Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Brief TBR Update

Since it's been about a month since we last checked in, we wanted to drop you a line about what's happening with the record, the fall dates and us in general.

When we last checked in, we were in the mixing phase. And now…we’re basically still in the mixing phase. We're eagerly awaiting the next batch of tracks as we speak, and we're sure they will sound great - but since it's already October 11th, it's safe to say that Palace Amusements most definitely is not coming out on November 15th. I’m sure I owe someone a drink for that one (I’m looking at you, Steve). And since it won't be ready by the 15th, playing a fall tour to support it doesn't make much sense. We will likely still pop in for a few dates before the holidays, but we're going to hold off on some of our bigger plans until we've got the record in hand.

That's not to say that we haven't been busy. Bryan Sargent came by our last rehearsal and took some great photos. Some of them have popped up on our Facebook page already, some of them will be added soon and some of them will never see the light of day to protect our already questionable reputations.

Meanwhile, Matt and his old group My Favorite Citizen will be performing a reunion show at Maxwell's on December 28th, which I'm really looking forward to. Standing in front of him, I never get to see him play, and I’ve always wondered how he keeps that Yankee hat centered perfectly on his head.

And finally, we're very happy to congratulate Mark on his recent engagement to Erin, who he met at one of our Maxwell's shows a few years back. I apologize for not remembering the date, but it's not like I met MY wife that night. I don't remember much about that particular show, but I do remember Erin heckling us from the audience about the Yankees. Ah, amore!

Until next time, keep it real peeps.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's Quiet (For Now)

The cables have been winded. The mics have been put away. It's all gone quiet here, and it feels really strange.

It's been a few weeks since we first mentioned it, but in case you missed the news, we wrapped up the recording of Palace Amusements on August 26th. This milestone was reached the same week that a hurricane and earthquake hit New Jersey. We're not saying these events are related, but nobody REALLY knows for sure, do they?

Our songs are now in the very capable hands of Frank Marchand. Frank was the man behind the board for the last three Bob Mould records and he also remastered one of our all-time favorite 90's records, Sugar's Copper Blue. We're all very excited to have him working on Palace Amusements, though none more then Matt who got to talk to Bob Mould about working with Frank (or as Matt now likes to call him "my very good friend Bob Mould").

Palace Amusements will be released November 15th on the New York based Modern Hymnal Records. It was originally scheduled to come out on the Baltimore based Beechfields record label. We were very sorry to see The Beechfields close down over thr summer - we enjoyed our brief tenure in their strong stable of artists and have enjoyed playing with some of our label mates (like The Seldon Plan, Among Wolves, Gary B & The Notions, E. Joseph & The Phantom Heart to name a few), though we will certainly play with these fine bands again. Fortunately, Modern Hymnal stepped in and will give Palace Amusements a proper release.

Palace Amusements will be available on compact disc and digitally via iTunes as well as some other digital media outlets. The artwork duties are being handled by our very good frend Chris Gash. The final sequence of the album hasn't been decided yet, but here is the track listing:

Signal To Noise
Strange Matter
Keep It Like A Secret
Our Cover's Been Blown
Canvas Shoes
Hipster Turns 30
Ocean Avenue
Hard To See The Sun
It's Been Too Long
Losing Streak

If you'd like a preview of one of the tracks, we posted our own rough mix of Hipster Turns 30 back in July. It's up on our SoundCloud page.

We're currently lining up a series of dates to support the release, so look for those on our Facebook page and website soon.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone who has been asking about and looking forward to hearing our record. We cannot express how much we appreciate your support and we hope you enjoy our record. Thanks for sticking around.

Jerry, Matt, Mark and Steve
The Brixton Riot

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hipster Turns 30

Here's a rough mix of the song "Hipster Turns 30" from our forthcoming Palace Amusements. It's a playful jab at a fictitious uber-trendy character who goes through a sort of "quarter life crisis" when he wakes up on his 30th birthday. Some of the lyrics are exaggerated for comedic effect (can you even buy books on tape anymore?), but you get the idea.

What I always liked about this song is that the bridge is taken from the point of view of the main character who longs for a time when he was younger and "the days would always seem so long". I remember sitting in middle school and watching the clock tick. The hours just seemed to drag on and on. Now they just fly by. You blink and another year has passed.

Hipster Turns 30 (Rough Mix 2) by The Brixton Riot

Thursday, July 7, 2011

This is DIY

After posting about our low budget recording setup, I took some quick photos around our "studio". Polaroid effect added for...um, effect.

This is our DIY vocal booth. It's basically two microphone stands in a "V" with a blanket and Lightning McQueen sleeping bag draped over them. We stand in the center of the V when we track vocals. The wall directly behind this setup is covered with a large blue comforter, held up by painters tape. Vocal cheat sheet visible on the left. It gets a little tight in there and since the air conditioning vent rattles, it has to be closed when we track.

One advantage of recording at home is that I get to hoard all of the amps. Not just mine, but all the amps owned by the other band members. I'd like to be on Hoarders one day, surrounded by nothing but amplifiers and guitars. My wife has the same recurring dream, only she wakes up screaming.

More amp and geetar porn.

Finally, here's our computer and the ridiculously small screen. Note the size ratio of said screen with the studio monitors.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Baby (Elephant) Steps

It's been a ridiculously long time since this we've given any type of update, so I thought I'd check in and give an accounting of how we've spent the last 9 months.

As we had previously mentioned, all non-album related band activities came to a halt while we finished up Palace Amusements. I'm sorry to say that this meant passing on some wonderful show offers and that always sucks. We made two exceptions for our January 2011 shows with The Seldon Plan as part of their farewell (or hopefully just "see you later") tour. It's weird looking back at the first half of the calendar for 2011 and seeing only two dates. It's our least productive year by far (performance wise, anyway). But the good news is that all of that self-imposed solitude actually worked. We've finished the overdubs and we're halfway through the vocal tracking and a third of the way through mixing. The mixing is being handled by Frank Marchand who has worked on the last few Bob Mould records as well as The Seldon Plan's The Collective Now. The artwork for Palace Amusements is being handled by our good friend, Mr. Chris Gash. Unfortunately, my idea to feature a baby elephant on the cover (partially as a reference to their gestational period and partially as a reference to this album cover) was overruled. We're very excited to have Chris and Frank (and their amazing talents) on our record. On our end of the record needs to wrap by the end of July and it will wrap on time. I say that with certainty because a) we have no other option and b) we are all ready for this thing to come out. Very ready.

We're looking at an early November release date on The Beechfields record label which means that when all is said and done, Palace Amusements will have taken us a ghastly two years to finish. I could write volumes as to why this happened and what we would have done differently, but I won't bore you with these things. There isn't one right or wrong way to make a record, but we definitely discovered one of the wrong ways. In contrast, we knocked out Sudden Fiction in two weekends, but that isn't exactly the right way to go about it either. In the end, most of this comes down to money or a lack of it. All we really want to do is make records and if that means tracking in the spare bedroom and using your son's Lightning McQueen sleeping bag as a vocal booth, then so be it.

Now that we are on the back nine, we are resuming our normal band activities. We had all four members together in a rehearsal room last Tuesday for the first time in six months, which felt kind of like the first day of school. With Chinese food. We're also booking shows again starting with two dates with those fine chaps The Anderson Council (7/29 at Crossroads and 8/26 at Asbury Lanes) and we've got some things in the works for September and beyond but I'm probably getting (way) ahead of myself again.

So that's the update for now, but we'll be around a lot more often.

And I'm back to the makeshift sleeping bag vocal booth.

- Jerry