Sunday, January 2, 2011

BATTLEBLOG 2011 UPDATE (Includes info about the Tour Videos, New Album and More)

Quiet, but not Forgotten. (The BATTLEBLOG).

("I will begin again" - U2)

It's 2 days into 2011 and that means I'm surging with the awesome power that is NEW YEAR MOTIVATION. Yes, dear friends, Archaeology Johnson has a "To Do List" - filled with all manner of things that will (hopefully) enrich my life and (hopefully) infuse my existence with purpose and meaning. That's just a fancy way of saying that for the next few days I'm gonna be sitting around in my PJs listening to Mothers of Invention bootlegs, goofing around with my crazy new distortion pedal and spending money to get broken stuff fixed. (Really?)

This post is meant to be an update of sorts. A State of the Union, if you will on some BATTLEHOOCH related topics.

The Status of the Vlogs from the BATTLEHOOCH 2010 U.S. Tour.
  • We are obviously home and the tour has obviously been over for a couple months now. Yes, there hasn't been a peep on this Blog for a couple of months but what can I say.... we got home and I needed to take a break from the self contained universe of madness that was the tour and focus on the NEW, the COMFORTABLE and the FRESH. I visited home a couple of times. I got majorly caught up on sleep (Ed note: Still relishing in the novelty of having my own room and my own bed. Each night of sleep since being home has been delicious boys and girls. Delicious.) I spent long stretches of time working on new songs. FRESH PERSPECTIVE. However, to prove that we weren't just sitting on our asses, here's a video of us playing in Berkley since we're been home.
  • Now, it's a New Year and it's time to resume telling the tale. In the next few days we'll have the next official Tour Blog post which documents the conclusion of our winding, wayward jaunt to the east cost. (These episodes will cover the existential conundrum that was BATTLEHOOCH IN THE MIDWEST. Profound. Deep. Exhaustive.)
  • If you followed our trip via Twitter, Facebook, E-mail, Carrier Pigeon, etc. you know that we spent over 6 weeks in NYC and had a ridiculous amount of adventures. An overwhelming amount of said adventures were captured with our cameras (Thanks Kickstarter Backers!) and will be presented in some form (short film? concert movie? episodes?) shortly after the next Blog post. STAY TUNED!
  • While you await the exciting conclusion of the story of our 4 month Odyssey, please feel free to revisit all the prior episodes. A collection of all the Vlog episodes and accompanying posts can be found if you press THIS LINK.


We have started working on the next BATTLEHOOCH album. However, unlike past releases where we would work on a hand full of songs for a while and then record them on the cheap as quick as possible, we are going to be trying things differently.... cause we like to be
(said in sarcastic mocking tone. we're so meta, yo)

So this new plan kinda is shaping up as follows:
  • Everyone is writing songs/riffs/progressions/rhythms/concepts/etc. (We'll call these little musical units TIDBITS.)
  • We're gathering together each week and showing each other the new tidbits. The tidbits are then demoed, jammed on, rehearsed, altered and generally molested and mutilated.
  • We move on and do it all over again with a new batch of tidbits next week.
  • Net Result: LOTS OF TIDBITS. A Whole Pile of New Ideas that we cherry pick the tastiest, funkiest, most mind-blowing parts.
  • We put it together so you can listen to it while you a) do your homework or b) get high. (Ed note. BATTLEHOOCH does not endorse doing homework or getting high.)
  • If any of these demos are presentable, we'll share on this blog.
This doesn't mean that you'll have to wait indefinitely to hear the next new, sexy and official BATTLEHOOCH recording. No ma'am/sir! In fact, if you've seen us in the past year, you'll know that we already have 7-8 new, unrecorded songs that have been prominent parts of our live sets. The plan as of this moment (Sun 1-2-2011 - 1:16 PM - In bed, listening to "Mud Shark" by Frank Zappa) is to go into the studio in the next month or so and record one or two of those songs. The sad fact of recording music is that it always takes way longer for the song to come out than you ideally want, so these recordings probably won't be out until spring BUT... still Spring will be here before you know it. Promise. :) STAY TUNED!

What Are They Listening To? - New Years 2010/2011 Edition

  • Captain Beefheart -

He died. Here's my post about Captain Beefheart. Avant Garde Sentimentality. True Hero.

  • Ariel Pink -

2010 was a big year for Mr. Pink. The men of BATTLEHOOCH were among the throngs that fell in love with the twisted alchemy of his music and we fell hard. It started with a friendly interest in this year's BEFORE TODAY album. The interest continued to grow, so when we were filling up my Ipod with new music for our 4 months on the road I made sure to get a whole gaggle of Ariel Pink albums. It wasn't until New York that we started digging through them. First it was THE DOLDRUMS, whose "For Kate I Wait" became a band favorite. Then "L'estat" and it's epic "(Popping noise)-CHEER UP!" breakdown became another favorite. Then we discovered "Among Dreams" and it's serpent bass line and sun burnt beach boys wobble. Then we found out WORN COPY was an amazing album. Now, we're obsessed with it all. On our recent drive down to LA, our van playlist was utterly dominated by Mr. Pink. BEFORE TODAY is hands down my favorite album of 2010 and seems destined to be one of my favorite album ever. (He also gets points for reminding me a lot of early Mothers of Invention albums and leading me back into yet another major Frank Zappa kick.)

  • Can - "Turtles Have Short Legs"

Grant showed me this jam last night. So good. Tago Mago-era B-side. I love how the piano kinda sounds like "Penny Lane" style Beatles but the rest is pure juicy KRAUT. Also, a Damo lyric for the ages, "Turtles have short legs, not for walking". Wonderful example of juxtaposition working out (i.e. Bouncy 60s style pop AND tribal, sprawling, textural future beats)

  • Tame Impala

INNERSPEAKER was another album that got played a ton during the tour. Different members had different favorite songs, but it could always be counted on to provide a sweet blast of hazy rainbow bliss. Recently discovered their EP is pretty baller also (accompanying video is of a song from said EP). Saw them recently at the Independent and it was totally epic. They opened their set with "It Isn't Meant to Be", "Solitude is Bliss" and "Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind". It was fucking beautiful and me and my homies danced like tripped out animals.

  • Depeche Mode - "Everything Counts"

I don't know if everyone else in the band feels this way about this song, but I always kinda felt like it was a "Theme Song" of sorts on the tour. Or at least I often found myself thinking about the chorus during brutal points of the tour: "It's a competitive world. Everything counts, in large amounts".

  • Tobacco -

This music is filthy, trippy and funky in all the right ways. Both FUCKED UP FRIENDS and MANIC MEAT are flaming gobs of awesomeness. Don't eat the berries around you.

  • Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

A quick RANT, if I may.....
This album wasn't a band favorite per se. In fact, I think at least half the band hates this album. But this album has been a big topic of discussion as of recent in the music world (I guess getting a 10.0 from the fork will do that.) and that includes the world of BATTLEHOOCH. We listened to the whole thing as a band on the drive back from LA and it lead to some interesting debates (Is he any good at rapping? Does it succeed based purely on ambition? Are the incredible beats compromised by his tabloid status? What does a 10.0 rating mean?)
Personally, I think the album is pretty staggering. When I listened to it by myself for the first time, I couldn't help but feel like I was being enveloped... Like I was in the presence of something GARGANTUAN. I'm amazed by the scope of the music: how unabashedly ECCENTRIC and WEIRD it is AND how unabashedly EPIC and POP it is. And dig the half hour video for "Runaway". That's some seriously mind bending Fellini style shit at points.

This is a GRAND artistic statement. It sounds like the Future.

I think it proves Kanye West is very simply the bravest pop musician out there currently. Lady Gaga might be more conceptually out there, but she still is seriously lacking in the over all jams department (Even though I admit Paparazzi influenced the bass line in our song "Joke"). Even if you don't dig his raps, you can't deny he makes HUGE BEATS and has some straight up EPIC HITS. (Or as the man himself says, "At the end of the day, I'm KILLING THIS SHIT. I know damn well you're feeling this Shit"). I don't think the album is perfect but I don't think that's what these mags/blogs are talking about when they drop a 5 star/10.0 review on it. I think this album's ambition is undeniable. Just the other day, a homie told me that to make this album Kanye block booked a whole studio indefinitely, flew in his favorite musicians (RZA, Bon Iver, Elton John, etc.) and would work all day at making this music!!! He would take a 90 minute power nap every 4 hours but otherwise, this dude was working all day to bring this vision to fruition. I think that's tight and quite inspiring as a matter of fact. I feel like it'll be a while before this album really sinks in and peeps can really discuss what this album means, what it attempts and what it achieves. For now, I'm kinda just in awe of it.

That's all for now. Peace and Love (and Kanye West).

-Archaeology Johnson

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