Track By Tracks: STAHV - Electric Youth (2022)

1. Wild Flower:

This was the opening shot for this project and I did it a full year before everything else. I was checking out a new microphone I’d just bought and decided to use “Wild Flower” as my tester. Truthfully, I’d got in my head mid-2020 that I wanted to cover Electric all the way through. I used to joke that it was the only album I could play from start to finish. It took another eleven months for me to get my mojo ready to tackle the rest of the songs.

2. Peace Dog:

This song was one of my absolute favorites as a kid. I remember listening to it incessantly. For this version, I was channeling something like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or Brian Jonestown Massacre. Let’s just say it’s going for a Bay Area shoegaze feel. My wife, Adrienne Pierce, overheard me doing it and thought it would be cool to talk the words “Peace Dog” where the original has the big gang chant. I love the sound of her voice on it. Her mellow tone takes it into Khruangbin territory.

3. Lil' Devil:

I played this for my good buddy and he heard INXS in it which seemed exactly right. It wasn’t on purpose, but I’d just watched Mystify and was listening to boatloads of Michael Hutchence vocals. I aimed to get kind of a Stonesy-Bill Wyman bass line going. It sits in the middle of the desert with a lizard poking its head around a rock in the form of the keyboard sounds.

4. Aphrodisiac Jacket:

Mark Lanegan was in my head as I did the vocals for “Aphrodisiac Jacket” which feels extremely sad right now. His voice is like an entire genre. I tried to imagine how he would interpret this song and how he’d wrap himself around these dadaist, surreal lyrics. I recall reading reviews of Electric as a kid (I devoured every word about The Cult) that made fun of this song’s imagery like the “lobster telephone.” To me, it was all brilliant.

5. Electric Ocean:

This one is by far the heaviest and nastiest track on the record. I wanted to see how far I could push the fuzz. Ty Segall was an inspiration here—some of his wilder, psychedelic moments. He and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are both influences in terms of modern psych.

6. Bad Fun:

I made several Americana records as Ari Shine, so doing this song country rave-up style felt like coming home to the barn. The fake bluegrass solo part happened spontaneously. Each of these covers happened in one fell swoop, so I couldn’t go back and second guess anything. I cleaned up my mics and cables and moved on with my day until I came back for the next round. My dog Arlo makes an appearance here, kind of like a punctuation mark at the end. It’s not the first time he’s ended up on recordings; he’s a vocal little dude.

7. King Contrary Man:

This is my homage to “Nightclubbing” by Iggy Pop and bands like Suicide. “King Contrary Man” is like a blues song about selling one’s soul to the devil. I thought it would be fun to contrast that traditional form with a real arty noise jazz aesthetic. The solos are in the key of WTF and I used the Roland SH-101 on the bass line and the TR-8 for the drums. I love the drum fills at the end which I plated in real-time. They remind me of a drummer falling off his stool mid-gig.

8. Love Removal Machine:

This was the hit and the most macho, traditional rocker on Electric, so of course, I had to neuter it. The band House of Love was a big touchstone for me here. I adore their records and how hazy they feel. I tried to evoke that feeling in the vocals, along with the mood of modern dream pop acts like Alvvays and Beach House. It’s the outlier on Electric Youth in terms of guitar sounds. I layered tons and tons of clean guitars on this track—not a hint of distortion anywhere. It feels like a sunny day to me.

9. Born To Be Wild:

This is a cover of a cover and the only track on the album that has no guitars whatsoever. I used my JUPITER-Xm keyboard which is amazing for its arpeggiator and vocoder which I used all over this track. I was kind of thinking Soft Cell meets Lady Gaga meets Andrew WK.

10. Outlaw:

I’d finished this whole track and I played it for my wife in its original form. She said it was fine, but that it lacked the unique treatment I gave each other song. I agreed and went back and squashed the whole thing with a bunch of tape effects to make it feel like it was an old country single. Voila! It worried like a charm. It sounded like its own thing immediately. On the vocals, I was trying for Billy Idol striving to sound like Johnny Cash.

11. Memphis Hip Shake:

I recorded all the songs in the same order as the album. As I reached the end, John he knew which one was coming. He said, “You need to go completely doom metal on this ‘Memphis Hip Shake.'" We're both fans of St. Vitus, so I tried to drop some Wino vibes on the vocals and echo Dave Chandler on the harmony riff. I’m happy there are at least two heavy tracks so I could call it a STAHV record in good faith.

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