Tag Archives: music

The Backyard Committee at the Huntington

Last night, I had the pleasure of joining my friends in The Backyard Committee for a few songs on lap steel guitar at one of our 35 Below parties at the Huntington. I’ve played a shows with them before, mostly on keyboards, and this was a fun, different experiment, as I don’t really get to play lap steel guitar out in front of people very often (it’s also a very difficult instrument to play by yourself). The band is essentially Mike Sembos, and whatever musicians he finds to accompany him. Even if I hadn’t been friends with Mike for 12 or so years now, I’d still love this band, because Mike is an utterly fantastic songwriter. So they’re always a blast to play with, and I’m hoping to do it again pretty soon. Did I mention that you can download both of their albums for free on their website?

…also there was Duck Hunt:

This Blog Post Will Make You Understand Why Amanda Palmer Is The Worst

I’ve established a bit of a reputation for myself as a Professional Amanda Palmer basher, ever since I wrote an angry little parody poem in response to her “Poem for Dhzokhar” which ended up exploding onto BuzzFeed and The Guardian UK. I was never particularly fond of her, even before that — some of her music is fine, sure, but her Neutral Milk Hotel Jukebox Musical left a very sour taste in my mouth1, and her production of Cabaret at the American Repertory Theatre was the single worst (not to mention most masturbatory) professional theatre production I have ever experienced — but it wasn’t until recently that I really started seething at the mention of her continued existence on our shared plane of reality. That might sound a little extreme — she hasn’t, you know, killed anyone or anything — but the cognitive dissonance between the message that Amanda Palmer conveys and the things that she actually does fills me with such vehement anger, that I feel the need to articulate the ongoing problem that she continues to present.

I’m choosing to write about this now is because I’ve had a number of people bring my attention to her latest blog post about Justin Bieber’s arrest, all saying that they awaited my snarky response to it. And while sure, I could do that (hell, maybe I still will), I thought it would be better for me to take the Amanda Palmer approach and express my feelings in a rambling blogpost which I can then in turn proclaim to be “art” and thereby diminish any and all criticisms of my own shortcomings by blowing a raspberry at my detractors and say “IT’S JUST ART YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND I’M JUST TRYING TO EXPRESS MYSELF AND THAT IS BEAUTIFUL.”

Continue reading This Blog Post Will Make You Understand Why Amanda Palmer Is The Worst

Upcoming Stuff & Events & Things (Nov. ’13)

Hello, website! Long time, no update! I swear that one of these days I am going to actually train myself to just make brief updates here as they happen, instead of these info dumps.

ANYWAY. I’ve got some stuff going on, because of course I do. It goes like this:

  • Saturday, December 7, I’ll be returning to MORTIFIED and performing some hilariously terrible songs that I wrote when I was 16. The performance will take place at Space 538 in Portland, ME; tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Do I know anyone in Maine that I can even embarrass myself in front of? I don’t know, but I can tell you that it is definitely worth it to go to Maine to laugh at my terrible, terrible songs.
  • I’ve also got 2 new short plays in the 4th Annual Boston One Minute Play Festival, January 4-6 at Boston Playwrights Theatre. They’ll be directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian and Meghan Mueller, which I’m sure makes my sister proud in some way.

Meanwhile, in addition to my normal duties at Five By Five Hundred, I have a review of Eric Smith‘s new book The Geek’s Guide To Dating on Tor.com, and some coverage of SpeakEasy Stage Company‘s world premiere production of Make Up Your Mind, a brand new play by Kurt Vonnegut even though he’s dead.

And then, ya know, the youge (like, the slang/shortened word for “usual,” but spelled phonetically? Is that right?): Workin’, writin’, so on and so forth. Tonight at the Huntington we start performances for The Cocktail Hour by A.R. Gurney, which is directed by Maria Aitken, a favorite of ours at the theatre. Here’s a little video I made for that:

I also wrote some fun stuff about ghost stories at the theatre on the Huntington’s blog which is still worth reading even though it’s after Halloween, as well as two pieces of flash fiction in this “Quantum Shorts” competition that you can go read and vote for so I can win some monies: I Kill Dead People and Not Dead Yet (which was the basis for my story in Grayhaven Comics’ Fifth Dimension anthology).

Wow that’s a whole lot of dead stuff. In that case, I should end this on a happy note, which is that Maurissa Tancharoen both listened to and enjoyed my song “I’ll Fight A Whedon For You”; unfortunately, her husband Jed was less than impressed.

So now I’ve pissed one Whedon and armwrestled another, which only leaves Zak for me still to cross. But overall I think that means that I’ve successfully become a Whedonverse villain?

Holy crap, I’ll be 28 in 2 weeks.

“I’ll Fight A Whedon For You,” My Newest Nerd Rock Single

A few years back, my friend Jeremy and I were joking around and discussing our adoration of Maurissa Tancharoen, a TV writer on Dollhouse and Spartacus and now one of the showrunners on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., plus an occasional actress in her own right on Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-ALong-Blog. On top of all of that, she’s also (sadly) married to Jed Whedon, brother of Joss. And she’s just super cute and lovely, so Jeremy and I talked about writing a nerd rock song called “I’ll Fight A Whedon For You,” a sentiment which in our circles is pretty much considered the pinnacle of romantic sacrifice.

Well, I finally got around to actually making that song happen. I wrote the lyrics up for a Five By Five Hundred post a few weeks ago (and I’ll include the annotation below, after the jump), and recorded the entire song at home over the last week or so. I play everything on the tune except for bass, which comes to you courtesy of the inimitable Jake WM. (okay I didn’t technically so much play drums as I did edit and re-arrange pre-existing Logic Pro drum loops but it’s pretty much the same thing.

Please feel free to download and share with your friends!

(follow the jump for annotated lyrics)

Continue reading “I’ll Fight A Whedon For You,” My Newest Nerd Rock Single

Just Dance, Mother&$%#ers!

In case you missed out on seeing Boston’s premiere all-male hard rock Lady Gaga cover band at the Midway this past weekend, you’re in luck: we got the whole thing on tape! Well, technically on built-on digital flash hardrive but, you know, whatever. The audio quality is a little rough (because isn’t it always?), but you get the gist. You can watch a playlist of the full set over on YouTube, but here are a few gems from the night:

“You & I”

“Bad Romance”

Plus we had a few surprises this time in the form of non-Gaga female pop artists (because frankly, Gaga’s catalog is kind of limited, and we needed new material). Like this:

The Art of Rock N Roll

Many people overlook the nuanced art of rock n roll, both within the songs*, and within the performance itself. Consider then: the set list. A good set list (or track listing**, for that matter) is a thing of beauty, complete with its own narrative arc of musical peaks and valleys that carry the audience through a complete cathartic hour-long rock n roll experience.

But I realize that it’s an art form that not many have mastered. And so this week on Five by Five Hundred, I’ve offered my assistance in a very public format. So you’re welcome, Aspiring Rock Stars. Go forth, and make rock!

“Set List For A Washed Up Rock N Roll Band” on FiveByFiveHundred.com

*Perhaps another day I shall blog at length about the importance of the narrative arc in song arrangements as well, in which case I’ll be mostly using Weezer’s Blue Album as a perfect example.

**Foo Fighters’ “The Colours & the Shapes” has the best non-concept album track listing ever. I’ll fight you on it.

New Lady Gaga Song!

In anticipation of this Saturday’s Alejandro & the Fame show at the Midway Cafe in JP, we put together another quick demo of one of our songs. So, sorry, this isn’t a new Lady Gaga song, but rather a better version of an already existing Lady Gaga song, done by us.

This isn’t the final mix or master, but it’s a good idea of how we rock (and if you really feel like bringing the mosh and punching someone in the face, fast forward about 3 minutes for the breakdown ’cause it’s awesome)