Tuesday, November 30, 2010

11-29-09 Bike Eating Tree

A long time ago on Vashon Island, someone parked a bike next to a small sapling and forgot about it. Eventually, the tree grew around the tree and subsumed it. Of course, we needed to see this marvel of nature. And I needed to write a song about it.

11-28-09 Millions

A statement about the epidemic of wasted time. My favorite part is the garageband gamelan sample that so nicely meshes with the ukulele. Link.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

11-27-09 On Vashon

Sarah and I took a little vacation to Vashon Island. A little travelogue of our first day there. Link.

11-26-09 Catch As Catch Can

I understand what this expression means, but I'm still mystified about its origins. I mean, it sounds like nonsense, right? But, when it's used in the right context, I love it. Like Ned Plimpton does in The Life Aquatic. I couldn't find a clip, but go see the movie if you haven't already. That's where the title came from. Seu Jorge is an integral part of that film, and I think the overall sound of this piece is reminiscent of his stuff (with a little Iron and Wine thrown in for good measure). One of my favorite patchworks of sound from the year. Link.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

11-25-09 Rainy Night

This song was played on a guitar made of a shoebox, paper towel roll, and rubber bands. (Musical instrument crafts for kids! That end up being way harder to execute than you thought! So that you're basically just making it for them rather than showing them how it's done! How do I get out of these parentheses!) Notice the Eddie Van Halen stripes on it. I don't think the kids appreciated the reference.

The song itself is a lame attempt at a Tom Waitsian ramble.

Friday, November 26, 2010

11-24-09 At The End Of It All

This day found me thinking about time. Spending, wasting, taking. Link.

11-23-09 Fixing It

Sometimes things just stay broken. Link.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

11-22-09 Untitled #83

One of my favorite instrumentals of the year. Link.

Monday, November 22, 2010

11-21-09 Summer's Far Away

The companion piece to Summer's In The Air. Bleakness and gray and great beauty. Link.

11-20-09 They Love You

Sometimes you just need to be reminded that the people in your life are there for a reason. Don't take them for granted. Spent your limited time on earth wisely. Link.

Friday, November 19, 2010

11-19-09 hasta luego!

Guitar part provided by a cheap little children's toy. Todo el mundo es loco. Link.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

11-18-09 Did It Taste Bad, Pa?

This will take some explaining.

During the course of the Intiman show (Abe Lincolin in Illinois), I came to memorize large sections of the text. (I was onstage for about 80% of the show. I played music for about 10% of it.) The language was very colloquial, and bits of this antiquated dialogue would get stuck in my head.

I got the idea to record a bit of dialogue from every member of the cast - just a word or a catch phrase, if they happened to have one. (The only exception was Langston, who played fiddle during the show, so it made sense record a sample of his playing.) The idea was to make a sort of aleatory piece, a la The Books, something that incorporated these bits of text into a musical form. One of the young actors in the show, Hannah, speaks a line as Abe's son, asking him about the medicine used to treat a sick child. I discovered that the way she said the line had a very distinct melody. That's how it all started out. Throw in a dance beat, and it pretty much writes itself.

I don't expect it to make much sense to anyone not involved with the show, but for me, it's hilarious and awesome. Thanks to the cast for making this weird piece happen.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

11-17-09 Two Days To Freedom

This was referring to the fact that I had two days of performances of the Intiman show left. By the end of it, it felt like my life had been hijacked. I was more than ready to be done. link.

11-16-09 MC Johann

Um, say what? John is rapping? I guess it was just a matter of time. Beastie Boys meets the suburbs. Bass part is me, drums are garageband. fresh link.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

11-15-09 Cannot Lose Another Day

Breezy and free, but with a message. Don't waste the time you've got. Link.

11-14-09 60 Cycle Serenade

Inspiration comes from strange places sometimes.

The drone in this song was inspired by listening to a shorted-out streetlight while waiting for a ride home. When I first noticed it, it was annoying, but then I listened closer and realized that there was a very strong fundamental pitch underneath all of the electric growling. I recorded a snippet on my crappy cellphone, enough to get the feel of it and determine what the actual note was (B). The actual drone in the piece was a looped accordion note that was bitcrushed by Garageband. The build of the piece is really striking to me, and clocking in at over 6 minutes, wins the award for the longest piece of the year.

11-13-09 The Light In The Mud Room

I don't think I'd ever heard the term 'mud room' until moving to Seattle. That's kind of telling. I like this song, especially the fact that it starts with the word 'and'. Link.

Friday, November 12, 2010

11-12-09 Blue Sky, Clear Cold Wind

Can you tell that fall is coming on? Link.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

11-11-09 Cooter Pie

Thanks to Russell Hodgkinson for the inspiration for this song, provided backstage during performances of Abe Lincoln In Illinois. I think his version is much better, but I believe it may be lost in the mists of time.

I almost sound like an actual blues guitarist in this song. Almost.

11-10-09 Event Horizon

As near as I can tell, I think this might be about my resistance to join Facebook. I've since relented. Thanks to Garageband for the steady and predictable congas. Link.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

11-9-09 I Don't Wanna Do This

Clearly I was having a rough day. Burning the candle at both ends, doing 9 performances a week at the Intiman, working during the day, and trying to write a song every day. Rough stuff. Sometimes the best you can do is to complain about what you don't want to do, and then do it anyway. Link.

Monday, November 8, 2010

11-8-09 Let's Get The Hell Out Of Here

A song about starting over. Link.

11-7-09 I Don't Have The Time

A simple song about the march of time and making peace with it. Link.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

11-6-09 Untitled #79

Played on my $19 acoustic guitar. Cheaper guitar = more wistful back porch longing! Link.

11-5-09 Rolling Blackout

Fall storms in effect. Link.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

11-4-09 Somebody Give Me The Time Of Day

Very rarely do I write songs with any form of social commentary; I'm not a good enough lyricist to pull it off without sounding too preachy. This song approaches social commentary, but it's more of an observation of an archetype than a comment on the homeless. Uh, what did I just write? Just listen to the song. Link.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

11-3-09 Ginger's In The Fridge

Nursing a cold. Nothing like a little fresh ginger tea to help the throat. Link.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

11-2-09 Halve It Your Way

Half of nothing is still nothing. Link.

Monday, November 1, 2010

11-01-09 Buried In November

This time of year is pretty trying on me, so it's only natural that I should write possibly the saddest song I've ever written. Totally fictional, thankfully, but it still gives me chills listening to it. Thanks to David for the use of his mountain dulcimer in this song - it definitely adds to the melancholy. Link.

10-31-09 See You In Your Underwear

There is only one thing you need to know about this song: Ba ba bup ba ba.

10-30-09 Dumb It Down

Some off-the-cuff lyrics, and a cat solo. Link.

10-29-09 Everywhere Am I

I think I'd been listening to a little too much Radiohead (if that's possible). Still, garagebandy drum beat aside, this turned out pretty cool. I distinctly remember recording this at the dining room table; I have no idea why. Link.

10-28-09 Carry

A moody little piano tune. Link.

10-27-09 Humming Uke Tune

Ah, the Lydian mode. John Osebold has taught me to love the lydian.

As Robyn Hitchcock says, the song is its own introduction to itself. Link.

10-26-09 Wanting

Although it's a bit short, I really love this one. It skates on the knife's edge of oblique and concrete. Did I just write that? Yikes. Link.

10-25-09 Immortality

Here's a song where I claim not to believe in immortality. Of course, I am writing this blog that will sit out in cyberspace for the foreseeable future, and I am also having a child soon, so I guess I want to believe in it just a little. This song turned out nicely. Link

10-24-09 Light It On Fire

Nihilistically optimistic. Makes you want to light stuff on fire while singing it. I actually had a short firebug period as a kid. No one got hurt. Except for the ants under the magnifying glass. Link.

10-23-09 A Certain Virtue

Simple, and cautiously optimistic. Link.

10-22-09 Absolutely Nothing

One of those days when a dearth of lyrical ideas actually makes for a catchy little tune. Link.

10-21-09 In The Untimely Event

Speaking of untimely, I'm slightly embarrassed by how far behind I've gotten on these posts. Hey, I'm having a kid. Leave me alone. Kidding! Please come back.


Food for worms.