Over the last year and a half I wrote twelve songs about twelve Blaseball players on the Kansas City Breath Mints. I commissioned cover art and compiled them into an album, which is out today on Bandcamp. Each song's page has background information about the player, for those unfamiliar with Blaseball in general or the Mints in particular. [more inside]
In the depopulated wasteland that is blogger.com, a blog bringing together some brief reflections on random records from my collection. [more inside]
At the beginning of 2020 I collected some instrumentals I'd been working on under the name Trey Fontaine (an imaginary guitar player I pretend to be sometimes). I just released a sequel, imaginatively titled Trey Fontaine II. The link above goes to one of those aggregators that leads to all the streaming services. Alternatively, here is the first track, This Is a Map, on Youtube.
I created Solfetta because I wanted a convenient way to practice playing by ear on my phone that could help build associations between the music being played and Solfa symbols (you can also display intervals, or note names in any key). You can play what you want or use a library of well-known melodies to get started. The tuning can be changed to match any recording. Code (VanillaJS) is on GitHub.
I wrote the music using some Apple loops and original stuff too. I used GarageBand for iOS. And iMovie for iOS. My partner did a lot of the video-ing. I love the old French doll and the bluejay finger puppets.
Aura is my latest album. It's a jazz album featuring me on bass with three great musicians playing songs I wrote. I don't know what style I'd call it, but it's definitely influenced by various artists on the ECM label.
I contributed three songs to a collaborative Blaseball album, Reunion Tour, the fourth in a series of "Away Games" albums that collect songs about teams other than the Garages. [more inside]
I haven't been able to make music with my brass quintet since the start of the pandemic. I ended up redirecting that grief into a 10-month quest to use extensive digital signal processing to transform live trumpet audio into realistic horn, trombone, and tuba, so I could play a sextet with myself.
My band's (post-rock, from Québec, Canada) third LP, a 42-minute journey through space and (hopefully) time. For this one, we chose to tell a story through a kid's point of view.
I made this video for my band, Bottlecap Mountain, and our new song, Kool. I play bass on the song, and did everything on the video. [more inside]
When Bob "Jawbone" Zabor, a one-man blues band from Detroit, played a 2004 live session on John Peel's BBC radio show, the DJ declared him "almost a definition of what I would like this programme to be about". Peel played nearly every track of Jawbone's homemade CDR on the show and immediately invited him for another live session - but died before that offer could be made good. Jawbone, who still struggled to find gigs in America, released a couple of official albums here and remained a cult favourite on the UK circuit until 2008, when he suddenly dropped out of sight. Now he's back with his first new songs in over a decade and this exclusive PlanetSlade interview telling the full story. [more inside]
I've been writing about a fictional band for nearly two years. I've written up fake song names, put the band on a made-up tour around the world, and I've written stories about their time on the road. But I don't have any music to go along with the stories, and I'd like to change that. [more inside]
It's an interactive explanation of a channel vocoder. (Homer Dudley's original vocoder from the 1930s was channel vocoder.) It let you perform all of the steps that the vocoder goes through to analyze a music signal and a voice signal and synthesize them together.
My high school band is now my middle-aged band, and we’ve just written the jam of the summer (to be modest). Now streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and anywhere you stream music!
This is an ambient concept album that tells you about events that will happen in the far future. You can listen to the recording, or you can have your browser play it "live" with accompanying visualization. [more inside]
Between April of 2000 and July of 2021, the Quarantine Happy Hour Facebook group hosted a livestreamed concert of mostly roots/acoustic/americana/bluegrass/folk music nearly every single night. Hundreds of artists gave concerts, and around 20,000 people joined the group. Facebook's interface for finding and watching the concerts after they were over is terrible, so I built a searchable and (hopefully) easier to use page linking to all of them. [more inside]
Exactly 100 years ago, Harry Pace founded America's first Black-owned record label. Black Swan Blues, my 2014 book telling his extraordinary story, inspired Jad Abumrad & Shima Oliaee’s new Radiolab series The Vanishing of Harry Pace. Over the past 12 months, we've been able to gather a lot of fresh information about Pace and Black Swan, so I've produced a expanded edition of my book which you can buy here. As a little bonus for PlanetSlade readers, I've also posted a new website essay called A Georgia Lynching, which tells the full story behind an incident Black Swan's Ethel Waters mentions in her autobiography.
A little indie pop/folk/rock album release! My friend Molly & I have founded a little quarantine band called Good Moon, and just released our pandemic project - an EP album of original songs, called Still Delightful. A little bit Lake Street Dive meets a little bit Sara Bareilles, maybe? Would love for you to check it out!
During the horror show that was 2020, I sometimes felt like a passenger on a plane flown by a madman. Then it hit me... I'd heard that story before. I ended up doing a cover of a classic, prescient song by my ultimate art hero Laurie Anderson. It's the first song I've recorded under my Maxx Klaxon moniker in some years. (Longtime MeFites might remember my contribution to the MeFiComp back in 2006... but I can't find a link to it.) Check it out on Bandcamp... and remember, it's Bandcamp Friday today (May 7), so for all purchases before midnight, 100% of the money goes directly to the artists.
I'm excited to share my first music video and vinyl release, featuring incredible puppets and miniatures by my talented friend Jon David Russell (who also recorded and produced the album). The vinyl can be pre-ordered at seththomas.bandcamp.com. [more inside]
For about a year I've sent a fake band around the world on a fake tour with fake songs. Each performance gets a score, which leads to some songs being more popular than others. Now I'm looking for help from people who love Taylor Swift, The Grateful Dead, or King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard so I can map my fake songs to their real ones. People like you, maybe! [more inside]
Hi! This is a cover my over-60 amateur musician buddies and I (The Busted Bones) created using a small Zoom recorder... sent between us - quarantine style! [more inside]
Needledrop is a skeuomorphic vinyl turntable interface for listening to music on YouTube. Use it with your favorite albums and share with friends. Try it out for good vibes.
There’s a cult band from the late 80s onward called the KLF (and other names); they made a step-by-step guide to achieving a number one single with no money or musical skills. Legitimate copies of the book are hard to find, or priced for collectors. Released in 1988, though copies are around on the internet; based on the same source version, there are many typos and OCR artifacts. I decided to clean it up and share. [more inside]
I became somewhat obsessed with the Google Blob Opera (FPP) and, more specifically, making it sing arbitrary songs (MIDI control is supported but very limited, or at least difficult to program manually). What started out as quick and dirty hack to convert 4-part MIDI arrangements to Blob Opera format JSON ended up as a slightly less quick and dirty standalone npm module. [more inside]
The famous song has been out of copyright since 2017, so I commissioned a musician to produce 20 different versions ranging from sensible to silly. You can download high-quality WAVs under a CC0/public domain license to freely use in absolutely anything.
I've been creating a new kind of electronic musical instrument. It's expressive, it's melodic, it's compact, it's portable, and it's absurdly easy to play. [more inside]
A piano-forward set of cabaret songs, each from the point of view of a different character, evoking the atmosphere of a basement club where people wear too much makeup and share too many secrets.
Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey and I made a video about how we went from "vaguely aware that BTS exists" three months ago, to "unboxing our official BTS light bombs and setting the alarm to wake up at 4AM on December 31 for the Big Hit Entertainment 2021 New Year's Eve concert". Along the way we talked about a number of things, including music, culture, history, mental health, and more.
While “Apocalypse Yule” was a clustermindf*ck of a “War on Christmas movie”, maybe that was the only way to capture the surreal combination of horror, madness, and violence that only the Holiday Season can bring out. [more inside]
To celebrate my birthday this year, I decided to release an album. Actually, I was working on it anyway, and it ended up coinciding. Everything by me except the cover, which was drawn for my by the wonderful illustrator Viviane Schwarz. Also on Spotify, Apple Music and, I have it on good authority, all the other streaming services.
Mrs. TheCoug enjoys to make videos of cool bugs she finds. A while back she suggested that we set them to music, and so that's what we did.
Lost Notes is a music documentary podcast from KCRW (Santa Monica, CA). For our third season, the poet and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib explores a single year: 1980 - the brilliant, awkward, and sometimes heartbreaking opening to a monumental decade in popular music. Check out the episode guide in the Extended Description. Here's my essay introducing the series. [Previously on Projects: Season 1 | Season 2] [more inside]
An eclectic radio show where I essentially play three hours of whatever I've been listening to that week and have a drink. All feedback is enjoyed.
I have written a lightweight system for making it convenient to play AudioUnit software instruments in code on macOS. Arigato consists of a tool, ARigEditor, for creating networks of pre-prepared AudioUnits (which I call ARigs, hence the name), tagged with names, and a library for loading these and doing things with them in Swift, typically in Xcode Playgrounds. Oh, and ARigEditor will also generate Playgrounds containing your AudioUnits and the necessary support code. [more inside]
Bizarrely, and for reasons too long and dull to explain, I’ve released an album of odd rock guitar instrumentals under the pseudonym Trey Fontaine. [more inside]
It took a plague to slow me down enough to realize a years-held dream: posting a new video to youtube every day (almost) of me playing the guitar and singing a song. Been at it for a couple of weeks now and it's going pretty good! Covers so far include Lucinda Williams, Woody Guthrie, Doc Watson, and Steven Universe, plus a bunch by Trad of Itional, and I would describe the musical style as crude but heartfelt. Hope you enjoy!
An archive of my 2004/2005 radio show's set lists (with album covers, links to music videos or artist websites where possible, and liner notes). The show was about more-or-less-contemporary world music, w/ a focus on genre/cultural crossover instead of traditional folk forms. [more inside]
Is this episode, we examine the song "Bad and Boujee" by Migos, exploring what makes it so profoundly irritating. Inspired by Rick Beato's "What makes this song great?" project.
"Finding Connection" is an original 40 minute indie musical theater production about finding personal connection in a digitally connected world. The production was filmed by the composer and actors on their cellphones and a camcorder. Here is the link to the YouTube playlist, containing 11 songs and 7 dialogues. The musical score features the human voice exclusively - there are no other instruments. Each song is different, ranging from musical theater, spoken word, metal, rap, and modern choral. I am the composer and film-maker, and I also sing/rap in some of the songs. [more inside]
My newsletter about the most outre, experimental, and interesting art, film, music, performance and other expressions of culture I can find. Published several times per week. [more inside]
Two years ago, after enduring my numerous (NUMEROUS) social media posts and IRL chatter about her, a good friend of mine pointedly asked me WHAT IS YOUR DEAL WITH CARLY RAE JEPSEN? So this few thousand words here is my explanation of the nature of my deal with Carly Rae Jepsen.
I have created (as per a friend's request) a cover version and video for Neil Young's After the Gold Rush. [more inside]
A song for each year of the People’s Republic of China. An attempt to distill the many diverse, fascinating currents of music in mainland China over the last 70 years into a primer, an invitation to dig deeper. From revolutionary operas and western classical to rock’n’roll, disco, punk and hip-hop — a musical history of the PRC with an eye for the regional, underground and (nefarious) foreign influences. [more inside]
The crazy, heartbreaking story of Hang on the Box, one of China's earliest all-women punk bands. Excerpted from a (forthcoming!) comic-book history of Beijing's musical underground. [more inside]
I drew a longform comic on the fascinating, intertwined story of China and reggae. Chinese Jamaican music producers helped turn reggae into a global sensation—one that would eventually reach all the way to the country their ancestors had left behind. [more inside]
My name is Fred Miller, and this is my 4th self-released album. Available at this link (website hosted on AWS S3), and iTunes, Spotify, etc. Enjoy! [more inside]
I wanted to wait until we had a sufficient pile of episodes out there to share, but ... Lost Notes is back for another season! Our exec producer/host this season is the great Jessica Hopper - one of the sharpest music writers and critics in the room. Check out the episode guide in the Extended Description. [more inside]
I released my first LP, About Faces, after several years of sometimes-intermittent writing and recording. It's about adapting to some significant changes in my partner's life trajectory and, relatedly, struggling with my own issues with emotions and vulnerability related to toxic masculinity, though the tone is mostly upbeat and positive. The genre is broadly "indie rock" but with some genre deviations and experimental and unorthodox bits to it. [more inside]