First, a few updates about the blog itself: Two new pages are up for your viewing and listening pleasure. "The Songs" is essentially the post from March 12th that compiled behind-the-music stories and wound up surprising me by being the most-viewed post for quite a while - until the release of Pentacental, in fact. Rather than let it made into the archive ether, I thought it would be nice to have it stick around for new members of the audience, and as an advertising mechanism for myself to utilize. With the release of each new song, I'll be adding to it. It will only include original songs, so alternate versions don't count. However, "Winter's Salve," "Giger's Lullaby," and "Dusk Devils" have already been added, so there's new material even for those who are already familiar with the original post.
Along similar lines, the other new page, "The Records," has compiled the posts that accompanied the releases of each of the three (four, sort of) EPs. They're each edited for (hopefully most of the) grammatical errors and the most relevant content. For example, the entry for Pentacental doesn't begin with a rant about the trials of being a fledgling working artist. This is also mostly intended for new additions to our audience, but I will be adding onto it with time. In the case of "The Songs," each song is accompanied by a SoundCloud embed of a streaming play, while on "The Records" each release is accompanied by an embedded Bandcamp player with samples of the complete track list and links to download and Share. As soon as you come across a song you like on the latter, you can click on over to the Snail Tunes Store through the player and name your price and download. Essentially, I'm trying to make it as convenient as possible to discover and download songs of mine you like for free, folks. Take advantage of it/me. Please.
Above, and in the sidebar (where you may note other minor improvements, such as being able to subscribe to the blog by email or Google+) you'll see that I've put together a new SoundCloud playlist with a snazzy new cover image, titled "The Collection." This is not a new release. It's sorely tempting, as it's the length of an album and I could easily call it my first full-length album, and all there would be left to do is put together a few more pieces of artwork and assemble it all on Bandcamp, but Nothing Left To Lose is still on the way and will most likely include some of these songs. They may be different versions, which would make it more tempting to put this collection out after Nothing Left To Lose...we'll see what happens. And if the demand is great enough, I may make this available for download beforehand. I'll leave that up to you, folks. Make your voices heard. If there's demand for it, I'll do it, as I am very proud of this playlist.
It's the eleven most essential tracks I've released so far, the preferred versions in the cases where there's more than one, and as I can't decide whether I prefer the combination of "A Determined Snail" and "A Minor Distraction" or the individual versions, the combo is included at the end as a sort of bonus track. I'd like to take a moment to talk about the pre-Pentacental songs. I was so proud of that EP and so focused on promoting it that it hit me like a slap in the face the other day, while I was riding in the car, that I missed songs from Progress Report. At that moment in particular, I sorely missed "The Manic Widow" and had to queue it up on my iTunes right away. It really wasn't that long ago that I was trying to say farewell to the songs of my debut with The Alternate Spin so I could move onto other things. I mean, I had heard those songs - and I don't think I'm exaggerating here - over a hundred times each, and in a short span of time. But after devoting so much time and energy to Pentacental, it felt as though it had been a very long time since I had heard any of them.
That was a big motivating factor in putting together this collection. I realized just how much I love my songs and how much they're a part of me. Once they've taken on an audible form of playback, they're very much like living with people you really, really like, but get sick of on occasion. You put a little distance between you, and before you know it, you can't get enough of each other again. Hell, I've listened to this collection twice since putting it together, never mind how many times I heard the songs or pieces of them while meticulously assembling the playlist, which was a three hour project in itself. I bet you don't think of that when you listen to a playlist, but you've probably experienced it yourself when you're assembling one and want just the right songs to follow the others. It doesn't always work out to your satisfaction in the end, and you want to change it later, but you put a lot of thought into it and, in some of cases, a lot of time.
All in all, this collection is a nice portrait of how I've spent my time so far this year. I posted a similar sentiment on Facebook, but I had been thinking only as far back as the release date of Progress Report, February 19th, when in fact I had been working on some of these songs, even the likes of "Giger's Lullaby" and "Winter's Salve," as early as last December. So I hope you enjoy The Collection. It's what I have to show for the year so far, and I have say, Not bad, Me. Not bad at all.