Sunday, November 15, 2009

here's one

What a busy weekend. Bought some used tires, went to the IHOP, went to the Equine Affaire...I think the extra E is supposed to be there. That was a crazy thing, all those horses. What terrible creatures all carrying emotional and physical burdens. Also horse people are awful for the most part. But there was a great trick horse that made it quite worth the drive to the Expo. Also a girl on a pony made me cry. Here's how: we're at some kind of trick-horse world's fair hippodrome event called the Pfizer Pfantasia (a real Pfizer Pfantasia--no pills) and they roll out this therapy horse set. All these little kids in pajamas with various developmental issues come out to the arena and lay in beds, then this music plays and an announcer talks about how important therapy horses are to kids. Then Gordon Lightfoot's Pony Man starts playing and a bunch of people lead in horses. The kids all get on and ride around in various patterns and even though Lightfoot on his own can draw tears, I manage to keep it together. Then they all line up and some lady interviews each kid before he or she rides the horse off stage (the horse still being led by helper-people). She asks each one what riding the horse means to them, and they all give great endearing answers--especially the one kid that grabs the mic from her and goes on about random thoughts until she can steal the mic back from him. One girl says she feels beautiful when she's on the horse, and that's pretty much it for me...but then they get to the last, littlest girl and she's on the smallest pony in the world. "And this is Lynn [Or something...], and you're usually very shy aren't you?" "Yeah" "But are you shy on the horse" "no" "and what's your favorite thing to do?" "trot" "Well let's cheer her on and see if she can trot off stage" And then the littlest girl trots off stage on the smallest pony and my heart melts into uncharted emotional waters.
But here's a song about pretentious types:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

post 20

I spend every lunch break playing the ukulele, working on melodies. Then when I sit down to record a song I inevitably play an arbitrary riff that turns into an uninteresting recording. This is one of those times.
The song is of course about hating the time I spend at work and wishing I could be doing something more personally constructive. It sure would be nice to be paid to be personally constructive. Like an AI developer. Who's really into his or her profession.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Song, Christmas.

Today I bought a new microphone for pretty cheap. I also started using my newly acquired accordion, so today had some potential. This is a pretty simple song, but I think the accordion really makes it. I also stole the title from Tom Petty and the music from various Paul Simon songs. Background vocals and drums would be nice, but this is an okay start:

Oh and is anyone interested in recording some christmas stuff? It's christmas album season and we've gotta deck those halls.

Here's another song. I might have stole the melody from...a Mark Knopfler song called "next time I'm in town" but there's probably a lot of songs that sound like this. I used almost the same exact riff as the last song, but thought I'd make a nice song out of it. Although I'm not sure which song is more uplifting.

I stole my brother's accordion so the next song I do will be even more important, culturally.

I don't get much time to record songs, so when I get a solid hour or two I like to make the most of it. The toughest part is trying to figure out what to sing about. I usually have two or three melodies wanting lyrics by the time I sit down to record, and I just have to sing whatever seems interesting or fun. I'm really lacking in lyric inspiration lately, so I reverted to my method of using a crossword clue for a song title. Today's crossword clue was: "Orchard Nightmare". Having grown up on an apple orchard, I thought the song title could be pertinent to my life. What exactly would an orchard nightmare be? Blight? A poorly-timed hail? A rainy pollination month? So many possibilities. Too bad I took it so fancifully. A song about a rainy pollination month would be pretty important, culturally.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Another song

Here's another song. I haven't been happy with anything I've recorded lately, and this one's not any different. I've been wanting to do something with I - IIm7 lately, and this is it.


Here's a halloween song to showcase our newly carved pumpkins:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A new Computer


1. I just purchased a laptop on a whim! It is great fun and was a good price. It is an HP G60-445DX Notebook PC that I bought for $499. The screen is so big.

2. We are going to Texas in a few days, so I wrote a nice waltz about leaving New England. I wanted to write a gritty song about goin' down to Texas, but I just wasn't feeling gritty today. Maybe when we get back I'll write a good ol' gritty song.

3. The waltz isn't very nice, but I implemented some swell churchy pipe organing, so that's something.

4. We're going to Plano Texas which is where the JCPenny corporate office and the Dr Pepper corporate offices are. I LOVE corporate offices so this will be a treat. Especially 'Penny's.

5. What do you think of the doodle I made for the video? I think it could be on a shopping bag.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

In which I make fun of JT

Here's another song:

There are many terrible puns, but until I get a lyricist this is the best I've got.  

There are a few fun things at play here--not sure how to improve this one without somehow bettering the sound.  I think a big part of making a decent recording is making sure to build some kind of rhythmic groove.  This facilitates staying in time and perhaps gives a better overall feel to the song.  It's a tough thing to do though, cause I'm just one person and I don't really have any percussion.  If I could lay down some drums + bass to play off of, then maybe these songs might turn out less amateur-ish.  Using phrases like "lay down some drums + bass" really makes me seem musically knowledgeable, so that helps too.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

One or two songs

It takes a long time to make the videos and then to upload them, so probably will just be one.

I wrote this one because lately I've been feeling like I can just say whatever I want in interactions with people at work.   It might seem like I just way whatever I want anyway, but the lack of boundaries has grown more noticeable.  It's very interesting to note that I can say just about anything, and the world doesn't end--I can always excuse myself.  There are no nightmare endings to situations, and even if there were, it wouldn't affect me at all.  So I suppose then, that it's a detachment from perhaps reality that's led me to feel that I'm in a cushioned world.  

The chords are neat--G to E--something I haven't played too much with.  Also, this song is in stereo!  Turn both your speakers on!  wow.  

The song is too slow--but I never write slow songs, so I think that's okay.  I don't like where it goes though.  I never meant to have so much emphasis on the "dimensions not understood" part, but that's how it landed.  I am too lazy to fix things.  Pretty much everything is made up in the first take and stays that way.  Gotta keep fresh.

I guess I'll put this other song up too.  I wanted to use the Bo Diddley beat, and I threw in some Tom Petty-type vocals.  I'm probably putting this up prematurely, cause again, each track was the first take.  The guitar solo is terrible, and then I got so off beat that I had to cut the rest of the track.  As it stands, I should have faded out at around 1:30, cause then it gets redundant and doesn't hold together.  Things fall apart.  So maybe don't listen that far in.  
It is about my girlfriend, but she wouldn't like me putting her pictures on the internet so here are more cat pictures.  Each one looks like she just woke up, which makes sense because she is always just waking up.  The song could be about her too I guess.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pictures of the Cat

I recorded a few songs today--this was one that I threw together based on a fun-sounding riff.  I usually try to stay away from the I iii IV V chord progression, but I felt like the neat riff and the different midsection made up for it. The middle part goes Em A F#m Bm E7 Am F D7--I've been trying to incorporate slightly off-key chords in my songs (done it a few times in some of the ones below), not in a Debussy style, but in an attempt to emulate Marshall Crenshaw type pop.  And maybe the more I move out of a key, the more comfortable I'll be changing keys altogether, which I feel is an important next step toward more interesting composition. 

I'm not sure what the lyrics are about -- just made them up as I went.  I have a tendency to throw in either bizarre or overly mundane ideas in order to make the songs seem meaningful.  Short of slaving away at good lyrics, this seems to be the best way to go at it.  The "not alone" part is a little too much like rock'nroll suicide but hey there's a lot of songs to sound dissimilar to.  Sorry for that prep end.  

I think this song might sound better than a lot because I threw in some drum-sounds ( bashing mouse on table) and did away with background vocals.  I at first thought it might be a good song for backing vocals, but it sounded okay solo, so that's how it stays.  

Here's pictures of the cat! 

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

That last song was bad!

It was really bad.  Only the chord progression was good.  This one has a better melody and better lyrics.  I also tried compressing and equalizing it, so maybe it will sound  a little better too.  Maybe some day I will put together a song catchier than they say Swine Flu might turn out to be.  For now, here's this:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

More Music

This is more of a filler song.  Not much substance to it, but it's got a good chord progression.  The progression is:

G A A9 A A7
C D7 G
G A A9 A A7
D7 G

then the second part is pretty cool, and fell into place while recording the first:

Am G Em A
Dm C Am D7.

It has a nice feel to it, and with some good harmonies and a better melody it'd be a fun song I think.  I forgot to tune the trumpet, and there's some wrong notes, but they give it a fuller sound.  

Happy long weekend!

Handlin' the Mandolin

I aimed to do a George Jones type song, but I erred more toward Townes van Zandt and John Prine.  It came out okay, I think, but I never know how to write decent lyrics.  The pictures are fun.  I like the crazy color one of guitar-shot in Tracy Circle basement.  Then a photo-session with the cat!  Oh boy it's all happening here.  

I'd like to get a cleaner recording sound.  There's always all this background static even though my recording room is very quiet.  I'm not sure if I need a better microphone or a better interface, and both would be at least a hundred dollars.  And I will only spend a hundred dollars if the product was originally selling for more than twice that much.  As it stands, I'm not very motivated to work harder on a good mix when the sound quality isn't that great.  Too bad the lo-fi indie stuff isn't all the rage anymore.  Also too bad drums have regained popularity.  And I'll also lament the resurgence of singing on key and rhythmic precision.  I will blame the economy and by extension the President.  Keep him away from our kids.  

Monday, August 31, 2009

This is a recording...

Here is another song that I made yesterday.  I'd recorded it before, but it was way too slow.  Now it seems much too fast.  Regardless, it could be a lot better, and listening to it makes me want to slow down and record some George Jones style songs.  Fall is coming so that's probably the way to go.  Start writing songs about drinking and other country stuff.  "With the blood in my body/I could start my own still/If drinking don't kill me/ her memories will."  Anything to keep my mind off work.  

Enough with these Holy modal rounders games.  Although I did like the last post's song a lot, in theory.  

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Now with Bass

That's right!  I've recently become the owner of a bass and bass amp.  It helps the songs sound a little better, and it's a great new instrument to learn.  I've always been drawn to bass because of so many years playing baritone horn.  It's been a decidedly fun instrument--although I have no patience to actually develop decent bass lines.   

I wrote this song in about an hour--but it's probably a rip-off of a few other songs.  Now that I think of it, the verse structure is pretty much the same as that Herman's Hermits song about the Kind of Hush all Over the World Tonight.  Whatever, they didn't even play their own instruments.  The background vocals are a little too much.  I wish my falcetto sounded remotely like Brian Wilson--I also wish I could sing on key.  If wishes were fishes then I would have two.  Two tasty fishes for tasty fish stew.  

Also, in other news, we saw Britney Spears this weekend.  It was pretty awesome.  We paid $40 for seats in the very back of BankNorth Celtic Super Dome and magically were comp'd Loge seats in the ~20th row.  It was cool enough to see a multiple #1's artist up close, but then--in spite of the clear lip-synching--the live band was fantastic.  I greatly enjoyed seeing the drummer serving up sixty-fourth flourishes and timely crashes and my eyes were on him whenever I got bored with dancing (often).  Also there were all sorts of circus performers which on their own made the ticket worthwhile.   In addition, there were three opening acts--each musically interesting and, I'm told, at least a little popular.  A nice boy-band number called 'One Call', some girl named K. Broadbridge or something who has songs on the radio, and Jordan Sparks who I guess is or was an American Idol.  

Monday, August 24, 2009

Worms in the Rice

Today I made a fine mole poblano dish served with refried garlic & chile black beans and rice.  But turns out there were worms in the rice and it was disgusting.  What a day to post this song.  I got the idea for this from a crossword clue:  desire undone--three letters.  I think the phrase 'desire undone' has a catchy sound, so I made a ukelele song with it.  Also the dino tracks on route 5 make for a splendid music video.  Perhaps tomorrow's dinner will be better.  

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It is the Weekend

I had a few hours to record this morning and made a few songs.   One of them I'm excited about--the others are okay.  Here's one that made use of a fun chord progression with a bunch of different sevenths.   People kept saying TGIF to me at work, like they always do, so I stole it as a much needed song topic.  

The chord progression if you're interested:
c7 G7
C7 E7 A7 
D7 G7 C7 F7 G7

Then a bridge with F7.

Here you go!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A second Song in as many Days

After the runaway success of my first post, I've gone ahead and put together a second.  I liked the first song a lot, especially since the writing and recording only took an hour or so.  The idea came from a card that I made for Cait when we first started dating and the rest is History.  

This new song isn't quite so storied.  It's a little lousier, although I like the main riff and that middle-8ish chord progression.  It took me a little longer to record and I still couldn't get the harmonies right.  I also don't know how I managed to make a harmonica in G sound bad in a song of the same key, but harmonicas always sound sort of okay even when the notes are wrong.  Also the handclaps are pretty distracting...I need to find a way to cap the volumes of tracks in order to mitigate handclap distraction.  

Why did the police confiscate the circuit when it began to tend increasingly toward entropy?  

Disorderly conduct!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I am Starting a Blog


Everyone has blogs now.  I thought that I didn't have time to start a blog because I spend my creative time writing and recording songs.  I realized that I could make a blog in tandem with the songwriting stuff and do a songwriting blog.  With the help of Cait's Macintosh computer and the imovie program, the dream became a reality.  Here is the first song, "Like a Sorceror"[sic].  Luckily I had to make a movie out of it in order to post it, so I was able to use a good picture of myself for ambience.  You will probably enjoy it a lot, and you can pay me back for my movies by posting thoughts and feelings about them.