Saturday, July 25, 2009

New Order: Part 1 of a series, 1980-1984

New Order has - for over 20 years - been amongst my most favorite groups ever. For 15 or so years they made music that served as the soundtrack to my life, more often than not reaching perfection (or pretty damn close to it) with everything they did.

They had a few clunkers ("Sub-Culture" 12-inch mix, anyone?) but the true best of New Order is among the best music EVER from ANY artist ANY era. Not bad for a bunch of self-taught Salford/Macclesfield, UK misfits.

The history of the band can be found all over the internets so I shall not rehash it here. What I will be doing, however, over a series of posts, is compile my favorite tracks into the SuperFan's MegaSubstance MegaBest Of or what-have-you. The band has been anthologized over a ridiculous number of compilations and quite a few tracks are repeated across releases, while deep catalog tracks - as good as any single they released - are continuously ignored.

Our first selection features their best works from the 1980-1984 era - the era that served as the "hey, we used to be Joy Division" bridging to the "hey, I think we're onto something with this weird dance/rock/indie hybrid thing" timeframe, before they became megastars. This era saw the band creep ever so hesitantly out of the Joy Division shadow, suddenly becoming trendsetters in discos, and then rediscovering guitars again.

So onward.

NEW ORDER "Seems like I've been here before..."
1980-1984, anthologized

01 Ceremony (original 3-piece version, recorded Sept. 1980)
02 In A Lonely Place (7-inch edit, different from Substance version)
03 Ceremony (re-recorded late 1980 with Gillian Gilbert on board)
04 Procession
05 Everything's Gone Green (7-inch version)
06 Dreams Never End (Jan. 1981 Peel Session)
07 ICB (Jan. 1981 Peel Session)
08 Cries and Whispers
09 Mesh
10 Truth (mix candidate #1, Hannett)
11 Doubts Even Here
12 Denial
13 Temptation (7-inch version)
14 Hurt (7-inch version)
15 Temptation (12-inch version)
16 586 (June 1982 Peel Session)
17 Too Late
18 Blue Monday (rare 7-inch edit)
19 Age of Consent
20 The Village
21 Your Silent Face
22 Ultraviolence
23 Ecstasy
24 Leave Me Alone
25 Confusion (7-inch promo edit)
26 Thieves Like Us (7-inch promo edit)
27 Lonesome Tonight
28 Murder

Nothing whatsoever taken from the abysmally-mastered 2005 compilation Singles, and many taken from mint vinyl copies.

Three RAR's as usual, gotta grab 'em all of course...

Part I / Part II / Part III


Monday, July 20, 2009

a blog without qualities II: New Fast Automatic Daffodils II

One of the most popular features on the blog so far was my original post about those mad Mancunians New Fast Automatic Daffodils. Drawing comments from not one, but TWO musicians whose bands supported the New FADS on tour at one point or another, it's obvious this band has been sadly ignored by history.

I can't fix that but what I can do is post more out-of-print material for everyone.

Oddly enough one of the most-hyped American releases by this combo was their Peel Sessions release on Dutch East India Trading - home of Homestead Records, Giant Records, Rockville Records, and numerous other tiny indies that fell off the map when the home label Dutch East ceased trading around 2000.

While various bands' American versions of their Peel Session releases, through Dutch East India Trading, often featured different cover art then the UK variants, the New FADS' American cover art for this record is about the worst I've ever seen on a commercial release. No wonder it didn't sell.

Original UK version:

Nothing terribly bad, it looks like Strange Fruit commissioned the Happy Mondays' designers Central Station Design to design it.

On the other hand.......... Original US version:

My eyes! they burn! Really bad design - did they have the front office receptionist do this in 2 minutes as the product was going to manufacture?

Anyhow - the large image at the beginning of the post is your humble blogger's reappraisal of the Peel Sessions design. At the very least it looks good and in line with the rest of the band's releases of this period.

So without further ado......

01 Purple Haze
02 A Man Without Qualities II
03 Jaggerbog
04 Big II (Instrumental)
05 Get Better
06 Part Four
07 A Man Without Qualities I

1-4 recorded 19 Dec. 1989, broadcast 9 Jan 1990
5-7 recorded 11 Nov. 1990, broadcast 24 Nov. 1990

One ZIP file for you -- CLICK HERE.


Tracks 1 through 4 display clearly why the New FADS were once labeled "The Fastest Men In Pop" or some such nonsense - they are blistering! "Big II" is almost a new track entirely, albeit based on "Big" itself. I can't imagine how spectacular the musical bed of "Big II" would sound combined with Andy Spearpoint's vocals on "Big" itself.


On another note, I must mention that the "Big" CD single tracks as included in the previous New FADS download here were incomplete and/or not sourced from the proper release ("Big" itself from a compilation, for example).

Here be the entirety of the actual UK Big CD single (Playtime Records, Amuse 7CD) for you - the full Instrumental variant (similar to "Big II" from Peely), Baka and of course the full-length "Big" in itself.

Get it! (one ZIP file)

01 Big
02 Big (Baka)
03 Big (instrumental)

Friday, July 3, 2009

R.E.M. "Tourfilm 2.0: The Audio, enhanced"

I just can't help it. The alluring melodies of Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe have been refusing to leave my ears of late. I go through these periods where an artist captivates my entire attention for sometimes weeks on end. I might switch to a different artist for an album or two, just as a mid-session palate cleanser, but I end up coming back to the original artist. And not until the next one dislodges the original artist do I stop.

I happen to be amidst one of these R.E.M. periods - not a bad period to be stuck in, I admit - and keep coming back to their live stuff. Of late I've been watching a lot of their 1990 live video Tourfilm, an exercise in "guerrilla filmmaking" that is so far outside the typical "you saw the gig, now here's the live video" it's an artpiece in itself.

Not only is the video itself great, the performance is spectacular. Coming at the end of 1989's yearlong Green World Tour, the band was as tight as they've ever been, and the songs themselves are fantastic.

Some time back I made my own Enhanced version of the video's audio soundtrack. What was presented on the video aren't all the songs that were released from these same several gigs filmed, there are a couple live tracks that saw release elsewhere but for whatever reason not included on the video. Also, the tracks have been somewhat resequenced on the video - while this video was assembled from five different gigs, the set staples tended to be performed in the same order from night to night, and I was able to resequence the out-of-sequence tracks into what was performed on those particular nights.

Additionally I also tracked separately some of Stipe's intro musical snippets, at least where it made sense to do so. And I also detailed out the two new-at-the-time tracks "Belong" and "Low" - neither of which were listed or mentioned on the video itself, but were indeed filmed and snippets of each included in the video - which would ultimately be recorded the following year for the 1991 album Out Of Time.

So here it is, the Power of Independent Trucking's Tourfilm 2.0 - The Audio, enhanced - enjoy!

As usual, lossless requests will be considered.....


Recording dates/locations:
7 November 1989 - Civic Center, Roanoke, Virginia
8 November 1989 - VA Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia
10 November 1989 - Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina
11 November 1989 - Macon County Coliseum, Macon, Georgia
13 November 1989 - L.E.A.F. Benefit, Fox Theater, Atlanta, Georgia

- - -

Original video tracklisting:

Stand / The One I Love / These Days / Turn You Inside-Out / World Leader Pretend / Feeling Gravitys Pull / I Believe / I Remember California / Get Up / It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) / Pop Song 89 / Fall On Me / You Are The Everything / Begin The Begin / King Of Birds / Finest Worksong / Perfect Circle

Not listed on the packaging: Snippets of "Belong" and "Low", the mini intros "We Live As We Dream, Alone" / "Future 40's (String Of Pearls)" / "With The People", and the closing track "Afterhours"

- - -

Tourfilm 2.0 - The Audio, enhanced

01 Stand
02 The One I Love
03 So. Central Rain (detail)
04 Turn You Inside-Out
05 Belong (full version from 10 Nov. 1989)
06 Orange Crush
07 Feeling Gravitys Pull
08 These Days
09 We Live As We Dream, Alone / World Leader Pretend
10 poem ("I'll Believe in Anything When I'm There...")
11 Future 40's (String Of Pearls)
12 I Believe
13 I Remember California
14 Get Up
15 It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
16 Pop Song 89
17 Fall On Me
18 You Are The Everything
19 Begin The Begin
20 With The People
21 King Of Birds
22 Low (detail)
23 Finest Worksong
24 Perfect Circle
25 Afterhours

Tracks 5 and 6 from the "Radio Song" Collector's Edition CD Single

All the rest from Tourfilm DVD

09 "We Live As We Dream, Alone" intro - Gang of Four

10 "poem" - unknown poet

11 "Future 40's (String Of Pearls)" - Syd Straw and Michael Stipe

20 "With The People" - Kevn Kinney

Sequencing assistance: The R.E.M. Timeline

Oh, you want the music?

Part I
Part II

(two RAR files, as usual, you gotta grab 'em both!)