Saturday, March 25, 2023

The Modern Lovers- Route 128 Revisited


 Now for something completely different! I'm taking a brief break from Elliot Smith's early bands to post something I've been meaning to post for a while. It's a (old school) Modern Lovers vinyl bootleg of some rare and alternative versions of Lovers songs. There are some demos, early sessions, live versions and a couple songs I haven't heard before. Plea For Tenderness is an epic (8 minutes) live-in-the-studio version unheard until here and Cambridge Clown I've never heard before, that is fast and rocks pretty good, though it suffers from horrible sound. As a matter of fact, a few other songs sound muffled, probably from a higher generation tape, while other songs sound incredibly fine, so overall the sound is inconsistently decent. Included in the files is a track-by-track review of the record with more detail about the songs than I can provide. This bootleg was a numbered edition and limited to 300 copies, so finding an actual copy may prove to be difficult (note: I do NOT own the physical album!). It was "unofficially" released in 1988 (or 1989?), but has the low budget look of bootlegs from the 70's (before tapes and CD's were more commonly used) with a plain white cover sleeve with xeroxed pages glued to the front and back with typewritten notes. So cool!

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Route 128 Revisited (1988?)
No label black vinyl
Matrix TI-002 A/B
A01 Plea For Tenderness
A02 Songs For Remembrance Of Old Girlfriends
A03 Ride On Down The Highway
A04 Wake Up Sleepy Head

B01 Cambridge Clown
B02 Such Loneliness    
B03 Womanhood
B04 Dignified And Old

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Stranger Than Fiction- Menagerie (1987)


 The fourth and final album (cassette) from Stranger Than Fiction before the band changed it's name. Another impressive collection of songs that range in style from poppy 80's jangly guitar to beautiful piano ballads recorded to two four-track recorders, the sound quality is great! Once again, Johnny Panic (aka: Elliot (Steven) Smith) and Garrick Duck (aka: Garrick Duckler) write most of the songs.

Stream it on YouTube!
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Menagerie (1987)

01. Memorandum
02. The Real Estate
03. Cypress
04. Prom Date
05. Don't Give It Up
06. The Party
07. Say I Do
08. Trying To Find My Shadow
09. Asleep
10. I'mNotOutOfBreathAnymore
11. Anatomy
12. Chance

The fourth and final album released by Stranger Than Fiction from Portland, OR.
Recorded at WoofBark Sound in the year of our Lord 1987.

Garrick Duck - Bass
Jason Hornick - Keys, Voice
Adam Koval - Drums
Johnny Panic - Voice, Guitars

All songs by Duck/Panic excepting Say I Do by Duck/Hornick and Memorandum, Prom Date by FatBat/Panic

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Stranger Than Fiction- Waiting For The Second Hand (1986)

Here's the third album from Stranger Than Fiction! Judge for yourself, the sound is good and the songs continue to be interesting and a bit bizarre. What do you think? Leave your comments.
Note: The files were converted from 24 bit to 16 bit so they can be burned to CD. The 24 bit files were really huge, but if you prefer that version, leave me a message and I can link you up. This album is the only one that had the files in 24 bit. The "r8b" in the song title files is the conversion software I used, no worries it doesn't effect anything.

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Waiting For The Second Hand (1986)

01. Time Is Ours Now    
02. Punch And Judy    
03. Ancient Fable    
04. 11:37 Passing    
05. I Wish I Could Not Say I Wish    
06. Egypt    
07. The Roller Coaster To Hell    
08. Little Miss Sally (And Her Evening Meditation)    
09. Fast Food    
10. Sophistry    

The third album released by Stranger Than Fiction from Portland, OR. Recorded September 14th, 1986 at Rainbow Recording.
Cassette only release.

Garrick Duckler - Standup Bass, Flounder
Jason Hornick - Keyboards, Vocals, Barracuda
Adam Koval - Drums
Steven Smith - Vocals, Guitar, Trout

except: Garrick Duckler - Vocals and Codfish on "Sophistry", Steven Smith - Electric Piano and Long-Nosed Pike on "Fast Food"

All lyrics by Garrick Duckler except:
"Egypt" by Glynnis Fawkes
"The Roller Coaster to Hell" by Susan Pagani
"Little Miss Sally" by Garrick Duckler, Lisa Gisvold, Sara Harris, Alice Vosmek

All music by Jason Hornick and Steven Smith

Friday, March 17, 2023

Stranger Than Fiction- Still Waters More Or Less (1986)

Here's the second album from Stranger Than Fiction, the band Elliot Smith was in during high school. The first thing that is obvious is that the sound quality is improved and the songs remain fascinating and interesting. Judge for yourself! More to come...!

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If you want to stream and listen in lossless.

Still Waters More Or Less (1986)

01. Wandering
02. Song to the Great Serpent
03. Living in Rotational
04. The Crystal Ball
05. Freedom of Expression
06. Instinctual Disjunction
07. The Vatican Rock
08. Jump Across The Mountain
09. Tunnel Vision
10. Nothing to do With You
11. Sound to Me
12. In the Light
13. Great Serpent Reprise
14. Laughter

Self-released cassette
2nd release from Elliott Smith and Garrick Duckler's songwriting partnership. 
Stranger Than Fiction is listed as:

Garrick Ducker - double bass
Jason Hornick - piano, synthesizers, vocals
Steven Paul Smith - guitars, piano, vocals
Tony Lash - drums


Ben Walsh - drums on Living in Rotational
Tony Lash - organ on The Vatican Rock
Sally Tapanen - tap dance on The Vatican Rock
Steven Smith - bass on Laughter


Friday, March 10, 2023

Stranger Than Fiction- Any Kind Of Mudhen (1985)


If you are a fan of Elliot Smith, last week was special with the unveiling of a collection of six albums Elliot Smith recorded in high school with his band's, Stranger Than Fiction, A Murder Of Crows and Harum Scarum from 1985-1989. These aren't some crappy sounding recordings made in his bedroom, they are fully realized, mature, good sounding recordings of quality original songs written by the teenage Smith (Steven) and his bandmate, Garrick Duckler. Smith was sixteen when they recorded the first of six cassette tapes that were given to friends and sold at performances and Smith had jokingly dismissed the existence of these tapes and distanced himself from his younger self, "I really promised myself a long time ago I would keep [them] from ever seeing the light of day,”. Thanks to an Elliot Smith super-fan in Texas, Cameron McCrary relentlessly tracked down remaining copies of the tapes and archived them to share. They can be heard and streamed on YouTube, but I wanted to track down copies for myself, hopefully in lossless format. Lo and behold, it took me less than 10 minutes to track them down online and I downloaded all six albums in FLAC. If there is an interest, I will share them all here on the blog. I'm a fan of Elliot Smith and I'm also a fan of listening to early works of interesting and intriguing artists, such as Smith, so this is...special.
Recommended reading:

The first album, Any Kind Of Mudhen is actually quite good. Some piano ballads, some drum machines, New Wavy in parts and not unlike solo Elliot Smith, though maybe a little more upbeat. It's interesting the maturity in the music and I never would have suspected this was a group of teenagers on their first recording. Man, I wish I had the original cassette release, but I'm glad this saw the light of day and shared with music fans everywhere. Included in the file are scans of the j-card liner notes and I will emphasize I do NOT have a physical copy of the tape.

Stream on YouTube: Any Kind Of Mudhen

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Any Kind Of Mudhen (1985)

01. Halfway To Forever (Autumn Signs)
02. Looking At My Watch
03. The Machine
04. Joy To The World
05. Uncertainty
06. Another Letter
07. It Was A Sunny Day
08. Wind Through My Life
09. Pbida
10. Chemisty
11. Nothing To Do With You
12. Pull Me Through
13. To Build A Home

Self-released cassette
1st release from Elliott Smith and Garrick Duckler's songwriting partnership.

Recorded during the summer of 1985.

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Wet Leg- Live In Vancouver, BC: August 4, 2022

Photos by Michael Carswell

Today is International Women's Day (March 8), a day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. On this blog we'll include the huge impact and contributions of really good music! I just realized as I write this that the last couple of posts have highlighted some female artists and I will continue to feature more women artists moving forward.

In the early days of the blog, there was a semi-regular feature called Something New Mondays. It was a weekly roundup (posted on Mondays, duh!) of new or upcoming releases that may have been overlooked and music that I recommended to give a listen. An album that would have been perfect to feature was Wet Leg's, self-titled album released in April 2022. I heard the hype about the band (before hearing the album) and there was something about their music that stuck with me. The band gained momentum throughout the year (critically and followers/fans) and they hit the height of mainstream popularity as they were nominated for best new artist at the Grammy's and won Best Alternative Music Album and Best Alternative Music Performance for the song, Chaise Longue. Accolades all around internationally for the band hailing from Isle of Wight in the UK! As you've probably guessed, I despise the Grammy's and do not consider it a measuring stick of what I consider is listenable, but I like Wet Leg. We'll see if they sink into the yucky commercially driven mainstream music "scene" or if they can maintain any kind of alternative edge cred.
Fortunately, someone recorded the Wet Leg show in Vancouver at the legendary venue, Commodore Ballroom last summer. As you can see on the poster for the concert, the date was originally for a later date on August 25th at the Rickshaw Theatre and my guess is that due to the rising popularity of the band, the show was moved to a larger venue because of the demand for tickets. There are some fabulous photos taken at the show and you can see more at Scene in the Dark and Unclear mag. The sound quality of the live recording is quite good, as it's a matrix of an audience recording and an IEM feed (in-ear wireless monitors) at the venue, The first two and a half songs in, it's audience only, but once the IEM signal kicks in the sound improves. A solid recording of an emerging band with a very enthusiastic and probably young (female) audience. Happy Women's day!

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Wet Leg
Thursday August 4th, 2022
Commodore Ballroom
868 Granville St.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

IEM + AUD Stereo Mix

Source 1:  Sony ECM > Sony Minidisc MZ-NF810 > Analog Cable > PC Soundcard > Audacity
Recorded by:  crowflies

Source 2:  IEM Feed > H6
Recorded by:  LeifH [2022#72]

Transfer:  .WAV > RX9 > Wavepad > flac (8) via TLH

01 Being in Love
02 Wet Dream
03 Convincing
04 Supermarket
05 Obvious
06 Oh No
07 Piece of Shit
08 Ur Mum
09 UFO
10 Too Late Now
11 Angelica
12 Chaise
The first 2.5 songs are audience only.  Some drops outs occurred during "Supermarket" on the IEM source.  

Rhian Teasdale – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Hester Chambers – lead guitar, backing vocals
Henry Holmes – drums, percussion
Ellis Durand – bass, backing vocals

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Juliana Hatfield- Live at the Echoplex, Los Angeles, January 2020

Let's get back to concert-going! Would love to have been here! (photo by S. Lo)

I broke my live concert shut-out streak and finally saw a live band two weeks ago. I haven't been to a live show (indoor) for almost 3 years and though it should feel weird after the long absence, it strangely felt the same, like I hadn't missed anything. It wasn't a large venue (at least a couple hundred people) and the floor was crowded, but not squeezed tightly. I had a beer in hand, watched the band on a rare occasion where I didn't record the show, so it was relaxing and exciting. I can honestly say since 2020, I didn't miss seeing live concerts, saved a lot of money and I'm not much of extrovert anyways, but it's nice to leave the cave once in while and see live music. 

The big news in my city (Winterpeg) is that Bruce Springsteen is finally playing a show here! This is the first time ever and there have been campaigns and petitions to get the Boss to grace our presence and it's been a solid NO until now. Tickets went on sale last week for a November date and I took a chance and received a "verified fan" pass code to have the privilege of selecting tickets. I knew tickets would be more $$$ than I've ever paid for a concert and though I like Springsteen, I have to admit he's dropped out of my bucket list of performers to see live. If this was 35 years ago, I would have jumped at the chance, but now my interest has waned. I haven't really taken the time to listen to his more recent works (since 1990), so I'd be that guy that wants to hear the songs from before 1985. I scanned over the seat selection (which was disappearing every second I paused) and in the end I couldn't do it. The least expensive seats (that weren't behind the stage!) were $175 in the upper level (which are as nose bleedy as my hockey tickets), which was more "reasonable" than I expected, but I thought of all the records I can buy with the money and all the bands I'd rather see, I didn't buy a ticket. I think if I saw Bruce I'd want to be close enough to actually see him and the band, not relying completely on the screen and $300+ was definitely out of my price range. I have been staying clear of the huge corporate mega-concerts (No, I would never buy Taylor Swift tickets!) and I feel I should be putting my money towards artists that deserve an audience and I can't bring myself to support tours sponsored by Mastercard or Pepsi and those crooks at Ticketmaster and Stubhub. Yes, I'll have some regrets, there's no doubt it'll be an amazing concert and I suppose if I change my mind or if the FOMO is so great I could over-pay later (just checked, there are front row floors for $2281 suddenly available!). Also my wife would have killed me, she doesn't understand the appeal of the Boss and thinks it's a waste of money, well it's hard not to disagree. I'm of a certain age that grew up with his music and there's obvious some nostalgic thing...but I'll try not to think about it too much.

(photo by S. Lo)

Speaking of musicians/bands I would be happy to spent money to see live, someone requested Juliana Hatfield shows and I opted to post one of her last concerts before the pandemic shut down the live concert experience in early 2020. When playing shows in front of a live audience became impossible, Juliana performed a series on online live-streams (I posted them on this blog!) that proved to be very popular and exciting for fans that normally couldn't make it to live venues. She focused a lot of these streams on individual albums played in their entirety, so it was very cool to reconnect with the back catalogue performed solo. There are many reasons this live concert from the Echoplex in Hollywood is worth a listen.
  1. It's a full band show, so the setlist has a lot of upbeat, rock songs. After the pandemic, a lot of her shows and the tour with the Lemonheads were solo Juliana shows. Sometimes having a band elevates the energy and takes it to another level.
  2. Two of her recent cover albums (The Police and Olivia Newton John) are well represented in the setlist and they sound amazing live with the band. Admit it, (Let's Get) Physical is a tremendous guilty pleasure song, well at least in the proper hands.
  3. A headline show, not an opening slot, so the band can stretch out, play a good variety of songs, not just a small sample of 8-10 songs.
  4. Whoever taped this did a good job because the song quality is really good for an audience recording. Thank you!

I have more Juliana live recordings, so if you have a request for a specific era (90's, 2000's, Blake Babies etc.), let me know.


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Juliana Hatfield
Hollywood, CA
January 27, 2020

Shure MV88+ Mic > iPhone > ProTools (Mastering/EQ) > Soundforge (Split/save tracks).  
01 Everybody Loves Me But You
02 Everything's For Sale
03 Hole In My Life
04 Bottles and Flowers
05 Wonder Why
06 Lost Ship
07 Murder By Numbers
08 Roxanne
09 Dog On A Chain
10 I See You
11 Sunny Somewhere
12 Hungry for You (J'aurais toujours faim de toi)
13 A Little More Love
14 Staying In
15 My Sister
16 De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
17 Physical
18 WhenYou're A Star
19 Candy Wrappers
20 Feelin' Massachusetts
21 A Dame With A Rod
 JH - Vocals, guitar
Dean Fisher - Bass
Mike Oram - Guitar
Chris Anzalone - Drums
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