SELECT HIGHLIGHTS FROM MY ALBUM REISSUES, WITH COMMENTARY
The album reissue series I recently unveiled on Spotify, iTunes,etc (IT'S ALL HAPPENING ON SPOTIFY) covers my first 15 years writing & recording music. That's a lot of ground to cover, so if you're curious but don't know where to begin, here are a few key tracks & explanations of how they came together.
- •The isolated instrumental tracks from Last Valentines https://open.spotify.com/track/5xcOBnkpSqNPUULVWWa8odThis is my favorite track from the out of print album Alleys, and on the new compilation Behind The Curtain (which collects previously unreleased Alleys-era material), you can hear each part of that song's arrangement isolated. My suggestion is to start with the full instrumental version (linked above) and then go from there to pick out the various sounds you just heard via the isolated tracks. The reversed background vocals are especially creepy...
- •Wildernessa (I'm With You) https://open.spotify.com/track/3GrVkaPAN7V6JxFDf20tb3There are some people I know for whom this 2014 single is the only worthwhile shit I ever did, and I'm ok with that.
- •This 2008 single was really just a demo made for fun right around the time of the AutoTune peak (T-Pain, Lil Wayne's Carter 3, Kanye's 808s And Heartbreak). But, as is usually the case with things done purely for the fun of it, it became way more popular in my music circle than most of my "serious recordings." After just a few weeks on Spotify, it's already got the most plays out of all my reissued stuff.
- •I'd Die (Kitchen Drum Demo) https://open.spotify.com/track/02uaU0zrPYaqxhqyAuhI08When my co-producers & I were assembling bonus material for these album reissues, this was the best example we could find of just how an arrangement idea gets brought to life in the studio. In this early demo for the structure of I'd Die, you can hear me beat boxing a bunch of percussion parts, then adding live "instrumentation" via my roommate's stove pot & coffee grinder. The latter utensil actually made it onto the album version, which you can hear as an instrumental version after the demo.
- •The original demo for I Can't Hate You, Brother https://open.spotify.com/track/7oIDenCHG91L83KlFlUfNrMuch like the last entry, here's a good example of how a song idea first arrives and then where it ends up in the studio. This demo is especially naked and raw - it's mostly just the chords, a chorus, and a melody for a French horn part, which was the first idea that showed up in my head for this particular song. You can also hear me spitballing lots of arrangement ideas that we didn't end up using, as you can hear in the instrumental album version that plays right after the demo.
- •Fairborn Lake https://open.spotify.com/track/7oJGh7JRvAevpbkYU9H8IzA special song to me because it's the only time my dad ever appeared on one of my recordings - he does the whistle solo after the third verse. Also an example of a song where I'm writing from a perspective that isn't at all my own, which is something I find really difficult to do. But there are lines in this - like "I fought for freedom in the war in Iraq," which I didn't do and would never say - where I was trying to get into the head of a demographic in this country that I don't understand.
- •Song For Next Autumn https://open.spotify.com/track/1k7HmWYPLKzx6H8Rc1HG0fThe first time my mom and I ever sang together on a recording, and a song that remains very, very dear to me. Most of the family, friends, and music colleagues who have been around for my whole journey so far tend to agree that this is one of the best things - if not the best - I've written so far in my life.
- •Darkest Timeline https://open.spotify.com/track/0N6gIzjbnQrn1BXr935q2hJust an ominous, Community-referencing instrumental track from my mostly-electronic album Back To The Fuchsia. I like to think a track like this could easily serve as a piece of score from any of the unsettling stories we watched unfold this year - Stranger Things, Westworld, Nocturnal Animals, the 2016 Presidential Election, The List App, etc...
- •Pussy For Two https://open.spotify.com/track/2YPKQaKMlVZtlziKcsR6HIAndrogynous, unabashed Prince homage that I never quite finished... ☔️☔️
- •Marilyn (Remix) https://open.spotify.com/track/1dr39izRKdrNFOeGAinhgFA very different side of me from my past - this is one of my earliest recordings, back when I was being produced by one of my mentors, Robert Scott Richardson. It's kind of cheesy, it's got a spoken interlude inspired by the one in You Don't Know My Name by Alicia Keys, and it features session legends Bernard "Pretty" Purdie on drums and Wilbur Bascomb, Jr. on bass. It's the sound of me just beginning...
- •Pretending (Home Demo) https://open.spotify.com/track/4DpkHnqvTtgva571PL4q2LOn the surface, this is just a little throwaway demo that never went anywhere. But when I listened back to the lyrics last year, I realized this song was a kind of mission statement for everything I had done up to that point. So many of us have gotten through challenging times via the saying "fake it 'til you make it." In the past, I often took that philosophy as far as it could go, "pretending" my way through this whole initial chapter of a music career that these reissues summarize...
- •Coyote Hours (album) https://open.spotify.com/album/2dLKafM7lwTFmqyU59uZFsI'm including this album at the end because I really consider everything up to Coyote Hours to be one long, complete chapter of life & music. This album is the summary of all the things I learned & experienced over my first 15 years as an adult making music, & it's the best work I've had to offer so far. I already feel what I'm cooking up next will honor & move beyond this in a fitting way, but the future's in the future. For now, here's what I'd pick if you could only hear one thing I've made.