Posts Tagged ‘local music’

A Safe Space To Remember

May 1st, 2017

I survived Technology Vs. Horse. We played our last show Saturday. It was a nice day, warm and bright. I don’t want to live in the past but I do want to take some time to remember this moment. It was the end of something, the beginning of another thing entirely.

 

The band actually broke up last year but didn’t tell anybody. Our previous show was over a year ago at a bar in Bowling Green and I walked off stage after two songs because I had a sudden attack of diarrhea. This time I made it without incident. Goddamn it. We played an alright show and my bowels didn’t get nervous.

 

I looked into the crowd and saw so many familiar faces. All of these people had been to so many TVH shows in Bowling Green. They weren’t fans. Before our last song, I went to say something and I got choked up. . .

 

“I’ve seen a lot of you at our shows.” I stopped and corrected myself. “WE’VE seen you at our shows. . . you’re our friends.” I was choked up in that moment. I wanted to say more but couldn’t.

 

Then we played “Termite Art” for the last time and it hit me that we were another link in Bowling Green music history. We’ve been part of it longer than most bands, and different musically than practically any other band in this area, but still we’re a part of the chain. Bands came before us and will come long after us. But here we were, playing on Morning Teleportation’s drum kit, borrowing a guitar from Heron And Crane because our guitarist broke his high E string at a show hosted by the local college radio station. . . in front of the people who had seen us more than anybody else. People came far and wide to see us one last time.

 

We could never break the chain, even if we wanted to.

 

I was hugged by children, took pictures with teenagers, signed CDs for a Juggalo. One of the college radio kids said that our set was “psychotic”. I told him that wasn’t even one of the twenty most psychotic sets we ever played. I watched the newer bands that came on after us. I ate a hot dog. I cried a little bit because I didn’t realize how many friends we had.

Technology Vs. Horse Farewell Show

April 17th, 2017

Greetings, sports fans.

 

My band, Technology Vs. Horse, formed in 2004. In that time, we played many shows. We released six of our own albums (and you can still get them). We tried our best. And on April 29th, we’re playing our final show.

 

There’s a lot to say, right? You may wonder why we are breaking up. The five of us are still friends, so that’s not it. We’re all bogged down by middle-age concerns like families, careers, and responsibilities. That makes it hard for us to get together on a regular basis. The band actually broke up last summer but we didn’t say anything.

 

 

We started practicing for the April 29th show a few weeks ago and that was the first time we’d all been in the room together since last June. The people at Revolution 91.7 who are putting together Mayhem 2017 have played our songs on their station for years and asked us to be on this upcoming show. We felt it would be a great way to say goodbye, seeing as how we’d played numerous Revolution events over the years. A nice free show on a late Saturday afternoon in the park on Center Street in Bowling Green.

 

 

What Happened Here?

March 19th, 2017

You are wreckage. What happened here? How did you get here?

 

 

You had a thing that you loved doing. You had your passion. You did it because you HAD to do it. And when somebody has to do something, that’s all the reason they need. They don’t stress too hard on what other people think.

 

You said to yourself, “no one will miss me if I stop doing this, the world will continue”. Which is true. But did you stop to think whether or not YOU would continue.

 

More importantly, you took this major plank out of your life. What did you replace it with? You didn’t. That’s just it. You don’t play shows anymore. You don’t have a band anymore. You don’t stand on stage and sing anymore. What happened here? Why did you stop? Who cared what they thought? Why do you care so much about “them” anyway?

 

 

The closer I got to exposing my true self, the more I felt out of step with the world around me. I was a great jester. I am a funny guy when I want to be. You ever hear that song “Tears of a clown”? There you go. I don’t want to put myself out there in bars and clubs while people are trying to have a good time and have a few drinks, pick up somebody to have sex with, shoot pool with, talk trash with, take selfies with. I am not the good time entertainer for them anymore and I don’t want to be. They’re not wrong for wanting to have a good time, just as I am not wrong for not wanting to not play for them. When our paths have crossed it has not gone well. They talk to me, they always want to have a dialogue with me. They puncture the atmosphere that I try to create. It’s too uncomfortable for them. 

 

I’m not an entertainer anymore. What I want to do isn’t feasible. Anything can stop me now. 

 

Spotify <1000 Joints

October 23rd, 2016

Spotify, you win. I have downloaded you to my laptop and have decided to help you kill what’s left of the music business. Lady Gaga released her new album “Joanne” this week. The first single “Perfect Illusion” has been played on Spotify a whopping 38 million times. This will net Lady Gaga an estimated $154.77. Why? Because of the lopsided deal the record industry made with Spotify. So somebody is getting rich, but not the artists.

 

Another example. The rapper Nelly owes the IRS $2.4 million and some jokester wrote an article saying it would take 287 million streams of his hit “Hot In Herre” for him to repay the IRS. It would actually cost less if people went to iTunes and bought his song again but we’re just highlighting the ridiculous pay structure at hand.

 

Taylor Swift moved her tracks off Spotify. Prince only had one song on Spotify, as does King Crimson and Tool. Garth Brooks is the best selling American artist of the last 25 years and none of his music is on Spotify. The only Neil Young albums you can find are the shitty Geffen Records ones from the 80’s that were so bad David Geffen sued him.

 

So since Spotify exists essentially as exposure and a loss-leader, I’ll take the time do a series on artists and songs that have fewer than 1,000 streams. Give underheard music the Mike Farmer bump, whatever that’s worth. If this helps you find something cool to listen to, wonderful.

 

Peter Hammill & The K Group, “Live At Rockpalast”. A televised concert from 1981. Peter Hammill is the singer from Van der Graaf Generator accompanied by a backing band. It’s a 93-minute double album, so you may not get into the whole thing on first listen. You’ll know by the first three or four songs whether it’s your thing or not. Hammill is a strident vocalist, sings as if he’s protesting at a city council meeting. The songs have a prog-ish vibe with a 1981 new wave timbre. Makes sense since Hammill wrote them, he also wrote all the VdGG songs. I really love “The Future Now”.

 

Don Muro, “As Long As I’ve Got You”. The A-side of a Record Store Day single in 2015, the song was recorded in 1974. A power-pop synth-driven DIY production. I assume Muro played or programmed everything on the track. He still occasionally records and runs his own label, Flannelgraph Records. I heard this song on an episode of The Best Show and fell in love with it immediately.

 

Off-Ox, “Best Best Western”. A new project from my long-time friend Aaron Tanner, he of Stationary Odyessy, Fracasos and many other So. Indiana-based projects. (Fun fact: Aaron’s record label Dyspepsidisc released several Mr. Neutron albums about fifteen years ago). Off-Ox is Tanner’s new band and “Best Best Western” is the A-side of their debut single. Melodic, distorted instrumental indie with cool synths on the B-side. Of course, that only makes sense if you’re listening to it on vinyl which I don’t expect you are.

 

I don’t know how to do a Spotify playlist and I’m not going to take the time on account of three songs/artists. Do some searching, you lazy bums.

Diminishing Returns

February 24th, 2016

It’s time.

 

It’s time for Technology Vs. Horse.

 

The band is playing a show on Friday, “celebrating” the sixth album we’ve released. The name of the album is Diminishing Returns. I have a lot to say about the album but first a little background.

 

A few years ago, we put out an album called Sorry That I Knocked You Up. At that time, we were already working on the music for the next album. That was way back in 2013. And then. . . all hell seemed to break loose.

 

In the span of three years, life got in the way of being a band. Careers, family, the slow crawl into middle age. Everyone in the band is in their 30’s now. I’ll be 38 next month. David will be 40 later this year. The older you get, the harder it is to maintain art activity. You have a lot of weddings and funerals to attend. Which we have. More funerals than we would like to have attended at our age.

 

We stayed a band, but getting together became much more difficult. We probably played less than a half-dozen shows in 2014-15 total. We were lucky to have practice monthly. We were lucky if all five of us showed up for practice. Life got in the way.

 

So here we are. Five people approaching middle age trying to maintain the creativity they had in their twenties. Not the quality of the work, but the energy and time put in. Life before and after responsibility are two different things.

 

We make the music we make for ourselves and those who want to hear something like it. We dabble and experiment and push ourselves. You can definitely here me pushing myself on some of these songs, the amount of straining and screaming I do.

 

It’s a good album. It’s not the happiest, funniest, jokiest album. But it is pretty good. Some of my most personal lyrics are on this album. “Night On Hobo Blood Mountain” is NOT one of those lyrics.

 

Some song information now.

 

“Dark Logics” precedes the release of Sorry That I Knocked You Up. The title is a reference to the David Foster Wallace book Infinite Jest. I didn’t tell the others in TVH but for a moment I wanted to fill the entire album with IJ references.

 

“A Night On Hobo Blood Mountain” is the other song that references IJ. Specifically, the animal-stalking halfway-house resident character of Randy Lenz. The title has nothing to do with the book or the lyrics. It’s a long, annoying story.

 

“Player One Has Entered The Game” is extremely strange. The lyrics are from the perspective of a croupier, someone who runs a roulette table.

 

“Handsome Mike” is from the perspective of a barfly who admires another guy who seems to be a ladies’ man. There’s a twist on the breakdown as the ladies’ man is not what he seems to be. Put another way, we started writing this song before the tsunami of allegations against Bill Cosby. Timely by accident.

 

There are six other songs on the album and I’ll write about them on the next post because I’ve gone on too long on this post.

 

 

 

There’s One In Every Crowd

February 28th, 2015

Last night I played a gig in Evansville. It was alright. I played a lot of my saddest material and thoroughly bummed people out. I played a few funny songs, so it was a even mix of levity and lethargy.

 

I am haunted. There’s a phenomenon that occurs every time I play a show. Every time I play show I have to contend with a drunky, mouthy girl who can’t shut up already.

 

Let’s try not to use the b-word, the c-word or the wh-word when talking about this girl, even though sometimes she may act like one. Let’s just call her what she is: “Legion”. Legion is at every show I do, drinking and having a good time. I like to talk to the audience. Legion thinks I am initiating a conversation. I am not initiating a conversation. I’m performing. I’m trying to maintain an atmosphere that the listener can get into. If they dip out for a smoke and come back or leave entirely, that’s their business and right. But Legion thinks we are talking, maybe because that’s what happens when Legion goes out drinking and has too much.

 

There is such a thing as Guy Legion, don’t get me wrong. Usually Guy Legion is pretty easy to pipe down after he’s been answered. But Girl Legion can’t pipe down. Because she’s drunk. If alcohol truly took people’s inhibitions away, more people would be nude or semi-nude in bars and then everyone with eyes would have a nightmare. But booze doesn’t bring out Legion’s inhibitions. Rather, alcohol makes the self-consciousness fade away and reduces social cue reading so Legion just talks and answers back like it’s a Q-and-A because she doesn’t have that sensor active that says “CAUTION: BEING ANNOYING”.

 

Comedians gripe about this a lot. Fortunately, I can play a song when it gets out of control. All comedians have is their jokes and the mic. Comedians may engage a heckler but Girl Legion is pretty hard to shut down because they tend to be good at filibustering in arguments with boyfriends. Legion applies the relationship argue technique in a situation where it isn’t appropriate because the booze has diminished her self-consciousness and good sense.

 

What am I supposed to do? I’ve graduated from shouting at them to just letting them do their thing. Why should I engage them in a contest to see who’s the bigger asshole? Besides, between the two of us I’m the only one who knows  when I’m actually being one.

Pacific Midwest

May 22nd, 2014

“With all the will in the world, diving for dear life when we could be diving for pearls” – Robert Wyatt, “Shipbuilding”

 

Yes, Andy. I’m well aware that Elvis Costello wrote “Shipbuilding”. Those are his words and I should probably credit him with the quote. But they came out of Robert Wyatt’s mouth first and best. Speaking of Robert Wyatt, here’s a guy who’s music sounds nothing like him. . . Andy Matter with his debut record, Pacific Midwest. But maybe the Elvis Costello thing might work here.

 

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I don’t want this to be a review. But I think about local music and know that it always has a strike against it because its’ attempts at self-hype cannot compare to the big lie mass media techniques that are used to sell us Taylor Swift’s fragrance or Justin Bieber’s duct tape. This haunts me as a local musician, that I can pour my heart out onto a form of salable media for a more-than-fair price and people will half-ass a lie of how they don’t have any cash on them then go straight to the bar and plunk down a fiver for some swill. Thanks for telling me you liked the set, fuckface. Your kudos don’t mean shit anymore.

 

I’m gonna go back to the Elvis Costello thing because it might be apt just for their shared ability to cut a target down with lyrics. Righteous anger of a wronged man. The pinpoint fuck-you against the offending party. The economical way in which the message is delivered. The sharp, fast, loud, pop-punk-rock that sounds tight considering that Matter played the majority of the instruments.

 

There’s a heavy dose of pathos on Matter’s album. That’s the trade-off. When you’re hurt and you want to fight back, logic goes out the window. Even if you feel clearheaded, you’re just a spinning top knocking everything around you. At least its’ a decent soundtrack.

 

Right now I feel like A.J. Weberman. Pacific Midwest is available on Gubbey Records.

Enjoy Feeling Bad

December 17th, 2013

Music can do so many things to us, no matter what stage of life we are at. Music can really soothe us when we are feeling cold, unloved and rabid. Alternately, sometimes people listen to music that drives them crazy. Music that makes them feel cold, unloved, rabid and vicious. You can’t get lost in a movie like you can good music (or even bad music if you are susceptible to it. . . as proof of this, Kiss have just been nominated to the R’N’R Hall of Fame today). Even the music that you listen to for the purpose of feeling bad must have a good purpose the way you use it. Something inside you trying to get out. You find just the right thing to pull it out of you and FEEL it and maybe even enjoy it a bit.

 

This is where Technology Vs. Horse comes in right now. We are in the gradual process of putting together music for our sixth(!) studio album. Since 2008, we have released three albums with our current lineup. We have tried to make each one better than the one before it. Whether we have succeeded or not is for each listener to decide (and I encourage to you listen for yourselves at http://technologyvshorse.bandcamp.com/ and maybe even kick in a few shekels for the mp3s or a CD or something).

 

Would these men lie to you?

Would these men lie to you?

 

I don’t know how many songs will end up on album six. I don’t know what the name of it will be or what the cover will look like. The five of us have an idea or two but we’re not committed to anything except really making the most WTF experimental heavy music you’ve ever heard from us. There will not be a “White Girls” moment on album six. . . I assume. We haven’t written one yet. Probably won’t either. If you liked our song “Electric Eels”, there might be some more stuff in that vein only way more depressing and horrifying. Are you ready for a whole album of dark, angry experimental rock? That’s what you’re gonna get.

 

Enjoy feeling bad.

 

 

 

 

Being In A Band Sucks

May 19th, 2013

“Being in a band sucks.”

 

That is the concept behind a coffee-table book I’m writing. It will be the least readable and least bought book of all time. Even less readable than BITCH ARE YOU RETARDED, which is a real advice book for women written by a man who did not exactly have the gift of gab. . . or any professional qualifications to give anyone advice about anything.

 

This weekend was not great for me, as a guy in a band. I don’t want to get into the details of it. Some people say that the bad shows will make for good stories later. Some people can laugh about the downsides of being in a band, but I can’t anymore. Because being in a band sucks.

 

This has nothing to do with the people in my band. It’s not them that’s the problem. It’s the outside world that makes everything so difficult. It is so difficult to deal with promoters who tell you you’ll make $100 and then hand you $10 at the end of the night. I don’t want to deal with “festival organizers” who slap together some shitshow in a grassy area and have no plan for when it rains and bands get shafted out of a timeslot they’ve practiced hard for weeks. I have no time for people who have no plans for paying bands other than hoping that enough people show up at the gates.

 

I maintain that local bands that perform original music are at odds with the world around them. Not that there aren’t fans of original local music but they are in essence constantly trying to promote their very existence. In bars, coffeehouses, on social media, they are trying to say “I exist”. They are supposed to be not only musicians and songwriters but also booking agents, PR guys, and wear a dozen other hats. If you’re in a band and you feel like it’s you and your bandmates against the world, probably you are. And their biggest weapon is their yawning indifference.

I Have New Material (My Set List)

April 29th, 2013

Here is a list of songs I may or may not be playing at the show tomorrow night, which has been moved to Zanzabar and will be headlined by Andy D. Be warned, I’ve made some of these song titles up.

  1. Night People (Electro Remix) – This is used as an opener crowd-hype intro.
  2. Electric Eeyore Intercourse Junction – my first foray into dubstep
  3. The Concept Of U – Not a Prince tribute, despite the title
  4. Mountain Music – a piano ballad about well-wishes for an elderly man
  5. Normal Love – an old ballad
  6. Night People (Dubstep Remix of the Electro Remix) – a half-time keep-the-crowd hyped piece
  7. Cornbread – a dancehall reggae song, accidentally racist
  8. Die Alone – probably won’t play this one
  9. When I Think About You I Get Sticky – This one would make girls cry if a cuter guy sang it.
  10. GAY 4 LUV – Protest rock. Lady Gaga meets Iggy & The Stooges
  11. Kandy Korn Palace – psychedelic sample masterpiece of hip-pop
  12. Woman & Her Clothes – an aggressive folk song
  13. Night People (Trap Remix of Dubstep Remix of Electro Remix) – closing theme.