Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer bombast

I thought a little Christmas music would be appropriate today. You're welcome!

This is an early one, folks! From 1997 I'm guessing, based on the quality of recording and singing. The keyboard is a dearly departed Casio which I actually sold, stupidly, for $25. Alas!

Closer: A Punk Beatles Cover

Sorry it's been so long since I rapped at ya. You know it's going to be like that sometimes, that's my curse! Here's a li'l ditty I recorded in garageband on the iPad. It's a cover of the Beatles' "Closer". It's pretty alright. More soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

New markers: a doodle

Here's a doodle I doodled while watching Star Trek: The Next Generation on my iPhone. It was the one where Picard, Data, and Dr. Crusher are stuck in a Dixon Hill noir program in the holodeck and they almost get killed. I love the holodeck episodes, but sometimes they bug me. Like, why doesn't Data just grab the gun from the guy, since he's lightning fast and can take a bullet with no problem, right? I guess that's more a Data issue than holodeck, ha!

Anyhoo, I got this new set of markers at MATC where I'm teaching once a week now. I was in the bookstore buying some crap and I saw that they had lots more colors in this kind I was really digging, which is actually inspiring me to journal a lot more lately. They had 16 colors at $1.10 each. Cheap, right? So I figured, okay, I will be budget conscious, I will spend $10. That gets me 9 markers. I started picking out some colors, weighing carefully fuchsia vs. pink vs. red, etc., and then I had a brainstroke: why in the freak wouldn't I just spend the $16.50 and buy all of them?!! Adoy! It's some sort of ingrained frugality that comes from a) growing up poor and b) having a sometimes obsessively frugal family. So with much relief I grabbed all the stupid markers and bought them posthaste! Here they are:

Pretty, eh? So the doodle is me just experimenting with color combinations in a sort of obsessive style, which is hopefully a more rewarding obsession than saving $6 on something that brings me great pleasure! Maybe I need more sleep.

Jamaican me crazy

Actually me not so crazy, but here's a fun song called "Wakal". I wrote and recorded this at the tender age of 19, when I was on winter break from UW-Madison. It's a li'l funky, a li'l jazzy, and I would describe the meter as 10/8. My drumming is really the most complicated beat I could possibly have mustered at that point. You can hear that I don't own any cymbals--the ride sound is actually the base of a globe stand that I unscrewed and put on a broken hi-hat stand. Thank you!

Heading for the Light (Traveling Wilburys cover)

I have to give props to Evin Wolverton for covering this years ago and probably inspiring me to know the song even more. I read an interview with George Harrison's son where he said he and Jakob Dylan were playing Duck Hunt while the Traveling Wilburys were rehearsing this album downstairs. Crazy.

Recorded all on the iPad, using its built-in mic, even! Thank you.

Rollin' Downtown (quirky rap)

For those of you who fell in love with last week's post featuring my very first recording ever, this more recent recording features the very same Casiotone 501, to the same great effect. Interesting that both songs are rap songs--because I don't consider myself a rap artist, eh?! But I was raised on De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest, etc., so I guess it makes sense. De La Soul was the first concert I ever went to, when I was 11 years old, in Menomonie, WI. How bizarre.

I really want to make a video for this song one of these days.

Makin' hay

"We're gonna make some love, we're gonna make some hay, we're gonna rise above, we're gonna be okay. We're gonna party."

I made this song in twenty minutes during FAWM last year. So please ignore any tuning issues you might hear, and focus on the fun! When I redo this song (this is a demo, you see) I think I'll double the tempo and add an "oontz oontz oontz" kind of beat. Aw yeah!

Sorry I Drank Your Whiskey

I wrote this song after I disappointed my brother by letting my friends drink all his whiskey. I think it was Jameson that was a gift from his gf's dad. We were roommates at the time and I had some friends over late on a Friday, when he wasn't there. Well, what, did you want the party to end?! Heck no! I don't remember why it would have been a big deal--I must have not replaced it right away? Whatevs!!

Improvised in one take, obvy. For some reason the majority of the people who hear this really like it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seasick Shanty

Sorry to blast your face with another instrumental, but it's been a busy time! Too busy, some say, to write lyrics. . . .. .. .

This one is called Seasick Shanty, and it goes down perfectly when you're drinking the last of the whiskey as your ship sinks below the setting sun. . . . . It's best played on repeat a dozen times in a row. It was made in 30 seconds or less on my iPhone!

My first recording ever, from 1997

I realize I have been remiss in giving you some context for my music, so I thought I would take you way, way, back to the very first song I ever recorded. I was 18 years old, a freshman living in Ogg Hall (RIP) at UW-Madison. I had been trying to make up songs for the previous six months using a walkman my brother Aaron had gotten at a drug store years before. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night and whisper an idea into the recorder, so as not to wake up Phil, my roommate. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night and whisper an idea into the recorder, so as not to wake up Phil, my roommate. I would try to either just play along to the track I recorded on the walkman, or attempt a sad multi-track situation by playing the tape back on Phil's tape player and recording a new part while the old one played a few feet away. I was ready for the next step!

I begged a ride from Aaron in his '83 Toyota Celica to Ward-Brodt Music Mall and spent exactly $500 on a Fostex 4-track. I still remember how excited I was, squeezing into that little two-door car with this big box of musical potential. To record I used an old cassette tape I had sitting around, and I used an old pair of headphones as the microphone. I got a bunch of friends in my tiny dorm room and we collaborated to make this genius little ditty about another guy on our floor (Matt) who wasn't there that night. It starts with Reid and the first rapping is by Jordan. I handled the beats (on my Casiotone 501) and the chorus at the end. I didn't even know how to record separate tracks at the time, so every track we added just went on top of the last, so I couldn't edit levels or anything. Ahh, they were exciting times!


I really like songs. Wow. [ca_audio url="" width="500" height="27" css_class="codeart-google-mp3-player"]

I made this on my iPad. I call it "Brackishish, since it was inspired by a riff from "Brackish Boy" by Frank Black, sorta chilled out and repeated ad infinitum. Sometimes I feel bad writing songs that are just other songs warped, but then I think, hey, that's totally valid. Happens all the time! In fact, it's a time-honored tradition that hails from the classical tradition and shit. Just call me Ravel.