Getting a sound right

I work with a lot of folks who are very good at getting sounds right. They work hard at capturing a sound, at turning the sound into data in the optimal ways, at transforming that sound from the data to something your ears can accept in the manner that seems the most direct and real. The folks I work with are very good at this effort because they work very hard at it. When their very hard work is successful, they are not only very good at their jobs but also very happy.

So, the following two Marah videos make my night.

Marah has remastered their Kids in Philly masterpiece — one of my desert-island albums — for vinyl, the album’s first-ever LP pressing. In the song Catfisherman, a listener hears the sound of a spinning fishing reel. It’s a beautiful sound, one you only notice after a few listens, but upon noticing, you memorize.

Here, Marah’s brothers Bielanko listen to what I assume is the remastered track, and Serge talks a little about getting the sound right. Just a little. The videos are mostly listening and being happy. The sound explains the rest.

Really something else

This week, I don’t even know. The first 60-hour one in a while. But, hey, still standing. Got a lot done. And now it’s weekend. It’s the exhausted, scratchy-voiced weekend. But still standing. Or at least pretend awake.

Chuck Ragan, Not Typical. I posted the album version a few months back, and this week I ran across a great live version from his label’s offices. So ragged, so good, just like this week. But you worry about future voice.

Non-typical, it’s really something else
When one is back into the call of what’s wild and raw

This video was among the automated suggestions in the rail of the Ragan video, and how often does an algorithm give you the cover you covered in the shower earlier in the week? I think I’ve posted a version of this cover before, but who cares. The Horrible Crowes, Teenage Dream.

Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Seinfeld, in a 2000 clip the David Letterman vault posted this week, singing. I smiled the entire way through.

Last, one of my favorite music interview passages in a while, with Dave Bielanko, the singer from one of my favorite bands, Marah, talking to The Key blog from WXPN, one of my favorite radio stations, about Marah’s new inspired-by-ancient-logging-songs Mountain Minstrelsy album.

TK: It’s such a cool idea for project, digging into an old songbook for this century-old music. I’m sure you get this comparison a lot (and I apologize if you’re sick of hearing it!) but it feels like what Wilco and Billy Bragg did with Woody Guthrie’s music. They were able to get several albums out of that project – do you think there might be a Mountain Minstrelsy Volume 2?

DB: Thanks! “California Stars” is a great song, but here’s a thing…Woody MF’n Guthrie wrote those song lyrics…and there’s a good argument for him being one of the greatest song lyric writers we’ve ever known. (google “Talkin’ Hard Work Blues” if you think I’m lying.) Our source material was a bit more??? I dunno “spotty”? It took a lot of work for us to find a record hiding in there. This stuff came “whispered down the lane” from obscure hillbilly, lumberjacks and poor mountain folks so that gave our whole undertaking a very different underdog spirit, a punk rock feeling, it felt like we were maybe even doing something “good” for some pre-ASCAP uncelebrated forgotten songwriters. Ghosts. It also felt nice to not have Woody or Hank Williams looking over your shoulder as you worked. We were able to just be ourselves and just chase down whatever album it was going to become, keep ourselves present, see where it all would lead…nobody was fighting over these over songs anyway, it was just laying there to be done.

5 songs that made my day last week, which was quite a week

Free ft. Emile Sande, Rudimental.

Lucinda Williams, Something About What Happens When We Talk.

Beyonce, Get Me Bodied. On the place back from SXSW, I watched The Kings of Summer (enjoyed it more than I thought) and a beat heard briefly during one scene made me think of this song. The beat turned out to be a different song. But still. I’d argue songs can make your day by mistaken identity.

The 1975, Chocolate.

Marah, Sing! O Muse of the Mountain, live at Jammin Java.