Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Donor Blues

Here is a video of last month's Zebulon show with Morgan Hank on backup vocals. The song is a songwriting collaboration with Shakey Graves and the whole thing was shot by our buddy Eric Hinojosa.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cover of the Day: Goodbye Joshy

Today's Cover of the Day comes from our good friends and yours PAPS!

With an appearance by Clairey, whom I'm visiting and who arrived home just at the beginning of the song!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Astounded By Modernity

Ever since Aaron got me to go to the Air & Space museum in January, I've been thinking a lot about the space program. I feel like I belong the generation that would see this video:

and give it that title. I mean, this is a video of a person ON THE MOON! That is totally crazy (I feel like part of my fascination, too, is not just that they landed people on the moon, but that they did it with 1960s technology. Part of me kind of believes that if need be, my phone could get me to the moon. But those 60s space suits just look like they were sewn by the astronauts moms!)

So I've been reading all about NASA (Did you know that the Saturn V rocket that launched the moon mission is still the biggest rocket ever launched. It was 30 stories high. Just think about that - a 30 story building levitating into the air as a product of just lots and lots of fire) and watching videos online and I've ended up at this amazing documentary on Netflix called "For All Mankind". It is totally awesome. They take all this original NASA footage and weave it into a compelling story.

I had to stop at the part where the three astronauts are floating in space halfway between the earth and the moon. I'm worried about them.


Apart from that, I've been looking at pictures of old monuments like stonehenge and this one too (seahenge):

This was in the paper today:

It's a 4,000 year old cemetery in the deserts of China. Just think, 4,000 years ago somebody erected wooden timbers because they were sad. And it's still here. It makes me wonder, what is this going to look like in 4,000 years?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Speak Softly and Generate a Flurry of Media

Last night at the open mic, Morgan and Ali (Shakey) and I worked out this song in this arrangement:

Change by Isaac Gillespie

If you come tonight at midnight, you will hear us in our last minute recording-performance. Just don't make a lot of noise.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Purity of Heart

Last weekend I went out to Flushing to record piano overdubs with Jo of the Shivers.

When we got there I realized I had left a very crucial mini-USB cable all the way back in Manhattan. So we set out to the storefronts to see if we could replace it.

I arrived at Flower Computer Repair on Northern Blvd. There was a young American dude (or I'm guessing, he seemed to be a native English speaker at least) at the front desk and then back in the corner an older Chinese man (again, I'm guessing at basically all of these descriptive adjectives).

I rush in the door: "Hey, I just need a mini-USB cable, do you have that?" The guy at the desk gives me a blank stare for a moment, then stands and picks up a mini-USB limply. He looks back at me: "Like this?"

"Yeah, that's exactly what I need. How much is it?" The guy behind the counter sort of looks at me like that's a question he'd never considered. It's obvious that Flower Computer Repair considers itself to be specifically computer repair and NOT retail sales. Perhaps if I'd asked to have my mini-USB repaired they'd know what to do with me.

So the guy behind the counter looks back at the older Chinese gentlemen. He approaches, looks at the cable, looks at me and then slowly shakes his head: "No."


The young dude: "It's not really for sale. This is just for our own use."

"You won't sell it to me?"

Again, the young guy looks at the older guy. Who looks again at the cable and again at me. He shakes his head. "No."

I'm desparate. I need this cable! We've been trying to record these piano parts for months and if we can't do it today it'll be another six weeks before the Shivers even get back from their UK tour.

I pull out my wallet. "I'll give you ten bucks for that cable. That's a good deal."

The older man: "Ten bucks?" Younger man: "That's ten dollars." A subtle shift in the room. The older man takes the cable, turns to me and offers it out. "Take it," he says.

"Oh, thank you so much!" I say as I reach inside my wallet.

"No," he says. "No charge. Free."

I was shocked! Flower Computer Repair man! Only intending the whole time to test my mettle! Only once I proved that I truly wanted the USB cable and would be willing to part with ten "bucks" could I be trusted with it's custody!

The piano recording, by the way, went amazing. We got this beautiful Steinway Grand on four tracks and then did a take with the pipe organ.

This Is Fair, Right?

From: Isaac Gillespie
Subject: Re: Hi Issac

Hey Emily,
Thanks for the message, but I'm not really booking any shows where I don't know the booker or any of the bands. Also, you spelled my name wrong in the subject line.
Best of Luck!
- Isaac


From: Emily Smokler
Subject: Hi Issac

Hi - My name is Emily and I put on shows with live bands at NYC clubs like The Studio @ Webster Hall, Crash Mansion, Fontana's, The Delancey and Brooklyn clubs like Matchless and Public Assembly. I was really impressed with your music - music quality is first and foremost what is important to me. I'm putting a series of acoustic, folk and jazz nites together at the very cute new live music venue Local 269 on E. Houston Street (great location) and they also have full backline and great sound. Admission is $5 or can be reduced to as low as $3. Please let me know if any of the following dates work for you:
THE LOCAL 269, myspace.com/thelocal269 (full backline!)
Sunday April 4 : 7PM OPEN
Wednesday April 7 : 9, 11PM OPEN
Sunday April 11 : 8, 10PM OPEN
Wednesday April 14 : 7, 11PM OPEN
Tuesday April 20 : 7, 10PM OPEN
Sunday April 25 : 7PM OPEN
Nice to know you and hope to work with you soon!
yours truly,
Emily Smokler/Emily Booking
Email: xxxxxxxxxx@gmail.com

Friday, March 5, 2010

Graves & Gillespie: Live in LA

I was trying to decide which track from last October's LA Graves & Gillespie show to post in order to entice people to come out on Saturday and Sunday. But when I went back and listened to the recording I sort of said, F it! I'll post the whole thing!

I did a little bit of editing, meaning banter-in tuning-out (mostly). But apart from that here's the show:

Graves & Gillespie by Isaac Gillespie

I think we captured a little bit of magic at least. Have a listen, I'm betting once you put it on you'll leave it on.

PS It's also where that bear picture comes from.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Shakey Graves is Coming to Town!

My good friend Shakey Graves will be coming out to New York for next week. We're playing two really amazing shows together this weekend: Saturday at the BTP (write for address) with BoomChick, Everybody Knows, Heroes of the Open End & the Hank and Pigeon album release. We go on right at eight so be there early!

Then we're playing again on Sunday at Spike Hill with BoomChick, Cal Folger Day, Hubbie J & the Great Republic of Rough and Ready. These are both going to be extraordinary shows.

In celebration of this fact, I'm posting some recordings of G&G collaborations to my space. Huzzah!