Laying low in the highlands

I’m super proud to have mastered this first single from what is sure to be the album of the year, for my good friend and now far too infrequent bandmate, Perry Serpa, who seems to be an inexhaustible well of infinitely hummable melodies and insightful lyrics (damn him).

Go listen:

Very Pleasant Neighbor, or Music was better in the 80’s

I was recently asked to pull some tracks together from a long ago digitized cassette done in (I think) some old version of Audacity.  Fun on a bun, but I managed.

The band is called Very Pleasant Neighbor and if you don’t know them (and you don’t)… you should.

I didn’t want to do too much.  Some de-noising when absolutely necessary, resolved some L/R balance issues, some EQ and  track to track volume matching.

Here is the link and following that is lead singer and my longtime friend/bandmate Gideon Kendall’s take on it.

 

From Gideon Kendall:

Back in the day, ’88-93 approx., I was in a band called Very Pleasant Neighbor. I started the band with Austin Hughes while we were in art school (we were a VERY art school band). I wrote the words. Austin wrote the music and played guitar, and the songs were arranged by the band which also included:

Patty Hughes (banjo, vocals),
Jean Rodd (bass, vocals),
Edward Francis Gormley (drums, sawblades, electric drill, etc.)
Chris Urbanic (bass).

We were noisy, fast, surreal and ridiculous. We put on a good show. I was the front man/lead singer, despite the fact that everyone else in the band could sing better than I could (Jean sang our more melodic and accessible tunes). I sound positively prepubescent on these recordings. I won’t lie, it’s emotional to rediscover these tracks. This band was the most important thing in my life during this time. It was hard for me when this phase ended. The band went on without me and changed direction. I moved on to other bands: Mess, Fake Brain, Cooling Pies, The Ditty Committee, and worked with amazing musicians who turned into life long friends (Kevin Lacroix, Marc Friedlander, Andrew Solin, James Pertusi, Dan Gottesman, Bob Byrne, Lee Patrick and others) but I think I was always chasing the magic of the time documented in these recordings. Another important thing about this band: without it I never would have gotten my longtime crush and eventual wife Julie Peppito to pay any attention to me.

Originally released by Douglas Wolk on his Dark Beloved Cloud label.

Thanks to Chris Rael for unearthing the bonus track and special thanks to James Pertusi for digitally remastering these very old and hissy artifacts.

New music, old band… er… Old music, new band… I’m not sure.

 

I mixed Blue Velvet Traces for Lenny Zenith’s Pop Combo at my private studio The Whelping Box a while back when humans could be in the same room together. Although most of the humans were in a room together at Blue Velvet Studio in New Orleans.

Mastered in NYC by Justin Ethan Mathews

I’m rumored to have played some guitar here and there and do my typical caterwauling thing in the background in bits as well. My old and dear friend Andrew Solin in Austin, TX sprinkles his guitar magic on it as well.

 

Bass…

I have not had the will or desire to string 3 notes together in a long while.

That has somehow changed (Cabin fever? Injecting too much disinfectant? Lack of fresh pignoli nuts?)

It begins…

 

 

meat

Long overdue upgrades…

Finished the long term project I was working on (more on that later).

Taking this self isolation time to get a few things done.

  • New SSD drive for the shop Mac (less noise, less heat)
  • Upgrading OS
  • Upgrading Protools to resolve a midi issue (in record mode midi often does not acknowledge the release of the sustain pedal)
  • New air purifier!!!
  • Oh and…

tama

Analog… again

Well… The Whelping Box is an analog shop again!!!

I pulled Fake Brain’s old 8 track out from under my friend’s stairs and had Bob Shuster clean it up.  It’s in remarkably good shape considering what we used to put it through.

The 2ch I bought and it’s also in great shape (although it’s calibrated at +9 s0 I’ll need to deal with that).

tape

 

Kindling For The Fire

I have not thought about this record in a long while.

In 2005 a fellow engineer, Andrew Solin, referred Katie to me as he was busy.

Katie and I and her band holed up in a soon to be torn down, once lived in by Orson Welles, 200 yards from Bjork’s house old bungalow on the Hudson and recorded this record.

In reality I was more of an assistant engineer to Riley McMahon, but it was good work, a great record came of it and it was a hell of a lot of fun. I wore a gnome hat for most of it.

Kindling For The Fire by Katie Elevitch