Another year, another Christmas EP! 2020 has been weird for sure, but we still somehow managed to get group vocals into this batch! Instead of bringing people over to me, I sent clips and detailed instructions, then waited for people to send me their tracks. Also, because we’re all spending a lot more time at home, I got the jump on this one early – all of the instruments were recorded before Halloween! This was another fun EP to make and I hope you enjoy it.
Recorded and mixed at The ‘Berger Joint, Rochester NY, October-November 2020. Additional vocals/yelling: Ed, Rob Klingenberger, Sarah Klingenberger, Steve Begy, Malcolm Begy, Warren Begy, Adam Donnelly, Brigid Harrigan, Wilson Ng, Brian Wood, and Matt Ferrara.
We’ve made it! Another year is in the books, so it’s time for yet another Christmas EP! This one was fun to make… and a bit of a workout, too. The theme this year wasn’t readily apparent when I just looked at the songs I picked, but it emerged as I was putting it together. Since two of the four songs don’t really have a whole lot going for them, the name of the game wound up being SPEED. In terms of tempos, this is quite possibly the fastest batch I’ve ever made. The click track was set at over 300 beats per minute for two of them… Enjoy!
Recorded and mixed at The ‘Berger Joint, Rochester NY, October-November 2019. Additional vocals/yelling in “Nuttin’ for Christmas” and “Frosty the Snowman”: Ed, Rob Klingenberger, Sarah Klingenberger, Erika Bryan, Steve Begy, Adam Donnelly, Tom Klingenberger, Karen Klingenberger, Cameron Cole, Jake Butcher, and Jeremy Schlierf. Cameron, Jake, and Jeremy were recorded at The Cole House, Clarence Center, NY, November 2019.
This album is my entry into the 2019 RPM Challenge. Since it’s done, I thought I’d give a quick track-by-track breakdown.
This song spawned from this Instagram post. The background noise was my super bowl party (recorded with their permission) and I also got them all to yell at me. Nobody seems to turn down a chance to yell at me on my recordings… My brother did the whistling because he’s better at it than I am. The sucker punch of the metal band at the end (it is, indeed, a trappy song) works as a direct segue to…
“Swimming Patterns Against the Tide”
A good friend of mine gave me the title without hearing the song. These are some of the last lyrics written for the project, so this wound up bringing a few other tunes together. Recorded on a 7-string guitar in standard tuning.
“The Irish Goodbye”
I came up with the verse and chorus riffs in early January but didn’t get the lyrics until the middle of February. I thought I was gonna have to scrap it until I woke up one morning with “When it all comes crashing down you’ll know just where to go” in my head.
I wrote these lyrics as a petulant six-year-old. I work with kids for a living, so getting into this character wasn’t too difficult. This is on the 7-string again, but in drop-A tuning this time. Also, that’s a PS4 controller at the end.
“Grounded For Life”
I had to have at least one uptempo punk tune on this record. I unabashedly love poppy songs played way too fast. The thought of starting every verse with “Everything sucks when…” made me laugh so I had to use it.
“Tap Into the Potential”
I came up with the verse riff at work. I teach private lessons for a living so I literally have to play guitar every day… and that day a student or two got to witness me go “whoa that’s cool I gotta remember that.” I rarely write songs about music, so this was a conscious decision to make an exception. For the record, “the driver song” is “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” by Primus and “the side two thing” is the Abbey Road medley. I changed the end of the last verse to “you’ll find them soon” from “stop lying please” after thinking about my line of work.
This one stemmed simply from a desire to have at least one acoustic song on this record. I’m a huge fan of Opeth, both heavy and acoustic, and this was definitely inspired by their quieter work. Incidentally, the hand drum on this song is a darbuka. Snow is a running theme on this record because I live near Lake Ontario and we get a bunch of it every year…
“Take the Stairs”
I’m a huge prog and metal nerd, but sometimes you just gotta sit back and groove. I wasn’t too sure about this one – admittedly, I almost cut it – but it found a home and it’s still pretty fun to play.
“Encased in Ice”
The chorus riff was the first one I ever demo’d on my iPad back on New Year’s Eve… so, naturally, these were the last lyrics to be written for the album. Another influence is worn on the sleeve – Gojira this time. Were I to do this song again, I’d hook up a second amp and essentially quad track the guitars instead of merely double tracking. It’s in Drop-D tuning, so you know we’re being serious here.
Every Distinct Kicking Motion album and EP has at least one instrumental on it. I love instrumentals, I love odd time signatures, and I love 8-string guitars. Put that all together and you get this! I didn’t intend on making the instrumental the longest song on the album, but I’m not complaining about it either. I tend to pace when I get restless, so I automated the panning on the beginning guitar to do exactly that.
Heavily inspired by two bands – one current (Astronoid) and one from the 90s (Hum). The main rhythm guitars played the same chords in different positions and there’s also a clean guitar buried in the mix. That clean guitar is a Gibson SG – my workhorse for almost all of the record – and the rest is my 8-string.
This one hurt to record and it was completely worth it. That same friend who gave me that song title towards the beginning of the record and I had talked occasionally about building blanket forts and I guess it stuck with me. And right on cue, a massive snowstorm hit my hometown mere days after I wrote this song. Another influence shines through here – this may be the most Porcupine Tree-esque song I’ve ever written.
So there’s my album. If you’ve listened, thank you. If you made it to this point in the blog, thank you again. This was a ton of fun to make and I’m thrilled I found the RPM Challenge. See you next year?
This vlog focuses on the three days I spent tracking electric guitar for the album. Clean and distorted guitars were recorded through two different amp heads but the same speaker cabinet. That’s why I did all the distorted guitars first, then went back and took care of the cleans. Enjoy!
At some point last year, I discovered something called the RPM Challenge. The challenge is to record an album (RPM = Record Per Month) entirely in the month of February. Followers of this blog know I can’t turn down a good musical challenge, so I simply had to participate this year!
I’m also filming sizable chunks of the process. Here’s the first update video, chronicling how I spent the first three days. Enjoy!
Happy January! Hope you like snow! Because, uh, we here in my neck of the woods got a LOT of snow over the weekend. So, being trapped in the house all weekend, I naturally got bored and had to make some music.
This tune got a sort of three-step process, all of which took about two hours. First, I demoed the tune quickly on my tablet. Liking what I heard – and also having nothing better to do – I decided to record it for real… so I wrote the chords and structure down. After that, I set up an amp and a microphone and tracked what you hear up there. The intentionally buried keyboard parts weren’t in the original demo, of course…
As always, thanks for listening! Feel free to let me know what you think. Stay warm and I’ll see you soon.
Happy December! It’s the time of year where I post new Christmas recordings for your listening… pleasure? Sure, we’ll go with that. For the third consecutive year, this batch has a theme. This time around, the theme centers around a single songwriter – every song I recorded this year was either written or co-written by Johnny Marks. I had to go a little obscure for a couple of these but two others will be well-known to you almost immediately. Also, I decided to go back and revisit the old friend that started me on this path. Most of the annual “traditions” are here, but I replaced the layered guitar solo with a nod to a seminal punk band with the first song. If you would like cover art, I’m using this picture for it. Enjoy!
UPDATE: If you would prefer to stream the whole EP, here you go!
Recorded and mixed at The ‘Berger Joint, Rochester NY, October-November 2018. Guitar solo in “Run Rudolph Run”: Mike Sukhenko. Count-off in “Run Rudolph Run”: Adam Donnelly. Additional vocals in “The Most Wonderful Day of the Year”: Tom Klingenberger and Steve Begy. Additional vocals/yelling in “Run Rudolph Run” and “A Holly Jolly Christmas”: Ed, Rob Klingenberger, Sarah Klingenberger, Mike Sukhenko, Erika Bryan, Steve Begy, Brandon Fess, Pete Johnson, Dan Bell, and Adam Donnelly.
Originally the B-side to “I Wanna Go Outside”, this is also one of the few Distinct Kicking Motion songs I’ve had the chance to play live. Check it out, hope you like it, and let me know what you think!
This song being here is proof that sometimes chronological isn’t the best order for music. This closing track was written before each of the previous three AND was recorded on the same day as “Laryngitis” (I had the day off from work that day). The impetus for this one came simply from looking at my lap steel and deciding to use it again. Then, to take the tune to the next level, I took my Gibson and put it in Open-D tuning to match the lap steel. The final piece that really put this one over the top is the solo in the whole-tone section – I received an Otamatone this past Christmas and it finally made its recording debut here.
As always, thanks for listening! Feel free to let me know what you think. Have a good one and I’ll see you soon.
Surprise! Today, I’m releasing a new album! Here’s a video about it AND a link to the Bandcamp page.
This is Distinct Kicking Motion’s first non-concept album, 14 tracks long and spanning a decade of my songwriting catalog. The oldest song on this album dates all the way back to 2006 and the newest was written in 2016. I’ve been sitting on this album for a while, debating wether or not to make physical copies, but I decided to release it online anyway. It’ll be wherever else you like to stream and download your music in the coming days (links to those will be in the video’s description). Thanks for reading and listening and I hope you enjoy! See you next week with the final song from the Laryngitis EP.