Hello Whirled started on October 4, 2016. I recorded 6 songs, only 1 of which had been written in advance (“Fall of Mantis”), and decided they worked so well together that they just had to be an EP of their own, rather than part of an album. I called the EP Morning because the album was going to be called Afternoon. I was listening to a lot of Field Mice at the time, so a few of the songs (especially “Pamphlet” and “Whores of the Tundra”) reflect that. When I made the EP, I thought “Pamphlet” was the hit. I was really proud of that one in particular. Now, five years later, it doesn’t sound all that bad to my ears, just a really bad vocal mix. I think “Tundra” might be my favorite these days. It’s funny that I wrote that in 2016 when I was listening to much less mid-80s jangle than I do now. It’s less funny that the instrumental section is as long as it is. I probably couldn’t think of any lyrics and I was too anxious/lazy/antsy to wait until later to write any.
The only Hello Whirled split, and just barely one at that. It was with Dirtman, a now-defunct act fronted by occasional non-HW collaborator Dan Jircitano, who did the artwork as well (the only HW cover to not feature my involvement at all). “Uplifter Baptizer” and “Night” were recorded for Afternoon but thrown here instead. “Komejirushi”, which is the name of the symbol I use for HW, was written and recorded in 15 minutes specifically for this EP. When this came out, someone thought the melodica on “Uplifter Baptizer” was a “spicy harmonica”. That song is still my favorite but it runs a bit long for what it is. “Night” was the first of several attempts to try to be Floating Saucer Attack. I was 17. We all make mistakes.
The first Hello Whirled album. It came out on October 31, a release date it now shares with at least one other Hello Whirled release (specifically Quartered). I remember thinking for a long time that this held up better than most of my 2017/2018 albums. A bunch of these songs are just fairly unremarkable. I remember writing “Dean Mercury” specifically because I wanted a song whose two verses had the same lyrics. That’s fairly common, but I tend to avoid repeating verses like that so that I did it here is uncharacteristic. “Fell Apart” was meant to sound like Husker Du, a band I was listening to a LOT at the time. I don’t think it worked. I think the first great song on here is “Dig The Fast Track”, which is about a shipwreck where the captain takes a life boat before checking to see if everyone’s safe, or whatever it is captains do during shipwrecks. “Down The Hall Of Air” is a disaster of a song. A bunch of cool riffs thrown together haphazardly with bad arrangements and poor lyricism. “Passage” was written for my band at the time (as had “Fall of Mantis” before it), but I decided it fit better here. A demo for a song called “Point Forever Knowing” was actually going to close Afternoon. “Never Thought I’d See You Again” was recorded alongside the Hello Dirtman songs. I feel it would be wrong to say it’s my favorite here but it’s up there. When Wood Anniversay was going to be an album of re-recorded 2016 songs, I was really excited to revisit this one. I don’t know why I thought “Staging Sister Hanging” needed to have the tinniest, least audible vocals, like “Pamphlet” before it. Then the album hits a hot streak and ends in style. “Embrace Stigmata” is as darkly pretty now as it was 5 years ago when I was pointing a cheap microphone at an AM radio broadcast. “And No One” is a ripoff of “Brand New Love” but a good one. The extended guitar outro is only there to make the album 30 minutes long, which was and still is my threshold for an album. “The Night Sits Young” is kinda small but pretty nice. One of the voices at the end sings “in a free land” instead of “in every land”. I was, again, listening to a lot of Husker Du. I still listen to them but I haven’t listened to that song in years. Not sure why. “Walk Out Alone” has the unique distinction of being the only Hello Whirled song I wrote about my first breakup (the other songs were either used for my old high school band or the Tin Can Laughter). I wanted it to sound like My Bloody Valentine (I was 17) and I’d like to think I did a little better than that. I re-used “a loveless mind I don’t mind” half a year after I used it here, but the context was a little different.
I made this and the next EP when I was still trying to have new music out every 2 weeks. 3 songs from older projects re-recorded for HW, 2 covers, 1 holdover from Afternoon that I hadn’t finished in time, and 1 actual new song. The new song is “November”, which I still like, I think. The keyboards are courtesy of a keyboard I found on the side of the road right after I finished Afternoon. It popped up every now and again from here until You Are Not Immune To Trends. I don’t have as much to say about these songs. “Seance” might be my favorite here. Couldn’t explain why, it just is. “Spirit Mind” was recorded for an unreleased EP that was supposed to be largely keyboard-driven. The music was recorded for Afternoon but the vocals were recorded after that album’s release. The only other thing I remember about the unreleased EP was a song called “Brand Finale”. You will never hear it, because I do not have it anymore. A lot of older HW outtakes are similarly gone. I tried for way too long to sustain a “two EPs then an album” regiment that broke way later than it should have.
Another kind of blah EP. This was when I stopped trying to force music out every two weeks, because right after I finished this, I started planning for a double album (that I only half finished). Anyway, this isn’t terrible. I think “Sanitation Rain” and “You’ll Know By Now” are the winners here simply by not overstaying their welcomes. I recorded the Robert Pollard cover for a Half-Gifts compilation, before it became a Guided By Voices song. It’s a nice closer to the first era of Hello Whirled.