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Turn Our Love Around b/w Stay, Too

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I recorded these songs specifically for this release. My pal Austin at Mind Over Matter Records gave me a call one afternoon and invited me to participate in this 7” subscription series that he was about to launch. I was happy to contribute, not only because i was already familiar with Austin’s High Quality Releases®, but also because he told me that Zao was participating, too (…I really like Zao).

When Austin called, I was already neck deep in the recording process for a new LP, but because of the unique approach we were taking with that one, I still had some time on my hands. I jumped at the chance to make something from scratch, relatively quickly. I already had incomplete demos for these songs kicking around, so I finished them up and recorded them at home, then sent them to Adam for mixing. It was a lot like the way we made Oscillate Wisely. We hadn’t made anything like that in a while, and it was a ton of fun to return to that way of thinking and working for a moment.

  • limited to 200 copies in 3 different variants (BUY ONE HERE)

  • Artwork by the inimitable Seth Scantlen

  • I reckon “Stay, Too” would make a pretty good theme song for the right podcast, if you ask me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Hey Santa

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I mean…just look at that tracklist. It’s nuts! Every year during the Joyful Noise Recordings Holiday Party, all the JNR artists who can attend are given an hour of studio time from the label to record a song for the annual Holiday Party Compilation album. It’s a ton of fun, and always makes for some wild and interesting experiments and unlikely collaborations.

I didn’t have an original tune set aside this year, so I told Karl (JNR Bossman) that I was interested in recording a cover of Carnie and Wendy Wilson’s Christmas classic, “Hey Santa”. I was very excited when Karl suggested that maybe Chris Schlarb and I could collaborate on the recording (I love Chris Schlarb). I was even more excited to hear that Chris was into the idea, and I was EVEN MORE EXCITED when I learned that he hates this particular song (I personally love it).

Schlarb and I began passing demos back and forth to prep for our recording session. It didn’t take long for him to suggest that we completely dismantle the original tune and build our own version *inspired* by the original. Then, he got the flu. Like, real bad. He wouldn’t be able to make it to the Party. So, Chris hired some of his studio musician pals and started directing them through this new version of “Hey Santa”. He sent the tracks to me, and I quickly recorded the vocals in my studio at home in Bloomington. So yeah, technically we broke the “rules” of the compilation, but technically we are also Punk af and the rules can take a hike.

  • limited to 100 snowflake-shaped lathe-cut 7” records (SOLD OUT)

  • all of the proceeds from sales of these tunes go to Second Helpings

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Steals The Hits Off Country Beauties

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5 country music covers I recorded just for the fun of it. These are all songs I’d heard on and loved from Country Radio over the years. Recorded at home by me, and mixed by my old pal Eric Day, released on cassette tapes by Flannelgraph Records. My friend Frank took the Cowboy photos for the artwork. He and I had a real fun weird time at the laundromat down the street from my house, next to the barbershop where I get my hair cut. There was one other lady in there at the time, but she seemed unbothered by our intrusion.  

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Split

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We recorded these songs on an unplanned day off in Los Angeles, California during a West Coast Tour. Apparently, the venue where we were scheduled to perform in San Diego had been abruptly sold the night before our show and all future events had been canceled immediately. So, our old pal and former bandmate, Bryant Fox, invited us to the Sun Pavilion - home of Triptides - for a day of recording. Most of this tracking was done live, with the exception of the overdubbed vocals.

A few notes about this particular tour…We knew early on that Ben wouldn’t be able to join us for these dates. Our solution to the problem of having no drummer was to go into the studio with him before we left and record some proper “real” drum tracks we could perform along to, Karaoke-style, for these 16 shows. We mixed and manipulated the recordings a little bit, then dumped them onto AD’s “Dr. Sample” machine for playback each night. David played bass, I played a tiny keyboard, and AD played guitar. We also had this funny light-wall-stage-furniture thing that we were putting together each night on this tour. I’m glad we have these recordings to document this weird trip.

Also, Jared from Flannelgraph Records came along with us to tour manage this trip. After the second show, our minivan broke down, so we decided to bail on it and rent a van to finish the tour. The rental was only technically and legally made in Jared’s name, so he did ALL of the driving on this entire trip.

  • co-released by Flannelgraph Records and Third Uncle Records

  • Honey Radar are our buddies from Philadelphia. They rule.

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Cause & Effect

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I can’t believe this thing even exists! “Keep It Simple” is a song I’d been working on in a batch of tunes that were all in the running for a new LP. I knew early on that it didn’t quite fit with the others, so when Joyful Karl® called and invited me to participate in the “Cause & Effect” series, I set this one aside and quarantined it to this limited release. I like the song. It started out as kind of a spooky americana thing, but I’d been listening to A LOT of late 80’s/90’s Jeff Lynne recordings around the time I made this (can you tell…). I was really interested in the ideas of Production and how thinking about a song as malleable in that regard can really change it and the experience of making it. It also makes songs feel less precious to me, and moments begin to feel very valuable. I like that. A song is just a vehicle for an idea or a moment, or a feeling.

  • limited to 1,000 copies (SOLD OUT)

  • I’m not sure if this song will ever be released digitally?

  • recorded at Russian Recording with Mike Bridavsky

  • my piano skills are extremely limited. I ended up changing the key of this song somewhere along the way, so I played the piano in the key I’d written it, then we carefully tuned it down to match the rest of the song. Is that dumb cheating or clever genius?

  • and on the subject of getting to appear on a split 7” with hero, Mac McCaughan, here’s what I wrote at the time for Joyful Noise:

    The so called "2nd wave emo" scene of the late 1990's was very popular in my high school. I have a distinct memory of my pal Brad bringing Sunny Day Real Estate and Saves the Day CDs into our Spanish class where the teacher would let us listen to music at the end of the day. I had never heard anything quite like it and it really switched me on for a while. A common practice of mine in those days was going to On Cue after payday at my hardware store job and grabbing a couple of CDs from bands I knew nothing about, but whose names I'd read on patches and t-shirts of my super cool friends at school. 

    One day, I picked up The Get Up Kids', "Something To Write Home About", and I loved it. 

    Soon after that, I moved to Bloomington for college and had unlimited, full-time access to the internet for the very first time. I was non-stop visiting all kinds of weird and wild websites at that time, and one of them was The Get Up Kids' official site. I remember moseying over to their corner of the internet one afternoon and reading a blog-ish post they'd made in response to some reviews of "Something To Write Home About", which, as discussed previously, was an album I loved. They were vehemently defending comparisons to a band I'd never heard of called Superchunk. Apparently, according to the post, someone was accusing TGUK of ripping off this Superchunk band. So, I hopped on my bike, rode down to the basement of  TD's CDs & LPs, and snatched up the very first Superchunk CD I could find. By chance, it was "Indoor Living", and it cracked my coconut wide open. I started listening to "Indoor Living" on my discman everyday as I walked to class. I believe it was in a blowoff meteorology class I was taking that I scrawled "new bruises aren't old bruises" on the inside back cover of my notebook about 15 times, just obsessing over that simple lyric. 

    My obsession was further entrenched when I read the liner notes and realized that "Indoor Living" had been recorded right here in Bloomington. I couldn't believe it. I felt so connected to this music already, and reading that nugget made it feel like my next-door neighbor. I started buying every Superchunk CD and LP i could get my hands on. There's not a stinker in the bunch. And when "Majesty Shredding" came out after a near 10-year hiatus, and it was immediately my favorite Superchunk album, I thought this band could do no wrong.

    All of this is to say, it's an extreme and unthinkable dream-come-true that Mac agreed to appear on this split 7" with me. In terms of "Cause & Effect", it's really impossible for me to measure what an influence Mac and his music has been on me over the years. I'm so enamored, not only with Mac's catchy and thoughtful songs that hit my spot just right, but also his clear and seemingly unrelenting love for all kinds of music. In terms of songwriting, Mac writes clear hooks and thoughtful lyrics on everything he does, and he's prolific. I try really hard to do that, in part because I've seen/heard him do it so well. I also get the impression that Mac does what he wants when it comes to music. What genre is Superchunk, exactly? It's hard to say, because it's all diverse and pulls from all sorts of influences. I want to be like that. And in terms of longevity and dedication, I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone else as consistent and steady as Mac. 

    This is all from a distance, by the way. I don't know Mac McCaughan personally. 

    So, Mac, should you ever read this thing, thanks a million for taking some time out for a dude like me. It really means a lot. Thanks to Joyful Noise for inviting me to participate in this project and for pulling all the strings to make my little fantasy a reality. This is a really bonkers release, and I feel very humbled and so excited that it exists.

LYRICS

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Casino Drone

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This is my third full-length LP. For this one, I had about 19 or 20 songs ready to go, so I went to Eric Day’s Sleepwalk Recording Studio and we recorded all 20 drum tracks in one day onto Andy Beargie’s Tascam 8-track reel-to-reel recorder that he let us borrow. The cool thing about that tape recorder is that it has a variable tape-speed knob. I’d brought some home-recorded scratch tracks with me to the studio (metronome + me/guitar roughly playing through the song), so we dumped those each onto the tape at 30 ips. Then, we cranked the knob up to 15 ips, at which time I recorded each of the drum tracks in double-time. Then, we turned the knob back down to “normal” speed, which lowered the pitch of the drums, and made all of the sustains and resonances last a bit longer. The idea was to give the drums a weird sounding depth, in addition to a wobbly, dreamlike quality with the cymbal sustains. Did it work? Maybe! Was it fun? Yes! Was it also an inadvertent way to save money by only needing half of a studio day instead of a whole one? YES!

After that, we digitized the tape tracks and I took the record home to complete working on it in there. Oh, there were also some tracks recorded in Los Angeles, California, when I went out there to visit my pal Bryant and go to the Hollywood Red Carpet Premiere® of Marvel’s® Guardians of the Galaxy®. As k me about that sometime.

Once the recording was complete, I delivered the tracks to Adam Jessup, who began the mixing process. Oh, I should say, the album is called “Casino Drone” because of some conversations that Adam and I had had back in the olden days when we were coworkers. We were both intrigued by the notion that most Casinos have their slot machines and house music tuned to the same key. I guess the idea is that the noise ambiently combines to create a heightened sense of excitement and a euphoric quality. I don’t know if they actually do this, but we heard they did, and really liked the idea. Another thing was that we read this article one time about how the acoustics at Disney Theme Parks® are mathematically tuned and designed so that there’s no difference in volume no matter where you are in the park, even in transitional zones between “themes”. Amazing. I’m not exactly sure why this stuff relates to this record for me, but i suppose it feeds into that whole “dream state” idea with the drums. Suspended reality, and all that jazz.

  • Artwork by the ever impressive Daniel Murphy

  • Photos by David Woodruff, taken at real casinos in Reno, NV while we were there on tour

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Old Toy Trains

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I love Roger Miller, and I love Christmastime. My best pal, Jared at Flannelgraph Records, loves Roger Miller, Christmastime, and Pro Wrestling®. Pro Wrestler, Mick Foley (Mankind, Cactus Jack, Dude Love…) loves Christmastime, and Roger Miller, and he knows my pal Jared. This is an Iron Triangle of entertainment, folks. Jared had the idea that I should record a version of “Old Toy Trains” for the fun of it, so I did. Then, he drove to Ohio and met Mick where they recorded Mick’s reaction to my recording - along with his sentiments about the song in general - in a hotel room. There isn’t much else to say about the content of this record, it’s pretty straightforward, and Mick does a great job summing it up on his side of the 7”. What’s noteworthy about this record is that it even exists at all. It’s exactly the kind of bonkers, leftfield thing that Flannelgraph is perfect at. On paper it makes no sense at all, but once you put all the parts together, it’s hard to imagine a world without it. I love this thing.

  • Artwork by the incredible Jeff T. Owens at My Metal Hand

  • Long live Roger Miller

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The Lucky One (Sun Pavilion Version)

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This is the final recording from the Sun Pavilion sessions we did on a day off in Los Angeles (the other two are on the Honey Radar Split 7”). Same deal here; myself on keys and singing, AD on guitar and sampler, David on bass and singing, and Ben in the can. This one was released as a mystery single to Joyful Noise VIP subscribers in anticipation of “Casino Drone”. It’s technically a one-sided 7”, but in order to prevent the vinyl from ‘dishing’, we needed to include some audio on the b-side. For that, I isolated myself and David’s vocal tracks, reversed them, then ran them through A TON of outboard processing and effects. It essentially amounted to a spooky, ambient, Arvo Part meets “Discreet Music” sounding-thing. I called it, “Unlucky”. It’s unplayable, because then we screen-printed over it, but maybe someday you can hear the digital version? Who knows!

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Bronze Worlds (Liquorice Newtman Version)

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Zac and I recorded this version of “Bronze Worlds” at my house specifically for the bonus flexi that came along with the VIP edition of Casino Drone. I really love this recording. It was fun to reimagine this song as a more stripped-down, acoustic-instrument kind of thing, and I think my vocal performance is better here than on the LP version ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. But, even more than that, this recording is a very sweet glimpse into the kind of relationship that Zac and I have developed over the years, and for that it means a lot to me. The first minute or so of this record is some very organic, unplanned, unedited, real-time silliness that is fairly indicative of the way Zac and I interact on a regular basis. It’s a tender moment, and I love it. I’m glad we caught it, and i’m glad Zac let me release it this way.

It’s called “Liquorice Newtman Version” because Zac and I played a duo set live around this time as well, and on stage I said, “hi, we’re Liquorice Newtman”. My son had been watching Wile E. Coyote cartoons a lot and there was one he watched over and over again where Wile E. Coyote is describing the delicious anatomy of a Roadrunner. He says that certain parts of the bird taste like liquorice and papaya, among other things, but he says those two words with a particularly funny accent. I sent recordings of the accent to Zac because I knew it’d tickle him. I forget exactly where “Newtman” came from, but I think it had something to do with Fig Newmans or something like that. Aren’t you glad to finally have this mystery solved?

  • Zac Canale played an acoustic 12-string guitar

  • I, MIke Adams, played piano and bass, and sang

  • will it ever be released digitally? who knows!

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I’m Worried b/w Ken Burns’ Baseball

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I’m not exactly sure where he heard it, but sometime after Best of Boiler Room Classics was released, Tim from the very great Canadian record label Kingfisher Bluez got ahold of us to ask if he could release a 7” single version of “I’m Worried”. I was glad he asked, not only because his label rulez, but also because I had this unfinished leftover song from the Boiler Room sessions that it gave me some gumption to wrap up. I left “Ken Burns’ Baseball” off of Best of Boiler Room Classics because I just couldn’t write a second verse. Everything else was in place but the second verse. The first verse and chorus are extremely abstract, lyrically, and were more about wordplay than content. But when Tim asked for a b-side, I was in the middle of watching Ken Burns’ “Baseball”, so I took my present interest in the documentary and shoehorned it into a second verse. Very professional stuff. This is also maybe the chordiest song I’ve ever written. It’s just stupid with half-steps and running up and down the guitar neck. Oh, and I really like the lyric, “We didn’t lose them all / Some we let go”. Shame that it’s relegated to the b-side of a Canadian import 7”, but you’re here now and it’s streaming up there, so go ahead and listen to it for me, would ya?

Oh, also, that’s my son riding his tricycle on the cover. “I’m Worried” is a song about him having open heart surgery at the ripe old age of two-weeks. I’m not a worrier by nature, I like to breathe real deep and take her easy, but I was worried that day I can tell you. He’s fine now, by the way. Looking real good.

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Tasteful Nudes

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Starflyer 59 is my all-time favorite rock band. Theirs is the music that set me free, in a lot of ways. I had already reached my Ultimate Dream Come True by having SF59’s Jason Martin willingly play lead guitar on a song I’d written for Best of Boiler Room Classics, but this topped that. I’m not exactly sure where the genesis for this 7” came from, but somehow Jason agreed to the idea and Flannelgraph Records made it happen, and now I’m the only band (so far) that has a split release with Starflyer 59. It just makes no sense. If you’d told my 16-year-old self about this while he was sitting in his room listening over-and-over-again to a dubbed cassette of “Gold” that his friend Kalah made for him, he’d probably be like, “….what’s a 7-inch??”. But seriously folks, I love this record and I can’t believe it’s actually real.

I called my side, “Tasteful Nudes”, because of the lyric in there, “Naked underneath and unashamed”, but also because I’d just finished reading my pal Dave Hill’s book of the same name. I asked Dave’s permission to pinch the title, and he was amenable. Thanks, Dave.

Artwork for this one was done by David Woodruff, whose style is unmatched.

My friend Anna Powell Teeter was the camera operator for this music video we shot in my garage. We built a weird little rig out of pvc pipe and shot it on three iPhones® cocked at 45-degrees from each other. It was real fun, and Zac Canale edited it.

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By The Time I Get To Phoenix

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This one was a lot of fun. Jared at Flannelgraph invited me to participate in this Jimmy Webb tribute album, and I asked for, “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”, figuring it was already spoken for and I’d have to choose something else. Luckily that was not the case, and I got to spend some time poking around in this tune. It’s such a great song. For my take, I leaned on the Roger Miller version for guidance a little more than the more famous Glenn Campbell version, which also rules, duh. This whole comp came out really fun, and I love some of these covers almost as much as the originals (I’m especially fond of the Vollmar + Amy O version of “Wishing Now”).

Artwork by New York Times Best-Selling Graphic Novelist, Box Brown!

The tracklist for this incredible comp includes covers from the likes of The Cairo Gang, Nicholas Krgovich, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billie, Vollmar + Amy O., Pop Zeus, Andrew Slater, Elephant Micah, Wooden Wand, Via Vegrandis, Sister Sister, and Pan Pan Wen. Amazing.

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Caught On

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In 2015, Indiana, then led by Governor Mike Pence, passed a law, colloquially referred to as RFRA, that allowed for discrimination against Hoosiers based on their perceived or actual sexuality. This compilation was put together in a hurry as an emergency fund-raising effort to support LGBT rights groups in Indiana who were actively working to fight the new legislation and protect us and our neighbors.

Ultimately, the law was repealed, not directly because of how hateful it was, but because of the negative economic impact it was having on our state, because of how hateful it was. A bittersweet victory.

I wrote this song specifically for the comp. It’s a reflection on the difficulties of overcoming pea-brained hatred and ways of thinking, and wondering what it must’ve been like to grow up gay in my hometown. It is dedicated to my old pals Greg and Jon.

  • released digitally for a limited time and on 28 lathe-cut 7” records

  • SOLD OUT now though, and unavailable anywhere as far as I know

LYRICS

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Daytrotter Session

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I’d have to go back through the Tan Van Tour Talk archives to remember exactly what was happening on tour when we recorded this Daytrotter session, but I do remember a few things. This was a 4-piece version of the band, with Ben on drums, AD on guitar, David on bass and myself on keys. Daytrotter has changed a lot over the years, growing and evolving, but it’s always fun to stop by their studios. It’s fun to be immersed in a place (for a short time) that is almost a music factory. Being surrounded by loads of well-maintained (free to use) gear, nice people who know exactly what they’re doing, in a small midwestern town is a dream life as far as I’m concerned. The main thing I remember about this session is that we had a real nice groove going at the end of “IIIIIIIII Love A Parade”, when the analog tape we were recording on ran out. The engineer, Ian, was very apologetic about it, but when we listened back to it, The Boys and me thought the degenerative, abrupt ending was a nice touch, so we kept it rather than re-recording it.

  • the illustration they used for the cover image is based on a still from our video for “Help Me When You’re Gone”, for some reason

  • the music during our “Welcome to Daytrotter” track is an instrumental version of Spissy’s “Her Heart”.

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Preparation Age

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These five songs were recorded and mixed during the Casino Drone sessions. They’re songs I like, but for one reason or another didn’t fit on that album. Collected together, though, I think they make a nice companion piece to it.

This record was co-released by Burnt Toast Vinyl and Sounds Familyre, which if you know those names at all then you know that that is a Big Deal! I’ve been a fan of Burnt Toast since I first heard Unwed Sailor when I was in high school, and Sounds Familyre is owned by Dan Smith from THE Danielson Family. I LOVE Danielson.

  • there are several guest musicians on this EP including Zac Canale on lead guitar, Aaron Burkhart on trombone, and a whole host of friends and family singing on the end of “Too Mas”

  • My friend Janelle Beasley did the artwork for this album. I love her stuff. Dave Segedy, from Sleeping Bag, made the video for “Weather On”, and Chad Serhal did the hand-etching for the b-side.

  • At the time, I was thinking a lot about concepts of “the age of accountability” and also the ominous feeling of the world coming to an end, culturally and politically, etc. I thought that calling this thing “Preparation Age” was a good way to tie those ideas into one, with the added bonus of it sounding a lot like the name of a popular butthole medicine. Will I live to regret that decision?

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Best of Boiler Room Classics

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I made this record at home in my room. I recorded all of the drum tracks in one afternoon on a wild hair after a few months of gathering demos. For the rhythm guitars, I set up this thing I called The Monster which was one electric guitar run through 4 amps arranged around the room. I remember one of the amps had a light tremolo on it, another had a bit of low-end distortion. I forget what the deal was with the others. I mic’d up each amp, and then blended all 4 signals together into one channel for tracking. Don’t ask me why.

My musical hero, Jason Martin of Starflyer 59, played lead guitar on The Fingers You Know, because Jared at Flannelgraph asked him. A true mind blower.

Once all the tracking was finished, I hand-delivered a hard drive full of files to Adam, who was living in Austin, TX at the time. I was there for SXSW filling in on drums for Tammar. After he’d spent a fair amount of time mixing the record, his computer crashed and we lost pretty much everything. He did a second mix from scratch, and it came out even better. That’s the one you hear on the album.

One time, at my old job, our UPS driver came in while we were listening to this minimal, pretty abrasive, Tony Conrad record on the stereo. He asked, “what is this crap, ‘Best of Boiler Room Classics’?”. I liked that name, so I lifted it for this album.

My pal Bryant Fox took the album cover photo at the same studio space where we would later record the drums for Casino Drone. I’m standing in front of a rear projection I made of a piece of peg board with christmas lights pushed through the holes. I was trying to my best Roger Miller.

The crown jewel for this record was the commercial we made to advertise it. It’s a Time-Life style infomercial parody. It was shot and edited by my old friend Will Claytor. We essentially shot 10 music videos, then will cut them into this masterpiece. My public library co-worker and radio theater actor, Mark Blackwell, read the voice over (perfectly) .It was nuts, and took forever, but I’m very proud of it.

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Heavyweights

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Heavyweights was an idea conceived by our pals at Jurassic Pop Records. It’s a split 7” between us and our buds in Sleeping Bag, one new song, and one cover each of the other. The Boys and me tracked our sessions mostly live (vocals were overdubbed) at Sleepwalk Recording with our friend Eric Day. DMB wasn’t quite finished when it was time to make the recording. I remember pulling the car over on the way to the studio and jotting the last of the lyrics down on a scrap of paper from the floorboard.

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Not No More

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This is another one of those things that I can’t believe really happened. I was already a subscriber to Joyful Noise Recordings’ flexi boxset subscription series in 2012 because I loved the idea and am a fan of many of the participating bands. When Karl called me up and asked me to participate in the 2013 series, I was totally flattered. Then i heard the lineup and I fell out of my chair. It’s still surreal to see my name permanently screen-printed next to some of these incredible, personally influential artists. Wild.

“Not No More” is a song that didn’t quite make the cut for Best of Boiler Room Classics for one reason or another, I don’t remember exactly. In fact, I finished recording and mixed this one myself while Adam was busy with the full-length. It’s never been officially released digitally, but maybe someday, who knows!

The artwork is a detail photo from one of my old friend Ryan Gruenewald’s sculptures. Ryan and I grew up across the street from one another, and I love his art. I invented that font in my notebook.

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Sing Starflyer 59

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I can’t remember…have I said anything on this website yet about how much I love Starflyer 59? (It’s a little embarrassing, frankly). Candy Claws - who later became the unreal and amazing Sound of Ceres - are also big fans. Knowing that, Jared at Flannelgraph proposed this 10” split where we each cover a Starflyer tune. It was a ton of fun to make.

A couple notes about this one; I recorded the backing vocals on my track through a transcutaneous doppler machine that i bought after I saw one used on my son at the hospital after his open heart surgery. I thought the speaker/effect sounded cool, so I contacted the company that built it and they hooked me up with some parts to fix an old one that I found on ebay. Also, I hadn’t met Candy Claws at the time this record came out, but we just happened to be at SXSW at the same time after it’s release (I was there with Tammar, filling in for one of their drummers). I went to catch their set one night, and they invited me on stage to sing “Do You Ever Feel That Way” with them and I met most of them on stage at the show. Pretty fun!

Candy Claws’ Ryan Hover did this artwork. All of his stuff really knocks me out.

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‘That’s Itt, Cuz’ b/w ‘Talk Too Much’

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I wrote these songs in a hurry one evening after a weekend-long visit with my uncle who was very ill. It was the first time I’d ever seen someone so close to me, so sick. There’s a lot of very personal, complicated stuff wrapped up in these songs, including my relationships to my extended family, thoughts on mortality, and experiencing life’s timeclock. My wife and I were also about to have our first child, so there’s some of that tangled up in here, too. Life is weird and confusing, you know?

The cover image is a still from Dances With Wolves that Jared drew. There’s never been a physical version of this release, or these songs. Maybe someday you can touch them. For now, though, you can only feel them.

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I recorded this album over a 2-week period based on some very rough demos I’d sketched out. After that, I handed the tracks over to my co-worker-at-the-time, Adam Jessup, for mixing. The only rule for me was, “no acoustic guitars”, the only rule for Adam was that he had to do whatever he wanted to these songs without consulting me or caring about what I might think. Once the record was finished, our other co-worker, Eric Day, mastered it for us. It was a real labor of love, all around. Once we realized we had a nice little record in our hands, the plan was to assemble a band, do one show locally to celebrate the release, then move on.

Jared Cheek, my best pal and owner of Flannelgraph Records, arranged not only for the LP release of the album, but also a partnership with St. Ives records. That gave us some fun parameters to work within for the artwork (designed by another good friend, David Orr, and hand-screened by Jared), and also afforded us some rather Big Time distribution for the album.

Our buddies at 19th State Productions offered to help us out with a music video. There are four of me in it. The audio in the video is from the take you see in the video, rather than the album audio. Why did we do it this way? I don’t know, for fun I guess. I suppose that’s kind of the deal with this whole endeavor. It keeps being fun, so we keep on doing it.