Tuesday, December 29, 2009

anniversary! One year of the PoIT!

One year ago, give or take a few days, we began with the record that gave the blog its name: Big Black's Songs About Fucking.

That record was also one of the first links deleted by the hosting service - apparently Touch and Go didn't take too kindly to me linking it. So I'll do it again.

Harsh, brutal, in-your-face, piledriving machinery. From Chicago's finest forges, Big Black at their best doing what they do. It was the best record and their pre-announced swan song. They toured out the record and then went off their own separate ways, Steve Albini into production, Rapeman and global mouthpiece; Santiago Durango into his Arsenal project and then a well-respected entertainment lawyer; Dave Riley to wherever punk bass players (with a bit of funk) go to rest.

So this time, if it sticks, enjoy. One of my all-time favorite records, and still a very difficult listen.

From the opening blog post:

Steve Albini, in the liner notes to this album, stated:
Every good Vegas act has an opening theme, some appropriately triumphant fanfare to welcome the delight of the audience. It helps convince them the show was worth their thirty bucks or so.
Translated: Every blog needs an opening post, something to convince the teeming hordes that their mouse-clicking was worth the effort and to feed the expectations of terrific material to come. Though had Albini written those words today, I don't think he'd be stating thirty bucks or so. Try hundreds...

I discovered this record in high school in 1987 or 1988, about a year or two after their scheduled 1987 breakup. Founder/guitarist/singer/songwriter Steve Albini says they broke up at the right time, they were getting to the point where their popularity was exceeding the amount of energy and effort it would have required to maintain it. Guitarist Santiago Durango also was about to start law school so all things just fell in line to call it a day after this record - an ending which the band pre-announced. There's another school that states this record took Big Black about as far as they could within their framework, and some think it didn't better their previous LP Atomizer - it wasn't a progression, it was just a continuation of the themes and attitudes brought forward with terrific impact by Atomizer.

This LP still sounds as jarring and "ugly" as it did twenty years ago. Not many bands can you say that about today - what seemed earth-shaking then might be commonplace today. I figured it was an excellent way to lead off the blog - and the first song having bequeathed its title to the blog, why the hell not?

Songs about Fucking

Albini's song-by-song blurbs from the liners, after each track name....

01 The Power Of Independent Trucking
Oh, you think that was a nice piece there, eh? I'll tell you something. I got an exit book here, shows the best steak on any mile of interstate in the whole pig-friggin' country. Shows every decent motel and a few indecent ones. Shows where to get a new axle at four in the morning. Fucking bible. Well, I got another little book I wrote up myself. Sort of an exit and entrance book, if you get me. Shows me where every piece of ass I ever picked up is. I can get laid inside ten minutes just about anywhere in the fucking world. It's all in the book. This one chick though, I'll never forget it. Moved her ass like a blender. Bitch simply could NOT get enough. Buck and scream like a wild animal. Every time I go through Jersey I stop in for a taste. The one thing I can't stand is when they get emotional about it. Want you to call 'em and write 'em. When I'm gone, I'm gone. I'll take 'em with me for a while, we ride, then fuck, then ride. I've burned out three mattresses in the cab-over up there. That one, though. She was wild.

02 The Model

Boy, don't we all look SMASHING in red.

03 Bad Penny

What's really IMPRESSIVE is that some of these guys last so long, you'd think more of them would get killed, since all they do is burn their bridges.

04 L-Dopa

Daisy went to sleep at 15 and woke up many years later. She, being perfectly sensible, decided she ought to die, since she had literally slept away her entire productive life. The medical profession had, in her absence, decided that all life must be preserved, regardless of worth to its owner, and prevented her from performing the only NOBLE act she was capable of.

05 Precious Thing
In general, someone is a thing of value if and only if he or she is willing to SUBMIT to whatever degradation and abuse is required to preserve that position. Anything less betrays a lack of commitment.

06 Colombian Necktie

The necktie, a particularly HUMILIATING way to die, involves having your throat slit from ear to ear, so your tongue can flop out on your neck.

07 Kitty Empire

Ever since that fellow there moved in, there's been some mighty strange goings on over there. He's up until all hours, he's got that crazy music, noisy all the time. There's some sort of CAT ARMY there, too. They live under that porch. Someone saw him out there jaybird naked one time hopping like an Indian out in the weeds. The smell is just ferocious sometimes. Like he does his own number twos out there in the yard. I SWEAR.

08 Ergot
Psychedelic fungus infestation of European grain, not divine inspiration, as responsible for many of the "visions" so lovingly portrayed in the Christian paintings of antiquity. How many people were pressed under stones or drowned or burned for Satanism while those of faith were quietly tripping their brains out on BAD BREAD?

09 Kasimir S. Pulaski Day
The Mafia still knows how to throw a good killing when it needs to. The more COLORFUL ones get the most attention. A bomb, for instance, doesn't need to be in the victim's car. It can be in a stalled vehicle on the roadway, waiting to go bang until the victim happens to be driving by. Other people may be driving by as well. Life's rough.

10 Fish Fry

It went like this, near as anybody can tell. He went to her family's fish fry, took her to the drive-in, porked her, then beat her to death with his BOOT. It is speculated that he was upset about the ease with which he got into her pants, when she had resisted his brother's attempts earlier. He threw her body into Frenchtown pond, if memory serves, and went home. When the police found him the following afternoon, he was nonchalantly scrubbing out the cab of his truck with the aid of a garden hose.

11 Pavement Saw

The things people do when they have nothing to do can be pretty silly. Those same people can become all-important in each others lives. The things they do increase in importance in proportion. Soon a lot of people who do nothing individually scrutinize the miniscule doings of the others. This, in short, is "FALLING in love."

12 Tiny, King Of The Jews
Sometimes, even killing yourself wouldn't be enough. Like when you realize that your entire life has been lived under a PRESUMPTION of free will, but all you've been able to make of it is a sad parody of everything you used to hate. Slowly, without trying, everyone becomes what he despises most.

13 Bombastic Intro

Every good Vegas act has an opening theme, some appropriately triumphant fanfare to welcome the delight of the audience. It helps convince them the show was worth their thirty bucks or so.

14 He's A Whore

Hey, breaking up is an idea that has occurred to far too few groups, sometimes to the wrong ones.

T'anks fer da laffs: Corey, Lisa, Justin, Paul, Pat, Nate, the pals we made, the pals we didn't, Jochen, Carlos, Byron, Jimmy, bands who don't write love songs. Joel, get your shit together.

If you're ever in Chicago, don't stop in, it's a small place we've got.

Big Black:
David Michael Riley: Bass (David uses and endorses Alembic basses and Trace-Elliot amplifiers)
Melvin Belli: Guitar grrr (Melvin follows and endorses the Fibrelife meatloaf diet plan)
Steve Albini: Guitar skinng (Steve uses and endorses heroin)

The future belongs to the analog loyalists. Fuck digital.

edit: Removed link.

Monday, December 21, 2009

concert: New Order 16 June 1989 Irvine, CA *remastered*

So the internets are abuzz lately with talk of a newly-discovered Joy Division rehearsal tape floating around, featuring not one but five full-length takes on "In A Lonely Place" - the last song written by the band prior to Ian's suicide, and closing with the verse beginning with "Hangman looks round as he waits / Cord stretches tight, then it breaks...". In 1997 this song was released on the Heart and Soul box set, but ending just prior to the final verse (sensitivity reasons to his surviving family, perhaps?). So it would be great to finally hear the long-rumored full-length variant, alas the set has yet to surface publicly on the internets so we will just have to wait.

In the meantime, we move forward. 10 years from last week's post, and 20 years in the past. According to New Order bassist Hooky, the band first died in the afternoon of today's featured gig, when Bernard announced to the group that he was starting Electronic (his project with Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr) and no longer wished to carry on with New Order. Seeing as how this was at the near beginning of that summer's American tour on the back of their 5th LP Technique, the band's sets from this point forward were those of a group in their death throes - and nobody outside the band knew it.

Which may account for the unique setlist of this June 16, 1989 Irvine Meadows Ampitheatre, Irvine, CA gig. "Age of Consent" and "All Day Long" see rare airings - it was the next-to-last-ever "Age of Consent", and the last-ever "All Day Long". Maybe Bernard was throwing Hooky a bone with "Age of Consent"?

This actual recording, the mastered version presented here, was considered for release recently by the band and ultimately rejected for feelings of sounding too "clinical" - it's too much of a pristine, sterile soundboard or something like that. Which is why I love it so - it's perhaps the best pure soundboard recording of this band I've ever heard, with a stunning clarity and depth that's got to be heard. It's also got perhaps my favorite live versions of "Your Silent Face" and "Temptation", at least for modern-day performances.

Sadly Bernard introduces the gig dedicating the set to Echo and the Bunnymen drummer Pete deFreitas, who died the day before. The two bands were good friends with each other and they toured the States in summer 1987 as co-headliners.

This gig was ultimately sourced from a DAT liberated from the band's archives by persons affiliated with Hooky. Interestingly enough, the same DAT liberated from Hooky shows signs of editing the between-song bits, perhaps to make the gig fit on a 74-minute CD? So this either was considered for release way back in the day, as well as more recently, or perhaps Hooky just wanted it edited down so he could throw it in his car/Discman for private listening? We'll never know.

This was available on various filesharing sites, but not in the mastering you find here. So if you had a previous copy of this gig, I'd still suggest grabbing this version. It's that much better.

16 June 1989 Irvine Meadows Ampitheatre, Irvine, CA
remastered and EQ'ed from the band's leaked master soundboard DAT

01 intro, dedication to Pete deFreitas
02 Ceremony
03 True Faith
04 Age of Consent
05 Dream Attack
06 All The Way
07 Mr Disco
08 Your Silent Face
09 Vanishing Point
10 Round & Round
11 Temptation
12 Bizarre Love Triangle
13 The Perfect Kiss
14 All Day Long
15 Bernard jamming
16 Fine Time

Grab it here, lossless FLAC split across 5 RAR files

Sunday, December 13, 2009

radio live transmission: Joy Division Paris 1979 UPGRADE

I do have quite a few queued items in the "to be blogged" category, but while this one wasn't techically atop the list, we are close enough to its 30th anniversary that I wanted to feature it this week.

One of the better sounding Joy Division live CDs out there is Les Bains Douches, a disc documenting 9 tracks from their 18 December 1979 gig in Paris (with the remaining tracks on that particular CD coming from other gigs).

I had a slight problem with this CD though.

1) The compilers did FAR too much noise reduction on the track intros.

2) Better (DAT) sources existed than what was given the compilers, though you can't fault the compilers for that since I believe the DAT source didn't surface until after this was done.

3) It wasn't a complete document of the gig.

Reasons for all three?

1) I think the original source for the compilers was off cassette;

2) The DAT, the person helping the compilers, and the compilers themselves couldn't get together in time;

3) France Inter radio - in particular DJ Bernard Lenoir - did not broadcast, at least that we are aware of, the entire gig. This gig has been broadcast several times on Paris radio, though each time a different selection of tracks featured. The 1994 broadcast is the source for *most* of the below, it was recorded on 32kHz DAT by a gentleman direct off the air.

Bernard Lenoir has said in the past that the original reels, as recorded for France Inter at the gig, are unusable and safety copies had to be used to source the latter-day broadcasts.

So allow me to present a hodgepodge - though in total, the best document of the gig ever assembled outside of France Inter offices - of this legendary gig.

Lossless FLAC of course!

Source key to follow.

18 December 1979
Les Bains Douches, Paris, France

01 Passover
02 Wilderness
03 Disorder
04 Love Will Tear Us Apart
05 Insight
06 Shadowplay
07 Transmission
08 Day Of The Lords
09 Twenty Four Hours
10 Colony
11 These Days
12 A Means To An End
13 She's Lost Control
14 Atrocity Exhibition
15 Interzone
16 Warsaw

01 from a 2001 broadcast, DAT source
02/10/13/15 from an audience recording
03-09, 11-12 from the 1994 broadcast, from DAT source
14/16 from a unknown-year 1980s broadcast

Grab the 4 RAR's here!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

got ready: New Order Get Ready *mastered* Premix

Since everybody was nice enough, here's the exclusive mastered version of the Get Ready Premix tracks, mastered by yours truly. I left the tracklisting the same as on the unmastered leak, but of course feel free to assemble your own sequence if you wish!

What did I do?

First, these tracks were, for the most part, not properly EQ'ed. The worst was "Runwild [Primitive Notion]", it really suffered from heavily overcooked mids, and sounded as if somebody tossed a blanket on the speakers. The other tracks all needed some fresh EQ as well, which I've done. It sounds loads better, professional even!

Second, I compromised a bit and applied a light touch of mastering compression. And I mean light. The original leak was rather quiet sounding, and the mastered official release was MUCH too brickwalled. This version here is definitely neither, it's really a nice touch.

Third, I repaired the track intros as I suspect the watermarking used on the original Warners leak did things to the song intros. (This was also done on the version I posted last week.) Many of the intros were cut off, and while my source did do a nice job fixing it initially, I've made it all seamless and had I not told you that every song intro is a patch job (and I mean the first 5 seconds or so), you would never have known it.

I daresay that with a bit of judicious editing, this variant could really blow the official release out of the water. It's missing "Rock The Shack" (addition by subtraction at its finest!), and while a couple of the tracks do begin to overstay their welcome in that some of middle or ending bits might go on a tad too long, I much prefer this version to the final release. Not that "Field" or "Run This River Dry" make the record, but I just prefer these versions more than the final mastering as released by Warners.

Sequence-wise I'm not sure if I'd have done it different than the official release did. I think the sequence on the final release does work, and I like how it opens with the barnstormer "Crystal" and ends with the gently-into-the-good-night vibes of "Run Wild", but perhaps I'd have moved up "Primitive Notion" in the final sequence and moved down "Vicious Streak". Or not.

The CD inner pictured above is the closest thing I can find online for this actual product timing-wise. The only difference is "Crystal" in our version has moved up from the 7th track to the 4th, presumably Warners were catching on to its superiority as an opening track.

So do enjoy - and I'm making one last attempt at Mediafire. I hate Rapidshare and for whatever reason I can't get my uploads to Megaupload to work.

One last bit. I know that pre-mastering versions of Waiting For The Sirens' Call are out there and if anybody has it lossless I would love to get my mastering hands on it! Imagine "Jetstream" pre-Ana Matronic for starters...

- - - - -

mastered by thepowerofindependenttrucking.blogspot.com

01 60 MPH (mix 2)
02 Runwild (mix 3) [Primitive Notion]
03 Dream On (original mix) [Close Range]
04 Crystal
05 Freefall (mix 2) [Someone Like You]
06 Slow Jam
07 Shipwreck (mix 2) [Turn My Way]
08 Vicious Streak (mix 3)
09 Field (mix 1 vox up) [Player In The League]
10 Run This River Dry (recall from submix) [Sabotage]
11 Full Circle (mix 2) [Run Wild]

Lossless FLAC again, split across 4 RAR files as usual...

Mediafire folder with the links!