Sep
25

Week Thirty Eight: Love is Strange

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I didn’t see Dirty Dancing until I was in college and by then I think I was too old to “get it”, but I was a huge fan of this soundtrack long before I knew anything about not putting Baby in the corner. Also, this song was apparently a number one hit in 1957, but only achieved B-side status in 1987.
- K

We went back to the land of karaoke for this one. The idea was to keep it simple, and have fun! I promise you, we will have some home spun, made-from-scratch zingers coming up in the final quarter of our song-a-week experiment. And we have some interesting ideas for our “make-up songs” (the 9 or 10 songs that we’ve gotten behind on over the course of the year.) Also, two interactive projects including YOU, coming right up!
- N

Sep
17

Week Thirty Seven: Drifter in the Dark

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It seems like only yesterday that we were in our twenties, and moving all of our belongings from one place to another was exciting and fun, a madcap adventure that seemed to happen almost effortlessly.  I guess that was longer ago than we thought, because this last move completely kicked our asses.

We’re finally unpacked and back on the songwagon.  We have this little list that we made at the beginning of the year of songs we wanted to do.  Since then they’ve been added to, changed around, and crossed off the list as songs are recorded.  We knew (or I knew, at least) that we wanted to do a Ween song, but had no idea which one.  So we just left a blank line on the list with “Ween song” written at the end.  I feel it was a tossup between this song and “Don’t Shit Where You Eat”.  Both songs offer good advice.

After a stretch of downloaded karaoke songs, it was nice to sit down with an actual instrument, Kristin’s guitar, which made it through the move with only one broken string. The harmonica sounding thingy is actually a melodica.

Aug
09

Week Thirty: You and I

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This little ditty, originally sung by Ingrid Michaelson, was suggested by our longtime listener & fan Scott Z. way back in the early part of the year.  We liked it, and put in on our little “song idea list”.  As we’ve probably mentioned, we’ve been struggling a little bit lately, what with a major cross-country move looming less than two weeks away (gulp!!!).  But we’re committed to sticking with our song-a-week commitment, So we’ve been honing in simpler songs with a kinder, gentler demeanor.  In some cases, karaoke songs have been among the simplest; it’s a matter of finding an instrumental version of a song we like, downloading it, and singing along with it.
Anyhoo, we were trying to figure out which song to do next, whilst trying to balance the demands of recording with the madness of packing boxes and living like crazy people.  Kristin remembered this song.  It’s fun, and it’s got a
uke!!   Booyah.  The lyrical content is fitting, considering that money is not exactly in abundance, though stress certainly is.  Maybe we should just keep listening to this song whenever the urge for screaming strikes, and substitute spooning instead.
- N

Jul
27

Week Twenty-Nine: Chain Gang

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Many a people have covered this song, but it was Sam Cooke who started it all after being inspired by an actual chain gang. In our version, you will hear genuine foot stomping and chain rattling in exchange for musical accompaniment.

Researching this song, the following sketchy tidbits were discovered:
1. Sam Cooke was murdered at age 33 under quite curious circumstances.
2. Maricopa County in Arizona is currently the only place in the US on record that continues the use of chain gangs, even though most states eliminated their use by the early ’60s (with a year long resurgence in 1995).
3. Researching Chain gangs was considerably more depressing than researching Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.
-  K

We were originally going to sing this song along with a downloaded karaoke version, but Kristin suggested that we do it a capella, sort of gospel style.  This was all good fun, but sounded kind of thin, and then Kristin came up with the idea of adding the marching noises.  We actually went outside to do this portion of the recording, with the mics sitting just inside the screen door pointing at the concrete patio.  We did several takes and wore different shoes each time.  Then we thought and thought about where we might have some chains.  Kristin had the answer:  tire chains!  You’re required to carry them around these parts if you want to go through certain mountain passes, but we’ve never actually needed to use them.  Until now!

The sordid details of Sam Cooke’s demise as reported by Kristin are quite true.  I can’t hear this song now without conjuring the image of Sam Cooke, half-naked and wearing one shoe, screaming incoherently at the hotel desk clerk as she attempts to fend him off with a broomstick.  Still, what a great song!  -    N

Jul
22

Week Twenty Eight: Love is All Around

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Mary is fabulous and so is Paul Williams for writing a theme song that captures the magic of her character in the show. You know every time you see her throw that hat in the air, you’re yelling out, “You ARE gonna make it after all, Mary!!” No, that’s just me? If you haven’t seen this show, “Mary Richards” isn’t the only reason to tune in. Watch as Ted makes fool of himself, Rhoda self deprecates and Murray pines for Mary. There’s something for everyone! My personal favorite is Mr. Grant.  — K

You might have noticed that the energy level around here seems to have dropped as of late.  Things have been nuts here at the Kristorm Complex; along with the normal summer distractions, we are now facing a complete relocation of headquarters in less than a month!!!  This is both exciting and bittersweet, as we will miss our old digs here in the Pacific Northwest.  So what does this mean for Kristorm-O-Rama?  We are still committed to try our best to bring you a song every week.  Until the big move, you can probably expect more karaoke-izing, and kinder, gentler recording.  But we anticipate a great renaissance after we are settled, and have two very exciting projects planned:  Request-O-Rama, and a surprise crowd-sourced song where YOU will be the participants!  But more details on that later.

We’ve also decided that, while we have been regrettably unable to deliver a song every single week this year, we are committing to have 52 songs done by 2010.  For the weeks that have slipped by us, we will be having “make-up” recording sessions, bringing you two or even (gulp!) three songs on some weeks!?  Can you feel it?!

One more thing:  We really like comments!  If you tune in, give us a quick “hell yeah” or whatnot!  — N

Jul
11

Week Twenty Seven: It’s the Hard Knock Life

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I’ll be honest-I really wanted to do a Ms. Hannigan song for our Annie number. Unfortunately, it was tricky business finding a MIDI for any of her songs from the movie. I guess it’s all for the best–I mean, who wants to compete with Carol Burnett? That being said, Annie is tops! I never saw the play, but this movie is truly one of the best. I loved it 25 years ago watching it with my sis and I loved it a few days ago, when Norm and I spent hours “doing research” for this song. If you haven’t watched it in awhile or ever, you should do so immediately. You won’t be sorry.  — K

Jul
02

Week Twenty Six: Because

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Really, Kristorm?! The Beatles?! Yes, we went there. This song is too beautiful and haunting for us to pass up. You either love us or hate us right now. We’re hoping it’s the former of the two.

p.s. You may or may not have noticed that we went ahead and skipped to week 26. We have reached the halfway point in this yearlong project and I wanted the number of weeks to match up. So there’s your explanation. That being said, I think it’s only fair that we finish up the year with 52 songs, so I am remaining hopeful that those missing songs will pop up over the next six months.

Abbey Road is one of the best albums ever.  This is not an opinion.  I remember listening to this song over and over again in high school and loving it.  Enjoy!

Jun
14

Week Twenty Two: Gee, Officer Krupke!

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I loved loved loved West Side Story as a kid. So many lessons to learn. Unstoppable Love. Cultural Sensitivity. Tragic Misunderstandings. Here are a few tidbits that perhaps you were unaware of.  One: Norm played Action in his high school production of West Side Story. Two: Action sang the lead in this song in play, NOT Riff (I know, you’re shocked). Three: For Twin Peaks peeps, Riff is Dr. Jacoby! What?!? (And, of course Tony is Ben Horne, but that’s old news).
What a great day of memories!  Kristin and I started out the day with breakfast in bed, as today is our 3-year wedding anniversary, talking about favorite moments from the early days of Kristorm.  And the song was a real flashback to high school for me.  Twenty years ago (gulp) I played Action in our high school production of West Side Story.  Recording the song got me thinking about all the ol’ choir buddies, especially the Jets. Indeed, when you’re a Jet you’re a Jet all the way.

Jun
07

Week Twenty One: Vegetables

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What is your favorite vegetable? Tell us in a letter. In honor of “Eat your vegetables” Day (which is technically next week, but there’s nothing wrong with eating your veggies everyday, really), we hope you enjoy this Beach Boy ditty.

I always thought that the Beach Boys just did “surf music” until I heard Brian Wilson’s “Smile” just a few years ago.  The “Smile” story is fascinating:  The Boys starting working on it in 1966.  Disagreements within the band, technological limitations, and Brian Wilson’s mental problems resulted in a meltdown, and the project was shelved.  Thirty-six years later, Brian Wilson re-recorded and reassembled the entire album and released it!  He called it:  “A teenage symphony to God”.  Woah.  I guess the lesson is that it’s never too late to revive an old project.

Trivia Time: The crunching sounds were made using carrots and potato chips.

May
31

Week Twenty: Only You.

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Yaz? Yazoo? Who knows what to call them? Either way, they originally did this song in 1982 and Norm reinvented it in 2011 on the ukelele. Our recording began in a cottage on Bainbridge Island, WA and was finished up in our regular living room/recording studio in Corvallis, OR. Related 80s music side note: Vince Clarke, who wrote this song, was originally in Depeche Mode and later formed Erasure.

I was really happy to finally record my uke, which Kristin gave me for my birthday last month.  Though this song had been on our list since earlier this year, the idea to play it on the uke just popped up spontaneously, as we hung out in our cottage sipping coffee and enjoying our Memorial Day weekend.

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