One For The Scott Fans

Over the weekend I ran into VB, Paul B’s mom at the library event (Hi, Paul!  She said you check the site but I wasn’t sure which one so I’m posting both on the main MFR site and the howie&scott sub-site.  Very cool that you keep tabs on us, I had no idea!).  For Paul and everyone else I wanted to post an update on recent-ish and upcoming music Scott and I have made / are making, since it’s not all under the h&s name.

“V for Voice”, our 2019 comeback record –

“An Evening at Home with Howie and Scott,” our deep pandemic stay-at-home EP –

My solo record “Fight Songs” features Scott on the title track, “(She Was) The Greatest (By Far),” and closer “So, Did I Miss You?” (which could have easily been a h&s song) –

The song “Let Me Show You” from my sample-based / remix / mash-up project “Presents A Weirdest Beat Tape” is basically a remix of “Beams” from “V for Voice” –

The Song “Digital Sin f Van Ripper” from my beat-based album “Frog On The Kings Head” contains samples of Scott’s sax from our cover of Goldfinger’s “Miles Away,” which is a hidden bonus track in the Bandcamp download version of “An Evening At Home with Howie and Scott” –

Not too bad for the past five years! We have tons of ideas for h&s projects, and have picked one to start on, but haven’t actually begun yet.  Scott’s understandably busy with family and teaching, and I’ve been keeping plenty of plates spinning myself.  I’m making good progress on a guitar-based solo record, “Jam My Wave,” as a follow-up to “Fight Songs” and Scott will feature on as many of those tracks as he has time for.  I have the first one picked out and we’ll go from there.

I’m more excited than ever about the creative possibilities for us.  In the early years I was writing songs so fast that I didn’t give Scott much time to dial in his parts, we just bashed through everything in an effort to get as many songs recorded as possible.  Starting on “V for Voice” and increasing from there we’ve collaborated more and earlier in the process, which 1) is fun and 2) results in a more unified and distilled presentation of our ideas and strengths, I think.  There’s definitely more to come… just can’t say when for sure!

MFR Reboot

As Mr. Furious Records approaches twenty years, we’re looking at a significant reboot.

The wind-down I planned and carried out last August hasn’t wound up again yet, for a lot of reasons.  The adoption plan Cari Ann and I were a part of failed (sounds harsh, but that’s the term of art in the field).  I had a health scare (I’m fine).  Mom got sick and died, and I continue to help Dad in the wake of that.  Amber died shockingly, suddenly.  It’s been rough!

It’s time for another evolution over at The Long Play Listening Party.  Then, just this week, I learned our streaming distributor is shutting down and we’ll need a new one of those.  Oh, right, so:



I believe I have a new distributor and will be working to get stuff re-posted over the course of 2024.

I’ve continued to work on music through this time, even as I let the LPLP, label, website, and promo stuff go.  I finished writing and demoing all 22 “Jam My Wave” songs, and am now tracking guitars.  I’ve finished some “I Am The Brute Squad” synth/404 songs, and identified collaborators for the “You Are The Brute Squad” half, so the end is in sight for that project.  I’ve worked on a new Night Mode solo record, “23 Infinite Choices.”

So, what will the reboot look like?

  • Our same signature everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach to music
  • A weekly podcast with multiple formats
  • A more active newsletter
  • Fewer updates on the website

I don’t have a timeline for anything.  Making music is more fun and more healing than any type of label logistics.  I’d love to have this new battle station fully armed and operational by the actual 20-year anniversary in September, though.

Love ya’ll.  -h

The Best Music Howie Heard in 2023

In random order:

Black Milk, “Everybody Good?” (2023) – “Everybody Good?” was the first I heard of Black Milk, and after it knocked my socks off I started going backward through his discography to see when he got so amazing. The answer? Allllll the way back at the start. RIYL/FFO Q-Tip, Lupe Fiasco

billy woods & Kenny Segal, “Maps” (2023) – Five minutes in (“Soundcheck”), I knew this was my AOTY, and I never really doubted it in the months after. And when you get to “Hangman” and “Baby Steps”?? Whoooo! RIYL/FFO Madlib, Boldy James, Armand Hammer, Open Mike Eagle

Sines of Exquisite Pleasure, “Modular Systems” (1982) – Aptly named, these long-overlooked synthesizer and piano jams helped center me many times this year. RIYL/FFO Abul Mogard, Alessandro Cortini

Aesop Rock, “Integrated Tech Solutions” (2023) – Endless, generous brilliant bangers from the dean of rap studies. RIYL/FFO MF DOOM, Del the Funky Homosapien

Secret Machines, “The Moth, The Lizard, And The Secret Machines” (2023) – The rare “lost” album that lives up to its legend, “The Moth…” is a fantastic yin to the yang of the band’s poppier later work. RIYL/FFO Spiritualized, Slowdive

Stik Figa, “Pookey: Stik Figa Finds Himself​.​.​.” (2023) – Impossible to truly pick one of Stik’s three incredible albums from this year, but this is the one that feels most like just hanging out with the man, which I love. RIYL/FFO Oddisee, Little Brother

Curren$y and The Alchemist, “Continuance” (2022) – Huge shoutout to whoever turned me on to Curren$y this year. I think it was LeftE Grove on Twitter but was never able to track down the exchange. Doesn’t matter, this knocks. RIYL/FFO Pusha T, Talib Kweli

The Hold Steady, “The Price Of Progress” (2023) – A full-band Finn solo outing in the best possible sense, “Sideways Skull” even conjures Boys And Girls In America energy. RIYL/FFO Wilco, The Replacements

Ryuichi Sakamoto, “12” (2023) – How can so few notes sound so singular? Despite the familar palette there is no mistaking this old master’s final set for anyone else. RIYL/FFO Pauline Oliveros, Tangerine Dream

Bully, “Lucky For You” (2023) – Alicia’s been chasing the energy of “Feels Like” since whatever happened with the band happend, and she finally caught it, bringing some new producting tricks along for the ride. RIYL/FFO The Breeders, Speedy Ortiz

The Hold Steady, “Heaven Is Whenever 2021” (2023) – Yeah, this re-imagining of the first Franz-less LP is that good; it recasts the first record of the slight mid-career unevenness into the last record of their classic period. RIYL/FFO Wilco, The Replacements

LUVCRAF, “The Skinwalker” (2023) – A very re-listenable set of weird rippers, AKA exactly one of the things I want from local mad scientist Dr. Daniel G. RIYL/FFO Aphex Twin

Tim Hecker, “No Highs” (2023) – Beautifully unsettling; a masterfully executed summation of ideas explored throughout Hecker’s long exploration of experimental and ambient music. RIYL/FFO Fennesz, Keith Fullerton Whitman

The National, “Laugh Track” (2023) – The fellas finally unbutton their shirts a button or two and get loose, thereby making their best record in a decade. RIYL/FFO The National

Osees, “Intercepted Message” (2023) – I don’t know, a record of Dwyer’s just finally really connected with me. RIYL/FFO Ty Segall, Jay Reatard

noname, “Sundial” (2023) – I love a free mind doing their thing and letting it all hang out. Helps that the beats bang, too. RIYL/FFO Georgia Anne Muldrow, Lauryn Hill, Chance The Rapper

Sparklehorse, “Bird Machine” (2023) – Lovingly towed into safe harbor by family and bandmates in the wake of Mark’s 2010 death by suicide, this set strips Sparklehorse back a bit to let the songs shine through. RIYL/FFO Grandaddy, The Flaming Lips

Slowdive, “everything is alive” (2023) – I never really connected with a Slowdive record until this one, where they summon vibes intimately unique and comforting. RIYL/FFO Ride, HUM

Here are 24 more records I loved:

Andre 3000, “New Blue Sun” (2023)
Armand Hammer, “We Buy Diabetic Test Strips” (2023)
Crimson, “Complete” (2023)
Crosses, “Goodnight, God Bless, I Love U, Delete.” (2023)
Demos, “Hell’s Angles” (2023)
Feist, “Multitudes” (2023)
Foo Fighters, “But Here We Are” (2023)
Giniss, “POOH” (2023)
Heidi Lynne Gluck, “Migrate or Die” (2023)
Howling Giant, “Glass Future” (2023)
Janelle Monae, “The Age of Pleasure” (2023)
Jerry Chapman, “east” (2023)
Jessie Ware, “That! Feels Good!” (2023)
Loscil & Lawrence English, “Colours of Air” (2023)
Mensa Deathsquad, “Personal Book Of Spells” (2023)
Mike Doughty & Andrew Livingston, “Ghost of Vroom 3” (2023)
Sam Cooke, “Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963” (1963)
Scores, “Vol. 2” (2023)
Selvedge, “Capacity” (2023)
Stik Figa & Leonard Dstroy, “Jewell Ave John 2” (2023)
Stik Figa & The Expert, “Ritual” (2023)
Strategy, “Graffiti In Space” (2023)
Tiffany Gouché, “The Found Album” (2023)
Til Willis & Erratic Cowboy, “Grinding Of The Stars” (2023)

“Killer Illness” Rhythm Guitar Rig

Recorded a rhythm guitar track last night for a song with the working title “Killer Illness” from the I Am The Brute Squad project.

Guitar pedals

Signal path:

  • DOD 280 compressor
  • Mr. Furious Audio 5KR boost
  • The Sweeping Mids phaser
  • BYOC Triangle-spec Big Muff build
  • (Shepard’s End was bypassed)
  • Mr. Furious Audio JFET boost
  • HIWHAT (Cbread RAH build)
  • BSRI Cab cab sim

I’ve also been finishing off lyrics for Jam My Wave / Don’t Jam My Wave, and wrote the first piece for 23 Infinite Choices (the Night Mode synth hocketing project) over the past few weeks.

More (Earlier) Frog Talk with Cory

Another lightly edited and excerpted email exchange. I should have posted this one first; ahh, welp…

2023 April 12 – From: Howie – To: Cory

Subject: picked out FX for buckaroo bonanza

might perform them tonight.  i’d forgotten i added this cool
little extra sample that really makes it.  i don’t remember if the last
version you heard had the “yeah, yeah!” in it but it rules.  anyway.  2
more songs of FX (buckaroo, ice/disappear), then doing some vocal sample
performances into the computer, then mix/master!  we’re pretty close to
being able to hear the whole record and i’m really excited about that,
because i don’t know what it’s going to sound or feel like to hear all
these different tracks in one go.  -h

2023 April 12 – From: Cory – To: Howie

I don’t think so on the “yeah, yeah!” but a little sprinkle of sample is always tasty! Love them extra touches, Uncle Grabby! 

It’s crazy how quickly this record came together, at least from the outside! Obviously a lot of time and work goes into it, but this kind of music seems less gnarly than something with full drums and winding arrangements. And 27 sax-trax. 

Spring is here and it’s beautiful outside and my head is full of fluid! 

2023 April 12

it’s been fairly quick-ish?  not as quick as a New Synth Record, but a lot quicker than a guitar record.  i think the 404mkII arrived about a year ago (i ordered it when it came out in oct/nov ’21, but there were production delays).  and it took a while to kind of learn and come up with a workflow.  or it felt like it did…  but i had the first 5 songs done by christmas, because over the break i set up and did a bunch of guitar parts for songs 6-10.

anyway, the old 404SX is kind of a blunt instrument… i love it, but it does what it does, even when i max out its arrangement pastabilities by using the pattern sequencer and going one song at a time.  the mkII is extremely well-designed in terms of keeping what i love about the workflow of the older 404, while adding quite a few useful features, so it can go quite a bit deeper… but it doesn’t *have* to.  the main features i’m using are 1) on the mkII i can work on 32 songs at once (vs. 1 on the SX, unless i wanted to use full-on resample method arranging or write down and keep track of BPMs), and 2) with parallel effects paths i’m doing a lot of grab effects on just the drums, or just the guitars, or whatever, vs. the entire mix.  (i’m doing some on the entire mix, too.)  i think that’s nice, it’s still definitely 404-sounding, but it’s not quite so IN YOUR FACE as the crazy SX-style grab FX.  which i still love.  but gets tiring to listen to after a while.

i think Digital Sin might not have any SX-style *full-mix* grab FX.  the drums and bass are in one group, and the saxes and guitars are in another group, and different grab FX are on different groups at different times.

what i truly, deeply adore about the workflow on both samplers is that i make progress, and then it’s locked in and i *don’t* revisit those choices.  on the older unit it might be literally locked in and unchangeable, unless i wanted to go all the way back several steps and re-do work.  on the mkII it’s a lot more flexible, which is great; the *opportunity* to go back exists, but because of how the limited screen works i sort of don’t think to fiddle with stuff ** unless my ears are telling me that something needs to change **.  i could call it an “ears-led” workflow, compared to a computer DAW that we could call “eyes-led” in many instances.  and the ears-led experience is super fun and rewarding (and probably much more similar to tape-based recording than DAWs are).

totes agree about spring.  -h

Frog Talk with Cory

Here’s a lightly edited and excerpted email I had with Cory during the recording of Frog On The King’s Head.

2023 April 23 – From: Howie – To: Cory

going to be listening to a version of the full album for the ** first
time ** tomorrow!  4 songs are missing vocals, that’s next, but i’m
super psyched to hear it all as a piece.  i think my first sequence is
pretty good, too.  “farewell my lovely” is the beat i keep coming back
to.  -h

2023 April 24 – From: Cory – To: Howie

So psyched for you my dude! I love that we have Chandler represented on this birch, let me know how you feel after

2023 April 24 – From: Howie – To: Cory

i feel awesome, i have no idea what this **is** (not that it matters) but i dig it.

i’m ready to read at least one more chandler this summer, not sure which, but i’ll just grab one and go for it. probably the earliest one i haven’t read, i guess.

finding some hooks in chandler has been a really important piece of unlocking this mode of expression. the blank page was just so intimidating, having something to latch onto and use was a huge boost and taught me some things about what works and what to look for. gave me a jumping-off point. and as you’ve seen from texts and whatnot, it’s starting to sink in and i’m bringing in stuff from other sources, and sometimes coming up with something fresh and original (in the sense that it’s not pulled from anywhere).

[tom] robbins, actually, is another ingredient that i may not have said anything about; just the approach that style ** can be ** substance. i think that comes intuitively to some but coming from my headier space, i had to think myself to a zone where when i’m working on something, i can ask myself “well, what would sound cool?” and then chase that without thinking about whether the chords are interesting and unique enough.

ha, this is not news to you, but through at least signs.comets my main concern was You Have Not Heard *These* Chords Before!!

2023 April 24 – From: Cory – To: Howie

“Style can be substance” is something I am still trying to really know. It always feels like there has to be some big heart to a piece of art for it to mean something or evoke emotion, but sometimes stuff just sounds really badass or unexpected or whatever, and that’s thrilling! Obviously there’s got to be some sort of idea or seed in there, however small. Otherwise it’s all effects pedals and no riff, but I have to remind myself all the time that it’s OK if something mostly works because it feels/sounds neat. Jamie is really good at that – synth and bass riffs that work well because they sound badass, and you can build a plenty meaty song around that! 

2023 May 5 – From: Howie – To: Cory

I’m filing this away to blog at some point, but here are some other thoughts I noted down a couple weeks ago…

sometimes by following the trail of style-as-substance, i *find* substance, either because the style touched on or expressed some intuitive, pre-conscious reservoir of meaning, or because meaning attaches itself later through repetition or new connections/insight.  a previously style-only expression becomes entwined with something meaningful.