Originally by man vs sun, recorded while just dicking around with a microphone. [more inside]
Easy, nostalgic, cinematic electronica. The challenging part was getting the robots to sing - not too mechanically, but not too uncannily either.
Layers of soft guitar distortion with pseudo-indian instruments thrown in, under a falsetto vocal over a deeper background vocal going through a guitar amp. I'm kind of proud of the lyrics, which are about staying true. [more inside]
A cover some friends and I will be performing at a cabaret here in New York in a couple weeks. [more inside]
Lately I've been in a mood to sing vintage romantic standards in a very straight up way. Some day I want to do a version of this song inspired by Anita O'Day. This ain't it. You can still feel free to dance, though! [more inside]
I've pinpointed the reason our economy is in shambles. It wasn't the subprime mortgage crisis. It wasn't Bernie Madoff. It wasn't even the president. The moment our global economy collapsed was when Bob Barker retired as game show host. [more inside]
Rehearsing some totally new Gershwin torch songs. Well, not new for the Gershwins. They're pretty dead. New for me, though. :) [more inside]
Hope to revisit this one day-- piano by the talented Wang sisters: http://www.youtube.com/user/lipatti [more inside]
Spur-of-the-moment lo-fi live cover of the Radiohead song off Hail to the Thief, to which I added a couple of equally rough overdubs and some reverb. The guitar is out of tune and poorly played, but the vocal melody tweaks are kind of fun. [more inside]
Yes, it's Disney, with some nice jazzy guitar as background courtesy of Adrian Holovaty...I tried to add a few touches of my own, I hope you enjoy.
Me singing the Harry Warren song, without any backing, feel free to mashup/remix, etc. [more inside]
from Bizet's opera Carmen. Recorded with pianist Andy Kraus in the heat and humidity of a DC summer. [more inside]
More three part me... Took the arrangement from the Wailin' Jennys [more inside]
A short, lyrically strange new song partly based on a dream. [more inside]
A new song about my bad tendency to just pack up and leave without warning. [more inside]
I was walking around in the garment district at night on valentine's day years ago, and spotted a beautiful woman walking alone across the street. Despite being glamorously dressed up, she looked like she had lost all faith in men. She was carrying a heart-shaped balloon and huge flowers. This song is sort of about that. [more inside]
Part of my Old Songs project. A tale of loss and regret told in the manner of a Mexican ragtime cowboy song. [more inside]
Another in my "Old Songs" series, where I record lo-fi versions of songs I wrote quite a while ago. This one came from sometime about 1996, and, as far as I can tell, it was composed in a fit of Brechtian depression after listening to an evening of Yiddish art songs. [more inside]
WILDCARD challenge -- again with the three part acapella harmony [more inside]
I started singing back when I was darn near tone deaf and had the breath control of someone recovering from a pool accident. I think I've gotten better, so I'd like people who don't know me to have a listen. [more inside]
Hey Jude in three part (x2) harmony [more inside]
This is about one of those times when you know you really shouldn't, but you just can't help yourself...;) [more inside]
Three part improv harmony recorded on a laptop mic. [more inside]
Another little bass-and-vocal 4-track oddity; just a common story that everyone's probably seen unfolding at some point.
An atheist's song about the nature of politics and religion in the U.S.
Guitar-based melancholy song with vocals. I've had this around for several years, and keep thinking I'll continue to dabble with the outro. I think it's time to just let it out. I wrote this after the breakup of a 7 year relationship. I like the lyrics, and the little solo, and many other things about it. The long fade-out ending is over-indulgent and a bit off-key, but imperfect as the song may be, it has heart.
If I only had wings, I would fly to you... If I had chains, I would pull you to me... Just open up my heart, you'll see that it's dark and heavy with my love to you... Late last night, we wanted to capture the intimacy and quiet sparkle of this old song ... Hope it brings you a moment of peace and loveliness... [more inside]
A "drifty" and atmospheric song about life and death and love, complete with harp. [more inside]
What if Wolverine decided to become a carpenter? [more inside]
A simple cover of a song from Animal Collective's newest album, which MetaFilter greeted with a great deal of enthusiasm. I was kind of reluctant to upload this one, because there are some things about the singing that I don't like (mostly timing and range), but I'm curious to hear what you guys think of it.
A song about race and baseball.
This is a lazy pseudo-live cover of the Bruce Springsteen song, recorded on a whim a couple of years ago.
On this 2nd anniversary of hurricane Katrina, I thought I'd post this song, which I wrote and recorded in the days following the disaster. In 2005, when I first posted it to my own web site, I received some comments from folks who were pretty incensed by it. I'd never had such visceral negative reactions to a song. Should you be interested, you can read some of those comments and my replies here. I also just posted a live version (from a gig earlier this month) to YouTube. [lyrics inside]
a swarm in a small room.
Written and recorded for the serpentine challenge now underway. My buddy Ken Kawashima brought in the North Mississippi blues riff and yours truly did the rest. Apologies to animal rights advocates, but some snakes were severed during the recording of this song. Had to be done. [lyrics inside]
There must've been hundreds of times over the years that I've tapped out a rhythm on a pan full of water while doing the dishes, the pitch woozily shifting as the h2o sloshes about. At those times I've almost always thought, hey, I should put this on a track sometime. Of course, I never did, until the first MeFi Music Challenge, with its "water" theme. Along with the big metal bowl full of troubled waters, you'll hear jawharp, talking drum, bombo drum, bell, shaker and vocal. [Lyrics and more inside]
Acapella sample, killer synth, creepy fembot vocals. A song about hats.
late night meeting with a street musician, near saint anne, in Montpellier. Lots of things to say, many songs in his bag, mostly sharing the same chords (!?). Nice feeling.
Hi, this is the sequel to my previous post : old french song. Actually, this song was the following one we sang during the concert in the church "des frères prècheurs", Arles, in 2006.
A little something my girl and I put together.
In a departure for me, this tune features no percussion, synths, jaw harps, scrap metal or hand held mini-vibrators, but is simply accompanied by... an acoustic guitar. Radical, huh? Anyway, as you might guess from the title, the tune is a kind of meditation on New York City. Hope you enjoy.
In a slow count of 5, here's some kind of convergence of Burma and the blues, or thereabouts. "scissors cut paper / paper blows away / stone smashes scissors / and so it goes / another day / but it's all downhill from here / at least that's what sisyphus said /ah you're fucked six ways from sunday / with the blues wrapped round your head"
Another 2006 rehearsal recording... cleaned up but obviously very rough still. Don't Go To Strangers was written in 1954 by Arthur Kent and David Mann, with gorgeous lyrics by Redd "Frim Fram Sauce" Evans. Many people have covered it, but Etta James' version is the one that infatuated me to give it a go myself. Gorgeous piano work provided by the perpetually kickass Tamir Hendelman
rambling RPM Challenge song.
Another 2006 CD rehearsal. I love timeless lyrics... and this 1920 tune by Irving Berlin captures human nature perfectly. It was repopularized by an arm-swinging Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The Nat King Cole Trio did it better though.
Piano fabulousness by the astoundingly talented (and now Grammy Nominated!) Tamir Hendelman
Piano fabulousness by the astoundingly talented (and now Grammy Nominated!) Tamir Hendelman
Ok, so here's my spin on another old song. This Walter Donaldson/Gus Kahn composition was first featured in Florenz Zeigfield's 1928 Broadway musical Whoopee, starring Eddie Cantor & Ruth Etting, who took the song to #2 on the charts. In 1955, Doris Day starred in a biographical movie about Etting called "Love Me or Leave Me" & her updated rendition became a giant hit. Flash forward to 1967... Nina Simone turned this hokey old Ziegfeld tune into a completely reworked masterpiece of piano & voice (download link is at bottom). My own version (heard best live, I think) is definitely inspired by Nina's, but it could never compare to hers -- I just do my own thing & try to make it my own a bit. It's a fun song to do... audiences seem to love it. Incredible basswork once again provided by bass God Chris Conner.
This song is by Skist (my duo with singer/electronicist Haruna Ito). It's from our new CD. [lyrics inside]
This is a recently recorded song that'll probably go on my next release. I'm not sure yet about the mix, but I guess it's good enough in its current state for a spin around the MeFi block. Party down y'all. [lyrics inside]</small]
This is a tune from a 1995 release called "Samm Bennett's History of the Last Five Minutes", from the Knitting Factory label. The CD is currently out of print. The guitarist is Hahn Rowe, everything else is me. I've been thinking about re-releasing this and possibly my earlier KF CDs on my own label (Yay! Rights have reverted back to yours truly!) but I've got a bunch of new songs I wanna release first. Thought I'd just throw this one out there into the ether. Anyway, [lyrics inside] and, hope you enjoy...
A track from an EP I just released called Friendly Songs. The five songs were written for livejournal friends who responded to a memepost.