I have another new track up! Outbirds is the first of the Sketchy Characters songs to get a full studio treatment. Please enjoy it here:
Outbirds is partly rage, and partly lament, and none of it’s happy; it’s for everybody who has been a friend of convenience one too many times. If you were there for people who then weren’t there for you; if you’re just a little too strange; if you’re just a little too real, or not real enough; if you’re just a little too useful – this song is for you. It was the first song I wrote where the lyrics came in a huge lump, with me writing them down as quickly as I could as they came falling out of my head in a rush. Usually words are the harder part; they come later, and sometimes with difficulty, but in this case it was the music which took all the time.
You can compare the studio version with the earlier version – which for all its multitracking was very nearly a live recording – here. Kathryn says the new one’s the album cut and the old one is me slamming back a fifth of Jack and staggering up to a mic. I kind of like that image, so I’m going to keep it.
The most entertaining part of this song from a technical standpoint are the chimes between verses; they’re actually not chimes, they’re interference patterns between the left and right channels of out-of-phase fake-stereo output from a Radio Shack synth. The actual voice selected on the synth (what it’s “supposed” to sound like) sounds nothing like what I recorded, and is not nearly as interesting, either. I discovered this by accident when I plugged it into my board with a mono 1/4″ cable, thus merging left and right channels and cancelling out most of the signal – leaving that. Which I of course then had to use. It was imperative.
Next up will be Stars, because after this one, we need something with hope in it, and this weekend I recorded the best bass line I’ve ever put down, and something about that kicked me in the ass vocally and I put down my best Stars vocals, too, the following day. You’ll like it. But first, enjoy something bitter. Clickie on “play” above, or on the sample tracks list on the Crime and the Forces of Evil main website.