Work has been crazy. In my previous post about Office Park I should have thought to also plug their Iowa City show with Ed Gray, another artist one one foot each in folk and the avant-garde. But it didn’t happen. Sorry. I can only be expected to keep just so on top of things.
Went up to see Ember Schrag play at Stomping Grounds in Ames last night though, and that was cool. I don’t ordinarily go for the coffee-house-folky thing but Ember’s version has some real dirt in it, and her voice is well above the norm. Plus she’s kind of a friend now, and if you don’t show up to see your friends play, who do you show up for? She did a couple Office Park songs, which was an interesting to hear them in the acoustic setting, and caused me to notice how she can pull off this Mazzy Star kind of vibe with her vocals, and then deftly shift gears out of it and kick in some firepower. It was cool to hang out with Bryan Day too, he’s a real trip. Stomping Grounds has Hoegaarden on tap, I couldn’t pass that up. Ember’s doing an epic two-and-a-half-month tour starting at Ames Progressive on September 1.
The whole thing kind of reminded me of how cool a town Ames can be and why I once tried not to leave it when I really should have. I’ve been a bit wary of embracing it since that experience, the first of my lost years, when I first attempted in earnest to pass as a university student. I was troubled then, and when I’ve gone up there in the past year or so to play with Why Make Clocks, the memory colored things for the worse when I looked around. That color finally seems to be fading. Also my car made the trip with less trouble than anticipated, so I think I should try arranging to play some Distant Trains shows up there.
Joel from Teddy Boys sent me some mp3s of a solo thing he’s working on which, if the ID tags on the files can be believed, is called Little Victories. He was telling me about how he’s been getting really into stuff like 60s girl-group pop and is going for this real pure pop thing. Which seems to mean that what you end up with is something akin to an Alex Chilton idea of pop. Sugary melodies, but not overly so. Songs where every section could have worked as a chorus. I think it sounds awesome, but I may have promised him more detailed feedback than that, so I’ll need to give it a few more spins.
I’ve got some interesting potential collaborations in the works, but I’m not going to talk about them until much later on.