Wednesday, August 16, 2017

New Order - Chicago Metro 1983 addendum

Coupla things.

Ex-blog partner 50 Pound Note provided some excellent and apropos artwork for this set.

Free iCookie to anyone who can translate the code.  Pick it up from your neighbor and tell them I sent you.

I have done the Ferris Bueller thing with this Seurat painting many times in person, at least until the point the security starts giving you the staredown for getting too close...

Readers will recall I ended the original post with the entreaty that folks carry on the set's availability by uploading it themselves to and posting the download URL in the comments.  I've had several folks contact me looking for a reupload.  Now's your time to shine.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

NEW ORDER 30 June 1983 Cabaret Metro, Chicago

(peeks out from under the covers, sees a world still there, spews out a blog post, and crawls back in...)

I was in Chicago two weekends ago and had one of the most wonderful weekends I've had in many years.  I saw 12 hours of excellent music, including two sets each from Poster Children and Tar, made many new friends, met up in person with some existing friends for the first time ever, and just had a blast.  Having dinner with Tar two nights in a row was only some of the fun to be had.

But this post has nothing to do with aluminum guitars, noisy punk rock, etc.

Several months ago, I had gotten into a discussion via a Facebook comment thread with a Chicago person who claimed to have a tape of New Order's debut Chicago gig June 30, 1983 at the legendary Cabaret Metro.  For background, there are two New Order sets which have long been held up as the Holy Grails of New Order tapes - this show, and their debut Beach Club performance from 1980.  For 34 years, no known tape of this Chicago set had been known to exist and all discussion was essentially conjecture and long-diminished memories from club owners and punters who attended.  As I had already made arrangements to be in Chicago for the weekend described up top, I made separate arrangements to meet up with this person and pick up a copy of this set.  If I'm to be honest, I didn't expect it to be much of anything.  So, that Saturday two weeks ago, I did.  Turns out to have been with a lovely fellow who had several entertaining stories to share about gigs and particularly this recording.

The minute I put the CD-R into the rental car's CD player, I knew it was special.

I put this on Dime, but decided to also put it up here.  The WeTransfer link expires in 7 days - I would ask that any requests after 7 days be met by folks who downloaded it, by re-upping it to WeTransfer and putting the fresh link in the comments.  Pay it forward, etc.

So onward.

June 30, 1983
Cabaret Metro, Chicago IL USA

Equipment/lineage:  who the hell knows -> space aliens -> A. -> CD-R -> Analog Loyalist mastering -> you

It’s not often something like this sort of falls in your lap.

June 30, 1983 was the hottest day of the year to date in Chicago.  The now-legendary venue Metro - then known as Cabaret Metro - had been open for roughly a year.  While I was just an 11 year old kid cavorting on a beach across Lake Michigan from Chicago that day - or most likely asleep in the summer cottage, considering the time - New Order finally made their debut appearance in Chicago.  Attendees say it was unbearably hot inside the Metro that night.  And allegedly even hotter on the stage.  That day, the high temperature reached near 100° F in Chicago and it had barely cooled as the evening went on.  Making matters worse, the band took nearly two hours to get on stage after the opening act, which made an uncomfortable and stinky audience even more strident.

The set starts out as your typical New Order set of the era would.  Things seem OK, maybe a bit rowdier crowd than normal, until late in the fourth song “Truth” when the sequencer starts to act up.  They launch straight into “Leave Me Alone” which ends uneventfully.  Then, the power goes out (as you’d have it).  A restless crowd begins complaining amongst itself, with audible complaints about sweat dripping into eyes, another mentioning rubbing ice all over their face, and vocalized thankfulness that they brought paper towels in.  Random sequencer bleats punctuate the rumbling crowd, as the roadies and venue staff try to get the power sorted.  Hooky mentions needing a shower.  Eventually, “Your Silent Face” starts.  It devolves into a unique and fascinating exposition on what a sequencer-using band does when the sequencers are failing mid song - Steve Morris jumps behind the drum kit far earlier than usual, and essentially drives the song to its skittering end as the sequencers never recover.  I think this take is spectacular and I think you’ll agree.

Barney then makes reference on stage to equipment and power problems, mentions the band’s just going to jam, and Steve then pounds out the drum riff for “Denial”.  Instead of jamming, the band then finishes the set with four straight sequencer-free tracks, ending on the majestic “In A Lonely Place” well into the wee hours of the morning.

There is no jamming, no acoustic “Blue Monday” despite the venue owner’s misremembered statements made over the years since.  It’s possible of course at some point these did exist and were edited out from this tape upstream, but I doubt it and all other recollections of this gig fail to mention any acoustic “Blue Monday” performances.

For the past 34 years, this set has been legendary in the New Order community due to the circumstances which befell it.  And a tape was never known to exist, nor a setlist for that matter.  With the 1980 Beach Club set, it was part of the Holy Grail pair of lost New Order sets.  That changes today.  The story of how this tape ultimately came to me is nearly as good as the story behind the gig, but to protect privacy I shall simply thank A. for this.  I believe this is from a 1st generation dub of the master, and whomever the actual taper is remains a complete mystery.


Chosen Time
The Village
Leave Me Alone
Your Silent Face
Age Of Consent
In A Lonely Place

WeTransfer link - expires in 7 days.  FLACs.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

PYLON LIVE. The band R.E.M. all say was better than them. And I mastered it.

Live Pylon?

How about PYLON LIVE.  My latest mastering gig.  And it sounds fucking stellar.

I mastered fucking PYLON.  And the band loved it.  Pinch me, for I fear I'm dreaming.

Read about it here.  Sample a tune and buy the double LP and/or digital version here.  Deluxe edition yourself here.  Out on Randy Bewley's birthday July 25, 2016 worldwide.

Oh, we did a 7" teaser too...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Keeping busy with mastering gigs (AKA an update of sorts)...

Curious as to what I've been working on?  Neglecting the blog for?

I suppose I can mention this now, as it's been published in articles in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Athens, GA's Flagpole, and discussed by the band themselves.

I just turned over to the vinyl cutter, an excellent fella whom astute readers of TPoIT can probably suss out based on my tastes, a Pylon (fucking PYLON!) live set to be released later this year on Chunklet as a double vinyl LP set, and your common household digital stores.  Twenty brilliant songs recorded at their "First Last Show" 1 December 1983, Mad Hatter, Athens, Georgia.  It is absolutely fantastic and will be the legendary band's first-ever live release.  So look out for it.  When or if Chunklet posts a promo on YouTube, as he often does, I'll link to it here.

Thanks to this blog, and the Joy Division reissues I worked on in 2006/07, I've worked on quite a few mastering gigs for Chunklet.  I'm starting to forget all of them now!

  •  Tar
  •  Rock*A*Teens
  •  Don Caballero x2
  •  Thee Speaking Canaries x2
  •  Survival Knife
  •  Mugstar
  • A silly prank call 7"
I've also redone the Poster Children's Toreador Squat tape, which we featured here for the first time many years ago with the band's contributions to the writeup, for 2015 Cassette Store Day.  The band put together a wonderful package - piece of art, really - for the release.  It's still available digitally and a big upgrade on what I posted in 2011.

If you haven't checked any of these things out, I highly encourage you to do so.  No shilling here; I make $0 if 0 people or 20,000 people buy any of these.

One of these days I will actually have "new" material for the blog.  I have promised several folks to do so, just waiting for some last-minute contributions.

Chunklet's Bandcamp
Poster Children Merch

Lastly, I did a podcast for The Unheard Music recently, talking about this blog, among other well and sundry items of interest.  Episode 7, here.  Please listen!

...back to the hideout...

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I've been podcasted.

Thanks to blog friend The Unheard Music... Enjoy!

Good discussion about blogs, music, Chunklet, and speeding tickets.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

hello again.

Tap tap - is this thing on?

Yes.  Sort of.

I apologize to my (few) readers for neglecting this space for over a year - that said, I have been moonlighting as a legit mastering engineer on a half-dozen or so records since the last post.  So I’ve been around.  I do owe the nice TAR gents a post or two of some TAR-iffic material that didn’t work in the context of the double-LP comp, so watch this space for that.

The other day I was cleaning off the cobwebs from an old hard drive when I came across the purported multitracks of Joy Division’s "Love Will Tear Us Apart" - 8 individual tracks of what presumably are Rock Band or some similar game “stems”, which themselves are slightly mixed down from the original 16 or 24 track masters.  I said “why the hell not” and threw them up on a mixer.
  1. Peter Hook recorded at least two runs of “that bassline”.  Clangers, duff notes, missed strings and all.  Yet it’s perhaps one of his best-known, and certainly among the most melodic, basslines out of a career built on excellent ones.
  2. Steve Morris is a drumming phenom.  No news there.  There are some drum patterns on the multis not used in the final mix.
  3. Bernard Sumner recorded several distinct guitar parts - electric, and acoustic - some of which were unused in the classic 1980 mix.  Don Gehman’s 1995 “radio mix” featured some of these acoustic guitars in the mix, but not all.
  4. Ian’s vocals are effects-laden.  Hard to tell if they’re “vari-speeded” though.
  5. The original intent was to have a nearly 4-minute song, not the 3:28 final version.
  6. As long as I have all these multis loaded up in the mixer… Love Will Tear Us Apart 2015! (dropbox(soundcloud)
I quite like this 2015 mix.  There’s a strong sense of warmth and depth, and dare I say it but jaunty, feel to the song now.  The chunky electric guitar part that’s completely absent from the classic 1980 mix is quite nice.  The acoustic guitar, which barely surfaces in the 1980 mix towards the end but here plays throughout the track, nicely carries the melody through the entire song.

Take 14 - yes, the 14th mixdown - is soundclouded here.  I spent all weekend with the "original" remix, and found quite a few things I wanted to do better.  So I did - drums up, better EQ, better balance overall.  No sounding like 128kpbs on $10 earbuds for this one  (well, except for Soundcloud processing)!  Hah.  If you only listen to one of these, go with this one.

Please excuse me while I go back to ground...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

So how did YOU spend your summer vacation?

This is how I spent mine:

Coming soon, via Chunklet World Industries.  A double-LP set of all (mostly, if not entirely, out-of-print) non-album, non-EP TAR tracks, compiled for the very first time, with several unreleased tracks and with a companion set of over TWO (!) hours of curated live material.  Vinyl mastered by Mr. Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service, from the original analog masters.  Some tracks freshly mixed by Mr. Steve Albini himself, exclusively for the project.  Tracklist visible at the TAR FaceTube page linked above.

What did I do with this?  Absolutely nothing with the LP set, and with folks like Bob and Steve involved, they'd have been crazy asking me to do anything.

On the other hand, I was asked to curate, assemble and master the massive live component to the project, which will be available via download code for LP purchasers (and available as a digital-only purchase too).  It was a pleasure plowing through untold hours of material, direct from the band's Fort Knox-sized archives, and compiling an ultimate result which can quite fairly be labeled "killer" (how I hate that term!).  Called Want/Need, it's definitely something fans of this blog will both Want and Need.

TAR is quite high in the ranks of Best Chicago Band Ever.  They've been blogged before around these parts.  They are fans of the blog and rather nice gents.  There will be exclusive-to-the-blog TAR unreleased trackage posted here, at some point in the future.

Go forth and preorder!

LP set and download preorder here.

Digital-only "vinyl-free version", the whole works minus the actual vinyl platters themselves (but including the sleeves!) preorder here.

The not-$40-and-not-a-hoodie T-shirt preorder here.

Many thanks to John, Mike, Mark, Tom, Tim and Henry for the musics and the opportunity to assist.  Many thanks to Jim for the mercenary strategy.

edit:  fixed YouTube embed code to support mobile browsing.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Golf is punk rock.

Golf?  Punk?

Bear with me here.

Over my (several) years, there are some people I consider close - very close - friends who aren't, put simply, on the same plane as you and I.  Whether they are simply weird, obtusely brilliant, or just different, they have each ultimately lived lives of their own choosing, wanton disregard for societal norms or expectations to be damned.  And I don't mean lives in prison, quite the opposite.

One of my very best friends, Andrew, worked in his last "real" job as a computer programmer on contract to the (US) Department of Defense working on Homeland Security projects in the mid-2000s.  How did he get there?  After graduating from college with an English degree from a small liberal arts college in suburban Minneapolis, he went straight to Nepal with the Peace Corps and after putting in his couple years' service, came back to Chicago in 1995/1996 to confront the sudden explosion of "computers in every home".  Not knowing a thing whatsoever about Windows 95, computers or programming, he applied for a gig with a large megacorporate computer consulting firm and got hired straight-on as a programmer, due to basic intelligence and test-taking skills alone.  Of course they trained him, etc etc.  Worked as a contract programmer for banks, megacorps, the US Government.  Then it began to dawn on him that this wasn't really him.  Our guy, growing up in apartheid-era South Africa, or high school in suburban Chicago having fled apartheid South Africa, or back in college in Minnesota or in the Nepalese hinterlands 2 days (walking) from the closest bus stop which itself was days away from "civilization", wasn't quite right working on contract programming to help the war in Iraq.  He was a punk rocker, listened to the Damned, he could have written the book.  So he said "fuck this", quit his job, gave up all his worldly possessions, and moved post-haste to Thailand.  Eventually he became a dive instructor, then boat captain, and from what I gather he is in complete and utter peace with himself, life, everything.  Still, he remains probably one of the smartest people I've EVER known and is the sort who could, quite literally, do anything asked of him.

Punk rock was all about reacting to the norms of society, and finding a way out with a mark of individualism.  My friend Andrew certainly fits this mold.  We could all hope to have a bit of Andrew in our lives, in our outlooks.

Alex Feeman is another very close friend of mine who is very much in this mold.  Except Mr. Feeman's quest is finding solace and individuality in golf.

Alex worked with me - until a month ago - at Mega American Auto Insurance Corporation, settling claims and spending your premiums.  It was - and remains - a soul-sucking job, dealing (sometimes in the same conversation) with the best and the worst of folks, at their best and worst of times.  How do you tell someone that their back injury just simply couldn't have happened in the accident with our insured, yet you know that maybe they're being completely honest, or that they are playing the game too and trying to score a big payout from Big Massive Insurance Company?  Soul-sucking, day by day, week by week.  I'm still there.

Alex is also a punk rocker.  He too could write the book on it.

Alex also golfs.  Having duffed a fair amount in my time, I think it's cool, but nothing more than a hobby that I'm lucky to do once every three years.  Not to mention I suck at it.  Alex, though, he's quite good.  He too is one of the smartest folks I've ever known.  Two bachelors (I think) degrees, progress to a masters' degree, etc.  Listens to good records (and some shit, though he knows I think that), etc.

Alex decided that working at this soul-sucking corporation, dealing with soulless and/or confused, or just simply sad, cases wasn't what he was meant to do.  Fuck, we all think that.  Who ever has said "Daddy, I want to be a claims adjuster when I grow up!"?  Certainly not me.  But, the difference between me and Alex is that he grabbed this disconnect by the proverbial balls and did something about it.

Alex is going to play 49 rounds of golf, in 49 states (lower 48 and D.C.), in 49 days, driving solo.  And he's doing it for charity.


His passion is golf.  It may not pay his bills, but when do we get to do our passion?  Not many of us do, I'd wager.  My passion is music, engineering, mastering.  I've been paid twice to do my passion, and even then cumulatively it isn't enough to pay the rent.  Certainly I'm not able to quit my day job to work my passion.

I think what Alex is doing is punk rock.  Society expects him to act his role as the cog in the machine, inputs create outputs, tick tock tick tock tick tock.  Society doesn't expect us to break out from the roles laid on us and find our own way, at least not openly.

Alex is partnering with the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, raising funds for an organization that gets to the root of issues he, I, and I'm certain many of you have dealt with or lived with for a very long time.  Not only is this punk rock (what is Fugazi's Dischord?  A collective to unite Washington DC punk rockers and individuals, and promote social awareness in DC by way of music, activism and individuality), it's honest.  It's who he is, the world's expectations be damned.  Punk rock.

Alex leaves Sunday morning, hitting a round with three of his golf buddies (alas, not I, but I wouldn't dare taint the "kickoff" with my haggard golfing ass dragging him down) in western New York en route to Vermont.  He plans to end the trip golfing a round with his father in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, where he learned his passion.  Not unlike a punk band, after plying their music across the lands to reach out to the tiniest of shitty bars to hundreds/thousands of ecstatic fans, returning to play a homecoming set to seal the victory of individuality.

Please visit his blog, support the trip, and be your own punk rocker.  I can't tell you how much his little gig has made me think about going full-bore for my passion.

Salut, Alex.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

good evening, captain: SLINT uncirculated 1989 set!

When I started this blog back in the dark days of 2008, I wasn't really certain of anything but I'd write stuff, share things, and maybe the odd lunatic such as myself would chance upon it and find something of interest, and perhaps share it themselves with likeminded folk here and there.  I figure that anyone who a) reads this, b) LIKES this, c) shares this is my kind of people - after all, how many people enjoy playing Songs About Fucking immediately after Happy Mondays?

I didn't expect to be doing this nearly 5 years later, and I certainly didn't expect some of the cachet of readers I've attracted.  My most favorite comments, or private off-blog emails to me, have been from musicians - often from bands I've blogged - sending their compliments, their corrections (heh), occasionally their cease and desist requests (certain bearded bassists need not apply...), and my absolute favorite, material to feature.

It was this last category that leads to this post.  Outside of ongoing plans regarding your humble blogger working with two of his very favorite Chicago bands on upcoming projects, a certain band member of a band I've blogged in the past - a band that's long been a favorite of mine - contacted me via the blog's Facebook page to discuss a project they are working on, and as an aside asked if I'd mind him sending me a tape to do with as I saw fit.

That tape is Slint.  The setting: a gig in Madison, Wisconsin in August 1989.  The content:  an audience recording of a gig that not only hadn't circulated, but the Internets and the Googles aren't even aware this show existed.  This tape has not been circulated AT ALL that we are aware of.  Just to be sure, the reader that sent this tape to me is NOT a member of Slint (original or later incarnations) - and gave me his OK to post this.

Slint we've discussed before.  If you've read this far, you want this tape.  Without going into details, this is a dub of the master itself - and it sounds utterly spectacular.

I did a fair amount of work on the raw tape to make it what I present to you now - off-tape, the gig was just pretty good, but after my efforts to beat it into submission, it shines.  I think you'll agree.

This set comes after Tweez but before the legendary, classic Spiderland - I'd place it around when they recorded the "Glenn"/"Rhoda" 10" material with Steve Albini - and is a nice mixture of both styles in that the weirder/more angular Tweez material slots in with the recorded-in-1989 10" and unrecorded Spiderland stuff.  "Nosferatu Man" has some different lyrics, and while 90% of the song is there, it's still a work in progress.  Same for "Good Morning, Captain" except there's no lyric yet.  Sadly the tape ran out with about (guessing) 30 seconds left in "Good Morning, Captain" so while you can sing the "I MISS YOU!!" bit yourself at the proper point in the climax, I had to fade the song out shortly thereafter rather than it coming to its natural close as it does on record.

So without further ado....

20 August 1989
O'Cayz Corral, Madison, Wisconsin
mastered May 2013 by Analog Loyalist

01 intro
02 Glenn
03 Ron
04 Nan Ding
05 Charlotte
06 Nosferatu Man
07 Darlene
08 Pat
09 Pam
10 Good Morning, Captain (instrumental)

Zipped FLAC via Hotfile (Netkups too unstable lately).

Any other musician readers want to send me stuff?  Send me a message on the Facebook page via the link up there on the right!


Monday, April 8, 2013

album art exchange...

I really hate low-quality album artwork, especially when it looks ridiculously pixelated on my retina iPad display.  Even iTunes-sourced artwork looks terrible on the iPad (one would think Apple, with all their focus on quality builds, design and engineering, would find a way to optimize album artwork - when grabbed from the iTunes Store - for whichever device it's being synced to).  I've not seen anything better than 600x600 artwork pulled from iTunes, which was the default from the beginning of iTunes Time.

Oh, you can Google image search for higher-resolution images, and sometimes that's still the best you'll find - especially for the more obscure crap we love.  But even then, it's a crapshoot with oversaturated images, terrible scan jobs, etc.

When I discovered Album Art Exchange, it was like another lil' slice of heaven for me.  My OCD with regards to sound quality meshed perfectly with my OCD for good, high-resolution images to go with the tunes.  There are some hardcore OBSESSIVE people over there who produce some absolutely amazing cleanup jobs of all sorts of record and CD covers.  It's also seeded by folks who have direct access to the labels' art archives (for online use), and even then what these folks at AAX can do with a 30-year-old LP sleeve is often better than the labels' own high-resolution copy.

I've been an on-and-off contributor to AAX for a little more than a year.  The problem was that until recently I just wasn't up there yet with the Photoshop skills to really get the best results from my scanner; what I thought was good often ended up too obviously 'shopped in retrospect.  The other issue was that my 2008-vintage PC under Windows 7 would just flat out choke when trying to scan at anything higher than 600dpi - which didn't leave a lot of spare pixels when doing that hardcore editing most sleeve scans need.

Having recently switched to the Mac (mini; love this damn little thing after having been exclusively PC for the past 18 years), I now have the horsepower to suck down all the 1200dpi pixels my scanner can spit out.  And I also spent some hardcore time reading threads at AAX regarding best practices for artwork cleanup. Over the past few days (while recovering from audio engineering burnout) I've added a shit ton of high-resolution images to the AAX archive, as I slowly go through and re-scan stuff I'd put up before or add things that aren't on AAX already.  I have a ridiculous pile of stuff to scan that's not there as of yet, or that's only there in lower quality (back when the site was focused on 600x600 images).  So keep watching AAX as I add my pile - and better yet, feed it yourself!

Here's a direct link to my stuff there.  Here's a direct link to our blog pal 50 Pound Note's stuff there.