So my resolution this year is to listen to more music. Yes, I realize this is like a heroin addict resolving to shoot up twice as much as he did the previous wasted year. However… I’m also resolving to listen to more NEW music, which is something I really slacked off on in 2010.
Here is where I tell the world about it…
For the most part, I’m not going to write reviews about this stuff. I’ll just point you guys in the right direction. If I post it, that means I think it’s good. Give it a listen and tell me I’m wrong. I dare you!
First off, I’m already falling behind on the new music thing. The only new album I’ve listened to is Bright Eyes’ new album, “The People’s Key”. This album isn’t out yet (it’s scheduled for release 2/15). Whoops! But you can hear it for free, and in it’s entirety, on NPR, so don’t feel bad.
Okay… so here’s the first track, “Firewall”. Like on most Bright Eyes albums (if not all?) it begins with some spoken word nonsense. This time, the atmospheric composition behind the vocal sample begs for these boys to attempt an entire ambient album. Maybe I’ll suggest that.
Oh yes… and any song that references a Macaw named Jules Verne might automatically end up in my favorites pile.
It was hard to pick which song would represent the album the best. So I just chose my current favorite, “White Flag”, featuring Bashy, Kano, and the Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music.
A Kafkaesque fever dream, “Frantic Prayer” races via sinewy guitars and spacey electronics toward an inevitably tragic ending. The b-side, “Kicking The Tires,” is a rude awakening set to a pulsing beat. It’s disillusionment you can dance to.
This single also comes with two killer remixes, one by Purify, and one by Matt Bad (both of which are streaming on the website), as well as fantastic artwork by Jon Pearson.
And here’s a little something by the band about the A and B sides:
“Frantic Prayer” began life as a bare-bones demo Scott recorded ages ago. He had a cache with a fair amount of riffs and guitar lines that he presented to us, and I think this was the first of that group we worked on. I think the demo just went up to the part right before the ominous middle section, necessitating the writing of the ominous middle section. When we first played this live, we only played the rockin’ parts, so it was only about two minutes.
The melody took a while to write, as it’s a bit of a tricky song. The lyrics are about guilt.
KICKING THE TIRES
This is an anarchistic protest song which demonizes those in power while at the same time questioning society as a whole. It’s about dishonesty and control – the struggle to see through the former and regain the latter.
This song was first conceived about 6 years ago when I was living in Davis, California. The original demo was just a guitar and vocal, inspired by the large quantities of Billy Bragg that I had been consuming. That mess of an ending was actually rather simple and pretty at one point.
A lot has been happening lately, and we wanted to fill you all in. First off, the Golden Veins Singles Club (http://www.goldenveins.com/singlesclub.html) is about to begin. On September 14th, the first of 12 “digital 45s” will be released, with a new single coming out each subsequent month for a year. These digital singles contain an A-side and a B-side, as well as a remix. They will all be available for download individually as they’re released. However, joining the Singles Club offers even more material (plus it’s cheaper).
There are 4 levels of Singles Club membership, ranging from digital downloads of all 40 (at least) songs ($10), all the way up to a package which includes t-shirts, cassettes, LPs, personalized songs, and more (limited early bird price of $55). For more detailed info on the club, please visit http://www.goldenveins.com/singlesclub.html.
Even more exciting than finally releasing material is that we’re giving awaythe A and B-side from our first single, “Gravitational Collapse”. Our first A-side, “Gravitational Collapse” is the aural equivalent of being lost in space – simultaneously ethereal, melancholic and exuberant. And there’s a whistling solo. The B-side, “Carcinogenic Kiss,” is a robo punk-funk kiss-off, which begins with bile and ends in tears.
And while at the site, you can also hear the 4 remixes (by Adam Robert Haug, Mil, and Matt Bad) that are included with the “Gravitational Collapse” single, as well as aural teaser trailers for the first 12 songs, so you can get an idea of what’s to come.
That’s all the news for now, but there’s new work being done as I type this, so expect more emails in the near future!
Thanks for being rad dudes!
ps- artwork for “Gravitational Collapse” was created by UCIEL.
“Demos and Our Bright Reflections”
(following Beati Paoli’s songs from inception to adulthood)
here’s the demo:
this is the first track from the first full length – “A Sense Of Urgency” (buy it here or on itunes). this album was initially started way back in december of ’06, when we began slowly (very, very slowly) recording bits and pieces of songs that we had previously written or were currently working on. i don’t remember exactly when this song was introduced to the band, but i feel like it was within the first 1o or so songs we worked on.
the demo, like most of the early songs, was written and recorded by uciel on a digital 4-track. he then gave it to greg, who worked up some vocal arrangements. from there, it was laid out for ryan and myself to have our way with. as you can hear, the basic structure never changed, but many things were added, driving the song in a MUCH different direction than where it was originally headed.
the recording of this song started, like usual, with the drums. i can’t remember what mics we had at the time, so i won’t talk about mic placement or anything, however, i do remember that this is one of the tracks from a session where i refused to mic the toms. because of this, the drum mix obviously focused on overheads and room mics. the drums were played, multiple times, start to finish along to a predetermined click track. interestingly enough, after all the effort, there’s only one section of the song where we actually kept the real drums.
i’m assuming the next thing to be laid down would have the bass, as that’s how we did most of the album. we would get the bass and drums really tight and then layer everything on that foundation. guitars would have been next, and i don’t know the effects chains for any of these parts, as i didn’t play any of them (you’d have to ask ryan and cecil), but all said and done, we probably have 5 or 6 rhythm guitar tracks going on. greg then recorded the vocals on top of all this. we have two vocals going on the verse, paned to the left and right, with a handful of effects on each. again, most of this was done on the fly without a lot of planning, so i don’t have notes about what effects in what order. i will try and do better with my note taking in the future!
i know that the solo on the bridge was added later, as there was never originally a solo there. ryan came up with it one day while listening to an initial rough mix and we threw it in cuz it sounds rad. he also wrote and recorded a couple of cello parts for bridge. and speaking of the bridge… that’s the one place where we kept the original, live drum part. however, i ran it through the vocoder of a microkorg which i had programmed. i also manipulated it in real time to make it more interesting.
the rest of the drums were later programmed using multiple instances of fxpansion’s BFD. the beat is almost identical to the live version, just not actually live, and some of the verse drums were run through effects. i can’t remember the chain, but obviously there’s some delay and filters. i think i tried another vocoder as well.
at this point, we could have been done… but NO! ryan stole a giant old box fan from his parents and we sampled it, processed it, and layered it at the beginning and end of the tune, along with some other machinery and noise. we also used battery to put in some samples of marching and metal pipes during the chorus. you know… the usual.
“Demos and Our Bright Reflections”
(following Beati Paoli’s songs from inception to adulthood)
||MASSIVE CHARM OFFENSIVE||
here’s the demo:
one of our newer songs, it was just released on the split 7″ & mini-album, “Quid Pro Quo” (buy it here). this was among the first batch of songs that were introduced and worked out in studio, as opposed to the live ‘jam’ style that past songs had been pieced together through.
cecil worked out the basic chord structure and some lead lines ahead of time, and recorded them on a digital 8-track at home (i think i might have been in paris at the time). after he played it for us, we went over it a couple times in rehearsal and then laid some scratch guitar on top of a click track.
once we had the basic structure down, i began working on drum parts and samples. the majority of the rhythms came from our practice sessions, where i would use the frankendrum through effects pedals to get the delays and sounds that inspired the rest of the beat to come together. from there, i programmed a beat over ceci’s scratch guitar using fxpansion’s BFD. i continued to mess around with it until i was happy with the over all feel, at which point i set up drum mics and recorded it on REAL drums.
after the drums were all edited and in place, i used battery to intertwine other drum and noise samples into the existing part. i also created a beat for the bridge section (using broken glass, metal pipes, bass drops and various other fun noises).
while working in the studio, we were also still rehearsing. cecil and ryan were working on tones and new parts for their respective instruments, and greg was working on lyrics and melody.
we recorded most of the bass and guitar parts next, and then everyone took some time on their own to review the latest version of the song and meditate. i had been listening to a lot of liquid liquid at the time and decided that we NEEDED marimba on it. i got to work banging out a mallet part and corresponding synth part, eventually programming them using fm8 and kontakt. ryan converted the lead on the chorus to a sick fuzz bass, and pretended to work on a cello part for the bridge (which was eventually abandoned). cecil, inspired by the cure, wrote a lead line for the bridge, and greg finished tweaking the vocals, inspired by nothing.
that’s about it. during the mixdown, we used various effects to enhance certain portions or the song, but i can’t remember what all was done, so for fear of misstating or leaving anything out, i just won’t say a word.
"Being Strangled" b/w "Us Mere Mortals" (02/08/11)
"Billy and the Black Spot Under an Ugly Moon" (01/11/11)
"Radio Prohibidas" b/w "Never Know" (01/11/11)
"Merry Christmas (Don't Forget To Write)" (12/25/10)
"I'll Take The Bullet For You" b/w "Zenith/Nadir" (12/14/10)
"Warholism (Is Polaroiding)" b/w "Among The Saints" (11/09/10)
"Frantic Prayer" b/w "Kicking The Tires" (10/12/10)
"Gravitational Collapse" b/w "Carcinogenic Kiss" (9/14/10)