The home-crafted appeal of Guided by Voices finally reached the general public when Vampire on Titus was released in 1993. The band was on a roll at the time, pumping out creative gems like a band possessed. With one of their very best lineups, they explore the many aspects of their limited production skills without any pretension. Bandleader Robert Pollard found his voice around this time, going from a tuneful yelp to a dark croon effortlessly. And the marvelous Tobin Sprout was still with the band at the time, contributing several memorable songs that mixed up things nicely. Songs float in and out with a tight efficiency that is not typical of many likeminded artists. But without one extra second wasted on a melody, the album's strengths are only made more evident. Pollard's voice had never sounded as dark and anxious as it does on "#2 in the Model Home Series," yet on most tracks he shows an endless optimism that brings to mind Warehouse-era Bob Mould. The beautiful "Marchers in Orange" is where his voice gets its best showcase, wailing away despite the weak production. The band really does display a tremendous amount of power and creativity on this effort, and fans of indie rock should try and find this as soon as possible. Like the Replacements' Hootenanny or Pavement's Slanted & Enchanted, this kicked off a several-album streak of brilliance that went unnoticed by the mainstream but collected quite a following in the underground.
Bitrate: 224 kbps
Key Tracks: Expecting Brainchild, Jar of Cardinals, Gleemer, Dusted, Wondering Boy Poet.
A collection of recordings from one of the pioneers of the lo-fi genre. Still kicking ass after all these years. Some of these recordings date all the way back to the 70's. Siltbreeze will be releasing another retrospective of his recordings sometime in 2009. This album was only released on vinyl, so this of course is a vinyl rip. Unfortunately it's at 192, but what can you do?
If it's Halloween, it must be time for the Misfits!
This is their first (and best) album that was canned due to lack of money and label interest. Bootlegged for many years and officially released on the coffin box set. You'll be hard pressed to find other music that is this fun for this time of year.
Bitrate: 320 kbps
Encoded with: LAME 3.91
Key Tracks: Some Kind of Hate, Hybrid Moments, Bullet, We Are 138
One of the most insane things ever put to tape. This is a collection of 2 live shows. The first show is Wire's stint at the Notre Dame Hall following the release of 154. In typical Wire fashion, most of the songs were (and still are) unrecorded in the studio and offers you a glimpse into what may have come if the band stayed together for a follow up.
The second disc is Wire's performance (or what could be better described as a confrontation) at the Janette Cochrane Theatre. Here Wire taunts the audience (who grows progressively more restless) with new material that is among some of their most challenging. From the chaos that is "Underwater Experiences" to the free jazz of "Zegk Hoqp" this show is not an easy listen. Even worse (or better) the 8-track tape machine used to record this show was set up improperly so it was only recorded to two tracks.
Do not download this if this is your first exposure to Wire, but if you are familiar with their 70's period... Put this on and get ready for a crazy ass ride!
Encoded with: LAME 3.91
Key Tracks: Ally In Exile, Witness To The Fact, Underwater Experiences, 12XU, We Meet Under Tables
Boat Trip might be some hidden soundtrack to Donkey Kong warp-whistling straight into Ayahuasca Country. In about twenty minutes Sun Araw manages to navigate a psychedelic jungle cruise through canopy din & spooked drone, then he noses the boat out of the water and lifts into uncharted dub-spheres. The back half of this entranced tour is like being (fortunately) trapped inside an old Upsetters jam played at half-speed with twice the shaman-chant and reverb drenched percussion. Normally we wouldn't trust taking this kind of trip with just anybody, but with wheel and rudder alike in the hands of Magic Lantern co-captain Cameron Stallones, we can sip our yage-of-choice in peace and share the Sun Araw vision as one. Originally issued on Stunned Records as a limited CDR, here it gets the deluxe vinyl treatment. Limited to 500 on black vinyl.
Encoded with: ITunes V 184.108.40.206
This release's target market (besides Smog completists) might be budding ethnomusicologists, because it provides a concise study of Bill Callahan's development as a songwriter over the course of a decade or so, a "then and now" comparison. Callahan begins by offering a snapshot from his 2000 release, Dongs of Sevotion. The excellent "Strayed," a Leonard Cohen-like crooning confessional, showcases a style Callahan has been slowly perfecting since 1993's Julius Caesar. Then gears shift completely, and Callahan gives the listener a glimpse at some of his "baby pictures," a reissue of the eight-song instrumental Cow EP, originally released on Callahan's own Disaster label in 1989. The juxtaposition is interesting, the subtle and retrained title track paired with the raucous and clanging Cow tracks, but hardcore Smog fans will already be familiar with the contrast and not need the lesson.
Bitrate: 320 KBPS
Encoded with: Unknown