tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Save Your Face 2021-07-15T20:06:34Z John Hilgart @4CPcomics tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1709201 2021-07-01T00:45:46Z 2021-07-13T13:53:58Z Grateful Dead: July 10, 1990 - Raleigh, NC

This mix presents 78 minutes from an unreleased concert with an extraordinary second set. It was one of Brent Mydland’s final shows. Video of the full concert aired as a “Shakedown Stream” in 2020.

The show was a perfect storm of sorts. The first set transpired in miserable heat and humidity, periodic rain, and a thunderstorm that cut the power in the middle of a song. Then the rain ended, the sun went down, a little breeze kicked up, and a monster second set blew us away.

This mix provides the full second set, minus the opening “Iko Iko,” “Drums,” and “Space.” The former was made mushy by Hornsby guesting on accordion, and the latter weren’t very interesting. Fortuitously, I found a way to flow the “Playin’ Jam” into “The Other One” so smoothly that you’ll never find the edit. 

Seemed like the the “album experience” had to lead with the second set, so several terrific first set songs became an extension of the “Brokedown” encore. 

78-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Playin’ in the Band >
  • Uncle John’s Band >
  • Playin’ Jam
  • The Other One >
  • Stella Blue >
  • Not Fade Away
  • Brokedown Palace
  • Friend of the Devil
  • Loser
  • Big River

Cover: Rothko, Untitled (Blue, Green, and Brown)

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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1708803 2021-06-29T22:37:27Z 2021-07-15T20:06:34Z Grateful Dead: Chapel Hill ’93 (March 24-25, 1993)

This mix provides 78 minutes of music from the two shows that made me stop attending Dead concerts.

Making this mix, I’ve concluded that a significant part of what turned me off those two nights was the mix. 

I went into the shows predisposed to be disappointed (but ready to be turned on). I’d only seen Vince on solo keys twice before (and still missed Brent), I had no interest in new songs, and I was hoping for a very different setlist, based on what I’d never seen performed live. 

And I also hated Garcia’s lyric lapses in the period; when a song was going great, I’d still be on pins and needles wondering whether he was going to remember the first line of the next verse.

For all those reasons, the Chapel Hill shows were disappointing. But those things don’t matter in 2021, when you’re curating tapes, and you’ve come to know and love the late-period band and memorized 60 hours of their best tracks. 

However, there’s that other dependency: Is the mix any good? Pleasing to listen to?

I didn’t remember much about the music of the Chapel Hill shows, but I did remember the sonic, aesthetic experience. The music seemed insubstantial and unfocussed. It was hard to inhabit.

My pal and I attributed that to the band, but listening to the tapes, I think it was the guy at the mixing board who created the estranging experience. 

There are the usual, random Healy failures. One night, Garcia’s vocals are quiet and Welnick’s keys are too loud. The other night, Welnick is often hard to hear, even when he’s soloing. Sometimes Weir’s guitar is too loud.

But even when nothing like that is obvious, there’s a hard-to-put-your-finger on lack of balance, dynamics, presence… The “Terrapin” seems to be played well, but everything delicate about it is trampled by the mix, etc. The players are playing together, but Healy has built little walls between them.

So, I had to kill a lot of seemingly very nice performances to make a mixtape that you can “get into” properly. As always, I tried to hide the defects to the point where you might not notice them (if I hadn't drawn attention to them!). I think the result is quite enjoyable, though not the first 1993 Save Your Face mixtape I’d point you at.

I post it nonetheless, as part of my journey through all the shows I actually attended. Points of interest include:

  • An exquisite, entirely-on-point Crazy Fingers with a long jam
  • A nice example of this period’s “Jam Out of Terrapin”
  • The only Spanish Jam of 1993
  • An extended jazzy zone with the Space excerpt (Garcia/Weir!) and the Eternity edit
  • Garcia's “trumpet” on “Women Smarter”

78-minute mp3 mixtape zipped up here

  • New Minglewood Blues
  • Big River
  • Lazy River Road
  • Man Smart, Women Smarter
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Crazy Fingers
  • Spanish Jam >
  • Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
  • Jam After Terrapin
  • Space excerpt
  • Eternity (instr. edit)
  • Liberty 


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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1708018 2021-06-28T02:56:25Z 2021-06-30T14:27:01Z Grateful Dead: First Night in Greensboro (3/31/1991)

This mix presents 80 minutes from the first night of the Dead’s 1991 two-show run in Greensboro, NC. The second night is curated separately, here (same cover art).

I haven’t previously offered a mixtape from this show, because two of the most outstanding songs (Samson and Eyes) were released as filler on Dick’s Picks 17: September 21, 1991 Boston. The Samson is incendiary, and the long Eyes is both wonderful overall and has a truly magnificent passage; between the first and second vocal sections, Hornsby finds a magical riff, Jerry and the band latch on for Hornsby’s extended solo, and then Jerry delivers a great “flute” solo that is loud enough in the soundboard mix to really kick, for once. (When he turned on that effect, he almost aways got quieter than his natural sound.)

I am offering up a mixtape of the show now, because I’m going through all the shows I actually saw (merely 11) and discovering the best stuff I witnessed. The next night in Greensboro delivered the “Dark Star” I’d been waiting for, and this first night gave me the extraordinary “Eyes” to match. Big numbers checked off.

Never knew ’til now that I caught a notable, short “Might as Well” resurgence, or that the second half of this “Around and Around” was something I’d prize 30 years later.

More comments on the performance and the Hornsby/Welnick era below the track list.

80-minute mp3 mixtape here

  • West LA Fadeaway
  • Cassidy
  • Samson & Delilah
  • Eyes of the World >
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • The Wheel >
  • Around & Around
  • Might As Well

More talking: 

I am ambivalent (song by song) about the Hornsby/Welnick keyboard double-up. Hornsby was as wonderful a keys player as any they had, and I’m a committed Welnick fan in the 1994-ish moment (and credit both his and the drummers’ restraint for the magic of the band’s final “sound”). 

However, there’s often too much going on in the overlap period, with Hornsby playing an actual piano forcing Welnick’s sounds into unpleasant places, to keep him distinct from everyone else playing chords and fills into the collective, mid-range-frequency, -rhythm, -harmonics zone. (“Nice solo, Vince, but what instrument are they making you play?” But also, it is not a bit worse than that f*cking accordion.)

All that said, the too-many-players issue was often not an issue at all, resolving itself into a sonic slab that is quite exhilarating and distinct, as on this “West LA Fadeaway.” And a lot of the time, everyone was so respectful of each other that you have no visceral sense of two keyboards (and Weir, and two drummers) getting crowded. For example, this “Eyes.”

People complain about Welnick’s “tones,” and I get that, but I also think these people are talking primarily about 1991-1992, rather than his post-Hornsby playing. (e.g., the best of 1993-1994)

As the post-Hornsby, solo keyboardist, Welnick chose more natural piano sounds for the most of his playing, displayed his jazzy harmonic instincts all over the place, and become a nuanced accompanist who didn’t insert the constant aggro-horny energy of Brent Mydland. He was restrained and thoughtful. 

Welnick was relegated to the texture guy, the sheets-of-synths-guy, for a couple of years, then he got his shot as a full participant in a smaller combo, and I think he made his mark. So, this mixtape from a ’91 show is more about Hornsby than Welnick. Just saying, don’t shoot off your mouth about Welnick until you’ve done all the listening homework. 


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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1707282 2021-06-25T22:31:29Z 2021-07-01T01:51:59Z Grateful Dead: Alpine Valley ’88 (6/23/1988)

This mix presents 74 minutes from the fourth and final show of the ’88 Alpine Valley run. It was the best of the four and is the only one with a good soundboard. 

These were the first shows I attended. Spread over five days, during a heat wave and drought, in the middle of nowhere, it was a massive tribal experience of the first order. I’d see better shows later, but I never experienced anything like this scene again.

The big deal of this show is the tremendous “Morning Dew.” I'm no "Hey Pocky Way" expert, but this is instantly my favorite version, with Brent on fire and the mix doing all the right things. The drummers are too thumpy on "Roses," but it's a pleasing version of a song that was uncommon in the later years.

I’ve struggled to get into 1988 via tapes, but the sweet spots of this show have given me a foothold. 

74-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Iko Iko
  • Hey Pocky Way
  • It Must Have Been the Roses
  • Bird Song
  • He’s Gone
  • Gimme Some Lovin’ >
  • All Along the Watchtower >
  • Morning Dew
  • Believe it or Not
  • Brokedown Palace


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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1700984 2021-06-09T04:21:57Z 2021-06-30T14:01:49Z Grateful Dead: Summer Tour 1994 for Beginners

This mix condenses the Grateful Dead’s ’94 summer tour into a shortlist of performances of beloved, pre-1979 originals, totaling three hours – the length of a show.

This is a sub-curation of much more extensive Save Your Face mixes from the tour – part of our gentle, ongoing campaign to turn people on to the Dead’s final years. None of this music has been released.

If you’re dubious of, or barely exposed to 1994 Dead, then this is an easy gateway mix. If you dig it, there’s an October ’94 mix built on the same principles, which has been making Heads happy for several years.

These are all unedited SBD performances. The only slight cheat is the “Jam Out of Terrapin” from Chicago, which is possibly the most perfect version of this latter-day, delightful innovation. It augments an exceptional full “Terrapin” from a different show, which took a unique and long course of its own.

There are no vocal lapses, except for a brief “Stella Blue” event.

3-hour mp3 mix zipped up here (all dates and places included in the song title tags)

  • Cassidy
  • Bird Song
  • Black Peter
  • The Music Never Stopped
  • Eyes of the World
  • The Wheel >
  • Attics of My Life >
  • Sugar Magnolia
  • Wharf Rat
  • Estimated Prophet
  • MIDI Jam
  • Terrapin Station > Jam
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Jam Out of Terrapin
  • Stella Blue
  • One More Saturday Night
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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1691550 2021-05-16T20:40:29Z 2021-06-30T14:02:05Z Grateful Dead: Paris ’74 (September 20-21, 1974 Palais de Sports)

This mix curates material from the two Paris shows of the Dead’s seven-show trip to England, Germany, and France in September 1974. The Paris shows were the last before the band's famous October run of "farewell shows" at Winterland. 

The three London shows were generously sampled on the official release “Dick’s Picks, Vol. 7,” which is augmented by this Save Your Face mix. The Dijon, France show was included in the “30 Trips Around the Sun” box set.

The unreleased shows are therefore Munich (9/14) and the two Paris shows sampled here.

The problem with the Paris tapes is that the soundboard mix doesn’t include Weir’s guitar. They are excellent performances, and the soundboards are otherwise quite nice… but most of the music just doesn’t make any sense without Weir’s rhythm, harmonics, and occasional featured-player passages. 

On the other hand, there’s also quite a bit of music that does deliver a robust, complete-feeling listening experience – the 1974 magic arriving nearly intact to surprise and delight. 

Weir’s guitar does show up here and there, most importantly on this great “Scarlet.” 

I’ve edited the lesser of the two “Eyes” to the final section of the jam, when the band had come to a full stop, then worked their way back into the jam. The “Uncle John’s” vocals were harsh, but the music cooked, so that’s presented as an instrumental. This is a notable Seastones for becoming a full band performance along the way. The few fake segues that were required worked out well.

September 20: 70-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Scarlet Begonias
  • Weather Report >
  • Let It Grow >
  • Stella Blue
  • Truckin’
  • Eyes of the World Jam >
  • Not Fade Away >
  • Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad

September 21: 90-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Uncle John’s Band (instrumental edit)
  • Eyes of the World >
  • China Doll
  • Seastones > Full Band Freakout >
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Morning Dew
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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1690827 2021-05-14T22:28:51Z 2021-05-29T04:29:06Z Grateful Dead Calendar: 1972-1974 Shows, Releases, and SYF Mixes

The calendar above shows all the dates on which The Grateful Dead played a concert between their Europe 1972 tour and their last show of 1974.

  • Black-boxed date: A show
  • Green highlighting: An official release (in whole, or a significant, curated part)
  • Yellow highlighting: A Save Your Face mixtape (including a significant portion of the show)

Note on the highlighting: If it is not absolutely obviously green, it is yellow.

Note on the black boxes: Look also for a dot below the date. A few dates got boxed by the shows around them, but were not show dates.

Quite a few dates have turned green since I first used this tool to track my 1972-1974 listening/curation project, three-five years ago. Additional Save Your Face mixes since then have turned numerous other dates yellow (Fall ’72 and September '74, mainly).

Credit to Dave Lemieux for dropping pins into spaces that were previously empty in the official release category. The only clusters of shows that are not well represented by official releases (green) are the last three months of 1972, likely due to poor soundboard mixes, and early 1973, likely due to sloppy playing. (Jams were great at both times, however.) Also, most September 1973 shows featured the horn section, which is both their appeal and a barrier to their release.

You can align dates with specific releases using this handy tool

Seeing the entirety of performances from this period (black boxed dates), all at once, always shocks me. For me, it’s the era of infinity Dead. Strange to see it rendered so finitely, with so many months with zero or few shows. 

Speaking of infinity, if you’re a 1972-1974 Head, SYF has some more esoteric comps to check out - just China>Rider jams, all the era’s Spanish & MLB jams, vast Dark Star mashups, summer ’73 Phil Jazz Jams, etc. There’s no way to put those on the calendar, but you can find most of them in the Thematic Exploration category of the library.


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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1688581 2021-05-08T20:44:52Z 2021-06-30T14:02:30Z Grateful Dead: Curated Stream - Reno, May 1974

Four of the six shows the Dead played in their two-week May 1974 tour have been released (Missoula, Vancouver, Portland, Seattle). The two leftovers are the first and last shows of that tour (Reno, Santa Barbara).

I have previously maligned the opener in Reno on 5/12/74. 

The board mix and the band don’t get sorted until the 6th song, and there are numerous vocal errors in the following tunes.

The show’s only expansive improvisational moment is a bust: “The Other One,” is a dissolved affair that doesn’t have any classic passages. When it finally busts loose, the sound board is missing the bomb, and then Weir completely fries the verse. It then dwindles off into noodle space and nascent jamming that never gets going. Eventually a nice, short “Mind Left Body” happens.

However, I’ve since come to love 14 consecutive songs in the middle of the show – which unfold like a fantastic, two-hour, first set. The soundboard mix is wonderful. The band is clearly delighted to be playing again, manifesting enthusiasm all over the place. Lots of great between-song banter. 

So, if you want a real good, uninterrupted, time with the opening show of May ’74, I recommend that you press play on “Brown Eyed Women” and duck out again after “Nobody’s Fault.” 

Here’s the version I listen to on archive.org (Miller, of course.)

  • Brown Eyed Women
  • Beat It On Down the Line
  • China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
  • El Paso
  • U.S. Blues
  • Greatest Story Ever Told
  • It Must Have Been the Roses
  • Me & Bobby McGee
  • Deal
  • Around and Around
  • Mississippi Half-Step
  • Truckin’ >
  • Nobody’s Fault Jam

For an equally-feisty encore, jump to the closing Sugar Magnolia.

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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1688476 2021-05-08T15:36:26Z 2021-05-09T23:33:03Z Design Your Face: Concepts for Official Dead Releases

I asked twitter heads what kind of not-whole-show releases they would pay money for, and the replies were interesting and fun.

I’ve collected most of the them below, grouped into a few categories, so you can get a sense of interest in different areas.

It should be noted that the single replies that got the most likes were:

  • Donna Sings/Keith Plays (separate discs) (11 likes)
  • I think highlights from later years. Thinking 92-95 especially. (11 likes)
  • all the recordings that were done for the live parts of anthem of the sun (10 likes)

It should also be noted that numerous of people ignored the "not-whole-shows" aspect of the question and asked for more of them/boxes of them. Those replies aren't included here, but the fact that they happened underscores the strength of the whole-show mindset/market.

You can check out how people responded to the various ideas and add your own likes and thoughts onto the original twitter discussion right here

Player-Based Concepts

A "Donna Sings" CD. Highlighting Donna. And a "Keith Plays" CD.  Mix towards vocals and piano. Some isolated or high mix Keith long jam. And an Several minute Donna Playin mix.

Featuring Ned Lagin series.

“Get Yer Hands Out Your Pockets!” -  a focus on Pigpen’s singing and playing, and when he inspired great jams by getting everyone worked up then says “ok, play your guitars!”

Acoustic Focus

Acoustic dead

An obvious niche would be a collection of the best acoustic set songs.

Curated Releases from Multiple Shows

… a highlights package from a run or a few week stretch would be great..

Tour/run highlights. 

Great jam segments. Especially from the later years, and perhaps this approach might make some pre-87 80s releases possible in terms of vault contents and quality. 

I think highlights from later years.  Thinking 92-95 especially.  Like a box set of Boston Garden 94 highlights.  As one of many potential ideas

The following are presumably curated release concepts – not giant boxes of multiple whole shows:

  • Whole tour approach
  • Sequential years runs at a venue
  • Greek theater box set!!

Curation + Mad-Scientist Editing: Jams & Weirdness

Infrared Roses II. 

Plunderphonics/Greyfolded based on The Other One.

Interstitial zones- those in between places that are neither and both China & Rider, Scarlet & Fire, Estimated & Eyes, NFS & GDTRFB, St Stephen & The Eleven, Whatever & Whathaveyou...

I’d pay for a release of the isolated tracks of the instruments during the Playing in the Band and Dark Star from 8/27/72.

I had a dream last night that I bought an official feedback only mix 2xCD, so now it's all I want IRL

A Grayfolded-style mix of jams from songs with internal, bookended jams like cassidy/bird song/playin, etc on one disk. The other disc just outro jams like MNS, stranger, shakedown, etc.

More Drums/Space comps like 'Infrared Roses', but across time periods. Full jams, dubby/trippy mixes, whatever works.

Kind of like a road trips mix but slice and dice jams from the same songs together to make extended jams within a show or set of songs from a week of shows. This lends to a nice break with shorter songs that don’t normally have jams but allows the jam variation songs to shine

I would do a three disc instrumental jam box set called just the jams.

a mix that focuses on jams with song teases, that then segue into a totally different song

Would love a series of less than stellar but nonetheless interesting versions of songs. I'd even take a disc set of aborted songs and rip cord segues.

Patches. Really really good sbd > aud > sbd patches.

More Specific Concepts

all the recordings that were done for the live parts of anthem of the sun is on the top of my list.

Each studio album recreated with live performances of each song instead. It would be tough to nail down each song's best suited live version, and still kinda keep the album flow.

I would do song evolutions. Like, a collection of China Cat > Riders from early days through the 90s.

Thinking back to cassettes, we always had the Killer Philler. Single tunes that were fun covers, breakouts and bloopers.

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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1687932 2021-05-06T23:20:48Z 2021-06-30T14:02:41Z Grateful Dead: TLEO Spring 1977 (10-version instrumental edit)

This mix is a 21-minute edit of all 10 Keith and Jerry “They Love Each Other” solo passages from April and May, 1977. Three tracks include only Garcia’s solo. 

It’s a wonderful, woozy conversation, in slow motion. They’re not quite two souls in communion. Keith is a little uptight and resistant, though flirtatious. Jerry’s just like, “Come on baby, let’s go downtown and have some fun.” Except for one night, when Keith was the horny one.

I did the best I could with the segues (jump cuts), given the combo of official sources and fan sources, including audience tapes. The sonic and mood shifts might actually enhance the drama of this dialogue going round in circles.

The download contains both a single-track (21-minute file) and an “album” made up of the 10 separate pieces - in case you want to poke around by date. The single-track file is tagged to become part of this mix, which includes similar edits of Spring ’77 performances of Peggy-O, Sugaree, and Brown-Eyed Women.

21-minute mp3 mix zipped up here (dates in tags)

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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1686400 2021-05-02T22:49:14Z 2021-06-30T14:03:05Z Grateful Dead: The First Two May ’77 Shows (April 22-23, 1977)

The Grateful Dead’s first tour of 1977 began on Friday April 22, at Philadelphia’s Spectrum, followed the next night by a show in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

As always, it’s great to hear the Dead discovering themselves again after a break. Ahead of the Spring 1977 tour of the east coast and midwest, the band had only two live moments – February 26-27 in San Bernardino and Santa Barbara, and March 18-19-20 at Winterland in San Francisco.

What we think of as the distinctive, shiny 1977 Dead really gets underway on April 22, far from home, on the first night of a tour that would last more than a month and become “May ’77.”

I always zoom in to the improvisational material from shows that followed a break of any length, because it’s the band doing what comes naturally, versus the band getting together their tightness and sound for formal songs.

The first two shows of Spring ’77 find the band in a feisty, often aggressive, starting position, digging their teeth into the jams, and making sounds that are not yet May ’77, but which also contain the protean matter thereof. Lots of attention-drawing Keith playing.

Two obvious points of interest are the second and third performances of “Fire on the Mountain” (and of the transition from “Scarlet Begonias” into “Fire”). Everyone trying things out on the new song. Also, you will never hear another disco “Dancin’” like this “Dancin’ > Mojo > Dancin’” sequence. Out of bounds "Not Fade Away." Hot "Help > Slipknot! > Franklin's." A 20-minute "Playin'" that never breaks stride. Two hours well spent.

2-hour mp3 mix zipped up here (dates included in tags)

  • Scarlet Begonias > 
  • Fire on the Mountain
  • Help of the Way > Slipknot! > (instr. edit)
  • Franklin’s Tower
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Dancin’ in the Streets Jam > Got My Mojo Working > Dancin’ in the Streets >
  • The Wheel
  • Scarlet Jam > Fire on the Mountain
  • Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad >
  • Not Fade Away
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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1685275 2021-04-30T03:12:43Z 2021-05-02T23:57:39Z Grateful Dead: Instrumental Eyes of the World (1974-1994)

This mix offers instrumental edits of eight performances of Eyes of the World, featuring many tempos and temperaments. The vocals appear once, in the middle of a long studio rehearsal edit from 1976. 

The aesthetic premise is to cut Eyes thematic jamming free from the song-structure and the vicissitudes of vocals. For instance, cocaine Eyes, minus cocaine singing. 

There aren’t many Dead pillows of grooviness as fine as Eyes. This mix overstuffs that pillow. One drummer and two. Keith, Brent, and Vince. The band and its members being all their different selves, across the decades, with their eye on this particular, happy place.

Cover art: Odilon Redon, “Closed Eyes” (1894)

100-minute mp3 mix zipped up here (tagged appropriately)

  • 6/8/74 (9:32)
  • 3/25/90 (8:55)
  • 5/76 (16:48, w/vocals)
  • 6/11/93 (8:00)
  • 11/5/79 (19:01)
  • 2/27/81 (6:03)
  • 9/11/74 (15:52)
  • 4/7/94 (17:14)
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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1684360 2021-04-28T01:29:39Z 2021-06-14T03:24:54Z Sidetrips: Summer Evening (an eighties mixtape)

Since we’re heading into the season of the long, slow sunset, here’s a mix I created for that scenario 35 years ago. I was a prematurely sentimental-romantic-nostalgic type of person, about the finish college in Ann Arbor. The places I lived had exceptional views of the sunset. 

Started in 1985, the mix steadily expanded from one cassette to two-and-a-half-hours, then, around 2000, I sub-curated it into a single CD that I could burn. This is that version.

I and this mix are a mutually-reinforcing seasonal loop at this point. Is there an actual, coherent vibe that could work for anyone else in 2021? I have no idea. I make no excuses or apologies for this musical message from a different time (of me and the world). 

Try this for your own golden hour on some summer evening, and then make your own mixtape and share it back.

CD-length mp3 mix here

  • Spanish Moon (live): Little Feat
  • Fun to Be Happy: Love Tractor
  • Warm & Soothing: Kate Bush
  • Lions: Dire Straits
  • Orchid Girl: Aztec Camera
  • Wild Kingdom: Alex Chilton
  • The Ink in the Well: David Sylvian
  • Prisoners: The Rain Parade
  • North Star: Robert Fripp & Daryl Hall
  • In Your House: The Cure
  • Les Amoureux: Bill Nelson
  • Horizons: Genesis
  • Flesh #1: Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians
  • Thrasher: Neil Young
  • The Birth of the True: Aztec Camera
  • Evaporation: Shriekback
  • The Chauffeur: Duran Duran
  • Follow Me Home: Dire Straits
  • California: Joni Mitchell
  • The Charm of Transit: Bill Nelson

Cover: John Hilgart collage for the first cassette iteration of this mix, 1985.

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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1680776 2021-04-19T21:32:43Z 2021-05-22T14:31:01Z The Dream Syndicate: Live 1982-1983

This mind-melting curation of early live recordings by The Dream Syndicate is testimony from a witness: Los Angeles writer Matthew Specktor. He has created three live albums that carry you from the band’s first show, through “The Days of Wine and Roses,” and into a full live preview of “The Medicine Show.”

Matthew Specktor:

If you’ve ever been to Los Angeles as a visitor you know how hard it is to estimate distances. Like any city, perhaps, LA is small only to those of us who live here, whether because we’ve hacked the shortcuts to avoid traffic or because we’ve constricted our private map of it enough to make it feel convenient, but when I was a boy, growing up in Santa Monica, Hollywood was the back of the moon. Punk rock, which happened to hit just as I reached puberty, was hardly accessible. The Starwood, the Vex, the Whisky—places where bands like X or The Germs were playing on the regular—felt far away, never mind that it was only a matter of a handful of miles, and so those bands were alive on my turntable but no more present to me as “local” than the ones I was listening to from England. 

But there was a club on Pico Boulevard called the Music Machine, which happened to be reachable by bus. It was almost in Santa Monica, in a liminal zone that bleeds closer to Westwood and Mar Vista, and if it wasn’t a punk venue exactly, it was likewise punk-adjacent. The Gun Club played there, and paisley-revivalist bands like The Three O’Clock. And also one, erroneously lumped in sometimes with a scene called the Paisley Underground (which was probably an erroneous category to begin with; the bands involved sure didn’t sound alike, and seemed to share in common only a more affectionate awareness of rock history), called The Dream Syndicate.

There’s really no way to explain what it was like to walk into the Music Machine on a fall evening in 1982 and hear the Dream Syndicate live for the first time. I’d read about them—an article in the LA Weekly had alerted me that they may have sounded a bit like the Velvet Underground—and I think I’d purchased an EP at Rhino Records in Westwood by then too, but to be confronted by the band’s full-on trebly, howling, feedbacking glory in the flesh was a whole other matter. It’s difficult to explain because it wasn’t just the music, or even the presentation (sure, they were cool as hell, and they looked it, but there was some other factor involved here, a gestalt that meant they weren’t trying to look that way at all, the way other bands did). 

It was a cohesion expressing itself as an argument: four musicians who absolutely belonged together, but who also (in musical terms, I’m talking; I have no idea what the interpersonal dynamic was like) cannot possibly agree. It gave the music a force, a vitality, a second-to-second spontaneity like nothing I’d ever then witnessed. I fell in love on the spot.

I’ve gone searching for that feeling everywhere ever since, and so I was shocked when I discovered recently that there are dozens of early Dream Syndicate shows that were recorded, whether by audience member with a Walkman or posterity-aware sound engineer or radio station, available on Archive.org. What shocked me isn’t so much that the shows were recorded—of course they were recorded; anyone who heard them for thirty seconds knew this was something to be preserved—but that the quality I describe above is absolutely legible in the recordings. 

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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1676041 2021-04-08T02:37:28Z 2021-04-17T17:49:05Z Grateful Dead: Chamber Music (1972-1995)

Throughout the Dead’s career, there are improvisations so perfect that they seem, in retrospect, to be compositions, arranged perfectly, played only once.

A subset of those are performances that exclude the drummers, allowing Weir, Lesh, and the keyboardists to spontaneously weave gorgeous textural arrangements around Garcia story arcs. 

They are tiny planets that coalesced in the vastness of space – often lasting only a minute, rarely as long as three minutes.

With shape and momentum, but no beat, these passages sometimes brush up against classical music. In October 1972, they may actually be attempting something like that, in form and bowed string-sounds, long before MIDI. (I find 10/23/72 mind-boggling in this respect.)

Later, keyboards and MIDI enabled simulated strings, brass, woodwinds, pedal steel, etc. Sometimes the band sounds like it’s scoring tender scenes in movies or playing in a Bill Frisell zone. The extended, heartbreaking melody they crafted on 10/2/94 is another of my favorite Dead passages. 

The earliest hints of such music are in the beauty-seeking drones and tones that often followed noisy Feedback in 1969. Compilation of those here. 

The mix below hints at the subsequent history of the this gentle mode with selections from just a few, far-flung periods: 1972-1973, 1981, 1993-1995.

30-minute, 12-track, mp3 mix zipped up here

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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1675962 2021-04-07T22:27:52Z 2021-06-17T21:41:56Z Grateful Dead: Out of Nowhere Jams 1976

This mix gathers up Easter eggs that the Dead scattered across their 1976 shows. The title and track list come from this Dead Essays/Light Into Ashes guide

It’s quite a trip to know you’re listening to 1976, yet all you’re hearing are big, extremely-together, nimble, out-of-nowhere jams. The fullness of the the manifestation confuses your inner-ear timeline.

The jams come in many flavors, and some taste quite quite a bit like Tighten Up, Stronger Than Dirt, and Dark Star. Fire on the Mountain makes its first live Dead appearance as Happiness is Drumming. The other passages are entirely their own trips.

This mix contains 16 tracks, including some vigorous Playin’ jams from the same shows and instrumental edits of two Wheels and a Wharf Rat that were integral to the surprise trips.

83-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1674173 2021-04-03T15:35:55Z 2021-04-06T12:01:34Z Grateful Dead: Playing with Friends (1968-1970)

This mix compiles improvisational highlights of six different live configurations of the Dead (whole or members) and other musicians. 

All of these performances appeared on an earlier Save Your Face mix at some point. The focus of this sub-curation is to concentrate great stuff that sounds really different from “normal” Dead of the period. The stuff is that is more literally far out. Alternate universe Dead.

No aspersions are being cast on anything I didn’t include. Poke around SYF for more from nearly every configuration presented here.

In addition to choosing start- and end-points, several performances are edited: The Crosby material is presented as instrumental edits; the Elvin Bishop jam is extensively edited to isolate one theme from other stuff that happened; and the Volunteers Jam has been shortened via a couple of edits.

77-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Jam (8/28/69 Harbeats w/Howard Wales, organ)
  • Jam (edit, 10/30/68 Hartbeats with Elvin Bishop, guitar)
  • Wall Song & Laughing (instr. edits, 12/15/70 Crosby, Garcia, Lesh, Kreutzmann)
  • Jam (11/20/70 Garcia, Weir, Kaukonen/Lesh/Kreutzmann, Hart)
  • Volunteers Jam (edit, 9/6/69 Garcia, Hart, Jefferson Airplaine)
  • Dark Star (8/3/69 w/unidentified sax and violin players)
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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1672656 2021-03-31T02:13:30Z 2021-04-04T21:32:34Z Grateful Dead: The Save Your Face 1968-1970 Mixes

The Save Your Face blog has gradually accumulated a pretty nice mixtape tour of the Grateful Dead’s rise to maturity - 1968-1970. The mixes start with the first recorded appearance of the big-jam-sequence in January 1968 and end with Mickey Hart's last month with the band in 1970 (until 1975).

These mixes almost entirely dodge officially-released material and only include well-recorded, exciting performances. 

The objectives are to:

  • Fill in calendar gaps on your shelf of official live releases and favorite tapes
  • Highlight transitional and secret-history moments in the band's musical attitude and lineup
  • Draw circles around notable moments in the band's improvisational evolution
  • Blow out some beguiling "lost songs" into album-length experiences
  • Reveal 1968-1970 to be the most heterogeneous and routinely surprising period of the band's musical history

Below are links to all the 1968-1970 SYF mixes so far, in chronological order.

January 1968  

To the Eagle Palace: The earliest possible, most-inclusive-possible, draft of the jammy sequences that would change and mature in time for “Live Dead,” a year later. 

January 1968 - January 1969

Clementine (1968-1969): An extensive dive into the Dead’s first jazz jam, including full performances and instrumental edits.

June 1968

Live highlights from a lesser known month/moment-of-development, taken from little-known tapes.

June 1968 - November 1970

At Tens & Sevens: A compendium of The Main Ten, The Seven, and a little bit of The Eleven. 

August - December 1968

Late 1968: Live unreleased highlights from a period of intense maturation.

October - December 1968

Fate Music: The juiciest minutes from the Mickey & The Hartbeats recordings.

January - December 1969

Tones: An album’s worth of the quiet passages that often followed the noisy part of “Feedback.”

February 7-15, 1969

Do Not Step on Alligator: Alligator Jam > Caution Jam > Feedback is the earliest zone of Dead “thematic jamming,” captured here in three versions from the same week “Live Dead” was recorded – with the “Cautions” edited to instrumental jams.

Late Summer 1969 (August 2 - September 7)

Not the Wild East: Live passages, recorded mostly at The Matrix (a tiny venue), within a month of Woodstock. This mix finds the band as broadly heterogeneous as at any moment in their career, with guest musicians almost being the norm.

August 1969 - October 1971

The Tighten Up Jam

September 17, 1969 (Alembic Studios)

Single –  Sawmills b/w Seasons of My Heart: A couple of adorable studio outtakes of cover songs that slide into the nascent “Workingman’s” ethos.

Cartoon Music: Highlights of the band seriously practicing and taking taking random shots at Looney Tunes and other cartoon music.

December 1969 - January 1970

Mason’s Children Jams: A half-hour of five performances of “Mason’s Children,” edited into instrumental jams.

November 6, 1970

Instrumental Electric Set: A ripping, audience-only recording edited into an extended, vocal-free jam.

November 20, 1970

Grateful Airplane (Garcia, Lesh, Weir, Kaukonen, Kreutzmann, Hart): A unique jam-band formation that produced unique results.

December 15, 1970

Grateful Dorks (Crosby, Garcia, Lesh, Kreutzmann): The only live recording of David and the Dorks, purified into an instrumental jam. IMO, some of the most remarkable music of the Dead's recorded history.  

December 12-31, 1970

Skullf*ckery: Live highlights from the very end of the first two-drummer period, featuring songs from the 1970 albums, while also prototyping the one-drummer "Skull & Roses" recordings that would happen a few months later. This mix also provides extensive coverage of the moment's big jam, "Good Lovin'."

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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1671335 2021-03-27T17:32:54Z 2021-03-29T00:58:31Z Grateful Dead: “Mason’s Children” Jams (1969-1970)

This mix offers an extended, instrumental excursion into a wonderful song that appeared briefly in Dead history and didn’t make the original, official records. 

“Mason’s Children” debuted in mid-December 1969 and, after fewer than 20 performances, it was last played at the end of February 1970.

A weird amalgam of psychedelic moves and the band’s new, old-timey vocal approach, Mason’s was a tough song for the vocal ensemble. The “Workingman’s Dead” studio outtake is the only version that properly represents the composition itself and reveals what the vocals/harmonies are supposed to sound like. 

Nonetheless, the live band dove into it with vigor and sometimes jammed it rather extensively. This mixtape highlights that jam by removing the vocals from five performances of the song. I looked for the longer, exploratory takes and those that found interesting little dynamic pockets.

The final version on 2/28/70 is a real outlier – slower, with a heavy Rolling Stones vibe. (It is speed/pitch-correct.) 

26-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

Instrumental Mason's Children:

  • 12/28/69 (6:56)
  • 12/29/69 (5:54)
  • 12/31/69 (4:48)
  • 2/5/70 (4:46)
  • 2/28/70 (3:10)

Cover photo: John Hilgart. Detail of mural on the wall of the Kalamazoo People's Food Co-Op, after a car crashed through it, and the mural's painted bricks were reassembled randomly. 

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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1663852 2021-03-10T15:06:00Z 2021-03-13T15:10:57Z Grateful Dead: U. Maryland ’81 Jams (March 7)

This mix compiles the extensive jammy material from the Dead’s Spring ’81 Cole Field House show. Check out the track list and timings to get a sense of what’s special about this show. Jesse Jarnow breaks it down here.

The source is Barry Glassberg’s excellent audience tape. I have added gentle segues to connect Bird Song to Lost Sailor and Jam to Truckin’, so the only pause is between Black Peter and Deal. Songs are in as-played order, except for the placement of Deal as the big finale.

73-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Bird Song (17:08)
  • Lost Sailor > (6:10)
  • Saint of Circumstance > (9:20)
  • Jam (9:27)
  • Truckin’ > (11:39)
  • Black Peter (9:16)
  • Deal (10:04)
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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1662991 2021-03-08T14:42:02Z 2021-03-11T13:31:26Z Grateful Dead: Pittsburgh ’81 Jams (March 5 & 6)

Try out the best seat in Pittsburgh’s Stanley Theatre with Frank Streeter’s glorious tapes of two nights in 1981.

This mix curates and edits material from the second set of each show, preserving the real segues and creating a couple of imaginary ones. (“>”in the track list, below, indicates a real one.)

My 40th anniversary, on-this-day, listening guide to 1981 is Jesse Jarnow, via his @bourgwick show-by-show histories and listening notes – for 3/5 here and for 3/6 here.

108-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

March 5th (64 minutes):

  • Jam (w/o Garcia) >
  • Passenger
  • Scarlet Begonias Jam >
  • Fire on the Mountain
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Not Fade Away >
  • Intro Jam > Wharf Rat

March 6th (44 minutes):

  • Estimated Prophet (edit) >
  • Franklin’s Tower
  • Spacey Improv >
  • The Other One >
  • Intro Jam > Stella Blue (edit)
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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1661576 2021-03-05T03:12:03Z 2021-03-11T13:31:54Z Grateful Dead: Playin’ in the Band (March 2, 1981 Cleveland)

Here’s a 24-minute 1981 “Playin’ in the Band” jam to fight your favorite 1974 version.

I’ve edited the epic, unreleased, 3-part, 3/2/81, Cleveland performance into a continuous, instrumental event that includes the relevant passage from space. (“China Doll” and drums broke up the performance.) This was the first “Playin’” of the year.

 A longish, spicy, instrumental edit of  “Supplication” is the encore. I’d hoped to weave it into the “Playin’” sequence, but it didn’t work. Still, a logical pairing with “Playin’."

Half-hour, mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Playin’ in the Band (3-parts + space instrumental edit) (23:35)
  • Supplication (instrumental edit) (4:50)

Cover image: Detail of Nora Hilgart-Griff photograph

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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1661162 2021-03-04T00:25:15Z 2021-04-05T15:13:52Z David Bowie: The Late White Duke (1999-2016)

Someone asked me if I thought it was possible to assemble a 21st Century Bowie album that could stand with his late-Seventies albums. This mix is how I answered yes.

In addition to album tracks (well-known & deep cuts), the mix includes b-sides, off-to-the-side recordings, and remixes that are currently unavailable for purchase or to stream. Some of these “lost” recordings are peak tracks to me – “Nature Boy,” “Bring Me the Disco King” (Lohner mix), “Sunday” (Visconti mix) – as are the deep cuts "5:15" and "She Will Drive the Big Car."

21st Century Bowie has two really interesting and pleasurable plots (within the whole of the period):

  • Strange and ambitious compositions and vocal performances, rendered magically in the mix – my favorites of which are featured on this compilation. 
  • A charming, crooning David Jones throwback mode, initiated by the attitude of “Hours.” This angle featured here and there on album songs, but it was focused around the turn of the century and was supposed to be represented by an album named “Toy.” Bowie eventually leaked that album, and additional tracks showed up as b-sides. (Another good candidate for a future mix.)

I’m going out on a limb sharing commercially available tracks, but as there’s no official compilation that touches more than a few songs from Bowie’s final 15 years – and because most of the albums were greeted as returns-to-form, only to be mostly filed-and-forgotten again – consider me an earnest A&R man, arguing that the final 15 years deserve sustained love (purchases, streams, rarity-laden reissues, etc.).

I’ll be surprised if the mix doesn’t make you dig deeper into 21st Century Bowie.

Cover photo by Jimmy King, 2014.

One-hour proof-of-concept mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Blackstar (2nd half, from Blackstar)
  • 5:15 the Angels Have Come (from Heathen)
  • We Shall Go to Town (b-side)
  • Sunday (Visconti mix of Heathen track)
  • Nature Boy (non-album track)
  • Where Are We Now? (from The Next Day)
  • Bring Me the Disco King (Lohner mix of Reality track)
  • Slow Burn (from Heathen)
  • The Stars (Are Out Tonight) (from The Next Day)
  • Brilliant Adventure (from Hours)
  • Heathen (The Rays) (from Heathen)
  • She’ll Drive the Big Car (from Reality)
  • Sue (Or in a Season of Crime) (from Blackstar)
  • No One Calls (b-side)
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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1660915 2021-03-03T00:56:26Z 2021-03-08T00:45:45Z Grateful Dead Shortlist: Uptown ’81 Jams (Chicago, Feb. 26-28)

This mix curates improvisational material from the Dead’s first shows of 1981, at the Uptown Theatre in Chicago. The band and the mix are crackling.

I’ve edited large swaths of the music into instrumental versions. One reason is Garcia’s exceptionally weird, small voice. The other is that I like to make instrumental edits for every era/year. 

Instrumental edits eliminate the distractions of song-tightness and vocal quality altogether, leaving only the pure playing. As an improv-head, listening to vocal-free Dead has made me an advocate of nearly every year in the band’s history. 

The band certainly played a lot of exciting and surprising minutes of music at the Uptown Theatre in February 1981. I’d never heard these performances, but Jesse Jarnow’s @bourgwick show-by-blow account persuaded me to baste in them on their 40th anniversaries and to pay particular attention to the material on this mix.

The first set includes unedited vocal performances, plus one big, stand-alone jam. The second set is all-instrumental, except for “Not Fade Away” and “The Other One.”

2h20m mp3 mix zipped up here (dates included in song title tags)

Set One (65 minutes):

  • China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
  • Bird Song
  • Truckin’
  • Jam
  • Let It Grow >
  • Deal

Set Two (75 minutes):

  • Scarlet Begonias (instr. edit) >
  • Fire on the Mountain (instr. edit) >
  • Estimated Prophet Intro & Jam >
  • Eyes of the World (instr. edit)
  • Drums > Space > 
  • Quiet Improvisation >
  • Not Fade Away >
  • Wharf Rat (instr. edit)
  • Terrapin Station (instr. edit) >
  • Jam
  • Quiet Improvisation >
  • The Other One

Cover artist: unknown

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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1659180 2021-02-27T02:35:32Z 2021-03-03T05:06:08Z Grateful Dead: Clementine (1968-1969)

This mix provides a full hour of Clementine, as played by several Grateful Dead configurations in 1968 and early 1969. It was the band’s first jazz jam. 

I believe I have included every recorded version, except for the officially-released 8/13/68 studio jam (AOXOMOXOA bonus track).

This Dead Essays post is the place to find answers to all your Clementine questions. 

62-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Clementine Rehearsal Edit (9/12/68, studio Hartbeats)
  • Clementine (1/27/68, live Grateful Dead, Seattle)
  • Clementine Jam (10/30/68, live Hartbeats)
  • Clementine Instrumental Edit (1/26/69, live Grateful Dead, Avalon Ballroom, SF)
  • Clementine Jam 1 (10/8/68, live Hartbeats, The Matrix, SF)
  • Clementine (2/2/68, live Grateful Dead, Portland)
  • Clementine (1/20/68, live Grateful Dead, Eureka)
  • Clementine Jam 2 (10/8/68, live Hartbeats, The Maxtrix, SF)

Edits:

  • For the 9/12/68 rehearsal, I have edited together fragments of the stop-start practice session to simulate a complete performance. Vocals by Lesh!
  • I took the vocals out of the final, 1/26/69 performance, because they’re not good, kind of buried, and way less interesting than early ’69 Dead exploring the musical opportunities. For great Garcia vocals, listen to early ’68.
  • I edited out the slack parts of the Hartbeat’s 10/8/68 performance.


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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1657916 2021-02-24T02:21:33Z 2021-03-09T18:35:16Z Howard Devoto: We Simply May Be Evil (1983-1990)

This mix curates Howard Devoto’s music in the period between Buzzcocks/Magazine (1976-1981) and his 1990s hiatus. 

I’m not going to brief anyone on who Devoto is. For those who don’t know, this mix is not the place to start. (Try this Spotify mix.) For those who already bow to Devoto, but who don’t remember his 1980s records, this is for you.

I rank Devoto as one of rock’s great lyricists and one of its most ambitious, unorthodox singers. His 1980s work is an excellent, organic extension of the path he was charting with Magazine. Odd compositional structures, big arrangements, dramatic storytelling, and riffs and phrases that worm their way into you.

You can sing-speak along with contemporary conviction or koan bemusement to pretty much every line Devoto ever uttered. He’s been scripting challenging one-liners for you to spin through your brain since forever. 

Devoto was an unlikely candidate for 1980s music success and failed to make a living at it. He and his collaborators didn’t run from the  aesthetic tendencies of the decade, but they made them their own. In retrospect, Devoto’s arch, erudite, baroque, contrary, take-no-idiots angle on everything resulted in ‘80s music that isn’t facile in 2021. 

Devoto released three albums in the 1980s (supported by at least two tours) and collaborated with other artists here and there. The first of the three albums, “Jerky Versions of the Dream” (1983), was developed with Magazine’s Dave Formula. Devoto and multi-instrumentalist Noko (Norman Fisher-Jones) then teamed up as Luxuria and released two albums (1988, 1990).   

This mix combines studio tracks from those albums, their b-sides, and outlying collaborations. The second “disc” presents a short collection of bootleg-derived live tracks.

90-minute mp3 mixtape zipped up here.

Disc One (studio, 64-minutes):

  • Some Will Pay (for what others pay to avoid)
  • Our Curious Leader
  • Ticket
  • Beast Box
  • Public Highway
  • Pound
  • Redneck
  • Lady 21
  • Jezebel
  • Out of Shape with Me
  • Taking Over Heaven
  • She’s Your Lover Now (parts 1 & 2)
  • Railings (w/Mansun)
  • Holocaust (w/This Mortal Coil)

Disc Two (live, 25-minutes):

  • Mlle (live)
  • Parade (live)
  • Rubbish (live)
  • The Light Pours Out of Me (live)
  • Luxuria (live)


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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1654592 2021-02-16T03:50:50Z 2021-02-27T17:42:02Z Grateful Dead: Supplication Jam 1985-1986

From Spring 1985 to Spring 1986, the Supplication jam was set free. Without the complications of Lazy Lightning or the need to land the jam at the Supplication vocals, the band enjoyed themselves thoroughly. The missing melodies crop up and here and there, as part of the jammy fabric. 

This mix compiles the period’s eight full-blown performances, which are individually and collectively an outstanding demonstration of 1980s Dead. 

I’ve used fades rather than attempting fake segues, because the band worked hard at landing or crashing the jam into all sorts of songs – Promised Land, Esau, Might as Well, Let It Grow, Don’t Need Love, Playin’ Jam. 

Those songs are beyond the scope of this mix (except Playin' Jam!), but I’ve left in the interesting transitions and faded them just before the next song bursts into full existence.

43-minute, 8-track, mp3 mix zipped up here (all dates included in tags)

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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1652553 2021-02-11T01:23:52Z 2021-03-17T13:59:51Z KISS 1976-1977 (Spotify playlist)

My 12-year-old-self was right about at least this much of KISS. In 1976, I was listening only to the Beatles. By 1978, I was listening to Sex Pistols and DEVO. 

In 1976-1977, the turgid early KISS was becoming skilled and snappy enough to occupy the elaborate glam space they always aspired to. At the same time, the attempt to produce them into a crisp, pop, AM-radio-friendly sound was dovetailing with the trebly sound of punk/new wave. 

“Love Gun’s” sonics are closer to “Marquee Moon” than an ELO or Fleetwood Mac record, or the Ted Nugent and Nazareth albums of the day. It sounds like it was recorded ingeniously on a four-track in a garage, the drums especially bad and excellent.

It’s accidental punk – cock-rock Ramones, who are pulling it off. Pretend this was the only music they ever made - a lost band from the Max's Kansas City scene. Or, embrace the fact that KISS had become a major label success, and think of this material as their "Some Girls" moment – a lucky convergence of ironic manly camp, crunchy songs, and the zeitgeist. 

The songwriters are hitting their stride, while still trapped within the distinctive fingerprints of their creative limitations. The band can't jam, and they want hits, so they cram a lot of ingredients into their 3-3.5 minute tunes.

A minute later, KISS would become entirely fake, but for a hot second, they checked in as a fully-realized concept.

Spotify Playlist Here

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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1651673 2021-02-09T14:19:20Z 2021-02-11T15:48:29Z Mark Mothersbaugh: “Muzik for Insomniaks” (1988)

“Please play at a low volume. Muzik for Insomniaks is designed to interface with your world.” - Mark Mothersbaugh  

For some reason, this wonderful, two-volume album of Mark Mothersbaugh’s Fairlight and Roland compositions has fallen off the map. I see no evidence of re-releases after 1988, and it doesn’t seem to be available for purchase or streaming anywhere official. 

This music has been a regular companion to my days, and my daughter (now 21) has been a fan of “XP137” for nearly her whole life. 

It was recorded during the period when Mothersbaugh was writing music for “Pee Wee’s Playhouse,” and not long before he started scoring “Rugrats.” His big-time movie career, including extensive work with Wes Anderson, followed. 

Cover art is by Mothersbaugh - a detail scanned from one of the posters that came with the CD edition.

28 songs, 2 hours 21 minutes

zipped up mp3 download here

Sample: XP137

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John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1650533 2021-02-06T18:57:34Z 2021-02-13T16:22:26Z DEVO: Beautiful Mutants (1974-1978)

DEVO put the future on tape long before they were signed and made records with Brian Eno. Before and after Eno, they were a research laboratory for the 1970s’ break with the past and the leap into the 1980s. They were also one of the best live bands of the punk/post-punk era. 

This mix offers a curation of early, unreleased material that supports the case for DEVO’s eminence. It divides into a double LP - studio and live. 

mp3 mix zipped up here

LP 1: Studio (1974-1978)

The first LP is a studio concept album that sequences primordial, weird, intense, and astounding early items into a devolved Sgt. Pepper with no commercial potential - same length, most tracks segued. It’s heavily overproduced and sonically-overdriven by the randomness of primitive recording technology and the ravages of time. Bob Dobbs/White Heat.

  • Because (from The Truth About De-Volution)
  • The Death of Booji Boy
  • The Smart Patrol (version 1)
  • Fraulein (live 1974, Akron, OH)
  • Shrivel Up (demo)
  • Hey Hey My My (long version)
  • How Many Ropes
  • Secret Agent Man (Mark M. vocals)
  • Lost At Home (Tater Tot)
  • U Got Me Bugged (instrumental version)

LP 2: Live (1977)

Booji and the Stooges. The selections come from February 1977 in Akron, augmented with some of the tracks the band excluded from their release of a May 1977 Cleveland show (“Miracle Witness Hour”). The tapes sit well together, and I only included really good stuff.

  • Nutty Buddy
  • Secret Agent Man
  • Shrivel Up
  • Too Much Paranoias
  • Space Junk
  • Blockhead
  • Gut Feeling/Slap Your Mammy
  • Sloppy
  • The Words Get Stuck in My Throat
  • Social Fools

Early DEVO:

The band had at least three or four albums of material by the time they were signed, some of which would be re-recorded for early singles and their first two albums (Q/A, Duty Now). The songs and the band’s attack changed a lot between 1974 and 1978, so the early versions are always fascinating.

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John Hilgart @4CPcomics