Sunday, July 19, 2009

Magnetic Fields - miscellaneous live

Hell, while I'm at it, I figure I might as well post some more Magnetic Fields for you guys. This is a bit of a mish-mash of tracks that I downloaded mostly in 1999-2001, during the waning days of Napster and the heyday of Kazaa and especially Audiogalaxy. Those systems promoted file-by-file downloading, and so I got all this stuff without really having any idea where it was recorded. The best thing about this collection is that it mostly covers the period immediately before 69 Love Songs came out - which showed the band moving towards more acoustic arrangements live, while still using mostly electronics in studio - shifting slightly away from the vibe of the mid-90s concerts like the one I posted earlier. During this period they were also debuting a number of songs that would appear on the 6ths's second album, here recorded with Stephin Merritt singing and a much more pared-down accompaniment. To me, the versions of "As You Turn to Go" and "Kissing Things" here will always trump the CD versions, lovely as they are in and of themselves.

Because of their random origins, the recording quality in these files does vary dramatically - though I've left off a lot of really crappy-sounding tracks that I also have. All these songs should have itunes tag information that lines them up in the order below, though I'm never clear on how well the tags translate from computer to computer - and if you're not using itunes I suppose you've got some re-tagging to do. Or you can just listen to them in whatever order you want. Regardless, I hope you like it. I'll have more Magnetic Fields up in the weeks (months?) to come.

The Magnetic Fields, miscellaneous live collection, dates unknown:

1. I Don't Want to Get Over You (live on the BBC, 11 November 2000) (2:13)
2. Grand Canyon (2:54)
3. Just Like a Movie Star (2:47)
4. He Didn't (2:23)
5. The Saddest Story Ever Told (2:03)
6. I Don't Believe You (live on KVRX) (3:01)
7. Smoke and Mirrors (live on KVRX) (3:09)
8. All the Umbrellas in London (live on KVRX) (3:17)
9. Aging Spinsters (live on KVRX) (2:47)
10. 100,000 Fireflies (3:13)
11. Amnesia (2:10)
12. Ever Falls the Twilight/Your Long White Fingers (3:14)
13. Come Back From San Francisco (3:16)
14. Candy (2:28)
15. Jeremy (2:39)
16. Summer Lies (2:55)
17. Looking for Love in the Hall of Mirrors (3:02)
18. As You Turn to Go (1:50)
19. Kissing Things (2:10)
20. Young and Insane (2:06)
21. Alien Being (2:15)
22. When You Where My Baby (2:30)
23. Pillow Fight (2:31)
24. I've Got New York (2:18)
25. Lindy Lou (2:03)
26. Old Orchard Beach (2:49)
27. Winter in July (2:28)
28. I Have the Moon (2:21)
29. Famous (3:00)
30. The Desperate Things You Made Me Do (2:57)

Get the whole disorderly mess here. Enjoy.

Andrew Beaujon singles

Hello again. Earlier I posted some Eggs singles, which led the band's singer, Andrew Beaujon, to visit the site. Ever since I have been meaning to post these singles Andrew put out under his own name and with his short-lived (or at least not prolific) band Women in Rock. It seems it's about time I actually completed the post. Hopefully this time I'll get all the recording speeds right. Without further ado:

Andrew Beaujon, Marylebone Station 7", 1997
Happy Go Lucky, no. 7

A: Marylebone Station (2:45)
B: Feeling Relatively Good (3:52)

Andrew Beaujon and Women in Rock, Throw the Apes 7", 1998
555 Recordings, no. 14

A: Throw the Apes (3:29)
B: Click and Drag (3:10)

Also, breaking out of my pretty-much-vinyl-only regimen, I'm adding this CD EP. It was released on vinyl too, but I have the CD, which I guess has one fewer song. What I don't have is an image of the cover art - there's no scanner chez Mythic Signifier and I just don't feel much like photographing the CD cover, photoshopping it to a decent size, and uploading it right now. Hopefully sometime soon I will do that. For now, you just get the music.

Andrew Beaujon, Morning, 1997
Neptune, no. 23

1: Snowglobe Hearts (4:15)
2. Little Wings (3:35)
3. Initials K.K. (3:39)
4. Horse Girl in the Passing Lane (5:48)

Get all three singles here. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Magnetic Fields

It's actually pretty surprising that I haven't posted any Magnetic Fields yet, considering they are probably my favoritest of bands. If you don't know them, I don't even know where to begin describing their brilliance, so I won't even try. You can gather more information on them via their website.

I will, however, recount the somewhat oddball way I came to discover them and enter the wonderful world of Stephin Merritt: It was the summer of 1997 and I was in NYC interning. I tagged along with a number of fellow interns to see Combustible Edison play. (Remember them?) There were two opening bands--the first consisted of 4, yes 4, theremin players, who made an unholy racket as a rhythym guitarist tried to provide some structure; the second was Future Bible Heroes, which is Merritt's synthpop side project/alter ego band. One song and I was hooked--I went to Kim's and bought their album the next day and the rest is history. What's funny is that I don't even think that Future Bible Heroes were touring, and a few years later when I saw the Magnetic Fields in DC, I asked their drummer Claudia Gonson, who was manning the merch table, when Future Bible Heroes would be playing again. Her typically laconic answer: "When we stop sucking."

Sadly I don't have any document of Future Bible Heroes's shows (though I'd especially love to hear a recording of their more recent--2002?--show at Mercury Lounge in NYC), but what I do have is this great recording from the first Merge Fest at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC in 1994. I kick myself continually that I lived in Chapel Hill at that time and didn't have the good sense to go to the Cradle that night and discover the band a few years earlier than I did. What was particularly great about them at this stage in this pre-69 Love Songs stage of their career was that while the albums were all really synthy and full of studio wizardry, they transcribed all the songs to a more classic indie-rock format when they played live. Also, Stephin Merritt generally sang all the songs, regardless of who sang them on the album (Susan Anway for the first couple records, and then a whole variety of people in the 6ths--another side project). All this made the concert experience very unique and special. Recently, with their latest album Distortion, they've moved back to this distinction between albums and concerts, but in a much more quiet, contemplative manner. Back in '94, they were all indie rock (or as you can hear Claudia pronounce in the recording, tacky indie rock).

Count on seeing more Magnetic Fields concerts and rarities as I fitfully progress with my posting. For now, enjoy this particular concert here.

The Magnetic Fields live at the Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, NC
Mergefest, July 29, 1994

1. When I'm Out of Town (3:26)
2. Either You Don't Love Me or I Don't Love You (2:14)
3. Born on a Train (3:48)
4. 100,000 Fireflies (3:36)
5. Strange Powers (2:55)
6. Lonely Highway (4:08)
7. Deep Sea Diving Suit (2:00)
8. Love Goes Home to Paris in the Spring (3:08)
9. Dream Hat (feat. Mac McCaughan) (2:53)
10. Candy (3:53)
11. San Diego Zoo (4:30)
12. Rot in the Sun (3:36)
13. Desert Island (3:53)
14. Summer Lies (3:47)
15. Young and Insane (1:58)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Make-Up split singles

The first time I saw the Make-Up perform was opening for Sonic Youth on the Washing Machine tour in Raleigh in 1995. I had never heard of the band, or of Nation of Ulysses, and was totally unprepared for the experience. I had never seen anyone be so outrageously glam and so punk rock at the same time. Towering bouffants, matching purple satin outfits, and Ian Svenonius flailing about on the floor of the stage like a maniac. It took me a few years to realize that he was possessed with that gospel yeh-yeh sound, and to become a convert myself. Once I did, though, I got my hands on whatever Make-Up releases I could find, including all their singles, none of which appeared on any album.

A few years later the band released the singles as a compilation entitled I Want Some (buy it here). This was, undeniably, a huge service to the public, and the CD makes for an astoundingly good listen, but as with so many such compilations, it loses a certain something that you get from listening to the actual records--not least of which is the fact that a number of these were split singles. Split singles are an interesting phenomenon when you're a huge fan of just one of the featured bands--the flipside is like opening a window onto an unexpected landscape, sometimes beautiful, sometimes not, but always a refreshing alternative to the music you bought the single to hear. And so, in this post I will do my small part to rescue these flipsides from oblivion:

The Make-Up/The Meta-Matics split 7", 1995
Black Gemini Records, no. 2

A: The Make-Up, "Trans-Pleasant Express" (2:19)
B: The Meta-Matics, "Absence of Rhythm" (2:39)

OK, so this Meta-Matics track has apparently already been rescued, courtesy Troubleman Unlimited's complete discography of the band (buy it here). According to Troubleman's website: "META-MATICS formed in Washington, DC during the summer of 1994 with the intention of cultivating their own musical language. Influenced by ethnic folk music, jazz, classical, and no-wave; they solidified their unique sound quickly, impressing upon bands such as BIKINI KILL and FUGAZI to take them along on tour. The raw energy and the joy of the music was the heartbeat of META-MATICS. They lived up to their name, destroying themselves after 1 1/2 years. The music continues to influence those coming from the punk idiom who want to break free of the self-imposed constraints. A truly groundbreaking band, and historical artifact. Members: Aaron Brenner: Guitar; Franke Vogl: Bass; Malcolm McDuffie: Drums; Chuck Bettis: Vocals. Aaron went on to AIRPORT BAR. Franke went on to RARAFRE+AM, ET AT IT, and HETH. Malcolm went on to CROM-TECH and HOLLOW MOUNTAIN. Chuck went on to ALL SCARS, TRANCE AND THE ARCADE, and founded Mass Particles Records. "

Slant 6/The Make-Up split 7", 1995
Time Bomb, no. 128

A1: Slant 6, "I Love You a Lot" (1:52)
A2: Slant 6, "Rebel, Rebel, Bat Cat" (3:14)
B1: The Make-Up, "We're Having a Baby" (1:55)
B2: The Make-Up, "This Is... Young Vulgarians" (2:01)

These Slant 6 songs, on the other hand, do not appear to have been compiled, and apparently form the band's final output before breaking up in 1995. There's info about them on the Southern Records website: "
SLANT 6 played their first show in the Summer of 1992 with Myra Power (Lucky 13) on bass, Christina Billotte (Autoclave, QUIX*O*TIC) on guitar and voice and Marge Marshall debuting on drums. Three songs were recorded at Inner Ear Studios with Don Zientara and Ian MacKaye, and released as a single on Dischord in June of 1993. They did many small tours of the US, stretching from their Washington DC home all the way to the West Coast. For their debut album, the trio returned to the successful recording formula at Inner Ear with Don and Ian. Slant 6 took their name from an in-line six cylinder engine produced in the 1960's and 70's by Dodge for the Chrysler Motor Company. Originally produced with 170 cubic inch displacement, it was later enlarged to 225 Cl and finally 240 Cl for maximum power. It was noted for it's reliability and distinctive angle, banked at 30 degrees from vertical."

The Make-Up/The Crainium split 7", 1998
Slowdime Records, no. 16

A: The Make-Up, "I Want Some (Gimme Some)" (2:48)
B1: The Crainium, "Hatch as Hatch Can-and I Can-But Won't" (2:15)
B2: The Crainium, "The Mechanical Breast" (1:52)

I'm having trouble finding out very much about The Crainium--or maybe this post is just going on awfully long and I'm getting tired. I do know this - they were based in DC, opened for The Make-Up on tour, and after dissolving two of the members went on to form the much-acclaimed Gang Gang Dance. They also released an album, which should still be available for download at Ongakubaka.

The Make-Up/Lung-Leg split 7", 1998
Southern Records, unnumbered

A: The Make-Up, "Pow! to the People" (3:07)
B: Lung-Leg, "Krayola" (3:38)

Lung-Leg was a Scottish foursome, named after Richard Kern's starlet (and cover star of the Sonic Youth album Evol). This was their next-to-last single; most of the info about them on the web deals with their frequent line-up changes - read more about all that here. Besides that, there is a good little text on their myspace page: "
Lung Leg began around late 93 with 4 girls; Mo, Jane, Annie and Jade. They were pretty scrappy wee punks and had an ear for a good tune. Everything at the time was kinda crappy versions of Slint or really earnest hardcore so they got together.They liked to look glamourous just like Roxy Music and liked to have a good tune you could whistle like the Fall. Jade left around 95 or so, the usual story... They got a foxy boy drummer, todd, who could do a good Spector beat. They did a couple of Peel sessions which was an honour. They respected the RIOT gIRL THING but were more interested in writing a good tune. At times it seemed we were always classed as a 'girlband'. We hung around with The Yummy Fur, (Jane's brother is John) and made an album. Alex (now Franz Ferdinand) plays keyboards on a couple of tracks. MoMo left to have a little boy (and fell out with most of the band for a while) and Phillipa joined around mid 1997.The little boy remains a dedicated Bowie (in Berlin) fan. The band went to America and made an EP with the Makeup before splitting in 1999. However, it is believed that eyeliner is still applied badly in parts of Lanarkshire and Glasgow to this day."

Get all these singles here. Enjoy.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


I have no memory of how I came to possess this cassette by Pitchblende, a DC-area band that formed in 1991 and broke up in 1995. I think maybe it was sent to me by Damian from the contemporaneous but even shorter-lived DC band Load, with whom I corresponded a little bit around the time this came out, and whose own cassette I will post at some point in the future. Oddly I never wound up acquiring any further releases by Pitchblende other than the split single with Eggs that I posted earlier, so they're not a band I know really well, but listening to this tape again while digitizing reminded me how much I like it. Luckily for me (and you), the rest of their discography is posted over at Crumbs of Affection, so I should be able to find out what I've been missing all these years pretty easily.

The band also entered the digital age a few years back by creating a MySpace page, which details the group's formation and the circumstances surrounding the creation of this cassette. So I don't see much reason to go on and on about those details here. It is worth noting, however, that the description there does not reference the experimental and interesting hidden tracks that appear at the end of each side of the tape - the latter of which consists largely of an extended telephone conversation in Russian or Polish or some other Eastern European language. Also the MySpace entry lists the songs in a different order than the tape cover does - I've followed the tape here (including the mispelling of "Sum" as "Sump"), so someone let me know if it is incorrect. Finally, I really like the fact that one of the members of Pitchblende actually played as part of Unrest on the Yes She is My Skinhead Girl single, which I have also posted here. It makes me feel like I might be recreating just a little bit of the original community, which is nice.

One last thing: while I normally don't do much to alter the direct recording of my vinyl, I did remove the tape hiss from these mp3s. If I had better (OK, any) command of the EQ functions in Audacity I might have been able to keep this from sounding like it came from an 18-year-old tape altogether, but no such luck. At any rate, I hope it pleases some ears out there. Enjoy.

Pitchblende cassette, 1991
Self-released, #254 of a limited edition

A1: Redcap (3:26)
A2: Tuffet (3:12)
A3: Sump (4:06)
A4: Comatose Snail Punchout (4:48)
A5: Pilot Light (3:56)
A6: [Untitled hidden track] (2:17)
B1: Lacquer Box (5:42)
B2: Drop in the Big Drink (3:07)
B3: Infinite Mouse (3:03)
B4: Sawed Off City (3:12)
B5: Cars (4:20)
B6: [Untitled hidden track] (6:17)

Get it here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Second to Unrest, Eggs are, in my humble opinion, the greatest of the Teenbeat bands. Like Mark Robinson, the force behind Unrest, Andrew Beaujon of Eggs was with the label from the beginning, working under various monikers such as Scaley Andrew. Eggs was a sort of supergroup that featured Beaujon as well as Rob Christiansen, also of Grenadine and Viva Satellite. Their album Exploder is tremendous, as is their singles compilation How Do You Like Your Lobster. I highly recommend that you visit the Teenbeat site and pick those up.

The first two songs of the first single I'm posting here are included on How Do You Like Your Lobster, but for some reason (a rights issue, perhaps?) the cover of Peggy Lee's Fever is not on the CD. Neither is the great instrumental track from the second single here, which is a split release with Pitchblende - a band that I will post more from in due course. You can get both singles here. Enjoy.

PS. As anyone reading the comments will see, I heard from Andrew Beaujon, who kindly pointed out that I had recorded "Song With Contemporary Influences" at the wrong speed. I am a bad blogger! Or perhaps a bad indie-rock fan? At any rate, what I thought was a zippy instrumental romp is in fact a much mathier, dirge-like ditty. It's still a good song. I've reposted the corrected version via the link above - and just for kicks I've thrown in a little non-vinyl Eggs rarity: their cover of The Cure's "Catch" from the compilation Give Me The Cure, which featured many DC-area bands doing Cure covers, and which I sadly do not own...

Anyway, thanks to Andrew for visiting the site and checking up on his legacy, and thanks to you all as I continue working out the kinks of blogging.

Jade Tree EP, 1993
Jade Tree, no. 1010

A: Sexual Tension (5:23)
B1: In State (2:46)
B2: Fever (3:34)

Eggs/Pitchblende, Balls! Balls! EP, 1994
Jade Tree, no. 1016

A: Pitchblende, "Windshield Kiss" (2:47)
B: Eggs, "Song with Contemporary Influences" (5:03)

Stereolab & Soi-Disant

Here's a split single by Stereolab and Soi-Disant that to my knowledge has not yet found its way onto CD. Stereolab must be gearing up for another Switched On compilation, on which their song here would presumably appear, but for now this is a pretty hard-to-find entry in their extremely extensive canon. Around my house this song is affectionately known as "The Windshield Wiper Song." The Soi-Disant song is good, too, though I don't know a thing about them as a band. Anyway, I thought this would be a nice follow-up to the Stereolab/Cat's Miaow single. Enjoy.

Stereolab/Soi-Disant split 7", 1998
Lukewarm Music, no. 1

A: Stereolab, "Symbolic Logic of Now!" (4:09)
B: Soi-Disant, "Glitterati (Cruise(r))" (4:12)

Get it here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Stereolab & The Cat's Miaow

As a little afterthought to my Unrest post, here's a split flexi-single by Stereolab and The Cat's Miaow. Stereolab also put out a single with Unrest, and Unrest covered a song by Miaow (see below), who is surely the reference point for The Cat's Miaow, don't you think? So this seemed like an appropriate followup. The two Stereolab songs on this disc have not been included on the band's various "Switched On" compilations--though "Yes Sir I Can Moogie" also manifested itself as "Moogie Wonderland," a b-side on their "Ping Pong" single. They're really just sketches here, The Cat's Miaow song being the only fully-formed track on the single. Still, if you're as big a Stereolab fan as I am, this is a nice little nugget from one of the prime moments of their catalogue. Enjoy.

Stereolab/The Cat's Miaow split 7", 1995
Wurlitzer Jukebox, no. 3

A1: Stereolab, "The Eclipse" (0:59)
A2: The Cat's Miaow, "Shoot the Moon" (2:55)
A3: Stereolab, "Yes, Sir! I Can Moogie" (1:02)

Get it here.

Comments, and a return (Unrest).

So. It's been a long time since I've posted anything here, or even looked at this site. I suppose I lost interest there for a while. But just a little while ago I happened to come back here and discovered, to my delight, that I had gotten quite a few comments on my postings in last six months. As a frequenter of music blogs, I have often seen people write how much comments mean to them, but until now I had not truly understood how blog-affirming they are. So thank you, Billy Sugarfix, Mookieproof, Rye, Andrea Kulpas, Mr. Snrub, JonMcP, Joe, Ned, and yes, even you, Anonymous. (Not so much you, Sexy, who I can only assume is a Chinese spammonger of some sort.) Suddenly I have the desire to post again!

With that said, I thought that posting more Unrest singles would be a nice way to get back in the swing of things:

Yes She Is My Skinhead Girl 7", 1991
Teenbeat no. 42/IPU no. 17

A1: Yes She Is My Skinhead Girl (4:26)
B1: Hydroplane (3:01)
B2: Feeling Good Fixation (0:59)

This is (I think) the band's third single, and certainly the first one to have a large pressing. It's also a co-release with K Records, part of the label's International Pop Underground series. (Or were all of K's releases part of the IPU series?) At any rate, it's a great single, with a lovely Sammy Davis Jr. cover, and a different version of the title track than the one that later came out on the Isabel EP, plus two great b-sides, the latter of which is part of the long-standing tradition of 1-minute Unrest songs.

A Factory Record 7", 1991
Teenbeat no. 63/Sub-Pop no. 103

A1: Deaf (3:14)
A2: UFO (2:05)
B1: Sex Machine (1:27)
B2: When It All Comes Down (3:52)

Anyone who knows anything about the Teenbeat label knows that Mark Robinson (leader of the label and of Unrest) is a Factory Records fanatic. Thus it is only fitting that he would release a single comprising covers of great tunes from the Factory discography. On this co-release with Sub-Pop (part of its single-of-the-month series), we get covers of songs by Crispy Ambulance, ESG, Crawling Chaos, and Miaow (in that order). The Miaow cover was later released on the BPM compilation, which is stil available from Teenbeat.

ModFuck Explosion
original soundtrack LP, 1993
Ballpeen no. 10

A1: ModFuck Explosion Theme (2:58)
A2: Zim-Zum (3:22)
A3: London's Theme (2:18)
A4: Northwest Territory (1:28)
A5: In the Garden (3:11)
A6: Unrest Incidental Piece (3:52)

This soundtrack catches Unrest at their prime, right between the release of Imperial FFRR and Perfect Teeth, and it shows. Six beautiful songs that were, incidentally, the first Unrest songs I ever heard, thanks to a great mid-college mixtape by my friend Kelly's roommate Rebecca (wherever you are, thank you). The other half of the soundtrack is by Karyo Tengoku, a brilliant Japanese noise-punk band - I haven't digitized that side of the album yet, but plan on seeing it here at some point. The ModFuck Explosion film came out on DVD a few years back, but I never mustered up the willpower to watch it. I wonder if it lives up to its soundtrack.

Animal Park 7", 1994
Teenbeat no. 133

A1: Afternoon Train (2:24)
A2: Hey Hey Halifax (1:43)
B1: Light Command (4:23)

And finally, the last Unrest single, once the band was rapidly underway to becoming Air Miami (more on which at another time). "Light Command" appears, in slightly different form (I think), on the Perfect Teeth album, while "Afternoon Train" was refashioned (slightly) to appear on the Air Miami album. Bridget Cross sings on both songs.

Get all this stuff in one handy file here. Enjoy!