Archive for July, 2013

Collisions this & that

July 28, 2013

Thank you everyone for your kind words regarding the passing of producer, engineer, & legendary studio owner James Bentley.  As well-known and respected as he already was, I can’t help but think that in another world, set amongst a different musical landscape, his name would have been even more widely recognized.  Yesterday, James Carthew (Royal Chant bassist), came across a very good article on James, written by David Weiss for Sonic Scoop.  At nearly the same time, I came across this home-made video set to a Creeper Lagoon song that I had previously never heard.  In a sad collision of sorts, they seemed to fit together, so I thought I’d present them to you as our own requiem for someone halfway around the world.

Death of a Studio Owner: RIP Jim Bentley of The Fort Brooklyn

My favourite line from the article is from Bones Howell, when he finishes his remarks with, “He was servicing the garage and indie rock community with a high degree of low fidelity, if that makes sense somehow.”

Yes. Yes it does. That was exactly what we’d been searching for by the time we hit Brooklyn, and we walked out with a single was as close as I’ve gotten to the sound in my head.  We had a laugh when only weeks ago, a DJ from one of Australia’s “big” stations (and no, it was not Triple-J), wrote back regarding the track. “Hey ______, had a listen and it’s a good track! It feels like it needs a better mix / master though. Is it a demo?”

No, you sad corporate twat, it’s not a demo. That’s how music actually sounds. A high degree of low fidelity indeed.

Be extra nice to each other this week…let’s see what happens.


“America” (much delayed…this is what happens when things get lost)

July 27, 2013

[NOTE: I meant to send this out on the 4th of July. Obviously I didn’t. Not sure what happened there. The only reason I am posting this at all is because I was reading this poem yet again last night, and was struck once again at how absolutely funny Allen Ginsberg was. His delivery does much to shade my interpretation, and now I can’t read the words without that same colouring. Whatever, it’s doesn’t matter, it’s good and always worth giving it a listen and a read every now and again. Brilliant.]

Dear America,

Happy 4th of July old girl. Here’s the man saying it better than anyone, and his words are more true today than ever.

For the rest of you, go ahead, listen to the whole thing. It’s not like you’ve got to write an essay on it when it’s over. Listen to the crowd grow warmer and more riotous as he spools his lines out like a comedic perfectionist.

My favourite line?

-When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?


Somebody left when somebody came…

July 26, 2013

Hello again,

not so long between posts this time, which is a nice change from the usual turtle pace. There’s a long convoluted story buried in here, but there’s a very large part of me that just can’t be bothered to take the time to do it properly, because it’s a very narrow tale with very fine strands of narration, and after thinking about how to go about it I realize that even if I told it perfectly it still wouldn’t be that interesting.  It would be like doing an excellent job at telling a very mediocre tale, so I’ve decided to quote my own on my own song lyric in the title and say it like a caveman:

Designer Mutts is a new band I’m a part of and this is our debut EP.

The “How” and “Why” are the boring details, but let me also add that Royal Chant has a new member and somehow, at the very bottom of it all, those two things are intertwined.  So, with that being said, I am proud to present A Day At The Wauchope Races. If You’ve got 23 minutes to spare I think you might enjoy the story it tells, or tries to anyways.

Keeping in the spirit of the age, we’ve given up on trying to make any money at this, so if you like what you hear please feel free to download it for free without any guilt whatsoever. It’s the way of the world, and we’re cool with that. If you like it we’d be happy just to hear from you, so holler back! If you really want to help out a struggling band then you can do us a solid and tell a friend or share it with someone, (if you actually like them.) We like the small, personal steps. It means more.

So…some of you that have been with us a while would know all about the trials and tribulations of being in Royal Chant, and it should probably come as no surprise that we shed and replace members from time to time. This past March, immediately following our show with Bob Mould, we found ourselves without the services of our long-time drummer.  I can’t really say I was surprised, and in fact I had an intimation for well over a year.  It’s not for nothing that the last song we recorded together, “Did You Pay Cash For That Panic Attack?”*, closes with the line It’s almost over, and Goddamn! That was fast/It’s almost over, and it don’t come back.

Thinking back on this band, if you were inclined to put things in a typical Hollywood-style narrative then the story would be about a band that got close but never quite made it.  As nice and tidy as that is, it’s also a fair amount of BS.  This is work.  It takes longer than you can imagine, and if you skip any steps in the process you will wind up paying in one way or another.  Don’t believe me? How’s the latest crop of X-Factor grads doing? We thought as much.

Anyways, rather than panic (as poetically perfect as that might be), we carried on, and eventually wound up with what we consider the score of the century. We are happy to introduce…Stephen Hopkins! Rather than more words, I thought I’d let music do the rest of the introductions, so here’s your first glimpse of Stephen, playing some brand new tunes from our upcoming Small Town Bruises EP.

There’s more to come about all that, but that’s pretty much the gist of it.  If you compared snapshots of me from 4 years ago and right now, you’d find me sitting at the same desk, still booking gigs and still doing all manner of banal minutiae that I still find strangely satisfying, for better or worse.

That’s all from here, for now.  We’re always curious to hear what you think.  It’s hard to know if we’re really saying what we think we are…


ps–I received an email early this morning from a dear friend in Brooklyn, informing me that James Bentley had passed away.  If that name fails to ring a bell, James was the producer/engineer of “Did You Pay Cash For That Panic Attack?”, which we recorded at his studio, The Fort, in Brooklyn while we were on tour in the US. My friend didn’t pass along any details, as he didn’t know any, but I was saddened by the news and wanted to mention it, for whatever good it does.  As a requiem, we thought you might give it a spin, (really loud, of course) and remember that it’s all happening faster than we think.

¿Habla Español?

July 9, 2013

Um….there’s nothing for me to write, I just wanted to share an interview I did with Spanish online mag Silence.  We were in the studio when we found out they just posted it along with a live unplugged performance of a new Royal Chant song, “Flat Feet”.

Check it out and let us know what you think of my verbiage and our new song. It’s a lonely desert out here, so holler back! I talk too much, I know, but hopefully we’re getting better at making sense.

Stephen has just departed Australia for a month of frivolity in the European sun, leaving me and James to hunker down in the Music Feeds studio to record our new EP, tentatively titled Small Town Bruises. Today was a long day.  To put it simply, we decided to add piano to a track, and there is no greater way of wasting time, short of adding the oboe, then stumbling upon that ill-advised notion.

Anyways, head on over to Silence if you’d like to read what I have to say about various things concerning Royal Chant and music in general, and below is the YouTube clip of us bashing away in James’ living room.

That’s the gist of things….you get the idea.


Something, nothing, firworks…

July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July.  For most of you, that will mean nothing, and in fact, for me sitting here in my Ugg boots in Australia, it means very little except in a holiday-by-proxy sense.  Still, it’s nice for me to remember fireworks and endless Summer nights back in Utah, with fireflies and worried Mums, with Dads slightly tipsy on cheap US lite beer and me endlessly running & running & running until the next day when we woke up and did it all again, only this time there were no more fireworks (unless you were smart and saved a few. We weren’t. We didn’t).

We’ve had a busy few weeks, and there is one more long stretch about to kick into gear, but for now I thought I’d share something we did last month which has just been released.  Here is us playing a new song, “I’m So Sorry”, in the garage of the AU Review.  They’ve been pretty good to us over the years, and they asked us in to perform something so we said yes and that was that.  If you dig it please share it around or whatever, or let the folks at AU Review know that there are people listening.  For the most part, we have no earthly idea.

We’re headed into the studio on Monday to start laying down tracks for our next Royal Chant EP (titled Small Town Bruises in case you’d like to store that away and casually drop it in conversation), and we’re planning on recording that one to open the album. We shall see.

Not much to this one, for better or worse, but below is a link of a solo recording of that same song, in case  you’d like something to hum along to at work.

Ta for now, hope you have a good 4th of July, regardless of whether you get to play with fireworks or not. I’m sure for most of you it will be yet another Thursday at work.  If you’re looking to spice things up, here’s an idea: bring fireworks.