Thursday, April 23, 2009

What if ... Part II

Pink Floyd releases Dark Side of the Moon with Syd.

What if the band could have jumped 5 years back in time to the days of Syd Barrett’s creative genius when writing and recording their infamous album Dark Side of the Moon? Certainly the cleanliness of the album’s production would have been questioned, as would some of the band’s creative decisions altogether. Despite the fact that the band had already produced several releases after Barrett’s departure, you can’t help but to wonder what the record would have sounded like with his hand in the pot. It would have been interesting to hear more about Barrett’s worsening mental state first hand, rather than a third person account from the rest of the band. I also think there would be less tie dyed Floyd shirts and less crappy hippy bumper stickers if only he had kept his head straight…

Guns N’ Roses Use Your Illusion III

Imagine if these badasses didn’t let the Jack Daniels-driven fights lead to their imminent destruction? Maybe Axl could have received some sort of help for his blatant narcissistic ways and the rest of the boys could have swallowed their pride and just kept on getting wild. Even though the Use Your Illusion double release was set to be just as it was, what if they threw one more album in there? What if there was no need to fudge their catalog with a cover album and release The Spaghetti Incident? Could the ideas found in their most recent train wreck Chinese Democracy have been worked out and developed by the 1991 cast of GNR characters? Sadly, we can only dream.

The Smiths 5th album

This could have been called Education in Reverse like the original name for Morrissey's 1st solo project Viva Hate before he changed it to express his issues with the recent break up of The Smiths. What if they continued to make music as The Smiths given all the drama surrounding their final days as a band. Would it have disturbed the harmony of the band’s short but sweet catalog or taken them further as a band who found resolution in their conflicts surrounding the final Smiths sessions?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Video of the Week

I'm excited to announce that every Wednesday from here on out you can expect to find a video of the week posted up on this page. The videos will be handpicked and briefly critiqued by my good friend Brian Gahona. Videos can be found on the side bar, under "Today in Music History".

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Types of Record Pressings and Early Promos

An acetate is a cut that is one step before the Master disc is produced. Acetates are not actually made of acetate but rather an aluminum center with a nitro-cellulose lacquer coat. It is the first audio sample of music that is transferred from a CD or DAT tape. Engineers reference the acetate to determine the quality of the transferred music. Things the engineer will look for is skips, pops, levels and track breaks. Acetates are heavier and more fragile than vinyl discs. They almost always lack a disc label and sometimes are only one sided. The flip side to a one sided acetate contains a smooth matt finish. This is the most scarce version of a record since master discs are generally a one shot deal once the engineer(s), producer(s), and artists give the album the green light. There are generally only one or two copies tops of an album’s acetate and master, but based on the errors found on them, and factoring human and mechanical error, there could be a few more.

A test pressing comes after the master disc is run. It’s an initial pressing generally cut in small quantities (5 discs on average but up to a dozen or two when problems occur). These are “take-home” copies generally for the producer and artists to test on different equipment to critique the different sounds. Sometimes if you get lucky, you can find an alternate mix of an album or an album that never made it to the next step which is official pressings.

Blank label promos began in the hip hop battle world. DJs who didn’t want competing DJs to know the tracks they were spinning would actually rip the white labels off. Eventually record labels caught on and began releasing blank label promos, which were basically plain light colored labels. These can be produced in quantities ranging from 50-500 and sometimes a little more or less. They were used to send out early buzz copies to DJs, stores, and radio stations. Some record labels also caught on that collectors got into test pressings and actually produced records with the words “Test Pressing” on their labels. These are mostly found with hip hop, club, and dance records and should not be confused with the real thing.

Blank labels with or with covers and one sheets. Sometimes blank labels come with original artwork and a full cover and sometimes they can include a one sheet. A one sheet includes the name of the band and the label, a brief bio and write-up on the album and the track listing with track times.

White label promos are earlier copies of an official album that generally contain all the same information on their labels but in black and white. They usually contain the word “Promotional” or “promotional copy” or “promo only”. They can also include a “promo stamp” which is a gold or silver leaf stamp usually found on the back in a top corner on the album’s official cover. They generally claim to be property of the label and threaten legal action if the record is sold.

Cut Corner (cc) and Saw Marks (sm) are two other types of promotional records. Cut corners literally have about an inch cut diagonally out of a corner. Saw Marks are actually cut about ½ an inch into the record sleeves with a saw, leaving a rectangular bite mark from the record. These can be found on promos that were sent out early as promos and/or released as liquidated or free stock. The markings would prevent retailers from attempting to return to distributors for credit.

Hole Punches. are smaller or larger holes found in corners of records or on barcodes of records. They serve the same purpose as CCs and SMs

Official pressings are just as they sound. Official pressings that end up in stores and online. These can range from a few copies to millions of copies. These are obviously the most common versions of records.

Represses are anything produced after official pressings. The albums could look exactly the same. They could have small markings or dates that indicate a repress. The vinyl might be a different color and sometimes the artwork changes. Represses can be both official and unofficial, also known as bootlegs or “boots” for short.

Here are a few of the items I have in my personal collection:

This is a Catherine Wheel 7” test pressing for the song “Eat my dust you insensitive fuck”. It came exactly as you see it, post-it note and all. I love these guys and have never come across another one like it to this day.

This next one is a mystery 7” test pressing. All I know is that it sounds like early 90’s rock, has a catalog number of SOL-95A and according to an employee at Rainbo Records, the record was released by Dutch East India Trading Records. If anyone can help me out on this, please contact me!

This is another mystery 7” test pressing. It has writing on one side that reads: “CAS-108AX and CAS-108A and the word “SWAY”. This can also be found in the etching in the record’s deadwax. The song is a fun psych-ish rock song with a crowd of people talking and laughing in the background (definitely a canned track) and a song with lyrics that start: “Lick me Lick me, I’m a lollipop”. I found this for a dollar at a local record shop. If anyone can help on this, contact me!

Above is a copy of SST’s NO AGE instrumental double LP comp. I found this for 15 bucks at WFMU record fair last fall. It’s especially interesting because I never really come across any test pressings on SST so I had to grab this one up.

Here is an example of a blank label DJ copy of an Ol’ Dirty Bastard song. As you can see, the only markings on the record were made by the owner. It reads simply “ODB”.

Another example of a blank label record. This one is for The Stone Roses “Fool’s Gold”.The center label has a slightly blue hue, which tells me that it was not a test pressing. A little over a year ago I scored a blank label promo of a 12” single by The Smiths. If it was a test pressing the value could have been upwards of a few thousand dollars. Since it is a blank label promo, and many more copies were pressed than the test, the value is significantly lower but still a very serious rarity.

This is a one sided 12” by the band “The Fall”. I bought this from the collection of the band’s photographer. He passed away from a drug overdose awhile back but his records made it into good hands. Some of the other stuff in that guy’s collection just blew my mind.

Here is a copy of a Brian Brain 12” that actually has their drummer’s name written on it.
Martin Atkins is the infamous drummer and studio/session player who played in bands such as Public Image Limited, Ministry, Pigface, Killing Joke, and Brian Brain. He also drummed with Nine inch nails for awhile. Martin, if you read this, I got it here.

I also have a mystery acetate and test pressing of an amazing band that I cannot identify. All I know is that it sounds like mid 80’s new wave rock. One song has lyrics that say something like “Little children in hallways falling down”. If this rings a bell, give me a shout please. In the meantime I’ll try to get my tech up and throw up an mp3 sample soon.

ALSO. If you have any test pressings or acetates you are interested in selling or trading, contact me. I can also help you solve your test pressing mysteries if you have any unknown copies in your possession. Get in touch!

Friday, April 10, 2009

An Interview with Jack Terricloth

I picked up a bottle of Johnny Walker Red, grabbed my recorder and headed out to Brooklyn. It was nice and cool out, since the heavy rains had finally subsided, so the ride was quite pleasant. When I arrived at the Williamsburg Industrial Park, I sent Jack a text that simply read: “I’m here”. Moments later, the sound of his voice echoing some song that incorporated my last name “Ogiba” echoed throughout the park. We said our hellos and he invited me down to what he called “suffer through a few songs”. Inside the practice space everyone seemed very friendly and somewhat excited to have a guest. They quickly ran through two songs with the most perfect sound levels I’ve ever heard in a practice space of this type and size. The mix was perfect and the execution was flawless. When the songs came to a close, Jack introduced me to the band; there were a few members of which I had met in the past and a few I had not. Everyone was packing up for the big tour and once everything was finally removed from the space, Jack grabbed the bottle of Johnny Walker and he, bassist Sandra Malak and I sat down to begin the interview.

IMFA: Who are you, what musical projects are you currently involved with, and what projects have you been a part of?

JT: I am Jack Terricloth of The World Inferno Friendship Society, and that's more important than anything I've ever done before this.

IMFA: Fair enough, Next question: When did you first realize that you had a love for music?

JT: Oh very early. As soon as I could talk, I wanted to sing.

IMFA: Ok, well what music did you grow up listening to, and what music influenced you along the way?

JT: Hmmm. This almost sounds corny but I really like fifties music because it's what my parents listened to as I was growing up. Do Wop groups and the Dion and tight harmony stuff. It's just what was going on and I always find myself singing along to it.

IMFA: All my ex girlfriends have accused me of not listening, Do you have any advice you can offer me?

JT: (laughs) Just please listen! And rub her feet whenever possible.

IMFA: Ok. Thanks, Are there any people that you can think of off the top of your head, who you have enjoyed playing or making music with in the past?

JT: Well everyone in the World Inferno of course. I'd have to e-mail you the whole list, of course.

IMFA: Well is there anyone specifically who stands out from the rest for any reason?

JT: Well Mr. Hollingsworth who started the Inferno with me was always a pleasure to play with. So very mercurial though - impossible to pin down or take on tour. Everyone in World Inferno is a pleasure to play with.

IMFA: If you had to sum up your story in one of your own lyrics, what lyric would you pick?

JT: "If we should be arrested before we sleep, I'll meet you outside in a few days or in a few weeks".

IMFA: Someone asks: "What does World Inferno sound like?" you respond:

JT: "What kinda music do YOU like? We sound like that.” (laughs)

IMFA: Who are your favorite fine artists and why?

JT: Gustav Klimt. Well because he seems to be having so much fun and he seems to be so high and happy all the time.

IMFA: Lucky Strano's first name really is Lucky, is it not?

JT: Yes it actually is. How weird is that? Do you speak Italian?


JT: Well, it actually translates into "Strange Luck".

IMFA: Can you cite an example of him living up to his name?

JT: (laughs) We're all still alive... so yes!

IMFA: Do you remember that Halloween on Louis Street in New Brunswick?

JT: Yes. We lit the ceiling on fire and the jocks upstairs got mad because we stole their propane tank to fill a balloon and then blow it up in the basement and it blew up and the neighbors called the police and I just walked out and went to a party across the street and watched the whole thing happen.

IMFA: He was actually under the grill with a leaf bag that had a pumpkin on it, filling it up when I took my two best friends at the time and said "get out of the basement". It was an epic show.

JT: Yeah and since there was some other jock party going on across the street, I just sat on their porch, grabbed a beer and watched the police come and go.

IMFA: When I left the party an hour later, I saw you walking out of town with your briefcase in hand as if nothing happened.

SM: We did that at Cha Chas too. We watched the riot from the bar next door, drinking piña coladas.

JT: In the Cha Chas riot, the police tried to arrest me but they just couldn't believe it. Probably not much more needs to be said about that incident. "This guy wrecked our club" and I was sitting at the bar and the officers said: "This guy wrecked your club?". We had played only two songs, I wasn't even sweating, and I was just nicely dressed. So I just sat at the bar and finished my piña colada. It was great.

IMFA: Would you consider yourself a cat person or a dog person?

JT: Well cats I suppose. Dogs... I don't like dogs.

SM: Dogs. I love dogs.

IMFA: Why?

SM: Because I feel like a puppy all of the time. I can relate to them. They might make mistakes here and there but they don't mean any harm. And they're cuddly (laughs)

JT: That's very sweet.

IMFA: Jack, why did you say cats?

JT: Oh because they're independent and they just sit around and stare at you.

IMFA: Tell me your thoughts on Dave Vanian.

JT: Oh I think he's great. I think that's quite obvious. (laughs) That's funny though because it was like, two or three years ago already...we played a show in New Jersey. The old bass player of Sticks and Stones showed up, Larry Martins, who was famous on his own - playing in Agnostic Front and I forget what else... Oh. Warzone. But who wasn't in Warzone? Anyway, I hadn't seen him in a couple of years and he said to me: "How did you go from being Pete in Sticks and Stones to being Jack in this?" and I said "It's pretty obvious that I'm just doing Dave Vanian". He turned to me and said: "Oh yeah, I can kinda see that now." I think he's great. I never want to meet him. And I hope he's doing well.

IMFA: Tell me about how you almost met him.

JT: We played with The Damned on the Warp Tour, and you know how that thing goes on all fucking day long, so we played at like two and they played at like seven or something. I was backstage and his wife Patricia Morrison was back there and she said: "Oh don't YOOOUUU look like my husband." I was just mortified; I could feel my face turn bright red and I just ran away.

SM: awww...

IMFA: How about when you used to see him around town?

JT: Oh! When he was living in New Jersey you mean. Well, before he was married to Patricia Morrison (and I don't have to get into anyone's personal life especially if I don't know them, but) he was married to a girl from Whitehouse New Jersey somehow. He was hanging out in the area and this is almost exactly the same story which makes it funny...Me and all my punk rock friends were too young to get into bars at the time, so hanging out at dinners all night was the thing to do. When you're in New Jersey, and you're nocturnal, what else is there to do? There's this giant Vampire-looking guy hanging out, eating key-lime pie all the time. We'd see him all the time and of course we'd stare at him and.... well anyway, my friend Lamar Vannoy who is famous for Oi Oi Oi went up to him and said: "Don't you look like Captain Sensible". Which is funny because this is almost the same story and thinking this guy is just some poseur and he said: "Oh, have you had the misfortune of seeing my band?". Two of almost the same stories in a ten year increment, how crazy is that?

IMFA: This was at the Felix 9 dinner in Bridgewater?

JT: Felix Number Nine. That's right. Then for about the next five years, all the punk rockers in town ate key-lime pie because it was the cool thing to do. It's true. Trendsetter, Dave Vanian.

IMFA: Not counting your band practice, what was the last song you heard and what are your thoughts on the song?

JT: OK well, Money is the root of all evil by the Andrew Sisters. (singing) "Money is the root of all evil, take it away take it away take it away, what am I thinking"

IMFA: What do you think about that song?

JT: It makes you feel bad about yourself, yet when you don't have it you also feel bad about yourself. There is no answer this question.

IMFA: Tell me about The Great Pumpkin.

JT: The Great Pumpkin. If you just believe in him he will bring you allllllll the presents. You just have to find the most sincere pumpkin patch. Just sit there and he will bring toys to all the good boys and girls. But if you slip up just for one minute, it passes you by. Isn't life like that?

IMFA: Last Tuesday was the anniversary of the 1996 death of Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Tell me what you think about that.

JT: Was it? I'm sorry I missed that. The first time I missed his death, I found an obituary digging through the trash. I think it was in the New York Times. Jeffrey Lee meant a lot to the slightly odd and slightly older punk rockers of the eighties and early nineties because he made punk rock not so boring. He played punk rock and it meant A LOT to a very small amount of people. I really followed him. It's funny hoping someone you never met does really well. It's like wishing your sister did well. We bought every single one of his records and they just got worse and worse and worse unfortunately. It was like having a very intimate relationship with someone you've never met and you just want them to succeed because they had one good idea. It was very sad when he when I found out John Doe and Exene broke up.

IMFA: Where is Atlantis?

JT: Where is Atlantis. We were just talking about this the other day, weren't we?

SM: (laughs) No, I think we were just in Atlantic City.

JT: Atlantis is Atlantic City. Weren't we talking about Plato? Anyway, Atlantis is located in the center of the Mediterranean. Somewhere between Sicily and Israel.

IMFA: Do you think it sank?

JT: Yes I do. It sank.

IMFA: What foreign country has the best response to the World Inferno?

JT: The United States of America.

SM: I knew you would say that.

IMFA: What do you have in store for the future?

JT: Obviously we are touring for the next forever-months. We have an albums worth of material that we are slowly recording over the next six months. I don't know when they will be released... fall would be the earliest. You know the pattern in which records need to be released, so...

IMFA: Do you have a one-liner that you can wrap this up with?

JT: "Don't forget the struggle, don't forget the streets" I do it all the time though (laughs). Up the punks man.

Look forward to the World Inferno radio plays at the public theater every week in December and January.

"WIFS are your friends. We're always thinking about you. Even if we don't see you at the shows, we are going to pretend you are there. Sweating our little bodies to the bone. That's why we have to drink so much - to help us sweat."

Check out for more info.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Up to my knees in dust

Last night was a fine night. The cold rain and cloudy skies set the perfect stage for the perfect performance. The flier listed only three artists, but to everyone’s delight, a very nice and talented girl whose project went by the name of Stellar OM Source was added last minute to the bill. The show started around ten p.m. A banjo-playing heavily tattooed man took the stage. His hair and beard were loud and grey, as were the sounds he made his banjo produce. His name was Robert Ryan and his act was definitely a compliment of what was to come. His vocals were harsh, deliberate and cold. Another bearded man playing flute and saxophone joined him slightly off stage. The music was meandering and mysterious, trance-inducing and tantalizing. Thirty seconds into his set I knew it was bound to be a fantastic show.

Stellar OM Source was next. She played dark, empty, atmospheric music using a small synth and several effect pedals. From a rich chorus, to a subtle delay, to brain-warping dimensional D sound, she took me on a flat, treeless journey through a windy, barren land.

Bill Nance took the stage with his guitar. He placed it flat on its back and switched on his amp. He plucked and picked and pulled at the strings. From what could have been a take on the soundtrack to the epic 1973 French sci-fi film Fantastic Planet, to sounds resembling an amplifier with heavy reverb being dropped from a great height, the intensity certainly captured me.

Then came Mr. Daniel Higgs. He had been pacing outside the bar, rolling his own cigarettes just moments before sitting down with his accordion. His beard was wild and large, as was the little hair he had left on his head. He dressed in a long black coat (which he removed before performing) and a plain dark work outfit. His music was mind-blowing and as real and honest as I’ve seen in some time. His accordion emitted a droning aura of low intense noise while his poetic words fell perfectly atop. Daniel’s words depicted ornate imagery and exquisite excitation of Christianity and metaphysics.

Glowing crosses, sweeping laughter, and decorative anatomy were just a sample of the embodiment of his vocal efforts. I felt as if I were staring into an old black and white photo, trying my hardest to imagine the sensations of that very second in time. I spent the majority of his set with my eyes closed, accepting his ideas. He picked up his banjo and the magic continued...

Some of my favorite lines were as follows:

“Each successive universe is but a syllable of the name.”

”You will return. You must return. Even now you are returning.”

”Up to your knees in dust.”

”Upon each atom my initial is engraved.”

”I am a door you pass through for a lifetime and perhaps a lifetime more.”

”This is how I sing when the lord has struck me dumb.”

When the show was over, some of us stayed and waited the rain out. Daniel was friendly and offered me a hand rolled cigarette, to which I declined. We spoke about Déjà vu and what he called Déjà vu vu – when you have déjà vu of a time you had déjà vu. He was also the second person I’ve spoken to recently about visiting a place and remembering a thought you had at that very place in the past. I bought an LP from Stellar OM Source, said my goodbyes, and headed home. It was two a.m. when I arrived home. My roommate had fallen asleep on the couch with his headphones on, listening to records through his new tube preamp. I woke him up and said goodnight. My cat slept next to my head while the sounds of Stellar OM Source filled the room. I woke up just a few hours later and dressed for my court appearance. I was surprisingly calm.