HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

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HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

Post by tonyoci » Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:45 pm

www.homemadehitshow.com

Today we discuss

* Edginess in home recorded music
* Dave's new (and old) guitar
* Tony's continuing recording frustrations

We get to hear some of Dave's XTC show practices

Also some fun from Tim Hawkins. You can find more on youtube and at http://www.timhawkins.net/

Today's songs

Freedom - Michael Lyzenga

Very Small Boy - Frank Canonica

Tiny Pieces - Earnie Bledsoe and Kerry Penley
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Re: HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

Post by minerman » Fri Aug 28, 2009 5:26 pm

Listened this week & liked the comedy songs, especially the Guns-n-Roses & Pearl Jam! :lol: I have to say I actually know Earnie Bledsoe. Earnie is married to my neice, & we played in various bands together. He's a great guitar player & a really good guy in general. I'd heard "Tiny Pieces" awhile back, but din't realize how good it was until listening again today. Liked the bit on the new G&L guitar too. Good show this week, gonna call Earnie & tell him he's famous now!!!!
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Re: HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

Post by Gu Djin » Fri Aug 28, 2009 5:29 pm

Started listening to the show before you posted onto the forum. Quite enjoyed the chat.

Why aren't home recordings edgy? I reckon most of us, well I 'll speak for myself have lost the earnestness of youth and are too obsessed with making professional sounding recordings at home without the input from a good producer. Oh yes and in most cases without a band. It's very hard to get a feeling of spontaneousness when it's one, or two people recording tracks in serial fashion That spark that you get from the other musicians, difficult to recreate in isolation. And singing to a backing track after you checked to make sure no one is listening and set up the recorder, and checked the levels etc. sortof puts the mockers the singing itself.

Still it is fun trying.

Oh yes nice choice of songs. Did I doze through Zoetropes minute? :lol:

Good show folks
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Re: HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

Post by Zoetrope » Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:22 pm

Freedom - Michael Lyzenga
Very very cool sound to this. Great job. Love the vocal.

Very Small Boy - Frank Canonica
Reminds me of Paul Simon. Good tune. Nice job on the backup vocals and guitars.

The fake commercials
Good stuff.

We get to hear some of Dave's XTC show practices
Sounds great!

Tiny Pieces - Earnie Bledsoe and Kerry Penley
Good song.

Another good show despite the lack of a Zoetrope Minute (or a Snubby song for that matter :evil: )
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Re: HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

Post by ornaith » Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:55 pm

Edginess:
-Interesting stuff. Partly it depends on the style (compare Nick Drake or David Kitt to U2 or the White Stripes, for example) and what sort of music you want to make. It's not necessarily a bad thing to make mellow, 2a.m. style music-- if that's what's in your head. That sort of thing is easier to accomplish as a single home recorder. To make rawer, heavier, stuff, it is extremely challenging as a single home recorder. There's the chemistry of playing with a group, and there's the difficulty of getting the space and time to do a really loud, raw, uninhibited vocal. The latter has been a real challenge for me. Bottom line: I have to be home alone. It's hard to pour your guts out if your partner's next door reading the paper or doing the washing up or whatever. I don't know any real way around that. Suggestions welcome... (But again, if the mood of the song is low-key, it's not a problem.) Another thing: it is a significant aid to "edginess" if there is a short time-lag between composition and completed recording. The most "edgy" thing I've done, a song called "Leaving Town," was written and recorded the same night, if memory serves (or at least within a day or two).

Piss-take of Alanis Morrissette doing 3 Blind Mice:
- I chuckled aloud.


New guitar:

- I'm thinking of getting one of those Agile Les Pauls from Rondo; have heard a lot of good things about them.

"Vienna" by Ultravox

- I've always loved that song. High water mark of that particular early 80s synth sound, in many ways.

The songs...

-Really liked that first one, got that 2a.m. vibe I was talking about earlier.
-The last one-- not my genre, but really nicely done (is that a Tele?), homely, country-rock sound.

I realize now I must have missed the middle song. I think I went to the fridge or something...
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Re: HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

Post by tonyoci » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:54 pm

Ornaith, I'm no Nick Drake fan but despite being balladic his stuff really is edgy still. It's hard to define what I mean really but I think most of us understand.

I own an Agile Les Paul copy. It's a good guitar but the style is not right for me so I'm thinking of selling it. We should talk :)
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Re: HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

Post by chckn8r » Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:43 pm

Wow, actually listened and posted on the same day... weird...

Again, fantastic show you two!

Freedom - Michael Lyzenga
- Michael, dude, that was some heavy, heavy stuff. Like Tony said above - even though it was slower than normal stuff, the edge on your voice carried through. Very cool!

Very Small Boy - Frank Canonica - Same comment as Zoetrope - I got a Paul Simmon vibe from this - very cool. Nice job on the vox!

Tiny Pieces - Earnie Bledsoe and Kerry Penley - what a fun tune! Like Dave said - epitomy of home recording. A well constructed tune presented in a nice, simple arrangement. Good on ya guys!

Edginess - I believe you guys hit on a lot of the reasons in your show. Ornaith and Leigh touched on a lot of good points too. It's not impossible to do. I TRY and do things with some "edge" - even if that means sacrificing some perfection to get that "feel". It's been mentioned a lot of times that, yeah, we're recording this stuff at home and when a microphone is involved, and there's other folks in the near vicinity, then it's hard to not be self-conscious. I, for one, have never recorded my singing while my wife is home. My kids, I can get away with, but they're usually way too rambunctious and their activities inevitably create significant sound-bleed issues...

I can only speak for myself, but I'm only just starting to discover how to actually sing with some sort of emotion in my voice. Even in all the bands I've been in, I never sang lead and for that matter, never had to emote any of my vox in a significant way. Lead singing is relatively brand new to me - it's damn hard to do!

Tony, I think you were suggesting that the "edge" goes beyond belting things out, but rather, transmitting the feelings and emotions accurately through performance. (?) That goes beyond just the vocal performance, but also the instrumental performance - which, when you're playing everything yourself, gets very difficult to do. The only thing I've found myself doing to try and accomplish some sort of performance "edge" is to record things iteratively. I'll keep parts that I think captured emotions correctly, but I've gotten myself to REALLY try and learn the parts I'm putting down and iteratively re-recording tracks - making iterative passes through all the instruments in the "band" multiple times. I dunno, there's some sort of "groove" that starts to build up through familiarity and parts start to take cues from others ... It's a long process, I kind of like the result

Okay, I'm blathering...

Waiting on pins 'n needles to see whether you guys actually play some of these place-name tunes you've supposedly received...

D
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Re: HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

Post by tonyoci » Sat Aug 29, 2009 12:43 am

But Dave Chick (for clarity), don't you think that the MIDI, soft synths and all that inherently lose the edge ?

Here's an observation I made that did not make the show (or maybe it was Dave). Everyone probably thinks that their stuff has edge, doesn't mean it does :)

I also suspect that knowing each other is a factor, I think it's hard for me to hear an edge in Criddle or Chick's stuff when I know what nice and pleasant guys they are.
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Re: HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

Post by criddlerus » Sat Aug 29, 2009 6:01 am

Edgieness - To me, it is like Tony said. Nick Drake has an edge. Even Harold Budd and Brian Eno's ambient stuff has an edge. It is something that makes things unique and challenging. It can be subtle. All the songs today had an edge for me:

Freedom - Michael Lyzenga - Edge - Deep, cutting vocal. Strong freedom theme.

Very Small Boy - Frank Canonica - This was a simple song that he dressed up and added interest. The vocals changed as the song went on, he had that 3 part harmony part in the middle. Another strong theme about childhood.

Tiny Pieces - Earnie Bledsoe and Kerry Penley - Simple recording but the edge here was the lyrics and how they blended well with the melody. The phrasing and words worked great together.

That is really what I mean by edge. Something that grabs you and makes you take notice.

Also, I don't think midi and virtual synths = no edge at all! Wittness my solo in Baby Doll or pretty much all Grandma Melonhead stuff. It all depends on how you use them. Mr. Chick has done some very cool stuff with synths.


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Thanks for all the comments folks I didn't check the boards Thursday as I was buying said new guitar. Will I like it? Time will tell. I think I am ultimately a fan of the 'good cheap guitar'. I think an Agile Les Paul is in my future but probably an SX Strat first. ;) Sungodv: yes, the graphite neck is actually wonderful. Lucas: great idea with the stickers! I would have thought of that 20 years ago. :) I will probably go that route and bring that guitar back into the rotation.
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Re: HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

Post by tonyoci » Sat Aug 29, 2009 11:11 am

My point was more that using a load of MIDI and quantizing and polishing etc. etc. removes the edge, too much sheen loses the edge for sure.
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Re: HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

Post by Gu Djin » Sat Aug 29, 2009 11:32 am

Ah Tony, now I get it you're talking about a rough edge, rather than a cutting edge. :lol:
:P
Oh well I thought it was funny ? :roll:

I'll go off and sulk in the corner now! :oops:
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Re: HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

Post by chckn8r » Sat Aug 29, 2009 12:10 pm

tonyoci wrote:But Dave Chick (for clarity), don't you think that the MIDI, soft synths and all that inherently lose the edge ?
They can, if you play them like a piano and quantize the heck out of the tracks for sure! I guess it depends what you're playing and what you're going after.

Synths can definitely have an edge if you start playing around with them - all those controls and knobs give you access to different things about the personality of the sound - not to mention using velocity, modulation, pitch, aftertouch....

If you play the synths straight, then they'll sound like if you play a guitar like a robot (same presure on the fretboard, same pick velocity, same contact point on the string...). If you start incorporating adjusting some of the parameters on the synth, it can be the same as playing a guitar with different pick velocities, hitting the string at different locations, muting strings, hammer-ons, etc...

On the quantization side, there are definitely some tricks that I use to have quantization "nudge" things towards a grid rather than lock them down. If you play around with quantization strength and swing (...to start - there are probably a lot of other parameters you can play with in quantization on your DAW), you can tidy things up with your MIDI without losing the "live" feel of the track.

Later! D
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Re: HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

Post by lucas » Sat Aug 29, 2009 6:09 pm

freedom:
this guy's voice is very compelling.
can we dub this 'Quiet Metal'?

Very Small Boy:
thought the recording was clean.
well done.

Tiny Pieces:
old middleskool HMHS
made me think of Edmunds/Rockpile/costello

Edginess in home recorded music
I agree with the lack of feeling free to explore or explode when working in an apartment or home where your noise it affects other people in a negative way.
There is also something to be said for jamming with other people and building a song out of the jam.

as far as synths go, using stock sounds usually means no edge.
getting an edge with synths can be as simple as running the output through a guitar stompbox(es) or other 'outboard' FX.

Tony's continuing recording frustrations
Re: 'recording the song in my head'
I had a writing partner who used to write in is head all the time.
he was able to work out all the parts ahead of time and so could turn out the recording quickly.
he also had perfect pitch and played guitar, bass & drums well.
He was also a knowledgebase on how to get certain tones.
He was far superior in his mastery of instruments and sound than I and this allowed him to do the translation from head to recording easily.

I guess my point is that that ability probably comes after reaching a certain point of skill with your instrument(s).

Also some fun from Tim Hawkins.
That 'Kid's Rock' ad was very cool.

Dave's new (and old) guitar
I bought a mid 2000 Squier Affinity Strat off craigslist for $65.
It plays really well and I didn't think twice about using it for experimenting with different pickups and other upgrades.
I've had several Squiers strats, a couple of teles and P-Basses.
I've been happy with all of them and the most I paid for any of them was $150 new.
That said, I'd really like a Fender Roadhouse strat... :)

We get to hear some of Dave's XTC show practices
ahh.. Statue of Liberty.
Your version sounds oddly Costello-ized.
or maybe like a Joe Jackson version.
sounded good though, not all like say 'Yes' or 'The Allman Brothers'. ;)

Vienna:
or they stole the drums from Kraftwerk.
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Re: HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

Post by storpotaten » Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:42 am

Thanks for another good show.

That "edginess" topic is interesting. I was thinking about addressing the vocal part of it in a segment, but you covered most of it now.
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Re: HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

Post by The Cracks » Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:06 am

Freedom - Michael Lyzenga - This captures a great vibe. Outstanding electric guitar and vocals. Lyrics are very good too. Great recording. Rather dreamy.

"Older people" :shock: ( :agree: Probaby so.)

I was just thinking how I always do either mid-tempo or slower ones. I rarely do fast ones. That's probably because I can't play guitar very well. To do fast guitar usually takes electric and bar chords. I stink at both.

Half the time I'm thinking of when I am going to stop recording songs. That probably isn't a good way to branch out into new styles, tempos, etc.

A lot of my vocal recording problems is that I record in a small rowhouse with neighbors very close by.

Less is often best when recording tracks, I say.

I rarely can record a song and hold it for days or longer before releasing it. I'm sure my songs pay the price for this impatience, but once I am done, I'm done. I recently read that Jimi Hendrix recorded some songs on his last album like 40 times and most people think it isn't as good as his first albums where they knocked the songs off relatively quicker.

Very Small Boy - Frank Canonica - Southern California. Nice.

This is cool. Sort of like a Grateful Dead meets Paul Simon. Really jazzy. :stick: Good job.

Not a big fan of joke music although I will say the idea behind this was good and the imitations were spot on. I agree, Dave, a tad bit too long, as many comedy bits are these days (ala' Saturday Night Live, etc.).

I don't buy any music and haven't for several years.

I'm heading to the guitar store tomorrow. I am either going to buy a new pickup for my acoustic guitar, or buy a new acoustic with the pickup built in, or maybe rent one if I can.

Is that a photo of a strat on the HMHS web site or a telecaster?

Dave, this is a cool live recording. Sounds great. :stick: I wish I could get live recordings this good.

Good God, Dave, how do you remember how the songs go? I can't even remember my own songs.

"Pro" vs "Piro". :rofl: Reminds me of George Costanza and the Bubble Boy. "It's Moors, you fool!" "The card says moops."

Tiny Pieces - Earnie Bledsoe and Kerry Penley - Yea, this is good. The lyrics are great. It has an early 70's California rock vibe, ala' the Flying Burrito Brothers. Nice song.
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Re: HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

Post by ornaith » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:38 am

Re: Nick Drake. Absolutely: a lot of his best stuff has a lot of "edge" in the sense of being emotionally gripping and "real." But that sort of edge-- in the context of a quieter sound-- is easier to achieve as a home recorder than the sort of edge one might aim at in a louder, more 'rock' style of music. The example that springs to mind is the last track of Slint's "Spiderland" album, where the vocalist ends up screaming "I miss you" in this absolutely harrowing emotional register. I can't imagine getting in that kind of "zone" at home-- not easily, anyway. I don't know if this is true, but a friend of mine told me that the guy put so much into that take that he threw up after the last line. Not something I want to emulate in a home recording situation...
Re: the Agile Les Paul. I've my eye on the silverburst. As a nipper, I got one of those guitar books with lots of geeky stuff about different models, how they are made, etc etc and there was a picture of a silverburst les paul custom: and a dream was born... Tony, what's your take on the Agile LP? It'll be my first foray out of single-coil land, so I'm curious to see how it will fit my sound. Maybe I'll start doing more rawk.
On the subject of guitars, I went to see "It Might Get Loud" the other day. Good fun, although I would have liked more guitar geek stuff and less of Jack White being po-faced.
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Re: HMHS 171 - Edginess Central (08/28/09)

Post by criddlerus » Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:21 pm

ornaith wrote:On the subject of guitars, I went to see "It Might Get Loud" the other day. Good fun, although I would have liked more guitar geek stuff and less of Jack White being po-faced.
Yes, I wonder if Jack White will be remembered in 20 years. :? Talented but I don't really like his stuff when it gets down to it. I wouldn't mind seeing him produce people though. Reminds me of what I am annoyed with my Billy Coragan.
ornaith wrote:Tony, what's your take on the Agile LP? It'll be my first foray out of single-coil land, so I'm curious to see how it will fit my sound. Maybe I'll start doing more rawk.
I just ordered the SX SST 57 in Powder Blue. It was either that or cherry red. :) I will let you know how that works out, but they have a lot of clips on YouTube of people extolling the virtues of Rondo's guitars: both SX and Agile. I haven't heard much about their Douglas line though. I will let you know how the SST 57 works out.

Tony isn't much of a guitar head, though he owns 7 or 8. I think it is certainly nice to have both single coil and humbuckers. My other guitar has two humbuckers with coil taps and a single coil. For some reason, a coil tapped humbucker just isn't the same as a single coil though physics-wise it probably should be.

I can see myself ordered a whole fleet of Rondo guitars! :)
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