Ball of Wax 40 Songs: M.I.K.E. Drop – Afterbertha

[Ball of Wax 40, as we’ve mentioned, is a little different. Given the unique nature of each of the bands and songs on this collection, we decided to eschew our usual track-review format for the blog in favor of letting each of the bands speak for themselves about the songs they wrote and recorded in a day. 2014, the most recent year (and thus the final track) was assigned to M.I.K.E. Drop: Kelly Dale, Keenan Dowers, Emory Liu, and Louis O’Callaghan.]

MIKE-dropM.I.K.E. Drop met up in our Ballard brewery district studio a little after 12pm. After only 30 minutes or so the four of us settled in on a groove, tinkering away and stretching it out into pop format. Our energy seemed to jell really quickly and our “instant” band felt really natural especially after a snack break at the local minimart yelded potato chips and Mountain Dew slurpees. It all felt like we were on tour already . . .

Back in the studio we rehearsed and tracked drums guitar and bass live, then overdubbed keyboards and more guitar textures. . . . Louis wrote the lyrics and sang the melody at the very end of our session like the cherry on top of our sonic layer cake. We all had fun stepping into the unknown together and honored to be a part of the Ball of Wax family.

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Ball of Wax 40 Songs: Lahar – One of These Days

[Ball of Wax 40, as we’ve mentioned, is a little different. Given the unique nature of each of the bands and songs on this collection, we decided to eschew our usual track-review format for the blog in favor of letting each of the bands speak for themselves about the songs they wrote and recorded in a day. Lahar – Kirsten Eklund, Colin Isler, Mindie Lind, and Mark Schlipper – were assigned the tumultous year of 2013. Colin shares some thoughts on the process below.]

Lahar6la·har
ˈlähär/
noun
GEOLOGY
1. a destructive mudflow on the slopes of a volcano.

2013 was for the human species, like so many years before it, a struggle against violent forces of this Earth and beyond that seek to destroy it. Earthquakes, volcanoes, storms and meteor strikes rattled our world, but people always find some way of getting back on their feet and carrying on. Continue reading

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Ball of Wax 40 Songs: Chasing Shell – Lonesome George

[Ball of Wax 40, as we’ve mentioned, is a little different. Given the unique nature of each of the bands and songs on this collection, we decided to eschew our usual track-review format for the blog in favor of letting each of the bands speak for themselves about the songs they wrote and recorded in a day. Taylor Delph, John Faryar, Josh Morrison, and Colin J Nelson found themselves writing a song about 2012 together. They chose the tortoise Lonesome George as their subject and named themselves Chasing Shell. Their lyrics pretty much speak for themselves.]

chasingshellTaking his time, Lonesome George
The last of his kind.
Monks chased by bees, then hospitalized.
Dogs and cats living together.

Just another sign the end is upon us
As was foretold by old man Nostradamus.

Noted turtle breeders choose a suitable match
Hoping for future eggs to hatch.
But his days of chasing shell are over.
He’s seen the world end before.

Just another sign the end is upon us
As was foretold by old man Nostradamus.

The year is 2012. Lonesome George paddles peacefully off the warm shores of the Galapagos. Where is he going? Home to his family? Meeting his turtle friends?

No.

George is the last of his species. He swims only to move forward, and rests in the sun when he’s done. For one hundred years he’s lived alone, and today, he will die. He will die alone. As he looks across the South Pacific for the last time, he notes the brevity of life, and the importance to enjoy it.

Just another sign the end is upon us
As was foretold by old man Nostradamus.

Lonesome George
He’s seen the world end before.
Show goes on after you’re gone.

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Ball of Wax 40 Songs: When You Start to Die (Don’t)

[Ball of Wax 40, as we’ve mentioned, is a little different. Given the unique nature of each of the bands and songs on this collection, we decided to eschew our usual track-review format for the blog in favor of letting each of the bands speak for themselves about the songs they wrote and recorded in a day. Frank Buckles – the band I found myself in with Doug Arney, Shea Bliss, and Jake Uitti – were tasked with 2011). Bassist/journalist Jake interviewed the rest of us about our experiences creating this song.]

frankbucklesFor the 10th anniversary of the quarterly Ball of Wax compilation series, Levi Fuller had an idea: create 10 new bands – bands that may only be around for a single day – out of 40 musicians in Seattle. After that, he didn’t know what would happen. I was one of those musicians – and I, along with Levi, Doug Arney, and Shea Bliss wrote a song, inspired by the year 2011 and one Frank Buckles. To bookend the process, I asked the band questions about the song we wrote, recorded, and is soon to be released. -Jake Uitti

Jake Uitti: Levi, you both organized this entire event and participated in it yourself with the band Frank Buckles – what was the most challenging aspect of the project for you?  Continue reading

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Ball of Wax 40 Songs: Lords of Eternity – Thirty Ten

[Ball of Wax 40, as we’ve mentioned, is a little different. Given the unique nature of each of the bands and songs on this collection, we decided to eschew our usual track-review format for the blog in favor of letting each of the bands speak for themselves about the songs they wrote and recorded in a day. 2010 was assigned to Lords of Eternity (Casey Alexander, Chris Antal, Nate Biehl, and Allison Tullos). The band has assembled this oral history. Lords of Eternity will reunite for one time only to  perform this song at the first Ball of Wax 40 release show on June 20th!]

Chris: “Casey first mentioned that the BP oil spill happened in 2010.”

Allison: “It started with us talking about the 2010 oil spill (and subsequent South Park episode with the head of BP begging, “we’re sorry”), which got us thinking about our constant search for easily exploited energy sources. And how little we can do to change the shape of how things are run. We were also talking about the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and someone brought up that there was a sequel called 2010. That is obviously crazy, so we took it one step crazier and decided to base our song in 3010.” Continue reading

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Ball of Wax 40 Songs: Dirty Face – Olympia

[Ball of Wax 40, as we’ve mentioned, is a little different. Given the unique nature of each of the bands and songs on this collection, we decided to eschew our usual track-review format for the blog in favor of letting each of the bands speak for themselves about the songs they wrote and recorded in a day. Dirty Face (Brent Antal, Robert Deeble, Seth Howard, and Peter Verdoes) was assigned the year of 2009. Seth has shared some thoughts on the process. The reunited Dirty Face will perform this song at the first Ball of Wax 40 release show on June 20th!]

dirtyface3Our journey back to 2009 took us to Jette, Belgium, where on September 24th two unmasked thieves stole René Magritte’s painting “Olympia” at gunpoint from the invitation-only museum in the painter’s former home. The painting depicts Magritte’s wife Georgette nude on the beach contemplating a seashell.

As Robert described to me while I was attempting to get us less lost on the way to Peter’s place, after failing to find a buyer the thieves finally gave up and returned the painting in early 2012. The rumored involvement of a notorious Belgian gangster named Dirty Face Zanoni provided some further lyrical fodder and a band name. Continue reading

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Ball of Wax 40 Songs: Masonic Mouth Sounds – Leap Year Baby (Like *@#% Ain’t Happened)

[Ball of Wax 40, as we’ve mentioned, is a little different. Given the unique nature of each of the bands and songs on this collection, we decided to eschew our usual track-review format for the blog in favor of letting each of the bands speak for themselves about the songs they wrote and recorded in a day. Masonic Mouth Sounds (Dekker Deen, Shannon Jae, Sam Russell, and Carlos Tulloss) were tasked with 2008. 3/4 of the band have shared with us their memories of the day’s events, along with their lyrics. Masonic Mouth Sounds will reunite to perform this song at the first Ball of Wax 40 release show on June 20th!]

Sam: This 24-hour thing was a blur of spitballed ideas and spiced rum. The meat of the day was spent with Carlos and Dekker working on the rhythm track while me and Shannon hammered out the lyrics with Dekker contributing on the bridge. Vocals and guitar were done late into the night then Carlos was left by his lonesome to add textures and mix the thing for another 12 hours. The whole process was both exhausting and an enormous amount of fun, the adult equivalent of being paired up with strange playmates on a foreign playground. Me and Shannon tried to go for a loose story and topical references relevant to the year in question though the results are probably more impressionistic than narrative. Shannon’s thoughts and feelings below pretty much sum up my own and I’m betting Carlos’ and Dekker’s too. Continue reading

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Ball of Wax 40 Songs: Hixton Yor – Clinton/Knievel

[Ball of Wax 40, as we’ve mentioned, is a little different. Given the unique nature of each of the bands and songs on this collection, we decided to eschew our usual track-review format for the blog in favor of letting each of the bands speak for themselves about the songs they wrote and recorded in a day. Hixton Yor, a band composed of Mike Bundy, Bart Cameron, Olie Eshleman, and Jon Rooney, tackled the tribulations of 2007. Jon and Bart share their reflections on the process.]

Jon: Once names were chosen, we immediately began working within certain constraints: the year 2007, our own abilities and Olie’s declaration that no guitars (not even bass guitar) be used in the session. Bart and I needed a moment to pull ourselves together facing a guitarless afternoon, then 2007 topics were bandied around. Some ideas we passed on (Romania joining the EU, the deaths of Boris Yeltsin and Anna Nicole Smith) while others stuck (the apex of Hilary Clinton’s campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, the death of Evel Knievel). The song came together pretty quickly, with Olie adding some sort of electric-drill-powered string instrument and Mike drumming on a small can amplified by a pickup and run through an extensive chain of effects pedals. We finished the song early in the evening on Saturday, likely less because of a rush of otherworldly inspiration and more because Bart, Mike and I have kids and kinda had to get home. So, one perspective of Hixton Yor is Olie producing a dad rock band. Sorry Olie.

Bart: I think we also finished quickly because of the way we worked—without ego. The song we wrote was about ego, Evil Knievel and his embodiment of all that is great in the prepubescent ego (as appropriated by Kanye Ego West later), and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Otherwise, I remember laughing a lot and watching how everyone was smiling the whole time. And I remember finding a large piece of salmon wrapped in newspaper on the back steps. When you find a large, old piece of fish wrapped neatly in newspaper, you remember something like that.

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Ball of Wax 40 Songs: Syncopateen – Massive Stardust

[Ball of Wax 40, as we’ve mentioned, is a little different. Given the unique nature of each of the bands and songs on this collection, we decided to eschew our usual track-review format for the blog in favor of letting each of the bands speak for themselves about the songs they wrote and recorded in a day. The year 2006 was tackled by Syncopateen: Rob Anderson, Josh Engelhardt, Caroline Keys, and Michael Wohl .]

Dear Science,

I’m not sure what’s gone wrong but I feel we’re growing farther apart. While I can be quite distant at times I’ve always felt we had a bond that held us together. Now it seems like you have less time and interest in me.

You’ve been spending time with some who are close to me and I see their shadows passing over me. Is there someone else?

If you need time, I have it; we’ve been together for eons. If you need some time I can move farther away for quite awhile but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to break free of our bond.

-Pluto

Pluto,

While I admit there is an undeniable attraction between us, I feel you’ve grown cold and distant. After seeing so many around you I realize I’ve only been seeing a shadow of you for all these years. Its really not you, you’ve been the same throughout our relationship, coming and going as you please, showing me only one side of yourself, cold, sometimes close, sometimes so far away. I don’t want to say “It’s not you it’s me,” but its really true. You’re the same, I’ve changed the way I look at you.

I hope we can still be friends.

-Astronomers

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Ball of Wax 40 Songs: I Am the Deciders – Brangelina Lives Matter

[Ball of Wax 40, as we’ve mentioned, is a little different. Given the unique nature of each of the bands and songs on this collection, we decided to eschew our usual track-review format for the blog in favor of letting each of the bands speak for themselves about the songs they wrote and recorded in a day. BoW 40 starts in 2005 with Brangelina Lives Matter: Meghan Kessinger, Holly Small, Kevin Suggs, and Jonathan Wooster.]

Things that happened in 2005:

  • Hurricane Katrina
  • Earthquakes in Iran (500 dead) and Japan (many injured)
  • 4 terrorist attacks in London (killing 52, 700 injured)
  • Seahawks lose the Super Bowl
  • Mumbai, India receives 39.17 inches of rain within 24 hours, bringing the city to a halt for over 2 days
  • Bridge stampede in Baghdad kills several hundred civilians
  • Brad Pitt leaves Jennifer Aniston for Angelina Jolie

So, 2005 was mostly a terrible year. It was full of actual horrible things that happened (on a personal level and a global level) and then also stupid pop cultural things that happened (that people may have paid more attention to). We decided to write a song that reflected that.

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