The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy

  1. Clear Eye Clouded Mind
  2. Waiting Or Something
  3. When I Was Young
  4. Jules And Jim
  5. The Moon Is Calling
  6. Teenage Dreams
  7. Looking Through
  8. Let The Fight Do The Fighting
  9. No Snow On The Mountain
  10. The Future

Having learned our lesson on if i had a hi-fi that having all the songs written ahead of time (clearly a given in the case of a covers album) is a really good idea, we waited until we were good and ready to make this one. We didn’t want to be thinking about arrangements while we were recording, we wanted to play on instinct, the same way we would at a show (where final arrangements are set in stone) or in the rehearsal space (where final arrangements don’t matter).
Also, for the first time since high/low, we decided that we would make the album in new york. we’d be going out of town to record for years because we wanted to get away from home routine and home distractions. But it also occurred that you lose a lot of muscle memory in the days when you’re packing, shipping gear, closing up your apartment, taking a day off to get over jet-lag on the other end, etc.
This time we finished practice on a sunday evening, rolled the gear three blocks down the street to the nearest studio (which just so happens to be the top-flight headgear recording) and started cutting takes early monday afternoon. We didn’t have to play the songs a few times to re-familiarize ourselves with them, we were tracking from the first note. Fastest basic tracks ever for us: five days! We rolled the gear back and finished the record in Daniel’s loft, which had been doubling as a practice space for the last few years. The mighty Chris Shaw (Public Enemy, Wilco, Super Furry Animals) produced. I’d met Chris when he mixed always love for the weight is a gift. The session was from noon to five. I showed up at one, figuring he’d still be plugging things in or having lunch. When it walked in the room it sounded totally finished and twice as good as i would have hoped. I sat down next to him at the board. He asked me why there weren’t any harmonies on the song. I said I didn’t know, I hadn’t gotten around to them. Within a couple of minutes, he had a mic set up and i was trying out ideas. We spent the rest of the session sorting them out and addressing a few other details. Needless to say, he made an impression. And it took until we were doing overdubs on this album for us to learn that he’s an ace guitar player!
Speaking of ace guitar players, Doug Gillard is all over this album and completely knocked it out of the park. Martin Wenk plays the beautiful french horn [it may be flugelhorn, i forget and need to fact-check] solo on “let the fight do the fighting.”