First [blog] entry on the new WordPress system:-)

This weekend at St. Peter’s I hosted guest musicians Scott, Megan, and Erin; we spent most of the afternoon yesterday working on music for worship today.  Two original compositions and three unique arrangements rose out of collaboration among friends old and new; below is a piece-by-piece look at the music we made.  Scottie and I also warmed up with some acoustic h&s beforehand, including “Under My Protection,” “Where Will I Alight?,” “Wait, You’re Where?!,” “Blues, or Astroblue?,” and “Major & Minor.”  Q: Why do I like questions as song titles so much?

“St. Peter’s, Va, Mawu, Va” – My drum call with ScoMo was a combination of two rhythms; the first a medium groove for improvising to call the congregation into the sanctuary, then breaking into a furious step (get out the way, get out the way!) and the spoken Call to Worship with Jody in Ewe language.  The title means “St. Peter’s, come!  God, come!” – someday I’ll do an EP/album of drum music, and this is definitely going to the “SAVE” pile.

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” – Megan’s guitar arrangement of this traditional hymn placed the first and second verses in a new harmonic framework with a new melody; we all joined together for the third.  It’s a dynamic setting, the music flowing around and reflecting the lyrics; Scott (sax), Erin (viola) and I (djembe) were responsive to her lead and her voice.

“From The Cloud” – Scott’s new composition, written for this Sunday, reflects the day’s text (Mark 9:2-9).  From the sound of footsteps ascending the mountain, the transfiguration itself, and the voice that follows, he sets the elements of the story in a jazz/African context with saxophone melody and drum rhythm.  In a style similar to “At Its Rising” (on the MFR XMAS comp), Scott explores the intersection between composed and improvised elements of music; he writes sections/themes/melodies/rhythms, and some “glue” that holds them together.  For a performance, we dance through these sections/glue in a given order, improvising with their sound, length, intensity, etc. 

“Dear Lord” – Scott chose this Coltrane tune, and we set it in a slow gospel 6/8 rhythm, because of our minimal instrumentation (sax/drums – no piano, etc.) and because I’m not so much of a swing drummer (the original is in a steady swing 4).  I felt best about the 10:30 version; I was finally finding the right combination of space and sound to support Scott’s big sax tone.  Sidenote; the large acoustic instruments, tenor sax and djembe, sounded incredible in the sanctuary without amplification.  I wish my voice and guitar had that size sound, because I love playing without mics.

“This Little Light of Mine” – Funny story; we talked about doing this piece early last week, and decided on it Wednesday.  We didn’t decide who would lead it…  so on Saturday afternoon as we were putting everything together, we discovered that Megan, Scott, and I had all done different arrangements!  We settled on Megan’s, which included a great counter-melody (I need to learn that trick, M+E!) and complete with authentic ’80’s-style drum/vocal breakdown at the end.  “Everywhere I go, I’m gon’ let it shine…”


"A Wind I Can Lean Into," And Brand-New Website

Tonight we are thrilled to release Bike’s second full album with Mr. Furious Records, A Wind I Can Lean Into.  Nate is turbo-pumped about it, and you could be too; it is a fantastic work.  Download it directly below this post, or from its own album page.

With the breeze at our backs we’ve also launched a new website, completely re-designed from the bones up.  So take a look around.  Everything is here…  we’ve brought the [blog] onboard, archived everything and made it searchable, grown more responsive with souped-up commenting, and cleaned up the look.  Many thanks to the open-source community that created WordPress, which is the skeleton of our new site.

Some notes;

Comments may ask for your email, but I swear it is not being recorded anywhere I can find.  I’m looking for how to delete that field from the “comments” form entirely, but in the meantime please don’t be scared.

MR|signal continues to be a little iffy if you’re trying to hear a specific song… but if you launch it, click on “Tracks,” select “shuffle” and PLAY! you will get a nice mix of MFR music.  We are working on a total re-design of MR|signal too, but didn’t want that to delay Bike’s new album!

Extra-special thanks to Tim Gillespie for help with CSS, .php, and hunting down WordPress demons.  Tim is a fierce demon-hunter, though you’d never know to see him.

So please, enjoy A Wind I Can Lean Into, our expanding catalog of indie music, and the new site.  We’ll be back soon with Robot, Creep Closer!’s first EP, echoes’ Lone Wolf, and weekly [blog] posts.


Download all via .zip from

1- Someone’s at my door / The eye of the needle
2- Separation is ok / A wind I can lean into
3- A wind I can lean into II / Requiem
4- Song for a motherless child
5- Where I’m calling from / Candles
6- My blood, my bones
7- The horror! Oh the horror!
8- Faked enthusiasm / I don’t feel so well
9- Heard you were sick
10- Dog sitting
11- I am young…
12- …and I am naive / This is where we die

Robot, Creep Closer! recording sesh; Wisecarver's place, Saturday, February 11th

So Robot, Creep Closer! is this newish crazy rock band that Tucci (from Shacker) and I are in, along with John, Gina and Jesse. We recently recorded a 4-song demo at Famous Remnants Member Matt Wisecarver’s house. We have yet to mix it (roads and tiredness have postponed it so far), but we’re getting that done on Sunday. Anyway, we here at MFR decided it might be kind of cool to give our loyal listeners a sneaky-peaky at how the process goes. It’s very intricate and complicated, so hold tight!

We showed up to Carver’s at like 1. We set up our crud while Matt ate Taco Bell and chain smoked, and then we did some tests with the mics to make sure that everything was sounding oh so hot. We recorded live, except for the vocals, because we’re not what many people would call a “tracking band” (PS, “tracking” means recording one instrumental part, or “track,” at time, rather than recording all of the instruments at the same time, or “live”). That’s because we rock so hard, when we try to track, people don’t know what to do, especially us.

We finally got the sound we wanted at about 3 (making good time for recording, which is a very tedious process) and got 4 songs cranked out pretty quickly. Everyone had headphones except for me, so I stood next to the wall that my amp was on the other side of, and tried my best to stay in time. We recorded four songs:

“Uh-Huh, Uh-Huh, No!”
“Just F*cking Forget It,”
“Dynamite Night-Life,” and
“I’m Bustin’ A Move!”

Needless to say, these all rock very hard. After we got the ‘struments done at 4:30 or 5 or something, we set up for vocals. See how complicated this is so far? I’m sweating. That’s the second time I’ve gotten all sweaty during a blog. Vocals are weird, because you can hear the song in your headphones, but no one else can hear the song, so they just hear you yelling the lyrics a capella (cappela? cappella?), and it’s like so embarrassing! Plus Wisecarver kept making me scream to test the mic. Plus I was like 6 drinks deep.

We ended up with a quality product, and we’re gonna post the sucker on MFR after it gets all done.

Have a good weekend!

-Cory Alan


This week I’ve written lyrics to two of the Ventura songs. They are subject to revision, and the titles are tentative. -h

“Lee’s Summit”

Six months out / settled in / frontier town, mission hills / time to change my heart enough to fit
Our / lonesome, crowded western state / teach me how to pray / not as a hero, as a father
No one wins / but we all play / like high school stars / …I quietly try to give the game away.

CHORUS (instrumental)

Who can speak / the language and / not feel a thing? / Silently, I saw it asking
“What / do you call / a love that mouths / the words / but isn’t ready for the living?”
I don’t know / it’s “not enough.”

Say something wrong to me
Say something wrong to me
Create an excuse that I can hold against you / Not much but it’s not empty either
Say something wrong; justify me
Haven’t yet / I don’t think you ever will

“While I Was Moving About Flyover Country”

Hey, love, I heard you walking out
The February sun shines down
One year, your steps took, reaching me
Their sound was covered in the chill breeze

I know just what you’re thinking, time after time
What, love? What life we’re missing? What’s this “goodbye”?

How is our town and how are you?
Time’s tough; I haven’t come around
I’m scared my ears are getting worse
And I can’t find the words, but

I know just what you’re thinking…
What love?

It wouldn’t take ten minutes to write a fortune;
A horoscope. We’re authors of this best-seller
The Times prints us up; we’re translated to foreign languages
Our title, “Love, I Heard You Walking Back.”

How are you happy not to write?

I know just what you’re thinking…


A collection of things-happening, Cory Alan-stylee:


This is what I think will happen with Tonight The Lone Wolf Rides Alone;
1. Open Columns
2. Talk Me Down (Shacker)
3. The Picture Song
4. Pushing The Envelope (JV All*stars)
5. America Votes
6. My Time (BLS / More Than Yesterday)
7. JCM
8. Hawaiian Bells

9.? Bonus Track I’m Still Debating

AND THEN two tracks that will appear only here on the MFR [blog];
“Coast & Plains” from the upcoming (with Cory) Ventura. I wrote the music and Cory wrote the words + melody, and it’s the first time we’ve really done that, so it’s pretty rad that I get to give you the first taste of it.
“Holy Moses” from the someday in the distant future (with Cory) new Sally Ride.

Only on the [blog] because I would rather that nonchalant MFR listeners wait for the real version of “Coast & Plains”, and “Holy Moses” is a kind of oddity that I probably wouldn’t actually play for you if you came over one night (which is what Lone Wolf is supposed to represent).


This morning I took some concrete steps towards new musical adventures, contacting a few different people in KC who had interesting opportunities. One is a new cowpunk/alt-country band, and I don’t know what kind of role I might have. One is a gospel band that needs a drummer. One is an indie band looking for keyboards of some sort. We’ll see what happens, but it feels good.


New music in my life:

Congotronics 1, Konono No. 1 – This is crazy, amped-up African street-folk music. I pulled it from Pitchfork’s year-end list, and some others too – it’s something completely different from my usual, and I dig it.

Pixel Revolt, John Vanderslice – I love JV, and this is a great record. His production and lyrics, which are always turbo-colorful, are strong but not OVER-stated; they support each song well. After one listen, I’m ready to say that some of his best work is on this album.

Multiples, Keith Fullerton Whitman – Another from Pitchfork’s list. Very abstract, but my experience with it has also been very emotional. It’s music that most people won’t like – but if you’re somebody who gave Gilmo’s Points of Parallax even a second listen (I listen to it all the time) then you might get this.

Crusades, The Plastic Constellations – Awesome band, awesome record. These are Minneapolis guys, and they bring the pain with 10 massive shout-alongs that are three parts post-punk bombast, one part Rhymesayers, and one part Aerosmith. The whole album is about being knights and slaying dragons, except for one song where TPC admits that it’s not; it’s just that the mythical language of crusade is the only kind that feels right in describing their struggles in life. Beautiful; fun; get it.