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


  1. I went back to FuriousSound/St. Peter’s tonight, and ended up recording my vocals for Be A Ska Rat. It was very of-the-moment, and I laid all five tracks in about 90 minutes. Like sprinting.

    Big ups here, and to come, to Mama Howie (who’s earned the title of Sound Engineer). Friday as I was complaining about the sound of my office (where we’ve been recording), she suggested we hang choir robes from the ceiling to deaden the room. Brilliant. Saturday morning I tried it, and it worked like a charm. A big part of this weekend’s success is due to her, and that idea.

    I tore down the studio/robes afterward. Ending a phase of any project always is a weird headspace for me; a suspended, self-aware moment of being less-than-satisfied with where I’m leaving the music, and also knowing that I can do nothing else at that point. I am partly defined by those times, simultaneously so completely invested in the art/work while recognizing that I will let it go, to be what it will be.

  2. Yeaaaah, it was a fun weekend. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect (especially since we’d only ran through a couple of the songs once or twice), but it all came together pretty quickly. I even got a bunch of other stuff done. Big mad props to Tucci for getting an awesome keyboard part down for one of the songs. I’d also like to thank the makers of Korg.

    Howie is also a neat guy for recording us (using his time, his equipment, his expertise, all for free). I feel extremely lucky that I have a friend willing to do that.

    Anyway, the songs turned out really well- they have a dynamic to them that I did not expect, and they definitely sound like live-show takes, which is exactly what I wanted. WHERE DID I GO WRONG WOWIE WOWIE HEY NOW CINCINATTI, PUT EM IN THE AAAAAYYY-ERRR!

    It’s way easier to record vocals while playing guitar than to try and do a separate track!

    Also, I look incredible in the pictures that Howie posted. Incredible.

    Where were we? Oh yeah… “I will follow you into the park…”

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