Make that ‘award winning’ . . .

THIS WEEK: how I got big in Japan! plus covers of Wilco and The Beach Boys

I’ll cut to the chase: the cover I did of Elvis’s “Don’t Be Cruel” won a “special prize” in a contest put on by the Elvis estate & Korg!  Here’s that video link again if you want to watch it again with greater reverence:

Korg is the company who made my guitar processors and my keyboard (and basically all the gear that my brother uses) but this particular contest was to use a virtual synth & drum machine program called the DS-10 that they’d released for the Nintendo DS.  There’s a little synth line in this song from the audio prog Reason but other than that, it’s just a borrowed Gameboy and me.  Apparently, I’m now on a compilation for contest winners now in Japan where 150 yen will get you an mp3.  Plus, you can still listen to the bizzaro alternate version which sounds like 8 maniacs fighting over a microphone on my previous post on the subject (where I also explain the method to this particular madness).

As promised/threatened, the loose collective of theoretical bands that was known as “Dutch Missionary Records” will now henceforth be known as “The Shrapnelles”, aka me when I’m not playing with The HEAPS (or The Brothers K).  While we were out to dinner over thanksgiving break, my brother drew The Shrapnelles the above little promo picture on a restaurant napkin (notice my Yo-Yogi 3D glasses and #6 Prisoner jacket from The HEAPS show from May).

Anyway, here’s the now “Shrapnelles” playing the world’s only Wilco cover that’s less than a minute long, “We’re Just Friends”:


DMR’s 3 compilations of “bedroom garage” songs never got circulated very widely but they’d actually fit in pretty well with the current crop of ‘lo-fi garage’ / not-quite-shitty-sounding-enough-to-be-quite-called-shitgaze bands.  So now that I’ve decided to go with just one musical name, I got to thinking: why not waste time by thinning down the playlist for a single disc ‘best of’ the DMR recordings to give anyone (anyone?) who can’t wait for the next “real” Shrapnelles album?

BONUS: “We’re Just Friends” was the song that really got me into Jeff Tweedy’s songwriting.  It was part of my “struggling jerks” phase that also included The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds.”  Here’s a cover of The Beach Boys’ “Waiting for the Day” The Shrapnelles recorded into a single mic a few years back (from the same session as my medley of Walkmen songs):


It’s the song’s ending that makes the narrator’s selfless support of this wronged woman seem a less than pure as the driven snow . . .  He feels entitled her love because he has waited patiently for it but of course that’s now it works.  The bitterness is in the original even though its masked by Wilson’s famous obsessively lush overproduction.  (BTW, my brother has coined the term “Wilsoning” for what one does when one obsesses over a project so much that it never gets released–feel free to use it in your daily life!)  It’s the wrongness that really makes the Pet Sounds album work in my opinion . . . the narrators of You Still Believe In Me, God Only Knows, and Caroline No struggle with being good and its not clear that they are succeeding more than they fail.  I find this a far more compelling reason to listen to it than the cooing “teenage symphonies to God” angle forced down my throat by the syrupy rerelease liner notes that made me slag off the album in college.  Flawed character portraits are the most interesting.


One Response to “Make that ‘award winning’ . . .”

  1. […] Dutchess and the Duke when they played UCI [see above and last week], and then the year ended with unexpected recognition from Japan for my chiptune Elvis covering skills and a rejuvination of my old band the Bros K as a big hairy looping […]

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