Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mike's Weekly Recs - "DEMOITIS"

Ya know when a band shoots itself in the foot by releasing a really great demo, and, without fail, we are all hopelessly disappointed when all the little quirks, creaks, squeaks, meows, slips, slides, and mistakes are lost in the studio version? That applies to many of these tracks.

Blurbs after the jump:


1) Brand New / "Untitled 3 (Brothers)" / Fight Off Your Demons demos
In 2005, more than a full year before Brand New finally released their masterpiece The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me, some jamoke leaked demos at various stages of completion, to the band's silent but bitter chagrin. Thankfully, this stunning song saw the light of day with a new set of lyrics and subdued electric guitar trails as "Coca-Cola" (or "Aloc-Acoc," depending on which side of the lawsuit you bought your copy of the "Sowing Season" single), a b-side for The Devil And God. The new lyrics and melody suit the new reverb-drenched feel of the song, but one can't help but miss the euphorically thoughtless melody and Jesse Lacey's voice covertly squealing as he sing "We'll be lyin' like lions out in the sand, but I'll be dead before you put a gun in my brother's hands."

2) The Dear Hunter / "Red Hands" / Dear Ms. Leading demos
Before Casey Crescenzo developed a fatal attraction to grandiosity, he started The Dear Hunter as a rainy day project to work on between tours with his old band, The Receiving End Of Sirens. Many of the songs from 2005's Dear Ms. Leading demos, including undisputed fan favorite "Red Hands," reappeared as sore thumbs on the post-TREOS, full-time Dear Hunter record Act II: The Meaning Of, And All Things Regarding Ms. Leading. In its natural context, however, "Red Hands" is perfect.

3) The Band / "Long Distance Operator" / The Basement Tapes
The Band recorded some of their best music with no intention of putting it out. "Long Distance Operator" is one of their most amazingly candid and bizarre compositions on record.

4) Bob Dylan / "You're A Big Girl Now" / Blood On The Tapes
Take the claustrophobic, contrived groove out of "You're A Big Girl Now," and you've got an utterly flawless record in Blood On The Tracks. It's frustrating to learn that Dylan's original version of the song had no such groove. Instead, it featured beautifully somber organ fills and natural reverb so effective that it made even Dylan's vocals sonically pleasing.


1) Iron & Wine / "Flightless Bird, American Mouth" / Fall 2007 demos
The ballad fares well on The Shepherd's Dog, but the lack of percussion and extra vocals lets the track breath and emphasizes the exquisite singing and painfully profound songwriting--basically, everything we already knew about Sam Beam.

2) Bruce Springsteen / "Racing In The Streets" / The Promise
On this alternate version of the Darkness On The Edge Of Town equalizer, The Boss beefs up the piano and invites his entire E Street Band to let loose like they do best.

3) The Mountain Goats / "Deuteronomy, 2:10" / The Life Of The World In Flux
This version is essentially the same as the album version, but John Darnielle's wrong piano note, and subsequent wrong vocal note, is too damn humanizing to take out.

4) The Receiving End Of Sirens / "The War Of All Against All" / TREOS EP
This fan favorite and live staple first appeared on a primitive PureVolume page, then a three-song, two-segue, untitled EP before it was finalized on Between The Heart And The Synapse. If BTHATS isn't 100 percent perfect (it is), it's because Nate Patterson's grisy lead guitar got a glossy studio makeover and lost its 'guitar-next-door' sex appeal.

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