Every day between Christmas and New Year’s Day, Cory Alan and Mr. Furious are posting to the MFR [blog], publishing year-end thoughts and posts that slipped out of the regular rotation. Mr. Furious Records – Giving You Music.
nickel was recorded at home in Nebraska in the spring of 04, during my last (non-)semester at Doane. Writing a long philosophy thesis in the morning and rocking at night, day in and day out, hammering out a new sound for myself. It’s well-known by now that echoes has been primarily a one-man band up to now, and into the forseeable future, so everything you hear is me; drums, guitars (usually 2), bass (synthesized from the guitar via GK pickup and one-string octave effect), and vocals (except for the women on “America Votes 2032”).
“The Spoken Word As Catalyst” – This riff is what I hope is quintessential echoes; snappy, catchy, but nothing you’ve heard before. Cory was around the day I wrote it, and liked it, so I asked him to write a verse. His verse came back twice as long as mine, but the words matched the story and had to be included; the result is the call and response second verse.
“SOS” – The first echoes song ever written. I never felt it fit into howie&scott’s sets, but loved the song. At the time, it was the voice of a different artist; the first clue that h&s was something (and something good), but wasn’t everything I wanted to play. Note the quotes in the guitar solo: “Anchors Aweigh!” (the Navy hymn) and “In the Navy!” (Village People). The ultra-punk parts are my favorite.
“Open Columns” – When I learned how love is mediated in our bodies chemically, it really affected me, in a positive way – I became less dependent on feelings, and more committed to my own decisions in love. I was also reading The Power of One at the time, so the boxing theme and “First your head and then your heart” come from that incredible novel. This song was written in the middle of the nickel sessions, and I felt like it couldn’t wait; I stopped in the middle of recording guitar tracks to go back and demo this song, then re-record everything so it would fit. “I Don’t Even Know How Right This Sounds” from Be A Ska Rat builds on a couple themes first presented in “Open Columns” – the off-beat guitar hits the characterize the end of the song, and the very light cow-punk, western-sounding flavor.
“God Bless The Strokes” – Over Christmas break ’02 I put together the 4 chords and chiming lead line of this song, and couldn’t stop playing them, over and over. Scottie and I had bought ProTools and the core of FuriousSound a month earlier at Thanksgiving, and I was still figuring it all out. I recorded an early version of this song as a test, drum loop, guitars (which I didn’t bother to tune) and vocals. Turned out I liked the solo so much, it made its way into the final track, which required tuning the actual guitar tracks to the solo (torturous). Incedentally, the chords (G#, C#, F#, B in the key of E) match Weezer’s “Only In Dreams,” giving it that major-but-not-resolving-often sound.
“It’s Alright (to be a punk-rocker)” – I feel like Dave Grohl around the time of the first Foo Fighters record when I play this song. The first verse is from being in Ghana, and the second from being home for awhile and fighting the inevitable letdown. I spent forever getting the kick drum on the breakdown right.
“America Votes 2032” – Liberal loser falls for conservative hottie who, against all appearances and odds, ends up becoming the first woman elected President (after dumping his pessimistic ass years before). He calls the White House, wondering if they can patch things up. The primary bridge voice is Elenor Roosevelt; Hilary Clinton is in the left channel, and the then-governor of Tennessee’s wife in the right. This song includes an actual riff, which was pretty unheard-of with howie&scott, and does not feature heavily on nickel. This EP is still primarily chord-driven, but future projects (especially Poor devil) will mix it up more.