On August 7, Detroit, Michigan, singer/songwriter Ryan Allen (Extra Arms, Thunderbirds Are Now!, Red Shirt Brigade, etc. surprise released Song Snacks Vol. 1. To celebrate the release, he also shared a video for the record’s first single, “Barking Up The Right Tree,” which you can enjoy below.
Here are the details in his own words…
“Two mics. A handful of guitars. An amp…and some recording software to learn how to use on the fly. Add in a global pandemic, instructions to stay at home, and a burst of manic creativity and something is bound to happen. In my world, that something is my new 20-track hodgepodge of a solo album called Song Snacks Vol. 1.
“I’m always working on songs. Some of them make it to records. Others get demoed but never fully developed. Others just exist and then seem to disappear as quickly as they arrived. But with no end to the pandemic in sight and an avalanche of songs that seemed to fall out of the sky, I decided to try and capture lightning in a bottle. And since I couldn’t see anybody, the record became an almost completely DIY project, featuring me as writer, performer (I played all the instruments), engineer and mixer (shout out to Andy Reed from Reed Recording Co. for the mastering assist).
“Song Snacks Vol. 1 attempts to follow in the tradition of classics like GBV’s Alien Lanes, The Wrens’ The Meadowlands and Olivia Tremor Control’s Black Foliage, turning out to be a genre hopping, home-recorded, fragmented journey that attempts to capture the excitement and magic that surrounds laying every idea you have to tape. I played it for my dad and he called it my White Album. It’s not that good, but I’ll take it.
“You’ll notice that the songs are short (nothing over 2 1/2 minutes – no bridge? No problem!). But that doesn’t mean they are throwaways at all. Most were hatched from song titles I’ve been jotting down over the years, and instead of focusing on the hyper-personal content that I’ve been putting out with Extra Arms as of late, these tunes take more of a story telling and surrealist turn. In other words, the subject matter is a little weird – there’s songs about psychics, wizards, hoarders, and a fake band made up of my dad and his college roommates. So yeah, some weird stuff.
“Indeed, these are truly bizarre times. But music has saved me from dire straits before, and working on this project gave me life while it seemed that everything was falling apart around us all. I hope these “song snacks” satisfy you in the same way they did for me.”
Listen to and purchase the album here.