New Milk

This week’s track, “New Milk,” revisits the character who sang “Big Schools” on the recent Baby Teeth album, Hustle Beach.  Because Big Schools is often reduced to “BS” on Baby Teeth setlists, let’s call this character B.S. Lewis.  Mr. Lewis is a guy who can’t stop thinking about his glory days — he’s drifting through an ongoing midlife crisis.  In “New Milk,” he’s celebrating his ability to roll with the changes: once he was a regular hard-partier; now, he’s just fine with his domesticity, thank you.  But the Lewis doth protest too much…. he’s still struggling with his identity, and he’s liable to break out at the slightest provocation.

Like “Space,” “New Milk” is an experiment in using as few chords as possible, keeping the same chord changes from the verse through the chorus.  If it was good enough for the Beatles, it’s good enough for me.  A nice easy chorus that repeats a lot.  Hey hey hey, it’s the holidays.

I made this track very quickly, grabbing a few hours on Sunday evening after the receding of the holiday hullabaloo.  In order to work faster, I explored GarageBand loops for the first time…. drum and percussion loops, as well as looping my own synth bass for the duration of the track.  I also celebrated the presence of the “Pop Horns” virtual instrument, which starts laying its greasy prints all over the proceedings at the 2:04 mark.  GarageBand ’09 does indeed seem to be a pretty functional solution for a casual home-recordist like myself (even though I am still struggling with achieving a balance between reasonably high volume and a reasonably non-distorted track).

This week I’ve been swooning over the Julian Casablancas solo album, Phrazes for the Young, which I think stands up there with the first two Strokes albums.  No secret that I’ve had a man-crush on J.C. since the Strokes’ arrival into the world; after all, the first Baby Teeth album has a song called “Loving Strokes.”  But there are several songs on this album — tracks 1, 2, and 3, at least — that are among the best new stuff I’ve heard this year.  Thanks to All City Affairs for turning me on to this one.  Other delights this week include the excellent new Maxwell album, BLACKsummers’night, and an awesomely bad old Neil Diamond record called September Morn.

Leave a comment, won’t you?  And while you’re at it, toss in your thoughts about last week’s tune, “Diamonds.”  It’s getting lonely making snow angels all by itself.

16 Responses to “New Milk”
  1. Saint Aubini says:

    B.S. Lewis is the type of character who is both gratifying and terrifying. One the on hand I admire his resolve but on the other hand transitioning from the city to the gated communities of Chicagoland can be kind of a low hanging fruit. Although a delicious one at that.

  2. detholz says:

    Great chorus, amigo – very catchy!

    Also, viva la MIDI horns!

  3. I have a soft spot for song-sequels; second opportunities to visit classic characters beloved for their original appearances. This is no exception! The story flows nicely from “Big Schools” to this. Very sensible! Thumbs up!

  4. Abraham says:

    S’Aub: His unstated goal is to take the easy way out, while giving lip service to the idea of “going through changes.”

    DH: Cheers, and thanks. I was worried about your take on the MIDI horns.

    P M S: Thank you! I’m sure there will be more B.S. Lewis songs in the months ahead; I find it a very comfortable writing perspective. Whatever that might say about me.

  5. Jason says:

    Nice tune, smith. I like you.

    Isn’t making snow angels kind of a lonely activity, though? Since you’re just staring into the sky?

  6. Abraham says:

    Sweet Baby J: Yes, I guess making snow angels is pretty lonely. In my mind I was imagining that people usually make snow angels with a friend. But it’s been a long time since I’ve made any kind of snow angel at all, solo or accompanied. Probably 1987.

  7. Jason says:

    That’s the year I was born.

  8. Abraham says:

    So glad that you young people are contributing to this blog. This is good demographic information to store, for when I sell this blog later for advertising revenue. Do you like Guess jeans?

  9. Philly McG says:

    Alright alright Abraham, like you I remember 1987 as it was a magnificent year for snow angels. I’m in love with your blog, though the poetry and snark is part of what makes Baby Teeth such a thunderously unique cumulonimbus of a band. What the hey, you’re a magnificent songwriter regardless of what the song is about, and I thank you.

  10. Abraham says:

    Thank YOU, McG. I was feeling very unmotivated yesterday to work on this week’s song, and then I read your comment, and I felt like Stuart Smalley, looking into the mirror. Yes… I can do this! Thanks for the great compliment.

  11. Philly McG says:

    You’re more than welcome my good man; always remember that you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like you.

  12. Abraham says:

    That has a nice ring to it…

  13. To echo another, Viva la MIDI horns!

    See Tori Amos’s “Happy Worker” from the Toys movie soundtrack for impeccably exploited Casiotone brass.

    I had a few years under my Boyscout belt in ’87, but I’m still too young to get misty for snow-angel-making. Bugger this suffocating blanket of snow we’ve been under for weeks. You know you’ve grown old when snow is just an obstacle and not a plaything of limitless potential.

  14. Abraham says:

    Glad you dug the horns. I will check out the Tori Amos tune. As big of a Randy Newman fan as I am, it’s a wonder I don’t already own the Toys soundtrack. Looks like the snow will be melting a bit today. Thanks for all the feedback, Skipwave. You’re back in a big way!

  15. I’ve really enjoyed reading your articles. You obviously know what you are talking about! Your site is so easy to navigate too, I’ve bookmarked it in my favourites 😀

  16. Abraham says:

    Thanks very much, MG. I’ll look forward to seeing you again. I appreciate the British spelling of “favourites” as well.

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