Posts in music
2016

Happy holidays everyone, I hope 2016 didn't do any damage to your face or hands. Everyone says this year was bad, but I’ve been hating years for years over here. Most are wildly overrated. Anyway, in celebration of the end of this garbage-ass timespan, here’s a 2016 mix of Fuck You, Motherfucker (It’s Christmas):

Originally written and released by John Benjamin on December 22, 2002, I recorded my version on December 23, 2009. My intention was for it to grow to become an Instant Holiday Classic (IHC), an irritating radio staple that once a year would make me wealthy beyond my wildest Christmas imaginings. This plan has not yet come to fruition.

JB has a band called Ménage À Garage.

I continue on as Brad Sucks.

Good luck in 2017.

musicBrad Turcotte
Soul Love cover

Over on Metafilter I joined in on the Bowie Summer Challenge. The idea was to, as a community, cover the entire The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars record. I was assigned the song Soul Love which I wasn't familiar with (I'm more a Scary Monsters guy than Ziggy Stardust.) Anyway, here's what I came up with: Soul Love (cover)

Update: Got a few requests for the multitracks, so you can grab them here.

musicBrad Turcottebowie, cover
Guess Who's a Mess remixes
New song demo: Thanks for the Add

Since finishing all the recording for my next record it's been exciting to work on new music again.

Thanks for the Add (demo) (5.2MB MP3)

One of my resolutions is to be more fast and loose with the creative output. Obsessing all alone was not helpful or fun.

Update: here are the lyrics for those that asked:

Thanks for the Add (demo)

gimme the mic cause i'm taking my life
in an unexpected new direction
i could care less about your breasts
or that your daddy never gave you very much attention
i'm the same as i used to be but i'm
doing my best to make a good impression
i don't wanna go on but i don't wanna belong
in this condition

did you know that i'm your biggest fan
i just wanna thank you for the add
can i introduce you to my dad

i'm feeling like a
dead man or the way i seem
cause i'm living underground with a fake id
i'm feeling like a
dead man or the way i seem
cause i'm twitching and i'm learning slowly

i'm turning my cell phone on in the middle of the interview
i'm digging a shallow grave to eliminate my point of view
gotta get suggestions how best to get your attention tell you i'm cool
i don't wanna go on but i don't wanna be long
in this condition

did you know that i'm your biggest fan
i just wanna thank you for the add
can i introduce you to my dad

i'm feeling like a
dead man or the way i seem
cause i'm living underground with a fake id
i'm feeling like a
dead man or the way i seem
cause i'm twitching and i'm learning slowly

Sample organization

With completing all recording and sequencing on my next album and me regaining my enthusiasm for making new music, a complete sample library reset is in order. I'm a sample hoarder but my current setup (30-40 gigs of loops and samples in d:\music\samples\ subdirectories) has always been awful. The hierarchy's all wrong and it sucks to browse. For a long time I've wanted a del.icio.us tagging style sample browser but I understand it's a limited market.

But lately I've been using the latest beta of foobar2000 for my mp3 listening and organization. One thing I totally love about it is the facet view:

facets

You can enter a search query or click in any of the panels (you can choose what tag you want each facet to be based on) and it narrows down the other panels based on your selection or search query. It's really fantastic and makes it easy to explore your collection.

So a light bulb went off last night: this is exactly what I want for my samples! With some help from the foobar2000 forums I set up another copy of foobar and had it index my sample directories. Big problem: foobar saves all the metadata to the actual audio files -- .WAV files don't support genre metadata. Boned.

I've been scrabbling around trying to make foobar do what I want with various plugins but it's a pain in the ass. Now I'm on to trying other media players...

Hey all right

Waterloo solo show went pretty good I think. Compared to Ottawa bars it was pretty surreal playing for people who were already pretty into my songs. All the laptop stuff went ok. Some show notes:

  • WatelrooI needed to run 6 1/4" outs into the soundboard. The soundboard was unfortunately at the back of the giant room and the sound fellow only had two DI boxes on stage and was running an XLR snake to the back. Luckily I brought along my Behringer UB1204 mixing board (just in case) that I was using for practice. So I wound up doing the sound from the stage, which was an interesting challenge when you're playing guitar. The word is it sounded OK so I guess like... I'm a sound genius.
  • It is weird to mess up your own lyrics in front of people who know them and are singing along.
  • In rehearsals my song switching method (via a Nostromo n50 I found in a box) worked flawlessly. On stage however as soon as I finished a song I completely forgot what song I had just played and where I was and what was happening. So there were some false starts which nearly blew my whole ruse.
  • I need to edit the songs so they cut the vocal delay effect off when they're over. Too many times I was like "thank you! thank you! thank you! .. thank you! ... thank you! what the- thank you! what the- .. what the- thank you! ... what the-"

Those are all pretty minor things it seems judging by the people who came up to get CDs signed or whatever afterwards. So I feel pretty good about it. Waterloo U. students are very smart, friendly and attractive and I was given a Waterloo hoodie by the residence council so now I can pretend that I'm one of them.

And as for travel notes:

  • The Super 8 should legally be forbidden from using the word "super" to describe their hotel services.

Thanks to the folks at Waterloo for having me out, everyone in the audience and anyone I met that I of course have immediately forgotten the name of. Fun!

Justice's Phantom on electric guitar

I was having a discussion with a friend of mine last night about whether the song Phantom by Justice could be played on the electric guitar. I thought it could be (but it would sound stupid) and he wasn't sure (but thought it would sound stupid). So here it is, me playing along with Justice's song Phantom:

Justice - Phantom (Brad Sucks at Guitar mix)

Yep. Stupid.

Waterloo University show

It's been confirmed: Friday November 23rd I'll be doing my first solo show at the University of Waterloo. That's nearly a seven hour drive from my home and will be my first time playing outside of the Ottawa area.

It'll also be my first hardcore test of the laptop + guitar + vocals setup. I'm hoping it goes totally awesome as that would mean I could travel with this sucker when there's no budget to lug a full band around and I could start fulfilling some of those Eventful demands.

The only two huge issues I'm really worried about are:

The laptop could flake out - I'll have the backing tracks on MP3 and CD as well as the laptop which would mean only my realtime vocal effects would be killed if something terrible were to happen to the laptop.

It could be totally lame - A dude singing and playing guitar to some laptop backing tracks -- is that cool? My favorite rappers generally just have backing track -- or a DJ going through the motions if they're rich and want to be super cool. Doing an acoustic show seems like a cop-out, but maybe having backing tracks is too phony.

Of course I'm sure something unexpected will happen instead. Who knows!

Out of It vocals deadline is past us

Thanks to everyone who submitted vocals for Out of It. We got 54 entries and that's pretty awesome. Quite a weird sensation to hear so many people singing my song.

Now comes trying to mix the track, woo woo! While I'll only be using a handful of the vocals on the record (I think) I'll definitely put together some other mixes with more/all of the vocals.

Facebook

Facebook finally has band pages. I made a Brad Sucks one here. These days I'm really despising Facebook, it seems so anti-Internet, full of lock-in and crappiness. Also: we got photos, events and videos for bands -- but no music? What in the--

bradsucks-facebook

Anyway I'm sure it's great! Check it out here.

Update: thanks to Justin for showing me what I did wrong. Adblock removed the pulldown menu that included the selection for the musician pages.

Facebook tells me they can't change the page, so I've had to make a new one here. Hooray I'm dumb!

A Paler Shade of White

A Paler Shade of White is an interesting article about indie rock and race. Its basic premise seems to be with the rise of legitimate black mega-star musicians, white people are self-consciously limiting themselves from doing what has previously made white music good -- namely stealing from black people. Mostly he pins it on a lack of rhythm:

How did rhythm come to be discounted in an art form that was born as a celebration of rhythm’s possibilities? Where is the impulse to reach out to an audience—to entertain? I can imagine James Brown writing dull material. I can even imagine the Meters wearing out their fans by playing a little too long. But I can’t imagine any of these musicians retreating inward and settling for the lassitude and monotony that so many indie acts seem to confuse with authenticity and significance.

It's a neat analysis and it's fun to put down boring jangly Pitchfork whiteboy rock. I liked this quote:

But by the mid-nineties black influences had begun to recede, sometimes drastically, and the term “indie rock” came implicitly to mean white rock.

But there are lots of counter-examples. The White Stripes for instance are still healthily stealing from black people and are doing just fine by it. My city has more blues-rock bands than you can shake a stick at. But I guess they don't get called "indie rock" as they're not white enough.

Out of It community backup vocals

Hey hey. I need some background vocals for the title track of my next album (Out of It). I kinda want it to have a singalong vibe. Instead of just going to some of my singing buddies I thought it'd be fun to try opening it up to anyone out there.

So here's the unfinished song with rough vocals:

Out of It [3MB MP3] (lyrics)

How to play along at home:

1. Record yourself singing along with this song as best you can. It doesn't have to be the greatest quality, but try to keep clipping/distortion & mic pops to a minimum. Note: I need a recording of only your singing to be able to mix you in.

2. Upload your audio files to ccMixter.org under an Attribution Creative Commons license (which gives anyone permission to use your vocals as long as they give you credit). Please tag the file with "outofit". Update: ccMixter has a submit form specifically for this. If you're logged in, go here.

Deadline: Monday, October 15th Sunday, November 11th.

What's in it for you: If I use your vocals I'll credit you in the liner notes for the song and ship you out a free copy of the record when it's done. Woo!

Thank you! (You can see the submissions so far here.)

Update: fieryprophet has mixed all the vocals as of October 16th, check it out [5mb mp3].

music, newsBrad Turcotteoutofit, vocals
Amazon hype & gorillas

I'm pretty far behind on the blogging lately, let's see...

Amazon launched their DRM-free MP3 download service - good news for anyone who hates DRM. The implementation is nice, the player's decent. Things I don't know: a) how my music got in there b) how they decided on $6.99 for the price of my album (which is a dollar more than 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin') and c) how much I earn out of the sales. Seeing as though I earn about $6.50 from each iTunes album sale I assume this'll be significantly less riches for me.

I'm pretty into Hype Machine lately. My friend Ryan's been bringing me up to speed on the blog house scene. I really don't have the time or patience or really anything to keep up with things so I'm relying on aggregators to do it. Of course now I'm thinking about writing my own as making web sites to enable my own laziness is sort of a passion of mine.

I think I could watch this Cadbury ad about one, maybe two thousand more times:

I think this is the first time I've ever been happy to hear Phil Collins.

Pitchfork Gives Music 6.8

Pitchfork Gives Music 6.8, a fine article by The Onion:

"Coming in at an exhausting 7,000 years long, music is weighed down by a few too many mid- tempo tunes, most notably 'Liebesträume No. 3 in A flat' by Franz Liszt and 'Closing Time' by '90s alt-rock group Semisonic," Schreiber wrote. "In the end, though music can be brilliant at times, the whole medium comes off as derivative of Pavement."

musicBrad Turcottefunny