Monday

[Please continue to vote for us in Radio Crystal Blue's annual airplay vote we're in bracket #12 and you can actually go back and vote for us once every day through April 25, if you feel like it. Thanks!] Info has been added to our shows page: our schedule for late April, May & June. James Dean, in the process of creating a video for our song "Where Is My Robot Maid?" posted a 'bot 'blog that includes video he shot at our Laila Lounge show on Feb. 3. The sound's not the greatest: we had a cranky-crackly stage monitor to work with that night, and what you'll hear posted is what was picked up on the video camera's microphone (not designed to record music). We had Andy's DAT taping that night also, but ultimately James' video will have our finished recorded version of the song as sound, and a compilation of footage from several shows with some separately made imagery. I like this video though to enjoy as a moment of time, and if you haven't been to a show in a while you can at least hear the song which will be on our upcoming third album slated for release in the U.S. in early 2008. And speaking of new songs to hear, two fabulous new albums have been released in the past two weeks from bands we play with and most heartily endorse: Love Camp 7's Sometimes, Always, Never documents the gorgeous, smart, harmonic, psychedelically gift-wrapped songs the band used to play before their current engrossment with the very exciting alt.Beatle-Baker project - which I hear they are recording now. Remember the moving and unique water trilogy? The happy Mr. Elephant? Or Barbara Lee (who is having no trouble sleeping)? Buy the album and take this genus band's Wonka-rock trip anytime you want to. Sketler, I mean Skelter's Sip o' Tea for the Devil is clever in an entirely different way as the Skelts return with more of their great sounding, thick-guitar, unabashed and in-your-face RAWK. Enhanced by a "live" format interwoven with 'Leaving Las Venus' narrator Trent McSwain's um... McSwain-ery, the boys return another set of new-classics with increasing assurance and new niceties such as a Greg-singing-lead song ("Die Happy") and Michael's Beck-onversational "32 Pints" to go along with the the Blur-influenced rockers ("Hello Hello Hello") and attitude condemnation scathers ("Dawn Marie") that make their live shows such enthusiastic head-nodding events. Now if their audiences were just a little less hip, I dare say that head-nodding might even ratchet up to banging, but with another gorgeous art-presentation, Skelter hits the mark of making songs that feel like guilty pleasures you cannot be ashamed of. Ok, so our record... how is the new WonderWheels record going? I recently had a great day adding lead vocals and doing a rhythm guitar track. I had the time and space to adequately prepare with a few things I think are essential turning in a really great vocal performance in the studio: enough sleep, good healthy food, hydration, a little yoga and about 25 min. of the barre workout of vocal training - the good old me me me and scales etc. So STTB came out easy in a confidential, conversational flow with the nuances and flexibility there to show the emotions that run through the narrator's story. For Robot Maid we had some fun with double and triple tracking my voice, and I was able to duplicate on demand and get both the robotics in the verses and the tough feel on the bridge and the held notes of the choruses and it was a good day in the vocal booth which can feel like quite a torture chamber if things aren't going right. Since that great day I actually cancelled a session which the Wombat was great about, very understanding. I haven't done that before, but I just knew it wasn't a good day and it wouldn't live up to the day with the good vocals, so why go in and spend money when you think you just might be floundering about? And that was a day when circumstances had intervened and I didn't get my adequate body-preparation, so I think it was a good call. I've also tracked my guitars on "Smug Ugly," breaking the part up into two tracks in what I think is a pretty innovative way that allowed us to maintain a really solid groove and also get greater sustain to have some droning notes that wouldn't have been possible on one track without compromising the timing of the part. On Thursday we opened for Skelter at their CD release for their new album. It was our second time at Otto's Shrunken Head, but our show there last May was the only time we Wheels have played as a three-piece without Joe on drums so this show was our first time there in full force. Unlike the microscope of recording, for a night-time east village rock performance I was carrying just the right amount of sleep deprivation to feel really free and present at the same time. I balanced on this incline thing that was on the stage see-sawing up and down and making like the neck of the guitar was a tommy gun. Don't know where I got that from. We got good sound and enjoyed playing a cracking gig. We mostly played the new album. The set was: Eddie (short jam) (MEET THE ANIMAL) After Last Night (UNRELEASED) Learning Lessons (UNRELEASED) Where Is My Robot Maid (UNRELEASED) Straight to the Body (UNRELEASED) Smug Ugly (UNRELEASED) P-E-T-R-O-L-E-U-M (UNRELEASED) Take Us to the Stars (UNRELEASED) No Exceptions (UNRELEASED) Oh and shout out to a new-ish band Karate Monkey Death Car who opened the evening and had much more intricately constructed and interesting melodic material to augment the silly novelty song that's the only track they have posted at their MySpace. I wasn't sure what to expect, but what I heard in between getting ready for our set was very interesting.

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