the Notes and Scratches

image by Sangini Brahmbhatt
and Nora McComiskey

Beginnings and Endings

tuesday, january 17th, 2006 at 12:17 am

So this mostly isn’t news about us, but it’s all very good news, so i figured i’d share. Saw the opening of the House Theatre‘s new play Valentine Victorious — for the love of all good things, it is brilliant! Victorious is the conclusion, three years in the making, of the House’s Valentine Trilogy, whose first installment featured yours truly playing sloppy upright in uncomfortable jeans and a bullet hole ridden cowboy hat. Feels like a lifetime ago… Anyway, this new play is total spectacular, features a freaking 15 piece orchestra which is onstage through-out, beautiful arrangements by Kevin O’Donnell, and our dear friend Marika utterly steals the first act, she’s incredible. See it people, it is wonderful.

Saw Lying in States on Saturday, which too seemed to be a bit of both beginning and ending. I’ve known the States guys pretty much since i’ve lived in Chicago and have seen them play probably about a hundred times. A good handful of those times for less than twenty people. That’s actually one of the reasons I love their band, no matter how many cats are in the crowd, no matter if anyone is listening at all, they put on a super great, super energized show. Well, i think the days of seeing my boys in an empty club are over. They played a great show on Saturday at a completely packed Beat Kitchen. I mean squashed bodies packed, it was ridiculous! They have a new record dropping next month called Wildfire on the Lake and it is gonna catch as such, ‘cept instead of wet fire it is gonna be like a rock’n'roll wildfire where the only thing damaged is the squares and the authorities and rest of us get our hearts warmed.

Susie turned 30 on Saturday which makes my heart warm. Happy Birthday Shark!

On Sunday I went and checked out Bill, Monique and Rob’s new space. Rob bought this building on Milwaukee and the three of them are building it into a kind of punk rock multiplex. It is going to be a venue, it is going to have recording gear in the basement. On Purpose will have its office there, they’re planning to show films, have potlucks, show art, the works. And I was surprised to learn, they are doing it all on the ups — getting lawyers and accountants and a liquor license and such. Nothing against the Ice Factory or Camp Gay or anything but how great is it gonna be to have a space that works like those do and is not in constant threat of being shutdown. So cheers to that!

And finally, the awesome sprinkles on the tofutti rice cream cone that was this weekend, saw root shoot leaf at the Subterranean. Holy crow my friends. Sloppy, smart, chilling, fun, sad, stunning. Careful arrangements, quality lyrics, brother/sister harmonies, so good! We’re hoping very much to set something up with them in March and if so, you must come. There is a song on their new CD Strangers Touching and Never Disappearing that gave me goosebumps repeatedly today. And again, hardly any kids at the show, Kirk and i and maybe twenty other heads. But whateves, root shoot leaf brought the house down regardless, digging and bending toward sunlight.

Oops, dang, one more thing that is actually Notes news. Tense Forms is having its first annual winter showcase in two weeks, on January 28th at the Subterranean. It is going to be something. There’s gory details at the 800 Winters website. Anyway, i want to mention two things: 25 artists have contributed work and we are turning part of the balcony into a photo installation with 800 images. It is going to be beautiful and nuts, 800 photos! And lovely Tense Former Nora McComiskey has built a photobooth that we’re going to park on the 2nd floor and she’ll be encouraging folks to pile in and get their picture taken for free. How can you not love this? Hope see you!

image by Cortney Groves

Thank You and Happy Holidays!

thursday, december 22nd, 2005 at 02:38 pm

Just want to thank everyone that came out to the Empty Bottle last weekend. We hugely hugely appreciate your kindness, support and dancing. I hope y’all had as much fun as we did!

I’m at my folks place, so i’ll make this quick:
First, whipped up a quick little cover for the holidays. It is a seriously revised version of a Pogues song. Have a listen and happy holidays!

Fairytale of New York [3.5MB] [mp3]

For a more traditional take on the song, check out the super good Toronto blog Chromewaves for a brillant Stars’ version of Fairytale of New York [5.6MB] [mp3]. UPDATE: Time’s up on this one. By the way, if you’ve not spent time with Stars’ late 2004 release Set Yourself on Fire, spend your Xmas gift cards on it. Second best record i heard and best live show i saw in 2005!

Oh, some impossibly kind reviews have been coming for Uh-Oh, check the Reviews page. Many thanks to all the writers who’ve taken time and shown interest!

So, happy holidays everyone, and peace and joy in the New Year!

image by joshua dumas

Record Release Show

saturday, december 17th, 2005 at 09:30 pm

here’s the skinny on our record release show:

the Attic Recordings
the Notes and Scratches

at the Empty Bottle.
December 17th, doors 9:30, 21+, $8 — buy tickets

the Attic Recordings celebrate their new EP Village Down Below and we celebrate our new CD Uh-Oh

Please come out!

image by Mike Piontek

Uh-Oh is out! Now! In Color!

thursday, november 17th, 2005 at 09:50 pm

We have a CD now that we’ve worked really hard to make and we are very excited about it and also kinda sleepy but surely we are very much hoping that other people will like these songs and that maybe a person or two will find themselves moved in a way that makes their life and the lives of those near them somehow a little tiny bit better or at least maybe some dancing alone in bedrooms might happen somewhere, a lot.

The record is called Uh-Oh. It has thirteen songs on it. Endlessly generous and patient Matt Dewine at Pieholden Suite Sound recorded it. Mike Piontek drew the pictures (which are somehow both silly and sad!). The Notes and Tense Forms silkscreened the cover art onto this nice recycled kraftboard. You can purchase it now from the Tense Forms Store. It is available in your usual compact disc format for $10 postpaid OR $5 for the record in mp3 format along with a digital booklet. Thanks for listening and we really hope you like it (or at least some of it)!

Other news— played on the radio with Ami from Radiant Darling. The whole interview and songs are posted at Radio One, a great local music show on WLUW. (Thanks Eric, thanks Sean). Our performance and interview [14.3MB] [mp3]. If you just want to hear the one new song I played without my dumb talking about stuff, it is called how the Day Breaks [3.2MB] [mp3]. (Note: apologies for the sound quality of that one, that’s how LUW encoded it.)

We’ve a date for our record release show! We’re playing with our friends the Attic Recordings who also have a new record coming out. It should be great fun. Details at the Tense Forms Calendar.

Our friends in Radiant Darling have a new record out too. Snap that up in the Store while you’re over there.

What else? I’ve been listening to a bunch of West African Highlife music this week, expect a post about Sir John Warrior and Prince Nico Mbarga sometime soon. We’re playing with the Oracles in few weeks. We get our stickers in a few weeks. Mike designed them and they look really nice! [60k] [jpg]

Oh, and lastly, thanks to Alan at Sixeyes and Sam at 3 Hive. Oh, and happy belated b-day Sam.

So, please have a listen, please buy the record, please tell your friends, please share our songs and sing them to your loved ones and whistle them in alleys and please take care everyone!

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