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Foolishly, since this site was down from November to last week, I missed one of those ‘journaling from the studio’ opportunites wherein I could offer my timeless insights on recording three songs with my friends, Ryan and Todd. We convened for the annual “Christmas Single” the weekend before Christmas. I taught Todd the songs one-by-one. We tracked drums and acoustic guitar live and then added the other instruments. Todd and Ryan claimed to enjoy greatly the whole experience. The songs are simple and I gave them free reign to play whatever they liked. Todd played piano on two of the tracks — “Work is Over” and “It’s Like Basketball” — though on the latter we eliminated the piano in the mix.

They were hastily mixed. “Basketball” — a song I’ve always been unsure of — became a song I’ll probably be unhappy with for a long time. The vocal melody wasn’t as arranged and rehearsed as I like to be so there were a lot of punch-ins and outs. I played the bass after many unsatisfactory attempts by Todd. In the end the song probably didn’t need a bass, but you get in that frame of mind thinking you need a bass and it’s hard to get off that track. Soon, I’ll put up mp3s of “Work is Over” and “It’s Christmas Baby.”

I went down to Radio Cafe last night to see Dean’s new band, The Fall City Angels. They pretty much kicked ass. There’s an abundance of bands around re-embracing 70s metal, but few whose lead singer is imposing enough for you to take them seriously. They’re kind of sludgy – like the Queens of the Stone Age – and slightly tongue-in-cheek, but never cheesy or over serious. I definitely enjoyed the set.

The Bubblegum Complex played last. It was my first time seeing them with the new drummer and guitarist. In a review for the Rage, I said “The BGC need to take some chances (and that doesn’t mean just getting louder or more unruly)….” They are not following my parenthetical prescription. They still show promise but it’s like they’re moving in twenty different directions — compact pop band or rambling Pavement-esque grungers? They need to figure out what they do best and hone that.

Dean told me he’s recording 5 songs for them. I wonder if he’ll be able to lock them down into what they need.

Doug gave me a copy of the 7″ that we recorded for the Clutters. I haven’t heard it yet (no record player hooked up). But I anxiously await its goodness. I’ve never even heard the mastered versions of the songs.

One final observation for this post in case she’s reading: As I reassembled the past entries to this weblog, I noticed many times where Ms. Erin Kemp talked a whole bunch of smack to me about ping-pong and then only played one game against me. (That I won most is irrelevent) So here’s your challenge in print, Kemp: Next time we play, it’s a whole series. There’s no “I have to go” excuse.