Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chapter 2

Upon arriving back at work today, my co-worked asked if the record is done. Well, yes, in some aspects, but really, finishing mixing doesn't feel like much of an accomplishment. It's just a step toward the completion of the whole deal. In fact, it's a very minor occurrence in a long, twisted process that still must unfold. Here's what we're looking at...

-As long as everyone is happy with the mixes, we need to all listen to the tracks and figure out what songs make the cut -- we'll meet with Todd and trade notes next week
-Once that's done, we determine an order
-While we've bandied about a few names, we have yet to settle on a mastering engineer. So figuring out who will master the record is big
-Then, naturally, we master this sucker in that order and with those songs
-Again, we've bandied about a bunch of possible album titles, but are far from agreeing on anything. So, we need to come up with a title for the record (and no, it can't be "Title of Record")
-Figuring out some artwork is always my least favorite part of the process, as it is a multiple-part process in and of itself (determing whose design we'll use and we all like, writing text for the liner notes, making sure all the credits are right, proofreading the text again and again, finding a printer and printing format we like [although I think we'll use the same format that I took with my solo record], and finally proofing the copies from the printers multiple times)
-Print the record and allow Creamer a few months to work his magic before we actually release it, as I discussed in the last post
-Start planning a record release party, a fall tour, promotion, etc. Plenty on tap...

Either way, this is just the end of Chapter 1 of this record. Now comes the real test of endurance.

Anyhow, the band is taking a little break after our show in Delaware this weekend, and getting in some (cold) beach time down south. Either way, I think after a particularly bleak winter, it's been earned. And maybe it's a reward for finishing mixing, too...

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tunnel vision

Day 2 at Woolly Mammoth Studios in Waltham, Massachusetts, of what will hopefully be the last of the days of mixing this record. Not that I don't enjoy hanging out with Todd and Dave and Jeff, but it's getting a tad bit expensive. OK, we crossed that bridge long ago. Now, it's just piling up. I know there is some resistance within the band of this record coming out in August or September, all of which I full understand. At the same time, I trust Creamer and if he says he wants three months after the record is completely done (mixed, mastered, printed) to put it in the right hands, I'm happy giving him that. We owe it to ourselves to do this the right way. Patience is still king.

Anyhow, yesterday, I spent the first half of the day with Mike, and the latter half with Matt. We finally finished the harmony and mixing of "Nothing From You" (which now may be taking the name "Glory Son" or something along those lines), and Dave Minehan took a stab at some guitar and harmony vocals on "Seek Cover." All in all, we achieved a more minimal vibe on "Seek Cover," which I think suits the song, rather than the original, organ-heavy approach. Both songs certainly rock. We also touched up "Lights On" for its close-up, and got the guitar tone back to its original dirty sound (which just meant reversing the effects of EQing the track). A decent day's work.

Today, we reviewed yesterday's work to make sure we weren't konked out of our gourds, and it all sounded pretty nice, save a few minor changes here and there. Now, we've spent the past few hours giving "Madeline" new life, as the whole track sounded a bit sparse to Todd and I. Oddly enough, this means MORE organ in many parts -- the only organ yours truly has ever played in the studio. I'm fine with it. It's got a cotton candy creepy vibe, like a haunted house. Still to come: minor tweaks to "Golden Fleece" and "Ordinary Girls." With that, we should be ready to master (fingers crossed...).

Anyhow, last we talked, the band was heading down to Brooklyn to play the enormous Music Hall of Williamsburg with our boys, Superdrag, and former local fellas, Aberdeen City. The trip to New York with bizarre. For some reason, we always have the hardest time drawing people to our largest, best-sounding shows in New York. Well, wait, I probably know the reason. This was on Easter/Passover weekend and cost twice as much as our normal shows. Still, it was a good time. We rolled in late, hung in our dressing room for a while, and finally did a line check to an empty room. "OK, guys, see you in 10 minutes," the sound guy says. Turns out, he wasn't joking. We went on to a mostly empty room, but those that were there definitely were kind. By the end, the room had probably filled to about 50 people. But when the room holds 500+, it feels like nothing. Either way, even Superdrag had trouble, with a smaller than usual crowd and some sound difficulties. We partied (too hard) and screamed throughout the set about Tom Pappas "letting the cotton candy fly" (which I'm hoping will catch on -- he has a big 'fro). The Superdrag guys, by the way, are too kind to us. Just good Southern folk who don't judge us for getting crazed. I love their music, too, you know. Matthew Caws of Nada Surf was on hand, too, by the way, and Matt and Scott approached him. Apparently, they kept their cool. Scott's not so sure.

Anyhow, I took it easy over the last couple of hours before the show ended, and after Creamer failed to get us into his hotel, we decided to drive back. But first, we'd stop at a famous New York diner we figured. Passed an open deli, but Scott wanted to sit, so we followed Matt's GPS to a CLOSED diner. Then another. Then we gave up on finding the original deli and went to a McDonald's in Connecticut. I ate a donut. We also exited the highway in Greenwich, Ct., straight into some dude's yard, where all four of us exploded from the car and proceeded to urinate at 3 a.m. in the rain. No harm, no foul. We rolled into Boston at 5:30 a.m. feeling fine.
SET LIST: Ordinary Girls / Lights On / Don't Get Me Wrong / Golden Fleece / Seek Cover / Cedar / Shotgun Wedding / Shine a Light

The next night proved the hazards of live recording. The pressure got to us. Maybe. Or possibly the excitement of being back at The Paradise in front of a hometown crowd with one of our favorite bands. Either way, it added up to a subpar performance that is magnified because we shelled out some big bucks to record it. Thinking that we had been sounding good lately and would want to document that live energy, we bandwagoned onto a live recording that Superdrag had set up (to split costs) and ended up blowing it, fairly big time. "Shotgun Wedding" fell apart at the end, "Shine a Light" completely lost time during the guitar solo, "Madeline" was played lightning fast, "Cedar" and "Golden Fleece" both got off to rocky starts. But why dwell on such temporary mistakes? I've listened to the live recording, Matt and I had a big fight, but it's all in the past now. No harm, no foul -- just like peeing on that guy's lawn. Just a few hundred bucks down the drain. If we can salvage 1-2 tracks perhaps it'll be worth the money, and that doesn't seem unreasonable.

Either way, the night was a lot of fun outside of the temporary embarrassment of a botched opportunity. The guys from Mic Harrison and The High Score are as cool a band as we may have ever played with (and awesome to boot) and again, we were playing with F-ing SUPERDRAG. How could it not rule? Also, the place was surprisingly full, especially compared with the night before, but considering it was Easter Eve, I was shocked. A lot of fine folks came out, and we ended up having a lot of fun. Plus, I felt like a big shot when I jokingly asked Paradise security guy Mike to get rid of our drunk friend Casey because he was "bothering us." He picked up on the joke, and really roughly grabbed Casey and dragged him out. It ruled. So, see, all's well that ends well.
SET LIST: Ordinary Girls / Lights On / Don't Get Me Wrong / Golden Fleece / Seek Cover / On the Lam / Madeline / Cedar / Shotgun Wedding / Shine a Light

Before the show, there was a bit of press from our old pal at Ryan's Smashing Life, with some nice comments below it:
Fresh off a very successful SxSW Music Festival appearance (a definite buzz band and the subject of much twittering) in Austin last month, Superdrag are touring the land to support their new album, Industry Giants. Their battle wagon rolls into Boston tonight for a gig over at the Paradise where we expect they will find more than ample support from local rockers Cassavettes - who are more than capable to make a roomful of noise on their own. Expect to be thoroughly entertained!

Plus, Bostonist gave us some good lovin':
Boston's Cassavettes are supporting along with Mic Harrison & the High Score from Superdrag's hometown. Both bands are serving steaming cups of twangy rock. We've heard Cassavettes crank the roots-to-rock ratio up and down as it fits their mood, but the band always delivers the goods.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Good vibrations

A bit of press (surprisingly) came from the two shows last week -- Taste of the Nation at the Hynes Convention Center and the show at the Vixen in Provincetown. Local blog Bostonist reviewed the food show, and gave Cassavettes a thumbs up. Check it out (this via Chris)...

Behind the din of clanging pans, sizzling food, and people having a great time were the melodies of Cassavettes, a young Boston-based band. The band was up on a stage at the back of the convention hall and surrounded by, well, food coma tables. You could see people drifting in and out of seats throughout the night, pausing to enjoy the music and contemplate if they had reached the limits of their stomachs. The addition of live music to this event made it extra special and the band was really a great choice, their upbeat music kept the crowds awake and flowing throughout the evening.


To make matters even better, a DJ from the Provincetown radio station WOMR liked the band and gave us some spins on Sunday night. He wrote an email to the promoter, "I really dug CASSAVETTES they were sure some good jingle jangle power pop. I played them on Sunday night's show. All good stuff." We should definitely look into doing an in-studio thing there when we go back for the festival this July with Presidents of the United States of America.

Finally, best of all, I completed my taxes last night. Thanks to the married one-two punch of Mr. and Mrs. Motion Sick/Blitzkrieg Bliss for their kind advice!

Want to win tickets to see us play with Superdrag and Aberdeen City in Brooklyn this weekend at the Music Hall of Williamsburg? All you have to do is ask bass player Tom Pappas a really good question. Click here for details.

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Back in action

My blogging has really taken a hit lately. For one, I have not done a great job with set list archiving (which is the bread and butter of the blog). For another, I just haven't blogged much. Well, I'll try to be better, but in these rocky times for my place of employment, it may be tough to find the time. That said...

We played two shows over the last few days, one of them a three-set barnburner at the Hynes Convention Center for Taste the Nation, a restaurant-sampling event, and the other a better-than-expected show in Provincetown. The restaurant show was delicious, which you can't say about many shows. We ate our way through a couple of those sets, as some kind souls brought us various pastries onstage. Between sets, we roved table to table, sampling wines and barbecue and all sorts of good stuff. It finally gave me a chance to taste Blue Ribbon BBQ and Jake's Dixie Roadhouse, and put them plate-to-plate with Redbones BBQ. I'm proud to say Redbones still emerged the winner, which is satisfying to know that all my time spent there hasn't been for naught. We were paid in food, in the biggest way possible, and we literally rolled out of the gig. All in all, pretty darn tasty.

The strange thing about this Provincetown show was that we went in with fairly low expectations and came out with rave reviews, thanks to some 11th hour repositioning. A beach show on a rainy Saturday night out of season? Things didn't look good from the get-go, save some fun airhockey action beforehand. But by the time we went onstage -- actually, the MOMENT we took the stage -- signs of life sprang forth from the room, first in small cheers, then larger ones. Eventually, it was an all-out dance party, with some leg-lifting action among the frontline of Mike, Scott, and I (there was a cool rise to the front of the stage, where we could prop up our legs). The crowd was feeling it so much that the lead singer of the headliners asked us to do another song, which we were more than happy to deliver. It felt good. By the time headliners and all-around cool dudes Squidda took the stage, people were in party mode and dancing like I've never really witnessed. For measure, Scott's moves fit in fine amongst the locals.
SET LIST: Ordinary Girls / Lights On / Don't Get Me Wrong / Golden Fleece / Madeline / Cedar / I Come From the Water / Shine a Light / Shotgun Wedding

Anyhow, big shows this weekend with big names: Superdrag. Aberdeen City. Mic Harrison & The High Score. It's going to be nuts. There's a chance that we'll pull out a BIG surprise. No confirmation yet, though. Just make sure you don't miss it.

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