HRC, Hot Items at the Archive, and Full-On Sally Ride

Thanks to everyone who has voted for 5*C to open the Buzz’s Beach Ball 3 – if you haven’t yet, do!

Joel, Matt, and I are in the studio again this week, working on a new version of “Aasta.” We’re at HRC in KCK for the first time. They’re still building and ironing out kinks, which is partly why we’re there (to give their gear a workout), and it is clearly going to be a classy facility when it’s complete.

Our most-downloaded-items page at is getting interesting. The Archive changed the way they calculate “downloads” a couple months ago to include hits on files linked from remote servers (such as those of That means that only since then have your downloads actually counted towards our total. I’m pretty excited about the albums over 1,000 downloads, and I’m even more pumped on the steady growth of our whole catalog.

I’m considering re-mastering Sally Ride’s It’s A Trap, because the trick that Duane showed me while mastering 5*C’s “Silver Yellow Girl v2” the other week would really help that record out a lot. Despite my best efforts at the time, it also seems overfull in the low-mids (mostly due to all the organ buried in there) and I wouldn’t mind having another go at reining those in.

In terms of my post-howie&scott output I’ve loosely called Sally Ride my “rock” music and Tape/echoes my “pop,” with the former emphasizing guitar riffs and… rocking… while the latter was about melodies and catchiness in any form. This distinction is probably silly and definitely confusing for nearly everyone. Given that SR is working on our third major project, and Tape/echoes has only two EPs and an acoustic thing to its name, I thought the other day that it might be a good idea to just go with “Sally Ride” for every-damn-thing. It has a ring to it, it’s feminist, I think it’s kind of punk and subversive, and it’s where I’ve done/am doing what’s clearly superior work (in the relative sense).

I invite your comments.

It does feel slightly weird to imagine Ventura by Sally Ride… but I think I can make the mental switch, no one else will notice, and everything will become beautiful.

I’ve been listening to hip-hop, which is my comfort music: Common, A Tribe Called Quest, Combine.

Pfork blog

This last weekend, Matt Wisecarver and I were fortunate enough to visit Chicago for the Pitckfork Music Fest. It was also our first time visiting Chicago, so we got a lot of awesome stuff under our belts.
Before I get to the bands/festival, here are some quick highlights:
  • Ate pizza for pretty much every meal.
  • Drank roughly 4 troughs of Goose Island Beer, a brew out of Chicago but available in the Midwest.
  • Stayed with my old friend Katie, who studies eyeballs but is very nice regardless. She was an excellent host.
  • Visited Reckless Records, Intelligensia Coffee, and Nookie’s Diner.
  • Saw two crazy boys jumping speed-bumps on a yellow moped, holding each other and giggling.
  • Experienced Wrigleyville game-day madness (didn’t go to the game, though).
  • Paid $10.95 for a pack of cloves.
  • Visited a mega-bar called The Sheffield, and met crazy weirdos.
  • Visited a comfy, worn-in dive bar called Nisei Lounge and did a Jager-Bomb with the bartender.
  • Hung out with Doane pals Julia Worth and Brandon Anderson.
  • Was spied on by window-men.
  • Visited the lake, played the “t-shirt” game.
Now, a rundown of my Pitchfork Music Fest experience:
First of all, it was a very well-run event. There were no fights, riots, altercations, or anything. Everyone there seemed to be pretty cool, although some d-bags were throwing cardboard show-flyers into the air, which is cool if you’re 10, but I digress. The water was cheap (1 dollar), the food and the beer was reasonably priced (4 dollars for a microbrew and about 5 dollars for a meal), and they had various activities like basketball and beanbags to keep people busy, plus mist-spraying cool-down tents. And now for some comments on the bands.
Day ONE:
Grizzly Bear- Seemed like they’d be awesome to listen to while relaxing or on a road trip or something, but didn’t own the audience like a band should at a huge outdoor festival. They were ambient and had weird arrangements, and I guess I just wanted to be smacked in the face with music. I think the goal for any festival playing band is blow the audience’s minds. But they sounded pretty cool.
Battles- I had high expectations for this instrumentalish experimental dance-rock band, but again, I was kind of let down. I mean, their stuff sounded pretty cool, and I’m sure I would have loved it if I saw it in a small club, but during some of their set, they just sounded so SMALL. And kind of unorganized. They were at their best when the drummer was going nuts.
Iron and Wine- I had hardly heard any of their stuff, but they had plenty of people onstage doing stuff to really round out the sound, and they were excellent, beautiful, and totally captivating, besides some crackling on the vocals during part of the set. Folk music rules. I heard some Calypso in there, too.
Mastodon- Holy Shit. METAL! They owned. They were awesome/aggressive/terrifying. They played my favorites. There was even a mosh-pit (!!![???]). They put on a SHOW, and had a gigantic “Blood Mountain” banner behind them. Yikes! I wish I could pull off that kind of facial hair.
Clipse- The highlight of Day 1. The hip-hop duo just came on and made the crowd GET DOWN! Their skills were awesome, the beats were sick, and they were very gracious, especially when expressing their gratitude towards the Pitchfork community for giving them so much love and support. Hip-hop shows are hard to top, and these dudes just came out and went NUTS!
Cat Power- I thought I might be more pumped on this motherfolker, but for whatever reason, I was a lot less interested than I thought I’d be. Probably because I was buzzed, tired, and dehydrated.
We didn’t stay for Yoko Ono, although I guess she brought out Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth. I just don’t know ANY of her songs. Plus, we wanted to beat the crowd on the train. She’s 74!!!!!!! DANG!
My second day of Pitchfork was just as cool as the first. I think I heard some more cool bands, anyway.
Menomena- I caught about 3 of their songs, and they were awesome, but I can’t remember what exactly they sounded like. Visit their myspace!
Junior Boys- Cool awesome dance music with rock vocals. Totally fun to listen to. The program likened them to Justin Timberlake beats, and I wouldn’t say that, but they ruled either way.
Jamie Lidell- this was one of the highlights of the festival. Lidell, from the UK somewhere, is this guy who writes and records the backing tracks for his music. Then, when he plays live, he’s by himself, and he sings along, and these songs are SOUL SONGS. And he totally captivates the crowd. Like Sam Cooke or some shit. Other times, he’ll just play some grooves on his turntables, but it’s all very fun to listen to. He had a terrific voice, and he looked like a “homeless bloke” (his words). He was wearding this weird shitty leopard pring shirt and he had all sorts of paper or something streaming from his head.
Stephen Malkmus (from Pavement and The Jicks)- It was mostly just Stephen, although he was periodically accompanied by a drummer friend during the set. He played some gnarly classics including “Spit On A Stranger” from Terror Twilight. Which was beautiful. The only bummer is that, because he was so quiet compared to the rest of the bands, you could REALLY heard Of Montreal sound-checking at the other stage I mean, it was necessary, but I couldn’t help feel that Of Montreal were being rude. But…
Of Montreal- ROCKED! I just started listening to these guys a few months ago, and they are awesome fun psychadelic pop music from Athens, GA (and yeah, they are connected to Elephant 6/Neutral Milk Hotel/Elf Power/etc.). They are weird and profound and sexy, and put on one of the WEIRDEST live shows I’ve ever seen. Lobter-handed debutantes (sp?), golden-jumpsuited women painting themselves, dudes in fencing outfits, an alien pretending to sing, and the lead singer, Kevin Barnes (who swears he’s straight) looking pretty in red eye shadow, a black corset, a black biker hat, black leather panties with a zipper in the front, and a black garter belt. Yuck! And, BOING!
New Pornographers- Sounded cool but I was too busy drinking and chatting to really pay a ton of attention. I was tired.
De La Soul- Okay, so they sounded the best out of every single band there the whole weekend. They were awesome, energetic, funny, and they sounded HUGE AND AWESOME. Unfortunately, we were exhausted again, and we left during their set. It was a necessary evil, as we also had to beat the MASSIVE CROWD to the train station. I mean, it would have been nasty. I hope I get to see them again when I’m not totally burned out.
Cory Alan


Busy week/end/w*eek/end/week.  I’m about where the star is tonight.

The exciting thing is that tomorrow night, Joel and I are going to the studio to re-do the keys and remix 5*C’s “Silver Yellow Girl” for the 96.5 the Buzz contest we’re in.  Roman Numerals and Republic Tigers are in the contest as well, so it’s intense competition and we’re pretty honored to be considered in those ranks.

I heard a Paul McCartney song from Chaos and Creation in the Backyard today that gave me a good idea of the type of recording style and sound I want for Ventura.  It’s nice to have a more concrete idea of what that could feel like.

See you –


Forgot to title the post

I spent three hours making some space on my HD and installing Firefox (late the the party, I know) in order to participate in today’s LiveEarth concerts, and the video is slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

But I also installed one of those awesome spiral-efficient lightbulbs, and know I need to find a reliable org than I can pay to offset my 16 tons of atmospheric carbon-generation for 2007.


I think I’ll call my vocal/electric base tracks for …Boots complete. There are wrinkles in two songs I wish I could iron out, but the emotion is there, and that’s the point of recording the project live.

This thing unfolds at a slightly different speed, kids, so just know. In a way, some of the marks of my howie&scott / signs material – expressive guitar figures iterating for a couple minutes at a time, permutating melodies, long phrases that force simple song structures past the 4 1/2-minute mark – have resurfaced, which is interesting. I only began to notice that as I started listening back to the recordings.

After Cory’s base tracks are down I’m moving all the gear to 5*Matt’s house, where we intend to begin a massive demo-ing project incorporating the electronic drum kit and some edgier guitar sounds. I’m afraid of diminishing our warm, American, organic side too much but there is also some promise in this direction, for Joel especially. I’m excited because nothing is set in stone; we just need to explore this territory for ourselves.

Listening to: Soundgarden Louder Than Love, Joe Henry Fuse, Koufax Social Life, and System of a Down Toxicity.