Five Ticket Ride – demo (1995)

Folks, this proverbial ticket to ride is an utter cold case.  Got this through the college station I used to DJ at, and in all likelihood it arrived in the mail with an accompanying bio sheet of some sort, not that I would have saved it even if I originally had access to it.  Anyway, three promising songs from an earnest bunch o’ San Fran up-and-comers, residing on the crunchier side of period indie rock, a la Small 23, Figgs or perhaps a rawer Material Issue.  The only potential link I was able to cross reference on Five Ticket Ride was a handful of YouTube clips that could be a different band of the same moniker, but the sonic similarities give me the impression they’re one and the same.  Anyone have a clue on these folks, comment away.  Am enthused to hear more.   

01. Wasting Away
02. Hold On
03. Lift Me Up

Articles Origin: Five Ticket Ride – demo (1995)

Cowbell – Haunted Heart (2017, Damaged Goods) – A brief overview.

There’s rockabilly, there’s psychobilly…so why not chill-obilly?   Truth be told, London’s Cowbell ain’t peddling no gimmicky shtick, rather that pearl of said nomenclature is frequently applicable on Haunted Heart.  This boy (Jack Sandham) and girl (Wednesday Lyle) duo curtail the “dirty” aesthetic considerably stacked up against say, The Kills, but there’s some discernible bite to the jacked-up bop of the vivacious title track, as well as the souped-up Americana kick of “Downlow.”  In the grand scheme of things, Haunted Heart is hardly a record of extremes, rather Cowbell’s pedigree heretofore has placed the emphasis on their garage credentials.  With an undercurrent of organ and a spicy guitar solo percolating through “Nothing But Trouble,” I’m inclined to play along, but the tunes I’ve name-dropped thus far strike me as the exception, not the rule.  “Neon Blue” and “New Kinda Love,” play up the duo’s more refined angles, meshed with a telltale appreciation of the blues and ’60 psych pop, respectively.  Elsewhere they cut the tension off at the knees entirely on the decidedly tamer “Something’s Gotta Give” and the sax-laden closer, “No Wrong.”  Make no mistake though, Cowbell aren’t the second coming of the Carpenters…nor the White Stripes (albeit they’re angling significantly closer to the latter).   Boasting nuanced aptitude and consistency, Haunted Hearts just might have you shouting, “more cowb–” Sorry, I couldn’t resist!.  Pick up the album May 26 from Damaged Goods Records, Amazon and iTunes.

Articles Origin: Cowbell – Haunted Heart (2017, Damaged Goods) – A brief overview.

How To Play The Single Stroke Seven Drum Rudiment

The single stroke seven drum rudiment is a favorite technique among drummers around the world.  It is a very useful rudiment that most drummers want to incorporate into their playing style. The rudiment allows drummers to play quick shots and fast rolls. Though the rudiments are quite similar to the single stroke four rudiment, as the name suggests the single stroke seven utilizes three extra notes to create an output of a seven-stroke pattern. These basic rudiments form a part of the forty International Drum Rudiments and have been one since nineteen eighty-four. History of Drum Rudiments The music service

Find more on: Spencer Smith

Articles Origin: How To Play The Single Stroke Seven Drum Rudiment

The Clamheads – Summer’s Coming ep (1989, Jericho)

Here’s a slice of post-C86 handiwork for you from a UK indie enterprise who happened to make an appearance one of the Sound of Leamington Spa twee compilations way back when.  Summer’s Coming appeared to be The Clamheads sole release.  “Everybody Loves Me Cept You” brandishes a describable power pop bent,and IMHO is the breadwinner here by a longshot.  Some keen Housemartins inclinations frequently color in the remainder of the record with “Summer’s Coming Down” striking my fancy in addition to the aforementioned.  Cloudberry Cake blog had a few things to say about this one, providing some background details on the Clamheads to boot.

01. Summer’s Coming Down
02. Everybody Loves Me Cept You
03. Never Crack On
04. Reprobate’s Blessing

Articles Origin: The Clamheads – Summer’s Coming ep (1989, Jericho)

The Challenge of Music Notation For Percussion – Part 1

This week’s blog comes out of a recent experience I had presenting a performer-composer forum at Cal Arts, in Valencia, CA.  The thing that made this such a different experience for me was that only a couple of students attending were percussionists. The majority were composers and other instrumentalists. Right away, by not having an audience full of drummers, you enter a different dimension.

I’m not knocking on drummers, but an audience full of drummers tends to ask a lot of gear type questions: “What type of snare batter head do you use,” or, “Is that a heavy or medium ride cymbal?” A lot of questions like that. Non-drummers really don’t care about your gear. They are more interested in what you do and how it possibly applies to what they do. 

This is true of composers, especially if they don’t play percussion at all. They want to know how to notate all the weird and wonderful instruments we play, and all the strange sounds we make. So this week we will look at notating standard drums and drum set. Later, we will look at non-standard percussion, or sets of percussion.

Interacting with these young composers made me seriously think about what I do and how I do it. For me, much of this is second nature and I don’t give it much thought. But in answering their questions about percussion notation, I realized that I should be more aware of what I do and even why I do it.

As both a performer and a composer, I come up against a lot of different types of percussion notations. For these examples in this blog, I will generally use the type of notation I use, because I feel it is clear and concise for both composer and performer. You may use some other notation. You may also find further examples of different notation out in the real world.

Standard Percussion

Single instruments, like the snare drum, can be notated on the standard 5-line staff, or on a single line. On the 5-line staff, the snare should always be on the 2nd space from the top.

snare drum on 5-line staff

snare drum on single line staff
While music notation generally suggests that notes above the middle of the staff have stems pointing down (and Finale, which I use, automatically does this, as in the first 2 examples)), most snare drum parts will be notated, as above, with the stems up for rhythmic clarity. I always notate them this way. Traditionally, this goes with having a bass drum part on the bottom space, with the stems pointing down, as shown below:

Single percussion instruments, such as tambourine, triangle, wood block, etc. can all be notated like the snare drum, on a 5-line or single line staff.

Drum Set Notation

Drum set is usually notated with cymbals on top, followed by toms and snare, with bass drum, and hi-hat with the foot pedal, at the bottom:

The order here is, from top note to bottom:

crash cymbal
hi-hat with stick
ride cymbal (on top line)
high tom
mid tom (on 2nd line)
snare drum (in its standard place)
low tom
bass drum (in its standard place)
hi-hat with foot pedal

Often the ride cymbal will share the top hi-hat line, with which instrument to be played designated. Other times, the ride cymbal will be an x note placed on the top staff line (as shown). The ride cymbal may also be designated with a diamond shaped note head, placed on the top staff line, or just above the staff. 

It is only recently that drum set notation has been standardized. Older sheet music may have instruments in different places. Also note that the example above is for a standard 5-drum/3-cymbal set. Added cymbals, drums, and percussion items (cow bell, wood block, etc.), make drum set notation a tricky endeavor. For those interested in the more technical aspects of notating for drum set, I would suggest Norman Weinberg’s book, Guide To Standard Drumset Notation.

While we are at it, it can be either drumset, or drum set. Drum kit/drumkit (a more European term) is also acceptable. Toms are usually referred to (in a 5-piece set) as:

high tom
mid tom
low tom

The lowest one may also be referred to as, floor tom. More than 3 toms gets confusing when using terms such as, mid-high tom, mid-low tom, etc. It’s preferential to just number them, from high to low:

tom 1
tom 2
tom 3
tom 4
tom 5

The main problem with drums and percussion, aside from mallets & timpani, is that the set ups can be any and everything. As both a composer, and performer, you have to be ready for everything, and realize there really is no standard notation for any multiple percussion.

Mallet instruments and timpani follow the standard notation rules that you will find for other treble and bass clef instruments. But as with percussion in general, sometimes special notation is required for special playing techniques, or combinations with other instruments. Please realize that sometimes percussion notation is a free for all!

~ MB

Part 2 will look at more specialized notation for multiple percussion.

Articles Origin: The Challenge of Music Notation For Percussion – Part 1

The Sneetches – Lights Out! With the Sneetches (1988/91, Kaleidoscope /Creation)

Last week when I talked up the new Sneetches anthology, Form of Play, I praised it for presenting a cross section of their entire career.  Well, almost anyway.  It didn’t hit me at the time, but that compilation largely overlooked (if not flat out ignored) the band’s first proper album, Lights Out! With…  As if it wasn’t already obvious, here’s that entire platter in question.  The only song that crosses over with Form of Play, is the lilting “Only For a Moment,” appearing on Lights Out! in a slightly different incarnation.  How any Sneetches career spanning disk could omit a sublime ballad like “54 Hours” or the Brit Invasion marinated “I Need Someone” is…a mystery.  Any Sneetches record is an embarrassment of riches, and this one’s no exception.

01. I Need Someone
02. In My Car
03. Loreli
04. 54 HOurs
05. I Don’t Expect Her for You (Look at That Girl)
06. Home Again
07. No One Knows
08. Only for a Moment

Articles Origin: The Sneetches – Lights Out! With the Sneetches (1988/91, Kaleidoscope /Creation)