Band Practice and Curry

Here it comes. A summary of the next gig we play, our rehearsals, and the dinner after. But it’s got loads of media and clips and links and so on for the musically-curious.

Well, today we had another rehearsal. We’re hoping to do well on Saturday, our first gig in a few months and it’s with a good Korean band we’re playing with for the first time, a group called Plastic People (and this …and this, and this… is what they look like… and yes, they really only have two members, a girl drummer/singer and a guy guitarist/singer… though the albums have more studio musicians, live it’s just a duo…). This is what they sound like on their site: Lullaby for Geo and Traveling in the Blue. (If you’re really adventurous they also serve up a video of a good, sweet but also somehow Yo La Tengo-esque song here: Ohu 3-Shi, which means 3 in the Afternoonhere.) Rumor has it the label who released their CD Songbags of the Plastic People might be interested in us, so we want to play some new songs and play the old stuff as well as possible. So like usual, today we worked up a new song, from something Myoung Jae improvised on the spot.

The sax part is fun enough, mainly because I’m doing this weird harmony thing on it… I programmed my effects processor (which is actually a vocal effects processor) to create the illusion of a second saxophone playing in harmony with my line. It’s parallel sixths so it doesn’t sound like church music. But I want to diddle with it to see if I can’t program it to have two different harmony lines, one above and one below, which I can alternate between by using the pedal. The deep bass harmony is very cool in some parts, but I want a higher harmony in some places. I also was happy to contribute to the harmony in the bridge, at least in the current form. It has an Ab diminished chord, and I realized when I suggested it that listening to Beck a lot lately has rubbed off on my harmonic sense. It sounds like some of the chord progressions on his Sea Change album.

We decided to have one more rehearsal on Thursday, and Thai, Kathleen, and Seong Hwan came over for dinner. News:

  • I’m the last single man in the band. Er, let’s set aside my own neurosis and get to the real news, which is that Seong Hwan met a girl in Kwangju and they’ve become a couple. I feel bad for him, though, because (a) she lives in Kwangju, which isn’t so bad but (b) she is moving to Japan for a year, and she leaves in one month.
  • The new Belle & Sebastian (here’s the other “official” site from Jeepster)album is quite so-so (in my opinion, anyway)… the tunes are catchy but the sound is less full and interesting because they’re missing their cellist/singer Isobel (as of the July news on their Matador site (and I don’t recall hearing any trumpet work this time either). I do applaud the attempt at a new sound, though, and I’ll listen again to see if it grows on me. There’s just so much kiddy-sounding stuff, I am finding it hard to adjust to that sound considering what I am used to them doing…
  • The new Yo La Tengo album is quite quite good. This band never stops sounding fresh, honest, and touching because they’re just so sensible, so heartfelt and vulnerable and yet also strong.There’s no bullshit in their songs, as far as I can tell. And it helps to have a bonus track with kids singing cuss words about nuclear war… and it doesn’t really sound kiddy as much as attitudinal.
  • My chicken curry was the best (according to Thai), my hummus didn’t have too much garlic (according to Kathleen), and Indian food is spicy (according to Seong Hwan). I liked my Thai-esque chicken curry soup the best.
  • Things in Iksan seem much the same as usual, with assorted bits of good, non-gossipy news about various people we know being liberally sprinkled about the room… but I shan’t post about any of that here… you need to come over for dinner to hear that sort of news…

As for the music: I am getting a little impatient waiting for some of my songs to get worked up, mainly because I spent prodigious amounts of time trying to figure out how they should sound. But I do think the song we put together today is good, so it is worth the wait… this time. But I think I shan’t work on any new ones until the one’s I’ve come up with have been worked through and formed into something more tangible than a mere idea only that resides only in my own head.

And the new Yo La Tengo is really good. So good I’m putting up a link a beautiful track Little Eyes (from the album Summer Sun); the mp3 is available on their webpage. Check it out. Yo La Tengo is one of the best indie rock bands out there, with an always-full and always-fresh sound even though they only have 3 members… they’re really worth your time.

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