Alexander Leaving / Blog

Have You Heard?

For all you early adaptors out there, the record is available now at www.alexanderleaving.bandcamp.com. I hope you enjoy it.

As I embark on my latest recording project, I'm excited by everything this record has taught me. I've never been so outside of my comfort zone before, and I love the result. Yes, I'll probably get back to the dirt on the next project, but I loved the experience of being in a big-league studio with big-league players. It made me push my game up, and I love the result. To me, this record is my "headphones record", clear and clean with nothing to hide behind. I'm so excited to get a chance to hear myself this way.

I hope to be posting studies of the new tunes as they come to be, but please enjoy this record and let me know what you think!


It's Almost Now

Well, it's been a long time and lots has changed. I've put a lot of time into this new record, and I've taken a lot of risks. Funny: for me, this risks weren't about making music that was on the fringe - I've been doing that my whole life. My risk was trying something new, a little center, a little cleaner. I wanted to see if I could make music with professional production and have it sound good. Was I hiding behind my "independent" production methods? Would my writing and my voice and my music stand up to the all-revealing light of clarity provided in a professional setting? It was time to get out of my comfort zone.

Lyrically, too, I've changed. It's a risk, also. Yes, I could write doom and gloom forever and never run out of things to say. But, despite the lingering cynicism (and who can't be cynical as things are now), I'm looking to exploring a lyrical world where there's some hope, some possibility. Also out of my comfort zone.

Well, life is risk, I suppose. I wonder what all my old punk rock friends will say? "Too clean!" "Too pretty!" "Too produced!" "You used a saxophone?!?!?" I know. But, I've done the other stuff for 30 years or more. Change is life.

Let me know what you think!

You Heard Me

January 28, 2008

Well, I've been asked about the new CD a few times now, and things are still in progress so I wanted to get something up for people to hear.

What we've got here is from an old album of mine called "Sweetie... No." I like these songs a lot, so I don't mind having them up. They represent a remarkable time in my history -- a time of great transition. I like transitions. Let me tell you about some of the songs:

Is It Too Late Now?... Well, your garden variety love song about those wonderful early days of love when things are turbulent and you wonder, "Did I just ruin what could have been a good thing?" This song features my friend Taryn on backing vocals.

My Father At the Ocean... One of the big transitions was the passing of my father. My dad loved to take us down to the seaside in Newport. Both he and my mom grew up there. I always remember those trips happening in the fall, but I know that can't be true of all of them. We would skim stones and tell stories and stare at the ocean and climb the rocks. It's very craggy there, windswept and wild. You should go. Losing my dad made the world bleak for me for a while. Like losing god, there was no one looking out for you. Later, I did give up god and realized that there IS no one looking out for you, even though everything's looking out for you. So, good trade.

Swimming On One's Own... sprang from a tune I wrote on the tin whistle in the Irish style. At the time I was helping a friend out with her album, though not musically. I was just someone to bounce ideas off of. My friend's name was Carol Barney, and she was a guitar player, though she played some concertina as well and had a lovely voice. She was much older than I, and we had her ex-husband in common. He was also a piper (I play the Irish bagpipes, or uilleann pipes). Pipers aren't always the best people, sadly, myself included. Their relationship ended very badly, and Carol went into a serious downward spin. We met up just as we were both making our way out of a pretty low time. It was a curious friendship, and I'm not sure why it started. She came out of a pretty, folk tradition, and I came out of punk rock. But, we played some nice music together and learned from each other. Sadly, the sadness had taken too much of a toll on Carol, and she died rather suddenly. I always wish I had made more time for her. Anyway, I renamed the tune "Carol Barney's" because she loved it so. The words don't have anything to do with Carol, just my own dramatic stylings. It features tin whistle and uilleann pipes. You should hear Carol's record, by the way, it's called "Ceol Anam."

No Hope Street... was again about a new relationship. A lot went down on Hope Street, but I felt like I had anything but hope. I wrote this song during monsoon, or at least that's what this two weeks of rain felt like, so I stuck the mic out the window and taped the rain for the song.

30 Days on the Borderline... I like this song because it's not like me. I get awfully sick of me, perhaps even more than you get sick of me, so I wanted to write something "poppy." But, poppy music has terrible lyrics, so I decided to write something poppy with somewhat intelligent lyrics. Then I decided that the whole song had to be performed using sounds from a keyboard I bought at one of those wholesale clubs. In the end there's some real guitar in there, but that's it.

Out On the Ocean... Oh, that girl. this is the angriest song I think I've ever written. A girl I loved escaped me for the seaside and threatened never to return. What could I do but wish doom and gloom and destruction on myself and the world?

In the Black Mood... My friend Taryn again on backing vocals. You know, when you feel really crummy all the time sometimes it's fun to just get in there and feel everything as much as it can be felt.

A Sort of Love... For my mom.

I'm the Flamingo!... 'nuff said.