So oddly enough, my experience with blogging over the last ten years has landed me a teaching assistantship for a “Professional Practices for Artists” class at the Department of Art Architecture and Planning at the University of Cincinnati, where I am currently enrolled in a graduate program working on an mfa (master of fine arts) I guess this means I should set a good example and blog more often!

I hope you are having a great new year. i am sitting here listening to music and eating a Reese’s cup.  My cat is with me, not coincidentally pictured here on the cover of this album:

I  listened to my sort-of-album “Lexington Demos” the other day for the first time in years. this was a limited release with an intentionally DIY aesthetic (100 signed CD-R’s) to suit the low-fi home recordings. i think there are still a few decent songs so i have made the album available as high quality (wav!) downloads on this website here. I also added a bonus track–a demo of a song i recorded about that time called “Fog”. if you bought the mp3’s before but want to upgrade to wavs, e-mail me and i’ll send you a coupon.

this was just one of those days where i go back and listen to my previous work, including songs that have not been completed or released, to determine what i might want to mine for ideas.  it seems that i always have more ideas and more songs than i have time to actually record.  this is a shame.  perhaps i can catch up at some point.

speaking of time and catching up, i have been in the studio with July For Kings as much as i can, working a the guitar-oriented rock album that will melt your face off.  but my time has been split between art-making, grad school, website-making, and writing/brain storming for solo material as well.  when i think abstractly about all the things that i do (and enjoy doing) it seems like i am reaching too far and trying to do too much.  but on a daily basis, believe it or not, i find plenty of time to relax, read books, watch movies, hang out with friends, et cetera. my girlfriend and i are watching the television series Lost and we are on the fifth season.  do not tell me how it ends or i’ll kill you.

things are going pretty well with the as of yet untitled July For Kings record.  we have ten songs in various stages of completion, all without final lead vocals.  i have some other songs i am kicking around but we have decided to do things in two phases.  first we will finish up (or mostly finish up) the ten songs we are doing now.  then we will go into another studio and do three more or so and possibly cut one or two.  this way we will all be fresh and excited for the other tracks.  nearly every album i have created, there are always a few good songs that come out toward the end of the process.

in the studio while getting guitar tones and thinking about production we have talked a lot about July For Kings’ debut, the SWIM album.  while the SWIM album was not much of a commercial success, it had a dramatic impact on my life and on the lives of a lot of other people as well.  it put me in touch with friends and fans all over the world.  after losing the record deal, in a lot of ways i just did not have the strength to carry forward the kind of bold aesthetic that we had crafted on that record.  i did not feel that way anymore, that sure about anything.  plus, i was stubborn and took pains to avoid being pigeonholed creatively by doing the opposite of what i knew people expected me to do.  since then, i am far less uptight about trying win over every single person with every single creative effort.  i am confident about my abilities to the point that i no longer feel like i have to prove anything to anyone.  i can just make stuff.

i don’t really regret any of this.  diversifying my identity has allowed me to approach albums and individual projects in a more relaxed manner, allowing more consideration for specific audience.  writing for this record, i was finally ready to re-approach July For Kings for what it was and what it should always be–a band unabashedly making powerful, emotional heavy guitar rock music.  i realize that is a big set up for those of you who loved that album so much.  whether or not it falls short of this goal, we are up for the challenge, and we are having a good time making it.

some tracks include:

  1. Orchid
  2. Kite
  3. Song 3
  4. Feather of Maat
  5. Haunted
  6. Hole in the Universe
  7. Island
  8. Climb
  9. Middletown
  10. Tarantula

i have some other things we are kicking around, but looking over this list, it’s pretty solid collection of songs.  almost all of them i wrote in the last year or so, so i think it’s going to have a cohesiveness that will be really nice.    it’s just going to be a lot of pressure in me in the studio to get the vocals right!   i am just starting to feel that now.

completing this album and doing it right is one of my new year’s resolutions.  or maybe it only counts as a goal?  can a resolution be a goal?  i hope your year is a fantastic one.