Pavement - Stray Slack (1994)

Pavement's most famous bootleg that is considered by many to be just as essential as their official releases. Featuring live tracks from their 2 night December stand at the Brixton Academy in 1992 as well as select tracks from their Reading Festival appearance that same year. This bootleg features two tracks that never made it on to an album or deluxe re-issue (Teenage Piss Party & Black Walls) as well as some tracks that were rarely played live. An essential document of Pavement's best era.

The Mountain Goats - Sweden (1996)

This is classic Mountain Goats: songs about broken (or soon to be broken) relationships, food, and flora rendered in vivid detail and recorded straight to boom box. Atop characteristically ragged and percussive guitar playing, John Darnielle works wonders of condensation, creating lively, complex characters in less than three minutes. Despite the flag on the cover and hilarious liner notes about the "Swede conspiracy," this isn't a concept album about the homeland of Ace of Base and ABBA, nor are there any covers of those two Darnielle favorites. There is, however, perhaps the best cover of Steely Dan's "FM" imaginable. No Alpha songs here either, but two more in the "Going to" series -- "Going to Queens" and "Going to Bolivia" -- and the outstanding "Tahitian Ambrosia Maker," which is something of a mix between Gilligan's Island and Heart of Darkness (beginning, "We were real hungry, half dead, when you broke out a half a loaf of sourdough bread, and in the tropical air the scent rose like a spirit"), make Sweden among the best of the early releases from the Mountain Goats. Zopilote Machine is maybe more consistent, but 1995's Sweden sets a high-water mark not surpassed until The Coroner's Gambit in 2000.

-Jason Nickey, All Music

Flying Saucer Attack - In Search of Spaces (1996)

An unusual and striking document of the FSA live experience, In Search of Spaces consists of instrumental snippets from a series of shows in the early '90s with a rotating lineup, including Matt Elliott of Third Eye Foundation. The number of shows FSA has ever done is nearly nil to begin with, and no live line-up was ever quite the same. Corpus Hermeticum/A Handful of Dust mainman Bruce Russell then edited and wove everything together, creating a single-track CD that runs for 50 minutes. In Search of Spaces definitely rewards the patient as a result, but those willing to take the plunge will be well-rewarded. Given the general FSA recording approach of home-taping and anti-gloss, the crumbling and murky results aren't too far off from the band's studio releases (indeed, the liner notes claim the recordings come from audience tapes rather than soundboard streams). If there's little or none of the sudden crispness that makes songs like "In the Light of Time" so striking, the moody, post-psychedelic reach of the performances more than makes up for it. As there's no way to tell when or how anything was done, making judgments on the basis of improved abilities over the time or the like is impossible -- In Search of Spaces needs to be taken at face value. Elliott's contributions likely result in the occasional drums, but Pearce's unearthly guitar howls and shattering, abrasive yet lovely feedback arcs take understandable pride of place. Singling out particular moments to concentrate on can take some patience, but there's a lengthy jam starting around ten minutes in with a low, rumbling rhythm providing the background for some wonderful guitar craziness from Pearce and others.

-Ned Raggett, All Music

Various Artists - This Is Boston, Not LA (1982)

For many punk rock enthusiasts, Boston isn't the first city that comes to mind when thinking of American cities that boasted a strong punk scene in the late '70s and early '80s. While Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco were famous for their punk scenes, Boston's punk scene didn't enjoy nearly as much publicity. But make no mistake: Boston was a punk hotbed back then, and Modern Method Records tried to spread the word with this obscure but excellent compilation. Released in 1982, This Is Boston, Not L.A. spotlights seven Boston punk bands of the late '70s and early '80s: Jerry's Kids, Gang Green, the F.U.'s, the Freeze, the Proletariat, Decadence, and the Groinoids. While the Proletariat -- a very political band with Marxist/socialist leanings -- is heavily influenced by British punk, most of the other bands have more in common with L.A. residents like Black Flag and the Circle Jerks. But whoever their influences are, all of these bands have very substantial, hard-hitting lyrics -- the subject matter ranges from alcoholism on the Freeze's "It's Only Alcohol" and war on Gang Green's "Kill a Commie" to the excesses of slam dancing on Decadence's "Slam." This Is Boston, Not L.A. isn't the last word on Boston's late '70s/early '80s punk scene, but it paints an impressive picture of the Beantown punks who were active during that era.

New Blog Coming 1/11/11

After nearly 5 years (2 w/ Kiwi Tapes + 3 with this blog) I think I have reached the point where I can say that the "full album" download blog concept has run it's course and it's time for something new. My goal has always been to provide rabid music fans with an outlet to find interesting music that may have otherwise gone unheard or unappreciated. Looking back I think it would be fair to criticize me for often doing things that were not in the best interest of the artist and moving forward I would like to operate with the creators in mind first and foremost. Without the artists we do not have any of this great music to enjoy and as a music fans we need to keep our sense of entitlement when it comes to freebies in check.

Details on the new blog will be coming soon. Regular posting will continue on this blog up until the end date.

Palace Sountracks - Songs Put Together For (The Broken Giant) (1996)

A soundtrack released in 1996 by Palace Soundtracks (aka Will Oldham, Palace Music, Palace Brothers, etc.) for the 1998 film The Broken Giant directed by Estep Nagy. The release features the highly under rated Palace tunes "Black/Rich Tune" and "The Risen Lord".

Sam Esh + The Hard Black Thing - Montezuma Baby Duck (1994)

Hard Black Thing was a Columbus, Ohio, quartet featuring Sam Esh (former Woodruff Ave. block captain, now mayor of a small unnamed hamlet near Savannah, Georgia), Mike Rep (Quotas, True Believers, etc.) Stu Sinn & Roger Time (both from the Harry Patt Band). Soundwise, HBTs side is a stumbling, white-knuckled barrel ride through myriad soundscapes as diverse as Amon Dl, Kalacakra, Portsmouth Sinfonia, Steve Marcus & Door & The Window, sometimes all at once! Side 2 begins w/ excerpts from the unreleased Sam Esh comedy LP. The sound is not unlike one might expect if one expects to find the likes of Tubby Boots channeling Jack Mudurian at a volunteer fire department turkey raffle. The laughs are on you, friend! Then its a down n dirty steel string strum & coarse vocal hum that is capable of reducing even the most erudite Alan Lomax sycophant to nothing more than a human tear box lost in Porch Swing, USA. Label art by Graham Lambkin. An LP that definitely needs to heard to be conquered.

-Press Release

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy & Dawn McCarthy - Wai Notes (2007)

A collection of lo-fi demo recordings made for Bonnie "Prince" Billy's spectacular The Letting Go album. A must have for fans of the album and anyone looking for newer Oldham recordings that capture the level of intimacy that the earlier Palace recordings do.

Alastair Galbraith - Hurry On Down CS (1990)

I had the Regent Theatre tape which fills one side of this and I really thought it was good enough on it's own, if a little short. So the aim was to fill the other side and get it out. Alastair had recorded Timebomb in 1986 and had it turned down by Flying Nun, but no solo stuff had been released. As Plagal Grind was pretty slow to get off the ground, this tape seemed like a good stop-gap. The early first edition included the B-Side of Timebomb, which was pretty irrelevant once released on vinyl, plus a couple of walkman recordings that weren't up to AG's standards, so the second edition replaced most of them with early Plagal Grind 4-track stuff and solo 4-track recordings by AG. It was a clear improvement, but for me the live side remained the gem of this tape.
-Bruce Russell