The past couple weeks have been pretty busy between playing shows, booking a tour of the south (!!), and practicing for my upcoming audition for the New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation department. I’ll elaborate on all of those things as they quickly approach, but this weekend I’m focused on recording with Ezekiel’s Wheels.
Last year, we recorded a short EP, and this year we’re excited to be working on something a little more substantial. On Saturday, we’re headed to Nat’s parents’ house in Hingham, MA (where we recently played a house concert in their large living room) to begin work on a full-length album. It’ll feature a mix of our classic repertoire as well as some new original tunes by Jon and Nat. Over the next couple months, we’ll be venturing to the south shore along with Ariel Bernstein and his portable recording studio. Our goal is to have everything recorded, mixed, and mastered in time for our April tour. Bonus points if we get it professionally pressed in time for tour, though we may have to do a special homemade edition of the CD to have copies with us on our upcoming adventure. More updates to come for sure.
Also, if you happen to be in Harvard Square tomorrow (February 1st) in the early evening, stop by Tommy Doyle’s–I’ll be playing from 5:30 til 7:30 with David Gallagher and friends!
I have a bunch of upcoming shows this weekend, and some relevant media to share:
First, on Friday (November 30th), I’ll be playing a solo set at Out of the Blue Gallery in Cambridge. The last Friday of every month, my friend Nicole D’Amico and her band hosts a night of live music starting at 8 pm, and I’m looking forward to playing at this month’s. It’s been awhile since I played a public solo set, but I’ve been working on solo arrangements a lot recently for my grad school audition tape. Here’s a track from the recording I made over the weekend, as a preview for the stuff I’ll be doing on Friday. It’s a recomposition of a tune by my friends’ band The Bearcubes, and it can also now be found (along with a new solo arrangement of my original tune “Lullaby for Virginia Woolf”) on my audio page:
Then, on Saturday (December 1st), once I breathe a sigh of relief after submitting my grad school application, I’m headed downtown to play on The Birn (Berklee’s radio station) with Cold Chocolate. We’ll be playing roughly around 4 pm, so tune in to hear us live on the radio!
On Sunday (December 2nd), Ezekiel’s Wheels is headed out to Worcester for Klezmer Konquest at the Worcester JCC. We’re a little perplexed by how come we keep getting roped into klezmer battles of the bands, though we’ve also been told that the “konquest” part of the night is mostly just for the sake of advertising alliteration. Apparently it’s not actually a contest, and instead just a concert featuring three local klezmer bands, but that’s probably for the best.
Even though it was finished alongside the recordings I posted about months ago and has been available at shows, the Bottom of the Well demo never made it up online until just the other day. So I’m excited to say that our EP can finally be streamed and downloaded here on bandcamp.
For those who don’t know, Bottom of the Well is one of my main projects, and (along with Spider Cider) is one I’m actively writing music for. The band is just a duo comprised of myself and Ariel Bernstein, and is basically my solo stuff on upright bass and voice with the addition of drums. It’s an interesting experiment to be able to arrange tunes for a relatively sparse (and bottom heavy) instrumentation, but it’s a lot of fun, since both Ariel and myself have a lot more space to fill and play around with. This EP is on the short side at 3 tracks, but we’re planning to record more soon.
The third EP in the recent string of recordings by various projects I’m in is from Ezekiel’s Wheels, the klezmer band I’ve been playing with since moving to Boston. It’s always a blast to play with this band since everyone is so talented and interested in klezmer music, but makes sure not to take the band too seriously… there’ve been plenty of silly antics at performances both planned and not, but we’ve never had any professional quality recordings to offer at shows or online until about a month ago.
Back in March we won some studio time (and medals!) through the Boston Jewish Music Festival’s Klezmer Idol competition. It was a pretty hilarious little competition, having a bunch of local klezmer bands battle it out in front of a live audience, but there were lots of really appreciative listeners in the audience and many friendly musicians backstage, it was a lot of fun.
In terms of the actual recording, we put the demo together pretty quickly, sussing out arrangements over a month or so, and then recording it all in one day back in May. We “officially” released it at our Atwoods show a couple weeks ago, but we just got it up online–you can stream it and download it here on bandcamp. Enjoy!
I’m excited about all of the recent progress many of my bands have been making on getting some nice recordings finished up — it’s great to finally have a whole bunch of good demos for many of these projects. The newest of these demos to be released is This Old Way by bluegrass/funk band Ethan Robbins & Cold Chocolate and can be streamed and downloaded here.
We started working on this recording way back in October — we took a little trip up to VT to record at Ethan’s parents lake house, right on Lake Champlain. It was really nice to get out of Boston for a weekend and just focus on tracking (though it meant a ton of work for Ariel, who once again played drums, recorded, mixed, and mastered the album). We got four of the tracks recorded that weekend, and originally only planned on having those tunes on the demo, but then we won some free recording time, which allowed us to record a fifth tune (though it delayed the release a little bit). As of today, all five tracks are done, though we still have a little work ahead of us to get some physical copies made…
Cold Chocolate has been sounding really great recently, and it’s exciting to finally have a recording that features everyone who’s currently in the band, as well as some of the newer tunes and arrangements. All the songs are written by Ethan, and then put together by the band — we do a mix of bluegrass and funk on guitar, upright bass, banjo, and drums. In June, we’re taking over the Kristen Ford Band residency at Sally O’Brien’s while Kristen is away on tour, so there’ll be lots of opportunities to pick up the EP in person in the near future!
Recently I posted about debuting some new CDs, so I’m excited to announce that the Spider Cider EP Basement Speeches can now be streamed and downloaded here on our fancy new bandcamp page. This is the band’s first studio recording, and it features four original tracks.
For those who don’t know, Spider Cider is currently one of my primary musical projects here in Boston. Musically, it’s mainly a mixture of hip hop and jazz and it’s one of the couple bands I’m actively writing for (the other being Bottom of the Well). The group also features Jacob Dinklage (rap, spoken word), Pete Fanelli (trombone), and Ariel Bernstein (drums, as well as recording, mixing, and mastering for this album). It’s really exciting to play and write with such talented musicians, and to explore how much can be done on both the upright bass and the voice in this setting. Stay tuned for more Spider Cider recordings, too–even though we just finished this EP, we already have a growing queue of new tunes we’re itching to record. And if you’re in the area, come check us out at our next show on Tuesday, May 15 at Sally O’Brien’s in Union Square!
So I just posted a few days ago about my upcoming week-long tour next week, and in addition to being excited about that, I’m also pumped to announce that two of my bands who are going on that tour will be done with debut EPs to bring on the road with us! Both were totally self-recorded and produced, since our drummer Ariel Bernstein also just happens to be a great sound engineer, and I think they both sound great.
The Bottom of the Well demo will feature three of my original tunes (which will even have actual titles that don’t include Ks or numbers!) with the full band of signing, upright bass, and drums. I even made stencils and spent hours labeling all of the covers. It’s exciting to finally have some nice recordings of BotW, and once we get back from tour, Ariel and I are excited to get started on the next batch of tunes to record.
As for the Spider Cider demo Basement Speeches, we’ve got four of our originals featuring rap, vocals, trombone, upright bass, and drums. Our awesome artist friend Cera Smith made some amazing stamps for us to print the album covers, I think they came out really well.
We’ll be putting both albums online super soon, too, for all of you who aren’t in Boston (or along our tour route).