Sunday, November 24, 2013

All I want to do is write songs


Somebody at the Louisiana Book Festival said to me, "You haven't been blogging." which, I mean, I'm flattered my absence went noticed. 

My official answer is that I am still working on Gas Station Boudin and Other Delights, a my forthcoming book about south Louisiana hole-in-the-wall restaurants. I am working on it, I swear. Thinking is working. That, and teaching takes up a lot of time. 

Truthfully, I've been writing songs. All I want to do is write songs, so here they are. Maybe I'll start issuing each as its own blog post, or maybe not. I have been a song machine, cracking out specimens of varying quality but each ablaze with heart and love.

Here they are, all YouTube links of me playing them at home or early mornings at the office when my voice is still sleepy-deep, in reverse chronological order starting backwards from yesterday. Like this.

"I Am Here (With Your Aspect Ratio)"

Trigger warning: some are at a creepy cameraman-in-the-crawlspace angle, in case you have crawlspace issues. Others are simple desk shots, like I am invading your personal space with guitar in hand. So I'm blogging, OK? Enjoy!

I Am Here (With Your Aspect Ratio) - A Guided By Voices-ish love song with scientific terms
The Wind Carries Me - This was a moody riff with which I was playing and to which moody lyrics were added. I kinda dig the 4AD vibe to it. What was that band? Breathless? It had the guy that sings the This Mortal Coil cover of my favorite Pearls Before Swine song in it. You know which one I mean. 
Rudolph's Lament - My band, The Rakers, is playing an office Christmas party next month so I wrote a couple of Christmas songs.
The Office Christmas Party - This is an amalgam of office Christmas parties past rolled up for the one in the near future.
Bachelor's Christmas - A boozy, Tom Waitsy number that could use a piano and some porkpie hats.I'm really into this tune.
Valley of Death - Wrote this one on the way home from seeing Peter Case's folksinger set a couple of weeks ago. I got it out and put it aside, but its becoming one of my favorites. I sing it now where I go up on "death" and it sounds kinda cool, if I say so myself.
Wipeout City - Needed a rock song. Almost a true story except there were no mountains around and I didn't really almost drive my brother's car off one and in fact, he said I could use his car while he was at drill so I didn't even steal it. And he didn't move back in with us. And was nice. Otherwise, true story.
The Devil, Jesus and John the Baptist Walk Into a Bar - Also possibly a true story. My Aunt Dodie said she likes it even though it is blasphemous.
Crack in the Sidewalk - I wrote this one floating out in the dark, warm gulf water out at Grand Isle, along with a prophetic one I wrote about crows and another I can't remember. This is a sweet one, kinda like Big Star's "Thirteen" but not as sweet or good, because nothing is.
Like a Ringer - This one has been bouncing around in my head for ages. I want it faster than I play it in the video, so I need the band to help me work it up. It might be deemed the "funnest" of my songs.
Love In Between - A simple one the band really seems to like playing. I like it too, mind you, but I like saying "the band really seems to like playing" it.
Mirrored Sunglasses - Written in response to RIP Lou Reed. We are working this toward a sleazy "Emotional Rescue" kind of vibe.
Jesus and Losers - I wrote this one for my bandmate Jamye to sing, in case you were wondering about the "all the men I love" business. Cuz I love everybody.
Sparrow in my Skull - I wrote this one to play at a speaking engagement for a group of psychologists, or rather, it coincided with the engagement. I practiced it a bunch and had it down tight and pretty and then kinda bombed it at the event. I set sail in some wrong key and could not steer myself back into port. They were very kind and let me stay for dinner anyway.
Margaret and Dee Dee - I'm working my way up to doing a singer-songwriter set so I needed some story songs. The tune is straight up "Sister Ray" and "Roadrunner" and a lot of things, but I really like the lyrics on this one.
Harry Potter and the Iron Maiden Girl - Ditto. I was listening to a lot of Belle & Sebastian that day and this is as close as I can get to Stuart Murcoch without "twee-ing" out.
No Stars - This exquisite bummer is maybe my favorite one I've written. We've talked about going full Mazzy Star shoegaze on it, disco ball flickering lights like a prom of the damned. It will be glorious and you will slow dance and cop a feel off the one person in the world that understands you.
Dark, Dark, Dark - Good ol' throbby rocker. I got a '68 Ampeg Reverberocket that sounds like the Arcangel Duane Eddy's trumpet and this was maybe the first one I wrote with full set-the-controls-on-the-heart-of-the-sun tremolo. and, for whatever reason, I recorded it on nylon guitar here.
Why Do You Want My Love? - Another one that Jamye sings. Universally agreed that this is the best one of mine we do with the band.
(I'm in Love With a) Terrible Girl - I really like this one. I like it even better with the parenthetical in the title.
I Save Cigarette Butts - A Daniel Johnston song I turned into a bit of a blues. Love, love, love this song and I sing it with obsessive gusto.
A Man Without Love - OK, I take it back about "Dark"...this is the one I wrote the day I got that amp. I need to relearn the moody licks in there,
Say My Name - We pepped this one up a little and it has served well as our set opener on our coupla gigs.
When The Night - This came out of me trying to learn this fantastic Joe Strummer song and deciding I should just write my own song.  I wrote some songs before this one, but this was the one where I told myself, "Put that on YouTube" and have since to my every musical notion.

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