Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Unfinished Sympathy

Of interest only to Dave completeists - and perhaps Karl - presented for your approval is the list of tunes from the band with no name. Or the band called DeSk, depending on which band member you ask.

Songs with completed lyrics and melodies:
Imperial Evidence

Songs with complete melodies and incomplete lyrics:
Surf Beat Twilight
Old Red Towel/Sweet Poison

Songs with incomplete melodies and incomplete lyrics:
Green Light

Songs with no melody or lyric:
6 in 3

Songs with no song (yet):
Some damn new thing with no title (in D)
March of the Moodies

Songs that are possibly instrumentals:
Pastoral in F
The Sad Keys
The Croce Variations

Songs that we cover:

As you can see, the further the song gets away from being completed, the odder the title is. These are what we like to call "working titles," although given that some of these songs have been going by these titles for well over a year, obviously the titles aren't working so well, after all.

It seems as though, in lieu of getting a ribbon or gold star or somesuch, songs in the band with no name/DeSk get rewarded a title as they show progress. Neutrino started life as Waltzina, which is just a mash-up of "Waltz in A Major." Newscast went under Hungarian Restaurant for a while, because the guitar pattern reminded us of an earlier song of ours called Chinese Restaurant - which in turn was just a play on Billy Joel's Scenes From an Italian Restaurant. My favorite footnote to that song is when our drummer, Edz, made out a click track on his PC, the computer automatically shortened the title to Chin Rest, which is the best title EVER.

Other songs come from their title. Surf Beat Twilight - which may yet be renamed - is named so because it sounds a bit like a surf remix of the theme from The Twilight Zone. Imperial Evidence was a misspeak of Karl's, who meant to say "empirical evidence." It seemed liked such an evocative new phrase that I quickly wrote a song to it.

6 in 3 is a shortened version of Shaun's original very descriptive title, 6 Notes in a 3/4 Time. As you can see from that and Waltzina, some titles are merely mnemonic devices. A necessary evil sometimes, when you need to remember just how a piece went before it has any defining characteristics, like a melody, lyric or arrangement.

Other titles are more prosaic. Old Red Towel is so named becuase the jam room, indeed, had an old red towel hanging off a shelf. Meatloaf? Yesenia was cooking dinner while we cobbled that one together from a very loose and bluesy (in a Norah Jones kind of way) chord change from Shaun. It may be the only song ever named after the smell in the room when it was being written, if you discount Livin' la Vida Loca.

Green Light may be the most interesting case study of all, title-wise. The piece had no name when we put it together - it was just a nice sounding minor-key new number with vintage new wave tones. But when I dumped the complete unbanded session disc into iTunes for a quick import, the Gracenote system found a disc from another artist in the database with the title Green Light (Live). This I immediately knew was not only the right title, but the Lynchian imagery mixed with the sound of our new song - I had and have no idea what the other band sounded like - came together so well that the lyric pretty much unfolded itself whole, just from that combination.

Of course, it's still not done - many aren't done - but it's getting close. The time has come to start the rinse cycle on these fuckers, and see what makes it to the album.

Provisionally speaking, for the band with no name with the songs with no titles. Lord knows just what the album is going to be called.


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