Today I am releasing a free album called “Missing Film’, a selection of instrumental music I've written and recorded over the past two years. These tracks range from film and TV commissions that didn't pan out, to one-off experiments that have no home. Instead of letting these just sit idly on harddrives, I thought I would make these tracks available to film makers and content creators to use, royalty-free, in any of their personal work. So as long as it's non-commercial, you can use any of these tracks for your work and do not need my explicit permission. The entire album is a free download, and Noisetrade has been kind enough to host for me. So if you want to download for your projects, or you'd just like to listen, here's the link: https://noisetrade.com/radicalface/missing-film Or on the regular services here: http://smarturl.it/ag6ods And if you're happy with your result, feel free to share what you make with me by sending an email through my website or posting on Youtube and tagging me. I'd love to see what people do with this. Hope everyone is well. -Ben
Hey there. Hope everyone is good. This is an alternate version of "We're On Our Way" that I never released, but I liked how it came out. Just figured I'd upload it while I'm prepping my next release for Fall. https://youtu.be/jJ4oLqbayqY
So the entire covers EP is up today: https://tinyurl.com/yaydfz6k I'll take a minute to describe the last two singles, since I forgot to write about the fifth one. I have too many irons in the fire sometimes. Number five was “Nothing Compares 2 U” from Sinead O'Connor (I know the song was originally written by Prince but that's not how I came across it). I first heard Sinead's record “I do not want what I haven't got” because my older sister had the tape. We were not well-off and there weren't a lot of records to pick from in the household, so I started listening to this album just for some variety. But it wasn't long before I got really into it, and really started to love her voice. I was maybe 11 years old at the time, and already into pretty heavy music like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins. So this was another guilty pleasure type of album – something I listened to when no one was around, or in headphones. I think those private records always leave a mark. You remember those a little differently. This track is also a go-to for me at karaoke, and something I've covered live plenty of times. So when working out what I wanted to record, this was first on the list. And then this final track in the set is the strangest one for me. I know the song “Memory”, and specifically the Elaine Paige version, but this was the only one that wasn't rooted in nostalgia for me. It was proposed almost as a challenge from someone I work with, Michael Pizzuto. He was curious what I do with a track like that. And I honestly wasn't sure at first. I was stumped for a couple days, and it forced me to approach arranging in a very different way because some of my standard toolkit just wasn't working. But I think it's my favorite of the bunch! I love things that push me into places I don't picture myself. It's the best way to learn. So yeah, that's this cover set. It was a really fun way to learn how to record in my apartment, to shake some dust off my production chops, to take silly photos and make no-budget videos. Thanks for following along, those of you who did. And thanks to everyone who helped me make everything (Roy Berry, Glen Alen, Amber Halford, Josh Lee, Clay Doran, Michael Pizzuto, and Rachel Cragg). But now, back to my regular onslaught of sad little songs. New EP coming shortly, as well as lots of releases with Bear Machine Records. But I'll write about that more in a separate post. Until then, I hope everyone is well.
Ok. Cover number four. http://hyperurl.co/ttdwlo For this one I picked “Jolene” by Dolly Parton. Dolly is a hell of a songwriter, both in what she's written for herself and for others. I think she's got a really cool sense of melody, and she's the type of professional we don't much see anymore. Always seemed genuinely kind as well. But I remember when someone on youtube put up the 33rpm version of Jolene (pressed as a 45) about 5 years ago, and I got a little obsessed with it. At some point I figured out the chords just playing along with the track, for my own amusement. When deciding to lay down some covers, it was one of the first ones that came to mind. I also noticed, once I stripped this down to its chords, that it reminded me of some music from old fantasy films. Like the soundtrack of “The Last Unicorn”. So I decided to push that stuff a bit with the piano and mellotrons. I had a ton of fun making this cover art, too. Everyone involved just laughed for a couple hours straight. Again, I worked with Glen Alen who runs Drag Academy, and he put the entire look together. He found and styled the wig, did the make-up, and already had the fake breasts and jewelry. He was a one stop shop! I was unsure of how this one would go, but he nailed it. Thanks again, Glen. And a special to thanks to “69” for letting us shoot in their space and for providing the clothes, and to Roy Berry for taking the photos. I just showed up and it all happened. Hopefully, this can be a little bit of nightmare fuel. I think it's probably the best photo I've ever taken. And like all the others, I cut together a video out of public domain footage that caught my eye. https://youtu.be/ks7hab5QIMU This is the last one in that style, though. The last two covers are a little stranger with the videos. Excited to see how those shape up. But cool. That's enough for now. I hope everyone is well.
Cover number three. For this one I picked “Video Games” by Lana Del Rey http://smarturl.it/gn2vk5 This will likely come as no surprise, but I know very little about modern pop music. It's not something I follow. I never really have. By the time the Backstreet Boys popped up on the radio, I was already well into underground music. But I want to stress, this was never principle for me. I have no problem with pop music. You often come across this high-horse attitude about it that I really don't share. Music is music. You like it or you don't. I'm not very social about what I enjoy, and I'm not going to like or dislike something based on how popular it is, or isn't. I just don't listen to a lot of pop because it doesn't catch my ear. Nothing more. I really like Lana Del Rey, though. I only heard about her because of backlash. My initiation to her music was other people complaining and saying she was some kind of fraud. So I got curious and looked her up. The first song that popped up on Youtube was Video Games and I liked it right off. It had a lot of the things I enjoy in music. It was moody, the chords, arrangements and melodies were clever, and the vocals had a lot of personality. It was the first “Radio Pop” kind of artist I'd heard in a long time that I listened to the song more than once. So I got the record, and again to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed how it was simultaneously melodramatic and bored. It was very left-field for the kind of records I was into at the time, which was fun. And then on tour, back in 2013, we were in London and were asked to perform on a video blog. I misread the email and didn't realize until 10 pm the night before that we were supposed to prepare a cover. So Josh and I came up with this version of Video Games over the course of about an hour. We wound up playing it off and on at shows from that point on for something fun. So it was a no-brainer to sit down and record a proper version for this cover's EP. A couple others in this little series have come from the same scenario. And as with the rest of the series, I also cut together a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoqLkEBiANU&t=0s&index=13&list=PLz0NgKsarCsRmIR0OesJ0lmZxNNDzvVIh Special thanks to Hunter O'Shea for providing the 16mm footage of his Arizona skate-crew. He was kind of enough to donate lots of little clips at a super short notice, and it made the edit a ton better. Him and his brother also make a great series of skate videos called “A Happy Medium” that are very worth checking out. And lastly, for the cover image, even with a wig and make-up, I couldn't come close to looking like Ms. Rey. Way out of my range on this one. So I just did a cover that reminded me of her style, and hid most of my face. Hahaha. Some of these were definitely more challenging than others. But such is the way. As someone who has never done drag, it has given me a lot more respect for the medium. It's a lot harder than it looks. And it didn't look easy to begin with. Anywho, I hope everyone is well.
So it's time for cover number two, and what I chose is the theme from “The Goonies” by Cyndi Lauper. http://smarturl.it/64q92x Why this one? Goonies is one of my big childhood movies. I remember renting the VHS plenty of times in elementary school, alongside Don Bluth animations (Secret of Nimh and Land Before Time especially), Chipmunk Adventure, Transformers and Return To Oz. I still love all of these. But one thing that really stood out to me from Goonies was the music, and especially the theme song. That track eventually led me to “She's So Unusual” and everything beyond, but it's where I started with Cyndi. Sometimes it's nice to go back to the beginning. I also liked that I was genuinely stumped about how to cover this one at first. I enjoyed the challenge. We had a lot of fun doing this photo shoot, too. The make-up, wig, clothing, accessories and styling were all done by Glen Alen. Glen runs Drag Academy and is a total pro. He had me all put together within an hour, and I couldn't stop laughing about the result. It was a ton of fun. I tend to be such a bummer when I sit down to write music, so doing something light-hearted like this was a good change of pace. But never fear. I'll be back to my old, sad-bastard self soon enough. Ha. And I've been throwing together videos out of public domain footage for a lot of these tracks, but did some bonus overlays for this one. Here's a link to that: https://youtu.be/iBE7DfERm-U That's all for now. I hope everyone is well.
So I'm finally putting up some new recordings! I have been tracking a ton these past 8 months, but due to the inevitable back-end organization that comes with launching my own label Bear Machine Records, it always takes a while before things are actually released. More on that in a bit. The first song I’m putting out as part of a covers series is from The Cranberries, as an homage to Dolores O' Riordan. It’s on Spotify here: https://tinyurl.com/yaamamru I also put together a video from home videos of different eras, as a small nod to the original video: https://youtu.be/xOw1iOdxWw8 I was really sad when I read the news that she'd passed. The Cranberries were a private band for me. Some might call it a guilty pleasure. I came up in rock music. Bands like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins were such a huge influence, and a large part of why I picked up a guitar. Those bands quickly led to the whole world of indie rock, and it wasn't long before The Pixies, Sonic Youth, Polvo, Slint, My Bloody Valentine and the like took over. It was all my friends listened to by the time we were starting high school. But on my own, when no one was around, I also liked my pretty songs. Some of them were radio-friendly and therefore not cool. This is where The Cranberries lived for me. And while they were most known for Zombie at the time, I really loved songs like Linger, Dreams, Ode To My Family, Dream My Dreams. And I adored her voice. Very Irish, and it always felt so raw and direct to me. It still does. I picked “Ode To My Family” because it straddles sentimental and somber in such a way that makes it hard to pin down. A lot of my favorite songs dance between emotions like that, and it's something I often strive for in my own stuff, so it made the most sense to me. I also remember seeing the video first pop up on MTV and I really liked the feel of it right away. The song is not an easy range for me to sing in, no matter what key I put it in. I also made myself track the vocals in a single take as a challenge, figuring it was the best way to mirror that raw and unabashed quality her voice has. I gave myself a theme with these covers, as I always tend to do: I am only covering women, and I am basing my choices on voices/personalities that have struck me over the years. Most of these are nostalgic. Another rule I've made for this series is: for the artwork, I will do my best to look like each of the women I'm covering. I do not have the bone structure for drag (an artist friend of mine once described me, while working on my portrait, as a human potato … hahaha), so all of these will be a stretch. But I think laughing at yourself is important. Two of these in particular are going to be a horror show. You're welcome. Check out my profile picture for my best Dolores. This series was completed a bit ago, so I'm putting up a track everything other Friday. It'll be a fun lead up to my next set of releases. I have lots of smaller things coming out this year. Two EPS, some fun stuff around a re-release, as well as really launching @Bear Machine Records next month. I have a lot more to say on all those things, but I will do that as a separate post on my Website http://www.radicalface.com. I think this is long enough. I hope everyone is well. R.I.P. Dolores.