Monday, July 30, 2007

Dr. Dremo's Thanks, and setlist

Thanks for coming out to the show on Saturday at Dr. Dremo's! Please visit that place before it is history next March!

With a little light goading, we raised over $600 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We also sent Mr. Matt Sedlar packing into his official graduation from MFA professional development academy.

Every Day Is Fall*
The Ballad of You and Me*
East Coast Versus West Coast*
Sweet Caroline*
Queen of the Lost Causes
One In The Same
Campfire Hymn
Now It's On (Grandaddy cover)
Slow Motion Decay
The One That Got Away +
St Matthew's Court
Gravel In My Palm
I Was Electric

Tender (Blur cover w/matt on irish drum)
Wishing Well

*= matt solo, to give jim a rest
+= with Terrence Henry of Eastern Homes on harmonica

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

City of Brotherly Grit

Jim here. With a show approaching, I made the trek to Philly this weekend to rock out with MFA and catch up with some old friends. The XPN Fest (or whatever they call it) had the most awesome backdrop (the Philly skyline) I've seen since those D.C. shows they used to have on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the Capitol. Fountains of Wayne didn't disappoint and I think I'm going to have to keep an eye on those Fratelli boys.

It always feels good to play, but it feels even better when you get to play outside when it is 74 degrees and breezy. While we didn't play long, I think we are ready for the gig on Saturday. I'm really glad we are jumping right in like this. It's been way too long since the last show!

After practice, I met up with my college buddy, Chris, who was playing in a block party in the working-class neighborhood of Port Richmond. The party was also a 21st birthday celebration for one of the friends of the band. They had 2 kegs, a large box of soft pretzels, a hot dog machine, a popcorn machine and a cotton candy machine! An aside, I turned on the power to the cotton candy machine just to see what it would do. After twirling around for about 5 seconds, the power for the entire block went out for about 3 minutes or so. Oops, sorry folks. Of course, we pretended like it had nothing to do with us. Just one block over, there was another block party with much of the same pomp. I don't think I have really seen anything like this since my early days in Pittsburgh.

Later that night, I went to a house party in the Philly suburbs in an upscale neighborhood (I have no idea where exactly). The back yard was ginormous (this word was just added to Merriam-Webster!) and had a regulation size soccer goal. I think I overheard that the hostess had played some college footie. I assumed the crowd would be the pretentious hipster sort by looking at them, but instead I found everyone to be friendly and talkative.

Community means different things in different places. Everyone knew each other on the block in my hometown. Now, outside of the artist that lives two flights up, I don't know anyone in my apartment complex. If this weekend taught me anything, it is that community is what you make of it... and I need to try harder.

Sunday, the original lineup (Matt and I) went to New York City for a total of two hours. However, while we were there we had the only $5 meal available anywhere in the City. 2 BBQ half chickens with sides, soup and drinks for a total of $12! Then we met up with old work friends Nick and Jessica and hopped across the Hudson and Hackensack rivers to catch D.C. United vs. Red Bull New York at Estadio de Los Gigantes at the Medowlands. While our boys didn't pull out the victory, we saw a hell of a header by the other team.

Aside from major road construction delays on the way back home, it was a solid weekend of enjoyable experiences.

See you on Saturday!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Show coming up, album going out, ships coming in

Ladies and Gents,
Two weeks ago I was sitting at the old, crackity mactop twiddling knobs and wondering "wow, what sounds better: not-so-good, or not-so-bad" shoring up work on 4 tracks. Turns out, once you settle in on middle-fi, it all looks rosy. Think about it: DIYing will limit your budget but will not limit your creativity. The end result might not be super-pro, but we're not a super-pro kind of band. We're more of a "make it up as you go along" kind of band. More than that, we're open source. Tinker, tinker, tinker. If anybody asked me for tracks, I would probably give it to them to see if they could make it sound different, better, or even worse (Mark, I burned you a DVD but haven't sent it!)

So here we go, two weeks later we are gearing up for our first show in 18 months on July 28th. I am psyched, it's like Christmas in July. Not only that, but we're playing Dr. Dremo's, a place we have yet to play in the DC area. It's not a rock club. It's not a pool hall. It's not a typical venue. MORE THAN THAT, we are raising money for a charity that is very, very, very close to me: The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. If you've read anything in this blog, you probably read the one about my dad's memorial donations going to them. I actually agreed to this show before I knew the charity, so this is the icing on the cake. BUT wait, Jon can't make it because it's his birthday and he'll be in NYC, so Matt Sedlar, our former bassist, has stepped up. We never had a chance to give him a proper goodbye, since his departure coincided with a downtime for the band. We might also have a sax sit in, depends how much cramming we can get done.

"Summer Music..." has gone back to mixing for some tweaks, but will be delivered to mastering. Yes, it has been 3 years. But there are reasons.

What else? Philly is beautiful today. Thunderstorms swept through last night, taking the heat but leaving palpable humidity, with a slight breeze. It's somewhat tropical, and not in a "jeez, I'm melting" kind of way. More of a "dood, this could be the Keys" which seldom happens in the mid-Atlantic in balm season. Anne and I met a night where I wore a beloved green beater button-down, and an undershirt, and I swapped out sweating through one and carrying the other as it dried out, and changing when need be. Like I said, it's Christmas in July, only a little more humid, but not enough to drop you. Dig.


Friday, July 13, 2007

This Ain't No Chinese Democracy

Our album is now mixed. We would like to thank the Army of Emotional Support for pulling us through this one. Realize, we have gone through 3 and a half band members in the process. I say "and a half" because we have been itching to introduce a 4th member, but delayed as the record was delayed. Not to mention personal stuff. We are now "older" and "wiser" which in rock is the mafioso kiss on the cheek, but we'll let you decide that.

So here we go, the master recordings are going to the masterer (I'd make a "Yes, Master!" joke, but that is actually a legit, operational business, and we do not want to create the impression we are looking elsewhere) in the District.

Stay tuned for a show announcement, if you are still there. This feels like falling asleep on the telephone. You still want to listen to what she's saying, but next thing you know you've awaken to forgetting whether or not you've hung the telephone up or not!

Yours in scouting,