Washing Away’s “Getting The Story Straight” Music Video Out Now

“Getting the Story Straight” is the second track off Washing Away’s Part Three – EP (2016), with lyrics about gossip and a confrontation over rumors of cheating. The video uses three sets of tin can telephones separated by a wall to illustrate different parts of the song (or story). The props and scenes are limited to what I could do alone in my apartment. Here’s how it worked.

I got six tin cans and punched holes in them to tie off the strings. I used three ten-foot lengths of string, because that’s maximum length where they would still work. according to the directions I found on the internet. I tangled up the strings on the floor and hitched the last string on a splinter from the door as if it was caught. I used two microphone stands to hold up my iPhone to film and to string up the tin can for my singing. I draped a tin can over my bass amp and plugged in my guitar. I was limited for what I could do for the percussion, so I just stomped on a 2×4 board that I kept around as a balance beam. Since there are two characters, but just me, I used two changes of clothes (including glasses). Lastly, the door between my bedroom and living room provided  mysterious separation between the performer and listener.

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

For further viewing, check out my Vimeo 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.


Washing Away’s Part Three EP Out Now

Washing Away's Part Three - EP Album Cover
Listen on CD Baby

The four-song album is available for download and streaming Friday, May 27th. Lewis got back together with Andrew at Shock and Audio to work on his most rocking songs yet for this third EP. While originally written between 2003-2005, Lewis refined them in 2015, substituted an acoustic guitar and keyboard for the electric guitars. When it came to getting in the studio with Andrew, they retained the electric guitars of the original demos, but kept some of the changes. Since Steve wasn’t around, Andrew programmed drums. Lewis played bass, lead guitar and sang all the vocals. Andrew added his take on the rhythm guitar, too. Like past EPs, the songs are linked together by short instrumental interludes, giving them continuity through the finale.

These song continue to tell of the bassist’s involvement with his guitarist’s girlfriend. The girlfriend’s flirtations raising suspicion that she’s trying to seduce her ex-boyfriend. The guitarist may be oblivious, but the bassist is not as naive. Why would she do that when she’s got a boyfriend and a side guy? The chorus of “Even the Score” explains it.

Keep on coming back for more / Ways to relieve this sore / Had her heart broken before / Do it back and even the score.

Later, others are suspicious of her cheating which leads to a confrontation. In “Getting the Story Straight,” her friends are talking and she’s got explaining to do. The girlfriend denies any wrongdoing. Is she as innocent as she claims?

He’ll hear what went down from the origin / She had good intentions followed through with a grin / Surely, its not all true, the story she’s revealed / A night with a former love with details concealed.

This is too much for the bassist in “In Between.” His internal conflict between the band and the girl drags him down, but he’s determined to keep rocking. It would be foolish to believe that she loves him.

He’s got to get away from causes of lament / And find some other way around this deterrent.

In the end, the guitarist finds out about his girlfriend’s and band mate’s infidelity. The  fate of the band hangs in the balance.

For further listening, check out my recordings or other Washing Away posts. And if you like these posts, consider buying my music.

Song of the Month – Washing Away’s "So Inevitable"

We’ve reached the last Washing Away song in Part Four and this EP series. “So Inevitable” comes from the point of view of the dumped, with water body references throughout – clearing, pounding, separating, and providing perspective. The lyrical metaphors still seem good, so I didn’t change them. The melody was a challenge and my voice wavers a bit.  I think it works given the subject. This was also the first time I adjusted the equalization at all. I was getting some distortion on my S’s in “seems so …”, so I turned it down at 10K.

The music has a melancholy hook and plods along, building to the end.  There is a bit of a climactic moment as the verses reach the chorus, but it’s just a bittersweet taste of the unfulfilled hope of making it as a band.  This is the second song to include bass chords – the first was in the introduction on “This Game.” I used some consonant ones in the bridge to show a little optimism that there will be other opportunities to make music.

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 "So Inevitable"”

Art Appreciation – Nigel Evan Dennis for Clair de Lune’s Marionettes

Clair de Lune's Marionettes Album Cover
Nigel Evan Dennis began designing as Electric Heat the same year that Clair de Lune formed and released their first album, Marionettes (2004). He has done album artwork for bands including another Minneapolis band Pomegranates and rapper Common. Dennis’s other commercial work includes shoe advertisements and magazine spreads, such as Playboy layouts inspired by Tron:Legacy and Back to the Future, Part II. On his website, there are also links to his fine art prints and mandala-like hand-painted records. Dennis is a musician as well, composing a score and playing in the band, A Lull.

The album artwork for Marionettes is a bit rougher, but still has the energy of his other work. The main design in brown is an bursting collage of the band members, animals, trees, and towers.  Many birds, a gazelle, and a zebra are in the mix. while an elephant stands apart next to an Olde English “Shadow.” A water tower, bell tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, and antenna towers peek out. There are also some odds and ends mixed in — an old camera, cassettes – (“CLAIR DE LUNE” on Side A and “MARIONETTES” on Side B), orange slices, a crown, and a windmill. Swirling cords, arrows, and stars ornament the imagery.

The base layer is a two-tone orange on the front and faded shades of blue and purple on the back. The are mostly splashes of paint, but there is a cityscape and skyscraper in the orange. The faded colors are mostly splashes, too, but there maybe a phone and “1982!!” in there. The inside of the booklet is even more faded behind the credits and likely just splattered paint.

The disc has a cassette labeled “CLAIR DE LUNE” that looks like it is falling across the disc, but the drops are birds and streaks are towers. The band name and album title appear vertically in the spine on the tray card. “Your body cant carry the [indiscernible] anymore!” is under that, ornamented by a skull and crossbones, hearts, and a spray paint spot.

Check out more Art Appreciation posts. Please e-mail me suggestions for artwork you’d like to see in a future post. And if you find value in Write to Remember, consider buying my music.

Click “Continue reading” to see a poster showing the artwork on the outside of the disc, and watch the “Passenger View” music video in the same style as the album art. Continue reading “Art Appreciation – Nigel Evan Dennis for Clair de Lune’s Marionettes”

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

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"”

Album Appreciation – The Velvet Teen’s All is Illusory

All is Illusory CoverI discovered The Velvet Teen (2000 – Present) when Elysium (2004) came out and loved it. They seemed quiet since their No Star – EP (2010), so it was a surprise to see they were playing a show in Minneapolis. No, Songkick wasn’t mistaking them for Minneapolis’s the Velveteen. They were even releasing a new album! Here’s a summary of my impression and descriptions of the stand-out songs from All is Illusory (2015).

Each song on the album is fairly straight forward and consistent in itself. The more mellow songs outnumber the upbeat ones, making this seem like an album of ballads. There are moments of dynamic intensity where the music bursts and then pulls back or slowly builds, though these moments don’t payoff on every song., I liked the rocking ones listed below.

“Eclipses” is the first fast-paced song on the album. It’s short and sweet, but sounds really full with multiple guitars constantly strumming. It’s a got a syncopated hook, dissonant chorus, and key change in the bridge. The drums are crazy as usual and the singing and music reach a nice climax near the end.

“Pecos” has an upbeat keyboard hook and soaring vocals. The guitar strumming and bass fill it out, but keep it light.  The song builds after the second chorus with a keyboard solo and some “woah, woah”s. It releases into a soft bass solo among arrhythmic finger-picking that sounds like harps. They kick back into the song for a strong finish.

“The Giving In” was streaming on NPR before the album came out.  It’s got bass and drum triplets partnered with atmospheric guitars. Another guitar provides a simple lead.  The song builds into the first chorus and after a guitar solo the drums build in the second chorus to basically a drum solo.  

“You Were the First” has a tricky rhythm drum, but fun breaks and guitar lead. The vocal lines go up and down octaves and have some shouting from the back up vocals. The second verse starts off with short, pointy notes before going back into the strong sound it started with through the second chorus to a quick ending.

Overall, the variety of keyboard sounds are interesting, ranging from harpsichord and classical piano to vocoder and catchy synth hooks.  The vocal harmonies add to the impression that these songs could be ballads.  Guitars vary from main accompanying instrument to atmospheric layering, from acoustic strumming to distorted shredding.  The bass blends into the background mostly, but does offer some interesting swells and harmonics.  The drums come off as bit too complex, but pound away in new and interesting ways with lots of fills. It’s generally good with some great moments.

Check out more Album Appreciation posts. Please e-mail me suggestions for albums you’d like to see in a future post. And if you find value in Write to Remember, consider buying my music.

Song of the Month – Washing Away’s "Archers"

Here’s another Washing Away song, the first song of Part Four EP. Though “Archers” structure is straightforward, it is unlike the literal storytelling of the past songs – there are metaphors. The metaphor of a vacation to show relational distance was good, but it doesn’t quite fit into archery as a metaphor for goal-setting. Working it into an archery metaphor probably wouldn’t have made sense, so it stayed in. I also thought to use a better word than ‘rift’ in the first verse, but it works out in terms of a ‘break in friendly relations’ like a ‘split’ in a broken bow. The song uses the same combination of instruments and ending intended to transition into the next song, as in past Washing Away songs*. The accents that don’t fall on the downbeat were a bit tricky to get the GarageBand drummer to hit, but ‘Aidan’ is still pretty solid. Since I’m a bit out of practice, I did a lot of editing to get the timing right on the guitar in the verses and transition.

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.

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Video Appreciation – Pale Honey’s "Youth"

Pale Honey’s debut full-length album, Pale Honey (2015), popped up on iTunes’ Indie section in May. Their bouncy beats, simple riffs, and smooth vocals made it the best on the list. Their video for “Youth” shows off their music’s best qualities – it’s just generally good, minimalist rock. The video is stark black and white with the two women playing music and playing around. The band is in black and their instruments are white. The house is pretty empty except for an upright piano ornamented with a globe, but you’ll also see a lot of the amp and guitar.

The singer may shift in and out of focus as she murmurs the lyrics, but you can’t miss her hair. Their shiny locks were the highlight of the video. In almost every scene they’ve got hair in their face, are flipping it around, or just letting it fall all over – unbound, it just goes everywhere. This could totally be a hair care product commercial, but I’m glad it’s not. It’s just an attractive, straightforward music video.

For further viewing, check out Pale Honey’s video for “Fish” or more Video Appreciation posts. Feel free to e-mail me suggestions for other music videos you’d like to see covered. And if you like these posts, consider buying my music to support Write to Remember.

Video appreciation posts this year highlight and seek female musicians to inspire diversity in our music playing and listening pursuits.

Click ‘Continue reading’ to see the lyrics. Continue reading “Video Appreciation – Pale Honey’s "Youth"”

Song of the Month – Washing Away's "In Between"

This third Song of the Month is another one from Washing Away — “In Between.”  Like the previous songs, I wrote this one beforehand and put it together in GarageBand in March. I didn’t have to make any changes and, other than using keyboards, it’s true to how I first wrote it. The triplets could have been a problem, but I was able to find a couple of good drum beats to fit the tune. I experimented with shifting the keyboard parts around, but let them be. Like “Getting the Story Straight,” this song incorporates call-and-response parts, though here they are in the verses. Admittedly, the vocals are a bit flat, so they need work.  I was already beyond my deadline, so I worked with what I had.

Thanks for listening! Please leave a comment if you have any feedback.  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 "In Between"”