Archive for December, 2014

A Little Bit About the Album I Put Out Yesterday..

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(Here’s a link to where you can download, or just listen to the album: http://www.noisetrade.com/jeffgrant/notebook-rock )

I ended up “dropping” my new album, Notebook Rock yesterday. It wasn’t exactly planned. What happened is I had a few songs left that needed some mixing attention and I was able to finish those in the morning and then I had the realization that this thing I’d been working on for most of this year was finally done. I thought it might have to wait until 2015, but was glad to go ahead and put it out.

There’s an odd relief in finally releasing music. I’ve been writing and recording and rerecording and mixing and remixing and rewriting and.. I’ve been working on it since at least April. Some of the songs have gone through a few different versions, but my goal was to keep working on them until I felt like they were about as good as I could get them.

I’ve been writing songs for a while, and my old method was to write them once and record them in any way available, and then throw them out to whoever cared, whichever way I could. These days I guess I’m okay working slower, and I have more recording opportunities (meaning I can do them myself at any time, pretty much), so I wanted to try to get each song to the best place I could. Also, I think I’m down to only, like, 3 fans these days, so they’ll be fine—I think I’m kidding(?). 

One thing I enjoy about writing songs is it gives me endless opportunities to learn how to record better. If one song sounds like total crap, there’s always a new one coming to try to do better. I have made MANY awful-sounding songs in my life, but at least it hasn’t been a waste for me personally—I can’t speak for the listeners though (polite laughter).

One thing I like about this group of songs is I got my first ever bass guitar a few months ago, so I was able to add that to a good portion of them. It’s just exciting to hear the difference it makes, it really thickens the sounds and just makes them seem more substantial and what not (yeah, bass stuff). I’m not a drummer, and I have the rhythm of a duck, but I was able to add some slight beats low in the mixes as well, which helps fill the songs out a little more than usual.

One thing I kept being reminded of when I was listening back to all the songs yesterday is that I am a STRANGE songwriter. I mean, I dig what I do, but I am very firmly in the “not for everybody” category. Sometimes when I’m listening to my songs all I can think about is how certain people I know would flat out hate them, or just be bored out of their minds. I have to push past that though, and keep in mind that somewhere, even if I don’t know them, there are people who will treasure this music. It’s such a strange headspace to be in, but at a certain point you just have to let go of the songs and let them be what they’re gonna be and do what they’re gonna do. People will have every kind of response under the sun, but in the end it just is what it is.

I can’t think of anything else to say, though I wanted to let you know that I included a PDF of the lyrics with the songs, so that should be included if you download the songs. If you don’t get it and want one, let me know and I can email it to you or whatever. Also, I’m hoping to add this to my bandcamp site one day soon, whenever I have some extra time. 

Thanks for listening, hope you had a great year!

Jeff

Albums I’ve Listened to and Enjoyed the Most in 2014

I was thinking of ranking these, but I just can’t figure out which one’s I like the most. This is really hard, y’all. Still, I’ve gotten into some albums this year that have been memorable. Here we go:

Beck – Morning Phase

So begins my short list of new music from familiar artists. This just seemed to be a good year for bands from the 90s coming out with better than average music. This was one of the earlier albums that came out this year but it was good stuff. Very laid back Beck. Good for naps (seriously, not a knock!).

St. Vincent – St. Vincent

I’m a new fan of St. Vincent but I feel like I’ve listened to this album more than any other this year. It’s so weird but has such a strong pulse. Annie Clarke is a hero of mine and it’s just awesome to see a brilliant woman who shreds the guitar better than all the bro dudes. I hope that isn’t sexist to say, it’s just very refreshing. She’s also a great songwriter and the production makes it a very fun listen.

Tune-Yards – Nikki Nack

I was a big fan of this band’s previous album w h o k i l l and this seemed to take what Merril Garbus did there and crank it up a few notches. She is such an inspiring musician! She makes her own rules and her music just plain rocks. If you haven’t listened to this band but you really like the sound of a strong drum and bass this is stuff you need to listen to. She’s different, but not in a bad way. Unique and original, which are my favorite qualities in music, man.

Tweedy – Sukierae

I love Jeff Tweedy. He is one of my favorite modern songwriters. I can’t say I love all 20 songs on this very long album, but there are at least 10 that I think rank with the best Wilco songs. Still, the grab bag approach is interesting and worthwhile to listen to, as it shows all the different sides of his music. “Nobody Dies Anymore” is one of my all time favorite Jeff Tweedy songs. Great headphones album. 

Counting Crows – Somewhere Under Wonderland

I’ve been a gigantic Counting Crows fan in my life but I can’t say their last one blew my hair back or anything. This one was a nice surprise. It’s just good to listen to a great band doing what they do best. “Palisades Park” is “Round Here”-level stuff. Actually, the whole album stacks up well against their best music.

Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright In the End

I’ve been a Weezer fan ever since I heard “The Sweater Song” on MTV when I was making Pop Tarts one day after my Freshman year of high school. I have DEEP love of this band. Sometimes it’s been worth it, but not always. This was a thrill to hear, so much thought and heart and melody. The band put so much into this album and even though it’s probably not as good as Pinkerton or the blue album, it’s an easy 3rd best, I think. And a 3rd best Weezer album is better than most music any year.

Damien Rice – My Favorite Faded Fantasy

This is one the most recent albums I’ve gotten into. I still need to spend some time with it, but Damien Rice is a heart destroyer, man. This is hard core good music. “The Greatest Bastard” is a brilliant, crushing song. That’s one that’s really stood out so far, though the rest is good too.

I know there are probably a thousand other amazing albums that came out this year that I missed because they just weren’t on my radar, but this is the music that will remind me the most of 2014, personally. Bye.