Feb 21, 2008

Alphabet Soup (19)

Hello Alphabet Soup day again, and we've arrived at the letter which ever since i can remember has occupied the most room in the shop racks. Why those bands choose a name that starts with S ...beats me, call yourselves Quivver and you stand out and are easily found, but no they like to delve under S....i'm open to suggestions as to why this is, to me its like shooting yourself in the foot. So we are at S and as i said so much choice.
Now i wanted to have another seventies title and i kinda tossed between Slade and Spirit, latter won , i'm just more into metaphysical these days. Turns out with Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus i had an absolute classic in my hand, one that imprinted many an artist over the years, it's that good. Researching i found out about Randy California's nick (given to him by Jimi Hendrix) and his tragic/heroic death saving his son but drowning himself, his body never found, but his Spirit sure lives on. Next up Stone Roses, admittedly later i had second thoughts, this band was so hyped and went about with a nasty attitude. So why did i pick them, well for one they no longer exist. The first album has some strong moments and for the brits led a revival of british bands from the indie into the mainstream and yes i danced to that 'pyrite' track too....Sneaker Pimps my third choice today have released several good albums, their first with a female singer (Kelli Ali) who voices the attractions and detachments that inner city life brings. Sometimes painful, sexdriven, dissapointments... maybe the neuroticisms are more easily taken coming from a woman , but when Sneaker Pimps sacked her, Chris Corner showed he could voice those agony's aswell, admittely with some more testosteron. Becoming X comes with some miXes added.

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Spirit - Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus (70 ^ 98 mb)

Spirit was a highly regarded rock band that achieved modest commercial success, charting 11 albums in the U.S. between 1968 and 1977. Founded in Los Angeles in 1967 by musicians who had a mixture of rock, pop, folk, blues, classical, and jazz backgrounds, and who ranged in age from 16 to 44, the group had an eclectic musical style in keeping with the early days of progressive rock; they were as likely to play a folk ballad featuring fingerpicked acoustic guitar, a jazz instrumental full of imaginative improvisation, or a driving rhythm tune dominated by acid rock electric guitar playing. The diverse tastes of the original quintet produced a hybrid style that delighted a core audience of fans but proved too wide-ranging to attract a mass following, and at the same time the musicians' acknowledged talents brought them other opportunities that led to the breakup of the original lineup after four years and four albums, then kept them from committing fully to regroupings as their music began to be recognized in later years. While two bandmembers, singer/guitarist Randy California (Randolph Craig Wolfe) and drummer Ed Cassidy, maintained the Spirit name, the others came and went as their schedules allowed, such that the group never fulfilled its early promise, although, as a vehicle for California's songwriting and guitar playing, it continued to produce worthwhile music until his death.

Spirit's self-titled debut album, which was released in January 1968. Spurred by the single "Mechanical World," which had some regional success, the LP entered the Billboard chart in April and spent more than six months there, peaking in the Top 40 in September. Spirit toured extensively while working on their second album and preparing a score for French director Jacques Demy's film Model Shop (January 1969), in which they also appeared. The second album, The Family That Plays Together, followed in December 1968. With the hit single spurring sales, it peaked at number 22 in March 1969. With the accelerated schedules typical of record releases in the 1960s, Spirit had to have another album ready quickly, and Clear appeared in July 1969. The album led off with the California/Ferguson composition "Dark Eyed Woman," the LP also contained material written for the Model Shop score that, not surprisingly, sounded like background music. Clear was a disappointment after the success of The Family That Plays Together, peaking at number 55 in October. In December, the band released a one-off single, California's "1984," and it gave early indications of becoming a hit, rising to number 69 by March 1970 before radio became resistant to its ominous lyrics, which referred to the dystopian novel of the same name by George Orwell. Sessions for the fourth album commenced in April 1970, but they were interrupted when California suffered a fractured skull due to a fall from a horse and spent a month in the hospital. Ultimately it took six months to complete the LP, released as Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus in November.

Although Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus has the reputation of being Spirit's most far-out album, it actually contains the most disciplined songwriting and playing of the original lineup, cutting back on some of the drifting and offering some of their more melodic tunes. This loosely-based, sci-fi concept album is a diverse yet cohesive effort, and long considered by fans, critics and musicians alike to be one of the finest albums ever recorded.[citation needed] The album's second song is the keynote track "Nature's Way", the most notable hit (along with "I've Got a Line on You") the band would ever produce. "Mr. Skin" also became a hit single in the U.S., three years after the album's release. The album also includes several other lesser-known tunes which are considered to have had an impact on the genre of experimental rock in the United States.

Spirit toured in support of the album during the winter and spring of 1971, but Epic failed to break a successful single from the LP.. Ferguson and Andes, frustrated at the band's lack of broad commercial success, quit Spirit to form a new band, Jo Jo Gunne, with Matt Andes and drummer Curly Smith. Initially, Spirit hired bassist John Arliss and played as a quartet. Then, California quit to launch a solo career. Remaining members Cassidy and Locke brought in two new musicians, brothers Al Staehely (bass) and Chris Staehely (guitar), and in November they began recording a new Spirit album. It appeared in February 1972 under the title Feedback. When Cassidy left the band, followed by Locke, the Staehely brothers brought in a drummer and briefly toured as Spirit. They didn't get away with that for long, but it was easy to see why promoters were interested in having a Spirit band on the road, no matter who was in it. Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, though off the charts, had become an FM radio favorite and a perennial seller (it would be certified as a gold record in 1976), and Epic re-released The Family That Plays Together, which reentered the charts in July 1972.

Cassidy traveled to Hawaii and got back in touch with California. Joined by Mark Andes, who had left Jo Jo Gunne, they began playing dates by September 1974; Locke also performed with them at the start of 1975, but neither he nor Andes stayed permanently. They recorded an album that they shopped, signing to Mercury Records, which released the double LP Spirit of '76 in May 1975, they quickly followed in October with Son of Spirit, another modest seller. For Farther Along, released in June 1976, they were again joined by Andes and Locke, as well as Matt Andes. Future Games (A Magical Kahauna Dream), the fourth Spirit album on Mercury, released in January 1977, found California standing alone and bare-chested on the front and back covers, and he played all the instruments on the record. Sales again were modest, and the Mercury contract expired. The band toured as a quartet including Locke and Knight, then carried on as a trio when Locke dropped out again. In March 1978, the group toured Europe, and their show at the Rainbow Theatre in London on March 11 was recorded for a live album. The LP appeared that fall on different record labels and in different configurations in different countries.

By the end of 1982, the quintet did re-form. In the interim since 1976, Ferguson had enjoyed a successful solo career including the Top Ten hit "Thunder Island" and was moving into film soundtrack work; Andes had joined Heart; and Locke had joined Nazareth. Nevertheless, they reunited with California and Cassidy to make a live-in-the-studio recording at the A&M Soundstage in Hollywood that included re-recordings of old Spirit favorites and a few new songs. The album was shopped around and eventually sold to Mercury, which released it in March 1984 in the U.K. under the title The Thirteenth Dream. It appeared that summer in the U.S. renamed Spirit of '84, and the band played a few dates on the West Coast to promote it, but their various commitments made the reunion short-lived. California and Cassidy then recruited keyboard player Scott Monahan and bass player Dave Waterbury and continued to tour into 1985. That spring, California released his third solo album, Restless, again only in Europe, and toured the continent under his own name to promote it. But by late summer, Spirit was again on the road as part of a package tour of '60s acts raising money for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty.

California and Cassidy continued to lead configurations of Spirit over the next few years. After California participated in I.R.S. Records' Night of the Guitar tour, the label signed Spirit for a new album, and Rapture in the Chambers appeared in April 1989 with California, Cassidy, and Locke listed as the bandmembers and Mark Andes, who played bass on two cuts, credited as a guest artist. A year later, Spirit released another new album, Tent of Miracles, on its own Dolphin label with a lineup consisting of California, Cassidy, and Mike Nile. By now, the band had become an established U.S. club act that also undertook yearly tours of Europe. California and Cassidy continued to lead other configurations as Spirit for the next five years, releasing Live at La Paloma in 1995 and completing California Blues in 1996.

On January 2, 1997, California was swimming with his family off the coast of Molokai, HI, when he and his 12-year-old son Quinn were caught in a riptide. California succeeded in pushing his son to shore, but he was swept out to sea, and his body was never recovered. Randy California's death meant the end of Spirit, of course, although the indefatigable Cassidy, by now in his seventies, toured with a band called Spirit Revisited. More than 25 years after its original 1970 release, the 1996 re-issue of Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus brought the creation back to life. Remastered and featuring previously unreleased material, it rekindled an interest in the unorthodox and innovative band. So how did this classic sound back then ? When working on it (descratching), i understood how come this album got such a status, sure there are some obvious seventies elements but the work is daring and inventive and if anything a musicians staple..well worth a listen.

01 - Prelude - Nothin' To Hide (3:41)
02 - Nature's Way (2:29)
03 - Animal Zoo (3:20)
04 - Love Has Found A Way (2:42)
05 - Why Can't I Be Free (1:03)
06 - Mr. Skin (3:49)

07 - Space Child (3:25)
08 - When I Touch You (5:35)
09 - Street Worm (3:40)
10 - Life Has Just Begun (3:29)
11 - Morning Will Come (2:49)
12 - Soldier (2:42)

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Stone Roses - The Stone Roses (89 ^ 139mb)

The Stone Roses emerged from the remains of English Rose, a Manchester-based band formed by schoolmates John Squire (guitar) and Ian Brown (vocals). In 1985, the Stone Roses officially formed, as Squire and Brown added drummer Reni (born Alan John Wren), guitarist Andy Couzens, and bassist Pete Garner. The group began playing warehouses around Manchester, cultivating a dedicated following rather quickly. Around this time, the group was a cross between classic British '60s guitar pop and heavy metal, with touches of goth rock. Couzens left the group in 1987, followed shortly afterward by Garner, he was replaced by Mani (born Gary Mounfield) and the group recorded its first single, "So Young," which went unnoticed.. At the end of 1987, the Stone Roses released their second single, "Sally Cinnamon," a hook-laden, ringing guitar pop song. By the fall of 1988, the band secured a contract with Silvertone Records and released "Elephant Stone", shortly after the Stone Roses' bandwagon took off in earnest. In early 1989, the group was playing sold-out gigs across Manchester and London. In May, the Stone Roses released their eponymous debut album, which demonstrated not only a predilection for '60s guitar hooks, but also a contemporary acid house rhythmic sensibility. The Stone Roses received rave reviews and soon a crop of similar-sounding bands appeared in the U.K. By the end of the summer, the Stone Roses were perceived as leading a wave of bands that fused rock & roll and acid house culture. "She Bangs the Drums," the third single pulled from the debut, became the group's first hitsingle at the end of the summer. In November, the group had its first Top Ten hit with "Fool's Gold" By the end of the year, the hype around The Stone Roses had them selling out large theaters in the U.K.

For the first half of 1990, re-releases of the band's earlier singles clogged the charts. The Stone Roses organized their own festival at Spike Island in Widnes. The concert drew over 30,000 people and would prove to be their last concert in England for five years. After Spike Island, the Stone Roses became embroiled in a vicious legal battle with Silvertone Records.The group wanted to leave the label but Silvertone took out a court injunction against the group, preventing them from releasing any new material. For the next two years, the band fought Silvertone Records while they allegedly prepared the follow-up to their debut album. However, the Stone Roses did next to nothing as the court case rolled on. In the meantime, several major record labels began negotiating with the band in secret. In March of 1991, the lawsuit went to court. Two months later, the Stone Roses won their case against Silvertone and signed a multi-million deal with Geffen Records.

For the next three years, the Stone Roses worked sporadically on their second album, leaving behind scores of uncompleted tapes. During these years, the group kept a low-profile in the press but that wasn't to preserve the mystique -- they simply weren't doing much of anything besides watching football. Finally, in the spring of 1994, Geffen demanded that the group finish the album and the band complied, completing the record. Second Coming received mixed reviews and only spent a few weeks in the Top Ten. The Stone Roses planned an international tour in early 1995 to support the album, but the plans kept unraveling at the last minute. Before they could set out on tour, Reni left the band, leaving the group without a drummer. He was replaced by Robbie Maddix, who had previously played in Rebel MC. After Maddix joined the band, they embarked on a short American tour at the conclusion of which John Squire broke his collar bone in a bike accident. Squire's accident forced them to cancel a headlining spot at the 25th Glastonbury Festival, which would have been their first concert in the U.K. in five years. As Squire recuperated, the Stone Roses continued to sink in popularity and respect.

The Stone Roses added a keyboardist to the lineup prior to their U.K. tour at the end of 1995 -- it was the first British tour since 1990. In the spring of 1996, John Squire announced that he was leaving the band he founded in order to form a new, more active band. The Stone Roses announced their intention to carry on with a new guitarist, but by October of that year the group was finished. Squire's new band, Seahorses, released its debut album in June 1997, while Brown released his solo debut, Unfinished Monkey Business, early in 1998. With hindsight The Stone Roses brought dance music to an audience that was previously obsessed with droning guitars, while it revived the concept of classic pop songwriting, and the repercussions of its achievement could be heard throughout the '90s, even if the Stone Roses could never achieve this level of achievement again. Unsurprising perhaps as the british music press had hyped them into the stellar regions, and the band started to believe they were, and so it all went up in smoke. In jan 2006 and NME poll had it listed as the best album ever by a british band..duh . Well i guess that says more about the herd mentality of the average NME reader (and writer) who just loves to believe the hype..

01 - I Wanna Be Adored (4:52)
02 - She Bangs The Drums (3:42)
03 - Elephant Stone (3:01)
04 - Waterfall (4:37)
05 - Don't Stop (5:17)
06 - Bye Bye Bad Man (4:00)
07 - Elizabeth My Dear (0:59)
08 - (Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister (3:25)
09 - Made Of Stone (4:10)
10 - Shoot You Down (4:10)
11 - This Is The One (4:58)
12 - I Am The Resurection (8:12)
13 - Fools Gold (9:53)

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Sneaker Pimps - Becoming X ( 96 ^ 98 mb)

Sneaker Pimps pursued a trancelike but edgy sound, highlighted by Kelli Dayton's soulful vocals. While Dayton was the focal point, Chris Corner (guitar) and Liam Howe (keyboards) are the band's leaders, writing all of the songs and producing the records. Howe and Corner had been playing in bands since the early '90s, to no success. After seeing Dayton sing with a pub band in 1995, they convinced her to join the fledgling Sneaker Pimps, who had taken their name from an article the Beastie Boys published in their Grand Royale magazine about a man they hired to track down classic sneakers.

Sneaker Pimps released their first single, "Tesko Suicide," in May of 1996, and it was greeted with positive reviews in the U.K. music press. Becoming X, the group's debut, was released in August and became a critical success, with Q magazine naming it one of the best albums of the year. Becoming X creates an airy, urban atmosphere, and while the record begins to unravel toward the end, it is an exciting, entrancing listen. After the first album, the band felt that demos for second album (on which Corner provided the guide vocals) better suited his voice, especially in regard to the more raw, personal quality of the lyrics. Combined with the fear of being identified with the fad for trip-hop acts, Dayton was asked to leave the group, and Corner became the singer. Without a doubt, Kelli Ali’s (Dayton) vocals were the highlight of the Sneaker Pimps’ debut album. in 2003 she released TIGERMOUTH. Her solo, eschews the languorous trip-hop of her former bandmates for a more electronic pop rock-based sound. It was followed a year later by the Psychic Cat album.

The sound of the follow up album, Splinter, was a great change from their first album. Most notably it was a darker sound which favored acoustic guitars and dark lyrics. Many fans consider the album to widely underrated with poor sales and very little media or critical attention. Their Third album Bloodsport again with strong lyrics failed to im-press, the intensity obviously didnt connect with the frivolous press, and for the serious music press they were in the wrong music niche.

Chris Corner started a solo musical project IAMX . Consisting of highly dark, erotic, 1980s-influenced electro, the debut album Kiss + Swallow was released in 2004. IAMX' second album, The Alternative was released in April 2006. Corner has repeatedly said that IAMX is very different to his actual, real-life personality and is a kind of quasi "act". Whether an act or not, IAMX's music is primarily concerned with subjects such as outlandish sex, death, narcotic intoxication, bisexuality, obsession, alienation and vague allusions to politics. Corner currently lives in Berlin where he has found "the spirit to care less about the music industry and take an independent route" Currently the Sneaker Pimps are recording material for an untitled fourth album, having shelved a number of songs previewed live during 2003, and having recruited a new, yet unknown, female singer.

01 - Low Place Like Home (4:37)
02 - Tesko Suicide (3:44)
03 - 6 Underground (3:48)
04 - Becoming X (4:14)
05 - Spin Spin Sugar (3:34)
06 - Post-Modern Sleaze (3:29)
07 - Waterbaby (4:10)
08 - Roll On (4:27)
09 - Wasted Early Sunday Morning (4:27)
10 - Walking Zero (4:31)
11 - How Do (5:01)

--Xs-- Sneaker Pimps - Becoming miXes ( ^ 63mb)

12 - Spin Spin Sugar (Armand's Dark Garage Mix) (5:30)
13 - 6 Underground (Perfecto Mix) (6:05)
14 - Tesko Suicide (Americruiser Mix) (3:52)
15 - Roll On (Fold Mix) (4:56)
16 - 6 Underground (The Umbrellas Of Ladywell Mix #2) (4:06)
17 - Post-Modern Sleaze (Flight From Nashville) (3:28)

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mug said...

As always, thanks for the great music. It's been a long time since I heard Spirit.

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Anonymous said...


This is great to discover Spirit again. I am lucky enough to have seen them at the Fillmore West around 1970 (yeah I'm an old-timer). Question: you mentioned "descratching" - did you encode the album from vinyl? I am currently doing this with a lot of my albums and tapes with Wavelab and don't yet know how to work on the scratches and hiss. Do you have a good tip for a tutorial on this? I already have a software for this called Clean but it's pretty complicated.

Cheers and take care,

p.s. you can mail me your reply if you want: jeromefrazer@yahoo.de