Sunday, April 8, 2012


so we've been working on an album for about 5 years, give or take a year or two. yeah, it's kind of a silly thing to admit in this day & age when kids are recording records in seconds & releasing them in minutes... but i think it's something you & i should talk about, because we haven't been talking much, we've both been too busy.
((((i'm curious: when was the last time you were blown away by a record? like, what i mean is, when was the last time a pop song took your breath away? literally stopped you from breathing, or caused heart palpitations? let me know if anything comes to mind....))))so our major problem is actually kind of ironic. these 10 recordings that we've made are pretty exceptional. we've managed to successfully record 2 drum sets in virtually every time signature imaginable (((except 13/8...coming soon))) we have layered & edited so many sounds & arrangements on top of each other, it's very hard to hear where there are mistakes. in short, everything sounds perfect. too perfect. so how, you may ask, is that a problem?

well, i've been trying to convince myself that its not a problem. the cleanliness & sheen we've gotten on these recordings is now the industry standard, even with garageband recordings. compared to our previous record, A&R , this new album sounds professional, glitch-free. but i've got to ask you something: when you listen to a recording, a good recording, do you get excited & share it with your friends because you like the way the kick drum sounds? because you notice the univox on the guitar? because you love the reverb on the vocals?

in all likelihood, the answer is probably no. i'm obsessive about sound qualities, & i truly believe that even if you've got the most amazing, gorgeous synthesizer pad, & the drums are meticulous & crisp, & the vocal edits are seamless - you've still only got a small fraction of the musical experience...but often those sounds take precedent over the content of the song, the emotion of the lyrics, the originality & the presence of the music... if the song is just another reworking of Sgt. Pepper or Fun House, then who cares?

so right now, we've got a great set of sounds recorded. we've got a lovely palette of colors to work with. but the final product is not an album yet, or at least, it's not our album. so these next few months i'm going to be deconstructing these 10 songs to reconstruct them with the soul i know they have. if that means blowing out my speakers in the process by recording through 10 preamps, or rerecording all the vocal tracks without's all fair game. i know, in the end, i want these songs to make me feel something physical, make me move, cry, shout, or at least grin...

....anyway, i just wanted to check in with you. tell you what's up. because if i didn't think these recordings were valuable, i wouldn't be so critical, and we wouldn't be trying to persevere through the difficult circumstances that The Names That Spell has had to deal with in the past couple of years as a band. So, yeah - Don't expect the Beatles or the Stooges. We are still The Names That Spell, & we aim to astonish you. Thanks for your support,

((((expect the next single to be released early May, 2012 --- for now, "Taking a Leak" is posted HERE for free download, & last year's live video of the song is posted HERE

Monday, April 11, 2011

too drammers

we use two drummers in much of our music - it's always a tricky situation as it's easy for both overplay - thus we spend a lot of time experimenting with different combinations and contexts where having 8 limbs hitting things instead of 4 makes sense. density is a big talking point at rehearsals. it's easy for things to devolve into a spaceless rant of constant 16th notes.

it is very interesting to watch two drummers play together in a improvisatory context (and I don't mean guitar center drum battle 2010 or other wankery.)

here is an video of two drummers nasheet waits and eric mcpherson performing in a trio with abraham burton. I think it's a good example of how organic two drummers can play. Sure, it sounds dense at times, but density, just like volume, is something a drummer can control, and two drummers can do interesting things with that. rhythms can clash in ways that one drummer could not achieve.

(you can view all 6 parts of the full set on youtube where they play in a bunch of different contexts within the trio, this is just one segment).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

'''''''''everbody is now an Admin...

Embrace your Emotions - find your inner woo. it's like monsters in your pocket. or creatures in your head. pagan creatures. So, with hopes that this blog can join the ranks of the great many obsolescent blogs of the future, we are going to start detailing the creations of our musics here whenever we forget that words are actually useless.., also, i think we are going to go through with our plan to start releasing our back catalogue of recordings on BANDCAMP (@ .... these recordings are to be FREE ., check in with us in about a week for the first installment..,

how do you change the settings? how do you cut the grass?