Musing, mutterings and music: the blog

Covering hippie powers 

Artwork by meltingplastic

Hey there, and happy 2019! 

I have lots of new songs coming down the musical conveyor belt, so keep checking back often and be sure to follow along on social media, Bandcamp and Spotify

First up is a cover of Car Seat Headrest's brilliant song, Destroyed By Hippie Powers from their 2016 LP, Teens of Denial.

Teens is a great record and topped many year-end lists in 2016, including mine. I love the production quality overall; the guitar sounds are vintage Steve Fisk (who produced the record) and Will Toledo's vocal delivery is absolutely masterful. 

Lyrically, Toledo is a songwriter who finds power in exposing personal vulnerabilities, which I think is a difficult thing to do. And that was another quality that drew me in to this LP. 

I read a quote from him that said he really strives to make records that people will want to come back to, time and again. That's a pretty hard feat in this current, all-access-music landscape, but I think he achieved his goal with Teens of Denial.

I started playing Destroyed By Hippie Powers on acoustic guitar not long after I heard it. I realize it's risky business covering songs you really admire, but I liked where it went in the studio, so I decided it would be a good one to kick off my releases this year. 

And ironically its now 50 years since, they say, the hippie movement peaked and died in that fateful year of 1969. That point isn't lost on me here either.

Listen on Bandcamp here:

Follow on Spotify here.

Apple Music is here.

Search out my cover of Destroyed By Hippie Powers on your fave digital streaming service.

Flying Vs and The Stand GTs: A quick trip to Seattle 

The Stand GT live at El Corazon/Funhouse, Seattle - January 12, 2019

Last weekend I had the honour of joining a bunch of old friends to make some pretty great music and play Seattle's Pop Punk Festival. This was year two of the fest, and it was such a blast.

There were so many amazing bands, including old friends The Smugglers, The Tranzmitors, Lisa Marr, The Subjunctives and The Young Fresh Fellows.

Our set was a hearty blast of Stand classics, that we whipped together two days before the show! Our old buddy Ean Hernandez (Sicko, Subjuctives) was kind enough to get us practice time in their killer space in Ballard, which we took full advantage of since the band hadn't been together since Beaus Oktoberfest in the fall. The dank and dirty punk rock hang reminded us so much of our days in our very own chicken coop, that we enjoyed our practice time in Seattle just about as much as the show!

While the Smugs and Tranzmitors always deliver a mind-blowing set, it was the legendary Young Fresh Fellows who took us all back and really dialed in and put on a rock and roll, power pop clinic!

Here is a clip of the end of the Smugs set...will this be their last song live ever?! Sure hope not!

Finally, a clip of our set, playing Into Downs:

The Minor Crime at Christmastime 

Christmas songs. Love them or hate them, it seems like every artist has taken a crack at one, or one too many. And so, year after year, this interesting pile of musical tripe grows and grows.

But it's tough, I think, to write a song on such an artistically rigid theme and still land in the ballpark without being downright annoying. When I hear of bands and artists covering Christmas songs, I can't help but think its a money grab. Then again, why not? Though we can't all be Mariah Carey (who, as of 2017, has reported to have made $60 million on her 1994 song about wanting stuff for Christmas), give the people what they want. Right? 

I'm not sure what ignited my desire for dabbling in this space, though I can confirm it was not about the money. About 10 years ago I challenged myself to write an original song for The Season' and the result was 'The Minor Crime At Christmastime'. After cranking out some humorous-only-to-me lyrics, I recorded a few home demos (cheekily calling one 'Breaking TVs at the dump version'), and one demo even landed on a split 7" on the 51F label.

I went on a run in the ensuing years, writing a few original Christmas songs and even shooting a early-iphone video for a song loosely about mooching an ex's meal plan at University. If you're wondering what audience I was shooting for, well, there wasn't one. Well, maybe outside of my family and friends who incidentally make ridiculous appearances in the video and still (I think) look it up on YouTube every year. It was fun. 

So this year, with my increased interest in the evil beasts that are streaming sites, I took another crack at my Christmas track that got me started messing around in this nutty genre...when I have a whack of better original songs I should probably be spending time on instead. 

I wonder if that's what Mariah thought at the time too? Probably not.

Lyrics:  

I heard you slurring Christmas songs  
To plastic reindeer on the lawn  
But you make angels sing  
With Winter hopes of Spring  
And spirits lifting  

Snowflakes sting inside my eyes  
And I can't sing to save my life  
When its Good King Wenceslas  
And the crime is senseless  
Then I'm not dreaming  

They illuminate my street  
And throw an empty stare at me  
So you say  
Let it slide, let it snow, let it die  
This Christmastime

And while we're at it, here's "I Saw Santa Sliding On A Cafeteria Tray", 1 minute and 33 seconds of pure Christmas magic:

 

Decide to Stay and Swim - Song #5: Whisper Astrologics 

Part of an ongoing series where I revisit 2003's record, Decide To Stay And Swim

I have a very clear memory of this song coming together and playing that part on acoustic guitar in my apartment. I remember wanting to keep the song simple, but slowly build as it went on. 

The lyrics are about a single song during a high school dance. It's an imagined take on the thoughts of two teenagers, struggling to understand the point of holding someone close during those fleeting moments and what it all means; would the dance lead to something more, or simply be a moment, lost in time. 

For the record, the song was 'Drive' by The Cars. 

Lyrics: 

Hold on: I think this song is ending 

So will you drive me home the next 10 years? 

And I wait as we lay down in traffic 

For the sounds with the meanings insincere. 

As you plan for your thoughts with astrologics 

To be sure of the paintings on the moon 

And the smell of your hair these last three minutes 

Spent our eternity too soon.

Here is the original version:

And here is the new acoustic version:

 

 

 

 

 

Decide to Stay and Swim - Song #4: She Floats Like Dizzy Sunshine 

Part of an ongoing series where I revisit 2003's record, Decide To Stay And Swim 

When I write songs, I usually have a few anchor stories in my head to propel me along. I can honestly say I have no recollection of any anecdotes in my life that relate to this song. Almost all of the imagery is made up in this case, which I think is rare for me. 

For the new acoustic version, I've decided to leave out the bridge, as I was never a fan in hindsight. 

For this one, I'll let the lyrics stand on their own: 

Lyrics: 

She floats like dizzy 

Sunshine and empty 

Aerosol containers on the moon. 

Save for wicked sisters 

Vaseline on blisters 

I can't hold a candle to her bloom. 

She's autumn leaves 

And almost drown 

But I know how sweet landlocked sounds 

She's campy queen 

And never wrong 

I guess I'll miss her when she's gone. 

She destroyed the notion 

That caked on suntan lotion's 

The only way to beat the Summertime 

Now she's open pastures 

Silent film disasters 

Getting every word exactly right. 

She's autumn leaves 

And almost drown 

But I know how sweet landlocked sounds 

She's campy queen 

And never wrong 

I guess I'll miss her when she's gone.

 

Here is the original version:

And here is the new, stripped down, acoustic version:

 

 

 

 

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