Friday, January 30

The Stems - 'Last' Show in Australia (2009)

Step Inn
Brisbane, Australia
Oct. 11, 2009
(billed as the band's last-ever show in Australia)
Dom Mariani and The Stems play a 'farewell' show in Perth, Australia
photo by lunderall via Flickr
audience recording (sound quality VG+; this one earns a high rating for an audie: the house sound coming from the club’s PA, the recording quality, and the just-right rowdiness from the crowd — it's ALL good. Taper used binaural in-ear mics, so he suggests listening with earbuds or headphones for best effect…)

DEEP DEBT O’ GRATITUDE to ex_king_john (Turnitupto10 blog) for recording and sharing this show.

ROB SEZ: Didn't know anything about The Stems (or Dom Mariani or his many Aussie-based bands) until blog friends at Ash pointed me to their music. The Stems were a garage-pop band in the mid-1980s based in Perth, Australia. They didn't last long, but produced some wildly impressive music (think Flamin' Groovies meets Hoodoo Gurus, and you're in the ballpark). They reunited in 2007, but declared there would be no more Stems after a tour of Australia & Europe in 2009 & 2010. (Now, I hear they're still doing live shows — never say "never", Dom!)  REPERCUSSION: After The Stems were no more, Dom Mariani collaborated many times with Mitch Easter, who produced recordings by The Someloves, The Orange Humble Band and DM3.

Dom & The Stems, live in Spain
photos by Ricardo via Flickr
SAMPLE: "Mr. Misery" (Brisbane 2009)  

01 intro + Get to Know Me
02 Mr. Misery
03 Hellbound Train
04 band intros + Man With the 
     Golden Heart
05 Leave You Way Behind
06 The Otherside
07 Move Me
08 You Can't Turn the Clock Back
09 Undying Love
10 Make You Mine
11 For Always
12 She Sees Everything
13 Rosebud
14 Surround Me
15 Sad Girl
16 She Waved Goodbye
17 She Waved Goodbye (outro)
18 Love Is Gone
19 Sorry (Easybeats cover)
20 She's a Monster
21 At First Sight
22 outro

TT: 1 hour, 34 mins.


The Stems:
Dom Mariani - guitar, vocals
Julian Matthews - bass
Dave Shaw - drums
Richard Lane - keyboard, vocals
Learn more about the music of 
The Stems at Wikipedia 

Friday, January 23

Cliff Hillis – Bordentown, N.J. 2014 + bonus

The Record Collector
Bordentown, N.J.
Dec. 27, 2014
audience recording (sound quality VG+; a very solid recording with slightly distant-sounding vocals, but virtually no distracting crowd noise). The live set is #1-9; the rest are bonus tracks from various sources.
The Paradox of Cliff: How can such an unassuming guy make such compelling music?
HECK YES THANKS to TheCommish for recording & sharing, and to CH himself for sharing some of the bonus tracks

ROB SEZ: Where has Cliff Hillis been all my life? (OK, not my whole life, but the past 14 years, when he's been making awesome pop-rock music as a solo artist...) AllMusic says Cliff's music is inspired by artists like Matthew Sweet and Velvet Crush, with a "ringing, guitar-driven classicist sound." The LA Times says his music would "fit snugly on a play-list with Squeeze, Teenage Fanclub and Jason Falkner." I recently read a post by a blogger who was raving about Cliff, and I wondered, "What's all the fuss about?" Check the sample, stream some music at his web site, and find out why I'm fussing, too.

01 Just One More
02 Dashboard
03 Keep the Blue Skies
04 Turn On a Dime
05 Start Again
06 I Saw the Light
07 Goodnight Sunlight
08 Welcome to You
09 Ways and Means

10 Dream Good
11 I Saw the Light
12 Soul and Fire
13 Like an Island
14 Good and Bad
15 Follow You
16 Better Than Myself
17 Christmas Wish
18 Mother of Pearl (early version)

10 = Ticked Off Music Fest, Wilmington, DE 2013-06-15 (thanks to thezenengines)
11 = Todd Rundgren cover, performed by In the Pocket, feat. Cliff Hillis, lead vocals; WXPN live, Philadelphia, PA 2014-05-09 (thanks to A. Hickman)
12 = Sebadoh cover; YouTube-only release posted by CH
13 = TQ Show (somewhere in Delware), 2007-05-02 (thanks to Cliff Reinert)
14 to 16 = (with Roger Hillis), The Jared Morris Show, WGMD-FM Summer 2009 (thanks to JM)
17 = NRBQ cover; YouTube-only release posted by CH
18 = Starbelly with Cliff on lead guitar; YouTube-only release (thanks to mikintyre)

TT: 58:24

MP3@320 (bonus tracks @256 kbps)

The great Pop Fair blog has more Cliff Hillis goodies.
(Tell Haper that Rob sent you...)

Cliff's latest release is Song Machine
Buy the CD for $10 from TallBoy Records 
Learn more about the music of Cliff Hillis at 
his web site, AllMusic &/or Noisetrade  
(where you can also download his current single for free)

Friday, January 16

Sneakers - Durham, N.C. 1976 + Sacred Irony

Duke University
Durham, N.C.
August 1976

audience recording (quality GD; sound improves considerably by track 2; there’s hiss, distortion and a lack of instrumental separation, but it's listenable and — hey — this is musical history, people!)   
Sneakers: Robert Keely, Will Rigby, Rob Slater, Chris Stamey
ROB SEZ: In this New Year, it's time to go back to the roots of this blog, with Sneakers (a group that Mitch Easter and Chris Stamey were involved in) and a separate group that Mitch was in a few years prior. Sacred Irony was Mitch's first "proper" band, which made many studio recordings but never released any singles or LPs. After Rittenhouse Square and Little Diesel, Sneakers was the next Winston-Salem band with Chris' involvement that made recordings, played public gigs, and (later on) recruited Mitch into the fold. Here is the only known live recording of the group prior to its break up and subsequent reunion shows in 2007 & '08. Much thanks to WR and RK for help with song titles not known to me. 

SAMPLE: "On the Brink" (Durham 1976)
OMNIVORE RECORDINGS just reissued Sneakers' debut EP
on vinyl (with digital download card), RSD Black Friday
01 S'il Vous Plait
02 Condition Red
03 No Money Downs
04 (Love's Like a) Cuban Crisis
05 Some Kinda Fool
06 Nonsequitur (of Silence)
07 Pedestrian Confession
08 20/20
09 On the Brink
10 Leftovers
11 Ruby
12 Kissy Boys
13 Let's All Apologize
14 Hip Secrets
15 Story of a Girl (semi-acoustic)
16 You Told Me
17 The Train Stops Here
18 mystery bonus track
(presumed lineup for this show):
Mitch Easter
Robert Keely
Will Rigby
Rob Slater
Chris Stamey

A big, sloppy THANK YOU to a special friend of the blog 
for supplying me this show

Sacred Irony
A Sacred Irony Compendium 
studio recordings  

sound quality: VG to VG+
SACRED IRONY: wistful in the graveyard (Mitch Easter, far right)

SAMPLE: "I See Love"

01 radio intro (for I Am Your Dr.)
02 I Am Your Doctor
03 Collaboration
04 I See Love
05 Gone, Gone, Gone
06 Secret Lover
07 Let's Go Steady
08 Where No One Cares
09 Teenage Lust (MC5 cover)
10 Good Times
11 Sure to Fall
12 Face Without a Name
13 All Up to You
14 Changes In Me

Sacred Irony:
Mitch Easter - guitar prodigy 
Ted Lyons 
Rick Reich 
Dale Smith 
Troy "Corky" McMillan   

MP3 (192-256 kbps)   
A most hearty THANK YOU to Fantom
for providing some of the music in this post, and for pointing me to this vintage drawing of Sacred Irony back from Peter's high school daze:

When he posted this at Sacred Irony's FB page, Peter wrote: "I did this with my trusty Rapidograph in 9th grade at Exeter (1970-71) sometime. Corporeally, I was in New Hampshire, but my heart was in Winston-Salem. Band represented in this picture is absolutely Sacred Irony."
READ MORE about these groups and many other N.C. bands  at Michael Slawter's most excellent blog site
 (earlier version of the blog HERE)    

Friday, January 9

Dave Gregory (former XTC) – Remoulds I and II

DG covers classic songs from the 1960s and '70s
soundboard recordings (quality: Ex-)
Dave recorded these for himself and friends.
Now, you can hear his labors of love.

ROB SEZ: Dave Gregory is best known as the long-time lead guitarist for XTC. Since his departure from that group in 1999, he’s kept himself busy doing production and session work in the UK, and playing occasional gigs. Gregory has been recording music at home since 1973. In 1997 and '98, he put together a collection of covers entitled Remoulds. As you’ll hear, they are his own re-creations of classic 1960s and 70s pop and rock songs, with some original instrumentals included in the second collection. Gregory describes the tracks on Remoulds as "home-baked forgeries", created for his own amusement.

THANK YOU Hans de Vente for sharing!
Dave plays live, 2013   
Simon Hogg photo
SAMPLE: "Wait Until Tomorrow" (Remoulds I)

01. Those Were the Days (Cream)
02. 36-24-36
(The Shadows)
03. Scarlet O'Hara
(Jet Harris)
04. The Cruel Sea
(The Dakotas)
05. Pretty Flamingo 
(Manfred Mann)
06. I Feel Free
07. Tin Soldier
(Small Faces)
08. Wait Until Tomorrow
(Jimi Hendrix)
09. Fresh Garbage
10. MacArthur Park
(Jimmy Webb)
11. Diamond Hard Blue Apples 

      of the Moon (The Nice)
12. And How Am I to Know
(Ars Nova)
13. Classical Gas
(Mason Williams)
14. All Along the Watchtower
(Jimi Hendrix)
15. Jigsaw Puzzle Blues 
(Fleetwood Mac)
16. Happy Freuds
(The Nice)
17. Sabre Dance
(Love Sculpture)
18. Our Prayer
(Beach Boys)
19. Because
(The Beatles)
20. Little Bit of Love
21. Frankenstein (Edgar Winter Group)
Dave at a 'Dukes of the S' session
22. Love Comes to Everyone (George Harrison)

01. I'm Not Like Everybody Else (The Kinks)
02. Say You Don't Mind
(Denny Laine)
03. Gypsy Eyes
(Jimi Hendrix)
04. I Am the Walrus
(The Beatles)
05. S.W.L.A.B.R.
06. Blue Orpheus
(Todd Rundgren)
07. Pictures of Lily
(The Who)
08. My White Bicycle
09. Our Love Was
(The Who)
10. Little Girl
(Syndicate of Sound)
11. I See You
(The Byrds)
12. Forget All About It
13. Love Story
(Jethro Tull)
14. Rubber Balloons*
15. Mr. Gregory Goes Uptown*
16. Morsall Mood #2*
17. Carry the Torch*
18. Call It Witchcraft*
19. Gloria Monday*

20. I Write to the Trees*
All smiles (bottom right) with XTC
21. Starfish Tango*
22. Third Stone from the Sun  
      (Jimi Hendrix)
*Dave Gregory original instrumental compositions 


SOURCES: Although they’ve never seen an official release, Gregory distributed CD-R copies to acquaintances starting in the late 1990s (some versions have 1 or 2 tracks not included here). I’m indebted to Hans de Vente for sharing his recently. If you compare these to the listing at Dave’s own web site, you’ll see there are many additional songs in the second set I’m posting — presumably because they are more recent recordings and, perhaps, because Dave just hasn’t gotten around to updating that page…

READ A REVIEW of Dave Gregory’s Remoulds I at Bill Kopp’s Musoscribe. 

Learn more about Dave Gregory
& his music at his web site