The Element of Surprise

This one was in the works for over a year, and we’re glad to finally unleash it!  A 7-minute epic that rewards the deep listen,  (including an orchestral string section with yours truly on violins and violas and Catherine on cello) – it will not disappoint.

The lyrics tell the story of an unemployed man and his obsession with his 4th of July neighborhood fireworks display. Previously the reigning king, he develops a rivalry with a new neighbor who appears to be amassing an immense stockpile.

Alcohol and substance abuse fuel his competitive obsession and he hatches a plan that he is convinced will ensure victory in the neighborhood.  Narcissism and pyrotechnics implode in equal amounts of bombast – damaging property, body, and psyche as he descends into a nightmarish mania setting his fateful plan into action.

Ben Birdsall – Guitar, voice, piano, violin, viola
Josh Olmstead – Electric guitar
Alex Yaker – Bass
Josh Friedman – Drums, percussion
Catherine Birdsall – Cello

Produced by Ben Birdsall and Le Fits.  Recorded and Mixed at the Hi5 Studio by Ben Birdsall and Josh Friedman.

Drawing:  “Proposal for addition to the Periodic Table”

 

Rare Earth

First track recorded with our newly refurbished Hammond B3 Organ, on loan to the Hi5 Studio courtesy of Billy Dufala. Josh Friedman went back to Puerto Rican roots for latin inspiration on drums, and Alex Yaker took the Hammond by storm and ripped a new hole in the universe through which there appears to be 1960's french game shows.  "Play like Ray Manzarek on Acid!" I shouted in the talk-back microphone. (hmmm redundant?) Lyrically, it turns out the the song is about being retarded - or just painfully socially awkward:  Having the frustrating feeling that you have something to offer yet you are boxed-in, cornered by conventions, oppressed by cold human density...Don't Understand The Station, So You Change The Tune 
Recorded at the Hi5 Studio, May - June, 2017
 Ben Birdsall, guitar y voz  | Alex Yaker, bass, hammond organ  | Josh Olmstead, guitar  |  Josh Friedman, drums, percussion

Metal Monday

Email from a Fan (2015): “Ben, Gaddy here- used to hang out with you in California with Susannah Slocum. I am still a big Le Fits fan. Just got the last excellent album online. Thank you. Hey, I was wondering if you ever write songs for other people?” 
Of course I said yes to this request. He sent me some keywords, and with some rearranging, I concocted the first verse. It was Metal Monday at the Half Moon… from his list of words was the obvious setting, We touched our knees together was how I imagined 2 people attracted to each other would behave in the company of friends. The rest is my interpretation of what it might be like to be a fan of heavy metal while entering middle-age.  And given the words lighthouse and making out – I decided that this would be the mystique of young love at night – the real kind of “Witchy/Black Magic Woman” experience.  Although I have not ever gotten the full story, I apparently was not wrong about that.

Recorded @ The Hi5 Studio, July, 2016
Mixed & Mastered @ The Hi5. Feb 2017.

Ben Birdsall: Guitar, Voice, Strings, Melodica | Josh Friedman: Drums | Alex Yaker: Bass | Josh Olmstead: Guitar

The image is my first attempt at pyrography on wood.  Like, drawing with a soldering iron. Thanks to #crystalanddavidson, #miriamsinger.

Prince: The Afterlife Vol. 1

I Could Never Take The Place of your Man.  (Le Fits version.1.ruff)
One of my favorite songs off of Sign O The Times.  It’s so emotional and bare – it’s almost like Prince doing a Springsteen song.  This song, and this album meant so much to me – in 1987 and every year since. Finally, I learned my campfire version.

Ben Birdsall: Guitar y Voz  |  Josh Friedman: Drums  |  Josh Olmstead: Guitar

Your Comeback

I wrote the bare bones of this song a couple years ago – a kind of rhythmic mantra on a few major chords in various configurations.  It stuck in my head and I enjoyed strumming it over and over for a long time before I even considering putting any words to it. The lyrics are intentionally obtuse and dreamy, the form inspired by the children’s book “The Runaway Bunny” which is rather poetic and sweet.  I brought the song to a recording session and I thought it came together rather nicely. I hope that we managed to maintain some of the song’s dreamy vibe while still rockin’ it.

If you make like a dime and turn silver
I will make rocket wine and pass over… 

Recorded Mostly Live @ The Hi5 Studio. Dec 2016.
Mixed & Mastered @ The Hi5. Feb 2017.

Ben Birdsall: Guitar y Voz | Josh Friedman: Drums | Alex Yaker: Bass | Josh Olmstead: Guitar