Posts Tagged ‘Demos’

Katy Lied

Katy Lied is the fourth album by Steely Dan, released in 1975 by ABC Records, Building from the jazz fusion foundation of Pretzel Logic Steely Dan created an alluringly sophisticated album of jazzy pop with Katy Lied. With this record,Walter Becker and Donald Fagen began relying solely on studio musicians, which is evident from the immaculate sound of the album. Usually, such a studied recording method would drain the life out of each song, but that’s not the case with Katy Lied, which actually benefits from the duo’s perfectionist tendencies.

Sandwiched between Pretzel Logic and The Royal Scam, Steely Dan’s 1975 release Katy Lied wasn’t about breaking new ground. It was about holding on to the territory they had staked out for themselves over the past few years as one of rock’s brightest, smartest and smart-assiest bands. Recorded over a three-month period in late 1974 and early 1975 in Los Angeles, the album can’t help but to absorb the sounds of the city where it was birthed. It’s cool, it’s laid back, it’s impeccably played and it’s kinda smarter than you, even though it may not come out and say it. Fagen and Becker played it that way from the start and were increasing these moods and feelings with each passing album.

Each song is given a glossy sheen, one that accentuates not only the stronger pop hooks, but also the precise technical skill of the professional musicians drafted to play the solos. Essentially,Katy Lied is a smoother version of Pretzel Logic, featuring the same cross-section of jazz-pop and blues-rock. The lack of innovations doesn’t hurt the record, since the songs are uniformly brilliant. Less overtly cynical than previous Dan albums, the album still has its share of lyrical stingers, but what’s really notable are the melodies, from the seductive jazzy soul of “Doctor Wu” and the lazy blues of “Chain Lightning” to the terse “Black Friday” and mock calypso of “Everyone’s Gone to the Movies.” It’s another excellent record in one of the most distinguished rock & roll catalogs of the ’70s.

Steely Dan were making their usual strides up the American album chart on 24th May 1975, as they paid another of their visits to the singles scene. As their fourth LP “Katy Lied” moved towards a No. 13 peak and eventual platinum certification in the US, the single  “Black Friday” jumped onto the Hot 100. The phrase that the Walter Becker/Donald Fagen song was named after has come in recent years to denote a date on the retail calendar. It had traditionally denoted a day of collective crisis, particularly of a financial nature, as with Steely Dan’s fictitious tale — which, with typical inventiveness, was set in Australia.

Their story of a crooked speculator who makes off with his ill-gotten gains had him absconding to Muswellbrook, a town in New South Wales that lies some 150 miles north of Sydney. “Gonna wear no socks and shoes,” sings Fagen, “with nothing to do but feed all the kangaroos…when Black Friday comes I’ll be on that hill, you know I will.”

‘Black Friday’ entered the US chart, as the highest newcomer of the week, at No. 76, and garnered enough top 40 radio support to peak at No. 37. As Brian Sweet’s biography of the band, Reelin’ In The Years, recounts, that was “not bad for an act that wasn’t touring, wasn’t about to tour and wasn’t making any secret of it either.”

As for locating the song in Australia? “It was the place most far away from L.A. we could think of,” said Fagen

Best Song on ‘Katy Lied’ (1975): “Any World (That I’m Welcome To)”

One of Steely Dan’s most brilliant casting moments is also one of their best-written songs. “Any World (That I’m Welcome To)” immediately signals its intention to explore the depths of alienation, as Fagen sighs: “If I had my way, I would move to another lifetime.” Hal Blaine’s old-pro cadence draws us ever further in, as Becker and Fagen continued the practice of asking musical heroes over for guest appearances. (Jazz bassist Ray Brown appeared on the earlier “Razor Boy”; saxist Wayne Shorter later sat in on “Aja.”) Blaine, who played on a stunning 40 chart-topping songs, makes a wonderfully complex contribution – moving with ease from the low-key verses to more uptempo choruses and then into eruptive fills, and back again. That’s why Steely Dan asked the brilliant Jeff Porcaro, one of Blaine’s clearest heirs, to step aside.

Black Friday Dawns For Steely Dan

Steely Dan – 1975 outtakes and demos from Katy Lied sessions Soundboard recordings, excellent quality Here’s some of their session outtakes, which is only appropriate because for most of their existence, they were exclusively a product of the painstaking studio sessions conducted by Fagen & Becker & a host of session musicians. Fagen, in particular was a perfectionist and spent hour after hour making sure that every sound on the record was just right. Here then are some of the earlier versions, Fagen’s piano demos, alternate versions, and outtakes from the Katy Lied sessions, which also includes a couple of very early versions of 2 songs that would eventually end up on Aja, ‘Black Cow’ and ‘I Got the News’. So, here, in particular, we can hear the precision and detail that went into the backing and rhythm track, before adding the finishing touches. So, enjoy some behind the scenes looks at Steely Dan in the Studio. (by BBKron)

00:00 Black Friday 03:28 Bad Sneakers 06:36 Rose Darling 09:36 Daddy Don’t Live In That New York City No More 12:30 Dr. Wu 15:59 Everyone’s Gone To The Movies 19:24 Your Gold Teeth II 23:10 Chain Lightning 25:46 Throw Back The Little Ones 28:49 Mr. Sam (unreleased song) 32:14 Gullywater (unreleased instrumental) 34:35 Black Cow [Take 1] (piano demo) 39:08 Black Cow [Take 2] 43:09 I Got The News (early version) 45:52 Black Friday 49:03 Rose Darling 52:11 Daddy Don’t Live In That New York City No More 55:17 Dr. Wu 59:18 Your Gold Teeth II 1:03:32 Chain Lightning 1:06:29 Throw Back The Little Ones

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This album has a way of digging deep inside the listener, hooking on to emotions saved only for the most solemn or ethereal experiences. Adult Mom is real life magic and this album is proof of that.

its cute and simple and very pleasing, Stephanie Knipe brought totally loving love songs and truly hateful hate songs, like a home-made lo-fi cassette version of the SZA album. Adult Mom shows off the acerbic wit that turned heads on tapes like Sometimes Bad Happens and Momentary Lapse of Happily. Nine songs in 26 minutes, peaking with “Same,” where Knipe strums a hate letter to somebody barely even worth the time it took to write the song.

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Released in celebration of the one year anniversary of Adult Mom’s critically acclaimed sophomore LP, Soft Spots, these 9 demo tracks are stripped down and straightforward, yet equally as moving and powerful as the fully orchestrated songs they would eventually become. Intimate, deeply personal and without pretense, Soft Spots (Demos) showcases what Adult Mom’s Stephanie Knipe can do with their voice, a guitar and an iPhone.

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Band Members
stephanie knipe, bruce hamilton, liv battell

Following on from our 10th Birthday at the end of 2016, and before the release of our upcoming fourth album ‘What We Might Know’ in March 2018, we’ve been looking back and taking stock, and it turns out we’ve come a helluva long way in the last 11+ years!

We’ve found there are quite a few interesting bits and pieces sitting in the archives that either haven’t previously had a proper release (eg, Beer Drunk Soul), are an alternative earlier version of an established favourite, a chaotic live track (embryonic live version of A Darkness Rises Up), or just a curio that gives a bit of insight as to how a particular track came about (‘Mandolin Song, Basel’). So as it’s the end of the year, and before we get on with the serious business of the new record in the Spring, we thought you might like to join us for a bit of nostalgia from our last decade. And there’s always a tale to be told…

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Carrie & Lowell was a huge addition to Sufjan Stevens’s catalog in 2015, so it’s no surprise that he’s revisiting the record to compile the outtakes, remixes and demos. Aptly named The Greatest Gift, Stevens’s new compilation will be out November. 24th, and lead single “Wallowa Lake Monster” ripples into a medley of breathy vocalizations and echoes of whomping horns and tinkling synths and keys, making up seven minutes of ethereal contemplation.

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Angel Olsen has announced the release of Phases, a deep-dive compilation record of unheard and unreleased tracks. Set for release on 10th November, the material on Phases spans recording sessions right from her very first EP, Strange Cacti, up until Olsen’s last album from 2016 album “My Woman”.

You can hear the first tasters of Phases below – check out ‘Special’ and ‘Fly On My Wall’.

Brand new track ‘Special’ is lifted from the My Woman recording sessions and ‘Fly On Your Wall’ was Olsen’s contribution to the Our First 100 Days compilation released in protest of the Trump administration.

Announcing Phases – a collection of B Sides, rarities, and demos including 3 new songs and will be available worldwide November 10th. Pre Order the collection:https://angelolsen.lnk.to/phases And listen to the new songs “Special” and  ‘Fly On Your Wall’ now.

Angel Olsen‘Fly On Your Wall’ from Phases out November 10th, 2017 on Jagjaguwar Records

Angel Olsen – ’Special’ from Phases out November 10th, 2017 on Jagjaguwar Records

The much-anticipated 7″ on Slumberland from this promising Philadelphia jangle pop/dreampop band with vocals from Sarah Schimineck accompanied by members of several notable indie bands. Philly indiepop (members of Literature, Little Big League, Pet Milk)

Few people hit the spot quite like Mercury Girls. Just give them 2min of your time to win you over. It’ll happen. Two absolutely stunning singles of c86-style indie pop.  Shiny, fuzzy, and intricately decorated. Can not wait for more music from this band

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New 2016 version of their previous jangly dream pop demo with extra live songs added and now available offsite on limited cassette from Endless Daze. Mercury Girls were great at Austin and should have a big year

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Gillian Welch – Boots No. 1: The Official Revival Bootleg 2xCD (Acony)
Boots No. 1: The Official Revival Bootleg is a companion to Welch’s Grammy-nominated debut, Revival, and features 21 outtakes, alternate versions, and demos from the making of Revival, including eight previously unheard songs. “‘Mostly I hear experimentation, trial and error.’ Gillian Welch is recalling her and partner Dave Rawlings 1996 Americana landmark debut, Revival. Her modesty is unwarranted. This is a revealing 21-track collection of outtakes, alternate versions, mixes and demos, some equal, if not superior, to the versions that made the album. These dark, mostly stripped-back tracks, including eight songs previously unreleased, expand our understanding of that signature recording, not least the road to her true voice. The gossamer ‘Paper Wings (Alternate Mix)’ floats in pedal steel heaven, while the home demo of ‘Tear My Stillhouse Down’ crackles with self-loathing, anger and guilt. ‘Red Clay Halo,’ later to appear on Time (The Revelator), also didn’t make it. It was in good company; ‘Dry Town,’ cut from Johnny Cash’s cloth, was another. Warts and all reissues can test the most loyal, but these gems, albeit flawed, simply fascinate.’”

There are Lou Reed acoustic demos, recorded in 1970 shortly after he left the Velvet Underground and moved back to Coney Island to live with his parents. There’s a lot of analysis and information on these demos; search and you shall discover.

Fall 1970:
1. I’m So Free 0:00
2. I Can’t Stand It 2:05
3. Walk and Talk It 4:44

Winter 1970:
4. Going Down 7:38
5. Ride Into the Sun 10:24
6. I’m Sticking With You 12:49
7. Lisa Says 15:05
8. Kill Our Sons (aka Kill Your Sons) 19:31
9. Lonely Saturday Night (aka Goodnight Ladies) 22:44
10. So in Love 24:08
11. She’s My Best Friend 26:15
12. Looking Through the Eyes of Love (aka Oh Jim) 29:05

“So in Love” is exclusive, here. A song never revisited.

Unfortunately it took the breakup of the band to start seeing some of these ultra-rare deals come to light. R.E.M. Demos on a basically-unheard artifact: the Cassette Set from Spring 1981.
In April 1981 the band began their relationship with Mitch Easter by visiting his Drive-In Studio in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to record a few songs for a demo. They had done a few demo sessions previously, but were not satisfied with the results (mainly at Joe Perry’s Bombay Studio) and eventually hooked up with Easter.

On April 15th, 1981 Mitch Easter and the band recorded (at least) three tracks: “Sitting Still”, “Radio Free Europe” and “White Tornado”. On the next day they mixed the tracks, and eventually had a demo cassette run (approx. 400 copies, according to Peter Buck) to send to journalists, clubs and labels ahead of their initial visit to New York City.

On May 24, 1981 the band returned to the Drive-In Studio and laid down some overdubs onto “Radio Free Europe” and then Hib-Tone label owner Johnny Hibbert mixed both “Radio Free Europe” and “Sitting Still” on the 25th. Easter felt the Hibbert mixes were seriously lacking, so he, on his own time, mixed his own versions for consideration. The band, Easter and Hibbert then had a mixing bakeoff of both “Radio Free Europe” and “Sitting Still”, and as famously (well, relatively speaking) known, despite everyone but Hibbert liking the Easter mixes better Hibbert pulled rank and used his mixes on the band’s debut 7″ on Hib-Tone. Something went awry in the process, the record was mastered terribly, and Peter Buck famously smashed his copy and put it on his wall (following the “Radio Free Europe” lyric).

Mitch Easter’s proposed mix for the 7″ is the only one the band has seen fit to issue since then, on 1988’s Eponymous compilation, and then on 2006’s compilation of the I.R.S. years And I Feel Fine…The Best Of The I.R.S. Years 1982-1987.

Stepping back a bit: before issuing the 7″, the band chose the original, pre-overdubbed, recordings of “Sitting Still” / “Radio Free Europe”, with “White Tornado” added in, to make up their demo cassette. Jokingly, “Sitting Still” was prefaced by a few seconds of a *fast* run through of the song done in Polka-style, and “White Tornado” was followed by an aborted “White Tornado” take where Buck lays down a huge stinker of a mistake, the song grinds to a halt, and Buck is heard apologizing before Easter’s voice appears. On the final 100 copies the band added a hilarious “Radio Dub” mix of “Radio Free Europe”, done by Easter on April 23rd, 1981 on a lark with instruments/voices/effects dropping in and out of the mix, dub-style.

I don’t think the “Sitting Still” or “White Tornado” snippets have ever been collected on bootleg, and if they have, I’ve never heard them. “Radio Dub” is a bit more known, but still fantastically rare. And of course this Cassette Set is the only place to get the very original Easter mixes of “Sitting Still” and “Radio Free Europe”, both of which are far better than any subsequent issue of these tracks.

The Cassette Set was self-assembled by the band, using photocopied cardstock for the J-card inlays, and handwritten cassette labels by Stipe. Some copies featured color photograph inserts all cut up,
Its a special part of the band’s history.

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Philadelphias Cheerleader have me so excited for what else is in store for us in 2014 after hearing their three great demos “New Daze,” “Do What You Want” and “Dreamer” over on Soundcloud.  I highly recommend jumping on the bandwagon now (be one of the first to recommend them to your friends) and streaming the greatness