Friday, March 26, 2004

Ok, part of today's posting is just horrible sound quality. I mean horrible beyond your wildest dreams...purely of historical interest. But it's not a bootleg. It's Teenbeat #41 (I should probably mention that if Mark Robinson used a kleenex, he probably assigned it a Teenbeat catalog number) which is a cassette-only release documenting a live show that Unrest did with the Dustdevils in Washington DC in 1990. If you've been reading Mystical Beast for a while, you're aware that I have a special love for the Dustdevils. And, if you're a fan of the Dustdevils, you've probably discovered that getting any info on their discography is a royal pain in the ass. Allmusic is useless: don't even bother.

Things got better when Badaboom Gramophone published their "bands not in the Trouser Press Guide guide" issue a while ago, and subsequently Trouser Press adopted Jordan Mamone's excellent article on the Dustdevils, which makes things a lot easier. There are two releases not mentioned, though it's really no big loss in the grand scheme of things. One is the track from Hippy Porn that I mentioned the other day, and the other is the live tape.

Anyway, I'm relatively thrilled to have finally scored a copy of this. I had pretty much despaired of ever tracking it down...I once wrote to Mark Robinson to ask if he had a copy, and he replied (very quickly and very nicely, I might add) that as far as he knew, only a handful of copies were made and that he didn't have any. What's nice about the tape is that it confirms that the Dustdevils could do their songs live to sound a lot like the studio versions, which is something I'd always wondered about. When you have a band that uses so much feedback and noise as building blocks, it's only logical to expect that they won't be able to perform songs the same way twice. Hearing this makes me even sadder that I never got to see them live. (I always bring this up when I mention the Dustdevils: Pavement fans might be interested to know that this was Mark Ibold's gig before he became a big star.)

If you've never heard anything by them before, this is absolutely not the place to start. Just to keep today from being a total washout, I'm going to include the studio version of Neck Surfing (from the absolutely essential Struggling Electric & Chemical) as well as this version from the tape. (Did I mention the horrible sound quality? Really, I'm not kidding. Dial-up people: don't waste your time!) Just so you know, what I'm posting is an mp3 made from a CDR made from a tape (that had gotten wet at some point) dubbed from the original tape (and the original master was probably a cassette as well). Based on what I've been told, I don't think the Teenbeat cassette sounded much better...maybe someday I'll find out.

Finally, the other band I love to love: Magic Dirt. Apparently they insulted Allmusic's mother or something, because their discography there is woefully incomplete. There are missing albums, and their "sell out" CD What Are Rock Stars Doing Today is only noted, without any review or other info. It's the only Magic Dirt release that I really don't like much, so it's kind of ironic that I had to spend more money buying the UK version after I'd already gone to the trouble of ordering a copy of the CD from Australia. Why would anyone do that?

Well, the UK version comes with a pretty amazing bonus disc that includes two great Peel Sessions and four other completely wonderful tracks from some 1999 sessions, and five videos of live performances. I pretty much never listen to the main CD, but I love, love, love the bonus disc. From that, here's Isotope and a really bass-heavy Peel version of an old Magic Dirt song Ice.

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