new single off the upcoming EP of the same name
All I can do is write. This shit just comes pouring out of me.
It’s odd, really. And I can’t explain it.
So I’m only saying this because I decided to take a look back at my year of absurd productivity; a year where I released five LPs and four EPs along with a couple singles and b-sides…It’s maddening, to be certain. But I feel at the height of my abilities. And so, I’m going to take a moment of self-congratulation before I pour into the ins and outs of
My Year in Music: 2015
Simplifiers or, A Pair Of Honest Men
My most ambitious anything ever:
a three part novel, culminating in a plot involving the writing and recording of a record.
the accompanying album made by the characters in the story
I don’t know what to say about this project, other than I thought I was going to spend most of the year selling it – which I did to an extent – and ended up becoming more engrossed in the new things I was coming up with.
War and Fashion
I love this little five song EP.
“Fashion Seekers” is the catchiest and snarliest thing I’ve ever done.
“At The End Of The Day” is probably the best song I’ve ever written and it is here on this album in its first incarnation.
Revival In E Major
A 100% tossed off, GreenDayInspired, pseudo power-pop album with just an acoustic guitar for instrumentation. Written and recorded in under a week. The final track, “Left-Handed”, is, in an odd sort of way, a love letter to Rock and Roll, with that love having been revamped by the first listens of Courtney Barnett, when she was on Tiny Desk singing “Avant Gardener” and being left-handed.
These are good songs to play live because they’re quick and hooky, so I do that.
Written in the wake of a Nirvana fixation; after I saw Montage Of Heck and revisited their albums – other than Unplugged which has been a constant in my life since I first heard it 11 years ago – and became transfixed for a very brief period of time.
“No Matter” is the simplest song ever and I love it, with the entire song written around the words “everything I do is wrong, and I don’t care”.
I wrote the guitar riff for “Religiously” years and years ago.
Same goes for “The Lucky One”.
Rocka Bye Babies II
Sequel to Rocka Bye Babies, obviously, but not as good, except for the first song on the album where I’ve written a song around the tune of an old ferris wheel music box my friend Katie Hertzel gave to me. There are moments I hold dear throughout the record but in a vastly different way than most of what I do…
I can play none of these songs.
My first of two releases of re-produced songs from my back catalog. Four songs built upon my discovery of a song – “Tricks Of The Mind” – I wrote while living in Portland, OR and recorded poorly in a poor state of mind. It’s a grandious song written from the point of view of a Father who has died, speaking backward through dimension to his son, trying to guide him.
The rest of the disc is made up of other songs off that record (Steps: https://thesupposedso.bandcamp.com/album/steps)
A two song single, “A Song For a Girl and Her Tiny Island” – written off the top of my head on an ipad in a stairwell on an island off the coast of Maine, where I was for Colleen and Ben’s wedding – paired with an acoustic rendition of “We Fly Out Of Line” which comes off my first record, back when it was me and Kevin Clark and The Supposed So was plural. This song was written by the two of us.
At The End Of The Day
Just a single of the aforementioned best-song-I’ve-ever-written. Two versions: guitar/harmonica and piano respectively, the piano version being the best version I have recorded.
The b-side splits the two versions, and to be honest I haven’t listened to it since I recorded it, though I’m sure it’s a love song masquerading as something else.
Probably the best album I’ve ever made. You should listen to this one first.
In The Shadow Of The Haunted Oak
Five absolutely stunning songs I really should learn. “And I’m No Boat” is Allie’s song.
Nostalgia: A Brief Retrospective
11 songs pulled from my first few records, namely Blame It On The Trees, Such a Sinister Sort Of Sweetness, and Rocka Bye Babies
The best sounding album I’ve ever made filled with all my best songs from back in the day, included “Untitled”, the original album version of which doesn’t exist in full, so far as I know
So there you have it. I’m putting my next album out tomorrow, January 5. It’s called When a Dream. It’s just guitar and voice. I’m going to take the first track, make a full band version of it, and release it as my next single.
I’m sitting and I’m listening and I’ve decided to write, so here I am and here I am writing. So much, so much to write about. All of the things seem to be split at the crease, though; the skin of the issues is stretching. I fear it will burst; an explosion. My fear is real.
But enough of those things. Today is a day flled with yeterday’s news. It is goddamn cold, I tell you, to begin with. I’ve walked around a bit today, but that really doesn’t matter. It was a morning of sorts, but it’s not what I’m on about.
So, what am I on about?
Who is to know but me?
Let me set the scene:
I am sitting in a chair. I am writing at a laptop computer which is sitting on a desktop. I’m staring at the second monitor as the letters spill from the bones on the back of my hands; on the muscles whose memory rarely betrays. And they must not, for my mind races in place, finding different ways to reach the same next sentence as the time before…no, not the same. Never the same. I can’t become boring. There is nothing worse in this life (hyperbole coming) than boring writing. Nay, of course there is but just listen…
I’ve got some things to say.
Firstly, my top five records for the foul year of our lord, two thousand and fifteen:
1. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit.
2. The Tallest Man On Earth – Dark Bird Is Home
3. Ezra Furman – Perpetual Motion People
4. Desaparecidos – Payola
5. Waxahatchee – Ivy Trip
Now, let me explain something. This is the order from first to fifth in my mind. But there are multiple reasons at least three but possibly four of these records would, in surreality, be tied for first. And there are very simple reasons for this, the most obvious being these are all albums with their own sound and style, mostly. But really, Courtney Barnett has the best record released last year. The best Rock and Roll written last year. Because it is fucking Rock and Roll capitalized. Raw man. It is raw and unbridled and brimming with subtle genius.
But, now here we go, because Ezra Furman is also raw and unbridled Rock and Roll Music. “Lousy Connection” is a number one single in any other universe than ours…In ours, no one knows who the fuck Ezra Furman even is. Who is he? You should go find out. He’s a stroke of brilliance in a crowded field of mediocrity and banality.
But, now, again, so is The Tallest Man. Kristian Matsson is, perhaps, the greatest songwriter of our generation. He is not our Bob Dylan, even with his gravelly voice and clever wordplay. No. Not Bob Dylan. He is our Paul Simon; a more focused Paul Simon. Ok, Bob Dylan. Anyway, Dark Bird Is Home is a perfect album. From start to finish, it is rocksolid and memorable. Hell, every song the man has ever written is good. And that’s Four LPs and Two EPs into a still very young career. He’s going to do things no one else has even dreamt up. He already has.
But now, so has Conor Oberst, and the new Desaparecidos record – the band that Oberst inexplicably, but thankfully, revamped after a 13 year silence – is the most important album that came out last year. Payola is a statement…like everything Oberst puts his mind to, really. And yes, it is musically inventive and catchy and everything you want from Oberst-doing-the-punk-thing (even though you could argue everything he’s ever done is cut from the more familiar cloth of Punk Music, though I digress), but – jesus, again, like everything Oberst does when he puts his mind to it – the lyrics are positively brilliant. There is biting satire here. There are bold sentiments. Leftist, socialist ideals abound. This is punk the way it should be done. It’s almost ironic. But poetic.
Which brings us to Waxahatchee. I can’t put my finger on what is so awesome about her. Plus, to be honest, I kinda just slotted her in because I listened to the record a couple times and liked it. It didn’t hit me in the gut like the big four. But, then, I can’t, at the time of this writing, come up with another album that really struck me in the chest last year.
Maybe I’ll do a 5-10 list in a few weeks, after I’ve scoured the internets for albums I missed. It’s my favorite time of year for music. Everything is happening. All of it.
But now, that brings is to what exactly is happening in this country right now.
An armed “militia” (aka a Terrorist Group) has taken over a “Federal Building” (a small shack in the middle of nowhere) in Oregon for some reason…protesting “tyranny” they think the Federal Government has inflicted upon them in taking back land the gunmen evidently want to use for themselves, which brings us back to irony because that land originally wasn’t “originally” owned by any goddamn institution, but “occupied” by the Natives to said land…
It’s too stupid to write about.
And thank god, because these are almost 200 white men with guns which is just about the most frightening thing my mind can think of. Historically, this never ends well. And I trust none of them so far as I can throw a 200 lb douchebag, piece of shit, disgusting, stupid person, which is what they all are on the surface.
Which brings me to the Presidential Race.
Feel The Bern. That’s all I wanna do.
Oh, and I love you.