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Posts Tagged ‘Roses Don’t Push The Car Home’

The Church of Low Expectations (2)My 11th album, “The Church of Low Expectations” is now available on Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby, released under my nom de rock,  Salon de la Guerre. It’s a pop album of dark doings, where strained, ethically challenged characters straddle the abyss but reach for the light. As I say on the music sites, it continues my “exploration of electronic music as a means of balancing noise and melody. Its lyrics include small vignettes of players and grifters who wistfully muse about life, helplessness and horror.”

This is my fourth album in 2016. I somehow managed to get 65 new songs produced since January after switching to Garage Band software on my iPhone 6s. Again, I don’t know if this is an advertisement for me or for Apple. I did sometimes use available loops and drum beats from Garage Band, but I also discovered a heretofore undiscovered talent to play piano–as long as it’s a tiny piano on a tiny phone. That made the arranging fast and easy.

Though “The Church of Low Expectations” and “Roses Don’t Push the Car Home” (released a couple of months ago) were recorded simultaneously and were really twin albums, I did see them diverging in theme and mood. “Roses” is more poppy and upbeat, and “Church” is more brooding and experimental, much more focused on dark themes like death and isolation, but unlike my album “Toe-Tapping Songs of Pain and Loss,” it’s thrown over garage rock noise for electronica and hip-hop beats.

It was a big leap for me and probably strange for anybody who has heard or liked any of my older albums. But it was worth it. Blame it on Apple, but I found new things I could do with music this year and I don’t know if I’ve ever been as excited or confident about making it.

For now, I’m going to let it rest. Of course, I have more song fragments in my head, but for now I need to attend to my long-neglected novels. If my time with music has taught me anything, it’s that finishing things feels really great.

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Roses Don't Push The Car Home_edited-1At the beginning of this year, fans, I thought I might be done with music for a while. I had just released my seventh album, “Clam Fake,” which I thought was my best achievement with music so far, and I was ready to go back and work with some other media. (I also love spending time with my beloved 4-year-old son, but that’s another matter).

Because I’m an untutored music producer, most of my musical experiments have been made on a very old laptop with a very, very old version of a musical production software called Cubase LE. There is no support for this thing or for many of the old electronic boxes you could talk to it with (if you think the major software companies are unconcerned about the life cycle of the products they make you depend on, imagine the unmerciful attitude of a company whose business is musical equipment). With my old Cubase cutting out on me and my understanding of the next generation product practically nil, I felt as if I were going to have to learn a new language, and I thought, “No more music for me.”

But then I made a small discovery: My wife had bought me an iPhone 6 for Christmas, and tucked away on this tiny smartphone like a pea among many other apps I’d never use was a cute little version of Garage Band. I’d never had a Mac, and my initial confrontation with the product on the iPad didn’t give me confidence the phone version would be any good.

But then I made a song with it. Then another. Then, folks, I’d shamefully admit that I started to go fucking crazy. Since the beginning of this year, I have made almost four albums’ worth of music. Forty-five brand new songs. On my freakin’ phone! I made music in bed. I made music waiting for the treadmill. I made music while waiting for my wife to get out of the bathroom. I’ve made music on the train to work.

I do not want this to sound like an advertisement for Garage Band, necessarily, but there’s probably no hope of it sounding otherwise. A lot of the rawness of my producing that’s fairly obvious on my previous seven albums has been greatly reined in by Garage Band’s sound compression (it automatically gets rid of ugly frequencies I had to adjust for manually). I have also availed myself of loops and beats. So anybody familiar with my old stuff might be in for a shock and wonder what was up. No, the earth shattering reason for my change in sound was actually a banal software change.

What you have, of course, is a new album with almost no live instruments on it (real guitars appear only on two tracks, which were held over from “Clam Fake.”) There are some people who might find this offensive and fake. I’m one of those lucky people who don’t care. I like playing a real guitar and have on occasion done it well, but I feel that anybody who calls himself an artist works with imagination first and foremost and doesn’t spend a lot of time worrying about the materials used so much as the spirit that’s brought to them. Of course that means I can play rock music on my phone. Why the hell not?

That attitude is hopefully the continuity you might otherwise not see between my older work and the new album.

My eighth release is called “Roses Don’t Push The Car Home.” As of today (May 27) it is available on CD Baby and Amazon, and it will soon pop up on iTunes and other places where music is (still) sold.

Check out a sample of “Roses Don’t Push The Car Home” below:

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