Sing Along: The Label On Your Sleeve
Song: "The Label On Your Sleeve"
After I left Austin in 2006, I had a "regathering" type of moment where I hung out in my apartment in Arlington and listened to and (tried) writing and recording as much as I could. I was working a job close by where I was making a little bit more money and after hitting up open mics in Dallas and traveling to see many of my favorite bands live, I had a good idea of where I wanted my "sound" to go and what I was capable of.
I had just heard Arcade Fire at ACL 2006 and remembered loving the kind of serious but high tension mood their droning, repetetive verse beat style. Driving, disco "four-on-the-four" like you had a drummer stuck on the roof and told him to beat his kick and not to stop until the record is done.
This was fully fleshed out in my parents's garage on Christmas Eve of 2007. The original title of the song was "Pennant" like the kind of university pennant you might see at a 1950's college football game. I had the lead melody and the "theme" of the tune in my head for some time. I could hear it like it was bells or trumpets playing-something "glorious" and heralding like a fight song at a football game.
The drums aren't real. They are individual drum sounds from a Casio keyboard I played live into the recording to the click track. I could never get the drums to sound quite right, but they are passable. When I play this song live, I find myself wanting to go quite a bit faster and sing more like David Byrne. I wanted joyous, but "high tension."
The lyrics are about getting close and physical--how sometimes the first touches are the strangest and weirdest--with another person. It's kind of like that weird "touching" thing a teenage guy might do at the movies while he's got his arms crossed--it's that little "I want to hold your hand" motion. I'd like to know the over-under on that weird "touching" thing those guys are doing.
This is the first of many songs I would write trying to imitate The Features. Funny story: I posted this on The Features Fans online community board and no one responded. I suppose listening back it sounds a little rough, but still not bad for where I was in the process of learning to write songs and record them.
I feel the warmth inside your cashmere
I only wish I was the label on your sleeve
Maybe then I could be next to you
But instead I'll have to dream of ways to be
Close to you
So here it is in its full glory: