No radio show tonight--KZUM does a "blues weekend" every Labor Day weekend, so...
here's something even better: with Darren's blessing, some music to check out on your own.
The Show is the Rainbow's first two EPs are out of print and the label is no more, though you can still take a gander at the old Suckapunch Records website for reverie's sake. Back in late 2002/early 2003, which feels like it was several lifetimes ago, Darren Keen was the insane guitarist/showman in a really fun rock-trio called Musico. At Darren's request, my band, Shinyville, played our first show with them at the 49r in Omaha way back then. Then Musico broke up, and Darren started working on a new solo project that ultimately became The Show is the Rainbow. He played some early shows with the project at strange little places around Lincoln and Omaha like The Point After, and really started to develop his stage persona. At the time, he didn't have a recording setup, but he was producing synth-based tracks in Reason and burning them to CD to sing/freak out over them for shows. Though the gear I had was quite modest and lo-fi, too, I absolutely adored the new music and offered to help with tracking vocals and any extra "real instrument" parts at my little shoebox studio setup in the tiny bedroom of an apartment near the capitol building.
Darren took me up on the offer, and we spent the occasional evening over a month or so tracking vocals, eating salmon, and playing Smash TV on NES. Party hard, right? The recordings weren't multitracked in the "usual" way: Darren brought over stereo mixes of his instrumental material produced in Reason, then I loaded those onto ZIP discs (remember those?) for my old VS840 recorder, and we added vocals to the pre-existing mixes. It makes for tricky mixing at the end, since there's no way to go back and adjust levels on any of the instrumental stuff. Fortunately, Darren already had a really good ear for that sort of thing, and did a great job of anticipating the needed levels, so you can hear a lot of the very detailed instrumental stuff going on in the backing tracks.
Almost everything is Darren, though I do some falsetto background vocals on "401k" and a bit of banjo on "barry, barry, barry, save us!" and my wife plays some trombone on "401k." I think the three of us made some fake restaurant foley sounds on "down the drain," too.
From those recording sessions, five tracks were selected and mastered to become 2003's "Barry Sure Wrote a Lot of Songs About the Girls He's Loved." A few other tracks were later re-recorded in CA and released on the follow-up EP "Correcting Dog Behavior Problems Using Dog Radartron." Finally, a few tracks exist that were created for a potential split EP, where Darren would play a couple of Shinyville songs, and Shinyville would play a couple of Show is the Rainbow songs.
Anyway, here are the original tracks from those early 2003 sessions. These are unmastered, but they sound pretty good considering the various circumstances mentioned above. And sorry that these are .m4a instead of .mp3 files, but I archived a bunch of stuff as .aac "back in the day." They'll play just fine in iTunes.
The Show is the Rainbow - First Recordings
Darren has continued to do some amazing work with The Show is the Rainbow, has toured around the world multiple times, and continues to grow exponentially as a musician. I would highly recommend checking out his latest two full-lengths Wet Fist and Gymnasia.