Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sprechen sie Deutches, baby?

I'm a decent Beck fan. "Loser" was my first introduction after a friend saw the video on MTV. Later that same friend drew "Soy un Perdedor" on a piece of paper that I tacked to the door of my room back home (where it still hangs to this day). And since then I've seen him in concert a couple different times and most of his full albums are always on my iPod. I love how he embraces musical elements from all spectrums: anti-folk, punk, rap, sampling, rock, hip-hop, Latin, country, funk and blues to name a few. But I once wanted to kill myself from listening to Beck. It's a long story so find me at a bar one night and I'll fill you. All I will say is that if you're going through a bad break-up avoid listening to Sea Change

Beck hasn't released a studio album since 2008's Modern Guilt. He's stayed busy producing other artists, releasing a song or two for movie soundtracks and getting together with friends and playing cover songs.

Then this past December Beck released his latest sheet music. Like how music used to be distributed and played in the days before our grandparents. Song Reader has never before been released or recorded by Beck. And he encourages anyone to read, play, record, even rearrange these new songs and upload them to the internet. Check out the McSweeney's Q&A for more on how it came about.

As a band nerd I was really excited to hear about this. The flagship song "Old Shanghai" is available to download without purchasing the entire collection and I was pretty happy checking out the parts for tuba and trumpet along with the piano score. I was mulling the idea of recording that song on my own when I heard The Brick was gathering artists for a concert recording of the entire set of songs. I signed up. I taught myself guitar in high school and a couple of years ago I bought a vintage Danelectro Silvertone and have been reliving my college rock band past (Taste Like Chicken, 1996; Leggett and the Lesbians, 1998). And yes, one of the reasons I bought this guitar was after seeing Beck play one in concert. I can read music. I spent about 10 years throughout school playing trumpet but I never learned to play guitar music (little old three-chord me). Luckily the chords to "Saint Dude" are on the sheets. I've cheated a bit by listening to other bands and performers who have already recorded the song. But I found my own sound over the last few days coming up with my own arrangement, pulling inspiration from Jay Reatard, Elliott Smith and Beck himself who, if you've seen him in concert, never plays a song the same way twice

And so this Friday at 10:30pm The Brick presents Just Noise, a concert recording of these songs. The line-up is impressive. Not only will you hear me (performing as the Starr Kendall Experiment), but also Supermajor, Mockstar Killy Dwyer, Trav SD, Gyda Arber and Steve Sabaugh, Lord Ian Hill, Lady Berit Johnson, Bathtub Jen and the Henchmen, Deacon Bishop Revival, Alexis Thomason, Patrice Miller & Chris Chappell and a few more. It's free so come rock out with us. For more information check out

Until next time...get crazy with the Cheese Whiz.

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