The Reservations – Victorias

I’ve been sitting on this album for a while. I figure putting it out there might be the thing to do. Recorded over a year ago with friends and members of what has become the loose collective of The Reservations.

The songs were written and about my time in London. It was supposed to be a very long album, but in the end became a very short album. Anyway, enjoy. For the record, I think the song Strummer has some pretty good lyrics.

GIG: July 7th – The Union, Newtown + album update

Watching the drums tracking

Casey and I are doing another of our sporadic acoustic Reservations shows on 7th July at the Union in Newtown. It’s a new thing the pub has put on to support local, original music, and has been going quite well. On the night we will be opening for Dusty Ravens and Simon + Alannah from the great Australian jangle pop band the Hummingbirds. Very exciting!

Casey and I will be performing lots of songs from the upcoming Reservations album. By the time of the 7th, we will hopefully be almost done, and might even have a track to give away on the night (fingers crossed).

Drums for 7 songs were recently recorded at Michael Carpenter’s Love HZ studio. It is a great room, and Michael has been involved, on some level, with everything I’ve worked on (I think). Paul Andrews, of Lazy Susan, who played on our last album, also played drums here and did a great job.

The songs recorded were – Show You My City, Adventure!, Victoria I, I Just Wanna See You, Joe Strummer, The Bedford Arms and one as-yet untitled song. I am considering posting the song and let friends suggest names. One just isn’t coming to me.

And the album name is like that as well at the moment. Whatever the name, the album will be out around August/September. If you want to listen to or download the two previous albums, you can find them here – http://thereservations.bandcamp.com/ – FREE as well, if you want them to be.

Oh, and finally, the Union gig is also FREE. And starts at 7:30, so it’s a “worksafe” event. Come support music in the inner west, eh?

Setlist: 24/04/2011

Danny Yau and Tim Byron

24/04/2011

The Annandale Hotel

1. Howard Fucked the Kids (Frank Turner cover … sort of) *
2. The Bedford Arms *
3. Messy *
4. I’ll Show You My City *
5. Last Time Around
6. I Keep Waking Up
7. Done With Love
8. The Body
9. Joe Strummer
10. The Galaxy Song
11. It’s Time To Go

* Danny Yau solo

Upcoming Gigs – Apr/May 2011

I am supporting LAZY SUSAN at the ANNANDALE HOTEL, APRIL 24th.

Joining me on the night will be Tim Byron, making it another semi-reunion for the Reservations.

LAZY SUSAN are performing the entire LONG LOST album from start to finish. It includes massive hits like Bobby Fischer, Canada and Clumsy. I used to play in Lazy Susan, and their new record, which I don’t play on, is oddly fantastic. You can listen to some tracks below, including the single Find Me A Way Back Into Your Heart.

Official website – http://www.lazy-susan.net

 

Those who enjoy watching me perform but hate my songs should come see The Aerial Maps. I have joined that band as extra hands to help them recreate their fantastic album The Sunset Park, which is released later this year.

My first gig is on May 7th at the Basement as part of a big night for their label Popboomerang. All the details are here – http://www.popboomerang.com

The first single, also called The Sunset Park, is below.

 

Finally – I will probably be performing a couple of songs by that you can download – free – here https://leapbound.wordpress.com/the-reservations

Making Album 3: Day 3

Yesterday was another day of recording album 3.

Still at Adrian’s studio at Double Bay, we came up with basslines for several songs and cleaned up some of the work we did previously.

This method of recording is very new to me. In the past I have been over-prepared. This time I am writing stuff on the spot. Hours wasted on a bassline that didn’t work for I Just Wanna See You, before just deciding on something simple, and using the same old basslines I’ve used before. I guess there is something to be said for falling back on instincts when approaching a recording like this.

That said, some really good stuff came from improvising. A mellotron line for The Bedford Arms and a walking bassline for Done With Love came out very well.

I initially wanted to work with sample drums only. Having been a bit obsessed by LCD Soundsystem (RIP) and simple recordings of recent Paul Westerberg, I figured real sounds were not important as long as the songs were there. But it’s looking like a real drummer will need to be drafted in, and proper drums recorded.

So for the moment, we are stuck on this drums impasse.

On the other hand, one Untitled song I’ve pretty much decided will get the flick. A finished tracklisting is getting closer.

Making Album 3: Days 1 & 2.

Album 3 Recording 5

My common view of Adrian during our recording

First two days involved just running through the songs and getting them down. We did almost everything to a click track, to make it easier to add drums, bass, or whatever else later.

We worked at Adrian’s home studio in Rose Bay. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Walk around from Adrian’s studio on the hill and you can see all of Sydney Harbour.

All I brought with me was my Art & Lutherie acoustic which I’ve had for 5 years now, and travelled the world with me. I also brought my Mustang bass that was not used – yet. In the era of protools, we did quite a bit of mucking around with synths and drum sounds for the demos.

We started by playing to samples, but in the end, Adrian tracked midi drums to a click. We played both live and got excellent takes that still had feel and detail.

I walked in with 18 songs. We recorded demos for 14. They are, in order:

1. Untitled 1 (It’s Never Gonna Happen)
2. The Bedford Arms
3. Done With Love
4. It’s Been Too Long
5. Untitled 2 (Meet Again)
6. Untitled 3 (I Know You)
7. Find the Sea
8. Time To Go

9. Show You My City
10. I Just Wanna See You
11. Death Disco
12. Untitled 4 (Gang Of Four)
13. Adventure
14. Victoria I

9-14 were all done on electric. I even used a Stratocaster and a Les Paul for the first time ever on a recording.

For the record, songs not tracked so far are:

15. Victoria II
16. My Life Has Been Good
17. Trace
18. Names

I am usually very good with song titles but this time around I am stuck. It’s worrying that there isn’t one clear line or idea in these songs that stick out that feels like a title. Many of those songs are cut and paste jobs from various scribbles in my notebooks. I put them in an order that makes sense. I am considering doing the Jebediah thing and just naming them something completely left field (what is Military Strongmen?).

I don’t think I’ve ever played guitar so much in one consistent sitting before. Usually in bands you can have a break. My fingers were in a lot of pain by the middle of day 2. I had to hold frozen peas in one hand. But we muddled through (woe is I).

Some songs are in states of unfinishedness. Many gaps for lyrics, and many placeholder lyrics too. I will need to live with these tapes for a bit and make notes.

I had lyrics for one song – Death Disco – that was written in the studio. I’ve never done that before, and the whole song has only two chords. But that speed and fun is why I’m working with Adrian. I don’t love recording – and I hate labouring over it. The song is about the club nights at Notting Hill Arts Club on Wednesday nights.

In the end, very exciting. Next session is just over a week away. The aim is to drill down the arrangements, finich the lyrics, start adding bass and get the songs to a point where we can start inviting people in to help.

And also think about what songs wont make it. As 3 songs come under 2 minutes, I might be able to allow 11 songs.

Photos l-r:
1. Double Bay, driving on the way to the studio. 2. Producer Adrian Deutsch. 3. My world while tracking. 4. My view of Adrian while I was recording

Album 3 Recording 1 Album 3 Recording 2 Album 3 Recording 4 Album 3 Recording 5

Making Album 3: introduction

Today I will start making a third album of songs I’ve written.

I am going to blog about it.

If you’ve ever wondered what people do to prepare for an album, then I can tell you sometimes it’s a lot. My last record was rehearsed intensely, and had a clear vision going in.

This time around, I have prepared almost nothing. I have 20 songs in all different states. One is just a whole bunch of lyrics on a notepad about a certain subject, with no music at all. Almost half have no titles and I hope to revisit the lyrics. Some are completely finished. Song wise, these are all the songs that were worth keeping that I wrote in 4 or so years in London.

I am recording with Adrian Deustch at his home studio. I’ve known Adrian for ten years and we’ve always wanted to work together. I have not worked with that many producers in my life, so every time it feels brand new.

We are going to start by recording every song acoustically, or on piano. Some basic tracks to start. No drummer, no embellishments. Hopefully Adrian will offer some ideas. And from there we will decide where to go.

I have no idea how it’s going to sound. We will be recording bit by bit in the months to come. And hopefully rope in some great collaborators.

The aim is to pick the best ten and make that an album. I can’t seem to shake that ten song limit. It just works for me.

As of right now, the album will be called “Adventure!”. And it will be by “The Reservations”. But everything can change.

Setlist: 18/02/2011

Danny Yau and Casey Atkins

18/02/2011

Petersham Bowling Club

1. The Bedford Arms *
2. Adventure! *
3. I Just Wanna See You *
4. I’ll Show You My City *
5. Last Time Around
6. As Lonely As Me
7. Wish You Were In Love
8. The Body
9. Joni Mitchell’s Blue
10. Can I Go With You?
11. Bring It On Home To Me
12. I Was Born In 1980

* Danny Yau solo

Songs 5-10 and 12 are available for FREE download here

Liner Notes: The Reservations- Last Impressions

Last Impressions is the first album by the Reservations.

It was produced by Michael Carpenter. The initial sessions were recorded in Kings Rd, but the record was finished (and probably the bulk of the recording was done) at the newer Love Hz studios in Leichhardt. It was released on October 11, 2004 – my 24th birthday – through Non-Zero Records. The photos and cover photo are taken by Amy Walters.

The players are:

Danny Yau (vocals, guitars, mandolin)
Casey Atkins (guitars, vocals, keys)
Saul Foster (bass)
Israel Smith (drums)
Nigel Chong-Sun (bass)
Michael Carpenter (drums, bass)
Paul Andrews (drums)

This little band was kind of falling apart when we started recording this album, in pieces, over a few months. Saul and Israel left the band, so Nigel, Paul and Michael did a great job filling in.

This was the album that came from the first batch of songs I ever wrote. There were probably 5 or 6 more tracks that could have been recorded for this album.

We didn’t really think about making this album enough. Mood wise, it’s all over the shop. Maybe there could have been some better songs. I think we were thrilled about having just recorded some songs so we put them out.

This album was also written in a period of intense unhappiness. I was kicked out of my flat. The band was falling apart. Girl issues. A close friend, Michael Lock, died (the album is dedicated to him, for many reasons). And because of that, I wanted to make a nice album. We probably could have pushed the rock angle, or the country angle. But in the end, the album is full of songs about friends and lovers.

I do love what’s there. Apart from one song (Emily, which I have deleted from the download version), I am still pretty happy about this album.

Track notes by Danny Yau and Casey Atkins

Side 1

1. Calvin & Hobbes

DY: A song about Bill Watterson. I had just read a book about him and his life, and was a bit obsessed. I still am. But it was more about being happy without compromise. I wanted this song to sound like Ash. Nothing else on the album sounds like this. It wasn’t really indicative of what we did, and this song kind of fell off the setlist almost immediately.

The end bit was written mainly in the studio and it was the first thing that Saul ever liked that I wrote.

CA: This is the second version of the song we recorded. One was done in the original “Kings Rd” session, but I don’t think it was as big, bombastic and Ash sounding as we were after. As Danny says, dropped off the set pretty quickly, but I do remember it being our live opener for a while. Probably why it ended up the album opener.

2. Can I Go With You?

DY: Our first single. First song of mine I ever heard on radio. Lyrics are quite ironic now, as it’s about a girl who moves to the UK, something I did not long after. The chorus is “let’s throw ourselves to the wind, girl” and not “window”, as some people thought.

I guess I was trying to write a Posies song. Turned out somewhat different which is great.

CA: I always remember feeling more Teenage Fanclub (Neil Jung?) than Posies on this. Regardless, it was a fave for me and a lot of people for a long time. I still love the riff, especially when it re-enters at during the last verse. Nice little piece of pop.

Incidentally, it was me that thought the lyric was “throw ourselves through the window”.

3. Messy

DY: This song was one I always played live, although I don’t think we really nailed it in the studio. I think it was supposed to sound like Norwegian Wood or something. But people really liked this song. I think girls love the ballads. I’m pretty happy with some of the rhymes in this one.

CA: I’m actually really happy with the studio version. I loved Paul’s ‘brushes on the snare’ feel. I do remember trying to play the bass part, but realising really quickly that I’m not much of a bass player. Thanks for stepping in, MC.

4. Forever + Always

DY: This song had a riff that was kind of Byrds-y. So the only idea we had was to emulate the Byrds. I bought a 12 string Rickenbacker that I almost never used again. The middle 8 kinda doesn’t have anything to do with the rest of the song, and there are like 15 chords in the thing.

Taylor Swift has since put out a song called Forever And Always which is a lot better.

CA: Some of my favourite guitar playing on the record. I love the double tracked guitar solo. Still a bit bummed that I didn’t try harder to hit a high harmony in the choruses though.

5. Somebody New

DY: This was our third single, and our usual set-ender. Written about a friend’s ex that I saw at Newtown station, with some big, tattoo-d douche bag. So yeah, fuck her. I was also very into augmented chords at this time, and would use them whenever I could. G#aug. Great chord.

CA: Always love a good rocker for rocking’s sake. Also, from memory, the only song we ever did a radio edit of, so the vocal came in earlier.

Side 2

6. Joni Mitchell’s Blue

DY: I wrote this song in my first apartment out of home, cooking a fry up, while a pretty girl I was madly in love with was about to come around. She would sometimes pick up my guitar and have a strum, even though she couldn’t play. And that became this song.

This is another one a lot of people seem to like. I guess because it’s kind of light hearted and sweet. Sometimes, live, we would change it from Joni Mitchell’s Blue to Led Zeppelin II. Other options are My Aim Is True, Bachelor No. 2 or Weezer’s Blue. Who Made Who?

CA: I’ve always liked this song with just Danny and I on it, but after this record was done and we were playing live we worked up a really good full band version. Paul came up with a great drum part. It disappointed me a bit that we never recorded it with everyone on it.

7. (Calling Out) I’m Through

DY: This was the first song we ever released, on a compilation called Rock Against Howard – an indie music finger to then Prime Minister John Howard. He was a racist cunt. We included it on the album because it’s a lot of fun to play. I think the lyrics are pretty average. If you’re going to have text, there should be subtext. But there’s something about kicking out a tune as well.

CA: Main thing I remember about this song is when we played it live. We always managed to dedicate it to somebody who’d just quit their job. I also remember re-recording my guitar part because I wasn’t happy with my tone from the original Kings Rd session. What a wanker.

8. I Wish You Were In Love

DY: My favourite song on the album. Would have been the fourth single. It was played a few times on radio anyway.

I guess all the things I like about this album is on this song. I wanted to make something that would make the world a little warmer. I wanted to tell my friends I loved them. I think the overall mood of this album is one of sweetness. Not a great selling point, but how close we got to that is how I judge this album. And I think we scored pretty high.

CA: Only time I sung a lead vocal. Many people said I sounded like Evan Dando, you be the judge.

9. As Lonely As Me

DY: This was our second single. It was written about a girl who – whenever I felt like calling her – would call me. For a while there, we felt the same about eachother (it didn’t last). But I still like the sentiment.

We were utterly, utterly obsessed with Teenage Fanclub’s Songs From Northern Britain. It was such a blissful, joyous album. We ripped it off royally for this track. And it still sounds great to my ears. Why did we put two of our best songs at the end of the album? I don’t know.

CA: There’s another subtle Teenage Fanclub reference around this song, where “Wish You Were In Love” ends abruptly, and “Lonely As Me” starts quickly after with the long strummed open chords. That was supposed to emulate the break between “Mellow Doubt” and “Don’t Look Back” from Grand Prix. Just for the train spotters. Like Danny and Me.

This song was always a favourite of mine to play, I loved singing the constant harmony all the way through.

10. I Was Born In 1980

DY: On the CD, this is a hidden track. In the era of digital, I’m happy to give it a promotion. This is just Casey and I, acoustic guitars and singing. Another sweet song.

This actually came from a year where I thought I would write my friends a song each for their birthday. I only got one song in.

CA: Yeah, a sweet song. To me it was always a bit of an answer to “Forget it Sister” by You Am I. I loved how it linked Danny and I together in song, in that we were both born in 1980.

You can download the album FREE from here – http://www.mediafire.com/?b4izmadidv9i4ip

Setlist: 03/02/2011

photo by Bek Lambert

Danny Yau (solo)

03/02/2011 – Excelsior, Surry Hills

1. The Bedford Arms
2. Done With Love
3. Adventure!
4. I Just Wanna See You
5. Victoria I
6. I’ll Show You My City
7. Irreplaceable (Beyonce cover)
8. The Body
9. Find the Sea
10. It’s Time To Go

You can download “The Body”, free, as part of the I Blame This On You album here