January 2015, from Happy New Bats
In this track, the lyrics blend nightmare and reality into a seamless whole, the delivery is powerful and slightly maniacal, plus Steve's putting out amazing guitar pyrotechnics all at the same time. By now I should be used to this, but it still makes my jaw drop. There's a lot of great tracks on the new recording, but this one jumps out on first listen as a must-release single.
November 2014, Thanksjamming
Thanksjamming might be my favorite Bats of Ballard recording. Except that I love them all equally, of course. It was recorded during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend of 2014. As I recall, Steve Enstad and I drove to the session together and talked about wild conspiracy theories the whole way. When we got to the studio, we went straight in and recorded the first track, which is called Conspiracy. I love the way an intense conversation effortlessly morphed into a great jam. (Where There's Two, There's Three ...)
Here's yet another Bats of Ballard release, this one recorded in August of 2016. The album is called Dog Days, named for the exceptionally hot temperatures in the studio the day it was recorded. The band's best stuff always seems to happen when it's hot ... Dark Side of the Room and Hot Bats were both recorded under sweltering conditions. And this one is in that same category -- excellent from start to finish.
The track featured in this post is a single from the Dog Days release called A Murder of Crows. Everybody in the band has some great moments on this one, but it's kind of a showcase for Amy, who nails it on sax in the first half and then comes through with incredible lyrics and vocals in the second half.
It's hard to say why I like the vocals so much. The lyrics paint a picture of a group of crows flying in the sunset. And that's it. But there's something about the imagery, the rhythm of the words, and the use of repetition (always with slight changes), that makes it very evocative -- I feel like I can see what she's seeing. If I'd paid more attention when they tried to teach me about poetry in high school, I'd probably have a better understanding of what's going on here.
First up is a release from May of 2014 called Dark Side of the Room. During the recording, we discovered that at certain times of day, the sun comes through a sky light at The Player's Lounge and fries whoever is standing under it. We spent the session constantly shifting around the room to avoid the glare and radiation. That's where the title comes from.