3. 2017 Burst

I recorded a lot of songs in about 30 days. These six EPs represent the majority of what was recorded. A few songs ended up on YouTube instead. I tend to not like this EP at all but I like “Undecided Class of 2021”. “Virgin Mary Elizabeth” has a good idea in it but the execution is lacking. I think I recorded the drums first for this without an idea of what it would become. Don’t do this. The harmonics of “Knowing The Sun” were attempted again on a few songs after this. “Sometimes The Wheel Stops Working/Forever Distant” is like this because I thought it would be cool to have a medley. The “Forever Distant” part is an adaptation of a song I wrote in 2015.

The goal here was to make the whole EP in my bedroom. It ended up sounding too much like Third Seed for me (like the 2016 stuff before it) but it also produced 2 of my favorite songs I made in 2017. “Extended Body Collection” is something I was immensely proud of. I was in a big group chat of future TCNJ students and there was someone else in the chat I crushed hard on for most of the rest of 2017. A bunch of the songs in this era, and throughout 2017, were about her. I feel weird about it now because we’re friends and have been for years, but some of those songs still hold up. “Continue To Zone” has a good chorus but a bad everything-else. “White Diamond” was, and is, the hit. Years later, I would re-record it twice with a proper second verse in the hopes of getting it onto a proper album, to no avail (but we’ll get there when we get there).

It seemed like a radical idea to me to open an album with its longest song, and a title track with no drums no less. “Welcome To The Pony Club” is dark and eerie to my ears. “13 Dot Kolam” is another brazen GBV ripoff but I think one day it’ll be a good song to revisit. The two tiny songs always make me really happy for some reason. “So Have Your Fun” was originally a worse song called “Color Guarded”, which I believe is on YouTube. It, and several other outtakes, are on YouTube because I was still following the “2 EPs then an album” rule and this would have broken that rule. The next album cycle broke this rule for good, but one step at a time. “Express Land Bridge” was written for what was supposed to be my high school band’s last EP. It never got recorded. It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to this and I’m stunned by how much I like it. There’s a universe where “Give In To Suggestion” doesn’t sound awful and it’s a better one for it. “To Be Remembered By” is a new version of an old song called “Swan (Give It A Rest)”. “The Trees Have Answers” is another fun, nice song. I have nothing insightful about that one, I just wanted to mention it by name so you’d go and listen to it. “Every Dream Is About You” felt like a huge song at the time. I still like it, but all I can think of is that part near the end where most of the instruments are a beat off, but it rebounds okay enough. I may be the proudest of “Marina’s Voyage” though. What is it with me putting all the best songs at the end of my older albums?

Short and sweet, I think. “Bless The Midwife” is 40 seconds long but it uses all of them well. “Valentine” is a re-recording of an old song from 2015, and not a good one. I improved upon this version in 2019 but that’s for (probably) next week. I also re-recorded “Her Face All Red” in 2020 (and I’m super proud of that version), which is funny because it too is a new recording of an old song from 2014. Time is a flat circle. “Astronomy” is the first of 2 songs I covered in 2017 by musicians who died by the end of the year. I hope my music isn’t killing people. Somehow, I never went back to “Cheongsam”. It’s still my favorite on here but maybe I was concerned about possibly perpetuating Asian stereotypes and didn’t want to risk doing it with an audience watching. For this reason I’ll probably keep it here but never re-record it. Honor code and shit.

Oh boy. This is the treasure of 2017. I stand by this. I recorded it in 9 days. When I put the album out, I called it a “semi-concept album about attraction”. I don’t know how that true that really is but it is telling how many songs on here are about wanting and losing. “Big Damn Heroes” is a fun opener about two soldiers realizing their goals aren’t as noble as they were led to believe. “Weekend Numbers” is about a stalker. This isn’t my favorite on the album but it feels like a sleeper hit. It has a uniquely creepy vibe. Almost like an alternate universe version of “Pink Frost” by the Chills. “Oceanic Love Note” is about a family driving away from the shore as tsunamis and floods rock the area, signaling the end of the world. It may be more poignant today as climate disasters continue to rock the world. It’s also too long to justify not having bass and drums but it’s fine enough. I wrote the bass riff for “The Bright One” in Miami, Florida. I was in a music store and found a bass tuned to F instead of E. This riff came out of that. “Beauty Through The Centuries” is another fun one. It’s always been a favorite of mine. It also renders the slightly older “Undecided Class of 2021” almost completely obsolete. I considered “The Dividing Line” my best song for a long time. Some of the lyrics haven’t aged well in my opinion but the ones that have still hit. A strange fun fact about this song is that, the day I recorded vocals for this, my neighbors were having a pool party in their backyard, and since they were loud, and my bedroom window directly faces their backyard, I watched the whole thing as I worked on the song. Odd. Anyway the G-string is tuned up to G#, although more realistically every other string was tuned down a half-step with the G untouched. “Array” was this album’s “quick, one more song to make it half an hour” song. It’s kind of half-assed as a result. “Left Side Up” was a re-recording of a song my high school band did. It was less than spectacular the first time around but I felt there was promise so I did it again and it kicked so much ass. In 2018, I won an auction on Tradera for the Swedish porn magazine the cover came from, but I didn’t want to pay $30 for shipping.

Funny thing about this EP is that it was recorded before I Belong In Limbo and Wreckage. It was going to be a split with another band, but I got impatient. “Railway Spine” is decent at least. I think that term was the first term used to describe what is now known as PTSD. Three bad songs follow that aren’t worth talking about because they’re bad. “Love Is A Rebellious Bird” is good but I find it sticks out a little too much on this EP. “Beads” is the peak here for sure. I love the part when the song’s getting a little too sugary sweet so a scuzzy guitar pops up in the center to fuck the song up. I’ve tried to re-record this several times, to no avail.

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