Friday, November 30, 2007

National Solo Album Month: The Get-Arounds

For those of you who may not have known (or read the updates), I decided to participate in National Solo Album Month 2007; the goal of which is to create a full length solo album in a month. The only rules are that the album must be at least 29:09 minutes long, can only contain 1 cover and has been written/recorded and performed by the solo artist.

I had already been writing songs as part of my song of the week exercise, but a 30 minute album in a month meant that I'd have to triple my current rate. What slows me down the most when I record is trying to figure out what to write songs about and my compulsive overdubbing tendencies (an old theory is that if you mask a crappy song with enough instruments it becomes good). To counter this I decided to pretend to be an oldies band with 4 members -- 2 guitarists, a bassist and a drummer. All four members could sing. This stopped too many overdubs (though I did add tambourine to almost every song and claps to a few). Also, being an oldies band meant that I could write every song about a girl.

All in all, I had a pretty good time doing this. I'm pretty happy with how the songs came out. I have to admit that in the 3rd week I got pretty sick of the routine of recording. For the most part it would take me between 30-75 minutes to write the song. Usually in the same night I'd try to record acoustic guitar and all the vocals. The next night I'd record guitar(s), bass and drums. It was pretty much always a 2-day process. This required me to come home from work, eat, record, watch a tv show, record some more, play mario galaxy and go to bed.

So anyway, without farther ado here is The Get-Arounds album: Get Around!

Get Around!

01. I can't be your friend

02. You make me feel alright

03. It's sunny again
I like 1/2 speed drums in the guitar solo on this song.

04. You know what I know
I think this may be one of my favorite songs I've ever recorded.

05. Whenever you're around
This is my least favorite on the album. If I had more time I would have replaced this one. The lyrics seemed clever before I went to bed, but seemed kind of dumb the next morning.

06. Set ourselves free
This song is (sort of) about George Michael and Maeby from Arrested Development.

07. Put your little hand in mine
Probably my second favorite on the album.

08. She doesn't see me

09. Since I met you
I actually cheated on this one. There are 5 vocal parts in the chorus. This is the only song I cheated on. Also, I did the "Get Around" part in this before deciding on a band name. The name was suggested by Curt who had not heard this song.

10. Looking out my window
This one is a little strange, but I feel like it really has an oldies sound to it.

11. What means everything
This one was inspired by black Friday....

Bonus Tracks
As I said, I got pretty sick of doing this at one point. When I got up to 10 songs, I recorded a cover just so I knew that even if I didn't try anymore I would be done. Eventually I recorded 2 mores songs which replaced the cover and the second song I wrote:
I've gotta know now
I wrote this one while I was raking leaves. This was when I expected to be a 60's garage band, not a 60's pop band. I realized my voice didn't work and was happy to keep this off the album.

Purple Toupee -- by They Might be Giants
I have no idea why I choose to cover this song. It didn't turn out very well.

So that's it. I'd be very interested to hear any comments you have on this. Which songs you like, which ones you don't. Does it sound anything like a 60's band? How are the mixes (I can't decided if the vocals are too loud/quiet)?

Thanks for listening...


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

kuma's rock and roll selection vol. 1

i guess it has almost been 2 years since miyoko took the clear cd that comes at the top of a cd spindle and decorated it with the album title "kuma's rock and roll selection vol. 1". the 4 songs titles she came up with were all summaries of long, involved stories that we made up for our bear, kuma (except for maybe #2). "i like salmon" deals with kuma being brought up in alaska before moving south (he didn't eat seals like all his polar bear friends). broken bike is the story of kuma's perpetually broken motor cycle (which, when running, he sometimes goes on rides with robert schneider of the apples in stereo).

at some point, i thought it would be fun to actually record the cd and give it to miyoko as a present (from kuma, of course). it took me about 6-7 months to actually get around to doing it (i did the songs on the 2 nights a week miyoko worked for about a month), but was pretty happy with how they all turned out. then i got some pictures of kuma running the board during the sessions to make a cd jacket.

here for the first time for the world to enjoy is kuma's rock n' roll selection vol. 1 (contrary to what is written above, all songs are written, recorded and produced by kuma. they are performed by ricky)

01. I like Salmon
02. My little sister, Haruko.mp3
03. Broken Bike
04. Working is Tough.mp3

Update: Kuma's Rock and Roll Selection vol. 1 + a bonus song is now available through WeePOP! Records! The cd includes amazing screen printed art work/story book by our buddy todd!

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Monday, September 03, 2007

song of the week

about 3 years ago i became an uncle. in about a week or so i'll become an uncle again. i wrote a song for my niece when she was born...and i have plans on doing that again for niece #2. but instead this week i wrote another song for niece #1. the song is about lisa becoming a big sister and here it is:

big sister

this song is a little strange to me because i wrote the post-verse to be a chorus, then decided that lyrically it didn't work as chorus. i wrote another chorus and started recording the song. after recording most of it, i decided that the chorus sounded weird after the post verse, and took it out (leaving the short instrumental part after the post verse). i left the "new" chorus as the outro, and think that works ok. but i think an ok song would have been a lot better if had written a new chorus and re-recorded the song. sorry lisa.

if you are interested, here is the song i wrote when lisa was born. for some reason i guess i've decided that songs for small children should have bell intros.

you can do great things


Sunday, August 26, 2007

song of the week #3

ughh..i think i could have spent a week mixing this one. i'm not really happy with the way the levels came out...but the point of me doing this isn't to have perfect mixes. regardless i think i'll probably do something with a few less instruments next week. so far my favorite song is the first one i did...without a doubt the most simple.

anyway, this one is called you're wrong.


Monday, August 20, 2007

song of the week #2

here is the second installment to song of the week. i'm not sure what i think of this one. it sounded pretty good on acoustic, but once i recorded it and added all the parts it kind of sounds like a big mess.

but since i'm doing one a week i don't have time to worry about it.

i still haven't found what i'm looking for


Sunday, August 12, 2007

song of the week

About a month ago I was somewhat motivated by a couple of sites to stop being overly-critical of everything that i record and just start recording. Mostly by song-a-day where someone wrote a song a day for 30 days (on 3 different occasions) and one song everyday where someone wrote a song a day for a year(!).

I'm a little less ambitious and will try to do a song a week. That's better than nothing, right? So here is the first one:

leave me alone