You Can’t Get Born Again

While I shouldn’t get into too much detail here, I’d like to share this teaser, narrated by me, for the upcoming album by The Dears. Enjoy, and share!

Thing to Read: #DeathToWisdom

As printed in issue Matrix #91: Mixtape.

The fall of modern culture: #DeathToWisdom © 2011-2012 all rights reserved

Pinned Together, Falling Apart

I just read my bandmate’s latest eponymous* instalment of the BENVIE MEMO. In it, he draws comparison between certain moments of The Dears’ No Cities Left to the forthcoming Degeneration Street. He, Benvie, links through to this track from NCL, which I just now finished listening to (you should too, at least before reading on):

Listening to this track was enlightening (revisiting our catalogue is always a stirring reminder of my own history) in that I could recall how our first albums were (and in a way, remain) pretty far out there. I was invogourated by the idea that Degeneration Street is a total return to this: with a twisted message of love, it stomps on the hopes and dreams of the now-commodified vision of indie rock, the vulgar portrait of Dorian Gray today’s music “scenesters” refuse to look at. Yeah, you know who you are.

But I see the change coming. I see the worn-down edges of society. You are ready for something new, for something real, for that thing that reminds you who you are and why you continue.**

* I can use big words too.
** Fuck, I love Morrissey.


Waiting: the lull after the album making frenzy is finished, and the moments before the marketing machine starts up. I imagine this is how a fireman must feel: trained and ready for action but having to just sit there and wait for the call. Wait for the moment when the little light on that red telephone flashes. It’s maddening and the moments of self-doubt are the worst. So then I’m sent into the distractions, I, Robot, Scanners, Red Dead Redemption, Big Bang Theory and dreams of Wil Wheaton and that guy that plays Chief in BSG. Too much time on the internet. The feeling of staring up towards an unseen goal at the top of a mountain I’m about to climb.

It’s a feeling of endless possibility, and total impossibility. The waiting game. Waiting to conquer.

I saved a draft of an earlier version of this sentiment about a month ago: I was coming down from being in the studio and jumped headfirst into mixing: “This band is like a team of mercenaries, a bunch of guys that just come in for the kill, unforgiving, with destructive force.” Something to look forward to? Or something like this:

Viva Mexico!

Mexico was totally amazing. I’ve been having trouble trying to put together a blog post for the trip. It was just an awesome vibe more than anything else. It’s almost like what I thought, how I felt every night about my performance, technical problems, personal critiques, didn’t (and still don’t) matter. Mexico City is incredible; we spent a lot of time walking around, eating, sightseeing, taking it in. Last week was exhausting and exhilarating, and right now I am at the studio to start work on our new album. Hopefully we’ll be bringing some of the intensity and vibes we collected in Mexico into the studio with us. I won’t try and say more, I’ll probably just start rambling. Instead I compiled tons and tons of stuff from the internet – posted by fans, writers, bloggers, photographers – a lot of it is here. If I missed something please add a link in the comments.

Limited edition poster by Trevore Valensuela

Blogs, photo galleries and reviews:
Chilango – live review and photos
Concetpo Radial – live review and photos – live review and photos
Me Hace Rudio – interview and photos – show preview
Everything Live – live review and photos
Me Hace Rudio – live review and photos
Ana Tello Fotographia – photos
The Space Farm – live review and photos
AnnE!’s Photostream – photos from the press conference and live
Frames by Feynox – photos
Los Amaterus – live review and photos
MSN Mexico – photos
Dixo – podcast and interview
Arts & Crafts Mexico – photos

Tweeted images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

And there are a ton of ridiculous videos on YouTube. Actually, probably the only place where you can hear new songs at this moment…

How much of this do we need? Not this much, but I just got started on it and probably went too far. I just remember looking out into the audience on Saturday night during “Lost in the Plot” and seeing like 20 mobile phones and cameras being held up, recording. Awesome.

Poll: Build Your Dream Set

Listen, while we’re working over here, help out by telling us the songs you’d like to see The Dears play live (poll). We’ll keep this open for a while, until we start touring for real. Vote as many times as you like, but only once a day. I think you can make 5 choices per vote. Who’s gonna be first??

Do I ♥ Hype Machine?

When I first got into the Hype Machine, I thought it was genius. An aggregator of music blogs that generates a “Top Ten” list every week. Decentralised, not dependent on skewed radio air play or impossible record sales. I discovered new musicn on HypeM, listened to what everyone else was digging on, clicked on the little heart next to the songs and bands I wanted to support. One of my tweets adds 60 points to the chart! Why? I have no idea!

After the novelty wore off, something struck me: cleverness aside, I didn’t want to spend that much time listening to Madonna/The Who and Norotious B.I.G/Miley Cyrus mashups. I wanted to listen to songs the way songwriters created them: not a remix, mashup or basement redux. As musician in a band, I know how much time, effort and resource goes into writing and recording an album. Shouldn’t that effort be recognised, rather than someone else’s whimsy, territorially pissed all over a track?

I propose two lists: 1) original tracks, and 2) everything else. Call me old fashioned. But we, the people, have been ravaged enough by the downloading and file sharing and the like. Now some song feat. the vs. remix mashup edit club version gets more attention than the song itself. How do you split the mechanicals on something like that?

Just kidding. I’m being a raving old person. Stodgy, impatient, unwilling to accept the obvious change that is happening right before my eyes. I really don’t care: I still read the Hype Machine charts, and vote for my friends. As if the politics of high school never ended.

Art inspiring art. A lyric, a beat, a riff, encouraging someone else to keep going, to keep writing, to continue that piece of art. Non-monetized, positive vibes, good times. “Why should I listen to just one song when I can listen to two at the same time?” Ah, in the year 2000.

As an afterthought, I find it ironical (fake word that I use all the time -ed.) that Google recently shut down a bunch of music blogs that share MP3s, while the entire Hype Machine model is based on blogs that share MP3s. Google just didn’t want to deal with the digital mechanicals, I bet.

Random Contest!!!

Through a series of clicks that led me to a blog called Music Slut, I found a link to a free download of the song “Half Mast.” I keep going on about how it’s one of my Missiles-era faves, so I thought I’d re-share the link for you to listen/download.

I also got the totally random idea for a trivia contest that, out of 6 parts boredom, 3 parts because there’s a frakking snow storm outside and 1 part procrastination, I am running guerilla style (translation: from my home office, where all the BEST grant work happens).

So after you’ve listened I want you to think about who this song could possibly be loosely inspired by? Your only clue (after the ones beating you over the head in the lyrics) is the timing of when we recorded it: summer 2008.

RULEZ: The first direct tweet to @thedears with the correct answer is the winner. You will get by mail an autographed (by me and Murray) copy of the Indie Rock Coloring Book.

That’s right. Winter in Canada is turning me into an insane person.

Good luck! To both of us!

UPDATE: Correct answer is Barack Obama. First one to give it up was @shetlandshaun. Congrats and thanks to all who sent their guesses.