Coming attractions.

I wrote a bit about this on Facebook, but Facebook is stupid and doesn’t let you say much of substance in a status update…hence my continuing absence from the world of Twitter, which is even worse in that regard. If I were a bird, I would not tweet. I would shriek and squawk and peck at things for a good long time before I was satisfied my point had been made. Being limited to one or two hundred characters just isn’t for me.

Oh yeah…that thing I mentioned on Facebook. Some relics from the “vault” got a bit of airplay on CJAM, which was a bit of a surprise to me. Kyle Lebel has a great and wildly unpredictable show called Juxtaposition Jukebox that airs on Monday afternoons, and he’s one of many people at CJAM who has given my music a lot of support. Given the diversity of music he plays on his show, I thought he might get a kick out of some of the weird things I’ve done that most people have never heard. So I put together a box set of a bunch of the CDs from the back catalogue I reissued/repackaged recently, not in an effort to get more airplay, but just as the sort of thing you’d do for a friend. I’ve heard talk of this sort of thing happening in a land long ago and far away, when people who liked one another did nice things for the sake of doing them.

When was that, the 1800s or something?

Anyway, to my surprise, he did play a few songs from the box just a few days ago. It was pretty surreal to hear somebody talking about Papa Ghostface and Guys with Dicks on the radio. Three of the four songs he played surprised the crap out of me, because they weren’t at all what I was expecting to hear. I’m not sure what an obvious choice is for a Papa Ghostface or Guys with Dicks song to play on the radio, but he sure sidestepped that. It was cool to hear. Now not only has “Ass Dildos” been played on the radio, but so has the old GWD tune “Eating My Own Waste”. another feather in my cap. The four songs chosen were all completely different from one another in just about every way, hammering home for me the point that I’ve been quite a few different places musically over the years.

Thanks to Kyle for giving that stuff some play.

I now have cover art in place for several albums that are either in progress or sitting on the “to tackle at some point” pile in my brain. Since everyone likes album cover art (especially when it’s made by me), and everyone likes lists that aren’t really lists (especially when they’re written by me), here’s a bit of what’s on the way and when it might show up.

I write a lot of things that don’t end up getting recorded for one reason or another, but my idea here is pretty specific. See, my main songwriting method for a long time was improvisation. Most of what I actually wrote in the traditional sense was little more than an exercise to keep my brain from dying in various high school classes (it’s pretty easy to make it look like you’re taking notes or doing work when you’re really writing lyrics), and almost none of it was recorded. There’s a shelf in the studio with a top surface that’s covered in folders and notebooks full of this stuff. The period from about 1998-2004 was especially productive in terms of things I wrote but didn’t record — not counting the ANGLE OF BEST DISTANCE songs, which are another story altogether.

For some weird reason, I’m lucky enough to still have a lot of the music in my head that was supposed to accompany the words, and I’ve held onto a lot of my rough ideas for vocal melodies and arrangements. For years now I’ve toyed with the idea of taking some of these old songs and recording them, and I think pretty soon I might stagger out of my hammock and set that in motion. Could be interesting to take a song I wrote in 2000 and try recording it now, ten years later. I don’t really ever work with material that isn’t fresh, but I think it might be fun to pluck some of my favourite misfits from their dusty folders and take a stab at bringing them to life.

If it actually does happen, it has the potential to be a serialized thing in several volumes, given the amount of material. I’d say there’s a pretty good chance volume one will appear sometime in 2011, and songs that might show up include songs like “I Broke up with You Because You Listened to Crappy Music”, “Stabbed in the Head with a Fork”, “Love Is like Rabies”, “Emilio Estevez” (the hit single I never had), and “My Penis Says Hello”.

The previously mentioned quasi-seasonal album of new material. It’s coming along and is hovering around the halfway mark now, in terms of how much work needs to be done before it’s a finished album. I’m going to say it should be out there by January 2011 at the latest, assuming I’m not able to get it release-ready by the end of the year. Right now it’s sounding very much like a winter album, but nothing like AN ABSENCE OF SWAY or any other winter album I’ve made. Whatever that means. Songs so far range in length from sixty seconds to ten minutes, and it’s shaping up to be the most piano-heavy thing I’ve done in quite a while, with detours into borderline punk rock and skewed quasi-doo-wop territory.

I think I’m officially allergic to making an album that stays rooted to one place. But it’s an allergy I’m happy to have.

The insane magnum-opus. I’ve halfway committed to finishing this a few times before, only to get distracted by other things and push it back some more. I want to have it finished by the spring/early summer of 2011 at the latest. I think that’s possible. I mean, over the past several months I didn’t think I’d really accomplished anything on this front, but when I sat down a few days ago and did a little figuring, it turns out I’m farther along than I thought I was, with about two hours of material already finished, mixed, and CD-ready. That means I’m nearly halfway there. If I can get that much accomplished when I’m not even trying, I think things will pick up quite a bit once I start putting a serious effort into pulling this thing together.

Some of my favourite things I’ve recorded over the past few years have been held over for this album, and it’ll be something when it’s all finally together in one place. It might not be something you’ll want to listen to, given how grotesquely long of an album it will be, but it’ll be a huge load off my shoulders, or my chest, or wherever loads hang out, to finally feel like I’ve at least put a decent dent in the pile of songs intended for the project.

I still like this album title, and this album cover, even though it got thrown on the back burner in favour of Bitter Bearded Balladeer. I’d like to say it will eventually appear as something very heavy on electric guitar and the closest I’ve come to “rock” in a long time, but for all I know it’ll end up being a synthesizer love fest. You never can tell with these things. Music has a way of going where it wants to go and tearing the leash out of your hands. Or my hands, anyway. Maybe this one will show up sometime in the New Year as well.

Realistically, Bitter Bearded Balladeer will probably appear before anything else, THE ANGLE OF BEST DISTANCE will hopefully come next, and I imagine I’ll end up getting sidetracked by other unanticipated ideas along the way. Maybe even a broadway musical written in collaboration with Chad Kroeger.

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