Web Sites and Such

If you are cruising around the sites, just an FYI this blog will now be the official site for ChurchHouse Productions and the other site (Velvet Wrinkle Wreckerds) is getting some work done and switching hosting companies. If you go to either of the sites and things are looking weird, just let me know, but more than likely it is due to switching things around and will go back to normal soon. Hope everyone is enjoying Spring!!!!🙂

Re-Run Friday – Ghost on the Highway

The Gun Club – this is a band that I still love to listen to and even as I get older, I can’t help but still love the way it sounds, the way it’s played, and mostly – I love doing this song. We enjoyed covering this song and have given serious thought about covering more of their songs. Without further ado – here it is again, Ghost on the Highway, or GOTH as we affectionately refer to it.

Opossum Holler – Pine and Stone

Apparently, good things come in three’s… after discovering that Opossum Holler has a twitter account, which I promptly followed (too bad I don’t live in Kentucky, I’d love to see them play), I also discovered that they released some new stuff back in December (2015). Apparently the rock I live under is a rather limited resource for new music. Oh, and something about their description of their genre on ReverbNation touches my heart, kindred spirits of doom to say the least.

Have to mention this – my favorite lyric from Screamin’ Delta Demon:
I ain’t got no future honey but my Cadillac is clean…

I bought Feelings for the Living today, but may go back for the whole album. I loved their release of Screamin’ Delta Demon and Hex. They are on Bandcamp (saved the best for last) – GO CHECK THEM OUT. In the words of Arnold, “GO NOW!”.

Oppossum Holler Bandcamp

HateBeak – Number of the Beak

I found these guys through a friend at work.  I really wanted to review it because I think this is one of those situations where the genre may not be what your into per se, but you can appreciate what you are hearing.

Hatebeak, is out of Baltimore and their vocalist is an African Grey parrot.  Yes, you read that right – a parrot.  Not only is that unique, it’s certainly a testament to the idea that with music, just about anything goes – depending on how you do it.  In the song (link provided below) the drummer literally sounds like a beat machine (in a good way).  For all I know, there may be parts of this song that are. Either way, whoever did their editing and mixing knew what they were doing.

Just in case you are wondering, they don’t tour because it wouldn’t be optimal for Waldo (the parrot).  I am not sure it’s optimal for people either, but such is life.  Give ’em a listen and check out Reptilian Records other releases on SoundCloud.  Have a good Easter, be happy, fluffy bunnies, jelly beans, etc.

Reptilian Records

Hatebeak, Number of the Beak, Seven Perches

Speaking Of Vocals Follow Up

After I finished writing the last post I sat down to read through it and listened to ‘Heroes’ again. And again. Beyond the beauty of the song itself I was intrigued by a lot of the recording technique in it. I did a little searching on the internet and came across an article on the recording of ‘Heroes’ in Sound On Sound where they cover the recording of different ‘classic’ tracks. I really recommend reading the entire article. It’s not just nuts and bolts tech info; they cover the production of the song and how the recording ideas came about. I won’t rehash the whole article as I’ve attached a link to it. But since we were speaking of vocals the info on them was pretty amazing. The entire vocal part was written and recorded in five hours. The main vocal was recorded on a single track in one take (with a few splice ins here and there). For the main vocal there were three mics: one close, one about 15 feet away and a third at the other end of the very large room they were recording in. The close mic had heavy compression; the other two mics were gated and only opened up as the volume hit a certain level. As the vocal gets louder another mic in the room would open. So towards the end when the vocals are almost ‘shouted’ all three mics have opened up and all the reverb is natural from the room – and all three mics were recorded to the same track. Truly Amazing. Genius always finds a way.

Also check out how Robert Fripp got those high guitar feedback parts (they almost sound like a synth) by measuring the distance he stood from the amp to get the perfect feedback sound on each individual note.

Here’s the link to the Sound On Sound article:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/oct04/articles/classictracks.htm

Here’s another link to ‘Heroes’ sound you don’t have to go back to the last post to hear it:

 

Speaking Of Vocals

This winter seems like a good time to lock myself in the studio and start to get some work done again. We’ve spent a good deal of time working on song ideas and turning some of them in to song demos. Now it’s time to focus in and work on the production tracks. Which in turn allows me to focus on the recording process from both technical and artistic points of view. As always finding a way to nail the vocal recording process is a high priority.

The first article I’ve attached is a quick and simple overview of some different methods of recording vocals. This really speaks to the performance aspect of recording as compared to the nuts and bolts tech of mics, mic placement, preamps etc.

http://blog.sonicbids.com/full-takes-or-section-by-section-which-vocal-recording-approach-is-better

Personally I like to record takes all the way through. It gives the singer a chance to have the full feel of the song and decide how to vocally connect the song together. But I’ve also worked parts of the song separately, maybe verses separate from chorus or separating vocal parts after an instrumental break. I think it really depends on the song and the vocalist. You have to be open to trying different approaches on different songs.

The next article discusses comping, which is mentioned in the first article (I don’t know if I’d call it a ‘little known’ recording trick) .

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-little-known-recording-trick-that-makes-singers-sound-perfect

I think there are things to consider if you’re going to do a lot of cut and paste comping on a vocal track. If I’m going to put together smaller pieces of the vocal tracks I’d like to get them recorded in the same session. A person’s voice may change slightly from day to day. It’s not like setting up a guitar amp and then leaving the settings stand for another session. That’s not as much of an issue if you’re putting together larger pieces of the song. It’s also not as much of an issue if you’re going to multi-layer several vocal tracks on top of each other. Again, work with the vocalist and see what brings the best out of them. I think we’ll be putting down a lot more vocal tracks then usual in our upcoming sessions for both layering and comping.

Finally, I couldn’t let the passing of David Bowie go by without comment. For many of us music is much more than something we listen to. I grew up from a young age playing music and living music. It informed my life and many life choices. For those of us who grew up in that era, Bowie melded music with life and style. And showed that you could stop on a dime and change styles if you wanted to. Be fearless in your ability and right to change to whatever moved you. I picked the song ‘Heroes’ to put here because it shows the most important part of vocals – emotion. I feel the build in emotion created by the vocals in this song every time I listen to it. If you do it right it’s captured forever.

 

 

 

 

The Polyphonic Spree

Recently I discovered the Dallas-based band (yes I know they have been around a long time – the rock that I lived under didn’t have wi-fi), The Polyphonic Spree. So, I decided to put up a post about them and say that I apologize for being so lame with getting around to posting, but it has been a trying last 6 months or so. Things are starting to turn around now and I figured this would be a good segue to putting something up about the band and saying that I am looking forward to getting back into the schedule of posting with more frequency. Cheers!

Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson

OK, so I was gonna post this like 3 weeks ago and just never got around to it. I heard this and really feel like it took all the great stuff from several funk songs and mashed ’em all into one song. Bruno Mars is a great front person for the video as well as the song – and most of all – it just looks fun.
So, as the song says, “Don’t believe me just watch…”

And in case you wanna see it live…

You get what you pay for – or do you?

We had debated writing an article on this, but felt that it was important to do because if there is anyone out there who can benefit from things we have learned the hard way, it is worth it. While the names of the not-so-innocent have been withheld – the message is clear, so take heed.

We were contacted by a PR firm on the west coast via a social music site. This was their original email:
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: PitchFork Music Festival PR Inquiry
Date: 2014-07-07 23:17
From: The Not-so Innocent
To: Electrostatic Rhythm Pigs

Hey there,
I am trying to reach REDACTED. Not sure if this is a general band email but I had a chance to check out your Electrostatic Rhythm Pigs EPK

One of our music interns turned me on to your profile and forwarded it to me to check out. I’m not sure if anyone on our end may have contacted you yet about our PR Campaign and REDACTED series but I had a few questions that I was hoping to speak to you about.

First off all, I’m not sure if you currently have PR representation but I wanted to set up a conference call to discuss a PR Campaign we are offering new clients that includes a Press Release Campaign, a Two Week Social Media Campaign and a spot on our REDACTED MIxTape Series that will be distributed during Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago this July. We have two spots still open on our Pitchfork Campaign this month in Chicago so if you are interested, we would need to speak with you this week.


The PR Campaign including the press release Campaign, Two Week Social Media Campaign and the spot on REDACTED is a flat fee of 295.00. Here’s an overview of it:

  • A professionally written, approximately 600 word customized press release about your current music related news and artist happenings.
  • YES. They did do this.

  • Automatic submission of your press release to over 7500 syndicated newswires, media outlets and music journalists.
  • NOPE. Never got this.

  • 20 guaranteed online media placements of your press release in newspapers, blogs, magazines, etc with links provided.
  • NOPE. Never got this.

  • A money back guarantee that your press release will be error free, published and with 20 verifiable guaranteed placements.
  • NOT REALLY – press release was error free but never got any kind of “verified placement”.

  • A spot on our REDACTED. It will be distributed at Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago this upcoming July 2014. You will also receive download codes and cards that you can use to distribute to your fans at shows and online.
  • NOPE. If they did – we never got confirmation of it. Still to this day – cannot find where this supposedly is.

  • A 14 day Social Media Campaign. You will be assigned a social media manager who will write, schedule and post compelling material on your networks including Facebook and Twitter.
  • NOPE. Never got this.

  • Content posted by your Social Media Manger gets tracked and recorded in an easy-to-read report showing you how many retweets, comments and new followers your social content is getting. Also, so you know–REDACTED is not for sale. It is handed out as a free download card to festival goers. We will be handing out over 3500 download cards at Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago this upcoming July.
  • NOPE. Never saw any of this, or that it was ever done.


To give you an idea of the quality of press releases we produce and the media outlets where we often secure coverage in, you can check out these links:

REDACTED. Put it this way – we saw like two client testimonials. That should have been a red flag right there.

All of our work is results-driven with a money-back guarantee. Here are a couple of testimonials our music clients have recently given us:

REDACTED

I would love to discuss what your specific PR needs are and the details of this campaign, along with what song we would like to include on REDACTED. I can set up a time to call you to discuss it. Let me know if you have availability this upcoming week and the best number and time frame to reach you at.

Wishing You Success And Nothing Less!

Lessons learned:
1. ALWAYS get it in writing.
2. Even if you get it in writing, what will you do? Sue them for 295.00? You’d spend more in legal fees – scammers are smart in that regard – low fees mean a lot less likelihood of actually getting sued.
3. Verification of services should be offered at every step – you shouldn’t have to ask.
4. When you call like four times and don’t get a return call, it is probably a good indication that they are weasels, not serious PR providers.

Strings For Spring

Well, spring isn’t here yet (at least in the northeast) but the sun was out today, it was over 40 degrees (whoooo) and daylight savings time has begun. All in all as close to nice weather as it’s been around here for quite some time. Spring turns a young persons fancy to…….acoustic instruments (it also helps bring some of us out of hibernation). Over the winter months we’ve been collecting instruments for the studio to add some variety to our in house recording. Pictured below are some of the items we picked up.

Acoustic Instruments 001

Not that we’ll use everything in a traditional manner. The options are limitless. As are the variety of ways you can mic, amplify or record acoustic instruments. Here’s a video with some ideas for recording banjo.

You can count on us breaking the rules whenever possible (hhmmmm – phase shifter on mandolin?). So much to look forward to.
To add to the acoustic flavor, here’s a video of Trampled By Turtles live on NPR. Can’t you just feel spring in the sound?

Hope the weather heads to spring where ever you are.