Some friends and I have been writing for an album of super-dumb joke songs. This is a demo of one that's got a distinctly 90s-britpop vibe.
another improvised chord sesh on the acoustic guitar where I then overdubbed the other instruments!
somehow managed to write this today and then record a million takes of it on my front porch. chords are far apart, words are close together — pretty difficult for me to sing but we're getting there
A cast-off 30-second demo of a Christmas tune you might recognize. [more inside]
This song is dedicated to Richard Spencer's unknown assailant. [more inside]
Home demo for a forthcoming studio production. A love song from a photo resolution target in the Mojave desert to the aerial reconnaissance pilot flying overhead. [more inside]
Demo of a punk song about my kid. [more inside]
I raced against the clock to finish this one before 2017: a song-journey on the Westbound Twin Cities Hiawatha train between Chicago and Minneapolis, operated by the Milwaukee Road from 1935-1971. [more inside]
Demo recorded with my iPhone's Garageband. Very rare recording of me playing enthusiastic but imperfect drums. Next recording will not feature me on drums. [more inside]
Home demo for a future studio production. A recounting of the events of the Sespe Wilderness tragedy of January 1969. Lyrics below the fold. [more inside]
First demo for RPM2016. 9 songs to go! [more inside]
another short-form pop demo w/vox.... struggling to get the lyrics, 2nd verse and overall phrasing ironed out, so wanted to crank out the demo at least so I can move onto something else for a while.
Super-straightforward take on Brad Sucks's classic song Dirtbag. [more inside]
Home demo for a future studio production. A retelling of the Wyandot legend of Kitchikewana. Lyrics below the fold. [more inside]
There's a saying that aging is like sailing into an asteroid field, where the asteroids get thicker and thicker until one hits you. This is a song about that. One take everything. Video.
Quick if somewhat epic demo knocked together over the weekend... featuring glockenspiel, mellotron, piano, and baritone twang. Video shenanigans featuring multiple clones over here.
demo - original project file lost. Like this one though
This has been the worst winter in 20 years where I am. It's still snowing horizontally as I speak. So I wrote a summer song as a big middle finger to the damn cold. [more inside]
I've been digitizing some cassettes, and found this, which I'd COMPLETELY forgotten. It was the first time I had ever set foot in a recording studio, and the first song of mine that ever got recorded properly. Story inside. [more inside]
Sailing Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands [more inside]
In June 2010, I posted a song called Womankind. I was just digging through some old demo recordings and found the demo for this song. [more inside]
This was a fast and dirty demo I made up to teach my band the song. Kinda like how it came out, so I figured I'd throw it up here. Nice little garage rock tune. Nifty synths. [more inside]
I decided to rearrange this song that I posted before to take out some of the crazy modulation and make it more straightforward. What do you think? [more inside]
This is a balls out little rush of a song that I came up with on my iPhone of all places. After I got the first line I realized it was going to have to continue in the same vein so I went over to AskMe for help. I just meant this to be a rough sketch but I ended up liking the feel of it even though it's ridiculously ragged. The song's a sort of statement of intent, I guess. Equal parts Elvis Costello, Cheap Trick and the Stones, more or less. [more inside]
One-take before-pants demo of a cynical little song that's been buzzing round in my head recently. Video here. [more inside]
This is a super-rough demo of a song I wrote yesterday for the 'Has Been for Years' song fight. It's a gothic little waltz using a resonator guitar, told from the point of view of a trooper in the 7th cavalry who was killed at Little Big Horn while waiting to be relieved by Reno's troops. Recorded before I put my pants on, for the challenge. Video proof is here. [more inside]
Off of my combo's demo, this is a 12 bar blues I wrote in college, the changes are a little... non-standard. [more inside]
I've been trying to come up with a love story titled ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS for a movie, but this fell out instead. Video link inside. [more inside]
A demo of a composition of my own I'm working on. If you've got ideas on direction or structure or whatever, comments are welcome. [more inside]
It's really freakin' hard to write a song about someone you weren't in love with. [more inside]
The year is 1996. I'm in my neighbor's tiny basement studio. I am making my first remotely professional recording. I am earnest. I am 17 years old. [more inside]
A rough mix of a song in progress. Constructive criticism sought! [more inside]
Mrs. Archivist and I are collaborating on musical project. Recording includes acoustic and electric guitars, synths, traps, accordion, and cello. [more inside]
Another slice of 1995 Big Star/Television influenced indie ephemera from my 4-track cassette box. I still really love this guitar riff and the herky jerky power pop stuff at the end of the chorus. A song about not wanting someone to feel bad for dumping you. When I first heard Sloan, I thought 'man, they stole my sound' although really we both stole Velvet Crush's. [more inside]
Another semi-autobiographical 1995 slice of cheerful melancholia. But a pretty guitar riff and one of my favorite choruses to sing, even if I never really could hit the last note. There's an electric version of this with more of a Big Star / Matthew Sweet feel, but darned if I can find it and anyway I like this one. [more inside]
Really old demo recording that I recently found on a decaying tape. [more inside]
A rehearsal demo of a rejiggered older song, meant for my Irish-American garage band, The Peter O'Tooles. [more inside]
A whole lot of naughty in two minutes in this practice demo for my Irish-American band, The Peter O'Tooles. [more inside]
Another RPM demo, this one a super-upbeat thing about neurotic fears about what one's ex is getting up to. [more inside]
I recorded my first band. ( Nessie James & The Unknowns) Was my first paid studio gig time. This is the 2nd mix of sorts. Still more to add. [more inside]
Demo for a song about my neighborhood here in Los Angeles...with mouth trumpet!
Another entry in my recent demo series of posts. I posted a not-quite-done version of the track here, featuring piano and overly heavy drums. It's a song about the old classic video game "Snake". I'm sure I'll revisit the "proper" recording some day, but in the meantime, this is a nice performance. [more inside]
This is the demo I recorded for this song posted earlier. I slapped some kind of distortion effect over it to approximate the feel I wanted in the final version. Although it's too hazy-sounding and the vocals are nearly unintelligble, I really love a lot of things about this recording. It sounds like some kind of important uncovered secret to me. Anyway, this post is part of an "evolution of my songs" series I started here and here.
As a follow-up to this post, here is the demo I recorded for the song I posted a long time ago here. As before, the idea is to share something about the evolution of my songs for anyone who might care.
A demo that I later recorded and posted here. I'm posting this as a contribution along the lines of what others have done before me -- providing a window into my songwriting. Plus, I wouldn't be surprised if some prefer this version.
Another from the waste-bin of demos that never went anywhere. Gauging from the effects unit, I'd say 1996; at least pre-1997.
Hey, times are tough, money is tight, and posting Hallelujah to Mefi Music sure ain't gonna pay no bills. So, lately I've been putting together a demo, with an eye toward getting a little voiceover work. Here's an outtake...
Transuniversal love story. [more inside]
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