Radio Bean 05.23.15

Fun night at the Bean. I think we’re finally getting the hang of the sound there. It will never be perfect, but it felt good. Particularly from my vantage point, I could hear Dave, Jom, and John very well, and they played great! I can’t emphasize how much fun it is to have folks backing me up and round out the sound. Anyway here’s what we did:

  1. Ode to Apathy
  2. Jesus in Chains
  3. Ordinary Day
  4. That Person Aside You
  5. The Meanest Thing I’ll Ever Write
  6. Stranger (cover song by The Devil Makes Three)
  7. The Basement Song
  8. Mind This Mind
  9. Gravity

I could have played for another hour (or at least another 15 minutes) but alas it was not to be. There was a pretty good acoustic duo on after us called Lines West and they needed the stage.

Overall I felt very good about the show and there were a number of old friends that stopped in to see us. It’s always good to see friends. We’re back at the Bean on June 23 from 8:30 to 9:30. You should come and bring a friend.

Radio Bean 03.20.15

Happy Spring everyone!

I do wish the temperature felt more like Spring but I don’t like to complain. I’m a stoic mother- shut yo mouth – I’m just talkin’ about how stoic I am.

Anyway, spring. Super-psyched it’s here. To celebrate, The Grim Work and I laid it down at Radio Bean. The band that went on before us was called “Town Meeting” and they are fantastic. Check them out. They are fun. They sound like how I would imagine the Avett Brothers would sound if they didn’t take themselves so damn seriously… or were any good.

Oooh, Avett Bros slam! High five!

I actually don’t have anything against the Avett Brothers. They’re a very good band…

I take that back. I hate their hair. Their pretty, flawless locks of pure attraction. Bastards.

Back to Town Meeting. They are a good band. So good that they should have gone on after us because they were hella fun and energetic. But I think we brought it. Especially after the crowd settled down into a completely different groove than the opener. I had a great time.

Here’s the set list:

  1. Ordinary Day
  2. Come On Up to The House – Tom Waits cover
  3. Ode to Apathy
  4. That Person Aside You
  5. The Basement Song
  6. The Stranger – Devil Makes Three cover
  7. Dogs at the Door
  8. We Get Over
  9. The Meanest Thing I’ll Ever Write
  10. Jesus in Chains
  11. Mind This Mind
  12. Gravity

The next show is an intimate affair with just myself on Monday, April 27th at 8:30. It would be lovely to see you there.

Mastering

As mentioned in previous posts, I have spent the past few years recording music at my home studio in the hopes of releasing an album. This past year I encountered a pretty devastating hard drive failure and lost everything, except for the mix-downs that I had saved to my phone for offline review.

Imagine creating a picture by placing 10,000 tiny marbles on a table. It’s something you do in your spare time so it takes a long time. Every time you feel like you’ve made a lot of progress, you take a picture so that you can study what you want to do next. And after a few years, all of the marbles are generally in place, but some of them aren’t quite right, so you keep making adjustments and taking pictures to study when you have a free moment. Now imagine that you’ve hired a new cleaning person, and even though you specifically locked the door to the room with your marble picture, the cleaner goes in and puts all the marbles in a nice bag for you so that the table can be wiped off. All of your work is gone. You can do two things: start over or just start showing people the pictures you took.

I’m going to show you the pictures I took. And similar to putting my picture in a nice frame, I’m going to see what professional mastering does to spruce it up. I sent a song over to Universal Mastering Studios to see what kind of results I get. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Radio Bean – 12.13.14

The Grim Work and I did our thing at the Bean tonight. I was happy with it. I don’t know how it sounded to the audience but it felt pretty good to me.

  1. Dogs at the Door
  2. The Basement Song
  3. That Person Aside You
  4. The Meanest Thing I’ll Ever Write
  5. We Get Over
  6. Jesus in Chains
  7. Mind This Mind
  8. Rehearsing Our Goodbyes
  9. Gravity

I probably won’t be playing again before the New Year, so I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season. Take care of yourself and each other.

Radio Bean – 10.29.14

The first show playing as Milton Busker and the Grim Work. I was really pleased with how it turned out, for the most part. This was our first time at Radio Bean together so the sound was a bit out of whack. And we’re still pretty new to playing with each other so there was that tentative energy that occurs whenever you’re sharing something for the first time. Also we ran out of time and didn’t get to play a couple songs that we were REALLY looking forward to playing. But I was happy. Eric D got some recordings and posted them on this YouTube channel (link below). Our performance could have been better, but I’m very proud of what we presented and don’t mind sharing it with you.

The Set List:

  1. That Person Aside You
  2. The Meanest Thing I’ll Ever Write
  3. The Basement Song*
  4. Dogs at the Door*
  5. Babies to War
  6. We Get Over
  7. Ode to Apathy
  8. Jesus in Chains
  9. The Stranger
  10. I Put a Spell On You

We didn’t get to share our versions of the Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” and I’m very disappointed about that. Maybe next Halloween.

Introducing… Milton Busker and The Grim Work

For those of you that have seen me live you have probably noticed that I don’t sound quite like my recordings. While I generally using a lot of effects on my vocals or guitar, you will probably notice that it sounds like there is more than one person playing or singing at various times, and you would be right. Through the magic of modern recording, I’m able to record and play with myself as many times as I want… yes, I know how that sounds. I don’t care.

But when I’m live, it’s just little old me, my guitar, and my iPad – which is limited to whatever buttons I can press with my toes.

So I’ve always wanted to put together a band to assist in bringing what I’ve recorded out to a live audience.

I haven’t done that.

What I have done is connect with a couple of phenomenal players: David Ball is a musician that I met years ago while he was a member of a band called Strung Out (and then Modern Crumb after another band who had lawyers and were also named Strung Out threatened to sue). He plays a solid guitar, a mean, harmonica, and whatever I tell him to sing.

Jom Hammack is a mandolin player that you’ve probably seen ripping it up with various outfits throughout Chittenden County and thought, hey I’ve seen that guy ripping it up on the mandolin before… He also has an uncanny ability to detect vocal harmonies that I never knew existed.

We got together this past summer to play a few tunes at the local Essex Junction Farmer’s Market and had so much fun that we decided to keep playing… Here’s a video of us from that time:

We’re calling ourselves Milton Busker and The Grim Work. We’ll be debuting at Radio Bean this Wednesday at 7PM. We’ll be doing a special set of originals and spoooooooky music since Halloween is only a few days away. I know I’m going to enjoy the hell out of it.

Radio Bean 09.20.14

It seems like it’s been a while since I last played the Bean and I have to say I have missed it. And you missed it too (unless your name is Joe, Tim, Alice, or Wright), but that’s ok. As I said earlier on Twitter, I wasn’t expecting you, but man you missed a fun set.

I had fun. I don’t normally do that. I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy myself or feel good about performing, but I don’t normally have fun and tonight I did. Why? I don’t know. Well, I sort of know; I allowed myself to play around. I had my set list and I didn’t deviate from the songs, but I played around with them a bit – took advantage of the AniMoog and drew out the middle of Ordinary Day, expanded the intro to Dogs at the Door so that the weird noises and odd propulsion could breathe a little more. And I breathed a little more. I played a new song “Ode to Apathy (Ain’t Nothing We Can Do)” which was inspired by all the shit that’s gone down in Missouri; brought out a newish song “No One Needs to Know” inspired by Ted Haggard and people like him who preach about sin while taking advantage of their positions to enjoy that exact thing they say is sinful.

Oh, and I was loud. The bar had to steam some milk and I didn’t even care – that’s how loud I was. It meant I could hear everything I was playing and it was fantastic! To be honest, it may have been a bit too loud, but I did not care. Loud=Good. That’s math, people. Math only ever has one answer and it’s always right. I don’t have any fans that actually know anything about math, right? Good.

But I think the people there enjoyed it. I did. I’m going to keep this “fun” thing going if I can, so you should definitely come to the next show to see what that’s like.

It’s weird… for me.

The Set List:

  1. Ordinary Day
  2. Isham 605
  3. Jesus in Chains
  4. All the Same to You
  5. Dogs at the Door
  6. How to Grow a Woman from the Ground (Tom Brosseau cover)
  7. No One Needs to Know
  8. Ode to Apathy
  9. Rehearsing Our Goodbyes
  10. That Person Aside You
  11. The Basement Song
  12. Let You Down
  13. Mind This Mind

One more thing: if you haven’t heard “How to Grow a Woman From the Ground” – either by Tom Brosseau or The Punch Brothers, go listen to it. It is an astounding piece of songwriting.

Oh My God! They’re still in WAV format!

In the ongoing saga that is my lost data (also known as Fuck-You-Very-Much-HP), I have some good news: The last mixdown of my album prior to the crash is on my iPhone and has been successfully moved back to my computer.

Files

There they are. Aren’t they pretty?

Also, they’re in WAV format, not AIF, MP4, or MP3. This is very good news for me. This means I can pull them back into Pro Tools and tweak them for mastering. It means that not all was lost (on a related note, I’ve been able to recover most of the photos from my hard drive, although it’s a process involving reviewing over 800,000 image files – think every image on every website you’ve ever visited). I’m happy about that.

But naturally I can’t stay happy about anything for long, so let’s look at the downside: there are fixes to the recordings that I will never be able to make. The bass that’s a little too hot in one song can never be pulled down. That vocal track that I was always meaning to re-record is now forever part of this recording.

But I almost don’t care right now. It’s there. It’s relatively whole. It will see an official release.

You Are What You Pretend To Be

I pretend to be a musician. I pretend to be a songwriter. I’m hoping if I pretend hard enough then one day it will be true.

I’m going to release an album this fall. Thanks to the hard drive failure I suffered a few weeks ago (fuck you very much, HP) it will not exactly be the album I had planned on releasing but it will be close.

Here’s what it will look like:

image

Here’s the track listing:

  1. The Meanest Thing I’ll Ever Write
  2. Dogs at the Door
  3. Redemption on Pearl
  4. The Interrogator (enhanced)
  5. A Jerk’s Lament
  6. Dogs at the Café
  7. My Fear of Losing You
  8. The Whole
  9. Babies to War
  10. Pitseleh

It’s not done yet. I would like to get it mastered so that I don’t blow anyone’s speakers. I also need to license that last song for release since I didn’t write it. Both of those things cost no small amount of money so I am investigating financing options. Option 1 involves being discovered by a Capitol Records executive who just happens to be vacationing with his family in Burlington and really needs a quick coffee so he stops into this little shop called Radio Bean (Kesha told him about it) and sees an enchanting performer in a suit… Option 2 would be some sort of crowd-funding project.

Yeah, I think option 2 is probably more likely too… stay tuned. There’s a lot of really hard pretending in my future.