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02/22/2012  — 

Song-A-Day In-Progress

Some truly amazing music rolling out of the 2012 Song-A-Day crew so far. The month is nearly done and people are feeling it. I'm feeling it.

Here are a few of the downloads we've noticed...

  downloads / files
803 /songs/2012/20120209_jonnybecky_expiration_date.mp3
725 /songs/2012/20120208_darin_instacanon.mp3
619 /songs/2012/20120205_darin_trippin.mp3
289 /songs/2012/20120209_peter_very_funny_elizabeth.mp3
285 /songs/2012/20120206_dberkman_calling_neptune.mp3
284 /songs/2012/20120214_dberkman_safari_of_love.mp3
277 /songs/2012/20120205_dberkman_hammer_reflections.mp3
255 /songs/2012/20120206_darin_epic.mp3
253 /songs/2012/20120207_dberkman_patience.mp3
223 /songs/2012/20120219_dberkman_path_of_the_heart.mp3
204 /songs/2012/20120213_jonnybecky_you_are_me.mp3
195 /songs/2012/20120216_dberkman_the_ground.mp3
195 /songs/2012/20120203_dberkman_the_tea_party.mp3
193 /songs/2012/20120204_dberkman_half_life.mp3
187 /songs/2012/20120215_dberkman_aftermath.mp3
179 /songs/2012/20120208_jonnybecky_corvair.mp3
171 /songs/2012/20120212_dberkman_alien_love_life.mp3
170 /songs/2012/20120202_dberkman_creatures_of_the_core.mp3
165 /songs/2012/20120203_darin_left_behind.mp3
162 /songs/2012/20120210_jonnybecky_anymore1.mp3
153 /songs/2012/20120207_jonnybecky_ears_ring_.mp3
149 /songs/2012/20120209_artemis_eye_to_eye.mp3
146 /songs/2012/20120206_artloft805_hippy_gypsy.mp3
141 /songs/2012/20120201_dberkman_a_life_in_the_day.mp3
138 /songs/2012/20120215_jonnybecky_baby_bankrupt.mp3
137 /songs/2012/20120207_darin_rain_at_last.mp3
135 /songs/2012/20120203_artemis_supernova_21.mp3
130 /songs/2012/20120214_jonnybecky_the_city.mp3
130 /songs/2012/20120211_seela_.mp3
130 /songs/2012/20120211_jonnybecky_run_a_shop.mp3
128 /songs/2012/20120207_artloft805_moon_cocoon_v13.mp3
127 /songs/2012/20120215_jonnybecky_die_in_my_sleep.mp3
126 /songs/2012/20120217_bruce_moon.mp3
125 /songs/2012/20120207_greacen_want_to_move_on.mp3
125 /songs/2012/20120207_derek_elvis_sandwich1.mp3
125 /songs/2012/20120201_darin_inauspicious.mp3
124 /songs/2012/20120216_jonnybecky_songaday.mp3
124 /songs/2012/20120206_jonnybecky_people_are_blind1.mp3
124 /songs/2012/20120201_derek_welcome_to_songaday_2012.mp3
123 /songs/2012/20120205_artemis_fisherheart.mp3
122 /songs/2012/20120202_darin_back_to_sleep.mp3
121 /songs/2012/20120210_jonnybecky_the_bill.mp3
121 /songs/2012/20120204_artemis_just_a_song.mp3
120 /songs/2012/20120208_derek_thanks_walt.mp3
117 /songs/2012/20120212_artemis_little_explosions.mp3
117 /songs/2012/20120204_jonnybecky_weatherman1.mp3
117 /songs/2012/20120203_derek_here_i_am.mp3
114 /songs/2012/20120206_dearl_those_wacky_nords.mp3
113 /songs/2012/20120201_jonnybecky_january_underwear.mp3
111 /songs/2012/20120204_greacen_whats_the_rush.mp3
109 /songs/2012/20120220_dearl_creatures_of_the_core_pt_2.mp3
109 /songs/2012/20120212_jonnybecky_on_call.mp3
109 /songs/2012/20120202_seela_the_dr.mp3
109 /songs/2012/20120202_dearl_deaf_by_drop.mp3
107 /songs/2012/20120211_peter_running_up_a_pane_of_glass.mp3
106 /songs/2012/20120202_jonnybecky_chase_me.mp3
102 /songs/2012/20120211_greacen_world_built_for_two.mp3
101 /songs/2012/20120219_artloft805_57_blues_with_harry_o.mp3

There are more of course. This is just the list of files in the triple-digits. Go listen!

02/25/2010  — 

Song-A-Day what a difference 25 days make

We're 25 days into 2010 Song-A-Day and hoo-boy, folks are feeling the immensity of the experience. It's no small feat creating, recording a song a day for a month as you can see from Jonathan Aronson's transformation:

What a   difference 25 days make

Compared with previous years, the 2010 run has the most songs, the most variety, possibly the most talent and verve too. We've also been able to get the songs onto iTunes which has helped drive up the downloads: we'll have 24k downloads within 25 days and will likely finish the month with more than 30k downloads.

We're in the home-stretch. Keep on keepin' on!

03/09/2009  — 

Top 10 things to do now that Song-A-Day is done:

Top 10 things to do now that Song-A-Day is done:
  1. Give my ears a rest. between the late-nite sessions in my garage and my morning listening, I clocked many hours in headphones. I'll be happy to give that a rest.
  2. Give my arms a rest. Between the day-job in front of a computer and the drumming, bassing (needs strong hands and fingers!), and guitar shredding (usually 3 tracks per song), I'm starting to feel it in my wrists and forearms.
  3. Surf. The rest of the body needs some exercise too. Now if only the weather would cooperate.
  4. Give my liver a rest. I wouldn't necessarily say that I've been drinking too much wine for the past month. But getting out of a nightly routine that involves a glass of whine can only help. Right?
  5. Family-time: who are these people I love with anyway? Time to get to know them again. No, I don't mean my family on http://www.quakelive.com.
  6. House-time: I was literally shoveling caca out of my garage last weekend. Time to get the place in order.
  7. Cook. I enjoy working in the kitchen. As we get closer to summer, it's time to get this rolling again.
  8. Plan. What did we learn from Song-A-Day that would make Song-A-Week more successful? How are we even defining success at this point? Song-A-Day is as fun for me as a listener as a player. If people are interested in continuing this, I think we can turn it into something really cool.
  9. Sleep. Need a short break from the late nights.
  10. Get outta Dodge. March is a perfect time for a quick weekend getaway: Tahoe, Healdsburg, Mendo, Santa Barbara. Here we go.

03/02/2009  — 

Song-A-Day 2009: DONE

We did it. Congrats to everyone who put their songs onto the site. Thanks for all your hard work; I had a great time listening to all of your songs.

I got about 28 songs up there, a few are even keepers. Of my stuff, I feel good about these:

  • 2/03: Istanbul
  • 2/06: Put Down That Bag Of Rocks
  • 2/17: Up In The Attic
  • 2/19: Special Sauce
  • 2/25: Put A Burrito In Your Mouth

This URL will take you to all my songs.

This player has everything that was uploaded. Steal the embed code if you want this on your site.

Here are some of the most listened-to songs from the month: 247 0203_bruce_2nd_time.mp3
196 0204_bruce_3rdwave.mp3
192 0201_derek_a_song_a_day.mp3
190 0205_bruce_shouldabeenalespaul_.mp3
176 0201_greacen_oh_hell_oh.mp3
173 0203_greacen_istanbul.mp3
163 0202_derek_jury_duty.mp3
163 0202_bruce_timesup.mp3
160 0204_greacen_trouble_sleeping.mp3
159 0215_bruce_base.mp3
158 0203_derek_where_is_walt.mp3
158 0201_peter_all_that_i_can_feel.mp3
157 0206_bruce_thank_you.mp3
152 0204_bruce_whatthe.mp3
149 0202_greacen_2wo.mp3
147 0204_derek_disneyland.mp3
146 0203_ryan_in_to_the_night.mp3
146 0201_seth_the_best_place_in_the_world.mp3
145 0131_seth_the_day_before_song.mp3
143 0209_greacen_master_of_the_mall.mp3
142 0203_peter_twothreeohnine.mp3
140 0213_derek_hawaii.mp3
140 0205_greacen_bring_it_back.mp3
139 0216_greacen_watching_all_the_good_ones_go.mp3
139 0202_peter_all_of_them.mp3
136 0212_bruce_alone.mp3
132 0208_greacen_wafflepalooza.mp3
129 0212_derek_taxonomy.mp3

Pretty evenly distributed. I remember Bruce's stuff got a lot of attention last year too, but it seems like the earlier songs are still getting plenty of play. \

We're almost to 13000 song streams at this point and if the traffic followed last year's pattern, people will still be listening for a few more days.

Starting to think about Song-A-Week for the rest of the year. Email me if you want in on this.

02/23/2009  — 

Song-A-Day Notes From The Studio

Seth and Derek (among others) asked for some details on how I recorded a few songs this year. I've been pretty happy with the guitar sounds overall. The big improvement from last year seems to be the mic. I'll tell you everything about what I do. Maybe it'll help you find that killer something.

This is my recipe for rock guitars:

Ingredients:

  • Guitar: Fender Lead II (1980) with a really kooky humbucker pickup (I think it's a Bill Lawrence, but possibly a dimebucker?) in the bridge position. Someone really took a lot of time modding this guitar before I bought it. This pickup is special though, haven't found many that sound like it.
  • Amp: ZVex Nano Amp. A .5 (!) watt tube head which should get most of the credit for the sound. It's really an amazing piece of gear that produces controlled overdriven mayhem at a reasonable volume. Zack, my wife, children, and neighbors thank you.
  • Cabinet: Closed-back Mesa 4x12 (with celestions, I think) (yes, the cab for the dual rectifier)
  • Mic: Pacific Pro Audio LD2ube Large Capsule Condenser (multipattern)
  • A->D: Aardvark Q10 a really handy piece of gear. I'm using its built-in preamps. Aardvark went out of business a few years back unfortunately. This thing is still going strong for me.
  • Multitracking: I have an old version of Nuendo 1.53 (the latest is 4) as my main multi-tracking application.
  • Several effects: Waves RCL is the main compressor I'll use. I set up some really simple, standard reverb as a sendd effect too.
  • 1 Dirty Secret Ingredient: That Evil Multiband thing that comes with Nuendo. This may be the thing that takes a decent sound from the guitar/amp/speaker and makes it really sing on a recording (perverting it and possibly ruining it at the same time).

For the basic "loud" sound here's what I'll do:

The Performance

Set the guitar to use the humbucker pickup only. Volume and tone wide open (11). Believe it or not, someone fitted my guitar with an XLR output. I don't use it, just the regular 1/4" jack.

Set the ZVEX amp to brighness: middle, thickness: normal. Volume knob is about 3/4s+. There's only 1 knob on this amp I get it into the distortion space, but not all the way up. The amp is relatively quiet, the sound is a little mid-rangey, but it sounds good in the room.

Mic the guitars pretty close. About 4-6 inches away from the cabinet's grill. I'm using a large cap condenser for this. I've been leaving the mic in the omni position lately. The sound is a little more open. That proximity effect wasn't doing anything to help the sound IMO.

At this volume, I trim the Aardvark's preamp to "6.5" (not sure if this is a db level or something specific to the Q10) so there's a strong signal and still a fair amount of headroom.

Play with heart and desire -- and fat fingers. I'm not a great guitarrist, but I think pick technique plays a small part here. I'm working toward my ideal guitar sound which is distorted, but clear, with lots of bright overtones. Most of my favorite punk albums had some combination of this. I've learned to get some of those overtones by sticking my finger onto the vibrating strings as I pick. Do you really want to know about this? Just ask and I'll ramble on and on about it...

I'll usually double the main part of the song, then add one more color track, often with a different distortion and pickup setting.

The Mix

2 main (heavy) guitars panned hard right/left. Usually with no EQ.

1 guitar up the middle, usually cleaner (distortion-wise). Might use a little EQ to fill a gap in the wall of sound. Posssibly with a bit more of the send-verb too.

Group all the guitars. Use light compression with the RCL on the group. Might shelf the bass a little (I'm monitoring with NS-10s and I've found that if I can hear the bass at all there will likely be a problem on other systems.). I'll usually add a touch of room verb as a send effect.

Here are the compressor specifics:

  • RCL's 'electro' setting
  • attack: 20.0
  • release: 20.0
  • threshold -11.9
  • ratio: 2.57
  • gain: 4.0

The overall mix is important too of course. The drum sounds are reasonably loud, but offer some space. The bass has a few EQ notches (where? I'll check) to carve out space. I haven't been too happy about the vocal sounds on the full-band songs this year, so no help in this dept.

Here's the Dirty Little Secret: Bus compression is the evil Multiband thing. Yeah, there it is. It's out. What are the settings here? Hard to tell what all these mean. I'm basically choosing the "FM" preset and trying to dial it back just a bit.

Actually, now that I look closely to a randomly picked mix, it looks like I'm just using the default 'FM Radio' setting for 'Trouble Sleeping'.

That's about it. Here's a guitar-only mix for Trouble Sleeping: http://greacen.com/media/greacenzone/20090222_guitar_mix.mp3

You can hear slight variations on this on a bunch of this year's songs:

  • Up In The Attic
  • Drive North
  • Even in Winter (I used the less-distorted guitars in the panned position on this one, reversed the model)
  • Master of the Mall
  • Wafflepalooza
  • Put Down That Bag Of Rocks
  • Bring it Back
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Istanbul
  • 2wo
Plus a few more that will likely come before we cross the finish line.

Go Listen!

02/15/2009  — 

Song-A-Day Week 2: Still truckin'

02/09/2009  — 

Song-A-Day Week 1: Awesome

01/26/2009  — 

29 Again: Song-A-Day

01/17/2009  — 

Song-A-Day Shopping List

03/04/2008  — 

29 done...

02/28/2008  — 

Song-a-day almost done!

02/25/2008  — 

I can see the light!

02/19/2008  — 

Still playing catchup

02/14/2008  — 

More Lack of Engineering

02/13/2008  — 

Engineering... and lack of

02/07/2008  — 

29 Songs: Day 4,5,6:

02/05/2008  — 

James Blackshaw, wow

02/05/2008  — 

29 Songs: Day 3: More To Come

02/04/2008  — 

29 Songs: Day 3: If Yes, Then No

02/02/2008  — 

29 Songs: Day 2: On The Other Side

02/01/2008  — 

29 Songs: Day 1: Took To The Air

01/31/2008  — 

29 Songs Starts!

01/24/2008  — 

February 2008: Song-a-Day a.k.a 29 Songs