August 14, 2016 10 years – and a sale
It dawned on me recently that it’s been 10 years this summer since I started labeling my bedroom and storage space recordings as SAINT SOLITUDE!
What started as an unaccompanied means to reclaim the songwriting obsession I had let lapse come college was, within 2 years, a full-blown project with a self-released EP and a handful of apprehensive solo gigs under its belt. By the time of the bittersweet demise of my band The Cardinal Heart (should’ve kept the name!), I was already booked for a 2-week tour up the East Coast – something I had always dreamed of doing.
Since then there have been about a half dozen incarnations of SS in solo, trio, and quartet versions, at least that many tours across the U.S., and a proud catalog that spans the myriad dynamics and wonders of all I’ve heard.
SS has always been a project for me and my druthers, but it was once my contribution to a scene: a small circle of fellow star- and shoe-gazers amassed over a few years of playing shit bars and drinking cheap beers in parking lots, laughing and aching much of the way, often at the same time.
In the 4 years since I’ve stopped touring, though, my music has felt increasingly bereft of a community. I live in Oakland now, and my first year here has been nothing short of devastating in the wake of losing one of my best friends. As I was grieving (as if that will ever only exist in the past tense), music was a remote idea, hardly tangible for the first time in…a decade? Instead of it being a confidant or secret weapon, like it had always been, it was an obscured ideal, out of my reach. I was desperate not to lose it completely, despite knowing it was almost out of my control.
Some semblance of clarity seems closer now, and I feel like celebrating and sublimating. As I try to find my liberatory equipment and a path towards a new album reflecting this last year’s journey, I’d like to shine a light on what a decade has created:
For the rest of August, I’ve knocked the price of all my albums on Bandcamp to $5 (EPs $2) and am also offering the entire digital SS catalog for a mere $18!!!
That’s 4 albums, 2 EPs, and more for the cost of one vinyl LP.
I’m generally averse to crowdfunding for new albums, but I see this as a type of back catalog Kickstarter aimed at getting me back into the studio sooner than later.
I know many of you have seen the videos and streamed the albums on the web; please consider a small investment today to help me carve out a new future for this project. I might just start playing shows again in return…
Thanks for everyone who’s been there along the way and to the new folks in the Oakland scene whom I hope to meet soon out at the shows and in the woods. To another decade,
DupNo Comments »
March 17, 2015 Film
I admit, I have an ulterior motive to these instrumentals as of late. I want to find them homes in movies, short films, or even commercials. They have specific moods meant for specific scenes I had in my head. Without your video content, they are nearly orphans!
If you’re a filmmaker in need of music, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s talk.No Comments »
January 8, 2015 Around the bend, and a new collection of songs
A summer in Maine really does put a stop to indoor activities like music. I was close to completing a new set of songs back in April…and then I got a kayak and went a-splorin’. It wasn’t until October, when I conquered the last 33 miles of the Allagash River I was ready to finish what I started. Now it’s winter and the time has come!
Ideas for albums pass through me so quickly when I’m not bogged down by gigging. An acoustic EP? That Christmas record I’ve wanted to make since my youth? I’ve also been toying with doing a compendium of songs from all the “failed” bands (the ones that lasted 6-12 months) I’ve been in since 2011 as a way of both honoring and burying some of the abandoned songs that never saw the light of day because of bad chemistry, laziness, apathy, insanity, logistics, etc. I hate when a good song goes unrecorded. Or a good riff unfinished, for that matter.
And then there are those instrumentals I’ve been talking about.
Creative wandering aside, I also had the pleasure of playing with Lady Lamb the Beekeeper for much of 2014 which took us from Maine to Washington. Those shows will go down as some of my fondest gigging memories to date.
All that to say, I have a new collection of instrumental songs to share very shortly called Flux Camoufleurs, Vol. I. It’s a view into the noises between the songs I’ve been writing recently, and they heavily feature loops like those that formed the early touring days of Saint Solitude. A bit of my roots, exposed, and plenty of looking forward. Experimenting abound. The devils in the details will show themselves ‘fore January is out. Hope you’ll be there to receive.No Comments »
May 5, 2014 Gravity
In continuing with my ever-increasing need to explore what’s Over There, I set up my drums backwards last week.
It’s something I’ve always wanted to try. Those of you who play any instrument know it’s not as easy as it sounds to just switch-hit. It reverses your gravity. Everything you know comes crashing down! It feels like learning the instrument all over again, but perhaps more specifically, it’s what I imagine it’s like to go back to something after being in a major car crash or a traumatic event. There’s a familiarity, but there’s a dissonance between your mind (I know how to do this!) and your body (I don’t know if I can do this). Excitement/confusion.
What’s been great is re-discovering that energy you only have when you’re learning the ropes. Every trick I tried was like seeing a new color or reconnecting with an old friend after years away. I haven’t had so much fun practicing in years.
Driving home after these sessions (I drive a stick), I’ve felt the physical residuals of reversing my center of gravity, especially in my feet. I sway across my lane without even recognizing it, like that Seinfeld episode where Kramer widens the highway lanes. It feels a little like floating, but then again I get buzzed after a single beer so maybe I’m just a lightweight to 180s…No Comments »
April 13, 2014 “Simple Horrors” video premiere
At long last, I bring you the fruits of my collaboration with Brendan Bullock Photography: the new video for A CRACK IN THE SNOW MORTAR’s leadoff track, “Simple Horrors.”
January 19, 2014 Posting videos in place of a video
Check out the video section for a handful of new and old songs performed on WMPG’s “Local Motives” back in November. I’m posting these for a taste of some of the new, quiet material I’ve been working on, and also because I’m anticipating the video for “Simple Horrors” to be done…sometime soon? It’s locked in the editing stage right now (11,000 photos is a lot of pictures to sort through). It’ll be worth the wait!
No Comments »
November 16, 2013 Does it matter where it came from?
Recently, I thought it might be a good experiment/challenge to see if I could write 7 songs in 7 days. It wasn’t for lack of new material to work with – I’m overwhelmed already – but more just to see if I could do it without repeating or hating myself.
Thought the idea had been in my head, its timing wasn’t planned. It started out unexpectedly, with 2 songs in 2 days coming out. Then I just decided to run with it.
For the first few days, all I needed was to place my hands on a guitar and spit out something quickly, and I’d have enough of a progression to work with – no second chances, just working with the first thing that came to mind. Some of the melodies that came out of this method were surprisingly catchy, and it dawned on me how random the writing process can be.
I found myself sticking to the tried-and-true guitar-with-vocal-accompaniment method for the most part, forcing myself to finish those bridges and endings right there and then – the ones that I so often procrastinate on. I tried a few new approaches with MIDI drums and instrumentals on the nights where it seemed I was abusing the muse.
All in all, I’d say I now have 3-4 songs of relatively decent quality to work with. More importantly, perhaps, I worked through some of those uncomfortable wrinkles and growing pains that can easily accompany the “in-between” songs. In a way, it was a means of fast-forwarding beyond the mediocre. A week after the experiment I wrote one of the most simple and gratifying songs I’ve written in years, in only 10 minutes. It otherwise would’ve taken me months to reach that point!
That being said, I have that many more songs to wade through for the next record…No Comments »
October 5, 2013 Explanations begun
If’n you ever find yourself listening to my songs and wondering what the hell I’m saying, there are lyric links on each album page on this here website, including, as of today, A Crack in the Snow Mortar. If you download the album for free over at Bandcamp, the lyrics are embedded in each song file and will show up on your iProduct!No Comments »
August 14, 2013 Which way?No Comments »
August 4, 2013 Video Shooting: Day 3
The coastal merchant has appeared on the scene of our drawn-out video shoot for SIMPLE HORRORS.No Comments »
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