Friday, December 25, 2009

A Shiny Happy R.E.M. Christmas


Merry Christmas to everyone! After two straight nights of turkey, family and presents, I finally have time to post a new entry. To conclude my mini-Christmas tribute, I'm upping another rare recording, the R.E.M. Christmas record. This compilation is similar to the Beatles Christmas record because it compiles fan-club only 7" X-mas singles, these are from 1988-1996. These recording were special exclusive singles (A-side and B-side) that were sent out annually to reward their fan club members and are very limited (and rare) 7"ers with only 3,000-6,000 copies pressed. This compilation features Christmas carols, interesting covers, and originals.

R.E.M.
Christmas Fan Club Singles (1988-1996)

1. Parade Of The Wooden Soldier (88a)
2. See No Evil (88b)
3. Good King Wenceslas (89a)
4. Academy Fight Song (89b)
5. Ghost Reindeer In The Sky (90a)
6. Summertime (90b)
7. Baby, Baby (91a)
8. Christmas Griping (91b)
9. Where’s Captain Kirk (92a)
10. Toyland (92b)
11. Silver Bells (93a)
12. Christmas Time Is Here (93b)
13. Sex Bomb (94a)
14. Christmas In Tunisia (94b)
15. Wicked Game (95a)
16. Java (95b)
17. Only In America (96a)
18. I Will Survive (96b)
19. Ghostriders In The Sky
20. Have You Ever Seen The Rain
21. Ghost Riders
22. Dark Globe
23. Ghost Riders In The Sky (live)
24. Funtime
(tracks 19-24 bonus discs? B-sides or from flexi's)
R.E.M.- Christmas Album. rar

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

'Tis The Season For...Los Straitjackets!!


Christmas album week continues with a fine yule time offering from the greatest Mexican-masked surf guitar instrumental combo, Los Straitjackets! I usually can't stand to listen to pop versions of Christmas classics, so this is a refreshing break from the usual drivel and sap that crams up our airwaves around the Christmas season.

Here's what Amazon.com has to say about this disc:
The world would be a far colder place at Christmas without the electric guitar and Los Straitjackets' Tis the Season for is all the proof you need. Packed with 11 guitar-driven traditional songs and two originals, this memorable disc is a must-have for anyone who loves the sound of unaffected, basic guitar rock reminiscent of the Ventures and your favorite garage rock band. Adventurous, ambitious, and totally satisfying, the band takes on "Jingle Bell Rock" (making its guitars ring like a Byrds-fest) and a host of other chestnuts from "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" to the "La Bamba"-framed workout of "Feliz Navidad." Even the band's own "Christmas in Las Vegas" has those classic jingle-jangle guitar hooks that make this record a perennial holiday hit. --Martin Keller

This is a excellent album to spin if you need some seasonal background music to trim the tree by, so take off that crappy Boney M album and rock-out Los Straitjackets style.
enjoy!

LOS STRAITJACKETS
'Tis The Season For (2002)
1. Here Comes Santa Claus
2. A Marshmallow World
3. Feliz Navidad
4. Jingle Bell Rock
5. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
6. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
7. Frosty The Snowman
8. Christmas In Las Vegas
9. Let It Snow
10. Sleigh Ride
11. Christmas Weekend
12. Little Drummer Boy
13. The Christmas Song

LOS STRAITJACKETS- Tis The Season For. rar

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Very Merry Beatles Christmas!


The idea and concept of Christmas albums have been around for decades, the Jackson 5 made one, Elvis made some, same with the Ventures, Arcade Fire, the Chipmunks, Charlie Brown and even the Beatles. Well sort of... each year from 1963 to 1969, the Beatles recorded Christmas records for Beatles' fan club members only, in the UK and U.S. Each recording was released on a 7" flex-disc and they were composed of carols, skits, jokes and thank yous to their fans. These records were often disjointed and bizarre, and as the years went on, more elaborate in concept and comedy bits. Overall it was strange, odd, messy, Monty Python-ish, sometimes boring, but always entertaining, if you can follow what they're talking about half the time. Even Tiny Tim makes an annoying cameo in 1968's episode.

In 1970, the flexi's were compiled and sent out to U.S. fan club members as The Beatle's Christmas Album, which meant better sound quality than the flexi-disc's and reminded the fan's that the Beatles were in fact no more.

I've posted a version of the Beatle's Christmas Collection that includes some bonus outtakes as well as the complete 1963-69 Christmas messages. This is a must for any serious Beatle's fan and though it's not too Christmasy and it's sometimes quite weird, it's not nearly as weird as listening to the Bob Dylan try to sing carols.

THE BEATLES
Complete Christmas Collection 1963-69
01. Christmas Time Is Here Again (1967 outtake)
02. The Beatles Christmas Record (flexi 1963)
03. Another Beatles Christmas Record (flexi 1964)
04. The Beatles Third Christmas Record (flexi 1965)
05. The Beatles Fourth Christmas Record (flexi 1966)
06. Christmas Time Is Here Again (flexi 1967)
07. The Beatles 1968 Christmas Record (flexi 1968)
08. The Beatles Seventh Christmas Record (flexi 1969)
09. Christmas Message (1964 Outtake)


BEATLES- Christmas Collection 1963-1969. rar

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Maybe I Don't Get It...


I should start off by stating, I'm a fairly modest Bob Dylan fan, I've seen him in concert twice, I have about a dozen of his albums and I consider him one of the most influential and important songwriters in the past half century, but I should also mention these albums are all from the sixties and seventies and I last saw him live over ten years ago. He is a multiple Grammy award winner, a member of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and he is critically acclaimed and respected the world over, so why, oh why, did he record and release a Christmas album? He couldn't be hard up for cash, nor does he seem like the type that gets giddy and excited like a little kid during Christmas and why would his record label want to highlight the declining state of his voice to the point of exposing his lack of singing range, as he's straining to hit notes and why would they release such bizarre renditions of these classic Christmas songs, has me baffled. Is Christmas In The Heart a joke? It's probably the most hilarious thing I've listened to this year, but for all the wrong reasons. His voice is so inappropriate compared to the slick arrangements, music and background vocals, the gruffness in his voice makes him sound like a creepy drunken uncle that's had just a bit too much rum in his eggnog. The songs are disjointed and inconsistent and more like a parody of an old guy singing bad Christmas karaoke that makes everyone listening, feel a little bit better about themselves.

The concept of a Bob Dylan Christmas cover album could be considered a clever marketing ploy (cashing in on the fact musicians don't record as many Christmas albums as they used to) that showcases the side of Bob we never expected, as we know Dylan (similarly Neil Young) likes to pull a complete 360 in style and concept every once in a while, sometimes with good results, sometimes really bad! Albums such as Self Portrait, Saved and Down In the Groove are perfect examples and it proved that Dylan wasn't a complete genius and he was prone to self-indulgence and unaware he was releasing bad records. I'm sure Bob had good intentions when he recorded Christmas In The Heart (some proceeds go to charity), and perhaps it was all done tongue-in-cheek, but why? Maybe I don't it, am I missing something here, is this really a genius at work giving back to his fans, a joyfully merry Christmas present, or has Dylan lost it...again?
You decide, have a listen and let me know what you think.
Enjoy?
BD Christmas. rar

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Before She Was Famous- Norah Jones


I noticed Norah Jones has a new album (CD) out called, The Fall. The reviews are somewhat mixed and I heard it is a bit of a departure from her first three albums as she experiments with different sounds and collaborators with a more, "rock-oriented" sound. I haven't heard the new album yet, but I wasn't as crazy for her last album, Not Too Late, than her first two. I probably will buy the CD as a Christmas gift for someone (possibly in my household?), and I'll be sure to buy the deluxe edition that features a bonus disc of 6 songs performed live at the Living Room in New York City. It includes three Jones' originals as well as some juicy covers by Johnny Cash, Wilco and the Kinks.

Before Norah Jones released her first album, Come Away With Me, she put out a EP in 2001 called First Sessions. First Sessions was limited to about 5,000-10,000 copies and was actually a demo recording for the first album as 5 of the 6 songs were re-recorded and sometimes re-arranged for Come Away. For a more detailed analysis about this hard-to-find recording, I've posted a submitted review from a Amazon.com listener:

Although it was extremely hectic to come across for a non-staggering price during Jones' initial burst of hype and is still locatable solely on the expensive side, the "First Sessions" EP is a true treasure; a mirror of sorts that reflects what was to become "Come Away With Me," which went on to become the #7-selling female recording of the Soundscan (1991-present) Era at 9.2 million copies in the US alone. The arrangements of the songs here that went on to make "Come Away With Me"'s final cut, while not as sharp as what they would splendidly evolve to be, are certainly worthy of any ears who've come to appreciate Jones' music to a higher degree than the majority of her CD buyers. The only such track that does not follow that is "Turn Me On," which is near-indistinguishable from the "Come Away With Me" version. Like "Turn Me On," Jones' vocals on "Don't Know Why" are the same as they are on the version included on the mega-hit debut album, with an obviously differed arrangement. The bass and piano are distinctively less poignant and on-the-money than they would eventually become, but still shine brightly. "Come Away With Me" and "Lonestar," meanwhile, could very well have been included as 'Softer Version' alternative takes on CD singles or side projects. Indeed, these predecessors sound much more languid and laid-back than their 2002 counterparts would end up being, much to the chagrin of detractors of Jones' mellow sound. For listeners with the keen sense to sit back and savor the subtle beauty of the sound of Jones and her band, however, these two particular recordings are essentials. "Something Is Calling You," a splendid Jesse Harris-penned track that, while obviously out of place with the overall landscape of "Come Away With Me," matches the album's material in overall quality. The instrumentation, which begins with a consistent guitar solo that absolutely grabs hold of the heart with its profound beauty, along with cacophonous drum brushes, marries with Harris' stream-of-conscious lyrics and Jones' dreamy interpretation to produce an underrated gem in her catalog: "What difference/Do you think that it makes/If you give/Or if its you who takes?/I know it/I feel it/You do too/Just listen/You'll hear it calling you." The best kept secret, all things considered, of her catalog, however, is her cover of jazz legend Horace Silver's "Peace." Recorded solely with Jones introspective interpretation of Silver's lyrics, accompanied only by her passionate, flawless piano-playing, this is for certain the best track the legend-in-the-making has recorded thus far in her young career: "When you find peace of mind/Leave your worries behind/Don't say that it can't be done/With a new point of view/Life's true meaning comes to you/And the freedom you seek is won/Peace is for everyone." Overall, "First Sessions," while only existent among a limited pressing of 5,000 copies, is positively worth attaining if you are a bonafide appreciator of Jones and her music. One listen to this will make such fans wonder why the hype that surrounded her didn't come all the more soon than it did.
By
Rudy Palma "The Writing Fiend" (NJ) - See all my reviews


NORAH JONES
First Sessions (2001)
  1. "Don't Know Why" (Harris) – 3:11
  2. "Come Away with Me" (Jones) – 3:06
  3. "Something Is Calling You" (Harris) – 3:25
  4. "Turn Me On" (Loudermilk) – 2:37
  5. "Lonestar" (Alexander) – 3:07
  6. "Peace" (Silver) – 3:51
Edit note: Sorry, I had to remove the offending download links.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sloan- Peppermint


Right now as I write this, Sloan is performing in our town at the Pyramid Cabaret. Maybe it's laziness or just because it's so freakin' freezing outside, I'm not there, but sitting inside my warm home. I've never actually seen Sloan live despite the fact I'm a pretty big fan. I have their albums from the 90's and a couple from the last ten years, but recently I've been re-spinning those discs and plugging them onto my iPod. I tend to play bands in heavy rotation when I anticipate attending their shows, but instead I'm listening to two recent Sloan recorded in New York and New Jersey.

At nyctaper.com these two shows are available for download both in FLAC and mp3 formats. The NYCtaper always posts quality recordings with much better equipment than I have and he's more than willing to share these shows. Congratulations to NYCtaper for being named one of PC Magazine's top 50 blogs of 2009.

SLOAN- 2009-12-04 Bell House, Brooklyn, NY
SLOAN-2009-11-30 Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ

As a Sloan tribute, I am posting their first release, an EP from 1992 called, Peppermint which features 6 songs including three that appeared again on their debut full-length, Smeared.

SLOAN
Peppermint (1992)
  1. "Marcus Said" – 4:34
  2. "Underwhelmed" – 5:25
  3. "Pretty Voice" – 3:08
  4. "Lucky for Me" – 3:11
  5. "Sugartune" – 3:37
  6. "Torn" – 2:55
Download: SLOAN- Peppermint EP. rar

Monday, December 07, 2009

Lisa Hannigan- Daytrotter Session


If you are interested in listening to new unique music and sampling artist's you may not have heard of previously, then you should check out daytrotter.com. Daytrotter gives you exclusive, re-worked, alternative versions of old songs and unreleased tracks recorded in a rustic setting at the Horseshack in downtown Rock Island, ILL. Musicians are invited to drop by the studio and record their songs and then the sessions are posted for free on the daytrotter.com site for your listening enjoyment. This almost sounds too good to be true, there are many well-known, as well as smaller indie-type bands posted here and it's an excellent opportunity to discover and have a (no money obligation) have a listen to any of these musicians. As of today, there are 775 sessions posted in their archives and there are shows added every week. Earlier this year I posted the session Juliana Hatfield recorded at Daytrotter and I've unearthed some great music.

A few weeks ago, my friend Sumi turned me on to an amazing talent, Lisa Hannigan. I must admit I hadn't heard any of her music, so I downloaded her debut solo album, Sea Sew and was pleasantly surprised by what I heard. She has a beautiful soothing voice (with a slight Irish accent) and the quiet whimsy and she describes her style as, "plinky plonk rock". She's previously best known for her collaborations with Damien Rice, but her solo work has garnished much praise and exposure to mainstream audiences through appearances on Leno, the Colbert Report and the BBC's Later...With Jools Holland.

The Daytrotter session with Lisa Hannigan was recorded on March 27, 2009, with Lisa and her band performing four songs from her album, Sea Sew. I've posted a rar file to download if you want the complete session for your iPod or other listening device, but if you want to sample the songs separately, scoot over to Lisa Hannigan's Daytrotter page and click the play buttons on the right hand side of the page. If you have Sea Sew already, this is a fine companion piece, a mini-concert performed in an intimate surrounding, if you haven't heard Sea Sew, this is a great place to start, then buy the album.

Download: Lisa Hannigan-Daytrotter Session 2009-03-27. rar

Sunday, December 06, 2009

40 Years Ago Today- Altamont!


When asked the question, what was the definitive music event of the sixties? Most people will answer, Woodstock. Woodstock symbolized the peace, love and understanding era (or at least 1969) and it became iconic of the end of the sixties. While Woodstock defined what was right about the sixties, Altamont demonstrated what was wrong and it led to the death of the Woodstock nation. The Altamont free concert was held on December 6th, 1969 at Altamont Speedway and was headlined by the Rolling Stones. This infamous concert was best remembered for the considerable violence including one homicide and three accidental deaths. An excellent document of the event is available in the film, Gimme Shelter, a documentary that followed the Rolling Stones on their 1969 American tour and the lead-up to the free Altamont concert. Approximately 300,000 people attended the event that ended in mayhem and much controversy.

Much of the problems with this concert, as compared to Woodstock, was the choice of security hired to add muscle and order. The Hells Angel's were allegedly hired by the Rolling Stones on the recommendation of the Grateful Dead, for $500 worth of beer. Here's a brief description (courtesy of wikipedia) of the result of this bad judgement:

Although peaceful at first, over the course of the day, the mood of both the crowd and the Angels became progressively agitated, intoxicated and violent. The Angels had been drinking their free beer all day in front of the stage, and most were highly drunk. Fueled by LSD and amphetamines, the crowd had also become antagonistic and unpredictable, attacking each other, the Angels, and the performers. By the time the Rolling Stones took stage in the early evening, the mood had taken a decidedly ugly turn as numerous fights had erupted between Angels and crowd members and within the crowd itself. Denise Jewkes of local San Francisco rock band the Ace of Cups, six months pregnant, was hit in the head by an empty beer bottle thrown from the crowd and suffered a skull fracture. The Angels proceeded to arm themselves with sawed-off weighted pool cues and motorcycle chains to drive the crowd further back from the stage.

After the crowd (perhaps accidentally) toppled one of the Angels' motorcycles, the Angels became even more aggressive, including toward the performers. Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane was punched in the head and knocked unconscious by an Angel during the band's set, as seen in the documentary film Gimme Shelter. The Grateful Dead had been scheduled to play between Crosby, Stills & Nash and The Rolling Stones, but after hearing about the Balin incident from Santana drummer Michael Shrieve, they refused to play and left the venue, citing the quickly degenerating security situation.

The definitive moment of the film, was the stabbing of Meredith Hunter. Hunter is seen in the film attempting to get on stage with others, but was grabbed and punched in the head by an Angel. Hunter is shown in the documentary drawing a gun from his jacket and pointing it at the stage, at that moment he is tackled, stabbed and stomped on by the Hells Angels. Alan Passaro the man that stabbed and killed Hunter was arrested and tried for murder, but was acquitted after the jury watched the footage from the film and declared he acted in self-defence.

The footage that was filmed at Altamont for Gimme Shelter was what really made this documentary so significant. Personally, I consider Gimme Shelter one of the best music documentaries ever. It has the drama and build-up of a real event that was unpredictable and intriguing and you don't have to be a Rolling Stones fan to enjoy the film, as it is an important document of a decade, oh so long ago...

I've looked hard to find a decent recording of the Rolling Stones's set at Altamont and I actually found a complete recording of the show. During the film, they show the Stones' performing only a few numbers so this is a real treat, a historical document, if you will. It's not the best sounding recording, (it's definitely an audience recording complete with chatter and screaming), but it captures some of the chaos and craziness of the crowd, as well as the Stones' amazing set. Check out the first ever performance of Brown Sugar! Are they the greatest rock 'n' roll band? You decide!

Download: The Rolling Stones- Altamont, December 6, 1969. rar (Part 1) (Part 2)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

B.T.W.F.- Billy Bragg (Riff Raff)


In my ongoing series, Before They Was Famous, this week we take at look at the early career of Billy Bragg. Billy was in town on the weekend shopping for hockey bits, getting honoured by the Winnipeg Folk Festival and performing a concert at the Burton Cummings Theatre on November 28th. If you've never been to a Billy Bragg show be prepared for almost as much talk as music. During one of Billy's long drawn-out stories about one of his Woody Guthrie co-written songs, Ingrid Bergmann, a fan shouted out, "play the song" which of course prompted Bragg to continue to talk even longer. A Billy Bragg show is music, as well as an outlet for Billy's outspoken political views and his fight for people that have suffered a mis-justice. His solo career has spanned from the early 80's right through until the present, as strong a voice as ever.

I was at the concert on Saturday, sitting third row centre (thanks Vicki!!) with a perfect view to go along with a good sound mix (it's not too hard with just voice and guitar). I recorded the show and I'll post a few highlights of the concert later in the week.

Long before Bragg's long and illustrious solo career, he formed a punk/pub rock band called, Riff Raff. They released a series of singles that got no attention whatsoever which prompted Bragg to take a hiatus from music and join the army. This only lasted a few months and Billy returned to music by busking around London, just him and his electric guitar.
Read more about Billy Bragg's career here.

RIFF RAFF
The Singles 1977-1980
1. I Wanna Be a Cosmonaut
2. Romford Girls
3. What's The Latest
4. Sweet As Pie
5. Barking Park Lake
6. Richard
7. Fantocide
8. Every Girl
9. You Shaped House
10. She Don't Matter
11. New Home Town
12. Little Girls Know
13. Kitten

Download: Riff Raff- The Singles 1977-1980. rar

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New York Dolls- A Hard Night's Day


Since we're on the subject of Johnny Thunders (from the previous post), you can't fully discuss Johnny until you mention his previous band, the New York Dolls. The Dolls only released two official albums with their original line-up, New York Dolls and Too Much, Too Soon, and like Thunder's career they were best represented by their live performances. The debut Dolls album suffered from Todd Rundgren's stifling muddy production and the recording sounded flat and too tight. When I purchased their first album (in the early 80's?), I heard about their reputation and legendary status and their influence on many of the punk bands in the late 70's, but I must admit I was slightly disappointed and didn't think they lived up to the hype, though this album is considered an all-time classic from the seventies.

A Hard Night's Day is a recording that better captures the sound of the New York Dolls as they record direct to tape, live on the floor, one-take versions of their repertoire (including covers), as a demo for their first album. This one night of instant demo-ing is what is represented on this recording and it was made to present to Mercury Records and to their eventual producer Rundgren so they could select what songs to put on that first record. The result is a great sounding document that was loose, sloppy and clear, a major improvement, in my opinion. Unfortunately, it was a little too sloppy for official release, but it has the added interest of listening to the between song chatter amongst the band members (mainly Johansen). I really like this disc because the Dolls don't sound slicked-up yet for mainstream commercial audiences and I don't have an image in my mind of a group of guys dressed up in drag or glamming it up with high-heel boots with too much make-up. Just sweaty, raw rock'n'roll, like it should be!

NEW YORK DOLLS
A Hard Night's Day (2000)

Seven Day Weekend
Frankenstein

Who Are The Mystery Girls?
(There's Gonna Be A) Showdown

Back In The USA

Looking For A Kiss

Jet Boy

It's Too Late

Bad Detective

Lonely Planet Boy

Subway Train

Private World

Trash

Human Being

Don't Start Me Talking

Give Her A Great Big Kiss

Vietnamese Baby

Babylon

Bad Girl

Pills

Personality Crisis


Download: New York Dolls- A Hard Day's Night. rar

Monday, November 23, 2009

Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers- S.O.B.


A band that heavily influenced (both musically and spirit) Replacements front-man Paul Westerberg, was Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers. The Replacements paid tribute to the Thunders with their songs, Johnny's Gonna Die and Dose Of Thunder. Their early setlists included at least one or two Heartbreaker's covers and in 1987, they invited Johnny to join them on stage.

The Heartbreakers were formed in 1975, when guitarist Johnny Thunders and drummer Jerry Nolan split from the New York Dolls and teamed up with Richard Hell on bass. Walter Lure joined shortly after to play guitar/vocals and by mid-1976 Hell left to form his own band, Voidoids. Hell was replaced by Billy Rath.
I own most of the official releases of both the Heartbreakers and Johnny Thunder's solo records and since the Heartbreaker's only really released one official studio album, most of my collection are live albums. The Heartbreaker's were at the peak during the mid-seventies successfully touring the UK and stateside, in and around New York City. Their live shows were unpredictable, but high energy and they developed a dedicated following during the 70's punk era. The band kind of broke-up in 1979, but did many "reunion" shows afterwards, Jerry and Walter continued to play with Johnny's bands throughout the 80's, but those line-ups never had the urgency or intensity of the early days. I also have a large quantity of Heartbreakers and Johnny Thunder's live recording and bootlegs, but I hadn't seen S.O.B until I saw it on another blog. S.O.B (Lost Live Tapes 1976-1977) is an ultra rare limited (250) Japanese release that features sets from 4 different shows (2 in UK, 2 in US) and is an excellent document of the Heartbreakers at their best, live...loud, sloppy, and rockin'!!

(If you think the songs are quite similar gig to gig, you're right. Remember, they only recorded one album.)

JOHNNY THUNDERS & THE HEARTBREAKERS
S.O.B (Lost Live Tapes 1976-1977)


DISC 1
Max's Kansas City New York City July 23, 1976 (Billy Rath's first show?)

1. Do You Love Me
2. Take A Chance With Me
3. I Love You
4. Flight
5. It's Not Enough
6. So Alone
7. Chinese Rocks
8. Pirate Love
9. Born To Lose
10. Get Off The Phone
11. I Wanna Be Loved

Rebecca's Nightclub Birmingham, UK May 12, 1977

12. Chinese Rocks
13. Pirate Love
14. Get Off The Phone
15. All By Myself
16. Let Go
17. Take A Chance With Me
18. Goin' Steady
19. Can't Keep My Eyes On You
20. I Love You
21. Born To Lose
22. One Track Mind
23. I Wanna Be loved
24. Do You Love Me

DISC 2
Portsmouth Polytechnic, UK June 23, 1977
1. Introduction
2. Chinese Rocks
3. Pirate Love
4. Get Off The Phone
5. All By Myself
6. Let Go
7. Take A Chance With Me
8. Born To Lose
9. I Love You
10. One Track Mind
11. I Wanna Be Loved

The Village Gate New York, NY, USA
12. Introduction
13. Chinese Rocks
14. Pirate Love
15. Get Off The Phone
16. All By Myself
17. Let Go
18. Can't Keep My Eyes On You
19. I Love You
20. Born To Lose
21. One Track Mind

Download: Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers - S.O.B. (disc 1). rar
S.O.B. (disc 2). rar

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Shit Hits The Fans...The Replacements!


The origins of when I started my hobby of recording concerts can be dated back to a newsletter/magazine subscription that I received in the early 90's to a publication called Tapers Quarterly. I searched some boxes and piles of crap in my room to see if I could find an issue to photograph, but I can't find them, though I saw them a few years ago and I set them aside when we were cleaning our basement. Tapers Quarterly was a magazine that featured articles and discussion about concert taping and the the community of tape trading. Of particular interest was a three-part series that focused on collecting recordings by the Minneapolis band, the Replacements. The author Charles Ford discussed their live audio recordings, live video and rarities/outtakes and the uniqueness of a Replacements concert that I had only heard about. The Replacements were the ultimate live experience, especially in the early days, totally unpredictable, loose set lists, lots of covers and a drunken good time. Not every show was crazy, they could also play it straight and tight, but no two Replacement's shows were alike. I was fascinated and started to buy and trade tapes from tapers from across North America (before the Internet, there was good old fashioned snail mail), trying to collect as many Replacements shows as possible. I received a goldmine of shows from a guy in Minneapolis (thanks Dan!), that really soothed my craving and even today if I see I show i don't have, I gotta get it. This obsession with collecting the Replacements has branched off to other bands and I can't tell you how many tapes and CD's I have of concert recordings, but the Replacements have a special place in my collecting heart.

The legend of The Shit Hits The Fans recording can be read about here. Basically it was a tape that was "confiscated" from a fan's cassette recorder by the Replacements sound man at a show in Oklahoma city in 1984. It was a very limited cassette-only release (10,000?) by the Mats' label at the time, Twin Tone. The show is classic Mats where they attempt to play many covers (a few of their own songs as well) with not too much success, usually giving up after a verse or two. There are better sounding and more amusing bootlegs out there, but something about this recording really captures the fearless, "we don't give a crap" attitude that I love about the Replacements. The sound quality is decent, but this is one of those "love it or hate it" things where I would recommend this for (hard-core) fan's of the band. Newbies should start at their studio albums first, Let It Be and Tim and then have a listen to TSHTF. You'll be shaking your head wondering why they're butchering a bunch of crappy covers by Tom Petty, Bad Company and Led Zeppelin, when instead they could be playing their own amazing material.
Love it!

THE REPLACEMENTS
The Bowery
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
November 11, 1984
The Shit Hits The Fans (released 1985)
  1. "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" (LLoyd Price)
  2. "Ye Sleeping Knights of Jesus" (Robyn Hitchcock)
  3. "Lovelines" (Westerberg/Stinson/Stinson/Mars)
  4. "I'll Be There" (Berry Gordy, Jr./Bob West/Hal Davis/Willie Hutch)
  5. "Sixteen Blue" (Westerberg)
  6. "Can't Hardly Wait" (Westerberg)
  7. "I Will Dare" (Westerberg)
  8. "Hear You Been to College" (Westerberg/Stinson/Stinson/Mars)
  9. "Saturday Night Special" (Ed King/Ronnie Van Zant)
  10. "Iron Man" (Butler/Iommi/Osbourne/Ward)
  11. "Misty Mountain Hop" (Page/Plant/Jones)
  12. "Heartbreaker" (Bonham/Jones/Page/Plant)
  13. "Can't Get Enough" (Mick Ralphs)
  14. "Jailbreak" (Phil Lynott)
  15. "Breakdown" (Tom Petty)
  16. "No More the Moon Shines on Lorena" (Alvin Pleasant Carter)
  17. "Merry Go Round" (Nikki Sixx)
  18. "Left in the Dark" (Ken Draznik)
  19. "Takin' Care of Business" (Randy Bachman)
  20. "I Will Follow" (Hewson/Evans/Clayton/Mullen)
  21. "Jumpin' Jack Flash" (Jagger/Richards)
  22. "Radio Free Europe" (Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe)
  23. "The New World" (Cervenka/Nommensen Duchac)
  24. "Let It Be" (Lennon/McCartney).
Download: REPLACEMENTS- Shit Hits The Fans. rar
the link should now be working again (Aug/11). I've reupped the file. Let me know if there are still problems.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Over 10,000 Visits!!

This is what you get when you Google-image search...sorry, no money here!

I've been posting to this blog for over three years now, August 11, 2006 to be exact and it gives me great pleasure to announce I have reached a (minor) milestone for this blog. Teenage Dogs In Trouble has been viewed over 10,000 times since it's inception, which means in reality there could be only a dozen or so people that have clicked on this site multiple times or it's getting more popular? If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you will see a ClustrMap with the heading, "visitor locations". If you click on the map, you can see the locations where the viewers are from (the red dots), the larger the dots, the more people from that location that have viewed. It keeps statistics of how many people in the last 24 hours have been to the site and it keeps a running tally from August and an overall number since 2006. Pretty neat, eh?

The Future?
My hope is that the blog has grown and spread it's voice beyond just Winnipeg and Canada throughout the years and that it will continue to snag new readers and get some repeat visitors. I know 10,000 hits really isn't a big deal in the blog universe, because there are thousands, maybe millions of blogs that have that many viewers in a day, but for a small little blog and a local music fan like myself that has a limited amount of "real world" friend's, I'm pretty satisfied. I figure the next 10,000 should come faster if I can post something new every few days or so, as my pet peeve is when website's don't update, I'll try my best to keep this blog fresh and interesting. I know, I go days, even weeks without a posting and I apologize (in advance as well...!), sometimes I get slack and don't feel like writing, so I understand when no one looks at the site at all. If anyone has any suggestions or requests, please let me know. I'm trying to stay away from official major label releases since most of my hassles have been from the copyright police, so out-of-print, hard-to-find rarities are preferred or if I have a particular obsession that week, things will get quite random.

What's that? Not enough action you say? Listen!
To celebrate 10,000, I'm posting 4 versions of this blog's title-track/theme song. The name Teenage Dogs In Trouble, is actually the name of a song by my favourite all-time band, the Young Fresh Fellows, from their first album. What's your favourite version? Enjoy!

YOUNG FRESH FELLOWS
Teenage Dogs In Trouble- (1984) From the album, "The Fabulous Sounds Of The Pacific Northwest"
Teenage Dogs In Trouble-
(1984) From fan-club cassette, "Merry Croutons Mr. Gulp Gulp"- part electric/part acoustic
Teenage Dogs In Trouble- (1993) From the CD, "Live In Spain"- live!
Teenage Dogs In Trouble- (2004) From tribute CD, "This One's For The Fellows"- Mono Men w/Scott McCaughey

Friday, November 13, 2009

Slips, Tangles And Little Pictures


When John K. Samson was still a member of Propagandhi (and years away from when he formed the Weakerthans), he released a 15 track solo cassette entitled, Slips and Tangles. Basically it's just John and his acoustic guitar, but it's interesting to see the beginnings of his song writing style. It was a prelude of things to come, considering his then present band was mainly hardcore. This rare hard-to-find demo tape was released in 1993 and the title track was later re-recorded by the Weakerthans on their Left and Leaving CD in 2000.

Six of the tracks were also re-recorded and released in 1995 as Little Pictures, a split album with Painted Thin's, Small Acts Of Love and Rebellion. Following the success of Samson's Weakerthan's, in 2006, both recordings were re-released separately by G7 in mp3 format.

JOHN K. SAMSON
Slips and Tangles (1993)
  1. Slips and Tangles
  2. Greenest Eyes
  3. Airport Lounge
  4. Unearthly Refrain
  5. Happy Song
  6. Sunday Afternoon
  7. Summer Rain
  8. Farewell Faded Memory
  9. Velveteen
  10. Maryland Bridge
  11. Sympathetic Smile
  12. Saint Cecilia
  13. Little Pictures
  14. A Story You Have Heard Before
  15. Agonistes
Download: John K. Samson- Slips And Tangles. rar


Little Pictures (1995)
  1. Maryland Bridge
  2. Sunday Afternoon
  3. Sympathetic Smile
  4. Farewell Faded Memory
  5. Saint Cecilia
  6. Little Pictures
Download: John K. Samson- Little Pictures. rar

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Live" At A Beach Boys' Party!


As a followup to yesterday's entry, I present, The Beach Boys' Party!, the album format that inspired Sloan to release Live At A Sloan Party, the bonus disc to the American release of One Chord To Another. Though I'm not normally much of a Beach Boys fan, this LP is unique for it's approach and selection of material. Marketed for the Christmas season, Beach Boys' Party was recorded by the band and friends and was meant as a fun loose album instead of a Christmas album, per say, but captured the spirit and spontaneity of a live recording. Although it was presented as a live recording, the songs were carefully recorded in a studio and laughter and chatter was mixed in post-production. The album featured covers by the Beatles, Everly Brothers and Bob Dylan as well as a medley of their own hits, I Get Around/Little Deuce Coupe along with it's surprise hit single from the record, Barbara Ann.

A fun short set of music that is surprisingly entertaining and not to be taken too seriously.
Enjoy!

THE BEACH BOYS
(Recorded "Live" At A) Beach Boys' Party!
  1. "Hully Gully" (Fred Smith/Cliff Goldsmith) – 2:22
    • Lead Vocal - Mike Love
  2. "I Should Have Known Better" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 1:40
    • Lead Vocal - Carl Wilson and Al Jardine
  3. "Tell Me Why" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 1:46
    • Lead Vocal - Carl Wilson and Al Jardine
  4. "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" (Carl White/Al Frazier/Sonny Harris/Turner Wilson Jr.) – 2:18
    • Lead Vocal - Brian Wilson, with Mike Love (bass)
  5. "Mountain of Love" (Harold Dorman) – 2:51
    • Lead Vocal - Mike Love
  6. "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 2:56
    • Lead Vocal - Dennis Wilson
  1. "Devoted To You" (Boudleaux Bryant) – 2:13
    • Lead Vocal - Mike Love and Brian Wilson
  2. "Alley Oop" (Dallas Frazier) – 2:56
    • Lead Vocal - Mike Love
  3. "There's No Other (Like My Baby)" (Phil Spector/Leroy Bates) – 3:05
    • Lead Vocal - Brian Wilson
  4. "Medley: I Get Around/Little Deuce Coupe" (Brian Wilson/Mike Love/Roger Christian) – 3:12
    • Lead vocals by Dennis, Mike, Brian, Al, Carl
  5. "The Times They Are a-Changin'" (Bob Dylan) – 2:23
    • Lead Vocal - Al Jardine
  6. "Barbara Ann" (Fred Fassert) – 3:23
Download: Beach Boys- Beach Boys' Party! . rar

Monday, November 09, 2009

Sloan- Live At A Sloan Party!


One rarity I've been trying to track down for a while is the U.S. version of Sloan's, One Chord To Another, that included in it's early pressings a bonus disc entitled, Live At A Sloan Party! The band dishes up some alternative versions of their own songs, as well as a selection of covers by such bands as, The Modern Lovers, Roxy Music, The Hollies and April Wine. The background noises and conversations between songs suggest this is a live recording at a party, but in reality (and admitted to by the band), the songs were recorded in the studio and the "ambiance" was dubbed over the music. The background noise was in fact recorded at a party with Sloan members present and the result is loose set of music unlike anything Sloan has recorded since. It's truly a treat to hear the band so inspired and they do a very commendable job with the covers. This is Sloan's homage to the Beach Boys' Party from 1965, which also mixes covers and acoustic versions of originals constructed in the studio with party sounds added later.

On a recent trip to Vancouver I saw two copies of the double-disc version of One Chord at Zulu Records (one of my favourite out-of-town record store haunts), but for some insane reason I didn't buy it, maybe at that moment I thought $15 was too much for a used CD, but as soon as I left the store I felt instant regret. This inspired a search on the internet to find more information about the disc and thanks to Soulseek I found the songs from the party disc. A very enjoyable listen and I highly recommend this hard to find gem!

SLOAN
Live At A Sloan Party (1997)

01. Let's Get the Party Started
02. I Can Feel It
03. Dignified and Old (Modern Lovers)
04. Glitter and Gold (Everly Brothers)
05. Over You (Roxy Music)
06. I Am the Cancer
07. I Can't Get Go (The Hollies)
08. Stood Up
09. On the Road Again/Transona Five (Canned Heat/Stereolab)
10. I Wouldn't Want to Lose Your Love (April Wine)

Download: Sloan- Live At A Sloan Party. rar

Thursday, November 05, 2009

John K. Samson- City Route 85


Weakerthan's fans might be interested that frontman, John K. Samson has just released (November 3rd) a 3-song seven-inch/digital download of solo material called, City Route 85 on Epitaph and ANTI-. This is the first in a planned series of 3 or 4 seven-inches about Manitoba roads and highways which he plans to release over the course of 18 months. This is Samson's first solo project away from the Weakerthans since 1995's Little Pictures. I posted one song from that EP in a post three years ago, but I will post the complete EP soon.

JOHN K. SAMSON- City Route 85 (2009)
  1. "Heart of the Continent"
  2. "Grace General"
  3. "Cruise Night"
JOHN K. SAMSON- City Route 85. rar

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Just Buy It!


Lately, I've been thinking about the cassettes I own and the space they occupy on shelves on my wall. I know a lot of people are uploading their CD's onto their computers and carry around their collection on their iPods in an attempt to free up some space and have all their favourite music easily accessable. I accumulated pre-recorded tapes and tapes that Irecorded from friend's vinyl mainly during the 80's and early 90's, a time when vinyl was becoming more scarce and CD's were in their infancy stage. They were the audio version of VHS tapes that had the ability to record from various sources such as radio, live concerts and just plain dubbing from vinyl and other cassettes. I was one of those holdouts that didn't believe the compact disc format would replace good ol' vinyl and cassette tapes, so I snubbed CD's and almost exclusively bought pre-recorded cassettes of my favourite music. It wasn't until certain bands released exclusively only CD's when I converted completely to CD's.

The problem with cassette tapes is that don't stand the test of time very well. Vinyl records have their issues as well, but as long as you protect the discs from scratching and keep them upright (so they don't warp), vinyl can last decades and still remain collectible and playable. Pre-recorded cassettes are usually poor quality tapes and they begin to sound warbled and flat after multiple plays (...and rewinds and fast forwarding) as the tape becomes pulled and stretched. I have hundreds of live concert tapes I received in trades or I recorded and my goal in the near future is to digitize the recordings onto CD's or digital files on the computer. As I gradually convert my shows, I'll post some rare shows I think might be of interest and hopefully I can update my concert tape/CD list I've woefully neglected for many years so I can take requests.

One tape that I've worn out over the years is a recording by Ottawa indie band, Furnaceface. Furnaceface's second release, Just Buy It was originally released in 1992 and was only available on cassette (CD in 1993), which I had a dubbed copy from my brother who was blown away by their amazing stage show when they toured in support of Just Buy It. When the band was signed to Cargo Records, the tape was re-sequenced and re-mixed (adding weird little segue before each song) and re-released on CD. Furnaceface's music might not be for everyone's taste as their music includes everything from heavy riffs to classic pop, as well as ska, punk, dance and 60's garage. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes political, but always entertaining. A true Canadian indie classic!

Download: FURNACEFACE- Just Buy It .rar

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Amy Millan And Her Secret Weapon- Live At The WECC.

Photo credit to Kendall.Burke (Thanks! Taken at the Empty Bottle in Chicago. Forgot my camera and no one from Winnipeg posted on Flickr)

It's been over a week since Amy Millan was in Winnipeg to perform along with her "solo" band, Secret Weapon. Amy's music with her solo project contrasts greatly from her main band, Stars, as it is strongly influenced by country and folk. Electric guitars, keyboards and synths are replaced by banjo, mandolin, steel pedal, trombone and acoustic guitars. The easy-going vibe of the West End Cultural Centre, a venue favoured by many touring folk fest-type musicians is a nice change from the theatre setting of the Burton Cummings and Pantages Theatre, a full blown rock concert complete with light show and dry ice smoke. Amy seems comfortable in either setting, the rock goddess or the folk/country western performer.

This was the first "real" concert for my daughter, whose only other concert experience was seeing Moxy Fruvous (also at the WECC) back in 1999, but she claims she fell asleep for most of the show. I was happy to see it was a seated concert with chairs in rows instead of tables or just floor to stand on. The show was enjoyable, a more quiet, intimate show that lets you really appreciate the musicianship and skills of the artists without the flash and pomp. She only played songs from her solo albums, Honey From The Tombs and Masters Of The Burial (seems be a death theme here), so for those expecting Stars songs, you were out of luck, but seeing Amy Millan perform solo or with Stars is always entertaining.

Here's my recording of the concert, share, but DO NOT sell! If you have any problems downloading from Dime (you need to be a member) or the mp3 rar file, let me know.
Enjoy!


AMY MILLAN and Her Secret Weapon
West End Cultural Centre
Winnipeg, MB.
October 18, 2009

01. Intro/ ? (gospel song?)
02. Old Perfume
03. Losing You
04. I Will Follow You Into The Dark
05. Ruby II
06. Come Home Loaded Roadie
07. Lost Compass
08. Run For Me
09. Skinny Boy
10. Bury This
11. Finish Line
12. Baby I
13. Towers
14. Bruised Ghosts

Encore
15. Madere Waltz (Dan Whiteley- mandolin solo)
16. Day To Day
17. Low Sail

2nd encore
18. Pour Me Another

Download: Amy Millan 2009-10-18 .rar (mp3)
Download: www.dimeadozen.org (FLAC)

Monday, October 26, 2009

B.T.W.F.- The Bangs (Bangles)


When I think of guilty pleasure bands I often indulge in some good ol' all-girl rock, not only the "good" stuff like, Sleater-Kinney or the Donnas, but also usually embarrassing stuff like the Go-Go's and the Bangles. Both bands were actually quite good, playing the dingy local clubs and weren't the overnight sensations MTV has led you to believe. For this edition of "Before They Was Famous", I bring you some pre-Bangles, The Bangs.

The Bangles formed in 1980 and went through a number of name changes, The Colours, The Supersonic Bangs, before morphing into The Bangs. In 1981, the original line-up of Susanna Hoffs and Vicky and Debbi Peterson recorded a single (Getting Out Of Hand b/w Call On Me) as The Bangs and in 1982 recorded an EP. A legal issue forced the band to change it's name to the Bangles (dropped the "The" and added "les") before the release of the self-titled EP. Their following albums (All Over the Place, Different Light, Everything) increasingly became more commercial and radio-ready for the MTV generation. I can't say I was much of a fan after their initial releases as they moved a little bit away from their power-pop roots and their 60's jangly sound (I love the Rickenbacker guitars sound!) to a slicker generic sound.

If you're wondering what the members of the Bangles are up to, supposeably the reformed band is entering the studio to record something new and have a listen to Susanna Hoffs collaboration with Matthew Sweet, Under The Covers Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.

THE BANGS- 7" (1981)
A: Getting Out Of Hand mp3
B: Call On Me mp3
Bonus: No Mag Commercial mp3

BANGLES- Self-Titled EP (1982)
download: Bangles-EP .rar

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tweedy On Q


Guesting on CBC's mid-morning program Q this Wednesday October 21st was Wilco's, Jeff Tweedy. Tweedy and Jian discussed Wilco's recent album, Wilco The Album and music in general. The range and quality of guests that Q attracts is promising and actually has me interested. Being at work during the hours of the problem is a little tricky to follow every word that is spoken, but i do have the option of listening later at night (12 hours later) or (in this case) listen to the podcast of the Q website. A very interesting interview with a very interesting guy, Jeff Tweedy and if you're a regular reader to this blog, you know he's one of my favourites. Buy the album too!!

Podcast: Q-Jeff Tweedy interview Oct. 21, 2009 mp3
The full uncut interview (scroll to Oct 21, 2009)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Something New Mondays- Juliana Hatfield


Something New Mondays returns with a new song from Juliana Hatfield! Juliana hasn't really released anything since last year's, How to Walk Away, but a new album titled, Peace And Love is in the works and scheduled for release in January 2010. The new song, We're Not In Charleston Anymore is from the compilation, Ciao My Shining Star: The Songs Of Mark Mulcahy which is a tribute to Miracle Legion frontman Mark Mulcahy. Mulcahy's wife Melissa died suddenly in September 2008 and proceeds will go to Mulcahy to continue his music career and raise their 3 year old twin daughters. The album features 21 exclusive covers of Mulcahy songs by Juliana Hatfield, Dinosaur Jr, Michael Stipe, Frank Black, Ben Kweller, Thom Yorke, The National, and others.

JULIANA HATFIELD- We're Not In Charleston Anymore mp3

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Jonathan Richman- The "Lost" Album


Here's a series of unreleased studio recordings Jonathan Richman recorded likely in 1981, when he was transitioning from his band, the Modern Lovers to a solo career. Some of these songs turned up on later releases while others never officially saw the light of day. The instrumentation and production is sparse which indicates these were demos or rehearsals and the songs that appeared on later albums were re-recorded. The album would have filled the gap between 1979's, Back In Your Life and 1983's, Jonathan Sings!, so it was a good productive time for Jonathan and the beginning of a fertile period (80's) when he pretty much released an album every year.

JONATHAN RICHMAN
The Lost Album (1981)

1. I'm A Little Airplane
2. The Morning Of Our Lives
3. In The Checkout Line
4. Try This Brand New Dance
5. Theme From Moulin Rouge (instrumental)
6. And That's Rock 'n' Roll
7. Ancient And Long Ago
8. The Fenway
9. Not Yet Three
10. Stop This Car
11. Shirin And Fahrad
12. Walter Johnson
13. Five Year Old Feeling

Tracks 1 & 2- live version on 1977's Modern Lovers Live
Tracks 9 & 10- different version on 1983's Jonathan Sings
Tracks 8 & 12- different version on 1985's Rockin' And Romance
Tracks 7 & 11- different version on 1986's It's Time For...

Download: Jonathan Richman- The Lost Album .rar

Monday, October 05, 2009

Van Morrison Speaks to Q!


I admit, Ive never really been a big Van Morrison fan, I'm familar with songs like, Brown Eyed Girl and Moondance, and I really dug his work with his pre-solo band, Them. Everyone knows songs like, Here Comes The Night and the garage-band classic, Gloria, but I've never really had the urge to seek out any of his classic albums from the 70' s, 80's or even the 90's.

Last Thursday, CBC's radio program Q pulled a coo by getting an exclusive interview with Van Morrison in his Toronto hotel, in town for a couple of shows at Massey Hall. I've heard that Van Morrison rarely give interviews, so we should feel somewhat honoured that he would selectively talk to a Canadian interviewer such as Jian Ghomeshi. Out of curiosity and by coincidence I turned the radio on just as the interview had started and I'm sure glad I did. Van was very candid as he revealed that his participation in The Last Waltz concert film (The Band) was a mistake and a rip-off. He also blasted the Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame and how the whole system was a rip-off (He refused to accept the induction). It was a very interesting interview and I couldn't believe how honest and bitter he is to the music business. I wholeheartedly agree with most of his points and I have a new respect for Van Morrison and the last couple of days I have been seeking some of his classic recordings. I've started with Astral Weeks and Moondance (the album) and I'll go on from there, so far it's been enjoyable, but seriously, have a listen to the interview, especially the uncut longer version, it's pretty hilarious!

Q Podcast from Thursday October 1, 2009 mp3 (includes the edited Van Morrison interview)

Uncut interview with Van Morrison (link, scroll down to Oct. 1)

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Hold Steady- Live At The West End

All photos by Jesse Miki

2009 has been great year so far for witnessing some wickedly good concerts. Thursday night at the newly renovated West End Cultural Centre saw the appearance of the Brooklyn-based (and Minneapolis) band, The Hold Steady. Their reputation of being "the best bar band in America" was definitely confirmed as they treated their diehard fans to a amazing display of club-sized rock that saw the band grind out a 25 song set, 105 minute show. They played a good range of songs from all four of their full-length releases, as well as a bunch of new songs.

Since the West End didn't have seating (except for the upper level), I positioned myself smack dab dead centre, about 8 or 9 people deep from the stage. This sweaty-beer soaked (yes, there were many spelt beers on the floor and on people) scrum hung on to singer Craig Finn's every word, screaming out the lyrics, fist pumping and frantically jumping around. Finn's stage presence has always amazed me, with his geeky looks (balding guy with glasses) and odd voice that reminds me more of Randy Newman than Bruce Springsteen, to his wild gestering with arms flailing. He yells into the mic then steps back and screams off-mic frantically baiting the audience to respond and react, creating a connection that keeps the crowd focused on the show. The rest of the band is more low-key as the focus is clearly on the singer, but keyboardist Franz Nicolay, dressed in a suit and fedora complete with a villain-like moustache, posed and put on his own silent show, a perfect contrast to Finn's nervous energy.

My only issue with the show (as a fan and a taper) would be I wasn't especially impressed with the mix of the West End's sound. I've been to many great shows there over the years and I have lots of documented proof (recordings), but it seems the quieter folky/jazz/pop shows sound much better than the noisier loud rock concerts. The mix was heavy on the bass and the overall sound was a little muddy sounding. It noticably improved as the show went on, but to be honest I was less crowded in and jostled with most of the talkers heading to the front of the stage, mid-set. My recording came out okay (but not great), and the results on disc actually sounded better than I remember standing in the crowd. I ranted to friends after the show about concert etiquette, or lack there of, but I'll save that for a future posting. Overall, the Hold Steady put on a very satisfying show, I definitely got my money's worth and I'm thankful I was lucky enough to score tickets since the show sold out the first day they went on sale. Similarily to the Baseball Project/Minus 5 show, it was awesome to see a great live band in such a small venue. Up close to the stage is the only way to really see a band, your body physically feels the music because it's loud and pulsating and the performers appear as real people you can relate to and react to, instead of specks on a stage aided by video screens, seated inside a arena better suited for hockey.

Here's a review of the show from the Winnipeg Sun's Darryl Sterdan.

THE HOLD STEADY
West End Cultural Centre
Winnipeg, MB Canada
September 24, 2009

01. Positive Jam
02. Stuck Between Stations
03. Navy Sheets
04. Banging Camp
05. Chips Ahoy!
06. Cattle and the Creeping Things
07. Goin' on a Hike
08. Sequestered in Memphis
09. You Gotta Dance (With Who You Came With)
10. Heaven is Whenever
11. Slight Discomfort
12. Multitude of Casualties
13. Most People are DJs
14. Our Whole Lives
15. Massive Nights
16. Party Pit
17. Cheyenne Sunrise
18. Separate Vacations
19. Stevie Nix
20. (cuts in) Magazines
21. How a Resurrection Really Feels
22. -Encore Call-
23. Constructive Summer
24. Your Little Hoodrat Friend
25. Stay Positive
26. Slapped Actress

Download: Dimeadozen.org

If you don't have a Dime membership, you have the option of downloading the show at The Hold Steady Taped Show Archive. (An excellent source for H.S. concert recordings in FLAC and mp3 format)
FLAC 1
FLAC 2
FLAC 3

mp3's
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