Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ours - Ballet the Boxer 1 (2013)

8/5/13 5:27PM-8/6/13 9:21AM
The official video for "Devil" was finally put up today as it's posted now below:

I didn't realize, but it comes as very little surprise they used footage from the David Carradine short film Jimmy did (David Carradine's last work as it so happened to become as well), that was directed by Michael Maxxis who if I recall, directed some other videos for Ours and Jimmy's solo record?

Dark video, but still it captures the tune well. As far as the album, they keep releasing different versions of it (as Jimmy has said they would), most recently a 24-bit FLAC which I downloaded per the Pledemusic link, but haven't checked out. But some of the commnents on the fans forum are saying there's a distinct improvement in it sonically.

But, I guess I am still awaiting my package per the Pledgemusic campaign, but given I got the vinyl, they said it very likely would be 6-8 weeks, which probably means it'll not arrive until September sometime if not a little later. It also doesn't help the process the fact they are on tour right now as well. Too bad they aren't hitting my town, but I've known that a few months.

edit: there's an interview with Jimmy and Michael Maxxis posted just below the video that was linked in the latest newsletter.

5/30/13 5:51AM

I'll add more later, but the below portions of this interview add even more about this record and I would inmagine how Jimmy is feeling, reading some of the comments and reactions online about it.

He's rather outspoken and brutally honest, which I actually am glad to see. I just hope he's not feeling too hurt or overly sensitive. But the interview goes into that.

I do wish the question about the new version of "Murder" would have come up, but hopefully it will soon.

I did like how the interview asked about "more" music. I just hope the finances are feasible and if possible, the band won't require another fan-funding campaign. But that remains to be seen.

Link to a new, extensive interview with Jimmy Gnecco

It’s obvious the production of this album is different than your other ones. It just has a raw, live sound to it. Was that done on purpose?
That was definitely done on purpose. I played drums on the whole record except for the last song, “Fall into My Hands.” I’ve played drums in the past that we didn’t make a big deal about, but this time it was important for it to be right. I think it yielded something wild for us to tell you the truth. It’s a sound I’ve been chasing down for a long time in my head and I finally allowed that to happen.
We wanted to do a couple things differently than Mercy. We’d have around 20/30 guitar tracks to pick from for that album. Sometimes with all the different microphones and parts, we were using 15/16 guitar tracks at once. We just wanted to mainstream this record, not mainstream pop, but just streamline what it is we’re trying to do. We wanted one strong, defined guitar part as opposed to what we did on both Distorted Lullabies and Mercy which was to take multiple parts to make a sound. If you’re a guitarist or a drummer trying to learn one of those songs, you don’t even know what part to play. We wanted the intent to be different and clear with this record that it’s inspired by Michael Jackson or other Motown albums. You’re not wondering what’s making it sound this way by having all these different layers. There are still layers on this record, though.
You just have to listen closely for them.
Yeah, I don’t know if it’s because I played the drums, but I mixed them loud and mixed my voice low. I think it’s because we always wanted a record to sound that way. It’s always tricky because everybody has a different view on what they see as being right. Some people want to hear the band more and other people want to hear my voice the most. I thought on Mercy my voice was mixed really loud, so I wanted to make sure that when you turned this record up, everything came up. I didn’t let it get to the point where my voice was too loud before you felt what the drums were doing. So because of that you have to mix the voice down a little and in the band. I also got bored. I just did an album with 15 songs that were completely revolving around my voice. Everything was there to serve it and not get in the way of it, so I wanted the rhythm section to be pounding on this record.
I was going to say that your voice sounds buried on this album, but you also sing differently too. You’re in your higher register a lot which gives off this aggressive, angry tone to your voice. You don’t do those classic Gnecco screams like we just heard you sing in “Murder.” There’s still falsetto but it’s a lot less. So was that a conscious decision to sing that way too?
Yeah, I think it’s important to not become a parody of yourself. I don’t want to do a scream just to do it. I don’t want to sing falsetto unless the song calls for it. It was a conscious decision to lean toward more songs where I wasn’t singing falsetto for this record. Like you said, a lot of the songs are in a higher register in my voice. It’s actually a difficult album to sing.
On top of that, I got extremely sick during my small window. I had about two and a half weeks to get my vocals done because we had set the May 7 deadline and we were not going to go back on it. During that time, I unfortunately got sick and lost my voice. I was just struggling to have it at all, so that’s me pushing through it. I knew the sound of my voice would be different than ever before, so in that sense I tried to use it to my advantage. There are times when I just don’t have any control of it like I normally would. I took advantage of that because I think sometimes controlling the voice too much can take away some of the reckless abandonment. I tried to support it properly as a singer as much as I could, but still allow it to go where it wanted due to me being sick. I could barely breathe for most of the process. It just felt like somebody was standing on my chest the whole time that I was singing. You then get stressed out about being sick and it’s a constant cycle. It’s a miracle that we even got it done.
I shouldn’t even have to say this because this should just be a given with all records that are made, but I didn’t tune a single vocal. That’s not part of our set up. I wouldn’t know how and I’m not interested in doing it. So it wasn’t a matter of putting my voice down and tuning it all up. I hear tuned vocals on rock records and it does not please me at all. It’s depressing and disappointing to me, so we tried to leave it real.

5/22/13 11:36PM

This is probably worth adding, as it sheds more light or explanation about how the album is how it is. Credit the user Feverdown from the Fans Forum in the Topic about the album on pg 12

I get even more why the album is how it is.That being said, I have not played it too much over the last week and change just due to wanting to hear other stuff. Also I want to hear it on cd. They did just email the Pledgemusic backers FLAC version of the album, but I don't use an mp3 player of course. And burning the wav files seems kind of silly, But they may be worth checking out for now just to stream.

So I was listening to the boot of the Jimmy show at Mexicali Live from back in 2010 today, which I attended, and it has a long monologue where he talks about the next Ours record. 

I've transcribed it below if anyone is interested. Maybe it will take the place of interviews right now :) 

The TL;DR is that he says that when they made the record he wanted to go back to the feeling of being in the band during the Sour era. He also said that these were songs written for Velvet Revolver with the intention of making something that would sound like a follow up to Appetite for Destruction. I thought that was fascinating and I can't believe I forgot all about it.

So the next Ours record...after doing this acoustic record...I get antsy. I do one thing and then I want to do something completely different. So, I've been having these feelings, I mean, when I was a little younger...maybe... [mumbles comically] years ago, we had something going on with our band where we kind of...I wouldn't say that we lost it over the years, you know, we changed, and I don't ever like to do the same thing over and over. There's lots of great bands who do that. AC/DC's one of em, they always make the same record and it's great each time. But I just wanted to do something new each time and grow. So the thing was by the time I made the first record, we never really made that record with the sound of the band that we had when I was younger, We never really made that record. And it was a fun band to be in at that time. Because, we uh, at a time where it was a...a bit of a hair band thing going on, which definitely with some great bands at the time. Some great singers, some great songs, which I felt actually deteriorated through the 90's with people who pretended like it was cool to not play. But um, we had a fun thing cuz we had this thing where we'd go into any little dingy bar and really just lay it out and really just kick ass. And I've been dying to do that again lately. I have a bunch of songs that I've written that are just gonna be, I don't know how to describe them, but I'd imagine that it's going to be close to that feeling that we had when we were younger. And I am really looking forward to doing that. I'm not going to play any of them yet tonight because for once I wanna surprise everybody with a record full of songs that you haven't heard. Rather than letting you hear it for five years and then recording it...and then wondering, "Why isn't anyone coming to the shows anymore? Because they've heard these songs for the last 20 years."

Yeah so there were some songs that I...I got a call to go down and sing with the guys from Velvet Revolver--a couple of times. The first time before Scott Weiland was in the band and then again after he was gone. I did jam with Slash a couple years ago, a show that we did in New York. It was horrible for me because I had lost my voice for about 6 months, 8 months. And I was just getting it back, that day oddly enough. I didn't know that I was getting it back. So I was terrified to go up and sing and I was like, "You gotta be kidding me." All those years of living like a compete...just trying to live like a Buddhist, with my, just everything. And the one night where I'm actually going to go up and play with some of my heroes and my voice wasn't working. So I did go up though and sing badly and...the one of the guys in the band gave me to wrong cue, so the funny thing about is if you find some of the footage on YouTube you'll see me going to sing and you'll see Slash going like this [makes a hand motion to his throat indicating for him not to go up? I don't remember what motion he mimed]. Great moment with Slash. Anyway the next day they called me and asked me to come to California and jam with them. And um...with the idea of that I started to write these songs about how I felt we could possibly make...Guns N' Roses, Appetite for Destruction was such a great record, and...I wasn't always into rock during that time growing up. I liked some of the bands like I was saying, but Guns N' Roses, that record was a great record and I thought if we were going to do anything, we had to...kind of make the next record that that great band would have made. So a bunch of the songs I started to write, and I guess maybe that's what the next record that we make as a band will be. I'm looking really forward to that, I'm not sure when it will be but...again I'm not going to play any of those right now. Maybe one...maybe one or two.

Anyway, just to give you an idea, this is the last thing I'll say about it. They spoke to the manager that we had at the time and he said to them, "What's in it for me if I have Jimmy come down to you?" That's the kind of management that we've had over the years. Just so you guys know that's what we deal with. "What's in it for me if I have Jimmy come down?" Awesome. So anyway, I sent them a letter myself and I said listen, "Let's get Slash, let's get Duff, let's find a drummer with a big, fat, back beat and a lot of soul...and where is Izzy Stradlin? They didn't like that email. So we're gonna keep all those songs that I was writing and hopefully it will come out [soon?].

5/10/13 3:05PM

I'm frankly, rather SHOCKED to see the enormous page-view count (850 this week?, LOL) for this entry. Where were all those google searches for Jimmy's solo record(s) the last few years?

Anyway, I could and should add more, but my posts this past week about this record I posted on the Ours fans forum are probably worth sharing for now.

5-11-13 7:22AM
1 thought could be Ballet the Boxer 2 could be THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE in terms of the style of songs and production. It might make for a nice contrast. Although if that does happen, I would think Jimmy and the band would say something soon about that.

But after putting it off all week given I just started a brand new job on Monday and listened to very little music until today, I finally got around to hearing this album with headphones.

I think some folks could be overreacting a little on this album. The production I'd say, for nearly every track varies from tolerable to at least acceptable. In fact I find a couple of songs reminding me of the production style of The Heart.

Songwriting-wise, this record maybe doesn't vary quite as much as Mercy or DL, but I think it does resemble much of Precious both approach and how the overall sound carries throughout.

My maybe biggest knock on it is there aren't many energetic/upbeat tunes. Sing and Get Em Out really are the only tracks that have a more uptempo feel. And they are towards the end.

That being the case, I think the best track or my favorite may end up being Falling Into My Hands. Very epic, much in the tradition of other Ours closing songs.

I gotta give this more time, but while this album may still end up being my least favorite or even least played over time, I am not having much issue with the production really. Really not much more than I might with Precious. A few moments the reverb is too hot, but at least very little to no cymbals seemed to clip which often with any production or mixing issues is my biggest concern for wanting or not wanting to listen to an album multiple times.

 5-5-13 11:01AM
people may not be familiar with the progressive metal band Pain of Salvation, but for those who may, the production and mixing approach to this record almost reminds me of Pain of Salvation's "Road Salt 1" (or maybe "Road Salt 2" as well).

Intentionally stripped-down and organic.

Not that the analogy could and will be the same, but for the most part, the fans of Pain of Salvation hated Road Salt 1 and RS 2 as well. I'm not sure if that dramatic of a production/mixing approach to an album will be received too well.

But I sort of see this possibly like dredg's Chuckles record, I like it, it still sounds enough like them to not wonder, but it also is different enough to at least credit them for trying to do something different.

However, I also don't find it to be as good or addictive as any of their others. But I also don't question that the band will make more music that I love down the road.

5-5-13 2:56AM

I'm streaming some of it right now, and I follow many of the comments, although I'm not feeling the songs themselves are bad. They do sound much like Ours still in a lot of ways.

The production on the other hand, I guess I hope a better more cleanly mastered version becomes available either per download or on a hardcopy. Because if these are in fact the final versions, I almost wonder how or why Jimmy would be happy with them. Unless the low-fi grainy tone of them was intentional? Perhaps Jimmy wanted to have a different kind of production to this album compared to The Heart and Mercy? It still would be puzzling why that would be though.

5/4/13 6:55PM

This new album was sent to the people pledged at the level that included it. I'm just about to head out to see Steven Wilson, but I can't wait to hear this thing!

 photo Oursballet_zps83df4713.jpg

1 Pretty Pain 5:12
2 Emergency 2:29
3 Coming for You 4:01
4 Devil 4:24
5 Been Down 5:54
6 Stand 3:49
7 Boxer 4:33
8 Sing 3:20
9 Get Em Out 3:14
10 Falling Into My Hands 6:11

really surprised "Autumn" wasn't included. And perhaps the new rearranged version of "Murder" which a clip of was included in the film Zero Dark Thirty. Also the album title it seems includes a "1" on the end, like it may be a part 1 of more than one part, with more to come soon. 

3/25/13 5:10PM

A bit of an update, mainly for the Pledgemusic Backers. It sounds like it won't be coming next week as originally planned, but likely sometime this Spring. If I had to guess, Mid-May, with some of the better tunes shared leading-up to it's release.

Good to get more info.

From the Backer Email Update:

Hi Everyone,
Update for you. We are just about finished with the record, and it should be out to you real soon. There just hasn’t been enough time in the day to actually get it done by the original date that was projected, but we will have it out to you as soon as we think it’s great. We will also be streaming some songs before the release for you to get an early listen!
Again, we can’t thank you enough for your support on this.
Our love to you all.


3/16/13 9:30AM


Here's likely a song that will be included on Ballet the Boxer "Devil" (I don't believe it'll be titled "The Devil in Me" as the video says)

3/15/13 2:18PM
I'm sure a lot more details will be coming rather soon. But it was initially announced, this new record from Ours would be released, at least to the Pledgemusic Campaign supporters, around late March or the 1st week of April (April 1st/2nd?).

Now, some comments about that have shyed away a bit. A friend of mine of Facebook mentioned Jimmy Gnecco posted something about the record taking a little more time to finish than expected.

But, the fact the title was just announced, and that tour is coming up, it seems like a reasonable guess it'll be out pretty soon.

Can't friggin wait.

As far as the tour, unfortunately, no Minnesota, or Upper Midwest dates at all. But hopefully if not on this tour, sometime this Summer or Fall to support the new album.

latest Ours newsletter:

OURS Announce Upcoming Tour for their New Record 'Ballet the Boxer'

OURS will support select dates of PETER MURPHY'S Mr. Moonlight Tour Celebrating 35 Years of Bauhaus
5/4 U-Street Music Hall Washington DC
5/5 Paradise Rock Club Boston, MA
5/7 Webster Hall New York, NY
5/9 Trocadero Philadephia, PA
5/10 Lee's Palace Toronto, ONT
5/11 Town Ballroom Buffalo, NY
5/12 Mr. Smalls Theatre Pittsburgh, PA


5/28 High Watt Nashville, TN
5/29 Drunken Unicorn Atlanta, GA
5/31 The Social Orlando, FL
6/3 Jack Rabbits Jacksonville, FL
6/4 Milestone Charlotte, NC
6/6 DC9 Nightclub Washington DC
6/7 Milk Boy Philly Philadephia, PA
6/12 Bowery Ballroom New York, NY
6/15 Nietzsche's Buffalo, NY

*OURS will support select dates of PETER MURPHY'S Mr. Moonlight Tour in July, stay tuned for details