recording

New Release: The New Limits’ “Pressure Up”

I am excited to announce that after almost a year of hard work, my band Boston ska band The New Limits has released our debut four-song EP entitled “Pressure Up.” The bulk of the credit goes to our keyboard player and engineer Matt MacLeod. He handled this recording from start to finish, from painstakingly positioning microphones to mixing. That is to say, he’s the guy who had to listen to these tracks over and over again. Mastering detail was handled by the skilled and talented King Django. Given how busy we all are with jobs, I am particularly proud of how great this EP came out. The horns shine, the rhythm makes me want to move, and I can’t ask for too much more. (more…)

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Hannah Vs. The Many – “All Our Heroes Drank Here”

Listen to "All Our Heroes Drank Here"Last night I played bass for Hannah Vs The Many at Cake Shop for the CD release party for “All Our Heroes Drank Here.” This is the second release by Hannah Fairchild, but the first under the name “Hannah Vs. The Many.” I was privileged with playing the CD release shows for both albums. This was even more special because I actually played the record. The first album, “Paper Kingdom,” is very much an acoustic affair. “All Our Heroes Drank Here” really presents Hannah’s material the way it was meant to be heard. (more…)

Hey Stranger’s “Waited Out The Day”- 18 Months in the Making

Hey Stranger began recording a full length record in March 2010. It was finally available online in August 2011 and physically a few weeks after that. What took so long? I recorded 3 songs with The Hard Times in 8 hours of a Sunday afternoon. Why was this so different?

We did it the new old-fashioned way. That is, we spent time in advance of recording figuring out the best tempos for the tunes, and then recording vocal and guitar scratch tracks. In the 3 or 4 practices leading up to recording, we would take a few minutes out of an already busy practice to find the right tempo. Tony, our lead singer, then used those tempos to create the scratch tracks. We’d then go to multi-tracking where we recorded each instrument, one at a time, to those scratch tracks. This is where the bulk of the time went. (The last update I gave on recording was in September of 2011!) (more…)

Solo Performance Band Aid: Ripped Off

Sort of. I overuse the metaphor of ripping off a band aid anytime I have to do anything remotely painful, difficult, or just plain annoying. It usually results in me going into something somewhat unprepared, as gung ho as possible, while somewhat bracing myself.

Tonight I attended what will likely be the first of a monthly salon hosted by Matt Healy and Cozy Josie, the folks also behind The Spoon and Trowel. The food is always out of control good at their functions so I never pass up an invite. Here was their email pitch:

We want to take our creative pursuits seriously, and having an audience helps to do that. Nothing adds fuel to the creative fire like having to show what you’re doing to other people and hearing what they have to say about it. Put more simply: having a thing to make something for is easier than making it for no reason. This is a thing your thing can be for.

(more…)

The Hard Times Release Debut EP on Whatevski

Releases? Release? “The Hard Times” is a single unit, but it’s more than one person, but… whatever.

With not a lot of fanfare, my reggae project The Hard Times released our first 3 song EP “Two Bucks For Bob” on Whatevski, a boutique online store that specializes in b-sides, live songs, rarities, and side projects from the world of NYC ska/reggae band The Slackers. So how did we get in? I’ll start at the beginning but I’ll jump around. (more…)

The Week[end] in Rock: 11/12 – 11/20

Was:
Fri 11/12 gig with Hey Stranger at National Underground. The venue treated us very poorly and barely had their shit together. Super Mirage was so good! We crammed in 6 songs before they through us out. It was basically a basement show with an overpriced bar, but great people stayed to watch.
Sat 11/13 gig with The Hard Times in strong island. Suprisingly cool crowd, lots of dancing, bittersweet send off for Juan (bassist leaving for LA). Got noticed as a CTSka Alum. Accidental EP release party for “Two Bucks For Bob.” Details to come. I’m so impressed how fast The Frighteners have created a crowd and a following for themselves.
Sun 11/14 recording with Hey Stranger out in Queens. I sat in the producer chair for day 2 of horn recording. Really proud of what we got done today, lots of energy from the players today. Here’s a video I snapped on the ol’ blackberry of our horns bustin’ their asses. (more…)

Recording Update

The yet-to-be-named Hey Stranger recording is now 7 months along and more importantly about half way done. We joke about this being the band’s Chinese Democracy, but given the limitations of time, the availability of bandmates, our engineer and the studio, we’re not doing half bad. We started off in March and April with drums and bass and by summer we were recording vocals and guitars. Vocals and guitars I thought would wake the longest just given there’s more of them than anything else (lead vocals, backing vocals, clean ska guitars, distorted punk guitars, lead guitars, etc).

It’s been a really unique experience for me given that besides our loyal engineer and friend, Dave, I’ve been at more sessions than any other person. I’ve only missed one weekend of recording for a work commitment and the fact is it was probably for the better that I wasn’t there. I really enjoyed sitting in the producer seat for the times when I was there, judging takes, pushing people to play better, suggesting ideas and tackling the unexpected hiccups that come up along the way. I think from the start I wanted to be there for the whole thing and really own that producer role. However, it’s a Hey Stranger record, not a Jake record and I think not being there was good for the process. It was a heavy weekend with a lot to do and it means anything recorded that weekend was done in a different different atmosphere with a different vibe. These things matter. I will admit that it’s a little weird to have yet heard everything that was done during those sessions (I’ve gotten spoiled, our poor horn players haven’t heard much of anything yet!) so I’m somewhat nervous, but I have to trust the process and the creative minds that were present… and be prepared with a drink when I finally hear the mixes.

What’s left? A few small things have to be done on guitars and vocals but nothing that couldn’t be done in a couple hours. I actually have to go back and re-record bass. We got this far before realizing I’d screwed up playing a bars in one song. Then we just have to cram the horns into our Queens’ sweatshop. I’m very psyched though it just makes me that much more impatient to finish this record. I’m happy with the progress we’ve made and I think things sound great so far because we haven’t just rushed into completing anything.

We’ve been doing our best (we could be doing better, let’s be real) to blog and video blog about our time in the studio. We’ve got two videos so far with clips from recording, some goofy commentary and a lot of shirtless drummer.

I’m actually in the first clip, the background music is just from our demos we did back in March 2009. Download them now before we completely bury them:

I’m not in this second clip (it was recorded the weekend I wasn’t there) but it’s pretty funny and all the background music are rough mixes from the sessions:

The playlist I’ve been working to all day is about as manic as I’ve felt all day. More updates to come…