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Stuck Inside a Cloud is a blog written by the Washington DC band, Roofwalkers. Here we post on band-related news and anything else that piques our interest.

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roofwalkersmusic@gmail.com

Releases

Roofwalkers on eMusic

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Cut Every Corner on eMusic

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CDs available via Dischord

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Our music is also available through iTunes, Amazon and lala.

1 September 09
[I’m starting to sense some sort of uncle traveling matt theme here…] On a recent steamy mid morning I found myself cycling down a few blacktop lanes in southern WV. As the trappings of Appalachia thinned out and I began and consider turning back, I came upon a hill that disappeared around a sharp bend. Pretty much spent, I still couldn’t resist my curiosity and reasoned, ‘Ok, well I should at least see what’s over this last hill before I quit and head back.’ As I pushed on, the hill proceeded to stretch on, the slope increasing in direct proportion to my illogical resolve. I pedaled for what seemed like a sopping wet eternity and finally rounded the bend to the top—muscles aching, mouth foaming, growing increasingly smug at the thought of a well-earned vista. Instead, I emerged into a quiet patch of broken pavement that ended abruptly. Spread before me was an abandoned-looking livestock farm on the edge of a receded and almost dry pond. Heavy machinery that had seen its better days some time ago was visible in some of the out buildings and a defunct and deserted donut delivery truck stood in the tall grass. At that point, a lone goose cut across my path slowly making his way to the dry pond, seemingly shaking his head at me. It was silent. Not exactly the vista I had expected.

I turned around and coasted back down the hill, trying to avoid the loose gravel on the sharp turn. As I rode back, it occurred to me that maybe sometimes you push really hard to get over a hill, to finish that last mile on an 89 degree slope in 99 degree weather, and the only thing waiting for you at the top might be a condescending goose on his way elsewhere and an (empty) donut delivery truck. But that what mattered was finding out that you really could finally get up that hill, and the feeling of exploring uncharted territory, not so much the view at the end.
Anyway, the whole thing reminded me in some of all the small bands out there like us working to write and record good music, struggling to be heard, booking shows, managing gear, expenses, lineups, work, touring to end of the map and detuning our guitars, etc. so we can continue to make more of it. And there’s a fair share of hills along the way. But again, the view from stage isn’t why its done.

Not to say we don’t have a fantastic time doing it—and some bands even make the analogy admirably literal (touring on their bicycles!) and have a great time doing it too.

[I’m starting to sense some sort of uncle traveling matt theme here…] On a recent steamy mid morning I found myself cycling down a few blacktop lanes in southern WV. As the trappings of Appalachia thinned out and I began and consider turning back, I came upon a hill that disappeared around a sharp bend. Pretty much spent, I still couldn’t resist my curiosity and reasoned, ‘Ok, well I should at least see what’s over this last hill before I quit and head back.’ As I pushed on, the hill proceeded to stretch on, the slope increasing in direct proportion to my illogical resolve. I pedaled for what seemed like a sopping wet eternity and finally rounded the bend to the top—muscles aching, mouth foaming, growing increasingly smug at the thought of a well-earned vista. Instead, I emerged into a quiet patch of broken pavement that ended abruptly. Spread before me was an abandoned-looking livestock farm on the edge of a receded and almost dry pond. Heavy machinery that had seen its better days some time ago was visible in some of the out buildings and a defunct and deserted donut delivery truck stood in the tall grass. At that point, a lone goose cut across my path slowly making his way to the dry pond, seemingly shaking his head at me. It was silent. Not exactly the vista I had expected.

I turned around and coasted back down the hill, trying to avoid the loose gravel on the sharp turn. As I rode back, it occurred to me that maybe sometimes you push really hard to get over a hill, to finish that last mile on an 89 degree slope in 99 degree weather, and the only thing waiting for you at the top might be a condescending goose on his way elsewhere and an (empty) donut delivery truck. But that what mattered was finding out that you really could finally get up that hill, and the feeling of exploring uncharted territory, not so much the view at the end.

Anyway, the whole thing reminded me in some of all the small bands out there like us working to write and record good music, struggling to be heard, booking shows, managing gear, expenses, lineups, work, touring to end of the map and detuning our guitars, etc. so we can continue to make more of it. And there’s a fair share of hills along the way. But again, the view from stage isn’t why its done.

Not to say we don’t have a fantastic time doing it—and some bands even make the analogy admirably literal (touring on their bicycles!) and have a great time doing it too.

Tags: raj
Comments
1 August 09
A ROTTEN LYRE
This post is a followup to my post on Chicago. Any exact similarities are intentional… This goes out to our fan club in Kenya. Which admittedly right now consists of 1 possibly 2 fans, but man are they avid. On a recent weekend afternoon the weather was 77 degrees with a light breeze and i found myself lost and wandering through the small towns of western kenya. A welcome break from east coast squalor and congestion, there’s nothing like this sturdy district by the lake in the summer. 
While there, it occurred to me how much music I was hearing from throughout the day—and not from my Ipod headphones. Rather it came from everywhere— blasting out of battered Fiats that pulled up next to me, blaring in colorful VW and decrepit Suzuki bus taxis that hurtled past, seeping out of massive passenger buses idling at the dusty station, blending with honking rickshaws, drifting from second story windows, and distorting out of small boom -boxes in outdoor cafes & small takeaway shacks. Faces of musicians like Shaggy or Bob Marley or Prince were hand painted in gigantic murals on the side of the careening taxi microbuses and behemoth passenger buses alike.  In the dust next to them sat old men plucking small catgut and cowskin lyres.* That same evening I went to a popular grill. After finishing dinner, I witnessed the spot transform into a wildly popular dance club. The small two level room was packed wall to wall with local Kenyans and the bass rattled the walls, floor, and out the door so heavily I was sure my heartbeat and breathing rate had synchronized to the BPM in order to just still keep me alive. Sure I was a bit of a fish out of water, but as a bassist I can’t not appreciate the low frequencies. Upon returning, it was evident to me how pervasive and vibrant sound was throughout my day in Kenya, and how sterile it seemed back home walking around DC, the silence punctuated only occasionally by a car horn symphony conducted by impatience.  Urban areas by definition are going to be loud and chaotic, why not infuse a little more melody and rhythm into it the chaos?
As if on cue, soon after I had the good fortune to see Extra Golden play at the Black Cat. If you don’t already know, the band is a fantastic collaboration between Alex Minoff, Ian Eagleson and a number of dynamic Kenyan musicians that fuses the members numerous years experience in Indie rock and Benga . They’re a real story behind them and its great to see Thrill Jockey picked them up. Hypnotic yet chaotic, it begs for a Tusker lager, and in my opinion suited DC far better than most of the tailors in Georgetown.
*side note— I once brought back one of these great lyres (nyatiti) for myself and ben. mine rotted away a year later so i tossed it. ben, good friend that he is, didn’t have the heart to tell me his instrument was broken too until i discovered it disintegrating under a pile of books in his apartment. how were we to know the shelflife?

A ROTTEN LYRE

This post is a followup to my post on Chicago. Any exact similarities are intentional… This goes out to our fan club in Kenya. Which admittedly right now consists of 1 possibly 2 fans, but man are they avid. On a recent weekend afternoon the weather was 77 degrees with a light breeze and i found myself lost and wandering through the small towns of western kenya. A welcome break from east coast squalor and congestion, there’s nothing like this sturdy district by the lake in the summer. 

While there, it occurred to me how much music I was hearing from throughout the day—and not from my Ipod headphones. Rather it came from everywhere— blasting out of battered Fiats that pulled up next to me, blaring in colorful VW and decrepit Suzuki bus taxis that hurtled past, seeping out of massive passenger buses idling at the dusty station, blending with honking rickshaws, drifting from second story windows, and distorting out of small boom -boxes in outdoor cafes & small takeaway shacks. Faces of musicians like Shaggy or Bob Marley or Prince were hand painted in gigantic murals on the side of the careening taxi microbuses and behemoth passenger buses alike.  In the dust next to them sat old men plucking small catgut and cowskin lyres.* That same evening I went to a popular grill. After finishing dinner, I witnessed the spot transform into a wildly popular dance club. The small two level room was packed wall to wall with local Kenyans and the bass rattled the walls, floor, and out the door so heavily I was sure my heartbeat and breathing rate had synchronized to the BPM in order to just still keep me alive. Sure I was a bit of a fish out of water, but as a bassist I can’t not appreciate the low frequencies. Upon returning, it was evident to me how pervasive and vibrant sound was throughout my day in Kenya, and how sterile it seemed back home walking around DC, the silence punctuated only occasionally by a car horn symphony conducted by impatience.  Urban areas by definition are going to be loud and chaotic, why not infuse a little more melody and rhythm into it the chaos?

As if on cue, soon after I had the good fortune to see Extra Golden play at the Black Cat. If you don’t already know, the band is a fantastic collaboration between Alex Minoff, Ian Eagleson and a number of dynamic Kenyan musicians that fuses the members numerous years experience in Indie rock and Benga . They’re a real story behind them and its great to see Thrill Jockey picked them up. Hypnotic yet chaotic, it begs for a Tusker lager, and in my opinion suited DC far better than most of the tailors in Georgetown.

*side note— I once brought back one of these great lyres (nyatiti) for myself and ben. mine rotted away a year later so i tossed it. ben, good friend that he is, didn’t have the heart to tell me his instrument was broken too until i discovered it disintegrating under a pile of books in his apartment. how were we to know the shelflife?

Tags: raj
Comments
7 July 09
WHATS THE COVER

A break from the usual this year, I found myself back in my small hometown in Georgia for the Independence Day holiday. Thought I’d check out the town parade and see if it was like I remembered it. To my eye, little had in fact changed. It delivered on all counts you’d expect…a slow moving stream of vehicles inching across the pavement on a blazing July morning: i)pickups with dueling city council members and no frills slogans ii) vintage muscle-car convertibles with this year’s prom queen grinning and waving iii) elaborate or  in a few cases comically nonsensical floats on flatbeds, some even with live bands playing on them. Interspersed between floats and cars were swarms of roving children eagerly pelting onlookers lining the parade route in the eye with candy projectiles [note to self: consider safety goggles next year].
On the way home, a few images stayed with me from the morning: a painstakingly restored and spotless, waxed Oldsmobile convertible with a windshield covered in parking tickets; a bus for handicapped children brilliantly hand-painted probably by the kids who depend on it that itself stood disabled in the grassy shoulder of the road; and the bands playing on the flatbeds in the parade. The bands had been playing covers mostly and some blues, some of it improvised. It reminded me of something I had been considering. At times it seems there can be a blurry line between a cover band/bar band/jam band vs. the legions of indie or improvisational bands that haul their tattered briefcase of chord progressions into small bars and venues all over the country. I think about friends Vandaveer holding a crowd enrapt in a the shadowy haze of a French bar or cafe, or These United States bringing a bar or bait shop in Montana to its feet, or for that matter the thundering Shortstack who might just reduce a NY or Virginia bar to a cloud of dust and rubble (no I am not on Adrian’s payroll). I think what defines a band in a given moment can’t just be the performance setting. I mean surely all of these bands might be playing in a bar, improvising a part, or playing a Dylan cover in a bar at a given moment—I know Roofwalkers surely has. And, at that moment the goal might be shared with the precise and well oiled cover band at the bar across the street— a goal of entertaining the crowd and/or honoring a moment of the past. (If the room is empty its more of the latter). But stepping outside this moment these types of bands come across as such different beasts from each other in so many ways— in function, intent, self-regard, and aspiration. All to say, there are moments on stage when you can’t get your head around all the differences quite, but I know they’re there simply because the notion of Roofwalkers trying to legitimately cover the Allman’s Melissa* makes me laugh and probably moreso our listeners. Anyway, it should be clear I mean no disrespect to any of the types of bands I’m discussing here. I do find fascinating the subtle and ambiguous lines of identity in making music. Speaking of identities, an event I love in Washington that has a lot of fun with some of these lines is the annual Run for Cover event held at the Black Cat, where all your favorite local indie musicians band together to be in pitch-perfect cover bands for one nite. Always worth attending for one reason or another. This year its August 1st I think.

*Side note on this—apparently Greg Allman got the idea for this song when he heard a mother calling to her daughter “come back, Melissa!” in the grocery store. When you consider the lyrics, it’s a jump. I like that.

WHATS THE COVER


A break from the usual this year, I found myself back in my small hometown in Georgia for the Independence Day holiday. Thought I’d check out the town parade and see if it was like I remembered it. To my eye, little had in fact changed. It delivered on all counts you’d expect…a slow moving stream of vehicles inching across the pavement on a blazing July morning: i)pickups with dueling city council members and no frills slogans ii) vintage muscle-car convertibles with this year’s prom queen grinning and waving iii) elaborate or  in a few cases comically nonsensical floats on flatbeds, some even with live bands playing on them. Interspersed between floats and cars were swarms of roving children eagerly pelting onlookers lining the parade route in the eye with candy projectiles [note to self: consider safety goggles next year].

On the way home, a few images stayed with me from the morning: a painstakingly restored and spotless, waxed Oldsmobile convertible with a windshield covered in parking tickets; a bus for handicapped children brilliantly hand-painted probably by the kids who depend on it that itself stood disabled in the grassy shoulder of the road; and the bands playing on the flatbeds in the parade. The bands had been playing covers mostly and some blues, some of it improvised. It reminded me of something I had been considering. At times it seems there can be a blurry line between a cover band/bar band/jam band vs. the legions of indie or improvisational bands that haul their tattered briefcase of chord progressions into small bars and venues all over the country. I think about friends Vandaveer holding a crowd enrapt in a the shadowy haze of a French bar or cafe, or These United States bringing a bar or bait shop in Montana to its feet, or for that matter the thundering Shortstack who might just reduce a NY or Virginia bar to a cloud of dust and rubble (no I am not on Adrian’s payroll). I think what defines a band in a given moment can’t just be the performance setting. I mean surely all of these bands might be playing in a bar, improvising a part, or playing a Dylan cover in a bar at a given moment—I know Roofwalkers surely has. And, at that moment the goal might be shared with the precise and well oiled cover band at the bar across the street— a goal of entertaining the crowd and/or honoring a moment of the past. (If the room is empty its more of the latter). But stepping outside this moment these types of bands come across as such different beasts from each other in so many ways— in function, intent, self-regard, and aspiration. All to say, there are moments on stage when you can’t get your head around all the differences quite, but I know they’re there simply because the notion of Roofwalkers trying to legitimately cover the Allman’s Melissa* makes me laugh and probably moreso our listeners. Anyway, it should be clear I mean no disrespect to any of the types of bands I’m discussing here. I do find fascinating the subtle and ambiguous lines of identity in making music. Speaking of identities, an event I love in Washington that has a lot of fun with some of these lines is the annual Run for Cover event held at the Black Cat, where all your favorite local indie musicians band together to be in pitch-perfect cover bands for one nite. Always worth attending for one reason or another. This year its August 1st I think.

*Side note on this—apparently Greg Allman got the idea for this song when he heard a mother calling to her daughter “come back, Melissa!” in the grocery store. When you consider the lyrics, it’s a jump. I like that.

Tags: raj
Comments
20 June 09

That Toddling Town

this goes out to our fan club in chicago. which admittedly right now consists of 1 possibly 2 fans, but man are they rabid. i’m wearing pads and a helmet next time. this past weekend the weather was 71 degrees with a light breeze and i found myself lost and wandering through chicago. a welcome break from east coast squalor, there’s nothing like this sturdy city by the lake in the summer. from the live symphony playing at the band shell in millenium park to the fantastic architecture surrounding you at every corner, my excitement almost saw me burst into singing the old sinatra standard. some bystanders might say i did. embarassed, i high-tailed up renzo piano’s arching walkway straight into the newly opened modern art wing of the art institute of chicago. an impressive structure, and the collections and exhibitions were just right for what ailed me. if you’re there, check out the Cy Twombly collection (so far no one has been arrested for kissing yet). i found it really relaxing: both chaotic yet comforting, which isn’t a combination i often stumble across in modern work. in a way, the art actually reminded me of what we were trying to go for rhythmically on ‘who stole the view’ on the new Roofwalkers release.

also, with live performances, strong coffee, and wall to wall beatniks in yellow glasses whats not to love: hit the museum when you’re at pitchfork fest in august. i think its even free thurs & fri nites.

Tags: Raj
Comments
Themed by Hunson. Originally by Josh
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