I love rock trios. I really love good rock trios. There’s nowhere to hide in a trio, everyone contributes. From Cream to Rush to Primus to ZZTop, a three-piece can blow your mind with how much you can do with less.
Red 9 is a really good rock trio from Los Angeles that plays some serious balls-out rock. Versatile, modern, heavy, rock. Check out their excellent over of one of my favorite tunes, Nine Inch Nails‘ Head Like a Hole and see if you agree:
They rip it up tonight at the Troubadour LA – if you’re in the area, check them out!
Oct 4, 2012 Music
So close! Now a year in the making, the She Likes Black EP is on its way in October. After several restarts, progress was progressing so well that at the last minute I decided to add a song I hadn’t started yet! So now, still working on that little gem. Ha…! I ambitiously thought I’d be done in September…. On the other hand, if I told you how many other irons I have in the fire you would wonder how I even managed to take the time to write this update!
Two things I know for sure… no, make that three things: one, the art is done and it kicks ass. Two, the new song kicks even more ass and will be totally worth the wait. And three, I will be releasing the title track as a single ahead of the EP so you can have something to chew on! Four, it’s all free, all for you. What? Four things, OK I’ll start again.
FOUR things I know for sure… Make that five, the fifth being that if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t sill be here doing this. Thank you for your support, every day!
May 10, 2012 Music
For of you who’ve been following Mojo’s Army since the early days on MySpace, you’ve never heard these songs like this. And for the rest, you’ll get a chance to hear the songs that won over our first fans!
All the songs on this album are special to me, but I’ve always thought I could do a little better with them. So I began reworking and remixing them even before working on recent releases Big Tips and the remastered Summer’s End.
In the end these recordings range from the simply enhanced and largely untouched (Little Boxes, Thunderpussy) to the completely rerecorded and reworked (Lipstick on my Whiskey). They all sound the way I meant them to sound back in 2009 when I was still just figuring out how to write & record.
Preview the first new release right here:
All of this reworking is of course in no way a commentary on the great guys at Last Drop Mastering. They did an excellent job with what they had to work with, which was the best mixes I could provide at the time.
Track listing for It’s Still Hard
1 Worm Eaten Apple
3 It’s Hard
5 Little Boxes
7 Lipstick on my Whiskey
8 Grinning Skulls
9 Sea of Sharks
10 The Green Manalishi
11 STFU (Clean)
12 ?? mystery song ??
\m/ Mojo \m/
Apr 23, 2012 Music
Like a lot of you, I grew up listening to music constantly. Vinyl LPs and 8-tracks — really! — and cassettes, recording songs off the radio (the original downloading!), dubbing friends’ cassette tapes and LPs (the original file sharing!). And then CDs, of which I still own a few hundred. I learned to love music as it sounded through stereo speakers, loud when I could but generally not louder than the neighbors could handle.
My major sensibility for sound comes from what I was hooked on in my teens – first heavy pop with a progressive edge: Styx, Supertramp, ELP, and then increasingly heavy rock like AC/DC, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, then Black Sabbath, Dio and the mighty Judas Priest. Throw in some 80s synth pop and later some Seattle grunge and you can pretty much figure out where my sound comes from!
But this is also the time my ears were trained to hear music — before today’s hypercompressed music that is designed to sound loud all the time so you can hear it in your earbuds while jogging down a city street or working out in a noisy gym. “Everything louder than everything else.” Thankfully, right now there is a growing backlash to this type of ‘squashed’ sound (aka the “Volume Wars”), and as much as I like loud rock, I am very conscious of what is called dynamic range — the difference between the soft and the loud in a musical piece. So I’m taking extra care while remixing and remastering my catalog to make sure that 1) the music sounds good on both speakers and earbuds and 2) there is enough dynamic range that the music breathes and sounds the way I intended it (or as much as I’m capable of doing!)
Here’s an example of what music looks like now compared to what it looked like then: Shinedown - Heroes from 2005 vs Judas Priest – Heading out to the Highway from 1981. In 2012, releases have gotten even louder, with even less dynamic range.
Is it better-sounding or just louder? It’s a psychoacoustic fact that louder generally appears to sound ‘better’*, but it’s an equal fact that hypercompressed songs sound more fatiguing and not as sonically pleasing compared to their own less-compressed versions (remember the “Death Magnetic” backlash?). Somewhere in the middle is balance.
The idea gaining groundswell is to mix & master for dynamic range and do what we used to do, just turn it up if you want it louder! I’ve now dedicated many hours to learning how to make my songs sound as good as they can, and as loud as they can bear without sacrificing tonal quality. Lofty goal for an independent music maker but it’s something I feel strongly about. You can listen to the new versions of the songs on “Summer’s End” to see if you think I’m succeeding. In the process, I also discovered that I can really hear the difference between a 256-bit MP3 and a 128-bit MP3, and all current and future downloads will be no less than 256-bit. You simply lose too much quality when you go to 128-bit.
I don’t want to make it sound like I’m going to all this trouble just for the dynamic range, and certainly don’t want to discredit the great guys over at Last Drop Mastering who did a great job with what I gave them to work with. The truth is that I know so much now that I didn’t know when I was starting out and wanted to take the opportunity to give myself a do-over. I may have been more creative in some ways then, doing things in the mix I probably wouldn’t think to do now, but I have more of a handle on how to get things to sound the way I want them to than all those few years ago, and better tools to get me there.
With all that in mind, I’m remixing, remastering, and rereleasing my back catalog. First came the remixed remixes, released as “Big Tips”. Then came the remixed “Summer’s End” with its tantalizing cover restored. Next will be the reworked debut album “It’s Hard”, coming soon. Discover it or re-discover it on the music page. Take one down, pass it around. And follow on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news from Mojo’s Army!
Rock Rock Till You Drop!
*Google Fletcher-Munson to figure out why.
Hey rockers! I have just finished remixing and remastering the hard-rocking 2010 “Summer’s End” 5-song EP and it sounds better than ever! You can stream or download it free on our music page today! It’s also available for a mere $4 in hi-resolution format at our bandcamp page.
“Summer’s End” contains the downtempo “The Beast” and “She”, and uptempo rockers “Summer’s End”, “Taste Your Love” and the baseball anthem “Balls in Play”. Take one down and pass it around! Rock on!
\m/ Mojo \m/