Archive for the ‘indie rock’ Category

Travelers of Tyme present “Music for Lovers!”

February 14, 2011

FREE STREAM OR $2 DOWNLOAD – http://tyme.bandcamp.com/album/music-for-lovers

Travelers of Tyme engineer music precisely for holidays such as St. Valentine’s Day, a complex and contradictory day. For some, it is a day of romance, of flowers, sweet kisses, and nostalgic, warm conversation. For others, it is a day of heartache, of loneliness, and perhaps dark fantasies involving the Hallmark company and the calling of robotic minions to do biddings against the makers of cards. Regardless of where you find yourself this February 14th, we encourage you to lower the lights, pour a snifter of wine or whiskey for yourself and your special friend, if you have one, and switch on “Music for Lovers.” The Travelers cannot guarantee you will enjoy all of your experiences on this planet — but we CAN guarantee that we will make them sound better!

So go ahead, talk softly over “Music for Lovers.” Clink your glasses, kiss your kisses, whisper your sweet nothings into real or imagined ears. “Music for Lovers” is music meant to sway softly in the background, like a silhouetted palm tree in a warm, sea breeze. It is music to live to and, of course, music to love by!

(Note: listen at work and watch your productivity increase by 40%!)

Thank you, as always, for choosing Travelers of Tyme for all of your musical wallpaper needs. And Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your beloved, whether in flesh or fantasy.

Professor Yaya & Doctor Klem
The Travelers of Tyme

Detholz! demo – “Yearning for Zion”

June 5, 2008

DETHOLZ!
BABY TEETH
DANNY BLACK
RAFTER

@ LENA YOHEY FEST ’08!
THIS SATURDAY @ HIDEOUT
www.hideoutchicago.com

Join Detholz!, Baby Teeth, our pal, Danny Black and the Maplewood family to send Lena Yohey, former Detholz! bookie and sweetheart extraordinaire, to Nepal this Fall to work with orphans! This will be a family night you won’t want to miss — a great cause replete with bake sale and MAX POWER!

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XXXVIII!

Apologies for the late posting this week — this one is hot off the press. Literally finished it five minutes ago:

YEARNING FOR ZION

1. SONG CONCEPT

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably read in the news about the “Yearning for Zion” ranch outside of El Dorado, Texas where Child Welfare Services, in conjunction with local law enforcement, acted on a judicial order to remove 462 children from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) compound on suspicions that they were being sexually abused.

Of course, now it’s turned into a war between State Officials and leaders of the FLDS, with the children caught in the middle. As a result of the massive raid, these kids were held in state custody until an appeals court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to detain them. Child Protective Services has appealed that decision.

This song is not about the YFZ debacle per se, but I used it as a jumping-off point.

I have known a few people that have come from fairly extreme religious backgrounds, such that the religion itself becomes an invisible predator of sorts. In the case of these poor kids — and God knows what they’re experiencing on this ranch — it’s possible that they’re being subjected to literal white slavery imparted by the particularly legalistic denomination into which they were born.

In my own experience wrestling with faith, I’ve never had to deal with that kind of extreme behavior, but I understand a little bit of what’s it like to feel smothered as a kid by lofty religious ideals beyond my understanding.

I guess this song is a lament for these children and, by extension, for a collective inner child oppressed by family and by religion.

I call upon “Mother Texas” — a particularly bloody state throughout its history, especially now — to shriek on behalf of these innocents.

The “Giants” referenced are the so-called Nephilim of Genesis 6:

“Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’ The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”

According to the Genesis account, the Nephelim were “sons of God” (Old Testament-ese for “angels”) who desired human women and took them for their own — “whomever they chose.” Sounds like the women didn’t have much say in the matter — the angels simply saw what they wanted and took it.

An appropriate image in this case, I think.

2. SONG COMPOSITION

This song happened almost completely by accident.

To start I was just screwing around on my bass to a click and voila! The song was started.

I ran across this fantastic tacky piano sound in Kontakt 3 that served my purposes swimmingly. I love dulcimer-esque piano sounds– they always remind me of the soundtrack to the movie, “Kafka,” one of my favorite sci-fi films as a high school kid.

This was one was a little different in that the melody came before the harmonic changes. I suppose that’s the “correct” way to do things, but for me it usually happens the other way around.

I used a more nasal bass tone on this track than I usually do. Also, I mixed every track down to mono and basically trashed the hell of them to dirty things up (except for the tack piano sound). After finishing a few songs, I’m getting better at doing this in Nuendo. Originally, I missed Logic — it seemed much easier for me to thrash the beejeezus out of my tracks. As I’m discovering, Nuendo has similar — and much better — functionality on the PC.

The last section of the song seemed necessary given the song’s subject matter — couldn’t really end on a high note, could it? I was definitely pulling from the bridge to “Psychotherapy” (from “Cast Out Devils, DH! 2nd record) when conceiving this part. Sometimes cut/paste between song sections works well, and this song screamed for it, in my opinion.

Tune in next week for another episode of the Detholz! Mp3 Blog!

Side note: I start a new job next week, so the update day will likely change. I’ll keep you posted.

3. LYRICS

YEARNING FOR ZION

Zion, Zion
Holy Mount of Zion
Lead an innocent child
To the Mystery Mountain

Zion, Zion
Holy Mount of Zion
Remember Abraham’s son
On the Holy Mountain?

Everything’s going be all right
Sacrifice is forever
Everything is locked up tight
You will be here forever

Listen to the words of Light
From the Books that I read you
Listen to the cries at night
Feel the gaze of the Evil Eye

Evil Eye is on me now
Evil Hands will force and feel me
Heaven’s heart is for my child
Lord, protect her from these people

Mother
Oh, Mother on the River of Blood
Oh, Mother of Ten Thousand Suns
Oh, Mother Texas, deep inside of us,
Shriek the shrieks of the women

Giants, Giants
In the mouths of Giants
Whiff of innocent blood
From the veins of the children

Giants, Giants
In the arms of giants
Between heaven and hell
Neither angel nor devil

Everything’s going to be all right
Sacrifice is not forever
Everything is locked up tight
But you will not live here forever

Listen to the songs of Light
From the lips of the children
Listen in the Texas night
Far away from the Evil Eye

Evil Eye is on you now
Evil Hands will force and feel you
Heaven’s heart is for my child
Lord, protect you from these people

Mother
Oh, Mother Texas, deep inside of us,
Shriek the shrieks of the women

Detholz! demo – “Piggly Man”

November 28, 2007

THIS FRIDAY, 11/30
DETHOLZ! play their last show of 2007
@ Hideout
1354 W Wabansia
Chicago, IL, USA
w/THE CASSETTES & BRILLIANT PEBBLES
www.hideoutchicago.com

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XVII!

This Friday marks Detholz!’s last show of 2007 – the conclusion of our 11th year together as a band. This is a bill we are anticipating greatly, with two other bands breaking ground of their own with respect to music and performance. Forget Detholz! — we’ve been around 4 eva’!– instead come experience the nightmare club ritual of BRILLIANT PEBBLES and the hurdy-gurdy magic of THE CASSETTES!

To mark this event, we’re giving one away today that I thought I’d keep under wraps until “Death to the Traitor” (Detholz! forthcoming record) is released next year. In many ways, this is my favorite track developed for “Death to the Traitor” thus far, and wraps the blood, animal and betrayal imagery in human (feral?) flesh:

PIGGLY MAN

1. SONG CONCEPT

This song is near and dear to my heart as it’s about a former co-worker of mine who was debilitated by a number of massive strokes earlier this year. The effects on his brain– esp. on his centers of speech– were devastating, and his situation is nothing if not tragic for him and his family.

Here’s the rub: the man

a. is a pathological liar,

b. has a speaking voice that closely resembles that of Mickey Mouse,

c. is morbidly obese and has no compunction about loudly breaking wind in the workplace (at one point, I had to look over at him and yell, “Hey– were you raised in @#$%in’ barn?”),

d. is consumed with greed– down to falsifying company records in order to qualify for sales prizes– and ruined countless potential sales for his colleagues by meddling with customers in order to qualify for pieces of commission,

e. earned the nickname “Bologna Loaf” among his peers, and

f. is generally one of the most unpleasant people it’s been my misfortune to meet.

Get the picture? He is Homer Simpson come to life and moving among us.

Which is why, of course, he deserved a song. On one hand, he almost TRIES to make himself hateful to others. On the other hand, his humanity is so painfully transparent– especially in light of his staggering health problems. Many of us at my company developed a strange affection for this man, which I found to be a curious phenomenon. His unpleasantness was SO over the top that, well… you couldn’t help but like the guy.

On that note, a strange episode occurred one morning as I arrived for work, took my place at my desk and started setting up for the day. My desk was across the room from the Loafer’s, but he couldn’t hear very well so he didn’t hear me come in. On this particular morning, I sat and watched him for awhile. He would scratch nonsensical, pseudo-motivational catchphrases to himself on a large, yellow pad, which he was doing that morning. Suddenly, he stopped, straightened up in his chair and began loudly cawing like a crow. He punctuated each “caw!” by banging his meaty palm on his desk:

“CAW! CAW! CAW!”

I jumped in my seat. To this day, I have no idea what prompted him to do this. It will, I fear, remain a mystery.

Now that he can’t work, he calls in sometimes, just to say “hi” (at least, I think that’s what he saying– after his strokes, he’s very difficult to understand). Many of my current co-workers will not answer the phone when they see his number flashing on the caller ID. “I don’t want to talk to him,” one man said, almost visibly shuddering. I also find this to be a curious phenomenon.

The Loaf was man who betrayed himself at every turn: by his selfishness and greed, etc. Ultimately, though, he was betrayed by something beyond any of our control: his own mortality. People don’t want to talk to him– not because he’s a jerk (which he is), but because he serves as a reminder of human frailty. He is a walking warning sign that reads: “THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU.”

After he left, I took his staff picture home. It now adorns my wall, in a frame, above my home studio space. I take a weird sort of comfort in the baldness of the Loaf’s humanity– both in his consuming greed and his failing health. He’s no different than you or I, really.  He just isn’t as skilled at glossing over his baser nature. Subsequently, this song is not meant AT ALL as a slight– it was written out of love for the man.

I hope that comes through.

2. SONG COMPOSITION

This was one in a series of home demos for “Death to the Traitor” where I left the guitars out altogether. This was at Karl’s (Detholz! guitarist) suggestion: that I not limit myself to the “band” instruments in recording demos. He thought it would be interesting to reassign parts to regular “band” instruments in rehearsal. As it turned out– at least with this song– he was right.

As with most of the newer material, the song’s axis revolves around the repeated organ figure — intervallically, a tritone to major third, back to a tritone, then to a perfect fifth. In that musical “cell,” there is plenty of tension and release, except the tonal center remains very strong. I found it to be a challenging “drone” to write around. As it turned out, this figure was also adaptable to some interesting harmonic motion in the chorus.

You’ll notice the “Traitor motive” (see previous post, “Death to the Traitor”) hinted at in the second half of the chorus– in the flutes! The flute is my least favorite orchestral instrument, which is why I felt compelled to use it here, of course. It’s a principle an old art professor taught me in school: if you hate a piece of art, immerse yourself in it. Find out if you’re harboring irrational prejudices; see if there’s anything you can use creatively. At the time, he forced me to sit in front of an Agnes Martin painting for 3 hours, then write an essay on what I got out of the experience. Generally, I can’t stand Agnes Martin’s work– it’s that annoying brand of minimalism that seems completely theory-driven, with little to no substance to the actual pieces. Still, after sitting in front of that blank, cloudy canvas for 3 hours, I managed to extract some things out of the work.

Same idea here. Flute is not my favorite, but it provides an interesting texture in this context (if I do say so myself). I liked it so much, in fact, that it shows up on other new songs as well!

The centerpiece of the song is the “piggly” bridge, of course, with samples of real pigs. This section was expanded in rehearsal, and now sounds much different live than on the demo. Jonny added a brilliant, layered line which is built upon additively by Karl and I on the guitars. Very spooky, even “Castlevania”-esque!

Also, as with many of the newer songs, the bass line is largely the same throughout the song. It is an exceptional challenge to write a song with contrasting sections while the bass line remains the same–at least I think so. More often than not, I fail using this approach. In the case of “Piggly Man,” however, I was pleased with the result.

Comments/questions/criticisms welcome! Hope to see you all on Friday before the long, dark night of the soul for Detholz!…

3 . LYRICS

Rosy cheeks and
Tight buttons
Packing the pounds

Chew slowly
Chew slowly
A Midwestern mound

High in a cloudy brain
A lumpy mountain range
Makes all the speaking strangely…?

I’m waiting again
For you, my lonely friend
Open your mouth
Pick it on up
Chew it on up
A man is a pig
When a pig is a man

Quiet morning
Can’t hear it
Write on a pad

Scratch yourself some
Motivation
Like Carnegie said

But when the pressure builds
Forget to take your pills
Hot when the coffee spills, you…?

Now I’m watching again
The birds are not your friends
Open your mouth
Caw like a crow
Caw like a crow
Death is a bird
When a pig is a man

The piano
Is confusing
Head on the keys

Little mermaids
Swimming through you
Sing “Under the Sea”

Now you are seeing spots
Now on a mountaintop
Now you are jumping off, don’t you…?

You’re seated again
On sacks of pickled skin
Open your mouth
Shove it on in
Shove it on in

A man is a pig
When a pig is a man

Jukebox of the Dead VIII Recap – “Prelude” & “You: the Power of You”

November 7, 2007

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog Episode XV!

Thanks to all who made it to the Detholz! 8th Annual “Jukebox of the Dead” Halloween shows last week. It was, by far, the best year yet. In Chicago, especial propers to Zen Master Lord of the Yum-Yum and the amazing Mucca Pazza marching band, which may be the New Greatest Show on Earth!

To finally cap off Detholz! Halloween proceedings– and for those who could not attend– we proudly present 2 tracks this week to give you the gist:

Jukebox of the Dead VIII Prelude

You: the Power of You

To get the full effect, these tracks should be listened to in sequence.

The Prelude was used under video of the disembodied head of Mister M (James “Jamesie” Mitchell), saying things like “YOU are the Chariot! Arise, YOU! Celebrate, YOU! YOU are the lighting! YOU are the one who can turn IF into BECAUSE!” etc. Given the chaos of the evening, it was tough to hear in the club.

A few musical asides about the Prelude:

1. It is in the dominant key of “You: the Power of You” (“U:PU” for short) — an old “Circle of 5th’s” trick to prepare you for the payoff at the beginning of “U:PU.”

2. It incorporates strains from both “U:PU” and Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” the pretension of which I found endlessly amusing– esp. coupled with the video of Jamesie.

“U:PU” is a mashup of three components:

1. Olivia Newton-John’s / ELO’s “Xanadu” (I took a few liberties with the harmony to “Holzify”it.)

2. Jane Fonda’s step aerobics soundtrack

3. Rush’s “Xanadu”

A challenging set of components to combine, but interspersed with some campy double-talk and guitar lixx ala “Miami Vice,” I think it works. A definitive junket into Meta-Music Land… but hey, it’s Halloween!

Tune in next week where we’ll return to “The Way It Was,” or– to quote the great U.S. President, Warren Harding– “Back to Normalcy!” [sic]

JUKEBOX OF THE DEAD VIII – V.I. “John” Lenin’s “Imagine”

October 31, 2007

Greetings, super-tanned and baggy-eyed spirits of the underworld, and welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog Episode XIV!

Today marks the 8th Anniversary of the Detholz! Halloween Spectacular, “Jukebox of the Dead,” and the final performance of this year’s installment: JUKEBOX OF THE DEAD VIII, “Xanadu!” takes place TONIGHT, OCTOBER 31st @ EMPTY BOTTLE in CHICAGO w/Mucca Pazza & Lord of the Yum-Yum.

We understand as of 2 PM that the show is sold out, but perhaps if you call the refined and professional staff at Empty Bottle, you can pawn off a certain undesirable item to gain entry… like your BODY, or perhaps your SOUL?

To celebrate this, Detholz!’z favorite pagan Hallmark holiday, we offer you a preview of tonight’s closer: a re-working of “John” Lenin’s “Imagine.” A little blasphemy never hurt nobody.

This is an older demo, recorded before I really knew what I was doing, so the quality isn’t spectacular. But now that you’re without a BODY or SOUL, does it really matter in the long run? Can you really hear it, anyway?

So, see you tonight… and for those of you out there in TV Land who won’t be able to make it, we wish you a safe and pleasantly plump All Hallow’s Eve!

See you next Wednesday for the recap… and for more “original” Halloween selections…

Jukebox of the Dead Countdown III – “Faith” (live) & “Something About You”

October 24, 2007

Greetings, ye greased goblins & gorgeous ghost hosts! Welcome to Episode (Lucky) XIII of the Detholz! Mp3 Blog, the third in our countdown to the 8th Annual Jukebox of the Dead Halloween Spectacular!

In this spirit of this season of giving (and taking), another two-fer today of previously unreleased Detholz! covers. A trick and a treat.

1. TRICK: “Faith” by George Michael (live version)

A number of versions of this cover have been recorded over the years, though there was never a proper demo for the completed arrangement. Jonny (Detholz! keyboardist – visit his songwriting blog at jonsteinmeier.wordpress.com!) originally tackled arranging “Faith,” and elements of his original arrangement can still be heard here. After he submitted it, we took his initial idea and ran with it as a group. Of all the covers, this one really went through the Detholz! ringer. The finished product sounds much different than the initial versions.

This version was recorded live for a radio broadcast 2 or 3 years ago, and was a regular part of the Detholz! diet at that time. We played this at most of the shows we did with Wilco on their “Ghost is Born” tour in 2005 to some accolades… and more than a few Bronx cheers. It ain’t exactly easy listening.

At the time we recorded “Cast Out Devils,” we considered including “Faith,” and a complete studio version was tracked. After some “mass debating,”however, we decided against including it for various reasons– the primary reason was that it seemed a little heavy-handed in the context of the other material. It subsequently remains in the VORTECS Corporation vaults to this day, and has never been properly mixed.

2. TREAT: “Something About You” by Level 42

Originally intended for Jukebox of the Dead VII last year, this is a home demo I recorded last summer. I hoped to kill 2 birds with one stone: write another Jukebox of the Dead cover for 2006 & complete a submission for a wedding compilation released by Lujo Records, Baby Teeth‘s DC-based label. (Baby Teeth is my “other” band– click the link for the BT Mp3 blog). The compilation was released to celebrate the wedding of our friends, Erik and Jocelyn (Lujo Records owners), so this arrangement is appropriately luvvie-duvvie. Interestingly enough, Erik and Joce decided to include “Invisible Touch” instead. (see last week’s post)

When Halloween came around last year, the band worked on this cover during a rehearsal and decided it was simply too tame. It was subsequently shelved, and will probably never see the light of day.

This is a rare case in Jukebox-land where I really *love* the source material; “Something About You” is a good, old-fashioned Eurovision-worthy song for that lonely junior higher at the roller rink.

Oh, and for you Detholz! ueber-geeks, there’s yet another narcissistic self-reference. Can you spot it? Where’s Waldo?

Ueber-geek or no, tune in next week for the “Final Countdown” to Halloween and Jukebox of the Dead VIII!

For those of you in Indiana and DeKalb… beware. Detholz! draweth nigh…THIS WEEK:

DETHOLZ! in JUKEBOX OF THE DEAD VIII : “Xanadu!”

Friday, October 26
Zanies Too
Indianapolis IN
w/Creepin’ Charley & the Boneyard Orchestra

Saturday, October 27
The House
Dekalb IL

Wednesday, October 31 HALLOWEEN
Ye Aulde Empty Bottle
Chicago, IL
w/ the Mucca Pazza Marching Band & the amazing Lord of the Yum-Yum

Jukebox of the Dead Countdown II – “Invisible Touch” + 2 “Secret” Tracks

October 18, 2007

Greetings and welcome back to another Detholz! Mp3 Blog, Episode XII!

Forgive the late posting today and my absence last week. I was gallivanting around Prague getting myself engaged, and interestingly, was gouged by a ridiculous cover song on the night I proposed to my fiancee.

To set a romantic tone, I booked us a reservation at a restaurant housed in a 12th Century wine cellar. What better environ in which to gaze longingly into one’s significant other’s eyes through soft candlelight, eating delicately prepared dishes full of rapturous delights… right?

Wrong.

Picture with me: a 12th Century wine cellar bedecked in plaster-of-Paris Doric columns & distressingly Boschian faux murals, all illuminated with gaudy casino spotlights. Got it? Ridiculous enough, right?

Now imagine a soft disco/easy listening rendition of “Ode to Joy” blaring over a loudspeaker into this environment. “Ridiculous” transmogrifies into “sublime!” Somewhere, a demigod or demon was laughing at me and having his sweet, sweet revenge.

THAT’S the power of inappropriately placed cover tunes, ladies and gentlemen.

By popular demand, to invigorate/eviscerate YOUR romantic dinners, we proudly present the Detholz! interpretation of Genesis’ “Invisible Touch.”

AND– since I was truant last week doesn’t mean I’m inattentive to your comments– I am including 2 unreleased Jukebox of the Dead tracks from a short-lived “Detholz!-Do-Don-Henley Manhattan Project.” Both tracks were voted down by the band, for obvious reasons:

All She Wants to Do is Dance” and Don Henley’s lyrical masterpiece, “Sunset Grille.”

We tried, folks, but the Don is simply beyond repair.

See you next Wednesday for the second-to-last installment of the countdown to Halloween and Jukebox of the Dead VIII!

I will not be tardy for the Detholz! blog.
I will not be tardy for the Detholz! blog.
I will not be tardy for the Detholz! blog.
I will not…

Detholz! “Jukebox of the Dead” Halloween cover I – “Conga” by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine

October 3, 2007

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog XI, and welcome to the Detholz! season of Advent!

Advent, you ask? Yes, my child. Let us light the first candle today– All Hallow’s Eve draweth nigh!

For those of you who are not as familiar with Detholz! lore, every year on Halloween for the past 8 years we have staged what we call “The Jukebox of the Dead,” featuring deconstructions of soft rock and adult contemporary hits: “the songs you love to hate to love.” Every week in October, we will post an unreleased Detholz! cover from years past and count down to Halloween!

This week’s track is “Conga” by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine.

Preparations for this year’s “Jukebox of the Dead” have begun: Detholz! present “Jukebox of the Dead VIII: Xanadu!”

Mark your calendars for 3 manifestations of “Xanadu!”:

Friday, October 26
Zanies Too
Indianapolis IN
w/Creepin’ Charley

Saturday, October 27
The House
Dekalb IL

Wednesday, October 31 HALLOWEEN
Ye Aulde Empty Bottle
Chicago, IL
w/ the Mucca Pazza Marching Band & the amazing Lord of the Yum-Yum

Somehow prattling on about our compositional approach to deconstructing “Conga” strikes me as ridiculous. Also, I feel that I would be spilling trade secrets, like publishing the formula for New Coke or something. So, simply sit back, relax….and conga.

Tune in next week for another unreleased Detholz! cover!