Friday, December 11, 2009

Almost done. scattered thoughts. good night.

Album's almost finished - stylistically it's totally all over the map. The most recent batch of songs ranges from 80s dance-pop (think Scritti Politti meets Duran Duran meets ABC meets, um, Modest Mouse?) to Who/Guided By Voices/Hold Steady/Knack garage pop. Oh, all these references - I'm giving away my secrets. Or not - oftentimes these are the touchstones we use in the studio for describing the world we're aiming to enter, and usually the end results sound nothing like what we're talking about. It's why i can never truly describe the music I'm making. Think of it this way: it's pop music. Like always. More uptempo than I'd imagined this record would end up being, and for the better that way. Lyrically, just as sardonic as always. As in, "I'm dancing to a song about WHAT??"

I do a lot of driving back and forth between Toronto and Syracuse, and I try to spend some of that time listening to the radio. When CBC and NPR die out, I listen to evangelical Christian radio until I get so angry, I have to start flipping. Then I get depressed at the state of "modern rock" or whatever it is these days, bored by the repetition of Classic Rock stations, and find myself realizing that pure pop rules the airwaves once again. Sure, there's lots of crap out there, but when i stumble upon a something truly pleasurable on Top 40, I find it makes me stay there longer.

The Shazam app for the iPhone has turned out to be a great help. I downloaded it ages ago, and never used it until recently. I wish there was a way to select a playlist inside of it and instantly buy the whole lot through iTunes though, rather than having to go track-by-track. Perhaps soon I'll put up a "best of my commutes" playlist.

Once I hit the Syracuse area, I'm dismayed to find that many of the stations simulcast on multiple frequencies, diminishing choice even more. And these days, there seem to be an uncomfortable amount of Christmas music stations. And Delilah.
The only thing I can truly stomach on the xmas stations is the Jackson 5 version of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, which might be one of the 10 best pieces of singing ever committed to tape.

Ok. Off to finish wrapping Hanukkah presents. Happy Holidays, folks.


  1. That might be the first time I've heard Scritti Politti mentioned in an influences post in...well probably ever! I used to love their song "Jacques Derrida" back in the day, I really need to find an mp3 of that thing.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to your album a lot, good luck with everything.

    Happy holidays!

  2. Dear Steven:
    Thanks for the update. Hope you consider coming back to visit your neighbors in the land to the south. Saw a lot of dates next year but only in Canada. Enjoyed seeing you at Merriweather Post Pavilion with Alanis Morissette. Really cracked up at the eye shadow that everyone wore to imitate one of Alanis's band members. Also thought it was great that you played with Seth Hurwitz on drums. I can't believe that was 5 years ago!
    Hope you make it back to the DC area next year. All the best on your new recording and Happy Hanukkah! P.S. Did you know that Marvin Hamlisch has composed a new Hanukkah song called Hanukkah Lights which I heard tonight at the Kennedy Center. You should consider joining the show next year. Marvin is really the best and he would love you! Randolph

  3. Come on, when is it out? Annd when are you touring the UK!!


  4. I'm really looking forward to hearing/seeing you some time next year! Thanks for the update.

  5. The only radio program that upsets me more then Delilah is the John Tesh show.
    Can't wait to hear the new tunes.
    All the best for the holidays.

  6. Happy Holidays to you as well.

    Looking forward to the new album in the new year.


  7. ALWAYS too much Delilah. Oh, and too much "I Got A Feeling" (aka Tonight's Gonna Be A Good Night.) Gag.

  8. I love modest mouse.

  9. Steven: Saw BNL last night in Salt Lake City. Just wasn't the same without you. Not even close. The show was sold out. Tickets were originally $15 and were selling all month for over $100. Most people didn't know you had left the band. Lots of upset fans. You have to come down to Salt Lake City when you tour. You would make a killing. Best of luck with the new album. I will pick it up the first day it is available. Happy Holidays.

  10. As you drive past Rochester, you might want to try 90.5FM. Presuming they're still broadcasting at a decent wattage, WBER might be enough to help you survive the classic rock and Christian onslaught. That said, the character of the station (previously alternative/industrial/indie) may have changed in the 20-ish years since I last broadcast from there myself. Hope I haven't directed you to something heinous.

  11. You really need to get satellite radio in your car - the variety is awesome! However, I can relate to your situation because I am forced to listen to the same loop over and over and over of Christmas music on the radio at my job - it makes me want to scream! - and then I hear your voice singing, "oh, tidings of comfort and joy" and I can calm down . . .

  12. I had a random thought of my own a few weeks ago. I could totally see you do a cover of Hand in Glove by The Smiths. Hand in Glove is the reason I love the Shazam app. There's a few songs I loved but never knew the title and artist and it tends to drive me crazy when that happens.
    Well hopefully you come to Seattle but if you don't I guess I'll have to go to Vancouver to see you. Poor me, I'll have to make a weekend out of it and go to a Vancouver Canucks game. :-P

  13. Heather - I have fond memories of being in the studio on WBER, although when I tune in now, there seems to be a high emo/pop-punk quotient. WRIT is pretty cool sometimes, though.