Washing Away’s “Even The Score” Music Video Out Now

The girlfriend’s spinning bottle takes aim at multiple guys’s hearts, letting them fall and shatter in this video twist on spin-the-bottle. 

“Even the Score” is the first track off Washing Away’s Part Three – EP (2016), with lyrics about a cheating girlfriend now looking to seduce an ex-boyfriend.  The video’s theme is a take on the youthful game of spin-the-bottle, with much different results. The props and scenes are limited to what I could do alone. Here’s how it worked.

I needed five bottles of soda, floss, pink sponges, a nickel, tape, and card stock. I cut five hearts out of the sponges and tied four of them up with floss. The floss was a sample from the dentist. The fifth heart got shoved in an emptied soda bottle. The empty one is the spinner, but it is tough to keep a bottle spinning in one place. A nickel taped to the bottom stabilized it for the camera (the other coins didn’t work as well). I taped up the other four strips of floss to my cabinets to hold up the full bottles in a lose knot with the heart around the top. I used soda instead of beer to keep a sense of innocence and youth. The bottles balanced on the edge of my kitchen counter on slips of card stock taped underneath so I could stealthily pull them off. I used a sheet as a backdrop and put couch cushions and blanket on the floor so the bottles wouldn’t break until I was ready to film them.

I hope you enjoy it. You can click on “CC” in the video to see the lyrics.

For further viewing, check out my YouTube Channel or other Washing Away posts. Feel free to  e-mail suggestions for other music videos you’d like to see. And if you like these posts, consider buying my music.

Song of the Month – Washing Away’s "The Last Straw"

The band is almost set to hit the recording studio. This big show will put them over the top, but can it reignite the guitarist’s interest?

In “The Last Straw,” the band is nearing their big show that kicked off Washing Away‘s EP series with “Welcome”. They’ve got the songs and almost have enough money saved up to record an album, but it’s hard to tell if everybody is on board. The guitarist seems uninterested, but hopefully a successful performance will reignite his passion.  The lyrics are bit different from the original demo and now have the same chorus throughout the song and references the song title. I changed “money” to “savings” in the verses, because it sounded a little less silly. I also replaced “washes out to sea” with “fades from memory” in the last verse, because the line didn’t fit with the song even though the project is Washing Away.

Musically, there’s a strong rhythmic emphasis that goes with “break” at the end of the chorus. Also, the interlude is a reprise of the bridge to “Welcome”, referring to the big show, and climaxes violently before subsiding softly. I wanted the song under four minutes and the bridge was a bit long. I cut the interlude in half and took out the intro part that was after the first chorus. The introduction and last verse are a little different, too, with the bass and drums coming in after two measures of the intro and longer notes held out in the verse.

Check out more Songs of the Month and posts about Washing Away. Please e-mail me suggestions for my songs, too. And if you value Write to Remember, consider buying my music.

Click ‘Continue reading’ to see the lyrics. Continue reading “Song of the Month – Washing Away’s "The Last Straw"”

Song of the Month – Washing Away’s "Keeping Up Appearance"

In the second song from Part Four, there are awkward feelings between band mates & it feels like there’s an elephant in the practice space.

This month’s got a somber yet sharp song from Washing Away. Suspicions arise when there’s a new guy playing with the guitarist and their regular rehearsal is cut short so he can go out on a date. The bouncy intro gives way to a plodding verse. The chorus picks up the energy with punctuated chords and the ending takes an intense turn. The bass, guitar and keyboard were recorded as they were written years ago. The background vocal line originally had sort of carnival quality to it, so I dialed that back and did the chorus an octave higher instead. I got to make good use of the “follow” drum pattern in GarageBand to get the kick drum on the off beat with the bass. I hope you like it.

Check out more Songs of the Month and posts about Washing Away. Please e-mail me suggestions for my songs, too. And if you value Write to Remember, consider buying my music.

Click ‘Continue reading’ to see the lyrics.

Continue reading “Song of the Month – Washing Away’s "Keeping Up Appearance"”

Song of the Month – Washing Away's "The Line"

The lead singer has found out about his girlfriend’s and band mate’s infidelity in the conclusion to Part Three. Can the band stay together?

“The Line” is the fourth and last song from Washing Away‘s upcoming EP, Part Three. Although the song had previously already been written, it was a good learning experience with GarageBand‘s drum samples and MIDI synthesizer. For the drums, there were no complicated rhythms, but there needed to be some more dynamic growth at the end. I toggled the loudness and complexity not only as the end builds to a crescendos, but also throughout the song as the music get more intense. The result is a tighter connection between the bass and drums, and more excitement. For the keyboard, there didn’t end up being any chords, because the ones I tried didn’t work. The MIDI editor was helpful in lining up the timing and getting rid of errant notes. The song could use a little something more, but overall, I am happy with how it turned out and I hope you are, too.

Please take a listen and leave a comment. I’d like to make it the best I can before putting it out with the rest of Part Three this year.

Next month’s song could be a Casual Gaze song, the first song from Washing Away’s Part Three, or a completely new project. Stay Tuned! Check out more posts of Songs of the Month and Washing Away. Click ‘Continue reading’ to see the lyrics. Continue reading “Song of the Month – Washing Away's "The Line"”

Song of the Month – Washing Away's "Getting the Story Straight"

In song number two from Part 3, we find others are suspicious as well, leading to a confrontation, but the girlfriend denies any wrongdoing.

My second Song of the Month is a Washing Away song, “Getting the Story Straight”.  It was written long ago like “Even the Score,” but was a bit easier.  I thought the syncopated rhythm in the chorus would be challenging, but I was able to find a great drum beat and figured the vocals lined up well enough with the guitar to keep the same. I kept the call-and-response aspect of the chorus, even though I considered having them both sung as one.  I couldn’t think of a melody for the response part that easily suited my voice, and I think having two parts fits the lines well.  I made the organ simple, so it doesn’t have some of the rhythmic complexities of the lead guitar from the demo version.

Please take a listen and leave a comment.  I’d like to make it the best I can before putting it out with the rest of Part Three this year.

Check out more posts of Songs of the Month and Washing Away. Click ‘Continue reading’ to see the lyrics. Continue reading “Song of the Month – Washing Away's "Getting the Story Straight"”

Song of the Month – Washing Away's "Even the Score"

This first song of Part 3 EP finds the girlfriend now secretly seducing an ex. Her boyfriend may be oblivious, but not everyone is so naive.

My first Song of the Month is a Washing Away song, “Even the Score”.  I originally wrote and recorded demo versions of the sixteen Washing Away songs a decade ago when I was an undergrad.  While “Even the Score” is by no means new, it did present some challenges and opportunities. I don’t have an electric guitar anymore, so I used an acoustic guitar and adapted the lead guitar part for piano to try something new. Secondly, GarageBand only allows one tempo for the whole song, so I rewrote everything in 4/4.  I extended the second chord in the progression of the chorus and added some raking the the 3/4 bridge to fill the space.  Finally, I worked on how I sang the chorus while taking voice lessons.  I changed the melody to have ascending and descending lines rather than all descending.

Please take a listen and leave a comment.  I’d like to make it the best I can before putting it out with the rest of Part Three this year.

Check out more posts of Songs of the Month and Washing Away. Click ‘Continue reading’ to see the lyrics. Continue reading “Song of the Month – Washing Away's "Even the Score"”

Pick Favorites – Portugal. The Man's Censored Colors

Attracted to the groove, pulled by the sparseness, blown away at the climaxes, and singing along to this dynamic, soulful psychedelic rock.

Portugal. The Man - Censored ColorsPortugal. The Man‘s live performance at First Avenue in the Fall of 2011 blew my mind!  After hearing Alberta Cross’s Broken Side of Time that summer, I was excited to see them open. I was much less excited by In the Mountain in the Cloud.  Afterwards, I changed my tune about the band and skimmed through their music to find songs that moved me like that concert.  With the recent release of their eight full-length album, Evil Friends, it seemed like a good time to go back in more depth and pick a favorite album.

2008’s Censored Colors stands above the rest for its soulful melodies, dramatic vocal harmonies, even-handed orchestration, and solid grasp of tension and release.  Their third album included keyboardist Ryan Neighbors and drummer Jason Sechrist as well as founders John Gourley and Zachary Carothers.  At least ten other musicians contributed vocals, strings, brass, and percussion to these songs.

The lyrics take on dark topics of death and dissatisfaction, but Gourley sings in such a tuneful melody that it seems possible to transcend them.  His soulful vocals slides all over, from whisper to snarl, often and smoothly.  His ringing falsetto provides a great counterpoint to the bleak subject.  What’s more, the vocal harmonies subtly add to the soft parts, rippling in moody flows, and punctuate crescendos with bursting vocalizations.  This choir rise up in dynamic choruses throughout the album — sometimes in supporting, other times overlapping or responding.

The music that supports the singing is great, too.  While this album gets quieter than others, it is incredibly intense.  The dynamic from song to song or even verse to chorus is dramatic — an excellent example of restraint and serving the song instead of   just indulging the musician.  Lonely, sparse instrumentation in parts give the singers room to breathe and move.  Elsewhere, walls of sound immerse the listener in the full power of the music, an intensity built up in the song or even over the course of the album.  Soft piano and acoustic guitars set of hard-hitting electric guitar and bass.  Psychedelic grooves and rocking breakdowns  meet ska off-beats and anthematic singalongs.

The music and rhythms are never boring or cliché.  The instruments and vocals are in constant flux, pushing and pulling on the harmonies in minor tension and major release.  The consonance and dissonance are most evident in the vocal slides, but are also more subtly present the strings that underly many of the songs.  They linger at the end just to pull on the ear a bit longer until the next song kicks in.  Every instrument adds to this tension, reusing melodies and patterns in different keys for an uneasy feeling that ultimately comes back together in a triumphant lift.

Which Portugal. The Man album is your favorite?

Check out more from Pick Favorites.