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Every last bell hum together and whistle

Greetings from lovely Southern California

To quote Will Ferrell portraying Alex Trebek, I was hoping we could have a fun-filled evening with a “minimum of ethnic slurs.”

I’m not sure how the John Waters came out on the video; I shaved the rest of it promptly after shutting off the camera

things are well in the San Fernando Valley


Okay. It’s been a while since there has been any sort of official update as to what’s going on in the world of the Industrial Jazz Group.

The truth is that I’ve been keeping a lot of secrets from you. Here are a few of them.

Secret the first.

Chris Schlarb — of I Heart Lung fame, Asthmatic Kitty fame, and, well, too-many-credits-to-list-here fame — is going to produce the next IJG record. Which is very exciting to me, but maybe a little surprising to you, given that I have never before enlisted the services of a producer. And given too that Chris and I may seem, to the casual observer anyway, to be coming from slightly different musical vantage points.

To which I say: exactly. After all, I could sum up my entire artistic endeavor with the IJG as an attempt to bring congruity to incongruous things.

Although Chris and I actually share more common ground than you might think. Consider this:

If I’m completely honest, I will admit that I listen to far more music from the 70’s than any other decade. Between masterful albums from Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, The Isley Brothers, Led Zeppelin, Donny Hathaway, Brian Eno, Steve Reich, and Devo, I get most of my nourishment from music that was made over 30 years ago.

Again: exactly. Me too! And those may have been the very sentences that sold me on this collaboration.

Anyway. Still no release date on this record but I’m guesstimating it’ll be out sometime this summer.

I honestly can’t wait.

Secret the second.

I recently hit upon the weird idea to record an album featuring PDX-based groups I like, playing re-arrangements of IJG tunes. Sort of in anticipation of the group’s ten-year anniversary (in 2011).

I have posted before on the comparative challenge of writing for groups that are not mine. How much more challenging it is (for me, anyway) to take something written specifically for one group, and to reconfigure it for another. And yet I suspect that may be the best way to determine if something you’ve written is actually any good. (Assuming that musical durability is a good thing.)

The first sessions, which will likely be spread out over the rest of the year, will feature three local artists, each one of them stellar: Damian Erskine, the Andrew Oliver Kora Band, and the Quadraphonnes. Again, I honestly can’t wait.

Secret the third

At long last, and after much deliberation, we have a winner in our video contest. Big congratulations are due to A. Minor for coming up with this truly psychedelic animated visual for “The Job Song”:

Visit the website of this fantastic Vermont-based filmmaker and artist for more on what she does. (I particularly recommend her images for our New England-based weird music brethren, Club d’Elf.)

Many thanks to everyone who participated in this contest. And again, kudos to our winner.

* * * * *

Okay, these are all the secrets I can bear to part with today. Others will follow hard upon, rest assured.

[Photo credit: LivefromAmsterdam]