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.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

That R.E.M. Strand 1982 FLAC set....

I am making a new post so this bubbles up in newsfeeds again.

There was a problem with the FLAC encoding in the original R.E.M. Strand Cabaret '82 fileset.  Songs were weirdly skipping mid-song direct to the next song, and it was completely reproducible on my end with the original files.

I re-encoded to FLAC without errors this time, and re-uploaded the files.

The corrected fileset is now the one accessible in the links in the original post.  So, please go to the original post and re-download the set; it's well worth the trouble.

Apologies, again.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

R.E.M. 2 July 1982 Marietta GA (2013 analogloyalist master)

ATTENTION:  Previous downloaders, there was a problem with the FLACs themselves in the original fileset which I have subsequently corrected and re-uploaded.  PLEASE re-download the set; the new URL is down there.


Tap tap, this thing on?

I haven't disappeared.  Good thing too, that is.

You know, while I'm still quite bummed about the cease and desist directive issued by a certain bearded bassist, I realized that there is other music I like, and even better, of another favorite band of the blog, one of the musicians involved is a big fan of the proceedings and thinks I got shafted.

So with that I bring you my favorite, probably, pre-Murmur R.E.M. set - the guys live in Marietta, Georgia in July 1982 shortly before recording Murmur.  This is an interesting transitional period for the band, as the songwriting is clearly shifting from the 60s-influenced "That Beat" stylings to the ethereal, un-categorizeable Murmurian structurings.  We have "That Beat", probably the best evidence (both in terms of songwriting and catchiness) of their garage band roots, and then we have "Perfect Circle" in its likely debut performance - on a drum machine as Bill Berry's working the keyboards!  Other new songs "We Walk", "Pilgrimage" - a song Michael Stipe is still clearly working out the lyrics for, and "West Of The Fields" point strongly to the future.

This is a cool little gig too, in that for an audience recording it really puts you, dear listener, direct into the room right in front of the stage.  It's lively, it's got a lot of space, it doesn't sound cavernous or muddy.  It's just a really great recording that excels after the mastering treatment I gave it over the past few days.  I realize I did some work on this in 2008 and put it on dimeadozen, but that effort was crap (in retrospect) - a simple A/B if you have the 2008 variant will make it clear as day.  Many tracks can easily fool even an astute listener into thinking it's a soundboard recording, but it's not.

So anyway, onward.  Life after Mediafire begins... now.

2 July 1982
Strand Cabaret, Marietta, GA
2013 analogloyalist master

01 intro
02 West Of The Fields
03 Shaking Through
04 Pilgrimage
05 Romance
06 We Walk
07 Wolves, Lower
08 That Beat
09 Pretty Persuasion
10 Sitting Still
11 1,000,000
12 Gardening At Night
13 9-9
14 There She Goes Again
15 Catapult
16 Radio Free Europe
17 Perfect Circle
18 Laughing
19 Moral Kiosk
20 Carnival Of Sorts (Boxcars)

Netkups to the rescue - get the FLAC set here!

Oh... and that fan of the blog I mentioned?  None other than P. L. Buck, Esq.

ATTENTION:  Previous downloaders, there was a problem with the FLACs themselves in the original fileset which I have subsequently corrected and re-uploaded.  PLEASE re-download the set; the new URL for the file set is here (and up there too).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Godspeed, Jason Molina (1973-2013).

Requiescat, Jason Molina.

Jason (founder/leader Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co) is an artist I'd not yet covered on TPoIT though a track or two of his did feature on the Unconventional Steve Albini set I posted a few years ago.

I don't own a lot of his records - only the truly devoted would be able to track them all down! - but the ones I do own are really good.  I can listen to Magnolia Electric Co's What Comes After The Blues LP on repeat over and over, and just get swept into the emotion and gutwrench.

My friend Henry Owings's eulogy-of-sorts is beautiful reading.

Musicians write about Jason here.  Steve Albini's thoughts (and a long thread at the Electrical Audio forum, for the studio where IMHO Jason's best albums were recorded, with Steve) here.
Again you’re swinging low
And you hit me below the belt
Alright since it’s a fair fight
I’d say it’s the best that I have felt
In a long long time
Every now and then it happens again
I can’t remember what comes first
Is it the hurt
Or knowing that it hurts
Is it the hurt
Or knowing that it hurts
Ever since I turned my life around
It still happens time to time
Don’t know what pain was yours
Or what pain was mine
What pain was yours
And what pain was mine
Will I have to be alright all of the time
No one has to be alright all of the time
Do I have to be alright all of the time
I thought I saw the light
I saw the light
"I Can Not Have Seen The Light" - Jason Molina/Magnolia Electric Co 

Requiescat and Godspeed, Jason.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Loyal readers: a favor to ask...?

It's sad.  Mediafire account death means I lost some of the things I posted here myself.

I have a favor to ask:

Any kind soul who downloaded the Seam - 1994 Germany soundboard FLAC set from here, can you kindly upload it somewhere where I can get it back myself?

It would be hugely appreciated.  Let me know if you can, and the link, in the comments.  There are reasons behind my asking......

Saturday, February 2, 2013

the end is nigh: m b v is released!

I do believe my eyes and ears are not deceiving me...

My Bloody Valentine - m b v

It's pretty damn good!  Like a mix of Isn't Anything and Loveless, and I love the Colm drums too... Even better, the thing's barely compressed - it's almost TOO quiet!