Yesterday I recorded the basic tracks for a new song called "Car Tapes." It's a summery, up-tempo number, written some years ago. I had done a version of it earlier this spring, but it turned out sludgy and torpid and not at all like the sparky, danceable pop song that it was in my head. I scrapped the whole thing and started again-- simplified the drums, tried to play more vigorously on the rhythm guitar parts, and used my trusty Boss Overdrive/Distortion pedal to add some sweet and satisfying crunch to the chorus. The results were exactly as I'd hoped: when I played it back on my speakers ($10 at a stoop sale in Brooklyn Heights!) I felt like dancing.
I'm recording on Kristal Audio Engine, a freeware multitrack recording program. I do some editing there and some on Audacity (also freeware!). Right now, I have a drum track (from my Alesis SR16), a bass track, and three guitar tracks covering all the rhythm parts: one distorted and two clean (with chorus and slight reverb, my favorite effects combo). Today-- if I get enough dissertation work done!-- I'll add some of the remaining tracks. That's lead vocals, at least two or three backing vocal tracks, and a lead guitar track. After that, I might add in a couple of small extra things to bury in the mix, but we'll see. I want to keep this as uncluttered and energetic as possible.