Distinct Hitting Motion: After All That Work…

It’s the playoffs! Ten teams qualified and four of them get… a winner-take-all game. Well then…

My preamble there tells you exactly where this comes from. Think of this as the anger of the wild card winners’ fans for all that time spent in the regular season earning them… one lousy game. To make matters worse this year, both home teams won the wild card games, meaning the second wild card winners didn’t even get a playoff home game!

Musically, this one was highly inspired by Strapping Young Lad, which explains both the drastic dynamic shift right at the beginning and all of the layers. There were an awful lot of tracks for a song so short… This song’s recording trick: The initial rhythm guitars didn’t have the articulation I wanted, so I tracked them again through a Roland Micro Cube. I kept the originals, so there are four tracks of rhythm guitar on this sucker.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good day and come on back next week for something totally different!

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Distinct Hitting Motion: Rain Delay

Dang. Just like that the regular season is over.

I decided quite a while ago – I think even as far back as August – that the best way to end the regular season would be with an acoustic instrumental. Good way to break things up after all the distortion, right? I’ve always enjoyed the acoustic songs in the middle of metal albums, so I figured why not. Also continuing a seeming tradition, I also used an alternate tuning – Open-D, to accommodate the lap steel guitar I used as the melody instrument. I also tracked some organ, but didn’t use the video footage of that.

As for the title… it seemed appropriate after being caught in two rain delays this season – one in Batavia and one in Rochester (the Rochester game wound up being suspended). The noise buried in the background is indeed rain, recorded from an open window in my studio space.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Enjoy your day and come on back in two weeks for something that starts quiet… but doesn’t stay that way!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Pennant Chase

Middle of September? Already?! Where did the time go?! Suddenly the regular season is almost over and it’s time to wrap up those playoff spots!

This song is another classic case of “new gear, new riff” – in this case, a new pedal. I went into this song thinking of making a straightforward, driving tune with a fuzz pedal. So, I got my hands on a fuzz pedal, hooked it up to my Orange amp, plugged in my seven-string, and away we went. I had originally played the main riff on a six-string, but I wanted that low B and using the seven was way easier than detuning…

For the ending, I was torn. I originally wrote a sudden ending, which was fine… but part of me wanted to fade out. After some thought, I decided to do both! I kept the sudden ending, waited around, then went back to the main riff for the fadeout. Why choose, right?

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Enjoy your day and come on back in two weeks for something completely different from anything else in this project!

Distinct Hitting Motion: The Challenge

You know what number always comes to mind when I think of baseball? SEVEN. Not nine, not three, but SEVEN. Because, you know… OK, not really. But I wanted to write in seven, so I did anyway.

The first riff came about literally trying that specific guitar in a music store. I picked that guitar up, plugged it in, and started playing that riff almost immediately. I’ve been wanting to use more complex chords in my writing and this was the perfect opportunity. Funnily enough, the song wound up being structured kind of like a march or a rag (double-binary form – ABABCDCD) and I didn’t even realize it until long after I had tracked it.

Lyrically, I was struggling for this one – in fact, this tune almost didn’t make the cut for this project because of that. But right as I was about to shelve it, an idea was hatched. Manager’s mad about a call and challenges it! And, of course, doesn’t like that the call stands and gets himself ejected. I tried a new style of harsh vocals since the low growls didn’t seem to make sense for this one.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Enjoy your day and come on back in two weeks for fun with a fuzz pedal!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Or Do You Want to See Me Sock a Few Dingers?

If you know your Simpsons trivia, you knew this tune was coming at some point.

This one took a lot of work. I had over an hour and a half of footage to sort through for this video. There were at least a few bad takes on every instrument… especially that piano part in the middle. Those drastic key shifts made that part tough. Not sure why I keep doing that to myself…

Knowing how the line was delivered, the tune had to start exactly like this – mid-tempo, major key, generally sounding happy and fun. Then, remembering the Terrifying Truth, ending with the sinister riff that opened and closed that song… transposed down again. Because let’s be honest – I’m using the 8-string and that open 8th string with full distortion is just way too fun to leave out.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good week and come on back in two weeks for a little more prog rock fun!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Sellin’ at the Deadline

Today, we enter some uncharted musical territory for me. In honor of my favorite baseball team occasionally being on pace for 100 losses this year, here’s a tune about being a “seller” at the trade deadline.

Blues rock is decidedly foreign territory for me. I’ve studied enough music to know the basics – twelve-bar phrase, sing a line, repeat it, then compliment it – but I’ve still never really dove into it as a writer. I probably wouldn’t have either until one day, bored at work… I started playing this riff. I fleshed it out a little more while I was still there, then came home and figured out how to end the song, and just kinda sat on it until the time came to write the lyrics. Finally, I’ll tell one on myself: The organ solo is one continuous take, the guitar solo is a combination of takes. I took multiple passes on both solos, the vocals, and the drums, leaving me with a lot of video footage to sift through.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good week and come on back in two weeks for a new song featuring a callback to a previous tune!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Break Time

We’re halfway through already? Dang… let’s take a breather and enjoy the all-star festivities.

Oh, right. A song about taking a break probably shouldn’t be that fast, should it? Oops…

I had been thinking a lot about fast and loud music lately, from Slayer to Sick of It All, and that’s how this tune came about. Loud, fast, sloppy, and brash as all hell. For all the times I’ve used harsh vocals in the past, this is strangely enough the first song in this project where I don’t actually sing. I don’t fully know where September and October will take me, but there’s a good chance this might be the only song in this project with only yelling/harsh vocals. So why this time? Simply because the tune’s punk/hardcore/metal vibe called for it.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good week and come on back in two weeks for a new song in a completely different style!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Day Games

It’s no secret that I love me some good ol’ power pop. Between “I Wanna Go Outside” and “Opening Day“, I’ve made no bones about my love for simple pop songs played loudly. And, since the last tune was a weird and heavy instrumental, I thought why not just keep it simple and have some fun this time around?

Even though I am as pale as it gets and prone to sunburn, I still love the concept of going to a ballgame in the early afternoon. I’ve been to two this year (as of this post) and they were both awesome. I think it’s a combination of just kinda hanging out outside for a few hours and also having the evening free after the game that appeals. I know I missed an opportunity and didn’t wear a hat in the video, but I have a few free hats from baseball games in my collection… Incidentally, as should be no surprise, I had a LOT less footage to sort through for this song than the last one – helps when the two rhythm guitar tracks were nailed on the first take…

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good week and come on back in two weeks for a new song!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Do You Want to Know the Terrifying Truth?

It was about time for a track like this, wasn’t it? I thought so, too. As soon as I knew I wanted to use a Simpsons reference (the song for the second half of it is actually mostly written and coming later this year), this one started to form a little in my head. Because it came first, the title really helped shape the song itself. Vocals? Lyrics? Who needs ’em?!

Even though I could’ve gotten away without it, I used the 8-string anyway. This is largely as a setup for the second half… and also because I reached for it long before the “7-string in drop-A” lightbulb went off.

Thanks to the title, I knew I wanted changing time signatures and plenty of dissonance. This tune, with the exception of one section, goes back and forth between 3/4 and 5/4 time. As for dissonance, the easiest way to achieve that was to have the guitars one fret off on the high notes in the 5/4 riff. I then had the bass decide who’s “on” and who’s “off” through its own line.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Enjoy your day and I’ll see you in two weeks with a new song!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Human Rain Delay

“Human Rain Delay” is the baseball nickname that I loved the moment I heard it. Such a prestigious moniker is bestowed on a pitcher or batter who seems to take FOREVER between pitches. Guys like these are why MLB has a “stay in the batter’s box, you jerk” rule and why the top minor leagues have pitch clocks. Just throw the ball already!

I don’t really know why, but I’ve sorta been on a groove/sludge kick for a good chunk of this year. I think the new Mastodon album has a lot to do with it – that disc spent a LOT of time in my car after its release. Maybe it was also in anticipation of finally seeing Tool live (which was a good time, by the way)? I don’t know for sure. Either way, I wanted to slow down the tempo a bit, get heavy, and finally make use of an extended range guitar for this song. As a little bit of music reflecting lyrics, I decided the ending bit should have an occasional measure of 7/8. This gives the music some impatience to compliment the lyrics getting impatient and annoyed.

The haiku at the beginning really set the tone for the lyrics. I was hanging out, bothering my brother as usual, when we got talking about baseball and he just kinda blurted out that haiku. He agreed to let me use it in exchange for a beer to be named later.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Take it easy and I’ll see you in two weeks with a new song!