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.
Back in 2012, when I first bought my electric guitar and was trying to write songs & learn to play while singing, I had this concept for my debut that would be basically a story told for different months of the year - specifically the year 2011, since I guess I had a lot of stuff to work through then.
As a related side note, our 2016 "Humble Tracks" is available now on Spotify as well.
Check out the videos for "August" (parts 1 and 2), filmed when the recordings were made. The demo for Don't Even Try was originally recorded on my cell phone in January 2013 with vocals added in November 2020, and the acoustic version of Mop & Bucket was recorded in October 2020.
And the live video of "Blame the Dog" and "Fallout" was recorded in the Murder Room in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Watching these reminds me of how much I miss playing shows right now, but damn these are some good memories that I couldn't help but want to share. Thanks for indulging us!
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 :)
And go ahead & check out the other great releases from Repeating Cloud while you're there. Stay safe and thanks again for all your support.
Oh yeah by the way the song we contributed for the comp is called "Broken Record" and here's a video we did for it-
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.
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.
Here's a song we've been kicking around for a while a finally got around to recording. I can't say it really fits with the 2020 energy at this point, but fuck the 2020 energy.
I prefer some Ramones & Guitar Wolf energy right now anyway. And we have some more new music coming very soon, and in the meantime we hope you enjoy this one. Stay healthy and we hope to see you soon <3
LET'S GETS GOING
ON JET COASTERS
LET'S GETS GOING
ON WATER SLIDERS
LET'S GETS GOING YEAH!
HAI HAI HAI! (はい はい はい)
LET'S GETS GOING YEAH!
This is some pretty fucked up times right now- no doubt about that. Aside from the sickness threatening us, people's livelihoods are in extreme peril right now. Particularly musicians that depend on touring revenue.
That is not us. If we play 2 shows in a week we might call that a "tour", but overall we fuck around and play music merely as fans of music, and are very fortunate to have other stable jobs that fund this otherwise non-sustainable thing we like doing.
So we want to do our part to help the actual musicians out there, and want to encourage you to do the same. That means still buying some merch online instead of at the merch table, and maybe even buying some music (direct from the artist if possible) instead of just streaming it on Spotify or whatever.
And for what it's worth, you can download all our music for free right now. If you do choose to throw some bucks our way for a song/cd/shirt whatever, we guarantee to put all proceeds back into the music ecosystem to help other artists. Those will certainly include some of our favorites like David Bazan (Pedro the Lion), Slothrust, This Will Destroy You, Los Campesinos!, Matt & Kim, Keith & Hollie Kenniff (Unseen), and Dares. And if you have a suggestion let us know that as well. There's lots of music out there to listen to while in isolation.
Stay safe, healthy, and sane out there. We'll get through this <3
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