Monday, February 22, 2010

Two Meade-Bellinger short films: "TEXAS BARBECUE TOUR 2009" and "INFRASTRUCTURE at CHURCH of BOSTON"

Both released last night.

One:



Two:

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

INFRASTRUCTURE: FRI FEB 19 @ CHURCH OF BOSTON



First show of the year, two weeks from tomorrow. If you haven't seen us in a while, you really should. If you still haven't seen us, what's wrong with you?

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Dale Watson's Guitar

Whenever I talk about Dale Watson's guitar, someone gets pissed off. Apparently if I touch Dale Watson's guitar, people get even angrier.

Dale Watson is probably my only living musical hero, a man twenty years my senior who does exactly what he wants/needs to do, and makes a living doing it. Last year, in the men's room of Manhattan's Rodeo Bar, I told a guy who looked suspiciously like Popa Chubby that Dale's guitar wasn't a Telecaster, it was a custom-made Australian Tomkins. The guy sulked off angrily. Oh well.

I've seen Dale play on his home turf of Austin several times, both at the Continental Club and the Broken Spoke. When I met him at the Broken Spoke, and later at the Rodeo Bar, he told me of his affinity for Johnny D's in Davis and vowed to return there.

So when he finally arrived in Somerville tonight, of course I was at the show. But, after an amazing, two-hour set , I refused to stand in the line of couples waiting to talk to Dale. I left, satisfied to have enjoyed some fine, American music.

After I walked out the door, though, I looked back through the slotted blinds of Johnny D's. On the stage, some potbellied, non-urbane, fat bastard in a cowboy hat sat slouched over Dale's battle-worn, custom Australian guitar, slaughtering even the cheesiest blues licks while his wife loudly applauded him. I couldn't even believe that the instrument was still plugged in. "This has to stop," I told my companions, and marched back into the closed club, past the doorman who earlier noted that I was "becoming a regular."

I approached the guy attempting to play the guitar. My right hand found a quarter in the right front pocket of my jeans and I clenched the coin in my fist. When the fat man stood up to relinquish the most important guitar in country music, he stepped on the cable to the amplifier, ripping it out of the guitar. He dropped Dale's guitar on the stage, then attempted to play his own guitar, which he had apparently brought to the show in hope of doing something with it.

Once the fat man moved aside, I picked up Dale Watson's guitar!! Though famously covered with Mexican coins, the guitar was surprisingly light and the fretboard buttery to the touch. I found the instrument cable on the floor and tapped the tip with my thumb--the amp was still live from the set. I plugged the guitar back in, and using the quarter as a pick, started ripping through my song "Teardown Kings," transposed from E to D to match Dale Watson's tuning.

Immediately people began clapping along and moved closer to the stage. Surprised at not being challenged in any way, I shouted: "I paid fifteen dollars, and I'm gonna have fifteen dollars worth of fun!" People clapped more. The suburbanites took offense. I ripped into a few INFRASTRUCTURE leads before the fat man's wife descended on me, ripped Dale Watson's guitar out of my hands, tore the live amplifier cable out of the guitar, and ran off with the instrument, shouting KID, GO HOME! YOU SUCK, KID! KID, YOU SUCK!

You better take a cab home, classy lady! I said, after apparently emasculating the drunken fat hubby. Don't drive tonight. Time to go back to the suburbs!

As I walked away from the stage, I felt a force on my back. The crazy lady had run up to me and grabbed me from behind. She was holding me back with both arms. I felt the fingernails of both her hands through my leather jacket.

HEY! HEY KID!! I DIDN'T GROW UP IN THE SUBURBS she shouted! I GREW UP IN THE MIDDLE OF FUCKIN NOWHERE!

I turned around, looked her dead in the drunken eyes, and said: That's even worse.
And walked off.

------
After that, I somehow ended up talking to Don Raby, Dale Watson's fiddle player, about how he left a successful career developing hardware and software for Dell in favor of a musician's life on the road. I like hearing what I need to hear. Then, I talked for a while with Dale's new drummer, who invited me onto the band's 1975 Eagle tour bus, the Drag N Fly, before they shipped south to gigs in DC and Richmond.

Among other topics discussed, I had the opportunity to ask Dale Watson if he got his guitar back. He made a wincing gesture. That guy was terrible, he said. I just left him to mess around with it and got out of there.

Dale gave me a Lone Star beer to walk home with. But you might want to hide that, he said, the cops have been watching us all night.

Sure enough, a Somerville cop saw me with the bottle, parked and waited for me to walk past him. I stopped in my tracks for about ten minutes. The cop drove around the block with his headlights off, parked again, and waited some more. I had to pour about ten ounces out, but I'm keeping the bottle Dale Watson gave me on my bookshelf.

As for the suburban couple, I hope they made it home alive, but I don't really care either way.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

There is no shortage of White Boy Funk bands in New Hampshire.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

INFRATOUR: Will it happen this summer?

FACT: The band will have by next month 11 original songs.
FACT: The live show rocks.
FACT: Dan Meade and Rob Bellinger are professional roadtrippers.
FACT: We know people all over America.
FACT: We want to play American music for them.
FACT: We can afford to do so.

So what's to stop us?

Do you have any suggestions for additions or deletions to the map...or venues where our sound would go over well? Please comment below.


View INFRAtour `10 in a larger map

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Sunday, January 03, 2010

The INFRASTRUCTURE TAKES MANHATTAN Highlight Reel

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thanks again!

You may have heard the tall tales by now, but INFRASTRUCTURE's New York debut was a success on more levels than we could have imagined. We owe many people thanks for making it so.

Saturday night, it was a few degrees above freezing, with driving rain and thunder. Based on our most recent Boston show experience, we feared that only ten or so people would show up. We set up our equipment in the basement of the National Underground and got excited as friends and family we hadn't seen in months or years showed up. Almost as soon as we started our set in the crowded basement, the management informed us that we had too many people to fit in the basement. They threw the cover band off the upstairs stage and moved us there!

All told, well over 70 people turned out to see us play our first New York show. The set was a ton of fun to play, and the highlights reel is coming together quickly.

Thanks to everyone who came out!

We will play in New York again on 2/27 at R Bar.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Please come see INFRASTRUCTURE in New York this weekend!

It's a rather important show for us, and we want to play for our NY friends.

Saturday night, 10pm set at National Underground, 159 E. Houston St.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Describing Infrastructure as "the opposite of Vampire Weekend"

is probably the nicest thing you could say to us.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

RANDOM FRIVOLOUS GUITAR PURCHASE

I now own this:

Handmade in Quebec, being shipped in from rural Ohio. It will be onstage at Church 12/18.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

INFRADELPHIA HIGHLIGHT REEL

Created last night. Filmed by Dan, edited by Rob.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

INFRADELPHIA!

Just finished watching the video of our show at Tritone Friday night--what a fun set! A lot of people asked about the meanings behind the songs. Here's the set we played:

Hatred: A tricky, instrumental blues that we usually open with.
$ (pronounced "cash"): A southern rock tune about the miserable northeast.
Moorpark: A country-punk-Beatles song mostly about downward social comparison.
Climber: The first Infrastructure song, Climber is about how people do things they think they should want to do but don't actually want to do, in order to get ahead, from pre-school to the workplace.
Republic: A folk-funk homage to a mostly abandoned mining town Meade and I visited on UP08.
Danny U-Haul: Tribute to our documentarian roadie...Dan Meade.
Misery: The closest we come to a song about feelings.
Cul-de-Sac: entirely about entitlement in America.
Teardown Kings: New tune about people who actively try to derail you.
The Old World: Essentially a song about 116th Street in College Point, Queens. Everybody loves this tune.

Must sleep. I'm excited about more roadshows!

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mega-Manic Fall

It's 3:33 p.m., and the sun has already clocked out here in Boston. In dark times, you have to make your own weather. This is what I'm working on:

11/16-19 NY for work
11/19-21 Boston for life and rehearsal.
11/22-23 Toronto for work (looking forward to this, as I've never been to the city before).
11/24-29 NY and Philly for Thanksgiving.
11/27: INFRASTRUCTURE AT TRITONE in Philly

And then:
12/11-12/14: ABBQII in Austin! With a crew of at least 5!
12/18 INFRASTRUCTURE at Church in Boston
12/26 INFRASTRUCTURE at National Underground in Manhattan.

Doing stuff is awesome.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

INFRASTRUCTURE: All Asia Highlight Reel

From Saturday's show:

Shot by Meade, edited by yours truly.

As for the band, we should have a Philly show during Thanksgiving confirmed within the next few days and are working on a NY show for Christmas weekend. Next Boston gig is Dec. 18 @ Church in the Fenway.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Some Infrastructure Videos

Howdy. Here's the band at Harper's Ferry a few weeks ago. We have show coming up this Saturday, 11/7, at All Asia in Central Square, Cambridge. We're working hard to make it a great one! Hope to see you there.

Here, we debut our Steely Dan meets Beatles meats country punk tune, "Moorpark."


Here, we tear through the breakdown on "Old World."


This is the first time I've had video on the blog.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Meade describes INFRASTRUCURE as:

"The Beach Boys on heroin."

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Meanwhile...

  • Just got Telecaster out of shop. Dude told me I lucked out and "probably had a better guitar than most Americans," as my tele is a Mexican.
  • Just bought MAN-CAM (hd camcorder) for MAN-AM VLOGGING
  • Erich coming in tomorrow to start final rehearsals for the Harper's Ferry gig.
  • Meade also coming in for photo/video documentation, Man Am site construction
  • Just saw "It Might Get Loud" which confirms that I think the right thoughts.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

R.S.V.P.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=142612308666.

INFRASTRUCTURE at Harper's Ferry....8 days!

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Infrastructure will be performing an all-original opening set at Harper's Ferry in Allston Rock City. 8:30 p.m. sharp.

It's early, so please come on down. The show is getting TIGHT. We'll also debut some new songs, including my favorite Infratune to date, "$"

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Monday, September 28, 2009

"...so let me tell you mo__erf__kers who you're f__kin' with."

(For soundbyte, go here, and fast forward to 4:43)

Past 72 hours:
  • Infastructure booked at Harper's Ferry
  • 5-hour Infrastructure Practice
  • James McMurtry show at Johnny D's
  • manicamerican.com server configured
  • Camcorders and video software researched
  • Learned WordPress implementation
  • Infrastructure booked at All Asia, again
  • ABBQII (Austin weekend roadtrip) dates blocked out and Austin Motel booked
Next up:
  • Infra-rehearsal tomorrow
  • manicamerican template designing
  • Attempting to book Infra-shows in NY, including CPC show at potential ex-German, now Jewish-Irish rock bar
This is what my my allies and I do on nights and weekends. And now I'm going to watch Season 3 of "The Shield" instead of sleeping.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Momentary Update.

I'm tired. That's probably because, in addition to doing my job and biking everywhere, my band played its first gig in Cambridge and is actively trying to book two more, in Boston and New York. Dates are set for CPCCPCIV1 and ABBQII2. The Labor Day beach week in NC turned out to be a huge success for photos and stories. Meade and I are inching toward launching our road stories website, MANICAMERICAN.COM. It'll be an exhilarating fall.

1. COLLEGE POINT CLASS CONFLICT PUB CRAWL
2. AUSTIN BARBECUE TOUR

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

INFRASTRUCTURE!

I've managed not to mention on this here blog that the first gig of my blues-rock-soul-punk group, INFRASTRUCTURE, will happen later this week in Cambridge. We'll be at All Asia on Thursday night. Facebook event page (public) is here. Come out and say hello.

I am happy that I can now tag myself "local music."

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Pree

is a really neat band from DC that I saw last night at Pete's Candy Store. They're playing in Inman Square tonight, at the Lily Pad. You should go.

http://www.myspace.com/musicforpree


Erich says they sound like a modest mouse, and so does their MySpace. Maybe it's the atypical rhythms. At any rate, there is some intriguing songwriting, musicianship, and instrumentation happening. I probably should have bought something from them.

It's hard to see bands from other cities that you've never heard of. Usually it's a gamble and it costs money. This is why places like Pete's and Toad (even though the latter books mostly local acts) are important. Fortunately, in these cases, the best way to support new music and local venues is by drinking beer.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wogie's and stuff

We will be holding court at Wogie's on Tuesday, then going to a show at Pianos, in case you want to come.

We've found a drummer for Infrastructure and are now rehearsing on weekends in Boston. Shows in a few months, I hope.

More Deep South photos and stories to come.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Records from the Last House in Cambridge...and Beyond

Seth and I were on a bike ride Saturday. We circled the Cambridge Reservoir at Fresh Pond, explored industrial Cambridge Highlands, then cut down a hilly street toward Arlington. I slowed down to check out a yard sale, said hello to the African-American mother and her three kids who were holding it, and kept rolling. Seth stopped behind me. "They have records," he said. I reluctantly went back, dropped my bike on the sidewalk, and walked down the driveway to the cardboard boxes filled with black columns of vinyl.

Holy shit. Someone really knew what they were buying back in the 60s and 70s. I spent nearly an hour on the ground going through piles of scratched-up, sleeveless records. I recognized a bunch of names from funk compilations, like The Beginning of the End and Stoned Soul Picnic, and I found some personal favorites and big-name standbys like Bohannon and Earth, Wind & Fire. I'm actually going to buy a record cleaning kit from radioshack.com and maybe get a real turntable from ebay. My only turntable remains the cardboard suitcase one I received for doing well on my first report card in 1986.

In terms of rarity (but not quality), this vinyl find might outdo my last biggest one, at a thrift store in Saint John, New Brunswick. It was a chilly October Saturday in 2004, and I was staying over the weekend during a two-week work trip. (I later found out I was pretty much the only salesperson at my company who did such things.) Some dude had just up and left for Halifax, the New York of the Maritimes. He'd sold his awesome vinyl collection to the store the day before. A kid had just gone through the bins and removed all the 80s rap. I feared the collection would have been decimated, but found tons of funk and soul, including a near-mint copy of Idris Muhammad's House of the Rising Sun and a ton of Kool & The Gang (but not their rare debut, which I foolishly passed up at an 80% discont in Lawrence, KS on the KC Siege). On the Saint John trip, I even scored some Average White Band for my then-almost-girlfriend, whom I remember missing a lot during the lonely weekend without cellphone service.

Onward, etc.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Many posts here

are actually Infrastructure songs.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Trianglerock

I'm home for a whopping 17 hours this (3-day?) weekend, then going back out on another business trip. I'll be staying in Chapel Hill and visiting undisclosable portions of North Carolina for a few days.

The last time I was headed to N.C., I found a neat little website called Trianglerock.com, which lists all local rock shows going on in the Research Triangle area. It has a companion player at groovo.org that streams mp3s of bands performing any given week. These sites are awesome, and it would be great if other cities had people dedicated to offering such great distillations of their scenes.

I might try to check out a show at the Cave tomorrow night. I checked out the Double Door in Chicago this past weekend, and I'm on a quest to hit as many venues as I can as I travel the country nonstop for the next six weeks. Rock and roll is alive in America.

Related Photoset from NCBBQII, May-June 2008: Night Falls on the Tar Heel State.

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

When Things Become More Real

The progress behind the making of Infrastructure, our real music band, had been slowing until this weekend. Erich came up from NY with a ton of recording gear, and the plan was to finish trying/try finishing vocals for our EP, Pattern Recognition. By chance, we were joined by a phenomenal, Boston-based female singer Erich knew. We turned my apartment into a studio by flipping the bed against a wall and setting up stools with mics. Everything was run into Erich's recording rig, which we set up on my dresser.

We got a lot done over two full days of sessions, and my upstairs neighbors probably hate me even more now. Erich will take some time to mix the songs and then they will go to our MySpace page (imagine that). It is weird to think that my voice will be holding down the leads on all the tracks--something I never thought could happen. Big thanks to Erich for his production work, Rebecca for the gorgeous harmonies, and CMike for the basslines and arrangement advice.

Soon, we start playing shows. For real.

P.S. My new, old Martin acoustic guitar is an amazing instrument and allows me to cover even more sonic territory I never thought possible. We're going to keep writing, writing, writing. Writing music is far more fun than writing fiction, sometimes more fun than photography, and always more fun than blogging. I am pretty much on the way to having my dream job. My next major life goal is to go on tour with this music, even if it means playing a show here one weekend and there the next. I've been criscrossing the continent for five years doing my job and my photography, and it's almost time for Infrastructure to claim some of that travel time.

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Infrastructure

is coming together. Our three best songs need to be mixed and we're good.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

DO YOU KNOW ANYONE IN CHICAGO OR ANYTHING ABOUT THE CHICAGO MUSIC SCENE?

I'm going next weekend for work, and I know it's going to be a good trip. In my non-work time, I'd like to learn more than what the inside of a Hyatt looks like.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Infrastructure Problem

We write solid music but don't have much time to record or practice it. We can't promote it if it's not recorded.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dale Watson's "Dreamland"

may be the best album I have ever heard.

People in New York should see him at the Rodeo Bar this week (two free shows).

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The New Year

As I sit here preparing to head off to a gathering of friends, I feel the need to play out 2008 with a few more UP images. These desolate places really provided a lot of inspiration and momentum, not only for Meade and me but for others who heard about and saw them later. Infrastructure is kicking (we wrote a song about Republic, pictured above). The photo thing is going well, and I have some new equipment to help me further both efforts. I'm always kicking around ideas for writing projects that I don't start. No time for shit. I am unmarried, have no children, and I don't own a home or car, yet I don't have a spare minute. I'm supposed to be on vacation, but I feel insanely stressed. I am inhaling a Lean Cuisine® Thai-Style Chicken frozen dinner and downing a Harpoon IPA. My blood pressure must be incredibly high. Happy new year.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Union Square Scene

The City Section of today's Globe has a neat little article about the performance venues in Union Square, Somerville, and the "roots" music they promote.

I've been saying that of all the cities I've experienced, Austin and Boston have the best music scenes out there. The growth of live music in Union Square has definitely been a boon for the the elusive Boston scene, whose hotspots move from square to square, staying one step ahead of gentrification and one step farther from the nearest T-stop.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

...and by inspired I mean focused.

I don't think I have enough (time for) vision. I've shot over 8,000 photos so far this year but cannot use the emergent themes to create a gallery-worthy print show. I've been working on a rock album with C. and E. since August 2007 but barely have five songs done. I turned on fiction, but that's fine with me for now.

Here's hoping for more "free" time in 2009. Art is work, and there's only so much work you can do before you fall asleep.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blog/Life Update

This Upper Peninsula project I've given myself is quite a challenge. I'm not supposed to blog about anything else until I tell the entire story of the trip (which will take about 300 photographs). The feedback has been very positive, though, so I shall continue.

About fall non-work travel events, to which you are invited...

College Point Class Conflict Pub Crawl III (CPCCPCIII) happens on 11/28, Friday after Thanksgiving. It looks like we will have a very respectable turnout this year.

ABBQI, the first Austin BBQ roadtrip, will happen the weekend of 12/12-14. Amazingly this jives with my meeting schedule AND coincides with Dale Watson's only appearance at the Broken Spoke in the month of December.

Back to the UP. There will be other major news soon...

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

4:37 a.m.

All of New York City is a drunken circus right now. Tourist couples in too-tight clothing are arguing on the steamy, desolate streets of Midtown. The cops are responding to a scene of apparent violence at a club in Astoria, trademark red and white lights everywhere. Yellow cabs and livery cabs are ferrying drunks in any possible direction in all boroughs. Lights are still on in many homes. Even our usually quiet one-way street is jammed with pairs of headlights competing for asphalt. Everyone is awake or outside because they can be.

Amid these many chaotic scenes, the INFRASTRCTURE boys return home via the upper deck of the Queensborough Bridge. We have completed a marathon 12-hour recording and arranging session in a fancy Manhattan studio 400 feet above the hoochie-laden streets. When you play for that long, which I don't usually do, awakeness goes away and all that remains is muscle memory and punch drunkenness. You lock into your fellow musicians and the equipment you are using and you try to make something good.

Tonight, we made several very good things. A lot of remixing is required before we can share, and we didn't record vocals, but we're very proud of what we achieved. We need some serious sleep, though, before we can appreciate it.

It was also nice to find freshly baked brownies when E. dropped C. and me off at home. Things are finally beginning to work.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Next Episodes

I'm crazy busy with work and the next few projects that you'll see here. More specifically:

Untitled EP. An incarnation of INFRASTRUCTURE will be getting together in NY this weekend to start recording an EP. The oversimplified track titles, according to recording priority, are "Climber," "Busted," "Cul-de-Sac People," "Misery," and "Home." The personnel will be Erich Rastetter on keys and rhythm guitar, C. Bellinger on bass, Greg Caputo on drums, and myself on lead guitar. All of the personnel are angry young men from Queens. The band will sound like a combination of early Elvis Costello, early ZZ Top, and Wilco. What can I say? We're white people.

UP. Very soon, the blog switches completely over to a chronological retelling of the trip Dan Meade and I took to the Upper Peninsula this past June. Photos will serve as the main narrative element, with text filling in only where necessary. Any posts I've already put up will be re-posted to fit the narrative/chronological order of the trip. There are some really good photos in this set.

The Fall Excursions. If art-traveling is fun, why do it only in June? I have to clear the days off, but it looks like I'll be meeting up with some friends in SoCal, hosting the third annual College Point Class Conflict Pub Crawl in Queens, and putting together ABBQI, the first open-invite barbecue roadtrip to the Hill Country of Texas.

Read on (or listen, or view), or join me on one of these trips.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

The Bird and the Bee

$12 in Boston.
$35 in New York.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

1. The world needs more

Kristin Cifellis.

...which is to say: people who get it.

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2.

I think it would be awesome to do a dropped-D cover of Aimee Mann's "Freeway" into/out of Warren Zevon's "Jungle Work."

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Paradise and Lunch

Every American citizen should have to own a copy of Ry Cooder's Paradise and Lunch. I listen to it about three times per day when I'm home. It's just that good. It makes me wonder how anyone could have been talented enough to create it.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

"willing to bet that this is just a phase"

quoth a colleague re: my being in a band.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

John Mayer?

If you're bored on this Friday afternoon, consider reading my interview of John Mayer from April 2002. I thought it was so cool that we both got into music the same way.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Infrastructure as Dual Citizen

While doing some planning for the three-musician songwriting summit to occur this weekend, it struck me that INFRASTRUCTURE could only be a New York and Boston band. It only makes sense; it's where the three of us are from. It's make or break time. No giving up and waiting for an easier opportunity.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Sparkle and Fade

Every Boston band I've liked since college has done an album or two and vanished. First Meghan Toohey and her So-and-So's, and now The Spurs and The Snowleopards have gone dormant. Nothing from John Powhida's Rudds nor from his International Airport.

This is a bad sign.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Music Update!

  1. CMike and I have a recording device that will allow us to record practice sessions.
  2. Three INFRASTRUCTURE songs are complete: "Climber," "The Old World," and "Cul-de-Sac People."
  3. A reverse guitar chord finder exists at http://www.gootar.com/guitar/. It's the coolest fucking thing ever and means I don't have to try to think in music theory as much.
  4. Erich and I are working on covers to cover this weekend.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

I am listening to "Painted from Memory" by Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach Over and Over Again.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Done with MP3s.

When you buy mp3s, you don't get much, and the artists probably don't get much, either. You don't get carefully chosen photographs, essays, acknowledgements, or songwriting credits. You don't get something you can hold in your hand. And artists probably get screwed by distribution deals. I've weaned myself from DRM mp3s to DRM-free MP3s back to CDs.

Side note: I just completed my first-ever purchase from CDBaby.com. A huge fan of independent music, I can't believe it took me this long to actually buy something there. Check out their about page. It's a compelling story: independent web store founded by an independent musician. They claim to pay artists three to six times what major distributors pay.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Infrastructure Update

New song, "Graduate School," will be done this week. It's the finest in double-edged swords...

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Assholic Comment of the Day

I just helped move my brother out of college, and somehow we ended up talking about the song used in a recent Dockers commercial*. We googled the song, and found it on this message board. One user who comments on the song says:
I love songs with live musicians playing in the background !!!!!!!!


?!??!?!

Is there any other kind?

*I will attempt to launch an advertisement immunization program here soon.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Proclivities Live

It must be noted here, on this "gravestone in the ether," that db and rb did an impromptu performance of the grindfolio "Proclivities" at db's house party in Middletown, Conn. last weekend.

We were sitting in the darkened living room, where a few xeroxed copies of "Proclivities" (2004) and Dan's "Sticks and Rocks and Stars" (2003?) beckoned from the bar. As usual, I wasn't sure what was happening when someone handed me an acoustic guitar. Its action* was so poor that only the first two frets were playable. "Get me a real fucking guitar and a beer," I said, then resumed speaking to the people around me. Within seconds, people I don't know handed me a phenomenally expensive Yamaha acoustic and a fresh cup of Long Trail from the keg. So something had to happen.

Dan demanded blues, so I did some standard riffs and all the new Infrastructure material. Once I started playing, I noticed that Erich was now playing basslines on the busted-ass guitar. Dan thrashed about the living room awkwardly, reciting such grind classics as "i can't talk; i'm too busy remembering the alamo" and "same dead animals, great new taste" in a nerdy, loud monotone. Sometimes people clapped.

I don't know what anyone thought, but I don't care**. We didn't perform under a name, but this was as close to a Future Suicide Heroes show I've gotten since 2003.

*Distance between strings and the fretboard.
**I didn't even remember that this happened until this morning. Since doing this show in Middletown 8 days ago, I've been to dinner in the Bronx, home in Queens, in my office in Manhattan, back in Boston, presenting stuff in Guelph/Toronto, at a function in Austin, spent the weekend in Austin, and got back last night. I am very happy that I actually do things while I'm getting things done.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

cul-de-sac people

are not really trying
not really trying at all

from the debut INFRASTRUCTURE album, The Price You Pay
Fall 2008!!!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Early Retirement Plan

Form awesome, three-piece blues-rock-trauma-pop band to tour Texas college towns/cities like Denton, Lubbock, Austin, College Station, etc.

Achievable as early as: summer 2008.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Playing music in the spring in Boston...

I can't wait (it's not here yet). Spring in Boston feels more earned than in NY. Coming of age is awesome when you end up who you wanted to be.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Just so you know...

The Rudds show at the Lizard Lounge this Saturday should be fucking sick.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Best Practice Ever #12

Every single music practice with brother is the best yet. This is really moving forward, and has only been happening for 6 months! We need a name!

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Playing Music All Day

We started by meeting in Allston, in a partially abandoned warehouse studio inhabited by hoodie-wearing couch-sleepers and countless mice running up and down the walls. We got pretty far finalizing two songs there, then got Indian food. After that, we walked to Guitar Center, got predictably mad at all the Berklee kids, and then got chai and stared at girls in the BU campus center. Then to Cheapo Records in Central, where we bought nothing, and then back to Teele for gin and Chinese food and more music. We probably walked five or six miles with instruments strapped to our backs.

Three songs are in a very advanced stage, with partial lyrics. Two more should follow soon. Then we find a drummer.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Sounds Like

"Elvis Costello meets ZZ Top"

I give CMike credit for issuing this truth.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wally's on Tuesdays

Wally's on Tuesdays is the place to be for serious music. They don't carry name-brand stuff; instead, the heavy r&b-funk-jazz that is played seems to come from far deeper in the well that commercially sanctioned music is skimmed from. If you are a musician or aspire to be one, the effortless actions taken by the players, who change week-to-week, can often damage your ego (in a way that can only be repaired through practice, practice, practice). At Wally's, talent and legend well up in the brownstone walls nightly...and there's never a cover.

Wally's at Closing Time on Flickr (rb).
Wally's official site (redesigned).

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Percolation

As I sit and work and watch the bizarre townie-world happening of Teele Square, I listen to music all day. Whether it's WFUV, streaming audio from local bands, or stuff from my own huge collection of American music, some type of blues/jazz/instrumental '40s R&B/soul/souljazz/funk/rock/folk/etc is always on. It is my hope that this will teach my brain to write songs as opposed to parts of songs.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

$100 at Cheapo Records

  • Earth, Wind & Fire, The Eternal Dance (3 CD set)
  • John Lee Hooker, The Ultimate Collection: 1948-1990 (Rhino 2-CD set)
  • Ernest Tubb, The Complete Live 1965 Show (2 CD set)
  • North Mississippi Allstars, Shake Hands With Shorty (repurchase)

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stevie Wonder!

Dear Pete Lesser,

Thank you for imploring me (again) to purchase Songs in the Key of Life--a remarkable $8.99 at Amazon for DRM-free MP3s!

These songs transport be back to my childhood. Maybe they were there in ambient car radio noise--likely from other cars since my parents only listen(ed) to 1010 WINS--as we drove regularly to McDonald's in Flushing. A great soundtrack for remembering and looking forward.

The amazing positivity, the synthesis, the beat. How could I have lived without this in such a concentrated form for so long? I listen at least once a day, and I can't wait to see how the album ends up influencing my thought and music-playing processes.

Yours,
Rob

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Friday, December 07, 2007

BROTHERS

completed first studio practice last night. The results were VERY, VERY GOOD.

Going to keep working on a few songs, then bring in a drummer.

I'm seriously considering buying $10, one-hour solo studio sessions to practice drumming. It'd be worth it; I have an eerily natural knowledge base to develop.

Also, I love how people at my job don't take me seriously when I say I play music.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Guitarplex


On the rack: three Kays, two Guyatones, one Galanti, and my Mexican Tele.

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Bassplex


RB's Four-String Fleet: Ampeg Little Stud, 90s Danelectro, Fernandes Jazz bass ripoff.

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Post-Operative Bass


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Bass Revitalization


Mid-70s Japanese Ampeg Little Stud undergoing soldering, cleaning, setup.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saturday Nights at the Cantab Lounge

I've drunkenly described the Cantab Lounge in Central Square as a "Noah's Ark of humanity," where on a weekend night you'll see one of every type of human imaginable, except for college students (thankfully, the whole 21-plus thing tends to keep them away). You'll see the crazy African-American lady in an Indian headdress with Bluetooth headset. You'll see two short, gray-topped men in black sport coats--the identical twins who play bass and drums in the Fatback Band. You'll hear many heavy townie accents, and you'll usually see quasi-hipsters embarrassing themselves.

Walking into the upstairs bar, you're greeted by off-color cream, blue, and green everything--almost the exact same colors my grandparents painted the basement kitchen of their tiny Queens bungalow. You'll see paintings of halfnaked women and brewer's memorabilia straight from the mid-70s, the period that almost all of the songs in the set will be taken from.

When the band strikes its first note around 10, all the old people hit the floor. Diane Blue, the lead singer/harp player, is usually just showing up with her coffee (the bassist ably handles vocals for a bit). As the scene heats up and the youth arrive, many old people leave around 11 to pass out or mate drunkenly. Then the paradoxes or ironies or coincidences truly begin.

You're in an amusingly decayed, musty warp zone where musically, it's 1975, young and old and black and white dance together, and pretty, apparently single girls amass at the back corner bar too nervous to hit the floor until that third or fourth drink. A feeling builds--excitement? pleasure? enjoyment? Which fits best? The band never runs out of covers. The funky old dude on the strat never hits a bad note; in fact, he actually shreds. Shreds. Sax and harmonica work together to churn out thick melodies that keep asses shaking and mouths smiling.

I always wonder: did I accomplish enough on this visit? Should I have stayed until they kick you out at 2? Should I have flicked my introvert/extrovert switch and spoken to people (girls) I don't know? When will I have the opportunity to go again? It's like being at a high school dance where everything is right and everything is sound and everyone is grown up and they almost know how to be happy, almost.

As a serious realist (which many interpret as "pessimist"), the Cantab gives me hope. To see the musical and sexual and even just observational possibilities amassing is a treat worth the $5 cover charge. The whole atmosphere is like your mother's most loveably flawed dinner recipe: you're not sure whether all the ingredients make sense, but it's home.

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

New Stuff

I probably practiced guitar/wrote music for about 5 hours this weekend (for me, this is a lot). I'm trying to write stuff that I would want to see.

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Soulive is worth seeing again.

Given the band's performance at the Roxy last night, I have to question whether they were ever not worth seeing. Maybe that New Year's show at BB King's in 200X was just a fluke. Back then, the the guys seemed exhausted and unispired.

But they've found new energy. Soulive has followed the same career trajectory (thus far) of Kool and the Gang. Jazz band goes ghetto, then gets singer(s) and starts cranking out heavy-ass soul-funk. New singer Toussaint seemed right at home on the stage. Drummer Alan Evans has evolved into a monster, powering the band through every subgenre worked into the show. He's become a great soloist to boot. Neal Evans is still a madman, and Krasno is now shredding on a Telecaster in addition to his Ibanez semi-hollow.

There was a liberal dose of their best jazz material, like "One in Seven," and many, many new songs featuring Toussaint on vocals, like "Don't Tell Me" and "One of Those Days." The ethereal "Bubble," a jammy, yet soulful instrumental, stuck in my head strongest. Too bad the studio version doesn't do it justice--the band's rediscovered energy was palpable last night. That they closed their set with "The Ocean" (yes, Zeppelin) proved that they were there to rock the fuck out.

So what if 50% of the crowd was college dudes with bad afros? It was worth being around them to be part of the communal, eardrum-destroying experience.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

New Fountains of Wayne (Traffic and Weather)

Musically sound and lyrically hilarious. Great songcraft. That's what I need to learn.

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