Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I'm still riding high from our weekend recording sessions. On a couple of different fronts, it settled me down into the realization that music will not leave me. No matter how far I might run in some other career direction, I will always find myself at a guitar or a piano thinking "wow, that could work!"

There is a video of me in the third studio session for this record, watching Nick mix Philip's overdubs, where you can see me completely zoning out, pensive. I had been worried, thinking that somehow growing out of the ideal of a touring musician, that my desire would shift and this was my one shot to deliver an album, if even to my loved ones, that would serve as my statement.

Now I realize, as we wrap up work on this album, I will always be able to find energetic, likeminded people to work with. Even if it doesn't mean we can actually release the albums we record, we can document the moment in time. This past session was basically laying a template. You could feel the seed being planted… "we should do this again…" "next time, we should set up monitors" "I am now thinking of ways to be more mobile" this is the feeling of the beginning, not of the end.

It is my intention to document my life in sound. I'm always recording things like the wind outside our apartment window, as well as the chaos of religious zealots at a gay pride festival. When the record evolves into the finish product, we hope it has small touches of this as it unfolds. Not so much in the extremes that it presents, but in the presentation of a place in time, even if it is not THIS moment.

Always forward, never back? As best as you can, right, so long as you are as affected by nostalgia as I am!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Dig Dug and the Infinite Bosconian

Greetings Earthlings,
We are back from the coast, having completed 99.5% of the new album. Holy crap, it's going to be so good. In between bursts of conversation ranging from record fidelity, to the redemption of those little purple tickets you get from playing skee ball, we've laid down most of the overdubs/fixes.

Having a little business to take care of in Cape May when I arrived, I swung by a motel at the end of the beach. Having missed office hours, I'd have to go back the next morning. Since that end of Beach Drive is so quiet and dark, I chose to walk out on the beach to check out the stars and watch the waves break in the dark. Just as I start thinking about setting the vibe for the session and keeping it positive, a huge shooting star tore the sky open! Obligatory goose bumps (well, that is, on top of the other goose bumps because it was so effin' cold!) and so it went.

Let me tell you about the lay out. After arriving Friday night, we had a long conversation about anyting but setting up. Then, at 2am, we realized it would be a whole lot easier to set up in the foyer, and not have to lug Matt Ess's big bass amp (BFA) up to another level of the house. So, our control room was our live room. Nick holed himself up in a corner on a card table, and we ran lines all across the room.

Vocals were recorded on the front porch. At least, until it got too cold. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag too soon, as we are planning a big diary for the new web page. Oh yeah, there is no new web page yet, so sit tight.

The record has a name, and tentative plans are being made for the album artwork that includes invading Cape May in January or February, this time with all of our friends.

Hats off to Nick Anderson. Oh yeah, and my band. We turned a situation where there was absolutely no pressure to finish, into a situation where we just decided to finish rather than load all that gear up and have to drive Rte. 47 through South Jersey again! Go team!

Note: self-producing records away from studios is very, very rewarding. Get yourself a space and try it out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Hey guys,
Sorry for the lag. "Real life is so hard" sayeth Dave Grohl. Actually, since last we talked, 2/3 of us went to a late late night Foo Fighters show at the 930 club. 1/3 of us had to be back in Philly in the morning for work. MVP goes to my beautiful fiancee who drove. You can only imagine the confused look on her face upon waking up at 2am at our friends' house, realizing I wanted to get on the road!

The real news is we are convening this weekend for finish our album! It's been in the works for 18 months now, we've thought it, overthought it, underthought it, and now it's just about right. Nick Anderson is still at the helm, only this time we are assembling in sleepy, winterized Cape May, NJ at a beach house to handle the overdubs and a lion share of the lead vocals. I've been downing 'Emergen'C' packets like mad to stay healthy this week! Oh yeah, and listening to a lot of stuff that has inspired me in the writing of the record. Do they make a mellotron cookbook, like they did with the moog? That would rule, or suck, depending on which sound is used. That would be inspirational, oh yeah, and would give us sample to steal. ha. ha.

hats off to Paul Binghay for technical support in the MFA's venture into midi/sample territory!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood?

So yesterday I plugged in our wireless. More wireless=more blogging. Before I had to crouch over the computer while it was plugged in with the ethernet cable, now the computer is getting closer and closer to sitting on its resting place atop my recording workstation. So, easier workstation use= more workstation use? Hope so!

Today we happen upon an interesting sight here in Philly. Our neighborhood has taken great strides toward cleaning up itself. This is the infamous block where Mumia Abu-Jamal's life changed forever in 1981 (flashback: Free Mumia swept the hip hop world in 1995, a cab driver accused of murdering a cop, and is an interesting discourse in urban blight: cabbie vs. prostitute/police informant vs. the justice system). I'm not going to even postulate on that. It's severely convoluted, and reeks of corruption in several levels.

So our neighborhood, the gayborhood as it is called, is having what is called "Out Festival." There are games, music, vendors and people everywhere. Below our window I am listening to the megaphone-amplified prostylized hate stylings of a religious group here to protest. If it is God's command to save one another, I can think of fewer more effective methods than screaming how much someone thinks someone will to go to hell. The din of plastic whistles is everywhere, it seems someone has supplied the festival goers with the hate crime equivalent of a rape whistle.

It's sad that "live and let live" does not exist. If gays were not in my neighborhood, I doubt I would be able to live here. Where other parts of the city have fallen into abject decay, our neighborhood keeps a delicate balance. We have boutiques, antique shops, gelato and coffee, independent restaurants, and nightclubs, but we also have a some drugs, some prostitution, some filth. Amid the filth, there is positivity. Amid the positivity, there is negativity. It is confounding to see what some people turn the love of their god into. How much love is in their hate? How much hate is there in their love?

Saturday, October 08, 2005


The coffee spot was found today. I mean, knowing it was there but not going doesn't count. Somehow it seems I've been reluctant because I knew it would be just like Common Grounds. And in knowing it was like Common Grounds, I didn't want to face the reality that every coffee shop in the world is the same, it's the people that make them different. My reluctance is completely built off of the reality that there would be no Jakuta. There would be no Jim. There would be no open mic nite to get from Laura, which would then pay off the first MFA studio session.

It's hard, you realize you are a creature of habit, and don't truly appreciate that until you have a whole new world of habit to get to know. New places. New people. Same coffee. Perhaps my attempt to once and for all quit the bean is an attempt to delay the obvious. Arlington will not be replaced, nor recreated. That was a time and a place, and now I am in a completely separate time and place. It's this duality that has kept me going for the past 3 years, and now it's spun me a bit too hard and I seek stability. I know, stability is *so* not indie rock. But then again, neither am I!

So now I have the place and I realize I've been so slouching as a writer. I've been concentrating on specific melodies and writing directly for songs… not pushing my linguistic abilities by putting pen to paper and seeing if I can damn well puncture the writing surface.

This reminds me of my first major transition in life, after college, when these ridiculously arty titles started coming to me. "Stranger with a Camera" "Entrance to the Exit" "Sailing Away from 1972." Sit tight, let's see what other Mingus-lite titles I can come up with. Moreover, bring on the floral verse. There is nothing in the world like being verbose…

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Reset Button

I know in this time of scarce communication and cards shuffling it is no time to be petty. But, there is a time to be petty.

That time is now.

I have attempted to hit the reset button on my head. My melon was sporting my well worn shag since, ugh, 2003(?) and in an attempt to get away from it, I had my hair cut for the first time in two years by someone other than my regular.

Results? The wonderful haircuttist decided my part started on the other side of my head, thus creating the illusion of a receding hairline when parted correctly.

Next time to the barber, I was accosted by a flow-bee for the first time in my life. (you might remember such a contraption from the Wayne's World movie "it sucks and cuts... well, you can say it really does suck")

Worst. haircut. ever.

This latest time, my first in my new city, I found an old-school barber around the corner in my neighborhood, in the basement of a high rise apartment building. My requirement? Cut as short as you can while keeping it a little long. Here we go. Somehow the top of my head was forgotten on the right side giving me a "combover junior" which is obviously longer than any other piece of hair on my head!

Stopping short of shaving my own head to hit reset (which I have done twice in my life) I am now headed to the bathroom with a pair of scissors to correct the combover on my own.

Now I remember why I went shaggy for as long as I did.
Going to see the Lemonheads tomorrow night at the TLA. My inner 15 year old is beside itself. Please your inner 15 year old now and again. Be the tiger. Grrr, baby.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

It Must Be Summer…

What a difference a few days make. Today in the City of Brotherly Love, the wind blows and I actually cool off. Just Saturday, I was driving down to Cape May with all of the windows off my Jeep and I swear, I was the egg cooking on the sidewalk. Not accustomed to shore traffic, I found myself stuck in a bottleneck getting onto the Garden State Parkway from the Atlantic City Expressway. Secretly my hope was that every car on the road was going to the Borgata for the Stevie Wonder show, but no dice. They happened to be going the direction I was, yet my destination was past theirs.

Last week I had a party for myself. I, Matt Cummins of the band My Friend Autumn know one of the Dove girls. Okay, not anymore, but thumbing through a People Magazine bought for my beloved (Jen’s still not over Brad, Angelina really digs Ethiopia and Mohawks, Bennifer’s Garner is showing), I came across the fab or flab article about the Dove girls that had little bios. Julie Arko? Charlotte, North Carolina? Ha! She used to live in my neighborhood. Or I in hers, as I didn’t stick around Charlotte long enough to really claim any portion of it as my own.

I refuse to dish dirt, and besides, she is a spectacular example of reality in this otherwise Kate Moss-free world. Anyone who is not a celebrity that would wear their skivvies in front of a national audience gets an A+ in my book. Celebs get a B, because that’s their job… distract us with their pearly whites and flawless abdominal sections.

The first time I saw a Dove ad was on a bus stop shelter steps from Staccato in DC. Which brings me to the obligatory self-promotion. MFA will be appearing this Saturday Night at Staccato (18th and U) with our friends Private Eleanor and Middle Distance Runner. PE at 9. MFA at 10:30, MDR at midnite.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Things That I Will Keep

Made a big leap in my late-late-late spring cleaning yesterday. Seems somehow in my last year as a vagabond, and the two moves that preceded it, I’ve been moving around boxes full of junk. Such boxes contain things I had predicted to be of sentimental value previously, but have since been relegated to “eBay?” status.

Surviving the cut: two Pearl Jam fan club 7” singles from ’92 and ’93, a Dave Matthews Band commemorative new years’ eve foam Frisbee thing from ‘95. These scream “eBay me later” as I do not recall ever being on the Pearl Jam fan club, but I do recall discovering Soul Coughing at said DMB show.

Not surviving the cut: many analog cassette tapes. We’re talking failed mix tapes for friends/loves/car rides, live shows for bands I used to dig in college, 3/8 of Van Halen’s back catalog (both with and without David Lee Roth) as incentive to buy the records on CD as I have long planned, handfuls of tapes I have no use for: Living Colour, Aerosmith (when they were druggy and hungry still!), Buddy Holly, Simon and Garfunkel, John Sebastian.

Amongst the rubble of plastic and ribbon I have found rehearsal tapes for Zero Beat, my old band, as well as hours of song snippets and demos while divining song after song. This is why you have to hang on to these boxes as long as possible. It is up to you to save your past from your future. There just comes a time when you know it’s cool to let go of that tape you made for that girl and didn’t give it to her. I mean, she is long out of your life for the better and you have far more important things to do: sip your makeshift martini and start digitizing the few live songs from Agents of Good Roots you want to keep… that and the recorded sounds of my brother and his friends skateboarding circa age 13 on the flip side of my dubbed Beach Boys tape.

Monday, August 01, 2005

A Story with a Moral

A wise man once told me a very useful parable “You steal a bike… you get hit by a truck, that’s just the way it works.” Never mind the fact that this guy had just rejoined his group after going to rehab, after a nasty heroin addiction, after pawning a majority of his bands’ equipment to score.

Not that I wish any acute, specific harm be done, as everyone has a mama somewhere; but please know, dear thief, the bike is broken and if you do not get the rear fork repaired immediately a) the sidewall of the back tire WILL blow and b) the repair will likely cost as much as the bike did. I wish the latter for you, not the former, as the former will find you a truck that is surely not as forgiving as I am.

You see, we were in the process of moving and 2/3 of the moving party saw you ride away. They were unable to confirm exactly how far you got before you realized the back tire was aggressively rubbing the frame AND the brake pad (which as you should note, will need replacing very, very soon).

Best of luck, may your curb hopping days be many and filled with safety.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Sevens Are A Good Thing

It's so very odd to be "borrowing" wi-fi in your own apartment, but you know, when your router isn't playing along, what is a brother to do?

Really, these days I have little patience. Just yesterday, 9 floors above the stink, I watched my building sweat. It was disturbing, but in that "wow, I am pretty much thankful for icy recycled air right about now." Philly is the city of air that feels like walking under the exhaust valve of an air conditioner right now.

We're preparing to kick our second story walk up for a larger, 7th floor apartment about 7 blocks east. I cannot wait to have my recording gear permanently set up. Lately in extra-curricular MFA activity, I have been recording music for a yet-to-be-named film short. Through this, I have gotten one new MFA song, and exercising the part of my brain that really loves ear candy. I'll post a few on the site in the coming weeks when the songs get solidified.

Go outside, then come back inside with something frozen and fruity.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

City of Brotherly Love…

Thanks for coming out last night! Our World Cafe Live debut was a blast, we will be back! What a great venue to really explore our dynamics: the sonic differences between soft songs and rocking songs.

I have to apologize to my band for mumbling!

Anyone who knows me knows I fail to enunciate sometimes, mashing words together to make new words (which I find cool, like SLEVEN in place of Seven Eleven, and THE WA, as sometimes, Wa-Wa is just too hard to say. ha.) but last night it caught up to me. Turin Brakes had just finished their set downstairs, and had expressed interest in playing a song with us (!!!).

A representative from the band walked up to the stage and asked our bassist Matt if we would be down. We said "hell yes" but apparently the message didn't go through. After each song, I said something akin to "is there a Turin Brake in the house" or "hey! we have one more song, and then we are going to be joined by Turin Brakes!" But word has it you couldn't really understand what I was saying.

Instead, under the perceived microscope of a band on Astralwerks, we rocked. We were electric, so to speak. Then, post-set, I tried approaching them to apologize for the miscommunication and give them a concilliatory (ha!) free CD. No dice, they had to rush off.

So… Jim… Ess-Dog… my bad. Next time I will make sure I pin a carnation on each one of the prospective bands trying to jam with us so they know exactly where they stand in our hearts.

MVP of the night goes to Jim Greif, completing the trip in one night. May we all get to the bottom of our hate for Steven Singer once and for all.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Rockets Red Glare

So the man, brushing past me on the sidewalk, turns to the man accompanying him says "if it weren't for the Vietnam war, I'd be an architect" as if that would explain it all. I walked past and wondered what exactly about Vietnam would cause one to lose sight of one's goals. As if to say that an era can take all of your ambition and turn it into hardship.

I thought about that this weekend while I watched fireworks explode in the warm evening sky over DCn from a darkened apartment with a stellar view of the river and the nationalistic landscape. Questions of patriotism versus fervor were brought up, while over-all, we revelled in our ability to question, to ask questions, and over all, be American. It's weird how such a thing can chisel it's way into your psyche. I'm not so much of an "in your face" patriot, but I love my country in only way Ted Leo/Pharmacists' "Shake The Sheets" can sing to.

I'm thankful for the fact I have not yet had to say "if it weren't for (blank), I'd be (blank)" except for that of my own volition. If we fought World War II so that our grandchildren could be poets, I hope that a generation of architects, doctors, educators are not lost on this international battlefield.

On a lighter note: we have a show coming up! July 19th at World Cafe Live, more to follow. Check out the website for updates:

Hope you are having a beautiful summer!

Friday, June 10, 2005

This is Your Brain…

I was going to write about how I've been looking at my hands lately, but why bore you with cross-hatch musings. Age is a wonderful thing.

Summer is here. I just finished (all but the epilogue) a book on Brian Wilson's recording of Pet Sounds. What gets me is even this book isn't immune from Brian Wilson Worship. I find great irony in that this man once declared he would "write songs one day that people would pray to" and now it seems some pop historians and writers mistakenly pray to him, not the songs. As my dad always said "you know Brian Wilson fried his brain with drugs…"

Genius or not, I declare that one day I will write songs that people will sleep to. You heard it here first.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

the Young Vs. the Sensible

Slowly I am beginning to contemplate reinventing myself. I have forever been afraid of the "singer/songwriter" tag. You know, those were the people back in the 70's who wore beards or sundresses (or both!) who sang about their love for the love that you will never find because it is the love that is always unable to be found. I sing and write the songs (some of them at least), but have absolutely no interest in having my quasi-phallic name on the marquee. I am in deep smit with the idea of a band, and a BS name that represents said group of musicians.

So now I meditate on the obvious. People like the words, they want the words way up front. I am cool with this, I wouldn't write if I didn't want people to know what I was talking about. Young Rock in me wants to have the guitars gutteral and the drums bashy so me and the bassist can jump in unison like Van Halen did. Sensible Songster in me wants to have the guitars melodic and the drums tight and jazz-trap stylee so that the bassist can form a solid foundation for my voice to not have to caterwaul over in order to be heard.

So it is here that I am contemplating doing away with electric guitar…publicly announcing it. I do not think rock is dead, rock is very much alive and well.

Speaking of which, how about Live 8? Rock, rock on.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Show On Monday!

Monday, May 23rd • 9pm
Velvet Lounge (9th and U St. NWDC)
w/ The Foundry Field Recordings (Columbia, MO) and the Metrosexuals


I've been steeping myself in a lot of movies lately. And driving more than is healthy through traffic that is anything but. I'm surprised at how our tendency in traffic is to speed up when it lightens up. I mean, we know there is going to be a traffic jam ahead too, but the few seconds we shave off will somehow make our lives better. Of course, this results in more than a few more accidents jamming up the road for those behind us.

One of my favorite times is right at that frustrating moment of slowdown, when you go from 40 mph to about 2 mph, and you can see the other people in their cars on the other side of the interstate going through the same thing. We get so accustomed to just seeing bright flashes of paint zip by us in the other direction that we seldom realize it's all just some sort of deranged space age ballet.

That is to say: I don't like to dance. Okay, I'm not one of those guys who won't dance, I am just not what you would categorize as a good dancer. I don't have moves.

Wait a sec, I think I got lost in my own analogy.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

One Is Silver and the Other Gold

Thanks to all who came to our Staccato full band debut. As soon as I can figure out how to get the photos online, I will. Props to our friend Garth Fry for lending his photog skills! Be sure to check out his art show opening this Saturday at the Galaxy Hut.

I am laid up lately with a spring cold/allergies. I love how my voice sounds with this extra layer of soul.

Between the last time I posted and now, I have: traversed multiple time zones; given my sister and brother in law big hugs, met my new neice and hung out with my nephew (look out ladies!) in Germany; driven with a nicely voiced british-accented navigation system my dad and I named "Molly" (or at times, Olga); wandered Amsterdam in search of Anne Frank and Vincent Van Gogh (and not drugs as my brother-in-law's brother was quick to playfully sarcastically nudge nudge wink wink); had said rental car break down, sorta, but then miraculously come back to life in a truck stop somewhere in Belgium at 11pm; took in a nice hike for German Father's Day that ended in 8 men and a dog piling into the back of a beautifully refurbished circa-WWII Mercedes utility truck passing around Bitburger's like they were water while traversing the most pastoral landscape to have ever been seamlessly put back together after a massive global conflict; sung "You Are My Sunshine" to a flight attendant at her goading finding out I play music (note to self: next time someone asks you if you are "hard of hearing" say "yes, I shoot lots of guns"); and, last but not least, given the city of Washington, D.C. one last sloppy french kiss goodbye for the city of Philadelphia.

And so I sit in an apartment at 10:30am on a weekday in my boxers, singing songs in my new sexy sick voice. I've said "see you soon" to one life and "bombs away" (almost) to a new one in this husky, breathy, raspy voice that I hope will stay but I know will not. The promise in leaving so many wonderful and inspiring people behind is the hope of finding more.

All of the sudden I feel like Carrie from Sex and the City. The fact that I know that raises less alarms within myself than I expected.

Mad, weekday love, from 10:30am in boxer briefs,

Monday, April 25, 2005

Sheet Rock Man

So, in explaining transposing songs from electro-techno-pop a la the Postal Service to acoustic guitar a la sensitive boy rock I came up with this:

"The bass and the drums are more the steel and structure of the building, but you don't have to transcribe them. You can get away with the extraneous material to give an impression of what the complete song would sound like… more like the musical sheet rock. Yes. Guitar is just a big pile of sheet rock."

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Bittersweet Me

It was tough getting into it last night, I have to apologize. The first half of the set I was uptight trying not to let the sentiment sink in and therefore the set did not gel until later. No wit. No banter. It was hard to think about the events that lie ahead. I am leaving the city I have called home for the last 4 years this week… onward and upward!

In with the positive… my head is still abound with the schizo-kinetic energy today. I cannot form a complete thought or convey a complete idea. Ask anyone who has talked to me. One cup of coffee and I'm a self-contained comedy duo, but only both comedians keep on cutting each other off, so you only get half of what each is trying to say!

I was very touched to see so many old friends last night. Thanks for making my week. Sorry if it was a bit loud, we're working on the sound. Expect some quieter material from MFA in the future. There is talk of banjos and pianos, keyboards and fully audible lyrics. In the meantime, if you want to know what we're saying, drop a line to me for some lyrics.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Oh, This Is The Start of Something Good… Don't You Agree?

Dress rehearsal #1 is done. MFA is ready to go.

Let me tell you about our rehearsal space. It's part of what is now a landscaping storage garage, and seems to have a hollow floor. So last night I was surveying the scene and realized it might have as many as two more levels. What is down there? How old is the space? It's built into the side of a hill, and has a long sloping roof, with three windows diagonally placed following the fall line of the roof.

We have to unlock two doors to get to our space. Are there more keys leading to more lurid things than 15 year old Playboys that we want no part of? This shed/garage thing belongs to another band that was gracious enough to split it with us for the month of April, while MFA gets it's rock jones out. As we locked up last night, I felt this great sense of relief having cleared my amps out… the boogey man is real. Somewhere in those two lower lairs he is there– swallowing up guitar picks and residue.

Did I mention the EP's are ready? The first copy is being/was sold today, sans stencil on the front. I guess it kind of differentiates itself from the rest that way. We are pleased, and very excited, to be entering this recording into the canon of recorded western music. Or was that cannon?

See you tomorrow night!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

My Blood is 75% Coffee

When it rains it pours, or some other worn out cliche.

All I know is that my car got macked up and I ruined 50 CD's for the initial EP run in one shock-induced, spray painted evening. I got up yesterday morning and realized what I had done, threw out every single one of them, and meandered in traffic 'til I got to work and chugged a cup of the brown diesel.

Now the stuff is running my show. I'm not sleeping because there is so much to do (stencils, spray paint, rubber cement, fumes, late night phone calls, plans for germany, philly and show)… when in doubt, turn to the bean. Fact: I quit about once every other month, suffering through headaches, and then turn to it in my darkest moments. Don't judge!

The good news is: our show is going to rock. You will be pleased with the rock and will buy up all of our CD's. They're hot (when done right).

with Death By Sexy!
with Hello Tokyo!



caffeinatedly yours,

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Buy Back

Anyone seen the film "Chilicothe"? It's very odd, but no other film has encapsulated my life in such a dead on way. Funny thing is, I didn't like the film very much. It involves the telling of the 20-something guy, from dreaming big dreams to being lonely out of love to finding someone and coupling off. I watched it with my 3 dearest former housemates. One of which, now 2 years later, is married, the other lives in Brooklyn to rock a monkey off of his back, and me, I'm preparing to leave my city's safe economy for the city of brotherly love.

Anyways, there was a conversation in this film about not selling CD's you'll regret selling as you know you will buy them back. This conversation revolves around "Joshua Tree" by U2, but I want to talk about the only CD I have ever bought back. "Return of the Rentals" by the Rentals.

This is the sound of summer. Forever and ever. Wait, I don't think I sold this one. I am pretty sure someone made off with it. So I bought it back. I haven't even bought back "Parklife" so you know this is for real real, not play play. I wasn't one for their second record, but "Return of the Rentals" captures a certain exhuberance that rarely gets captured on tape. This is the sound of the Moog returning to popular conscience. This is the sound of an artist discovering himself amidst his day job (I mean, who QUITS Weezer?!).

Always buy back the records you love. Better yet. Don't sell them. Always lose them. Losing records is a better testament to your affection of a record.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Ladies and gents,
MFA is now officially your friendly neighborhood scab band! Really, if there is ever an indie rock strike, look for us to fill any and all vacancies and rise to prominence.

This time around, Eastern Homes has asked us to step in for the Apparitions at Velvet Lounge tomorrow night, whose lead singer may or may not be sick. Regardless, our fires are stoked and we are too. Bring it! This will be one of our last small rock shows, so come get nostalgic over the band that never was, or was, but will be and then some.

w/ Eastern Homes
Velvet Lounge 9th and U St. NWDC
Thursday, April 7th • 9pm

Study Up For Thursday Night's Show!

Thursday, March 31, 2005

and awaaaay we go!

Spent a few hours assembling the website last night. Amazing how much detail you have to give the most mundane aspects of a webpage. As you can see, it's severely high-tech… I call it "Flash Pre-Beta," you can find pads of these in your company's supply closet!

Ran across a band called Lali Puna yesterday. Check them out… for fans of the Postal Service record, or even anything with MIDI beats, you'll dig them. I bought this record as a soundtrack to future jet lag, much the same as I did with Wilco's Summerteeth back in 1999.

come see us on my space if you have a minute.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Publish or Perish

Man o man,
For the second time, our website has gotten a potential traffic maker and has yet to be posted. I designed the logo for this years' Six Points Music Festival, and the site designer linked my name with the MFA page. The new site is ready to go, I just haven't had time to put it on-line. If you have found your way here from there, please stay tuned!

In other news, Arlington's Cowboy Cafe is closing after 15 years. Coincidentally, it would be a slammin place to put a music venue, if anyone can afford a lease and own and operate a club. Old Arlington is slowly succumbing to the glitz of whatever happened to Clarendon. I can only imagine rising rent played a hand in the Cowboys' demise. If otherwise, let me know, and I'll drop the rhetoric.


Wednesday, March 16, 2005

St. Ides

I was going to say beware the Ides of March and all that, but the day came and went with little more than a phone call to a friend and an appointment to get my hair cut. Then I'd say beware letting your friends cut your hair around the Ides of March, but it's not like that. She's got cred.

Went to see none other than Laura Burhenn at Iota last night. Her set was rather truncated, but satisfying. Playing with only her drummer, I really didn't miss the bass or the guitar. Of course, I was humming bass lines in my head the whole time. Throat bass is so Butch Willis, I know.

Today I dub St. Ides Day. You are half way to St. Patricks Day, and half way away from the Ides of March. This day only comes once a year, don't waste it!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Not For Lack of Currency

Matt here. I walk into record stores with fear lots of the time. In full knowledge that my wallet could quickly empty, I keep finding things that I have been looking for for years. Luck? Fate's way of telling me consumerism is so NOW? Often under the pretense that I will someday take up a DJ residence at some obscuro electro-indie-alt-country-punk-house-hip hop club, records now line my floor. Actually, floors in two states.

Mark and I holed up this weekend to finish the last addition to Opening Flower and Happy Bird. We beat ourselves up for not being the geniuses we know we are, and ended up taking the long way around to a good track. Texting Jim for his input as to Quiet or Rock ("QUIET," he said), "I Was Electric" boasts a loop that Mark didn't know if it would work, and as much mellotron as your ears can handle.

Sometimes I think I shouldn't have been born IN the 70's, but born to play the freaky keyboards that were invented DURING the 70's. Of course, that would probably make me Genesis' biggest fan. Okay, I love the 00's. Back to reality.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Sleep Deprived… again

Sorry for having to cancel at the last minute, after picking the show up at the last minute. We promise not to do that often, or at all if possible. I didn't mean to alarm anyone with the mention of "emergency," thanks for your emails of concern. We're coping with an illness in the extended family and had to make a choice.

That being said, the weekend was pensive but rewarding. Being holed up in a cabin in the Poconos with no TV, Inspector Gadget 2 on DVD, and a fickle propane fireplace, what else do you resort to? That's right, a game– good old fashioned Charades! I got Warren Buffett and had to pass. How do you motion "super-rich tycoon?"

Friday, March 04, 2005


Hey guys,
My Friend Autumn will NOT be appearing tonight at Staccato. There has been an emergency that Matt has to attend to.

Please go show some love to Audrey Ryan Band and Casey Abrams regardless.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Last Minute Show!

Dearest Radioland…
MFA will be playing Staccato Friday night in a last minute development. We will be sharing the bill with Casey Abrams and the Audrey Ryan Band, both from Boston.

"Everybody’s waitin’/Gettin’ crazy/Anticipating love and music/Play, play, yeah…"
copies of Opening Flower and Happy Bird will be available as a party favor! And if you have an extra appendix, please see us after the show. MFA crew represent.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Live at Budokan

Listening to one of the records that first made me want to rock: Live at Budokan by Cheap Trick. I forgive you for "The Flame," though I was too young to realize just how bad it was. But man, as soon as I had Live at Budokan to compare that to, or rather, the fury of thousands of screaming Japanese girls, my life changed and faux-hairband ballads were cast to the depths of nostalgia forever. We're all alright!

Went to the hollows of foliated kudzu that is North Carolina this weekend to see my mom and dad. After church Sunday morning, who should walk by but a lost interest from college. She and I worked everything out, but nevertheless, the abyss of post-collegiate relocation swallowed up what could have been left of a friendship. The thing is, I didn't recognize her immediately, and therefore, didn't have a chance to say hi in the midst of the throng exiting mass. She walked past, and into some Cusackian morning swimmingly alive in my head. Was she married? Did she have kids? She looked happy. Then again, she always looked happy.

In honor of this event, I, Matt of MFA, present:

My All Time Top 5 records when I was approx. 9:
Beach Boys "Concert"
Bob Seger "Like A Rock"
The Highwaymen "The Highwaymen"
Duran Duran "Seven and the Ragged Tiger"
Dire Straits "Brothers in Arms"

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Please point your browsers to justification for the existence of the internet.

We here at MFA would like to thank the internet. We love you.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

New Agey Nonsense

There are few things I enjoy more than the feeling of interconnectedness amongst people. You know, finishing sentences, long cerebral discussions (sadly, as I grow older, these get fewer and fewer), and little existential proof that we are not just amoeba floating through some kind of time tracked void of lightness.

I was thinking earlier of being down in Richmond a few years ago. Patrick used to live just outside the reaches of urbania, in a place called Powhatan. My brother and I would go down periodically to visit and to escape our awkward adult lives in DC. We were driving back from a climbing gym where Pat worked, Dan climbed, and I contemplated getting exercise, on a very sunny late autumn afternoon. The trees were mostly stripped bare of any last jagged sandpaper leaves, yet strangely the fading sun was quite warm, zipping about in my old VW through once lush Virginia backwater.

Listening to a mixtape a friend had made the previous year, we came about "New Paths To Helicon Pt. 2" by Mogwai pulling out of a gas station and turned it way up. Just as the droney mellow part gave way to the ethereal noisebath that is the second part, we passed into a portion of road lined with trees. The strobing effect of the sun through the trees coupled with the ambient wail that is New Paths to Helicon nearly tore my scalp off with goosebumps, adrenaline and near epileptic sunlight.

I said something like "holy crap!" to Dan, he responded with an exasperated "I know…"

It was a moment that justified my love of music, needing no explanation other than cutting down to the tendrils to a place where there is nothing left but sound and light.

Reading: "Steven King: On Writing"

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

In Your Ear

Matt gets all the fun. Bloggin’ all the time. Hey there, It’s me, Jim. Who? Very funny. Yes… I know I haven’t been around lately. No, it’s not you. Um, come on, that’s not fair. Of course I didn’t forget about you. Ok, fine be that way, if you must.

I’ve been a busy bee with lots of different band stuff going on at once.

MFA will be in Inner Ear soon to finish up the studio portion of our record. I love working with Matt and Nick in this setting so I’m looking forward to recording more. This will be the 3rd time in there with Matt and 4th time working with Nick. I think the idea this time is we are going to take a day off of the grind to get into the studio. I love this idea. I don’t think I’ve ever been there during the day, during the week.

Lavajet is back to playing out again! Feb 23 at DC9. Looks like we may have some new tunes. I’m really liking the new songs, some of them have a totally different feel from what

people are used to with LavaJet. Oh, and it’s Paul’s coming out party. I almost forgot that we haven’t played out with him yet.

My seasonal side project, Potato Famine, has been asked to play in a battle of the bands in NYC at the Knitting Factory. It’s been a dream of mine to play at this place. I really dig the vibe they have there. 3 floors with music on each floor. How can you go wrong! Everyone should come with me for this one.

The Actor and The Waitress

After a night of much needed catch-up sleep, this morning I disembarked the bus for the blue line at Pentagon. Has anyone else encountered the menacing Pentagon police there? It's quite strange to be commuting half-awake past men who are hyper-alert carrying large machine guns. I'm not up on my weaponry, but there was probably enough firepower in those cartridges to lay waste to every single human on that bus in about 5 seconds. Walking past, I smiled meagerly and looked one of these policemen right in the eye.

After playing the sleep depravation game, I am glad to be back in the world of clarity. Watched 3 episodes of Project Greenlight last night and, surprise, surprise, am now inspired to rewrite an old song in need of less venom, about an actor who is writing a screenplay. No, I will not call the song Garden State.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Opening Flower and Happy Bird

This week has been back to business as normal. By that, I mean imagining album and EP titles and seeing if they stick. We've come a long way since first laying down tracks on our EP, and we are just about done mixing now. It always amazes me to hear how a recording progresses. To hear where Mark would add a little reverb or EQ a portion of the recording, and how better just a little work makes it sound.

Our strategy was to lay down some live drums and guitar, and then overdub everything else. The songs were 90% written when they came in, it just took learning them and ultimately a little re-writing. In the end, most songs don't total more than 8 tracks. In a burst of simplicity, we ended up cutting keyboard parts out– figuring that less is more. And since we aren't doing an ELO record, what is the point of one… more… synth…?

So there you have it. Our first foray into modern recorded history: "Opening Flower and Happy Bird" EP is done! We will be working on the packaging and tweaking the final mix throughout the weekend. Look forward to some shows to promote this succulent record! We also have some surprises up our collective sleeve, stay tuned!

Friday, January 28, 2005

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

Last night wandered through the haze of running on 5 hours of sleep to our show at DC9 with the zeal of a proud father having watched his child win a soccer game, only at 2am on a schoolnight. Really, the buzz of doing something of value– in this case raising over $1,400 for the children affected by the tsunami– has carried me and then some. Jim and I played a more "rock" set (eschewing the slower numbers) and covered the prince of rock darkness: Elmo ("I Don't Want To Live On The Moon").

I remarked to Anne how I wish that every day I could do something fulfilling like the fundrasier, and she mentioned that if that were possible it would be exhausting. But really, I always end up doing things the only way I know how: like an insane idiot. Jumping right in feet first and worrying about details- sleeping, eating– later.

That being said, playing with Private Eleanor and Alcian Blue last night was a pleasure, honor and priviledge. I am only beginning to get Alcian Blue's nuances, and what they do blows me away. So dense and driving, yet intricate. Just as much, I am only slowly climbing out of social-awkwardness and genuinely meeting other bands. It's so strange, these people in other bands have the same motivations, the same passion, and the same interests to being playing in bands at roughly the same age, yet I somehow always fall prey to my own schisms. Not sure if that stems from my own, amateurish deification of all things music, or if it's some deeply rooted social anxiety, but I seem to rest myself somewhere close to slackjawed or googily-eyed and self-concious about whether I am coming across like a dick. It's the same thing that really prevented me from dating in college.

Funny? Maybe. Marcia Toms, where are you now?

Bundle up, baby it's cold outside.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Indie Rock Karaoke for the Children was booming last night… oh my! Attempting to cross the floor at 10:30 last night mid-song, I realized my efforts were futile, and started appreciating the crowd. It wasn't our usual faithfuls who come to our shows and support us in other endeavors, it was scene containing several circles of friends, all there to see one another bastardize and rock out songs some of us know, but we all love.

Part Karaoke and part DJ night, Indie Rock Karaoke Night for the Children really hit a nerve. Where else can you see Guided By Voices mimicked (with beer, flying kicks,mic twirls et al) side-by-side with straight edge anthems (with fists clenched in all of their marker X'd glory?) along with James, The Postal Service, The Ramones, Throwing Muses, and on and on? I'm talking vibe… it was on. IRKFC brings people together. Dare I say we're the model UN of Indie Rock?

We would like to thank everyone involved for helping raise $1,296.00 for OXFAM. It wouldn't have been nearly as fun had you not been there.

But that is only 1/2 of MFA's musical agenda for the week… join us tonight at DC9 for our show with Alcian Blue and Private Eleanor. Doors open at 9. We go on first, so please, do what you must.

Friday, January 21, 2005

The Post, Karaoke for Kids, et al

So we're in the Post for the Karaoke night. They put the emphasis on the fact that it's Indie Rock, we'd like to keep the focus on that it's for the children. We've put a concerted effort into getting our flyers out, hopefully it'll fly. Tom hit DC last night, Jim and I canvassed Arlington Wednesday night. I plan on making a sweep through Adams Morgan and Dupont tonight.

Have you been outside? DC has returned to "normal" after the cowboy hat and fur parade, but it's freezing. Bring on the snow. Bring it! I stood on the roof of my building watching the snow fall the other day… very zen. Be the snow.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Indie Rock Karaoke (for the Children)

Ladies and Gents,
Do your part… please. We are proud to announce our participation in Indie Rock Karaoke for the Children, a benefit for Oxfam International's Tsunami Relief Fund. We got together with our friends in LavaJet devised the plan. Please visit Indie Rock Karaoke's Site for more information. We will be your hosts for the evening, therefore, a massively entertaining night is in store. Big thanks to James at Staccato for helping us put this together at the last minute!


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Hut Hut Hike

Jim in the hizzo. Loved the Galaxy Hut show last night. I had some cymbal malfunctions and I forgot how a song I played only 2 times before went, but other than that, the set went well. After the malfunctions I felt a little out of it, but I got though it with little damage. Overall, when things got going it was fun to be playing for a great group of friends in one of my favorite places in the whole world. Julie fed us Yeungling all night and Pink Noise rocked the house before us. They were a good example of how bands can blend modern sounds without sounding like a Radiohead tribute band. I hope they come through town again.

Cool, we were in the Washington Post.

Do bands need managers? I am mostly on the no manager side of things, but Pink Noise’s manger was very cool and picked our brains for places to play in Pittsburgh, Baltimore and DC. I guess if you are going to have a manager, pick one that does a good job! I think for the most part I do not mind doing manager type stuff, but most musician types hate it. Kim from Jawbox once said that bands that think they need a manager really need an accountant. That seems to be my philosophy. I like to be in control of where I play, so I don’t know if I would give that up to a manager. If we pick a bad place to play, I want it to be my fault.
Thanks to our friends for hanging with us last night. We do this for you... Ok. For us mostly, but for you too.

Thursday, January 06, 2005


Matt here. Sleep depravation is definitely my drug of choice. There is something about the bare minimum of sleep that gives you a slight edge on perception… if I sleep just barely not enough, I'm sluggish. When I sleep only a few hours, interrupted, my mind takes to a state where every thought is a staggering work of genius. I've written entire novels in my head only to have them thrown out when my concious brain takes over, being soooo smart (and well rested).

The fact that I have spent a great deal of the past two years alternately half-awake or half-asleep underscores this. A creative drought all but ended my previous band… now songs I started when I was 20 are being finished to the point of releasing. It's as if subconsciously I am sending myself back to the days in school when I would stay up all night just because I could, wanting to see what it would do to my capacity to function. The stakes are a bit higher now. I am also attempting this without the safety net of coffee. Don't try this at home kids.

We're finishing up work on our EP this weekend. Mark has really added a lot to the process, humor and a sense of adventure. I second Jim's note about working with people who are as into music as I am… we get the same vibe from Nick Anderson. By the way, I need to call Nick, we have a record to finish!

Your humble servant,
Silence Dogood

Monday, January 03, 2005

So This Is The New Year

Hey guys, Matt here,
Sorry for the lag of communique… I had to eat my way out of a coma, only to drink myself back into one. Luckily, with a little help from Arrested Development Season One on DVD, sanity has been regained. Or at least conciousness.

Please give whatever you can to the disaster relief efforts for Southeast Asia. The day of the quake/tsunami (evening here), I was having drinks with my good friend Ramsay who had just returned from a 3 month trip around the area. He and his girlfriend Kelly had opted to do some humanitarian work in the mountains of Thailand for the final two weeks of their trip as opposed to two weeks on the beach near Phuket. They returned home December 10th. I haven't yet talked to him since learning about the disaster, but it's nagged me that a few decisions later, they could have very well been in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am forever grateful.

Think about 9/11, then imagine that had happened at every major city on the East Coast. We're talking 125,000 people gone in a flash. I was reading The North Atlantic's blog at, and Cullen was mentioning visiting a juvenile rehab detention center making him grateful for loving parents. Post-tsunami, I am just grateful for everything. Generations are lost. They say 1/2 of the lost are children.

My mind is so jumbled with feelings about this tragedy, the scope of which I cannot comprehend. Just please give what you can… be aware that some organizations have reached their capacity, and that some cannot process your contribution for a few weeks if not months. This shouldn't matter as I am sure they could use the assistance.

Thanks… I'll try to lighten up a bit.