We've played Dark Love live for years, but I didn't have a recorded version that I was happy with. I got a very solid drum and bass track down in Ableton Live last fall, but it lingered for a while because I couldn't get the chorus sounding great. I did several different vocal arrangements of it, but eventually I was ready to just shelve the track.
But after listening to just the music, I thought we had something good so I decided to try writing an entirely new chorus. The song is in Cm (the original chorus was built around a Gm riff) so I thought I'd try something major for a contrast. I came up with a chorus riff in G and then a new vocal line (and words) flowed quickly, followed by a bass line that also worked. Beki and I decided to try a jazzy little transition that I had created to make a pre-chorus/end of verse that was initially challenging to sing but soon felt more comfortable.
I have been playing around with recreations of vintage synthesizers, especially the ME80 VST that reproduces the Yamaha CS-80 favored by Vangelis. The ME80 only made it to the track for on little riff in the final verse (you can hear a string-like texture over the 'sha la la' vocal) but I look forward to using some classic CS-80, Prophet V, and Jupiter 80 textures in the future.
Anyway, the net result is this soul/R&B/afro-beat flavored track that I think works pretty well. The song feels new again and is fun to play. Have a listen if you like! You can hear Dark Love here or simply click on "Dark Love" in the ReverbNation player to the right of this post.
Here's the set list we'll be playing:
We'll be playing with our new friends Michael Tobias and the Acidic Swamp Band and The Black Penguins on April 9 at Cafe Flo--details in the poster below. We'll be playing at 8:40 PM after Michael Tobias, probably for about 40 minutes. However, no matter when you come, you'll get a great show as the other two bands will be fantastic and we're looking forward to hanging out and watching after we play.
Hope to see you there! Peace, the Beats
(Updated on 3/26 to note the new start time for us as we're going second instead of first now.)
At the end of September, we finished a more rocking version of our song Slipping Away, but it didn't really fit the subject matter of the song, which is a sad ghost story about a fey woman (who may or may not be human) who has departed this mortal coil. So took another crack at it with a softer, more mysterious take. It's still packed with probably too much instrumental detail (the song sounds good with just acoustic guitar and voice), but have a listen and let us know what you think. It's just your normal folk/rock/reggae/jazz song with guitar, harp, reggae bass played on an upright bass, ethnic instruments, and old-fashioned synth stuff. It's almost (shudder) progressive rock!
Have spent some time in the studio recently, completing Big Hit Song and doing some remixing on Open Now. Big Hit Song needs a little more mixing, but it's close. None of our songs are ever truly finished—they always need a little more work.
Also did some songwriting with a poet friend, adapting her poem and writing music for it and performing the whole thing. I actually love R&B and I did my best approximation of smoovness with her lyrical concept. Beki did some nice harmonies with me on it. It's up on SoundClick, where it shot up the charts to a high of #8 in the 'Funky R&B' category (out of 4,200 songs). You can hear it here.
Speaking of charts, we reached #1 on the Alternative charts for Chico, CA on ReverbNation. Not sure what that's worth to anyone, lol, but we're happy that our pals around the world helped us get there. We have a great group of artist friends from the UK, Canada, Spain, Germany, and other countries that we stay in touch with. You can see some of those artists on our Recommended Artist page at ReverbNation.
We're playing at the DCBA Thursday Night Market on August 26th. Come one out if you're around.
I've been writing some new songs and exploring my singer-songwriter side a little bit lately. Most recently, I've been working with English folk artist Richard John on a new track. He came up with some chord ideas, then I worked out a verse riff based on them and put a new chorus on it. It's fun to swap ideas back and forth across the Atlantic and I'm pleased with the results so far. You can hear the track I recorded using contributions from Richard on guitar and banjo here. It's a sad song called "The Years"—not sure if we'll play it with Beat Concrete or not; we'll see.
For folks in the North Valley, we're playing the Thursday Night Market in Chico this coming Thursday, June 10, from 6 to 9 PM. Come by and groove with us for a while if you're around. Keep it peaceful and easy, OK?
Quick vid of us playing last week. Playing on the street; that's our style! Playing for the people! Yeah!
We are emerging from our winter slumber (yaaawwwwn) on this site with a couple tidbits for our faithful listeners. First, we have a new recording of Desiree, which you can hear on the music player on the right. We put out a version in January, but decided it needed a radical overhaul. We think it turned out pretty good, but your opinion is the one that matters.
Second, we have two upcoming gigs: April 1 at Chico's Thursday Night Market at 6 PM, 3rd and Main Street. We'll play until 9 or so and would love to hang out with you in between sets, so come on by.
On April 17, we're playing a benefit at the Chico Grange's annual Open House. They have a great stage and the hall will be set up for dancing--plus, the Grange is a great community organization and you can learn about their mission. And it's FREE, although donations to the Grange (as well as memberships) are invited. You can get more info here. The event is at the Grange Hall at 2775 Old Nord Avenue (one block east of Nord) and we hope to see you there.
Lastly, we bought a little HD video camera and are starting to shoot some videos. We'll let you know when we have something ready to show.
Enjoy your Spring!
Since late December, we've been taking some time to work on recording. We've been working on our live performances, and recording is very different, so we've had to take a look at songs we've been performing and approach them differently. For the two tracks we're working on now, we have taken two diverging paths.
The Girl In Number Six is a song we know the recording arrangement for pretty well, having recorded a demo for it previously. While there are several guitar parts we can't cover live, it was just a question of syncing the drums and the bass together more tightly and knocking out our parts. There are still a few tweaks to make, but the version you can hear on the player is pretty much complete.
Desiree, on the other hand, required a complete re-think. The entire song really only has four chords and there are lots of ways to approach it. Finding the right way has been quite a journey, and we're not quite there yet. We need to add one more drum part to the choruses and tighten up a couple of other things to make sure the chorus drives, but the vocal harmonies we've added and the guitar parts are working pretty well together. The important thing is getting the raw emotion of the song across without making life seem hopeless.
If you'd like to download the current versions of these two songs, you can go to our band page on SoundCloud to get 256 kbps MP3s. Get 'em while they're hot! They'll be coming to thesixtyone.com soon.
We've been fans of thesixtyone.com for some time now. It's a great music site that combines music, social networking, and a game aspect all in one unique package. It's a free site for listening to artist-submitted music, and users control what songs rise to the top by 'hearting' songs they like.
If you're already on thesixtyone, you can hear us by going to our new band account at thesixtyone.com/#/beatconcrete. We'd love to see you there—if you enjoy our music we can use your support, and it's a fun place to share music and interactions while discovering tons of really cool bands.
Unlike MySpace, there are filters on T61 for finding new music you like--whether by genre, popularity, mood, or by what your friends like. It's a very democratic process and there are thousands of rabid music fans you can make friends with through listening to each other's radios, sharing comments, hyping bands you like, etc. If you just want to listen to free music, you can do that to, but it's really designed for people who want to interact with artists and listeners in a more active fashion.
"One Quarter Full" is the first song we posted, and it's up now at thesixtyone.com/#/beatconcrete.