Rabbits Full of Magic

03 May 2010

 

DL the new Back Pockets album here for FREE



The Back Pockets - Blissters N Basements

Click the above link to download the complete new Back Pockets album, "Blissters N Basements". You will get all the songs (at a compromised bitrate), the tour kickoff flyer, and some wonderful photographs (like above) by Jenny James. Clicking on the individual song titles below you can download single tracks. Later if you come and see us and decide to purchase a CD at a live show, will get you a CD-quality burn, bonus tracks, original hand-drawn artwork, and your support for a live performance ensemble as they get ready to embark on an early summer tour. Forthcoming tour details will be posted here as well.

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Here's a ridiculously detailed blog post about the new Back Pockets album "Blissters n Basements" because I did executive production at nearly every stage, mainly working with Back Pockets leader Emily Kempf. The result is one of the most professional quality recordings I've worked on -- professional in sound quality and tonal consideration. The folksy, joyfully ramshackle quality of the Back Pockets energy is enhanced and clearer than ever.

"Australia" was recorded mainly at the end of a long day of Back Pockets live performance recordings in the basement of Atlanta community arts center Wonder Root. A song written by Emily and Grl Party co-lead Katie Holcomb, this track is built on a nice lo-fi drum machine sound and Appalachian banjo rhythm section, with Katie's bells and some additional rhythm inserted by the producer. Since the song had an underlying electronic motivation, we decided for fun to add in auto-tuned backing vocals. This is the Back Pockets' biggest chance for a bloghouse hit.

"Story Song" is almost all live performance, being one of the most exciting musical moments of the current live show. I added some minimal overdubs for clarity and punctuation. A natural Wall Of Sound begins to appear here in places, because the live basis for this and many tracks on this album are an ensemble of 6 people.

"Lovelike" recieves a Nico-Krishna 1st half from a lucky accident one day where Em's banjo began to make a sitar-sounding buzz during certain notes in the song. It also features Em playing harmonium and harmonizing with Katie and Adam on the droning initial build up. The 2nd half is live, gathering overdubbed arrangements as it reaches a climax as some kind of pulse-pounding tribal rave exorcism. Nathan Brown of Tree Creature helped me master this record, and I think the sound of this song in particular is brilliant. What I think we aimed for is something that sounds like it was recorded outside of time, and we succeeded.

"Makin Out Is Great" is recorded by Em and Katie on a handheld cassette recorder during the taxing day of full band recordings. It was a beautiful Sunday and we all went out to Eats and had a picnic later on the old wooden table where they wrote this song in 15 minutes. It's very charming and beautiful and kind of sad, but still very fun.

"My Demise" is one of the top 3 tracks I think I have ever recorded with anyone, and I love the strength of the performance and the variety of effects, it makes me feel similar to when I hear a psychedelic record from some random place in the world that was just dug up. Billy's drumming comes across so crisp and full that it's nearly a fuckin' miracle considering it was recorded with 8 mics mixed live to mono. Em's poltergeist backing vocals during the interlude (and other spots) were done with backwards reverb, and Katie's vocals were live through a delay pedal.

"Funeral Song" is the newest song on here, written during a performance we did for Dodekapus, which involved a local Atlanta circus performing routines that were integrated into our songs. The hardest thing about recording this was recording Billy's djembe.

"Leave Me Alone" is based on drum loops manipulated from a live Back Pockets drum circle performance from 529, months before I joined the band in summer 2009. I don't think a toy accordion has ever sounded so good. If you sign us to your label we can put out a summer 2009 12" dance mix jungle club version. Katie told me it sounded like "The Lion King" the first time she heard it. Circle of life.

"Cannibal Erotica" is mostly a single live performance, with some new organ stabs and additional vocals. The lyrics on this track are often obscured live because of a theatrical event that involves a band member being ritual killed and eaten. Sounds like a spooky Okefenokee Swamp river ride.

"Diarrhea" caps us off with less frenetic pace, but no less grotesque and circusy. Backing vocal effects flown in from T-Rex's "The Slider". Billy plays drum upside-down with his hand on the snares. Has to be the only song ever featuring a chant of "Hummus & Pita", which I totally love. The ending brings to mind the work of 60s era Frank Zappa, whose "Call Any Vegetable" was played a little before the recording of this.

All the songs were pretty much left as they were after the overdubs, including off-the-cuff comments at the beginning and ending of certain tracks. I'm not really a fan of fade out and the clean-cut, clinical ending that is present in most recordings. More often than not any additional sound present around the song on these tracks is pertinent to the performance, the lyrical material and the sonic restructuring that takes place when jumping from one performance to the next.

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Comments:
I love all of the song descriptions and experiences. That's right - we were listening to "Call Any Vegetable" the day of recording. And "Hummus and Pita" - I laugh every time!

Likewise "My Desmise" is one of my favorite song recording experiences ever. The wall of sound is just built so high, here and in the "Story Song" too. Plus the between song conversations.
"Silence on the ship!" - Em's direction: if only the listeners knew...

I'm not such a super-fan of the "Leave me Alone" loops, though as of now. I hadn't heard them before and it sounds too far removed from the original. I'd also like a "basic/wild" version of the song like some of our live takes.

Such a wonderful job, producing this album. Yay!

Arianna

blog:
"Standing Water" (nature/travel)
http://foundobjectsofdesire.blogspot.com
 
Yeah I'd like to do "Leave Me Alone" also plus a few other songs like "Shruti Box" and stuff, but when I tried to get everyone in for further recording Em was really the only one that made time. Well, Katie and Billy came in for some overdubs towards the end, but a band with so many people, it isn't easy to get everyone's schedules to align!

Still, the drums on it are actually from a Back Pockets live show, at 529, wayyyy before I was in the band. I think it's good to experiment with the sound every now and again too. But definitely thanks for your criticism!
 
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