I heartily recommend tonight’s show at The Reverb. The Slats, Miracles Of God, and local faves The Teddy Boys are on the bill… and I believe Anchondo (who, while not my cup of tea, are quite good, and Jim loves them) is headlining. Slats and Miracles played Gabe’s last night with The Wheelers, and I was seriously considering trekking down there for it. Anyway I hope to see the Wheelers again sometime soon. Likewise, I’d like to make it to tonight’s show, but it remains to be seen – I’ll be at Jay and Nicole’s wedding reception for a while, so there’s a good chance I’ll head over from there. Rumor has it that my old partner-in-rock Stacy will be there, so I definitely want to hang with her.
Couldn’t ask for a much cooler line-up: Anchondo, The Teddy Boys, The Slats, Miracles of God at The Reverb, $6
So I’ve decided to see if I can post another of my songs up here every weekend for a little while. I don’t finish a new song every week, but I have a few that I recorded a year or two ago that I can fill in with.
This week’s selection, “Twisted Pair,” is one of those. It’s a song I wrote, and played many times with both Exit Drills and The Cactus Rats. Here it is presented in the kind of arrangement I could only give it in a recording situation, with extra guitars, a walking-all-around bassline, and even horns. The chunky heavy metal breakdowns in the instrumental “chorus” came off especially tough-sounding. It was recorded in the trailer using Zeke’s drums. As usual, all instruments, lyrics, and recording are all me ;) Enjoy.
I finally ended up renaming my “solo project/band” Electric Love Adventure, among the names I was considering… I intend on collaborating with some of the various musicians I have played with and some whom I have yet to play with, but also continuing to record largely by myself, at home, as I was doing in the post-Exit Drills days. As for playing gigs, well… I’ll wait and see who volunteers to be in the performing band once I get a few of these recordings out.
Anyway, I was working last night on recording a bit of odd-metered metal riffage I invented some years ago but have never managed to successfully craft lyrics for. I was putting down live drums and bass guitar, fitting them to the original guitar track I recorded on 4-track because I liked its sound. At the same time, Leah was online on the American Idol snark/fan/discussion site Vote For The Worst posting in a discussion thread about the supposed Idol Single that this season’s winner will be forced to record and release after winning.
I could go into a much longer post on American Idol, my and Leah’s sincere love and enjoyment of and fascination with it, as well as the many discussions it’s sparked between us about how it illustrates and embodies a conflict between everything that’s wrong with the pop music industry these days and what American music fans actually want. This season is a particularly good example, as the favorite to win next week is probably the most unlikely candidate the show’s producers could possibly have dreamed up when they invented the show. Taylor Hicks is a gray-haired 29-year-old singer from a jam-rock band who sports a voice Barry Manilow described on the show as a “whiskey tenor.” He’s apparently a big fan of classic blues, soul, and classic rock, and of artists like Ray Charles and Joe Cocker, and his spazzy interjections and twitchy dance moves have made for comedy gold on late-night TV. Seemingly, America loves him for all his quirks, and British lead judge Simon Cowell can’t stand him – my theory is, he’s just too American. And above all, the guy really can sing. But he’s about as far away from another Justin Timberlake or Jessica Simpson brand of pop idol as imaginable, yet he’s very likely on the verge of winning American Idol 2006.
Thus far in each season of American Idol, the show has had a first single written in advance for the winner well before it is known who the winner will be. It’s not hard to imagine now why this is a bad idea, but evey year they stick to the pattern, and the song they come up with is almost invariably some of the sappiest, most overwrought dreck imaginable.
So, some tabloids were reporting that Taylor Hicks had a listen to the AI single he’ll be contractually forced to do and hated it. These reports were the subject of a thread on VFTW. The song itself has yet to be revealed to the American public. Leah decided for fun to post some parody Idol-single lyrics and claim they were the real song AI had prepared. She wrote it in about five minutes while I was bashing on the drums ten feet away, posted it on Vote For The Worst for laughs, then revealed the joke a few minutes later, after a number of people believed it was the real song. The lyrics even made their way to the message boards on the official American Idol site, where at last report, there were Taylor fans (members of what’s called the “Soul Patrol”) still believing it’s the real song, and even liking it.
So then Leah and I had the idea of trying to take her parody American Idol lyrics and put them to the music I was working on. It worked surprisingly well, and we shared it with the folks on Vote For The Worst, and the reaction has been positive.
So here it is, folks… the new Electric Love Adventure intarweb single: “Your Next American Idol (Thank You).” Enjoy.
Credits: composition, recording, and all instruments Charles Hoffman; lyrics Leah Hoffman.
Pressing the door guy for more information, I found out that basically, JBOT got to the club, looked at the flights of stairs going up to it, and decided there was no way he was trucking his big heavy robots up there. A few at the bar offered to help, but he still decided that even if folks helped him get the bots up the steps, he’d be out of luck after the show getting them back down the steps after everyone leaves. Which, in my opinion, would not have been the case. I, for one, if I had gotten there earlier and known of the situation, would have been more than glad to stick around after closing time to help load out, and there are usually several regular patrons on the nights who tend to hang around until somewhat past closing time. We’re a friendly bunch here in eastern Iowa, we would have seen to it that things were taken care of, in order to have been entertained with such a unique show. But I guess JBOT didn’t see it that way. I hope he comes back and tries it again.
Scotty-Pants and Tara must have been especially bummed out, since they showed up planning to get married by JBOT – because I guess a regular feature of C!BR’s live set is that JBOT marries people. It says so on their flyers even. They dressed up for the occasion, had pictures taken beforehand and everything. As for me, I was hoping to write a big blog post about the show.
Well, I had a good time all the same. Judah came out and we played pool with a guy with a mohawk while Hold For Swank played. They were okay. Lot of nicely-executed pop moves in their songs, though like all too many college-town rock bands, they rely rather heavily on crude humor, and that angle wears out fast as you approach your 30s. The Mittens were on and loud, as always. They played some new songs from their forthcoming third CD that sounded pretty cool, especially “Hiding In The Light,” which was last on their set list, though they closed with a cover of “Like A Rolling Stone” afterwards. And speaking of The Mittens doing covers, I think “Billie Jean” came off last night the best I’ve ever heard them do it. Leah thinks The Mittens’ songs all sound kind of the same, and she has a point: they tend to reuse certain chords, progressions, and rhythmic figures over and over. But that just makes the times when they deviate even a little from their formula extra special. And after all, in order to think outside the box, you have to start with a box.
Ran into several old friends, including Ryan, who thinks I should put a band together with Scott. I’ve always liked Scott’s songs, so maybe it’s worth looking into. After closing time, Scott, Tara, Heather and I hung out at Scott’s place until pretty late, chatting and joking it up. Good times.
So yeah, the blogging here has been lighter than I’d like lately. As I’ve said before, it’s funny how the more you have to blog about, the less time you have to do said blogging. I just sort of fall out of the habit I guess, but my enthusiasm was renewed when I found in my comments a trackback from one of my very favorite bloggers who stopped by and took the nerd test I linked to a while back. Seriously, it’s really cool knowing that TJIC stopped by here. I feel rather honored, and It reminds me that I’m not just posting this stuff out in space with no one paying attention, so maybe it’s worth doing.
One of the things keeping me from writing more on my site here, ironically enough, has been that I’ve been working on the site itself. I ditched the wiki I had and switched wiki engines to WackoWiki after much searching… The markup seems easier to learn, which a wiki should be. I’ve started a couple preliminary Ragman Records pages up there, and I uploaded a pile of songs to the site that I intend to link to from there in the near future so that I might share No Consensus et al with the world. I intend to hack up the WackoWiki theme stylesheets to match this page more closely.
I also installed a Lylina RSS aggregator – see the “My feed aggregator” link in the sidebar – and added a whole pile of feeds to it. I originally intended it mostly for my own reading pleasure, but if I’m not posting enough for you, feel free to have a look at it. There’s quite a volume of stuff coming through there, so be patient for the page to load up. Lylina also supports multiple users, so if you’d like an account on it, let me know – then you can set up your account to show only the feeds you want to read instead of wading through the big pile.
Cedar Falls High School Amnesty Club show: Puffy Taco, The Teddy Boys at “The Boat House,” Island Park, Cedar Falls; $5
The Albino Spiders, The Agrestix, DUI, The Teddy Boys. At the Wavery 4-H Building, 5:30 pm. $4
The Beat Strings, The Old Scratch Revival Singers, The Teddy Boys, Scenic Memories. at The Reverb.