Out-takes, Misfits, and Other Things (1999-2007)

technically this should come after THE CHICKEN ANGEL WOMAN WITH A TRIANGLE in the discography. it was released after that album, even if all the material predates it. but i think it looks better before. and you know what they say — if you’re going to break from the tradition of keeping things in order of chronological release on your blog’s sidebar, do it for aesthetic reasons.

there’s no way this was ever going to work as a proper or “normal” album, given how much material there is. it covers a period of eight years, with many changes in equipment, sound quality, and skill level along the way. and i doubt it’s the sort of thing many people would find very interesting. i mean, there’s more than three hours of music here — making this the longest album i’ve ever made, at least until THE ANGLE OF BEST DISTANCE comes along twenty years from now — and it isn’t all top-tier material by any means.

i think it was worth putting together anyway, if only for myself.

i spent years stewing on the idea of an all-encompassing misfits collection. this is really just the tip of the ice berg. it was seriously whittled down from the gargantuan thing it started out as, and then whittled down again after that…and it’s still pretty beefy and inconsistent.

slapping things together in the order they were recorded would have been the easiest thing to do. but then the thing would have had no real flow. it was a bit of a sequencing headache. it became a bigger headache after i realized a two-disc sequence i was fond of wouldn’t work because there was far too much music to squeeze onto just two CDs. in the end i decided to treat it more as a marathon mix-tape, even if there’s only one artist and no rap to be found throughout (though comb-over outro comes close).

in spite of its grab-bag nature, this mess of music offers a pretty well-rounded idea of some of the places i touched on during the eight-year period it covers. there’s synth-based non-pop from the time of GROWING SIDEWAYS and WHO YOU ARE NOW, several BRAND NEW SHINY LIE out-takes that are about as close as i ever got to conventional “alternative rock”, improvised dementia from the time when my songwriting process consisted of hitting the record button and seeing what toppled out, instrumental pieces of all shapes and sizes, experiments (some successful, some not so much), song sketches, ten-minute tracks and thirty-second fragments, spoken word pieces, parodies, an epic piano ballad, and several tracks that aren’t like anything that’s come out on an official album of mine.

you don’t get much of a taste of the visceral, screaming, psycho-johnny side of things. that was pretty much covered on all those papa ghostface and guys with dicks CDs. there isn’t really anything here that touches on the insanity that can be found on some of those albums, but there is at least one song with a few of my favourite screams in it, lifted from the obscure starving artists CD.

the 25,000 word booklet that comes with the album pretty much says all i have to say about the songs and then some. as bloated as it is, i think there’s some interesting stuff here. with some tracks, it’s pretty clear why they never got to hang out with the songs that showed up on proper albums. but there are a handful things here that i think are among my best work.

a few worth mentioning: promises, the infamous epic piano ballad, which is somehow one of my favourite things i’ve ever done even though it should make me shudder with its rhyming lyrics of love, and even if i’ll never write anything like it again; khaki lamb, which is a pretty simple acoustic thing that goes from a monochromatic existence to being hammered with sudden bursts of colour during the coda; trouble, which is not one of my most intricate spoken word pieces, but it has a certain ominous atmosphere to it that sets it apart from the others; unfold a tail gorgeous with painted plumage, an instrumental track with what has to be one of the best song titles i’ve ever been provided with via a spam email (turns out the spambot lifted it from aesop’s fables); it’s not easy to say, which says it all in barely a minute without a single word being spoken or sung; and bloody chicago (morning), which is one of the best blues-based things i’ve done, in 3/4 time, even though it was recorded at a time when i didn’t know anything about the blues.

from the sketchy to the sexy, it’s all here, and if it isn’t, well…you can find it somewhere else, i’m sure.

TRACKS:

CD 1

trading places
trouble
comb-over outro
lost riff
filler (live on CJAM)
puppet shoot puppet (remake)
recalcitrant
“my life” part one
unfold a tail gorgeous with painted plumage
bloody chicago morning
womb events
shitty guitar
piecemeal
farmer nugget
my little one
i’m not the only one who sees through you
tell me something (demo)
distorted drum riff
cultivating november spray
candy
some enchanted early evening
stop thinking about it
it’s not easy to say

CD 2

symbolism therapist (2008 remix)
promises
khaki lamb
not alright
unstable things (live on CJAM)
“my life” part two
durex sheik condom song
eggshell embryo
d.r. must die
broken strobe light dances
the debaucheress
random red guitar riff
koopala
razor blades on cotton balls
just a girl
clumsy
methamphetamine
these hills would be mountains if you were smaller
untidy
olive branch of sores
semi-climactic synth
rinse off the gun-shy finger

CD 3

husk
an uneasy alliance
someone’s gotta tell her
they removed your wings (sketch)
eight hour twitch
late night sentimental vomit
i’ll try anything twice
sale of a dead man
smoky bum
there are no violins
harmonica echoes
he was good when he was alone
all angels
easy four
mail box
some people sign their name & it looks like a broken fish hook
matriel
wurly test #2
very supersexy
synth intro/jazzy piano + brushed drums
cat piss on my bed
a home at the end of the frozen river
olive branch of sores (instrumental)

LISTEN:

khaki lamb

puppet shoot puppet (remake)

broken strobe light dances

4 comments

  1. “a home at the end of the frozen river” shits all over alec duffy’s trite song.

    I think Sufjan mustn’t have judged the contest, since he would know better than to choose something so crap.

    My 2c.

  2. christmas shit! ha!

    perhaps you’re right, lucas…i just remember reading sufjan’s message where he talked about how creative so many of the submissions were, and then got into how duffy’s song won him over with its “beautiful simplicity” or something…how it sounded timeless, like it could be an old hymn. and i remember listening and thinking, “seriously? this is the winning song? it’s timeless? what?” it’s not that i thought i should have won…but just that so many of the other songs i heard were so much more interesting and creative. oh well. i guess the hallmark mentality will always prevail when it comes to the holiday season.

  3. I think the timeless comment really takes the cake. The songs sounds just like so many other songs that might have been written around the 1950s.

    The problem is, they used to do it better, plus what is trite lyrics today used to work because times were different and they weren’t overused yet.

    Timeless my arse! Or maybe he’s referring to the sloppy delivery, since it sounds like he has no since of rhythm and forgot to set his metronome to help him out.

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