sleepy from the sun

I haven’t done much busking this summer, but I got out there today in Woodinville at their little Farmer’s Market and played for a few hours. It’s interesting because it’s such a different experience – tho’ less so at the start because I grabbed a few chairs at one end and pointed them at me and ended up with a real live audience for most of my first set, a few sitting, several standing to watch. But with no sound system and no mics and no cables, it’s a singularly raw experience – there’s nothin’ between you and them. And I sold a CD and a bunch of people took my miniflyers and I really need to put my actual concert dates on those things, don’t I? Damn, I need to get ahead of this curve!

Studio studio studio! It’s been another distracting week (particularly with power surges – it sounded like goddamn Old Star Trek in here during the last storm what with those rrRRRRvRRvvvRRvRRRR!! burning dynamo noises) but I have some more musics in the can, which is awesome.

There’s nothing new finished (sigh) but I’ve made some really good progress, particularly on “Shout at the Desert,” which I want to get on the website soon. It’s one of the songs from this past winter that I’ve moved forward onto Dick Tracy, mostly because, well, it’s kinda awesome. YEAH I SAID IT. I should just say “I’m really excited about it” or something but fuck that, it’s awesome, particularly when paired with “Stay Away,” which will also be on Dick Tracy.

I made room for these by deciding “Life in the Underground” really is an instrumental (it has lyrics, but fuck ’em, it’s better off without) and moved that and “The World Falls Down” (which was to be the second instrumental) onto Distractions, leaving Dick Tracy with just one, “Cascadia (How I Have Missed You).” The result will be a stronger and higher-energy album – “Life in the Underground” is kind of an old-school folk-dance tune with the slight rewrite I’ve given it since ditching the lyrics, but “The World Falls Down” is all introspective and contemplative, and thematically works but musically didn’t belong there, in the end.

I still like it, tho’, and you’ll still get it on Distractions. You can hear a little snippet of it that I stole for an extended outro on “Thought You Knew” – everything after the last line of lyric is borrowed and transposed from “The World Falls Down.”

Distractions is going to be more robust than I realised, I think. Originally it was gonna be pretty short, a real side-project kind of thing, but at this point… it’s getting kind of long. That’s not a bad thing.

NEXT CONCERT: June 1st, in Renton! See you at Renton Farmer’s Market at the Piazza for opening day! I don’t know what the stage is like but they have a PA for it. Stage time 5:30pm.

So how'd it go?

Artistically: pretty good. I’m difficult to please, but from behind the mic? I was happy with that. Despite the fact that I seem to have picked up a little bit of a head cold, I felt like I was in pretty good voice. I accidentally moved the bridge in Artefacts on the fly – I jumped to the chorus early and did kind of an improv mini-bridge instead. If you didn’t know the song, I don’t think you’d know. Also, live, I’m still playing my fast songs too fast.

I brought my minidisc recorder (anybody remember those? ^_^ ) to record off the speaker. What I got off that makes me feel pretty good about how I felt while playing; I was in pretty good voice – all up and down my range, really – and the instrument mix did sound good. So I can maybe trust my ears at this point.

Lesson of the day: Artefacts is a duet and I can’t ignore that. Having worked with it enough in the recording studio to really figure out how I should be playing it (and recording it that way for Sketchy Characters), trying to perform it solo just feels… odd. And wrong. Maybe I could do the second voice with some sort of microphone effects pedal. Would that be too weird?

Technical notes: The new-to-me sound equipment performed admirably. The basic sound balance coming out of the instrument preamps sounded really nice (thanks again, John!), so the venue sound guy and I left that output totally alone. He brought up the midrange on the vocal mic a little, then helped me make a couple of small graphic-EQ adjustments to deal with the cement floor and wooden roof of the gazebo (mostly a slight dip at 1khz, a hint of high-end trim, a little very-low-end punch down – picking up resonance, I think). I wish I’d written down his name! Thanks, sound guy with the one syllable first name I can’t remember but might have been Bill but probably isn’t! If you read this tell me your name and I’ll fix it!

My amp has separate monitor outs. I think they’re line level. I’m gonna see whether I can run that as a line in to a recorder of some sort and skip the microphone stage for live recordings.

Recording: Just as I was thinking, “wow, this sounds really good! Maybe I can release a couple of these as donation-or-free live downloads!” the player started belching up garbage. There are bad sectors all over the disc. I don’t have one intact song on the recording – not even enough to edit something together. I have enough to tell me what I sounded like, but the rest is useless.

Stupid minidisc. I’m so mad. I coulda had live tracks. p >_< q Audience reaction: I heard very good things from the venue manager, which is important because she's also the manager of the venue I'm playing in Renton, and the sound guy, and I spotted a couple of market vendors and several children bopping about, which is always a good sign. But I'm not the audience! And at least one of you were there! Possibly more, I don't know! Only one person from here introduced themselves. What'd you think? NEXT SHOW: June 1st, 2010: Renton, Washington! Renton Farmer’s Market at the Piazza. Opening day! Stage time 5:30pm. See you there!

Show reminder!

4-5pm, today! Kirkland Marina Park! It’s downtown, by the water, with the Wednesday Market! Come by!

Show tomorrow!

Busy getting ready for the show tomorrow. John Seghers came over and gave me a lot of help last night – he set up my instrument pick up pre-amps for me and made them sound very very tasty. Thanks John! Right now I’m taking a break from rehearsing and doing laundry and realising I really need to clean the birdcage and scrub down the kitchen sink. IT’S GLAMOUR I TELL YOU NOTHING BUT GLAMOUR

Don’t forget the new single!

<a href="">Thought You Knew by Crime and the Forces of Evil</a>

I’ve gotten a little private feedback on it that’s been really pretty good so far, except for one bit of commentary about how much my voice sucks. That kind of thing would be easier to deal with if I wasn’t so damn neurotic sometimes, by which I mean all the time, srsly. Y HLO THER INTERNET LET ME ADD 2 YR FACEBOOKS or something

Anyway! 4-5pm tomorrow (Wednesday May 12th), Marina Park, Kirkland. The weather’s looking pretty good. I know it’s during the workday, but anybody from here gonna be there?

Please enjoy a single!

I’m getting ready for my first show of the season, this Wednesday, May 12th, at Marina Park in Kirkland, Washington. My curtain time is 4pm, and it’s an hour show; basically one long set. It’s a completely new venue to me, so I’m quite nervous! I’ve got my setlist made up, though. I keep fiddling with it, but I’ve got the basic plan down.

To celebrate, I’ve decided to go ahead and release what I’ve been quietly circulating to a few people as “release candidate 1” of the first complete song off the forthcoming album Dick Tracy Must Die. Please enjoy “Thought You Knew” via Bandcamp! Clickie:

<a href="">Thought You Knew by Crime and the Forces of Evil</a>

As I’m typing this I don’t have any album art, or art for the single. But I’ll hope to fix that tomorrow, at least for the single – the album as a whole, well, those graphics can wait. ^_^

The day I can afford ProTools, I'm launching Ardour into space

Because I’ve just lost another night’s work to Ardour’s automation spontaneously corrupting, setting values to invalid numbers, and hanging or crashing, necessitating deletion of every goddamn piece of automation in the entire piece, and starting completely over, before it’ll just. not. hang.

It’s all I can do not to punch my fist right though the screen, it really is.

Wow, that really is forgiving, isn't it?

So now Kohaku and Summer both have pickups built in, which is an odd, odd thing, but they work pretty well so far and I’m setting up and labelling things for the summer show series. I also found a kokiriko! Finally! Not as cheap as the one I missed buying earlier, but not much more expensive, and it’s got a really nice sound to it, so as second chances go, it’s pretty good.

And I tested my SM58, finally. Little differences in behaviour between it and the 57 seem to make a massive difference in how my voice sounds over the PA. The 58’s little treble spike is exactly where I don’t want one in my vocals, and I guess the metal sphere keeps me at the right distance away from the diaphragm, and, well, yeah. It’s like it filters out a lot of the worst parts of my voice and blurs over a lot of the worst rough bits. Patrick Tewson of The Popular Monsters told me he loved how “forgiving” it was, but I wasn’t hearing it until now.

Maybe it’s also this PA, which does really good things to every vocal (mine and others) I’ve put through it, too. Either way, I like it.

cddb insinuates something…

…I’m told, via email:

Okay I finally got around to opening Sketchy Characters today, because I’m such a slacker with new music and ANYWAY I laughed so hard when my earnest CD-ripping software identified the CD as R. Kelly’s single “Fiesta.” Outbirds is apparently a remixed version with Jay-Z. You’re so connected to the rap scene! Hee hee hee.


BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! ^_^ I’m pretty sure I’m not actually trapped in the closet, but I have made fun of Scientology in front of John Travolta, so maybe that’s the connection.

And I hear from the sound of the lawyers outside that it’s time for a FREE PERSONALITY TEST! Better go! By the way – send help?


It’s official: I’ll be playing Centennial Park Amphitheatre in Redmond, Oregon on July 12th; a solo show, two sets starting at 1pm. It’s a new venue – they’re not even done building it yet! – so there aren’t pictures. This is where it’s going to be, though!

I’m all excited! I’ve never played this far south before and certainly never driven this far for a gig. It’s going to be an ADVENTURE! And scary. But awesome.

I would like to book another gig earlier that weekend in either Portland or Eugene, preferably Eugene. I’ve got crash space offers both places (thank you thank you thank you Andra and thank you thank you thank you Fred!) and if I’ve got one show I should surely have two, right? In an ideal world, I’d drive down to Eugene, do a show there, sleep, drive to Redmond, do the main show there, poke around at obsidian beaches that dragons left behind, then go up to Portland, sleep, do a smallish show there, and drive home after. Is that insane?

And btw, anybody got any connections at venues? ^_^

Oregon gig offer

I have an offer of a gig, in central Oregon, north of Bend, in a little town called Redmond. (Short story: I mailed the wrong Redmond, we figured it out, they listened to my stuff and are offering anyway.) It would be kind of awesome to take it, because it’d be the furthest away I’ve played other than Boston. But it’s nearly seven hours away by car, I don’t have lodging, and a hotel would be out of the question just because there’s no possible way to come even close to breaking even if I do that.

I didn’t expect to be facing this kind of dilemma this summer. Suggestions?

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