <3
"all the things I went through to get her
all the rest we'll go through together"
Our newest song "Here's Hoping" is out on Bandcamp now as the 7th installment on our humble exile collection that we've been working on and releasing incrementally since last summer. We explored some different sounds on this latest one, tapping into some dream-gazy 90s & 80s goth vibes. It is a song about seeing this mess we're in and seeing each other for who we are & actually finding some hope in that.
I've been wanting to make something like a dream-pop song for a while now- initially inspired when I fell in love with Mint Julep's Save Your Season (2011) several years ago. My thinking at the time was pretty simple- start with dreamy quiet vocals treated with atmospheric delay and reverb effects and go from there...
More recently I was listening to some Casket Girls and it reignited this interest to try something different like this. For inspiration here I leaned heavily on my favorite part of my favorite song of theirs "Day To Day" (True Love Kills the Fairy Tale 2014) to build from - a bass progression that I lifted & shifted by a half step - my thought/ hope being "will they mind if I borrow this?... they were hardly using it."
The drums on "Day To Day" have such a distinct rhythm that I wanted to be sure to steer clear from - otherwise a foundational homage to this incredible song could quickly turn into a mediocre copy, which I was really hoping we could avoid. So when I engaged Alex to record some drums, I wanted to reach further back further for the sound and capture something akin to "A Strange Day" by The Cure (Pornography, 1982). The tone and treatment of the bass was also drawn from the style of that era.
The recorded drum part that Alex came back with brilliantly distilled this input and nailed a sound that is both distinct and subtle, and just right for the song. As these parts came together, some effects at the beginning provided a not-so-subtle splash of "Plainsong", the opener of The Cure's Disintegration (1989).
I approached the guitars with the intention of doing something different there too - basically looking for a more "spacey" sound - and deployed some effects settings on my amp that I hadn't really tried out before. I'm really pleased with how those parts came out, although in the end I still layered the guitar with the same '65 Twin Reverb effect setting that I use on pretty much every song since Meet My Cat EP (2014). I hadn't really planned to use it again here, but it just brought everything together best in my ears.
We shared the isolated "guitars only WIP" for "Here's Hoping" to Soundcloud to check out if you'd like. What you hear here is pretty much exactly how the guitar tracks ended up in the final mix.
An early working title for this song was some combinations of the words "dark-dream-wave-pop" and our hope overall was to blend these sounds together to create something distinct from its various inspirations, and hopefully better than just a poor copy. Then while in the process of recording, I listened to the new Crystal Canyon release (Yours With Affection And Sorrow, 2021 on Repeating Cloud)- and all the textures and atmospheres - the ones I was clawing around for desperately trying to make work - are right there and it sounds so natural and effortless.
It was inspiring and discouraging in it's own way, making me feel like a tourist watching how the locals get things done. Musically that's a great deal of what "Here's Hoping" is about. Lyrically it is about the mess we are in, and our own responsibility to get ourselves out of it. This is certainly a theme that I thought about in relation to the recoding and mixing of the song itself.
Anyway, thanks for reading all this. It was a bit indulgent, kinda like the song itself. We hope you enjoy it.
Our new song "Crusades" is out now. It's the sixth song completed for our humble exile collection, where since July we've been releasing new songs as they are written and recorded one at a time.
"Crusades" was interesting to work on in a couple ways. Alex played bass on this one, and it has been a blast continuing to create new music with him, even if weren't still not rehearsing or playing in the same room these days. And our friend Nick from LFF played the drums this time. His technique and style uncovered an entirely different dimension and dynamic to the song than I ever would have envisioned, and the whole song is better for it.
Lyrically "Crusades" is pretty different too. I've noticed our other songs written this past year tend to have a distinctly internal focus (a lot of "I" & "my", etc) & personal narrative - probably from spending a lot of time in my own head these last few months. "Crusades" is much more externally focused (more "We" & "our") and explores trends that I've come to find quite troubling in recent years and this year in particular- a growing cultish mentality that mixes an abundance of rage/righteousness with a lack of compassion/empathy.
And then in the middle of mixing this song written about a mindless mob of zealots, the January 6 Insurrection Day riots broke out in Washington DC. It was a painful reminder of our violent nature, the divisions between us, and the many ways we remain in the Dark Ages. But I think the instrumental coda of "Crusades" offers something else: a call to embrace REASON and step into LIGHT.
And to top it all off, hopefully it's not too obvious but the intro is pilfered straight from that infectious Len song "Steal My Sunshine". Overall I think '93 makes a very fitting addition to our "humble exile" and likely the last one this year. But there almost definitely will be more to come. What exactly? I have no idea, except I have 3 or 4 ideas :)
A new song we've been working on called "Still here doing this" is available now on bandcamp. It's the fourth addition to our 'humble exile' collection, and a kinda dreamy acoustic tune about going with the flow, having a hobby, and the end of the world.
When working on this song I wanted it to start out with a simple stripped down acoustic sound and build to a rich layered finish, and some of the improvised electric guitar layers that I was experimenting with ended up being my favorite parts of the recording. I even thought they sounded pretty interesting on their own, so I pulled some of the stuff buried in the mix back out to make it's own thing- a short spacey instrumental I named "Still Out There".
There's also a lyric video if you'd like to sing along. Thanks for listening and we hope you enjoy the change of pace.
Without being able to rehearse or play shows as normal, focusing on new music became the next logical creative outlet. And as songs started coming out of this I assumed that for practical reasons it would continue to be basically a solo effort (like it was for "SNR" and "What the heck"). While Covid lockdown has possibly made solo writing & recording easier to focus on, it has definitely made collaboration much more difficult.
But then Alex emailed me this great song idea and I knew that this was the next one to work on. And "Having Fun" goes to show that when the song is right, working together on it comes easily despite any practical challenges. So Alex and I coordinated remotely over the past month - which basically entailed him sending me virtually finished & mixed drums, bass, and guitar tracks to sing over. So I added vocals and some lead guitar accents, and really the hardest part for me was trying to make sure anything I added didn't diminish the high quality foundation that Alex set up.
So we proudly present the thing that's been stuck in my head for the past month. It's available for streaming and download from Bandcamp (all proceeds going to the Equal Justice Initiative). And here's a silly lyric video that tries to reflect the beachy vibe of the tune. <3cg
We just released a new song called "SNR" as the second installment in our humble exile collection.
It's a bit more unhinged than usual for us. I wanted to make a song that jumped right in and went full stop for about two minutes. And it's undoubtedly a product of me spending too much time scrolling social media lately (particularly twitter), and the song is somewhat of a reflection on the blanket of noise that covers so many important issues going on today.
Like I said when releasing "What the heck" a few weeks ago, I wasn't sure then when the next song idea would come along or what it would be. And that's still the case now that "SNR" is finished and out there. This one really came together in just a couple days - a lot faster than I expected. And who knows - maybe the next one will too, or not. So yeah right now I have no idea what will come next, but I'm honestly pretty excited to discover whatever that is. Stay tuned.
But for now we hope you enjoy this song. We'd love if you'd stream it loud and if you share it with anyone you'd be our goddamn heroes. And if you want to buy it, the proceeds all go to the Equal Justice Initiative.
Thank you for listening. Talk is cheap. Be kind to each other. Black Lives Matter.
All proceeds from this release will go to the Equal Justice Initiative, who is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the U.S., challenging racial and economic injustice, and protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society. See more information about Equal Justice Initiative at their website eji.org.
Here's a lyric video for "What the heck" featuring animations of the Mandelbrot set and other trippy fractals. I feel like the fractal visuals go well with the lyrical themes that we're all connected as part of something larger. And even though the divisions we invent among ourselves are superficial and arbitrary, the pain those divisions cause is real and hurts all of us.
Thank you for listening and remember to be kind to each other, and that Black Lives Matter.
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