Violent Femmes first record

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uqbar
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Violent Femmes first record

Post by uqbar » Wed Sep 17, 2003 10:06 am

After giving this record a good 15+ year rest, I purchased the new re-issue.

I was pretty floored by just how good the record is in every way. The musicianship is far better than I remembered and is often given far less credit than it deserves (the drums and bass, in particular, are amazing).

But what I liked best about it is how it has the perfect blend of honest grit and studio polish. The edges are all there but nothing sounds poorly recorded or underproduced. Part of the magic, I suppose, is that they were recording in a studio that was on the decline, but which had lots of gear that was great back its day, and that is still great today, but that wasn't well appreciated in the early 80's when technology began to shift. And they didn't have time to fuss with a tight budget bearing down.

While I always thought the enduring success of this record was solely in its perfectly angst-ridden adolescent song writing, I've revised my views. This may be the best example of the kind of recording I love best - raw but not messy or difficult to listen to. And it isn't raw in some sort of contrived way either unlike far too many records these days.

Thoughts or other nominations for great records that aren't afraid to have edges?

mark

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Re: Violent Femmes first record

Post by Kyle » Wed Sep 17, 2003 10:26 am

Mark

I couldn't agree more. For me, this is a perfect record.

I have to nominate VS's White Light White Heat.
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Re: Violent Femmes first record

Post by E-Rock » Wed Sep 17, 2003 10:47 am

That album was recorded by a guy named Glen Lorbiecki.
He has a studio here in Seattle.
I love that album. Totally brings me back.

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Re: Violent Femmes first record

Post by twitchmonitor » Wed Sep 17, 2003 10:52 am

That's so funny...I was just doing a project with a band who recorded their last album at a nice studio with a full band and it just came out a bit too slick, at least for them since they're songwriting is twisted and some of the best I've heard in San Francisco. So I recorded just the main players; bassist/singer and acoustic guitar player/singer in my living room and while tracking/mixing I was thinking of that album the whole time, and for all the reasons you just said! Some bands need that perfect blend of raw and polish (probably most) and 9 times out of 10 when I'm recording somebody, that's exactly what I"m shooting for.

Other albums....
Strokes: Is This It
Mary Lou Lord: Mary Lou Lord
T. Rex: electric warrior
Spoon: a series of sneaks

all of these to varying degrees and in different ways....like on the t.rex you HEAR the studio banter, the silly countoff "one, two, buckle my shoe...", like yeah, it's a band in a studio, but you can hear the people, the vibe, the space....like you're hanging in the control room while they
re tracking

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Re: Violent Femmes first record

Post by Bear » Wed Sep 17, 2003 12:26 pm

Some of the many, many albums that spring to mind:

I've always liked the early Beck recordings. I have a soft spot for Mellow Gold and it's "homemade but somehow not" sound, and One Foot in the Grave sounded great too. But in general, I think Beck's production almost always fits the bill, escpecially for what he's aiming for.

The Clouds Taste Metallic from the Flaming Lips is another great combination of raw and studio. And everything about that album sounds so huge to me.

Boces from Mercury Rev is another album that sits comfortably between the raw and studio. Noisy yet nice.

Well, there's three. If I don't stop here, I'll ramble for days. This style of recording has always been my favorite.
I am wangtacular.

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Re: Violent Femmes first record

Post by toothpastefordinner » Wed Sep 17, 2003 12:45 pm

How strange... I have been obsessed with that album (VF s/t album) for the past few months. Personally I think the lyrics are a bit too much for me, but the music itself, and the production, is great. If I could make a snare drum sound like the snare drum on that album, I would never leave the house again. I would just sit in my studio hitting a snare drum over and over with headphones on.

The great thing about it for me is how technically it's sparse- mostly clean guitar, vocals, bass, and snare- but it all melts together and sounds great and full.


drew
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Re: Violent Femmes first record

Post by moogplayer » Wed Sep 17, 2003 1:13 pm

Any idea what gear (console, multitrack) was used for the Violent Femmes album??

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Re: Violent Femmes first record

Post by takeout » Wed Sep 17, 2003 2:01 pm

Ted Leo's self-recordings are very cool, in a "I'm drunk, I've got an Echoplex and a guitar, and I know how to use them" kind of way...

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Re: Violent Femmes first record

Post by @?,*???&? » Wed Sep 17, 2003 2:17 pm

uqbar wrote:After giving this record a good 15+ year rest, I purchased the new re-issue.

I was pretty floored by just how good the record is in every way. The musicianship is far better than I remembered and is often given far less credit than it deserves (the drums and bass, in particular, are amazing).

But what I liked best about it is how it has the perfect blend of honest grit and studio polish. The edges are all there but nothing sounds poorly recorded or underproduced. Part of the magic, I suppose, is that they were recording in a studio that was on the decline, but which had lots of gear that was great back its day, and that is still great today, but that wasn't well appreciated in the early 80's when technology began to shift. And they didn't have time to fuss with a tight budget bearing down.

While I always thought the enduring success of this record was solely in its perfectly angst-ridden adolescent song writing, I've revised my views. This may be the best example of the kind of recording I love best - raw but not messy or difficult to listen to. And it isn't raw in some sort of contrived way either unlike far too many records these days.

Thoughts or other nominations for great records that aren't afraid to have edges?

mark
This is an amazing disc that IS EXACTLY what alternative music should be. Well-crafted songs, great musicianship, amazing energy and all from a band that toured it's ass off before getting signed. This is a timeless release and will remain untouched in it's completeness as representative of the genre. Great production too by the way. Bob Biggs at Slash Records always did have good taste in music.

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Re: Violent Femmes first record

Post by miamidevice » Wed Sep 17, 2003 2:31 pm

takeout wrote:Ted Leo's self-recordings are very cool, in a "I'm drunk, I've got an Echoplex and a guitar, and I know how to use them" kind of way...
The new ted leo/pharmacists album (hearts of oak) is a pretty good example of the rough around the edges vibe. I think a lot of great sounding records come out of the rare book room.

m.

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Re: Violent Femmes first record

Post by takeout » Thu Sep 18, 2003 10:09 am

miamidevice wrote:The new ted leo/pharmacists album (hearts of oak) is a pretty good example of the rough around the edges vibe. I think a lot of great sounding records come out of the rare book room.
m.
Have you heard the stuff he did on his first solo record (pre-"Tyranny of Distance")? THAT'S the stuff I'm talking about. Talk about rough around the edges... basically him goofing around with a four-track and tape loops, and it's still more listenable than a lot of the records I've heard in the past few months...

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Re: Violent Femmes first record

Post by Abe » Thu Sep 18, 2003 11:25 am

I love the VF sound on that record too and was happily surprised to read that Glen Lorbiecki has a studio here in Seattle. So I googled his name and came up with ...not much.

One of my all time favorite "blend of honest grit and studio polish" are the Kaisers recordings @ Toe Rag. They are warm and full yet distorted and buzzing at the same time. And the drums are overdriven in the greatest way. The Eddie Angel's Guitar Party album was recorded there and sounds great for the same reasons. The latest White Stripes album dane @ Toe Rag didn’t seem to use much of that subtlety.

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Re: Violent Femmes first record

Post by jimmyjazz » Thu Sep 18, 2003 12:03 pm

Although I absolutely love that Violent Femmes record, I can't say I love all of the musicianship on it, particularly the drumming. It doesn't detract from the overall quality, though.
Spoon: a series of sneaks
Spoon records their records in drummer Jim Eno's garage studio. I won't get into the equipment he uses, as he probably wouldn't appreciate it, but a lot of it is very much in line with what you described as being used for the Violent Femmes' record.

I helped Jim work out some ideas for his space, and he does a great job there. I think sometimes he wishes he had a separate control room, but everything's a tradeoff -- he has a bigger "do everything" room that definitely has better acoustics than he would if he split it into multiple smaller spaces.

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Re: Violent Femmes first record

Post by bigtoe » Thu Sep 18, 2003 12:10 pm

i always thought that VF record was recorded at a studio up in lake geneva, wisconsin...i dunno the name...a big one...commercial for sure...but i remember playing galaxian on the boardwalk and thinking it was cool that the studio was in the same town...i was obviously a simple lad...i think the studio closed...

but if it's in my memory banks before say...5 minutes ago... it's a rumor.

Mike

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Re: Violent Femmes first record

Post by wayne kerr » Thu Sep 18, 2003 12:10 pm

I think it started a revolution. Anyone wanna buy my autographed copy? Heheheh...

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