Bang-A-Song Holiday Jam / January Open Studio Kickoff Party

Please join us Monday, December 15th from 6pm-9pm for the Second Annual Bang-A-Song Holiday Jam/January Open Studio kickoff party!  (Location, directions, parking, RSVP can be found in the Facebook Event link.)

We’ll have pizza and beer for jamming, instruments and amplifiers for eating.  Come meet Tony and Warren, sign up for a January open studio slot, and perform your best version of “Jingle Bells”, “Christmas with the Martians” or  “Santa’s Got an Airplane”!!!!   Kids are welcome.   After 9pm we’ll head to the The Rhumb Line Monday Night OPEN JAM to continue the merry making.  (Please help us get a head count by RSVP’ing via Facebook or via email to tony@bangasong.com).

Our Holiday Jam will also serve as the kick-off for January 2015’s “Bang-A-Saturdays”. Every Saturday in January (starting January 3rd, ending January 31st), from noon-5pm, we will open up our doors for slots of free studio time.  We’ll have Pro Tools on and drums, guitars, keys and vocals all mic’d up and ready to go.

Whether you’re a band that has never recorded before or an artist that has made numerous records, a songwriter who wants to record a demo or a beat maker who wants to cut a rap, a track producer who needs a top line or a home recordist that wants to hear their tracks mixed on a board to analog tape, please schedule a free session at Bang-A-Song.

Feel free to share with other musicians, and then email tony@bangasong.com or warren@bangasong.com to book a session any Saturday in January!

Best, Tony & Warren
Bang-A-Song

In The Studio and New Releases: December 2014

talkaboutthetruthpockettanyaTwo new releases from Bang-A-Song that missed the November “New Releases” cutoff!

Pocket Tanya implores us to “Talk About The Truth”.  Starting talking by downloading the single for just 99 cents from iTunes here.

remedychelseaberryChelsea Berry, meanwhile, has the Remedy.  The solo-acoustic remedy for whatever it is that ails you personally.  Pre-order now for December 12th release.

Meanwhile, underway at Bang-A-Song:

Sonic Euphoria are tracking some great Alice Cooper and ZZtop sides.  Lillie McDonough is cutting a calypso with strings, oboe and marimba among other things. Telamor are nailing number 3. Geoff Small, John Jerome and High Society are burning the midnight oil.  Simon Ritt is making movies.  Renee and Joe are mixing their latest magic. KBMG are bring Warren out of the studio to do an on location recording of their public show at the Old Sloop in Rockport on Friday December 12th. SAFETY are leaning new songs in Studio B for their show on December 26th at the CACCSatch Kerans is mixing more masterpieces.

New Releases from Bang-A-Song: November 2014

Here’s a list of recent albums that we’ve had the pleasure of working on at Bang-A-Song.  Click the name of the artist to read more about the artist, or click the name of the album to download or purchase the album.

TelamorValentine to the Future and Straight Shots
Willie Loco Alexander and the RaztonesRaztonia Volume 1
Mara BettencourtEclectic Soul
Jon Butcher AxisExperienced
The InstinctFake It
Anna RaeHigh Stakes
Alien Psychology: Alien Psychology on Sound Cloud
Renee and JoeSteal You Flowers
Kenny Chambers and Electric Ears: Someday You’ll Be King

valentine to the futurestraight shotsraztoniamara bettencourt eclectic soulTHEINSTINCTFAKEITanna rae high stakes renee and joe steal you flowers someday you'll be kingelectric candyland

And although it wasn’t recorded at Bang-A-Song, it was recorded *impeccably* by Ed Valauskas at Q Division, and Sam and Tony are sprinkled throughout, so…a big shoutout for “Electric Candyland” from Jenny Dee and the Deelinquents.  The album smokes, the bonus tracks that accompany it will rock your socks off (and be familiar to anyone who’s seen the Dees live), and there are even some glam new tees at Dee Store.

In The Studio: Aug/Sep/Oct 2014

Satch Kerans is mixing another great collection of songs.  Telamor is already at work on LP3.  Mary Lou Lord is this close to finishing her next record.  Kenny Chambers and the Electric Ears have finished their debut LP and sent it out for mastering. Pocket Tanya is keeping it unreal. Renee and Joe are warming our hearts out. The A-Train Orchestra are getting there fast. Susan Waller transferred tapes taped at the legendary Cameron’s. Pray for Mojo had their prayers answered. Mike Francis of Soul Rebel Project did some extracurricular overdubs for Mr. Babson. Scout did tracks on his own. Alien Psychology featuring Scout are working on tracks together. Jason Carpenter worked on his mixing skills. Chelsea Berry is recording her “living room” record. Megan McKenzie is making SAFETY happen. Jon Butcher is teaching us a thing or two about tone!

And then, right in the cracks between “In The Studio: July 2014” and “In The Studio: Aug/Sep/Oct 2014“, came this guy: Linwood “Woody” Becker Goddess.  We’re happy to have him!

photo 1

 

A Simple Sequence for The Beach Boys’ “SMiLE”

Dear Y’all,

I hope it’s okay to use my studio blog to publish a recent discovery about what was certainly the greatest studio recording of its time, The Beach Boys “SMiLE”.

A few months back someone sent me this link from Aquarium Drunkard to Brian Wilson discussing air pollution as recorded in May 1967 during one of the final SMiLE sessions.

Listening was a revelation, this quote in particular:

“Air pollution is something that has become increasingly more of a threat to all of us over the last ten years, especially in the last five years since the growing industry demands……and when I hear things like that it makes me want to get involved in this thing in some way, do my best. Ok. We, the way we can help is to make a record, and more or less present the facts in some interesting manner, not boring but in some way that people can retain these facts, and to sort of set up in their minds a goal to get rid of this shit! Because I’ll tell ya something, if it doesn’t subside I’m gonna call the cops!”

smileWhat is most striking, besides Brian’s humor, is his statement that SMiLE was intended to “present the facts.” For decades there was so little factual information about SMiLE that Brian’s intent to use SMiLE to “present the facts” is painfully ironic. It was a myth-shrouded, unreleased album which its very participants were unwilling to discuss, and when they did so, they often obfuscated. As the recordings slowly trickled out, they were bewildering in their obscure historical and musical references, and repeating lyrical and musical motifs. It was rumored to be a concept album, but the concept was abandoned, assumed incomplete. 2004’s brilliant “Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE” showed American history, the cycle of life, and the environment to be the major themes of the record, but they were presented as discrete movements. However, in light of the discovery of Brian’s statement of purpose, I would like to humbly suggest that the most logical way to “present the facts” would be to arrange the songs into a chronology. Doing so makes SMiLE come alive as a fable about the effects of the American century on the environment and our souls.

Side 1:

Prayer

Good Vibrations, the first song written for SMiLE, instantly introduces the album’s overarching theme of enlightenment, and the light and air symbolism that will be used throughout the lyrics and artwork.

“I love the colorful clothes she wears and the way the sunlight plays upon her hair/ I hear the sound of a gentle word on the wind that lifts her perfume through the air / I’m picking up good vibrations”

Heroes and Villains Pt.1 starts the story in the American West, our narrator on the run as he introduces himself and quickly flashes back to the beginning.

Wonderful, Do You Like Worms, I’m In Great Shape, Cabin Essence and Vega-Tables presents a broad history of The United States from the Native American Garden of Eden to the great California migration.

Side 2:

LOOK!, Holidays, Wind Chimes, Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow, Love to Say Dada, Child is the Father of the Man and The Old Master Painter take the trip from Kansas to the West ending in heartbreak over the effects of America’s progress.

Heroes and Villains Pt. 2 concludes the story with our narrator’s farewell address, signing off in hope that we’ve gained wisdom from his tale.

Surf’s Up is SMiLE encapsulated in one song. The moral of the story. One man’s enlightenment told through a sweeping history of civilization.

SMiLE was completely baffling to listeners in the decades after its non-release due to its radical production techniques and decidedly non-Beach Boys lyrical content, but it was actually very simple all along. Brian was at the vanguard of the “back to the garden” movement and SMiLE was his attempt to enlighten the masses.

“The lyrics present the listener with the challenge of taking them at face value or exploring them at deeper levels of meaning.” –Van Dyke Parks

SMiLE became an obsession for so many because it required the listener to explore those deeper levels of meaning if they wished to imagine the album had it been released in 1967.  “Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE” was so satisfying because Brian and Van Dyke were able to continue modulating SMiLE to reflect their present perspectives. There are a wealth of amazing websites (Arkhonia, Good Humor Smile), books (Domenic Priorie’s “Look! Listen! Vibrate! SMiLE!”) and official liner notes that attest to SMiLE’s ability to satisfy nearly any level of analysis, but this sequence makes SMiLE as easy to comprehend as grade school history.

Listen to the record, read the lyrics and study the artwork.   Follow the symbolism and explore the metaphors. Research the cultural and historical references. Read the wealth of Brian and Van Dyke quotes. When arranged as a history, every note, lyric, image, allusion and quotation within SMiLE has purpose and place. From “over and over the crow cries uncover the cornfield” to “columnated ruins domino” it all adds up to a fable intended to engender the enlightenment Brian Wilson had found.

In The Studio: June 2014

Tom Hauck and Telamor are wrapping up LP 2.  Jon Butcher is overdubbing on masters and demos.  Mary Lou Lord is kicking her Kickstarter album.  Kenny Chambers and the Electric Ears are rocking and popping throughout their first record together.  Ken Steiner is recording upright for Robert Allen down in FLA.  Renee & Joe are growing another album. Satch Kerans is wrapping up another batch of hits.

In The Studio: May 2014

Telamor is overdubbing LP2.  Renee and Joe are mixing their latest home recorded masterpieces.  Willie Loco Alexander and the Raztones finished the first studio document of their collective magic.  Henri Smith transferred some live recordings.  Anna Rae hosted a listening party for her new EP and videoSAFETY are rehearsing for the summer season in Studio B.  Harhay is overdubbing in Studio B. Satch Kerans is overdubbing his latest batch of excellent tunes.

In The Studio: Feb/Mar/Apr 2014

Dear Y’all,

With all the snowfall I didn’t even realize I hadn’t let you know what’s been going on at Bang-A-Song the past few months so here goes:

Willie “Loco” Alexander and the Raztones have finished tracking and begin mixing their new record this Friday!  Renee & Joe mixed another great song “Steal You Flowers” which was made available for Valentine’s Day.  Mike Francis from Soul Rebel Project and Mile 21 laid down vocals and guitars for many upcoming projects.  The Instinct laid down enough tracks to start their first full length.  Jon Butcher is cutting tracks for his latest (first?) theater production.  Daniel Dye and the Miller Road Band came in again from Ohio to start their next LP at Bang-A-Song.  Anna Rae used Bang-A-Song to film a Q&A with the engineers/mixers involved with her upcoming release.  Tom Hauck finished his new album “Valentine to the Future”, released it under the new band name TELAMOR and is now reworking his previous solo tracks with his new group.  Satch Kerans had a great session with Timo Shanko on bass and Leo Ciaramitaro on drums.  Pocket Tanya is this close to finishing the new EP.  Lisa Manning sequenced and mastered her new LP.  Tony and Warren cut tracks on spec for future use in Polish laundry detergent ads. Mara Bettencourt finished mastering and released her new album “Eclectic Soul”.  Alien Psychology achieved the rare feat of shredding their vocal chords with melody for their latest two tracks.  Sonic Euphoria came in from the cold after a many month lay off.  Watts held court at Bang-A-Song for the David Robinson 65th birthday surprise party afterparty.

The Goddesses on Lieber and Stoller Tribute

No one has better taste than our pals in Brussels at 62TV Records, so when they asked us to contribute to an album of Leiber & Stoller tunes, we couldn’t say no, and we didn’t say no!  (Anyone who has seen The Goddesses perform in the last five years knows that “I’m A Hog (For Ya Baby)” is one of our staple tunes, too.)

“I Can’t Get You Out of My Mind: A Tribute To Leiber & Stoller” (Benefit for the Waama Village School in Tanzania) can be found here on Facebook, and features tracks from Okay Monday, Mujeres, Kanoba, Francoiz Breut, Johnwayneshotme, Young Rival, Malibu Stacy, Bed Rugs, Lucy Lucy, Dog Bowl, Hong Kong Dong, The Tellers, Vaporellas, The Experimental Tropic Blues Band and Dez Mona, and The Goddesses.

A track a day will be posted on YouTube, so check ‘em all out, starting with this one: