Since recording Benjamin Axeface last weekend…

I dropped ill rhymes (and non-rhymes) for the Be A Ska Rat EP in one 90-minute stretch last Sunday night. The only thing remaining is a few little rock organ parts I hope to do soon, then mix it for a January release.

FuriousSound made the trip to Nebraska for the Thanksgiving weekend. Vocals were recorded for three echoes XMAS songs, and another done from scratch (two of these four will appear on the XMAS comp next month, along with Cory’s song and ScoMo’s piece). I laid hand drums for the whole Ventura EP. And some extra parts (guitar, harmonica, piano) were added to the recent Axeface recordings.

Yesterday morning ScoMo came over to track the first verse to an arrangement of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” that I’m starting on for 2006’s XMAS. We then learned and recorded his piece (including sax, drum kit, and djembe). Scott’s been deep into Coltrane lately, and today’s work was influenced by A Love Supreme. When we post XMAS, Scott will write a post to illuminate his music.

Annie is doing Axeface-cello at a different studio (Matt Wisecarver’s) TODAY!, maybe one of the Axeface crew will drop a comment here later to tell how the session went.

So we’re busy with new science in the Furious camp. FuriousSound is back in Raytown. Merry XMAS to all, as soon as I can mix it!!!111



Church Photo Directory Starring: Benjamin Axeface has been at FuriousSound in Kansas City this weekend, recording for their upcoming EP. Cory and James rolled in to town Friday night, and spent Saturday in the studio (currently located at KCSPUCC) with howie tracking guitars, bass, vocals, and a few synths. Cory also sang backing vocals for echoes’ Be A Ska Rat EP (tentatively scheduled for a January release at MFR) and fleshed out demos for the Ventura EP.

Some photos from the session (click for full-size image):

Benjamin Axeface (with flash)

Axeface (without flash)

Cory Alan

Cory against our light source

James Tucci

Those are the facts. Subjectively, I think it was a great session; we had a good time, accomplished our goals (and then some), and the music is sounding solid. About Axeface’s “debut”; I write it in quotes because Cory, James, and Annie are moving pretty straightforwardly from the territory mapped out by Shacker’s The Dimly Lit Room and Beach-Puppy’s Creepy Eepy. The new EP has the live, full-band sound of the former (with a few extra touches) mixed with the overall tone of the latter (though a little cleaner). Cory’s songs are an extension (not repetition) of these recordings. The lyrics can’t be ignored; though the music is folky, the words can’t be left in the background but confront listeners; I mean this is a straight-up compliment, not a backhanded one.

The backing vox for Be A Ska Rat really helped bring the songs to life; I’m excited to finish it now, where in the middle of last week I was feeling pretty beat-up about the whole thing. I know I have a history of suggesting release dates, then not meeting them, but January is entirely possible for this. It will make sense from nickel, but represents both growth and distillation I think.

We haven’t said or posted much about Ventura, but it’s actually as important a release as any of these other things. I wrote a good chunk of it, and Cory the rest, and it’s six or seven songs of vaguely 70’s-influenced acoustic music. It arrived kind of spontaneously… several songs and ideas were floating around, not quite fitting in with other projects, and one day they collapsed into Ventura. I think of California with the 70’s for some reason, the songs are appropriate beach music, Cory’s from there, and it’s a weird place I’ve never been to but still have a connection with somehow. As I get in gear, I’ll be playing probably all of the songs at my own shows in the future, and maybe Axeface will tackle (!) them live as well.

Massive post; enjoy. And HOLLA! -h

Spoon/Bright Eyes, The Orpheum Theatre, Omaha

Even when I go see my favorite bands live, I have an incredibly short attention span for the sets.  I get tired of standing really easily, my ears get tired of loud music easily (even with earplugs, sometimes), and I more often than not wish the sets would end about 20 minutes earlier than they usually do.  I’ve felt this way while watching Death Cab For Cutie, Radiohead, The Faint, Superdrag, and in particular, Built to Spill.

However, once in a while, I see a band perform that doesn’t bore me at all, and actually leaves me wanting more.  Some of the best concerts I’ve ever been to are Jimmy Buffett (my very first concert at 12 years old, and at the time, I was OBSESSED with Jimmy Buffett), The Streets (ultimate dance-party), and now, Spoon/Bright Eyes.

There were two other opening acts; Willy Mason and David Dondero.  I missed Willy Mason because I showed up a little bit late, but I caught most of David Dondero’s set, and it was great- he played beautiful folk songs that were both funny and sweet, and he was accompanied only by a drummer, which added great dynamic.  THEN!  Spoon came on!  WOWOWOWOW

Spoon recently became one of my favorite bands ever, and the fact that they happened to be playing a show with Bright Eyes at one of Omaha’s best venues (The Orpheum) was just awesome.  Plus, I had Orchestra seats, and was four rows back from the stage.  Spoon started off the set with the first track on their newest album, Gimme Fiction, which is the song “The Beast and Dragon Adored.”  People went nuts.  They played at least a few songs off of each of their last three albums, and I knew and sang along to every song.  Their energy was amazing, their performance was immaculate, and Britt Daniel is so very, very cool.  Everyone else was just a little guy compared to him (I believe Britt Daniel is 50 feet tall).

After they were done, I went and got a drink, drank it while in line for the bathroom, and by the time I had finished totally bathrooming, Bright Eyes came on.  The first time I ever say Bright Eyes, it was just Conor, and he played songs off of albums that hadn’t come out yet (Wide Awake and Digital Ash)… while it was a good show, I like to sing along.  The second time I saw Bright Eyes, it was in support of Digital Ash after it had come out, and it was a great show, but out of all Bright Eyes records, it’s my least favorite (even though it’s still really good).  This time, however, he was accompanied by two drummers, a harp, a trumpet, a clarinet, a bassist, a lap pedal guitar, and a keyboardist.  They played songs off of every album, and it was a great mix.  The literal show stopper, though, was the encore: he came back out and sang a few songs, and then for the last, last song, the whole band played “Let’s Not Shit Ourselves (To Love and To Be Loved).”  It gave me chills.  The song is a big epic of a song with about 50,000 words, but it was amazing, high energy, and I WAS FLIPPING OUT!!!111111111

Anyway, this show was easily in the top three shows I’ve ever seen, if not #1.  Wowie!

TRAFFIC METRIC – mrfuriousrecords.com

Having a conversation with Kris (who runs MFR’s MySpace) the other day, she asked how traffic at Mr. Furious Records was coming along.

The way downloads are tracked has changed, since we moved the music over to archive.org. The Internet Archive tracks downloads somehow, but the details aren’t published. For example, today it says that Sally Ride has been heard 22 times; if a user listens to one song, is that counted? Does “hearing” take the whole album being streamed/downloaded to count? Who knows. We used to measure bandwidth transmitted from audio files and get an idea of direct downloads from that, but that method doesn’t work any longer.

The best snapshot I can find comes from our “unique visitors” each month. Meaning (I assume) unique IP addresses; if Kris visits mrfuriousrecords.com six times, that counts as “1” under unique visitor. Here’s 2005:

Jan – 89
Feb – 101 (Beach-Puppy, Creepy Eepy)
March – 232
April – 346
May – 347 (GiLMO, Points of Parallax)
June – 267
July – 266
August – 305 (D-Rockets, Matt Wisecarver’s Secret Fantasy)
September – 340 (MFR, Nebraska Verses)
October – 395 (Bike, Stroke Me Gently, Lady Luck)

At MFR, we don’t succeed or feel validated based on these numbers. I don’t know how you will feel about them, but personally I think it’s fantastic that almost 400 people visited our site last month.

Sidenote; our fall release schedule just sort of jumped out at me. Add Sally Ride (Oct. 30 – basically November) and we’ve had albums out four months in a row, with the XMAS compilation set for Dec. 1!!!111. Rad. With an echoes EP, a debut from Benjamin Axeface, and another EP (Ventura) that I’m doing with Cory coming up… Bike’s hard at work on The Last Desperate Act…



From; Cory_K_69@hisalmamater.org
To; howie@mfr.com
3:12 PM
Subject; Your Ball

I can’t figure out why people constantly confuse our voices either- we don’t sound particularly alike (you are usually dead-on pitch, I waver; you can hold a note for longer than a few second without coughing up a lung; when I try to go above a certain note, my voice crackles like a 12 year old’s, etc.). But I know at least a few other people who have. Why is that, I wonder? Do we sound alike but not know it? I guess to us, it’s obvious who’s singing. Especially when you examine the lyrics:

Howie: “Important universal theme explained in abstract metaphors!”

Cory: “Waaaaaah! Drinking too much! Girlfriend dumped me 5 years ago and I still whine about it! WAAAAAHHHH! DRINKING!”

BFF, Cory

From; howie@mfr.com
To; Cory_K_69@hisalmamater.org
1:07 PM
Subject; Did you see what Uncle Dave wrote about SR vocals?!

we’re both fairly straight-tone choir boys, but i mean, c’mon! my throat is
unmolested by alcohol, direct cigarette smoke, rush chants, and repeated
bouts of clamidia! you’ve got to be like lemmy k. to my antony!

w/b soon! -h

From; DJ_Dave@wakn.org
To; howie@mfr.com; Cory_K_69@hisalmamater.org
11:23 AM
Subject; Don’t Let Them Take Us Back To AKRON!


You morbid bastard! How dare you name your band after that poor woman!

Okay, seriously? Anyone dumb enough to confuse the two doesn’t really merit a whole lot of your attention anyway. Duh. Hello? Jr. High History class? Were you there? (actually, I’m old enough to remember both of them being in the news!)

The album sounds great! I made the family listen to it on a road trip a week or so ago. The songs are really well written and is that Corey singing on them? He sounds great!


From; howie@mfr.com
To; DJ_Dave@wakn.org
8:44 AM
Subject; not Christa McAuliffe

Uncle Dave; I’m assuming you got the Sally Ride disc. Anxious to hear what you think.

For the record, tons of people ask us if the band is named “Sally Ride” after the woman astronaut who died in the Challenger explosion. It isn’t. Sally Ride was the first American woman in space, in the early 80’s. Christa McAuliffe (I think I spelled right) was the woman teacher/astronaut who died in the Challenger accident. Just so you know. Naming a band “Christa McAuliffe” would take an Iggy Pop-level of punk-ness.