Monday, January 30, 2023

New Recording!: "Ready For The Next"

"Ready For The Next" is about a character ready for the next something in her/his life.  I wrote about it when it first was written here.  I still like it well enough that I decided to rerecord it.  You can here the demo version here.  For this version, I had some fun mumbling at the beginning about how this election will be the most important of a lifetime, which the media says about every election, and some other silly stuff.  When I wrote the song, many of us were ready to move on from the Trump administration; now, many of us are ready to move on from the Biden administration.  The old saying about how more things change, the more they stay the same comes to mind.  For the music, it's the usual vocals, guitar, keyboard as bass, and drums.  I dig that guitar riff at the beginning.

Thanks to The Tinnitist for featuring "Window Shopping" on a recent playlist!

For more Wred Fright music, listen to the Yeast? 7"!

Monday, January 16, 2023

New Recording!: "Window Shopping"

"Window Shopping" is about online dating, specifically the swipey cell phone apps such as Tinder and Bumble.  Some of the people on there, probably the majority I suspect, are just "window shopping" and have no intention of actually dating.  They like getting likes or whatnot to pump up the ego.  The dating apps are also interesting because how they make people disposable.  Why have a relationship when you can go on fifty first dates or one night stands?  The song has fun with those ideas utilizing the perspective of four characters, two females and two males, some of whom are gay and some of whom are straight (sorry, I couldn't fit asexuality or sapiosexuality or polyamory or whatever the latest thing is in as I didn't want the song to be too long).  This is a rerecording of a song from about five years ago.  You can read about the song here and listen to the previous demo here.  Though I dug the toy piano on the previous recording, for this one I opted for the standard keyboard.  Otherwise, it's the usual vocals, guitar, keyboard as bass, and drums (the keyboard drums plus the lid of a cookie tin).  I like to think that if Kurt Cobain had lived, divorced Courtney, and tried online dating, this is something like what he might have come up with (only his would be better--hey, at least, you have me still).

Thanks to my The Tinnitist for including "Happy Hour Made Me Unhappy" (though for some reason he went for the demo version from 2017) on a recent playlist!

For more Wred Fright music, listen to the Yeast? 7"!

Monday, January 9, 2023

New Recording!: "Happy Hour Made Me Unhappy"

"Happy Hour Made Me Unhappy" was originally a poem, but I figured it would work better as a song, so I wrote some music for it a few years later.  It was the first song I wrote after a couple years of being away from writing songs and playing music, and I suppose I was easing my way back into things by only having to write the music for lyrics that already existed.  I haven't had a dry period since, but there's nothing wrong with the occasional field lying fallow, so I don't really mind them.  I learned long ago how to hack out a song if I needed to, but I'd rather wait for and nurture the good ones along.  There's something to the Guided By Voices approach of write lots and let the cream come to the top (though GBV seems to ultimately release everything), but I prefer the opposite approach of trying to make every song count.  There's an earlier noisy demo version of "Happy Hour" you can read about at https://www.wredfright.com/2017/12/song-happy-hour-made-me-unhappy.html and hear at Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/wredfright/3nd).  As I wrote then, "I suppose it's a bit of a murder ballad, but it's not technically a ballad.  The singer of the song should definitely have just DTMFA, as Dan Savage would say (Google it if you don't know), and gone on Tinder.  Instead, he's going to jail."  I also had an earlier ep of the same title, but, like Elvis Costello sometime did, I didn't write the song until later.  This is the first track from this year's album of rerecordings, entitled Noisy And Not So Noisy, covering the songs from 2017 to 2020 or so that didn't get the full treatment then.  Musically, it's the usual vocals, guitar, keyboard as bass, and drums (or drum as I decided to let the weird instrument provide any non-snare percussion).  For the weird instrument this time, I "played" a 1996 Taco Bell Star Wars toy of the Millennium Falcon that made a cool enough noise that I made it the main percussion.

Thanks to my pal Loren in Iowa for playing "Smooth Jazz Riot" on his best of 2022 radio show!

For more Wred Fright music, listen to the Yeast? 7"!

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

What Wred's Reading: The Risk Pool By Richard Russo

I like to read while I eat sometimes.  Usually, I buy a newspaper or magazine because if I spill ketchup on an article about Donald Trump or The Cleveland Browns, who cares?  It's going in the recycling bin shortly anyway (don't worry, recyclers, I'll try to scrape that ketchup off to make your job easier).  Recently, I couldn't find a decent magazine to read at the few remaining stores who carry magazines, and I was tired of spending $5 for a 3-page newspaper, so I figured I'd just buy a book and rip it up so it laid flat (it's annoying when the books flop over, and I have to use my greasy hands to find my place again).  So I browsed the local Goodwill bookstore to find a book that was interesting and wasn't an expensive first edition anyone would weep over if I ripped it up for easier mealside reading.  Fortunately, Russo's book flips and flops nicely, so it lays flat for the most part, so I haven't had to rip it up, which means it can go to another reader when I'm done.  

That is nice because it's a good book.  Russo's early work is like if Ray Carver wrote novels instead of short stories and skipped all the Gordon Lish editing that gave his work that minimalistic style that made the critics swoon and Carver weep.  Books such as this one, Mohawk, and Nobody's Fool are all nice slice of life stories about life in the rustbelt, with that specific rustbelt being upstate New York USA in the mid to late 20th century.

Russo loses it in his later work.  Presumably, he's mined his youth for all the novelistic possibilities and like many academic writers has little else subject matter to write about (though Straight Man is up there with White Noise for academic satires written by Italian-American straight male writers in the 1980s and 1990s though--admittedly a small demographic).  After Empire Falls, his last good novel, you can skip the rest of his output and not miss much.  Everybody's Fool, the sequel to Nobody's Fool, is particularly dreadful (Russo seems to just smoosh time together in it, aging characters for drama's sake, which considering he writes in a realistic mode, is quite jarring--I forget the exact details, but that's only because I've attempted to blot it from my mind in the same way that some Star Wars fans pretend only the first three movies exist, as in first three released, not the later prequels)--and it looks like Russo's continued to be out of ideas as his next novel is a sequel to that one called Somebody's Fool.

Ugh.

Anyway, don't let his later work scare you off from his earlier work, which is quite good, like a Dickens writing in the 20th Century, just good old-fashioned storytelling.  The Risk Pool, a story about a boy's relationship with his never-do-well father, was the only one of his early books that I never read, so I'm glad to be reading it (I probably got scared away from other Russo books after reading Bridge Of Sighs, another awful later book, or something).

For a book probably not as good as Russo's earlier work but probably better than his later work, please read Fast Guy Slows Down.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Cool Yule 2022!

Well, if you're reading this and it's a new post, then we made it through yet another year (or close enough anyway)!  It was pretty eventful.  I did some press (one of which was the most popular post of the year), did some What Wred's Reading, had some fun, published Fast Guy Slows Down, told you about some scripts I wrote, put out a print edition of Blog Love Omega Glee, published some drinkdrankdrunk,  put out some singles, commented on politics, made some comics, recorded a new album, and did a bunch more stuff (just read the 2022 posts of the blog).

Whew!  That's a lot!  So now it's time to take the rest of the year off!  I hope you have a cool Yule!  If all goes well, see you in 2023!

P.S. Thanks to Ray X for actually being the first to run The Cosmic Counter comic strip in his Ray X X-Rayer #168!

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Comic: Nutopia

I've been checking cds out of the library and got out a John Lennon album.  One of the songs on it was about a country he founded with Yoko Ono called Nutopia.  I liked the idea and researched it further.  The result was this comic strip (click on the image to make it bigger).  I tried to draw it in the spirit of Lennon's own doodles in the liner notes of his albums.


And since the comic involves a pair of musicians, I'll thank The Tinnitist for featuring my latest single, "There's Nobody In This Town Worth Fucking", on a recent playlist.

For more fun, read the novel Fast Guy Slows Down!

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

New Single!: There's Nobody In This Town Worth Fucking

Sexual dissatisfaction can be as fun a subject for a song as sexual satisfaction, just ask The Rolling Stones.  Where this one came from is anyone's guess, but it was fun to write.  The characters in the song appear to be a cougar who can't find any prey and a closeted gay man in 1965.  Musically, I clearly had fun with a wah wah effect, but otherwise it's the usual guitar, vocals, keyboard as bass, and drums.  The weirdest instrument is probably a jingle bells Christmas decoration used for percussion.  Lyrics are below:

She burns bridges just to light her way.
And tomorrow is just a future yesterday.

There's nobody in this town worth fucking.

She leaves the gym looking like a million bucks that no one wants to spend.
And she wonders if any of them can still get it up, this town's men.

Meet me in the 6th floor restroom, anonymous sex in an office building.
It's 1965, and you have to hide.  Was that Bob from Accounting?

For more Wred Fright music, listen to the Yeast? 7"!