Saturday, February 23, 2008


Hung on Every Word will return on March 20th, when we'll (hopefully) delve into the two new demo releases that are going to be released soon as well as all the fan favorites I've been saving up for the last innings.

Until then, listen to Instant Nostalgia a whole lot!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Unreleased Track

The magic of Seth Timbs, shown very clearly in this song, is the way that he can add so much complexity to something that could be just as simple as another three-minute rock song. “Overlong” is like an anti-“Love Me Do,” in which a dense home recording sings of love and devotion with dense piano-less instrumentation with some great lyrics.

The title refers to the time before the speaker’s current relationship, in which he said his “heart was wasted and stayed alone for overlong.” He adores her through verse after verse, concealing the central concept in floral language. He twice mentions “blues,” a sad feeling of discontentedness or dissatisfaction or something, first saying that this feeling would gladly destroy everything, but happy that it won’t bother him anymore. At the close of the song, he returns to this concept and says that in spite of these feelings that may come, it won’t be that bad if his lover is with them. Given this, I must say that the slight gray cloud over these beautiful melodies cries out for the coming song, “How to Be Happy.”

Monday, February 18, 2008

Thinking Cap

From the Japanese release of Foreign Legion

“Thinking Cap” was written in early 2000, but the song was shelved until it became part of the band’s live set in the summer of 2001. Stylistically, it was written as a kiss-off song to Spongebath Records and the sound that Fluid Ounces was creating during that time, though I would argue that its chord-style is decidedly in the style of Foreign Legion. Its longevity, being included in setlists up to now, leads me to believe that Seth must be rather proud of this one. I like Kyle Walsh’s contribution of tapping out the song on the side of the snare drum as soon as the previous song ends, but overall, I’m pretty lukewarm on this song. I think its lyrics about deathrays are villains in smoking jackets, along with a chorus that includes, “Bless my soul,” and the title itself, are all a bit too far into the clever side, crossing the fine line into cliché. Even so, I enjoy the energy and piano lines, so I won’t say that I wish it banished from future setlists.

I believe it was treated somewhat like a single once Foreign Legion was released in Japan, based on a few comments I heard Seth make in 2001, and also on the fact that its lyrics were incorporated into the t-shirt design that you can see below (modeled by Tom Foolery):

Just before I started recording the Fluid Ounces show at the Boro on February 2, 2002 (one of the best live recordings I’ve ever made), Seth said that actually the shirt should read, “We Would Like for You to Put On Your Thinking Cap If You Want To.”

The video is from August 24, 2001, from the porch of the Red Rose.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

1,000 Ships

Unreleased Track

This song is a Fluid Ounces song in name only. It was played heavily by Spike and Mallets when Seth Timbs was a member, and always a crowd pleaser I might add, and was released on the many incarnations of Greetings from Spike and Mallets, the free CD they’d give away at their shows. The only time it has actually been listed as “Fluid Ounces” is when the same download that was available on the Spike and Mallets page showed up on the Fluid Ounces official website.

But it’s a good song, and I think it’s worth some attention, both on this blog and through everybody’s ears.

Comparing his love to the beauty of Helen of Troy as, “the face that launched a thousand ships,” our Faustian lover narrating the song gives us the feeling that he is at his wit’s end as he searches out, “a place where old habits go to die hard.” I would say that its only shortcoming in its endless metaphors and imagery with infinite possible interpretations is the one that says,
“The girl that drove her car into the wall
Just trying to get inside the mall
Her windshield covered with unfolded maps
Busts through the concrete
and drives through the Gap.”
A reference to the Gap tethers this song to the year 2000, but this is only a minor flaw for such a great song.

The pallet of the song is changed in the demo with the presence of a slide guitar, which we haven’t heard on a Seth Timbs recording since “Record Stack.” Live, Elliott Currie, wearing his guitar-player hat (which was a much better fit, if you ask me), would add his own touch of blues to the song, though carefully remaining as understated as the lead guitar on the demo.

Download mp3

Monday, February 11, 2008

Melissa’s Birthday

Unreleased Track

I have a love/hate relationship with this song. On the one hand, it’s a bit juvenile to sing about a drunken birthday party in which, as Seth and Doug were always so quick to point out, “the names have been changed to protect the innocent.” It gives it a little bit of a one-dimensional feel, but I guess what makes it work is that the story is cleverly told, making it more like an amusing tale to tell later.

A rowdy party is broken up by the cops, who take away a bag of pot and some fake IDs. The party doesn’t slow down as they roll the neighbor’s house and continue to dance and drink until the speaker passes out while the party is still going on. Somewhere along the way, they discuss a trip to Florida, featuring Jason Dietz’s “Happy Trails” bass line before going into a fancy free piano solo.

Today’s video is October 27, 2000. All of the live versions I have of this song leave something to be desired, so I figured I’d offer the one video I have of it.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Grown Men Crying

From Instant Nostalgia

Seth Timbs’ return to Tennessee in 2004 was followed by a long series of solo appearances in Nashville and Murfreesboro, sometimes even opening up with a solo set before bringing out the full band to play with him. With these came playing more than one of the Nashville staple, “songwriters’ night,” in which all aspiring songwriters, for better or for worse, gather with their acoustic guitars and play songs about being songwriters. And although this song didn’t appear in Fluid Ounces sets until 2005, I am almost sure that its inspiration came from the writers’ nights from 2004.

In it, we meet a man, yes indeed a grown man, whose lip quivers as he hears one songwriter’s tune one at a “piss-swillin’ bar.” The song touches on our need to hear heart-wrenchingly sad songs, especially while we are at our most vulnerable after a relationship’s end, finding comfort in having our “insides twisted apart” by others’ similarly sad stories, even if they’ll deny it and say that it’s just something in their eyes.

The song even offers its own glimpse of such a sad affair, the best as it reaches its climax,
“And we had big plans to get married
Sweet lady and I
Build a house on the mountain
Sit around and get high.”

This third waltz on the record was intentionally placed on Instant Nostalgia as a continuation of “Private Hell.” The recorded version features a great swirling synth in its epic bridge, but I think my favorite performance of this song is from December 9, 2005, available here for download. Pay attention to the piano work during the second half as well as the way that Tha B’s backing vocals seem to snuggle up to Seth’s vocals to perfectly accentuate certain words and phrases throughout the song.

Download Live mp3

Monday, February 4, 2008


From In the New Old-Fashioned Way

This anthem for insomniacs is Fluid Ounces at their most playful, either on In the New Old-Fashioned Way or anywhere else. The movement of the song is fun and bouncy with Sam Baker’s marching drums holding up a simple-sounding piano line that is the farthest cry from the heavier chords of later years. The song is effectively a comedy piece, in which the speaker muses about using elephant tranquilizers or anything else to get sleep, still unable find any peace as the night drags on and his partner sleeps soundly throughout. I heard that it was in direct reference to the experience of touring and trying to sleep at odd times on that schedule, but the song camouflages this by referring to his bed partner as “baby.”

Today’s video is still another from October 10, 1997.

I can't decide whether the person providing "back-up vocals" near the camera in the video adds to or takes away from the song, especially knowing I'd be that person had I been there.

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