personalized expeditions in music from a musician who doesn't matter

A whole bottle of Dreamy Sleepy Nightie Snoozy Snooze

Posted by r on January 1, 2012

My favorite records of the year (sadly, no real new / magical discoveries):
Micachu and the Shapes (w/ London Sinfonietta), Chopped and Screwed
Craig Wedren, Wand
Deerhoof, Vs. Evil
Sloan, The Double Cross
Real Estate, Days
Chad VanGaalen, Diaper Island
Battles, Gloss Drop
Tim Heidecker, CAINTHOLOGY: Songs in the Key of Cain

Records that were better than I might reasonably expect:
Drake, Take Care
Burzum, Fallen
The AWOLNation thing
The Homefront – Songs for the Resistance soundtrack (the latter half is way better than the first, though)
The new Primus record actually wasn’t bad, but don’t ask me how I know

Records I still need to get around to from 2011:
New Tom Waits
Giles Corey s/t
Probably the Jay-Z / Kanye thing at some point, but meh.
And about five dozen others I probably read about, got excited about, and forgot about.
Hey, there was a new Bill Callahan in there somewhere, I think?
I should probably also finish a whole Tyler the Creator-related record someday before he’s totally irrelevant.
And I also asked for the Weird Al live Bluray for Xmas, but didn’t get it. So.

Big disappointments:
Heidecker and Wood, Starting from Nowhere (not that it will stop me from idolizing either of these two fine gentlemen)
Low, C’mon (apt title, that)
I finally got around to listening to Bon Iver. Yeah, no.
And who the fuck are all these people who think Adele is omg so awesome? She’s like one notch more musically interesting than Susan Boyle. I’m not sure who is worse– them, or the Bon Iver people.

Resolutions for myself:
Make a helluva lot more music, and make it a helluva lot better this time, punk.
Learn to code so you can make cool music stuff, y’doofus.
Finally learn the frickin’ pedal steel; also, the fiddle (note: NOT the violin).
Learn about alternative vocations that are actually useful to society at large.

Proposed resolutions for the record industry, of which I am not really a part, but it’s always nice to dream:
Let’s get back to not mastering everything to 0dB every time, all the time.
Let’s also stop rehashing everything that’s ever been done ever with a fresh, proud coat of Autotune on top.
Also, please die a horrible, horrible death.
(note: I have also made these same three proposed resolutions every year since roughly 1999)

Things I look forward to in 2012:
Not a whole lot, honestly.

Happy strictly-arbitrary new calendar year! May our truly chaotic universe with its strictly-arbitrary economy and ultimately meaningless existence find you all well, or at least believing that you are well. Comfortable self-delusion is a great gig if you can land it.

7 Responses to “A whole bottle of Dreamy Sleepy Nightie Snoozy Snooze”

  1. katie s. said

    you sure love canada.

  2. r said

    I do love Canada! But, uh, it’s not *that* heavily represented here. Also, totally random, but have you ever heard the Dwight Twilley Band? I have been trying to figure out exactly what to make of their first record all week.

    • katie s. said

      i haven’t but i’ll see who they are. and re my comment, other than sloan i was just surprised to see chad vangaalen. i hadn’t heard of him before we saw him play at sappyfest in new brunswick a year and a half ago. had no idea who he was but those hip canadian kids went wacko bazoo. he seems like a really nice guy. (because he’s canadian.)

      • r said

        Oh, well, I made at least a couple of posts about that record when it came out earlier this year – even linked to a full album stream and told everybody they should listen. I’ve been a pretty big fan for a couple years now, at least of the two records I’ve heard (this one and the predecessor, Soft Airplane). They are pretty different records but they both grabbed on quick and tight to this jaded old bastard. DTB comes off kind of a like a more stoned Big Star filtered through a Hall and Oates sensibility of nothing-is-too-absurd-for-rock-and-roll. I don’t know if that will encourage you to seek it out or not, but uhh “Twilley Don’t Mind.”

      • r said

        Here’s a good power ballad off the DTB debut. I *love* the “ANYWAY”s.

  3. soopageek said

    …and you still didn’t tell the story of the epic solo in Joseph’s Lament…

    • r said

      Right – so here it is: We have a shop regular who is in fact a criminal defense lawyer. He’s a nutty, nutty guy, very smart, so full of energy that our consensus is he must be on something self-prescribed. A few weeks ago I had brought my new lap steel down to the shop and to both of our surprise, he picked it up and started wailing like crazy. Neither of us knew he could play guitar. He plays like he talks– full on, all the time, no white space whatsoever, and not exactly the greatest sense of restraint nor timing.

      So anyway, I had planned for there to be a manic solo at that point in the song, knowing that it was a pre-climactic moment in the lyric. I had finished the backing and then went to lay down maybe eight passes of a solo. I wasn’t happy with any of them; I’m not a soloist type player, and I’m certainly not a manic one. Steve turned up at the shop, my fingers were bleeding; I had to stop tracking. Then, all of a sudden, the lawyer shows up. He picks up the Strat copy I’d been using and starts wailing away on *that*– in the key of E, which is also the same key of “Joseph’s Lament” (I mean, it’s the guitar-blues key of choice). I told him what I was up to and asked if he would be interested in trying out the solo himself.

      Said lawyer is also a devout Jew, so I explained to him what the song would eventually be about, worrying that it might cause problems later. We had a conversation about that; he tried to get me to change the lyric (actually, without having seen it) so as to accommodate the Jewish view that Joseph *had* to have consummated the marriage properly. I explained that the whole “joke” would be ruined if I went that route, and he agreed to do it. I handed him the Strat and some headphones and let him rip.

      He did four passes. All were absolutely ridiculous; one take was just him smacking the whammy bar over and over to the point where I thought he was going to break the axe. He told me after the third pass that he actually couldn’t hear the backing track at all, was just wailing in masturbatory circles. That worked OK for me. He didn’t seem too concerned himself with being able to hear his accompaniment.

      I had intended to hack together a solo out of the four passes’ most explosive moments. Instead, I ended up using just one pass as was, changing exactly two notes in the solo (he hit a high E three times in a row, which was boring; I changed it to make a stepwise E-F#-G ascent). The whammy divebomb at the end was a happy accident since he still couldn’t hear what he was playing over (and, in fact, kept playing for another twenty seconds after that point, when I realized he’d already passed the end of the solo).

      For the next week he came back into the shop once a day and asked to hear his solo again– and again, and again, and again, and then on the big system, and on a bigger system, at higher and higher volumes. I was happy to oblige, and both Steve and I were quite amused. He didn’t seem too offended by the finished vocal’d product either, once I laid those tracks down a week later (although Steve definitely *was* offended).

      The whole thing seems to have energized him into making his own music. He just brought over a CD of himself yesterday, with his son playing drums, on a new original song called “Justice” (something to do with the Constitution, how apt). He didn’t have vocals on it yet, but he was very happy to sing the part over the top of the system for us.

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