Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Hash Not Hash

This recording session comes after a five month unintentional break, but I often find the best way to improve is by not practicing. All our creative energy gets backed up, until the floodgates are finally opened and then the desire is to make up for lost time. Hash Not Hash is a clear example of this, being a huge leap forward from Tropical Fruits, and covering fresh sonic ground.

The album starts with the sullen, down tempo ballad "Blue City Rain Storm." This track's mixture of synthpop-esque melodies and harsh textures of noise exemplify a new direction our sound has been branching into lately. While not entirely new (we've certainly done catchy pretty sounding stuff with noisy elements previously) this is a juxtaposition that we've been delving into more deeply.

You can hear something similar on display in the track "Sleep Paralysis;" which concludes a mostly continuous, dream themed section of the album. Instead of synthpop elements we have a very delicate ambient soundscape drifting on an deep abrasive undercurrent. This combination is perfection to my ears, and definitely my top track for this release. A close second would be the closing track, which is an extremely cinematic interpretation of our classic "Cataract Jack."

For those with a discerning ear for synthesizers you'll also notice some textures previously unheard for The Brown Christmas. This was around the time I started acquiring some vintage digital synthesizers. This album marks the introduction of the Korg Wavestation and the Casio CZ101 to my set up.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Three things

Here we go, catching up on the most recent three releases. I'm going to talk about them out of order since two of our recent albums have a very similar premise. I'll start with Tropical Fruits of All Kinds, released this past February; it's The Brown Christmas' taste sensation sweeping the nation and causing constipation. I believe this was one of those times Joe and I met with the intention of rehearsing for a live performance, only to end up recording completely new stuff instead.

Often times before I even have everything set correctly to record Joe plugs in and starts pumping out synth melodies. I'm certainly not going to leave a good melody hanging, so I quickly get the recording going and start jamming along. Before long an hour has passed and we have a fresh fruit bowl of new material.

When I listen to these recordings it conjures up images of late night adventures, wondering around quiet streets under lamp lights, and being convinced there's something magical or nefarious lurking just out of sight in the shadows. Highlights of this album include the whimsically upbeat "Out Drinking with a Friendly Moth" and the blissfully cosmic, "Asleep in the Stars" The former sweeps merrily up and down, riding a sultry evening breeze in search of sources of light. While the latter is a more stationary, sedated trip within and beyond punctuated by a deep sweeping bass drone.

The albums for January and March are both practice session of live sets. These are composed of new versions of previously released material. Volume one draws tracks from New Jersey Sound Machine and Go Ahead ...Call the Cops, as well as a new version of 'Nobody Knows what it's like to Eat My Dick Tonight." All this practicing and preparation and I somehow forgot to record the actual live performance. This is the next best thing to live.

Volume two is a large chunk from the album How to Make an Egg Cream. There are two takes included on this album, the first is Joe simply winging it and me messing a few things up. The second take is closer to what our actual performance end up sounding like. This time I remember to record it. It can be viewed here. www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3KHFw_VeV0

Both of the takes had their interesting aspects and since the only songs we have multiple versions of are "Nobody knows..." and "Cataract Jack" I figured I might as well include both versions of everything.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Christmas 2017

Although our name is The Brown Christmas we are not, nor have we ever been, a 'Christmas' band. That said I always look forward to putting out a new Christmas album. There's such a wealth of material to draw from, and it's always fun to 'get in the spirit' with some mangled Christmas merriment.

I have noticed that on every Christmas album we put out there's always an exceptionally abrasive song, usually with me screaming over a wall of sound. This time it's a cover of "Hey Santa," which is my personal favorite on this release. I was trying to pull up the lyrics for the Carnie and Wendy Wilson "Hey Santa," but instead got the Straight No Chaser "Hey Santa." Shortly after I started screaming I realized my error, but there was nothing to do but to continue belting out lyrics to a song I've never heard before.

The title comes from an event several years ago when I was working retail. Christmas was over, all our holiday merchandise went on sale at increasingly large discounts. Eventually items were 90% off an everything was gone; everything except a 4ft X 5ft X 18in display of candy canes. We just couldn't sell these, so I was told to throw them out.

Now my memory is a little fuzzy, but these were the typical boxes of candy canes you see for sale, I think there are a dozen or so canes in a box. I put these into larger cardboard boxes which might have fit 24 boxes of candy canes. I filled up about six boxes, put them out by the dumpster, then loaded them into my card when my shift was over. So using those numbers that's around 1728 candy canes. For the album title we used Thirty-six since in seemed like a funny, yet still plausible number.

Only a few days into having these at home did I realize that neither my family nor myself particularly enjoyed candy canes. However I think you will enjoy this album.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Haulin' Oats

Whether you're a Quaker or a baker, if you've got oats you need hauled The Brown Christmas can get it done in no time flat. Around the holidays more than ever we get tons of oats that need hauling; and if you're speeding across state lines with a truck load of legally questionable oats, you need some good cruising tunes.

As will our previous album, guitar is featured prominently on Haulin' Oats. The opening track begins with Joemazing chugging away, before messing around with his guitar's faulty wiring to make it scream like a hawk. The synths and drums create a slow moving, lightly textured framework for Jomazing guitar to gradually melt over top. This destruction continues on "Mass of Choronzon," as I play some dramatic string samples and Joemazing screams and distorts things into an unrecognizable mess of feedback.

The tempo takes a more upbeat turn as a circus melody emerges from the ashes of the previous track. A deep bellowing synth line bounces us along drunkenly before building to a growling drone, as silly melodies dance around. The ferris wheel is rusted, the bumper cars are short circuiting, and the carnival barker is in a radiation induced rage.

Overall this album has an aggressive, lo-fi, abrasiveness that is best exemplified with my favorite track, "Missa pro Defunctis." This melancholic march sounds like it was ripped from a withered VHS tape; a simple but effective melody punctuated by drums, is made all the more epic when complimented by the thick analog drone that emerges about halfway through the song.

The closing track is another high point, and possibly the best version of "Nobody Knows what it's like..." we've recorded to date. We take turns belting out the lyrics as over the top as possible, and I do my best emulation of the drums from "In the Air Tonight."

That's about all I have time for, these oats aren't going to haul themselves! We've got deadlines to meet, and the oat hauling business is very competitive. This album is a great example of our grittier, lo-fi, noise sound. Give it a listen.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Books Suck

Books suck, plain and simple! You can't listen too a book (unless it's an audiobook, but that's just a book pretending it's a recording) they don't fit in tape decks and they're the wrong shape for record players or CD players. Music came first, music rules, books are just a bad sequel.

This album is the perfect example of the inferiority of books; there is no possible way for books to capture the essence of these songs. The driving kick on the first track calls the listener to adventure, an arpeggiated bass line adds a sense of urgency, and Joemazing's drones and melodies add an element of uncertainty and danger.

Things get a little hectic, but there is an opportunity to relax within the cosmic swirling synth tones of the second track. The stars are not entirely welcoming however, and the listener must avoid their supernova bursts. This moment of rest is short lived and the kick drums soon become jittery from all the delicious juice.

Joemazing's guitar work takes center stage, while I stack synth textures and feedback noise on our 10 minute post-rock opus "The Asteroid is Here." If you thought The Brown Christmas couldn't rock sick riffs and kick ass drums, this track will prove you wrong. This leads into our hard rocking closing track; "Sludge Cruiser." Who needs a distortion pedal when you can just crank your mixer up way to hot?

This album is the first release in a long while that hasn't been a single day jam session, and it takes us almost into the present year. There is one more album that was recorded in 2016 that's set to be released, but it's a christmas album so we had to release it out of order. The last 2 tracks of Books Suck are from November 2016; part of our Christmas album jam session. Since there's really nothing Christmasy about them, it was decided they would need to be a separate release. They were too short to be put out as their own album, but luckily we had another short jam session from January 2017 of almost the same length. These tracks were from a brief warm up jam before a very different upcoming secret project.

...But why are you hear reading this? It's so long it's almost a book, and books suck!

Listen to our album.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Chair Club for Men

Enjoy the most luxurious sitting experience of your life! The Brown Christmas is proud to introduce our latest business endeavor; the Chair Club for Men. We provide only the finest chairs in a wide variety of styles, both modern and classical. All of our applicants are screened very strictly, so you will be guaranteed an environment of only fellow chair enthusiasts.

While you're having a relaxing sit in one of our award winning chairs you can listen to our newest album. You'll find that one technique we often employ when recording is to take a simple theme or melody and turn it into an epic wall of textures. We open the album in this manner, with the gradual swelling of "Edge of the Void" which blooms into the monolithic second track "The Colossi of Memnon." The track ascends with the massiveness of an ancient giant emerging from it's slumber in the sand. Deep bellows from Joemazing's synth are punctuated with a more pizzicato string-like swirling melody. Crashing drum samples propel the song forward in a lurching motion as the otamatone breaks through with a screech of victory.

You'll find this same technique again on "The Serpent Swallows," which begins with a pensive drone and driving drum machine pattern, before building tension with increasing layers of atonal drones and seesaw arpeggios. The heavy breathing of Joemazing's synth adds to the anxiety as I dance around with a playful yet eerie melody.

On the track "Rain Dance Brings New Life" we have a slightly different style of building intensity. This time we work more with percussive textures, stacking them haphazardly on top of one another generating a chaotic down pour. These slowly change and disperse, opening up space for playful bird-like melodies. These simplistic chirps soothe the listener into the enigmatic final song "Puzzle in the Dark."

After this we get a short reminder from Joemazing about the importance of proper chair maintenance for both quality sitting and quality tone. So send in your applications today, we have a limited amount of openings for this most exclusive club.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Stogie Fest

Vape enthusiasts need not apply, it's Stogie Fest 2017!!! In addition to improvising music, we also have a tendency to improvise dialog. This is usually limited to a few remarks at the end of a track, but occasionally we'll do slightly longer 'skits'. Aside from Brown 'til Dawn all our recent releases have hardly any talking segments, but I felt as if Joemazing and myself had some entertaining exchanges that deserved to be included.

Let's not forget however, that there is also music on this album! It seems we stayed pretty consistently laid back and upbeat with these songs. Our usual detours into abrasive clusters of synth noise are absent, and while we do get spacey we never quite get spooky. Things get a little dark on "Cold Ghost Wanderer" and our cover of ZZ Top's "Tush," but for the most part we keep things chill and silly.

What else would you expect to hear while attending Stogie Fest? The audience demands mellow tunes for relaxing under clouds of acrid tobacco smoke. Wether it's "Sunset Hay Ride's" uplifting, melodic build up; "Picnic by Comet Light" with it's cosmic ambience over inquisitive arpeggiated bass; or "Swimmer in the Night Sky's" driving, forward flowing rhythm, this is the ideal album for wrapping up the end of summer.

Besides the afore mentioned "Tush" we also cover the Primus song "Mr. Krinkle," and do another cover of Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain." You can also hear new versions of our own songs including; "Love Young Brown" and possibly my favorite version to date of "Cataract Jack."

So light up your stogies, catch a screening of Wall Blart, and get one more relaxing weekend in before your brick arrives for Wall Day.