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Clinch Mob Compilation

28 February 2015 in News

I’ve supported the Clinch Mob Compilation for Lincoln musician Pat Clinch’s medical expenses, and I hope you’ll check it out and participate, too. Pat’s a veteran of Strawberry Burns and was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The comp includes b-sides, unreleased, and new tracks from bands like Ideal Cleaners, Tangelo, Mezcal Brothers, Panda Face, Shacker, and more.

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Mixing on a Console for the First Time

22 February 2015 in Images, [blog]

A couple months ago Drew and I went in together on a late 1970s Soundtracs FME mixing console, based on Duane’s recommendation.  We scored a good deal on eBay, carefully dragged the 225-pound unit (console + road case) down to the basement, and this past Monday I got to work with it for the first time.

FME1

First I tested each channel with one signal, listening and compensating for any differences among them. These circuits are 35+ years old, and have drifted a bit; to get each channel to sound the same I used preamp gain settings as much as 11 dB apart, EQ adjustments of -1.5 dB to +3 dB, and levels as much 4.5 dB apart. That took all morning, and while we’ll tweak it as we continue to use the board, those settings will be a foundation we can start mixes from in the future.

FME3

Then I actually mixed a five-song project for upcoming release on MFR. I’d already gotten the mixes to a state I was happy with in ProTools, so I was just routing those tracks through the console and back into ProTools in stereo, making fine adjustments.

FME4

Mixing on the Soundtracs was brilliant; revelatory, really.  Even at levels below clipping, the preamps subtly compress and add harmonics in a beautiful way.  The EQ was the best part, though.  In ProTools, I’ll spend weeks on a mix agonizing over tiny changes in EQ, trying to get things to sound their best.  On the console it’s simple and natural to turn up the level, sweep the frequency for the range I want to affect, and bring the level back down until I’ve achieved what I want to hear.

FME2

It wasn’t cheap, but even so this piece of gear was well worth it for us, and offers good bang-for-buck in that it will substantially improve every mix we do (think: new Mars Lights LP, new Dark Satelliets LP, Cory’s solo project, and more) from now on.  And it’s fun to use.

As a bonus, here are some pics of Drew pole-dancing in Wichita Friday night, then deciding to sit on the floor and enjoy the music, at the Mars Lights / Vehicles / Admirals show.

2015-02-20Drew2 2015-02-20Drew

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Mars Lights Feb 20/21, Dark Satellites March 18

8 February 2015 in News

2015 February 20, Friday – Wichita, KS – Mars Lights at The Lizard Lounge (*note venue change!*) w/ Vehicles, $Badger, Admirals.  $5, 9:30 PM, Facebook event.

MarsLightsWichita2015-02-20

2015 February 21, Saturday – Lawrence, KS – Mars Lights at The Jackpot w/ Vehicles, 88er.  $???, ??? PM.

2015 March 18, Wednesday – Kansas City, MO – Dark Satellites at The Brick w/ Medicine Theory. $???, ??? PM.

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Albums That Never Were by soniclovenoize

31 January 2015 in [blog]

Pete Townshend’s episode of Behind The Music introduced me to The Who’s Lifehouse project, the ambitious post-Tommy rock opera that fell apart and was never released. Some of its best songs ended up on Who’s Next, including “Baba O’Riley,” “Getting In Tune,” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

Off and on I’ve worked on a playlist of Lifehouse as it might have been, cobbling it together from Who’s Next, Odds & Sods, Who Are You, and various b-sides and bonus tracks. It’s pretty fun to listen to.

Having done things of this sort*, I was predisposed favorably toward the brilliant Albums That Never Were blog (discovered this morning via The AV Club). In soniclovenoize’s own words:

because i have too much time on my hands, i waste it by reconstructing famous unreleased albums. here are some of them. enjoy.

I’ve only been able to scan the blog so far, but I’m already looking forward to:

  • Weezer’s Songs From The Black Hole
  • Smashing Pumpkins’ Glass and The Machines of God
  • The Clash’s Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg
  • Neil Young’s Chrome Dreams
  • and of course, soniclovenoize’s version of Lifehouse

Not only are these lost albums reconstructed with careful attention to audio quality and source material, there are extensive notes and background reading on each one.  I’m amped about this find, and will thoroughly enjoy exploring the blog; thanks, soniclovenoize!

* See also re-arranging Springsteen’s Live 1975-85, Ken Burns’ Jazz box set, and Numero Group’s Eccentric Soul: The Forte Label into chronological order, enjoying Radiohead’s 01 10, reversing The Roots’ Undun, etc.

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Just A Sec by Fally Afani of I Heart Local Music

24 January 2015 in [blog]

Congratulations to Fally, who was featured by Buzzfeed this past week for her year-in-the-life video “Just a Sec.”  It’s no surprise that the creator of I Heart Local Music saw a ton of shows in 2014 along with hanging out with her family, driving around Lawrence, and more.

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Mars Lights recordBar Setlist Links

17 January 2015 in [blog]

After our show the other week Megan asked for direct links to the songs we played in the set.  In sequence, if you missed it, or want to relive it:

Radio Edit – http://marslights.bandcamp.com/track/radio-edit

Straight Shots – http://marslights.bandcamp.com/track/straight-talking-straight-shots

Nukular – http://marslights.bandcamp.com/track/nukular-ft-s-morris

Ghost You Out – http://marslights.bandcamp.com/track/ghost-you-out

No Witnesses – (unreleased; already recorded for the next LP. This is a heavy, kind of 90s-sounding one that Drew sings, and has a huge weird guitar solo, but the chorus is kind of quieter.)

Nein – http://marslights.bandcamp.com/track/nein

All Tied Up – http://marslights.bandcamp.com/track/all-tied-up-ft-t-scahill

Stars Above – (unreleased; slotted for the next next LP. This has a kind of stompy Zeppelin main riff, and I sing/shout lyrics derived from the plot of Alien)

Stangray – (unreleased; already recorded for the next LP. Starts and ends with this kind of circular guitar lead of Drew’s, catchy with a half-time chorus inbetween the circular leads.)

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ONLY BANG IS BANG | Mars Lights

5 January 2015 in MUSIC

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Mars Lights Shows Starting January 7!

3 January 2015 in News

SEE YOU

“ONLY BANG IS BANG” EP & “RADIO EDIT” VIDEO OUT TUESDAY 1/6

2015 January 7, Wednesday – Kansas City, MO – Mars LIghts at the recordBar w/ Scammers.  $5, 18+, 9:30 PM.

2015 February 20, Friday – Wichita, KS – Mars Lights at The Elbow Room w/ Vehicles.  $???, ??? PM.

2015 February 21, Saturday – Lawrence, KS – Mars Lights at The Jackpot w/ Vehicles, 88er.  $???, ??? PM.

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The Best Music We Heard in 2014

28 December 2014 in MR|Review

Here is the best music we heard in the past year. Most, but not all, was also released in 2014. “I had a sparse year for new music” says Cory. “I wish I could say that I fell in love with more tunes this year. But, I have a deep, deep fondness for the records I did discover this year.”

Top 8 (in random order)

Next 13 (also in random order)

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Derek Jennings, “Bummertown” EP

21 December 2014 in [blog]

This past week Cory alerted me that Derek Jennings’ (known as D-Rockets on MFR) excellent EP “Bummertown” was available on iTunes.  I’d known it was streaming on Bandcamp but didn’t know it was for sale, so I snagged it immediately and I encourage you to check it out below and do the same.