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12/07/2020  — 

New Blert Song: Escape

If you follow blert on bandcamp, you've probably already heard this new song (will hit streaming services like Spotify on the 11th). We're still putting the finishing touches on a few songs that blert recorded back around 2002-2005 which we'll bundle-up in an album we'll call New Day Undone.

This song started out as "Bingo Bars" which had some of the dumbest lyrics ever written. Getting decent lyrics into my music has always been a challenge and the early version of this song is a great example of my verbal under- achievement. Yet we stuck with that song and even played it in front of audiences. Why? We really loved the music - it's very blert: a tricky rhythm, a weird harmony, a chance for something epic...

I remember when this song arrived, Neal and I were in our space at Downtown Rehearsal Studios and one of us found some book for drummers (icymi: drummers read!) about odd time signatures. The book contained exercises in which they lay down a beat in 4/4 and then add or drop a beat in a phrase.

Neal loved to experiment with beats and rhythms that don't fit into a mold and these exercises kept us on our toes. I liked playing simple guitar lines along with one particular pattern and then BOOM- something clicked. Bingo Bars arrived quickly.

Flash-forward to the now and between Neal and Tasha we have new lyrics which are so much more vital and current - we added some other arrangement twists that help this song really blast off. Hope you are ready to escape...

Feeling all the rage Feeding it for days The beauty has lost its luster All I hear is hate Seeing all the ways We've seemingly gone insane Think of all your lost ones Peeling off the pain

Really must escape Make for better space The joys have drowned in our sorrows Breath is hard to take Giving up the game Been feeling it for days The moment has lost momentum And belief is fake Escape Escape Escape

Another one dead today And rage is what I pray Breaking all composure Hey that's all O.K. Time to leave this place Some will choose to stay There's no room for the dead ones Everything falls away Escape Escape Escape

In this age of madness Filled with rage and a false sense of hope We come so close now Has it all been a fucking joke Who writes the narrative Where one thing is more than the rest Destroy the premise And escape this Whatever you call It And these things we are tripping about The beasts in the room Where the space between me and you Is in doubt How can we ever be free Ever be free

How can we ever be free

Go listen:

12/06/2018  — 

#MyMusical2018 Part 4: Doodles (something New)

I've been writing a series of posts called #MyMusical2018 that covers some of the musical things I've been involved with over the past calendar year. The last post was about open mics and other gigs. This one is all about the doodles...

#MyMusical2018 Part 4: Doodles (something New)

This is new. This is experimental. This is for fun.

I shared a few brief instrumental songs that I called doodles in this year's Song-A-Day event. These doodles came from a process I developed over a stretch of Sunday mornings basically as part of the breakfast routine. My girls would sit on the couch and read a book (or more likely: play a video game) and I'd create something with a guitar, delay pedal, and looping pedal.

Eventually I got smart and started recording the resulting compositions on my phone. At some point later this year, I stumbled onto those recordings and those sounds instantly brought me back to Sunday morning. So think of it as a holiday gift (yes, you may re-gift this if it's not your thing - seriously: find someone who might appreciate this and send it over to them).

Here's what I wrote on Bandcamp...

I created these doodles at home as part of my Sunday morning routine that also included coffee, a newspaper, and making breakfast for my girls. These compositions are conceived in the moment and barely captured using the voice memo app on my phone.

The resulting Lo-fi recordings are special to me because they capture the time and place where our lives took a turn toward a "new" direction.

The background noise, voices, creaking chairs and room sounds are part of the charm for me - listening to these could transport us right back to our living room in the 2014-2018 range. Get comfy, settle-in, let's see where this goes.

What do you think?

Keep your eyes peeled for the next post in the #MyMusical2018 series: "Other shows"

12/03/2018  — 

#MyMusical2018 Part 1: Doubleplus Alright

This year has been chock full of musical activity and here's a not-so-brief recap of the musical things I've been able to sneak into the year. I've been involved with music for most of my life in one way or another.

Music is my source of sanity, a channel for expression, a never-ending puzzle worth solving -- an important part of my life.

And yet, something this important and core to my being doesn't really figure into my planning that much. I didn't really start the year with a plan to focus on music. I kinda rode the wave - went with the flow... you get it.

(After-the-fact edit: I went through photos to go along with a bunch of these stories and came across the almost life-changing Dag Nasty show that I saw in December of 2017 at Thee Parkside. I think this one show (maybe also the Tony Molina show in early Jan 2018 (maybe also the This Stellar Madness show soon after that (well you get the picture))) set me off in this direction.)

Here's the story of my 2018 musical adventures. Full disclosure: I started writing a blog post and it got long... REALLY long. So I chopped this into a few posts which will pop up on http://greacen.com over the next few days. Stay tuned!

#MyMusical2018 Part 1: Doubleplus Alright

Oh hey- I have a band! We're good! Doubleplus Alright got organized and motivated (thanks to Jackson who joined in late 2017!) to polish our songs to the point where we can record them and play in front of people. Nik broke his ankle (doing advanced disco dance-moves at the New Parish - ask him about that). We had an action-packed year!

Recordings & Merch

Bandcamp, CDRs, Lathe Cuts! Heck we even splurged on t-shirts so you know this is official. We might get a chance to put together a few more recordings before the end of the year. Have you heard this stuff yet? Here's the stuff that's up on Bandcamp:

For a rehearsal space recording I'm very happy with the way these came out! I love recording music and have been at it since I was in 9th grade. It's way more fun lately with the songs we're playing and the basic-but-functional gear we're using. We don't have a record label or anything like that- we're (still) totally diy at this point.

Here are photos the other merchy things... CDRs, Lathe Cuts, t Shirts (click through to see more):
2018-doubleplusalright-merchandrecording

Shows

We played about once a month once we got into the groove. I like playing for people. Here's what we did:

  • February at KZSU - our first time playing with Jackson outside of our rehearsal space. The KZSU studio is the scene of some legendary shows (you'll find them on youtube) so this was a great place for us to kick off the year. Oh hey- there's a video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO2-atR-Q0Y I'll embed this below too.
  • May at the Ivy Room - our first gig with Jackson in front of PEOPLE, and heck our first gig in way too long. Thanks to The Tet Holiday for putting this together and including us. Factoid: Our first first show (with Gee on drums) was with The Tet Holiday at the Golden Bull in 2015. We asked Like Roses to play this show because they are fan-friggin-tastic.
  • June at the White Horse - with Neutrals and Hard Left - two of my favorite bands! factoid: my old band blert used to play with the Neutrals' singer's old band Giant Haystacks a long long time ago.
  • July at The SF Eagle - at one of my favorite clubs/bars with the Gibbs and Externs.
  • September at the Hemlock Tavern (r.i.p.) - with Low Bote and Remember Karen just before the Hemlock CLOSED. factoid: There was a brief in- store at a Guitar Center in Concord to promote this show. You're right- that's the WORST place to try to activate an audience for a show in SF. Oh hey- another video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0cVFIfGarM

Here are some photos (click through to see more):
2018-doubleplusalright-shows



Looking ahead, we're interested in doing MORE of this. For shows, follow us on Facebook (of course) but you should pencil us in for 2/7, 2/22, 3/8 in 2019. If we get our act together and complete a record then we may try to sneak a small tour (LA? East Coast? UK?) onto the calendar too. Fingers are crossed...

Keep your eyes peeled for the next post in the #MyMusical2018 series: "Song-A-Day 2018" you won't want to miss this one.