Shortwave for Isolationports (Eno + Conet Numbers Project)

This edit merges the first composition on Brian Eno’s “Music for Airports” with coded shortwave radio broadcasts from the 20th Century. It’s an ambient vocal track that speaks in tongues. Zero, zero, zero, echo, victor, sierra, eight, four, six, yankee, hotel, foxtrot...

The method was mostly an oblique strategy, followed by some editorial tweaks. The two sources automatically created a collective drama that I didn’t mess with very much. The edit preserves the stereo separation of Eno’s album, with the mono shortwave broadcasts layered in.

16-minute, 320kbps mp3 track here


Gang of Four: “Lord Make Me a Cowboy” (flexi-disc, 1982)

This is the rarest Gang of Four studio recording, released only once, on a flexi-disc inside of the magazine “Vinyl Music” (Netherlands, July 1982). 

I obtained a copy at the time, played it just twice to record it to cassette, then played it again circa 2000 to rip a digital file.

This post is based on that uncompressed rip, re-EQ’ed to address the limitations of flexi-disc sonics. This is as hard as I can make it kick.

The issues were primarily a thin, stabby drum machine (and cheap plastic) at the high end and distorted, non-musical thumping on the low end. I also adjusted the volume in a several places, because the original mix includes sudden shifts that disrupt the flow. My main focus was on clarifying Dave Allen's ganky bass articulations and Andy Gill's fantastic dueling guitars.

I can’t find any information about when the track was recorded or what it is. My guess is a late demo by the original lineup, before Dave Allen (bass) left, around the time of “To Hell with Poverty” and “Capital, It Fails Us Now.” That would make it a logical candidate for a throwaway flexi-disc in 1982.

Cover art is adapted from the flexi-disc’s label and a cover detail from “Entertainment.”

320kbps mp3 file here

Foetus: 12-inches (1984)

Foetus (JG Thirlwell) released three amazing, extended disco-industrial 12-inches in 1984, the same year as the album “Hole,” and a year ahead of “Nail.”

As far as I can tell, these full-length tracks are currently unavailable to buy or stream, and they may never have been released digitally, except in shortened edits.

The compilation presented here uses my uncompressed vinyl rips, circa 2003, mildly EQ’ed to bring up the bottom end and blunt some high end needles, converted to 320kbps mp3s.

Thirlwell is still making great music! Official site and store.

45-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Calamity Crush (6:06)
  • Finely-Honed Machine (9:35)
  • Wash It All Off (6:12)
  • Today I Started Slogging Again (7:45)
  • Catastrophe Crush (7:09)
  • Sick Minutes (Unmutual) (8:51)

Original 12-inch art, x3: JG Thirlwell. 

Blue Oyster Cult: “Chatter on the Tide” (Live 1972-1973)

This mix provides a prequel to Blue Oyster Cult’s 1975 live album, “On Your Feet, or On Your Knees,” which capped the band’s classic, initial studio run: “Blue Oyster Cult,” “Tyranny and Mutation,” and “Secret Treaties” (1972-1974). 

In 1975, everything changed, with the release of the completely different “Agents of Fortune,” containing the hit, “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”

Pulling from four bootlegs recorded April 1972 through December 1973, this mix compiles as many different songs as possible, mostly in the earliest live recording available. (The NYC Academy of Music show predates the recording of “Secret Treaties.”) 

I’ve only repeated two songs, one because it changed a lot, and the other because it was the big jam number. The fidelity of the sources varies, but all should be pleasurably inhabitable by fans. Volume has been equalized.

130-minute mp3 mixtape zipped up here

Rochester, NY: 4/3/72

  • The Red and the Black
  • Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll
  • Workshop of Telescopes
  • Stairway to the Stars
  • Transmaniacon MC
  • The Last Days of May
  • Before the Kiss, a Redcap

Detroit, MI: 4/2/73

  • OD’d on Life Itself
  • Wings Wetted Down
  • 7 Screaming Dizbusters
  • Buck’s Boogie
  • It’s Not Easy

Cleveland: 10/8/73

  • Screams
  • Quicklime Girl
  • Workshop of Telescopes
  • It’s Not Easy

New York City: 12/31/73

  • Dominance and Submission
  • Astronomy, a Star
  • ME262

If you’d like to hear an 18-minute jam by BOC’s earlier incarnation, Stalk-Forrest Group, you’ll find that here.


Grateful Dead: Shortlist - March 16-21, 1994 (Chicago & Richfield)

In March 1994, The Grateful Dead were playing and singing “small” songs beautifully and jamming big songs enthusiastically. The month included the final two performances of “Dark Star.”

For reasons explained in this post, the Save Your Face blog originally presented the music below as three separate mixes, over a year’s time. After I posted the final one, I retagged my own files to create the unified, 4-LP album set that should have been. 

This post presents the retagged version, which operates as a single album with one title, four discs, and 26 consecutively numbered tracks.

Seventeen tracks come from three Chicago shows (March 16, 17, 18) and seven come from one Richfield, OH show (March 21). The Richfield show on the 20th doesn’t circulate on soundboard, so it is not included. 

Additionally, I have included, near the end, the “Playin’ > Dark Star” sequence from 3/30 in Atlanta, so that you can listen to the last two performances of “Dark Star” as portions of the same mega-jam.

Put into their proper relationship, the first two discs provide a beautifully-executed, fantasy first set. The second two discs provide a giant, all-jam second set.

3h 20m mp3 mix zipped up here

LP 1 (47 minutes - originally posted as “Shortlist: March 16-21, 1994” disc one)

  • Don’t Ease Me In (3/16/94)
  • Beat It on Down the Line (3/16/94)
  • Bertha (3/21/94)
  • Ramble on Rose (3/19/94)
  • Stella Blue (3/21/94)
  • Queen Jane Approximately (3/21/94)
  • Looks Like Rain (3/16/94)
  • High Time (3/16/94)

LP 2 (53 minutes - originally posted as “Shortlist: March 16-21, 1994” disc two)

  • Peggy-O (3/21/94)
  • Wharf Rat (3/18/94)
  • Around and Around (3/18/94)
  • Deal (3/18/94)
  • Standing on the Moon (3/16/94)
  • The Wheel > (3/17/94)
  • All Along the Watchtower (3/17/94)

LP 3 (50 minutes - originally posted as “Dark Star Flashes” bonus disc):

  • Feel Like a Stranger (3/18/94)
  • Scarlet Begonias Jam > Fire on the Mountain (3/16/94)
  • Eternity Jam (3/17/94)
  • Playin’ in the Band > UJB Jam Conclusion (edit, 3/17/94)
  • Eternity Jam (3/21/94)

LP 4 (52 minutes - originally posted as “Dark Star Flashes”:

  • Dark Star (3/16/94, verse removed)
  • Victim or the Crime Jam (3/21/94)
  • The Other One (3/18/94)
  • Playin’ Jam > (3/30/94)
  • Dark Star (3/30/94)
  • Jamming Down the Road (3/21/94)


Talking Heads: Shortlist – December 11, 1980, Amsterdam

From August 1980 through February 1981, Talking Heads toured North America, Europe, and Japan as a gigantic band, making groundbreaking music. 

An entire show, including the tour’s whole setlist, is beautifully documented on the expanded version of “The Name of This Band is Talking Heads.” There are also several exciting live videos from the tour that you can easily find online.

From an audio quality POV, the Amsterdam soundboard stands out, both for clarity and for being quite a different mix than the one featured on “The Name of This Band is Talking Heads.”

The Amsterdam mix is notable, because it is not dominated by huge bass and drums, and massed vocals. Instead, the higher end of the percussion is emphasized, the guitars are quite prominent, and the individual vocalists are more discernible. 

That balance makes some songs fall flat, but it takes others into a fantastic, wiry, “Fear of Music” place. Those performances are featured on this mix, re-EQed somewhat to bring up the bottom end.

28-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Born Under Punches
  • Crosseyed & Hungry (edit)
  • Drugs
  • Warning Sign
  • Cities

You’ll find a couple of other weirdo Save Your Face Talking Heads experiments here.


Elvis Costello & The Attractions: GET HAPPY!! LIVE!! (1979-1981)

This 29-song live mix collects as many “Get Happy” songs as possible (16 of 20), plus contemporary non-album originals and covers that occupy similar territory (e.g., soul, R&B, Sun Studio rock). Four songs appear twice, three in contrasting arrangements, so 25 different songs are represented.

All material is unreleased, as far as I can tell.

This is my favorite era of The Attractions as a crack live combo. They were making up fabulous arrangements (and rearrangements) for dozens of songs at a furious rate, in a seemingly almost co-equal creative partnership. 

The 2003 Rhino reissues of this period’s albums provided a lot of great live bonus tracks, as well as amazing studio outtakes. Nonetheless, I’ve continued to want a big double live LP that captures the thing that these guys were pursuing between “Armed Forces” and “Trust.” 

Many thanks to @tywilc and @louchelarue for helping me find additional sources for this mix. I’ve had a half-baked version of it sitting around for a long time. Thanks also to the band for playing nine “Get Happy” songs in a row in Liverpool in February 1980. That performance makes up a large portion of LP2.

I’ve balanced the volume and made EQ tweaks to tamp down sources with high-end stab, to add a bit more dimension to flatter sources, or to reduce a noisy frequency band somewhere. 

There’s not much “album sequencing” on this mix. I kept songs from the same shows grouped together, so there would be as few sonic change-ups as possible, and then sorted them into two, LP-length sequences, both of which begin with "B-Movie."

All source dates, cities, and guest-musicians are noted in the song title tags.

85-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

LP 1:

  • B-Movie
  • So Young
  • Girls Talk
  • Don’t Look Back
  • Help Me
  • One More Heartache
  • Need Your Love So Bad
  • Little Sister
  • Temptation
  • Secondary Modern
  • Clowntime is Over
  • New Amsterdam
  • High Fidelity
  • Opportunity

LP2:

  • B-Movie
  • Sad About Girls
  • Big Tears
  • Motel Matches
  • Opportunity
  • I Stand Accused
  • Possession
  • King Horse
  • Girls Talk
  • 5ive Gears in Reverse
  • The Imposter
  • Human Touch
  • High Fidelity
  • I Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down
  • Beaten to the Punch


The Clash: London Calling Live

This mix pulls together unreleased Clash performances to approximate a live version of the album “London Calling.” It includes 16 of the album’s 19 songs. The band does not appear to have played the other three in concert (“The Right Profile,” “Lovers Rock,” “The Card Cheat”).

It’s a challenge to make such a mix, due to the poor sonics of most Clash bootlegs and the infrequency with which some of the “London Calling” songs appear on recordings. A few songs appear only once or twice, in terrible quality. (I hasten to add that I'm not a Clash bootleg expert.)

Nonetheless, I think this mix manages to find exciting, clear performances of nearly every song, even if the original recording situation didn’t deliver a perfect mix or giant sonic punch. 

I’ve balanced the volume and sequenced the mix to gently step you through sonic changes, gradually losing dynamic range. At the start of the mix, you’re right in front of the stage. By the end, you’ve moved to the back of the theatre, into the lobby, and finally, with “Four Horsemen,” into the bathroom.

This mix owes a big debt to @a_mike_supreme, who supplied a considerable number of hard-to-find tracks and great versions, and then provided essential feedback on the first draft. 

Cover art by Pennie Smith.

51-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Clampdown (5/10/81 Amsterdam)
  • Train in Vain (5/10/81 Amsterdam)
  • Brand New Cadillac (6/9/81 NYC)
  • Spanish Bombs (11/27/82 Jamaica)
  • London Calling (9/21/79 NYC)
  • Koka Kola (9/21/79 NYC)
  • Jimmy Jazz (9/14/79 Chicago)
  • Guns of Brixton (3/8/80 Passaic, NJ)
  • Wrong ‘Em Boyo (2/27/80 Paris)
  • Lost in the Supermarket (5/22/83 San Antonio)
  • Revolution Rock (10/81 London?)
  • Death or Glory (5/19/83 Wichita Falls, TX)
  • Rudie Can’t Fail (3/7/80 NYC)
  • I’m Not Down (7/6/79 London)
  • Hateful (7/6/79 London)
  • Four Horsemen (8/4/79 Finland)

If you’d like to check out a live version of the album “Sandinista!,” you’ll find that right here!

The official live release, “From Here to Eternity,” contains versions of three “London Calling” songs: “Train in Vain” and “Guns of Brixton” from June 1981, and “London Calling” from September 1982.

The official release, “Live at Shea Stadium,” recorded October 1982, contains versions of the same three songs, plus “Spanish Bombs” and “Clampdown.”

The 25th anniversary edition CD of "London Calling" included The Vanilla Tapes, rehearsal sessions for the album. Spoiler: Even the murkiest of the live versions on this mix is probably better than anything on The Vanilla Tapes. 

And if you don't think the Clash's second album was possibly their best, try this version

The Grateful Dead: Ready for More? (new songs 1993-1995)

Listening to the recent Grateful Dead release, “Ready or Not,” revived my enthusiasm for the band’s final batch of original compositions. 

Dave Lemieux’s picks are excellent. Finding versions of some of these songs that can stand tall enough to serve as “the official version” is near impossible, but you’d hardly know that from the album. I don’t know what kind of crazy Venn diagram Dave has to dance through to get releases out, but he did a great job with this overdue album. Thanks, pal!

After spinning “Ready or Not” in my car for a week, I was still excited about the songs, but I wanted to change up the versions. 

So, I hunted through all the Save Your Face 1990s mixtapes to pull together additional tasty performances of the songs. I’ve compiled the best of those into the mixtape below. (I excluded tracks that I put on an earlier draft of the final album, “Liberty,” which was limited to March 1994 shows. This mix is a far better companion to "Ready or Not.")

The exciting discovery - once you get into a version-comparison situation – is that the band approached several of these songs quite differently over time. That means that I was able to choose some great performances that contrast strongly with those on “Ready or Not.”