Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How to Explain an Album... (Side 2)

I figure we'll pick up right where we left off...

Blacklight Serenade Part 2:
     This was a completely different song from the aforementioned "Part 1", and really their only similarities are in regard to a few lyrical connections. Overall, this was to be the true soft moment on the album, (in the vein of "Failing Street" on the Reland EP).
      We had Bryan Daste record some banjo on the song, and even threw in a mid-section for a sort of banjo solo. Since pedal steel would be the obvious addition to this song in feel, I specifically decided that we would steer clear of the obvious instrumentation - and have a different instrument that we hadn't had on record before. Thus, the banjo on this song.

Secret History:
     I've come to the understanding that every album session, (for me, anyway), seems to have one unfinished song. That's not to say that the song isn't completed for listening, it's that the so-called "artistic vision" of the song wasn't fully realized. "Secret History" is that song for me.
    With a lyrical lean towards the early/mid 70's Kinks, this song morphed from a palm-muted rocker to a strange little pop song. I'd initially made a suggestion that it'd be cool to have a mellotron on the song, and in the magic of production we did just that.
     However, when all was said and done, (after drums recorded, in the midst of mixing), it didn't quite turn out how I'd imagined it. That's not to say I dislike the song, it's just that there's still stuff I want to do to it. But at this point it's a bit late, and it is what it is.
     On the other hand, a song like "Secret History" does translate well into the live setting - sounding a bit different form the record but retaining the clear recognition of the original. So, as we schedule out more shows, this one will definitely be popping up in our setlists.

Where's My Soul?:
      This song dates back to an early incarnation of our band and is still floating around the interwebs in it's premature form off our first demo album.  Another example of a song that I felt was unfinished all those years ago, and that we revived for this album.
       This version of the song is pretty much perfect in my opinion. Andy's more rhythmic approach gives the song a better feeling of movement, under the piano and guitars. My favorite part, of course, is the guitar solo. We spent a good chunk of time ironing out the solo for this one, and after a number of takes, finally got what we needed.  This was the hardest solo to record for the record, but it turned out perfect, (in my opinion, of course).

Nothing Fades:
      In the mixing notes I gave to Bryan Daste for this song, I stated that I wanted it to sound like Television's "Marquee Moon" album, and I would have to say that it turned out exactly as planned.
      I love the fact that all the guitars sound nice and warm but also very clean, and not over-loaded with distortion.  And again, the other solo that I'm most proud of on the record, slowly composed and organized over a few weeks.  This solo was specifically recorded on my Epiphone Flying-V and using my Vox AC-15.

No One's Home:
       This song is my favorite one on the album - and the one I'm most proud of.
       When I started writing this song, I'd been listening to a lot of Can albums and the Neu discography - this should easily explain the krautrock comparisons that it may receive. I had always planned to have the first part of the song quiet and calm, and then have the last half of the song be driven by a motorik beat. Obviously, this idea for a song has been done before, using the same influences, I assume - (see: early Stereolab, or Wilco's "Spiders (Kidsmoke)" for reference)...
         Again, the pedal steel part was provided by Bryan Daste, and the last half/outro of the song was a jam specifically arranged and created in the studio. The intention for the outro jam was also to have a song that we could play live and make it any length we wanted.  However, in the recording setting, you don't want to make it boring for the listener, thus we kept the outro down to about 4 minutes or so.

Rock and Roll Life:
        Another song that has existed in demo form since around 2006, with some intermittent live performances of it.
        The intention of this song was to have a cool, psychadelic burnout at the end, with a multitude of noises jostling the listener. A mixture of the discordant and some bit of melody to end the song. This song idea came from 2 sources: the first Pink Floyd album, and the Flaming Lips' "You Have To Be Joking (Autopsy of the Devil's Brain)".
          This song is also "the little song that could" from the mixing sessions. The explanation for that reference is because on the first day of mixing, the noisy outro part sounded underwhelming, while the first part of the song felt... well... bland upon first listen, with only the acoustic drums, guitar and vocals.
          I went the next day and recorded a quick lead guitar part, with the full intention of reversing it - thinking we could add the backwards guitar to the track during the outro. I also recorded a small spoken word segment, that I distorted slightly and reverbed out through a little Orange guitar amp. I handed these small recordings over to Bryan Daste for the final day or so of mixing, and also requested a possible filter on the drum track in the first portion of the song - I used Radiohead's "The National Anthem" as an example of the drum sound that might make the track.
          After the new tracks were mixed in, and the weird synth and keboard parts in the outro were even more reworked - the final mix was there, and it sounded, (to me), light years from the original. And I felt confident again in this song, and that it was definitely worthy of being on the album.

And thus concludes the write-up of our album... Remember - You can purchase "From A Transistor  Radio" via the following retailers: iTunes,, CDBaby.
   You can also check it out on Spotify....

No comments: