I wanted Beauty Pill to cover Q-Tip’s mysterious “Barely In Love” because it’s a nearly perfect song. Unfortunately, I strongly — strongly! — dislike the key change embedded in the song. Tip obviously loves Stevie Wonder and so do I, but there are simply some moves only Stevie can pull off. I don’t make the rules.
This is not about me or Beauty Pill, but I am on a road trip and I just listened again to the very cool interview with Steve Reich on the Essential Tremors podcast and I highly, highly recommend it. The Reich episode in specific and the Essential Tremors show in general. Steve Reich’s speaking voice always reminds me of Martin Scorsese. Two masterful New York genius artists who speak quickly and expect you to keep up, like cab drivers. My favorite quote from Reich in this podcast (where he talking about Stravinsky) is “A classic is news that STAYS news.” I fucking love that. I realize it’s what I aim for in my own music. I may never meet the guy, but I love him with all my heart. The Essential Tremors show is... essentia! I wish I had a more imaginative pitch than that, but it’s true. There was a Beauty Pill episode last year. But I’m not promoting that. Listen to the Reich episode. It’s so good!
"Sorry You're Here" is the soundtrack to a play called "suicide.chat.room." The play ran in 2010 in Washington, DC. It will run again in 2020. The play is sourced exclusively from transcripts of real internet discussion boards for suicidal people. (The early internet of the 1990s had "chat rooms," largely an antiquated idea now.) The words in the play are the real words of suicide victims and survivors. Verbatim. I found it unusual, daring and moving. I was happy and honored to collaborate with Taffety Punk, the innovative theater company that produced the play. In the last few days, we have received a few complaints -- not many, but a significant few -- asking us to delete "Sorry You're Here" because of its upsetting content. To be clear: These are well-reasoned, articulate, restrained complaints, not hysterical name-calling. I appreciate that nobody screamed at us. But still the request is pretty extreme. Delete our music? For real? I want you to know that I have given these letters thought. I have taken them seriously. I have discussed the matter extensively with Marcus Kyd (writer/director of the play) and Kimberly Gilbert (the actor who appears on the track "Valuable Experience.") We did not dismiss the letters on the grounds of "We're artists, fuck off." I understand that many of you writing have lost loved ones or family members to suicide. Or you survived suicide attempts yourself. Or maybe you're currently miserable and contemplating self-harm right now. What kind of asshole would I be if I didn't take you seriously? However, I have arrived at a conclusion you might not like. I'm going to keep the album available and I'm not going to modify it. I think the work has integrity. I think the music of the score is good. I stand by it. I think the play vivifies and honors the lived experience of those people. It does not debase them and it does not glorify them. It presents them simply as people with thoughts and feelings. I'm sorry if this whole topic is painful. I do not want to cause anyone pain. And I would certainly not trivialize it. I recognize Kimberly's soliloquy in "Valuable Experience" is particularly harrowing. I get that. I will certainly include a trigger warning on Bandcamp. I think that's reasonable and responsible. (I will do that as soon as I'm done writing this.) I care about you and I've given it thought, but the music stays. Sorry. - c https://beautypill.bandcamp.com/album/sorry-youre-here
The sun will come out tomorrow https://www.instagram.com/p/Bz9DLBzBFhm/
There is a new track on "Sorry You're Here," Beauty Pill's soundtrack to the play "suicide.chat.room." It's a collaboration with Kimberly Gilbert. An excerpt from her portrayal of the character LostBooks. It's called "Valuable Experience No. 2" If you purchased the album before, download it again. Worth it. https://bit.ly/2KZT8BV
Technically we're supposed to wait until midnight, but... here it is an hour early: Currently exclusive to Bandcamp (not streaming anywhere), Beauty Pill's remastered debut record "The Cigarette Girl From The Future" is now available again. I recommend headphones. https://bit.ly/2Shc6pm
One of the many failures of the “Unsustainable Lifestyle” album: The song “The Mule On The Plane” was a pidgin attempt to appropriate the delicate harmonic sensibilities of Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Our song is not LITERALLY bossa nova, just *faintly* bossa nova. It’s meant to be subtle. In particular, I got really into a Jobim album called “Stone Flower.” I wanted to make use of those types of chords, but apply them to a different, more urgent rock sensibility. I decided to marry this experiment with existential lyrics about class warfare and alienation and the drug trade, expressed in a magic realism style. (The mule in the title *could* be a literal mule... if your brain can embrace the absurdity of that.) Ultimately the song is another allegory about empathy, like most BP songs. When the record came out, absolutely nobody got the inferred South American vibe. The reviews were all “What does this have to do with Jawbox?” or some shit. Complete failure. Despair. Anyway, if you listen a certain way, I think you can discern the Gilberto vibe in the last minute of the song. It’s faint, but it’s there. R.I.P. Joao Gilberto ❤️
ICYMI, Beauty Pill released the soundtrack to a play called "suicide. chat. room." It's called "Sorry You're Here." Created a decade ago, but still sounds futuristic, I think. Leap ahead and build it to last. That's my steez. (I just made that up.) Make it yours. - c https://bit.ly/2KZT8BV
When meeting strangers, I generally answer the “What do you do?” question with “I am engineer.” It’s not a lie (I am a recording engineer) and it sounds dull enough that people don’t ask follow up questions. This way I avoid the “I make music/I’m in a band” discussion. Sometimes people figure it out anyway. A few years ago, my evangelical neighbor googled me, bought my band’s CD, listened to the first song, then returned it to me, scandalized by the cursing. (The fifth word on the album is “fucker.”) When I say “returned it to me,” this dude literally dropped it on my doorstep. With a note taped, sternly expressing his distaste for the swearing. As if I had sold it to him! As if I had said “Hello, I am in a band called Beauty Pill and you should definitely buy our latest compact disc via Amazon.com. Thanks.” I wanted to give it back to him and say “I’m afraid you’ve mistaken me for someone else. But THANKS, this album is GENIUS!” - c
Beauty Pill's fabled Grace Kelly stamp t-shirt is available to buy online for the first time. Make it yours. https://beautypill.bandcamp.com/merch/beauty-pill-grace-kelly-stamp-t-shirt
There’s a track on this album called “At A Loss,” constructed from a lofi recording of me improvising “jazz chords” (in quotes because I don’t know how to play jazz) on the piano. I printed the recording to 1/4” tape and manually manipulated the tape and then printed the result back to my MPC. Next I chopped up the recordings to capture single chord fragments. I triggered those fragments with the MPC pads. As a play, “suicide.chat.room” provoked an unnerving sensation of vertigo. Marcus Kyd’s script was constructed from verbatim transcripts of early-internet Usenet support groups for suicidal people. And when I say “support groups,” it’s not support in the way you might hope! Marc used their ACTUAL real words and sometimes even user names. It’s kind of shocking stuff. Paulina Guerrero’s convulsive choreography also had a vertiginous character to it. So I tried to capture that in the “wilting” vibe of the music. I’m happy with the result. The most striking sound on this piece comes at the end. It is mysterious to me. (This music was made a decade ago, I don’t remember how I did a lot of it.) It sounds like a car skidding slow motion into a downward spiral. Or something. I don’t know how that happened, but I’m impressed with 2010 Me. 2010 Me had a lot of ingenuity, apparently. - c
“Describes Things As They Are” double red vinyl gatefold edition is now available in a very limited quantity at Dischord. If interested, I advise you to act quickly. The record is also streaming once again. And it is now artist-owned. We are FREE. This is all good news. But it is just the beginning of good news for BP fans this summer. New music. New art projects. New collaborations. All very soon. - c
Make it yours. https://bit.ly/2w7YSRi
Sometime next week, Beauty Pill “Describes Things As They Are” will be available again via streaming platforms (Apple, Spotify, Amazon, Tidal etc.) As of now, it is exclusive to Bandcamp. But starting soon, you will be able to access it anywhere you listen to music. Additionally, next week Dischord Records will have a limited number of copies of the double vinyl record. We will announce this when they announce it. You will want to order fast. The vinyl edition of this record is truly lovely — a full gatefold, red and clear vinyl — and it may sell out quickly. cheers, c