Category Archives: Music

SINAI: A Pinch of Chaos

One of my favorite albums of all time is Silvertide’s Show and Tell. Silvertide was a band from Philly that had a short existence and only released one full length album. They played guitar-driven rock, fueled by Nick Perri. Walt Lafty provided vocals with soul.

After a long hiatus Nick and Walt have reunited to form a new band called SINAI. Their first album was released on April 1. Of course I ordered it.

The album was released through the Perri Ink. Cartel, the business venture of Nick Perri that includes guitars, motorcycles, music, barbershops, and tattoos. The first printing of the album sold out in 12 hours. I guess there are others who listen to Silvertide fondly like me.

Today the album arrived.

A Pinch of Chaos is like a child with an older sibling who is nearly impossible to follow. Show and Tell was the older brother who earned duel doctorates in comparative literature and neural biology while completing law school, won a Nobel prize for eliminating hunger on two continents, set Olympic records in weigh lifting and ski jumping, looks like a movie star, and has well-behaved pets. The poor younger sibling. Yes, my expectations were high.

After listening to the album a couple of times I’ve reached the conclusion that it’s a good album, but not in the same class as Show and Tell. Interestingly, the lyrical content of A Pinch of Chaos has  matured from that of Show and Tell, but that maturity came at the cost of some of the raw passion of Show and Tell that captured my attention and affection. While some glimmers of Silvertide exist in SINAI, their sound has changed.

I’ll need to let the album age a bit before I form a final verdict. It was definitely worth buying–but it’s staying power is to be determined.


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Shattered (A Remy Zero Cover)

I’ve been meaning to record a cover version of the Remy Zero song Shattered for several years. I heard it for the first time while watching the movie Suicide Kings, and it stuck in my head. Today seemed like an appropriate day to record the cover.

This was my first recording with my USB microphone (Samson CO1U) and Sonar LE, which I got to replace my Firebox and Cubase LE set-up when my desktop crashed. I spent a total of two hours setting-up, recording, and mixing the song. In my head the vocal at the end of the bridge is huge and soaring, but I didn’t capture it in real life at all. Sadly, work beckoned and I had to stop attempting to get that part down.


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Guitar Strings: D’Addario EXP < Elixer Nanoweb

In 2008 I started playing Elixer Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze medium gauge strings on my acoustic guitars. I really like them. I wrote a post about them a few years ago (see post here). The downside to playing these strings is that they are expensive. A normal retail price for them is around $15.99 a set [1].

A few thoughts:

Medium Strings

I play medium gauge acoustic strings. If I could go heavier I would, but my Martin has a medium gauge limit. I like the sustain they provide and that they do not bend as easily. To someone accustomed to playing light gauge strings a guitar strung with medium gauge strings might feel rough on the fingers. I’ve been playing medium gauge strings exclusively for fifteen years, so my fingers find light gauge strings disturbingly lacking in substance. I’d be more inclined to think about dying my hair blue than changing to light gauge acoustic strings.


I have already stated that I am a big fan of Elixer Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze medium gauge strings. I decided to try a set of D’Addario EXP Phosphor Bronze medium gauge strings on my Martin this month. From an economic standpoint they are a better deal than Elixers, running around $10.95 a set. For three days they sounded wonderful. But they did not hold up over time. It’s been two weeks and I’m considering taking them off because the bass strings are so lifeless. Not cool.

So I think Elixer Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze > D’Addario EXP Phosphor Bronze

As a side note, you might be wondering what the phosphor bronze contributes to the strings. You’ll find mixed reports on this. Here is what Elixer Strings says on their website:

They claim phosphor bronze contributes warmness to the tone. You’ll also find many people who swear phosphor bronze strings maintain their tone better over time. This was my conclusion years ago, but I have not tried Elixer Nanoweb 80/20 Bronze strings yet (they are a couple of dollars cheaper).

My loyalty to Elixer has been reinforced.

[1] Today I purchased six sets of Elixer Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze medium gauge strings from Strings and Beyond for $59.98. They have a buy three get one free promotion going on. If you spend more than $35 you get free shipping. Picking up my favorite strings for $10 a set is awesome!

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The Steel Wheels

Last week I saw a band name that caught my eye: The Steel Wheels. I listened to a few live performances of songs from their album Red Wing, and promptly decided I needed to buy the album. The best way I can think to describe their music is to say it sounds old. Not in a bad way, like old folk and old country, good Americana music. Acoustic guitars, an upright bass, a violin, a mandolin, a banjo, vocal harmonies. Good, good stuff.

Here is the first video I saw, Dance Me Around the Room.

I followed it up with Red Wing.

And I had to buy the album.

It turns out the band members are Mennonites. Considering their ties with Harrisonburg, Virginia I suspect I know people they know.

I love finding new bands to listen to.

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SCEFC Set List: October 30, 2011

Tomorrow I’ll be serving as the worship leader at State College E-Free Church. The message will be derived from I Peter 4:7-11. Major themes that I identify are awareness, alertness, and dedication. The original set list I put together was designed for a full band, as the week progressed I realized I was not going to have a full band, so I made some major renovations.

Prelude: (E) Offering – Paul Baloche

(E) For the Beauty of the Earth – Folliott S. Pierpoint

(A) God You Reign – Lincoln Brewster | Mia Fieldes

(E) How Deep the Father’s Love for Us – Stuart Townend

(D) Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken – Henry Francis Lyte | Bill Moore

Closing: (A) One Pure and Holy Passion – Mark Altrogge

I’m considering incorporating a congregational reading of Psalm 95:1-7. I think I might read it first, then have everyone read it together. That’s to be decided.

Snow is falling in State College as I type this. I’m not sure if we will be able to have our music practice tonight or not. Maybe it’s a good thing I’m not coordinating a full band this week.

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