DONCAT’s New Album “Preservation of the Spirit” Out Now.

PreservationoftheSpirit

Back in 2014, I got a call to sub in for a DONCAT gig. 4 years later, it looks like the sub thing turned into something more serious. Duncan, Chris and Jesse are my musical brethren. DONCAT’s latest album, Preservation of the Spirit, reflects that.

We worked on this album in the summer of 2016. The countless number of voice memos, Dropbox working demos folders, scribbles on staff paper, were all condensed down into the songs you hear on the record. Hours and hours in the practice space shedding, scrutinizing, and scrapping ideas led to this record.

We tracked this at El Studio, recording the lion’s share of the songs together, live. That energy and that connection pops out on the record.

To me, “Preservation of the Spirit” is an album about staying true to who you are, while challenging yourself to change for the better. It’s tricky for anyone to do. It’s especially tricky as musicians trying to make music work.

I hope this album reflects that larger challenge that anyone can empathize with. I hope you hear us playing through that challenge as musicians, and weaving stories that call out to that on the record.

I also hope you have a god damn good time listening to it. Run up a hill listening to the climax of the chorus on “Silver Screen”. Cruise to Ocean Beach playing “Once I Went To Las Vegas”. Do what you want with it. It’s yours. We’re incredibly happy it’s finally out there, from our hands to yours.

 

 

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DONCAT “Try To Be Someone” Premiere On Nylon Magazine

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We did it, momma.

At long last, the first single from our upcoming LP, Preservation of the Spirit is out in the world on Nylon Magazine.

This is one of my favorite tracks off the new record, and I make a stink face every time I play it live.

The Andy Stack Run – Drums + Keys Together

“Surely I can try to do 1/10000000th of what Andy Stack delivers for Wye Oak,” he asked himself, not remembering that pride comes before the fall.

Seeing Wye Oak live a bunch of times, I am spellbound by Andy Stack drumming + playing keys at the same time. This is not a “greater than the sum of its parts” situation. It’s not the multi-tasking that makes me go slack jaw. It’s the conversation between his left hand on the keys and his right on the drums. Each hand has a distinct voice that serves the music beautifully.

I took the one hand drumming for a spin using Ableton + a soft synth arpeggiator. I was surprised how my hi-hat patterns changed unconsciously to suit the melody. I don’t remember making those decisions, they just happened as a result of playing the keys and drums together. I’m looking forward to finding more surprises like that.

Sylvan Esso – “Die Young”

I can’t not geek out over Sylvan Esso.

Their latest album, What Now, features some of my favorite synth tones and drum breaks to date. It’s impossibly danceable and detailed.

I really dig “Die Young” in particular because of its spartan composition. It’s a lean mean fighting machine. When the drum break in the song hits, it hits hard. Here’s my interpretation.

Tracking Drums For Matt Pond PA’s Final Album, Still Summer

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Noise Pop segued into something a little meatier.

After getting back on stage with Matt Pond, Shawn & Mel, the itch was still there. Matt started sending me ideas for the songs that would comprise the final Matt Pond PA album, Still Summer.

I’m honored to have worked on it. I’m grateful opportunity to help build and mold songs. I’m incredibly thankful to Matt for taking me on my first big national tour, and for opening up his songs.

NPR posted a little update about Still Summer and what’s next for Matt.

The album will be out later in August. I can’t wait for the tracks for be out there.

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Working With Nataly Dawn

I was a fan of Nataly’s before I got a chance to play for her. I followed Pomplamoose on their rise to YouTube fame.

Nataly’s originals are killer. The way she breaks down other artists’ songs and makes them her own is inspiring. So, I was stoked to track some songs for her, and film them on a badass old Rogers kit. Getting to hang with her adorable dog, Muppet, was a bonus. This the first video in a batch. There’s more to come.

Noise Pop with Matt Pond

When you drive roughly 8,000 miles in a van together, traversing the whole continental United States (and parts of Canada) you develop a connection with the people in that van. That is, if you didn’t kill each other in the stretch between Austin and Dallas where there’s no cell phone service.
File Matt Pond and Shawn Alpay in the van-bonded friends folder.  I file Mel in the new friends folder.
I hopped back on stage with the Matt Pond squad for Noise Pop. It was a blast to play new songs and classics we hit on the Several Arrows Later tour a few years ago.

Working with Grammy Award Winning Artist, J. Hoard

J Hoard won a damn Grammy last night for his songwriting contributions on Chance The Rapper’s “No Problem”. As Anderson .Paak would say “YESS LAWWD”

A few weeks ago, I worked on this track with J Hoard called “Sirens”. It’s a politically minded tune that’s right for a time when I launch into a cold sweat anytime I get a Washington Post breaking news alert on my phone.

Here’s the track called “Sirens” which OkayPlayer premiered.

Talk Modern – “Not Enough”

I flew to Portland last November to record a few tracks for Talk Modern. I was lugging a cymbal case through the PDX airport when I saw it. A Stumptown Coffee — in the damn airport. Portland is a land of wonder.

Josh and Nic – the duo comprising Talk Modern- are wonderful guys. I tracked the drums for “Not Enough” in the same warehouse we recorded the video. No plug-in can imitate the natural reverb in that room.

After 48 quick hours in Portland we had two songs and two music videos in the bank (we lost count of the number of breakfast sandwiches we consumed). Here’s the first one -“Not Enough”

“Secrets” & Satellite Mode

Satellite Mode are workhorses. Last December, I took a jaunt to New York to meet up with them. I nearly OD’d on Dunkin Donuts and pizza, but survived long enough to play music with Alex + Jess, who comprise the band.

When they’re not tweaking songs, they’re writing new ones, or planning a release for the finished song.

Warm Fire Lightening” hit #5 on Hypem a few weeks back. Here’s hoping their new track, “Secrets” (which came out today)  climbs even higher.

I tracked drums for this one last year, and am stoked its out! The production crew backing Satellite Mode – Gregory and Andy Seltzer – are super nice guys, and immensely talented.