I spent the last few hours making posters for the Velour show. I don’t know why but now there’s three to choose from!
Hey guys, I got some awesome awesome comments on my post on a new “sound” in music. It’s turning into a really rad discussion. I’m planning to answer back to everyone but I’m so bogged down. I love the new genre name suggestions – poetic-alt, stellar, eccentric-rock, idio, clavier, surrogate rock, and of course, earfuckingrockabillytoasterbullshitcrumblylove.
By the way, tomorrow I’m playing piano at Le Caprice at The Pierre on 60th and 5th – come by! After a less-than-favorable review in The New York Times (at least the piano wasn’t reamed), mostly regarding the white-millionaire-snob-atmosphere, they’re changing the vibe from stuffy and expensive to hip, young, and…..less expensive! Come by and get an adult beverage. I’ll be rocking out on Killing Me Softly or something. Right now I have to call some folks, get some food from the amazing Deli across the street (practically family by now…Pizza for a buck), tape this new crazy song, get to bed. How long does it take to dry-clean stuff?
you thought these were dead, didn’t you? WELL, didn’t you??
and here’s the new single, just so it’s at the top of the blog:
Album out May 1st. If I’m not dead by then. I’ll try my very best to not die at least until this album is done. I think it might be important. Or maybe not.
Hey, has anyone seen the new Stephen Groo trailer? It’s quite possibly his best yet. Scroll down to the 150 Miles trailer and watch it – NOW! It solidifies Stephen Groo as my favorite director on the planet. Here is the music video I convinced Stephen Groo to direct before I moved out of Utah – it makes me happy every time I watch it. And also mildly self-conscious.
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There are so many bands and performing artists out there right now. There are so many, it boggles the mind, like trying to imagine all the stars in the Universe. Most groups are mediocre. I haven’t heard something new that I love in a while. When I hear The Beatles, or Pinkerton, or Kid A…..man, it’s just so good. I don’t get that feeling with nearly any internet-age groups I’ve heard. Maybe it’s just psychological, but come on, stupid lyrics, mediocre melodies, no cleverness. Where’s the cleverness? And stick in a solo for crying out loud.
I have dreams of starting a new music scene. They’re only imaginings, but I think something needs to happen in music that unifies people a little bit. Gets them dancing again. In the 90s, it was this ‘grunge’ sound from Seattle. In the 60s, it was this….um, 60s sound. But in both cases it was really just good songwriting. Clever melodies. Lyrics that were a little bit funny or absurd or profound. If I could start a new ‘sound’, and unite some great artists, I would put forth the following criteria. The ‘sound’ I would create would be something like this:
- Focus on clever melodies, good songwriting. (Like, really good. Like Frank Black good. Like Ben Folds Five good. Brian Wilson good.)
- Consistent use of “weird” time signatures (not in like, a prog rock superfluous way, but in a way that serves the melody, that adds a whole new layer to creative songwriting. Frank Black, again. Radiohead, sometimes.)
- Pianos, man. Let’s hear some pianos. I’m so sick of misused guitars. Let’s hear some wurli, distorted to all hell. Some Rhodes. Organ. And also guitars. What?
- Clever part writing. Good melodic bass parts, clever, weird drum parts. No more 4/4 drum groove just because it’s “supposed” to be there. And distort that drumset to all hell, sometimes, please.
- Vocal harmonies. What happened to these? Let’s go nuts. Beach Boys. Beatles. Queen. I’m always blown away by “musicians” that don’t want to sing. Drummers, I’m looking at you.
- Lyrics that use science, technology, realism, physics, weirdness-awareness. History. Philosophy. I want science fiction lyrics. Oh, and as an added bonus, they should superficially sound like a simple love song or whatever.
- Humor. Weirdness, funny lyrics, ridiculous breaks. Penis jokes. Mistakes on recordings. TMBG-type secret songs.
- No concern for mainstream society. No selling out, little desire of fame, no compromise musically. And no attitude.
- This one is a ‘maybe’ – 8-bit sounds. They’ve been used in such cheesy ways lately though. Maybe they could be used for good. And NO CHEATING – program that crap on a GameBoy. No midi hookups. No DS drum machine things. Use Nintendos or Ataris or emulators. (I don’t care that most people can’t tell the difference.)
Hmm. I think there’s one thing missing. Something simple and instantly recognizable. I don’t know, maybe this is enough. This is incidentally what I’m going for in Virginia Is For Hoverers (Part Two). We’ll see what it sounds like.
Society is getting smarter and artier as a whole, but in this weird, twitter-like, technology-ridden obnoxious way. Mediocrity is exploding right now in popular culture. Oh, by the way, I need a name for this thing, too. This sound. Like Alternative rock had. Any ideas? Grunge, Ska, Techno. Something like that.
I got locked out yesterday and monky’d it up the back fire escape! I felt like I was in that Persiany game with that Prince-y guy.
Every time I walk outside I remember that I live in Brooklyn, and every time it surprises me for two seconds. “How did I get here? Why are there so many ca-…oh yeah I live here now”.
Check out this new single:
Buy the new single and two other tracks in the Store section of this webbed site.
The most ultimate gun would be a gun that made someone see your point of view. Douglas Adams is a genius.
Also, don’t forget to download the free CD here. It downloads as a .zip file – unzip the contents and open the 14 mp3s for your listening pleasure! Also look at dumb pictures of me. Sign up for the Newsletter! Wes sends ‘em out every 2 weeks and they’ll make you laugh.
So I ask you this: has anyone noticed that as the graphics and general technology in video games tends to increase in quality, the music sucks more and more? Why is that? Sonic The Hedgehog. Mario. For example. I couldn’t believe the cheesy midi accordion crap I heard in Mario Sunshine, an otherwise great game. Mario Galaxies has music that changes dynamics and tempo according to what’s going on and the flute part comes in and out if Mario’s mustache twitches WHO CARES? The melodies SUCK. They still recycle the old melodies, in cheesy jazz-pop vocal arrangements from hell. What happened there? And the first Sonic game. Amazing songwriting. Pushing 8-bits to it’s limits (16 bits?). I still catch myself singing the star light zone song now and then. And the new Sonic games are actually underrated I think – but the music is laughably horrendous. It makes J-Pop look like Be-Bop.
What do you think? Also do you think in a few million years there will be a species of cephalopod with language and near-present-day-human-level analytical and creative consciousness? I do
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Here’s the new single from my brain to yours. I’m putting it up here because it was on thesixtyone but that site confuses me lately.
Don’t forget to buy the single! Or “illegally” (what a wishwashy word you have become) obtain the single through email from a friend, if you can put up with sleepless night after night of painful gmail mp3 download guilt. There’s the new Big Girl track and then there’s Wire, which is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever made and also my mom’s favorite. Then there’s Baby (Demo) which sounds like an old school Chris Merritt demo from a couple years ago with updated songwriting skills and a manlier voice.
As for me, I’ve been recording, driving, starving, and generally living like a king.
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The Big Girl single is here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Allright!!!!
Check it out streaming here.
Buy the new single (download) for only three bucks!! The single contains two b-sides, Wire and Baby, plus pages of new, weird artwork, including a drawing of something that can only be described as a boob box. The singlw is digital distribution only for now.
This new single represents days and days of hard work and group creativity from Jake Thro, Brett Ripley, and I. We’re going for grittiness and craziness on this new record – weird time changes on different instruments, contrapuntal lines on the bass, etc. Note Jake’s insanely awesome picked bass and my weird dual-wurli solo on Big Girl. Also check out when the drums and bass randomly start playing in 5/4 on Wire, and note the aux percussion on everything. I’m excited about the new sound! We’ve got a good start on the rest of the record too.
I’ll be playing at Jammin’ Java in Vienna this Tuesday night COMING UP FAST!!! This is a good lineup. All night long, music that doesn’t suck.
Ian Axel is a successful New York fella who plays the piano. He’s also a really genuine bloke and one of the people that convinced me to move to New York City. Here is a video.
Gills And Wings are one of my favorite Virginia groups. Their melodies are great. Listen to their songs here
Look at this chart
Intelligence has emerged in the universe as a physical force. It is by far the most successful genetic trait of any land mammal in history. Now we’re creating a giant communal brain known as the internet. At some point we’ll create artificial intelligence. So in a world where technology is probably the most objectively important emergent phenomenon in the universe, does art have any place? Is it important and beautiful or becoming obsolete? Will people forever put their iPods on shuffle and be happy with mindless droning crap? Will music make a comeback in the popular consciousness? Has anyone heard the new Pearl Jam album? It’s absolutely great!
here’s a sneak preview boys and girls
these are from a couple days ago, 0% mixed, 75% tracked
tired, overwhelmed with grokking the world
it might be time to give up, or it might be time to double up
if i’m supposed to call you or email you back let me take a nap first
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WELL. Geeez. Sorry for the lack of updates here. I’m feeling better. Playing piano in NYC like a crazy man. I played for an opera singer on New Year’s Eve and hung out with this fella and met his family – an absolutely sweet guy. Meanwhile we played 3 awesome shows in NYC and I played a show in Upperville, VA. They all felt like huge successes. Thanks to everyone who came out to the Rockwood show and the Upperville show! And to the three fellas shouting out songs at The Living Room.
We’ve been working our butts off on Virginia Is For Hoverers (Part Two), and specifically on the first single and two b-sides. OH That reminds me
GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS
The bad news is that the new single won’t be released until later this week, even though it was supposed to be out today. The GOOD news is that it will only cost 3 bucks as opposed to 6. THREE STINKIN BUCKS!!!!!!!! And these tracks are great, too. I’m excited about them – it will be the first glimmer of this new album. Also, there’s lots of crazy art along with it. More info to come.
I haven’t slept in days. We last-minute decided to drive from NYC to Richmond, VA, to help Jacob finish these tracks. We left after my gig Saturday at midnight and we’ve been working ever since. It’s good business so far. There’s the Tom Petty-ish Wire and the White Stripes-ish Big Girl. And the J-Pop-ish Asako-San.
This album is going to be lots of work. 20 songs to record. All whittled down to 11 short songs full of weird noises and wacky Beatles-ish mixing. Contrapuntal lines in the bass and drums. Bill Evans Trio-esque insanity. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Krautrock. A new sound, though. Something new.
Check out these sculptures in the subway on the 14th street station. I love ‘em. Roland took these. We got to hang out for a frantic couple of days.
I have a really really bad flu. I’ll still be playing tonight at 7pm at Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan. But other than that, I’m really trying to take it easy. I HATE being sick. I had a hundred things to do and this huge new year plan for attack but I’m putting it all on hold. It’s a big adventure just trying to get up and get a bottle of water or whatever.
Here is a pretty sweet Tuesday Tape for you. Our awesome neighbor Mike from across the hall wrote it and sings on it. He said he heard this song in a dream and he wanted us to figure out how to play it. This is us jamming on it. I think the song is called Little Sister.
here are some of the things I WON’T be doing in a timely fashion until I feel better: finish lyrics for new singles, finish vocals/drums/piano/bass for new singles, learn new piano songs for piano restaurant, finish commissioned song vocals lyrics piano, set up Utah details/studio time, finish poster for jammin java show, send merch, pay electric/internet, start car (too cold to start), finish artwork for first single, get COK vid to KP nerds, post a 61 song, answer 8,000 emails, revive rotting/abandoned facebook/myspace, redesign myspace, post NY adventures, blog button post and sidebar, scratch track 17 potential songs for new record, write lyrics for new songs, meet up with ignored friends in NYC, marketing meeting, dry-clean suit, etc etc.
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