Song of the Week
L’ALBATROS SONG OF THE WEEK
Before Second Best, L’Albatros was. They still may be so here is their lost debut album, “Squandered Good Advice”, premiered single-by-single as a “Song of the Week” while Kris N. takes a break to record a new album.
THE KRIS N. SONG OF THE WEEK (Vol. 2)
The “Song of the Week” is a way for me to continue to write songs and share them without all the hard work and time it takes to put together a formal release. (* Editor's Note: "The Thankful Parade" is brilliant and everyone should own a copy). Every week I will post a song on poptek.com as I did with "Vol. 1" so many years ago. They will not sound good and will no doubt have a very one and two-take kind of feel. But I have always loved the honesty of these kinds of recordings.
This time around I will try to include a short commentary (sometimes not so short) about each song. I hope this will further highlight the honesty of these recordings and songwriting.
Music can be spontaneous, full of mistakes, and moving all at the same time. I simply hope if you stop in from time to time you will find something you enjoy.- KRIS N.
A SNOW SONG
Street lights criss cross
Windshield rain drops
I feel Han Solo
On my way home
This December was one to remember
My very very very best friend turned 30
And I’m skipping skipping January
Oh I hope it snows
For weeks on end
And we can’t go
anywhere but back to bed
Warm, happy, and fat (2/6/2019)
LETTING IT ALL GO
Happy New Year! Here’s a fun and up-beat song I wrote over my holiday break from real life. I’m pretty excited about 2019. I think it is going to be a lot of fun and very busy!
And yes, “pretentious ages well,” is an exact quote from Andy. Enjoy. (1/4/2019)
Sun up sun down
Bitter hearts lost and bitter hearts found
But Andy told me pretentious ages well
Guess I’m the finest wine they sell
I get back at you by letting it all go
At the time it seems worth it
20/20 hindsight is hilarious
Friday night fight or flight
Dots market, malt liquor,
and an ice cream pint
CHRISTMAS TREE (ACOUSTIC)
‘Tis the season so here is an acoustic version of “Christmas Tree” I shit out this past weekend. If you enjoy this, please share it with your friends. Also, there is exciting Kris N. news coming soon. Stay tuned. (12/7/2018) (* Editor’s Note: The original, more rambunctious version of “Christmas Tree” is part of “The Thankful Parade”. You can stream it from the Albums pages here at poptek.com)
Well it’s OSU versus Michigan week so here is a very old song written right after one of our family summer trips to Michigan. Overall, I have some very good memories of things like picking cherries together, the beach, climbing the sand dunes, and taking the kids out on a boat for a day.
But like all family vacations, there were some moments that made me feel a little like Clark Griswold. On this trip we got a flat tire on the way there, a speeding ticket on the way back, the radio decided to stop working in the car at some point (which with three kids arguing in the backseat that is a nightmare), there was some record setting heat wave and the house we rented had no air, and Lindsey and I were literally attacked by sand crabs. So in other words, Go Buckeyes!
Here’s a one-take phone recording from that time. I liked it simple so I didn’t even clean it up or throw a shit ton of reverb on it like normal. “I feel a lot like Michigan tonight/ cherry picked, no radio.” (11/20/2018)
AS I SING
The words of this song have lingered in my note pad for a couple months. This past weekend, I finally found the best fit between music and melody. Olivia sat and helped me put it together Saturday afternoon, and she even appears in the second verse for a “Taylor Swift” style cameo. I kept it simple, up beat, and tried to keep the chorus catchy. Hope you enjoy! (10/31/2018)
IAN CURTIS WAS COOL
I wrote this 2-minute pop tune a few weeks ago and finally got around to putting it on tape. It’s simple and never goes anywhere, but, I mean, who doesn’t love a good Joy Division shout out.
There actually is a interesting story behind this song, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to talk about it here. Lindsey knows the story. Maybe ask her and she might tell you. Maybe buy her a beer or a plant first. That may help your chances.
WE DON’T NEED NO WATER
So I have totally been a slacker and took a couple weeks off. It must be some sort of Communivale jet lag. Which by the way, it was really fun seeing so many friends and talented bands at this year’s Communivale. The whole night was nothing short of dreamy. Thanks Chris and Chelle for always being such awesome hosts.
This week’s Song of the Week is just a super silly, one-take, angry track I wrote in like 5 minutes the other night when I was pissed off about... uh... everything. Please just vote. Early voting begins this week in Ohio. If you live in Montgomery county you can vote Monday - Friday, 8am - 5pm at the board of elections downtown. (10/16/2018)
WARNING: I wouldn’t play this song with the kids in the room. Or at least make them do “earmuffs”.
Since it’s football season I thought I would share the song “Tallahassee” I wrote back in 2014 while watching the college football BCS championship game.
There was a mountain of snow on the ground and Lindsey and I couldn’t go anywhere. When we watch sports together we usually put a small wager on the game we’re watching just to make things interesting. The game was Auburn versus Florida State. I picked Florida State (which for reference is located in Tallahassee). Florida State did end up winning and Lindsey had to cook me my “death row meal”. My “death row meal” is this chicken and Velveeta casserole she makes that is so awful for you, but so insane good!
The last verse of the song sums it up:
Snowed in, January
Our love’s forever 16
I’ll bet Tallahassee
I will always make you happy
The song also appeared on the Gas Daddy Go Record Store Day 2014 compilation. That comp also features a ton of other super-talented bands and you should check it out. You can stream and download the entire comp here:
OHIO TATTOO OR TWO
Everyone I know
Has an Ohio
Tattoo or two
Everyone I know
Hates this place the most
So what we’ll die here
So so what we’ll die here
So what we’ll die here
We hardly lived here
So what we’ll die here
We gotta die somewhere
Well maybe not everyone, but mostly everyone. And mostly tongue and cheek. (9/11/2018)
LIVE QUIET, DIE SLOW
I wrote this Friday while Lindsey was getting ready. We had the day off together. She often watches Law and Order when she does things around the house. If you listen close you can hear it playing. For now I don’t hate this song. Enjoy! (9/4/2018)
To live quiet
And die slow
I’m really trying
To live really quiet
And die really slow
I hope to see you smile
Through a London fog filtering
I hope to kiss you wine drunk
Beneath a blood moon bleeding
I’m really trying
To live really quiet
And die really slow
I hope to see you smile
Through an Asheville fog lifting
I hope to kiss you wine drunk
Beneath a new moon aging
In honor of The 1984 Draft officially releasing their much much more than awesome new album on Poptek this past weekend, I thought I would unlock the vault and share a rare early demo of my favorite Father’s Day song Joe (Anderl), Justin (Satinover), and I used to perform.
Father’s Day lasted just for a short time, but it was such a fun project and came to be at a time in my life that I really needed fun. This was one of the first songs we sang together and this recording is one of the first attempts at playing this track. Joe’s words have so much imagery and honesty that they have always hit pretty deep with me. I think there are many dads out there who can relate to trying to be a superhero but not quite knowing how to do that exactly.
Also, please do yourself a favor and find the Poptek shop and grab a copy of The 1984 Draft’s new record entitled "Makes Good Choices". Yes, they are good friends of mine, but my admiration for their talent and love for their new record is completely unbiased.
If you are interested in hearing more Father’s Day you can find a couple songs at our old bandcamp page:
I LOVE YOU TODAY
This recording is a good example of the challenges of home recording. At the end of the song you will hear the blood-curtailing screams of my children. Don’t worry, they are okay. I promise.
This was recorded a few years ago, when they were younger. I found this voice memo not long ago on my old iPhone 5 (which to be fair I was using up until last month). I decided to leave the screams and just add on to the one single take. I mean, it was a fairly good take after all and the dramatic ending makes me laugh every time.
The phrase “I love you today,” is in reference to a journal that Lindsey and I used to keep together. Every night we would write one thing we appreciate or loved about the other person that day. Although I know it was one of her “therapist” tricks, I really think it was good for us and helped make our relationship stronger. In dealing with all the outside variables (like shared parenting, jobs, money, etc) that can threaten a relationship, it is so important to take a moment everyday and appreciate the people in your life. (8/21/18)
Last week, I took Olivia to the movies. When we are in the car together I always let her put on whatever music she wants. Usually, it’s Taylor Swift or some video game theme-song she’s in to. But this time she put on "Grace Killey". It was quite funny and cute. She knows many of the words and I laughed as she sang.
Then she stopped and asked me, “Do you think you would like your songs if you didn’t write them??”
This question took me by surprise and talk about an interesting perspective that I have never thought about. I didn't really know how to answer. I’d like to think I would like Kris n if I wasn’t Kris n, but if I’m honest about it I can’t say that for sure.
I would probably think Kris n’s songs were cheesy, simple, and predictable. I would probably think it was lame that he named his band after his name, and a hipster lowercase ‘n’. I would probably think he must be hiding some insecurity with his voice in using all the echo and reverb. And if I discovered he had a blog where he posted lo-fi phone recordings with birds chirping and kids playing in the background of the songs I would probably think “Who the fuck does this douchbag think he is?” And that would probably be that.
"You give perspective to an old man indifferent."- (8/14/2018)
This song is summed up by the last line of the last verse where I sing, "the election's over and it got one over."
I wrote this song around this time last year as all of the facts about the confusion and the Russian attack on our elections were finally coming out. It is a song where I explore the people in and around Ohio and how this notoriously independent swing state was so affected.
I think in the end all people want the same things. Red and Blue aside, we all want to be able to take care of ourselves and our families while living in a safe community that allows us to do that. When I saw how people were so torn apart during the last election it deeply saddened me.
So I figured I would make a post to remind whoever stumbles upon this silly song blog of mine that we are less than 100 days until the next election. I keep reading stories about people being purged from voting rolls and becoming unregistered. If you are unsure if you are registered or unsure about where you vote go to https://iwillvote.com and you can look it up. (8/7/2018)
I LOVE YOU AND SUMMER DAYS
Last week was the annual family vacation. It was a small one this year as we just spent a few days at Cedar Point and the beaches of Lake Erie. All of us successfully did not get too bad of a sunburn and I did not need to run straight to my chiropractor after all the rollercoasters. So I’d say it was a success.
In the spirit of family and summer I’d like to share a very funny little recording I did with Olivia one afternoon a couple summers ago. From time to time Liv will sit down and write songs and sing with me. It’s pretty much the best. I will no doubt be keeping this short and grainy phone memo recording forever. (7/27/2018)
SEE YOU IN STYEREO
Sometimes you just push record and see what happens, and that is pretty much the story behind this fun track. Lindsey calls it my Interpol song which is pretty accurate.
Lyrically it’s about fighting off old age and a slowing metabolism. I wrote the line ‘Finding patterns in pavement’ as I was running one morning. I later found the line in my notepad and wrote the rest of the words around it. Musically, it is all built around the repeating bass line that I for sure forgot how to play by now. Well, that and a lot of effects, which you all know I love to over use. (7/20/2018)
THIS LAND IS MY LAND
This week's song is a throw back to February 2015. Lindsey took a quick weekend trip to Miami to visit some friends. In my lost-boy sadness I recorded a 4 song lo-fi EP with the help of my friend Seth. We ate a lot of pizza and drank a lot of beer. So much so that I attempted to play drums (not well).
This song is a fun pop song, and in the spirit of last week being the 4th of July, I thought I would make it this week's "Song of the Week".
If you would like to hear the entire EP, entitled "To Explain You To Anyone Who's Not Me", you can find it here: https://krisn.bandcamp.com
Seth and I have exchanged tracks recently and so hopefully there will be an encore to our collaboration in the near future. (7/13/2018)
KNIFE (Grizzly Bear cover)
Last week, Lindsey and I saw Grizzly Bear perform at the PNC Pavilion, and so of course we had to try and record a cover of one of our favorite Grizzly Bear songs. I say "try" because that band is not the easiest band to cover. Of course Lindsey nailed it in one take and her voice is too good for all the effects, but I really tried to keep the vibe of the original song. Anyway, here is our fun attempt at "Knife". Our open screen doors allowed the birds outside to either harmonize at the end or take over completely. I’m not quite sure. (7/6/2018)
START OF SOMETHING
I did not start the "Song of the Week" to have some sort of message or to dive into political grandstanding, but I did intend on being honest in both my songs and my reason for writing them. I wrote this song right after the Parkland School shooting. The news can sometimes be overwhelming for me. It can really effect my moods and as a result I sometimes feel hopeless and helpless. This song is about the struggle of overcoming those feelings.
Just like during the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, these past couple weeks have brought back those same feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. I was at work listening to the afternoon news a week or two ago when I first heard the tapes of the migrant children yelling and crying for their mothers and fathers as they were being locked up in cages. I stopped working in order to gather myself back together. It took several minutes for me to fight back my emotions and be able to continue working.
I recently referred back to this song because writing it previously helped me feel less hopeless. The recording is a little rough around the edges but I left it as is because it seems to capture that moment.
End of verse 2: "In reality, I stop bullets just by singing with the confidence that hopelessness can not defeat me." (6/29/2018)
GAVE A BETTER ONE
Since last Sunday was Father’s Day, I thought I would make this week’s "Song of the Week’ one I recently did with fellow punk rock dad, Nick Satinover. Nick and I have collaborated a lot over the years, from many of my early songs on "Burning Down Belmont" to a project I’m super proud of we call Hangover, Ohio.
As Hangover, Ohio we have released two full length records that are available now. Our first, entitled "Common Measure" can be streamed here at poptek.com (you’ll find the Albums tab above or to the left). Our second, entitled "Still, Life", can be downloaded at hangoverohio.bandcamp.com.
Nick is easily one of the most talented musicians and artists I’ve ever known and I’m super lucky he lets me put words to his amazing instrumentations. They are some of my most favorite recordings I have been involved with. Please check them out if you have a chance.
This song is part of a batch of songs Nick recently sent me to work on. We hope to have a new release soon, but in the meantime enjoy this very fun and airy song. See if you can find the Slaughterhouse Five reference. (6/22/2018)
This song is many years old, but still holds as true as ever. I jotted most of these lines down while staying at the Shadyside Inn in Pittsburgh, PA. Lindsey and I went there to see the Black Keys. Fun fact: they are our band. The whole night was so fun and carefree. I just remember a feeling of not knowing or caring what time it was and that is how the main hook came about. “1,2,3 a.m. I am in your eyes tonight and you’re still fucking perfect.”
For years I toyed with this song, but never quite loved it until I got Lindsey to sing it. Her voice is so lovely and unique. Sometimes I catch her singing around the house and sometimes it’s not rap music. Either way I still love it. Her voice somehow makes the song so much less cheesy. More like the right amount of cheesy I’m used too. (6/15/2018)
OH WELL, ORWELL
I know the title is perversely pretentious. But as Andy recently told me, “pretentious ages well.” There’s no big political statement hidden in this collection of words, but more of an observation about who we are. Our social structures try to categorize us and put us into this group or that group. Dividing us and changing our identities into political parties and ideologies.
Social media has furthered many of these narratives. Facebook has totally changed the meaning of the saying “keeping up with the Joneses.” We now try to keep up with the Jones’s friends and their friend’s friends. All the while forgetting what really makes us happy. This is what I am referring to with the line "our Facebook walls chase waterfalls."
I just think it’s sad that we are so conscious of the image we portray to one another. As well as how we perceive other people to be from the small snapshots they share. People will like your pictures, but are they really happy for you? It seems to me that real and true connections have become more difficult to obtain even though these platforms were designed to keep us all connected. (That being said feel free to share and like this on the social media platform of your choice:).
Also this song is going up first because of my affection for Bobby Kennedy and this week being the 50th anniversary of his death. I honestly think a lot about how our country would be different had he lived to become president. That may be a naive statement, but it is the way I choose to believe. (6/8/2018)
“Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.”- Robert Kennedy