Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Ok, first things first: if you’re not familiar with Scott Miller’s various bands, today’s post probably won’t be very interesting to you.

For everyone else…you may or may not know that before The Loud Family and before Game Theory, Scott Miller was in a band called Alternate Learning (or ALRN). They released one album and one single, and the album is, surprisingly, pretty good. It’s called Painted Windows and, unfortunately, it’s never been released on CD. Why is this? Luckily, Scott Miller has given lots of interviews where he’s explained the various obstacles that conspire to keep the greater part of his oeuvre out of print. I’ll save you the trouble of reading all of those interviews by distilling the various problems that he faces to this simple six-point list:

1. The vault where his master tapes are stored is “physically inaccessible,” blocked by an angry Orc, and Scott hasn’t yet managed to obtain a cloak of invisibility with which he might evade its evil clutches.

2. A guy named Scott Vanderbilt owns the rights to the recordings and unfortunately a long time ago the two Scotts got into a really ugly argument about sorting algorithms, and things have been kind of tense ever since.

3. Aimee Mann is using her close ties to the major record labels to negotiate a big-budget reissue campaign for her friend Scott. It’s going to be even better than the Game Theory box set that Alias put out some years ago.

4. Out of solidarity for a fellow tormented genius, Scott Miller refuses to allow any of his work to be reissued until he actually holds a copy of Smile in his hands (like that’s ever going to happen!).

5. At no time on Painted Windows does Scott Miller address a woman as “girl,” which has led some people to doubt its authenticity.

6. Finally, it turns out that most of the female vocal parts on Scott’s old recordings are actually off-key, and his new wife just hasn’t had time to go into the studio to re-record them.

So, you can see that there are some pretty serious reasons why Painted Windows is unlikely to get wider exposure anytime soon. Today I’m going to do my part to help.

Here’s Another Wasted Afternoon, here’s The New You, here’s Dark Days, here’s Ulysses, and finally, here’s Let’s Not Wait. Tomorrow I'll post two more tracks.

For space-saving reasons, I’m leaving out three songs. You can get ahold of one of them, Sex War, via the Homework series of CDs, brought to you by the same people who put out Killed By Death. And, you can hear a rerecorded version of Beach State Rocking on a (unfortunately out of print) Game Theory CD called Tinker to Evers to Chance. Is the rerecorded version better? Not really. But rerecording his old songs makes Scott Miller really happy, so if he asks you please be sure to tell him that you’re incredibly grateful for the new version because the old one sounded “tinny.” The third missing song, Painted Windows, is kind of “ambitious” so I’m going to save it for a rainy day.

As with most Scott Miller products (which I usually end up loving), I didn’t like this album at first. But it’s grown on me a lot recently: I think it’s easily better than the final Loud Family CD proper, Attractive Nuisance, and probably better than the penultimate Loud Family CD, Days For Days. I hope you like it. If you don't, you might want to skip tomorrow's post.

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