80 tracks by Al's left hand

Just another depressing song about climate change...
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Playing around with some different tones, picks, and... reverb stuff...
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This was really inspired by a guy I heard at the open mic I play at, who did a song where one of the characters "drove half a truck". I told him I thought that was a great lyric, but he was really confused, because I had misheard the lyric. I…read more
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This song has like 80 different titles, so I might choose a different one eventually :-P. It's sort of an homage to "The Sun Also Rises", except about dentistry and Chicago instead of bullfighting and northern Spain. The reason for that is…read more
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just another folky thing
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This probably isn't finished... need to add more chords I can't play and lyrics I'll forget.
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One of Jude's old songs!
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New demos coming! This one is half inspired by a character from the J.G. Ballard story "Cry Hope, Cry Fury".
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Dedicated to everyone that's written a lazy article or book about the characteristics of my generation. Lift up one finger, let's have another go-around.
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I'm too dumb to think about this anyway...
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Embarrassingly I assigned the wrong channel while recording drums and lost some stuff. Should be more low-end drums. Oh, well. Such is life in February.
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This needs some rearrangement... yeah... even so, don't ask me about the future, there is no future.
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This needs a better arrangement, but it's central to the album's themes and images.
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Write-in contest for the second-to-last line of this song. I've gone through about 20 different ones, all terrible.
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... and even if they are totally earnest in doing their jobs professionally, the execution of their work certainly has political consequences and must not be allowed to escape public scrutiny...
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I'm probably not a good enough singer for four-part vocal harmony. Or maybe I should space the parts out more?
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AAAAARGH HOW ABOUT PLAYING THOSE NOTES EVENLY THEN?
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DULCIMER TIME EVERYONE.
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Just something to get the recording flow going again...
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This will sound way different after I, um, fix all my mistakes on my computer. Or at least the most egregious ones. Wevs.
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This is the cautionary tale of a guy that becomes addicted to coffee to fit in with his friends, investigates harder drugs, and decides to give himself low-level lead poisoning and toxoplasmosis.
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There's no way I'm actually going to finish RPM 2013 in February (my weekends are booked solid and I don't feel like rushing) but I'm still going to do this album... and probably finish in late March or something. This is a rough mix of 99 Bottles.
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Lyrics by Steve Davenport, who also wrote the lyrics for "The Sestina Has Been Drinking" (on "Arthur Unknown").
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this one almost didn't make it. jess turned in heroic gtr+vox through a sore throat.
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titus passes by his old home, decides not to go back.
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(um, what the title says)
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titus and gertrude throughout Gormenghast
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in our vision of this world these guys live out in the foothills and are threatened not by floodwater, as in Gormenghast, but by landslides, as in The Control of Nature (John McPhee).
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this is titus alone and the brown dog affair. that, combined with the slowness, makes for a long-ass song.
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what is that?
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the thing, cast outside the gates of gormenghast.
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watch out
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the brightest comes inside
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thump thump thump
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i like this song as a song but i have NO DAMNED IDEA how to arrange, perform, or record it. acoustic it's missing intensity. i can't make it work with drums and bass. this version with electric gtr and kbds is barely listenable. if there's one…read more
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I (Al) love this song that Jess wrote for our first album (Manhattan-Monee). I recorded this version while learning to play dulcimer in late 2008, with my horrible crappy recording setup. Randomly stumbled on it cleaning out some files, thought…
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Another demo for the Gormenghast-y project. This one kind of takes a tangent.
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Early demo for next project... which will set characters and themes from Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast novels in the present day. Final version of this will have 'lectric geetar and drums and bass and MOAR PIANO and a screechy overdriven dulci solo…
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New version of my cover of A Beautiful Scene's You're So Comfortable and I'm Not. Now with lots more instruments. Some parts are still kinda rough but I think I'm done with it.
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This is a cover of a song by Sister Savage, from her kickin' 2010 RPM Challenge album, Juped 2k10. It also introduces the genre of acoustic crossdressed spacecheese (these damn kids today with their flying cars and their hyperspecialized genres…read more
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Finally a good cut of this one. Named after Daniel Burnham of Chicago's Burnham Plan, this song is about the downfall of western capitalism. I'm completely unprepared for it myself -- I have no idea what I'll wear.
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Opening track, sets the scene.
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Inspired by the David Brooks book "Bobos in Paradise" and an article I read on the so-called "Prosperity Gospel", which is one of the weirder religious movements I've heard of.
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This song is about George Washington, and how politicians in the *cough* future world this album inhabits *cough* could perhaps use a bit of his character.
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Jess wrote the lyrics for this one, and unlike when I write lyrics, they speak for themselves.
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Again, Jess' lyrics speak for themselves. Man, distorted guitar is tough to mix around.
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This song is a meditation on the concept of freedom.
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The *cough* future *cough* mayor of Chicago holding court with his corporate backers.
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Title is a reference to a 2009 RPM album's title. It is a song about leaving Chicago.
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Homage, in various ways, to Bowie, Arcade Fire, Airborne Toxic Event. I wrote most of it while out running on dirt roads near the Cody landfill.
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I forgot to put on my harmonica for this one. So there's a missing solo. Oops. Al : Piano, Vox Jess : Vox
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Al : Piano, Harmonica, Vox Jess : Tambourine, Vox
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Al : Guitar, Vox Jess : Tambourine, Vox
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Al : Piano Jess : Vox
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Al : Piano, Vox Jess : Tambourine, Vox
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This song featured the biggest screwup of the concert, which was me stopping in surprise when Jess stopped to turn a page. I should have just kept it going, Jess would have got back in. Al : Bass, Vox Jess : Guitar
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We never did figure out how to replace the dulcimer part from the album. So the end kind of goes without melody... Al : Piano, Vox Jess : Vox
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Al : Guitar, Vox Jess : Bass (as drum), Vox
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Al : Harmonica Jess : Guitar, Vox
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I was rushing like crazy every time I touched the piano, this one may have been worst. Al : Piano, Vox Jess : Vox
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Al : Bass Jess : Guitar, Vox
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Al : Piano, Vox Jess : Vox
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Just something I wrote recently. Inspired by something I saw out running, and someone's Slashdot signature: "Computers allow people to make mistakes faster than any other invention, with the possible exception of handguns and tequila". I am…read more
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I (Al) wrote this song way back, just before the start of the current Iraq war. But it comes back to my mind every time a politician utters words matching a regex something like /(capture and )?kill (Osama )?Bin Laden/. It happened to be Obama…
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through the dead branches, through the dead branches
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Started recording this with no idea what to do with the sound. Wound up with three different vocal takes to choose from, didn't like any of them, used all of them.
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This song was recorded illegally. Please don't rat us out.
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I lit a string on fire...
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I'm going to get all pretentious again and say this one is about the concerning strain of what I might call "religious modernist traditionalism" espoused by technological singularity fanatics (Ray Kurzweil) and authors like Neil Stephenson.
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Words are from a sestina of the same title by Steve Davenport, who asked us to make music out of it! This was a terribly fun song to record. We did it, of course, while drinking. Thankfully no instruments were harmed.
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Good old dulcimer bash-up. This is certainly the most aggressive song I've played on dulcimer. I'm sure all those people with solid-body electric dulcimers have done worse...
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Original working title was something like, "And after six years I finally understood why they sing in the streets here, and could go home." It's sort of about anonymity in the modern city. If that sounds pretentious, that's because it is.
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I am concerned with the values of my generation.
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Musical tribute to the ideas of Jane Jacobs (author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities) and Christopher Alexander (author of The Timeless Way of Building).
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