New recording: Build it up

Posted in Call it what you like! on July 20th, 2009 by admin
This week’s song was begun about a year ago, born out of thoughts on the economic hijinks on Wall Street and beyond. Much of the specific inspiration, though, came from this piece, which was part of the fantastic comic-art show Marg had in 2007.
Seriously, a couple of years ago you couldn’t swing a dead cat in this town without hitting a brand-new condo building. Giant barfing construction anime-critters are the ONLY POSSIBLE EXPLANATION. Most of these places never seemed to sell many units, and yet the developers made enough to take a vacation in Paris and then build the next one. Made no sense to me until everything went down the tubes.
I imagine something bigger and proggier for this one eventually, but this version gets the ideas across, I think.
Build it up (get yer .mp3 RIGHT HERE, folks. Step right up!)
Words and Music © 2009 Mark Frey

Build it up

then walk away

buy it out

then make them pay

fill it in

but never stay

build it up

build it up

sell it off

before it’s done

burn it down

just for fun

write it off

while you’re on the run

build it up

build it up

it’s all we know

and change, change comes slow

these are the cards we show

it’s all we know

grab a piece

but don’t pay cash

wring it dry

and toss the trash

ride it high

then let it crash

build it up.

New Song: Airwaves

Posted in Call it what you like! on February 2nd, 2009 by admin

This week’s tune is an homage to the glory days of FM radio. Something about the connection, however tenuous, to a real person in a little booth in a city sixty or so miles away always struck a chord with me whilst I was a misfit teenager in medium-town Indiana in the 80s. These days, I suppose blogs and Twitter and Facebook serve a similar function. But it’s not the same, somehow.

Airwaves [Get the .mp3 here!]
(c) Mark Frey 2009

Deceiving the static, we tune automatic
dial in the notion of connected emotion
turn up the sound ’til that voice comes around
superlative reflex in an unchanging index

Out in the night we receive
and believe
it’ll be all right

Under this sky we can cry
and take comfort
from strangers

Immersed in the airwaves
breathe in the airwaves

Losing all fear, drawn out of the hear
without wondering how, in a crystalized now
Anonymous noise, genuine joys
radiation that sings, a message that rings

Ephemeral visions of better conditions
repeating the signs over invisible lines
glamorous stories of intangible glories
under the cloud, shouting out loud.

New Song: Farmer Joe’s

Posted in Call it what you like!, Holiday Special, Nerd Rock on October 30th, 2008 by admin

Time for some holiday schtick. Early, for your convenience!

A while back, Ben and I, inspired by other monster-themed novelty tunes of yore, set out to write a great Halloween song. Perhaps THE great Halloween song. One that had it all: life, death, magic, and mystery. But first, we needed a monster. It’s sort of required for the genre. So, we sat and thought, and sat and thought, and emailed back and forth. And what did we come up with?
I’ll tell you what we came up with: a big pumpkin. A really big pumpkin. That eats people. And likes it.

Ahem. Quake in your sheets, Burt Bacharach, we’re breathin’ down your neck.

May I present, in recorded form for the first time EVAR:
Farmer Joe’s Bigass Monster Pumpkin (click for mp3)
words and music (c) 2008 Mark Frey and Ben Collins-Sussman
On a Halloween night much like this, many moons ago
a grumpy guy who raised great gourds was known as Farmer Joe
the farmer hated children and hated Halloween
to scare away the village kids he hatched a wicked scheme

The greatest gourd he ever grew was larger than a barrel
the farmer used that pumpkin huge but knew not of his peril
with his knife he cut all night, and wrought a gruesome face–
giant fangs and burning eyes, of kindness not a trace

It was Farmer Joe’s Big-Ass Monster Pumpkin
mean product of a grouchy hand
but you know how this kind of story goes
Farmer Joe got more than he planned

The fearful sculpture done, evil visage thus bestowed,
Farmer Joe picked up a hat which blew in off the road
but there must have been some voodoo in that greasy cap he found
For when he dressed the Jack-O-Lantern it devoured him with a bound!

The pumpkin growled, licked his lips, and cackled with delight
With bloody maw and endless hunger he vanished in the night
now trick-or-treaters everywhere are shaking in their shoes
for if you meet this hollow beast, your life you’re gonna lose

He’s Farmer Joe’s Big-Ass Monster Pumpkin
Always lookin’ for someone to eat
On Halloween, watch out at every porch,
or you’ll be the next yummy treat!

As porches proudly put their mangled pumpkins on display
He’s lurking, camouflaged, for tasty costumed prey
The plump kids dressed as farmers are his very favorite kind
and when noone’s looking out, he rolls and grabs them from behind

He’s Farmer Joe’s Big-Ass Monster Pumpkin
gettin’ high on candied meat
On Halloween, watch out at every porch,
or you’ll become a yummy treat!

Archival footage!

Posted in Call it what you like!, Excuses on October 20th, 2008 by admin

It’s after 10 on Sunday, and my tracks are pretty shaky. Looks like it’s lame excuse time.

Captain Ambivalent was in town last weekend to mix his upcoming album. We managed to get through 22 songs in a chock-full weekend, but as you might imagine that left me a bit burnt out and behind on things. 
I gamely tried to get it together for tonight’s posting anyways, and made it halfway through three different songs. Sadly, each turned out to be the kind of thing you can’t rush. Ack!
So, today y’all get one from the vaults. This is a song I recorded with Two-Fisted Frogkicker (a.k.a. Implied Trampoline, a.k.a. Tim and Billy and Demus and Mark) back when I was living in Buffalo. A few folks heard an early mix of it at a friend’s art-in-progress party a while back, but I never put it up on the site. Until now!
It’s kind of instructive, actually–the mix was done in 2003, with a tiny bit of pseudomastering slapped on it tonight. As I listen to it, I’m struck by how much I’ve learned about recording and mixing since then. I think it’s a fun tune (which might profit from one more edit pass on the lyrics), but it’s definitely got a lo-fi vibe. Luckily, Tim and Billy and Demus are awesome players, so the groove comes through regardless.
I may be able to squeeze out some brand-new acoustic sketch or something later this week-we’ll see. In the meantime:
Lyrics (c) 2000 Mark Frey, Music (c) 2000 Mark Frey, Tim O’Connell, Bill Bosinski, and Demus.

New Song: Jumping off the Wire

Posted in Call it what you like! on September 7th, 2008 by admin

Hey, a few hours early!

Jumping off the wire
(c) 2008 Mark Frey
Sometimes enough is enough
but that’s never been true with you
face to the wind, laughing as it stings
thirsty for all tomorrow brings

You’re always jumping off the wire
losing your balance so cheerfully
and all I can do is watch you
dive into the fire

The road is open and calling
and you answer with a wild smile
we may never pass this way again
so you charge right into the lion’s den

You’re always jumping off the wire
losing your balance so gracefully
and all I can do is watch you
dive into the fire

I’m always telling you to slow down
save yourself for the days to come
but maybe that’s only jealousy
maybe I always wanted to be

Jumping off the wire
losing my balance so carefully
but all I can do is watch you
dive into the fire

You’re always jumping off the wire
losing your balance so perfectly
and all I can do is watch you
dive into the fire

In those cases!

Posted in Call it what you like! on September 7th, 2008 by admin

Nothing like a bad translation to brighten your day. Found this one when I was putting away the folder with our car’s warranty stuff in it.

There’s actually something poetic about it to my ear. I wonder if the French version is as charmingly odd?

A different kind of Rock

Posted in Call it what you like! on September 4th, 2008 by admin

For Labor Day, marg & I rented a cottage in Missouri with some friends. Did some eating, did some gaming, did some hiking.

I particularly liked Elephant Rocks State Park, which does indeed rock.

Lucky for me the 1st was Monday; four more days until the next tune is due! See y’all on Sunday.

New Song: Collapse

Posted in Call it what you like! on August 20th, 2008 by admin

This is a first draft of a song marg and I are working on together. She wrote the words and sang. We may do some rearranging later, but here’s what we have today!

It’s about how, over the course of your life, the millions of potential avenues your existence could take start to whittle down to the thread you actually do follow. It doesn’t treat with the other side of the equation, the opening of new doors when old ones close, but then sometimes simple and gloomy is fun.

Words and music (c) 2008 Marg and Mark Frey

some other lover, job or cover, an appointment missed
right turn instead of left
a pill not taken, letter sent, the knife that slipped
companion never met

unheeded choices left along the way
like so much highway trash
flying so fast you can’t see the dreams
mixed with the roadkill and cigarettes

the closer you are to what you’ll be
the further from what could have been
you could regret that things turned out differently,
but some roads are better left for dead

stalking away through the storm
instead of turning back to explain
possibilities collapsing they can’t all come true
one devours the next


mettle tested, conflicts bested, open up the box
living an educated guess
how many moments wasted focused on the little things
for an illusion of control


Vacation delay

Posted in Call it what you like! on August 18th, 2008 by admin

Just got back in town from a few days off. New song is recorded except for the vocal, which I foolishly thought could get finished tonight.

Ha. Exhausted. Voice shot.

Going to pull the vacation card on this one and delay two days; I’ll post on Tuesday this week instead of tonight.

Special Edition Penalty Cover Tune Week!

Posted in Call it what you like! on August 4th, 2008 by admin

This week’s song is, just for giggles, a cover version. And it’s super lo-fi! I just set up one mic and played and sang until I had a take that I was happy with. Since I’m neither a great guitar player nor a highly accurate singer, that means you’re getting a raw, ‘warts and all’ performance. I hear that’s all the rage these days. It’s supposed to be more energetic or something.

I played this one at Halloween two years ago to an amused reception. Since some of the fun is the dawning realization as you figure out what song it is, I’m just naming the file by today’s date. I suppose you may not recognize it if you were not listening to music in 1985. If so, sorry about that.

Get the mp3 here!