Audio Saturdays! New La Sudar single from THE DEBUSSY LOOPS

If you’re a follower of the Audio Saturdays column here, you know that for the past couple week’s we’ve been exploring the music of early 00s indie band Trousers. It was a lot of fun revisiting that old material, but now that the album is finished we’re kind of at a loss for what to do next. While we mull over some ideas, we’re going to go back to what got us here, at least for the time being.

“The Debussy Loops 6”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re fully aware that the new La Sudar album, The Debussy Loops, is dropping on Tuesday (6-22-21). And right here is the single. It’s called The Debussy Loops 6. Some call it space elevator music. We don’t know. We’re glad it’s finished.

And don’t forget about our Songwriting Prompt Contest!! Entries are closing soon so get them in!!

Finally- here’s another picture of Astoria’s most beautiful cat, Maple. Yes, as a matter of fact, she does enjoy lying on the floor! She also loves eating, and sitting on the couch!

the Maple 🍁

Audio Saturdays! New La Sudar single from THE DEBUSSY LOOPS

If you’re a follower of the Audio Saturdays column here, you know that for the past couple week’s we’ve been exploring the music of early 00s indie band Trousers. It was a lot of fun revisiting that old material, but now that the album is finished we’re kind of at a loss for what to do next. While we mull over some ideas, we’re going to go back to what got us here, at least for the time being.

“The Debussy Loops 6”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re fully aware that the new La Sudar album, The Debussy Loops, is dropping on Tuesday (6-22-21). And right here is the single. It’s called The Debussy Loops 6. Some call it space elevator music. We don’t know. We’re glad it’s finished.

And don’t forget about our Songwriting Prompt Contest!! Entries are closing soon so get them in!!

Finally- here’s another picture of Astoria’s most beautiful cat, Maple. Yes, as a matter of fact, she does enjoy lying on the floor! She also loves eating, and sitting on the couch!

the Maple 🍁

La Sudar: The Debussy Loops

just in time for your summer vibes~

NEW LA SUDAR! drops 6/22/21

TRACKLIST:

  1. The Debussy Loops 2
  2. The Debussy Loops 6
  3. The Debussy Loops 4
  4. The Debussy Loops 9

I’ve been wanting to make a record like this for a long time.

I’ve been working on writing and composing in the ambient space for a few years now, with mixed results. Listening back on the La Sudar stuff I’ve put out over the years in anticipation of this new record, I’ve found some of it fun, some of it interesting, some of it bloated, and some of it unlistenable. It’s been educational. When working on a piece, the urge to tinker, to add, to dress up the music can be overwhelming. But when I’m able to let that go, and get out of the way of the music, it can lead to some spectacular results.

The best thing, however, about getting into ambient music, and starting to think about what I might want my ambient music to sound like, was being able to browse active ambient, drone, and experimental artists releasing music around the world right now on sites like Bandcamp. Bandcamp makes finding new sounds really easy through its tags; it has expected ones like ‘drone’ and ‘ambient’ but also more intriguing ones like ‘plant music’ and ‘musique concrete’ that allowed me to scratch very specific itches I hadn’t been aware of.

While I’d always loved jammy, spacy music (bands like Pink Floyd, Spiritualized, The Velvet Underground, and Phish have all been favorites since college or before) I didn’t start specifically seeking out ambient music until I bought a synth back in 2015 or so and started to become intrigued by the idea of writing in that space. The first stuff to really blow me away was a series of pieces called The Disintegration Loops by William Basinski. I found it transcendent in a literal way, almost more of a painting than music, a true four dimensional work of art. It made me want to put out a true looping project one day, but I could never seem to find the right music to loop.

Then one day a few months ago, I was listening to an LP of Debussy Preludes (Books I and II) when it began to skip. A lightbulb went off in my head. I grabbed my phone and held it up to the speaker and hit record. When it had cycled a few times I hit stop. The audio file I’d captured was maybe three seconds of actual music, and the sound of the skip. But I slowed it down, sped it up, reversed it, reverbed it, distorted it, stretched it and turned it inside out, and before I knew it I had more loops than I knew what to do with. I’m still working on it. There will probably be a Volume 2, unless I get sidetracked by this new snippet I have from when my Chopin record skipped last week.

So this was a fun record to make. I hope you enjoy listening to it. I’d been wanting to do a homage to Basinski’s loops for years, so this feels like an actual accomplishment. It releases on Bandcamp Tuesday June 22, just in time for your Summer vibes. If you want to know more about it just hit me up at info@sunshineandwind.com.

Audio Saturdays! Random Synth music!

If you’re a follower of the Audio Saturdays column here, you know that for the past couple week’s we’ve been exploring the music of early 00s indie band Trousers. It was a lot of fun revisiting that old material, but now that the album is finished we’re kind of at a loss for what to do next. While we mull over some ideas, we’re going to go back to what got us here, at least for the time being.

“squeeze”

We’re not quite ready to make the full announcement about the new la sudar music coming in June so here’s another random piece of music we found in our archives. It’s labeled “kraftwerk” but it’s obviously us just fucking around on our synth. It’s doesn’t sound anything like Kraftwerk either. Maybe from last year?

We have no idea if it’s worth listening to. Maybe you’ll let us know?

Also, here is another picture of our cat since everyone liked the one we posted last week.

the Maple 🍁

Audio Saturdays! Songwriting Prompt Contest. Win 50 bucks!!

If you’re a follower of the Audio Saturdays column here, you know that for the past couple week’s we’ve been exploring the music of early 00s indie band Trousers. It was a lot of fun revisiting that old material, but now that the album is finished we’re kind of at a loss for what to do next. While we mull over some ideas, we’re going to go back to what got us here, at least for the time being.

“undo”

Here’s something random I found on my phone. It’s pretty and minimalist and embryonic. From summer 2018ish. Never did anything with it, but maybe you can? Let’s make this another Audio Saturdays Songwriting Prompt contest.

I’m officially putting this acoustic snippet into the public domain. Best song using this music (either the music or the recording itself) gets $50 bucks.

the Maple 🍁

Audio Saturdays! New La Sudar coming!

If you’re a follower of the Audio Saturdays column here, you know that for the past couple week’s we’ve been exploring the music of early 00s indie band Trousers. It was a lot of fun revisiting that old material, but now that the album is finished we’re kind of at a loss for what to do next. While we mull over some ideas, we’re going to go back to what got us here, at least for the time being.

DL SAMPLE

Going to drop some new la sudar music June 5, maybe drop the first single next week – who can say? But there’s been a whole lot going on in the la sudar world and it’s long past time to give you a taste. Here’s a sample of an outtake – not anything I used, but part of something I used, looped, slapped around and dressed up.

As far as the actual music that’s coming, see the picture below for a hint about the main source of inspiration…

Audio Saturdays! Back to Basics

If you’re a follower of the Audio Saturdays column here, you know that for the past couple week’s we’ve been exploring the music of early 00s indie band Trousers. It was a lot of fun revisiting that old material, but now that the album is finished we’re kind of at a loss for what to do next. While we mull over some ideas, we’re going to go back to what got us here, at least for the time being.

“undo”

Feeling pretty unfocused in a lot of my work lately. I’ve got three or four different projects I’m trying to run with at once and not really getting anywhere with either of them. I’m loathe to shelve any of them, but I’m tired of being pulled in several different directions.

This particular audio track is an excerpt of a larger thing, which I plucked out and toyed with a bit. Given my failure to see the larger picture with some of these sound collages, I’m hoping that by zooming in I can discover just what about them is not working, or figure out a better way to present them. I leave you to judge just how successful I am at this.

There’s a separate music project I’m working on, unrelated to this except that I’m using this to avoid it (the other project). It’s been a frustrating week, hoping to rally this weekend, or at least catch up on sleep.

Audio Saturdays! Back to Basics

If you’re a follower of the Audio Saturdays column here, you know that for the past couple week’s we’ve been exploring the music of early 00s indie band Trousers. It was a lot of fun revisiting that old material, but now that the album is finished we’re kind of at a loss for what to do next. While we mull over some ideas, we’re going to go back to what got us here, at least for the time being.

“Astoria Sound Collage #2”

For the last couple of weeks we’ve been doing some entry level explorations into field recording, and while the results are mixed, there does seem to be some promise in the idea of taking field recordings and composing some ambient music around them. That’s not what we’re doing in today’s selection, “Astoria Sound College #2” though- here we broke out some samples from a recent twitch stream and combined them with some bird chirps we got from our last field recording expedition.

We’d love to hear from some of you field recorders out there, especially the musicians among you, to discuss how you’ve integrated the two into your art, to see how one has informed the other.

photo of China, photographer unknown, ripped from the internet at some point

Audio Saturdays! Trousers pt. 11: Mountain, Mountain Glowing

Today and for the next few weeks we’ll be handing the reins over to poet-in-residence J.E. O’Leary, so he can tell the story of his band Trousers as he goes track-by-track through the band’s only release, 2004’s We Pitched a Hut and Called it Providence. Today: Track 11, “Mountain, Mountain Glowing”.

We had the hardest time choosing a band name. One of the first we threw around was Simple Machines, which is the name for things like levers and wedges, the simplest possible “building blocks” of applying force. We liked the idea, but by this time (2002-2003) it was super easy to search the internet for other bands, and we soon discovered Simple Machines was the name of an established band in the Midwest; we wanted something completely ours. The next name we had was Sketch, and we actually stuck with this one for a while. I still have plenty of old rehearsal tapes that have Sketch on them. But this too ended up being the name of another band, this time, one out of Philly. It took a very long time to settle on a name. We eventually settled on Trousers during one of our weekly “go around in a circle and say the first thing that pops into your head” sessions at practice, but not before exchanging probably hundreds of ideas at these sessions and over email. There was one that Joey came up with while riffing that I loved, but George refused to consider. But it became something of an inside joke for the band, and when we had a nameless instrumental that we were going to use to wrap the album, George relented and let us use the name: Mountain, Mountain Glowing.

The instrumental itself was the “outro” of a new tune called “The Weed Song” we’d been playing that wasn’t quite ready for the album. I don’t really remember the song, and I’m not about to dig through band tapes to take a listen (though given the nature of these pieces I’m writing, I probably should), but I remember it as a dreamy, kind of Tom Petty-ish driving song, about pulling over on the side of the road to smoke a joint, or maybe being pulled over by cops after smoking? Like I said, not really sure. But this was the instrumental tag at the end of the song. As I mentioned before, two of the songs we recorded for the record weren’t working, so we had to record a few replacement tunes pretty quick. One was “Life as a Movie II” and the other was the outro for this song that worked well as its own piece.
There’s not much to say about this musically. It’s a quiet little two part ditty. Everyone plays their parts well, and the recording sounds fine. It’s the perfect way to end the album; a nice exhale after the emotional drama of Becca’s Song.
And that’s it. That’s the story of recording our album. There are thousands of stories just like this. Small rock bands who had a decent run, recorded an album, then had to break up for any number of reasons, but leave behind a document of the time spent in the band. When I was in Trousers, music was my whole life. Playing music, writing songs, was all I wanted to do. It wasn’t the best band I’ve ever been in (though definitely top 3), and it wasn’t the worst (not even close). But it’s one of the only ones where I actually have a finished album as a statement of our time together. For that I’m grateful.

When I started writing this series, I didn’t really have any goals except to kill eleven weeks of “Audio Saturdays!” on my website, and get some weekly writing in outside of my comfort zone of poetry and fiction. I felt a lot of emotions while revisiting this material, but was surprised at how sad a lot of it made me feel. The thought process went a lot like this: God damn, this is so good. How did we not keep this going? Well, people moved away. But how did I not keep something going? I kept writing, but it would be another 3 years before I fronted a band with my own songs again. I guess on some level I felt rejected and jaded by the whole thing, like, it ended, what was the point? I didn’t understand yet. I didn’t want to go through the whole thing just to end up right back at square one again.

After Trousers, the next couple of years were kind of lost. I bounced from band to band, drinking heavily, sleeping around, doing lots of cocaine and generally being self destructive. First I joined a jam band with one of the best drummers I’ve ever played with. But they were weekend warriors, and despite me pushing and pushing, didn’t have any real interest in playing live, which in hindsight is pretty odd for a jammy band. So after maybe ten months of trying, I quit. After that I found a garage rock band with another amazing drummer, and we had a pretty good run. We played live a lot, but when it came time to record, they decided they wanted a bassist with a different sound. Rejected again! That pissed me off and kind of woke me up a bit. It wasn’t until 2007 that I found a guitarist who believed in me and my songs, and we had a great band for a while. We eventually ended up at each other’s throats, but that experience gave me the confidence to get my songs going again. I started playing solo acoustic at open mics, and the whole Joe Yoga project was born.

Regret is an awful feeling on a lot of levels. First off, the feeling itself feels terrible, and, if you’re like me and beat yourself up a lot, it can be twisted into seeing it as an indictment of one’s current situation: if you regret something in the past, something ending, some action you could have done differently, then your life would be different, and the only reason you would feel regret is if you weren’t happy with your current life. If your life was great, you wouldn’t want anything in the past to be different because it would change where you are now. So it becomes difficult to identify just what it is you regret.

For me, with Trousers, I do think a lot about what it would have been like if we got a break, got to put out an album on a label, tour, all that jazz. I think we would have been good and successful. And it would have been the fulfillment of a dream I’ve had since I first found Alice Cooper’s Love it to Death in 7th grade: playing in a famous, powerful rock and roll band. There’s a lot of that result that’s out of my control, but there was also probably a lot I could have done that I did not, and a lot I did that I should not have done. But at the same time, my life since Trousers has been awesome. I’ve met some of the most incredible people I will ever meet, including the love of my life, had experiences and created art I would have not have created otherwise. All of those things would be different if the Dream came true: different people met, different songs written, different experiences experienced. So where is the regret coming from? Or, what is the regret over?

I think it’s two things (maybe three). The first part is my perception of the experience of Trousers as one I did not fully appreciate at the time. I hope I did. Those nights hanging out, drinking liters of warm beer at Greenpoint Tavern, three hour jam sessions, getting better, growing confident as a performer, singer, and songwriter, were so important to me. I suspect did not ever stop and say “this is amazing”; I was too busy with my foot on the gas. Or if I did, it wasn’t integrated the way I know now that that feeling needs to be. I know I loved those guys. I know we had a great band. Part of me is aware that the dream of doing everything right and experiencing every experience the right was is more of a fantasy than a dream. Now I can say: I know that now. But then I was just a match, burning. I thought the end was the end. But it never is.


The second is that being older, you know how much can change, and just how many different roads your life can take. I’m bummed I never got to live the road where I did everything right with Trousers. I’m also bummed I never got to live the road where I did everything right as a novelist, or with any other of the bands I was in. It’s not necessarily that I wish things were different, but that those would have been amazing to experience. I know in a different timeline, I could have been hit by a bus at 33 and never gotten to experience growing old. But it’s part of the gift and curse of having abstract thought. There’s no way to avoid thinking “What If?”. You can only hope it doesn’t lead to obsessively thinking “Why Not?”

The third thing is that I regret these songs never found a wider audience. I feel regret for the people who never got to hear them, because I know they would have loved them. We were a perfect little fireball of a band, with grace and humor and power. We would have been perfect. But music lovers, though they may never have experienced our band, I know one thing they did do: they followed their hearts to all the music they could find, and they found incredible, passionate music to love – because if there’s one thing this world is not lacking, it’s brilliant artists expressing their truths via amazing music. They say the snowflake never feels responsible for the avalanche, but I wish it would, because it works the other way too – the drop of water can never comprehend that it’s part of the beautiful ocean, but if they all felt that way and went away, what a loss it would be for the eyes that seek beauty.

Audio Saturdays! Trousers pt. 10: Becca’s Song

Today and for the next few weeks we’ll be handing the reins over to poet-in-residence J.E. O’Leary, so he can tell the story of his band Trousers as he goes track-by-track through the band’s only release, 2004’s We Pitched a Hut and Called it Providence. Today: Track 10, “Becca’s Song”.

I don’t think we ever tried out more than three or four guitar players, but Joey was our clear favorite. According to him, though, he wasn’t sold on us right away. The first rehearsal was fun; Joey took off his shoes before playing, which is the first time I’d ever seen anyone do that before. He had a real distinctive vibe that was referencing a lot of the music we all liked (Modest Mouse, Neil Young, among others) but also had a voice that was very much his own. He vibed real well with all of us. But he wasn’t hyped to join until the second time we got together, when I asked him to play something for us to jam on. He played a simple G major chord progression that became the verse riff for our “closer”.

That rehearsal I remember pretty well. Becca was hungover, as was I, probably. There was a real mellow vibe to the room and I was anxious to get Joey on board. It can be intimidating going into a rehearsal where the band is pretty much all set, has songs, and is just looking for YOU. I wanted to be clear to him that we were looking for a final member, not just a guitar player, so I thought it would be worthwhile to see right away what kind of music he would be bringing to the table. We jammed on his chord progression (I’m a sucker for G major) for a while, it felt real nice. He didn’t appear to have any lyrics (he’d told us from the start he didn’t sing much) so I started improving vocals, starting with describing the room and moving on to describing Becca’s hungover morning. I don’t know all of what we ended up keeping but definitely “woke up with the lights on” “wine stained cups” and “heads or tails of it” were all from that first session. It’s pretty cool to think that vocals I just improved on the spot made it on to a record and then I’m still thinking about it almost twenty years later.

The rest of the arrangement, however, was a group effort. We decided that the chorus should change speeds, not chords, and worked out spots for us all to have solos. The song came together pretty quickly, because it was on our first demo, recorded in the Spring or Summer of 2003. It’s a little looser, a little clumsier, with a couple of ham fisted drum fills and flubbed bass notes, but it does have some redeeming qualities: the chimes before the verses, and a pretty sick bass line (6:09 – 6:15) coming out of the last solo.

BECCA’S SONG ORIGINAL DEMO

Returning to the album version, it’s much tighter. Joey’s sustain is perfect, Becca’s plucked notes really stand out, George is in the zone. My vocals, while stronger than the demo version, are really dragged down by the throat problems I was having that weekend. Josh and co, in the booth, had to really lay on the reverb; the falsettos are thin, the low notes don’t really land the way they need to, and the half-spoken parts kind of disappear in the mix. However I did get one great scream in at 4:00 (“make the best of it”)

This leads into a great bridge solo – first Becca comes in with these huge bowed notes, then Joey crunching these great chords as I lay into some sixteenth notes before the last half-verse. I like my vocals here, including one good last scream at 5:39. Then comes the great finale: a triple solo where Joey, Becca, and I are weaving in and out so perfectly. Its one of my favorite band related things ever caught on tape. During the mixing process, we were all hounding Josh to bring up our parts down to the individual note, which caused him to look over at us exasperated and claim “but you’re ALL soloing!”. He did a damn fine job though.

This was the “hold up a lighter” song for us, the big crashing finale. It had everything that made Trousers Trousers: dramatic lyrics, a mood change, big power chords and crashing drums, solos. It was a seven minute song that never felt like it dragged. It was a story that moved smoothly from one part to the next. The kind of song that would have been in our setlist forever. It’s also fun to think about having so many great songs that you drop a song like this and then bring it back years later and the crowd goes wild.

Some kids grow up thinking about hitting the big home run in the world series or winning a big race, I dreamed of having a band that played to a sea of people, all singing along with the lyrics and having an incredible time. As you grow older you realize that dreams are just that, dreams, and even if they come true, it’s not always the way you imagined it or wanted it. The “coming true” part isn’t the point of having a dream. Dreams and goals are, however, without a doubt important for one thing: they are the things that get you out of bed in the morning, turn you in one direction and pat you on the back – the rest is up to you. And luck.