Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A moment.

Have you ever cried at the sight of true love?

Not out of sadness, but the overwhelming realisation of it in your own life and it's precious and miraculous nature?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My latest listening pleasures

December is a great month for a musical adventure. This is largely because everyone's best-of lists emerge and throw up albums that you've never heard of or overlooked due to one bad review.

So I basically spent a lot of time on my laptop listening to a ridiculous number of these and, quite generously I might add, am now going to share with you my highlights in no particular order.

The War on Drugs - Slave Ambient

I know very litte about this band, I have no idea what they look like, what their history is and how to put them into context. But after one of those beautiful unconscious listens while carrying out a spate of house cleaning, I decided I love this album.

They're their own sound, but if I was to put it into a box I'd say they're a more modern version of a mash-up of Bob Dylan and Tom Petty's work in the 80s. Or even a Canadian Phoenix Foundation. Here's a lovely number from them:

The Weeknd - Echoes of Silence

This is the third album from The Weeknd that I've listened to. I loved the first one but wasn't so hot on the second as I felt it lacked a lot of the big hooks that the first one offered. Yep, real deep, but that's what I loved in House of Balloons. This latest record has gone back to the hooks, so I'm back with the love. Here's my favourite track:

Great Northern - Remind Me Where The Light Is

Another in the list of great new boy/girl dreamy pop bands. I've always loved Stars and these guys fit in beside them really well. Enjoy!

Real Estate - Days

Jangly indie pop goodness. (I know...these descriptions are getting high is fading sorry)

Raphael Saadiq - The Way I see It

Here's another one of my new-soul favourites along with Charles Bradley. Awesome for when summer finally comes to NZ. Here's a track from the album, featuring Joss Stone:

Little Dragon - Ritual Union

Soulful electronic pop. Yeeeah.

Middle Brother - Middle Brother

Last, but not least, a supergroup made up of members from some great folk-rock bands, namely Deer Tick, Delta Spirit and Dawes. For me, this is definitely one of those albums from a "supergroup" that has actually worked and produced something with a bit of magic in it. For fans of folk rock goodness.

Enjoy friends!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Idea + band = song

Here's another of the initial ideas I recorded for our latest album, this time for a song called French Girl.

This idea shows how sometimes it's composition and vibe is spot on from the start and all you have to do is replicate that vibe with the band and flesh it out a wee bit and you have a fully-fledged song.

One of the interesting parts of the final recording we did was emulating the very distorted piano I have in my demo. It was intended to sound like a big guitar sound, but I didn't quite know how to do that in my bedroom, so piano it was. So when we brought it into a jam Si had to experiment a little with his toys. He came up with a combination of e-bow, delay and distortion to create exactly what I would have envisioned in the first place for the part.

After that it was a case of adding simple parts for the other band members and writing a bridge/outro section which matched that initial vibe and story - it all came very naturally. The only addition to the song once we got to the studio were some subtly Eastern-sounding layers in the bridge (we had some epic strings there for a bit too, but it was slightly too much for what we wanted).

So, here you go, here's the initial demo:

French Girl (initial demo) by jredmore

And the final product:

French Girl by midnightyouth

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How songs evolve...

It's always a little bit magical how songs are born and grow over time - some of the most interesting stories I've heard in the industry are about how songs evolved in a studio, or didn't evolve whatsoever.

I was trawling through the many finished and unfinished demos on my computer this morning, rediscovering old gems and cringing at some shockers, when I found the first recorded idea for one of the songs off my band's new album.

The track is called Listen, and I think this demo is a classic case of how a lot of our songs evolve once brought to the collective band.

So first-off, here's a link to the finished product, so you can get your bearings.

Listen by midnightyouth

And here's the first inkling of the idea - basically just me jamming a verse structure and melody, making shit up as I went, about two years ago.

Caught My Mind by jredmore

This is a great example of how much a song can change from that first birth.

I'll post an example of the opposite, how little an idea can change, in the coming days.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012