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May 28, 2009 emblemThe album title

The debut record is going to be released in August. It’s called Journal of Retreat.

Andrew and I finished some last minute overdubs this week- including a big group singalong for “Let’s Try It”. I haven’t sang in a big group of people like that in a while- it was completely refreshing. Going to sound great.

The goal is to have everything mixed and mastered by mid-June. We’re on track.


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May 10, 2009 emblemSpring tour update #2

Left Maine in hopes that the way back down south would be a little less disastrous than the way up. Took a scenic route to Burlington- I only get so many chances to drive through the White Mountains these days. I miss New England!

In Burlington I played with my good friends Villanelles and their buddy, the one-man band Parmaga. We played in a TINY coffee shop and packed it, to the point that it felt like I was playing with everyone else in the room. Pretty intimate. Villanelles have only gotten better since I last saw them, and watching Parmaga was probably the closest I’ve come to watching my own set- his sounds were more electronic than mine, and he had a higher vocal range than me, but the idea was very similar.

The next day I tried to avoid my computer (difficult- I am an addict) as we set up for a friend’s birthday party. I had to leave just as things were getting rolling- some Pollock-esque paint splattering (which ties in with the theme of the Contrary EP for those of you with a copy), men in dresses, lawn geese turned flamingo…

Along the way to Connecticut my ears had the pleasure of soaking in a record by Julie Doiron, which I listened to 3 times in a row- something I rarely do. Rural Vermont is a nice place. I wish I could’ve spent more time trying to find Neko Case’s barn in Montpelier, but alas, my time on the road is limited.

The venue that night-Cousin Larry’s- smelled a bit like a bowling alley but the employees were gracious. The bar crowd was typically apathetic and the bands were quite a mismatch, but like any other gig I played my ass off. Walked the streets of Danbury after- a city I used to mallshop at as a kid- a reminder that things have changed (for the better!)

Stayed with family in nearby Mt. Kisco and spent the next day in a coffee shop working on booking shows for the big summer/fall tour (it has begun!)- it was rainy outside anyway. On the drive to Philly I attempted something I had never tried before- peeing in a bottle while driving- couldn’t do it- stage fright or something. Crossed the ghostly Tappan Zee and thankfully the fog covered up the view to the city.

Philadelphia is a city I’ve only known in bits and pieces over the years. I continued my fragmented unraveling of it that evening by exploring the Old City for the first time. Had a delicious slice of pizza on Market Street and managed to get a parking ticket almost immediately upon stopping the car. Played the Khyber (which the man himself Iggy Pop had played only years before) to a good crowd, but some bureaucratic nonsense at the end of the show left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I will spare you the details. Some highlights though: Jamie Harrison’s guitarist smashed his axe at the end of their set (I thought that the move immediately justified his gold-laced jacket and sunglasses), Pitom’s drummer’s facial expressions, and on and on…

I hydroplaned my way across the state to Pittsburgh the following day, unaware of the ridiculous toll that awaited me on the other side (20 fucking dollars- worse than its Jersey counterpart that I try so hard to avoid). As it poured nonstop the entire day, I talked with a friend who was in the middle of the desert in Nevada and laughed at the contrast. Soon enough I will be in the desert too, I had to remind myself.

Entering Pittsburgh gave me the feel of my grandmother’s basement- full of useful but outdated things, all boxed up. The gig at Garfield was a lot of fun though- quite unexpected for a Monday night gig. It was just the type of crowd you want- maybe not the biggest but one where 100% of the people there came to listen to music (and buy CDs!). Renewed my faith a little bit after a financially strenuous tour. I talked Vindell’s ear off about their record- they had it available only on flash drives. I’ve heard about this but never known anyone to be actually doing it. Very cool-  expect my record to be available like that this summer.

Pittsburgh didn’t make me feel claustrophobic like most cities do- I took that as a good sign. Learned about an interesting character in John Fetterman- the mayor of a small PA town called Braddock who’s trying to build his city back from the brink using art installations as economic stimuli (amongst other things). The dude is like 6’8″ and a beast too. Wikipedia that dude.

Drove through more rain that day, into the innards of WV and out to Virginia, where I arrived in Lynchburg. Ate at a delicious Peruvian restaurant called Macchu Picchu- treated myself to an expensive meal for once instead of skipping it altogether. Played to only a few people at Speakertree Records that evening, but Kurt Heasley from Lilys ended up playing after me- he had just returned from opening for My Bloody Valentine the night before. What a change for him. Good people all around though, and once I found out he had sang on Neko Case’s new record, I had to talk him up. A very unique personality.

Stayed in a former crackden-turned transient artist abode owned by a Hackensaw Boy that night with the owner of Speakertree, Blair Amberley. Blair and his girlfriend have an admirable vision for the city of Lynchburg- much like Fetterman, they’re attempting to inject art into a somewhat artless city. A brave odyssey indeed.

More rain driving to Asheville the next day, where I discovered that someone had stolen my hammock while on tour. The tour of theft.

Thursday night I opened for Bowerbirds and La Strada at the Rocket Club in Asheville. It was the first day there had been consistent sun since I left Maine, so I was in a good mood and played an energetic set to a willing crowd. The other bands were great, the mood was jovial, and Phil from Bowerbirds ended the night by doing a version of my favorite Dylan song, “Moonshiner”- the last lines of the night-the tour- were sung aptly:

the whole world’s a bottle/but life is but a dram

when the bottle gets empty/it sure ain’t worth a damn

Amen. Thanks for being a part.


ps- see all the pictures from the tour here

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May 1, 2009 emblemSpring tour update #1

Let’s try and recap without any mention of the aforementioned tragedy, shall we? Well, this is in good humour:

Chapel Hill w/ The White Cascade @ The Cave. We had the early show so the crowd was slow to trickle in, but Veelee’s set after both of ours was charming enough to make it feel a-okay. I love me some duos!

After meandering in the ridiculous glory of 80 degree heat the next afternoon, I made my way to Arlington, VA/D.C. where I stayed with my Couchsurfing friend Aaron and ate frozen yogurt made by rocket scientists. Then off to NYC which was fine until I tried to go in the Holland Tunnel and it took 2 hours of Jersey traffic- a kind reminder that I really do hate New York City. Fun to visit, but that’s about it. I can’t believe I was actually thinking of moving here.

Played at Piano’s upstairs to a decent crowd. Saw some familiar faces. Mattison closed the night with lovely Rhodes-led lounge pop. The DJ on deck must’ve not liked it as much as I did, though, because before the last song could finish ringing out, the place turned into a dance club IMMEDIATELY and we had to lug our gear through two floors of dancing drunk people. Not cool. My friend Luke and I spent the rest of the evening wandering about Brooklyn- my much preferred borough of the city.

Luke disappeared in the morning so I got a smoothie with my friend Matt and drove to my old stomping grounds in Boston. Managed to even find the nice part of Connecticut to drive through. Dinner with some family in Brookline and then to PA’s Lounge where I played a short but strong set to some receptive ears. The bartender was a bit saucy but it’s always a good sign when the booking agent for a club is actually present for your show AND is a sweetheart- such is the case with Jen Guthrie. I went off with friends and chinchillas into Jamaica Plain for the night, then returned to Somerville on Sunday to do a taping ofbandinboston, a podcast/website which Jen and her husband Andy run. I set up my gear in their living room and went at it. Was even treated to some snacks and an afternoon beer to boot. Great company and good times…

Made the scenic drive to Northampton, where I immediately ran into TJ and Ali from Lady Lamb the Beekeeper (Northampton is that small, yes). We had a lot of time to kill before the show, so we walked around and ate some food and I confirmed how much I want to live in the valley at some point. Loitered with the other bands til LLTB went on and slayed (once again, the duos reign supreme) and I followed with my best set of the tour yet. I even showed the crowd my tour hair. There were a lot of other bands that night, and I liked mostly everybody. Dame Satan’s set was particularly interesting. There’s something about the sound of California…

Stayed with my friend Jose and drove to Maine the next day. Home! Finally able to relax a bit. My Portland show was smashing as always. Everyone got pretty pissed for a Tuesday night, I was impressed.

More later…


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