Pavement Hugging Daddies EP (2004)
more of an afterthought than a stopgap thing, this is the beginning of what BRAND NEW SHINY LIE was initially supposed to become. while the sound quality isn’t quite as pristine as i would have liked it to be, i think the songs make up for it. this is one of my more consistent twenty-minute bursts, give or take fifteen seconds, though i don’t care much for we are the happy rabbits anymore.
this was almost entirely recorded before NUDGE YOU ALIVE was underway, but released after. there’s a perfectly good explanation for it, though. the original plan was to kick off a guitar-based cd with feel-good film of the summer, and a piano-based cd with puppet shoot puppet. then i realized i’d botched a whole mess of songs at the recording stage (half of the songs on NUDGE YOU ALIVE and almost all of the songs here), capturing them at significantly lower-than-optimal quality.
then i decided to throw everything together on a double cd that would become BRAND NEW SHINY LIE.
then i decided that these songs didn’t fit in with the properly-recorded ones, and thought i’d keep them separate.
then i considered remixing them in an attempt to improve the sound quality, months after NUDGE YOU ALIVE was finished.
then i decided i didn’t feel like it and just threw them on a cd as they were.
so this is kind of a glimpse of what BRAND NEW SHINY LIE was originally intended to be, before i messed up and starting excreting music from every pore. make sense? of course it does.
i tried re-recording puppet shoot puppet a month or two later at the optimal recording level, but the sonically-flawed version maintained its edge like an erect penis injected with cocaine. in hindsight, the remake has some interesting elements and in some ways may be superior. i eventually gave it a home on OUT-TAKES, MISFITS & OTHER THINGS.
my new mandolin makes its debut appearance on i traded my face for a used ratchet set, which was conceived as a full-bodied piece with bass and drums. i couldn’t seem to get the bass in tune with the mandolin, so i decided to add “stomp-claps” in lieu of a rhythm section. i probably looked pretty ridiculous stomping my right foot and clapping repeatedly, but it was fun to do, and i liked the way it sounded. the result is still perhaps my favourite song i’ve written on the mandolin.
tell me something must be one of the catchiest things i’ve ever written on any instrument, which is funny, because the lyrics are pretty damn busy and there aren’t any hooks that repeat themselves. i like those float-y slide guitars during the cough-and-you’ll-miss-it bridge section. lugubrious, baby is the closest thing to a ballad here, and was originally envisioned as something with sort of a salsa rhythm, but when i got behind the drums i wasn’t really feeling that anymore, so i gave it more of a jazzy lilt.
shortly after finishing work on OH YOU THIS, i picked up a new snare drum and ride cymbal (a pearl maple snare and a zildjian sweet ride, respectively), making for a pretty different drum sound here. now there was more crack than thwack, and i didn’t have to worry about the ride cymbal over-ring that occasionally reared its ugly head on the old sabian ride (although i have to admit i always liked the bell on that thing). to that end, i think some of my better drumming of the time is here, imperfect as it is, particularly on lugubrious, baby and the jazzy bit at the end of we are the happy rabbits. i even finally figured out how to cross-stick properly while recording the drums for puppet shoot puppet. that was a happy day. i also ended up double-tracking my voice on two songs for a bit of a different sound, which wasn’t something i had ever really done much of before. a sign of things to come, perhaps?
for this cd, i decided to avoid sequencing the songs in chronological order for the first time in well over three years (not counting a few compilations). it was kind of weird not just throwing the songs on cd in the order they were recorded, and actually giving some thought to what might work best as a track list for a change. i think feel-good film of the summer works well as an ending even if it was originally intended to be a beginning. it doesn’t do much during its short running time, but i like the lyrics (the opening couplet still has to be one of the best i’ve ever written) and the electric/acoustic guitar drone that comes in halfway through.
the strangest thing about this album may be the fact that there isn’t a single bad word uttered throughout. even the relatively tame OH YOU THIS has at least one f-bomb waiting to pounce on unsuspecting listeners. not so here. the word “whore” pops up in the first song, but that’s about as nasty as things get. and as it turns out, i no longer have any issues with the way these songs sound. maybe the higher frequencies aren’t quite as sharp as they could be, but that isn’t always such a bad thing.
puppet shoot puppet
i traded my face for a used ratchet set
tell me something
we are the happy rabbits
feel-good film of the summer