So we went on a Corporate Retreat this fall up to Salem, where we spent a few days at God City Studios under the watch of Converge’s Kurt Ballou. Using his studio and some innovative techniques to their best, he recorded a bunch of our new songs which we begin unveiling today with this wonderfully short teaser of a song that has been animated by Zak Kirwin
So we’re expanding the scope of things… Usually December is a winding down of the year, but this year has been crazy and 2018 is already shaping up to be even busier. So instead of merely playing a couple of songs as a lark at the Christmas Cavalcade, we’re also helping the JP branch of the BPL celebrate the holidays, and we’re doing a show with some good pals from Chicago, Bitchin’ Bajas, that will serve as a quasi official record release party for us.
12/7: First up of the three is the trip to Jamaica Plain where we’ll serve the local community with a proper dessert of sound after a potluck at their branch of the Boston Public Library. The room fits only about 100, and I’m not sure if you need to bring food to share to be let in, but this will be the most casual of the shows, with a limited PA, so if it’s not your natural neighborhood, maybe you shouldn’t try to fight your way down to that end of town.
12/13: Last of the three chronologically is the 13th Annual Christmas Cavalcade. It’s always a crazy time and with Johnny D’s razed last week, it’s gonna be at Once again this year. Proceeds go to benefit the Somerville Homeless Coalition, so that’s a great cause, but if you’re coming just to see us play, well, know that we’ve got a very short set in the early part of the night and that we’ll dust off a popular Christmas ditty that we’ve played out the past few years, let Alex do his twisted interpretation of a Night Before Xmas, and we’ll have a new holiday tune to show off celebrating those that died on the holiday.
12/10: The other show, well, this is our big record release show at a dance studio in Cambridge’s Central Square, and it’s the one that everyone should come to see us play. We’ve been trying to find a good chance to bring our record out to the locals beyond those that supported us on Kickstarter or Bandcamp. When my pal Cooper told me his electronic band Bitchin’ Bajas was coming to town to play Studio @ 550, it seemed a perfectly bizarre fit for our all-analog manual typewriter attack to join forces with their droning melodic swells. This one will have us playing first and we’re planning to play a set designed for the heads who are there for the tunes, so we’ve got a few ideas up our sleeves on just how to shock and awe. Bring some extra cash as we’ll have records and t-shirts for sale and we’ll be around to hang out after you figure out how to reattach your jaw.
Wednesday December 13 doors at 6pm, music at 7pm
13th Annual Boston Christmas Cavalcade for the Homeless
with Livingston Taylor, The Chandler Travis Philharmonic, Merrie Amsterburg, The Boogaloo Swamis and more!
160 Highland Ave, Somerville MA 02143
$20.00 in advance, $25.00 at the door, all proceeds go to Somerville Homeless Coalition
Maybe you’re a long time fan who bought a CD from us at a concert back in the digital age. While those songs have circulated around the internet since, even we haven’t had them at shows for more than 5 years. In the meantime we’ve been coming to terms with this streaming era, releasing individual tracks to the world as soon as we hone them to a point where we are no longer wholly embarrassed by them.
We’ve finally figured out that as much as people like hearing our music, there is something about being able to hold our music in their hands which gives them the power as well, so we have released a 10″ vinyl recording with 4 of our most recent tracks on it. It’s up to you what you want to do with it, but we think that even if you don’t have a record player, Brian Dewan‘s cover makes for some great artwork for your wall.
If you want to purchase these tracks follow the links to Bandcamp and for a mere $15 we can get records in the mail to you within days, and digitally Bandcamp will let you download them in moments. If there’s enough furor, we may get more posters and t-shirts printed as well, and Brendan really wants to get this put on a cassette as well…
For some reason people seem to think of porches as a Southern thing. Maybe it’s the fact that our cold New England winters render them irrelevant for such a large portion of the year, but the fact is they are an architectural feature that is prominent even in the streets around Boston. Our region has such a love for the porch that a bunch of the towns around the city have set out to celebrate them specifically. For the second straight year, Brookline is on board with such a venture and this year we are joining in on the fun and playing a set at Brookline Porchfest. While some spots are hosting bands throughout the day starting at noon, we’ll be playing a set at 4pm at a house that backs up to the Emerald Necklace right along the Riverway
So thanks to the miracle of the internet, we’ve secured the financing to manufacture vinyl for Termination Without Prejudice, Volume 1, a 10″ EP set to feature some of our songs (we’d originally figured on 4, but we’ve been thinking of expanding it to add another track to each side for a total of 6). There’s still time left to pledge until 8pm EST on Cyber Monday (11/28). If you miss that deadline, we’ll be putting a pre-order option on our bandcamp page once everything is mastered and ready to roll.
We also announced that our cover art is being done by Brian Dewan, artist/sculptor/renaissance man extraordinaire who’s know best in the music world for the art on the cover of They Might Be Giants’ Lincoln album and on the inside of Neutral Milk Hotel’s On the Aeroplane Over the Sea.
While our last show of the year will be Chandler Travis’ Christmas bash at Once Somerville on Wednesday 12/21, the band is also in the midst of working on scheduling events for 2017, so if you’d like to see the band play near you, let us know the name of art galleries, museums, or other venues across the Northeast that might serve us well so we can present our sounds. Already in the works is a return to the Catskills for the 2nd Annual Typewriter Arts Festival in June and we’re looking to perform around the area when the documentary that we’re featured in, California Typewriter, premieres at a few locations around New England.
We’re open to further treks, but getting us there is a bit prohibitive, so let us know…
It used to be that the summers were the time to stop going to dark theaters to watch the latest Hollywood fare, and instead get a group of friends into the biggest car and head to a drive-in. These days those outdoor theater viewing options are getting more and more limited, with only Mendon, Leicester, and Wellfleet offering such a chance in Massachusetts.
A bit further west, just past Albany at the northern tip of the Catskills, the Greenville Drive In is like an art house cinema outside. They have invited us to come join them in celebrating the joy and magic of the machines that we use to make our music as they host the 1st Annual Typewriter Arts Festival on June 11. In addition to our performance, and an open call for the community to bring their own machines to show off, there will be screenings of a couple of typewriter-related films, The Typewriter (in the 21st Century) and Populaire.
So whether you are in the upstate New York area, or are up for a weekend trip, come out and join in on all the fun so we can make our drive out there fun and worth it for everyone involved!
Technology has got the better of us again it seems. This time our desire for expanded promotional efforts has brought us to the world of Instagram. After learning it was not an app that provided grandmotherly advice at the drop of a hat, we decided to give it a go. So we tested things out with this tried and true logo.
If you click on that picture it will take you right there. We’ve also added some visual effects on the sidebar over there >>>—————————————————————–>>>
One of those follows our pictures, the other pictures tagged with us… so if you want to show up on this website, just tag your selfies #bostontypewriterorchestra and take over that feed.
People often ask how it is that we do what we do. In an age where the only QWERTY most people interface with is on a tiny touch screen, hitting manual keys in sonic manipulation is unfathomably archaic. While the concepts of rhythm rarely enter into most people’s concept of typing, with an ensemble that doesn’t produce any paper artifacts, that is the most integral part of what we do. For those interested in joining our ranks or setting up satellite branches of our orchestra in their own city, the key is to learn your basic typing methods and practice, practice, practice.
Start with good posture.
I guess half of the songs we play do have words, so the fact that we’ve been invited to perform at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival in Salem, isn’t completely ridiculous. But I’d be shocked to find out that more than a small handful of the other participants in the festival have a typewriter in their apartment that serves anything more than ornamental function. Truth be told though I am gonna try to get Charles Simic to come and solo on a song with us if I can find any way to get close enough to him to propose the idea.
The Festival begins on Friday, but our performance is scheduled for Sunday morning at 11:30am in the auditorium of the Peabody Essex Museum. We’re hoping to make a fun show of it all and have a couple new songs that we plan to debut on stage as well. Hopefully we won’t have a lynch mob waiting at the edge of the stage ready to dunk us in water to see if we float when we’re finished.
UPDATE: We’ve posted the music so you can hear what we did sans Perry
back to the original story……………
Everyone knows the degree of geekery that it takes to create a crew of people who set out to make music on manual typewriters alone. Ok, maybe not everyone, but hey something about what we do intrigued you enough to come visit this site, so you probably are too. While Boston may be the only place that’s produced a group like ours, other crews of people have gathered together for similarly ludicrous enterprises. Among those is the group responsible for the seminal internet video series Yacht Rock that put a name to a specific brand of smooth music. Now they have resurfaced with a great new podcast, Beyond Yacht Rock, and this week we have contributed to the mayhem by adding bumpers to help announce each step of their countdown.
Usually the episodes of this podcast develop arbitrary genres and count down the top 10 songs that fit into this paradigm. We’ve been tapped to fill in one of their special episodes that come on the 5s with a more particular theme(#5 was Van Halen vs Van Hagar). This time around it’s an in depth exploration and discussion of Journey frontman Steve Perry’s solo magnum opus “Oh Sherrie.” Sometimes these podcasts are tough to describe to someone who’s never listened before, this one is nearly impossible, so just listen and you can hear some fine snippets of Boston Typewriter Orchestra wedged between each track.
If you are a neophyte and need to catch up with the past, Hunter Stair (Kenny Loggins) has HD versions of all of the Yacht Rock episodes on his YouTube channel. Start here and don’t stop until you are done. It’s an hour that you won’t regret wasting online.