Good Dog Argus & Agents of Marque

So... it's been over a year since I've posted here and, looking back on it, I'm vaguely embarrassed by a lot of the musical stuff I've posted previously on this blog, but I wanted to share a couple things that are actually good.

The first one is a demo track I wrote for my puppydog, which is probably the best demo I've ever recorded. It's based on Chapter 17 of Homer's Odyssey, of all things.

Good Dog Argus (mp3)

The other thing is that my band finally has a MySpace site with tracks and stuff.

Agents of Marque on MySpace

Yeah, we're getting our act together just as I'm preparing to leave for Seattle, but we have some vague plans of continuing our musical collaboration long-distance, so we'll see how that goes.

Track Attack

So a bunch of musical tidbits to post.

First, this little snippit just came to me yesterday. Look Alex up on wikipedia. Pirate-fighting governor of Virginia when it was a crown colony.

Alexander Spotswood (mp3)

I'm back, so you best be leaving, son
pirate, Robert Louis Stevenson
beard black, doing things nobody should
blockade running, dodging Alexander Spotswood

[EDIT: New verses to be added later]

watch out, governor's come to hang ya
so he can retire out to Spotslyvania, danger
Will Robinson Crusoe, mighty glad I knew you
better stop drinking and shake off the stupor

I run rum from Charleston to Virginia Beach
take notes 'cause I'm about to Edward Teach
Queens's Revenge struck Beaufort Inlet, I was in it
'fore I split the scene in the sloop John B.

Then an updated version of the last track I posted:

Resurrection of the Dead 2 (mp3)

Then a Jay Clifford / Jump Little Children song that I recorded to congratulate Mel and John on getting engaged:

By the Way They Dance (mp3)

Then a vocal demo of my Mega Man operetta:

200X demo (mp3)

The Resurrection of the Dead

We went to Guitar Center yesterday, looking at equipment to use with the Zendrum when it arrives (drum machines and drum midi software) and amplification equipment. It sounds like we may just plug the Zendrum into a laptop, which could cut down costs (no drum hardware) and put everything through a PA system. We also went to this sweet bubble tea + sandwich shop next to BU. Exciting stuff, in general.

This song came to me in the shower this morning. Whereas "Lights Out" is kinda Squirrel Nut Zippers + Dave Matthews + Jump Little Children (NC & VA music represent!), this one is more Sufjan Stevens + Iron Maiden gallop + talking blues. It's also about the end of the world, making it about as melancholy as "Lights Out."

The Resurrection of the Dead (mp3)

If Mel and John like it, I might see about arranging it for the band. The first thing you hear is the lead, which Mel could do on keyboard, but it needs to be expanded to cover the rest of the track.

Band Update

Had a good band meeting on Friday. Looks like we're going to be working over two songs from the Minusworld catalogue (the previous band that Mel + John did), but focusing mostly on new stuff. It also looks like Mel's going to playing a lot more accordion that we originally planned, since we really, really dig the sound. I dig the song concepts that John and Mel came up with and they gave me good feedback on "Lights Out," so we're gonna plan on moving forward on all of those.

I ordered my Zendrum, which is going to be custom made in Nintendo grey to look like ye old schoole video game machine. Should be here in about 30 days. The entire band is going to go drum machine shopping soon, hopefully looking at vintage machines or new machines that mimic older machines. We want that retro, low-fi drum sound, like an NES, old Casio keyboard, or Roland TR-808.

In the meantime, I redid the recording of "Lights Out," adding better drums, a second verse, and trading in the trance keyboard sound for an organ, which sounds a bit more accordion-like. Check it out.

Lights Out 2 (mp3)

We still don't have a band name. Apparently coming up with the name for Minusworld was a royal pain in the ass and Mel and John are kinda hesitant about going through that again. I told them I didn't care, so hopefully it won't be as big of a pain this time.

New Band Project

First post in a while. I've been mostly focusing on my game-related stuff over at One Thousand One and being busy with work.

Mel D-C, John Fraley, and I have been fiddling around with a possible new band project. The basic idea is to do John on bass, Mel on keys, vocals, and (possibly) accordion, and me backing them up with some beats, possible on a Zendrum controller. We haven't really got a style nailed down (because we don't have any songs yet), but we're thinking about slower-but-danceably-funky trip-hop as a starting point, and Mel wants to make sure we can still rock out occasionally. All in all, should be fun.

We've been fiddling with some stuff individually and tonight's the first time we're going meet to bring stuff together. So far, this is my entry:

Lights Out (mp3)

It's an old school jazz vocal line paired with a trip-hoppy bass and Hong Kong dance-pop keyboard riff. In the background there's some hambone leg-slapping that I put through an 8bit filter. The lyrics, which I made up on the spot when I recorded it, are some over-the-top metaphors about night falling. All in all, kinda fun, I thought. I sent it to John and Mel, but haven't heard anything back, so maybe they hate it. Anyway, I'm sure we'll pick it apart tonight and come up with some better stuff. Can't wait to see what they've been cooking.

Emo on the Banjo

In yet another of my band-projects-that-may-never-get-off-the-ground, Dev and I may be forming a Coheed & Cambria bluegrass cover band: The Good-Eyed Snipers.

Here's a demo I made of A Favor House Atlantic (mp3) transposed to G, the most country of all keys.

Oh, and here's a more kickass version of the Counting Crows' Angels of the Silences (mp3), also in a kind of alt-country style, with me playing the banjo like a guit-fiddle.

The Other Jon Edwards

Before John Edwards, the man born to be Vice President, there was Jonathan Edwards, a crucial part of the California Country Rock sound that included folks like Loggins & Messina and the Eagles. And iTunes finally got his catalog and $4 of my money instantly. I highly recommend:

- Everybody Knows Her
- Athens County
- Sunshine (the one you've probably heard before)
- Stop and Start It All Again (mislabled on iTunes, it's the first track on his second album)

These songs are as good as any alt country ever written. Classics.

Speaking of, if you don't already own Loggins & Messina's Sittin' In, it's never too late. It's busier and less "pure" than Edwards' stuff, but every track is gold.

Um, Yes Please

The Gorillaz have written an opera, sung in Mandarin, based on Journey to the West.

"Pop reviewers aren't normally called upon to assess operas sung in Mandarin. But this is no ordinary piece of classical Chinese theatre. For Monkey: Journey to the West is a tumbling, cross-genre, French-German-produced circus show-cum-quest caper designed by Tank Girl creator Jamie 'Gorillaz' Hewlett and scored by Damon Albarn, occasionally of Blur (who, incidentally, are rumoured to be reforming, having coaxed Graham Coxon back on board), more successfully of Gorillaz, and most recently of the Good, the Bad & the Queen. So it's a pop job."

"Indeed, in interviews, Albarn has said he wants people to think of this as Gorillaz's latest project, not least because he wants their fans to see it. Everyone involved in this project - Albarn, Hewlett, director Chen Shi-Zheng, conductor André de Ridder, the actors, the Theatre Du Chatelet, the Manchester International Festival - is fishing for kudos outside their comfort zone."


Read the rest of the review.

(Thanks to GMS for the link.)

Edit: Youtube Video clip.