Closing in on our 100th post…

The Lone Wolf sessions at Nick’s house yesterday and today have taught me a few things. It’s good to have a mini-“vacation” even if you never leave town. I’m not as good at playing my own damn songs (and other folks’) as I often imagine I am. Despite that, I’m a pretty good cat in the studio, able to analyze my own work well (not objectively, and often not as someone else would, but with an ear towards some kind of standard).

For close [blog] followers, I apologize that this post is late; I know how I feel when I go to read my favorite blog, and there’s nothing new.

I will be listening to the tracks I laid over the next few weeks, and deciding what to release, what to put here on the MFR [blog], what to try and re-do, and what to cut. “Open Columns” and “America Votes 2032” from nickel will show up, along with “Talk Me Down.” “Hymn…”, re-christened “The Picture Song,” is in at this point. A couple new tunes I haven’t really talked about will probably make it too. The only non-Lincoln band cover that sounds good is my Foo Fighters track (I’m really sad about another one not working… I may try it again, if I can’t do it I’ll tell you what it is so you can go listen to the record anyway). That one (Foos), and any other covers that I might potentially re-work, I would probably release as a limited number of downloads; after X amount of hits (100?) I would delete the file and it would no longer be legally available from me or MFR.

JT, I hate to tell you, but “Mable” just isn’t any fun to play without Scottie. It doesn’t click.

After a long weekend of playing songs in Nick’s spare bedroom, Bo Ling and bowling, Shadow, driving, college hoops, and a pot of my Italian soup, this lone wolf is home and for bed. See you-



A little more than to weeks ago, just as I finished mastering Bike’s new A Wind I Can Lean Into, my main ProTools interface broke (this is a box that we plug microphones, instruments, and speakers in to – the midpoint between a guitar and the computer). After two weeks at the repair shop, I called to check up on it, and they told me they can’t fix it. I’ve got another shop to try, but it will still take a while, and in the meantime I’ve been writing a bit but unable to do any studio work.

But! I discovered a simple, old tape recorder in the church basement and started to get ideas. I borrowed an old tube power supply for my nice mic. I plugged it all together yesterday… and got lo-fi, tube-driven, beautiful roughness.

Also! Nick asked me to dog- and house-sit for several days next weekend while he’s travelling for work. Meaning a quiet, empty house – nobody walking around upstairs, no one for me to worry if they can hear me playing songs through the walls.

Result! is that I’m planning to record Tonight The Lone Wolf Rides Alone next weekend. I’ve been thinking about it for maybe a year, but just didn’t find the opportunity until now. It’s to be a solo-acoustic album of echoes songs and covers. Sort of like what you might hear me play, if you came over to my house and we were just hanging out after dinner or something. I have a tracklist in my head…

BUT IF YOU HAVE REQUESTS; ECHOES SONGS, OR COVERS YOU KNOW I KNOW, POST A COMMENT AND LET ME KNOW!!!111 I’ll add them to the list of songs, and they could make the record OR maybe be posted just here to the MFR [blog], OR if they’re really bad but you love that song anyway, I could just email it to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111111111111111111

Hot Pot of Coffee!!!

My blogs always seem to be a bunch of crud smooshed together in the semblance of some sort of bigger, more important crud. With that in mind, I’m totally going to make this blog about a theoretical mix CD of MFR songs, and there’s going to be ten songs on the sucker. This is off the top of my head, because if it weren’t, it would take me forever to think of what I’d pick and why. Without further ado, here:

1. Bike, “He Came to Steal Your Children”
2. Sally Ride, “Headbone”
3. D-Rockets, “International Sign for Goodbye”
4. Echoes, “I Don’t Even Know how Right This Sounds”
5. Shacker, “Prove It”
6. Bike, “Eye of the Needle”
7. Echoes, “Open Columns”
8. Beach-Puppy, “Nature vs. Nurture”
9. Shacker, “Fully Okay”
10. Sally Ride, “The Last Song”

Wow, that was tough! And let me make it clear that it does not include awesome furious instances like “Lunch by Yourself” or 12-O’Clock Fence, or the X-Mas EP, or any of that. And also, pretend that there are two secret hidden tracks right before track 1 and after track 10, and those tracks are “As Seen from Side A” and “As Seen from Side B.” Because it would freak people out and really show them what MFR is all about (freaking people out).

Anyway, I’m all sweaty. Who else has a possible MFR mix CD? The only rules are, there has to be 10 songs, they have to be off of official MFR releases (or not; it’s just that too many options freaks ME out), and the track order is of the utmost importance. LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS!

Later, when I think of more crud to say, guess who’s gonna leave a comment explaining that crud? Exactly. My Dad.


It takes a long time for my projects to coalesce, from the time the first song is written for any given recording, to the actual release. In this case, I think “FedEx Overnight Conversions” was written in college, meaning perhaps spring 2003 (at least, not earlier – it could be later). The most recent, “Assassination Love Mission,” was finished last summer, 2005. The other three are from the winter 2004-05, after launching MFR, releasing nickel the autumn before, and moving to Minnesota.

To compare, Sally Ride was almost four years from “A Come-On” to the release of Don’t Let Them Take Us ALIVE!.

The Ska Rat songs are shorter and quirkier than nickel‘s, on purpose. Looking back, all of them deal with the places where the world and its big ideas crash with my life. Recording-wise, there’s the addition of organ sounds (which mostly replace guitar leads), and a general increase in production quality and my performances in the studio; Be A Ska Rat is my first project that might tentatively be described as “tight” in the strict sense.

“I Don’t Even Know How Right This Sounds” – If you downloaded the live version from Furious Instance, you know this song is about aesthetic insecurity and quantum physics (there’s the crash). The art-process-part comes first, then the bridge adds the “observer effect” – collapsing probability waves into single actualized moments through acts of will. This song picks up from “Open Columns” – the off-beat chord rhythms, western-ish bridge – even the key of D-major.

“Corrupting The Youth” – Like Socrates (who is now 2-for-2 on Ska Rat songs/name-checks) with the youth of Athens, traversing the city and talking about what is seen is a great education. I’d do it from the bus, instead of on foot though. “It’s every man for himself” is an observation; is it also a criticism, or a proscription? The bass didn’t come through very well, but I love the crazy keyboard-mashes.

“FedEx Overnight Conversions” – What if I woke up one morning a conservative, Pentecostal, fundamentalist Christian? And then ran into a nice, progressive, granola girl, on whom I wished I could make a good impression? I’d write this song about it. FedEx implies suddenness; this conversion is like receiving an unexpected package. The other four songs use a “rock organ” keyboard tone, but this features a rotary sound (think Steppenwolf – though here it’s buried in the mix).

“Asassination Love Mission” – Sometimes there are inner struggles so severe they’re like warfare. There are things about body chemicals (from our evolved human nature? our brains? ingested?) that I try to put to death in myself for a cause of higher love. The “Come on and show me…” parts in the two verses are lifted, melody and words, from the Clash’s “Clash City Rockers.” I don’t understand why it fit, but it just did; when I was writing the melody, I came to that part and just sang it, very intuitive. The riffy ending-part with drums sort of point the way toward a future echoes thing, Poor devil.

“J. Cougar Mellensong” – Between JC and Tom Petty, this song probably should have been written years ago. But it wasn’t, so I tuned it down (to sing in the higher octave) and wrote it faster. I tried to make it under two minutes, but the guitar-ring took it over the line, and I liked the organ fuzz at the end. It’s kind of weird structurally in that is has a couple verses and a couple bridges, but no real “chorus”. This song is very fun to play, but gets out of control easily and sounds bad. Maybe if you’ve heard the Ska Rat one, if I play it live it will strike your memory and you won’t mind so much.

"Be A Ska Rat" Released, New Furious Instance, MR|Signal

echoes’ long-awaited follow-up to the nickel EP, Be A Ska Rat has been released and is available on its post page. Go and download that sucker – it’s our snappiest release to date! And you can read a bit about it in the MFR [blog]!

We also have a new Instance courtesy of Sally Ride; from a rare live show, a special two-guitar two-voice cut of “Tweaky,” from Don’t Let Them Take Us ALIVE!. You can hear it right now, by clicking the big PLAY! button over to your left (triangle in a circle, yeah!)

Last, but certainly not least, we’ve launched MR|signal!!!111. MR|signal is a streaming audio player; launch it by clicking one of the links on the right side of the page. You’ll see a menu, iPod-style, through which you can stream our music by album, artist, or individual song – you can even set it to shuffle ALL the releases together! MR|signal is an awesome way to stream our music, so give it a shot – and if you have your own website, you can add a MR|signal-launch button using the code available at the bottom of the pop-up.

A word about MR|signal; its technological guts rely on two organizations beyond our MFR servers at ; the audio servers at, and (which provides SoundBlox, the player itself). If either of these orgs are having trouble, it can slow down or stop MR|signal. Service has been consistent about 90% of the time through our testing phase, but if you have trouble, try back later! Also; we are working through a minor technical issue that is currently preventing Be A Ska Rat and Matt Wisecarver’s Secret Fantasy from appearing on MR|signal.

Other changes at include moving our outside.influence link-feature to a page of its own, and adding the CDs page with instructions on how to receive copies of h&s’ signs.comets and near and far, and Shacker’s Pardon My Pretension, But Isn’t It Blackbeard’s Birthday? in the mail.

Thanks to all (Bear, Lara, Keith, Jay Q, and strangers!) who came to see Cory and howie at the Zoo Bar last week!