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Talking Small Talk: One Year of Bliss

Posted on Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 // 0 Responses.

That right there is a song called “21,” a b-side from Small Talk, which came out one year ago today. Now, you’re probably saying “one year ago?! Small Talk has become such an ingrained part of my daily life, my existence, that I cannot believe I was so empty such a short time ago.” I know, it’s crazy, but I assure you it’s true.

Just twelve short months ago we were reeling from the death of Margaret Thatcher and celebrating the United States’s win against Canada in the 2013 IIHF Women’s World Championship when the .png seen round the world changed everything. Yes, dozens of people fell in love with that baby on a cell phone — a dubious choice of artwork for anything you want to be taken seriously — but more importantly, they enjoyed the music, or at least tolerated it.

Despite the dense, dark, death-obsessed lyrics and the sequencing faux-pas of ending the album with two songs with long intros into explosive midsections and outros (seriously, there was no other way to do it), Small Talk has made its way in the hearts and iTunes libraries of perhaps even one thousand people! That would be a pretty impressive mass of humans if they were all in one place, but they probably aren’t the kind of people who like to leave their house anyway, for the most part.

This song is a gift to them. It’s a gift to you. It’s a little more hopeful than usual, and an argument could be made that it’s kind of a love song. We left it off of Small Talk because it just wasn’t negative enough. Now, in these dark days of the #emorevival, we feel that it’s important to celebrate, to embrace whatever positivity you can find. Mostly it just seemed like a good time to release a b-side.

Thank you for caring and for paying attention.

Lyrics:

To summarize your life
It’s best not to ask why
And should your ears stop ringing
Revel in the silence
And with a sentimental sigh
And nostalgia mostly synthesized
Accept and summon up your spine
And watch the sun rise from the other side

Don’t compare your length of hair
The taste of water
Or the quality of air
Try to limit empty stares
Settle down; don’t think about
The myriad uncertain or underwhelming
Sights and smells, touches, tastes and sounds

What a blessing to believe in and to mean
Written on the corpse of trees or carried by the words you speak

To summarize your life
It’s best not to ask why
And should your ears stop ringing
Revel in the silence
And with a sentimental sigh
And nostalgia mostly synthesized
Accept and summon up your spine
And watch the sun rise from the other side

As to the din crescendoing
The brinks unbroken by the ever-present itch
Of popular opinion
And if by science or tinnitus
Synagogue or sweet sweet silence
The revolution will be small and insignificant

As a summary I would like to present
A set of skeletons irrelevant
The gift of growing older and starting to know better
A skill set well accrued thanks to a faulty attitude

As a way of life I would like to transcend
The cynic’s smirk; the misanthrope’s intent
And substitute a stronger, altogether better mantra
A phrase both to repeat and into which I can retreat

I am in love that is enough

Reconciliation is a year old! Have a B-Side!

Posted on Sunday, November 3rd, 2013 // 0 Responses.


Reconcilation is a year old as of yesterday. The music is much older than that, but the packaged 1s and 0s of web content that are those 10 songs dates back to November 2, 2012. It took me a very long to record and release that album because those songs were and continue to be very important to me. For whatever reason, though, I didn’t do much of any promotion when I released the album. I posted on a couple message boards, and on the folk punk subreddit, but I didn’t do the usual “email a million blogs which ignore you anyway” thing.

I’ve been humbled by the pockets of people who seem to have stumbled onto the album and found something meaningful to them. If it’s not too self-(adjective) [LOL!], I had hoped that might happen, and I hope it continues to happen. Those ten songs chronicle a specific set of experiences and way of songwriting I haven’t really attempted since. I’m not in the business of trying to recapture lightning in a bottle, because lightning is dangerous and I’m an indoors kind of guy anyway, so I don’t necessarily see myself putting out anything else as (Person) (Noun) in the near future. If/when it happens, it will be because it’s made itself clear, it’s necessary. Like Batman in a Batman movie, I will gruffly remark and don my folk punk cape.

This song is a b-side from Reconciliation. I wrote it a few months after I wrote the main album, but then since I took so long to record and release it, I had considered putting it on. It is very much thematically linked. To the dude in Price Chopper who had that shirt on, I hope you continue to be much better at reconciling than I was at the time.

As always, thank you so much for listening.

 

Lyrics:

So this is art and I am held responsible
My actions far removed but sometimes still reprehensible
This is exactly what I wanted I explained
Stagnant water must evaporate

Oh disaster what new mystery is this?
Take my sympathy, my energy, and my wallet
And pump me up and string me out but leave my feet still on the ground
Their soles are soft — a privilege unrenounced

Truly I tell you
We shall be redeemed
By the time our blood thins in these wretched bodies
Truly I tell you
Verily I preach
Forgiveness and redemption, vaccinated immunity

Oh forgive!
The man I saw in a supermarket chain with a “fuck capitalism” t-shirt on
And two full bags of groceries
Oh forgive! We know exactly what we’ve done

Oh forgive!
The thousands of humans with slogans and painted signs that deny
With not a single shred of empathy inside
Oh forgive! We know exactly what we’ve done

Oh redeem!
Near and far and present company
Tethered together not by respect and trust but by electricity
Oh redeem! And prove and teach the proper way to speak

Oh redeem!
The tributaries, oceans, gulfs and seas
Black with oil and with doubt and practiced inequality
Oh redeem! And prove and teach the proper way to clean

For we say repent
But it hasn’t happened yet

SMALL TALK IS OUT AND IN ALL CAPS

Posted on Monday, April 8th, 2013 // 0 Responses.

cover

I almost called this post This… Is… SMALL TALK but I’ve never seen that movie, or really almost any movie.

I write to you from a cozy rowhome in the shadow of the art museum in Philadelphia to tell you that our new album is now available worldwide. This is admittedly less impressive than it would have been 100 years ago. 100 years ago it was impressive that cumin was available worldwide. Look, I’m not going to research that claim. I am going to tell you that I know for a fact that women couldn’t vote 100 years ago. I think you’ll agree that we live in a better world now that our new album is out.

So how can you get it? Well, you can stream it to your right. No, too far… back a little… yeah. Where it says 1.  Small Talk. You can head over to OUR BANDCAMP to download it for absolutely FREE. It’s a better deal than even modern-day cumin.

As we have worked quite hard on it, I would implore you to consider giving us some of your (or your parents’) money. There are all sorts of cool things that can happen if you do that. Let’s look at them together. I’m gonna bold that whole section. It’s gonna look annoying:

Every $5 you spend entitles you to one more of the things.

$5 tier (pick one):
-Set of 13 of Adam’s original acoustic demos (featuring some songs not on the album) for Small Talk
-Set of 9 full band demos for Small Talk
-Set of 5 random acoustic demos from the next Sister City album

$10 tier (pick one of the $5 tier as well):
-Adam will handwrite the lyrics of a song of your choosing and also write you a letter in which he tries to make small talk.

$25 tier (includes all 3 of the $5 tier or the letter):
-Adam will record an acoustic cover of a song of your choosing. Be reasonable.

$50 tier (Includes everything from $5 tier + letter):
-Adam will write you a song about a subject of your choosing. He’s done it for people before and they were happy with it.

Again, you can do all of that at OUR BANDCAMP page.

If you share this post on any of your favorite social networks and email us at sistercityband@gmail.com, you get one thing from the $5 tier free. Okay, buh-bye.

Small Talk release information!

Posted on Monday, April 1st, 2013 // 0 Responses.

Might I interest you in the details for our new album? No? How about a song from it first?

Oh, so now you’re interested?

Here’s the deal: our new album, Small Talk, is coming out on April 9th of this year. You can get it RIGHT NOW, though. Share this on Facebook, Twitter, or any of your favorite social networks, tell us you did, and we’ll send you the album as well as a set of 13 acoustic demos from the album! You’ll be the talk of the town, strutting around with the new Sister City album up to a week early!

cover
1. Small Talk
2. Today was My Day to Die and You Ruined It
3. Horsey!
4. Every Stone
5. Psalm 26
6. Kin
7. Room 222
8. Extreme Fever
9. Who Knows
10. Normal Sized Words
11. Adm Gives Up the Dream

 

(Person) (Noun) – Reconciliation

Posted on Friday, November 2nd, 2012 // 0 Responses.

How about a new album? Were are still working very hard on Small Talk, but in the meantime there is the matter of a little project called (Person) (Noun) that I mention every so often. Well, no more mentioning. It exists and you can listen to it here:

It’s free, of course. You may enjoy it if you like fast acoustic guitar or thinking about things that make you feel uncomfortable. There are liner notes included with the download. Click this thing to download it: http://sistercity.bandcamp.com/album/reconciliation

All Apologies (to the neighbors)

Posted on Sunday, September 9th, 2012 // 0 Responses.

Hot off the discovery that someone other than me googled my name today (to get to the Bandcamp, no less), I figured it was time for an update on the very real progress that is being made on the album called Small Talk.

Let’s get right to it:

I been singing for the past couple weeks. I been singing so much that there are really only harmonies left to record. Lord, I been singing so much that I’ve created entire gigabytes of data that simply didn’t exist two weeks ago. What have you done? I thought so. Here’s how I been singing.

1. Enter the kitties’ room.
2. Set up a Neumann TLM102 in front of a big piece of foam called a VoxGuard.
3. Plug it into a Focusrite ISA One preamp.
4. Plug that into a Focusrite Saffire 56
5. Plug that into a MacBook Pro running Pro Tools 9.
6. Entice the kitties to leave kitties’ room, then shut the door and start yelling until your voice is too tired to keep going, or you feel too guilty to keep singing.

Now this ain’t no professional studio. Sometimes a kid does a wheelie on a dirt bike by the window and that take is shot — or improved, depending on how you look at it. Dirt bike remix coming soon. The ceilings in this apartment are very high, like 100+ inches. This gives the vocals a nice natural reverb, according to one of the excuses I tell myself about the lack of soundproofing. We’ll fix it in post. (WINK FACE)

Now, one of  my main focuses on this blog has always been to demystify the record making process. I tend to sing 3 or 4 full takes of a song, then combine them into a Franken-take once I’m back in the lab. This is called comping, short for “comparing-different-vocal-takes-until-you-assemble-one-that-tricks-people-into-thinking-that-you’re-a-COMPetent-singer.” I sang everything but one word of verse 2 great? Okay, grab the word “disgust” from another take. Call it a day.

Ah, if only we could call it a day. Next is editing. Just like with drums, sometimes you gotta snip and drag. It comes down to an aesthetic decision. If I sang something a little out of time, maybe it sounds good. Maybe it should be soullessly aligned to a grid. A little bit of each, usually.

I’m gonna go do laundry right now, but over the next couple weeks I’m going to keep singing, comping, dragging, and drinking huge amounts of throat coat tea. The wheels are moving again.

Real talk

Posted on Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 // 0 Responses.

Now usually I wouldn’t do this, but uh
Lemme go ahead and break you off a little preview of the reason our album isn’t out yet

Now I’m not tryna upset you
But I’ve got to break the news
See, while I do the thing I do
I ended up unable to
With all this recording and singing
I done lost my voice and the feeling
All up in my throat keeps itchin
Tellin you like it’s ignition

So baby gimme that pity
Making me feel witty
Out through my mouth in my nose
Breathing tryna sing notes
While you forget we exist

It’s the reason we’ve been quiet
My throat has all but been silent
Since maybe March of this year
I’ve been living deep in the fear
That since it hasn’t improved
I might never sing to you
But I’m in therapy to fix it
So I dunno, maybe the album will be out by the end of this year or something?

Bounce bounce bounce bounce bounce
Bounce bounce bounce

Let’s recap: I lost my voice in March after recording, and it never really came back. I’m doing voice therapy and exercises to get it back, but that’s going to take a while. I told you in the style of Ignition (Remix) because that’s a great song and I just finished reading Soulacoasta: A Diary of Me. Anyway, continue living your lives, I’ll let you know when something’s up.

And Time Is Slipping Through Your Little Fingers

Posted on Friday, June 8th, 2012 // 0 Responses.

I’m going to treat this like a high school teacher. There’s a new (old) song, but it’s at the end of the post. You’ll have to wait until the end of class to get your exams back.

One year, huh? I don’t need to go into detail about the process of making Carbon Footprint. It’s painstakingly documented a few pages back on this here blog. I will say that it was unquestionably the hardest I’d ever worked on anything at that point in my life. I’ll also say that since the album came out, I’ve learned a lot of things: about engineering, about promotion, and about people. Let’s get a little bit sappy.

I’m not fooling myself that there are thousands–or even hundreds–of adoring fans reading this right now (unless you’re reading from the future and we’ve gotten famous making crunkstep or some silly thing, in which case I admire your dedication. Sorry about the real instruments). I do know that if you’re reading this, we have a connection. Carbon Footprint, thanks to the power of the internet, enabled me to connect with individual people across the country. You know who you are.

Over the course of recording our new record, I’ve been having trouble with my voice. As it turns out, the cause seems to be fairly innocuous (silent reflux? That sounds ridiculous), but it made me think. Before I knew what was going on, I constructed all sorts of worst-case scenarios where I’d never sing again. Obviously that’s not going to happen, but you know how these things are. It’s made me appreciate what I have. If I were DJ Khaled I’d talk about how it only makes me grind harder. This is what I want to do with my life, and anyone who has ever supported us in even the smallest way enables that.

So this is a present for you. We recorded this song way back in summer 2010, with the rest of Carbon Footprint. Originally “Poland, 1845” was going to be the b-side, and this song, “And Time Is Slipping Through Your Little Fingers” was going to be on the album. Good decision? You decide. Shout out to Mike for naming this song back in the day. I hope you’re good. Enjoy:

MP3 download: http://www.mediafire.com/?k58pmm39c6ij8bf
FLAC download: http://www.mediafire.com/?zmphe71q36xchz2

The Process #20 — Gin and Juice

Posted on Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 // 0 Responses.

Date Recorded: Spring 2005

Another 10 weeks of The Process, another “man, it’s not the same anymore. Now he’s posting rap covers from 2005. I like everything but rap and country, so this is really upsetting.” Okay, first of all, hold your horses. The Process #25 is going to be a landmark episode. Hold out until then. Second of all, in order to get to the past, we’ve got to confront the distant past. It’s history lesson time.

Read More…

 
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