When compiling the songs for our debut album, the obvious choice for our album single was "Become the Road."
Both the subject matter of the lyrics and the sonic elements of the music convinced us that this would be a song that people could connect with easily. Overwhelming feedback from our fans has proven us right so far.
Having grown up in Los Angeles surrounded by freeways and buildings, road images appear frequently in Leanne's lyrics. The titles of songs such as "Stop & Go," "Rear View," and "Become the Road" illustrate this. Rather than thinking of the city's concrete jungle as possessing only negative and ugly qualities, Leanne explores the interplay of modern man and nature, and explores the idea of the road as a metaphor for life as a journey.
The song 'An Ordinary Swiss' is a spotlight on a freudian slip by one of the presidential candidates who stated that his was nothing more than “an ordinary Swiss bank account.” The statement exposes a frame of reference that is so alien to most people as to be an oxymoron. Conventional wisdom suggests a Swiss bank account is used by the non-Swiss for the express purpose of hiding money and avoiding taxes. So, the song, my attempt, is an artistic statement in sound that alludes to that mind-set, probing the context that is capable of such a statement. There is much that is not clearly defined, almost atonal, but there is a theme, some relation to 'G minor' and a suggestion: "erster Klasse oder zweiter Klasse." This isn't a choice for the listener, but rather a judgement pervading that same negative space that later declared that 47% of the people are indolent beggars. It's a funny and scary place.
'An Ordinary Swiss' gives equal weight to the sampled sounds of physical instruments and the sounds born of algorithms. All at once digital, synthetic but ultimately aural, analog and hopefully authentic. One of my goals was to employ sounds of purely digital origin not as special effects but as integral and equal expressive parts.
The the song is number five on the album 'Astroturfing.' The album was released in July and 'An Ordinary Swiss' was made available to listen to in its entirety at reverbnation.com/doubledog55. All of the songs strive for the same broad use of tonal colors riding on groove to express something less tangible than itself – but a something that has profound impact. Frighteningly good fun.
During one of the hotter moments of one of the hotter summer's in recent memory (thanks to all the whiskey and debauchery it was one of the last 3, just not sure which one) lead singer and guitarist Chad Dickerson of Switchmen found himself and some close friends in quite a situation.
His close friend had recently struck up a romance with a charming seductress from Chicago who going forward we will refer to as Liz, and she wanted to come visit him for the weekend and to bring with her a friend for Chad to "get to know."
The friend who we will call Barbie from here forward, was according to Chad, "Scrumptious in all the right places, with a charisma about her that let me know instantly, this would be 3 days I would NEVER forget."
When I wrote "Big Fat Hissy Fit," the BP oil spill was happening. So the lines, "I like my coffee, like I like my Gulf Of Mexico: real expensive and all black," just came out. As a former resident of Florida, it was very sad news to hear. As I kept refining the lyrics, it started to evolve into this kind of social commentary about others and myself. The lyrics dive into the way our minds work when dealing with insecurities and mistakes we make over and over again due to human nature.
The main point the song tries to make is that we are all the heroes of a story that's going on in our heads. No one ever believes they are the bad guy, and with the exception of a few people in this world, no one is completely evil. Just ask any religious extremist group. A lot of people are against them, but they still believe in their hearts that they are doing the right thing! There is no right or wrong...just perceptions of right and wrong.
"Prove Me Wrong"
I don't know why I use the word "buddy" so much. This is the second time. The first was in Le Meu Le Purr's song "Celebrate". I guess I just like the ring of it. I remember writing the first few chords and the melody. Then, "The Hope For Man Is Gone" came out. I don't know from where. Maybe it's was everything on the news, my way of poking fun at myself, or just listening to "The Wall" too much. I've always been a sucker for hope; things can and will get better if you want them to. I thought I should write the song taking the point of view of a king, a tyrant, a president, big business, or even god. "Maybe one day someone will hear it and get pissed off enough to do something about their situation" I thought. Of corse this is 50% bull shit. I'm really just yelling at myself.
Humans is that special kind of post-punk that blends heart-tugging melodies and distorted guitars to embody a certain component of youth we can all remember and identify with. This song is colorful and bright, even when the theme is dark and gripping and even spacey. This song is about how small each and every Human can feel at times "a grain of sand on the beach''. but it also is about how we all no matter how small can make the most out of this life and how we have some kind of purpose being alive here and now ''don't you feel like there something more out there I refuse to believe in nothing we have to exist for a reason'' another line from the song "This is not all that we are". This song is an anthem of life that you can relate to no matter what emotion you are feeling.
“Wine & Excuses” is the oldest song that made the record. I know this because I was still living in Philadelphia when I wrote it, back in May 2010. Earlier that year, there was an enormous blizzard that dropped about three feet of snow in the city. As it happened, I got snowed in at my apartment with a few close friends and a girl that I had just started seeing. What followed was a really fun, but weird, two-week period where no one could get to class or work. Our cars were plowed in and public transportation was shutdown. We were all stuck hanging out with each other for every waking second, drinking far too much alcohol and playing a ton of Monopoly.
While that may sound more like a party than the inspiration for a love song, think again. Most relationships start gradually and take quite a bit of time before both parties are comfortable spending long, uninterrupted stretches of time with one another. Hell, some relationships never end up at that point at all. But when the situation is thrust upon you, it can definitely be a profound experience for both good and bad. It forces you to start going through the lifecycle of a relationship at an extremely accelerated pace – for better or worse.
For me, when Philadelphia finally thawed out and we had to return to our normal lives, it felt like I was waking up from a dream. Part of it might have been the hangover. But some of it resulted from having a very new relationship, and the unstable emotions that come with it, thrust upon me very quickly. It took on a much more serious vibe than I was expecting, due mostly to just the sheer proximity that was unavoidable due to the storm.
All of that freaked me out, and I did what my younger self always did when I felt freaked out – I ran away from the problem. When the wine ran dry and the excuse of being stuck together was no longer valid, I felt way too vulnerable and looked for a way out. It wasn’t until a number of months later that I looked back on things with a clearer head and realized my mistake. But as is often the case, it was too late to handle it differently.
The verses in the song refer to a lot of the details of that week, some more fictionalized than others. For example, the SEPTA regional rail train schedule and the bridge from City Avenue to Manayunk. My car was also plowed in so badly I never thought I’d see it again. (I eventually did, and immediately drove it to Atlantic City for one of our finer collegiate gambling sessions). The choruses are just about the girl getting frustrated with me for not being able to make up my mind. I don’t think they are actual quotes, as most of this was unspoken frustration. My mind probably made it out to be way more prevalent than it was in reality – I have a habit of romanticizing. Finally, the bridge is just about regretting how the whole thing was handled. “Should I figure it out, I hope you’re still waiting around – but I doubt that you will be” is a pretty self-explanatory quote.
The writing process for this one was pretty interesting, since it’s the first song that took on a collaborative feel from the rest of the band. When I first wrote the song, it was a quieter acoustic and piano number that I demoed on Garage Band. But when we were rehearsing up shows to support my solo EP Destinations, we needed a few more tunes to round out the set. We started jamming on the acoustic version of “Wine & Excuses”, leading Pete to suggest we try it in a more upbeat style. Then he laid down that glorious twang in the intro and I started grinning like an idiot. The rest was history.
I credit the song for really pushing us to become a real band that worked collaboratively to write songs. It was also instrumental in helping us find our sound. We jump around a lot, but I think the pop sensibility with some Americana twang and straight up rock and roll guitars shines through in a lot of what we do. We started to find the balance with “Wine & Excuses”.
While recording this song, we intentionally pushed the tempo a little bit since we knew it was going to be the first proper song on the record. Like most of the songs, we tracked bass, drums, and guitars live. I remember nailing this one very quickly and feeling good about it. But then later in the night, we all had a few cocktails and played it back and we thought it was so fast. I think it was just that our brains were fried from an 18-hour day of tracking and all the gin and Sierra Mist we drank slowed our reactions, because after sleep and coffee it sounded great in the morning. It was one of only a small few studio freak-outs that ensued during the sessions for Don’t Paint Your Days So Gray.
Also, for the record, the harmony on “smile right through all the sad, sad, songs that you sing” is a four-part. There was no Auto Tune involved. Meg nailed the super high note on the first or second try, because that’s what she does. It might be my favorite harmony on the record, after the seven-part on the intro
While most break-up songs tend to dwell on the idea of leaving or being left behind, lead singer/songwriter Lydia Benecke of Blue Kid opted to re-empower herself by imagining the slow murder of an ex-lover in the band's aptly titled The Dismemberment Song.
While the lyrics lay out a step-by-step process for disassembling the offending ex's body, the true message of the song is not one of violence, but rather one of taking back control, as best evidenced in the bridge:
"''cause I'm all out of hurt, you've used up all I've got / so I'm chopping you up and still coming up squat / If I wanted to bleed, I'd just roll up my sleeve and saw, saw, saw."
Two years ago, I was fat and depressed. At 270 pounds I felt like the weight of my life was too much to bear, and there were days when I felt so helpless that I could not even bring myself to leave my house. My one-year-old son was diagnosed with epilepsy, my two-year-old daughter was allergic to everything, my husband had lost his job, and I was on the brink of losing my mind. I had given up my career in order to be a stay at home mom and create a strong family…I was failing.
I tried to act normal with my friends and family, but all the while I was hiding binge eating, drinking, and popping pills. I needed to take control of my life…I had been here before….
Gas City is a place where it’s always just after dusk on the hottest night of the summer. Police sirens echo through the streets every hour, on the hour, but no one even notices any more. It’s little more than background noise, like lost children crying for their mothers or the sound of overworked air conditioning units, trying to spit out their final last breaths of cold air before breaking down for good. Single 60 watt bulbs glow electric on booze, pills, stripper’s lace, newspapers from months ago. Everybody plans on getting out one day, somewhere that life isn’t so damn hard, but the city only holds your dreams and hopes out in front of you, just out of reach, just like the moon.
‘Gas City Blues’ is about two people that almost found something like love in a place like that.
Writing and recording my own album has always been a dream of mine, but for many years I was too scared to chase it. I was managing to make a living as a professional musician playing other people's music but I wasn't happy. More often than not, music was taking a backseat to image, managers would screw me out of money, and I would be surrounded by people who treated me as one more disposable guitar player. Out of fear of losing my gigs and not being able to pay rent, I was forced to put on a fake smile and take it. Through it all, however, I held onto to the hope that I would eventually be able to play my own music for a living.
One day, after another painful rehearsal, the bandleader of a group I was working with handed out strict wardrobe guidelines, detailing everything, even what brand of socks the band was allowed to wear. If we did not follow these guidelines, we would not be paid. I am all for looking good on stage, but since this band had not yet written a single song, I decided I couldn't take it anymore and something inside me snapped. If I wanted a shot at my dream and the life I had imagined, I needed to start now and not waste any more time. I called up a producer friend of mine and the next day we began pre-production for what would become my first album, "No More Rain". I had no idea where this project would lead me, what the album would sound like, and certainly no idea of how I was going to pay for it all. I just knew I had to start taking responsibility and control of my own future.
"Jam #65" is one of the last songs I wrote and recorded, and did so to chronicle what I went through to get up the courage to make this album. Now, the "painful smile" I was wearing on so many gigs has be replaced by a real one. Thanks to the risky leap I took, I love what I do again and feel proud to have created something of my own that no one can take away from me.
I was scheduled to perform at the Tarrytown Farmers' Market on Saturday, August 25, 2011, from 10 a.m. until noon. The "stage" is a small grassy knoll next to an equipment shack with an electrical outlet, where the market manager sets up a rickety sun awning for me.
That week, Hurricane Irene was approaching, along with dire warnings for the NYC metropolitan area. A city official told the media, "people should not take the risk of going outside during Hurricane Irene. Don't tempt fate." I got the idea of personalizing Irene, which created the song's central metaphor, and I came up with a simple, driving blues structure. At first I wanted to make it more complicated but the song worked best with just two chords (A minor and A (okay, an occasional A7)), which pleased me since I'd never written a song with only two chords before. It was mostly finished in time for the farmers' market.
A verse by verse story behind the song "Wait this out" by EXILE SESSIONS
"Haven't been the best of friends to you"
- I was BAD
"I've seen better days with you"
- there were great times.There were fulfilling moments. There was a fork in the relationship road. The relationship took the turn that said "sayonara" to good times.
"Only too aware that distance creates distance"
- Nobody is a fool in love. We only play the fool. We are aware of the emotional distance we create. And we are aware that it gets bigger with neglect.
"Took it just enough to fall apart, i wish we took it too far"
- If you take a cake out of the oven too soon it falls apart. Unless that cake says "Carvel" on it. I love Carvel cake.That i love ice cream cake is not important.
" You should wait this out"
- If you wait- it'll be better than not waiting. Dig?
"Now my imagination is spinning to make up a memory that seems fitting"
- DE - NI- AL
"But lying is empty. You're bitter,loyal and you love me"
- RE-AL-ITY with a side of growth.
BRIDGE AND FINAL CHORUS
The track Love Me was inspired by three key occurrences in my career. While being in the club scene regularly performing, I would notice as the night went on, people would start dancing as if they were making love/humping/ having sex; whatever you want to call it. Secondly I have wanted to take my music to a different level, I told my music engineer that I wanted to do a new track inspired by techno and dance beats. Thirdly my popular phrase “If you want it, you can get it from me” I’m an all around guy that can make any task possible; jokingly I came up with this phrase to my friends. It has become catchy and stayed around. Without these three occurrences at the time, this song would have never came forward.
Love Me was then born. I went to the studio, my new beat was finished, went in the booth and the hook came to life. “You said you just wanna dance, but I know you wanna love me” The whole concept is comical now, my crew laughed for days. People dance but they look as if they are making love; this is a popular thing in the clubs.
Now the song is a hit! Definitely a big hit in the club. The beat and my lyrics hype up what people are already doing, plus making them laugh. This is my main goal when I make music; making something that everyone can listen, laugh, and relate to.
The song has obvious allusions to the Occupy Movement that swept our country over the last year or so. The lyric of the song neither champions, nor denounces, the movement; instead, it's more about my own personal struggles with challenging the status quo and how, ultimately, as the song says, " [you have to] occupy yourself, before they [the establishment] occupy you."...which is a very zen, look-inwardly, "revolution in the head", type of philosophy. There's also some obvious double meanings to the title phrase, "Occupy Yourself". Aside from the thought-provocing lyrics, the song also has a really catchy chorus that, at least by the measure of our fans, is not easy to forget.
The song ‘Clarity’ has a special connotation for us. We met while working at an acupuncture clinic in Santa Monica. I, Alicia, was going through a bit of a rough patch. Having studied music almost all my life and having recently graduated from Cal State Northridge with a degree in Vocal Performance, I was feeling lost with how to proceed with a career in music and not at all happy to have to hold down a 9 to 5 job while figuring it out. At one point I even considered that maybe music wasn’t what I was meant to do after all, and I became even more confused. So at work one day, with needles sticking out of various parts of our heads and while drinking the barely tolerable herbal tea given to us by the doctor, I turned to Aura and said exasperatedly, “I just need to find some clarity.” Aura then turns to me, a shocked look on her face, and says, “I just wrote a new song called‘Clarity’!” Not long after, we performed at our first open mic together, performing ‘Clarity’. After that performance we both decided that this was something we wanted to pursue. A year and a half later we came out with our EP, and titled it ‘Clarity’, of course. I guess the moral of the story is that sometimes you get what you ask for : )
The Story of Comfort Series #2
I don't really know how any of my songs begin—a half remembered phrase plucked from a book, or billboard, or something a friend said. A strange chord strummed in reaction to a creative dead end. I don't remember where this song sprouted. What I do remember is that it grew on the road.
In 2006 I went on tour for a long time. First a full six week U.S. tour alone with electric guitars, big amps, analog synthesizer, and a wide array of effects pedals, and then moving onto a two month long adventure around Europe. Five shows in two months with nothing but an acoustic guitar and an overloaded backpack.
I do remember banging out the intro verse of this song on a glockenspiel next to the campfire while camping in the wilderness of Montana on a night off from tour. I have a muffled tape recording of this somewhere. The next time I can remember really working on it was in Italy. I was playing a show at a venue in Tarcento, Italy—a beautiful small town at the base of the Dolomites that's built along one of the clearest rivers I've ever seen. I got picked up from the desolate train station there by a guy named Alejandro, who helped run the venue. He apologized for being late, explaining that he had had to cover the plants at his family's farm from to protect them from, as he put it, “ice balls falling from sky.”
He immediately took me to a farm where they ran a little restaurant on the property where everything they served was either produced on the farm or traded with neighbors who produced said item. That night I heard about some large waterfalls upriver a bit from where my hotel was. They had trouble explaining how to get there, but I remembered that they said if I followed the river upstream I'd find it.
The next day I used my only pair of shoes to walk in the rocky river the two miles or so upstream to the falls. Quite a site and a quite a day. I made my way back to my hotel after my river trek and worked on this song as well as others. I think I finished another song that I played for the first time that night as part of my performance.
From Tarcento I went to Florence where I had some friends enrolled in an NYU affiliated video production class. I made friends with one of their instructors and ended up staying in Florence for two or three weeks, sharing the flat where she was staying. During the days I would work on music there while she was teaching. From Florence I ended up going to a small series of five towns on the Mediterranean called Cinque Terre. There are hiking trails that run between all of the villages. I couldn't really afford to stay anywhere so I hiked around all day with my big backpack and guitar until I found a little spot up from the trail where I could sleep and wouldn't be seen. Not very legal, but very beautiful. A big bright moon, a warm sea breeze, and I could hear the waves lapping against the rocks below. I slept great.
In the morning I walked into town and got some breakfast and set out to hike to the next carless village. The hike quickly turned into a steep vertical climb, and I celebrated my youth, testing my physical limits with my heavy backpack and guitar through this steep rocky terrain.
Stops in France and Spain concluded the European leg of my trip, and I ended up in Brooklyn, New York for about two weeks. I was playing a few shows and just hanging out.
I was staying with a friend who had a great basement in Brooklyn in the house he shared. While he was at work I'd work on music. I believe I finished this song in that basement. If I didn't completely finish it, I finished it enough to debut it a couple nights later at a show I played.
This nine minute song is both a part of and a partial retelling of a pretty epic journey that solidified the importance of this style of travel to my creative pursuits.
St. Louis based Aaah!RealMonsters recently released their first full length album, Relocate, in August of 2012 and will begin the recording of their second album in the months to come. Composed of band mates; Tom Watkins, Matt Moore, Nick Dawes, Keith Bowman, and Ryan Martin, the group is aggressively pursuing recognition in the ever expanding pop-punk scene. Lead singer Tom Watkins and composer of the single, You'll Get What's Coming explains how the anthemic single came about. The song came to the band as a, "show and tell," display in one of the band's rehearsal's, and the band was immediately impressed and inspired to bring their potential hit to the attention of their producer, Aaron Baker. Since it was released, it has taken some national attention and has notably been selected to be featured on The Morning Drive Mix for 103.9 FM, The Rock of Long Island. DJ Henry K invited A!RM to sit in the studio and run through a brief interview.
The track is a real life account of an abusive relationship involving Watkins' mother. A melancholic lyrical composition serves as a threat to the abusive significant other; letting him know that one day he'll get whats coming to him. The first line, "a diplomatic man wears a suit and a tie," and the first line of the second verse, "a diplomatic man keeps his hands to himself," is addressed to Tom's mother, telling her that when the right person comes along, he'll be, "wearing a suit and a tie," while crossing his T's and dotting his I's. The metaphor serves to describe that she deserves someone who treats herself and her family with the up most love and respect. "she wont be coming home tonight," expresses the distress that this relationship put upon Tom and the rest of his family.
Tom sculpted an intense sway of emotion throughout this tune. A few of the intense bursts of emotion occur around the phrase, "go and relocate yourself," which was Tom speaking out and telling this abuser to find a new place to cast his shadow. Listeners are encouraged to sing along and poor out their own emotions in whatever way they relate to Tom's lyricism. This call to arms is especially evident in the tracks anthem, "you'll get what's coming to ya." By this point Tom has said all he can say and has clearly indicated what's in store for the diabolical 'other.'
A harmony of group vocals is put in place to demonstrate the shared disapproval of his mother's relationship with this unimpressive man. The cornucopia of vocals is brought together at a high point of emotion building toward the finale and leaving listeners' ears ringing with thoughts of karma in "you'll get what's coming to ya."
Tom's raw honesty is tangible as the song holds true to his real world experience; this rough patch in his life served as the inspiration for the popular single by Aaah!RealMonsters.
What Ends Well is inspired by a tumultuous point in my life. My parents divorced and we had to foreclose on the house. I started living on my own because my parents were in a custody battle over the younger kids and neither had the means to support my older brother and me anymore. Inevitably, everyone has to jump into what is considered “adult life,” but the suddenness of the situation left me in a strange state. As a result of the bitter divorce, my younger brother started acting out, so my parents decided to ship him out to live with my aunt in Colorado for a while—it ended up being nine months. I only found out the day before he left that he was actually leaving; since I was working to pay rent I couldn’t afford to take off work suddenly to see him leave. The whole situation left me feeling shaken and detached from my family and friends. For a time I just went in and out of tune with myself. I felt lost, unbalanced, and angry at the world. The lyrics in the song represent these feelings of alienation and paranoia. The title gives a bit of dark humor to the story; Shakespeare said “All’s well that ends well.” I ask, “What ends well?”
Who Really Knows
I sat there and rested until I caught my breath. I had been chasing her throughout the night into the early morning. Each time I reached for her, she remained just out of reach. I stood up and continued walking in the direction she had ran, until I collapsed from exhaustion.
The wind touched the back of my neck just the way she once caressed it. I heard the breeze whisper my name, and it gave me the strength to stand. I turned to see my love, feeling her presence. She was not there. The air grew heavy and dense, holding me captive and unable to move. I laid there the entire night, motionless and scarcely able to breath.
The night turned to morning, lifting the weight. Just as an inmate makes his escape from a prison, I stood and walked in the direction of her voice determined to find her.
Song From 22
When I was 22, I met a 21 year old. The first time we hung out, we had a "marathon date," if you will. We played drinking games and watched movies, drank a box of wine while walking around the city of Boston at 3am, took the subway to the beach when the public transportation opened, stopped off at the airport for coffee and donuts, bought pancake mix for lunch... and collapsed from exhaustion. The entire event lasted about 14 hours. It was everything I was looking for-- irrational, mindless FUN!
I could get used to this...
We went to bars just for last call, hung out at playgrounds after-hours, and walked miles in the dark to get to crappy all-night diners.
Then... just as I was getting used to it... I remembered what it was like to be 21.
I'm not saying one year is a big age difference, by any means, but when you've just turned 21, you can drink legally, and BAM-- the world is your oyster! This kid had no intentions of making this a regular thing, let alone a committed thing. So, I came down from my dating high, wrote "Song from 22" and vowed not to stick around long enough for karma to show me what I had done just 1 year prior.
Ever since then, it's been one of my favorite songs to share with people. It's super lighthearted and relatable. I take people on a journey with me-- all the way up to cloud 9, and then right back down to earth-- snapping their fingers and tapping their toes along the way!