Sunday, May 31, 2009

R.E.M. 9 July 1983 Larry's Hideaway, Toronto mp3

It's funny, one of my all-time favorite acts is R.E.M. yet I've done nowt but post one track of theirs, in the second-ever post on this here blog. And it's been removed.

Last year saw their classic debut LP Murmur reissued/repackaged/remastered, as a deluxe 2 CD package with the second CD featuring their 9 July 1983 gig at Larry's Hideaway, Toronto, Ontario. While a good gig, the released variant was missing several tracks and was a Loudness War victim - though not as bad as it could have been.

Funnily enough, this gig existed as a bootleg CD entitled RISING that has as good, if not better, overall sound than the released variant. However, this version was glitchy in places, with skips and dropouts that the "official" variant did not suffer from. So, as a challenge, I used bits and bobs of each source together to make the definitive Larry's Hideaway CD - and I think you'll love it. You'll never spot the patches - I guarantee it. Listen through entirely and you'll never, ever know this is a composite production, and you'll never, ever realize that I patched at least a dozen fairly significant glitches. Now if only Capitol (I.R.S.) would release this - I'd be glad to give 'em my 32-bit work project ;)

So without further ado, please enjoy!

9 July 1983
Larry's Hideaway
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Reassembled and Remastered from two sources:
1) Rising bootleg silver CD
2) 2nd CD in Murmur Deluxe Edition

01 Wolves, Lower
02 Moral Kiosk
03 Laughing
04 Pilgrimage
05 Moon River
06 There She Goes Again
07 Seven Chinese Brothers
08 Talk About The Passion
09 Sitting Still
10 Harborcoat
11 Catapult
12 Pretty Persuasion
13 Gardening At Night
14 9-9
15 Just A Touch
16 West Of The Fields
17 Radio Free Europe
18 We Walk
19 1,000,000
20 Carnival Of Sorts (Boxcars)

Tracks 1/2/5/12 were not included on the "official" version.

IMHO this version stomps all over the released version, kicks it to the curb, and plants a flag on it. It's that good. Just drop a comment if you want this lossless....

(edit: Lossless version posted today - grab it!)

Part I
Part II
(need to grab both parts, as usual)

Monday, May 25, 2009

RIP Jay Bennett (Wilco): 11/15/1963 - 5/24/2009

So I just heard the news that Jay Bennett, ex-Wilco, died in his sleep over the weekend.

I had the pleasure of seeing Jay perform quite a few times with Wilco (and once at an instore as a solo gig after being booted from the band), and got the chance to chat with him a few times as well. One of the nicest guys I've ever had the pleasure to meet in the industry.

I even saw his last gig with Wilco, on the 4th of July at Grant Park, Chicago in 2001 - and briefly chatted with him as well after that gig. Little did anyone know what was to come.

Oddly enough, even before this weekend, I haven't been able to stop listening to another Bennett-related gig (which I'm posting) - a fantastic soundboard recording of Jay and Jeff Tweedy performing at the Old Town School Of Folk Music Festival in July 1999, the first Wilco-related gig I saw (with my friend Brad).

It's sad listening regardless - these two obviously shared a close bond at one point (and Jay's contributions to this gig are amazing - just listen to his piano and background vocals on "Via Chicago") - and doubly sad with the news of the hour.

So in memoriam... on Memorial Day in the US...

Jeff Tweedy & Jay Bennett
July 25, 1999
Old Town School Of Folk Music Festival, Chicago, IL

01 intro
02 James Alley Blues
03 She's A Jar
04 New Madrid
05 Blood Of The Lamb
06 Down In The Willow Garden
07 The Auld Triangle
08 Another Man's Done Gone
09 Hesitating Beauty
10 Via Chicago
11 Sugar Baby
12 I Got You (At The End Of The Century)
13 Forget The Flowers
14 I'm Always In Love
15 The Lonely 1
16 Summerteeth
17 Pecan Pie
18 True Love Will Find You In The End
19 Casino Queen
20 California Stars
21 Hoodoo Voodoo

part I
part II

- - - - -

Some video from other gigs/sources...

"Cars Can't Escape"
"Another Man's Done Gone"

Saturday, May 23, 2009

divide and conquer: Hüsker Dü in 1985

No long intro this time. Just a quick 1985 Hüsker Dü hit, perhaps this seminal, groundbreaking punkpop band's best year ever, creatively speaking. Each song sung by its primary songwriter, guitarist Bob Mould and drummer Grant Hart perhaps are at their creative peaks (as far as Hüsker Dü is concerned) with each back-and-forth track. We have January 1985's New Day Rising - a more melodic carrying-on from 1984's Zen Arcade, and then we have September 1985's stellar Flip Your Wig - a record that's basically one giant hook from the first notes of the first track to the very last note of the last song.

Hard to imagine these two records (each amazing on their own) were released only 8 months apart. Closest I can think of would be Joy Division, a band that in the space of 10 months recorded two independently-amazing bodies of work in Unknown Pleasures and Closer.

- - -

NEW DAY RISING (SST 031, January 1985)

01 New Day Rising
02 The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill
03 I Apologize
04 Folklore
05 If I Told You
06 Celebrated Summer
07 Perfect Example
08 Terms Of Psychic Warfare
09 59 Times The Pain
10 Powerline
11 Books About UFOs
12 I Don't Know What You're Talking About
13 How To Skin A Cat
14 Whatcha Drinkin'
15 Plans I Make

FLIP YOUR WIG (SST 055, September 1985)

01 Flip Your Wig
02 Every Everything
03 Makes No Sense At All
04 Hate Paper Doll
05 Green Eyes
06 Divide And Conquer
07 Games
08 Find Me
09 The Baby Song
10 Flexible Flyer
11 Private Plane
12 Keep Hanging On
13 The Wit And The Wisdom
14 Don't Know Yet

- - -

Two RAR files, gotta grab 'em both to extract the whole deal

edit: Removed link.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Walk, in silence / Don't walk away, in silence

Today marks the 29th anniversary of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis' death.

Rest in peace, Ian.

October 1979, Cargo Studios, Rochdale


Directed by Anton Corbijn, 1988

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

postpunk on the prairie: Poster Children

I'm not willing to leave just yet, thinking of Tar keeps me grounded.

Leave where? The Prairie State, of course. Land of Lincoln. Perhaps in 100 years it'll be also known as Land of Obama.


Home of the forever snakebit Chicago Cubs, the perennial bastard stepchildren White Sox, rising Bulls and Original Six member Blackhawks.

Not to mention the Monsters of the Midway, the Bears.

But let's go about 150 miles south down Interstate 57, to the thriving metropolis of Champaign/Urbana. Home to the most disgusting summertime smells this side of rural Iowa thanks to the multitude of hog farms surrounding town, and also home to the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana plays host to their very own Poster Children.

A poppier Tar? Perhaps. A more-fun Hüsker Dü? Maybe. But definitely some great guitar songs, and just a great postpunk/DIY band the likes of which are sorely missed these days.

PC started in 1987 or thereabouts when University of Illinois students Rick Valentin and Rose Marshack started up a Joy Division covers band they called Cries and Whispers, after the early New Order track. When they decided to write and perform their own material, they found a drummer and the name Poster Children.

They self-released a cassette amongst the Champaign glitterati in 1988 entitled Toreador Squat (your humble blogger has never heard this, but knows someone who claims to have a copy buried somewhere - if anybody has it I would kill for a copy!) and then recorded a lot of tracks that summer with Chicago-based postpunk producer extraordinaire Iain Burgess. Not having a home for these tracks, they sat on them for a bit, gigged a lot, recorded some additional tracks with Steve Albini in 1989, and then finally released an 8-song assemblage of these two discrete sessions later in 1989 as the LP Flower Plower.

Meanwhile the band was on drummer #2, drummer #1 having left to pursue academic interests. Then after releasing Flower Plower, drummer #2 left to pursue his own music, who was replaced by drummer #3.

In 1990 drummer #3 left, and as the PC website states, "the available drummers in Champaign had been tapped out, so Chicagoan Bob Rising was welcomed into the band". Bob (and future Hum bassist Jeff Dimpsey on addtional guitars) then joined Rick and Rose in recording what would become the band's 2nd true LP, again with Albini running the boards.

In the meantime the band had hooked up with Minneapolis indie label Twin/Tone. Twin/Tone financed the recording and, eventually, released the record which was entitled Daisychain Reaction. The release was delayed by a year or so due to Twin/Tone's financial difficulties, and then after the collapse of indie distributor powerhouse Rough Trade late in 1991 (a collapse which led to a massive reorganization amongst the American indie label scene), the label itself also ran into a spot of trouble.

Meantime Nirvana broke, grunge broke, and the majors were going berserk looking for the "next Nirvana". After hosting plenty of suitors, the band signed with Sire/Warner Brothers and re-issued Daisychain Reaction in 1992.

Plenty of further recordings were made (both for Warners, and then back to the indie scene), and eventually the band settled on drummer #7 who plays with the band to this day.

Like the Minutemen before them, PC are massive DIY proponents. They book their own tours and manage themselves (essentially), take no tour support, and are a self-supporting machine that finances their own existence. They program their own websites and multimedia extravaganzas on their various late 90s/early 2000s CD releases. They run themselves.

Featured here is Daisychain Reaction, and tagged on are two additional tracks from the DCR sessions that were released by Sub Pop as a limited edition 7" in 1990. I hope you enjoy!

And finally, like Tar's Toast record, I reviewed this as well for my college newspaper. And of course I still have a copy of that review, from the newspaper's December 13, 1991 edition. So without further ado....

Twin/Tone Records

Hailing from the cultural mecca of Champaign/Urbana, Illinois (home of the University of Illinois), Poster Children have hooked up with producer/"musician" extraordinaire Steve Albini (Big Black, Rapeman) to create one of the best grunge/power pop albums of the year in Daisychain Reaction. Taking their cue from the thriving Chicago musical scene, the Poster Kids manage to blend gut-wrenching guitars and a keen sense of melody and rhythm into a sound unequaled by any other band I've heard lately. Singer Rick (they don't use last names) can sing with a scream that would wilt the Pixies' Black Francis like a parched flower ("If You See Kay" - try saying that out loud), and yet he can also sing peacefully and gently ("Where We Live"). Their press kit says Steve Albini used such studio trickery as live lemurs (?) on one track, but I'll be damned if I can find them. [2009 interruption - the mentioned lemurs feature in "Space Gun".] Great idea, though - what good are lemurs for otherwise? Lyrics such as "I am the Paranoid King" (from "Frustration" are typical of the Poster Children, as many of their song sing of fear or tension. Poster Children do for upbeat grunge what New Order did for club music - they make it worth it and fashionable to listen to it again.

Not the greatest writing, but hey, I was much greener behind the ears back then.

- - - - -


(1992 re-issue on Sire)

01 Dee
02 Cancer
03 If You See Kay
04 Love
05 Freedom Rock
06 Space Gun
07 Water
08 Want It
09 Carver's
10 Chain Reaction
11 Frustration
12 Where We Live

(1990 Sub Pop Singles Club SP88, limited edition of 4500 copies)

01 Thinner, Stronger
02 Pointed Stick

- - - -

Both these records are out of print, so before downloading (link below) I suggest you pay a visit to the band's website and click the link to drop some cash in the hat, since you did not obtain these records in a record shop. It'd be a nice gesture at least.

Get the above 2 records (single RAR file)

Friday, May 8, 2009

New Order - Western Works demos followup

Now that the dust has settled a bit from this blog's freeing of the Western Works demos taken from the master reel, I thought it appropriate to discuss this a bit further.

There were quite a few fans who made this possible - I can't thank them all, because of course everybody wishes to remain anonymous, but were it not for the generosity of many, this would likely have ended up in the hands of a notorious bootlegger who would not have seen to it's proper care and feeding.

It's been quite apparent from my logs that this post has been shared worldwide. While I'm grateful for the exposure, please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

The band is aware of this material's existence in the wild.

Those who doubted about New Order's involvement in the NO/Cabs jam "Are You Ready Are You Ready Are You Ready For This?" - doubt no further. A member of New Order - who was of course there at the time, he was in the band! - was the direct, to me, source of this information, not secondhand or thirdhand.

When this bunch of fans obtained the reel, this track was completely unknown and it was just pure speculation at the time that it was a Cabs/NO jam. I had this New Order member identify it for me - it was he who revealed its title to me - and this same member also confirmed the instrumentation:

Hooky - bass
Bernard - guitar (and "whooping" in the background)
Steve - Simmons drums, and the same Dr Rhythm drum machine used on Truth
Rob Gretton - vocals
various Cabs - sonic alterations

This member also stated there was another collaboration recorded at the time, which was a bit more classic New Order-y in sound, but alas this appears to have been lost in the mists of time. It was not on the reel as purchased off eBay.

You may be of course asking how the auction win came about.

The reel was advertised as being rescued in a Chorlton charity shop, and was described as containing "unreleased" Joy Division mixes, specifically "She's Lost Control" and "Atmosphere". Alas, neither are unreleased mixes - the reel contained test pressing vinyl captures of the FACUS2 "She's Lost Control" b/w "Atmosphere" 12" single, and a transfer of the Sordide Sentimental 7" "Atmosphere", presumably for comparison sake. Nothing JD on the reel was unreleased, and in fact both were of fairly poor quality for a vinyl transfer to reel. Not listed on the reel, and not mentioned in the auction description, was the New Order material.

On the reverse side of the reel - labeled "!SBAC" - are 4 Cabaret Voltaire tracks that eventually saw release in the early 1980s. You would have needed a 4-track reel-to-reel machine to play these properly, it's obvious that neither New Order nor the eBay seller didn't have such a machine, at least at the time.

Here are photos of the reel itself...

Side 1


and Side 2


Note how Side 1 starts with "Cabaret Volt. Demos" - I'm wondering if this was New Order's shorthand for the Western Works session.

And here's some detail on the Cabs material on Side 2, the "!SBAC"-labeled side:
I have identified the 4 Cabs tracks on the reel.

They are:
1. Doubled Delivery
2. Venusian Animals
3. The Outer Limits
4. She Loved You

These are the B side of the Industrial Records cassette, IRC-35 Cabaret Voltaire 1974-1976. There is also a later Mute Grey Area CD release.

The original cassette was released by Industrial in early 1981, so this fits into the time frame and seems to point to Chris Watson as the original source.
Please be advised we've no info if Watson was indeed the source or not, that was just pure speculation.

If you only had a 2-track reel machine and attempted to play Side 2, it would play backwards - hence the label being backwards. The labeler knew it was Cabs material but couldn't play it back properly.

So please discuss!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

postpunk on the prairie: TAR (part II)

Apologies for the update delay, life does intrude occasionally for your humble blogger.

Events have conspired to force me to suspend indefinitely my Joy Division/New Order postings. I can't say exactly what, but it's actually a pretty funny reason. Someday there's an incredible story to be told.

So instead we're going to revisit a prior featured artist, Tar. Why? Because I can.

Some time ago we featured Tar's 3rd full-length record, Toast. That record is still in print.

The records featured today are not, however, having gone OOP with the fading away of label Amphetamine Reptile.

Before they had developed their signature Tar sound (ref. Toast), they sounded a bit more derivatve of the scene they arose from: 80s Chicago punk, specifically Naked Raygun's sound and Big Black's vocals. After an EP, a couple 7" singles and their first record, they lost a bassist, gained a new one and kept developing. And as is common, suddenly they hit the magic note one day and created their own unique sound, first evidenced in full with 1991's Jackson - the band's second full-length.

And you frankly can't discuss Tar without discussing drummer Mike Greenlees' steady use of the ride cymbal (that "ding ding ding ding ding" cymbal sound that comes up on every Tar song at one point or another), it's so 1970s you can't help but laugh.

So allow me to present the following:

1988 - "Play To Win" / "Mel's" 7"
(No Blow Records, NBLW 01)

01 Play To Win
02 Mel's

Recorded by Steve Albini, this is the band's self-released debut. Very much of its time and place in the Chicago punk scene, it sounds more Naked Raygun than anything else. Perhaps a weird melding of early Slint and Naked Raygun with a touch of sub-Big Black vocals?

(Amphetamine Reptile, 89160-1)

01 Static
02 Mumper
03 Same
04 (untitled)
05 Downtime
06 Seam
07 Mel's

"Static" and "Downtime" recorded by Iain Burgess, and the rest by Steve Albini, this record further lays on the Raygun styling and is perhaps the most "accessible" Tar record. "Mel's" in particular is a standout, featuring terrific dynamics and the push/pull of guitarists John Mohr and Mark Zablocki closing out the record brilliantly.

1990 -
(Amphetamine Reptile, 89197-1/2)

01 Les Paul Worries
02 Cold
03 Glass Grief
04 Pick One
05 Black Track
06 Bad Box
07 Mercury Block
08 Gag Reflex
09 Thermos
10 Jurbo

Churning guitars and often-buried vocals mark this Iain Burgess-produced record. Perhaps the most "dense" of Tar's records, nevertheless it's a nice transitional record - transitioning from the sub-Raygun earlier works to the more driving, dynamic and unique Tar to come. I never used to rate this record, always thinking it paled to the later Tar, but having revisited this a LOT lately, I've come to love it. "Les Paul Worries" (video) is great, great - and is it about the worries of guitarmaker Les Paul, or worries about the guitar itself? Singer John Mohr says both (scroll down). And the start/stop guitars in "Thermos", where the (very slight) finger noises on the fretboard precede and follow each start/stop effect, gets me every time.

1991 - JACKSON
(Amphetamine Reptile, amrep 004)

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

Perhaps the best overall Tar record, this Steve Albini recording is the summation of the "classic" Tar sound. Thick guitars, pummeling bass, and John Mohr's unique vocal stylings, "Short Trades" kicks things off nicely and they don't let up until the record's over.

All the above in three RAR files, gotta grab 'em all as usual....

Part I / Part II / Part III