Catching my breath

I’ve been writing and mixing nonstop since February. No complaints — it’s been nothing but fun. But I have to take a moment here to reload: come up with a few new stories, finish a couple more songs and rebuild the buffer, get some new art, all of that. So: tiny July break while we stockpile some more stuff for you.

If you’ve been enjoying the Almanac so far, tip your cap to Chris Littler, whose art design brought the website to life. It’s Chris who took the idea of the map and made it real for me and who created the basic template of the city pages. I owe him a bunch. Chris has been up to another project that updates periodically, but this one has a much higher profile: he’s written the music to a podcast musical that’s currently available for download on iTunes. The project is called 36 Questions, and Chris composed the music with Ellen Winter, his partner in the Chamber Band. Although it’s somewhat experimental — this is the only podcast musical I can think of — the production company has been able to enlist some real-ass Broadway performers to take the lead roles, including Jonathan Groff, recently seen in Hamilton. To be totally honest, I like Chris Littler’s singing better than Jonathan Groff’s, but I’m not the biggest modern Broadway guy and you might think I’m nuts (Chris and Ellen probably do.) The musical, which is getting released in three installments, concerns a couple trying to save a relationship on the rocks, but it’s really about deception and that weird thing in human nature that, for reasons we don’t understand, recoils from intimacy. I encourage you to check it out. Chris and Ellen are extraordinary writers.

What else is going on? Well, as you probably know, Mike’s album is now out and available on Rhyme + Reason Records, and he’s been supporting Try Your Hardest¬†on radio stations around the Jer-Z area. I believe Mike did a performance on WSOU this weekend, and Pete Creekmore came by the station to play sax; it’s probably archived on their site, but I haven’t looked yet. We’re currently working on a Jersey City show later in the summer, but not too much later — I’ll let you know when that gets booked. Meanwhile, George The Monkey is presently making a video for “My Absence Will Go Unnoticed,” one of the most depressing songs (and therefore one of my favorites) on The Well-Tempered Overlord. Apparently he shot the whole thing at a soon-to-be-abandoned K-Mart somewhere in the heart of Pennsylvanian suburban desolation. Jay Braun, too, is hard at work on a top-secret project that may or may not be salient to his Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

So, yeah, everybody is up to some loopy stuff in this, the summer of Tropicalia. (It’s the Summer of Tropicalia, btw, because of the amazing Lygia Pape show that’s about to close at the Breuer and the stupendously fun Helio Oiticica exhibition that just opened at the Whitney. I went Brazil nuts.) As for me, I’m almost at the point where I can start banging the works-in-progress on the Almanac into the general shape of a couple of albums. I’ve got about three songs to get right with Mike and about four to finish with Jay. I’m not completely sure which album is going to come together first, but I trust things will fall into place. It’s time for a quick step back to see where I’ve come from and how much road I’ve got left to travel. Then it’ll be right back on the road. Thanks for your attention so far; I’ll continue to try to justify it.