Monday, May 16, 2011

New live versions of some Fustercluck!!! favorites

Elastic No-No Band has a new (mostly) live album coming out May 31 called Charmingly Shambolic and Mostly Live. It includes 11 new live renditions of tracks featured on Fustercluck!!!.

We have already "leaked" a number of tracks from the album on our Bandcamp page, so check them out:

Here is the full tracklist of the upcoming album:
1. Brook Pridemore Intro/I'm Gonna Treat This Room
2. (Theme From) Elastic No-No Band
3. Oh Magali
4. Hot As I Are
5. I Wonder How Many People Are Screwing Tonight
6. Making Out At Work (Don't Work) (feat. Toby Goodshank)
7. Red (feat. Chris Andersen)
8. A Taste of Cheese Fries (Not At All Live)
9. I Am Klaus Kinski (And This Is My Song) (feat. Joe Crow Ryan)
10. Run-DMC (feat. Joe Crow Ryan)
11. (The Shame About) Manboobs
12. Hey 2-Eyes
13. The Color Machine (feat. Brook Pridemore and Ariel Bitran)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Get In The Solstice Spirit

Here's a new video where you can see me wrapped in Christmas lights, videotaped out of focus, performing a solo acoustic version of "Hey 2-Eyes" from Fustercluck!!! and chatting about my record label, Weemayk Music.

It's from the Brooklyn Public Access show, Betsy's Place, hosted by my friend singer/songwriter/psychic Betsy Cohen.

Also, Fustercluck!!! just got a really well-written review in Boog City. I copied to the ol' Myspace blog here:

Plus, the album is now available for download -- in HIGHER QUALITY and for CHEAPER COST than iTunes -- over here:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

At long last, a complete audio stream

I've been struggling for MONTHS (nearly a year at this point) to find a service that will create a nice streaming audio player with all 45 tracks from the album, for you folks who want to give the whole album a test drive.

And now... here it is. Please enjoy Fustercluck!!! in its entirety.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

More reviews of FUSTERCLUCK!!!

Check them out on the ol' antiquated Myspace blog:

ENB's Myspace blog, like a flashback to the mid-'00s.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

FUSTERCLUCK!!! gets a B+

Fustercluck!!! just got a nice review from Jezebel Music, written by Lee Ann Fullington.

Read it here!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Monday, December 7, 2009

A little something about cover songs

Fustercluck!!! is our first album with cover songs -- not counting, of course, the unlicensed covers from the CD-R albums I did years ago, alone, as Elastic No-No Band (you can download mp3s of most of the songs from those albums on this page on our website [just scroll down a bit] and enjoy their semi-inept wonderfulness).

I decided to include covers on the album, because I like doing cover songs -- it doesn't feel like a cop-out or anything, especially if the tunes fit our style. And it's nice to pay tribute to songs you like. (Tangent: I didn't think of it before, but Bob Dylan's Self Portrait -- which was a conceptual inspiration on this album -- has a lot of covers of songs that inspired Bob and that he just liked to play. So that kind of fits. Sub-tangent: No, I'm not going to take up time defending Self Portrait right now if you happen to hate it.)

A lot of people I know from the antifolk scene can be expected to throw a cover or two on some of their albums, but these folks only sell CD-Rs and don't expect to sell more than a handful of copies at shows -- so they, ahem, don't pay royalties or anything. After all, the kind of paperwork and fees and so on that comes along with putting a cover song on your album in a fully legal way can be kind of daunting.

But I always intended to make Fustercluck!!! available in the Big Brother-infested world of online music sales. So I had to find the least painful process for getting legit cover songs out there. The 2 EPs I made between our last album, My 3 Addictions, and this new one were meant to be the cautious toe dipped into the water of cover-song-selling. The first EP, The Meow Bits, has been pretty successful. The solo acoustic cover of The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" on the EP is currently our all-time best selling download ("Let's Fuck" remains our bestselling original-song download -- ugh). The second EP, Every Elvis Has His Impersonators, is made up of 7 Elvis Costello covers -- and it's selling OK (I'm paying much more in processing fees to Harry Fox, the agency that "represents" the songs, than I am actually recouping in sales; the EP is good, though, so I'll keep it up for at least another year in hopes some folks will find it and enjoy it before I decide that I'm tired of losing money).

So anyhow, here's a little rundown of the covers on this here record (in album order):

*It's Different For Girls - I pretty much covered the story behind this one in my entry about collaborating with Nan Turner.

*Poor Jenny - This song was written by The Bryants for The Everly Brothers. I originally heard this on a 4-song 7-inch record of Everly Brothers covers by Rockpile's Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds. Later I picked up an Everlys anthology and thought the tune really suited ENB's half whimsical/half dark/weirdly funny attitude. There's an alternate version of the song where the party in the song ends at ten o'clock, but we went with the harder-edged "one o'clock" version.

*Daddy's Song - The story is here.

*I Bought Me A Cat/There's A Hole In The Bucket/Go Tell Aunt Rhody/New River Train - I explain these in the Debe Dalton entry.

*Goodnight Irene - This "urban folk" classic was first a big hit for The Weavers in the late '40s and has since been covered 17,513 times on record -- including a recent version in Tom Waits's popular Orphans box set. I had been playing the song myself a lot during my time busking in the New York City subway, and I liked the way I made it sound, so I recorded it with my friend Pat Trejchel playing a little backing electric guitar in his friend's basement in Perrysburg, Ohio. I later added some backing vocals when I got back to New York City, as is my wont. The lyrics I use are the ones from the pre-Weavers Lead Belly recording, which are a little bleaker and less whitebread.

*Go Away (Goodbye Southern Death Swing) - This gem about breaking up was written (and originally performed) by our producer Major Matt Mason USA for his first album, Me Me Me. I originally wanted to do this as a punk-ish full-band rock tune (in contrast to Matt's original dirge-y country waltz version), but the band could never get the song to a place where they liked playing it and I wasn't going to force it. This song also is a part of my New York City subway busking repertoire, and I tried my best to reproduce the quality of the performances I do of it in the subway with just me and the guitar, on the final recording. I think I succeeded. (Also, because my version takes the "swing" out of Matt's song, I changed the main title to "Go Away" and put his original title in parentheses.)

*I'd Love Just Once To See You - I tell the story about this one in the entry about Toby Goodshank.

I hope you like our covers and -- if you don't know them -- I hope you check out the originals too.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Profiles in Fandom and Collaboration #9: Debe Dalton

"New River Train" feat. Debe Dalton -- free mp3

Unless I am mistaken -- and I might be -- I think that (apart from producer Major Matt Mason USA) singer/songwriter/banjo player Debe Dalton is the only collaborator on our new album who also made an appearance on our last album, My 3 Addictions.

Debe is a tremendous performer and a great songwriter (you should check out her CD -- I reviewed it here on the Elastic No-No Band Myspace blog when it came out). And, to top it all off, she's been a big fan and supporter of Elastic No-No Band, going back to when it was just a performing name for yours truly at the Sidewalk Monday night Antihoot. She has said on a few occasions that she very much enjoys being a member of Elastic No-No Band, which is why I've often asked her to play on various songs in live shows and on our albums.

Debe plays on 5 songs on Fustercluck!!! in duets with me, most of them old folk songs. When I went on my solo tour of the US in April 2008, I brought along 4 volumes of Pete Seeger's American Favorite Ballads -- which is an excellent, must-hear collection. I listened to those discs a lot over the course of my month on the road (didn't have an ipod yet, ha ha), and I started to earmark some as favorites. "Go Tell Aunt Rhody," which is a song that most folks learn as kids but I'd never heard, sounded so pretty -- and simultaneously whimsical and sad -- that I wanted to do it. Seeger's version had a banjo, and I wanted to retain that, so I decided to ask Debe Dalton to do the song with me. She told me it was one of her favorite songs. We recorded it shortly after I got back from tour.

I still wanted to do more music with Debe, so I set up another longer recording session, where we knocked out 2 more of the Seeger hits ("There's A Hole In The Bucket," which I'd originally heard in this version as a kid and used to sing along with my mom; plus "New River Train," which you can download from the link at the top of this entry), an old children's song I rearranged called "I Bought Me A Cat" (which I first heard in the orchestral arrangement by Aaron Copland), and a longwinded story-song penned by yours truly called "A Boy Named Snommit" (I already wrote about that song in this blog entry here). When we recorded, Major Matt decided to set us up in a couple chairs in his kitchen for maximum warm room sound, and it came out sounding good (no street noise, or nothin').

I'd like to keep collaborating with Debe. One of the next things I would like to do is have the whole band play with Debe on a recording of one of her newer songs called "Just Love" (at least I think that's what it's called -- I'm sure Debe can correct me if I'm wrong).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Evolution of a Song: "Turn Out Right (Rock)"

Fustercluck!!! is, in many ways, a journal of most of the musical thoughts I've had in the 2 years since the completion of My 3 Addictions. Most of those thoughts are new... but some of them are old, lingering thoughts that badly needed tending to. For instance, there are 5 songs on the album that are new versions of previously recorded songs -- two from an "unofficial" solo CD-R album back when I barely knew how to play the guitar ("Hot As I Are" (2004) and "Something You Should Know" (2004)) and three from our home-recorded lo-fi masterpiece, The Very Best of Elastic No-No Band So Far: "Run-DMC" (2006), "Let's Fuck" (2005), and today's topic song.

And, of course, those of you folks paying attention know that 4 of the other songs on The Very Best of... So Far were already re-recorded on My 3 Addictions. When I said the very best "so far," I meant it.

One of the main reasons to re-do the songs is that band keeps getting larger -- and better. It just seems weird to do a killer full-band rock version of "Run-DMC" at a live show, have a new fan come up at the merch table afterward looking for that song, and only have a stripped-down, slightly sloppy acoustic version of it to offer.

In fact, Brook Pridemore bugged me repeatedly to make sure to include a full-band version of "Run-DMC" on Fustercluck!!!, so I knew it must be done. (The new full-band rock version is called "(Re-) Run-DMC" to differentiate.)

Meanwhile, "Turn Out Right Rock" was actually a request from our bass player Preston Spurlock, partly to capture the full-band sound for posterity but mostly so that there is a recorded version in an actual key recognized by Western music theory.

You see, the original version of "Turn Out Right" (2004) was done in a kind of marathon session where I sat in a voiceover room in the film school at New York University for a couple hours, trying desperately to play the song all the way through without too many mistakes. (It shows you how inept I was at playing the guitar that my main goal with the recording was merely completion and not transcendant artistic expression.) In the midst of pursuing this goal of just... ya know... finishing, I didn't even notice that the damn guitar wasn't quite in tune. The song, which is supposed to be in D major, instead occupies a weird land in between D and C-sharp.

When I got the full band (at the time) together to do the second version of the song, "Turn Out Right Waltz" (2006) (which closes out the Very Best... So Far CD), you would have thought I would have taken a moment to make sure I tuned my guitar. Nope. Not at all. You see, we were living fast, and times were wild. I changed the key of the song to C major (although, with my guitar out of tune, it's not really in C), I cut out one of the choruses, and I decided to shout out the last section of the song with Preston by my side. Also, we threw bourgeois convention to the wind and busted out the scariest instrument in pop music: the accordion. How could a crazed, meth-fueled* band like this possibly stop for 90 seconds just to tune my piddling guitar? Well, duh... we didn't. (Sidenote: This is the song that I am singing at the beginning of the Waltz version.)

Now, we're a little mellower and more focused these days, so when we attempted a new rock version of "Turn Out Right," I did actually bother to tune my guitar. We continue to leave out that chorus I cut out in 2006, and Preston and I shout out the last section of this song along with a little help from our drummer Doug Johnson. The recording is definitely in the key of D major (you can check it and everything), and -- hey -- it turned out pretty great.

Please enjoy this track from Fustercluck!!!: "Turn Out Right Rock" (2009) free mp3.

And for old times' sake, please enjoy this old video I made for the original recording of "Turn Out Right":

*The band actually was neither crazed nor meth-fueled during the recording of this song.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

WTF!? awesomeness

Preston and Toby, the fellas who made the cover art, went and made the following commercial for our album.

(It's only a double-CD, but if it were on record, it would probably be a triple-LP, so I guess that makes the claim at the end of the commercial make sense... sort of.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Profiles in Fandom and Collaboration #8: Octavio Lafuentes

"Another Day Another Night" by Octavio Lafuentes & Elastic No-No Band -- free mp3

There are different reasons I wanted to collaborate with each of the folks I chose to appear on this album.

In all cases, I was a fan of their work and wanted to play music with them (as the title of this recurring feature makes clear). With some (like Toby or Nan), I was also kind of hoping their popularity would add to the appeal of the album. With others (like Tom), I thought giving them a guest spot on the record would be a good chance for more folks to hear their work.

It's the same situation with Octavio Lafuentes. Octavio had given me two of his CDs -- one completely homemade and one made with the help of Tom Drake -- and I really enjoyed them. They featured kind of low-key, lo-fi bedroom rock.

For about a year, Octavio was my apartment-mate, and I wanted to make sure that at some point we collaborated on a song for the album. When it finally seemed like we both had a moment to work together, Octavio thought we could just do a song he had already written. For about one moment, I was hesitant. I had been thinking of trying to write a new song together -- but then Octavio played me the song he had in mind. I liked it so much that I immediately wanted to have it as part of the album.

I set up my laptop in the living room and had him do the guitar part twice and sing the song through twice. Then I took that stuff into my room, and mixed it a bit. When I listened back, I heard high overtones present in the recording, accompanying Octavio's vocal. I wasn't sure whether I was partly hallucinating them or what, so I just decided to flesh the sound out by singing that high part I heard. Then, I added some synth bass and keyboard to give the thing a little more shape.

I played the song back for Octavio and he seemed to like it okay. I feel like maybe when he does another CD, he'll do the song and nail it down his own way. Also, since the song was untitled, I asked him if he minded if I called it "Another Day Another Night" (after the closing rhymes in the chorus), and he said okay. But maybe he'll call the song something different eventually.

Anyhow, take a listen to the song at the link at the top of this entry. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.