home again now in the wet night wind and broken heat of autumn - a week off in the middle of our long montreal session. we’ve narrowed it down to eighteen or so tunes and while we likely won’t have the time to go deep into each we’ll have at least a dozen done by the first frost and a lil ep of orphans to work with later down the line. its exciting times, and nice to be finally into it after some scheduling snafus held us off. though it has been a good summer and we lived a little in our homes and felt a kind of rhythm beyond the road. and it got us ready to hit the tape with an eagerness we’ve not known for long time. also we are stoked and honoured to be working with marcus paquin and a sweet crew at mixart studios. superhumans. as for ourselves we’re doing our best to ride out all the thousands of tiny decisions that eventually add up to an album of music, and to enjoy the ride and learn it. people are always saying they can’t wait for the new songs, and i always say the same thing, that neither can i. i can’t wait to see how the visions come to life in all their final form and order. soon! in the meantime thank you for your patience and your eagerness and your love.
best. tb. hr!
this is the time of year in st johns when you get one degree a week. every seven days i reckon it gets about one degree warmer and so ever so slowly we creep from below freezing and up into spring. that feels a lot like whats going on in our old abandoned nightclub makeshift studio these days too. this is the part where we’ve got our big list of slightly too many/slightly too different songs and we’re slowly coming to know how they want to sound and how to do it and what it means. we are turning the screws. each turn they get a degree tighter. each week they get the slightest bit better, hotter, more promising. some days we do it wrong and some days it still snows. but when you add it all up its, well, its all adding up. so thats whats going on here. for those of you my darling dears that wonder why we’re all silent and home-bodied and completely invisible. i’m excited for you to hear what it is i’m obliquely blabbing about. soon. but we’re not out of the woods yet. no, keep that ice-scraper in yer car for gawdsakes. but throw a frisbee in there too. in fact, consider our new "newfoundland spring bundle" we just put on sale. hehee.
well here we are on the dark side of the moon. we’re now at the furthest point in our apollo13-like moon orbit gravity slingshot gamble. it is the sorry, mighty ebb of mid february in newfoundland and we’re as far from summer as we get. and we ourselves are as far from the stage as we get, holed up and recording in an old theatre. and every time we come upstairs into the light something else cold and sharp is falling from the sky. but like tom hanks we’re doing the math there in our chilly spaceship; we are trying to fit square pegs into round holes and solos into post-choruses, and from here on in we only get closer to home, and things’ll only get brighter, warmer, greener and good. oh and we’ll be doing a short broadcast next week and inviting you into the theatre for a look, so keep your toqued ears to the twitter etc for that. in the meantime keep the kettle on and get along and know that things are gonna get easier.
maybe for lent i’ll give up mixing metaphors. nahhh…happy pancakes friends.
clearly my resolution to put pen to paper (lay fingerpad to key) sooner has fallen by the way side. has way fallen by the side. but it’s okay. tis the season for new resolutions. and really, i have been sending you messages. and not just good vibes through the snowy ether. but songs and such with a new little holiday ep, accompanying video, and a handful of big holiday shows where i’ll be yelling my heart at you for at least two hours a night. and really beyond all that i feel newsless, bound by details and numbers and scrawled little lists as much as we’ve been by early snow. but again, its okay. tis the season for scrawling lists. and balling fists in stiffened mitts. and sipping little seasonal sips. oh yes the madness lifts. don’t the 20s of december sit like summer sun at the peak of the slippery hectic hill? don’t they yawn with the hot promise of a hearth? yes. yes they do. unless you don’t celebrate christmas. or deny it or despise it or despair it. in which case, why not try and arbitrarily look forward to the dec20s anyway? maybe the teens of january? build the hill. build the peak! build it out of cheap drinks and coloured lights and vince guaraldi’s masterpiece on green vinyl. put mom and dad in sweaters, bury the cat in ribbons, stuff yerself, get guilty, spend too much money on someone else. make yer people soup. make yer people jolly. may yer days be merry. and bright.
love you anytime of the year.
it seems the more and more time passes between correspondences, the less there is to say. i’ve been thinking about this paradox as i sit down to write after so long. we’ve all had these run-ins with old friends, after years of no contact, where the conversation invariably runs small, shallow, dry within minutes. why is it that really the more stuff that happens to you, the harder it is to tell of it? its like all the richness of experience - all the nuance and colour and texture of living - congeals into a single smooth featureless slab that’s too heavy to lift and too hard to pry apart. well i don’t want it to come to that with us. in the last month we;ve had moments and colour to tell of. recently we’ve been tearing through the red orange yellow of new england, listening to old irish folksongs, matthew byrne, david byrne & st vincent, rage against the machine, half moon run, james taylor… we’ve been reading fantasy novels, books on quitting smoking, jimi hendrix biography, historical-fictional-bestselling excellent trash, robertson davies, sheila heti, eggers… we’ve been eating vegetables and noodles where possible, nuggets and fries where not. we’ve been peeing into myriad porcelain troughs and defecating in stalls without doors. we’ve been talking of gas mileage, local beer, christmas, guitar tone, set lists. we’ve not been keeping track. we’ve been letting things get away from us. we have not been blogging. we’ve been at home until last week, holed up trying to make new songs move and old songs new again. it was hard but fruitful, like any good october harvest i suppose. and now we are back on the road again, feeling it in our stomachs and calves and cerebellums, both the joy and the ashy weight. and here i am typing at the too-high desk in the too-plain room of another too-big hotel chain on the outskirts of another too-many-too-much-too-mad american metropolis, trying to fight the impenetrable grey slab with specifics in another vast city that looks impenetrable and grey high from the bridges, but is surely bursting and bright in its backrooms and bedrooms and bars. again, like the more colours on the wheel spinning, the smoother and greyer and harder to articulate it gets. so… we may as well step into it i guess. in fact we’re heading out into it now to soundcheck and sing. love and colour to you. tb/hr!
it’s raining here out my window onto downtown st johns and all the cars are sighing past. feels fitting too. our summer of touring is officially over. still lots of pots bubbling away on our many burnered stove, but the hey rosetta show is packed up until the fall. and now is the time to get back to ourselves, and to spend it with loved ones and lost bands and long-forgotten yards and apartments. and new music will be springing out and taking shape. though romesh and i are only home for a few days before we’re off to montreal to mix a little new release for the fall - pumped to be working with howard bilerman at the hotel2tango again on that. and when that’s squared away i myself will be continuing down to san pedro sula, honduras, to spend a week travelling with usc canada, observing and documenting their work in seed conservation, biodiversity, food security, and land sovereignty with fipah and local farmers there. since our record “seeds” came out and we linked to their website, we’ve become friends and allies with the fine folks at usc and i’m delighted to be able to see their work in action on the tilled mountains of northwest honduras. i’ll be posting some notes and images from that trip soon. as for right now though i believe i’ll have a cup of tea and watch the rain and think of all the sun we’ve seen around the continent during this summer of summers. then…spanish homework. big time.
thanks for all the summer fun. y hasta pronto nuestros amigos!
here is the lemonade, the dog days, the hot veins of summer. here in my own home where it is usually cold and damp and toqued and heatlamped. and out through the old warped windows and the peeling paint, the lushness of the backyard is absolute and like something alien. like those scenes in post-apocalyptic movies where the survivors traipse through some decayed, former city now overgrown and overrun by dogs. my collapsed deck and rotting fence, the ruins. my neighbour’s hounds perhaps, the new race. the few weeks we’ve been away on tour, the decades in hiding. but don’t get me wrong, it’s anything but sinister. it is the unparalleled sweetness of the long-awaited newfoundland summer. we have been lucky enough to be sampling summer all around the continent recently, playing at music festivals throughout america. we’ve witnessed mind-expanding performances by mind-exploding artists. we’ve stood under golden sunsets and on gulf shores and at the gorge’s edge, holding so many beers and funnel cakes and tempeh tacos. but nothing compares to this quiet, rotting, st john’s backyard that’s at last thawed and green and silently bursting in the july dusk. and we’ve ten days in it here, to see the colours, stock up on missed sleep, put some finishing touches on a couple little releases for the fall (yep!), and of course write some summery songs in honour of it all. aright. out on into it. and peace unto you, out into it too.
first i feel i should apologize to the nations of great britain, ireland and france for not writing any words about them, after i wrote the last blog entry specifically about our time in germany and switzerland. so i should apologize, and i do. though i’m sure they’ll get over it. they’ve seen much worse. my only defense is that the last four shows of the tour took place inside some sort of time warp where there was neither sleep nor wakefulness. there were ferries, i remember ferries - a different ferry everyday, all leaving port at some dim, ungodly hour. and berries, strangely, i remember berries too (european promoters really know how to lay out a fruit and cheese tray gaad love em!) I remember i woke up during the crossing to ireland, and looking up, i thought that i’d dozed a little too long and was heading towards bell island back in conception bay, newfoundland. gorgeous. and speaking of ireland, i’m remembering now there were wonderful, well-appointed rooms full of wonderful, well-appointed people awaiting us wherever we went on those days. oh…that’s how we recharged. some sort of futur-euro-eco-energy exchange, where we’d show up for the gig haggard and hallucinatingly unslept, and then the smiling people would set us right! it is coming back now. and it is good. so thanks. et un grand merci.
and now the damp chill of our st john’s ‘spring’ seems to have finally broken, just as we’re getting out of it and down into the full-blown summer of the american south. but it has served us well, as we spent the last two weeks shut up in the house rehearsing and recording new tunes and old, with not a hint of sunny-weather-jealousy that must plague all you other slim, tanned, vitamin-d rich, emotionally resilient bands. but now we’re off into their bright corners to share all the things we’ve been working on, which is entirely the point i suppose. so, enough of this, to the end of the point! and on off the dock! and up off the stage into the fine shiny light and cool water waiting later.
we arrived after the longest day. monday’s night was swallowed by flying five hours ahead over the atlantic, and so it went from midnight to morning in one mere episode of modern family (air canada ads included). we recently lost elite status with old ac, which, though it may make us less bourgeois and mincing and entitled, it also makes us broke as jokes when we add together our 18 extra bags of guitars and mixers and merch. yeesh. but it all arrived miraculousy unbroken and then we picked up all the rented gear (most of which WAS broken) and played our first ever german shows in hamburg and berlin. viel spass! so many people came! we expected, i guess, very little, having never set foot on that faraway soil. but the shows were full and full of friendly, attentive, actual fans of the band. who knew. so many friends to be had all over the world. and last night’s venue too (the charming ‘parterre’ in the border town of basel, switzerland) was full of beautiful swiss and french and germans. and i’m not just saying that. they were all hot. it was eerie. but after so much whiskey and chocolate and cheese we had to tear ourselves away for a long night and morning of thudding across the french countryside. but the french countryside is a thing that will always lighten the heart, despite whatever ungodly hour and everyday ills lay upon you (i wish that we english could employ the 3rd person singular that’s so readily used in french and german, that is, without ‘one’ sounding like a complete d-bag). and after the grey, clinical blade of the autobahn, it was a bit like ambling through an antique shop full of old armoirs and dusty, gilded oil paintings. my scene entirely. but we’ve only one quick stop here tomorrow night, for a big canadian student conference for the 95th anniversary of several integral gruesome canadian ww1 battles (vimy ridge, beaumont hamel, la somme, etc). and then its on to the rocky road to dublin, glasgow and london before we make it back to the giftshop of paris for the last show of the run. so a mighty thanks to jedermann and tout le monde and everyone who’ve been so good to us thus far. danke schon indeed.