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July 30, 2009

A new featured song- this from the Roundhouse Session.

(later)

I've submitted songs to a couple of radio stations. You may remember, it's why I needed to make a CD (available somewhere, on this page). I sent that off to WXPN about a month ago. I haven't heard anything back, but I'm really not surprised- tuesday night I listened to the local music show on that channel, and the stuff just knocked me out with how good it was. The Peace Creeps had one called Bulletproof that I remember- I hate when people make comparisons, but it was a bit like an American Elvis Costello, circe Armed Forces. Nice stuff.

My productions aren't quite as high quality as the ones on that station, generally. It's about experience and time- well, we do our best. But the good news is, this online station, Radio Paradise is still vetting one of my submissions, and if anything, it's a better station than XPN. Just True currently has two thumbs up, two thumbs down. I have no idea how many votes the thing must get before they reach a decision, but wish me luck!



 
July 27, 2009

It was a pretty good Los Lobos show yesterday- not the best we've seen them, but everybody had a real good time. I caught a great moment on video when Louie breaks into an acoustic guitar rhythm in the middle of a song. If I can edit the sound and the image together I'll post it.

burlington coat factory lean

This was done on my i-Pod, using the ap Brushes. Loads of fun.



 
July 25, 2009

Yo- it's the lean, y'all

burlington coat factory lean



 
July 24, 2009

Stinkin' rotten Simi Valley again. Jeff Gibble did such a good job sending me guitar tracks that I had to put off mixing this one- too hard to decide. The rough mix was complete noise burgers... I sort of liked it but it wasn't going to fly with the GP, you know?

So here's the remix- more practical, less chaotic. Still, plenty chaotic, I hope.

Not actually done yet, I think.

Simi Valley Rocket Club Mix 3.mp3

Started a new one this morning- a song for Mr Bobby, called Identity Theft, or something like that. It's about a guy who is so unknown that nobody even wants to steal his identity. Man, that's low down...



 
July 21, 2009

I downloaded and installed a bit-torrent client the other day and tried it out. (It's one of those file-sharing programs) Pretty amazing. I'd heard tell of these young people who could snag a bands entire career output of music in about 30 seconds with this stuff. It took me a while longer, but still...

It's like the time (way back in MY wild youth) when a friend gave me this "downer" to try. I tried it of course, and it was such a pleasant feeling that knew I could never do that again.

Having all the music, or movies, you ever wanted more or less for free is like that, isn't it? It is so wonderful to have all of this bands' recordings in a high quality format. I clicked through an album's worth of songs last night. I could hear how they developed some of their later sounds. I found less popular (rather grating, actually) songs on that record that were like the settings for the jewels of the more popular (and very beautiful) songs, and I found that the full album creates a much more powerful effect when taken as a whole.

You're probably thinking, "What are you, new? Isn't this what we're supposed to expect?" But in reality there are not many bands or records that actually achieve this level of quality. In my collection of bought and paid for albums, tapes, and CDs, I'd say that the ratio is probably around ten to one. One superb recording for ten so-so, sometimes bitterly disappointing ones.

Does this justify downloading the stuff? I think that's the wrong question. Everyone deserves to be paid for their work. The right question is, how much? If I download something awful, what is that worth? The time I spend downloading and listening to unknown music is payment enough if the music sucks. I think "You had your shot." On the other hand, when I find stuff that completely knocks me out, is buying the CD really payment enough?

It's all about informed choice. For so long buying music was the same as buying a pig in a poke. How fat is that pig anyway? Getting ten skinny pigs for every fat one tends to instill a certain sense of wariness. I'd prefer to download and listen to my music before I buy it, and now I can do this. It may not be strictly legal, but there are other laws on the books that we treat as suggestions rather than as hard and fast rules.

The danger is that like those downers, we'll keep hitting that free music pipe over and over without giving a thought to the people making that music. I wonder if there's some way that the music itself encourages this sort of behavior? Hmmm...



 
July 20, 2009

Talk about a weird pair of headlines!

newspaper one

Mom and pop had saved this one all these years. It must have been a pretty big deal back in 1969.

Here's the rest of it, and they link to larger, readable images, if you need to know the details.

newspaper two



 
July 18, 2009

About time we had a new featured song around here. This one somehow acquired the catalogue number 001. It's not as if it's the first song ever recorded at or by Steam Powered Studio, but it might have been the first one posted on an earlier website.

What's old is new again, and I hear that Trixi Greiner is back to performing with The Gadjo Playboys- at least, that was the plan. So if you see them now, after all these years, they might just be playing this one.



 
July 17, 2009

Yesterday I discovered an amazingly good net radio station- Radio Paradise. There's even an ap for streaming it to the i-pod, which is really nice for falling off to sleep with, and which has a very convenient song bookmarking feature. Of course, it only works when you've got wi-fi, for the i-pod. I think maybe there's a lower-fidelity version for the i-phone available...

But the big news is that Jeff Gibble came up with some amazing lead guitar parts for the Simi Valley Rocket Club. If you remember, he's recording his tracks somewhere far from here, then I get 'em and drop 'em into the mix. Well, it works great. He's done a feedback guitar lead all the way through that blends in nicely with the rocket noise tracks. Summer fun!



 
July 15, 2009

Here's the results of day 2 of The Drug session. I started out by re-doing some of the phrases in the lead vocal that were out of kilter, but then I realised that so much guitar had leaked into the lead vocal track that it sounded weird when I patched the fixes in, so I thought I'd have to re-do the entire lead vocal, and to do that over I had to redo the guitar track, because it had its own faults. I used a fatter microphone on the guitar this time, and while it still sounds like my tubby little Epiphone, it's a bit better.

If you can hear it, that is, because I washed it thoroughly with some low-bit digital reverb, which allows it to hang with the leak-through guitar from the original vocal track, which I decided to try to keep after all. To say that there is some "target" sound that I am shooting for here would be a mistake. I'll just keep after it until it's finished.

How will I know when it's finished? Jackson Pollock, the guy famous for the drippy abstracts, was once asked that question about his paintings, and supposedly he answered "How do you know when you're finished making love?" It's a great answer, and while I don't get quite that definite a feeling when I'm finished with a song, I think I have an inkling of what he meant.

Love Is The Drug.mp3 (mix 2)



 
July 14, 2009

Well, this might suck, but I've always wanted to try singing this song.

Love Is The Drug.mp3



 
July 12, 2009

You can't actually see what you're shooting outdoors with these LCD viewfinder cameras. Lucky thing mine's got autofocus and it beeps significantly when it's found something to focus on. Also a lucky thing that I've been shooting out the window of a moving car every day to and from work- I can't see what I'm aiming at under those circumstances either.

little beach girl 01

For this one I could just barely make out the line between the beach and the ocean in the viewfinder. This is the original framing- lucky shot, huh?.

Here's another one with lucky framing...

collecting

This next one needed some cropping. Sometimes the mechanical lens cover failed to open completely. Something about sand, or salt-spray? The result was this vignetting.

little beach girl 02

So much for trite beach photos- here's something you've probably never seen before...

beach dog

Hmmm. The next one I sort of regret not buying for the studio...

rebel retro babe flames

...but I'm waiting for the upgrade.

rebel retro babe flames

Should I hold out for the ultimate?

rebel retro babe flames

There's some bigger versions, and others, in my gallery.



 
July 03, 2009

It'll be light posting for the next week. Here's a delightfully up-beat featured song that I wrote earlier this century. This is another one that was recorded so quietly that you can hear the sound of my fingers tapping on the piano keys at certain places. I pretty much recorded the vocal and keyboard part at the same time, which is rare for me, but I didn't think I'd be able to sing it any better than this.

People have always wondered about that last verse, where the singer is revealed to be a rich man. Well, I guess that rich men get the blues, too.

It was a lot of fun to record this. I think it took about a day, day and a half. I made the intro noises using a variety of electronic and acoustic instruments, then did an "auto-mix" of those noises at one point that was perfect! Naturally, I thought I could do better and so did this mix, which is almost as good. The radio samples in the middle were captured from an old short-wave set given to me long ago by Dave Lewis- thanks Dave!



 
July 02, 2009

How the music industry can beat "free" (my recent post at PC World).

I think rights holders (artists or record companies) CAN beat free and eat free's lunch. They have a lot of things free doesn't have, mainly a connection to the artist, but also extensive catalogue, consistent file quality, and if done correctly, superior convenience.

But (boo-hoo) they'd have to actually give the music away (with minimal friction, ie, advertising, sign-up hassles, etc). Like they haven't been giving it away for years. Who ever buys music that they haven't already heard? It's called radio, and the majors not only dominate it, they fall over themselves trying to give their songs away on it. In fact, they pay a lot of money to give their songs away on radio, truth be known.

So, in exchange for a valid e-mail addy or mobile number, listeners get music for free, instead of anonymously listening to it on the radio. Hmmm. How can I monetize millions of valid e-mail addresses and cell numbers? Beats the heck out of me!

OK, so now you've got grateful fans of your music. I guess you have a band site, right? Well, there's a door there, and you can't get in that door unless you buy a band subscription- or sponsorship, as I call it. What's inside the door?

I can't possibly imagine what sort of exclusive, time-sensitive content you could create for your fans! I can't imagine what sort of ticket discounts, early purchasing opportunities, live streams, t-shirts, yadda yadda yadda you could offer...

It's a bit like the monkey with its fist firmly clenched around the nuts in the jar. It can't pull its little paw out again, but it won't let go of those (song file) nuts!



 
Featured Song:

#112
Blind Joe Death
Got to Love Somebody


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June, 2009

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