Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Hey everyone. ASTRO CLUB BLONDE is playing a party this weekend, which will basically be a fundraiser/video shoot for a theatre company in NYC. It's $10 bucks to get in, but after that there is free beer, compliments of the Brooklyn Brewery. There is also gonna be a lot of stuff there that you are suppose to smash. It should be a good night. The info is below.

When: Friday, April 2nd
Time: 11pm - the wee hours of the morning
Price: $10 for unlimited everything!
Where: CSNY
48 W 21st St #401 (Between 5th & 6th Ave)
NY, NY, 10010

"It will all be filmed and the footage will be used in the production of Associations of Hip. We are making a loft out of CSNY with bands, beer, wall painting, costumes, and more. And all of you will be our Extras! Astro Blonde Club, Rocky Business and one more special guest will be playing music to get your bottoms moving and spirits high."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Gary! Wilson!

Sometimes we call people like Gary Wilson legends in their own time, but Wilson was never really a legend, in his own time or any other. Best known, if that's the right word, for the late '70s "You Think You Really Know Me," recorded in his mother's basement and featuring such undying classics as "6.4=Make Out". This is certainly music ahead of its time; in a very strange way a song like the absolutely amazing "Chromium Bitch" predates not only obvious followers like "Midnite Vultures" era Beck but even musicians like Prince, at least in his "Pussy Control" /Camille mode.

If anything can show the change the internet (and, you know, decades of MTV) has wrought on our culture, just try and listen to these performances by Indie Critcal Darlings Ariel Pink and Nite Jewel:

Right? Now, I like both artists, but I do find the issue somewhat perplexing. I hope this doesn't sound like a complaint, but: why is the lunacy of yesterday the blog pop of today?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Kraftwerk, of course, needs no introduction.

Hikashu may, a brilliant pop ensemble from Japan in the 1980s, they were mostly the band of choice for Japanese experimental musician and theatrical performer Makigami Koichi . You can see the band performing in its early glory days here; for a genuinely fascinating look at the New Wave scene in 1980s Japan, look no further than this post at the great Mutant Sounds blog.

Big Black is of course the first band of Steve Albini, who's star may have fallen slightly since he was producing for the Pixies and Nirvana, but still manages to be one of the name producers in so-called Indie music.

It is very hard, I think, to imagine in this day and age that three bands that were from such different scenes would do the same song, and having so much in common nonetheless in their versions. This wasn't always so; look at this WFMU post of 78 versions of "Popcorn".

Why? It's hard to say, but there's a real sense that these bands back in the early 80s were genuinely trying to spread a kind of solidarity, to create a sense of community with like minded individuals. In this day and age where every man woman and child can nod their heads to the very disappointing new MGMT album for free well before it drops, it's hard to remember that the people listening to Hikashu in Osaka and the kids listening to Big Black in Chicago would have had almost no way of hearing each other at all. More likely, one would just make a remix, which (given the similarities of the three recordings above) is maybe not so different after all. Just thoughts, not problems, so no solutions offered or needed.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Candy Flavor Kiss

Candy Flavor Kiss

A bubble gum pop song about bubble gum pop. I recently upgraded from Logic Express 7(New As Tomorrow) to Logic 9 in preparation to begin recording the next Astro Club Blonde EP. The boys and I are moving away from the 80's flashback pop sound, and into the realm of top40. It's a bold move, but long overdue.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A New Beat For Download/Production Workshop

rappers round the world!

Got a new beat for ya'll to play with. We also got some great mp3's submitted using the Goliath beat. I'm gonna share the new songs you all have done, and then give a few production tips.
So let's hip-hop to it then!

Here's the new beat for everyone. The beat is at 148 bmp, it's got a dark vibe and a lot of soul.

Luv @ 60Hz

Download it, sing over it, lay down a dope rhyme, cut it up, sample it, put visuals behind it, burry it in the back yard and take a picture of it. Whatever you decide to do just remember, it means nothing unless you share it with the world. So when your done creating, post what you've done back online. Link to me, and I'll link to you, so that we can all enjoy the work we do. If you have no way of getting it back online, you can send it to me at I will post it back up on this blog.

Let's here what you've done!

Original Beat

By D-Boy

Both these guys put something really interesting together. Alan (a.k.a the world) I can't wait to hear the next verse, that flow is ill. I'd be happy to produce it up once it's finished. Dave (a.k.a D-Boy) I liked the reverb you put on the track, it really filled the beat out.

production tips for reverb

Reverb can do a lot of good but it can also really mess up a track. Reverb can make the bass and low end really muddy, and can lead to phase issues if your not careful. A good thing to do when using any reverb is to put a high-pass filter on it. Most reverb plug-ins feature some type of high-pass or EQ option. You want to filter out anything below 200hz-600hz. A trick for even more accurate reverb shaping is to put your reverb on a bus track. Bus the audio you wish to put reverb on out to a separate track. On the bussed track you want to put your favorite reverb with the dry signal brought all the way down to 0%. Now you can put any effect you want on the reverb track(e.g. Distortion, EQ, phaser, modulation, tremolo) without effecting the original audio track. (note Make sure you assign your bus track and audio track to the same output)

Another cool production trick Dave used was the "Demon Voice." You can accomplish this by using some combination of pitch shifters and vocal transformers.

production tips for transforming vocals

When done properly pitch shifting is a very cool effect and tool. It can also be over used, and when not done well can sound very ugly. When using a vocal transformer there are two main elements, a pitch shifter and the formant shifter (called "sound" in garage band). In a vocal transformer the pitch shifter works by shifting the tracks fundamental pitch. The formant shifter works by shifting or stretching the harmonics of the sound around leaving the fundamental pitch alone. The larger the discrepancy between the pitch and the formant the stranger and more inhuman the voice will sound. Keep the pitch and the formant shift close to each other to keep the sound more natural (some pitch shifters move the fundamental and the formant together using one of these in a chain with a formant shifter can create interesting results).

Whenever you use a vocal transformer you always get a lot of extra noise especially on the sibilance (the "sss" sounds), this can lead to problems with diction, and can just sound bad. There are to ways to combat this. You can go and by an expensive pitch and vocal transformer (Antare makes good ones) or you can try my hacked together method. First take the vocals you are planning on effecting and create a duplicate track of them (either by bussing or just copy/pasting). On track one put a hard high-pass filter on at around 3000-5000 Hz, this is your sibilance track. On track two put a hard low-pass filter on at around 3000-5000hz. Now you can put your vocal transformer on track two and effect the sound leaving the sibilance alone. With fiddling you can use this method to greatly transform your vocals without them becoming a complete incomprehensible mess.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Culture Shock 2010

Yes, the rumors are true- Astro Club Blonde is set to play Culture Shock 2010. Yesterday on March 18th The Independent released their weekly publication with this article (click to enlarge) that unveiled the lineup of Culture Shock 2010. This year's Culture Shock will be taking place on April 16th and 17th. It is still unclear when Astro Club Blonde will be playing, since the band found out they were playing by reading this article. But, we will keep you posted. Sam Schachter, the major events coordinator at Purchase, states that this year's line up with be more diverse and eclectic; something for everyone. Below is a little video about the unveiling of the line up.

If you want some more info on Astro Club Blonde. Take a look at the following links.

Advice You Can Count On

This is a bit of a classic; take a good look if you're not familiar.

Wally Wood was one of those possibly brilliant artists who came of age in the years after World War II, working on disreputable books like MAD and Tales From the Crypt and the Mars Attacks card series that nonetheless shaped a lot of the way we see mass pop culture in this day and age. He ended up kind of a tragic figure, as anyone named Wallace Wood is probably destined to be.

Anyway, legend has it that by the time his career started stretching towards the tragic stage Wood had this set of images pasted on his studio wall at all times. The crazy thing is not only that these panels do almost always work, but that we see so many of these techniques in the "intensified continuity" of so much recent film. Although I guess you rarely see instances of anything like "L Shape Silhouette" these days.

Also, see Ivan Brunetti's 22 Panels for a bit of contrast, if you would; this may be more useful to many of us, for better or worse, who can tell.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Only Future for Rock Music

I know the title probably sounds sarcastic, but I'm being sincere; let's get these birds onto some synthesizers and we'll all have a better time of things.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


bad video of bad video = cool video from ps on Vimeo.

Here is a video by a friend of mine, Peter Shapiro. He told me that this video was from his defective Harinezumi camera that had some sort of signal issue.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Feels Like Spring, So...

Here's a biographical comic strip about the great French songwriter Francoise Hardy, by the great American cartoonist Ivan Brunetti (click to enlarge).

From this terrific blog...

The Woman Herself

Here's a cover by Os Mutantes, from their first album.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Anyone Else Excited For This?

Gainsbourg is of course the great French song writer and film maker; this biopic is directed by the great French cartoonist Joann Sfar. Plenty of other trailers online, including a full trailer ; a good bit of nudity in that one so watch out kids. A video of the real Gainsbourg below.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Free Beat/Musical Workshop

(for technorati AWV5JXQNQQK)

Here is a new beat for you guys to play around with.

Goliath (The Cookie Cuttin' Robot)


Take it, rap over it, sing over it, cut it up, and/or put visuals behind it. Once you're done post what you've done online. Put it up on your blog, your myspace, your facebook, where ever, just remember to link back to us so this community of artist can grow. Let me know either by e-mail or by comment where you hosted you're work so i can link to you too. If you can't post what you've done online yourself; send it to me at beats(@) and i will post the cream of the crop back up on this blog.

A few weeks ago I posted a free beat (under the label "Free Beats". I asked that you use the beat to create a new song. Yesterday I received the first noteworthy response from Dennis Seaman. Here it is!

Talk Like This
Original Beat

by Dennis Seaman

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


This is some footage from ASTRO CLUB BLONDE's recent show in the Lower East Side. Even with the biggest snowstorm of the season the band managed to get a crowd. (thanks for coming!) This song is "Cage of My Love" and deals with the oh so relevant topic of capturing an unobtainable woman. We hope to have some more footage from the show soon. Many thanks to Andrew Gitomer (from "Curb Your Blog" fame) and Joel Neville Anderson for shooting the footage on their Canon 7D's.

And if you want ASTRO CLUB BLONDE to play at your next event or social gathering, don't be shy, just email (we do house calls)

For now, enjoy.