Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bedhead can do no wrong.

Or at least they couldn't, besides breaking up (sniff). WHY WHY WHY did it take me 10 years after their breakup to discover this superb band?

I've been spending the last couple days listening almost exclusively to their 2nd LP Beheaded, and...I can't stop.

Not that I want to, it's just delaying my continued GVB series, which admittedly I've lost a bit of the passion for. No worries, just get yourself a copy of this Bedhead LP and you'll understand why.

As much as I want to share this amazing record with the world, it's still available from Touch and Go, and well worth dropping dollar on - so no download links, sorry.

Carry on...

Friday, November 26, 2010

GBV detour 01: Back to Saturn X (unreleased LP)

I know I owe the world the next post in the GBV 5 Songs saga (scheduled: Bee Thousand), but I haven't felt the crushing desire to eliminate 4/5 of the album from contention yet - as I love nearly each and every track on that record.

So as to not completely spoil the GBV anticipation, here's their unreleased 1991 LP Back To Saturn X.

We only know the tracklist because the fellow behind their early-mid 90s label Scat received a copy of the album in preparation for the 1995 box set compiling the band's pre-1992 records. The band had this album recorded, sequenced and "mastered" in 1991, only for Bob Pollard to decide not to release it. The tracks were (somewhat) farmed out to other projects instead, and snippets of (some) of the tracks were jammed together to form the track "Back To Saturn X Radio Report" on 1992's Propeller LP.

It's really not a bad album! There are really only a few tracks that would fit in the "classic" canon of GBV works, but that said, it does make a good listen as a complete work.

The version posted here was compiled from the multitude of releases Bob farmed these tracks out to over the years. I have no idea if the *recordings* are what were to be used on the withdrawn LP, though I'm nearly certain they are. I've taken the liberty to add on two tracks to the end, which may have been recorded at the same time, but not on the final track list. Why? Because I can...

As this actual record only exists in the hands of Scat and Bob Pollard, no cover art (if it even got that far in the release process) is known to exist in the wild. So, I used one of my favorites from the following LP Propeller's set of 500 unique sleeves.


Back To Saturn X
(unreleased 1991 LP)

01 Fantasy Creeps
02 Perch Warble
03 Dusty Bushworms
04 Squirmish Frontal Room
05 Scalding Creek
06 Melted Pat
07 Spring Tiger
08 Tractor Rape Chain (Clean It Up)
09 Crutch Came Slinking
10 Mallard Smoke
11 Sopor Joe
12 Chicken Blows
13 Tricyclic Looper
14 Scissors And The Clay Ox (In)
15 Damn Good Mr. Jam
----- bonus trax -----
16 Buzzards And Dreadful Crows
17 Mr. Japan

Box CD5: King Shit And The Golden Boys: 01, 03, 09, 11, 13
Suitcase: Failed Experiments And Trashed Aircraft: 02, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17
Get Out Of My Stations EP: 03, 05, 06, 07
Darla 100 - Sixth Year Anniversary Compilation CD: 08
Alien Lanes: 12

Grab it here!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

GBV Classic Years #2: Vampire On Titus (1993)

And onward we march, we Marchers in Orange.

The dismal failure of Propeller in propelling the band into some kind of recognition nearly broke up Guided By Voices, leaving the band short a drummer and bassist. What remained kept recording in Toby's garage on his 4-track Portastudio, with Bob Pollard occasionally laying down his own drum lines for the tracks he felt needed drums. As a result of the band fractures, nearly half the tracks that ended up on Vampire On Titus are drumless. Bob, his brother Jim, and Toby Sprout handled guitars, with Toby also supplying basslines.

It was this fractured lineup that conceived and released perhaps the most low-fi record of this low-fi band's career. Vocals often sound like they're recorded through a transistor radio set to "distortion +", and then routed through a shitty guitar amp, itself located down the carpeted hall with a cheap wire mic hanging from the ceiling. The drums, or what passes for drums, are more often slurred thwacks than booms. Tape speeds stretch and skew (sometimes mid-song!), a cacophony of hiss predominates, older tracks bleed through, it's a mess. Yet behind all this are more of the best tracks of this band's career.

For such a terribly-recorded record, it was this album that began to get GBV wider notice. With no drummer and bassist, and sudden interest nationwide (when you only have 500 fans for 8 years, another 500 constitutes "sudden interest") thrust upon Pollard and co., they quickly get a band back together and start that slow crawl from basement legends on their city block to a critically-acclaimed indie rock powerhouse.

Cleveland, OH's Scat Records was the first label to give creedence to this band. A tiny label in and of itself, it at least reached beyond central Ohio, and with this record, began drumming the GBV rhythm.

As a brief aside, fans curious to get into GBV, but not familiar with their music, should probably wait until satisfied by their "classic" records Bee Thousand / Alien Lanes / etc. before trying this. Or rather, don't let this be your sole intro to the band: it's a great companion to the classics, and it IS a classic, but its raw nature makes it harder to appreciate without some grounding.

This record was easier at times, and then harder, to pin down 5 key/favorite tracks. It really depends on my mood. Do I want rockers? Do I want chaos? Do I want the more gentle acoustics? There is such a diversity of sound - backing out the seeming sameness the record carries solely due to recording circumstances - across these tracks you really have to pick your poison. As I'm now in a period of loving this record, there are no limitations, just my (current) five favorites. And I suspect these will remain basic canon pieces in my GBV songbook.

OK, so I lied. I've been iPodding this record all day, trying to cull out 5 tracks, and I can't be merciless. It's just un-possible.  There were three tracks that no matter how much culling I did, absolutely had to remain. That left two more spots - and 4 more critical songs. I tried. I cried. It just wasn't going to happen.

The problem is, so many of the roots of the key GBV sound lie in this album. And there are a few moments that sound completely unlike anything else in their catalog, moments - that for the sake of an overview - had to be included in any critical appraisal of this album. So, damn the torpedoes, as the Fading Captain might say, and let's roll with it.

Vampire On Titus
originally released in 1993 on Scat Records

1) Wished I Was A Giant
Horrible, horrible recording - of perhaps one of the top 5 songs in the band's entire gazillion-song catalog. I can't imagine a much worse recording released in any capacity on any label, except as a stylistic exercise, but it's what it is. Had this been a better recording, this song - already one giant melody blast - would be massive. I'm certain I'm being too harsh on the recording - it's really not THAT bad - but if you're looking for something even comparable to what we heard on Propeller, this isn't it.

2) Expecting Brainchild
A goofy song that has an even goofier intro. Well reminiscent of the Who, if you can imagine the Who as a garage band brought up on punk.

3) Dusted
If this were more of a classic 4-track sound, it would fit just swell-like on Bee Thousand. As it were, it's again one of their more hard rockers (not "hard rock"), marred only by the vocals-from-the-can-and-a-wire-mic recording.

4) Marchers In Orange
One of their key early sound collage songs. Not much in the way of musical melody from the toy synths building up the musical bed, though Bob lays down a terrific vocal line on top. Arguably one of only a couple true "classics" from this LP, "classics" in the sense that they remained in the GBV collective memory well past the record's shelf life.

5) Sot
See #2 and #3. Another in the same superbly melodic line, excellent guitars too.

6) Jar Of Cardinals
One of the best ballads in their catalog, just Bob and a guitar, with melody just dripping all over the place. 

7) Gleemer (The Deeds Of Fertile Jim)
The second classic Tobin Sprout ballad in their catalog to date. I might even rate this higher than Propeller's "14 Cheerleader Coldfront". Tobin channels some Sebadoh ("Brand New Love") with great effect, and I'd have to say this is probably in my all-time Top Ten GBV tracks.

8) Non-Absorbing
"Do you see me like I see you?" The first really true CLASSIC! CLASSIC! CLASSIC! track on this record, unmarred by shitty recording, a song that has no temporal fixation anywhere in their catalog. Home on this record, could be home on any of the following LPs, and with a proper studio recording, could have been home on any of their late 90s albums (and any way you shake it, a classic). I can't musically describe this track at all, it's just nearly perfect. Top Ten, nay, it's in my all-time Top 5 GBV set. It really was the perfect bridge to the near perfection of the following LP, Bee Thousand.

Get them all here.

Next up, perhaps the most difficult of all to cull out 5 tracks from, Bee Thousand. A classic album in every/any sense of the word.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

GBV Classic Years #1: Propeller (1992)

As discussed earlier, I was (and maybe still am) on a big Guided By Voices kick a few weeks back. I've long been a fan, and still remember fondly their gig at Chicago's legendary Lounge Ax on my birthday in 1995, just two days after the release of their first "major league" LP Alien Lanes. Of course the phrase "Guided by Beer" was kicked around a few times, once by none other than Bob Pollard himself. Somewhere I used to have a tape of this show that I picked up years later; and the gig was as sloppily fun as I remembered it. I seem to recall that after 38 songs, they easily could have drunkenly stumbled through another 38.

My GBV journey began on a tip from none other than Bob Mould. Oh, I'd read about them, been intrigued, and in fact I may had even purchased a CD of theirs by the time I met Bob Mould at a Sugar gig in December 1994 (though I really think I didn't own anything until early '95, honestly). But what really got me into the band was Bob's enthusing about them to me and a couple other people while chatting with him for nearly an hour before the Sugar gig that night. At the time, Bob was still in the thick of the alternative scene, not yet having gone the dance route, so anything tipped by him was assumed to be golden. And of course they were.

So, on Bob Mould's tip and then being absorbed by the utter wonderfulness of GBV's (seventh full length LP!) Bee Thousand, I went back and picked up the then-available back catalog, which at the time consisted of probably 3 CDs: Vampire on Titus / Propeller (both albums on one CD), and maybe a couple 8-song, 12-minute-long EPs. I didn't really take to any of it bar the odd song or two on any of the pre-B1000 material, but I was head-over-heels in love with B1000. And I've always remained so, this record's songs are always ranked in the higher reaches of my most-played tracks in iTunes. Nevertheless, with me needing either smokes, beer, or both, and not being completely floored by the VoT / Propeller CD, it got sold back not long after purchase in 1995. And I never really heard it, or (m)any of its tracks, again.

So I can't come to explain why several weeks back I got my hands on both Vampire on Titus, and Propeller, again. It might have been the few tracks from it coming up on the Matador-era best-of CD that I have on my iPod, or it might have just been something I saw on a (shhhh) torrent site and said, well, why not?

I should never have sold the VoT / Propeller combo CD back. First of all, they now are two separate CDs, so you pay more. Second, the records are amazing. I don't know where my head was at, I don't know WHY I didn't like these albums, and while I can't regain those years lost, I can enjoy them now.

So we begin my GBV series of postings with my top 5 tracks from their 1992 LP Propeller, so named because after 4 LPs that barely sold out their 500 or 1000-run pressings in Dayton, OH, the band figured it would be the record that finally propelled them out of the middle of Ohio. Sadly, it didn't, but it's certainly not for the lack of quality songs. I think they needed a bigger label or distributor, with this same record, to make it out of the indie circuit minor league's minor league, which they didn't have for a couple more records.

Several of their all-time classic tracks come from this record, and it's absolutely essential any reasonable GBV fan must own this. It's really their first record featuring what became GBV trademarks, of a sort: massive singalong choruses, "anthems" even, walled guitars. An interesting factoid about this record is that its original vinyl-only release in 1992 was limited to 500 copies, each one hand-designed by a band member or friends. So each original copy is unique. Of course, I don't own one, but the folks behind GBVDB - Guided By Voices Database have done yeoman's work in cataloging a huge proportion of the 500 unique copies. For this blog post, I've chosen as cover art one of my favorites from the original LP run - an actual Natural Light 6-pack box shrinkwrapped into the record!

So without further ado, and with a LOT of playlist mucking-about, here's my Top Five selections from Propeller.

originally released in 1992 on their own Rockathon Records

1) Over The Neptune/Mesh Gear Fox
Yes, this counts as one track, since it's tracked as one. It's a two-song suite that, in tandem with the following track "Weed King", sums up GBV pretty much in a nutshell. Neo-psychedelic, reaching beyond post-British Invasion (think the Who), garage rock, with 80s American college rock influences, it's all in these two (three?) songs. 

2) Weed King
See above. 

3) Quality Of Armor
The worst defense is intelligence, the best defense is belligerence. And oh yea, I'm to drive my car, go really far. 

4) Exit Flagger
One of their first garage 4-track Portastudio recordings that belies the recording methodology. It just sounds HUGE, and it's a song the band remained fond of (and well they should!) for years to come. Probably the first "classic" GBV track. It could have sat on any of their mid-90s records, easily, and had it been more widely available, it'd be even more well known. 

5) 14 Cheerleader Coldfront
The first classic Tobin Sprout (guitarist, and alternate songwriter/vocalist) track of many to come in later years. Gently acoustic, the recording sounds almost like it was recorded in a cardboard box - but don't let that fool you. It's a beautiful song that would sound even more amazing recorded in a proper studio.

Grab them all here.

Honorable mentions, or tracks that floated in and out of consideration for this post: "Unleashed! The Large-Hearted Boy" (though see a future post), "Metal Mothers" ("you find time to get laid, you find ways to get paid"), "Circus World".

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's Like Soul Man: 5 days of GBV

I'm going to try something new with the blog for now. There are only so many out-of-print records I can go on about, 1) it gets tiring, and 2) I listen to more than just OOP material.

So in a noble experiment, well, not so noble or experimental, but challenging in that it will force me to get creative, I'm going to attempt to nail down my 5 favorite Guided By Voices tracks, one per day. Anybody with some slight knowledge of US indierock/"low-fi" knows how difficult of a challenge this may be, because in the time it's taken to read what I've written so far, Bob Pollard has probably written and recorded 10 songs.

To save my sanity, and make it a more reasonable challenge, I'm limiting myself to the "classic" GBV era (pre-Cobra Verde musicians, ending approximately with the 1996 LP Under The Bushes Under The Stars. No slight on the latter lineup, because the couple times I saw that lineup live they did bring it, but any GBV fan knows that the soul of the band died, or dimmed, when guitarist/foil Tobin Sprout left after the '96 LP.

I'll probably begin with the first-of-the-five in the next day or so (because, like the ultimate construction of their legendary Bee Thousand LP, the many lists I've made in preparation for this post are nearly completely different from each other), as I really need to nail down my absolute top 5 tracks. It's really fucking difficult with this band, even taking out the wilderness years 1985-1991 and concentrating on the Propeller/Vampire on Titus/a million EPs/Bee Thousand/another million EPs/Alien Lanes/more EPs/Under The Bushes Under The Stars sequence - there are, perhaps, close to 200 songs to choose from (and, of those, only a third don't really rate for this post).

So... without dwelling on it, what are my readers' top 5 "classic era" GBV songs? Interesting to see where everyone's head is at with this one. My posts will likely start in the next couple days.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

the big reveal: POSTER CHILDREN Toreador Squat

With thanks to Josh D of The Wizard's Super-Special Rock and Roll Good Times Jamboree! for the actual cassette and transfer, I am excited to bring you a World First - or at least a Power of Independent Trucking first - as previously discussed: 

with exclusive liner notes from the band!

I have been on a semi-serious hunt for this record (tape) for twenty years, or, as long as I've known of its existence. We've previously blogged the Poster Children here, and I extended my plea to readers of my blog. Lo! #1 - faithful reader Josh D rose to meet the challenge, and went way over and above the call of duty in finally ending my two-decade quest by ripping his original 1988 copy of this cassette. Thanks Josh!

So... now that I have this record, let's do some reading about it on the Internets. Why not - a good way to kill time while soaking in the first-time listen to this wonderful burst of Midwest pop/postpunk.

But... where's the discussion? Why does nearly every website that even bothers to mention this record simply recycle the same verbiage every other site uses? Needless to say, there is virtually nothing written about this record beyond very uber-basic background info, and minimal at that.

So I took the bull by the horns and went direct to the source. I emailed the band and Lo! #2, they responded. And they love the blog! And after a very basic brief about what I was doing, they opened up the cooperation floodgates. I was amazed, impressed and eternally grateful. Thanks Rick and Rose!

To make a long, boring, technoweenie discussion short, this record (tape) was the band's first release, if you can call it that. Recorded in an attic in Champaign, IL in early 1988 on a Portastudio 4-track cassette recorder, these songs were the Poster Children's calling card in the very early days of their career. Selling the tapes locally at shows and indie record shops, the band quickly developed a following and, well, the rest is history.

Not a whole hell of a lot of these tapes were made. I honestly didn't think I'd get a response to my plea, knowing the age of the tape and the age bracket of those who would have bought or been given a copy back in 1988. That Josh D responded, and with an actual, original tape (and not some mp3's from a generated dub of a dub), still floors me.

Because of the complete dearth of information on the Internets, Rick Valentin (guitars/vocals) and Rose Marshack (bass) - the two original and primary Poster Children - agreed to 1) let the blog host lossless copies of this record, and 2) write the "liner notes"! Needless to say I was thrilled. It is so very rarely that a band is as personable, reachable, fan-friendly and just plain *nice* as these guys are. And they don't mind giving their music away! That is to say, Rick felt it wouldn't be appropriate to charge people for this record these days.

That said... as I did last time I blogged a PC record, I encourage all listeners to visit the band's "Hat" on their website and drop some cash in the hat via PayPal, whatever amount you feel necessary, if you like. By all means don't feel obligated to do so, but it's a nice gesture. I will be doing the same even though I've purchased every PC album released since this tape.

Enough appetizers. Let's get to the main course. And this being The Power of Independent Trucking, as is my wont, I cleaned up the tracks quite a bit, as the straight-off-the-highspeed-dub tracks did need some massaging. I indicated the same to the band when I initiated contact about this endeavor.

Rick's response to my initial hesitant query:

I think this is a great idea! I've been trying for years to get the original four-track master from the guy who recorded Toreador Squat and I don't think it's gonna happen, so having a cleaned up version of the cassette would be the next best thing...

I'd be fine with you hosting it on your blog and I'm sure we can dredge up some memories of the recording for liner notes...

And then after some back-and-forth, this:

As far as Toreador Squat goes, I definitely feel like these are bonus-type tracks, the kind of thing fans would like but not necessarily something I would feel right charging for.

Thanks for getting the ball rolling with this! Getting these tracks cleaned up and digitized was something I've had on my to do list forever but never got around to (and probably never would have!)

And then Rose emailed me indicating she loved my blog so much she shared it on Facebook ;)

So, shall we?

(notes by Rick Valentin except where noted)

The cover and title of the cassette came from a type of paper bag. Rose hand-drew the insert -- this was before we discovered Zipatone and before we had Photoshop. There are a bunch of [Thomas] Pynchon references in the credits (The Paranoids, a muted post horn, W.A.S.T.E.) -- we were really into The Crying of Lot 49 at the time (and really anti-Fountainhead, hence the Ayn Rand un-credit).

Trashcan Records was a cassette-only label run by Jim Slusarek and Chris Corpora which released a couple of compilations of Champaign music and put out individual “albums” by a few local bands. Jim set up his Portastudio and microphones in our attic rehearsal space and recorded us playing our instruments live, then we added vocals afterwards. Chris would make duplicates of the master on his tape deck and we’d package up the tapes and sell them at shows and in local record stores.

These recording sessions were in the spring of 1988, just a few months before we recorded the bulk of Flower Plower with Iain Burgess, so the a lot of the tracks are duplicated on FP but there are a few that never made it into the Iain sessions, I’m not sure why, probably because we ran out of time/money.

01 Hollywood USA 
 I think the original title for this song was "The Cowboy Song" and (in our minds) it was some kind of combination of rockabilly and Naked Raygun.

02 The Bump Bump Song
We always had a problem with new songs, we wanted to play them right away but they usually didn’t have finished lyrics so we’d have to name them by some musical characteristic rather than the subject. This song had “bumps” in the rhythm so it became the "Bump Bump Song".

03 Rain On Me
The one thing I notice on this track is the hi-hat (or lack thereof). During the Flower Plower sessions Shannon (drummer) was feeling left out of the overdub process so he added a hi-hat over his drum part, which I notice every time I hear the song - it’s kind of nice to hear the original drum part on the cassette version.

04 Detective Tracy 
 Rose’s dad (a jazz trumpeter) always liked this song because it had that goofy break where we did the walking bass and guitar parts. The lyrics came from a weird combination of classic Dick Tracy comic strips and dealing with religious zealots in college.

05 Carrie Look Ahead 
This is one of the songs that fell by the wayside by the time we recorded with Iain Burgess. I think it was because we had a newer “quiet” song ("She Walks" [ed: available on Flower Plower]) and didn’t want to record too many soft numbers with the man who had engineered [Naked Raygun's] All Rise and [Didjits'] Hey Judester.
ROSE: I've always wanted to re-record "Carrie Look Ahead", named after a type of digital logic adder! 

06 And So It Goes... (The Skanky Song)
[ed: Recorded live at Mabel's, Champaign IL 3 May 1988]
I wouldn’t have remembered this song if it wasn’t on tape. I’m not sure what the deal is with the vocals - it sounds like a Bob Mould impersonation that went horribly awry!

07 Jeremy Straight
This was our attempt at a Naked Raygun song, complete with "Oh-way-ohs".

08 White Noise (Black Light)
[ed: re-titled "Question" for Flower Plower]
In the early days of the band, I would bring in a song into practice that I’d written myself or worked on with Rose -- I think this is the first song we wrote together as a band and it seemed better than any of the songs I wrote myself so “jamming” became our predominant method of songwriting after this.

09 The Un-Reggae Song 
This one was a Joe Jackson-y ska-ish song with some David Byrne-isms thrown in. So we were about 15 years ahead of the New Wave revival! Or more likely about 5 years behind the times...

10 Carvers of New York City 
For some reason I always thought of this as our attempt at a Cheap Trick type of song but I’m not really sure why I thought that - maybe because I was singing at a higher pitch than normal? The lyrics came from randomly selecting words and phrases from an article in the Atlantic Monthly - there was a story about people carving fake African figures and masks.

11 State of Mind 
This was a song from the band Rose and I were in before PC, The Evidence. It has more of the Minutemen/Hüsker Dü thing we were into at the time.

12 The Weenie Song 
Another weenie song that didn’t make the Flower Plower cut as our songs got more aggressive overall.

13 Five Minutes
Another Evidence song, definitely of the attempted Hüsker Dü variety.

14 The Half-Time Song 
I don’t think this one had lyrics until the recording session. When we played live I would just jabber and hope that no one could hear. The center section is me talking to a baby kitten, Bob, that Chris had just adopted.

- - - - - -
Tracks 1-4, 7-9 were re-recorded with Iain Burgess later in 1988 and released on Flower Plower.
Track 10 was re-recorded with Steve Albini in 1990 and released on Daisychain Reaction.
Tracks 5-6, 11-14 were never re-visited or released beyond this cassette.

Original transfer from the 1988 cassette by Josh D, as mentioned above
Remastered (though it does bring out some of the flaws in the high-speed dubbing process) in September 2010 by the Analog Loyalist. HINT - it sounds much better in headphones ;)

Oh, you want the files? Lossless FLACs are here
See for a FLAC decoder or suggested players.

With the most sincere thanks to Rick, Rose, drummer Shannon and Josh, I bid you all to enjoy!

Friday, October 8, 2010

beat the (for profit) bootleggers!

What surprises me is it's taken so long for something like this to happen. Bastards.

Remember - you heard these tracks, these actual versions, here first!

Spread the word far and wide, all but the Moonlight tracks are available, FREE - and lossless, right here on this blog.

On to our regularly-scheduled programming....

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Episode 93: A New Hope

This weekend marks an important milestone for the blog, necessitating a critical rethink of my objectives, future postings and considerations of "what should I post?".

You see... this weekend I learned that my next (or very shortly thereafter) post will be done with the full consent and cooperation of the band I'll be blogging. Not to give any spoilers, but the record I will be blogging has never seen any sort of widescale (or even mediumscale) release, and I'd never heard it - despite seeking it for 20 years - until this weekend when I finally landed my mitts on a copy. This band in question has experienced the trials and tribulations of being on a major label, as well as doing quite well as an independent-label band. They've, suffice it to say, been around the block.

One thing led to another, and what it comes down to is that the band in question will be writing liner notes for the post. What I've asked for is a detailed track-by-track breakdown of the recording sessions, their thoughts on the song(s), etc., but whatever they choose to give me, I'll be grateful for and post. Furthermore, the band has gracefully given their consent for the blog to host this record in lossless format (FLAC). I'm pretty excited!

What this means, though, is that a *lot* of the records I've posted, either as whole albums, or in the various compilations I've posted, were made by friends of the band in question. While the vast majority are out of print, a few aren't, and the ethical blogger in me tells me to remove the links for those records in print. And the ethical blogger in me also is voicing, quite loudly, concerns that I should take a *very* sharp look at what I will be posting in the future. Is the blog entering a new period of semi-legitimacy? Should I wish for this burden?

Now I've already blogged this band before, and they are aware of it. Fortunately the record(s) I've blogged are out of print!

Please share your thoughts about this whole "what this means going forward" bit. Very curious to hear the reactions!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm going stupid once again: PARIS ANGELS revisit

Way back in the beginning of time, I blogged this band. Made some noise about posting a complete discography or somesuch.

I lied.

The discography was (relatively) nowhere near complete. Oh, I didn't miss anything "major", but I've since obtained at least another half-dozen tracks that should have been in the previous post.

Don't let anyone tell you The Power of Independent Trucking doesn't fix its errors ;)

So as long as we're fixing errors, we may as well post the 99.9% Complete Discography of this woefully underappreciated Manchester band, but this time we'll do it right and in FLAC no less.

And I'll come clean: The reason this is only 99.9% complete is that there are a couple questionable 7" edits out there that may or may not be relevant, and there is one last track available on some mega ultra rare compilation that they've all probably disintegrated by now (a track called "Don't Fake Mine" - if any reader has it lossless, please let me know!).

If I do locate any additions to this compendium, I will certainly post them, fear not.

So onward. Let's do this Factory Records band (that never was on Factory, but reading the names of persons involved in all aspects of this band's existence you'd sure think they were a classic Factory act) justice as all their records are LONG out of print, and they need to be heard.

It's long been my opinion that that this band, with the right label or anything beyond total label indifference (hello Virgin), could have escaped Madchester intact as the Charlatans did. They weren't simply a product of their time (listen to the music), they had gobs of talent, and the songs to go along with it. They had everything needed to be a mini-New Order (minus Hooky). They had New Order's engineer producing their records (Michael Johnson), their original label came from a strong Factory/New Order background (their initial label Sheer Joy having been started by an ex-Factory Records employee), they had that really nice blend of electronics and acoustics so wonderfully exploited by the best New Order tracks. They received dancefloor play at the Hacienda, and gigged there too (in fact the Hac is the reason I first became aware of this band, when a mate heard "Perfume" there well before release in 1990 and couldn't stop gabbing about it for months upon return to the States). They even had half of Factory's nearly-in-house design team (Craig Johnson of Johnson and Panas, who did a LOT of design for Factory and Electronic in the later years of Factory's existence) which often gave Peter Saville a run for his money (see the "Perfume" 12" cover, nearly iconic in its own right - which I've re-engineered below to serve as the cover for this compilation).

So that this band has been utterly neglected for the past almost 20 years is beyond my simple grasp. It's borderline criminal. Someone needs to step in, license these records, and give them the proper reissue treatment they deserve. Their entire catalog - the whole damn thing - has been out of print for nearly every single one of these past twenty years. It's shameful.

A few key additions to the last post:

1) New mixes "discovered" of their classic, best track "Perfume", including one which very quickly became my by-a-thousand-miles favorite interpretation of the track. I'm speaking of a previously-unknown (to me) mix called, simply, "Perfume (version)" which was tucked away as the extra track on the 12" vinyl release of their debut single. It is, in a word, spellbinding. As brilliant as I believed the "original" mix (simply entitled "Perfume" no modifiers) to be, the "(version)" variant beats it in all possible ways. How? By knifing out the sequenced drums and focusing on the nearly Steve Morris-esque drums buried in the "original" mix. Secondly, the "(version)" variant has a quite lovely harmony/alternate vocal line from other singer Jane starting about midway through the track that all other variants sadly lack. All put together, the "(version)" variant is the perfect "Perfume". And now here it is, in glorious mastered FLAC, mastered from original vinyl, and spotlessly mastered at that. Not a clue at all it's vinyl sourced.

2) The only two *released* BBC session tracks now are included - a track from their first Peel session in September 1990, and a track from a Mark Goodier session in October 1990.

3) Remixes from their last-ever single, "Fade", now included. Also included is another vinyl-only mix, the "Fade (Part 2)" mix, which was the extra track on the "Fade" 12" vinyl single, like "Perfume (version)" spotlessly mastered from original vinyl.

4) And yet another vinyl-only track, an alternate edit of "Perfume" which was titled and released as the extra track on the Virgin re-release 12" as "Perfume (summer version)". This is simply an edit of the Virgin-spawned "Perfume (all on you)" and really here for completist sakes only, I don't see people wanting this as their only example of this track. Again, mastered from original vinyl, and spotlessly mastered at that without a clue of vinyl lineage.

5) All the Virgin-released "Perfume" mixes were mis-pitched. I've fixed them. Specifically, "Perfume (loved up" / "Perfume (all on you)" / "Perfume (summer version)" all suffered from incorrect mastering, at the wrong pitch.

See the prior post for the illustrated discograpy, I'll just run down the tracklisting and at the end, detail out lineage.

- - - - -

the 99.9% Complete Discography, 1989-1991

00 Don't Fake Mine (recorded for Piccadilly Radio March 1990)
01 Stay
02 Perfume
03 All On You (Perfume)
04 Muffin 2
05 Techno (Live at Subterania)
06 Perfume (version)
07 Stay (Peel session, 27 September 1990)
08 Scope
09 Give Me More...Scope
10 Scope Two
11 GBF
12 Oh Yes
13 I Understand
14 Oh Yes Instrumental
15 Too Easy
16 Oh Yes (Mark Goodier session, 27 October 1990)
17 Perfume (loved up)
18 Pure
19 Perfume (all on you)
20 Perfume (summer version)
21 Eternity
22 Fade
23 Smile
24 Slippery Man
25 What Goes On
26 Perfume (all on you)
27 Louise
28 Breathless
29 Chaos (Stupid Stupid)
30 Purest Values
31 Oh Yes (extended)
32 Fade
33 Fade (Tag mix)
34 Fence
35 Fade (Polo mix)
36 Fade (part two)

00 from Hit The North, various artists (Bop Cassettes, BIP 806 CD)
1 from HOME, various artists (Sheer Joy, Sheer 001CD)
2-5 from the original "Perfume" CD single (Sheer Joy, Sheer 002/CD)
6 from the original "Perfume" 12" vinyl single (Sheer Joy, Sheer 002/T)
7 from New Season - The Peel Sessions, various artists (Strange Fruit, SFRCD205)
8-11 from the "Scope" CD single (Sheer Joy, Sheer 004/CD)
12-15 from the "Oh Yes" CD single (Sheer Joy, Sheer 005/CD)
16 from the best of The Mark Goodier Radio1 Sessions Volume 1, various artists (Nighttracks, MARK 1)
17-19 from the re-released "Perfume" CD single (Virgin, VSCDT 1360)
20 from the re-released "Perfume" 12" vinyl single (Virgin, VST 1360)
21-31 from the Sundew CD album (Virgin, CDV 2667)
32-35 from the "Fade" CD single (Virgin, VSCDG 1365)
36 from the "Fade" 12" vinyl single (Virgin, VST 1365)

All the above in glorious lossless FLAC, gently remastered by your host, here! Warning - it's spread across 12 RAR files.

****** SPECIAL EDIT ******
a kind reader forwarded on a lossless rip of "Don't Fake Mine" from a various artists compilation, could be the rarest Paris Angels track!

grab the FLAC here!


Alternate color combos (click for full-size):

Saturday, September 4, 2010

as promised: Joy Division 'Recycle' Sampler - lossless

I don't think this needs any introduction.

A Recycle Sampler
Selections from the Recycle project
including one track completely unused in the "official" set!

Presented in lossless FLAC

01 At A Later Date (from the 'An Ideal For Living' set)
02 No Love Lost (from the 'An Ideal For Living' set)
03 Digital (Hannett version) (from the FAC 2 set)
04 Transmission (Strawberry version) (from the FAC 13 set)
05 Atmosphere (from the 'Licht und Blindheit' set)
06 Dead Souls (pitch corrected) (from the 'Licht und Blindheit' set)
07 Ice Age (pitch corrected) (from the 'Licht und Blindheit' set)
08 Love Will Tear Us Apart (single A-side) (from the FAC 23 set)
09 These Days (pitch corrected) (unissued)
10 The Sound Of Music (from the FAC 23 set)
11 Komakino (from the FAC 28 set)
12 Colony (pitch corrected) (unissued)
13 She's Lost Control 12 inch version (pitch corrected) (unissued)
14 Twenty Four Hours (live from the High Hall, Birmingham 2 May 1980) (from the FACUS 2 set)
15 These Days (live from the Lyceum, London 29 February 1980) (from the FACUS2 set)
16 She's Lost Control full mix (pitch corrected) (unissued)
17 Atmosphere (live from the Paradiso, Amsterdam 11 January 1980) (from the FAC 213 set)

Find it here!


Monday, August 23, 2010

how slow can you go: CODEINE Frigid Stars LP

Sometimes a record so perfectly encapsulates a mood, references such a specific time and/or place that there's no other way for that mood or that experience to be the same without the accompanying record in there somewhere.

I hadn't planned to blog this record for another few months but I think that because I've been going to it for solace, when breaking from the Smiths mastering for that other blog, it was time.

Now dealing with Morrissey on the one, and Codeine on the other, I'd imagine people are either lining up the pills for your humble blogger, or preparing the rubber room for my impending confinement. Ha! I say. I just like the damn thing.

This 1990 release is a VERY powerful record - a record that gains its power not only from its breathless lack of speed, but from its immense sheets of guitars. Stephen Immerwahr's vocals sound as if they're vocalized from the depths of despair, an icy sheen that just adds to the remoteness, the emotional gravity, of the record. And indie legend Chris Brokaw - doubling up here on both guitars *and* drums - has to be an utterly fantastic drummer just due to the nature of how precisely slow a timekeeper he had to be.

With a name like Frigid Stars, and the cover shown below, you can just picture the emotional desolation of this record.

It's not a record for a bright, sunny summer August day. For a chilly, windswept January winterscape, or blustery, rainy fall day with the onset of a brutal winter on the horizon, it's perfect. And while some songs individually are standouts, it's a record best enjoyed as a piece.

There is a stylistic, and (after this record) musical link between Codeine and one of this blog's other favorite set of acts, the Bitch Magnet/Seam axis. BM/Seam fellow Sooyoung Park gifted this record's "New Year's" to Codeine several years before one of his own bands recorded it (Seam did so in 1993 on the Headsparks LP), and not only does Codeine thank the Bitch Magnet folks in the credits, their next record (an EP not blogged here, though I may in the future) featured BM's Jon Fine and part-time BM David Grubbs in various guesting roles.

"Cave In", for that matter, sounds like a track that fell off the master reels for Bitch Magnet's Umber LP, and "Cigarette Machine" could have spun off from Ben Hur. Really great songs, all of them.

So enjoy, lossless FLAC for your pleasure.

Frigid Stars LP
1990 Sub Pop

01 D
02 Gravel Bed
03 Pickup Song
04 New Year's
05 Second Chance
06 Cave In
07 Cigarette Machine
08 Old Things
09 3 Angels
10 Pea

edit: removed link


Monday, August 9, 2010

biting off more than I can chew?

Our latest endeavour:

Smiths: Extra Track (and a tacky badge)

Modeled after the ultra-successful New Order and Joy Division Recycle blog.

Same people behind it too!

One day the labels will see the value of involving the fans. If not, their loss.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled posting...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

summer break / Joy Division RECYCLE musings

Well only a brief one...

Our next post, unless the mood strikes differently, will be this blog's alternative masterings of the RECYCLE blog's Joy Division packages. There are enough curios either left out of RECYCLE, or tracks released there to warrant additional consideration, that it would warrant its own post over here (and as lossless FLAC).

I'm just waiting for our friend £50 Note to wrap up his end of the deal with Atmosphere 1988, which I promise will be a spectacular treat to wind up the series ;)

So, with the caveat that no, I will *not* be posting every part of the Joy Division RECYCLE series as lossless FLAC, which individual tracks, from the Joy Division series, would you like to see over here?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

R.E.M. Fables demos, unleashed!

I've probably said it here before, but if not, let me put it out there for once and for all:

My all-time favorite R.E.M. record is 1985's Fables Of The Reconstruction.

Oh, it battled over the years with 1984's Reckoning, 1986's Lifes Rich Pageant, and in more modern times, 1992's Automatic For The People. But unlike those records, something about Fables always drew me back in. Whether it was the oppressively gauzy production, the absolutely beautiful songwriting, the ribbons of melody streaming off the record, it was always there for me. It's a very dark, gloomy record, and it's a stunningly beautiful record. Southern Gothic, yes.

As the band has done over the past two years with 1983's Murmur and the followup Reckoning, the 25th anniversary of this record's release comes this year and with it a deluxe remaster/repackaging of the record. Murmur and Reckoning saw their CD2's filled with live sets, and while there were plenty of good contemporary gig candidates for Fables, the band instead dug deep into the vaults for the recording session arranged in Athens, Georgia just prior to jetting off to London to record with Joe Boyd.

It's been said by the band that Fables was rather underwritten (which I disagree). These demos put lie to this myth - R.E.M. went to London with perhaps their strongest collection of songs to date, needing only minute changes in the studio from what they demoed in Athens, GA prior to leaving.

So while these aren't ripped directly from the record (which isn't released for another week), they are captured from the streaming audio and sound far better than what one would expect from such a thing.

Unlike the final release of these tracks (henceforth called the Athens Demos, as the band has entitled them), this blog's version has them in actual Fables order, with the non-album songs tacked onto the end.

I'll leave it to the listener to decide their favorites, but I will point out a few things that immediately struck me at first listen:

Overall the Athens Demos sound very much like Reckoning in actual sound. The tracks were mostly live in the studio, as was Reckoning. There were minimal overdubs, again like Reckoning. There was little time to mess with the tracks, and the raw recordings really bring out how well written these songs are overall.

I think if you listen really, REALLY carefully to the final album recording, you can hear hints of Bill Berry's manic drum pattern deep in the murk.

This demo recording puts the emphasis more on melody than the final recording, which emphasizes mood.

If Murmur/Reckoning producers Mitch Easter and Don Dixon produced the third R.E.M. LP, this is what it would sound like.

The final recording doesn't stray too far from this blueprint, and you still can't completely decipher Michael Stipe.


Nearly interchangeable with the final recording, which makes sense as it had been played live for nearly 8 months before this (along with "Driver 8") and the band had a pretty good handle on where it was going.

Missing the horns that featured on the final recording, still a good blueprint for the album track.

I really like Stipe's "la la la, laaaa" intro melody, I wish he'd kept it for the final recording. Another track which ultimately trades this version's emphasis on melody with the final recording's emphasis on mood.

Perhaps my favorite track of all time on the actual Fables LP, here it sounds strangely denuded. The one case where I prefer the final recording to the demo. I think because Joe Boyd and the band had such terrible times mixing the record, things were tried on this album track that made it work (on the actual record, "Kohoutek"'s drum sound is completely dissimilar to any other song on the record, and is better for it).


More manic than the final recording. I like the stick clicks continuing during the guitar breaks, which doesn't feature on the final recording.

A beautiful track either way you shake it, again more of a melodic emphasis here than the moodiness of the final recording. The complete lyric gives lie to the myth that the overall lyrical tone of the final LP, and this song in particular, was influenced by the terrible time the band was having away from home in a miserable London winter (since this recording predates that London trip). Lovely Mike Mills vocal countermelodies that are VERY prominent at 2:38 onwards, missing from the final recording.

One of my favorite tracks ever, this out-beautifuls the final recording (if that's even possible). I suppose they've always been there, but Stipe/Mills/Berry create some absolutely stunning vocal harmonies, and Peter Buck's subdued guitar really keeps the mood throughout the track. Stipe's whistling starting at 1:40 doesn't detract at all, in fact I wish he did this on the final recording!


Stipe already sounds bored with the track.

Not quite as manic as the 1986 recording with Don Gehman as featured on Lifes Rich Pageant, the extra gestation time gave the band more opportunity to tighten up the track. A better fit on Pageant than would have been on Fables.

Finally we hear a studio version of the track listed on the inner sleeve tracklisting on Fables, but dropped from the lineup at the last minute and never before heard except at a couple early 1985 gigs (and poorly-bootlegged thereafter). I can see why it was dropped, it's frankly not very good. The lyric was famously recycled and rewritten as the infinitely superior "I Believe" for 1986's Lifes Rich Pageant.

- - - - -

edit: Removed link.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I think he likes it: TAR - Jackson (lossless revisit)

Tap tap. Is this thing on?

Apologies again for the (relatively) lengthy delay in new postings. With the onset of summer comes additional projects to tackle in and around the homefront, taking more and more of my tiny slice of available time to devote to the blog.

So it is at the risk of repeating myself that we revisit Tar (as we've done before).

Now last year I posted most of this Chicago proto-grunge noiserock band's Amphetamine Reptile catalog, as MP3. Tar's whole AmRep catalog is now out-of-print, and only selectively available via your usual download-only retailers. This includes one of my favorite records of all time, their 1991 LP Jackson.

If heavy duty factory machinery had a soundtrack to their day, it would be Tar. Dual guitars relentlessly threshing and grinding away, propelled by propulsive bass and drumming, gloriously captured by Steve Albini (in "beautiful downtown Chicago in July, 1991" at Chicago Recording Company). Vocalist John Mohr doesn't need to "sing" to this soundtrack, so he doesn't. There is no singing at the factory. I don't understand how the hands of progress could be so cold, indeed ("Trauma").

So rather than burying this wonderful record amongst a Tar mega-pack, here be it freed as lossless FLAC. Please enjoy responsibly, keep your hands out of the equipment, wear hard hats at all times, etc. Slight remastering from an original 1991 CD issue (as if there are any others, considering this record probably sold less than 10,000 units)...

But first - a video! This is exactly how I imagined a Tar video would look, when I only heard there was one for this song. Now thanks to the magic Internets you can enjoy it too! Also this is perhaps close to the most melodic Tar song in existence, at least chording-wise.


So enjoy. And a slight warning: the second side of the LP (starting with "Dark Mark") is slightly better than the first - bar "Short Trades", one of the best tracks by any band ever.

- - - - -

1991 Amphetamine Reptile Records

01 Short Trades
02 Cross Offer
03 Walking The King
04 On A Transfer
05 Trauma
06 Dark Mark
07 Goethe
08 Tellerman
09 Land Luck
10 Viaduct Removal

Get it here.

And, if the interest is there, I recently acquired 1990's Roundhouse/Handsome CD (also out-of-print) and would be happy to FLAC it here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

essential: Neil Young - Time Fades Away HDCD

While today's record may seem incongruous from my typical blogpost, in all reality, it's not.

You see, your humble blogger has been a Neil Young fan for over 20 years. And while many of his songs are classic rock anthems, he's not been called the "godfather of grunge" for nothing. He once called Sonic Youth's "Expressway to Yr Skull" the greatest guitar song of all time, he's championed many an indie act via his annual Bridge School Benefit gigs to support the Bridge School (an organization set up by the Youngs in 1986 to help children impaired by severe physical and speech impairments), and he's never seen fit to kowtow to his fans or public.

Case in point is today's featured record, 1973's Time Fades Away.

On the back of the massive blockbuster success of his 1972 acoustic record Harvest ("Heart of Gold" among others), Young put together an all-star band and toured to an audience raptly anticpating recasts of the classic commercial Neil. However.... In his words: "'Heart of Gold' put me in the middle of the road. Traveling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch."

Writing an entirely new body of work on the road, the Harvest tour soon saw Neil performing sets of never-before-heard material to audiences expecting "Heart of Gold". And the all-star band backing Young didn't get it - not like Young wanted them to, at least. But Young had an idea, why not make the next record a record of these new songs, played live in front of audiences completely unfamiliar with the material? So he did, releasing the results (assembled from a multitude of live dates) as Time Fades Away.

And he hated it, as did contemporary critics (though you'll not find a critic today who doesn't love the record).

It was a bad period in Neil's career, with the deaths of several musicians in the Young orbit from drugs hanging heavily on his back at the time. The music and the lyrics of this period (the oft-termed "Ditch Trilogy" series of LPs Time Fades Away, Tonight's The Night and On The Beach, recorded in that order from 1973-1974) reflect this entirely.

In an interview from 1987 with the BBC, Young stated that his "least favorite record is Time Fades Away. I think it's the worst record I ever made - but as a documentary of what was happening to me, it was a great record. I was onstage and I was playing all these songs that nobody had heard before, recording them, and I didn't have the right band. It was just an uncomfortable tour. It was supposed to be this big deal - I just had Harvest out, and they booked me into ninety cities. I felt like a product, and I had this band of all-star musicians that couldn't even look at each other. It was a total joke."

And that's the funny thing - it's absolutely NOT a bad record. In fact it's many a fan's favorite Neil LP of all time. Perhaps this is because the record's been out of print for nearly 35 years, and it's the sole remaining "canon" piece from Neil's extensive catalog not to see a CD release (in 2003, 4 of the 6 Neil LPs that up to then had not been on CD were finally issued as HDCD CD's by Reprise, though TFA and 1972's soundtrack LP Journey Through The Past were not).

I think Neil's recollection of this record is colored by the events of the time within his orbit. He's completely dismissing the fantastic songwriting on this record, and while the performances may not be up to par (which is completely fitting with Neil Young records, as any semi-serious fan will know), the record, as a piece, is stunning.

So as mentioned, this record - to this day - has never seen an official CD release anywhere in the world.

That being said........ in 1995, when Reprise Records first seriously considered officially issuing the "Missing 6" mentioned previously on CD, HDCD-encoded "test pressing" CDs of this - and several other at-the-time unavailable Young LPs - circulated. Not test pressings per se, more likely they were review copies or promo releases that escaped Reprise clutches before Young put his official DNR tag on the product. Of course the 1995 campaign ended with no Missing 6 CDs actually being released, but the escaped copies are still out there in the wild, and sound completely gobsmackingly fantastic.

You see, TFA was mixed by computer in 1972, as the songs rolled off the multitrack reels into the mastering house. There was no "master tape" per se, the mixdown was mastered direct to disk. Neil Young collector Jef Michael Piehler of SideStreet Records: "The problem with Time Fades Away is even worse, as it naively stated on LP labels: "This Recording Was Mastered 16-Track Direct To Disc (acetate) by Computer"; the multi-track master tape was recorded/mixed LIVE, leaving little room for remixing the "warts & all" tape hiss, bad notes & crowd noise. To reassemble the album, someone would need to sort through fifty or so ¼" and/or 2" multi-track reels & "a few" cassettes. Finding the right version by date would be easy enough, but at what stage would the mix be at? Raw recording? Truck monitor mix? Mono PA monitor recording? And what about necessary over-dubs ("LA", "Last Dance")? Where are Crosby's vocals? How'd they layer the voices like that? ...impossible."

So how'd they do it in 1995? Well, the record did see release on 8-track and cassette in the 70s, and it's presumed a backup safety reel of the live-as-she-goes computer mixdown was simultaneously made at the same time the LP was mastered, and Young may have used this to master the '95 HDCD encoding. But it's never actually been discussed, so we'll never know until the official release (if that ever comes).

So enjoy. I certainly do, this record, by leaps and bounds, is the most played Neil Young LP in my entire collection (and I've got most of 'em).

1995 CD:

1995 tray card inlay:

- - - - -

Time Fades Away
1973, Reprise Records

this version ripped from a 1995 HDCD-encoded mastering, subsequently withdrawn

*still entirely out-of-print*

01 Time Fades Away
02 Journey Through The Past
03 Yonder Stands The Sinner
04 LA
05 Love In Mind
06 Don't Be Denied
07 The Bridge
08 Last Dance

Get yer FLACs here!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

let's begin again: Bedhead - WhatFunLifeWas

So it's been a while since I've posted anything new.

Life has intruded, ebbs and flows, but eventually settles down.

What also helps is discovering new music. Not new as in released-last-week, but new as in "why haven't I heard this before, and why is this NOT in my record collection?!?" music. Such as it is with today's feature, a record that 5 days ago I was completely unaware of and had no musical knowledge of. Oh I knew it existed, as an entry in a discography kind of way, but nothing more than that.

You see... I've been on a Kadane brothers blitz off and on for the past several months. Starting with their current project The New Year and working my way backwards, I've been discovering the utter musical genius that is the Texan brothers Matt and Bubba Kadane and the jawdroppingly-beautiful music they create.

I'm not so familiar with the brothers' backstory so I won't go into much detail (because I don't know it!), but starting in 1992 Matt and Bubba Kadane (both guitarists) began releasing records as Bedhead, and when that band ended in 1998 later formed The New Year - which is still active.

I really haven't a clue where to begin describing Bedhead, but today's record - Bedhead's debut LP from 1994 - sounds as if Slowdive raided J Mascis' guitar collection, added some Louisville, KY math rock to the blender, and threw away the effects pedals. It's perhaps the best shoegaze record I've ever heard, but it's not shoegaze. It's perhaps the best slowcore record I've ever heard, but it's not slowcore. It's not post-rock but they could post-rock Tortoise to the end. It's not math rock, it's not punk rock, but it's all those.

Where has this record been and why hasn't it been in my collection for the past 16 years?

Take the second track here "Haywire". The guitars are straight out of the 1990-1992 UK Midlands shoegaze scene, but the ending is completely and utterly mindblowing. The song sounds like it was recorded live to two-track (which wouldn't surprise me at all) which makes the record even more impressive, considering what they're able to do with the simple three guitars, bass and drums formula.

For a quick hit intro to Bedhead just check out "Bedside Table" - a track that gently glides along on lovely intertwined guitars, and ends in a chaotic fury that had to have been AMAZING live.

I'll stop now because I'm too busy swooning to "Crushing".

1994 Trance Syndicate

01 Liferaft
02 Haywire
03 Bedside Table
04 The Unpredictable Landlord
05 Crushing
06 Unfinished
07 Powder
08 Foaming Love
09 To The Ground
10 Living Well
11 Wind Down

edit: Removed link.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Power of Independent Trucking : Best Of (so far...)

This is something I've been thinking about for a while, even before recent debacles have caused me to re-evaluate the blog. I know every post gains at least a new reader or two, and sometimes it's too much effort to browse through history and see what stuff you've missed. I know this from my own experience as a blog reader myself.

So I put together a "Best, so far..." post. And being me, I couldn't really edit down from my super list of tracks. So I figured who *doesn't* want 7+ hours of wonderful music to listen to, courtesy of your humble blogger? I would gather this would be roughly 5 CD-Rs worth of material, an even 100 songs from throughout the course of this blog's history.

Every track here I've posted at one time or another previously, so faithful readers from the beginning - assuming they pull down everything I post - will have all this material. If that faithful reader is you, I applaud you. And ask you to start your own blog too, because anybody who likes everything I post obviously is my kind of person.

Even I - the blogger with far too much attention to detail - couldn't fathom how to assemble 100 tracks into 5 (give or take) seamlessly-flowing CDs. So I lazied out and went alphabetically, by artist, and then chronologically by release when more than one track is featured from an artist. And you know what? Barring the occasional odd junctures as we leap styles now and then, it actually works as an easy listen! Only the very first, and very last, tracks are out of sequence: 1 because it gave the blog its name, and 100 because when I put it on a compilation, it *always* ends the comp.

As comprehensive as this compendium is, obviously this just touches the iceberg of material I like. There are easily 50 artists I love that haven't blogged, and obviously aren't in this compilation (hello Pavement, Guided by Voices, Yo La Tengo, and the like). So with that said, consider this my musical journey, in a nutshell.

I'm too lazy to post the relevant links-to-the-original-post in the below tracklist, but if you click the artist name on the sidebar -> over there, you'll eventually find the original post.


- - - - -

The Power of Independent Trucking : Best Of (so far...)

01 BIG BLACK The Power Of Independent Trucking
03 ARCWELDER Raleigh
04 BEDHEAD Parade
06 BIG BLACK Passing Complexion
07 BIG BLACK Kerosene
08 BITCH MAGNET Americruiser
09 BITCH MAGNET Mesentery
10 BITCH MAGNET Crescent
11 THE BOMB Never Want To See You Again
12 THE BOO RADLEYS Does This Hurt?
13 THE CHARLATANS Between 10th and 11th
14 THE CONNELLS Darker Days
15 DIDJITS Joliet
16 DURUTTI COLUMN (MARTIN HANNETT) First Aspect of the Same Thing
17 the FEELIES Raised Eyebrows
18 the FEELIES Slipping (Into Something)
19 the FEELIES Away
20 the FEELIES Invitation
21 fIREHOSE Brave Captain
22 fIREHOSE In Memory of Elizabeth Cotton
23 HAPPY MONDAYS WFL (Think about the future)
24 HÜSKER DÜ The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill
25 HÜSKER DÜ Flip Your Wig
26 the JESUS LIZARD Mouth Breather
27 the JESUS LIZARD Dancing Naked Ladies
28 JOY DIVISION No Love Lost (pitch corrected)
29 JOY DIVISION Dead Souls (pitch corrected)
30 JOY DIVISION Colony (pitch corrected)
31 LOW Immune
32 LOW Dinosaur Act
34 MINUTEMEN The Anchor
35 MINUTEMEN Corona (1987 mix)
36 MINUTEMEN History Lesson, Part II
37 BOB MOULD Paralyzed
38 BOB MOULD I Am Vision, I Am Sound
40 NAKED RAYGUN Soldiers Requiem
41 NINA NASTASIA Superstar
42 NEW FAST AUTOMATIC DAFFODILS Big (single version)
44 NEW ORDER Homage (7 September 1980 Western Works)
45 NEW ORDER Ceremony (September 1980 E.A.R.S. New Jersey)
46 NEW ORDER Temptation (7 inch version)
47 NEW ORDER Lonesome Tonight
48 NEW ORDER Let's Go (unreleased original 1985 vocal)
49 NEW ORDER When I'm With You (22 June 1982 Milan)
50 NEW ORDER Your Silent Face (16 June 1989 Irvine Meadows)
51 NEW ORDER Runwild (mix 3) [Primitive Notion]
52 NEW ORDER Shipwreck Of A Broken Man ["Turn My Way", no Billy Corgan]
53 NEW ORDER Run 2 (26 June 1989 unedited old arrangement)
54 THE NEW YEAR Folios
55 NORTHSIDE Moody Places (12" version)
56 THE OTHER TWO Selfish (unreleased mix from 1992 advance promo)
58 PEGBOY Through My Fingers
59 PEGBOY Strong Reaction
65 R.E.M. Seven Chinese Brothers (9 July 1983 Toronto)
66 R.E.M. With The People -> King Of Birds (Tourfilm 2.0)
67 R.E.M. Kohoutek
68 RAPEMAN Marmoset
69 RED HOUSE PAINTERS Song For A Blue Guitar
70 RIFLE SPORT Exploding Man
71 RODAN Bible Silver Corner
72 SEAM Sweet Pea
73 SEAM Port of Charleston
74 SEBADOH Soul and Fire
75 SEBADOH Cliche
76 SEBADOH Mystery Man
77 SECTION 25 New Horizon (edit)
78 SHELLAC Canada
79 SILKWORM Couldn't You Wait?
80 SILKWORM That's Entertainment
81 SLINT Ron
82 SLINT Washer
83 SLINT Rhoda (re-recorded version)
84 SONGS: OHIA The Old Black Hen
85 THE STONE ROSES Elephant Stone (original Peter Hook mix)
86 BERNARD SUMNER Getting Away With It (March 2009 Songbook)
87 TAR Mel's
88 TAR Short Trades
89 TAR Barry White
90 TEENAGE FANCLUB Star Sign (edit)
91 JEFF TWEEDY & JAY BENNETT Via Chicago (25 July 1999 Chicago)
94 WILCO Someone Else's Song
95 WILCO & BILLY BRAGG California Stars
96 WILCO Ashes of American Flags (album track)
97 WILCO Sunken Treasure (2 November 2002 Tampa)
98 WILCO At Least That's What You Said (28 June 2003 Philadelphia)
99 SHANNON WRIGHT Black Little Stray
100 NAKED RAYGUN New Dreams

- - - - -

Whew.... Grab the 10 RAR files comprising the set here.

Maybe in another year we'll have a Part II of this... Or not!

New material coming up soon - I do have several items in the pipeline.