How To Write A Song Called “Drag”

Posted in masturbatory prattle on March 21st, 2014 by CARL – Be the first to comment

Hi!  Because I’m really fond of all the songs on my new EP, Bar Paris Street, I’m writing overlong stories about how I came about writing each one.  I know the majority of this is gonna come off as self-indulgent twaddle, but someone who might be interested in songwriting might actually find a couple insightful things here-and-there if they look hard enough.  Enjoy.

I am struggling to come up with the best way to describe how this song came about.  The main reason for this has to do with the other character in the song (the “you” to my “I”).  The story that is told by the song’s lyrics is about 95% true (I’ll get to that other five percent in a sec).  As such, the other character in the song is very much a real person, someone who remains a good friend of mine.

And I’m pretty certain that – due to the chemicals ingested that evening – she doesn’t remember too much of that night after the drugs kicked in.  I’m sure she remembers going to a drag show with friends – and I’m certain she remembers taking ecstasy at the beginning of the evening – but I’m guessing that’s about it.  Maybe not, though – we’ve never discussed the making-out-in-the-car-and-in-the-bar-and-pretty-much-everywhere-in-between portion of the evening before, but there’s really not much of a reason to.  We just made out a bunch – no biggie.  Maybe it’s not worth bringing up again, especially since we’ve made out a bunch in several other occasions that didn’t involve drugs, and those other occasions were no biggie either.  Maybe it really wasn’t worth writing a song about.

(Ha! No, it was totally worth writing a song about, which – friend weirdness or not – I’m so glad I did, because this one is one of my absolute favorites.)

So let’s talk about a couple other things that either shaped the song or shaped the events that happened on the night in question.

- How do you write a song called “Drag”?  By remembering the events of the night that inspired the song.  That’s where the 5% of the song’s fiction comes in.

Despite what the first two lines of the song imply, I didn’t participate in the ecstasy-ing that night.  I didn’t even get drunk – think I had a beer at the first bar, a rum and coke at the gay club, and two-or-three beers at the billiard/dancehall place.  All that over the course of around five or six hours.  With all the energy expended between making out and dancing (side note: I’m pretty sure this was the last time I’ve dance in public), I doubt I had much alcohol left in my system by the time I drove home and tiptoed into bed.

The moral, then, is that you can still have a wild, debaucherous time without drugs or too much alcohol, but – for the sake of a better song –  its best if you just say you did.  Take that to heart, kids!

- Why did I tiptoe into bed?  Because my ex-girlfriend was sleeping in it, and had been since about 8 in the evening.

Everything that happened to me that night happened because she had a migraine earlier in the day (thanks, migraines!).  We were living together – even after having (amicably) broken up two months prior (she would get her own place a couple weeks later) – in a very small, one-bedroom apartment over by the Belmont University campus.  When the migraine hit, she took some pills to knock herself out, then turned out all the lights and got into bed.  With the house all dark, and with me not wanting to bother her, I didn’t have many options.  I could have just given up and gone to bed with her, but it was just too damn early for me to give up on the day.

I ended up walking over to the coffee place across the street from my house, then getting in my car and driving aimlessly around town for a half an hour, listening to music while drinking my coffee.  Eventually, I decided to grab a drink.  My default watering hole is a bar called The Gold Rush, which is usually a bit too crowded for my tastes on the weekend (this all took place on a Saturday during Labor Day weekend, which tends to crowd up the bars even more than usual).  Since my aimless driving had me in the area of the bar, though, I quelled my distaste for crowded bars, found a parking spot, and headed inside, hoping that an empty barstool could be found.

The empty barstool that I found happened to be next to my friend and two other friends of hers.  They had just taken some ecstasy (I believe this was the first time that I had heard it called ‘molly’), and were looking to have some fun.  If you’ve listened to the song, then you know how things go from here.

- The Labor Day weekend in question was in 2010.  A short while later, I wrote the lyrics for the first half of the song, then got stuck on the rest.  Around the same time, I came up with the structure of the song.  Played on the acoustic guitar, I swear that this thing originally sounded like a Bruce Springsteen song.  The end result is as Springsteen-free as a pop song can be, and I’m totally fine with that.

A year or two later, I added another batch of lyrics – the first half of the second half of the song, if that makes sense – then got stuck again.  I also recorded a very rough demo with acoustic guitar, a keyboard, and a click track.  The bells in the instrumental parts between verses are all that remain in the song from that original demo track.

In November of 2013, I started messing with the song again.  While futzing around with my electric guitar, I came up with a lot of the sounds that make up the song.  Once I realized that – holy shit, this song is finally falling into place – it was time to finish up the last batch of lyrics.  That was accomplished over the course of several walks, in which I would speak ideas for lyrics into my phone.  Eventually, I had enough ideas to warrant a night spent hammering them out on the computer until I was finally happy with the result.

By this point, the music was done.  With the lyrics finally done, I braced myself for a long night of singing the lyrics over and over again until I got all the phrasing and cadences right (there’s a ton of syllables crammed into these lines).  Surprisingly, I ended up recording the vocals in one take –  I smoothed out a couple lip smacks and pre-verse inhales afterward, but it was otherwise smooth.  A short while later, “Drag” was done, and I was as ecstatic as I’ve ever been about a song.

- The video for this song was done while massively hung over on a Saturday morning in January of this year.  From the start, I had an idea of representing this song through a bunch of flashing colors set to the rhythm of the song.  The problem was that the thought of arranging hundreds of different colors (it doesn’t look that way, but only a handful of the 250-or-so colors in the video are repeated) while also figuring out the timing of their placement just seemed like more trouble than it was worth.  The monotony of arranging the whole thing, though, proved to be the only thing that I could productively do without feeling the need to throw up.  So the credit for the video belongs to my friend Chris, who showed up to The Gold Rush late on Friday night and proceeded to buy me many shots of tequila over the course of an hour, after I was already fairly tipsy from drinking at least a half-dozen beers.

- Not to keep piling on the narcissism, but this really is one of the songs I’m most happy about, both lyrically and musically (I really dig the video, too, which is even better if you watch it in full screen mode on a large TV with all the lights turned off).  I sincerely hope you end up digging it, too.

Previously:

How To Write A Song Called “Amateurism”
How To Write A Song Called “Anna Is A Richmond Teacher”
How To Write A Song Called “The Heart”

How To Write A Song Called “The Heart”

Posted in masturbatory prattle on March 17th, 2014 by CARL – 2 Comments

Hi!  Because I’m really fond of all the songs on my new EP, Bar Paris Street, I’m writing overlong stories about how I came about writing each one.  I know the majority of this is gonna come off as self-indulgent twaddle, but someone who might be interested in songwriting might actually find a couple insightful things here-and-there if they look hard enough.  Enjoy.

Here’s a fun fact:  I’ve never written a love song that’s been inspired by actually being in love with someone.  I’ve written songs about people I’ve been in love with, but those songs are usually about the beginning or ending of the relationship:  they’ve never been about the moment I’ve realised that I’m in love with the person.  Maybe I’ve never actually been in love.  Maybe I’ve just vomited on my shoes after typing that last sentence.

So yeah, of the dozen-or-so songs of mine that can be considered love songs, none of them have actually been about someone.  They’ve been composites of various women, or have just been that generic presence known as “you” that’s so ubiquitous in popular music.  The “freckles on your shoulder”, your “calm, distinctive style”, “the subtleties you express with your smile”:  all made up, about no one in particular, but specific enough to sound like it is.

I hope that doesn’t spoil your enjoyment of this song, though.  Despite not being based on someone who actually won me over with “a grace that seems so fragile”, it’s still a personal favorite of mine – one that took me over 10 years to finally get right.

In the absence of a muse, let’s instead talk about the bar in which this song takes place.  It’s called The Hub, and it’s located in the heart of downtown Tampa, Florida.  In the last year or two, downtown Tampa’s finally shown some signs of life, filling up with businesses and condos that actually keep the place humming past regular work hours.  When I lived there, though, all there was to downtown was The Hub, the Tampa Theater a few doors down, and a whole bunch of nothing.

The Hub’s known for three things, all of which find their way into this song.  First off, it’s smoky as hell (or at least it was – I have no idea if Tampa or the state have finally come around to barring smoking in bars), even more so when they were at their original location (I believe I had already left town when they moved a couple blocks away to a new building).

Secondly, they have an incredibly well-curated jukebox.  None of that web-connected, touchscreen shit – you put a quarter in, and flip through a whole bunch of CD’s until you find the song you like (someone who grew up picking 45’s out of a jukebox would grumble similarly about this CD-flipping nonsense I’m extolling).  They had a great selection of country, rock, blues, and jazz.  If you wanted to get your quarter’s worth, go ahead and pick “So What” by Miles Davis.  If you wanted to get the whole place to sing along, pick “Ring Of Fire” – every fucker in there knew every word of that song because it was played so often (and that’s not a complaint).

Along with the smoky atmosphere and good jukebox, The Hub was also known for the generosity of their pouring.  Order a rum and coke and you’d get a plastic cup filled to the very top with rum, then sprinkled lightly with some coke just to add a bit of color.  Back when I was going there (let’s say 1999 to 2003), I believe they cost 4 bucks.  It was wonderful – one of the few things about Tampa that I look back upon fondly.  Maybe I should write a love song about it.

Back to “The Heart”:  The bridge of this song is an overly-complex way to say, “I love you.”  I’ve diagramed it above using all the training I accrued in that one year of college that I was an art major.  There’s no need to complicate things when all ya want to say is, “I love you”, but that’s just the way I roll.

The “you” that I’m in love with isn’t in The Hub during this song.  “You” understand that – every once in a while – I need to go out by myself, drink by myself, write by myself.  “You” know that it’s not because I don’t want to be with “you” at that moment, or because I’m out cavorting with someone else – it’s simply because I need my alone time, just as “you” do every now and then.  “You” are cool with it.  “You” don’t question it.  And that is one of the reasons why I’m so in love with “you”.

The song was written in bits and pieces around the start of January of 2003.  I finished the words towards the end of the month – while on a flight from Tampa to Denver to visit a friend who I came dangerously-close to falling in love with a couple months earlier.  The structure of the song was totally different back then – slower, more alt-country-ish, with a call-and-response chorus.  By the time I got to recording the original demo, it had taken its current form.  The “Hey you” in the chorus is a remnant of the old call-and-response – it’s a bit awkward and unnecessary now, but the chorus would have some lyrical empty space without it, so I left it in.

My friend and bandmate Darrin came over to my apartment in the fall of 2007 to record the drums for a new, improved version.  That new, improved version didn’t come to be until December of 2013.  Why the delay?  I wanted those very final seconds – after Darrin’s drums have concluded – to feature a mandolin and a banjo playing the keyboard’s melody together, and I was waiting to get my hands on a banjo (I have a mandolin, but I play it poorly – curse my stubby fingers!).  I never got the banjo, but finally forged on regardless back in December.

So there’s no banjo at the end – no mandolin, either.  But I couldn’t be happier with how the song turned out.  Now I just need someone to fall in love with, who I could retroactively apply this song to.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

[/vomits on shoes again]

Previously:
How To Write A Song Called “Amateurism”
How To Write A Song Called “Anna Is A Richmond Teacher”

How To Write A Song Called “Anna Is A Richmond Teacher”

Posted in masturbatory prattle on March 14th, 2014 by CARL – Be the first to comment

Hi!  Because I’m really fond of all the songs on my new EP, Bar Paris Street, I’m writing overlong stories about how I came about writing each one.  I know the majority of this is gonna come off as self-indulgent twaddle, but someone who might be interested in songwriting might actually find a couple insightful things here-and-there if they look hard enough.  Enjoy.

It all started – as most stories nowadays do – with a bartender mistaking my friend for the lead singer of Everclear.

We were taking turns manning a merchandise table at the pedestrian mall in downtown Charlottesville (the specifics of which are a whole ‘nother story) – one of us would work the table, while the other ran off to eat or drink or drink some more.  After an hour or so, we’d switch roles.  Once it got dark, we’d take down the table, pack the merchandise back in our car, then find a hotel to chill out in until morning, when we’d be driving over to Washington D.C.

Jamie was more of a co-worker than a friend at this point, having just met him two days earlier.  My boss had paired him up with me because he thought that my mostly-drug-free ways would be a good influence.  See, Jamie had a couple issues with speed – had taken this job, which involved months of extended traveling, in order to shake a years-long habit, and to stay away from the people and places who could make it very easy for him to relapse.  He was in his late-thirties, but the drugs hadn’t aged him well.  He had a thin frame, about average height, and short, bleached hair in spikes.  At no point did I think he looked like the lead singer of Everclear.

But my opinion didn’t matter.  The opinion that mattered belonged to the bartender of one of the places that Jamie had gone to when it was his time to wander – a restaurant/bar called Miller’s that served some very good wings, which was Jamie’s favorite thing to eat.  That bartender kept insisting that Jamie was the lead singer of Everclear.  Jamie didn’t contest it – just nodded, smiled, and let the bartender do most of the talking.

The bartender told Jamie that his shift would be over at 9pm and that he was heading over to another bar, Fellini’s #9, afterward – he’d love it if Jamie/Everclear Guy would join him.  Jamie agreed, then went to pay for his drink.  “On the house,” the bartender said – he’d pay for drinks at Fellini’s as well.  Jamie thanked the starstruck bartender, said he’d see the bartender at 9pm, then ran over to me at the merchandise table.

“Carl, what’s the name of the lead singer of Everclear?”

“What?”

* * * * * * * *

In the time between Jamie’s return to the merchandise table and 9pm, I had taken my laptop to a coffeeshop in order to look up the guy’s name.  I thought that his first name was Alex and that his last name was long and Greeky.  I have no idea why even that little bit of knowledge had found a home in my brain.

Once his name was known (Art Alexakis) – and once we came to a consensus on how to pronounce the last name (is the accent on the first ‘a’ or the second? – we chose the latter) – it was time to come up with a story as to why Art Alexakis was hanging out in downtown Charlottesville in August of 2008.  Here’s what we came up with:

I was the guitar tech for Everclear.  Me and Art had become really close friends after so much time on the road together.  After a couple years, the charms of the road life wore off, so I came home to Charlottesville to relax for a bit and start offering guitar lessons on the side.  Along the way, I met a girl who became my girlfriend who became my fiancee.  We’re getting married this weekend.  Art is here – of course he’s here – because he’s the best man at my wedding..

Air-fucking-tight.

At 9pm, we made our way over to Fellini’s #9.  We found a table near one corner of the place and ordered some drinks while waiting for the bartender guy to show up.  Once Jamie saw the guy enter, he walked over to him and they exchanged greetings.  While they chatted, I looked over to the table next to me.  Two girls were sitting across from each other, talking over a couple glasses of wine.  Jamie and the bartender guy came over to the table.  I introduced myself and prepared to start the story of Carl And Art Alexakis: Fantastic Best Buds!

And that’s when one of the girls at the table next to me spilled her glass of wine.

* * * * * * * *

From that point on, I paid no mind to Jamie/Art and his gullible bartender friend.  All my focus was on the very attractive girl who I had just helped to clean a wine spill by offering her all the napkins at my table, then going over to another table to grab more napkins.  Then I offered to buy her another glass of wine.

She thanked me for helping with the clean-up and with the new glass of wine, and the small talk commenced from there.  Her name was Anna.  And her friend’s name was . . .

Actually, I have zero recollection of her friend.  I want to say she was slightly bug-eyed, but that could be a completely different memory, or my brain’s just making that part up.  All I remember is that – after noticing how laser-focused the conversation became between myself and Anna – she got up and moved over to the bar, leaving the two of us alone.

A blues band started playing.  They, in conjunction with the patron’s clatter, made for a very loud place.  As such, Anna and I were bunched up together in order to hear ourselves speak.

She was a Spanish teacher at a school in Richmond, in town for the weekend visiting her Mom, who was a professor at the university.  Once she said “Spanish”, I knew I was golden.  When it came time for me to give my what/where’s, I said I was in town doing campaign stuff, that I live in Nashville and do music on the side, and – oh, by the way – yo nací en Puerto Rico y mis padres son Cubano y yo aprendí español antes que aprendí ingles y tu eres una muchacha muy bella.

Like I said, golden.

We spoke Spanish for most of the rest of the time, with me right by her ear the whole time because of the noise.  Along with being impressed with my ability to roll my r’s, she was also intrigued by the music thing.  Even though we could barely hear each other, she asked me to sing her one of my songs.  I went with “Good Time”.  She dug it, and wanted to sing a song to me, but didn’t have any of her own.  So she sang a Magnetic Fields song, which – holy shit, this girl was perfect for me.

I sang another one of my songs.  Then she sang a Belle & Sebastian song and asked me to sing along with her.

Then she said, “I want you to kiss me.”  I did not hesitate to oblige.

* * * * * * * *

Meanwhile, the Jamie/Art and bartender guy relationship was starting to fray.  The bartender guy had finally figured out that he wasn’t buying drinks for the lead singer of Everclear – he was buying drinks to an ex-speed freak who was ingesting every drink set in front of him in one gulp.  Having had enough, the bartender guy paid his tab and slipped away, leaving a massively-drunk Jamie to storm around the bar unsupervised.

Anna and I were in our own little world, making out, wonderfully oblivious to anything else.  Oblivious until one of the bar’s employees tapped me on the shoulder.

“You need to get your friend out of here right now or I’m calling the cops.”

* * * * * * * *

She wrote her name, phone number, and email on a napkin for me – told me she really liked me and that she definitely wanted to stay in touch.  I definitely wanted to stay in touch, too – wanted to sing more songs with her, say more things in Spanish, and make out some more.

But that would have to wait – now I had to focus on dragging Jamie back to the car.

Fellini’s was on a side street at one end of the pedestrian mall.  Our car was also on a side street, in a parking garage, about seven blocks away on the other side of the pedestrian mall.  I dragged an incoherent Jamie the entire way, cursing him fairly-regularly for ruining a rare bit of good fortune for me.

We got to the car, I plopped Jamie into the driver’s seat, and started to drive away.  After a couple blocks, though, I said, “Fuck this, I’m going back”, and made my way over to Fellini’s.  I found a parking spot, then turned to Jamie.

“Pass out.  Close your eyes and pass out right now.  I’ll be back in a bit.  If you puke in my car, I will fucking kill you.”

She was gone by the time I returned.  Three days later, while sitting around at a Motel 6 in York, Pennsylvania, I took out the napkin.  An email would have worked best for me – I’m way better in writing than over the phone – but her email address was a bit illegible.  I gave the number a call.  No answer – voicemail.  I left a message – “this is Carl from the other night, we sang songs and spoke Spanish, give me a call sometime, would be great to hear from you, etc.”

I never heard back.

How To Write A Song Called “Amateurism”

Posted in masturbatory prattle on March 12th, 2014 by CARL – Be the first to comment

2013_MCE_blog_Vivek-Top-5-Drink-Spots_Roberts-Western-WOrld.jpg

Hi!  Because I’m really fond of all the songs on my new EP, Bar Paris Street, I’m writing overlong stories about how I came about writing each one.  I know the majority of this is gonna come off as self-indulgent twaddle, but someone who might be interested in songwriting might actually find a couple insightful things here-and-there if they look hard enough.  Enjoy.

At the start of September 2013, I returned to Nashville after spending six months driving around the country for my job.  This happened in September of 2012 and September of 2011 as well.  As with those two years, a week after my return, my friends threw me a welcome-home party.  My friends are awesome.

The party was on Saturday, September 7.  That date coincided with the art crawl that’s held in Nashville on the first Saturday of every month.  One of my friends has a small gallery that participates in the art crawl.  I had been wanting to talk to him about the possibility of using his gallery at some point to host an exhibit of my hotel photographs.  Since the art crawl began about 2 hours before my party, I headed downtown to track him down.

My other motive for attending the art crawl, which is the primary motive for a lot of people who attend monthly:  free wine – lots and lots of free wine, available at most of the galleries.

By the time I arrived to my party, I was already pretty tipsy from all the free wine (I think I tipped a dollar at one of the galleries, so as to not feel completely bad about taking advantage of the various galleries’ generosity).  After parking at the house of the friends who were hosting the party, I took out my phone and typed out a note: “Yeah, I’m drunk, but that’s okay / It’s just an art crawl drunk”.

The next day, my friend Darrin and I went over to the Ryman Auditorium to see The National.  While waiting for the band to come back for their encore, another couple lines popped into my head:  “Take me out of this National mood / You know, we should be out dancing / I should be dancing with you”.

In other words, it was a great show, but – afterwards – I was ready for something a bit more joyful.

So that’s the song I was setting out to write – an exuberant, euphoric number about being a bit down, then getting tipsy at an art crawl, then finding a close friend and going out dancing for the rest of the night.  I wanted huge drums, an equally-huge chorus, maybe some horns that didn’t really have to be huge because that would make them pretty difficult to play.

The idea quickly hit a wall of reality.  I don’t have the means to record such a song – no huge drums, no horns, and I suck at writing choruses.

So the primary idea started to slip away.  I wouldn’t be too bummed if nothing ever came of the line about the “National mood” (feel free to use it – my gift to you!).  But I still liked the art crawl line, and was determined to find a context in which to use it in a song.

At the end of October, while watching a Sunday afternoon football game, I suddenly said to myself, “Fuck this, I want to write a song.”  I got up, walked over to the keyboard, and played the first two notes that would become the music for “Amateurism”.  Within a half-hour, I had the structure of the song all mapped out, and had recorded the bass line on the keyboard.  Over the next two days, I assembled the song, with a stated intent to not include any guitar strumming and to emphasize the empty space, while still packing the song with enough small melodies to make it catchy.

Now I just needed lyrics for the song.  For a while, I considered reworking the words from an old unfinished song I had laying around about two architecture students parting ways (it was called ‘Bauhaus’, because the girl who’s leaving slips a picture of herself in the boy’s architecture textbook, in the section about the Bauhaus style).  But the words didn’t really fit the mood of the song.  And I still had that art crawl line swimming around in my head.

On the first Saturday of November, I went back to the art crawl, taking along with me a friend-of-a-friend who I had met for the first time the night before, and who had just moved to Nashville.  We whizzed through several galleries over the course of an hour, picking up many plastic cups of wines along the way.

We were downtown on a Saturday night.  We had seen enough art, but had not had enough to drink.  The honky tonks on Broadway were a few blocks away.  Not being a fan of crowded, touristy bars, I wasn’t keen on going over there.  But my friend was new to town, wanted to pay them a visit, and she was cute – I couldn’t say no.

We chose Robert’s Western World – squeezing through the crowd in order to get to the stairs in the back that led to the upstairs bar.  Once there, we settled down at a table with a couple beers, overlooking the folks below and the band playing country covers at the front of the bar.

When my friend got up to order another round of beers, I noticed a group of guys hanging out at the end of the bar closest to me.  They were speaking Spanish – I overhead one of them say something about Puerto Rico to the bartender.  I know Spanish.  I was born in Puerto Rico.  And I was tipsy enough to initiate a conversation in Spanish with strangers at a crowded bar on Broadway in Nashville on a Saturday in which I’d normally stay home because I hate crowded bars.

Within minutes, we were sharing a table with a group of Puerto Rican horse enthusiasts, who were visiting Kentucky and Tennessee to ride horses around different trails.  They might have actually been the owners of these horses and were also in town to check in on them – I can’t remember that part for certain.  One of them was a horse dentist who happened to go to horse dentist college in the same town where my friend grew up.  It was all a bit surreal, and quite awesome.

At one point, one of the guys pulled a flask out of his jacket pocket and discreetly offered it to me.  He said it was Agua Caliente – Colombian moonshine. I took a swig – it tasted like anise, which I usually despise, but was actually pretty good this one time.  I passed the flask over to my friend, who passed it back to its original owner after taking her own swig.  This happened three or four other times.

By that point, all my anxieties about crowded bars had slipped away – I was primed to keep going for a lot longer. My friend, though, was not accustomed to drinking so much so quickly, and was ready to call it a night.  We said our goodbyes to the horsemen of Puerto Rico, and maneuvered our way haltingly through the crowds until we reached the front exit.

The next morning – while surprisingly not hungover – I decided that I wanted to write a song about the night before, and that it was going to be called, “Agua Caliente”.  I started recalling the night and sketching out a couple lines.  But it still didn’t fit the tone of the music.  The night was awesome and unpredictable and joyous – music befitting a night like that would need huge drums, an equally-huge chorus, and maybe some horns that are also et cetera et cetera you get the picture.

The lyrics didn’t necessarily need to be sadder – they just needed to be . . . well, it seemed to me that they needed to be more pathetic.  The friend, the joy, the Colombian moonshine needed to be stripped away.

What was left, then?  Just me, tipsy after the art crawl, wandering over to a honky tonk despite my dislike of crowded bars, and having a couple beers, alone.

Pretty pathetic, right?

I had my idea, my words, my song.  I had “Amateurism”.

Bar Paris Street Is Out Now

Posted in new! on March 11th, 2014 by CARL – Be the first to comment

Woo!

Give it a listen below. If yer up for it, hit up the Bandcamp link and purchase a copy. Yer up for that, right? Right?

Hello?

Here’s A Full Stream Of Bar Paris Street

Posted in new! on March 3rd, 2014 by CARL – Be the first to comment

My new EP is called Bar Paris Street. It consists of 5 songs set in 7 bars in Nashville, Tampa, and Charlottesville. It’s quite good.

The EP will be available to purchase through Bandcamp starting next Monday, the 10th. In the meantime, you can find a full stream of the EP above. The accompanying video was filmed a week and a half ago while I was visiting friends and family in Florida. It takes place in the Sapphire Room of the Floridan Palace Hotel in downtown Tampa over the course of some drinks and a shared plate of calamari with my friend Melissa. It’s not particularly fascinating (the most exciting part occurs about 11 minutes in when the calamari arrives), but I figured it was better than just showing a static image of the album cover for 20 minutes.

Would you be interested in reading incredibly long and self-indulgent explanations for each of the songs on the EP? Of course, you would! I’ll be posting those stories here next Monday. Until then, watch the above video 504 times.

Enjoy.

Drag

Posted in new! on February 27th, 2014 by CARL – Be the first to comment

Here’s the first video from the new EP. It’s a song called, “Drag”, about a debaucherous, drug-fueled night spent at a couple different bars and clubs in Nashville. In the spirit of the euphoric drugs involved, the visualization for this song is comprised entirely of different colors that come and go to the rhythm of the bass line. Turn the lights off and watch it in full-screen for best effect.

More EP news is a-coming next week, including another video. Woo? Woo!

Eighteen Clues As To What The New EP Is About

Posted in new! on February 18th, 2014 by CARL – Be the first to comment

March 10, 2014

I Have The Moon (Magnetic Fields Cover)

Posted in demos on January 13th, 2014 by CARL – 11 Comments

A couple weeks ago, I pointed a friend of mine towards my Soundcloud page, in which I had just posted a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Cry, Cry, Cry”. That cover was done by request. I’m not keen on doing covers, but I’ll give it a shot if someone requests it – if anything, it gives me a chance to experiment a little, as I generally try to make the cover sound as different from the original as possible, while still maintaining the elements that make the original so good (the trick is to tweak the main melody ever-so-slightly, then toss in a couple new ones). With that in mind, I told my friend that I’d be up for doing any cover she suggested. She wrote me back a day later, suggesting either one of two songs – “Born On A Train” or “I Have The Moon”, both from the fantastic album, The Charm Of The Highway Strip, by The Magnetic Fields.

I chose the latter (Arcade Fire already did a pretty swell cover of the the former) and got to work, quickly coming up with the version you see below. The one problem: a lot of times, my voice already sounds like I’m doing a cut-rate Stephin Merritt impression, so I didn’t want to sing on it. Thankfully, my friend Christy – who is awesome and always up for any song I throw her way – stepped in and did several great vocal takes, 3 of which I mixed together for the final vocal.

Here’s the end result. Hope you dig it.

I should also mention that the drums on that song are by my friend Darrin, though he doesn’t know it – I took them from a recording we made almost 7 years ago that I’ve yet to finish. Thanks, Darrin!

Lastly, here’s the Johnny Cash cover, which also features Christy’s lovely voice.

Oh Hey, A New EP Is On Its Way

Posted in gibberish on January 6th, 2014 by CARL – Comments Off

Because I just can’t get enough of the life-draining rigmarole that is trying to promote a new release when one has zero connections and no intention of making a snazzy accompanying NSFW video and no intention to tour, either.

It’ll be ready to go in March.

Yay?