Second Life Shows

A couple months ago there was an article in Pitchfork (I searched but can’t find it specifically; their site-search function is terrible) about musicians who are playing gigs in the Second Life world.  Second Life is just that; it’s like a massively-multiplayer online (MMO) game but with no explicit goals.  People use it to chat, shop, play dress-up, run their business, fight Halo-style, hang out, and now go to shows.

A show in Second Life looks like a video game.  The artist sits at their computer with a microphone, playing and sending the signal into Second Life and their onscreen avatar character.  Listeners navigate to the club to hear the music; they may even have to pay a cover charge to get in.

Pretty wild.  It reminds me of Pete Townshend’s original vision for the never-realized “Lifehouse” project; a science-fiction concert film in which kids would unplug from the ubiquitous “net” and gather for a real flesh-and-blood rock concert featuring the Who.  Songs for the abandoned film ended up becoming the Who’s Next album.  But in this case, kids are plugging in to the web, in order to have a shared experience that would not be physically possible.

Second Life, or what comes next, may never capture the visceral nature of live performance but it does offer some other things instead.  Like seeing a show by your favorite obscure artist, who only has 15 fans in your town, while standing between a pixie and Wilt Chamberlain and eating home-cooked organic fish tacos.

MFR Math

Killers in the Nebraska Territories = MASTERED!!!1111  Look for it in late October.


h&s’ Summer’s End = lost in the mail.  ???  So Scottie still hasn’t heard anything from that day.  Once he does, we should have it out within days.  Apologies for the delay.


My schdule = lots of shows with 5*C and moving the studio somewhere to track guitars for Sally Ride’s It’s A Trap.  I hope to get howie&scott and Sally Ride out, and then XMAS with a couple new tunes in December.


Sorry for the short post, I’ve been out of town, check back mid-week for something more substantial.  -h

My Satirical Self

Satire, then, signals both the sickness and health of a society in equal measure: it showcases the vigor of the satirist and the debility of the satiree. As such, we might conclude, in America, that its abundance suggests a normal balance of destructive yin and creative yang, a human need to view the most vexing frailties of a culture through the liberating prism of lampoon…

The appeal of such a mode of discourse to any vice-blighted age is understandable: it provides another means to editorial ends. And yet, more than merely editorializing, it also demonstrates a capacity for better behavior in human beings — our creativity, our subtlety, our panache. That so many people are responding to satire in the public square, and, indeed, that so much satire is thriving at a center usually held by more anodyne entertainments, suggests our hunger for the better — the better articulated, the better said, the better thought, the better done…

It makes me wonder what happens when the language of argument and the language of ridicule become the same, when the address of a potentate is voiced no more soberly than the goofings of some rube.

Read “My Satirical Self” by Wyatt Mason for the New York Times (link expires in 2 weeks – the article will only be available to TimesSelect subscribers).  It’s a wonderful piece.  Certainly it bears on our previous discussions of irony and morality.

I side with Mason in my tastes (the Onion, the Daily Show, etc.) but am an earnest enough fellow to wonder where all the lampooning leads us.  Some of us actually have to try, and mean it, even if we can also chuckle about our own efforts; those who consume or produce satire exclusively seem to be freeloading off the work of others.  Outsourcing the boring things like good governance and meaningful, original art to their neighbors.

The upcoming Sally Ride record is much more satirical than Don’t Let Them Take Us ALIVE! is.  As Mason suggests the satire is commentary of itself, as well as tonic for some political and romantic earnestness.

If you have enjoyed any of the following – The Simpsons, The Colbert Report, South Park, Chapelle’s Show – I encourage you to read the article.  -h 

Hey Indie Kids

New site design!  What do you think?

I’ve been planning this update for a couple months.  Got up this morning and realized I had a huge chunk of day to put towards it, so I did, expecting to get a solid start and move back to the previous design when I was done working.  But it’s gone fast – I’m not finished, but I’m going to leave the new look up and just run with it.

I think the content is organized better (music on the left, body in the middle, navigation on the right) and I really like highlighting our newest album on every page.  It screams “Download this puppy, you really need to hear it!” (to me, at least).

Next post next week; I hope to have h&s’ Summer’s End EP up!

Listening to: jazz, Probot, Kara’s Flowers, Tangelo.  -h

Wired Mag

Wired magazine’s September issue is “Music Reborn.”

Two articles are particularly worthwhile.  The first is Beck, talking about what “The Infinite Album” is becoming – a body of work in which 20+ songs exist in multiple versions and formats.  Second, “No Suit Required,” is a look at the Nettwerk music company (no longer a “record label”) and what they are doing for their artists.

The other, shorter bits are mostly old news to you MFR folks – eMusic, ringtones, YouTube,, etc.

h&s' Summer's End

Thursday, August 31 – Spent the afternoon driving to Plattsmouth, listening to Zooropa, Secret Machines, Mylo, and the Bravery.  Rolled across the toll bridge early; wandered around downtown in a beautiful beginning of autumn.  Met ScoMo at 518 1/2 N. 6th, loaded gear in to the band room at the middle school.  Plugged in, set tones, set volumes, set recording levels and ran through a bunch of songs – there’s no way it felt like 2+ years since we’d played electric.  Scott’s drumming has really solidified, I’m strumming much less and ringing more, we have gotten bigger by cutting things out.  Focusing on the interplay, the conversation, the atmosphere – not popping, not rocking.  Running the GK bass synth through my amp now, which blends better and sounds vicious.  We ended up with a late supper at the retro diner (meatloaf, yes!) and watching Miles Davis’ “Call it Anything” Bitches Brew-era set on DVD.

Friday, September 1 – Rendezvous shortly after 8 a.m. to begin rocking – first period.  Our format is: play a song, introduce ourselves and invite questions, then alternate between song/questions/song until the class is over.  That means four songs in a 40-minute period.  The first set was a little rough, hard to rock the a.m. and coffee was just getting in to me.  Second set was better, there were keepers in it.  The students asked great questions, and seemed pretty amazed at just the sound of our instruments.  I know I hadn’t been to any shows when I was in 6th or 7th grade; I would have been blown away.  They requested AC/DC at an alarming rate, though, at least three out of the five classes, maybe four.

Ate school lunch after the third set, then finished out the day with #s four and five.  Loaded up inside an hour and hit the road for Doane.  I was listening to Guster’s new record on loan from Scott.  Load-in and set-up was kind of hectic.  Iris Ave. was playing and they sounded really tight, blending old songs and new, fresh out of Renee Studios in David City for their upcoming disc.

We got set and just played.  Think we started with “Astroblue” and didn’t stop, most of signs with “Wait, You’re Where?!”.  I’ll reiterate here that getting “Midnights & Tape Delays” out from the mothballs and realizing that it still matters made me pretty sad and upset and furious.  Ended with “Stop Walking” and I heard more voices than ours.  The set felt incredibly good, sounded good from where we were.  Folks were hanging around up close, on the steps, all about… I still can’t believe how many people were excited for h&s!  Weird and unexpected.  It’s the most… appreciated I’ve felt in a long time.  Another sign that we never know what ripples we’re sending out, or how we’re infecting the quantum field, or in what way paying it forward will return to us.  Call it karma / call it hope.  But thank you and LOVE!  -h

howie&scott, Sally Ride News

Word from Furious Sound studios is that Murder Ballad mastering for the upcoming Lone Prairie Records compilation (featuring Cory and howie!) is going strong and should be done in a week or so.

howie&scott recorded their five sets with various iterations of the Plattsmouth Middle School band last Friday, and will be releasing Summer’s End in October.  The band is in the process of going through the material and selecting cuts for the EP/album.  Early frontrunners include “New Title (berlin),” “Tired Chords,” “Houston,” and “E Morning.”

Cory Kibler is on-board with Sally Ride’s in-progress It’s A Trap, and tracking will begin at an undisclosed location when murder ballads and h&s are finished.

Hopefully, we can do all that before XMAS.  Then Ventura.  Looks like a busy school year for all of us.  Stay tuned – thanks for listening!  -h