Practice Room Records presents Secret Admirer - a compilation of PRR artists covering each other.
I am seriously struggling to write about what this compilation means to me. 16 people volunteered to cover each other’s songs for no money, no real “exposure”, nothing beyond wanting to be apart of such a project. 11 of those people were given the artist they’d cover from out of a hat. All of the songs you’re hearing (with the exception of “New Year”) are songs that have been previously released on the PRR discography for free download on a website that one of those artists (Ken Korb) built from scratch. Each of these people gave their time and energy to reinterpret a song that a friend (or a friend of a friend) created. Some of them offered even more time to help mix and master each other’s tracks. All of them at least seem to have really enjoyed it (and I hope they love the final product as much as I do). Of all the compilations and albums released on PRR, this one takes the cake on what PRR truly means to me: community.
A small tangent: why do some people create and others don’t? Why do some people take the risk of exposing and expressing themselves while others with that same desire stay silent? Certainly there are the few that seem to have been born without an embarrassed bone in their body. For those of you who are so blessed to be amazing at what you do from the get-go and don’t feel that shame and nervousness and insecurity – you’re lucky, so go take advantage of that! But for the rest of us (is it safe to say most of us???) who are doomed to start at anything poorly and then excel only with time and practice – we need each other. We need someone to think that we’re better than we actually are so that we can keep going, keep practicing, keep doing.
Our growth, then, is a result of our mutual support. Our growth is a result of our growing up, listening to each other’s terrible, cringe and laugh-worthy music. Maybe we weren’t always the greatest critics in retrospect, but maybe that blindness that friendship causes is partly to blame for our feeling like rock stars in each other’s eyes. And now, so many years later, we have 16 people volunteering, wanting, to not only put out music together, but to play each other’s songs that we love. Am I still blinded or is this compilation truly amazing? I may never know, but I don’t think I really care because these people make me feel like a great artist and I hope everyone gets to feel that way.
At the end of the day, I’d insist that to some degree, this collective is a mystery. Some part of it must be luck and some part of it must be us. I can’t speak for everyone who contributed but I can publicly thank them (even if only a few people ever really read this). Sometimes I find myself overwhelmed by the fact that I get to call these brilliant people my friends, collaborators, and, if I can be so bold, mutual admirers. It’s been an honor to assemble these tracks, thanks to everyone for participating and thanks for making a community with me.
And a special thanks to Ken Korb for the incredible album art (for real fans: try to find all the art from PRR releases re-collaged here) as well as Jackson Wargo for volunteering to beautifully master this compilation and promising not to hide fart sounds in the mix.
Cloud - Abunoriginal
Performed and engineered by Tyler Taormina. Mixed by Nolan Eley. "My ode to Cole." Covering the original song "Aboriginal" off of the album "Dark Room" by Redstone Repeater.
Roberto - Blind, Blind, Blind
Performed, mixed, and engineered by Brendan. "With respect to the production styles of Bad At Baseball." Covering the original song "Blind" off of the album "Go Ahead" by Michael Brandon.
Beach Moon/Peach Moon - Sapito Lipón/Cross Paths
Performed, mixed, and engineered by Robbie Prisco. Samples by Alone. Covering the original piece "Sapito Lipón" off of the album "Las Villas" by Alone.
Michael Brandon - Snowflake
Performed, mixed, and engineered by Michael Brandon. Covering the original song "Snowflake" off of the album "Watkins Glen" by Sonoak.
Trestin Eeling - Lifeboat
Performed, mixed, and engineered by Ken Korb. Covering the original piece "Age" off of the album "Lifeboat" by Plain Grays.
Raw Paws - I Loe Ou
Performed, mixed, and engineered by Cole Verderber. "I would just want to say, thank you to Kenny Korb for being an amazing musician and songwriter and for inspiring me through the years!" Covering the original song "I Loe Ou" off of the album "This is Paradise" by Trestin Eeling.
Samira Winter - New Year
Vocals, Guitar, Keys, Drums by Samira Winter. Bass, Guitar by David Yorr. Mixed by Samira Winter, David Yorr and Matt Hogan. Covering the original song "New Year" which is unreleased as of 2015 by Jason Lerman.
Snowball II - Desperation Club
Performed, mixed, and engineered by Jackson Wargo. Covering the original song "Desperation Club" off of the album "Comfort Songs" by Cloud.
Cherry Bomb - Haley House
Performed, mixed, and engineered by Nolan Eley. "Primacy Effect is my favorite band." Covering the original song "Haley House" off of the album "The Done Days of Piano Row" by Primacy Effect.
Tapestry - Waiting for the Summer
Performed, mixed, and engineered by Casey Jacobs. Covering the original song "Waiting for the Summer" off of the album "Supreme Blue Dream" by Winter.
Safehouse - Allison Archer
Performed, mixed, and engineered by Dillon Vetere. Samples by Fjords. Covering the original piece "Allison Archer" off of the album "The Slow Death of Allison Archer" by Fjords.
Glass Frog - Brush It Off
Performed, mixed, and engineered by Konrad Kamm. Covering the original song "Brush it Off" off of the album "Killer Wails" by Beach Moon/Peach Moon.
Sonoak - Memory Swipe
Performed, mixed, and engineered by Greg Salwen. Covering the original piece "Memory Swipe" off of the album "Nighttime Noise" by Glass Frog.
Alone - Burial
Performed and mixed by Lorena Alvarado. Engineered by Tyler Taormina. Covering the original song "Burial Ground" off of the album "Branches" by Tapestry.
Jason Lerman - Fly Into the Mystery
Performed, mixed, and engineered by Jason Lerman. Covering the original song "Fly Into the Mystery" off of the album "Zen Summer" by Cloud.
David Shotwell - Skymother
Performed by David Shotwell. Mixed and engineered by Lucas Holstein. "Thanks to Practice Room Records for inviting me, and to Life On An Island Records for raising me. And thanks to Mom and Dad for the guitar." Covering the original song "Skymother" off of the album "Every Starry Night" by Adam & Naive.
Practice Room Records Plays the Hits
“Personal Tornadoes” performed by Marblemouth (originally performed by Trouble Books on the album The United Colors of Trouble Books, 2008)
“Eventually, All At Once” performed by Trestin Eeling (originally performed by Joan of Arc on the album Eventually, All At Once, 2006)
“She Did A Lot of Acid” performed by Primacy Effect (originally performed live by Neutral Milk Hotel, c. 1997)
“Go” performed by Sonoak (originally performed by Daniel Johnston on the album Respect)
“Born on a Train” performed by Jason Lerman (originally performed by The Magnetic Fields [The Charm of the Highway Strip, 1994], but Jason had only heard the Arcade Fire cover version [c. 2005] when he recorded this)
“Derwentwater Stones” performed by Tapestry (originally performed by Robin Pecknold on the E.P. Three Songs, 2011)
“Give You My Lovin’” performed by Glass Frog (originally performed by Mazzy Star on the album She Hangs Brightly, 1990)
“Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” performed by Cloud (originally performed by Leonard Cohen on the album Songs of Leonard Cohen, 1967)
“A Spindle, a Darkness, a Fever, and a Necklace” performed by Ena Alvarado (originally performed by Bright Eyes on the album Fevers and Mirrors, 2000)
“Merchandise” performed by Male Unbonding (originally performed by Fugazi on the album Repeater, 1990)
“He Doesn’t Know Why” performed by Raw Paws (originally performed by Fleet Foxes on the album Fleet Foxes, 2008)
“Bankrupt on Selling” performed by Michael Brandon (originally performed by Modest Mouse on the album The Lonesome Crowded West, 1997)
“Our Last Night Together” performed by Moviegoer (originally performed by Arthur Russell on the album World of Echo, 1986)
The Players (clockwise from the bass neck)
Greg Salwen, Samira Winter, Tyler Taormina, Michael Brandon, Jason Lerman, Kyle Oppenheimer, Ena Alvarado, Nolan Eeley, Kenny Korb, Cole Verderber, Lorena Alvarado, Brendan Mattox, Casey Jacobs, Michaela Weglinski, and Konrad Kamm
Recently, I was interviewing Brooklyn artist & musician Taraka Larsen. In the course of our conversation about an end of the world karaoke event she and her sister, Nimai, put on several years ago, she dropped this interesting thought about singing other people’s songs:
“You’re willingly opening yourself to being possessed,” she said, “like, if you’re singing an Elvis song, and you’re really good at it, you’re channeling Elvis.”
At the same time, I finally got my shit together and started organizing the dozen or so tracks that other members of PRR had sent me to compile into the compilation you’re currently downloading (thank you for reading this and not, god forbid, looking at porn or Pitchfork).
Taraka’s observation has stuck with me. Why play the hits? It’s not like it’s hard to find the original recording of anything anymore––they’re streamable, buyable, and audible from the quad of your local college.
But nothing quite compares to picking up an instrument yourself and trying to arrange someone else’s song. Our bodies are so different, so unique. Often times it requires more than just a set of tabs from Ultimate Guitar and a six-string acoustic.
I’m at a loss to describe just what that is: I think it takes a loving, deep connection to the song that you’ve chosen to cover. You need to know original so intimately that your stupid fingers can compensate for what it does not know how to do, and replace that essence of the creator with your own.
-Brendan Mattox (aka Marblemouth)
All the artists whose awesome music we covered.
Brendan Mattox for organizing and compiling these songs.
Ken Korb for the beautiful original album art.
And a big, big thanks to Kyle Oppenheimer for mastering!
2. Cloud - End of an Aura: Produced by Jon Davies & Lorena Alvarado
Guitar by Jon Davis
Bass/Vocals by Samira Winter
3. Tapestry - Salt Stains: Recorded by Cole Verderber
Drums by Joey Puelio
4. Sonoak - One Day, a Straight Path: Mixed by Kenny Korb
5. Trestin Eeling - Cute Pop Apocalypse: Whistling by Jess Katon
6. Adam & Naive - Not a Film: Engineered at Shea Stadium in Brooklyn
7. Plain Graze - Lost and Found: Mixed by Greg
10. Samira & Lorena - Six Years Later: Mixed by Nolan Eley
13. Ena Alvarado - Irene With All: Mixed by Kenny
Drums by Tyler
Second guitar by Greg
Bass by Konrad
Extra vocals by Lorena & Greg