Happy Valentine’s Day

So I hinted at the fact that we might be spending time in the studio in my last post. I did not know it would be this soon. The stars aligned and we got to go in earlier then we expected. So we spent last Saturday and Sunday in the studio working on new recordings, an actual studio this time too, not just Hans’ basement. We were able to accomplish to quite a bit and mostly on songs we have never recorded before. If you’ve been to our last couple shows you will have heard them, though. Everything went well until we actually had to bring our stuff home. I drove over a particularly nasty pothole which the city has yet to patch at which point an amp tipped over and crashed into my back window. Leading to me spending the first half of the Superbowl doing this. The amp was fine, though, so I suppose it could have been worse.
Just today we got two of those never-before-recorded songs close to completion. Yes, the four of us spent Valentine’s Day with our true loves. Jay with his Jazzmaster, Dan with studio monitors and hummus, and Hans and I with each other. But yeah a few things to finish up and we’ll have the first of tracks of whatever the hell we’re going to release sometime in the near future. I guess I just told you basically nothing, but we’re making this shit up as we go along. So I don’t know that much more than you, but when I do you’ll know.
In the meantime, here’s what we’ve been covering at practice: Never Let You Go and Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind, Daft Punk is Playing at My House by LCD Soundsystem, and Where the Streets Have No Name

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Oh right, we have that blog…

We neglected this thing mercilessly, but when I checked on it a few days ago it seems like you guys are still coming. Fortunately, the last thing we posted were links to our music. Trust me you’d much rather listen to our tunes than read our inane thoughts. But since we won’t be able to put up any new music for a while, I figured I’d update whoever hasn’t had personal contact with us and what’s going on.
We’ve been playing some ridiculous shows after the past few months; at places like the Double Door, Cole’s, and the Hideout. Double Door and Hideout were like dreams coming true. I felt like I was dreaming from the moment I saw our name on the marquee at the Double Door. The show was great, and then we got to play there again in December. Cole’s is new you may not have had a chance to stop by, but it is a great place, run by a great guy, Coleman Brice. It doesn’t have the name recognition of those other places, but Cole books good bands, has a very friendly staff (including himself), has good inexpensive drinks and doesn’t charge a cover. Anybody out there looking for a place to start playing shows should look here first. The place is packed on weekends no matter who’s playing so a lot of people you don’t know will hear your band, and you won’t have trouble convincing your friends to come out because of the aforementioned reasons. Then there was the Hideout. If you haven’t been there you are missing out. It is an experience. It looks like the place where the guys working at the warehouses next door go to drink, which certainly may be the case earlier in the night. Later at night you will more than likely, see a great act, have a good drink, be wowed by the grandpa’s basement-looking decor, and see a celebrity like John McEntire or Kevin Drew one time when we were all there, or like Jeff Samardzija, who we’re 99% positive was at out show. Of course there’s the infamous Hideout Dance Party on Saturdays. We didn’t play there on a Saturday, but by the end of our set we had started our own little dance party. It was pretty great to see a fair potion of a big crowd moving with the beat. Those of you who have seen me play know I usually look like I’m trying to kill someone when I’m playing the drums, but if you had been there you would have seen me crack probably my only mid-mashing smile in history. That was the moment I always wanted to get out of performing, and I can’t wait until it happens again.
As for the the near future we have a show coming up at yet another venue I wasn’t sure I’d ever be on the stage of, Schuba’s. It’s March 12th with Harper Blynn, and Pretty Good Dance Moves!!!! How sweet is that? Not to sound like an asshole, but consider buying tickets ahead of time. We’re also planning on going into the studio in the next couple of months to get the new hotness recorded. Don’t know what it will all turn into, but expect a release in the not too distant future.
So until then we’ll be practicing, writing new stuff, and fucking around with covers songs. The past couple weeks has seen us mess around with Young Adult Friction, Sovereignty, Waiting on the World to Change, and Bombtrack. Anyone who has anything to say about those artists just remember, we wouldn’t know how to play them if at least two of us hadn’t listened to them exhaustively. Until next time, which hopefully won’t be as long as before.

-Joe

Download “Twenty Three” here!

Because we love you:

Twenty Three

“No. 8 EP” for free!

Here you go, my darlings:

No. 8 EP

Trip to Omaha

Haven’t posted in a while but that’s because we’ve been busy finishing up our second EP, which is done! We’ve also been trying to make sure we have no free time throughout September by playing shows out of town practically every weekend. First up was Omaha NE last friday.

Got on the road around 9:30am everyone looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, except Hans, who had stayed up all night trying to fix my internets and failing. He looked like he was in a coma for most of the morning, which is common for Hans, and will repeat itself later. Here’s the best photo I could manage while driving and not killing anyone.

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Not pictured Hans half conscious. Check out how close we have to sit next one another. We have so much stuff that Dan’s bass cab has to go in the back seat while he squeezes into the middle. We had a rotation going, of course. I think all of us spent at least four hours between someone else and the big black box. Wasn’t too bad though, Jay and I discovered you could put your feet up on the center console. I also realized, upon first sitting there, that if I didn’t put on the very uncomfortable seatbelt, I would fly right through the windshield in an accident. So I dealt.

Not much to tell about this part of the trip. We did pass Ronald Reagan’s birthplace the first of quite the Republican trifecta, all of which I failed to get pictures of.  Other than that Illinois is a flat, flat boring-looking state, and then you get to the Mississippi river. We mostly passed the time by talking about poop.

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Iowa was a bit more exciting if only because they have a lot more windmills. Like this picture poorly taken, through the tinted class of our tour bus (my dad’s suburban).

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Riding through Iowa and seeing a multitude of these things made wonder what Illinois was waiting for. If anything Illinois is flatter than Iowa so it has less out there to stop the wind. I saw a ton of these in Iowa spinning at a moderate pace, while the one I saw in Illinois was working overtime. When your band has enough electronics to drain a Chevy Volt battery you need to be concerned where the juice is going to come from.

Hans perked up around time for lunch. Just in time to second my suggestion that we stop at Hardee’s for lunch.

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Poor Jay, unaware of what he was getting himself into, went along with and was summarily appalled to find this advertised on the front windows.

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“Where have you taken me?” was his response I believe. Fortunately there are actually regular burgers there. That is if you can see past the French Dip Burger (that’s roast beef w/aus jus on top of a burger!), and bacon ranch fries (exactly what they sound like). Hans did avoid the temptation to order the latter item, but still managed to get his second serving of bacon for the day (bacon is a main source of nutrition for Hans and I). Being the only one smart enough not to poison himself and pack some granola bars for the road, Dan settled for a drink. Other ridiculous menu items and their unconscienable caloric content can be found here.

We left still conscious and it was Jay’s turn to take over the driving.

P9110120 And Hans’ turn to have the middle seat.

P9110121The drive through the wide state that is Iowa commenced. Along the way we passed the other two famous Republican birthplaces: Herbert Hoover’s and John Wayne’s. Two Presidents, Two Presidents of the Screen and Actors Guild, and one oscar winner clearly riding on a mechanical horse. We also passed the biggest truck stop in the world along the way, of which I also failed to take a picture.

The drive was so grueling Jay actually finished his entire bottle of soda, a first for him.

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From there the drive dragged on, until, hours later, we found ourselves approcaching Omaha. Check out the bug massacre on my windshield. Take that PETA.

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Here are some other photos of downtown Omaha, minus the dead bugs.

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Once we got off the highway we immediately showed that we were not ‘around here’ by driving the wrong way down this street briefly, thankfully we survived.
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Once we calmed ourselves down, we started down Cuming Ave. Remember how that’s spelled because it will be important later in our story. A quick pass of Creighton University and we found ourselves in Benson, where the Sydney is located. Apparently it used to be its own community but it, like many other areas in Omaha, was absorbed by the city. I know how much you guys wanted to know about how greater Omaha came to have it’s current shape. Anyways, here’s where we played.

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Pretty cool place. They gave us free Pabst all night, which is unheard of in Chicago, one of many reasons I’m determined to make it back here in the near future. What you can’t see in this picture is that a few other cool venues are just down the street from this one. It’s like the sunset strip except instead of finding a bunch hair metal bands inside you’ll find a thriving indie music scene. We got there early, which was miraculous considering the drive was eight hours. We were just in time for free food during the bar’s happy hour, which made our day after said eight hour drive. We later met the cook, Ryan, and his buddy, Joe, both of whom proceeded to tell us about their own interesting exploits in music. Many stories were already better than I have but all I’ll retell is that at one point Ryan was in a band whose merchandise consisted of soap and shampoo with their name on it. Fucking GENIUS!

A little bit later we met the guys from Talking Mountain, who after a few brief comments went about setting up stage equipment that would rival Great White’s, without the risk of fire. Here’s what it like when they were done. P9110132

I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was pretty excited. This is what it looked like when they got going.

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Yes their lead singer is wearing a mask. The band proceeded to play songs about important things like wanting to die young and the perils of building a snow man who comes to life (he might just want to work out and not play any winter games with you). Their stage banter was also quite hysterical including such gems as, “The guy who wrote this song isn’t in the band anymore, and he doesn’t know we still play it,” and “hey guys, what we do in life echoes in eternity.” Reminded me a bit of Gil Mantera’s Party Dream, less spandex though. Sufficed to say they were awesome.

It was a hard to act to follow, but we played a pretty tight set. The crowd was very gracious. Especially one particularly drunk dude. But they were great to us.

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None more so than the drunk guy. Although I’m biased because he said he wanted a private show from me. Too bad he got kicked out before I could oblige.

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After that it was on to drunkenness and Fortnight, who had so many members they couldn’t fit on the stage. It made for an exciting show though. Can you tell I had too much to drink by the time they got set up and started playing?

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The best part had to be when they covered “Wake Up” by the Arcade Fire. I screamed along at the top of my lungs, probably ruining everyone’s experience but mine. Leave it to those Omaha kids to be too nice to say anything though.

When the show was finally done. Jenn from Fortnight, whose Dad took the picture of us above, was nice enough to let us crash at her house. We went there and hung out for a while before we all went to bad. They probably own the cutest dog ever, which I did not have the presence of mind to photograph. Hans missed it though since he was nice enough to guard our equipment by sleeping in the van, i.e. he was too trashed to make it up the stairs.

The next morning we grabbed some breakfast and got outta town. We had a pretty uneventful ride home, continuing to tell shit stories too graphic to recount here. This is what the ride looked like for the most part.

P9120141Thanks for everything Omaha, can’t wait to come back.

-Joe

Coming soon the Milwaukee trip.

Joe’s Fave Fives

So I’m going for my favorites over the last decade. Over being the key word there. If I did my favorite records at the moment from the last decade I’d have five different ones. I tried to think of records that are not only from the last decade but were important to me in the last decade of my life personally. My tastes have changed over the decade and I probably wouldn’t be as in to these records if I didn’t discover them at a certain time and place. So while I don’t listen to these records as often as I did, they are still in rotation and will probably never leave it.

5. Ted Leo – Shake the  Sheets

from www.betterpropaganda.com I discovered this in the drawer full of CDs at my college radio station during my freshman year foray into broadcast. I played the first track and then ripped the entire CD onto my laptop. That was of course the ulterior motive my friend and I had in mind when taking on a two hour radio show. I proceeded to listen to album over and over multiple times a day. I practically killed the thing for myself. I played a song from it on the radio each week (every song on the album is radio worthy) to make up for stealing from poor Ted. I later bought it along with the rest of his records with the pharmacists and have paid to see him three times so I’d say were even. 5 years later I can still listen to the album all the way through in one sitting, but the tracks I most often throw on are “Bleeding Powers” and “Walking to Do.” The latter of which gives you a slight glimmer of hope for our country and humanity in general at the album which is pretty down on both.

 
4. The Hives – Veni Vidi Vicious
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We’ve all heard “Hate to Say I Told You So.” I heard it, oddly enough, on the radio. Yes, I was still young enough when this was released that I listened to the radio to learn about new music. I heard it on Q101 of all places too. For those of you unfamiliar with Q101 it’s Chicago’s “Alternative” station, which means it also introduced me to such winners as Korn, Papa Roach, and LImp Bizkit. Regardless, they still managed to play some good stuff, including  the Hives’ aforementioned first single. It took me all of thirty seconds to decide I was buying this record. This was probably my favorite band throughout high school with maybe the exception of another artist yet to come on the list. Seeing them live has also live several times and listening to subsequent releases has convinced me that this band embodies what rock and roll is: loud, fast, and a lot fun. Never was this more true than on Veni ,Vidi, Vicious.  Check out “Supply and Demand” and “Die Allright!”
 
3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell
  
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So more than half the songs on three albums on this list so far are under three minutes. Brevity, after all, is the soul of wit. So judging by this blog post I am not very clever at all. Fever to Tell has it’s fair share of short, fast, punches in the stomach. Many of which come at the beginning of the album until it slows into everyone’s favorite ballad “Maps.” I heard that song way before the rest of the record (another piece of loot from the radio station’s magic bin) and I was not expecting to sound the way it did. I was a late-comer, but better late proved to be better than never because this is my go to album when I need to get my female vocal rocks off. There’s more about this in my previous post on the YYYs but sufficed to say there is only one Karen O and “Rich” and “Tick” are the proof.

2. Andrew W.K. – I Get Wet

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When asked which Andrew W.K. album was my favorite by a friend, (at the time there were only 2) I said I Get Wet  without hesitation. Tim replied that while he liked I Get Wet, he only listened to it to get ready to party. He said The Wolf, on the other hand, got him ready to live life. I still contend he missed an important part of I Get Wet. While it is a great record to listen to at or before a party, what Mr. Wilkes-Krier means by partying is simply living life to the fullest whether that involves booze or not. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in “Ready to Die,” which as it turns out is not really about dying at all. This album meant a lot to me in high school, when I usually never did much partying at all. Unless you count going to shows, acting silly, and having as much as fun as a nerdy awkward slacker at a Catholic High School could. Even then I probably didn’t have as much fun as I could or should have (one never can), but this record made me want to. This was my favorite record as an adolescent and one of the few I would still listen to all the way through and love.

1. Wilco – Summerteeth

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You had to know I would put a Wilco album on here. Why would I pick the one that got them dropped from their label not the one that made them one the most important bands around? Well the simple answer is it’s my favorite. I can’t really tell you what appeals to me a little more than Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, although I love that record too. I like that you can see Wilco on it’s way to YHF on this record. It strikes a perfect balance between Being There and the record sure to be close to the top of all these decade lists. On a sidenote Summerteeth barely qualifies as in this decade ( it was released in March 1999, just over ten years ago if you want to nit-pick. I’m also allowing decade to mean actually ten years and not just from 2000 on, it’s my list and I’ll cry if I want to).  If you passed this one up on the way to the big one go back and give it a listen. Once you hear “Shot in the Arm” you’ll never think of the phrase the same way again.

 

And that’s that. What can I say? I’m long-winded.

P.S. Fuck you for that no runners-up rule, Dan. I had many honorable mentions.

Top of the 2ks

I was asked to throw together at top 5 of the 2000s, and unlike most subjects, I decided to think about it for the last few days. I’m not even sure that this is anywhere close to final, but we all have to make decisions…

So here goes:

1. Radiohead – Kid A

2. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

3.  Daft Punk – Discovery

4. Air – 10,000 Hz Legend

5. Radiohead – Hail to the Thief

Well, that looks good enough for me. All of these I either listen to constantly or am still trying to figure out how the hell they were made. Both signs of something worthy  for a spot in the top 5.

Love,

Jayson