I’ve finally finished my “slack rock” album, Chick Flix
It’s got some fantastic cover art by my friend Adam
So, this is a big deal for me. I’ve got the usual huge doubts about the album in that I suddenly feel like it’s 90% crap and my last attempt had way better songs and I’ve peaked and I’m actually moving backward.
Massive insecurities aside, the one undeniable thing about this is that it’s the first time I’ve actually put out a cohesive product of an album. Out of the three that I’ve made, one was a full 12 songs, and it was stylistically all over the place (I was aware of that even when I was making it). It just felt like a bunch of songs arranged in an order, but it wasn’t really for anyone. It was just kind of me trying a bunch of stuff.
This album is like - real. What I’ve got here are 12 songs that all feel like they belong with each other, but at the same time manage to compliment each other. There are small, medium, and large songs. Currently I’m not 100% on the quality of all of them so I’m not selling it yet. I’ll wait until it’s existence isn’t a novelty anymore and then I’ll see if I think it’s worthy of selling. That said, there are definitely a few songs on here (the ones I’d call singles) that I think are very good songs. It’s the non singles that I wonder about.
I think all in all, the thing goes back to the old 90s alt rock tradition of having stuff that a very certain group of people like, and everyone else goes “what the hell is this?” but then there’s a few songs on there that are much more poppy and everyone likes and remembers them.
So I encourage people to download this thing and tell me what they think of it. Tell me what songs you liked, if any. Tell me what songs you didn’t like. Don’t tell me that it sounds messy or haphazard because I’m already aware.
(apologies for the big fuck-off picture of me right here. It’s too large a file to upload to tumblr directly so I’ve got to link soundcloud and this is apparently what tumblr does now for that)
Alright. The slack rock is back in action. I’m actually hugely excited about this song. I wasn’t really writing much for a while, but recently I’ve written a lot of songs that I’m really excited about. While it’s nothing particularly groundbreaking in terms of my own style, I feel like I’m definitely a lot closer to getting the sound that I’ve always wanted to get. Basically it’s still just Pavement fetishism, but I figure it’s better Pavement fetishism than I used to write – maybe even crossing into the realms of “song”. That might be going a bit far.
I’ve actually been wanting to write a song like this for a while. I haven’t really had any ideas, but just the kind of feel’s been cooking for a few weeks now. I took a look at the candidates for “Chick Flix” and realized that I had maybe too many big dramatic rock songs. I like those, lemme tell you, I listened to Pinkerton for the first time recently and they get pretty tiring in large doses. I felt like a song like this one was missing. I had slow intimate songs, I had huge huge dramatic songs, but I didn’t have any radio friendly mid-tempo relaxed straight ahead alt rock songs. It’s weird because I’m a big fan of that type of music.
Lyrically, I had a lot of fun with this song. I made a lot of really stupid not-rhymes that I love so much. My brother pointed out that it’s probably because I’m a fan of Joel Plaskett and he tends to do things like that (I took my shirt down to the cleaners/and then they came back cleaner). In this case I’ve got things like “I’m losin’ weight/I can hardly wait.” And “I’m lonely too/couch sits two”. Granted there’s some lyrics in here that I think are actually cool or clever. Basically I’m co-opting the 90s indie-shithead lyricism style where you either roll your eyes or let out a hearty batch of hyucks.
This song, I think, is the first time I made a song that actually sounds like it could be on the radio, be it production, lyrics, or general feel. I mean, it wont, but this is definitely something that could be played on that CBC radio 2. I’ll submit it into the next songwriting competition. It’ll definitely deserve to win it, but it wont. Some girl who is a jerk will win it because she sings about riding moose in the fucking Baffin islands or something
bunker? I hardly know her!
This is actually how I feel while walking and listening to the Verve
Went to some abandoned places yesterday. Nowhere I haven’t been before, so there’s no writeup. I did make some videos though. Maybe I’ll post them when mike is done playing LoL
So remember that slack rock album that I was supposed to be recording? Yeah. Well, it’s slack rock for a reason. I don’t work to hard or often on it. I got a bit bored of recording lazy music. In essence, I slacked so hard on writing slack rock that I started writing the exact opposite. I decided hey, maybe I’d take a shot at writing an extremely overproduced album with every single fucking bell and whistle I could cram into the thing. I wasn’t a conservative mixer before, but I was consciously decedent for this album. Basically every single time I went “wouldn’t this be cool?” I added some part to the song.
It looks like I’ve finally joined every other person making music in the year 2014, but I tried to approach my (over)production and songwriting from a very 1960s or 70s angle. Ditto for vocals. I’m actually happy with most of these vocal performances. If nothing else, they show improvement from my previous attempts at singing pop music, but that’s not all.
Kim Gordon and Yoko Ono say that best rock and roll singers combine equal feelings of masculinity and femininity for their singing styles. This being where bare emotion and seductiveness is feminine, while the swagger and brute force is masculine. If you look at John Lennon’s performance on Mother (which Rolling Stone calls the best performance in rock ‘n roll) he’s definitely got both of those elements going on in equal parts. Now I’m not saying that John Lennon is the best singer in rock ‘n roll, and I’m definitely not saying that there is THE way to sing and this is how, but I kind of took something from that and understood exactly why I enjoy singers like Lennon or Casablancas or that dude from Guided By Voices. Basically the end result is that I made a special emphasis to put a lot more expression and embellishment into my voice while singing. More “Ooo’s” and “whoa!”’s. I feel like I’m still being held back by my actual technical ability at singing, but I did learn that you kind of have to overemote to sound like you’re emoting at all. My vocal jazz teacher taught me this in grade 12, but I never really actually took the lesson to heart.
This song is the first song on the album and probably my favourite. This song also has a electro-house-ish outro, which I figure is breaking new ground and basically revolutionary for me with my uptight pop writing style.
Currently having my mind begrudgingly blown by Joni Mitchell’s Blue.
I don’t like feeling this way about a Joni Mitchell album, especially when it was recommended to me by my mom.
So this is a bit different. I’ve had this song cookin’ for a while. It’s written, but I’ve just been thinking about it nonstop for the arrangement. This could go a couple ways and I don’t want to decide on one because that’d mean locking out the others FOREVER. (I don’t like writing different arrangements of my own songs.)
I figure I could do it in a straight ahead rock style with distorted guitars playing straight eighths and that’d make for a really uplifting early 90s britpop oasis sort of bit where it’d sound like you’re a burnout youth, gonna take on the world.
Or I could do it bouncy with a larger arrangement, strings and piano and that stuff. It’d have noodling electric guitars in the background and heavy piano quarter notes with a drum beat that stomps along, and the song would feel fun and a bit classy. Classic british rock sort of stuff, like the Kinks or whatever (or literally, the Whatever).
I’ve also considered in taking this sound that I’ve got here a bit further and making it sound like one of those 80s bedroom demos that a lot of rock musicians have, and that’s sort of what I was going for here. I didn’t commit to the style, because then I’d be picking a style, but basically it’d have a messier guitar that sounds almost distorted but only by virtue of shitty mics. I went for a very minimal style without any reverb or cutting up the waveform or anything, as to deal with limitations that they’d have had in the 80s. I think there’s something really pure and intimate sounding about absolutely dry vocals and a guitar without any sort of effect or reverb. There’s a Noel Gallagher demo tape out there somewhere (as in, it’s been uploaded to youtube) the really exemplifies that and I think that’s really cool.
At any rate, I’m still not 100% on my ability to perform this song. I’ve brought it out once or twice at open mic’s but it doesn’t grab people by the neck like a few of my other songs seem to. Eventually I’ll decide. When I feel like it.2 plays