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Friday, October 15, 2010

It's done.

With much sorrow and a heavy heart, I regret to inform you that She Swings, She Sways has broken up. We are no longer a band after five and half years. :(

Friday, July 30, 2010

Some Words on Porches

Well, here it is: “Porches,” that new record we’ve been writing about. We like it. Produced by our drummer Jason, who did all the technical stuff, we made a recording we are proud of, and we did it in our own house. I guess that isn’t unusual or special in the wider world of music; many of my favorite bands do just that, but it’s the first time for us. (Ok, we did Six Sad Songs, but this is the first time as a “band.”) I’d like to think we can all pat ourselves on the back. Then, we will pray that you all will too. We love patting. A lot.

Some words about the songs are in order. It has seven of them – three by penned by Jason, one by Cory, and three by me. Four of them have appeared on previous recordings, three from the already mentioned “Six Sad Songs” and one from our first EP. They were all solo recordings originally, but for this we added the whole band.

Three are entirely new, unless you’ve been to any of our recent shows, and I think they deserve some special mention. “Bottles” is a collective effort. Musically, it breaks down like this: verse by me, chorus by John Gordon, and bridge by Jason Bolinger. I wrote all the lyrics, which is a rare and sweet thing for me. The other two are by Jason. “Ride with Me” is about the love of touring and features two fun experiments: I play some slap upright bass for the first time on record, and Cory plays a badass guitar solo. I think he’s recorded guitar solos before, but this is the first one that’s badass. “A Well Lit Room” is the newest, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s the hit of the whole project.

We’re also giving it away for free. You can just go to our website, add yourself to the mailing list, and we’ll give you a nifty code so you can download it. Please do, and tell us what you think. Either way, good or bad, just pat us on the back.


Recording Notes, Part VII: Carl's Note on Mastering

Here is the last of our recording notes for the new EP, this time from Carl Saff, mastering engineer. You can find him here:

By the way: Holy crap!! I just checked out his site myself, and I see that he mastered the Boston Spaceships' last EP. I friggin' love that band - Robert Pollard and Chris Slusarenko of Guided by Voices and John Moen of the Decemberists. Hell yeah, go check them out. I feel all cool now.

Ok, enough of that. Says Carl:

"These mixes came in sounding quite solid, and so a keep-it-simple approach to the mastering was quickly adopted after surveying the songs. I focused on keeping the highs from being too "digital" or brash (dipping at 7.5khz here and there), and in solidifying the low end, which was loose in spots (both in terms of focus on the punchier part of the low end @~100hz vs. the subwoofer frequencies, and in terms of phase coherence here and there). On the first two tracks, I used some shelving EQ on the left side to center the highs a bit better... I felt my ear being dragged to the right now and then on those songs.

My analog chain was:

* API 5500 EQ
* Millenia NSEQ-F EQ
* Manley Massive Passive EQ
* API 2500 compressor
* Requisite L2M mk. III tube limiter

In the box, some software EQs complemented my analog chain, and I did final peak limiting via plugin as well.

The band really liked the first pass, but requested more presence for the
upright bass. A subtle push at around 200hz on the mid channel using a mid-side EQ did the trick. They also wanted less "slap" from the upright bass on track five. Some creative notching EQ alleviated that, and voila, the record was done. Mostly painless!"

Thanks Carl! You kick ass.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Get new "Porches EP" for free now!

It's finally here! Our new "Porches EP" is now available! And the only way to get it for free is to go to and sign up for our newsletter!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Jason's Notes on Recording, Part VI: Mixing

Part VI:

Mixing. This is the first time I’ve personally done any mixing in a software program. The Zoom R16 came with Cubase LE 4. So armed with a pair of headphones and my home stereo speakers to A/B the mix, I busted out a rough mix in 2 days time, without any EQing or compression. I’m kind of a geek, so I really enjoyed setting up each folder, labeling and coloring all the tracks, cleaning up the .wav files. The grunt work. So I passed this first mix around to the band and label guys and got some notes from them. I contacted Jonathan “Nails” Natera at Appleseed Studios in Fairfield about helping me with EQ-ing and compression. I knew that he mixed our album “Wasted Love Songs” in Cubase, so I knew he had great experience with Cubase AND with EQ-ing our band. Plus, by going to his studio, we got to mix and do all this on his studio monitors. For those who don’t know, studio monitor speakers are way different then most all other speakers. They have a flat response. This means all your home stereo/car/headphone speakers have a dynamic response. They increase the bass and high frequencies. By mixing on studio speakers, you’re able to get a more true mix that will sound even across the most speakers. Anyway, he was more than happy to help me out and we headed to the studio. We started with “Bottles” and went to work on each instrument. Kick drum, snare drum, and the overheads, to get the drums sounding good. Then the upright bass. Once we got the rhythm section EQ-d and compressed and sounding good, we knew that most of the hard work was done. Both Nails and my philosophies agree that the most important foundation of a good mix is the relationship between the kick drum and the bass. Okay, enough rambling. Guitars and vocals were pretty easy after that. Before we knew it we had gotten our efforts applied to a couple more songs and it was time to head home. Then the next day, I applied our settings to the remaining songs. Did another mix and sent the songs back to the band and label guys. Now I’m just waiting for their notes so I can fine tune the mix. Then we’ll send the master .wav files to be mastered. We’re going to have Carl Saff Mastering do this record. He did “Wasted Love Songs” and did an amazing job. More about mastering later.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Jason's Recording Notes for Our Upcoming EP "Porches"

Part I:

I’ve had a Tascam 424 mkII for 15 years now. It’s just a 4-track cassette recorder. I’ve used it for almost every band I’ve ever been in and recorded many of my friends’ bands too. Trying to make 4 tracks work has always been a challenge. It was always great to hear people say “wow, you did that with only a 4-track”. As much fun as I had with the old Tascam, I’m happy that we’re upgrading in home recording. With a recommendation from our studio producer, I just picked up a Zoom R16 (16-track digital recorder). And that is what She Swings, She Sways is recording their newest EP “Porches” on. At first, I’ve always been skeptical of the brand Zoom. They were always just a guitar FX company in the 90’s and definitely on the cheap end. But after reading tons of reviews, I decided that this was the device that was going to put the 4-track to rest. Can’t wait to not have to bounce tracks!

Part II:

For a band that has been together for 5 years, it doesn’t feel like we’ve done much recording. We’ve made 2 six song EPs and a full length album. We’ve also recorded one song for a tribute album “Crystalline” for The Nadas. I think we always wanted to make more records, we just didn’t find the time. That’s why we’re all pretty excited about this. The plan is to write/record/release 3 EPs over the next 6 months. With the band now being a 3-piece, it’s even that more important that we generate new content. Content that represents the current configuration.

Part III:

We start with the title “Porches”. I think Troy came up with the name. He likes to name things. He noticed that several of the songs for this EP referenced porches in the lyrics. Porch sitting has always been a part of my
and Troy’s life for years. We’d sit and talk about the world for hours on end. Just hanging out and talking. It’s what we do. It’s what the band does. We like to sit and talk and shoot the shit. Good times. So it was definitely a title that we could all get behind.

Part IV:

The songs. We settled on 7 songs for “Porches”. A few of them had been written for a while and a few of them are brand new hot off the presses. 3 songs are Troy’s. 3 songs are mine. 1 song is Cory’s. 2 of Troy’s are older songs that have never had a band arrangement before. For both of them, we just sat down one day and BAM! They just came out. We had a renewed energy when we became a 3-piece. There was a new joy trying to come up with new arrangements. We were having fun again.

Part V:

Recording “Porches” has been really fun, easy, and stress free. Not that we haven’t had a blast recording with Nails at Appleseed, we have nothing bad to say about that. And we look forward to recording there again. But doing this new record in our home... it’s just been super comfortable. We just practiced the hell out of the songs. One day we set up mics on the drums and got them recorded in a few hours. 2 days later, we recorded the upright bass in a couple hours. 2 days later we got all the guitar tracks done. Next day we got the harmonica, mandolin, accordion done and most of the vocals. In one week’s time, we’ll have everything recorded. There are some really sweet pictures on Facebook of the different days. It’s been a great experience that brings back all the fun feelings of using that Tascam 4-track for the first time.

Part VI:

Mixing and mastering. That's where we're at now. More to come. :)


Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Magic Number Three

Hello everyone! Sorry we haven't been writing much, but it's been a busy time at S4HQ. A lot has changed here, and we, quite frankly, haven't known what to say about it. Even now, we're going to be delightfully vague. Ooooh, the mystery.

Right to it: we're now a three piece band, just Jason, Cory, and Troy - guitar, upright bass, and drums. John had to leave the band for personal issues. Diana is still out of the country and will be finishing up her schooling when she returns. Wes has a family and another band. They all have our full support and love.

Over the last month, we've played a few shows as a three piece, and we're confident that the three of us have made the best decision we can.

This is gonna be awesome. Oh yeah - new recordings? That's gonna happen.

Stay tuned.