well that was interesting, too

25 Jul 2006 08:19 by Doug

I used to be in a band with a singer (Mike) who I thought was pretty crazy onstage. He would clamber on top of equipment, spray Diet Coke and candle wax over anything (and anyone) in range, climb off the stage and sing in people’s faces, that sort of thing. He ended most sets by taking a flying leap into the drum kit and knocking stuff over. (There were never any encores.)

But I gotta say, Monotonix’s lead singer put Mike completely to shame. He gyrated all over the floor of the Abbey Lounge and got plenty physical with the audience (I kept waiting for one of the women to slap him, but it never happened.) Mostly he was so over-the-top that it was just silly, but every now and then it took a serious turn — on one tune the guitarist mimed beheading the singer with harsh bursts of noise, and that was creepy.

Funny or scary, the bottom line is that they were consistently entertaining. I don’t think everyone dug the set (although a lot of people did), but I don’t think anyone was bored.

The great thing for the The Hyphens was that when Monotonix were finished, the crowd wasn’t projecting a mood of “ho-hum, another band to sit through,” the crowd was projecting a mood of “Yeah! More entertainment!” And nobody seemed to mind that we were more straightforward and less confrontational.

well, that was interesting

25 Jun 2006 11:31 by Doug

Our first night at Dee Dee’s Lounge was kinda crazy. Some band the night before had apparently dismantled the PA. The sound reinforcement person at the club knew how to run it but not how to put it together. Deprogrammer Mike and I tried to get it going without success — it acted like all the channels in were muted, except they weren’t. Sound came out of the board into the mains, but nothing going into the board came back out. Whatev.

We finally came up with the idea of using my bass head as a power amp, and rigged up a way to get a mic input into it. This worked better than it should have.

Since my amp was pressed into PA service, Mike lent me his rig, and we tore through a set with no monitors and no backing vox. A weird but fun show.

I enjoyed Deprogrammer. We both had a Misfits song in our set, and I definitely heard a lot of Misfits influence in their originals. I like playing with bands that are more punk than we are.

Lame Excuse was a no-show. I guess, they, uh, had some lame excuse.

shepherds delight

28 May 2006 13:16 by The Hyphens

Chris, John and David in the main tracking room at Appleman
(More photos from this session at Flickr.)

When we were invited to contribute a track to Jimmy Guterman’s Sandinista Project, there were only 2 tracks unspoken for, and only a few weeks to deliver a finished pre-master recording. We chose “Shepherds Delight,” the dub version of “Police and Thieves” that closes side 6.

We rehearsed the tune for a about a week, and came up with an approach to the song that we thought suited us — we were going to play the first half more-or-less like the record, and after the chorus we were going to rock it up more. As it happened, the session seemed to have a mind of its own. We wound up producing something that we’re all pretty happy with, but that sounds like nothing else this band has ever attempted.

We worked again with our friend/mentor/producer/engineer extraordinaire Chris Cugini at Appleman studios. We did all the tracking in a single marathon session on April 17th, with people coming and going through the day. John got to Appleman first and unpacked his gear. David, David’s son/guest percussionist Andrew Zev (AZ), and Doug arrived shortly thereafter.

We started the day by laying guide piano and bass parts down to a click. (John’s piano take had such a nice feel that we kept it in the final mix instead of replacing it later.) With guide tracks done, we moved on to drums and percussion. David has an impressive collection of quirky percussion instruments, and they don’t always fit the vibe of The Hyphens’s original material. The strange little groove of “Shepherds Delight” provided a perfect place to spotlight the talking drum and some other oddments. Andrew Zev, in his recording debut, played solid shaker and wielded the bizarre instrument that we chose to emulate the jet engine noises that end The Clash’s version of the track.

Next, John astounded us all by laying down a mix of both lyrical sax lines and crazy free-jazz sheep bleats and bird squawks. We did the “real” bass parts next, then moved on to John’s guitar.

It was now early evening. David and AZ had left, but Dave, who had to work a full day before he could escape to the studio, hadn’t yet shown up. As darkness fell, we added a few more percussion takes to thicken the mix a bit more.

Dave arrived and we did some takes of him playing guitar to close the day.

Chris sent us all home with rough mixes to listen to. We gave him a handful of comments and he delivered a mix to us about a week later. We were delighted with it and sent it directly on to Jimmy.

shows: June 15, July 23; Sandinista Project news

23 May 2006 10:18 by The Hyphens

Tonight we’re at PA’s Lounge with Air Guitar, Jazz Requirement and the Tasty Habits.

Thursday June 15th we’re at the Kirkland Cafe with the Brooklyns, Natural Toy and Jim Larkin.

Sunday July 23rd we’re at the Abbey Lounge with Monotonix (all the way from Isreal!).

And here’s the track list for the second disc of The Sandinista Project.

show: May 23, PA’s Lounge

27 Apr 2006 05:17 by The Hyphens

That’s a Tuesday, uh-huh. Our first full set at PA’s Lounge. 21+, $7, with The Tasty Habits and Jazz Requirement.
Will we have new tunes to lay on ya? You bet your sweet bippie.

Hear the Hyphens on AltrokRadio

26 Apr 2006 05:25 by The Hyphens

Our song “Turn it Up” is currently in rotation at Altrok Radio, an internet radio station that’s part of the Live 365 network.

In addition to the Hyphens, they play that old-school punk we love — Clash, Jam, Ramones, etc. — and plenty of that nouveau post-punk/new wave that the hep kids dig nowadays.

Sandinista! Part 1

11 Apr 2006 08:22 by Doug

We’re one of the last acts to join Jimmy Guterman’s Sandinista Project — 2 of the album’s 36 tracks were still unassigned. (Our producer’s band, The Blizzard of 78 nabbed the last one.) I think it really says something about The Clash that so many will jump at a chance to pay our respects, even if it means playing one of the lesser tracks on one of their lesser albums. Don’t get me wrong, I love Sandinista! dearly. But it’s not, you know, London Calling.

We have a crazy schedule to meet a tight deadline: Last night the stringed instruments got together to play our tune together for the first time and figure out the arrangement. I’m psyched with what we came up with — it’s not a radical re-interpretation, but we did Hyphenate it a l’il bit.

We rehearse again over the weekend and, uh, write the horn charts. Monday we go in for a tracking session, and we’re gonna mix real quick-like, possibly the following Monday.

drummer dave checking in

03 Apr 2006 09:29 by David

anybody got opinions on the new Dr Who, Battlestar galatctica?  Drums…

 read any good books…


ok…for now

show: May 4, Kirkland Cafe

28 Mar 2006 15:04 by The Hyphens

Yep, it’s another Thursday night at the Kirkland. Come be the guinea pigs for help us road test some new tunes!

Pics from the Jonathan Richman tribute

13 Mar 2006 14:31 by The Hyphens

A set by Johnny Arugedas from Anushka Pop.

A set by Sid at Too Much Rock