Paul Kotheimer | My Message

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My Message

by Paul Kotheimer

This masterful songwriter and zero-budget home studio genius has released his twelfth solo monsterpiece on his own DiY label, the hand-made record label. Literally dozens of fans agree that this one is his best yet. LISTEN TO THE WORDS!
Genre: Folk: Anti-Folk
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  Song Share Time Download
1. On My First Christmas
2:25 $0.99
2. My Message
4:03 $0.99
3. Number Nine
3:02 $0.99
4. Stephen Wade
4:11 $0.99
5. Where's the Party At?
2:21 $0.99
6. Liquid Pain Procrastination
4:07 $0.99
7. A New Hat
2:24 $0.99
8. The Ballad of the Benjamin
4:28 $0.99
9. The Empty Chair
3:50 $0.99
10. The Flowerburgers
3:08 $0.99
11. Rock 'n' Roll Is for Dinosaurs
2:50 $0.99
12. Illinois Gardener
2:36 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Ridiculously Awesome Account of the Life of the Artist, SONGWRITER PAUL KOTHEIMER, As Recorded for an Obscure Website Blurb in September 2014. The Songwriter is 45 years old, going on 46. He is wildly and fabulously unfamous and unwealthy due to his INDUBITABLE TALENTS.
--Ah yes. This is the part where I write the blurb that I'm pretty sure nobody reads, so I'll start right out by saying that if you read this to the very end you will get a prize.

Songwriter Paul Kotheimer started out his career in the early 1980s, feathering his hair, wearing Dingo boots (advertised at the time by a cartoon of O. J. Simpson on the back pages of DC Comics), and attempting to record studio quality hit singles that sounded as good as the band Asia in the basement of the drummer's parents' house, with fellow 14-year-olds as studio musicians, a $20 microphone budget, and his dad's 2-track Wollensak reel-to-reel recorder. When the resulting recordings were less than studio quality, young Kotheimer was perplexed, but doubly determined to achieve his dream. The turgid song of broken love which was being tracked on those sessions is now, tragically, lost forever. The songwriter himself can't even remember the title. But he vividly remembers the yellow comb with a handle that stuck out of the back pocket of his jeans, with "P A U L" written on it in turquoise vinyl letters, purchased for him by his mom. He worked that action at the roller rink. Girls in shiny acetate jackets would just barely not kiss him, French exhaling smoke from their Benson & Hedges Lights 100s enticingly, out after curfew at the White Castle on 95th and Cicero or playing TRON video games until the purple spiders left tracers on the backs of their eyelids. This young songwriter ran with a dangerous crowd, by Southwest suburban Sophomore year honors student standards.

In the mid-1980s, our songwriter hero used hairspray, wore an oversized sweater from like Limited Express in the mall, covered The Smiths breathily with lots of reverb, and attempted to record dark and ethereal original New Wave music with a borrowed synthesizer and his brother's double-cassette deck. The results of those efforts are not lost. In fact, they're in a shoebox on a shelf above the bed, right where the songwriter left them the last time he put them in a cassette deck and decided that nobody in the 21st Century needs to hear that stuff ever again. Seriously.

Suffice it to say, songwriter Paul Kotheimer has been at this whole writing-songs-and-then-recording-them thing for a very very long time. So let's fast forward some:

In the 1990s Kotheimer released several cassettes and two solo CDs. He started the band HERRING BOYS, which put out a CD-EP on SPUR/Parasol. He went bald. He co-wrote a song with his mom. He folded J-cards and put them in cassette cases. He enrolled in and then promptly dropped out of two grad school departments. He wore black mock-turtlenecks and drank red wine by the jeroboam until his teeth turned purple and wrote songs--well, one song, actually--that referenced Kafka's dystopian nightmare novel THE TRIAL, a work the songwriter has still never read all the way through. He bought a 90-pound 8-track reel-to-reel tape recorder, spent inordinate amounts of his student loan money fixing it up, and then tried to start a recording studio with it. In about like 1998, he almost got signed to a subsidiary of a subsidiary of a major label whose parent company soon thereafter got bought out and went bankrupt. A low-level record executive bought him lunch in Manhattan, though--for real no kidding. That's close enough to music business super-stardom for this songwriter's story.

Meanwhile, all along, since 1994, the hand-made record label has been a going concern, scoring the awesome old-school web address in 1999. (That's how we partied like it was 1999--We scored web addresses that nobody had thought of yet.) And then, as the 21st Century dawned, PK released a handful of discs at and also, starting about ten years ago, right here on CDBaby: SERIOUS FOLKING MUSIC, released in 2002, featured activist songs based on the IWW's Little Red Song Book. HOME-GROWN ROSES (2004) was an amalgam of weird solo pieces with a wide range of styles, from jazzy piano rock to solo acoustic Americana to experimental art song, with a samba featuring mispronounced Portuguese, a love song to the moon, a setting of an Emily Dickinson poem about dying, and a 48-second protest song with a sample from "Yellow Submarine" tossed in for balance. This disc also included audio from Charlton Heston's famous climactic exclamation at the end of the original PLANET OF THE APES movie:

"You maniacs!
You blew it up!

SONG ABOUT EVERYTHING (2007) was a 100-song, 5-hour mp3-CD retrospective which included almost every single song PK released from 1987 to 2007. "20 Folking Years of DiY Acoustic Music" was the slogan of the moment. The title track, "Song About Everything," was the closing number on PK's release from Fall of 2000, 113 CAROLINA AVENUE, which we somehow neglected to mention above, but we're inserting a reference to it now, for completeness. All the songs on 113 CAROLINA AVENUE are on the 5-hour, 100-song mp3-CD, SONG ABOUT EVERYTHING, as are all but one or two of the songs on the cassette and CD releases of the 1990s. SONG ABOUT EVERYTHING is available on CDBaby as well, coincidentally. You'll probably want to buy it. Trust us.

A MARTIAN SENDS A POSTCARD HOME (2008) was a collection of poems set to music, but it's not available online because of copyright complications. It is available, free of charge, to any teacher of literature who would like a copy. It features the microtonal a cappella hit single setting of the William Carlos Williams poem "The Red Wheelbarrow." For details, contact the songwriter by e-mail, as listed below. FAMILIAR (2009) was an EP of heart-wrenching personal joy and pain recorded in Kotheimer's ever-upgrading DiY home studio. The disc included the Kimya Dawson-esque "31 True Facts About My Girlfriend" and the unabashedly Neutral Milkish bonus track "The Great Comet."

In 2011, THE KILOGRAM OF GOLD saw Kotheimer's songwriting and production style hit a new stride which continues with this latest release, MY MESSAGE. One could even think of THE KILOGRAM and MY MESSAGE as a double-album. Why not buy them both? (See what I did there?)

MY MESSAGE started out as a collection of song fragments that the songwriter had sung into his phone while pacing around his fair city, mulling and writing, writing and mulling, as writers do. The project had a working title, but that working title was abandoned as the project came to fruition, as projects do. But then the title track, "My Message," was written in a flash of inspiration, in a dank basement, and finished with 10 minutes to spare before it was time to leave for the songwriter's weekly appearance at Hootenanny. Hootenanny is on Mondays. If you're in Urbana, you should come to the Rose Bowl for Hootenanny. Then more and more songs began to take shape, and more and more guest artists seemed to be called for, and more and more recordings got made. Most memorable was June 1st, 2014, when the songwriter along with special guests The Curses plus Elizabeth Simpson, jenny goodwine, Brook Lillard, and Kenna Mae Reiss assembled at Earth Analog Studio in Tolono, IL, to record "Where's the Party At?" live in a single take directly to reel-to-reel tape. They did a good job that day. It wasn't even take one. It was, like, take negative one. (--I'm lying, by the way. The keeper was take 12, and we used ho-hum contemporary digital computer recording technology and then mixed it to vintage analog tape later.)

Also, has it been mentioned that Ryan Groff makes a cameo appearance on track 10? RYAN GROFF, people! He's the lead singer of Elsinore.

Anyway, one special thing about MY MESSAGE is the guest artists. In the past, almost all of the recorded works of Paul Kotheimer feature Paul Kotheimer on almost all the instruments. We call this the headphone-overdub-layercake method of sound recording, in part because calling it "playing with myself" would be uncouth. This time, though, one of the constraints was that every song would have at least one guest artist. And 10 of the 12 songs stick to that rule, and are much improved by the contributions of the guests. The title track and the solo acoustic number, "Ballad of the Benjamin," however, are all just PK.

Of course you can download just the music, but ordering a physical CD is better, because one of the things that makes the hand-made record label hand-made is the disc packaging. MY MESSAGE comes in a cleverly designed cardboard sleeve called a discfolio. The songwriter purchased 1200 of these discfolios in 2002, thinking that they'd all be filled with CDs and sold soon thereafter. 12 years later, of couse, the hand-made record label still has some--almost enough to pack a full first-pressing run of 200 copies of MY MESSAGE. Runs of 200 are big for the hand-made record label, it turns out. Each CD copy is hand-stamped and sequentially numbered, like the piece of fine art that it is. And every copy comes with a nice little booklet with a hand-stamped dolphin stamp on the cover, and all the lyrics to all the songs and some instructive images and text to help you understand the deep and wise and meaningful things that a great and deep and meaningful songwriter like Paul Kotheimer writes about. It's kind of like footnotes, this booklet. Really. But not really.

OK so anyway, I think I've filled you in more than sufficiently about what's going on with the latest Paul Kotheimer album, entitled MY MESSAGE, available now on CD Baby and elsewhere in the digital domain. You get a prize. Simply write to and include your mailing address along with the title of the "unabashedly Neutral Milkish" bonus track mentioned earlier. PK will be sure to respond.

Also meanwhile additionally as well, you can stream or download Paul Kotheimer music for free at SoundCloud.



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