I’m graphically yours.

Now that’s a catchy tune. “Big Brother” by David Bowie, I mean. That whole album is a sexy, strange affair. Diamond Dogs, I mean. Look at that cover on vinyl, and tell me it doesn’t weird you out a little bit.

I like that it’s David playing all those guitar parts on most of the songs. I wish he did more of that these days. I’ve always preferred it when the artists do a lot of things themselves instead of relying on backing vocalists or other musicians to do it for them. I wish Chan Marshall would pick up the guitar again on her next album, because even if she isn’t the greatest guitarist in the world, the way she plays is perfect for her music in a way nothing else is. But I’m just weird like that.

I need to record two more songs for this album, and then it’s done. Done! I have a pretty good idea of how I want to sequence it. I’m not sure if what sounds good on paper will translate as well on CD, but I’ll soon find out. That means the whole thing should be finished in a day or two, and then I just have to get the packaging straightened out. That might hold it back a week or two, so I might not actually be able to start forcing the album on random and not-so-random people until the first few days of August, but still. New music is coming your way very soon.

I’m trying to remember the last time I was this happy with the way an album turned out. Probably GROWING SIDEWAYS. It just feels good. I had to stop myself and say, “I’m finished after two more songs,” because if I didn’t do that I would keep going, and by September we’d be looking at a triple CD. You think I’m exaggerating. I might be, but not by much. Things have been nuts around here lately.

I figure the album is going to be full-to-bursting with music as it is. I’ll save the multiple-CD sets of new material for somewhere down the road, so I have something else to look forward to scaring people with.

Also, two things:

(1) Another projected album that may or may not ever come to fruition to add to the list. LOVE SONGS FOR NIHILISTS. If it happens, it’ll be more dissonant and angular than anything I’ve done in a very long time, or maybe ever, but in a subdued way, with lots of space and silence, or near-silence. Lots of dynamics and attention to detail. Maybe I’ll put it out on vinyl too, just for something to try. I’ve already got some ideas brewing. It might be the first thing I start work on after this CHICKEN ANGEL WOMAN beast is out there. Or it might fall by the wayside like so many other things. Time will tell.

(2) I thought I’d finally move my grunty little old tube amp out of the corner it was collecting dust in and bring it out in the open to sit beside the Fender Twin where it belongs. They look cool together, like brothers who came out looking very different from each other. As soon as I get that farkin’ digital camera I’ll take some pictures and put them up here.

I forgot how good this thing sounded, maybe because I haven’t tried recording it in eight years and have barely plugged it in during that time. I kind of got it for free when I bought my first electric guitar from a classified ad in the newspaper back in 1999. All I know about it is that it’s a Paul amplifier, it was probably made sometime in the 1960s, the guy who sold it to me said he put new tubes in it (I have no idea what kind), and I think it’s Canadian-made. It probably isn’t very high up there on the list of sexy amplifiers guitarists talk about, assuming anyone even knows these amps exist, but I dig it. It’s got a cool tremolo circuit, and if you crank it you can play “Don’t Let Me Down” and shake your chin like a good little gremlin.

I like being able to dial in varying amounts of tube distortion without having to deal with the volume getting out of hand. Turned up all the way, this amp maybe gets as loud as the Twin Reverb set on two, but it just sounds wonderfully distorted and ragged in the way only a little old tube amp can. I used it on three songs today and found myself wishing I’d brought it out of the corner sooner so it could make more of a mark on this album. I guess there’s always the next one…

Here’s a little something I recorded when I first mic’d up the amp today. Just an idea, with the guitar and vocal recorded live in one pass, and then another guitar overdubbed for a little supplemental riffing. I didn’t even try to come up with lyrics, so half of the words aren’t real words, but I think it’s got the potential to turn into something. I couldn’t resist throwing the old GWD slapback echo on my voice. I need to bring that sound back on an album one of these days.

Walking Home Alone (sketch)

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