Another record in the bag.

“Loving every minute with this damn crew.”

We’re happy to report that our next and as-of-yet untitled full-length album is all done. Last night, Engine Studios—where we recorded and mixed the record—was generous enough to allow us a listening party for all those involved. What started as a listening session, turned into an epic hang that went into the wee hours of the morning. We’re all still recovering from the good times.

As is customary with BMA meetings, there was a Spirit Award given. By unanimous decision, the highly sought after honor was handed to producer, engineer, sailfish-wielder Brian Deck. His contributions throughout the process were invaluable, and we thank him for his support. What a mensch.

A round of applause for all the extras that helped make the recording even more special: Mark Yoshizumi, Dan Smart, Max Crawford, Pauly, and everyone at Engine.

We’re looking forward to sharing this music with you as soon as possible. In the meantime, the Billboard Sun EP is still as fresh as a sweet Sunday morning.

Billboard Sun, Track in Brief

Slow Fade. Another lyrical gem from Matt, and the tune where we got the EP title. This is one that instead of changing Matt’s typically odd-meter vocal rhythms, we decided to just go with it and mold the form around it as is. It’s chorusless and concise with a circular progression. Besides all of the core five guys doing what we all do, this song features Alex Hall playing an amazing tambourine performance. Tip of the hat to George Harrison for constantly inspiring slide guitar harmonies, too.

New Underground. One thing that never changed in all the versions of this song we’ve recorded: the drum and bass feature. Jon and Sam really nail it here. Mark Yoshizumi spearheaded this recording at Studio Chicago—he was boosting the Magic Track the whole session (track 32 is it?). Our cellist friend Alison Chesley channeled her inner Helen Money for us on this one too—a real treat for the ears. In short: A tune for a bomb-ravaged Winston Churchill having tea in his bunker, complete with air sirens.

Comfy. Recorded in Jim’s old loft with the help of Archer Prewitt. First demoed in 2005, this is one of the oldest songs in the BMA catalog. We wanted to keep that same at-home feel, so no click track and plenty of bleed between the live vocal/guitar take. In short, this is the only song in our catalog that unabashedly allows Boston to be Boston. Anyone who’ve sat around a firepit listening to him sing knows what we mean. Kudos to Alison Chesley for her beautiful playing, and to Archer for lending his ear and his 12-string.

V-Day. Debuted at a Matt Kerstein solo show at Schubas, this tune started as a nod to WWII, specifically D-Day, but quickly became a love song subbing a D for a V. Besides the sparse balladry and crooning swagger of the verse and chorus, the bridge was lifted from a song Jim wrote in 2003. Joe Darnaby is heard hear playing banjo nodding to his love of bluegrass, and Max Crawford added a great wurlitzer part early on that became an integral piece of this puzzle. Archer Prewitt helped us out with this one too, and we couldn’t be more grateful for his direction.

Sweet Delusions
. Again, a heavy drum and bass feature for Jon and Sam. Plenty of guitar wankery abounds as well—a wah track played by Jim weaves in and out, Joe’s glass-shattering stabs, and of course, the Neil Young-esque solo melts any face that faces it. The not-so-subtle reference to our long-time bud and Civil War historian Tony Sackett’s band Warm Ones closes out the tune lyrically. Always and forever moving on with you dudes.

Fare Thee Well
. Probably the most diverse and otherworldly sound we’ve ever achieved in the studio. Besides the light acoustic guitar in the intro, there are no recognizable guitars played until the 3 minute mark. That’s possibly the reason we love the dual guitar solo so much. Joe added his fair share of bits from Ableton, and Jim spliced several takes of stoned-out layered loops including the post-song fade out. Of course, none of that stuff would matter if the rhythm section wasn’t spot on, including the sub-octave 5-string bass Jon played! We always like ending big, and this was our ending.

Like/Love Crowd
. For fans of the c. section in Yes’s Starship Trooper (I’m looking at you Geoff Dolce), this stacking of vocal lines and guitar parts is an old idea, but one that finally came to fruition. Jim is always pushing the guys to meet him half way on the jammy—who wouldn’t want to hear a cover of Scarlet Begonias?—and they finally caved. The title is a humorous reference to another song of ours called Love Crowd that will appear on our upcoming full-length. So, in many ways, this is your lead in to that album.

Recording at RB Studios LA

We were out in LA this past weekend recording at the Red Bull Studios. It was a great time reconnecting with the production team of Rock The Route, and meeting some new people.

In the two days we spent there, we were able to track two new tunes—one called Touch and the other called Wake The Dead—as well as lay down some overdubs on some other tracks. All of these tracks and more are nearing completion and are slated for release on our next record. Whereas we’re not quite finished, I can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

More news on that as it comes in. For now, we have two awards to give out for the weekend…

The BMA Spirit Award splits between engineer Eric “Five-skis” Stenman and cellist Alison Chesley who’s contributions and positive vibes were invaluable.

The BMA/Max Crawford Total-Pro Award goes to Joe Darnaby for remembering his 12-string guitar case, but not his 12-string guitar. —Hope you make it home, bro!

Some screenshots below of the footage from Day 2 below via Poya Productions.