Jacob Wake Up! | Spinning Like a Dreidel

The Original Synthy Pop-punk Hanukkah Song You Didn’t Know You Needed

I am a Boston-based ska and punk musician and songwriter and I’ve just released my original pop-punk Hanukkah song entitled “Spinning (Like a Dreidel).” Good luck getting it out of your head.

Fans of bands like Motion City Soundtrack, The Rentals, and The Cars will immediately connect with the synth hooks and crunchy guitars. I am a lover of all things bubblegum, and I’m more often known as the guitarist and songwriter for Boston ska band The New Limits, and bassist for New England post-punk act The Roland High Life. (more…)

More Acoustic Quarantainment: “Too Little Too Late (I Promise)” by The New Limits

I first wrote this song four years ago. It wasn’t meant as an apology, that ship had already sailed. That’s why the song is called ‘Too Little Too Late.’ This was about me publicly recommitting to something; about holding myself and other privileged folks accountable. At the time, in November 2016, it was also about processing my own thoughts. So much of my songwriting could be summed up as publicly sharing conversations I have with myself. Now, in revisiting the song, I think the message—that conversation I was having with myself four years ago—is just as relevant. The work of making this country a better place for every one of its inhabitants—specifically those who have been harmed by it—goes on.

I’m Not Stuck in the Past

I turned into one of those annoying friends or coworkers who seems to have a story to tell for every topic or conversation. Folks make fun of me and I have a sense of humor about it. I started off trying to write an ironic tune about what it might be like to be that guy who’s really trying to relive his glory days. The end result, this song, was far sadder than I intended it to be. This was my first venture into anything “folk.”

I first wrote this song for February Album Writing Month (FAWM) 2019. Listen to the 2019 FAWM Demo:


What is “Normal” anyways?

Watch me play an acoustic version of “Normal Day,” a song I wrote for my band The New Limits. This song has been a staple of the band’s live set for the last couple of years but has yet to be recorded. The song, written long before the COVID-19 pandemic, is just a wish for the mundane and uneventful. It served as a bit of a response to the cliche punk song praying away the 9-to-5. I wrote it in the midst of a particularly chaotic and stressful week at work.

The last thing I want right now is a return to “the way things were.” If we don’t walk away from this with better healthcare, stronger unions, and a stronger public safety net, we’ll have learned nothing.

Doing the Quarantined Music Thing

Watch me play an acoustic version of “Dead Weight,” a song I wrote for my Boston ska band, The New Limits. It’s been a regular part of the live set for the last couple of years but we haven’t gotten around to recording it. The song, written long before this devastating pandemic, is largely about cutting toxic people out of your life. Take care of yourself and those around you but don’t be afraid to end relationships with the folks who don’t return that care. I’m not sure it counts as irony, but that’s the last thing anyone wants to be doing right now.

Learning to Record and Sync Audio and Video Simultaneously

I was completely befuddled by how folks were doing multi-camera multi-track remote audio AND video recordings (there must be a better word for this). So I made one myself to figure it all out. The music was written on the fly and almost every track was recorded in one take. This was less about a great tune and more about figuring out the workflow. The whole thing took about three hours from start to finish.

I recorded the audio in Garageband, filmed the video on my iPhone 7, mixed the audio down, and then did the video edit in Adobe Premiere Pro. I probably went a bit overboard with all the clicks and claps in the intro but it made the sync so much smoother. The hardest part was doing each track in one take.

When One Virus Reveals Another

I can’t stop thinking about this 2012 tune by UK band Sonic boom Six called “Virus.” Far be it for me to tell anyone what a song is really about but here goes.

It’s NOT about a medical virus. It’s about all of society’s ills and failures–and our participation and willful ignorance is the sickness. Here we are with a real honest-to-god pandemic that’s just exacerbating and shining a spotlight on all of these societal failures. “No one is immune or fit to defend.” We are wholly unprepared to deal with the medical virus and we’re sure as hell unprepared for the ripple effects it will have on every other aspect of our lives.

It’s like the nurse that’s working a twelve hour day.
It’s like the thirty-five grand for a bottle of champagne.
It’s the multinationals avoiding their taxes while they’re raising VAT for bailing out all the banks.
It’s like the kid that’s smashing up the Cash Converter.
The bonus for the bosses of the corporate merger.
The way we call a quarantine for everyone else and never even realise we had the virus ourselves.
And I’ve seen, no vaccine, only the writing on the wall.
White Blood cells inside our system don’t work at all.
And I’ve seen, no vaccine, only the writing on the wall.