I remember that back in the day my first experience with file-sharing was trying to download Boogie Down Production’s Criminal Minded from Napster with my shitty old 28K modem because that particular album was not available anyFRIGGINwhere. Not where I lived. It took hours and days, made my phone-bill skyrocket and in the end i had a tiny collection of mp3-files of vastly different bitrates and quality. Don’t even get me started talking about that abysmal version of Songs to Remember a friend of mine foraged around that same time. Of course, both those albums were re-released later on. Did I buy them? Sure I did!
Nowadays the situation has changed slightly. Thanks to the Googles alone I often wonder if people without any intention to, actually download entire albums by sheer accident. It’s that easy. And I don’t even know why I’m writing this, because all the way it seems like pretty old News. So…did I download anything lately? Maybe. Did I buy a shiny vinyl copy of anything I liked more than OK? You bet!
What has that all got to do with Last Hero of the Western World? Well. Done any Google-Search on that one lately? I’m just happy that this site here halfway manages to climb to the Top Spot of those search results.
“Don’t Ya Rile ‘Em” is the 8th song and the only cover version on Last Hero of the Western World. Since I had not taken Frank Black’s first, self-titled solo album (that’s where the original lives) to the basement I had to record it from memory. I guess that’s not the worst way to do covers.
Forgive me if I keep harping on about the utter coincidentiality (that even a word?) of the whole enterprise, but had I not woken up one day around noon in a very dark room after too little sleep – remembering the lines “I’m seeing how boring it gets / back where the sun never sets / and a day is really two days / I was feeling so tired inside / my eyes were switched open so wide / it was making me kind of uptight” – this cover version would not exist. I have always loved the song (and the rest of the album, which I prefer over most of the Pixies’ oeuvre – now go kill me) but I had never thought of playing it until this very day. And of course Charles was right: At times there’s no greater console than them playing your favorite song… back in time where you belong.
Without any doubt our hero of the day is Mr. Andreas Kriegeskorte who came by in the evening, ate lots of chocolate and nailed the drum track in, like, one take. Please take a look at Moishe’s post below. On the picture you’ll notice an object bearing striking resemblance to a speaker box – that is Mr. Kriegeskorte’s new home-made bassdrum. Nuff said.
Last night, three quarters of the in-famous (seriously: not-famous) Stationary Hund met in their rehearsal space to start working on the tunes from Last Hero of the Western World. They did good. Just so you know.
…and Mr. Rogowski will probably regret pretty soon that he has given me the right to post in here.
Let me just quickly introduce myself: I was there when Rogowski first discovered that he liked guitars; I was there with him on the smaller stages of this very old world, &c. …and I’m the guy who hasn’t finished an album of his own in the last 4 1/2 years (so people might say I’m losing my edge)…BUT:
Since we go way back I also happen to have a pretty thorough knowledge of Rogowski’s catalogue of recorded music and just today, with 2010 still being all new and shiny, I caught myself humming a little tune that he recorded (as I found out through some post-hum research) 13 years ago, in 1997.
It’s appropiately titled A New Year and since it might help to up Mr. Rogowski’s low-fi cred, here it is (sounding absolutely bitchin’ on laptop speakers):
“Free Ride” is the 2nd song on Last Hero of the Western World and the first song that was recorded for the album. It was an accident of sorts: On the first day of my confinement I was hellbent on optimizing my microphone setups, finding the sweet spots of the room and defining the ultimate presets for all kinds of gear.
Turns out I should have delegated these tasks to somebody who isn’t me. My ambition only lasted for about 15 minutes and ended immediately after I had listened to the first thing I had recorded, some random chords strummed on a banjo. Before long, I was subconsciously humming the melody for the chorus and wondering how long it would take me to get some decent sounds out of the big dark upright bass, an instrument I had never played before. Was there any time to waste on negligibilities like audio engineering? Was my interest in technicalities strong enough to keep me from dabbling on the drums (an instrument I will never be able to play)? Of course not.
When you listen to “Free Ride” please keep in mind that it is nothing but a failed microphone check. There are no electric instruments simply because I hadn’t plugged them in yet. Once I start recording there’s not much plugging going on. Everything I need better be in immediate reach. If it isn’t, it’s not going to make it. To be honest, I did not even move the microphones from their “banjo position”, so what you hear is mostly room sound. Thank god it was a good room.
The recording session for “Free Ride” started at 2 pm and ended at 10:30 pm. I went up to the ground floor, took a lawn chair, sat down in the factory courtyard and drank Pastis in the warm night. It was a pretty good start in my book.
It’s, like, sealed and signed. The Society Islands’ sophomore album, “Last Hero of the Western World”, will be released on Febuary 19th 2010 – exactly 132 years after the patent for Edison’s phonograph was issued, 410 years after Huaynaputina wreaked Havoc in Peru and 537 years after the birth of one Nicolaus Copernicus. Mere coincidence? We don’t think so…
The writing/recording sessions for said album took place in a basement room of a former factory in July 2008. They involved 66 different instruments, no daylight and little sleep. I’ll talk about the details of the scene later, but those longing for visual stimuli shall not be left high and dry, so:
In the days and weeks to come you’ll learn more about this very room than you ever wanted to know – for now it’s sufficient to know that the bearing of “Last Hero of the Western World” was the last purpose it served; it died soon after birth.
Speaking of heroes: Our hero for today is Mr. Moishe Lichtfuss who did not only create the artwork for the album – which you’ll get to admire later on – but also this very site. Both blew my mind beyond telling, and both are as much a part of the album as the actual songs. Nobody out there could have done a better job. And if you don’t think so, fuck you.
Last but not least, The Society Islands were accused of infringing their own copyright by MySpace lately and lost their upload privileges. Ironically, I only realized it when I was logging in to delete the profile for good – it made for a good last laugh, and now it’s bye bye, you most atavistic of all mass platforms, you insipid dinosaur, I’ll continue my criminal endeavors without you; right here.