Sunday, May 29, 2011

help a blogger out: musings, etc.

Been in a big shoegaze mood lately.  My Bloody Valentine's Loveless LP, the Glider and Tremolo EPs, and random other UK 'gaze acts have seen heavy iPhone play as of late.

One thing led to another, as it always does, and I ended up on the interweb search hunt for additions to my collection, following suggestions I've collected here and there for similar-veined bands and records.

Lilys, an American band, released in 1992 their debut LP In The Presence of Nothing, what some reckon could have been the followup to Loveless had Kevin Shields not lost the muse in 1992/1993.  It's a good record, not great, but does it deserve the exorbitant pricing for copies on the used market?  I don't know.  I also don't know why I had never heard this band before, as I'd have been all over this when it was current.  Thankfully lossless FLACs are available in the dark places on the internets, so I'm OK there.

Their followup EP, 1994's A Brief History of Amazing Letdowns, is fantastic.  Also long out-of-print; had I heard this in '94 I'd probably have given it a pass, but as my tastes and sensibilities have matured from my college days I completely "get" the record (a slice of brisk guitar indie with a powerpop/Big Star twist) now.  I'm also set for this as FLAC, so no assistance needed there.

Reading up on Lilys sent me down the Velocity Girl path as well.  Some of VG backed up main Lily Kurt on Lilys' '92 album, and VG was also a band I'd always meant to discover but never actually got around to it. 

Conceptually I should love VG: beautiful female vocals courtesy Sarah Shannon (doesn't hurt that she's quite the looker too!), noisy indie guitars, recorded by Bob Weston, etc. I also think the Sarah-sung "Shame" on Seam's debut LP Headsparks is the highlight of that record, so that was there too. 

So I tracked down some of the VG material available in the usual places, and it's kind of a mixed bag.  Their 6-song self-titled compilation (on great indie label Slumberland) of early 7" and associated material is amazing; however their debut full-length LP Copacetic suffers from the "too much filler" syndrome.  There are some transcendent moments on Copacetic: "Pretty Sister" is an amazing lead track that unfairly sets up huge expectations for the rest of the record, and "A Chang" is shoegaze through-and-through and well-executed.  Sadly none of the remaining tracks, as of now (granted I've only listened through a couple times), have left enough of a mark on me to get all bothered about, though it's early enough in the listening game that I'm willing to reserve judgement for now.

Their 1994 followup ¡Simpatico! - we'll not go there.  I understand the reasoning behind choosing Smiths producer John Porter to produce the record, but they're clearly shooting for the brass ring when their songwriting and style isn't there.  Bland indiepop watered down for the masses.

That said, also in '94 they released a 7" with the A-side being one of the best New Order covers I've ever heard, their take on New Order's "Your Silent Face".  GREAT version, though the "so why don't you piss off" phrase coming from Sarah's mouth just doesn't sound right, in that voice... (Grab a very clean transfer here, MP3)

So why this post?

I was initially going to blog my sudden fandom of Lilys/Velocity Girl when I realized 1) I'm not familiar enough with any of it yet to give it the justice it deserves, and 2) it gives me the chance to ask for help in general.

I love the VG self-titled compilation on Slumberland so much, I want it FLAC.  Can't find it anywhere on the internets.  Do I have a reader with this CD kind enough to FLAC it up and share?

Additionally, I do have a want-list of sorts of records, in general, that I seek out as FLAC but can't find.  Perhaps my readership can help?

Drop me a line at analogloyalist AT gmail DOT com if you have any of the below as FLAC.  Your help will be greatly appreciated!


no particular order

VELOCITY GIRL - self titled 6-song compilation on Slumberland
LILYS - Tone Bender EP (4-song Australian CD)
LILYS - Eccsame The Photon Band
BLEACH - Hard EP / Fast EP (both of 'em!)
INSPIRAL CARPETS - Cool As **** EP (US version on Rough Trade)
ARCWELDER - Jacket Made In Canada / This
CONSONANT - Consonant (self-titled debut LP)
DIDJITS - Hey Judester/Fizzjob
MY BLOODY VALENTINE - Glider and Tremolo EPs, and Loveless CD, UK Creation pressings
GUIDED BY VOICES - Static Airplane Jive

thanks for the assist!

edit: added VG's "Your Silent Face" blurb...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

how I wish we were here with you now: In A Lonely Place

It truly pained me to see the marked devaluation of these songs, the last known recordings of Joy Division.

A YouTube poster, whom we shall not call out and "honor" by name except as Mr. YouTube, has made a travesty of this material - not by posting the music, but by the presentation and his utter callous disregard for the sensitivity and nature of these recordings - by his series of YouTube posts featuring (most) of these recordings.

I have no idea how this individual obtained these tracks, masterings that (probably outing myself here much more than is my wont) I did, ultimately at the band's behest in preparation for the recent Record Store Day 2011 12" release.  I won't divulge my sources for this material, because that's ultimately of no matter here.  What is important is that the respect is given to these songs that they deserve.

I truly dislike the way these recordings surfaced publicly, obviously outside the official 12" release which I fully supported.  There was no discussion, no humility, no essential background given within the YouTube postings - because Mr. YouTube had access to none of that (and I doubt he can define humility if it were demanded of him - one only need to see his comments on his YouTube page, and elsewhere, for evidence).  Whether it be detailed liner notes inside a CD/box set package, a detailed press release, a detailed blog post with insider information, or, the "the statement is the music" ideal as realized by Saville's considered minimalism of the official 12", this material - by its nature - deserves careful, respectful treatment which completely escaped the YouTube postings.  Not that I believe Mr. YouTube would have done so anyway, even given half the chance.

I am ultimately in favor of all this material being "out there" as it does no one any good to hoard, when they've escaped band/label clutches in the first place.  I am no gatekeeper to the doors of the Joy Division vault, but I do try to respect wishes for privacy and restraint when asked, and can say with certainty I've lived up to that.  The unreleased material I've posted here in the past didn't arrive with the same strings as the rehearsal material, which is one of the many reasons you haven't seen these tracks here before.  Events forced me to bring some respect and honor to the material with this post, and the companion post over on our sister blog Recycle, sooner than planned.

I had originally envisioned this post being a compendium of the rehearsal tracks in question: two early lyric takes on "In A Lonely Place", three mostly-finished versions with the "final" lyric, and then the "Ceremony" rehearsal - all mastered for release.  What surfaced on the official 12" was the next-but-last take of "IALP" and the previously-known "Ceremony" rehearsal, with the 12" leaving on the cutting room floor the other known takes of "IALP".  We used the Recycle post to surface the full version of "IALP" as excerpted on the Heart and Soul box set, as a "bonus" to the tracks used on the 12".

I'm making the executive decision, mine and mine alone, to withhold the "full" set of rehearsal takes for the time being.  Will the rest see the rational (i.e. not trainwreck-style) light of day?  I believe so, but now is not the time or place.  We are lucky we have - and lucky the band saw fit to release - what we do now: full lyric versions of Ian Curtis foreshadowing his suicide, literally days before doing so.  These were never believed to exist, within general circles.  Respect for the family, the band, etc. kept these out of public light and I completely understand the reason why.  Why now?  I don't know.  I'm grateful they exist, grateful we - as fans - have the opportunity to catch this last, tragic, piece of Joy Division history.

I will not honor requests for copies of anything not posted here, so save your keystrokes and don't ask.  I will not publish comments asking for the rest of the set.  Do I have other unreleased material?  Don't ask, because you won't get an answer, especially one that satisfies your question.  Wearing my other hat as a fan, believe me, I understand the want is there.  But it is not my place to satisfy that, at this time.  Respect that, respect the music, and treat it with the honor and consideration it deserves.  Because it is beautiful and tragic.

April/May 1980 Rehearsals
mastered by the Analog Loyalist 2011

For mastering notes and other errata, please see the Recycle post.  Those are lossy M4A tracks, while these are lossless FLAC.

01 In A Lonely Place (final lyric, take 2 - Record Store Day 12" take)
02 In A Lonely Place (final lyric, take 3 - Heart and Soul full take)
03 Ceremony (rehearsal take)
04 In A Lonely Place (edit mix of takes 2 and 3) *
05 In A Lonely Place (brief instrumental snippets)

* Track 04 was assembled from bits of 01 (take 2) and 02 (take 3) and presented to the band as an alternate "best of both takes" version for consideration for the 12", and rejected.  Takes 2 and 3, on their own, each have their own flaws which we tried to minimize by a bit of comping between versions.  The band - understandably - chose to go with an unedited version, warts and all, not to say the warts detract!

FLAC set here.  Please do not repost elsewhere; if I find these elsewhere I will remove this post and post nothing further of this material.