Week 14: Jake Anderson – “Full Of…”

Jake Anderson, drummer by nature, has been playing guitar and writing songs recently. This past week he and Brandon Dvorak came in to create what I believe is the first official Jake Anderson recording.

Audio MP3

Full Of…
Jake Anderson – Bocals, Guitar, Drums
Brandon Dvorak – Bass, Backing Vocals
Charlie McCarron – Synthesizer

Frozen, forgotten
What’s the difference?
So now wish me luck
I’m full of hate
I’m full of

You’re the coldest shoulder to lean on,
Silver glazing eyes
Gazing over the ocean,
Waiting for the sunrise

Frozen, forgotten
What’s the difference?
So now wish me luck
I’m full of hate
I’m full of

Soon, with the toll of the turning season,
Like the fading tide,
The coldest shoulder to lean on
Forever mine

Frozen, forgotten
What’s the difference?
So now wish me luck
I’m full of hate
I’m full of

Since I called on these guys kind of last minute, Jake’s song was still in progress. But it already had some great guitar riffs and vocal melodies. So the three of us jammed a bit and worked out the song’s structure. Probably to the annoyance of our upstairs neighbors. But sometimes you just have to keep repeating the same thing over and over to get a few sparks of inspiration.

Brandon recording some soothing backing vocals. Six takes total, and since he was right on pitch every time, I used them all!

I really had no idea what Jake would bring to the table, since I hadn’t heard him play guitar or sing solo. I think his voice is pretty awesome, though, and his guitar skills are honed. Hopefully we’ll hear more solo stuff from Jake soon.

Jake, Brandon, and my cousins Matt and Nate Graves are all in the band With A Gun For A Face. They play around the Twin Cities quite a lot, so check out one of their shows. I usually make it to around 50% of them, so maybe see you there!

Week 13: Luke Friedrich – “Just Like Today” (Charlie Parr Cover)

After 8th grade graduation, it was rare that I got to see my buddy Luke Friedrich. I missed out on a whole chunk of his musical life. He’s been playing in three (or four?) bands, and writing some great music. Luckily we discovered that we’re now neighbors here in Minneapolis. This past week, Luke came to me with a bluegrassy Charlie Parr song he wanted to try recording.

Just Like Today
Performed by Luke Friedrich, words and music by Charlie Parr

Audio MP3

Behind the Song

Luke brought over his beautiful resonator guitar, and we recorded a demo track of him playing and singing at the same time, to get the overall structure down. Luke recorded guitar and vocals individually after that, but then we realized his demo recording was the take. Sure there were a couple buzzed notes here and there, but I loved his delivery and the emotion in this demo track. I was only recording the guitar in mono for this demo track, which I wouldn’t normally do, but it actually worked out great for the Iron & Wine-style production I wanted to try out. At key points during the chorus, I have the overdubbed guitar part enter in stereo, to fill out the soundscape a bit.

After that, Luke laid down vocal harmonies and slide guitar, and I played a violin part. When it came time to master the track, I resisted my urge to produce a “clean” track, and added a little hiss and pop to give it some old-timey warmth. I added a couple other cool Ableton Live effects to give it the old tape sound:

  1. I set up a Frequency Shifter effect to make the whole track warble a little. I randomized the rate and boosted the amount a little bit at the beginning and end. If you try this effect, make sure the Dry/Wet knob is at 100% wet, otherwise you’ll get some funky phasing effects.
  2. I added a simple overdrive effect, mostly acting as an EQ filter to take some of the high and low end off. I have the effect gradually decrease over the whole song so it sounds more lo-fi at the beginning.

I’m glad Luke introduced me to Charlie Parr’s music. You should also check out Luke’s own music, too. He plays drums in Crimes, who just released an album. He sings, writes, and produces music in Squares:

Latest tracks by squaresmn

Week 12: Paul Spring – “Plum Street”

This week I recorded a guy who has won all nine battle of the bands he’s entered, including one earlier tonight. Paul Spring and his band are all amazing musicians, so it was a treat to produce “Plum Street.”

Jeffrey Schwinghammer made this music video right in our living room. Special thanks to former Song-a-Weeker Jason P. Schumacher for helping out with lighting and other random tasks.

Audio MP3

Plum Street
by Paul Spring, featuring Dylan McFarling, Danny Mittnacht, and Jed Anderson

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t worry
Because all my friends got hitched in such a big hurry
I sit round thinking what’s the rush?
But then again I’ve been drinking and sleeping too much.

I better start making some money off playing these chords,
Because I’m developing high class habits that I can’t afford.
They tell me I gotta change,
But I don’t want to sing a song that’s out of my range.

I want someone who doesn’t need me
A woman of her own
A girl who can’t stand me
But won’t leave me alone

A wise old man gave me a kindly reminder
He said “As soon as you stop lookin, that’s when you’ll find her.”
He said “Impatience is the greatest sin of all.
It’s why we lost paradise and it’s why we’ll fall.”

I want someone who doesn’t need me
A woman of her own
A girl who can’t stand me
But won’t leave me alone

Paul Spring – vocals and acoustic guitar
Dylan McFarling – electric guitar and backing vocals
Danny Mittnacht – bass
Jed Anderson – drums and backing vocals

I finally met Paul this past week after seeing him around St. John’s years ago, playing awesome shows while he was still in high school. Strangely enough, I had a hand in producing a Paul Spring song about 4 years ago. Jed was recording some drums for my senior project, and we ended up recording a drum track for one of Paul’s songs. It was about Mountain Dew. Apparently he had (or maybe still has) an obsession.

All of these guys were startlingly efficient at recording. Whereas my own guitar playing seems to require 50 takes per song, Paul did one. He sang the lead vocals twice. Jed and Danny nailed their parts in just a few takes. Dylan was spitting out so many sweet guitar riffs, it was painful to let them fall by the wayside. Hopefully these guys will remember me someday when they’re off touring the world, being musical guests on SNL, picking up babes, etc.

To hear some more of Paul’s tunes, visit PaulSpringMusic.com or YouTube.com/PaulSpring

Check back soon for a behind the scenes video from Jeff.

Week 11: Lazerwülf – “Breakthrough”

This week’s recording is a special treat. Straight from Stoke-on-Trent, England, the band Lazerwülf has come out of a 24-year-hiatus to record “Breakthrough”:

Audio MP3

Breakthrough
By Lazerwülf

Right click here to download the mp3.

It’s time to talk about the way that I feel
It’s like a fantasy romance, but it’s real

All the places that I go with you
And the feelings that we show
And the love you’ll never know

You could say I’m still not the man for you
But oh
Build up your walls you know what I’ll do
Well I
I’ll break through

I try to find my way alone, in the dark
I light my lantern with the flame of your heart

And the places that I go with you
And the seeds I’ve tried to sow
But the love would never grow

You could say I’m still not the man for you
But oh
Build up your walls you know what I’ll do
Well I
I’ll break through

It’s time to talk about the way that I feel
It’s like a fantasy romance, but it’s real

And the places that I go with you

It’s time to talk about the way that I feel…

Vocals, Keytar: Freddie Reginald
Vocals, Beats: Nigel Basil-Nigel
Synthesizer: Clive Scroggs

Lazerwülf (top to bottom): Nigel, Freddie, and Clive

An Intimate Moment with Lazerwülf

Charlie: Did you ever think Lazerwülf would be playing music together again?

Freddie: You know, I think deep down we all wanted to make music. But if a keytarist plays a single note in the middle of the wood, late at night, and no one is around, will anyone hear?

Charlie: Probably not.

Freddie: Our fears exactly. It seemed the world didn’t have a place in its heart for Lazerwülf anymore. But then something magical happened. I was on my way to Brent Cross, when a young lad passed me wearing one of our “Wank the World ’84” tour t-shirts! Can you believe it?! To me, this was a sign that the youth was once again ready to, as we like to say, “howl.”

Charlie: How did it feel going back into the studio without your lead bassist and dear friend, Geoffrey Follisworth?

Freddie: Recording without Geoffrey was like bangers without mash, tea without digestives, bubble without squeak, d’you know what I mean, mate?

Charlie: No, not really…

Freddie: Well, we missed him dearly on this one. If he could have just kept his nose clean, maybe he’d be with us here today.

Charlie: Cocaine overdose?

Freddie: No mate, bogey overload.

Charlie: Sorry to hear that. Well, have you been making any music since your glory days in Lazerwülf?

Freddie: Well of course everyone remembers my two successful solo albums Freddie’s Outta This World and Starlight Manifesto.

Charlie: …those must have been a bit before my time.

Freddie: Well perhaps you recall a little band called Stink Out?

Charlie: Umm…Nigel, Clive…what have you guys been up to?

Nigel: I can honestly say I don’t remember the last 24 years, whatsoever.

Clive: Gardening, mostly.