Such Projects, Very Musical, Wow


The blog’s been full of show announcements (11 so far in the first half of 2015, with two more booked!) but I’ve been doing other things as well:

  • Finishing the melodies and lyrics to Valiance, the next Sally Ride record.  I aim to start recording guitars next weekend and still get it out before the end of the year
  • Sorting some of the remaining 55+ “shaker demos” into a new howie&scott record (!!) and Fight Songs, the SR album after Valiance.  Fight Songs was originally intended as an EP, but I have more than enough material for a full-length. Early acoustic versions of “Cooky” and “Lost” are available on Furious Instance
  • Making new music with a new tool, Poly, a polyrhythmic sampler for iPad/iPhone.  A big chunk of making this useful has been learning to make my own samples
  • Completing a review of all of my unfinished songwriting notes (15 years’ worth), looking for lost gems.  This was a multi-day project, and I pulled 10-12 things out to demo and get into the pipeline.  Getting through this was good not only to find some cool material I’d forgotten about, but to not have to wonder any more if there were good songs hiding in the file.  For reference, there are probably 200 song ideas, riffs, chord progressions, and other bits I’m setting aside, probably not to look at again.  Three hundred or more if you count scraps of lyrics.  (I’ll keep them but, having been though once, there’s probably nothing to glean from another review.)

    Don't hold me to any of this; just wanted to show that one of these ideas has been in the file since 2005!
    Don’t hold me to any of this; just wanted to show that one of these ideas has been in the file since 2005!
  • Building a workbench and starting to learn to solder.  I have a long list of soldering projects starting with a BYOC Large Beaver (intended to eventually replace my Bass Big Muff Pi), fixing my turntable, re-wiring the vintage Sunn 2×12 I scooped a few months ago for 16 ohm impedance (my AD30’s primary output) and, eventually, semi-original pedal designs starting with a no-volume-loss feedback looper for Cory’s delay.

    It's collapsable; the bottom brace and leg sets come off so it can be stored in a closet
    It’s collapsable; the bottom brace and leg sets come off so it can be stored in a closet
  • Re-working my pedal board, courtesy of a Boss LS-2 off of craigslist.  I’m using it in A+B / Bypass mode to essentially add a clean blend to some of my more outrageous fuzzes, but without a drop in clean volume (both loops set at unity gain).  Really great into a semi-dirty amp.

    In transition; the Apocalypse and partly broken Arion SMM-1 are in a loop of the LS-2's (that Arion is a re-house project)
    In transition; the Apocalypse and partly broken Arion SMM-1 are in a loop of the LS-2’s (that Arion is a re-house project)

Moving to Lawrence seems to have sparked some fresh creative energy through some combination of the (usually easy) commute, the local vibe, the sense of retreat each day and weekend, and our physical space.

Fixing Mic’s Dream Band From Nebraska

The Nebraska entry in Mic’s What the Dream Band Would Look Like if Every Musician Were From Your State is a lazy punt.  Where Arkansas gets a supergroup of Al Green, Johnny Cash, and Levon Helm, and Oregon has a cool cross-genre mash-up of Esperanza Spalding, Corin Tucker, and Joe Plummer, the Cornhusker State has Conor Oberst, by himself?

As in real life, Conor Oberst is the Nebraska musician Nebraska needs. But is he the musician Nebraska deserves?


I like “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning” as much as the next person, but no.  Here’s the real Nebraska dream band.

Paul Revere, vocals/organ (Paul Revere and the Raiders)

Lori Allison, vocals/guitar (The Millions)

Tim Kasher, guitar/keys/vocals (Slowdown Virginia, Cursive, The Good Life)

Matthew Sweet, guitar/vocals (solo)

Chip Davis, keys (Mannheim Steamroller)

Randy Meisner, bass (The Eagles)

Buddy Miles, drums (The Electric Flag, Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys, solo)

This is a big group, but I think it could work and I’m getting a little excited about what the album could have sounded like!

First; killer rhythm section.  Buddy Miles is just nuts.

Next, guy/gal vocals from Paul and Lori!  Very cool, plus plenty of opportunity for Matthew and Tim to come in for three- and four-part harmonies.

Chip is obligatory, in a sense, but I still want him in.  I think there’s space for some weird MIDI tones and faux-classical flourishes in this group.

I’m noticing for the first time that there aren’t many famous pure country musicians from Nebraska.  Huh.

I’d really love to hear this!

Notable omissions:

  • I won’t claim Elliott Smith, though he was born in Omaha
  • Prolific and bizarre singer/songwriter Simon Joyner casts a long, underrated shadow over the Nebraska scene of the past 25 years, especially the Saddle Creek stuff.  I’m not sure he’d function well in a supergroup, though
  • We’ll leave 311 out of of this; they’re on their own trip, which is funky and positive and I respect
  • James Valentine (Square, Maroon 5) would be a worthy addition, but I have to draw a line somewhere.

June/July Mars Lights and Dark Satellites Shows

2015 June 24, Wednesday – Mars Lights at the Replay Lounge, Lawrence KS, with The Rackatees, The Hemorrhoids (Lawrence). $?, ??? ages, 10 PM show, FB event.

2015 June 27, Saturday – Dark Satellites at recordBar, Kansas City MO, with RobotMonkeyMadman and Onward Crispin Glover. $7, ??? ages, 10 PM, FB event.

2015 July 10, Friday – Dark Satellites at Gaslight Gardens, Lawrence KS, with Hyperbor. $?, ??? ages, ? PM.

2015 July 18, Saturday – Mars Lights at The Brick, Kansas City MO, with Kill Vargas (Wichita), Hyperbor (Lawrence). $? (maybe $7?), ??? ages, probably 9 PM doors / 10 PM show, FB event.

Booking: marslightsnoise (at) gmail (dot) com