The first post of 2011 is for ukulele recordings! Could it be? The jackhammering next door stopped enough for me to dust off the ukulele and put a couple more songs down? Let’s listen together.
The songs can be found here:
First up is “I Have Friends in Holy Spaces” — a quick song from the “Pretty. Odd.” album by Panic! at the Disco. I think they still have the “!” in their name. Anyway, this one’s mostly just the lead singer and it just goes to show any sufficiently old-timey song lends itself to ukulele. This is one that’s just a *little* bit too high, but I really like it, and the strumming fits. Panic! at the Disco is a fun band. Their first album “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” (i.e. the one with the really long song titles and the “closing the g*ddamn door” single) is a bit pretentious, and you could say stylistically the “Pretty. Odd.” album is also as it does kinda ape The Beatles’ “Sgt Pepper” album just a little, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t still fun to listen to and play.
Second is one I’ve wanted to record for a while. It’s “Just Like Heaven” originally by the Cure. I remember when I figured out how to jazz up the chord progression so it sounds closer to the guitar lick, and I pretty much just use two different fingerings for the A-chord, but don’t tell anyone. The main verse just repeats four chords, but it’s all in how you express them. Robert Smith’s a really tortured soul, but his songs rock, so the ukulele version was fun to do. 80’s nostalgia makes for happy thoughts. Just don’t listen too hard to the last verse.
The equipment is the same, but I changed some of the bits out. First of all I am using a bona-fide real microphone finally. Got my hands on an Audio Technica condenser microphone that I feed into the Tascam USB-122 interface. I’m still using my Surf Flea ukulele with the pickup. I tried using Audacity instead of Garageband, and I think Garageband has better multitrack audio options which makes sense since it’s designed for that while Audacity is primarily for audio editing. It did help a lot with the cleanup, so maybe I’ll do some hybrid next time. The other notable difference in this one versus the previous recordings is that I recorded both the ukulele and the singing simultaneously rather than as separate parts. This might not have been the best idea from a production standpoint, but it sounds a bit better “live” I think. I found the chord arrangements for “I Have Friends in Holy Spaces” and “Just Like Heaven” at Ultimate-Guitar.com.
The name of the EP “Dance in the Rain” comes from a line from “Friends in Holy Spaces” and it’s been raining a bunch recently. Throw on your galoshes and turn up the music.