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Brad Sucks: Guess Who's a Mess album cover

Guess Who's a Mess, my third album. 10 tracks, instant downloads.

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The regular t-shirt store only has the products I design in it. So it’s annoying to make one of every product with every design. So for the next month I’m trying out this make your own merch thing:


Select from the three Brad Sucks designs and alter their colors — add your own designs and text, select any product they’ll fit on. Let me know what you think.

Posted on - May 21, 2010 [at] 12:44 pm by Brad
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This video got me all nostalgic and thinking about the audio devices I’ve had over the years:

It’s hard to remember the order of all these but here’s what I can piece together:

  • PC Speaker on my 4/8mhz (turbo) LANPAR IBM PC – It was nearly intolerable to listen to but I still enjoyed it, I thought it was amazing and I found music like the Monkey Island theme (in the video above) and Leisure Suit Larry’s theme very catchy.
  • Covox Sound Master – This was only supported by a few games and was probably the first time I was burned by buying new hardware that wound up gaining no popular support.
  • CMS Game Blaster – I had this instead of an Adlib card. The Game Blaster had less support than the Adlib but technically sounded better. I wouldn’t say I got ‘burned’ but I definitely should have gotten an Adlib instead.
  • Sound BlasterThe Sound Blaster was supported by nearly all games, which was great. This was the my first “painless” experience with PC audio. (Not sure if this came before or after the Gravis Ultrasound.)
  • Gravis Ultrasound – I was into game development at the time and got a free one of these from Gravis’s developer program which was awesome. I seem to remember upgrading the onboard RAM but I have no idea why I would do that. The Gravis had OK support but wasn’t as universal as the Sound Blaster I believe. It could play MODs and S3Ms (could the Sound Blaster? I can’t remember), which was fantastic.
  • Sound Blaster AWE64I was trying to “get serious” about music production. I got a RAM upgrade for the AWE64 so it could load larger Soundfonts. I never really used Soundfonts much.
  • Various onboard sound devices – Computers became powerful enough I didn’t need specialized hardware for games and MOD/S3M trackers.
  • Echo Darla (20 bit) – this was my first “pro” sound card, with low latency drivers and so on. It was expensive and it was such a bastard. It conflicted with nearly everything in every system I ever put it into. When it worked it was great, when it didn’t I was in a world of IRQ conflicts and buffer sizes and beta ASIO drivers and random crashes and bullshit. I still have it in a box and when I look at it my eye twitches.
  • M-Audio Delta 66 – This is what I’m using now on my desktop/recording machine. I should have bought the Delta 44 instead since it was $50 cheaper and I never use the Digital I/O. But it’s been rock solid and I’ve had no problems. I think about upgrading sometimes but I can’t think of any reason to.

Also additional mobile devices:

  • Edirol UA-1EX – This is a little USB gizmo that works pretty good, low-latency ASIO performance to any device I’ve tried. I bought it thinking maybe I’d use it for live performance but it seemed a bit un-pro. Now I use it on my live synth computer plugged into a DI and it’s been working well.
  • M-Audio FireWire 410 – I bought this for live performance and it was way too erratic. It would click, crash and sometimes just not be recognized by the computer. I went through several different FireWire cards and eventually gave up.
  • MOTU Ultralite mk3 – More FireWire awfulness initially – had to buy a FireWire card for my laptop with a Texas Instruments chipset. Then a weird German adapter to keep the card from wiggling around in the slot. Now it’s been rock solid stable – as long as you keep the wifi on the laptop disabled or else it emits an intermittent high pitched sound.

Man, that list makes me frustrated just looking at it.

Posted on - May 20, 2010 [at] 7:20 pm by Brad
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Here’s a demo for track #2 off Guess Who’s a Mess:

In Your Face (demo)

Usual disclaimers: mix was quick and dirty, I have no talent, etc.

Posted on - May 20, 2010 [at] 1:16 pm by Brad
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IMG_0375Despite some shows coming up in the next few weeks we decided to try and add some lead synth to the set at the last minute. I had been playing solos on guitar but it doesn’t have the same feel.

So the past week and a half has involved me trying to put together a stable PC running Windows XP, Reaper and various VSTis that can reliably run headless (no monitor, no keyboard, no mouse). ASIO drivers are provided by an Edirol UA-1EX as the ASIO4ALL drivers were too clicky and laggy.

The plan is then to cram all that into a 2U rackmount server case and then stuff that into a gig case for an instant on, portable, minimal worries synth machine. It would be great to get a solid state hard drive to minimize the moving parts, but my budget for this is low as balls.

As you can see from the photo on the right and my torn-up bloody hands (not pictured) it’s been a struggle to find a combination of working spare parts. I thought I had solved it all a week ago but the motherboard I was using was only USB 1.0 and would intermittently flake out with the M-Audio Axiom 25 I’ve drafted into service.

Of course I’m currently running the show off a laptop but I felt having it do synth duties as well was too risky. At least this way if the laptop fails we can still put on an OK show. And if the synth machine fails I can still shred out some crappy guitar solos. If both fail, I will just run away from the venue as fast as I can.

Posted on - May 11, 2010 [at] 2:13 pm by Brad
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I’m coming out of hibernation soon. So here are some places I’ll be:

  • May 17 – Toronto, ON – Toronto Audio Engineering Society: I’ll be speaking on a panel on May 17 from 2pm-4pm. It’s called “How You Are Delivering to Your Market“, a topic on which I am clearly an expert since I have not delivered anything to my market lately. More info:
  • May 28 – Ottawa, ON – Jonathan Coulton: My pal Jonathan Coulton will be in town and I will be there. There was some talk about doing a song together but I’m not sure what’s happening there.¬†We’re doing a song together, who knows what it could be!
  • May 29 – Kemptville, ON – VegStock: This is an outdoor music festival that happens right around the corner from my house. It’ll be the first show with the new band and will be kind of a disaster test.
  • June 10 – Montreal, QC: There’s a potential show in Montreal for this date but it’s not 100% yet.
  • June 11 – Ottawa, ON – The Cajun Attic: This will be a show.
  • June 12 – Kingston, ON – The Mansion: This will be another show.

I’d like to get to Toronto and maybe a few other places this summer but I am not the greatest booker. If you have any hook-ups let me know.

If you happen to be any of those places, please say hi.

Update: June 10th, 11th and 12th shows are no longer happening!

Update #2: Updated the Jonathan Coulton show to confirm my participation.

Posted on - May 8, 2010 [at] 3:59 pm by Brad
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