Archive for the ‘rant’ Category

A Quick Update About My Twitter Account

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

If you’re wondering what happened to my Twitter account, hey me too.

As I detailed in a post on my other blog a few months ago, I don’t really tweet that much anymore. While I have caved on that from time to time, 90% of my interactions on the platform are with my friends , or me looking at Tokyo record shops for their latest deals. That’s about it.

Regardless, I somehow got slapped with a suspension, not a lock, but a full-on suspension, yesterday. I have yet to find out why. I was not given a reason. They have not replied to my message asking for more details.

I suspect one of three things happened.

The first is what I hope is the case, because it’s not really Twitter’s fault. A few days ago a user whose name I will not mention added me to two strange lists, with names like “SuspendLvl1” and “gotroot.” Was he trying to hack my account or perform some kind of action that would flag it in a way that would lead to my suspension? Perhaps. I reported him when it happened and Twitter actually has asked for more details about that. Hilariously, I can’t give them any more details since my account is MIA.

Like I said, I hope that’s the case, because shit like that happens, it gets resolved, and everyone moves on.

If it’s not the case, then I can only imagine that I was suspended for either my pinned tweet, which simply states “Kill All Nazis.” Or because someone at support might’ve thought I was abusing their abuse reporting system because I flag and report David Duke’s account for abuse literally everyday. I’m not doing that as a joke or some troll, I’m doing it because David Duke violates Twitter’s TOS literally every day. He often spits out tweets filled antisemetic rheotic and attacks. That’s against Twitter’s rules. So I report him for it. Last week they actually responded and said that his account was in violation. Since then I’ve seen him tone it down a bit, but his account is still up and running somehow. Maybe me reporting him since then pissed someone at support off? Good to know that reporting Nazis will get you in more trouble on Twitter than actually being a Nazi.

If that didn’t do it, then maybe my recent pinned tweet, “Kill all Nazis” rubbed someone at Twitter the wrong way.

Like I said, I don’t know, I can only speculate, because Twitter WON’T TELL ME what I did wrong.

Anyways, I’m banned from Twitter for the time being. Prominent Nazis are not. Twitter, you’re doing a great job.

Body Count
Cop Killer
Never not relevant.

Some Decent Music

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Allow me to talk about entitlement for a second.

That word, “entitlement” is thrown around a lot these days. Typically it is used to refer to situations involving race, gender and sexuality and other important socio-economic-political issues. But I occasionally see it pop up in other situations. When that Mass Effect 3 hubbub broke out earlier this year, for example,  a lot of the gaming press labeled the fans of the series “entitled” because they were complaining about the content of the game like they knew the product better than the developers themselves.

That, however, is not entitlement. That’s being a vocal consumer. If a game developer is going to cut corners on a game, then the fans who bought the game have the right to complain about it. And in the age of Twitter, they can often complain directly to the people responsible. That’s their right as a consumer. It’s a good thing.

I’ll tell you what is entitlement, however. Entitlement is going to a blog that owes you nothing, not being happy with the music selection being offered there (for free, by the way) and then complaining in the comments section that said blog doesn’t post any “decent music” anymore. That behavior, acting like you are owed (or  entitled) something for no other reason than the fact that you want it, is entitlement. And you know what? That’s a bad thing.

And it’s incredibly annoying.

So don’t do it.

Now, I know most of you who visit my blog don’t do that. But someone did, so I felt that little lecture was neccesary.

Enjoy tonight’s music. I find it to be quite decent.

George Clinton
Tweakin’ (A Mix)
Tweakin’ (Dub Mix)
Tweakin’ (C Mixxappella)
Tweakin’ (Radio Remix)
Hysterical
These tracks are funky (and for once I mean that in the George Clinton way, not the “this smells funky” kind of way), although I think that “A Mix” is the laziest name for a remix ever. The original version of “Tweakin'” was on Clinton’s 1989 album The Cinderella Theory, his first album on Prince’s Paisley Park label. Prince is nowhere to be found on these mixes (at least not officially) but Chuck D and Flava Flav totally show up to drop a random-ass rap at the end. Some vocal samples of them also make it on to the radically bizarre b-side “Hysterical,” a nearly eight-minute piece of out-of-this-world abstract funk that features some crazy bass work by who I assume is Bootsy Collins. It’s so funky that you better be careful. Repeated listening may cause you to funk yourself to death.

See, it’s funny because “funk” sounds similar to “fuck.”

N.E.R.D.
Rock Star (Nevins Classic Club Blaster)
Rock Star (Classic Club Blaster Instrumental)
I posted the “Club Blaster” remix a few years ago, but I felt like posting it again since I just re-recorded it. I didn’t think anyone would mind. They better not. “Rock Star” is an amazing song, one that Jason Nevins made even better with his spectacular remix that pumps up the energy up to 11.

I used to love N.E.R.D. but I kind of forgot about them. I didn’t pick up their last album, Nothing, was it any good? I didn’t hear many good things. I did love Seeing Sounds, however. I thought that “Everybody Nose (All The Girls Standing In The Line For the Bathroom)” should have been a much bigger hit than it was. I guess the tune hit a little too close to home to the people it was marketed for. “Spaz” was another great tune, shame it never got some remixes.

B-Boy Electric
Tainted Love (Lo Vox Extended Mix)
Tainted Love (Hard Cell Mix)
Tainted Love (Kai Tracid Remix)
Tainted Love (Extended Version)
A techno/trance remix of “Tainted Love.” Shit don’t get more decent than this.

Random Electronic Music Post

Friday, May 11th, 2012

I’m on Instagram now! I don’t know how to link to my Instragram account from here, but if you follow me on Twitter you’ll get my Instragram updates. So now instead of me just talking about what I’m listening to on Twitter, you can SEE what I’m listening to on Instragram! Sure, it’s kind of pointless and stupid, but most fun things are, so don’t complain.

Moby
Porcelain (Clubbed To Death Version by Rob Dougan)
Porcelain (Futureshock Remix)
Porcelain (Futureshock Instrumental)
Porcelain (Futureshock Beats)
Porcelain (Live At Glastonbury 2003)
I’ve lost track of how many Moby cuts I’ve posted over the years. It’s a lot. I’ll probably post more. I’m a fan.

The original version of “Porcelain” is a beautiful song, but not one that I would have ever thought would lend itself to remixing. However, these excellent mixes prove me wrong. Each of them transform the track into something else entirely, while still retaining just enough of the original for them to keep the song’s beauty in tact. Meanwhile, the live version is a shockingly faithful rendition, with the biggest difference being that the back-up vocals are live instead of sampled.

The remixes are all taken from the “Porcelain” 12″ single or the CD single, while the live version is a rip from the DVD that came with some editions of Moby’s album 18.

Goldie 
Kemistry (V.I.P. Mix)
Still Life (V.I.P. Mix) (The Latino Dego In Me)
Just a couple days ago I was talking about Godley And Creme’s The History Mix Volume 1, and how confusing it is that there are three different versions of that record floating around. Well, the multitude of versions of Goldie’s seminal 1995 album Timeless are even more confusing. The album was originally released as a 2CD set that had 12 tracks in total. However, a single CD version was also made available. That version featured only eight songs, including “Sensual,” which is not on the 2xCD edition. Confused yet? Wait, there’s more.

There was also a 2LP vinyl version released. And while that version also had eight songs, they weren’t the same eight that were on the single CD version, it doesn’t even have the 2o-minute title track. What it does have are the two tracks above, which have never been released on any other version of the album, not even when the album was re-released a few years back with bonus cuts.

And in case you’re wondering a “V.I.P. Mix” is a remix done by the original artist. I guess it’s pretty pretentious to call you own mix the “Very Important Person” mix, but I think that’s actually less pretentious then putting your own name behind a remix of your own song.

Orbital
Belfast (Sasha vs The Light Remix)
Nothing Left (Les Rhythmes Digitales Remix)
Nothing Left (Breeder Remix)
Nothing Left (Pariah Remix)
Now, I could be wrong (I”m wrong a lot) but isn’t “Belfast” in itself a remix of “Nothing Left?” I mean, don’t they both have the trippy vocals by Allison (worst person I’ve ever interviewed in my entire life) Goldfrapp? If that’s the case, then wouldn’t that make this remix by Sasha a remix of a remix? We’re through the looking glass people!

Yeah, I was wrong and made a mistake because I mislabeled the tracks. What I said about Allison Goldfrapp is true though.

Record Store Day, Kickstarter, Limited Editions and Manufactured Rarity – Screwing Over Fans for a Quick Buck

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Allow me to present a hypothetical situation:

Say you’re a Flaming Lips fan. For months you’ve heard about this crazy Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends album that features collaborations from everyone from Chris Martin and Bon Iver to Prefuse 73 and Ke$ha. You want it badly. It’s announced that the album will be a Record Store Day exclusive. You get to your local record store an hour before they open and find that there’s already a line around the block. You wait regardless. When you finally make your way inside the store you find out that they sold out within minutes. Now if you want one you have to go to eBay and shell out $100.

Another hypothetical problem:

You love Amanda Palmer. You find out that in a few weeks, Amanda Palmer and her husband Neil Gaiman will be releasing a live CD. The release date comes, but you discover that the album isn’t available for you yet. It’s only available for those who backed its release on Kickstarter. You would have done that if you had the money at the time, or if you followed Amanda or Neil on Twitter, but you’re not up on such things. As such, now you have to wait an unspecified amount of time to get the album. But then it turns up online illegally. Now instead of gladly handing over money for the album, you just download it. You make a promise to yourself to buy it when it does come out officially, but by the time it does you’ve lost interest. You have your music, but Palmer and Gaiman didn’t get a dime, and the sour experience of being screwed over and treated like a second-class fan probably sticks with you.

And a  final hypothetical dilemma, I promise:

You LOVE Pearl Jam. You’ve seen them live over 10 times, own all their albums on vinyl (which isn’t easy) and you’re even a member of the their fanclub. But their fanclub is poorly organized, and you never get the email about a deluxe 3-disc edition of their documentary PJ20. By the time you do catch word about it, it’s sold out. The two discs of exclusive content aren’t made available anywhere else (except for iTunes, and only for Americans). You try eBay, but you see that the few copies that make it there are being sold for over $300-$500. Dejected, you just download it illegally. During this whole process, the band and the fanclub, who claim to care about fans more than any other organization, completely ignore you.

Beginning to see a pattern here?

In recent years, artists and labels (both big and small) have turned to limited editions as a way to entice people into buying physical product. Record Store Day is the biggest example of this, but examples like the other two I gave are just as common. They do this because their margins (the difference between the cost of production and the price they sell it for) are always higher with a physical product. And since they’re dealing with fans who by their very nature have a collector’s mindset, the very act of limiting the supply increases the demand. In fact, it increases the demand so much so that the demand ends up outweighing the supply exponentially. The labels win, they get their money, and the few fans that are lucky enough to snag their ultra-mega-limited edition item win as well. But everyone else just gets screwed.

Now, sometimes it’s not that bad. In some cases, the limited edition is just an alternate format or packaged edition of an already available product, such as a colored LP or alternate cover. It looks really cool, but the content is the same.  The fan that scored with the limited release has the same music/video content as the person who could only make out with the regular version. No one is out anything major.

But what if the limited edition has music or video content that can only be found on that limited edition? Those fans want that content, that’s why they’re fans. I don’t know about you, but when I truly love a band with every fiber of my being, I want everything they put out. I want the version of the album with the bonus tracks, I want the import singles with the remixes, I want the EP that only came out in Japan. I want it all. But when you make an item limited to such an extreme like they seem to be doing these days, this becomes nearly impossible.

And I’m not saying that limited editions with exclusive content are by nature a bad thing. Sometimes they’re a necessity.  For example, Amon Tobin is releasing a limited edition box set filled with LPs, CDs and DVDs that will all have never-before-released content exclusive to the box set. However, that “limited edition” box set is limited to a not-that-limited 4,000 copies. For an artist as niche as Amon Tobin, that’s actually a pretty hefty number for a box set that costs $200. Everyone who really cares about it will be able to get it. I’m willing to bet that Tobin, along with the production people at his label, Nina Tune, got together and figured out exactly how many to make so everyone who really wanted one would be able to get it, while not leaving themselves with much in the way of surplus along the way.

But if you’re the Flaming Lips, you have more fans than the few thousand that will be able to get the album on Record Store Day. If you’re Amanda Palmer you have more fans than the few that knew about Kickstarter when you launched that campaign. And if you’re Pearl Jam, then you definitely have more fans willing to buy a 3-disc box set of your movie than the very few that you made available. In these cases, what’s the point? How is it a benefit the fan to force them to either spend way too much money on eBay to get what they want or to steal it online? How does that help them? Better yet, how does that help you, the artist? You don’t get any of that money (unless your Jack White and you’re selling your own stuff on eBay, classy). As an artist making music in 2012, you should be ecstatic that anyone will buy your music, and you should make it as easy as possible for them to do so.  The only people whose lives are being made easier with all this bullshit is the speculator.

Speculators aren’t fans. They are people who buy a product with the sole intent of selling it at an inflated value. It’s like daytrading, only with collectibles. Speculators love shit like limited editions and Record Store Day exclusives, because a lot of them have inside tracks to get the stuff that’s in most demand before they’re actually available to the public. This year I heard about many RSD exclusives reaching eBay before this Saturday. You think the people posting those auctions were customers who got lucky? They weren’t. They were record store owners and employees looking to make a quick buck by screwing over their customers and going directly to the secondary market.

That’s horrible, but can you blame them?  Because if history is any indication, the majority of stuff that came out this Record Store Day won’t be worth much more than retail in just six months time. That right, that super-limited edition 7″ single you bought with no intention of ever playing because you thought it might be worth a mint in a few years? You’ll probably be lucky to get what you paid for it three years from now. These releases rarely have staying power, it’s probably because 90% of RSD “exclusives” are either only timed exclusives, or get re-released digitally or on other formats within months of their RSD release. It’s hard for something to maintain its value when the one thing that gave it value in the first place, a false sense of rarity, is removed.

That’s great for people like me, who actually want to buy and hold on to stuff, but bad news for probably a good percentage of assholes who buy this stuff, who are only in it for money that they think they’ll get later on. So not only are these super-limited editions bad for bands and their fans, but their even worthless to the majority of speculators who buy them as well.

But what about the record stores themselves? Isn’t that who Record Store Day is really supposed to benefit? Well, call me a cynical asshole (seriously, it’s cool, you wouldn’t be the first), but I fail to see how one day of crazy business is going to save a record store. The kids going to their local record stores to pick up these limited editions items aren’t the kind of people who are going to back to their record store to buy a non-limited edition item. Record Store Day is for record collectors. Record stores are for music lovers, and the stores, labels and artists should be trying harder to find (or create) the latter, instead of catering to the fickle tastes of the former.

Strut Records: Ripping You Off With Laziness

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

I planned on a best/worst of the year list tonight, but something irked me so bad that I had to push that post back a few days.

Last week I bought Fac.Dance, a compilation by Strut Records that features many rare and hard-to-find dance tracks from Factory Records. Many of them are out-of-print and have never seen the light of day either digitally or on CD. I should have loved the record, but Strut had to go and fuck it all up.

I bought the album on vinyl in a 2LP set, it is also available as a 2CD set and digitally. Both the CD and digital versions include 24 tracks. However, the the vinyl version only has twelve songs.  While it does also include a download code, that code only gives you the 12 tracks that are on the LPs, and not the complete digital or CD versions of the album.

Confused yet? Don’t worry, you will be.

In addition that rip-off, all three versions have slightly different tracklistings. “Wild Party” and “Knife Slits Water (12″ mix”) by A Certain Ratio are only on the CD version; while “Black Water” by Kalima and “Motherland” by Royal Family And The Poor are only on the digital version. Furthermore, “Pretenders of Love” by Shark Vegas is on the LP version and digital version, but not on the CD version. If you want all the songs, you’ll have to buy the 2CD version, and then buy the digital exclusive tracks individually.

But why? Why does the vinyl version get the shaft? And why are their subtle differences between the digital and CD releases.

Well, I asked Strut’s Twitter account those very questions. According to them,  it was a licensing issue. Different versions have different songs because they could not “license every track in each format.”

But why not include a complete digital download with the 2LP version? Well, for that, they also hide behind the vague cover of “rights issues,” saying that they could not include those songs as “free content” because they did not own them.

Now, I’m sorry, but who said anything about free? The 2LP version costs significantly more than both the 2CD version and the digital version. Why not eat some of that profit by providing the album on CD, or including a complete download code (not for FREE, but as part of the cost).

Shit, you could probably even raise the price of the 2LP set to offset the difference. People like me would still buy it anyway.

It gets worse! Strut’s incompetence does not end there!

Until I pointed it out to them via Twitter, their store page for Fac.Dance featured the 2CD tracklist no matter which version you chose to buy. That omission has been corrected, but the page is still littered with errors and other confusing anomalies.

The digital version that Strut is showcasing on that page only has 17 tracks. Meanwhile, the digital version that Amazon is selling has 24. It should also be mentioned that the 17 track version that Strut is selling directly costs MORE than the 24 track version currently on sale at Amazon.

There is also a mistake on Strut’s website in regards to the 2CD version. Their store claims that the opening track of the second CD is New Order’s “Confusion.” However, if you go to THIS page at Strut’s website, that song is absent from the tracklist entirely. On that same page, “Time” by Minny Pops is labeled as a digital exclusive even thought it is on the CD tracklisting.

I probably spent more time writing and editing this rant than Strut did writing and editing their copy for the Fac.Dance release. Their “effort” in promoting and compiling this album reeks of laziness and corporate greed. I will never buy a Strut album again, and I suggest you exercise caution if you are considering doing so.

And on that note, Merry Christmas! I’ll see you all next week.

Being a Fan is a Losing Battle: Pearl Jam, Selling Out and Sell Outs

Friday, October 21st, 2011

I’ve been told by many people that I like music too much. My usual response is “that’s not possible.” But today I think they may be right. If I don’t like music too much, I definitely expect too much from the people who make it, the people who give me one of my few sources of joy and happiness (in case you’re wondering, my other sources of happiness are kung fu movies, sushi, root beer and vodka – sometimes all at once).

I love a lot of bands and I don’t really have a favorite, but whenever I’m pressed to pick on I usually say Pearl Jam, although my fandom with Pearl Jam kind of came about in an odd way.

I was in junior high when Ten first came out and I liked it enough, but by the time Vitalogy was released I had pretty much lost interest in the group. That’s about when I discovered electronic music, and that consumed my popular music interest for a few years.

I didn’t fall in love with Pearl Jam until 2000, when they released live albums for all of their concerts in an effort to combat high-priced, shitty sounding bootlegs. I borrowed a few from a friend who was a die-hard Pearl Jam fanatic and quickly re-discovered the group. By the time I was done listening to all the albums my friend had, I was floored.

I was amazed to hear how different their setlists were from night to night. I loved how open they were to fan interaction and spontaneity. They always sounded like they were having a blast no matter how late into the tour it was. Most importantly though, they sounded fucking AMAZING. I couldn’t believe a band like Pearl Jam, a band that really had nothing left to prove, could consistently hit it out of the park almost every night.

It was then that I became hooked. I bought as many of the live CDs as I could. I joined Ten Club, the official Pearl Jam fan club. I even followed them on tour whenever they came to my neck of the woods. Since 2000 I’ve seen the group over 10 times, far more than any other band.

I have a framed copy of Yield on my wall in my living room for fuck’s sake. It’s an unhealthy obsession.

And Pearl Jam wasn’t just a great live band that put out great records (Binaural is a great, underrated album, check it out) but they also seemed to care about important shit. While so many other bands of the 90s seemed to sell out their indie ideals as soon as the money started to roll in, Pearl Jam seemed to hold on to them as best they could. They released their concerts on CD not to make money, but to save fans from buying crap bootlegs; they played important benefits shows and spoke out on important causes; they never wrote songs that objectified women or glorified violence. It’s a hard quality to quantify, but they seemed to “get it.”

In 2009, they got a lot of shit when they announced that their album Backspacer would be a Target exclusive release. It sounded like they were selling out their ideals for a quick buck, but when the band had a chance to explain themselves it didn’t look nearly as bad. (I even defended the band for doing it.)

It turned out that the album was only a “big box” exclusive for Target. This meant that while other national chains like Best Buy and Wal-Mart wouldn’t be able to carry it, local independent stores (and iTunes) would have the album for sale. And of course you could still get it at the band’s official website on both CD and vinyl. Pearl Jam gets paid, indie stores don’t get screwed, and the fans get the CD at a fair price. Everyone wins. And the album was pretty damn good too, their best in years.

Pearl Jam turned 20 this year (and I feel old). The band had a lot of festivities to celebrate. There was the huge PJ20 concert in Wisconsin, a small Canadian tour, and a movie called PJ20 directed by Cameron Crowe. It had a super-limited theatrical run, so I was excited to buy it when it came out on Blu-ray, which I was sure would have a ton of bonus features. Eventually, a special “Limited Edition” 3 disc Blu-ray set was announced at the website for $80. I didn’t mind that price, but at the time I was still financially recovering from Outside Lands and couldn’t afford it. So I decided to hold off for a bit.

Mistake on my part, because, unlike many of the other products Pearl Jam markets as a “Limited Edition,” this actually was. Now they are both sold out. Why the hell the band would decide to make THAT limited and not the 80 billion other things that they say are limited but actually aren’t just doesn’t make any sense. It’s even more confusing when you consider they announced the very expensive set right after the PJ20 concert and the Canadian tour, so die-hard fans who follow the band on tour were probably strapped for cash.

This is manufactured rarity and I hate it with every fiber of my being. It’s quickly becoming a problem in the music industry that’s driving me batshit bonkers. I get that some things are only going to be available in limited quantities, but it’s not the sort of thing that should be purposely planned if the band or label can avoid it, because it accomplishes nothing. All it does is anger fans who are unable to buy something the second it is announced, and create a sick secondary market where assholes who bought multiple copies can pawn theirs on eBay for hundreds of dollars over the original price. It also takes money away from the band, don’t they want supply to meet demand? That means more money! I’m sure someone out there thinks that it helps fight piracy by encouraging fans to buy physical products, but guess what? Since I can’t buy that three-disc set I’m most likely going to download it off a torrent site or borrow it from someone who does have it and rip my own copy.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and the aspect about the PJ20 Blu-ray release that bothers me least.

So, I lost the chance to buy the Deluxe Edition, okay, so can I buy the standard edition Blu-ray at their website?

Nope.

How about at an indpendent record store, or online at Amazon or another store?

Nope.

Where can I buy it?

Best fucking Buy.

That’s right. The Blu-ray of PJ20 is a timed Best Buy exclusive. If you want it before Christmas then you have to go to Best Buy to get it. No alternatives.

Let’s go back in time a bit, back when Pearl Jam announced that deal with Target. In an interview on the matter, Eddie said this:

“”We’ve put a tremendous amount of thought into this, and we’ve done it in a way that we think will be good for everybody. I can’t think of anything we’ve ever done without putting it through our own personal moral barometer. Target has passed for us. The fans just have to trust us.”

The band’s manager, Kelly Curtis, also had a lot to say on the topic:

“We’ll have a lot of partners…Target ended up allowing us to have other partners. We’ll be able to take care of all levels of the Pearl Jam fan…Target was cool enough to realize that little independent record stores are not their competition.”

“I make decisions around the band’s business that are consistent with their overall philosophy,” said Curtis, “which is to sell music in a way that’s accessible and affordable to their fans, on every distribution platform that their fans access music, and in a way that takes care of the little guys. I wanted our plan to be multi-dimensional to address old and modern ways of fans accessing music. It will allow all of our fans to have the same access.”

Who is this deal good for? It’s good for the band, of course, because they get money. But independent record stores get fucked, They miss out on a huge music release during the holiday season. And fans who actually care about corporate responsibility (something the band used to spout about a lot) and don’t want to support Best Buy because of all the sick, disgusting and horrible things they have done to consumers over the years, then they’re just fuck out of luck too aren’t they? They pass the band’s moral barometer? A company that has actually been fined by the government for illegal business practices is okay with Pearl Jam? What the fuck happened to their morals then?

But wait, there’s more!

Earlier this year the band released an amazing Super Deluxe box set of Vs. and Vitalogy. It had both albums on CD and vinyl as well as bonus tracks, a live concert and so much more. It’s a great set for both hardcore and casual fans alike. I, like many Pearl Jam fans, bought it the second I could afford to.

Well, apparently the band had some extras lying around that they wanted to get rid of, because they re-released the box set with this added bit in the description:

▪ THE FIRST 500 TO ORDER, beginning 10/19/11, WILL RECEIVE THE “LIVE FROM THE MOORE” VAULT SHOW #1 CD THAT MEMBERS RECEIVED AT ALPINE VALLEY
▪ YOU COULD RECEIVE ONE OF 8 SIGNED SUPER DELUXE COPIES (RANDOMLY DISTRIBUTED)

So hey, if you’re a die-hard fan then you’re a sucker! You should have waited a few months so you can get even more music (in the form of a super-rare CD!) and a chance of an autograph! Loser! But hey, if you want to buy it again no one is stopping you!

What. The. Fuck.

In one hand you have the Blu-ray and DVD box sets. If you didn’t order them right away then you’re an idiot. You’re never gong to get that again (unless the band re-issues it AFTER the Best Buy exclusive deal for the single-disc version ends). You know, after everyone bought it so they can double-dip.

In the other hand, you have this box set. If you ordered that too soon then you’re an idiot and you won’t get the really cool and hard-to-find content.

Ugh.

When people say I care too much about music, I think this must be what they mean. I care about not only the music, but the people who make it. I want them not to be the scum of the earth, or at least be consistent about it.

If Aerosmith did this, no one would care; because they’ve never ranted about the evils of corporate greed and the importance of independent record stores. When you have no ideals, then you really can’t sell out.

But when you do have ideals, or at least make it appear that you do, then I guess the only place you can go is down.

No music tonight. I was going to put up some rare Pearl Jam (because I have TONS) but I really don’t feel like listening to a bunch of hypocrites right now.

Two Hours and Twenty Minutes of Countdown Remixes

Friday, October 14th, 2011

I am willing to bet money that the overlap of people who will care about tonight’s post and the people who cared about my Nirvana post will be very small.

Okay, I need to talk about the video for Beyoncé’s “Countdown.” If you haven’t watched it, go do it now. That’s an order, by the way.

What a goddamn masterpiece. How the hell does someone create something that jaw-droppingly amazing? That video is three minutes and thirty-two seconds of utter perfection. Nearly every frame in that video could be framed as a work of art. Everything about it is perfect. It’s one of those things that, when you see it, you’re almost pissed off because it’s so good. It almost makes you mad that someone could come up with something so undeniably brilliant in everyway imaginable.

Or, in the case of some people, it does make them mad, so much that they have to shit on everyone else’s parade.

That’s the only explanation for all the hate the video is getting. Plagiarism accusations have been non-stop and coming from all corners. Specifically, many are claiming that Beyoncé (or her choreographer) stole from Belgium choreographer and dancer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. A video (edited in a way to make the similarities even more apparent) showcasing the alleged theft can be found here.

With evidence that damming, even the most die-hard of Beyoncé fans would have to admit that it’s pretty obvious Beyoncé lifted ideas from De Keersmaker’s work en masse, cribbing not only the dance moves, but in some some of the wardrobe and costumes as well.

And so what?

First of all, Beyoncé’s appropriation of De Keersmaker’s work is so obvious, so blatant and direct, that she would have to be an idiot to think that no one would notice. It should be pretty bleeding clear to anyone with a brain that she’s homaging the original work, keeping it so much in tune with the original that anyone who is familiar with De Keersmaeker would pick up on the similarities. Just like how anyone familiar with Audrey Hepburn or Twiggy will most likely see those influences in Beyoncé’s appearance in the video as well.

Secondly, as this Guardian article points out, De Keersmaker herself has appropriated other works of dance for her own pieces. And there’s nothing wrong with that! That’s how art works. Someone creates something that inspires someone else, and in turn they tweak and modify their inspiration to create something unique. It’s the nature of the creative process. Nothing is truly original.

So if Beyoncé is a creatively bankrupt thief for getting her ideas from an obscure European dance artist, then David Bowie is a thief for coming up with the name for Ziggy Stardust after hearing The Legendary Stardust Cowboy; Madonna is a thief for cribbing Willie Ninja’s vogue moves for her own video; Deep Purple are plagiarists for stealing the riff from Smoke On The Water from jazz composer Claude Nougaro; and Elvis is a thief for stealing, well, basically everything he liked from black culture.

You can copy dance moves, choreography and wardrobe, but you can’t copy personality, which Beyoncé has in droves in that video, and you can’t copy a performance to die for either. You also can’t copy that song; it’s pop perfection in every way.

So shut the fuck up and love Beyoncé . Because she’s pretty damn awesome.

Beyoncé
Countdown (Bobby Duron Club Remix)
Countdown (Carl Tio and Morjac Club Remix)
Countdown (Carl Tio and Morjac Dub Remix)
Countdown (Carl Tio and Morjac Instrumental Remix)
Countdown (DJ Escape & Tony Coluccio Club Mix)
Countdown (DJ Escape & Tony Coluccio Acapella)
Countdown (DJ Escape & Tony Coluccio Dub Mix)
Countdown (DJ Escape & Tony Coluccio Instrumental Remix)
Countdown (DJ Nita Club Mix)
Countdown (Jochen Simms Club Mix)
Countdown (Jochen Simms Dub Remix)
Countdown (Manny Lehman Big Room Club Mix)
Countdown (Manny Lehmans Big Room Dub)
Countdown (Mike Rizzo Extended Mix)
Countdown (Red Soul Club Remix)
Countdown (Red Soul Instrumental)
Countdown (Red Top Club Acapella)
Countdown (Red Top Club Instrumental)
Countdown (Red Top Club Remix)
Countdown (Red Soul Club Mix)
Countdown (Reggae Rewind Remix)
Are those enough remixes of “Countdown?” I think so.

I am fairly certain that none of these are easily commercially available. I believe that they are promo remixes for DJs and clubs. The only place I could find them for sale was on eBay, at crazy prices I might add. Instead, I grabbed them from about five or so other MP3 blogs. I would give them shout outs, but they all either hosted full albums you can get legally, or they buried their downloads on shady, pop-up driven download link sites, and I refuse to link to sites like that out.

In case you aren’t interested in downloading all 21 remixes and just want the best, I can recommend a few more than others.

My favorites of the bunch are the Jochen Simms remixes, since they inject the tune with a Eurodance Hi-NRG flavor that I love. If you liked Rihanna’s “Only Girl In The World” then you’ll probably like those versions. I’m also digging the DJ Nita Club Mix for similar reasons.

The Red Top Club Remix is very house-like, and is worth at least one listen because it replaces the Boyz II Men countdown sample with samples from a Speak-And-Spell.

If you like trance then you should check out the Carl Tio and Morjac mixes, since they remove every element from the original version (save for the vocals) and replace them with every trance staple you can think of. It makes me wonder what a progressive trance artist like Hyrbid could do to this song.

The other mixes are good, but not great. The only one I actively dislike is the Reggae Rewind mix, but that’s more because I’m not a fan of reggae. Also, the accapella mixes are not for us regular humans, they’re for DJs, so only get those if you’re really into Beyoncé or if you want the vocals for your own sampling.

Nevermind Picture Discs: Picture Imperfect

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

For those of you just tuning in, this is my fifth post on the Nevermind remaster. If you want a recap I suggest you check out the following:

The Neverming 20th Anniversary Release: Anatomy Of A Disaster
The Nevermind Remaster: Further Analysis
 The Nevermind 4LP Set – Disaster On Wax
Bob Ludwig want you to know that you don’t count 

If you’re lazy, here is the TL;DR version: The Nevermind remaster is shit and you shouldn’t buy it on CD or LP.

Also, Bob Ludwig is an ass.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know that when I bought the limited edition picture disc set, which I got in the mail today.

Is it any different than the regular 4LP version? Not really, but there are a few aspects of it that I thought were worth mentioning. It also allows me to put this whole Nirvana thing to bed for a while with one more post. So if you’re sick of all this Nirvana stuff on my blog, be happy, this will be the last post to tackle the topic for some time.

Content-wise, the picture disc deluxe edition is identical to the regular vinyl deluxe edition. It includes the album proper; B-sides; the Smart Studio Sessions; The Boombox Rehearsals; and the BBC Sessions.

As for the discs themselves, each side has a unique picture:


 

They sure look neat, but they sound absolutely horrible, but I can’t really fault the master for that. You could press the most high-quality, audiophile-approved transfer in the world onto a picture disc, and it will still sound like crap. Something about the process of putting a picture on a vinyl record makes it sound significantly worse. Every picture disc I own has crazy amounts of surface noise, with more pops, cracks and snaps than a bowel of rice krispies, and there’s never anything I can do about it. It’s just how picture discs are.

Because of this, picture discs are almost never intended to be listened to, they’re for collectors only.

Thankfully, in a very rare example of common sense on the part of Universal, they actually included a download code with this version. So instead of having to listen to a noisy, crackly version of Nevermind that’s a little too loud and over-compressed, you get to listen to a crystal clear 320kpbs MP3 version of Nevermind that’s way too loud and over-compressed.

But Universal even managed to fuck that up. When you download the files they come in a zip that contains eight separate folders, one for each side. When you import the tracks into iTunes they look like this (click on the image to see it larger):

In case you can’t tell, the track listing is screwed up. For some reason, the Id3 tags try to keep the vinyl tracklisting,  making it so the numbering resets at “1” for the first track of each side. When you load the tracks into iTunes (or any other Mp3 player software)  it lists all the track “ones” in alphabetical order, followed by all the track “twos,” and so on. Also, for some reason the track number for “Curmudgeon” is in the track name field. You can fix all these mistakes yourself, but you shouldn’t have to. The fact that Universal couldn’t even get something as simple as ID3 tags right really shows how little they cared about this release.

There are only 1,991 of these sets, with only 500 allocated to the states. These were only available at the official Nirvana store, so now if you want one you’ll have to pay an inflated price on eBay. I’m seeing them go for over $100 already, I’m sure that’ll skyrocket for a bit and then settle somewhere between $100 and $200 bucks.

Are they worth it? This may sound odd, but if you’re an obsessive Nirvana collector then this version is probably your best bet. Yes, it sounds like shit, but so do other versions, so you might as well get one that looks cool. But if you don’t care about collecting stuff, it’s just another version of Nevermind that you should avoid.

That shouldn’t be a surprise though, let’s look at all the ways that Universal has botched the 20th Anniversary of one of the most important albums of my generation:

  • The remaster is too loud and compressed
  • The Super Deluxe Box Set and the Live At The Paramount Blu-ray are timed Best Buy exclusives
  • The Super Deluxe Box Set doesn’t include a Blu-ray of the live concert, only a DVD, so if you want the Super Deluxe set and the Blu-ray you have to double-dip
  • The audio on the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video on the DVD is taken from the remaster, creating a jarring audio cut
  • The music videos included on the DVD aren’t on the Blu-ray
  • There are reports of many of the Blu-ray copies suffering from audio/video sync issues (to be fair, I never had this problem)
  • The 4LP vinyl set came out a week after every other version, and the picture disc set came out even later
  • There is no way to get the Devonshire mixes on vinyl
  • The 4LP vinyl set has a error 27 seconds into “Polly” that surrounds Kurt’s voice with noise when he says “seed.”
  • Both the official website and Best Buy advertised the wrong dates for the vinyl versions
  • The regular 4LP vinyl set doesn’t include a download code
  • The download code included with the picture disc set gives you Mp3s with bad ID3 tags

It’s a disgrace.

You know how if parents treat their kids like shit they can lose custody? Or how you can lose the right to own an animal if you abuse one? The same should go for copyright.

If a corporation doesn’t respect the artwork that they hold the rights to, then they should lose the right to make money off of it. In a fair and just world, the way Universal has botched the Nevermind re-issue would be a criminal offense, the penalty of which would be a complete relinquishing of the rights to all Nirvana recordings.

Of course, fans can already get Nirvana music for free thanks to the magic of the Internet, and I suggest that’s what they do from now on.

Some may say that encouraging people to steal music is immoral. Perhaps they’re right, but in my opinion, it’s more moral than holding a generation’s cultural milestone hostage and destroying it for no apparent reason, with no respect for the art nor the people whose lives it touched.

What really boggles my mind about all of this is that there are amazing remasters of Nevermind that are already out there! Just two years ago Original Recordings Group (ORG) released a vinyl-only version mastered from the original analog tapes that got stellar reviews! I have their versions of Incesticde and In Utero and I can attest to their quality. In 2007 Universal Music Japan released a 200 gram vinyl that supposedly sounds amazing! Even Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs (MFSL) released great-sounding record and CD versions of the album, and that was all the way back in 1996! I have a copy of that version and I can personally tell you that it sounds incredible! That’s the version to get. It may cost a fortune now, but the Internet is a magical place…

Go to Google and search for “Nevermind mfsl download.” Click on the first link.

You’re welcome.

The Nevermind 4LP Set – Disaster on Wax

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Update 10/10/11: Bob Ludwig’s response to my criticism over his horrible mastering job.

To be honest, I was a little shocked at the enthusiastic response that I got for my write-up on the Super Deluxe edition of Nevermind. I didn’t expect that anyone aside from me and maybe a couple hundred other people would be worrying about the audio quality of the Nirvana remasters. I was pleasantly surprised to see the post kind of go viral, and not just because it gave me a record number of hits. I was happy to see that people are starting to care about audio quality, about the Loudness War, and about the preservation of important works of art like Nevermind.

That’s probably why a lot of music fans and collectors are buying vinyl these days, because a lot of people think that it’s physically impossible for vinyl to be “too loud.” The grooves on a vinyl record can’t reach the volume that a CD can. Because of that, many people, myself included, held out hope that  the Deluxe 4LP version of Nevermind might be worth getting.

But there’s nothing sacred about vinyl that makes it immune to a shit remaster. If something is over-compressed and too loud on CD and they use the same master for the LP, it might not sound as bad, but it sure as hell isn’t going to sound good. For the Nevermind vinyl to stand any chance, it would have to be taken from a different master, one made for vinyl.

So was it?

Well, before I get into that I feel like I should put out a few disclaimers.

First, I am not an audio engineer and I do not consider myself an audiophile. I’m just an angry dude with a turntable who appreciates music. While I’ve been writing about music for over a decade, I rarely delve into the technical aspects of music production. So if I use any technical terms incorrectly, please correct me.

Second, vinyl is a fickle beast. You could record the same record on 10 different turntables and it will probably sound a little different on each one. When recording a vinyl to a computer, the turntable, stylus, cartridge, pre-amp and soundcard each play a considerable factor in the quality of the recording. If you do your own tests on your own copy of Nevermind, your results may vary, but probably not enough for it to make a substantial difference.

Finally, this is going to be long. But if you want the short version here you go: Stay Away.

Now for the long version…

Let’s get the small stuff out of the way. The vinyl version only comes in one flavor, the Deluxe Edition. This version has 40 tracks, which include the original album in full; a collection of B-sides and live cuts; the Smart Studio Sessions; the Boombox Rehearsals; and the BBC sessions. It does not include the Devonshire mixes, nor does it have the live CD and DVD that are on the Super Deluxe version. Although I understand that putting all of that on vinyl would be a bit expensive, it’s kind of a drag.

The packaging is decent, with some nice artwork included, but no special linear notes are included.

The LPs come in individual static-free dust covers, so while they may sound like junk, at least they won’t get dusty. And they’re each a hefty 180 grams, so if push comes to shove, you can use them in case of a zombie invasion.

To judge the audio quality of each LP, I recorded them using my Audio-Technica ATLP120 Turntable (my Technics is in the shop) that is equipped with an Ortofon Arkiv stylus and cartridge. The turntable is connected to an ART USB PhonoPlus Pre-amp, which is plugged in to my computer via USB. The recordings were made using Audacity and any screenshots taken are in Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio 10. No processing was done on any of the files. I recorded each record at the the loudest possible volume that didn’t create clipping.

For the purposes of this review I will be looking at just two songs; “Aneurysm” and “Curmudgeon.” I chose these because they are two of my favorite Nirvana songs, and sadly, the two that suffer the most from audio compression in my opinion.

Here’s a comparison of the waveforms for “Aneurysm.” The top is the original taken from the Japanese  Hormaning EP. The middle is from the the  Nevermind vinyl edition. The bottom is from the Nevermind Super Deluxe CD :

You can click on the image to see it bigger.

As you can see, the vinyl version looks better than the remastered CD version, but it still doesn’t sound as good as the original version taken from the Hormoaning EP. It’s still too loud.

And that’s not just my subjective view, I can prove it by comparing the dynamic ranges of each version.

Dynamic range is the difference between the softest and loudest sounds in a recording. Dynamic range is a good thing. All music, even heavy metal and hard dance, needs dynamic range. It’s what gives music life, energy and power. Without it, a song can turn into noise. Generally speaking, the higher a song’s dynamic range, the better.

Using the TT Dynamic Range Meter, I measured the dynamic range of each version of “Aneurysm.” Here are the results:

  • Hormoaning EP (Original): 12.5
  • Remastered Vinyl: 9.7
  • Remastered CD: 6.6

The remastered CD loses nearly half of the original’s dynamic range! The vinyl version fairs better, but it still pales compared to the original. And in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t matter what volume I record my vinyl version at, as long as there is no clipping, the dynamic range will not change. I checked.

Now for “Curmudgeon.” The top is the original, taken from the “Lithium” CD single. The middle is from the Nevermind vinyl. The bottom is from the Nevermind CD:

In this one you can even see that the vinyl version loses a lot of the drums in the new mix. No surprises in in the dynamic range either:

  • “Lithium” CD Single (Original): 12.5
  • Remastered Vinyl: 9
  • Remastered CD: 6

I could repeat this for all 40 songs, but I think you get my point. While the vinyl version of the Nevermind remaster is better than the CD version, it was probably taken from the same mix. Both the vinyl and CD versions are so loud that they end up losing subtle nuances and qualities that were in the original mixes, so they are inferior versions of the album. Think about it, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of the most important albums of my generation, DGC/Universal purposely went out of their way to make it sound worse.

Assholes.

If you’re new to this whole “Loudness War” thing then you’re probably asking yourself “why the hell would a label go out of their way to make their music sound worse?”

That’s an excellent question. The answer is simple: Because they’re a bunch of fucking morons.

Okay, it’s a little more complex than that. Labels (and sometimes the bands too) like to think that louder = better. They think that if their music is louder than everyone else’s then it will “pop” out at the listener more and create a greater impact. The problem is that they’re wrong. There no correlation between the loudness of a song and its popularity. Additionally, a song that is too compressed will actually sound noticeably worse on the radio.

So actually, it’s not more complex than what I first said; it’s because they’re a bunch of fucking morons.

Never let reason get in the way of business decision though!

When I was doing research for this post I found this video on YouTube. It’s a presentation made by Bob Ludwig at the 2009 Audio Engineering Convention. For those of you who don’t know, Bob Ludwig is a Grammy award-winning audio engineer who has worked with artists like Pearl Jam, Coldplay, The Rolling Stones and hundreds of others. During the presentation he says this:

“If something comes in sounding amazing, a mastering engineer, if they’re any good, will do nothing to it.”

Truer words have never been spoken.

Too bad Bob Ludwig was the person responsible for the Nevermind remaster.

Oh well, whatever. Nevermind.

On second thought, no. Fuck that. You should mind. Don’t let them fucking win. I’m not going to. They need to know how much this matters to us.

Bob Ludwig is on Twiter. Tell him what you think about the Nevermind remaster. Let Krist and Dave know too. And the faceless PR blob that runs the Nirvana account. Shit, tell Courtney, it couldn’t hurt. Harass anyone else you can think of who may be responsible for this bullshit. Got the email address or Twitter account of someone in the music business who is promoting this idiotic trend? Share it in the comments. Maybe we can annoy these idiots into taking notice that we don’t want our music ruined anymore.

Tell your friends to do the same. Spread the word. Follow sites and organizations that are fighting this. Visit  Tune Me Up and Justice For Audio. Sign the petition at the Pleasurize Music Foundation that demands music be treated with the respect it deserves.

Music should be this important to you. It should fucking matter. This is something you should care about because if enough people speak up and hit the record companies where it matters (their rapidly shrinking wallets) then they might turn their overcompressed bullshit music down for five seconds and listen to what the fans want.

If not, then they’ll probably end up going out of business. Either way we win.

Nirvana
Aneurysm (Hormoaning Version)
Curmudgeon (Lithium CD Single Version)
Even In His Youth (Hormoaning Version)
For me, these B-sides are as recognizable and as much a part of my teen years as Nevermind proper. I remember borrowing the “Lithium” single from a neighbor after Kurt died and thinking “wow, there are Nirvana songs I don’t own! So cool!” I think I ended up buying the CD off of her so I could keep it. Later that year I went to L.A. with my dad and discovered for the first time the joy of a truly awesome independent record store. There, I bought one of my first LPs (Veruca Salt’s American Thighs, I don’t know why) and my first Japanese import, the Hormoaning EP. I thought it was so cool. Not only was it Nirvana, but it was Japanese! For a grungy teenage nerd into anime that’s two awesome things at once! That’s one thing I miss about the pre-Internet days, it was way easier to be surprised by shit like that.

These are the original versions of the B-sides on the bonus disc of the new Nevermind. Download these versions and listen to these amazing songs as they were meant to be heard.

The Nevermind 20th Anniversary Release: Anatomy of a Disaster

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Yesterday marked the release of the 20th Anniversary Editions of Nevermind. It should have been a joyous occasion for aging grunge rockers like myself, but leave it to corporate greed, shitty marketing, and bad audio engineering to fuck it all up.

First of all, instead of just releasing one great edition they opted to release three different ones, creating needless confusion. Here are the differences between them:

Standard Edition
One disc, no thrills. You can get this everywhere.

Deluxe Edition
Available in both 2CD and 4LP flavors. Includes the original album, B-sides, BBC recordings, rehearsal tapes and the alternate “Devonshire” mix of the album. You can…kind of get this everywhere (more on that in a bit). You can also get a 4 LP picture disc edition at Nirvana’s website, which is limited to 500 copies in America and 1991 copies worldwide.

Super Deluxe Edition
Everything in the Deluxe Edition, plus a CD and DVD of the Live At Paramount show. No Blu-ray though, that’s separate (and also a Best Buy exclusive).

 

Okay, got all that? Good. The Super Deluxe Edition has the most content, so that was the version I was intent on buying. But I had my doubts. I had read this morning that the new remaster was a victim of “The Loudness War.” I borrowed a copy from a friend online *cough* *cough* and had a look for myself.

Here’s a before and after comparison of “Stay Away.” The top is from the original CD release, the bottom from the new remaster:

Yup, it’s too fucking loud. The defining album of my generation has been shat upon by lazy audio engineers and brain-dead studio execes. No thank you.

I wasn’t going to pay $100+ for that. So instead I opted for the vinyl release.

It is physically impossible for vinyl to be loud enough to create clipping. The grooves can’t be cut that deep. Although this doesn’t mean that the vinyl version sounds better. Labels will often just use the shit digital master for their vinyl release;  it still has the same problems, even if it looks quieter. But sometimes we get lucky and the vinyl version gets its own master, so with my fingers crossed for a miracle  I headed to Best Buy to pick it up. I figured since they were the exclusive retailer for the Super Deluxe and Blu-ray releases, then they might have the vinyl version as well.

Nope. As it turns out it’s not in stock at any Best Buy. That’s because it doesn’t come out until next week, even though Best Buy’s website lists the release date for the vinyl version as 9/26. In fact, they’re even using the vinyl edition artwork to advertise the Super Deluxe package:

Good job guys!

The record industry loves to blame illegal downloading for their plummeting sales. And while I’m sure that’s a part of it, let’s just take a look at this situation here.

I was prepared to spend $110 bucks on an album, but I didn’t because they mastered it wrong and it sounds like shit. Then I was prepared to spend $79.98 on the LP version just on the chance that it might sound good, but I can’t even do that until next week. And when I do, I’ll buy it from Amazon (the 4LP version is NOT a Best Buy exclusive, despite what that lying graphic says) for ten bucks less. DGC screwed themselves out of an additional $40, and Best Buy screwed themselves out of all my money.

Fuck Best Buy. Most specifically, fuck their “exclusive” lies. It’s bullshit in more ways than one.

First of all, any exclusive release is a crock. They screw over independent retailers and help drive up prices by eliminating competition. Secondly, making Nevermind a store exclusive pretty much goes against everything that band stood for.

Thirdly, it’s not even a real exclusive. It’s just a “timed” exclusive. After a certain number of weeks the Super Deluxe version and the Paramount Blu-ray will be available at all retail outlets, big and small. Of course, no one at Best Buy is going to tell you that.

I’ll let you know how the 4LP version sounds when I buy it, and until we all find out how that one sounds I would highly recommend NOT buying the Super Deluxe edition if you value audio quality and artistic integrity. If the 4LP version does sound just as shitty as the CD version, then I can only recommend you steal the album online. Because if DGC is willing to fuck up a classic that bad, then we should fuck them right back.

You know who showed real respect to Nirvana and their legacy? The bootleggers. In the mid-90s, a girth of rare Nirvana recordings made their way onto a bootleg series called Outcesticide (a play on the Nirvana compilation Incesticide). The five Outcesticide releases feature a stellar collection of rare tracks and live recordings. They’re so comprehensive that many suspect that members of Nirvana or Kurt’s friends must have somehow been involved in their creation.

Here are some highlights from the Outcesticide albums that have yet to see an official release.

Nirvana
Sappy (1988 Home Recording)
There are countless versions of “Sappy.” Different recordings appear on With the Lights Out; the  Bleach 20th Anniversary Edition; Sliver: Best Of The Box; and on the new Nevermind re-issue. It was a song that Kurt tinkered with for years, going back before even the release of Bleach. Here’s one of the earliest known recordings of the tune, with just Kurt and a guitar. It’s rough around the edges and it sounds like shit, but it has an intensity and power that he never re-created on any of the other versions.

Radio Friendly Unit Shifter/My Sharona
My Best Friend’s Girl
Kurt may be remembered for his addiction and depression, but he had a wicked sense of humor, something that occasionally manifested itself on stage. These two bootleg recordings show that Kurt was willing to have fun sometimes, even when he probably felt that his world was collapsing around him (the “Best Friend’s Girl” cover is taken from the last Nirvana concert – he would be dead two months later).

Smells Like Teen Spirit (Live with Flea on Trumpet)
Flea on trumpet! I think that description says it all!

Scentless Apprentice (Live)
A lot of people like to hypothesize about what would have happened if Kurt hadn’t killed himself, and what direction Nirvana would have gone in. I like to think that they would have gotten really weird. The group had already thrown away most of the shackles of grunge rock by the time they got around to recording Nevermind, and with In Utero Kurt seemed intent on taking things even further. Who knows how crazy things would have gotten. Maybe this extended, feedback-heavy live version of Scentless Apprentice gives us a taste what might have been.

Excerpts Of Band / Audience Bulls*!##ing & Rantings Available
Let’s end on a happy note. This collection of random concert banter by the band is from the vinyl edition of The Muddy Banks of the Wishkah. Listen to it and learn what Krist thinks of white boy funk.

Update 9/30/11
To those who have emailed me and asked, I will be getting both the 4LP version and the picture disc versions of the Deluxe Edition (because I’m an idiot). I will report on their sound quality when I get them. The 4LP version is due on the  4th, and I should be getting the picture disc version near the end of the month.

Update 10/02/11
Think I’m full of shit? Read this first. 

Update 10/06/11
The vinyl is in! Guess what? It sucks!  Also, Bob Ludwig wants you to know you don’t count.