The last stretch

Right now things are intense. Its my last semester in new orleans and its that last little bit before graduating from music school. So, its easy to say that I am busy and a teeny-bit overwhelmed. However, dear friend, 6 weeks from now the band will no longer be split between two cities for the majority of the year and we will be very active....a tour announcement is on the way. Every time we get together to play a show down in new orleans or in Memphis for a one off, that feeling all comes back and we all get super excited. I can't wait to share what we're up to with you. The new songs are sounding better and better. BUT with all of that being said, I have to ask you to bear with me. I'll keep you as updated as possible, just keep in mind that this is the last stretch for me and its a little hectic. Also, we're playing here in New Orleans at Euphorbia on May 4th--its our last show before the big move and we'd love to see you there. 

As always, we love hearing from you; your kind words of encouragement never cease to inspire and humble us. 

all the love,

Elijah

So it's been a while

There's one thing that is definitely true and its that consistency is tough. I planned on posting on this blog at least once or twice a week, and as you (dear reader) know, I have not kept up with it as I hoped. I'm finishing out the school year here in new orleans, mardi gras just passed, and school is back in full swing. I can promise you, though, that we are not lying dormant and will have new things for you soon. In the meantime, the band is still split between memphis and nola, and we have a show down here at fools fest on loyola's campus coming up on the 25th. More details soon. I promise promise promise that I'll do better about posting. 

For now, i have a question though, what is your favorite song on the album and why? We'd love to hear from you through our email and comments on this post. 

Have a great day,

Elijah

Intro

The intro song, the one song on the record I had the hardest time with. So I'll start with a few simple things. If you're a little bit up to date on the album, or have at least heard some of it, you can tell that the album is about a relationship, from the beginning through acceptance of the breakup. There were some missing songs I ended up skipping over putting in, but it loosely tells that story, albeit from a very specifically personal place. The problem I had was that the intro was maybe (too) personal? 

(btw. its on The Wall-by PF not just on the wall we're leaning on. just an interesting little fact)

Miguel and I were making music in my room and I came up with the guitar part and just started mumbling over it, light us a candle, but your records on. He liked it and so did I. It definitely came straight out of a very specific experience I had, and I just went along with it. We harmonized what you hear on the record and we worked on it from there. 

We played the song at several shows and it always seemed to go alright and we thought nothing of it. There were several different stages of it where it had drums and got loud, but I thought the quieter version was more fitting for an album opener-especially the little looped ebow opening.

It wasn't until Miguel left and I recorded it that I heard from a close friend of mine (the one who mixed the album) that the intro just wasn't that good. I asked lots of friends and I got a pretty hard line on people who hated it and people who loved it. It was either drop it or keep it. 

When we mastered the record I asked Jeff what he thought, and he said no one would make sweeping judgements on my music based on a song called Intro. So I went with it, I kept the beginning of the story, the first kiss night, and I think it does exactly what I thought it would. 

If you don't like it I'm sorry, but I'm sure its not too much to just skip to Middle. 

A little bit on album art

When I was trying to figure out what to do for the album art,  I started with the idea that I wanted something that would reflect how personal the music was. I had some candid photos and a polaroid that I thought would work well. The problem then was how do I make this happen without making them look dumb or random, so I started to look at albums that I admired and the art they used. The first thing that came to mind was a band I love called Pope down here in New Orleans. I remembered going to see Sun Hotel's last show where Pope also played. I eagerly ran up to the merch booth and bought two records, one of which had one of my favorite album covers, Pope's Fiction. 

I've also always liked handwritten album art (especially Bon Iver, Bon Iver) and ended up using  my own handwriting in addition to the polaroid idea from Pope. I was very happy with it and used it for Your Song's single art. 

Then came the album cover. I had the specific picture, but wasn't sure If I wanted to use the face on the album art. It was a hard decision, but I felt and still feel that the picture I used is perfect. I tried to think of interesting ways to edit it just to keep the face unrecognizable, and landed on Good Kid M.A.A.D City by Kendrick Lamar. I love this album, it ain't indie rock but its some of my favorite music on earth, and the original album art had people's eyes crossed out with a black bar. Perfect, my Kendrick homage was done. 

So that's where the art came from, not too amazing, but still it was a fun process and I enjoyed it. I like finding out where things come from in people's music and thought you might enjoy finding out where ours came from. 

All the love,

-Elijah

Doing things right

There's this weird thing that happens when you make a goal and you get to it. The whole last two years was me trying to release our album. It was all about finishing the record, getting the mix right, getting the master right, getting the art right, etc. I. gets exhausting. But then you're finally done and there it is. It's fun to be done for a while, but you lose what made you so excited about it in the first place. I don't want to get caught up in that, I want to do things right. 

The last post about turkish silver was a small bit about the things I see in my head when I think about that song. I think it is so interesting to see what other people think and feel from it, and I look forward to hearing from you about your experience with the music. 

In the meantime, I'll be posting more regularly about the album and what is happening in the lines for me. Soon though, there will be more to read about the next project and where we might go with the music. 

Thanks for reading and listening, 

Elijah

Turkish Silver

Today we got a review on The New Lofi--a blog that I have been dying to be in since I started making the record so it is a big and exciting day for us. I figured I would say a few things about Turkish Silver. There are a lot of images that come to mind for me but most often it is the airport in Seattle and the shuttle ride from downtown to the airport. I see images of the drive from Memphis to Nashville and memories of smoking cigarettes in the cold in Seattle. Here are the lyrics:

eastbound 40 towards Nashville was butterflies and broken wings

you taught me how to mend them goddamnit you taught me everything

westbound connection through Denver, we lost our calm to turbulence 

and i met you at the airport with open arms, a pack of Kamel Reds 

 

Chorus

we were careful, always, careful, all ways, careful always, careful all ways

 

i was on the western side and where were you that day?

i tried so hard to sort it out, but i was so afraid

so lend me your hand and i won't say what i’m about to say. 

 

Chorus

 

Bridge

i wont go, i won’t stay

i wont go, you can’t stay

you can’t stay

i was on the western side, and where were you that day?

Chorus

 

 

 

A history up to now of GGT and Songs for a Recent Lover

On my birthday, December 5th, we finally released the album, Hurray! it's done! I couldn't wait to put it up and share it with everyone and its so great to finally share it with the world. I hope you enjoy what you're hearing, we had so much fun making it and it has been a huge journey just for this one 7 song album (ep? I don't know--album certainly sounds more authoritative). 

Anyway, I think its important that I write a few things about it as it has been the central focus of my life for the better part of a year and a half so here we go. 

Miguel and I got together in May of 2015 to play music and see what would happen. We had already become great friends at school and it seemed like we should go ahead and give it a try. So he came over to my parent's house in Memphis and we started to clunkily try to navigate the songs and see how it worked out. This is where we got a sort of handle on how some of the songs would turn out, and surprisingly, after a couple of weeks, things started to lock in. 

Miguel had a bandmate from other groups we had been in named Griffin. Funny enough, I don't remember the actual experience of first getting into a room together-the three of us. This is probably because it seemed so easy to fall into place, show Griff the songs and see what he would do-It shows how much he contributed to the songs when you listen. 

That was our summer of 2015-spending multiple days a week in Griffin's backyard practice loft rehearsing and arranging and jamming and finishing as many songs as we could. Bouncing between Griff's house and the late great Republic Coffee, smoking cigarettes and talking about nothing. At the time we were called City Middle (a song by The National that I adore). We played a lot of shows around town on Pants Tour with Smith7 records and the wonderful family that we have there and around with other bands at bars in town.

At the end of the Summer, our friend Wyatt offered to let us come record at Visible Music College, where he had access to the recording studio, and we jumped at the chance. We went in on a very hot summer afternoon and Wyatt set up the studio for live tracking. We did tracks 3-6 straight through, two takes or so apiece and that's what's on the record--the basic guitar, bass and drum tracks were tracked live, no metronome, just as plain as we played them live. Albeit, you can tell with some changes in tempo, but the human-ness of the album really comes through in that way and the sound we got was what we were hoping for--3 other tracks we recorded that day did not end up on the record. The next day I recorded vocals alone but only kept a few from your song and turkish silver. 

Griff stayed behind in Memphis and Miguel and I went back to school (side note: Griffin ended up landing a role playing bass for Elvis in the Million Dollar Quartet show, so he kept busy). Miguel and I kept the band going with our friend, Seth. Seth is a complete musical genius and composer and I think he needed an outlet to play loud and there we were-it was a great fit. We played shows in New Orleans and started gaining some traction-we released a early mix and master of your song on December 5th of 2015, and played shows what seemed like constantly. We even got to drive up to Memphis in November and play a show with one of my all time favorite bands Young Jesus-an impossibly exciting event for me. We recorded Middle at the Loyola studio with Scott Philibert the same way as before-live, quick and painless. We left the studio in four hours and thats what you hear on the record. We kept this up through the spring when Miguel had to go back home to Memphis. 

Summer of 2016 I mostly spent in New Orleans. 2016 from pretty much day one on has been one of the most difficult years of my short life. So many people I knew have died and friends of friends and family members too. Its been a rough go. Over the summer, I had a close friend from high school, Grant mix the record as I finished putting overdubs on the songs. I'll never trust dropbox again. Ever. Anyway, we managed to get the majority of the album finished and just before the beginning of the school year, I recorded the intro and outro tracks at my house in New Orleans. 

People would always come up to me and say, "I like the band name, its a reference to Central City NOLA." This got under my skin and I frustratingly went about trying to rename the band, I settled on a lyric from the Young Jesus song Brothers: "Grandpa grew trees, now the green grows through our spot" and that was it. I felt like it fit more with what I was writing, it was a lyric I would always sing to myself and it got more votes than any other candidates when I asked my friends so that was it. 

I got the crazy opportunity to fly to Boston to have my album mastered by Jeff Lipton, who did my favorite album to date (Volcano Choir's Repave).I flew to Boston in September with my Mom and met Jeff who was so kind and complimentary and made my album exactly what it is-I wouldn't trade this for anything. I feel so fortunate to have worked with him. 

That's how the album came to be and here it is. We're planning to tour this coming summer and are working on new stuff always.  Sorry for any crazy grammatical other atrocious typos. Thanks for reading.

 

Elijah

Falls

So our new single, Falls, is an interesting one to me. I remember coming up with the basic guitar idea in a hotel room in New Orleans right before I moved down here for school. It was cool to me, had this kind of swaying feeling. I didn't finish it until the next summer, in a very new headspace. I was able to sit down and write without classes, and out of nowhere the chorus just kind of happened. The next day, I brought it to the band and probably more quickly and easily than any song on the record Griff and Miguel were like "oh yeah, I know exactly what to do on this one." Basically its a little ballad-ish rock thing thats about feeling trapped in a new place and not being truly there for the one(s) you care about.