I almost forgot about taking part in Durham’s delightfully eclectic Pop Up Chorus a few years back, gleefully conducted by my old peep (and Pop Psychology hornsmith) Seamus Kenney. I never actually make it on camera (look for my striped blue short sleeve shirt from behind) but you can definitely hear me in there. It was a great time, but the next morning I got a brutal kidney stone. Damn you, salty delicious barbecue.
This is without a doubt the best political essay I’ve read in ages, polemic or not. It crystallizes the issues with sharp and hilarious lines reminiscent of Taibbi or Bai or hell, Thomas Frank.
If Millennials are coming out in droves to support Bernie Sanders, it’s not because we are tripping balls on Geritol. No, Sanders’s clever strategy of shouting the exact same thing for 40 years simply strikes a chord among the growing number of us who now agree: Washington is bought. And every time Goldman Sachs buys another million-dollar slice of the next American presidency, we can’t help but drop the needle onto Bernie’s broken record:
The economy is rigged.
Democracy is corrupted.
The billionaires are on the warpath.
Sanders has split the party with hits like these, a catchy stream of pessimistic populism. Behind this arthritic Pied Piper, the youth rally, brandishing red-lettered signs reading “MONEYLENDERS OUT.”
And despite being a proud, self-identified millennial (imagine that!) it’s not even all about her. Mostly. So why are you still here and not already reading this thing?
Stumping for Hillary Clinton this weekend in New Hampshire, hedge fund manager Madeleine Albright squawked, “There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t help each other.” When the Democratic National Committee chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was asked earlier this year why she thought Millennials resist Hillary Clinton, she…
One of the great things about having an online distribution partner is when they take the initiative and upload catalogue tracks to YouTube in (in this case, optimistic) hopes of click-through streaming royalties.
Sometimes, though, the results are unexpected.
I forgot all about the B-side to Cherry Berry until someone emailed me asking if this was for real. (That person is apparently the ONE listener thus far.)
The idea was utterly, unapologetically ripped off from the flip of Napoleon XIV’s “They’re Coming To Take Me Aaway, Ha-Haaa!” (I mean, they are both novelty songs fronted by pseudonymous authority figures, right?)
If you have no idea what any of this is about, there’s this:
Okay, this is easily the single greatest song ever written about a state commissioner of labor. Yep, the smiling face of North Carolina Labor Commissioner Cherie K. Berry has inspired a song. A really funny song. Actually, just a great song altogether.
Also, could someone please write a plug-in that will suck all the “content” from my FB feed (stream? field and stream?) and stick it on my WP? You’re welcome. I’m going back to bed now. This has been an intolerably old-feeling year. Hey… You… get off of my lawn.
2014, year of the Twerk. Oh, the Horse. The damn “new record(s)” is/are taking forever, but yet I keep stealing time for them from my busy busy actually-income-streaming life. You’ll like them, I swear. One of the catchier numbers was unveiled in Radio Free Song Club’s episode #30, of which I am understandably honoured to interlope.
TO PLAY THE SHOW: Click the arrow. Click in the text box to move forward or back in the show. Adjust the volume with the bars on the left.
I moved to Washington DC (“our nation’s capital!”) at the end of last year. I miss Dar but it’s also nice having my studio back again. I took a Coursera Songwriting MOOC with professor Pat Pattison of Berklee. While finding time for hours of lectures, writing and demoing whilst full-timing a three-year-old was tricky, I learned a ton of valuable stuff, even at my advanced age. The peer assessment feedback was priceless. Assuming you’re curious, here’s my final assignment:
Now that I am practically soaking with UAD mix horsepower, I decided to dust off and finish up a couple more unreleased, abandoned, practically decontextualized recordings for the Lovers Leap bonus record — one you’ve heard if you basically EVER saw me play a show from 2000 on. The other one you’ve never heard of, I promise, but if you spent time in Parkdale in the early oughts you shall chuckle heartily. And the other other one was the flip of the ultimately non-existent Nova Bryk split 7″. (Those guys are so incredibly post-rock now, they were like “yes, take the rock from us Bryk, it’s yours now.”)
Pole sana. Why the new WP install? Why, I must be late for my annual blog post! I was seriously tiring of that rapidweaver abomination standing as my “web presence.” I’m this far from becoming a Facebook dropout, in which case it was manifest destiny to migrate Buddhabubba (formerly “my personal blog”) into sort of a “new website.” So here we be. I am still in Dar Es Salaam, still nursing the songs and arrangements that will become my “new record(s).” Culture shock, the molasses jar of time called African logistics, and, uh, parental responsibility sucked up an awful lot of time this year. A year of rebooting. Despite my rMBP and now Logic X allowing for yet another unwanted matrix of possibilities, work on the “new record(s)” continues slowly but dutifully. It’s finishing the damn lyrics, as usual, that’s holding everything up. I think these are the wordiest songs I’ve ever tried to sing. One possible release configuration has the working title Lies of Girls and Women: it has one song entitled Hannah Horvath, one called White Nanny, and the possible “hit” has a spelled out chorus: E-R-I-N. As usual, any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental, and even they might complain that songs seem to be the only relationships in my life where I indulge in obstructive perfectionism. Amen, sister.
Still writing, slowly but surely. I have a firm lineup of songs for the next album, definitely writing “inside of the box” with a “strategy” and a “game plan” this time, just struggling with finishing this specific batch of songs to the best of my limited ability. I even have a working title, but I’m sure you’d prefer fewer promises (and perhaps even some surprises) this time.
It’s tonally and rhythmically all over the map, but there’s kind of an overall theme (I would say “concept” but look how well that did for PP) tying it all together. Best songs I’ve ever written blah blah blah. You’ll like the song titles at the very least: my favourite so far is “Nestle Waters of America” which is sort of “People Get Ready” crossed with “Sail Away” crossed with this.
Hang in there, cause if I ever do get this album finished it will make the flowers bloom, the heavens part, and (most importantly) make Pop Psych sound like the ridiculous pity party it is.
Pop Psychology got a very nice review from Pitchfork yesterday, theoretically the biggest media “break” this record might receive.
I know I’m probably breaking some sort of taboo by writing this, but 24 hours later… here’s the math:
• 1,734 web page loads from bryk.com
• 4954 song plays on my Reverbnation widgets (including the main player on the splash page of my site)
• 5 Reverbnation Site Visits, no added fans
• 6 Tweets linking to the review (not including my own)
• 1 Email from a high school friend I haven’t heard from in 20 years.
(I have no idea what’s going on with Myspace, as of this morning it says my “profile is undergoing routine maintenance” as is my ability to log in. They apologize for the inconvenience, which is kind of annoying considering the timing, but not a huge issue as they don’t really provide much in the way of stats.)
• I’ve had 346 streaming player/store visits
• I’ve had 101 track “plays”
• I’ve given away 22 free downloads: 15 Pop Psychology, 1 Lovers Leap, 1 Discount Store and 5 miscellaneous track downloads
• I’ve sold exactly 4 PP downloads (plus a Lovers Leap download)
1. Pitchfork drove a fair bit of Traffic to my site(s).
2. Could my music really be that unappealing to all those readers and listeners?
After a few mild complaints from buyers, I’ve become dissatisfied with CaféPress who have supplied the Dan Bryk t-shirts and other merch to date. I honestly haven’t kept up with the progress in the on-demand merch world, but after a fair bit of research and due diligence, I’m going to close the (annoying multiple) merch stores I have with CaféPress and adopt two more streamlined options: Spreadshirt and Zazzle.
First up is Spreadshirt, whose origins are European but have now opened up a plant in Pittsburgh to serve the US.
The main advantage they have over their competitors seems to be the “flex print” technique they use for printing. The results are less like CP’s digital printing, and more like traditional screen printing. The printing is sharper and more colour-fast and durable than direct-to-print. I’ve set up a few variations of a Pop Psychology t-shirt and ordered one, and I’m really impressed so far.
And next up is Zazzle, who use a similar technology to Cafépress for multi-coloured print jobs, but at least don’t charge CP’s monthly or annual fees for the privilege of multiple style items in one shop, or widgety flash panels like this:
But the best part of Zazzle is where you can pick “models” to indicate how the artwork fits the cut of the shirt, and how the shirt might fit different people, which resulted in this bit of digital magic…
…which then reminded me of that Karen Finley song “Tales of Taboo” and its’ immortal lyric: “She’s a real nice granny/and I never touch her snatch/’cause she’s my granny!”
But I wasn’t sure I remembered the exact lyrics to that (and my “The Truth is Hard To Swallow” vinyl is sitting in my parents basement back in Mississauga) so I fired up google with the search phrase karen finley “she’s my granny” lyrics. And this is what I came across:
WTF? I know she’s just a piece of random collateral in their campaign to sell Scions, but this is some of the text of the MOG-ged up track:
She dreams. She dreams of strangling baby birds. Bluebird, wrens and robins. And with her thumbs she pushes back on their small feathered necks, pushes back against their beaks till they snap like breaking twigs.
She dreams. She dreams of being locked in a cage and singing loudly and off-key with her loved ones standing behind her, whispering very loudly, “She has an ugly voice, doesn’t she? She has an ugly voice.” Oh, leave it to the loved ones always to interfere with our dreams.
Like when my father finally told me he loved me after forty years, then went into the bathroom, locked the door, put up pictures of children from the Sears catalogue, arranged mirrors, black stockings and garters to look at as he masturbated, as he hanged himself from the shower stall. It’s that ultimate erection. It’s that ultimate orgasm. Whatever turns you on, girl. Whatever, whatever turns you on.
I love this monologue, but it really doesn’t strike me as an ideal or even compatible marketing message to sell Scions with. (Erin used to joke that I should offer Fingers to the Toronto Conservatory of Music for an ad campaign.) I can’t help but wonder what Ms. Finley would think about this juxtaposition.
The new corporate-sponsored music model once again makes for strange bedfellows.