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Full circle to the Ottobar

Tonight, we will take the stage at the Ottobar for the first time since I joined the band a year and a half ago.  We're not going to get ahead of ourselves (no jinxo!), but we're excited about the crowd we're expecting and the performance we'll put on. Given the occasion, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on the highlights and lowlights of the 27-something shows I've played so far:

  • There was my very first show with the band. The opening act took two hours to soundcheck for an hour and a half long set. The soundcheck was the better performance.
  • There was a bizarre festival "circuit" in the fall of 2011.  One of these gigs included an 11 am set in an outside parking lot "stage" in blazing hot weather.  It ended with Dave chucking a kazoo 20 yards in frustration. Two weeks later, we played another festival in Dewey Beach. The venue was massive, the weather was drizzly, and the crowd was absent. Luckily, the next-door liquor store had a special on airline vodka bottles.
  • There were shows where we overcame atypical circumstances to win people over: the working class fishing town of Gloucester, MA. The upscale wine crowd in Annapolis. The bouncer who looked like Billy Idol in New Haven.
  • There were shows where I had my own personal disasters: tuning equipment fiascos at the Metro Gallery. Hitting the microphone with my bass head and creating a tritone over the silent ending of "Applewood" during a particularly cursed mid-July show in 2011. Hitting the wrong pre-chorus note four times in "There Was Light" because I thought my bass was merely out of tune, not that I was actually hitting the wrong note.  You learn to prepare beforehand. You learn to get good equipment.
  • There were shows when my bandmates had their own foibles. Justin drinking too much coffee before a Wind-Up space show last Winter, which made his voice sound like Kermit the Frog's.  Dave breaking strings on his guitar. Dan doing things that I can't remember off the top of my head...dammit. I guess these are pretty minor things.
  • There were, of course, the good shows:  Cafe Nola in August of 2011, where the crowd sang along to our best songs and bought us endless drinks afterward. Opening for the Of Montreal-based Yip Deceiver at the Metro Gallery in January of this year. When a member Of Montreal calls your band "phenomenal," you tend not to give a fuck what anybody else thinks.
  • There were numerous good times playing Pianos in NYC, including the most recent show, where our car broke down halfway to the gig. Justin was already at the venue, so me, Dan, and Dave rallied in our extremely posh loaner Ford Flex to the gig, literally running on stage to play a truncated set. We never doubted for one second that we would leave Justin behind.

That last sentence was a lie.

  • There was my personal favorite gig: A headlining night at the Brillobox in Pittsburgh this past February. It didn't snow much at all last Winter, but the flakes started falling as soon as we reached city limits, neatly conforming to every image I've had of the steel city (or as it's known now, the "mid-level white collar city" (c) Onion) that's been portrayed on film.  We played a good set to a great crowd, then hightailed it home at 2 am. There was no heat in the van, we were frozen, and the gusts of wind made us all feel as if the rickety 1993 Ford was about to disintegrate. Halfway there, Dave was nearly asleep, we were 25 miles from the nearest hotel rest stop, and none of the rest of us were in any condition to drive. We get to the reststop, Dave says "fuck it, I feel good now" and drives us all the way home.  I get to see the dawn for the first time in years, crawling over the Baltimore skyline from my apartment. This is why you play in bands.

We've come full circle to play our first big hometown headlining gig in over a year. So, please come out tonight and enjoy the true beginning of our new album cycle.  We're going to give it our best...NO JINX.

 Brillobox

Brillobox

Recording recap: studio tension and a clean, well-lit place.

After three days of smooth sailing, it happened: a dust up.  Don't get us wrong; we like to think of ourselves as a well-adjusted band,  but when four guys convene to do nothing but make music and drink beers of inconsistent type and alcohol content, tempers are bound to flare. After all, we want to climb that ladder and hang up a masterpiece, and then enjoy the fruits of our labor: The silver tint, the spinning lights.  With ambitions so strong, things can get heated. I'm referring to the disco ball in the studio control room:

Disco Ball


We just couldn't agree on an effective way to hang it, so we decided to cool off by grabbing a few rounds at a nearby bar.  And luckily for us, this bar had a kickin' two for two Sunday knife-fight special:

Detour

In all seriousness, we've never been to this particular place, but here's what actual quotes from Yelp reviews tell us about it:

"gritty and seedy."

"HOLY COW!!! I only recommend going here while it's daylight and you are not alone. There are a lot of subtly frightening people here."

"We ate there for the first time and it was ok.  Atmosphere was good and they have a great location.  My husband had a burger and fries that he thought was very good.  I had the bypass and it was ok, but ordered the "three cheese macaroni and cheese"  for my side - big mistake.   Imagine my surprise when the mac and cheese was none other than Kraft mac and cheese with some extra cheese thrown on top.  Seriously?  I can't believe a restaurant of the level that this one is trying to be would ever think it's ok to do this.  To add insult to injury, it was cold."

Wow, obnoxious Yelpers are pervasive.  fair warning: no matter what the condition of the building, sketchiness of the patrons, or general purity level of the drugs being sold on the premises of your establishment, you are guaranteed at least one haughty Yelp review nitpicking the quality  of an appetizer. "I can't believe a restaurant of the level this one is trying to be"?? Seriously?? Look at that picture again. The kitchen probably doubles as a one-hour rental room.

In terms of music, we have five songs done.  It has been the most successful recording trip in the history of the band. "Justin, it's Over" is a deep rumba grove, "No Stranger to Heartache" has some fuzzy guitar trills courtesy of Dave, "Hallelujah" is rocking power pop, "Come on" builds to a massive climax, and "Girls Cry" was phoned in.

Wurlitzer

Effing Yelpers.

End-of-Summer Recap

It’s been two months since we last updated you on Eureka happenings.  First of all, we regret to inform you of some unfortunate news: our guitarist, Dave Rogoza, has retired…to home ownership.  We did not anticipate this would change the dynamic of the band, until the other day, when Dave said that a guitar part for a new song must be even and dependable, much like a “TrafficMaster Benson Oak laminated wood plank.” I took umbrage to this, and argued that a sturdy guitar part wouldn’t complement my bass line, which was jumpy and unpredictable, similar to the late-night delivery times of India Tandoor.  An epic bachelorhood vs. domestication battle ensued.

We have played three gigs since our recording session: Frederick, Annapolis, and Baltimore.  Our Baltimore show featured a huge stage and an amazing view of the Middle Branch River.  It was truly a great show…for the ten people that were in attendance. Hey, it was 2 in the afternoon, there are only so many non-hungover friends you can convince to get in their cars and come watch us.

After the show, a thunderstorm swept in immediately. We lent our drums out to the next band, so we had to jump on stage and pack them up in record time.  Clarification:  Dan, Dave, and Justin jumped on stage and packed the drums.  I was sitting in the van eating barbeque chicken.  It was barbeque chicken made by Russians, which really confused me.  As a guy who knows Russians all too well from a couple of scandalous nights spent in Moscow, I never thought they could make good southern cooking, but hey, they do funk all right apparently.

Middlebranch

In other performance news, we’ve been surprised at the positive support we have received at our two Annapolis shows. We were skeptical initially, because the city is not known for having an indie rock scene, so we into the gigs with tempered expectations.  Playing there, however, has opened up a new audience with different song preferences.  Two of our new tracks, Spaceman and Fastest, went over particularly well with this Annapolis crowd, and our performance of Fastest may actually be the first time there were multiple people non-ironically dancing during a Eureka Birds live show. Also, this crowd got into it when we jammed out some of our songs, like a generally underappreciated baroque indie pop (thanks, Baltimore City Paper!) version of 1972 Live Europe-era Grateful Dead.

 Also, to the frat guy at the Annapolis show who approached up to us and requested a Bill Withers song: mad props.

 Next week, I’ll have a preview of our upcoming recording trip, which will be October 4-8th.  Until then, I wish you good health and tongue tacos.

Post recording dispatch and Indy river retraction: the amazing technicolor dream birds

First of all, I would like to apologize for stating that Indianapolis doesn't have a river. I wasn't aware of the glorious White River, located west of the city. Our studio was located on the eastern side of the city in the charming-hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant belt. I will say that if the river resembles the rest of the city, then you've got a pleasant a body of water on your hands. On this trip, we became the amazing technicolor dream birds: totally trippy songs, man. In fact, we went so far into the other dimension that we almost ended up in the Legends Theatre. You know the Legends Theatre, right? This is what it looks like:

http://bit.ly/N91xNO

Thank heavens that we didn't end up there. That would be the worst performance to ever witness, right?  Jim Morrison reciting some unfinished poem while Buddy Holly and John Lennon sing over each other. No rhythm section, and apparently Janice Joplin is still an alcoholic in the spirit world.

Unfortunately, I actually have been to Legends Theatre.  It happened one night after taking an unidentified substance my senior year of college.  I saw Fela Kuti and Tito Puento attempt a discombobulated afro-beat/latin fusion jam, which predictably ended in fisticuffs between the two luminaries over where the "one" landed.  Needless to say, I never saw Igor Stravinsky hightail it out of a nightclub so quickly in all my years of inter-dimensional traveling.

They honestly need to close Legends Theatre immediately.

-Scott

Coors Light is all we have: recording dispatch day #3

Good evening, I'm Scott, the bassist. Let's get a couple of things out of the way: carnitas (best meat), Spacemen 3 (best band), Philadelphia (best city, 2007ish), Bethany Consentino (Best Coast), Birria (best stew that serves as a Mexican equivalent of pho to some of my gentrifying friends who are as of yet uninitiated). Yeah, Birria is impressive. You might be familiar with it from the Los Angeles episode of "No Reservations." I know; I'm not as cool as Anthony Bourdain. It doesn't get much cooler than recording spoken word songs with Morcheeba while drinking Guinness out of a can.

Whoa, it's hot in here.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, is flooding my inbox right now asking the same question: how do you like Indianapolis? Good tongue tacos, but there isn't even a river here. Did the early settlers say "fuck it" and collapse in this spot out exhaustion, or boredom with the featureless landscape? You would think some Indian tribe would tip them off about a couple of lakes to the north.

Oh yeah...recording. It's going ok. We're drinking Coors Llight because our producer is wearing an NRA shirt and we thought it'd be appropriate to drink right wing beers.

Just sayin'.


Day 2 at Queensize Studios

Day 2! So far we've spent most of the day working on tracks for a song called "Shine Moon" and we're getting close to moving on to a third song before the night is done. During down time, we frequent La Parada, the local taco joint. Scott really likes the tongue tacos and the rest of us are pretty content to take his word that they're good. Also: horchatas + spiced rum = real good.

Thunderstorm #3 of the trip is on its way. We hope everyone back in MD is back to the comforts of electricity - we've been following the madness on facebook.

"Goat stew!" was just heard from the booth. Looks like that's definitely in our future. Check in later for more stuff...

Here - pictures:

[gallery columns="2"]

Snow!

Hope everybody's excited about the early glimpse of winter we're getting here in Baltimore. I figure we'd share a clip of us playing our new song "Snow" at the Metro Gallery last Wednesday. A finger was over the mic for the first few secs so don't turn it up too loud until it kicks in for the chorus. Thanks to everyone who made it out and especially Jim for taking the video!

We'll be recording this one - as well as two others - with Tyler over Thanksgiving. Here are the lyrics if anyone's interested:

Snow

I love the winter but I hate being cold Warm by the fire is favorable I love sleddin but I hate the wind It burns and dries out my skin

But when it snows You can feel it in your bones it's so pretty Paints the night sky purple in the light of the city

You know I love you but I hate all the mess it brings When you sit me down drunk on the porch swing Sayin this and that and "Honey my how you've changed You're like a leafless tree so sad in the rain"

JL

Dewey Beach Music Festival

We're very excited to play the Dewey Beach Music Festival this Friday, Sept 23rd. We're playing at the Bottle and Cork and will be going on at 8 PM on Stage A. Our set list will include: There Was Light That Mountain is a Volcano Girls Cry (new!) Dinosaurs Snow (new!) Shine Moon Shine (new!) Cactus Man Goodbye Space and Time

Hope you can make it!

In the Streets Festival

Just wanted to do a little update here. Tonight, we finished 4 songs: Snow Mila Don't Make a Sound Spaceman Free Shot for the Wrecking Ball

We hope we can share these with you very soon. IN FACT, we're playing all of them at our upcoming performance at Frederick's In the Streets Festival. The event takes place on Saturday, September 10th and we start things off at 11:30 in the morning. We're playing a long (all original) set in the wine and beer garden on the 600 block of Market Street. Come get a pre-lunch buzz going with us.

New England "Jaunt," Festivals and Spotify

EDIT: Add Dewey Beach Music Festival to the list. At the Bottle and Cork on Sept 23rd @ 8pm.

Ok, so maybe the last tour loop picture was a little ambitious...This jaunt seems more fitting and all three dates will include the full band.

Minglewood Tavern, Gloucester, MA - Friday, October 7th EastRock WestRock Festival, New Haven - Saturday, October 8th Valentine's, Albany - Sunday, October 9th

We'll try to push out to the midwest in November and December and couple those tour dates with the beginning of RECORD #2. We've decided that after our single "And We Are All the Same" is released - as well as a remix of "There Was Light" - we'll push to record a full length album in Indiana with Tyler Watkins. Right now it's looking like we have around 20 songs to think about and we probably will not re-release any songs from Eureka! EP on this upcoming full length. Some good stuff coming up!

If you'll look to the right, you'll see that we have a couple festivals we're playing next month. "In the Streets" is always a great time and we'll be playing in a beer and wine garden at 300 block of Market Street in Frederick at 11AM. The Beerfest in Annapolis is a charity event and we play at 8PM on Park Place.

Also, I'd like to let everyone know about the new (in the US) service Spotify and how important it is for discovering new music. If you don't have it yet, go to Spotify.com and sign up for an invite. Their song library is 15 million+ and you can stream them all for free from your computer (or phone if you sign up for Spotify Premium like I did). A few of the 15 million+ songs are in fact Eureka Birds. See for yourself: Eureka Birds

That's it for me. Hope you have a nice week.

New Shows

We've got a few shows coming up that I should tell you about: Saturday, July 30th @ the Windup Space (Baltimore) FBook Event Playing with Shortwave Society (orchestral indie-pop from Knoxville), Ms. Fridrich (jazzy, piano/drum duo from DC), and Honeyboat ("ghostfolk," our friends from Bmore)

Sunday, July 31st @ Cafe Nola (Frederick, MD) Playing with the lovely and talented Dana Falconberry who will be performing as a duo with singer/guitarist Matt Bauer. She played Cafe Nola with us last year and her sometimes haunting and sometimes sweet voice should not be missed. Listen to her and Matt at their bandcamp.

I'll write some words about our other shows as they center more on our radar. For now, check out our songkick links on the right side over there.

News News News!

Sorry for the delay, It's been a mixed up couple of weeks for us over here. Lots of stuff going on. First, I'd like to introduce our new bassist Scott Hesel. He looks like this:

Scott's a great guy and is really helping us move the project along. In fact, we plan to debut at least three new songs at our upcoming Metro Gallery show (see Facebook event). We've begun demoing new material and we're planning on visiting Mr. Tyler Watkins in the next couple months to work on MYSTERY RECORDING #3. Will it be another EP? Sophomore album? Single? Will it involve another fundraising campaign? I hope we can answer all these questions soon.

I will tell you that SOMETHING is going to happen before our October tour we're planning. If all goes well, the loop will look something like this:

That's it for me. Please keep in touch and watch for exciting things on our Facebook.

And We Are All The Same

Good morning to you, I'm going into the studio today to do vocals for our upcoming single, "and we are all the same." I'm excited to be recording the vocals with Mat Leffler-Schulman here in Baltimore for this. You know, it's going to be weird not working with Tyler to finish up the song, but hey, we've wanted to do a little recording with Mat for years now. It's also nice that he lives right down the street (Tyler lives in Indianapolis). I'll finish the rest of this post later and let you know how the session went...

...It went well. More news soon!

Eureka Louisville

The Red Sparrow runs again! Her catalytic converter was clogged causing her to cough, moan, and eventually pass out when overworked. This morning, Kevin and I got up at 6:30 to take her to the surgeon. She got a new cat con and is now running as good as ever. Since we were able to leave Dallas by 10am, we're now only 3 hours away from our show in Louisville (a 13 hour drive total). We're really excited to play and hope the folks at ZaZoo's Bar enjoy our set. Sorry to those who wanted to see us in Little Rock last night. We hope to reschedule a show there sometime this summer.

Eureka Stall

Sparrow, fixed in the sky Not the kind of flight we were hoping to take the Red Sparrow on.

Kevin and I are sitting here around Dallas, TX with our van arrested in mid-air. We had to cancel our show in Little Rock last night and may have to cancel our Louisville show tonight as well. Check our twitter for info about that.

After a great show at I Guess I'm Floating / Flying Dog's Floating Fest at SXSW we have hit a bit of a speed bump. We hoped that the repairs made at Pep Boys yesterday would let us get home but unfortunately we weren't so lucky. About an hour into our drive yesterday, the Sparrow stalled on I-35 again and left us in need of a tow. Hopefully today's replacement of the catalytic converter will do the trick.

As always: http://music.eurekabirds.com/