The usual belated post-show catch-up post.

We’re always late with blog posts after a show and given the amount of junk happening around our last show, this one’s an especially late post.  The show on the 12th was surrounded by just a hella lotta activity so let me just try to catch you up.

First up, let me give you the latest deets on the 7″.  We have a date set as you know but Wo-Fat from Dallas is playing and those guys are the shit!  We really love their music and the guys are a blast.  If you’ve never seen them, you gotta come to the record release.  The 7″ itself is in the plating stage.  Aardvark sent us an acetate but it skipped at a few spots so they will be giving it another go.  That’s pretty rare for us to see but hey, that’s why they send these before we got to press.  So, a small delay but hopefully they will get it on the next pass.  Meanwhile, the stop motion for the video is now complete.  In between shows and moving, I was able to finish the last 500+ frames which means we only have live action to shoot then it’s all smooth sailing in the post-production seas.

Now as for the shows, I was exhausted but was able to make the ST37 show that kicked-off the week.  Sorry, no good pics but they played a kick-ass set.  I was pretty exhausted from filming and moving junk but ST’s set and Charlie laying down one insane solo during After Party’s set that tore through space and time made it all worth it.  The next day was the Hearts of Animals show at Cactus and it was pretty swell too.  It also made for a nice break from filming and moving.  I would have to miss out on the Friday album release at Rudz but Charlie got some good pics (see below) and from all accounts it was no less than the usual awesomeness you’d expect from Mlee.  Clinton and Steve definitely had a lot of fun playing with Mlee even though it meant a lot more rehearsals and shows for them that one week. There is exhaustion and then there is good, accomplished exhaustion.  I think for them it was the latter. By the way, you can buy the album on her bandcamp ( http://heartsofanimals.bandcamp.com/ ).    The whole week closed off with our show with PONG at Rudz and it was a blast.  We had a great crowd, PONG was a hoot to play with, and we got to play an hour long set which we haven’t done in ages.  You’d think it would be way too long to play an hour but it seemed to fly by.  Our songs are usually longer so it’s easy for us to fill-up an hour I guess.  Oh and we got to play Nausicaa behind us which was a good choice.  I hadn’t seen that movie in ages and I forgot how visually stunning it is.  Miyazaki is one of my animation heroes, so neat ya know.  Anyhow, PONG closed off the night with the whole place dancing and lights and a whole lot of whoop-up so how better to close an insane week of hard but fulfilling work?

Next show is the KISS covers anthology album release show in September.  We’ll keep you posted on that and how the video and 7″ progress.  Until then, go out and listen to that HOA album, it’s really good.

Here are some pics by Charlie, Luis Black, Kyle Phillips, and me.

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July 5th – July 12 Shows (or Play LP4 Mix and Match)

Holy Crap!  July is shaking out to be a pretty damn busy month for us and it all pretty much plays out in a mere eight-day span with four live shows!!   So here we go, in chronological order…

Saturday 5 July!!!  

ST37

In what will be a week of mix and match your favorite LP4 members, it all kicks off Saturday the 5th with our old pals from Austin, ST37, over at Fitzgerald’s.  One of the support bands, Afterparty, is performing with a certain Telecaster wielding lad you may be familiar with – Charlie Naked.  It should be a good show and ST37 alone are worth the entrance.

Sunday 6 and Friday 11 July!!!

HOARelease

The very next day, it’s Album Release madness with an in-store performance by Hearts of Animals at Cactus Music.  Bonus – that show is free and sponsored by St. Arnold’s Brewery which means you also get a couple tasty free beers. The talented and lovely Mlee Marie has often graced our albums and we finally get to return the favor by playing on her new album.  The backing band is Joey Maines on drums (Mlee’s brother) and our own Steve and Clinton on the 4 and 6 string.  The official album release will be on Friday the 11th at Rudyard’s.  That show will be Free too and the line up is total A-List business.  Oh and you can pre-order the album here: http://heartsofanimals.bandcamp.com/ 

On a side note, you’ve likely seen the HOA pic of the band with the green screen behind them.  Well, a few months back while Mlee was playing around with cover ideas she asked me to key out the green screen just to see how it looked. So, I picked one pic from the shoot as a test just to show her how it could be utilized and, inspired by an old Camper Van Beethoven gag, I then slapped them on the cover of Relayer and then just got stupid after that.  Nothing ever came of these and they were never used but I thought the results were kind of funny so I figure this is likely a good opportunity to make use of a few images I had kicking around. Enjoy…

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Saturday 12 July!!!

Finally, the whole thing winds up the next night where we battle Austin’s madmen of  light and sound, Pong.  If you’ve never seen them live, this should be a treat.  They don’t play out often in Houston but when they do they bring an arsenal of lights that are just insane.  because of this, we will have to bring everything we’ve got if we want to stand a chance in repelling their relentless assault.

Should be a fun week.  Hope to see y’all.

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The post in which we finally get to announce the “C is for Cthulhu” October release date and record release show!!!!!

Remember back in 2013 when we had this ambitious idea to release two 7″s a year and how “C is for Cthulhu” would be the second one? Remember how our original plan was for it to be released on Halloween of that year? Well prepare to double facepalm yourself because we have finally scheduled a release date for the long delayed project and it’s exactly one year later than we originally proposed! I am not messin’ with your mind, yes, the release date will be 31 October of 2014. That’s 365 days – one whole turn around the sun later! The masters have been sent off and we shoot a huge chunk of live action footage this weekend with the rest of the shooting scheduled to be done before mid July. So yes, despite the delay, we are pretty excited and we hope you guys are too.

So let me cut to the deets here…

Record Release and Video Premiere party
Saturday 26 October at Rudyard’s

Get your copy early, witness our cinematic genius, and celebrate with us and our friends!
We have two special guests penciled in to open but we can’t announce them until they get back from tour and get a chance to fully confirm.

Official Record Release Date
Saturday 31 October

The 7″ will be available for download on our Bandcamp and digital copies will be available via CD Baby, ITunes, and all the usual places.

We will offer pre-sale copies via our Bandcamp at some point and our goal will be to mail them out the week of the Rudz show so that you folks outside of Houston will have your copy in time for Halloween.

One last thing, Jason over at http://www.cryptocurium.com made the cover for us and he also created the idol you will see in our video. Check out his site it’s really neat. Here is a peek at the back cover…

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Second video shoot for “C is for Cthulhu” recap

Crew prepares to enter Cthulhu’s chamber. (Rough composite)

Yup, that’s a quickie composite done over coffee of one of the scenes from last Sunday’s video shoot.  It’s clearly just a rough job created just to see how the green screen looks and it’s pretty seamless.  That halo you see on the actors is the typical glow you get from the backlighting and eventually will be gone.  Short of it is, if it looks that clean over a cup o’ joe, then it’s going to look pretty bad-ass when I put in some real time to work with the footage and the backgrounds.

The shoot actually went a hella lot better than expected and I owe a lot of that to Stevie and Makana.  I’d been having issues with the shoot being a bunch of guys and in talking to Stevie, he thought the same thing. He told me he had someone he thought would be perfect and man, did he ever come through with asking Makana (who now plays the second archaeologist on the excursion).  We didn’t want her to be just a lackey but an equal with Stevie’s character and that added a lot of fun dynamics to the storyboard we’d originally drawn out.  I don’t want to give anything away but there was one point where she came up with one action that filled in this gap that left me thinking, “Of course! That makes total sense! Of course she would do that!” So she didn’t just “work out” she was clever enough to fill in some gaps and help expand ideas that I hadn’t considered.  In fact, she worked out so well that her archaeologist’s role in the video is going to be expanded a bit more than we originally thought and Stevie will now be sharing top billing with her on this video.

In the supporting role category, the biggest hoot was Charlie.  His performance as the Captain of the doomed expedition was nothing short of insane.  I can’t do it justice but his narration to the crew about what he was seeing had me busting a gut.  I may have to find that footage and post it with the audio…well, at least what is safe for work.

After we shot everyone’s death sequences, we shot a scene involving cultists and all I can say is, imagine Stevie, Clinton, and I dancing in our underwear and Clinton wearing a duct taped goat head and you’ll get the idea of how ridiculous that was.  When the three of us saw the footage we all were hurting and crying from laughing so hard.  Needless to say, the raw footage will be destroyed after the post production.

That’s not to say we didn’t have problems. We had one very big problem – time. We lost our  set-up time and, as a result, the time that would have gone to shooting video instead went to all the prep work involved in shooting a video: cleaning the set, setting up the lights and screens, ironing the green screen, and setting up all the gear.  The large majority of scenes had to be shot in a mere 90 minutes so you can imagine the frantic situation involved in the shoot.  But in the end, we seem to have done pretty well given the circumstances.  I admit that I felt pretty bad about having to schedule a second shoot for pick-up scenes but everyone seems to have been pretty understanding which is nice.

For all the time issues, it was still a lot of fun and that’s par for the course when it comes to making videos; for all the hard work (especially when you work with a good group of peeps) it’s a ton of fun.

Next shoot is in a few weeks.  Tally ho!

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This weekend’s show with Only Beast will be pretty awesome!

Hey folks,

 We’ve got a pretty sweet show this week with Only Beast and College Station’s The Ex-Optimists.  Come on down, we will debut a new tune, “Ampalanche,” and likely be drinking a cheering along as Only Beast takes the stage after us.  Should be fun.  here’s the poster and the link to the Facebook event:

More deets here: https://www.facebook.com/events/615159675237925/



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“Ampalanche” makes its debut at next Saturday’s show; here is the true story behind the song.

Yes, we know you’ve been wondering about new material and so we have some good news for you.  At next week’s show with Only Beast at Rudz, we will debut the title track from our next album (due sometime in 2015) titled “Ampalanche.”

There is a bit of a story behind the song that goes back to our photo shoot with Carol Sandin for “Bag of Hammers.” Somehow during the shoot we got to looking at all the amps in the studio and the idea of an Ampalanche came up and we kind of went with it as a joke and didn’t really think too much about it afterwards.  All of us that is except for Clinton who became obsessed with the idea. It began with studying the works of Thales of Miletus  (particularly the fragments of his lost tome  “ενισχυτή πτώση,”), then there were the meetings with physicists, engineers, and mathematicians at the Johnson Space Center here in Houston, and then there were the weeks where he would simply disappear only to resurface only to explain that he had gone to meet with some guru, philosopher, sage, or sensei in some far off land.

Eventually the whole thing  came to a head one rehearsal in April where we arrived only to find him looking haggard, sweaty, and mad.  He was frantically scrawling long, unintelligible symbols into the walls of the space.  Exhausted, he paused to review his work and upon doing so he grew pale and a look of fear came over him. “The amps will have us!  The amps will have us!  There is no hope!” he shouted hysterically!   He then began pacing the room while spouting out random mutterings about gravity, magnets, and sentience and how they would doom us all.  Eventually he came to a bat in a corner, grabbed it and made a mad dash to the wall of amps in an effort to destroy them all.

It took the strength of four to restrain him until the social workers were able to take him away. When Clinton returned from the institution a few weeks later, he claimed not to recall anything of that night yet he did return with the following words in hand:

flaming doobs and flaming tubes, smoking out the room
ampalanche is coming, make a 4×12 your tomb
we got marshall mesa laney orange and fender
before the wall of power you got no choice but surrender

amp-a-lanche
let the speakers roar!
amp-a-lanche
turn it up some more!

well the congregation slowly gathers round
to sacrifice their ears upon an altar made of sound
they did not come to try to save their souls
but just to hear reverberation in their skulls

amp-a-lanche
let the speakers roar!
amp-a-lanche
turn it up some more!

monoliths of sonic doom shake fillings in your teeth
beneath the tolex towers the apes have been released
when the gig is over and your ears are oozing blood
the primates haul their gear like slaves beneath a god

amp-a-lanche
let the speakers roar!
amp-a-lanche
turn it up some more!

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Catching up on our blogging ( 7″ update, Video shoots, Upcoming Shows, and Reassessing the whole 7″ plan)

Hello folks,

It’s been a while since our last update so it seemed a good time to post one and let you folks know about our next show, where C is for Cthulhu stands, and elaborate on the how we decided to revise our whole 7″ plans after this next release. Maybe I should start off with the whole 7″ thing.

OK, well, much like my getting a fat lip from tripping on my shoelace on the tennis courts the other day, when the LP4 fails at something, we do so spectacularly.  In this case we have to admit that the whole idea behind releasing 7″s looked great on paper but in practice, eh, not so much.

If you remember, last year we announced out idea for releasing 7″s instead of albums.  The way we figured it, we would release two 7″ EPs a year and so would have a steady stream of new releases.  Nice idea sure but in the end, impractical.  The biggest monkey wrench in our plan was the fact that we now make videos.  Seriously, if we were just releasing music, this 7″ would likely have been out by now but that’s not the case.  This “C is for Cthulhu” shoot is our most ambitious to date and there were and are a lot of issues with completing it.  First we had to build miniature sets (which takes forever) then everything from green screens, light rigs, location shoots, scheduling a bunch of folks with conflicting schedules, and so on conspired against our best laid plans.  And now, while some stop-motion work and one crucial live-action shot have been completed, the rest is effectively on-hold until the second week of May and it’s all because of schedule conflicts.  Once those Green Screen scenes are shot in May, the most complicated work will be behind us leaving me with just stop motion and a few more location shoots to wrap it up.  That would be fine except that when I look at the calendar, it’s a bit disappointing given our plan for this to have been a winter release.

That’s all incredibly inefficient.  On the other hand, if you are releasing an album, you can make one flagship video for one song and call it “go” time.  Lots of music and one video to help get the word out – done.  Maybe, if you have some time you can make a few other videos along the way but those aren’t make or break.  But when you have a 7″, the video to song ratio is much worse.  You just don’t get as much mileage out of the same amount of video work.  That’s not to say that making videos isn’t fun or rewarding – they are – but just that if you took half the songs on an album and released them as singles, you’d have a lot more videos to make and the time involved in making them doesn’t get any shorter.  The end result is that the music takes a lot longer to be released and the amount of music you release slows down exponentially and, while videos are super fun to make, the main work of a band is to make music.

So where that leaves us is that “C is for Cthulhu” (long, long ago recorded and mastered) will be the last in this 7″ release experiment.  We are now expecting it to be released some time in the late summer (July or August).  The artwork is nearly done and the masters should be off to the plant soon and of course our video should be completed by then too.  To be sure, the wait will be worth it.  Everything from the music, to the 7″ cover art, and the video will be over the top awesome but you’ll have to just wait a bit longer than we had hoped and we’re sorry about that.

After this release we’ll move back to releasing full length records or 12″ EPs.  In fact we already have the title track for that next endeavor worked out.  It’s  track called “Ampalanche” for which we already have a video planned and we should be recording in the next few months.  Sure, we may be 9 to 12 months away from that project’s release date but the good thing there is we can promise you guys a lot more music than just two or three songs in that next release so more bang for your buck for you.

Oh and as I mentioned, we had an all day shoot for the “C is for Cthulhu” video at Valhalla last month that went really well.  Here are some shots Larry and Clinton took and a video Steve posted.

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It was a lot of work, a lot of fun to be sure, and we were pretty happy with the rough cuts of the footage.  Christian Best and Stevie Sims were both great in their roles and the Valhalla staff was pretty accommodating and nice enough to play along with all our silliness.  I’d show you some of the footage but I don’t want to spoil it for you guys.

Oh and let me close this post with letting you know about our next show.

We ‘re playing with Only Beast at Rudz on Saturday 03 May which should be a lot of fun.  We’re playing second because we kind want to kick back and have a few beers while Only Beast kicks out the jams.  College Station’s Ex-Optimists will open and we plan on bringing the whole multimedia thing out for this one.  So come on down and slam a few beers with us.

Until next time…

 

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Bad Idea #46 : When Recording Kiss, Drink Like Ace

IMG_0931See that there on the left? Them’s the makins for Russians! Black, White, it don’t matter!   All that matters is Vodka and 70 proof Kaluha Especial (that’s Kaluha w/ Rum) will, as Clinton and Charlie would soon find out, take you down… and hard.

So, why provide hard booze to middle aged rock dudes who handle their liquor with the same restraint and grace as a dorm of college freshmen? It’s because we were assigned with doing a cover of Kiss’ “She” for an upcoming anthology of Kiss songs and being the Kiss scholars we are, it seemed in the spirit of things to get completely shit faced drunk in honor of The Spaceman himself, Ace Frehley.  Check out Ace’s most glorious cinematic moment below!

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“Leave it to me, Starchild, I’ll bend these beams with [think Ace, think!] myyyy mind.” I dunno about you but given Ace’s infamous debauchery and drunkenness, that sounds more in the spirit of the kind of drunken bet you’d make at a bar. Luckily, Gene is there to talk sense into Ace.  All joking aside, we are glad to hear that Ace seems to have his booze problems in his past but we did kind of think this might be a good idea at the time.  You see, beer kind of restricts your throat a bit while harder booze seems to loosen it.  So we thought not only was it in keeping with Kiss’ legacy but also good for Charlie and Clinton’s vocals.  That’s not quite how it ended up.  That 70 proof Kaluha was gone by the end of the night and the Vodka was a mere shadow of its former self.  Split between a lot of people that wouldn’t be so bad but what we didn’t realize at the time was that Clinton kept going back to the well and Charlie didn’t even to bother mixing a Russian – he just knocked back a 50/50 mix until the bottle of Kaluha was expertly depleted.  The result was THIS and  THIS!!!. He didn’t threaten to bend bars with his mind but man, I now know so much more about Star Trek Voyager now.

IMG_0932Meanwhile, Clinton (seen here before the booze got the better of him) was so bonked out that he couldn’t finish the session that night and ended up crashed on the sofa (Steve kindly set his alarm to wake him for work the next day).  If he meant to channel Ace Frehley, he ended up more in Nikki Sixx territory or maybe that lead guitarist from Twisted Sister.  Needless to say, diminishing returns was an understatement that night and the next morning a hungover Clinton Heider sent us this e-mail..

“I think we need to add “White Russians” to the list of beverages that are banned from band practice.  Vodka is evil.”

 

POSTSCRIPT: Clinton safely slept it off and did return a week later to complete both his vocals and his guitar parts. They we dubbed indubitably bad-ass by all.

Not much is known about Charlie outside of the fact that he did complete his vocals that night but he doesn’t say very much about what happened after the session. All we do know is that we got a call from Bob Costas in Sochi asking us to please come pick him up the next day, something about a fight with the Olympic bear mascot in a bar, and to please, please keep him away from the Vodka.

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Next Week – Live with Brooklyn’s Huntronik and Jealous Creatures

Hey y’all a bit of short notice but we’re playing a show next week. With Brooklyn’s Huntronik and Houston’s ever awesome Jealous Creatures over at Mango’s Music Cafe right in the heart of Montrose.  It’s going to be an early show with us going on around 10pm and Jealous Creatures going on around 9pm so come on out and don’t sweat work or school on Thursday.

Check back soon as we’ll have updates on this show soon and also a wrap-up on the Kiss recording sessions tomorrow.

Feb19

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“Running Up That Hill: Kate Bush Covers for Reproductive Rights” is out today

So here it is months later and our Kate Bush track is finally seeing the light of day.  We’ll be celebrating in the studio with the usual beer and booze while recording KISS’s “She” for another anthology and stepping out between breaks to see CJ Boyd (who just happens to be in Houston performing) just down the street at Cardoza Art (Here is the event link on Facebook).  It’s a free show and BLACKIE is playing too so it’s gonna be some serious whoop-up!

Now, folks, if you’d told me when we started this band that we’d be recording a Kate Bush cover, I’d have laughed in your face but here we are on the 4th of February 2014 and Running Up That Hill: Kate Bush Covers for Reproductive Rights is out today and yes, we are right there in 0s and 1s doing just that.

I’m sure Steve will be happy if I go on the record here and state that Steve (the most Rock and Roll member of the LP4) hates Kate Bush’s music.  Others in the band may not care for her work but Steve really, really cannot stand it on every level – her voice, her composition, the recordings, you name it.  I’m sure if I even gave him a tosser like “But dude she’s Kate Bush, CBE!”   Steve would not even acknowledge that “Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire!” is a badass title to have.

So, how do you approach a cover if you are the only person in the band who is a fan?  I mean, yes, of course, I knew if everyone voted to do it, Steve would put his grumbling aside and take to the task like a pro but that didn’t mean that I could discount his distaste entirely and walk on eggshells I did.  I picked 4 songs which I felt could be adapted but eventually, with some help from Larry, chose “Watching You Without Me” from Hounds of Love because it would be the most wide-open of all the songs for adaptation.  The final approach I took was to only have Larry and Mlee hear the original song and let Steve, Clinton, and Charlie wing it.  Giving people only the barest of direction can be pretty annoying for musicians in a recording session but by doing this, not only would I not torture them with music they didn’t care for but more importantly they could approach it with a clean slate and not have any preconceptions of the track.  It was just a lot of booze, here are two notes and “Larry, hit that beat!”  Steve ended up inverting the bass line, Clinton channelled Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan,” and Charlie heard echoes of Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand.”   I had a ton of reverb so I just kind of went all Will Sargent on my open-tuned guitar and the ever brilliant Mlee brought it all together.  I thought her drunky drunk live scratch track was pretty awesome as they were but Mlee came in the week after and redubbed that track with all these layers of vocals to get that cool etherial vocal thing she does so well and just nailed it perfectly.  Honestly, while the jam was pretty cool, without her vocals, the track just wouldn’t have held together as well as it does.   In the end, everyone was pretty happy with the results and we were all pretty thrilled to be able to contribute.

It’s a very cool and thoughtful project to be sure and we are very grateful to C.J. Boyd, Molly McDermott, and Daena Lower spearheading this idea. As we mentioned in the last post, the anthology is a fundraising tool for  reproductive rights organizations, low-cost abortion clinics, and other pro-choice advocates.  For a mere $20 you get 28 tracks from diverse artists and the beneficiaries of this project will include places like Kentucky Support Network in Louisville, KY; The Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project in Richmond, VA;  WV FREE in Charleston, WV; Texas Equal Access Fund in Dallas, TX; The Body is Not An Apology in Oakland, CA; and The National Network of Abortion Funds. Cool comp, good cause, so go check it out.

Oh and one last thing.  GIMP Master Clinton, felt he didn’t get enough mileage out of this visual malapropism in the band e-mails, so I’ll go ahead and post it here…

Crate Bush

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