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MR|TEN | Mr. Furious Records

21 September 2014 in MUSIC

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Dark Satellites and Gear Pop-up Sale in KCK

11 September 2014 in News

Next Saturday, 20 September, we’ve got stuff going on all afternoon at 40 South 13th Street in Kansas City, Kansas. Pop-up gear sale from noon to 5, brisket sandwiches at 5, Dark Satellites show immediately following sandwiches.

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It’s the Time of the Season for Mars Lights & Hats

7 September 2014 in Images

While I’m at work on mr|ten (out Friday 19 September) recording with Cory (yesterday) and mastering (today), Jill’s making hats and rocking her new Mars Lights tee pretty hard.

hat hat hat hat hat hat hat hat

hat hat hat hat hat hat hat hat

Maintain the rock and you don’t stop the rock, and I’ll keep on those hot new jams.

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An Artist’s Purpose

30 August 2014 in [blog]

A proposition, for discussion and reflection:

An artist’s purpose is to create the things only they can create.

On one hand, it’s absurd to propose a normative purpose for art.  Art is many things to many people, to the point that it’s very hard to define what is and isn’t art.  (Perhaps the question “What is art?” is a mysterious question, to be dissolved into questions like “Who made this”, “What were they trying to say,” “How to audiences tend to perceive this,” and so on.)  On the other, perhaps the proposition is a way to make more concrete the nebulous idea of originality in art.

Originality is always a matter of degree; something that was literally entirely original, making no connection or reference to anything in our experience, would be incomprehensible.  Art always mixes originality – something unique which could only have been created by the specific, individual artist who made it – and tradition.

Artists chase originality, but “be original” or “do something new” are such abstract maxims that they are impossible to follow.  ”Be original” makes me think of standing in front of my amplifier, dumbfounded, trying to play a note that no one has played before.  I’d be standing there a long time, without writing any songs.

“Say something only you can say,” though, seems to give me some direction.  It spurs me to look around for something in the world or in others that only I’ve noticed, or that I have a perspective on that’s never been offered before.  It pushes me to not only express my emotions but think about them, searching for what makes them mine and not anyone else’s.  Raw feelings are universal, but the conditions that provoke them and the choices we make as a result of them are specific to each of us.

Looking for inspiration?  What chords would only you think to put together?  What fresh metaphor blew through your thoughts in the shower yesterday?  What unusual spices do you want to try in a classic dish?  What underlying colors do you see in the world that others miss?  What story are you in a unique position to tell?

It’s all been done before… until you give us your take on it.  Forget convention for a minute; why not make something only you would think to make?

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Mars Lights at Czar Bar, KC, Thursday August 28

21 August 2014 in News

UPDATED: The show has been moved to the Riot Room

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2014 August 28, Thursday – Kansas City, MO – Mars Lights at The Riot Room w/ Vehicles and  Dolls on Fire.  $5 advance, $7 day of show, 8:30 PM.

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Will You Sing For MFR’s Tenth Anniversary?

21 August 2014 in News

Links updated 21 August, originally published 3 August

On September 19th, in celebration of our 10th anniversary, we will release MR|Ten; a compilation of Mr. Furious Records artists and friends covering MFR songs.  Do you want in?

At Rob‘s (Arturo Got The Shaft, Adventure Capitalists) suggestion the final track will be a new recording of h&s’ “After the Countdown” featuring the biggest, most inter-continental punk rock choir we can muster.  Here’s where you come in; a rough mix of the track is below.  Download it, record whatever you like as an overdub – backing vocals, instruments (Rob called bass, though), synths – and send your track back to me to be incorporated into the final mix.

Email me or comment here for tech support.  This only needs to be as hardcore as you want; you could do it with an iPhone and the free GarageBand app!  Or a desktop/laptop and Audacity!  Please – If you want to be a part of this, get in touch and I will do everything I can to make it happen for you.

Rough mix (24-bit, 48 kHz .WAV file, 98 BPM except the weird break at “Listen for the countdown”) via WeTransfer: After the Countdown

MP3 for reference: 

If you want to sing, this song has a call-and-response vocal.  I’d love to have a ton of people tackle both the call (“Howie”) and response (“Scott”) sides of the ending (blue background, below).  In addition if folks want to take the “Scott” side of the first verse and choruses (gray background), that would be great, too.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention until now that I hard-panned the “Howie” vocal hard left and the “Scott” vocal hard right to help separate them for you.  You could do things like isolate one or the other using one ear of a pair of headphones to learn or sing your part, or split them into mono tracks in your DAW and mute one side.

Howie Scott
Got yourself into this
Remember there’s plenty to do
.
.
Standing up, finish one
The doorframe paints pictures of you
.
.
But after the countdown
.
A new one begins
A new one begins
.
After the countdown
.
A new one begins
A new one begins
.
And with what light we have
We’ll bring along our friends
And when the clock is over
We’ll get up and start again
I’ve never walked in darkness
.
Home, home on the range is far
Too far for driving tonight
But songs come through, snow and all
So much the better
And with what light we have
A message sent out to the end
That when our clock is over
We’ll get up and start again
I’ve never walked in silence
Listen for the countdown
Any second
Now
.
.
If I could only remember
I got myself into this
.
.
Followed a hand into your room
I had an important question
.
What should I do now?
.
.
What should I do?
.
What should I do now?
After the countdown (8x) After the countdown (7x)
After…
After the countdown
.
A new one begins
A new one begins
.
After the countdown
.
A new one begins
.
A new world begins
.
What should I do now?
.
.
What should I do?
.
What should I do now?
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Tim Scahill (Rent Money Big, Knots, Irkutsk) Releases “Overthrown”

17 August 2014 in [blog]

Our friend Tim’s new solo joint, Overthrown, is up for streaming on SoundCloud!  Check it out below.

I think this is a new high-water mark for Tim, and I’m really digging this.

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Howie & Tim Acoustic Next Saturday

9 August 2014 in News

Jill’s kicking off her Feed Your heArt series of beginner art workshops with an Art Frenzy Night next Saturday, August 16, from 6-8 PM at the Arts Asylum in KC.  Tim and I will provide music throughout the event, drawing on Ventura, other MFR releases, and maybe some covers.  It will just be flying by the seats of our pants like that.

Art Frenzy Night is free, and the leaders of the various workshops will be presenting to give you a better idea of what you can expect from their events.  Come, check it out, enjoy some low-key jams, see if I’m able to convince Tim to tune to A=432 Hz, and sign up for whatever interests you.

In Jill’s own words:

Feed Your heArt was created with the idea that no matter where you are in your artistic journey (even if it’s “nowhere”), you can always start somewhere. You can always start again. Art feeds our hearts, fuels us, prepares us to handle another day.

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The July of Experimentation

27 July 2014 in [blog]

I’ve tried a bunch of new things over the past couple weeks, all of which are worth playing with if you’re interested.

  • Harmonica – With the help of some great YouTube videos, I’m finally learning to bend notes on the harp in preparation for a specific overdub I want to do on Cory’s solo record.  As one of the videos said, it’s kind of like mimicking Darth Vader’s breathing, but with a harmonic in your mouth.
  • Funkbox – A really fun vintage drum machine emulator and then some for iPad/iPhone.  I’m trying it before dropping semi-serious money on a VolcaBeats for a back-burner project with Drew.
  • Slide guitar – If by “slide,” you can imagine “a Sharpie held awkwardly in my left hand.”  It’s gone well enough that I probably need a real slide, though.  This is also in anticipation of some overdubs on Cory’s album, in concert with…
  • Open G tuning, also known as “how Keith Richards plays.”  All those brilliant Stones riffs that are nigh-impossible in standard tuning?  No problem in open G.  Differing slightly from Keef, I’m using the top 5 strings for open G, and tuning my low string down to D so I can still play two-note power chords on the two lowest strings.
  • Tilt/Slant EQ – This simple but underused approach to EQ takes a center frequency and boosts treble / cuts bass (or vice versa) with a very even response, just like it sounds (more details here; the link is about a specific product, but does a good job of elaborating on tilt EQ generally).  It’s best used at lower levels, up to +/- 6 db or so, to brighten or darken sounds very naturally and transparently.  I’ve been testing it on an overly dark bass track to lighten it up a bit, with good results, and I think I’ll be using it a lot on future mixes.  Dedicated Tilt/Slant EQ hardware or plugins can be hard to find (there are some VSTs out there that I haven’t tested), but you can make your own by combining high and low shelf EQs with the same cutoff frequency and lower Qs.  Center frequencies typically range from 600 – 1000 Hz.

Have you tried anything cool lately?

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Pyramids, Crystals, and Nazis

5 July 2014 in [blog]

What do they have in common?

If you dig into what’s been written on reference pitch (which I’ve posted about before), you’ll encounter all kinds of strange alleged connections; that the Great Pyramid in Giza resonates at a certain pitch (it must resonate at some pitch, though the idea that it was designed for a specific pitch stretches my imagination), that the Nazis standardized A=440 Hz as a subtle means of thought control (actually it seems to have been piano tuners in New York in the ’20s), on and on.

Ignore it (or choose to be amused by it).  What matters is how the music sounds.  After recording yesterday with a reference pitch of A=424 Hz for the first time, I’m convinced 424 Hz is musically superior to 440 Hz as a standard reference.  424 Hz is a little over a quarter-tone (62 cents, I think) flat from 440 Hz.  For reference, using A=440 Hz, the Ab immediately below A would be at 415.30 Hz.

A=424 Hz is easier for me to sing in.  My acoustic guitar seems to resonate for longer, with richer harmonics.  Hopefully you’ll start to hear it as we release new music; the new Mars Lights EP is being recorded at A=432, and the songs I did yesterday will appear on the MR|Ten compilation in September.

pedalNot many tuners will let you adjust your reference pitch that far down.  One that does, that I use, and that also happens to be a great, true-bypass, chromatic tuner is the Snark SN-10.  I paid full price for mine, and am entirely happy with it, especially when using the trick of rolling back my guitar’s tone knob all the way to better let the fundamental frequency through the signal.

Have I convinced you to experiment with your reference pitch yet?