Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Stuck Hands

Monday, December 11, I set down a few more acoustic guitar tracks for "Dirty Money and Filthy Love," "Ada," "Suffragette Chrysler," and "Let's Climb the Staircase." I brought my Rode NTK mic this time, which created a very nice and bright and full sound for the guitar.

"Ada" was a breeze - just clean strumming without much fuss at all.

Next, we decided to tackle "Let's Climb the Staircase" while my fingers were still fresh. When this song is played live, I play it very loosely, and picking two strings at a time and being a little messy is just fine; however, when committing it to recording, the process can be much more demanding. Needless to say, this song took several takes, and it took a lot of energy out of my fingers.

"Suffragette Chrysler" went smoothly since the strumming it pretty straightforward, like an early Neil Diamond song. Though my fingers were tired, we breezed through this one fairly quickly.

"Dirty Money" was another story. I play two chords very high on the neck, and the song's got a long long meander of double time in the end, and by the time the right take was done and I lifted my fingers off the strings, my hand was stuck fast in the form of a claw.

I'm glad I've got this space to write down and share the tiny minutiae of these recordings to remember later on. Recording the history will make the finishing of the project all the more satisfying.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Status Report: Classical Guitar

This is a Distant Fairs recording status report.

Today at Royal Dutch, I laid down classical and acoustic guitar tracks for three tunes:

"Station Girl" - I think I've told you about this one before. It's about a guy who meets a girl in a subway station, falls in love, and then falls out of love. "So you move in with her / There are no maps of the heart by Baedeker / And she bores you with coffee beans / And her tiny television dreams / Oh ohhh." This one's got an interesting classical picking style running throughout it.

"JoSaie" - Moved on to the spaghetti western steel string beginning of "JoSaie," that song about a young male model/film star. The guitar line was a particularly challenging and swiftly moving arpeggiated picking line. Many many takes, each one pushing the steel strings deeper and deeper into my fingertips.

"Up Tonight" - What to do with this song! It's frightfully strange for us. I guess I'll stop there and let this one develop where it will. It's kind of like an unruly kid wanting to do what it will, and the parent has to relinquish some control or go crazy. The song called for a bossa style classical guitar line. Thank goodness, as the steel strings had pushed heavily into my fingertips at that point.

Bla bla bla. So why are most of the pics of me! It's not because I love these pics. I'm just in the studio a lot right now. I'll get some good ones of Cortnie soon, but she has to OK them - otherwise, they won't see the light of day.

As always, more soon!

Friday, December 01, 2006

D-28 Martin in Studio

The Martin D28 dreadnought I'm playing in the studio is a real pleasure. It actually belongs to Roger Wall, Matt and Aaron's dad. I must remember to ask him the history of it so I can write it down here for posterity.

What I do know is he's had it for many years, and so it's had fine time to mellow and age gracefully. It's not the frilly or excessively adorned or fancy in any way but does have nice simple edging and a great shine. It's basic, straight ahead--a no-nonsense kind of guitar.

With its fresh strings, it sounds clean and bright and rich. Today, I used it to lay down rhythm tracks for "Trona," "Kenny Filthy," and "JoSaie" in that order. I laid down an additional arpeggio part for "Trona" just in case we want to use it later.

Recording goes much more smoothly in the early mornings, so we started early. The studio was relatively quite--and very dark. So dark, in fact, it freaked me out just a bit as I walked down the hallways, feeling the walls to find the hallways that T'd off to the various rooms.

Seven more tracks need the acoustic, so we should be done with it by next week. Then comes electric guitars with Ricky.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Martin Guitars and Girl Vocals

The band's been busily at work. At Bird in Box Studio, Cortnie and I have been laying down her backing vocal tracks. We built a vox booth in our office closet using blankets, clothes, towels, yoga mats, and whatever other dampening devices we could find to deaden the acoustics of the space. We draped a thick down comforter over the doorway of the closet and presto, a do-it-yourself vocal booth.

We've managed to survive tense moments and a few fights (with the help of good food and lots of breaks) in order to produce some truly fine cute girl backing tracks. So far, we've got C's vox down on "Something's Going On" (aka "Mice in the Pantry"), "Me and Thomas Hardy" (aka "MATH"), "Trona," "Nightbird," and "Love Your Regardless." I've also written and hummed out some more horn ideas for "MATH."

Today with Aaron at Royal Dutch Company in Fresno, I layed down acoustic guitar tracks. We scored Roger Wall's beautiful Martin guitar and put fresh strings on it for a brilliant tone. Aaron set me up in the vocal booth--I sat on a drummer's stool and propped up my feet on an old amp head and started in. We used a skinny condensor mic to produce a very nice and bright sound. A bright tone in the highs with less mids and low ends was preferable to something more full-bodied in some of the songs so that the acoustic guitar would find its own pocket seperate from the thick bass tones we've got going on. After some experimentation with different condensor mics and placements, we ended up with what seemed perfect for the tunes.

We managed to track the acoustic for two songs, "Me and Thomas Hardy" and "Something's Going On" before another band down the hall started rocking all of Studio 9 with excessive volume. It's impossible to track an acoustic instrument when the BOOM BOOM BOOM of a techno band is seeping through the walls. But that's two songs down. We'll pick up the recording again on Friday.

So The Distant Fairs continues growing and developing. More soon.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Silver Fox Vibe

The Silver Fox - hands down, this place has the has the best vibe in Bakersfield. Case in point - our November 2 show with The Fast Computers.

There's something about the atmosphere of that little room that makes people dance with strangers and possibly wear sombreros - unlike other downtown joints where folks seem to exude that kind of slick-haired Social D. self awareness that seems to stifle the good vibrations.

Our friends The Fast Computers - pretty much the best electro dance band ever - started off the night. A hightlight of this band is the encredibly bubbly Jen Fox on drums, whose energetic straight ahead playing melds perfectly with the drum sequencing backgrounds. Peter Dean (vocals/keys/synth) and John Laney (bass/vocals) are some of the coolest chaps ever. The band brought very hip tour CD's encased in old school floppy disc cases, and, as was so fitting for a band of this name, took email list information on - a fast computer. Cortnie and I swapped CD's and and T's - their designs were cool and retro modern.

During TFC's set, people went nuts on the dance floor. Meanwhile, lots of Bakersield talent and voices began to appear. Local novelist and literary encourager N. L. Belardes made an appearance in Day of the Dead skeleton face paint (see mention of the show and more pics on his Paperback Writer Blog), and Matilda Kay (the One Bakersfield Woman's Blog to Mankind writer) showed up as well. Matt Munos (of Mento Buru and Bakotopia) also showed up with a grip of his crew in frightening Day of Dead garb. JR of Ill Press and Valley Scribe, Mystic Red, and Vecar manager Bobby Paramo showed up as well as one or two members of Liars and Thieves. Our friends Danyale and Sarah from The Mommies were the most enthusiastic and actually sported hella cute homemade Dalloways T-shirts - a first for any fan.

The Dalloways set up, and after some technical glitches, we played through a set of mostly new tunes, including a new disco tune called "Didn't Have the Time." Filling in on guitar was the talented James Ratliff of Norfolk and Indians fame, and on drums, the svelte J.T. Hughes of Serus Victoria.

Thanks to Mike and Terry and The Silver Fox for hosting this gig and putting together the friendliest venue in town!

Tuesday, November 8, 2006 Post Script: Check out Matilda Kay's mysterious pics and review of the show entitled "It's Never Too Late for The Dalloways".

Monday, October 23, 2006

November 2 Electro Dreampop Fixation

I know we said our last show was the show of the century, but that was for Fresno. This show with our Oregon friends The Fast Computers is the show of the century for Bakersfield. Dalloways and TFC's go electro dreampop. Hear it ... see it ... dream it ... don't miss it!

Visit The Dalloways Tour Page for specs.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Great Date Music!

October 20th, the band perform in the big electro dreampop fixation extravaganza at The Starline. The show featured Blake Jones and the Trike Shop and newcomers Poplord. Blake and the fellows were in true form--the Theremin wept joyously under the gentle coaxing of Blake's hands. This is sixties Brian Wilson inspired avant garde at its best. And Poplord is the next sleeper hit of Fresno--two guys with a big pop sound that fit great with Jones and the gang.

Fresno indie band Rademacher was to play as well, but apparently the drummer was so ill that he could not get up from bed, and so the band proper backed out a few hours before the show. Malcolm the lead singer at least made an appearance and played a solo set with a classical guitar. He finished with a Leonard Cohen cover.

Highlight? A fan named Nick came up to me and told me the best date of his life was at a Dalloways show. So put this down: The Dalloways are great date music!

The next day we headed over to the Yoshi Now! fleamarket where our good friend Eli's high energy rockabilly band The Jump Backs performed.

As Cortnie and I drove back down Highway 99 to Bakersfield, suddendly the sky lit up in a blaze of fireworks just for us. This truly happened, and we can't explain it, but it was some kind of secular blessing. At least, we choose to believe it. Drivers pulled off the freeway to watch the spectacle.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Dalloways, Blake Jones, Rademacher, and Poplord

Friday, October 20th at The Starline in Fresno, The Dalloways emerge from the dark cave of their studio to offer a sneak listen to some of the new tunes.

This is the show of the century! The Dalloways go disco, Rademacher radiates, Poplord pops, and Blake Jones and the Trike Shop ride an avant garde wave! Hear it . . . and believe!

Visit the Dalloways Tour Page for more information.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Stop Hangin Around with Nightbirds

I'm up late after a good weekend of recording and British car driving. Curious? I just blogged and slide show'd about the British Car Roundup where my little '69 MGB GT Coupe fit in nicely.

And now, into Dalloways related news:

Early Monday morning before work proper, we recorded two more vocal tracks with the magical Neumann golden mic at Royal Dutch. Here's a little bit about the songs:

"Nightbird" - This one's got a sway and groove reminiscent of Burt Bacharach and Prefab Sprout, if that makes sense. Two lovers simply need to be together, despite the fact that they'd like to kill each other. Favorite line? "Punch me, punch me, punch me / Storm the tower for me / 'Cause black looks good on you / I'll let you in."

"Stop Hangin' Around" - This narrator loves his friend - really, he does. He'd do anything for this fellow. It's just that he's sick of him hanging around all the time! Favorite line? "Even if God asked me / There is hardly any / Means to despise you."

Love you!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Getting Pitchy with Love You Regardless

Today we had some mixed success in the vox booth at Royal Dutch. We started the session planning to lay down lead vocal tracks for four songs, but by the time I finished the first, my voice was pretty much done for the day. I've found that it's best to listen to the voice, so we packed it up.

But we got one vocal track down tight! Here's the story on the song.

"Love You Regardless" - This sexy Beatles-esque (70's era) groove has existed for several months with no lyrics but the chorus Cortnie had thought up -- the recurring "I love you regardless" refrain. I layed down scratch acoustic guitar several months ago, and then we added drums and bass, but still no lyrics. So I sat down last Wednesday, determined to crank the thing out. So what's it about? It's a meeting between two old loves reminiscing about how things were and how things are now. Despite all the differences, she loves him regardless. Favorite line? "Put girl to your natural state / 'S like breathing on the moon"

Cortnie is pretending to sing in this pic. Her tracks come later, but she thought the vocal booth looked cozy inside.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Cramming to Write a Song

Whoa! We've been busily working away at the latest album, The Distant Fairs. This week, I found myself facing down a lead vocal session on a song with no set lyrics.

So I burnt the oil, typed away, worked and worked and tap tapped the keys till late Sunday night until I finished the thing! Here's a hint of what it's about:

"JoSaie" - about a vapid hipster teen Portuguese movie idol named JoSaie who loses himself in the role of his life. He surrounds himself with Shrimptoneque hangers-on and loses touch of the reality that made him. Hmm. Profound, aint it? Really, it's just a rocker.

So early this morning, before my day job began, I headed into the studio to lay down the track. It was rough going. The songs that initially seem like they'd be easiest to record end up being the most difficult. I think this is because of drawn out notes that on the surface seem simple. They are far from simple. That longer the note, the easier it is to get pitchy.

In the end, we finished with two solid takes and some good harmony ideas.

Side Note: Sunday night, Cortnie and I hit the Kern County Fair with free passes, courtesy of our friend NL. Cinammon rolls and deep friend Twinkies, yes yes yes!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Latest on The Distant Fairs Recordings

This last Wednesday, September 27th, I sped up to Fresno for yet another lead vocal session at Royal Dutch. Aaron and I cranked out vox for three more songs. Here's a tantalizing snapshot of each:

"Ada" - about a 19th Century female mathematician and daughter of a famous romantic poet. The Dalloways spin her into a tragic figure. Also creatively rhymes "Ada" with "Lay-tah."

"Suffragette Chrysler" - about a militant young girl who drives really fast, refuses to ever get married, takes pills, and submerses herself deeply into zodiac and trance.

"Didn't Have the Time" - pretty much the sexiest groove we've ever recorded.

So what's the tally so far? Bass, drums, and lead vox for ten songs.

Monday, September 25, 2006

In Studio and a Devious Honey Bear

Today I drove to Fresno solo for another lead vocal session at Royal Dutch Company. We powered through two songs--"Mice in the Pantry" and "Up Tonight."

I found my own in the isolation booth today. Maybe it was the ginger tea. Or maybe it was the pull of Vodka I took to loosen up.

After a break at The Chicken Pie Shop in the Tower District (where I encountered a devious looking honey bear), we returned to crank out two more songs: "Station Girl" and "Let's Climb the Staircase." Add that to the previous three, and we've got seven solid lead vocal tracks.

We're developing lots of harmony ideas in the midst of these lead vocal sessions and are looking forward to laying the rest of the vox down.. The Distant Fairs is slowly but surely shaping up!

More soon.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Dalloways in Studio with Marlon Brando

Cortnie and I drove to Fresno this morning for a frigid Friday studio session at Royal Dutch Company--Aaron's Fresno studio. The room is housed in a solid slab of a building. Burgundy paint covers some walls, gray carpet covers the rest, black ceilings press down from above--it feels like the sound lab it is. Posters of Marlon Brando as the godfather and Marilyn Monroe as a floosy keep us company.

We built what Cortnie called a carnival booth--a square corner of the room draped with tacked up blankets and comforters--in order to isolate the vocals. Then we went to work. I sipped orange ginger tea with honey as I sang in order to keep those vocal cords loose.

For this recording, the band scored a top of the line Neumann mic from the 1970's--the creme de la creme of pro studio mics, and coupled it with a Nieve preamp for an incredibly warm and distinctive sound. I could tell you more specs, but then I'd have to kill you.

In total, we finished lead vocals for three songs--"Me and Thomas Hardy," "Trona," and "Kenny Filthy"--before my voice tired and we had to quit for the day.

So the new album continues to develop. We've already got drums and bass done for fifteen tracks, and soon the lead and backing vocals we're currently working on will be added to the mix.

Stay tuned for more developments.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Final Radio Week


We just wrapped our sixth and final week with Penalty Crusade out at radio, and we had a very good ride with the album. Overall, we made it into rotation at 169 stations with charting action at 15 stations, the highlights including KFSR in Fresno, CA and KVCU in Boulder, CO with some of the others including KSLC, KSSU, KSUB, WALF, WBIM & WRMC. We were spun at least once a week at 138 stations, and really that number was probably more because there are some stations that added the album that we didn't hear from after that.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Radio Radio Radio!!!


At college this week, we picked up a debut at WCUR in West Chester, PA at #20, as well as more charting action from KVCU in Boulder, CO [#5] and KSSU in Sacramento, CA [#9].

In the breakdown of other numbers, we have been added at 152 stations are being spun at least once per week at 120 of them.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

More Radio Spins for Dalloways


We had another really solid week at college. We debuted at a new station this week. WRMC in Vermont came on at #23 this week. Core station KVCU in Boulder CO brought us back onto their chart at #29 this week. We also continued to chart at KFSR, KSSU, WBIM, and WLHS this week. We're getting some great spins at radio, with new medium rotation action coming from WKWZ, WVVS, WWUH, WDWN, WICB, WLUR and WNTE. There are more than 130 stations that have added us to rotation, 95 of which where we're getting light play or better.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Dalloways Radio Play Continues

The Dalloways had another great week at radio as they got charting action from seven stations, including KFSR, KSLC, KSSU, WBIM, WLHS, WRSK (TOP 10 DEBUT!) & WXJM.

Other great spins came from WDOM, WVUD, WNHU, KVCU & KSLU.

Overall, Penalty Crusade is in rotation at 124 stations with seventy-seven stations that are spinning tracks at least once a week.

You can help.

Call your local college radio station and request a Dalloways tune. If they don't have the album, ask em, "Why not?!"

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Dalloways Spins

The Dalloways radio campain continues. Here's a brief pre-Wednesday update from Dany at Planetary Group:

I am seeing some good numbers so far. The album is on the chart at


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Dalloways Hit the Airwaves

The Dallowys are hitting the airwaves at college and core stations around the states. Here are only a few of the highlights of this week's reports from Planetary Group. Call your local station now and request a song from Penalty Crusade!


CO Boulder KVCU-1/KUCB-1: 16 spins this week! huge!
OR McMinnville KSLC: solid, great!
CA Sacramento KSSU: this is f*cking awesome!!
OH Liberty Township WLHS: debutsville!
NY Alfred WALF: this will make a debut!
NY Schenectady WRUC: doing well.
NY New York WSVA: it will be debut this week.
PA Scranton WVMW: solid.
NY Ithaca 106 VIC: really liked it.
MI Allendale WCKS: doing well.
MA W. Barnstable WKKL: rocking here!
PA Mansfield WNTE: off to a good start!
IL Elmhurst WRSE: it should do well here.
NY Amherst WRUB: should chart soon.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

April 2 Make-Out Room in SF

Sunday night at one of the finest clubs in town! Dalloways headline at 11:00, with Ryan Mc Phun and the Ruby Suns and Parks and Recreation opening; 3225 22nd Street, SF, CA 94110; Tel: (415) 647-3997; $7, 21 and over;

Dalloways in Bakersfield March 31, Debut Kenny Filthy



DATE: Friday, March 31

VENUE: McGee’s at the Ice House, 3401 Chester Ave. Bakersfield, CA 93301

TEL: (661) 323-8730

BAND: The Dalloways

TIME: Three sets! Start times: 6:30, 7:30, 8:30 PM

COST: Free!

DETAILS: California dreampopsters The Dalloways perform three sets at fine dining establishment and club, McGee’s at the Ice House. The Dalloways will perform standards off their full length CD Penalty Crusade, play choice covers by Tears for Fears, The Smiths, and House of Love, and debut new tunes, including the scandalous and tragic “Kenny Filthy.” For more information on The Dalloways and this performance, visit


Friday, January 27, 2006

Fresno Famous Intereviews The Dalloways

Read the revealing January 26 Fresno Famous Interview with The Dalloways conducted by Mitch on Speed.

You can also read and comment on the intereview at Mitch's myspace blog or at Mitch's blogspot.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Dreampop 101 February at The Bay

San Francisco, California – January 21, 2005 – Cross a college English lit. professor with a Britpop inspired rhythm section and one platinum synth girl (who happens to be married to the prof.), and you’ll get something like The Dalloways, a stylish-- and only slightly esoteric--dreampop quintet performing at Kimo’s in San Francisco Friday, February 10 and The Stork Club in Oakland Sunday, February 12

The Dalloways are touring to promote their latest full-length CD, Penalty Crusade (Bird in Box Records), an album influenced by British luminaries such as The Smiths, Prefab Sprout, and Modern English, to name a few. About the band, frontman and songwriter Gerhard Enns says, “We’re feeling a close affinity with artists like The Dears and Belle and Sebastian--bands with melodic guitars and synths who draw on the Brit pop tradition of the 80’s.”

Enns’ background is fiction writing (he has published short stories in several literary journals), so it’s not surprising that many of the songs weave narrative threads: a down-and-out Olympic figure skater seeks lost love; a brother runs from family and friends to make his own way in New York; lovers on the Metro feel the separateness of their fractured relationship. “Every day you come across a new story,” says Enns about songwriting. “You stand behind an interesting person at the grocery store, read a cryptic headline in the newspaper, and ten minutes later, you’ve got the a new song.”

Local bands Harvey Cartel and Lurid Bliss will be performing with The Dalloways on February 10, and The Meek, Carousel, and Centric on February 12.

Kimo’s is located at 1351 Polk Street in San Franciso, and The Stork Club is located at 2330 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. For directions and set times, call Kimo’s at (323) 876-6612 or The Stork Club at (510) 444-6174. For more information on The Dalloways, visit


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Penalty Crusade Receives N. L. Album of Year

Bakersfield music critic, punk activist, and author of scandalous novels N. L. Belardes has awarded The Dalloways' Penalty Crusade Album of the Year for 2005.

The Dalloways are honored to have received their first N. L. Read the full article on for more information on the awards.