New Song Almost Ready: Powder Keg

TNT. That’s what this song is.
Think you’ve heard every style imaginable from the Lizards From Afar? Well, you are all sadly mistaken.
The Gecko has cooked up an old school PUNK arrangement that easily could have been a part of the original movement. Chopper Newt surprises again with another original and unique vocal that was nothing like what I was thinking when I wrote it…but makes it better than it deserves to be.

I just try not to cawk it up too much with my drumming.

Here’s another rare treat. You’ll actually get to hear the Gecko and myself doin’ a smidge of singing. For the first time in a long time…and probably for a reason…we have not added any backing vocals to the songs. Any and all voices heard on New LFA songs has been Chopper Newt. Not so this time.

So when can you hear it?
I was just given the rough mix this weekend. AND, believe it or not, it is I who holds up this project now. The one who constantly pesters the others to get me stuff. I need to add my final backing vocals to the stew.
I’m gonna try and do it tonight…that would mean the world could have an all new LFA song within the week.



60 Responses to “New Song Almost Ready: Powder Keg”

  1. The more I listen to this song the more I like it.

  2. Yeah, I really dig the little tune, too, I must say. And I’m proud of my little punkified blues turnarounds. The drums sound great, too, Pent-boy. Chopper really knows how to mix them, too. He made them sound HUGE. I’m wondering if he should go back and do that to the Giant Robot drums….

    I didn’t imagine Chopper’s vocals in that way, either. Quite a surprise.

    Well, I’m off to NYC today without my guitar, so I can do nothing for a week or so, BUT I will upload flacs for Channeling Lou 2008 and we’ll see if that works out to be anything.

  3. I really like how parts of it really have that late 70s punk sound and then there are parts that have a real fresh vibe. Retro…but in the way that retro is really prevalent again.

    I don’t want to mess with GR. Let’s have that one age for a long time before we fidget. I’d prefer to focus on some new stuff.

  4. choppernewt Says:

    LFA completists would point out, Marc-Lewisohn-style, that in fact the Newtlet did add a tiny voice part to KFL.

  5. True…but that’s like a half-a-newt…so I didn’t count it.

    Also, will not be doing any vocals tonight. Still not feeling very well. Soon I hope.

  6. Wimp. Wuss. Go scream until you leak from the other end.

  7. Since you mention “Old School Punk” and “original movement,” I’ll just quote something I was reading on the plane, which also gets back to my point a few posts ago, in debate with Gordon, which is that authenticity is impossible, so nothing is really punk anymore (if it ever was). The following is from Bill Readings, “The University in Ruins”:

    “Practices such as punk music and dress styles are offered their self-consciousness in academic essays, but the dignity they acquire is not that of authenticity but of _marketability_, be it in the cinema, on MTV, or as a site of tourist interest for visitors to London. The travel guide is a prime example of the way cultural particularity has no referent outside the system in which it circulates. To put it bluntly, the shock value of punk is not lasting in a cultural sense, since it soon becomes possible to be ‘excellently punk.’ To say that it is not lasting does not mean, however, that there is no point in trying to do something new, only that it is naive to presume that in so doing one gains access to a real culture outside the system or that one disrupts absolutely the circuit of appropriations.” (121-122)

    So, as I said: living among the ruins. Or better, always trapped in the system. With the advent of global capitalism, culture ceases to exist on its own; it just becomes another source of market-value.

    The question is, can we do anything at all that’s NOT derivative? I suppose if we did, nobody or almost nobody would want to hear it because we’re all slaves to the system.

  8. I guess if you take that guy as credible…that means porn will continue to become more and more mainstream until you can watch it on your own tv or but it at nearly any video store…

  9. choppernewt Says:

    That guy gets zero points for academic writing, as he failed to use the word “dialectic” for an entire paragraph. Unless you edited it out.

  10. You guys are quite up on academic writing, I see. As well as dripping with irony, Pent.

    The real irony is that this guy, one of the most brilliant critics of modern education and capitalism, died in a plane crash and this book had to be edited and published posthumously. Probably his death was an assassination carried out by a secret society of university presidents.

    It’s a somewhat nervous experience to be reading the book on an airplane.

  11. I took the opportunity of being home from work today to record my “vocals” for Powder Keg. I have vocals for the countdown thing at the beginning and the scream/backing vocals for the chorus parts.

    It was painful…but I think that they are good…AND somewhat funny….AND rock.

  12. If I’d known Metro was going to record himself screaming “Punk’s Not Dead!” overdubbed 4 or 5 times, I would have done the same. Then again, no I wouldn’t.

    We still need a new mix of KFL, too, now that I think of it. I just booted my last version of KFL and worked on it for a few minutes I was able to boost the drums with both the parametric EQ and a Master Limiter, but I’m still a bit confused about how NOT to get the mix to sound muddy and too hot. Maybe I’ll read around online. I don’t recall mixing being this difficult on our old 4-tracks. ha ha ha.

    At any rate, we still have Chopper’s version, but the problem was still the new drum file (which I never used), right?

    And by the way, we should finish Bloomington Democracy in 2008. No reason to drag it on further. How many more songs do we want on it, and which ones? Then, of course, there’s getting people to listen to it and recording our double platinum follow up album. And the world tour. Don’t forget that.

  13. Are you mad at yourself for not thinking of overdubbing yourself or because my vocals are so kick-ass?
    Don’t answer. I know it’s because my vocals are so kick-ass.

  14. I’m not answering because I’m trying to decide which countries our world tour will take us to. And how we’re going to do a world tour while working our day jobs.

    I walked into Ludlow Guitars today just because. My old friend J.J. was there listening to hard rock and reading a magazine. The shop was empty. I can’t figure out what that guy does, or how he affords to live in the Village, working at a guitar shop where they sell, top, two or three guitars a week. He used to be in an “experimental metal band” that toured Europe, but apparently that gig dried up, and now he gets by selling the occasional vintage Fender at Ludlow. Certainly he still hasn’t sold the $4000 ’72 tele deluxe that I looked at last year. Maybe he’s got a trust fund or something.

    When am I going to hear the final version Powder Keg?

  15. Probably October…

  16. choppernewt Says:


  17. A weekend in October…

  18. Sounds like a song.

    A weekend in October
    It was turning over and over
    Couldn’t see straight in May
    At least then you said you’d stay.

    Did I mention I’m drinking right now? My brother-in-law is having a massive party on our roof, from which I just now absconded myself with my bottle.

  19. A weekend in October
    When Chopper finally turned it over
    Wouldn’t have been surprised if it was May
    By then all our fans had gone away

  20. choppernewt Says:

    “All our fans”? Are you referring to Baszali and that lady from Florida?

  21. Yes…and my Mom.

  22. choppernewt Says:

    Nah, I talked to your mom and she thinks we suck, she just didn’t want to tell you.

    Note the polite avoidance of the usual whatever. I do not expect that kind of restraint from the next response.

  23. I’m insulted that you’d insinuate that I would retaliate by insinuating that your mother was physically unable to comment due to an unidentified blockage which prevented her engaging in conversation.

  24. Started a vocal demo If She’s Just A Girl tonight. Very silly.

  25. Just A Girl vocal demo sent to you guys. Have to figure out why the volume is so darn low on the thing…

  26. choppernewt Says:

    I assume maybe it’s tough to get a lot of volume behind the vocal when there’s an unidentified blockage? I wouldn’t know.

  27. Ha ha ha! Mercy me, you set yourself up for those, Metro. I haven’t listened to your demo yet, tho’. I’m almost afraid to. I kind of like these lyrics and almost have my own idea for the music that I don’t want confused by hearing your idea. Some kind of alternative rock, but with a twist because there’s something twisted about these lyrics. Maybe after I come up with something, I’ll listen to the demo, then combine the ideas.

  28. Midnight in NYC. I just came up with an awesome rhythm for your “Just A Girl” lyric, Metro. If I get a chance this week, I’ll record a demo and send it out. Think Modern English meets Tears For Fears. With the right synth sound it could be our first big pop song!

  29. Nah. I can usually sing pretty loud with a mouthful.

    So far, am digging the new PK mix. Maybe give the truck test and then post it tomorrow?

  30. Worked on JAG this afternoon, recorded a rhythm, but having some trouble getting it together. The idea is good, but I can’t decide upon the guitar tone nor the structure of the breaks and solo sections.

    PK sounds great, imo. I can’t see any reason not to post.

  31. I’ve been listening to it via the headphones…I think I agree. Let’s just post that sucker.

    BTW-your guitar solo is pretty kick-ass in this song, too.

  32. I agreed so much that I went ahead and posted it on:

    Chopper has never shared the login to iLike…so I haven’t posted it there yet.

  33. By the way, since I couldn’t get JAG to work out, I re-did the header to this website. Take a gander!

    Now, I’m rushing: turns out my daughter was burned this afternoon when hot coffee was spilled on her, so I have to pack and fly back to Ohio as soon as possible. So I suppose I won’t finish JAG anytime soon. Like in the next week.

  34. Oh God! I hope she’s OK. I’ll be thinking about you and hope you have a safe/super-fast flight.

    …oh, and you could work on JAG at home…

  35. Well, there are no more flights this eve to Dayton, I just discovered, so I’m waiting for tomorrow. The 1:29 p.m. is already booked solid, but I’m going to fly standby and see if I can get on it anyway.

    I have to say, I’m really fucking angry about this coffee burn thing. Really. Fucking. Angry.

    As for JAG, I can “work” on it on my acoustic guitar, but no recording as I’m not going to drag my computer or electric guitar back there. I just dragged it here!

  36. I can sympathize. When I went to Florida recently with my son to visit my parents, the swingset my father had poorly engineered collapsed on top of Elwyn. Right on his head. I about lost my mind. I was pretty pissed through the whole trip to the ER and the rest of that day.
    Still, I really do hope she’s OK.

  37. choppernewt Says:

    Gecko, sorry to hear about your little girl. Best luck getting back to her as quick as possible and safely, and hope all turns out to be OK.

  38. Thanks! I talked to her about half an hour ago and she seems pretty well, considering. She fell asleep after the hospital, and then awoke at about 10:00 ready to play–much to the dismay of my wife, who was just getting ready for bed!. Now they’ll probably be up until midnight.

  39. Glad she’s OK. Still going home?

  40. Going to try today after my classes are over. The trick will be to get the goddamn airline to waive the $150 ticket change fee–which will be quite a trick!

    Did a little more with JAG last eve before bed. Alls I can tells you is that it is going to be good when it comes together. When being the operative term.

  41. “WHEN” is a Chopper philosophy that I do not accept.

  42. By the way, did you guys all notice that my Powder Keg “punk” music is simply a standard 1-4-5 blues progression, complete with blues riffs, just played very fast and with the tube screamer turned up very high?

  43. choppernewt Says:


  44. I was embarrassed by it.

  45. I hope you are joking. The fact that punk can simply be the blues is the coolest thing about the tune.

  46. I was being sarcastic…as it should be noted that I wouldn’t be able to tell a “blues progression” from a…well, whatever other kind of progressions there might be in the world.

    I hit things with sticks.

  47. Ah. Being only half-literate in music, I tend to like the 1-4-5 (or I-IV-V) the best, as it’s easy to remember. A lot of ’50s music used a I-vi-IV-V progression, too, which is actually closer to Powder Keg, interestingly enough, because I added the B minor in there to give it a kick. So, I suppose the song is more 50’s vintage pop rather than bluesy.

  48. For a minute forty…the song pretty much has everything and the kitchen sink. You really stuffed a lot of different things into a little bit of a song. Lots of “razzle-dazzle” too with the fake endings and such.

  49. choppernewt Says:

    Oh, uh, way to steal my week-old emailed observation, Metro.

    Yeah, I agree Gecko, blues filtered through early rock-n-roll raveup. Punk in the Ramones mold, and not just because it’s short. Good stuff, really.

  50. Isn’t Rock’N’Roll all about stealing?


    World! Hear Me! For I pronounce, on this the 8th day of September in the year 2008, that I STOLE the adjectives once proclaimed by Christopher Stucky and heinously used them as my own.

  51. Last eve between 10 – 12 (my only true “free time” since I should be asleep then) I recorded a huge part of Just A Girl, and boy I can’t wait to share it, but it’s still not ready. I’ll at least need that time slot this eve, too, to get anything ready to go. I have a rather crazy solo that switches from a pentatonic to diatonic scale midway through, beginning bluesy and ending like an orchestral score. We might have to add some orchestral percussion just to fit the song.

  52. Sweet! I’m so jazzed. (To throw around some musical jargon since that seems to be the thing these days.)

    Did you leave in the cha-cha-cha at the end?

  53. Not sure as my biggest problem spot to fix is the end, and I’m not singing it, so it’s up to Chops to add a cha-cha-cha.

    Actually I haven’t listened to your demo for fear that it would mess up my idea, so now that I have my part mainly recorded I can listen to your demo to see what you do with the chas and if they can be incorporated.

  54. Added it in as a lark on the lyrics…then added it in to the vocal demo because I thought it would be funny to make fun of my lark…

    My point being:
    – if it’s “funny cool”, leave it in
    – if it sounds stupid, leave it out

  55. choppernewt Says:

    I don’t want to say cha-cha-cha. I used to work for a local electrician as an assistant – he was drunk pretty much 24/7 and hired me chiefly to drive the van since he’d had his license revoked. He used to say “cha-cha-cha” a lot, and at random. Ususally after saying something vile and possibly actionable about young children.

    I don’t want to say cha-cha-cha.

  56. I think you’ve just ruined cha-cha-cha for us all…

  57. flogging rotting horses here, but…

    Rock ‘n Roll relies on material theft, in a way.
    but so is jazz and classical for that matter.
    Why? I think its because on the whole, people like familiarity. That well-traveled blues progression is like an old pal for nearly everyone in the civilized world.
    and since around the early 90s, I can’t count how many songs I’ve heard with the progression vi-IV-I-V (repeated throughout (it’s the “what if god was one of us” progression).
    know what i mean?

  58. Powder Keg is excellent, by the way.

    nice and short.. with a “one more time” ending.
    the altered blues is a nice touch.
    the backing vox reminded me of the Leatherettes.

  59. …are you saying Matt and I sound like chicks?

  60. Thanks, Gordon. The song worked out very well, probably because it just reuses the familiar. That stuff worked well for plenty of better musicians than us, so why not for us, too?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: