December 2007 EP: Hello Come In, ‘The Last Duel’

One year (and change) after setting out to complete 12 mini albums in 12 months we’ve come to the end. It’s been an interesting challenge to keep up with, and we think we did pretty well despite not completing a single one by the end of its respective month. It was an exercise to see if we could expand our musicality beyond what we’ve done in the past. It was a way to keep up the momentum over the years despite ever increasing busy-ness between jobs, relationships, house cleaning, and laziness.

I’m not sure what the next year will bring, but I do hope that we can keep up this upward arch and continue to create, collaborate, remix, and produce our own music in our conquest of the internets. Thanks for the memories listeners. — Aryn Crowley, December 2007

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Take a listen for yourself here. Or right click here to DOWNLOAD the entire album.

You can always take us with you via the podcast. And please enjoy the fruits of our MySpace and our Facebook Group.

And most important… leave comments on the blog or via email at decemberEP@hellocomein.com. Enjoy!!

Tracklist:

1. The Last Duel (Crowley)
[audio:https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.179/wvv.338.myftpupload.com/ep/decemberEP/TheLastDuel/01_LastDuel.mp3]
2. Crushed (Johnson\Crowley)
[audio:https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.179/wvv.338.myftpupload.com/ep/decemberEP/TheLastDuel/02_Crushed.mp3]
3. Blood Red Skies (Katzif)
[audio:https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.179/wvv.338.myftpupload.com/ep/decemberEP/TheLastDuel/03_BloodRedSkies.mp3]
4. After Hours (Crowley)
[audio:https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.179/wvv.338.myftpupload.com/ep/decemberEP/TheLastDuel/04_AfterHours.mp3]

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Past EP’s

Temporary Setback :: January 2007
Clouded Spaces, Falling Skies :: February 2007
First Pull Up, Second Pull Down, Third Take Away :: March 2007
Ancient Telephones :: April 2007
The Cavalry Arrived Again :: May 2007
Designed In Anticipation Of His Centennial Years :: June 2007
The Rundown :: July 2007
The Ninth Great Fire :: August 2007
Empty Bottles And Dog-Eared Books :: September 2007
I Can Fix Things In The Morning :: October 2007
We Are Full Of Useful Noise :: November 2007
The Last Duel :: December 2007

November 2007 EP: Hello Come In, ‘We Are Full Of Useful Noise’

Hello Come In's Nov 2007 EP, We Are Full Of Useful Noise

Month eleven is officially over, and we’re back with the second to last mini-EP: We Are Full Of Useful Noise. We’re particularly happy with how the first track, “Wars Keep Going On,” turned out. Due to some obscure November holiday, we all managed to be in the same place at the same time one weekend and spent a few hours hammering out the song framework in person. From there, we went back to our corners of the globe and added parts in our typical virtual manner. It was nice to finally finish a song we all actually worked on!

Take a listen for yourself here. Or right click here to DOWNLOAD the entire album.

You can always take us with you via the podcast. And of course there is MySpace and our brand new Facebook Group.

And most important… leave comments on the blog or via email at novemberEP@hellocomein.com. Enjoy!!

Tracklist:

1. Wars Keep Going On (Katzif/Crowley/Johnson)
2. 12th Century Russian Literature Makes for Good Bedtime Stories (Crowley)
3. We Are Abandoned In The Towns Our Fathers Built (Katzif)

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It was around this time two years ago that Aryn and I began hunkering down to come up with a website to feature our music. Initially it was just going to be a typical band website to archive all this stuff we had done in years past. Then we realized that we didn’t live in the same city, so our output dried up. Year one of Hello Come In was sort of ambiguous and undefined, filled with failed collaborative experiments (Hello.Column etc.). However, sporadic as it was at that point, Aryn, Greg and I had begun tinkering with making music on our computers, creating home recordings and such.

So it was around this time last year that the three of us started laying the ground work for our year long EP project. Looking back, it was ambitious to strive for 12 months of straight music creation, especially when all three of us lived in three different cities. It took a bit of time to logistically and technically figure things out (thank god for high speed internet and kick ass music software). But once we knew we were able to artistically develop new material and eventually hit those deadlines a few months in a row, we then began to think “Okay, now what?”

In the back of our heads though, I know we really were hoping for full group collaboration. Often working in a bubble, left to our own devices, our music did not always sound unified or really as one voice, let alone complete. But month by month, this open piloting and exposure of unfinished material — both to the other two of us, or to the few people following along at home (dozens I’m told…dozens!) — became easier; the criticism, suggestions and contributions more constructive.

So I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that the highlight for me this month is Wars Keep Going On, a song that all three of us had near-equal input on. Gathering for about ninety minutes one afternoon over Thanksgiving with only a simple chord progression chicken scratched out a few hours ahead of time on the back of a grocery list, we got to work. I think we hit on something good.

In many cases we found the proximity this time around extremely helpful in crafting a song that I by myself would’ve labored over a lot longer, just by playing it out for Greg and Aryn and talking about it. You sort of catch onto the momentum and creativity of the others and just run with it. This is certainly not the first time we’ve had that experience..hell we played countless amounts of gigs together dating back to highschool, so familiarity here is also key.

But the end results I think might be our most complete work. While it’s not the most complex, experimental or even all that original in the larger historical scheme of music (given a paltry 6.8 by Pitchfork), but it might be the most representative of what the three of us can do at this time. It’s also perhaps a tiny glimpse of what we could do if we were able to play in person on a regular basis.

We still have one last month left in our year of EPs, plus a few upcoming ideas for future projects in 2008, but I have to say, it’s rewarding to finally hit a creative goal that we set and know that this is just another new beginning. It only took us 11 damn months to do it.

— Mike, Nov. 2007

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Past EP’s

Temporary Setback :: January 2007
Clouded Spaces, Falling Skies :: February 2007
First Pull Up, Second Pull Down, Third Take Away :: March 2007
Ancient Telephones :: April 2007
The Cavalry Arrived Again :: May 2007
Designed In Anticipation Of His Centennial Years :: June 2007
The Rundown :: July 2007
The Ninth Great Fire :: August 2007
Empty Bottles And Dog-Eared Books :: September 2007
I Can Fix Things In The Morning :: October 2007
We Are Full Of Useful Noise :: November 2007
The Last Duel :: December 2007

October 2007 EP: Hello Come In, ‘I Can Fix Things In The Morning’

Hello Come In's Oct. EP, I Can Fix Things In The Morning

Goodbye October, we had fun. The trees appear to be dying, but we’re back with another edition of fall musics for you. Amongst a few remixes on I Can Fix Things In The Morning is an original from Mike and triple-threat 30-minute exercises from Aryn. I electro-fied Mike’s “No Reason” during a long stretch of road in western Kansas, and Robin Hilton of NPR fame makes a welcomed guest appearance with his take on “The Imitators.”

Judge the result for yourself here. Or right click here to DOWNLOAD the entire album.

You can always take us with you via the podcast. And of course there is MySpace. And most important… leave comments on the blog or via email at octoberEP@hellocomein.com. Enjoy!!

Tracklist:

1. No Reason (Greg Remix) (Katzif/Johnson)
2. Autographs (Katzif)
3. Trilogy (Crowley)
4. Craptastic (Crowley)
5. Mr. Prolific (Crowley)
6. Ocean Of Noise (Arcade Fire/Katzif)
7. The Imitators (Katzif/Hilton)

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Two months left. I think we sometimes feel tied to this thing. Are we creating music because we want to or because we’ve manufactured a deadline? It seems like when I sit down to record music the past few months, I have the thought of “Got to get something together for this month’s ep” in my head. In some ways, that’s the point. If we don’t have something pushing us to push out the music, we won’t do it. We live busy lives, and music is usually the first thing to take a back seat. But has it lost it’s purpose if we’re creating the music to meet the monthly deadline? Originally the goal was to keep a record of our monthly happenings- however unfinished, unmixed, unmastered, out of tune, out of beat, etc.

But, as we’ve moved farther along each month, I think we’ve lost track a bit of that goal. We’re not so much using the ep as a journal, but as a presentation. And I’ve found that my motivation has dipped as my focus has transitioned from recording for us to recording for the ep, recording for others. If I’m creating music for myself, I really could care less if something is listenable and catchy. If I’m recording for myself, the song can be as repetitive and formulaic as my ears can handle. But recording for the EP forces you to think from the listener’s perspective. “Damn, this progression is the same as intro to Black Mirror…” Thoughts like that usually put the brakes on the creative train. A riff that may have otherwise evolved into a full song is halted because I’m afraid someone might tell me I ripped off an Arcade Fire song.

OK, this is all true. But, when I stop and think about it, do I really care if someone regards what I wrote is lame? Not really… if I like the glockenspiel melody I wrote, then the rest doesn’t matter; I still devoted time to music. And that’s more than I do when I’m caught up worrying about a deadline.

So what is my goal for the last two months? My goal is to come full circle, to remind myself of the original intent of the ep project- to keep track of our music, not to force it out.

— Greg, October 2007

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Past EP’s

Temporary Setback :: January 2007
Clouded Spaces, Falling Skies :: February 2007
First Pull Up, Second Pull Down, Third Take Away :: March 2007
Ancient Telephones :: April 2007
The Cavalry Arrived Again :: May 2007
Designed In Anticipation Of His Centennial Years :: June 2007
The Rundown :: July 2007
The Ninth Great Fire :: August 2007
Empty Bottles And Dog-Eared Books :: September 2007
I Can Fix Things In The Morning :: October 2007
We Are Full Of Useful Noise :: November 2007
The Last Duel :: December 2007

September 2007 EP: Hello Come In, ‘Empty Bottles And Dog-Eared Books’

Hello Come In's Sept. EP, Empty Bottles And Dog-Eared Books

Yet again, we present to you hot of the internet presses the latest edition of helloEP: Empty Bottles And Dog-Eared Books.

We’re offering three songs this month. “Made In The USA” starts things off as an instrumental pop thing. Look for this one to re-appear in the near future with full fledged lyrics. Mike’s song, “No Reason,” started life as an organ synth experiment and ended up as a lament for childhood memories piled in a closet- too good to give away. And in some ways, Aryn’s crazy “Digital Interlude” is one of those memories, pulled off of his college hard drive for a fresh listen.

Enough of this talking. Take a peek at the music here. Or right click here to DOWNLOAD the entire album.

Or cut the cord by taking in the podcast. Or compete with facebook by giving the MySpace page some traffic. And most important… leave comments on the blog or via email at septemberEP@hellocomein.com.

Tracklist:

1. Made In The USA (Johnson)
2. No Reason (Katzif)
3. Digital Interlude (Crowley)

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It seems like things work out better in threes. It’s that extra person that can help get over the hump if the other two are stuck. This is one of those months where we win again due to being three. It’s been a crazy month for me work wise, and fortunately we had two other people to step it up and find time to collaborate and get some new songs done.

The challenge of releasing an EP every month for a year would be a daunting task for one, even two people, but with three even if the other two people are MIA for that month we have one fall back to get it done. And the beauty is that fall back can even rotate every month. But hey regardless we’ve done it again, 9 out of 12. Already three quarters of the way through the year on this project, with only 3 more to go…

— Aryn, September 2007

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Past EP’s

Temporary Setback :: January 2007
Clouded Spaces, Falling Skies :: February 2007
First Pull Up, Second Pull Down, Third Take Away :: March 2007
Ancient Telephones :: April 2007
The Cavalry Arrived Again :: May 2007
Designed In Anticipation Of His Centennial Years :: June 2007
The Rundown :: July 2007
The Ninth Great Fire :: August 2007
Empty Bottles And Dog-Eared Books :: September 2007
I Can Fix Things In The Morning :: October 2007
We Are Full Of Useful Noise :: November 2007
The Last Duel :: December 2007

August 2007 EP: Hello Come In, ‘The Ninth Great Fire’

Hello Come In's Aug EP, The Ninth Great Fire

It’s that time once again for another installment of helloEP. Our short but sweet August rendition is entitled The Ninth Great Fire.

Only two songs? Yep — our offering is small this month as we hunkered down leaning some new software (Live and Reason) and spent the rest of the time frying our pale skin in summer activities. As we head towards the hibernatory months, you should see more songs as we reenter our basement studio dens. Personally, I spent some time figuring out how to use Ableton Live for beat programming on Mike’s title track.

So put away those cigarettes and take a music break instead here. Or right click here to DOWNLOAD the entire album.

Or take it with you on your subway ride with the podcast. Or be cool like the college kids at MySpace. And most important… leave comments on the blog or via email at augustEP@hellocomein.com.

Tracklist:

1. The Ninth Great Fire (Katzif/Johnson)
2. War Of The Crickets (Crowley)

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Between juggling real life and jobs, finding time for music takes just as much planning as anything…especially when trying to learn new toys to add to the process. August saw the three of us expand getting new software like learning some basics on the amazing and complicated synth modeler Reason or trying something completely new like Greg learning to program beats with Ableton Live. Oh yeah, and I finally was reunited with my long lost pal, my Fender Rhodes after a two year trial separation. How I missed you.

Sometimes in music these new toys can be as much of a hindrance as they are helpful and inspiring…especially at first. They can open up countless new options and conjur ten new songs or they can bring you back to square one. One step forward, two steps back.

Years back when I first started picking up new instruments, I remember how frustrating it was to have all this previous knowledge but having to start at the beginning with memorizing fingerings or new clefs. Adopting a new program like Live or Reason (or any other software for that matter) is just the same…trying to learn what it can do, how you can use it easily and how it relates to all the other pieces you have in place.

Unfortunately no matter how many new guitars, glockenspiels or high-tech gadgets you add, you still have to have a song to write. People tend to forget that step, or at least overlook it. Finding that time to write a great song still seems to be the challenge. One step forward, two steps back.

— Mike, August 2007

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Past EP’s

Temporary Setback :: January 2007
Clouded Spaces, Falling Skies :: February 2007
First Pull Up, Second Pull Down, Third Take Away :: March 2007
Ancient Telephones :: April 2007
The Cavalry Arrived Again :: May 2007
Designed In Anticipation Of His Centennial Years :: June 2007
The Rundown :: July 2007
The Ninth Great Fire :: August 2007
Empty Bottles And Dog-Eared Books :: September 2007
I Can Fix Things In The Morning :: October 2007
We Are Full Of Useful Noise :: November 2007
The Last Duel :: December 2007

July 2007 EP: Hello Come In, ‘The Rundown’

Hello Come In's July EP, The Rundown

July has come and gone, so it’s about time we pop out another one of these mini EPs. We’ve decided to call this first-of-the-second-half EP The Rundown.

It’s a typical month for us, no special rules or stipulations like the past couple EPs. We think the tunes turned out great, but judge for yourself the lonesome cowboy wanderings of Aryn, the social laments of Mike, and the minimalist folk of myself. We’re still working towards meeting our ideal level of collaboration, but we’re making recordings and building up the library, which is the important part in our minds.

It’s time. Stop everything you’re doing and peruse The Rundown. Or right click here to DOWNLOAD entire album.

Or check the podcast. Or be 21st century at MySpace. And most important… leave comments on the blog or via email at julyEP@hellocomein.com. Cheers!

Tracklist:

1. The Imitators (Katzif)
2. Sequel Pending (Crowley)
3. Following Payment (Johnson)

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Last week I woke up to the bitter taste of orange juice and toothpaste. I mean I was awake, but not really fully there I suppose so that biting acidity was a welcome catalyst to stir the summer lethargy of the morning. On sweltering hot days like we’ve been having, everything just seems to drag to a slow crawl. And as we get deeper into these summer months, it can be hard to find much ambition aside from aspiring lounge in the air conditioned bliss.

On this particular morning I was in a half daze, thinking of, unsurprisingly, music. More specifically, my own music. More specifically, why I could not write a chorus to a song. A song I had been nursing for a few months.

Writing lyrics is still fairly new to me so it can be a constant battle of writing and rewriting and overthinking the whole process. And for me, creating a sturdy and memorable chorus is by far the hardest part. Put it this way: if writing verses is like climbing to base camp of Mt. Everest (a mere 5400m, or 17600ft for those who would like to know), then writing a refrain is like summiting. Without oxygen. Sometimes I think I need a songwriting sherpa.

There is something about that repeated stanza and finding the right mixture of melodic hooks and memorable words that can be nearly impossible. I’m not sure if others have the same problem, but man it can be a struggle. This particular song was giving me more trouble than normal. After many aborted attempts, I had nearly given up. That is until I drank some orange juice after brushing my teeth. It was then that a melody popped into my head that I thought would work.

After that it somehow just came together. I cannot explain it really, and I certainly don’t attribute that vile taste to giving me a sudden moment of clarity. But sometimes when that song is pretty much a lost cause, I’ll take inspiration from anywhere I can get it.

— Mike, July 2007

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Past EP’s

Temporary Setback :: January 2007
Clouded Spaces, Falling Skies :: February 2007
First Pull Up, Second Pull Down, Third Take Away :: March 2007
Ancient Telephones :: April 2007
The Cavalry Arrived Again :: May 2007
Designed In Anticipation Of His Centennial Years :: June 2007
The Rundown :: July 2007
The Ninth Great Fire :: August 2007
Empty Bottles And Dog-Eared Books :: September 2007
I Can Fix Things In The Morning :: October 2007
We Are Full Of Useful Noise :: November 2007
The Last Duel :: December 2007

June 2007 EP: Hello Come In, ‘Designed In Anticipation Of His Centennial Years’

Hello Come In's June EP, Designed In Anticipation Of His Centennial Years

Okay, so it’s July. Late again. But we still have a bit of June business to clear up… Hard to believe we’ve now been doing this for six months…But here we are, proudly unveiling our sixth EP in our year-long series…the June effort titled, Designed in Anticipation of His Centennial Years. This past month of June we collectively decided to take a breather from writing songs from scratch and do some cover songs. The initial idea to cover other band’s material somehow morphed into us covering songs written by our fellow bandmates.

The idea of cover can be a simple tempo or key change. Or it can be a structural revamping that turns the song on its side while still maintaining the essence that made you love it in the first place. Sure there were failures, false starts, and songs that fell a bit short. But the overall level of success exceeded the expectations of everyone as we re-envisioned these songs in our own image.

Check out the results on the album page here. Or right click here to DOWNLOAD the entire album.

Or listen to our podcast here, befriend us on MySpace, and feel free to comment right here on our blog or write to us at juneEP@hellocomein.com. Enjoy!

Tracklist:

1. Look Out (Katzif/Crowley)
2. Push Reel (Johnson/Katzif)
3. Oxygen 1.5 (Crowley/Johnson)
4. Look Out (Katzif/Johnson)
5. A Track And A Train / TNT (Shout Out Louds/Tortoise/Katzif)
6. Puppets Are My Friends (Johnson/Crowley)

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Well cover month is officially over, and we have re-worked, re-mastered, mashed up, re-done, and generally messed around with other’s music. Originally we were thinking that it would be an opportunity to show our perceptions of other bands work. Musicians that may have been a huge influence, or maybe just something that we generally like and have always wanted to learn how to play, the source was open ended,and it only had to be something written by someone not ourselves.

Well, this suggestion that we pick our songs held for a while until someone else (either Mike or Greg) suggested that we choose two songs for one of the other guys to cover (two so they had a choice of which one to play). This idea simmered and evolved into “Cover one of OUR songs” and here we have it, a few interpretations of our respective hello.counterparts.

It’s always interesting to hear one of your own songs through another person’s fingers. Those subtle things that you loved about your initial version could be the one thing that is left behind, with something you never heard in your own track amplified and brought front and center. It could be an improvement, a complete disaster, or something in between. Either way, love it or hate it, it’s always good to hear your own art with a fresh perspective.

— Aryn, June 2007

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Past EP’s

Temporary Setback :: January 2007
Clouded Spaces, Falling Skies :: February 2007
First Pull Up, Second Pull Down, Third Take Away :: March 2007
Ancient Telephones :: April 2007
The Cavalry Arrived Again :: May 2007
Designed In Anticipation Of His Centennial Years :: June 2007
The Rundown :: July 2007
The Ninth Great Fire :: August 2007
Empty Bottles And Dog-Eared Books :: September 2007
I Can Fix Things In The Morning :: October 2007
We Are Full Of Useful Noise :: November 2007
The Last Duel :: December 2007

May 2007 EP : The Cavalry Arrived Again

The Cavalry Arrived Again

Once again, we fell a bit behind. But as I look at the publish date for April, I see we beat that by a whole day! So here it is, our proud little three song EP for May, The Cavalry Arrived Again.

The plan, as the folklore will recall, was to independently write three songs in isolation and no discussion between us (though we cheated a bit there) using a common bass line that followed a chord progression we wrote together in Chicago nearly a month ago.

As it turned out, our challenge, dreamed up as a way to change up the process a little, proved to be more demanding. It can be difficult, when life and jobs and other activities start to creep in, to find the time and ambition to be creative. At different times, I think all of us were feeling a bit burnt out and under-inspired. But as the days crept away, I think this collection of music came together nicely.

With Greg’s deconstructionist approach, Aryn’s hand percussion whimsy and my set of lyrics that have staring roles in not one, but TWO songs (I still find it strange to hear Aryn sing my words in his song), I think we somehow found a good last-minute flow of songs.

So without further ado, check out the album here, listen to our podcast here, befriend us on MySpace, and feel free to comment right here on our blog or write to us at mayEP@hellocomein.com. Enjoy!

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Past EP’s

Temporary Setback :: January 2007
Clouded Spaces, Falling Skies :: February 2007
First Pull Up, Second Pull Down, Third Take Away :: March 2007
Ancient Telephones :: April 2007
The Cavalry Arrived Again :: May 2007
Designed In Anticipation Of His Centennial Years :: June 2007
The Rundown :: July 2007
The Ninth Great Fire :: August 2007
Empty Bottles And Dog-Eared Books :: September 2007
I Can Fix Things In The Morning :: October 2007
We Are Full Of Useful Noise :: November 2007
The Last Duel :: December 2007

April 2007 EP : Ancient Telephones

Ancient TelephonesWell, we are a little behind for April’s EP, but mostly because we gathered in Chicago this past weekend to do some playing. In person! GASP! We have come up with a plan and a challenge for the May EP, but details of that will come shortly as we finalize our ideas. In the meantime, we are increasingly growing more excited about the project. Amazing to think we are in month four and starting month five.

For April, we’re proud to present our three song EP, Ancient Telephones. I think it goes without saying that our efforts are maturing and growing more ambitious (for better or worse is up to all of us to decide once we get some distance from it). But with that confidence we have also started expanding our sound: Check out the subtle drone of Greg’s harmonium, Aryn’s whistling mastery and maybe even my distorted vocals.

So without further ado, check out the album here, listen to our podcast here, and feel free to comment right here on our blog or write to us at aprilEP@hellocomein.com. Enjoy!

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Past EP’s

Temporary Setback :: January 2007
Clouded Spaces, Falling Skies :: February 2007
First Pull Up, Second Pull Down, Third Take Away :: March 2007
Ancient Telephones :: April 2007
The Cavalry Arrived Again :: May 2007
Designed In Anticipation Of His Centennial Years :: June 2007
The Rundown :: July 2007
The Ninth Great Fire :: August 2007
Empty Bottles And Dog-Eared Books :: September 2007
I Can Fix Things In The Morning :: October 2007
We Are Full Of Useful Noise :: November 2007
The Last Duel :: December 2007

March 2007 EP : First Pull Up, Second Pull Down, Third Take Away

First Pull Up, Second Pull Down, Third Take AwayHow did March go by so fast? Well here we are at the end of our third month of our year long EP series, hello.music! We proudly unveil this month’s release, First Pull Up, Second Pull Down, Third Take Away.

This month we made it a point to increase the amount of cross-country collaboration and development in our songs. Really, only Mike’s and Aryn’s tracks are brand new, but we finally managed to start trading tracks back and forth for editing and recording. Hopefully you should see more and more of this… teamwork… as we move along this year.

So, sit back and relax. Take a listen to the album, download the podcast, and follow our monthly development and provide your comments here on the blog. And above all else, enjoy!

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Past EP’s

Temporary Setback :: January 2007
Clouded Spaces, Falling Skies :: February 2007
First Pull Up, Second Pull Down, Third Take Away :: March 2007
Ancient Telephones :: April 2007
The Cavalry Arrived Again :: May 2007
Designed In Anticipation Of His Centennial Years :: June 2007
The Rundown :: July 2007
The Ninth Great Fire :: August 2007
Empty Bottles And Dog-Eared Books :: September 2007
I Can Fix Things In The Morning :: October 2007
We Are Full Of Useful Noise :: November 2007
The Last Duel :: December 2007