Tuesday, March 24, 2009

box full of songs: Wilco 1994-1999

Ahh, the joys of self-publishing. I had this really nice, detailed (and lengthy, as usual) post all worked up about what I'd planned as the next featured band here on The PoIT, and this entry here isn't it.


Because I just wasn't feeling it, man.

I don't want to create any preconceived notions about that band I was going to blog about, so I won't divulge who they are. Just know that some entry, at any given point in the future (but not this band featured today), could be that already-written post about the band that just didn't strike me as post-worthy at the last minute.

However... by no means is this a substitute post, not at all. How could a post featuring one of my absolute all-time favorite acts be a substitute? There are almost zero bands I would suffer a cold Chicago January winter day outdoors, in line with nowhere really to go, all day from 7am until showtime at 8pm (maybe a bit later than 7am but it was definitely before lunchtime), for the chance to see them in a tiny, beloved shithole of a venue, performing as the world's greatest bar band.

Wilco, I did. And I'd do it again.

You know the story by now, or well you should. Smalltown act makes it "big" singing songs of the downtrodden man, carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders yet they're barely old enough to drink. Said band shatters on the precipice of fame, the two principals starting two new acts from the bloody remains. One act is said to be the torchbearer, the act the smart money is on to make it huge. The other act, well, we'll sign 'em too and see what happens, but who are we kidding?

The first act makes a record, the critics are falling all over themselves trying to see who can label it with the most superlatives, the songwriter is heralded as the second coming of, well, something.

The other act makes a record, it sells, but not with waves of tremendous critical acclaim. This other act takes their punches and cedes the first set to the first act.

The first act makes another record and while still really good, it doesn't really advance. More of the same but in different keys, so to speak. The critics love it too, but are a bit more reserved in their praise. Meanwhile, it doesn't sell appreciably more than the debut, in fact it may have sold less.

The other act regroups and recruits a fresh face into the band, a fresh face with amazing talent. With that new talent, they tour and make their second record. This time it's different. The world expects Debut Album Part II, instead the world gets Great Exciting New Beginnings, Part II. This time, it’s the other act the critics are fawning over, outdoing themselves with superlatives. The little band that could. Other band continues to record exciting albums, participates in a stellar project celebrating the words of perhaps the world's greatest folk songwriter, and continues to redefine themselves with every record.

The first act ends up sputtering to a halt, regroups time and time again, but nobody jumps for joy when they put a new record out. Well, not like they do when the other act does.

I'm sure you don't need me to spell it out for you, but of course the smalltown act that shattered on the precipice of fame would be Uncle Tupelo (from Belleville, IL, on the outskirts of St. Louis), the first new act would be Son Volt (led by Jay Farrar), and the other act would be Wilco (led by Jeff Tweedy). Farrar (he of the world-weary outlook, with that voice from the depths of time) was the smart money pick for the two post-Tupelo acts, his Son Volt was expected to become alt.country's Rolling Stones or some such nonsense. Tweedy's bastard stepchildren leftovers Wilco was expected to be entertaining, but not much beyond. So nobody would have predicted it would be Tweedy and Wilco critics rave about today and the music-buying public embraces, with Jay Farrar on the sidelines watching the world pass him by.

What is it about Wilco that is so spectacular? The lineage - the direct point A to point Z progression of their records - explains it all. The sound of Wilco's second record BEING THERE doesn't sound at all like the record that would logically follow the debut A.M. - it's as if we aren't hearing two records that came between them, that explain the giant, majestic leap in songwriting, emotion and rawness from record #1 to record #2. And it doesn't stop there either - each Wilco record is a sea change from the preceding record.

It doesn't hurt matters either that Wilco was involved in the Woody Guthrie archive project with Billy Bragg, where Woody's daughter Nora asked Bragg to set some unseen Woody lyrics to new, contemporary music, and Bragg thought Wilco was the perfect rootsy, post-Woody and post-Dylan act to help bring it all back home. The results speak for themselves - the two MERMAID AVENUE records are among either act's top sellers ever, and breathe new life into the dustblown Woody Guthrie legacy.

We will celebrate the music of Wilco in two parts. Part I will focus on the 1990s, starting with 1994's debut A.M. (and the songs surrounding it), and wrapping with 1999's SUMMERTEETH.

So... we present, in 3 RAR files linked below (as usual, gotta grab all 3 to extract):

Selected Wilco 1994-1999

01 The TB Is Whipping Me (Wilco & Syd Straw)
02 Promising
03 Box Full of Letters
04 It's Just That Simple
05 Passenger Side
06 Dash 7
07 Blue Eyed Soul
08 Thirteen
09 Misunderstood
10 Far, Far Away
11 Monday
12 Outtasite (Outta Mind)
13 Red-Eyed And Blue
14 I Got You (At The End Of The Century)
15 What's The World Got In Store
16 Hotel Arizona
17 Sunken Treasure
18 Someone Else's Song
19 The Lonely 1
20 California Stars (Wilco & Billy Bragg)
21 At My Window Sad And Lonely (Wilco & Billy Bragg)
22 One By One (Wilco & Billy Bragg)
23 Another Man's Done Gone (Wilco & Billy Bragg)
24 At My Window Sad And Lonely (Jeff Tweedy solo version)
25 She's A Jar
26 A Shot In The Arm
27 I'm Always In Love
28 Via Chicago
29 My Darling
30 In A Future Age
31 Student Loan Stereo

Yes there's a lot of Being There tracks, but it was a double record, and each track I pulled here is essential listening.


01 released on the Red Hot and Country benefit CD, 1994
02 is a demo recorded in May 1994, ultimately released in 2002 on the soundtrack to the movie Chelsea Walls
03-07 from the debut LP A.M.
08 written by Alex Chilton (Big Star), recorded and released in 1997
09-19 from the LP Being There, 1997
20-23 from the Wilco / Billy Bragg collaboration Mermaid Avenue (unreleased Woody Guthrie lyrics set to new Wilco / Bragg compositions)
24 was a B-side on the "She Came Along To Me" CD single from the Mermaid Avenue sessions
25-30 from the LP Summerteeth, 1999
31 was a B-side on the "Can't Stand It" CD single from the Summerteeth sessions

Next entry we will focus on Wilco's 21st century efforts. Believe me the story gets even more fascinating from here - they even made a movie about it!

So enjoy. Oh yeah.... you need links don't you ;)

Part I / Part II / Part III (need to grab each one)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

boat floating: Our Band Could Be Your Life

No featured band today. Nor any featured genre, or producer, or ...

I've been busy adapting to Vista on this new machine. I have to say audio processing on this dual core machine flies compared to the Pentium III machine I was using before, but the OS is another story in itself. I've at least smacked down UAC, but after 10 days still am lost at times. And I was an expert at WinNT/2000/XP! I administered my own WINS server for chrissakes (if you know about WINS, may god have mercy on your soul). I hear good things about the upcoming Windows 7, here's hoping it makes up for the many faults of Vista.

But that's not why you called.

Many moons ago - er, perhaps a couple years ago - a lil' group I'm a member of had a running theme of "what floats your boat" and shared with the group music that, well, floated one's boat. Your humble blogger, being of the alternative/indierocker sort, decided that rather than post full albums or individual songs, would make compilations based on some arbitrary genre.

Today's is entitled "Our Band Could Be Your Life" - which, if you know your 80's American alternapunkindie history, implies American underground music from the 80's. After all, the title is a line from the Minutemen's classic history-in-a-3-minute-song "History Lesson, Part II". If I were making such a compilation today, I might have some different tracks here and there, but it's fairly representative of the American underground scene back then. Minus the Paisley Underground scene and Black Flag, but SST Records is quite heavily repped here nonetheless. You may also note the complete lack of anything from Chicago (the city, not the artist) - that's because the first boat floating compilation I posted for that group was a collection of songs by Chicago artists. That'll see the light of day here, but I was listening to this particular comp today and decided to blog it.

So enjoy! Download links at the end, as usual, split into 3 RAR files (as usual, you gotta download all of 'em in order to extract the fileset...)

- - - - - - -

01 HÜSKER DÜ / Flip Your Wig
From the 1985 SST LP Flip Your Wig

02 THE FEELIES / On The Roof
From the 1986 Coyote-Twin/Tone LP The Good Earth

03 R.E.M. / These Days
From the 1986 I.R.S. LP Lifes Rich Pageant
From the original vinyl

04 fIREHOSE / Brave Captain
From the 1986 SST LP Ragin', Full-On

05 DESCENDENTS / Silly Girl
From the 1985 SST LP I Don't Want To Grow Up

06 THE REPLACEMENTS / Color Me Impressed
From the 1983 Twin/Tone LP Hootenanny

07 HÜSKER DÜ / Makes No Sense At All
From the 1985 SST LP Flip Your Wig

08 PIXIES / Bone Machine
From the 1988 4AD LP Surfer Rosa

09 MISSION OF BURMA / That's When I Reach For My Revolver
From the 1981 Ace Of Hearts EP Signals, Calls And Marches

10 R.E.M. / Harborcoat
From the 1984 I.R.S. LP Reckoning

11 HÜSKER DÜ / The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill
From the 1985 SST LP New Day Rising

12 FUGAZI / Waiting Room
From the 1988 Dischord EP Fugazi

13 THE FEELIES / Slipping (Into Something)
From the 1986 Coyote-Twin/Tone LP The Good Earth

14 THE REPLACEMENTS / Unsatisfied
From the 1984 Twin/Tone LP Let It Be

15 R.E.M. / Kohoutek
From the 1985 I.R.S. LP Fables Of The Reconstruction
From the original vinyl

16 fIREHOSE / Time With You

From the 1989 SST LP

17 MINUTEMEN / Political Song For Michael Jackson To Sing

From the 1984 SST LP Double Nickels On The Dime

18 THE CONNELLS / Something To Say

From the 1989 TVT LP Fun & Games

19 CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN / Take The Skinheads Bowling

From the 1985 Independent Project LP Telephone Free Landslide Victory

20 SONIC YOUTH / Expressway To Yr Skull (edit)

From the 1986 SST LP Evol

21 BREAKING CIRCUS / Driving The Dynamite Truck

From the 1986 Twin/Tone compilation Big Hits Of Mid-America Vol. 4

22 THE REPLACEMENTS / Answering Machine

From the 1984 Twin/Tone LP Let It Be

23 MINOR THREAT / Salad Days

From the 1985 Dischord 7" Salad Days

24 R.E.M. / Little America

From the 1984 I.R.S. LP Reckoning

--- cd2 would start here ---

25 THE REPLACEMENTS / Left Of The Dial

From the 1985 Sire LP Tim

26 LEMONHEADS / Mallo Cup

From the 1988 Taang! LP Lick

27 R.E.M. / Driver 8

From the 1985 I.R.S. LP Fables Of The Reconstruction
From the original vinyl

28 THE FEELIES / The Good Earth

From the 1986 Coyote-Twin/Tone LP The Good Earth

29 FUGAZI / Merchandise

From the 1990 Dischord LP
yes, I cheated - but it was demoed in 1987! ;)

31 PIXIES / Where Is My Mind?

From the 1988 4AD LP Surfer Rosa

32 DINOSAUR JR / Freak Scene

From the 1988 SST LP Bug

33 SONIC YOUTH / Teen Age Riot

From the 1988 Blast First LP Daydream Nation

34 HÜSKER DÜ / Celebrated Summer

From the 1985 SST LP New Day Rising

35 THE FEELIES / When Company Comes

From the 1986 Coyote-Twin/Tone LP The Good Earth

36 fIREHOSE / Understanding

From the 1989 SST LP fROMOHIO

37 R.E.M. / Letter Never Sent

From the 1984 I.R.S. LP Reckoning

38 THE CONNELLS / I Suppose

From the 1987 TVT LP Boylan Heights

39 PIXIES / Gigantic

From the 1988 4AD LP Surfer Rosa

40 GALAXIE 500 / Ceremony

From the 1990 Rough Trade 12" "Blue Thunder"

41 SCRATCH ACID / Mary Had A Little Drug Problem

From the 1986 Touch And Go EP Berserker

42 DESCENDENTS / Suburban Home

From the 1982 New Alliance LP Milo Goes To College

43 THE REPLACEMENTS / Within Your Reach

From the 1983 Twin/Tone LP Hootenanny

44 MINUTEMEN / History Lesson Part II

From the 1984 SST LP Double Nickels On The Dime

45 THE FEELIES / Slow Down

From the 1986 Coyote-Twin/Tone LP The Good Earth

46 R.E.M. / Time After Time - Red Rain - So. Central Rain (medley)

From a live gig 14 Sept. 1987 Muziekcentrum, Utrecht, The Netherlands

- - - - -

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

rocking the forest: Sebadoh (Lou Barlow edition)

Not feeling so verbose today. Perhaps it's because today's feature is Sebadoh, more specifically, your humble blogger's favorite Sebadoh songs written by Lou Barlow (or, a new generation of electric white boy blues).

That and your humble blogger is busily adapting to a new PC and Vista, having come from XP Pro. Not sure what I think of Vista, at least Home Premium, but that's a topic for another blog, another day....

Famously booted out of Dinosaur Jr in 1989 or so, Lou Barlow made his name with the ultra-low-fi early Sebadoh/Sentridoh recordings (a beaten-up 4-string guitar, and a boombox or 4-track recorder) sometimes made with early songwriting partner Eric Gaffney. Then suddenly his songwriting talents blossomed - or that his talents were subsumed in Dinosaur Jr by J. Mascis's admittedly-stellar songwriting...

Aw, hell. I wish I could write like Lou. He's got pretty much exactly the same vocal range as your humble blogger as well. Emotional songwriting (but not "emo", thank god...), great music, the works.

So... I've compiled my favorite Lou songs from the "main" Sebadoh catalog. Oh, there's hundreds more Sebadoh songs, some written by Lou, but others by Eric Gaffney (noisy noisefests) or Jason Loewenstein (noisy, sometimes mellow), but Lou's the main guy and the best songwriter, by several orders of magnitude. I've done you the favor of separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

And we're not even touching Sentridoh / Loobiecore / Lou solo / Folk Implosion. That would take another 15 blog entries... Can't say the man's not prolific!

And you gotta love these lyrics....

Started back in '83
Started seeing things a differently
And hardcore wasn't doin' it for me no more
Started smoking pot
Thought things sounded better slow
Much slower, heavier
Black magic melody to sink this poseur's soul

VU, Stooges undeniably cool
Took a lesson from that drone rock school
Manipulate musician hack righteous drool
Getting loose with the Pussy Galore
Cracking jokes like a Thurston Moore
Peddle hopping like a Dinosaur, J...

Rock and Roll genius, ride the middle of the road
Milk that sound, blow your load
Soon it's further than you ever said it'd go
Four stars in the Rolling Stone
Oooh sludge rock,
That's hard-ass harsh

Just gimme indie rock!
It's gone big
Come on indie rock
Just give me indie rock

Taking inspiration from Hüsker Dü
It's a new generation
Of electric white boy blues
Come on indie rock
It's gone big
Come on indie rock
Just give me indie rock

Breaking down the barriers
Like Sonic Youth
They got what they wanted
Maybe I could get what I want too
Come on indie rock
It's gone big
Come on indie rock
Just give me indie rock

Time to knock
The hard rock on it's side
Time to knock
The shit right up a storm
Turn to amaze
With the indie sludge

So enjoy! Split into 3 RAR files, links below, as usual you need to download all 3 RAR's in order to extract...

01 The Freed Pig
02 Scars, Four Eyes
03 Brand New Love
04 Gimme Indie Rock
05 Soul and Fire
06 Two Years Two Days
07 Cliche
08 Sacred Attention
09 Homemade
10 Forced Love
11 Think (Let Tomorrow Bee)
12 License To Confuse
13 Magnet's Coil
14 Not A Friend
15 Dreams
16 Skull
17 Give Up
18 Rebound
19 Mystery Man
20 Together Or Alone
21 Rebound (alternate)
22 Social Medicine
23 On Fire (acoustic)
24 Magnet's Coil (acoustic)
25 Rebound (acoustic)
26 On Fire
27 Ocean
28 Willing To Wait
29 Too Pure
30 Perfect Way
31 Open Ended
32 Weird
33 Tree
34 Flame
35 Love Is Stronger
36 Colorblind
37 Thrive
38 Sorry

Grab 'em here!

tracks 1-2 from 1991's Sebadoh III LP
track 3 from 1992's Sebadoh vs Helmet EP
track 4 from 1992's Rocking the Forest EP
tracks 5-11 from 1993's Bubble and Scrape LP
tracks 12-20 from 1994's Bakesale LP
tracks 21-25 from 1995's Rebound EP
tracks 26-31 from 1996's Harmacy LP
tracks 32-38 from 1999's The Sebadoh LP

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

halcyon days: Alternative Music Night (a mix)

We're going to indulge your humble blogger's memories here and step back to his university days.

In the early 1990s, I DJ'ed at a weekly event on my college campus that we so uniquely called Alternative Music Night.

You see, this was back in the immediate post-Nirvana timeframe, before the alternative became the mainstream (and later became the alternative again).

Besides MTV's 120 Minutes, and the here-today-gone-tomorrow commercial alternative radio stations that sprouted like weeds in Nirvana's jetstream (and often disappeared just as quickly), the outlets for "alternative" music were slim. True alternative, that is.

So an enlightened group of people took over the lounge in my college's student center one night a week and played the cool music. I took over from the founder due to my stellar musical tastes, hehe. We usually drew a fairly decent crowd, no doubt helped by the free beer and great music.

So in memory of those days, and because while cleaning the house I ran across a flyer from one of those long-gone nights, I'm going to feature the idealized playlist from one of these evenings. Of course it's not exact - I didn't keep records of what I played, and I also know there are some tracks that I no longer own (or even remember for that matter) - but on any given Wednesday night during the 1992/1993 and 1993/1994 school years, you were bound to hear these tracks at least once. The only certainties were two tracks that I played every damn night - Fugazi's "Merchandise" and the closer, R.E.M.'s Lou Reed cover "After Hours" as it was a great closer to the evening's festivities.

As I put this together, I realized I have way too much music to fit in one of those timeslots (typically, each night was 2 hours or so). So pretend this is two nights worth. I did attempt to group songs together as I would have during the DJ set, but due to the mists of time obviously it's idealized. Finally, there's no true mixing - I don't have my DJ equipment anymore - so deal with it.

A few observations... You can see where my head was at this era, there are quite a few Wax Trax!-ish tracks (Ministry/1000 Homo DJ's/etc) as well as quite a few ravers. Some of these I no longer own - I've moved on - but thanks to the magic Internets we can enjoy them yet again.

My average set was good enough for me to be recruited to DJ - for pay - at a local club in the city I went to college in, but alas the guy I was to replace begged for his job back (he was fired, I was to replace him) so I didn't get beyond a one-night stand at the club. The club owners had heard thru the grapevine about my DJ sets, and they sent spies to observe.....

N.B. The guy in the flyer above was designed by a pre-fame Liz Phair, as cover art for a friend's band. This would have been 1992 or so...

Onward we go....

Split into six RAR files, you gotta pull all 6 down before you can extract... links at the end. This time I'm also using a different hosting service, I believe you can download simultaneously, and it's hyperspeed compared to rapidshare...

01 1000 HOMO DJ'S Supernaut
02 PUBLIC IMAGE LTD Public Image
03 SUGAR A Good Idea
04 JOY DIVISION Love Will Tear Us Apart
05 NEW ORDER Regret
06 MINISTRY Stigmata
07 PIXIES Bone Machine
08 LUSH Nothing Natural
11 NEW ORDER Blue Monday
12 R.E.M. Finest Worksong (Lengthy Club Mix)
14 HÜSKER DÜ Makes No Sense At All
15 JANE'S ADDICTION Mountain Song
16 SONIC YOUTH Kool Thing
17 BEASTIE BOYS So What'Cha Want
18 REVOLTING COCKS Beers, Steers & Queers
19 MINISTRY Jesus Built My Hotrod
20 808 STATE Cübik
22 BILLY BRAGG Sexuality (London remix)
24 SAINT ETIENNE Only Love Can Break Your Heart
25 NEW ORDER Ceremony
26 CATHERINE WHEEL Black Metallic
28 RIDE Taste
29 THE BOO RADLEYS Does This Hurt?
30 TEENAGE FANCLUB Star Sign (edit)
32 THE CHARLATANS The Only One I Know
33 INSPIRAL CARPETS Commercial Reign
36 JAMES Sit Down
38 JOY DIVISION Transmission
39 MATTHEW SWEET Girlfriend
40 R.E.M. Superman (edit)
41 ELECTRONIC Get The Message
42 PIXIES Debaser
43 DEAD KENNEDYS Holiday In Cambodia
44 FUGAZI Merchandise
46 BUZZCOCKS Ever Fallen In Love?
47 BAUHAUS She's In Parties
49 THE CURE A Forest (full version)
50 THE SMITHS How Soon Is Now
51 SECTION 25 Looking From A Hilltop (Megamix)
52 NEW ORDER Temptation
53 WARLOCK PINCHERS Morrissey Rides A Cockhorse
54 MORRISSEY Suedehead
55 JOY DIVISION She's Lost Control
57 QUADROPHONIA Quadrophonia
58 FRONT 242 Tragedy > For You <
59 HAPPY MONDAYS WFL (Think about the future)
61 R.E.M. After Hours

part 1 / part 2 / part 3 / part 4 / part 5 / part 6
(100mb per file or thereabouts)