Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Best Bootlegs 2015-16

Over the first half of this year I have received many emails inquiring as to where the bootlegs documented on site can be found. This PDF booklet will point you in the right direction, the sites I use and importantly the web addresses that they can be found at.

“The 100 best bootlegs available via internet download over the last two years 2015-16” 

These have been carefully selected from the numerous bootlegs downloaded and listened to throughout 2015 and 2016 - these are the best. As you can imagine, it originally took some amount of time and effort to pull this all together. What to include and just as importantly what to leave out, has taken considerable thought and listening hours, enjoyable nonetheless. So if you are a fan of any of the sixty-six artists featured, then I can confidently state that you will definitely enjoy the bootlegs that have been selected. 

The PDF document comprises:
  • 66 pages A4
  • Word count 35,403
  • 100 bootleg images

Full details have been included for each bootleg such as:
  • Venue
  • Date of performance
  • Type of recording - soundboard, FM, from the audience, etc.
  • Lineage
  • Running time
  • Website address

These details should enable you to quickly locate any particular title of interest. I have not provided a sound quality rating as all are of sufficient high quality to rate around 5 out of 5, some are worthy of 5+ like the best official releases. Further details include:

  • Complete track listings
  • Track timings
  • Informative comments about each bootleg.
  • Index
  • Brief details of the ‘best of the rest’ - a further 33 titles

Included in the main body of the text are details of the 100 bootlegs and where to find them by the following artists:
  • BECK
  • CALEXICO (2)
  • CRAMPS (2)
  • NEW ORDER (3)
  • NIRVANA (2)
  • PEARL JAM (2)
  • PIXIES (2)
  • REM (3)
  • NEIL YOUNG (5)

The 2015 and 2016 issues have been emailed separately previously. This is the first opportunity for other blog readers to get a copy of this invaluable document. If you would like a copy it's only £5 GBP via the donate button, you do not need a paypal account.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Bootlegs of the Month - September 2017

THE VERVE - Unreleased Urban Hymns

As you may have gathered there was no bootleg of the month for August (further info below). A quiet time as per the norm, not just for bootlegs but also official releases. Now the holiday season has passed the music scene picks up with a deluge of new releases scheduled for release before the next holiday season. A deluxe re-issue marking the 20 year anniversary of the release of 'Urban Hymns' by The Verve caught my eye, it's a box set consisting of five audio discs and one DVD.

Those that have only heard the album 'Urban Hymns' and none of the numerous cd single only tracks, released on the three (double pack) Hut singles in 1997, will be in for a bit of an ear opener. There was enough quality music available for the release of a quick, less comercial follow up to 'Urban Hymns' but a history of internal strife within the band put paid to any further releases, as they again split. They reformed for one further album 'Forth' a decade later. Tensions still exist between band members, recently Nick McCabe wrote on Facebook about the penultimate track on this set: "Richard doesn't want it releasing, because he knows how good it is"

This bootleg has therefore appeared in timely fashion. These eleven tracks were supposed to have been released on the recent 'Urban Hymns' reissue but unfortunately after the band approved them for release, Richard Ashcroft then vetoed them all. Nick McCabe showed a picture of the cd-r online. They were then leaked by an unknown source in the first week of September. Co-incidentally a YouTube uploader claims that they came from someone who works in the distribution department of the record company UMC. Whatever the exact story behind this, many fans have complained that these unreleased tracks should have been included on the box and it is undeniable that it would have made the set more complete.

The only non essential track is Original Insanity with its static noise, tinkling bell and crying baby. It was finished with guitar replacing the static noises and re-titled Deep Freeze for release as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of  'Urban Hymns'. The opener here, Sweet And Sour may sound familiar as it employs a drum track similar to that of Bittersweet Symphony. The Beat Nick mix of This Time is more stripped back and excludes the synth and guitar overdubs of the album track. The previously unreleased songs: Sweet And Sour, Wednesday Madness, Jalfrezi, Tina Turner, All Ways Are Maybes and King Riff 2 are all excellent

Original notes:

2017 Deluxe Edition Box Set Outtakes of fully mastered tracks approved by all band members
except Richard Ashcroft and subsequently leaked allegedly by guitarist Nick McCabe.
These tracks are flawless quality, professionally mastered by the same remastering team
and should have been included in the deluxe edition box.

The Verve - Urban Hymns Unreleased Studio Tracks

1. Sweet And Sour (5:22)
2. Wednesday Madness (4:49)
3. Neon Wilderness (Idea) (1:38)
4. Jalfrezi (4:40)
5. This Time (Beat Nick Mix) (3:49)
6. Tina Turner (6:49)
7. Oh Sister (3:31)
8. Sonnet (Acoustic demo) (3:40)
9. Original Insanity (1:36)
10. All Ways Are Maybes (4:46)
11. King Riff 2 (7:54)



This show can be heard via the BBC I-Player, but be quick as it is only available for 30 days after broadcast date.

David Rodigan began broadcasting his Reggae show for BBC Radio 2 on 14 July 2011. Numerous series have followed throughout the last six years. He has showcased his love for Jamaican music and not only celebrated it’s massive back catalogue, but also looked toward it’s future.

His warm friendly presenting style allied to an encyclopaedic knowledge of reggae music’s history makes these programmes an essential listen. He not only plays some of the greatest music recorded but combines his knowledge with reflective stories and imparts a great deal of wisdom. It is said that there is no reggae artist Rodigan hasn’t interviewed, his massive following is worldwide and he is surely the greatest living authority in reggae broadcasting.

David's latest series has just concluded on BBC Radio 2, the six-part series was recorded from the FM broadcasts. This special celebrating the life of Prince Buster 'The King of Ska' was my favourite from the current series. It's a terrific look at the life and music of  Jamaican legend Cecil Bustamente Campbell AKA Prince Buster. Who played a pivotal role in popularising the new sound of a young independent Jamaica, he called himself The Prince but  would become later known as The King... of Ska. In this show David not only picks a mix of evergreen classics but some glorious obscurities from The Prince's vast back catalogue. Fans of the 2-Tone label will instantly recognize many of these tracks.

Prince Buster - Enjoy Yourself (1963)
Prince Buster - Scorcher (1968)
Prince Buster - Judge Dread (1967)
Prince Buster - Judge Dread Dance (1967)
Prince Buster - Sweet Beat (1967)
Prince Buster - Taxation (1969)
Prince Buster - Bull Buck (1969)
Prince Buster - Everybody Ska (1964)
Folkes Brothers - Oh Carolina (1961)
Prince Buster - Madness (1963)
Prince Buster - Earthquake (1968)
Prince Buster - Johnny Cool (1967)
Prince Buster’s All Stars - One Step Beyond (1965)
Prince Buster - Too Hot (1967)
Prince Buster - Let's Go To The Dance (1967)
Prince Buster - Walk With Love (1968)
Prince Buster - Al Capone (1965)

BBC Radio 2 FM > Denon TU-260L tuner > Audacity > WAV > TLH > FLAC 8


August 2017

As mentioned above there was no bootleg of the month for August. I only kept two of the bootlegs that I downloaded, these were:

Elvis Costello - Party Girl (Live Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis, 18 August, 1996)
Bob Dylan - San Jose '65 (Live Civic Auditorium, San Jose, 12 December, 1965)

'Party Girl' has been available for some time and was one that I had missed. If you are a Costello fan then it is worthwhile collecting this soundboard, from one of the final concerts by Elvis Costello & the Attractions. The sound levels fluctuate at times and it could really do with a decent mix and equalisation but overall it has great sound quality and is an interesting listen.

'San Jose '65' is an upgrade taken from the Allen Ginsberg recorded master. The electric set with the Hawks has the best quality of the new sources recently made available. Dylan's vocal is slightly distant but the Hawks power through clearly. If you are a serious Dylan collector it's a great piece of audio history and nice to hear a different set list.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

WOMAD UK - 2017

Bootleg of the month - July 2017

World On 3 from the Womad Festival
Charlton Park, Malmesbury, England
Friday 28 July - Sunday 30 July

BBC Radio 3 lossless stream   

01. Toots & The Maytals - Funky Kingston (6:32)
02. Alsara - Albahr (3:21)
03. Afro Celt Sound System - The Magnificent Seven (4:23)
04. Trad.Attack! - Ysan’Kene (4:56)                 
05. King Ayisoba - Brother They Can See You (3:47)
06. Xaos - Pontos Blues (6:31)
07. Lamomali - C'et Air (4:49)
08. Las Cafeteras - Tiempos De Amour (3:42)
09. Grupo Canalón de Timbiquí - Lolita (5:56)
10. Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Homeless (3:59)
11. Bonga - Mona Ki Ngui Xiça (4:11)
12. Ska Vengers - Frank Brazil (4:02)
13. Oumou Sangaré - Kounadia (7:37)

Recorded from the BBC Radio 3 Lossless FLAC stream > Audacity > editing, tracking and fades > WAV > TLH > FLAC (8)

This was assembled from recordings I made of the BBC Radio 3 broadcast lossless streams from the UK Womad Festival 2017. Eleven hours of music, over four programmes, were broadcast during the last weekend in July. This disc compiles over an hour's worth of those broadcasts to give a sampler of some of the 95 acts that took the stage.

August 2017


01. Toots & the Maytals
Toots Hibbert is among the pantheon of Jamaican reggae greats. It’s almost half a century since the Maytals’ 1968 single “Do the Reggay”, was the first song to use the word ‘reggae’ as ska and rocksteady morphed into a new beat. Toots and his band have been doing it ever since and Bob Marley even name-checked the Maytals alongside the Wailers in his 1977 hit “Punky Reggae Party”. Expect a righteous roots set featuring such timeless Toots classics as “54-46 Was My Number”,  “Funky Kingston”,  “Monkey Man”, “Pressure Drop” and “Reggae Got Soul”.

02. Alsarah & the Nubatones
The Sudanese singer Alsarah was a child when her family were forced to flee the country following a coup. She was eventually given political asylum in America where, after taking a degree in ethnomusicology she formed the Nubatones in 2010 with percussionist Rami el Aasser.
With a line-up that includes her sister Nahid on backing vocals, bassist Mawuena Kodjovi, and oud player Haig Manoukian, the ensemble released their debut album Silt in 2014.
Alsarah’s mesmerising blend of ancient tradition and East African pop has since entranced audiences wherever they’ve played – including a memorable appearance at the first music festival to be held in Somalia in 20 years.

03. Afro Celt Sound System
When the Afro-Celts re-emerged last year with The Source, their first new album in more than a decade, nobody knew quite what to expect. Would the group’s trademark global dance fusion that had sounded so thrillingly cutting-edge when they first appeared at WOMAD in 1996, now sound out-dated?  We need not have worried, for it transpired that the long hiatus had reinvigorated the band.
With their swirling mix of African rhythms and Celtic melodicism augmented by thundering bhangra drumming, the critics hailed their return as an unqualified triumph in which the Afro-Celts were sounding “bigger, better and bolder than ever.”

04. Trad.Attack!
Trad.Attack! have turned Estonian folk music on its head since releasing their 2014 debut album AH! Combining the bagpipe playing and vocals of Sandra Vabarna, virtuoso guitar of Jalmar Vabarna and inventive percussion of  Tõnu Tubli, the trio take their inspiration from old archive recordings of Estonian traditional songs.
But folk music is merely their starting point and not their boundary as they reconcile past, present and future in a dynamic postmodern furnace of folklore, beats and rock’n’roll.
The trio’s second album Shimmer Gold is due for release in May 2017, neatly timed for this year’s round of summer festivals.

05. King Ayisoba
Apozora Ayisoba has built a huge following in West Africa with his unique update of traditional styles played on the two-string lute known as a kologo and sung in an intense, hard-edged voice.
His current album, 1000 Can Die is a thrilling mix of traditional Ghanaian rhythms and contemporary beats with echoes of hiplife, the local hybrid of traditional African highlife and hip-hop.
Listen out, too, for his definitive hit ‘I Want to See You, My Father’, which announced his arrival a decade ago when it won him song of the year, and is certain to feature prominently in his regal set.

06. XÀOS
If WOMAD had a long-service medal, Nick Page – sometimes known as Dubulah – would be one of its first recipients. Over the years he’s been a key force behind such global fusionist festival favourites as Transglobal Underground, Temple Of Sound, Dub Colossus and Syriana. His latest project XÀOS, finds him exploring the musical heritage of his Greek mother in partnership with the electronic composer Ahetas Jimi and a supporting cast of traditional Greek musicians.
The epic album they made together took a decade to complete, its electronic pulses and traditional shadings uncannily echoing the tensions and struggles which Greece itself has been undergoing in an uncertain world.

07. Lamomali
The French singer-songwriter, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Matthieu Chedid, alias -M- has been collaborating with musicians from Mali for 20 years, including Amadou and Mariam and kora legend Toumani Diabate. His latest project teams him once more with Toumani and his son Sidike Diabate, who in addition to playing the kora is a key mover in Bamako’s vibrant hip-hop scene.
 “With Lamomali I planted the seed and I watched it grow so that a multi-coloured African universe can be born,” says Chedid, who is of partly Lebanese-Egyptian origin. “It must be my African side in me because I felt like I had finally returned home.”

08. Las Cafeteras
Emerging from an ethnically diverse and politically active working-class neighbourhood of East Los Angeles in 2005, this Chicano band have built an enviable reputation with their radical and socially-conscious mix of Mexican folk styles, hip-hop and much else besides, using their songs to tell stories about the streets where they were raised, the communities in which they live and their dreams for a better world. Their second album, Tastes Like LA, has just been released and includes a song titled “If I Was President”.  As singer Denise Carlos puts it: “The President says he wants to build a wall. Las Cafeteras want to build bridges”. Their WOMAD performance will be a UK and European debut.

09. Grupo Canalón de Timbiquí
Nidia Góngora blends felicitously with the African-style chanting of a female chorus.
Hailing from the town of Timbiquí on the Pacific coast of Colombia, Grupo Canalón met in school, where their music teacher taught them the traditional folk songs typical of the coastal region, sung for generations by the women of the town while washing clothes in the river and praising their patron saints. The voice of lead singer Nidia Góngora blends felicitously with the African-style chanting of a female chorus, backed by marimba and folkloric percussion, and between touring and recording, several of the group’s members still dig for gold in the mines around Timbiquí.

10. Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Founded in the early 1960s by Joseph Shabalala, then a young farm boy turned factory worker, the joyous harmonies of South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mabazo have been uplifting audiences for more than half a century.  The a cappella Zulu male choir emerged on to the world stage in the 1980s when they were given a starring role on Paul Simon’s landmark “Graceland” album. Simon returned the compliment by producing the group’s first worldwide release, “Shaka Zulu”, which won a Grammy.  Since then they’ve toured the world endlessly, winning countless further awards and recording with a vast array of guest vocalists ranging from Stevie Wonder to Dolly Parton.

11. Bonga
For veteran and much-loved godfather of Angolan music, 2017 marks the 45th anniversary of Bonga’s seminal debut album Angola 72.
The record became the soundtrack for Angola’s battle for independence from Portuguese colonial rule and was banned, forcing him into exile as a wanted man. Since independence he has divided his time between Europe and his homeland, recording a prolific string of peerless albums characterised by his rasping, powerful voice and the rippling Angolan rhythms of semba.
At 74, he remains a potent and charismatic force-of-nature on stage and insists that he has absolutely no plans to retire any time soon.

12. The Ska Vengers
The name tells only part of the story. The Ska Vengers hail from the Indian capital of New Delhi and their musical palette encompasses not only the irresistible  chk-chk’ rhythms of Jamaican ‘ska’ but  elements of dub, punk, jazz, rap, psychedelia and Latin music.
Formed in 2009, their debut album appeared three years later and has come to be regarded as a landmark on the contemporary Indian music scene. Live their energy is palpable and their first UK tour in 2016, which included a performance at the Notting Hill Carnival, was a revelation that brought them to a new and appreciative audience.

13. Oumou Sangaré
Stylish, elegant, feisty and charismatic, Oumou Sangaré is not only one of  the most powerful female voices in African music but a striking role model who has used her music to campaign fearlessly to improve the position of women in Mali’s male-dominated society, singing against such injustices as polygamy and child marriage. Following an eight year absence from the recording studio she returned to the fray in 2017 with her fifth album Mogoya.  While the record remains rooted deep in Malian culture and tradition, the more contemporary arrangements break new ground on the funkiest set of her career to date.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

LAMBCHOP - Bowery Ballroom, New York - 2017 (Flac)

Bootleg of the Month - June 2017

Bowery Ballroom,
New York, NY.
March 30, 2017


I first saw Lambchop  a few years ago on the anniversary tour, celebrating the release of Nixon. It was a bit surprising to find tables and chairs set out at the venue for the whole audience.
The cabaret-club style of the setting worked immensely in Lambchop's favour and it was fortunate that the audience remained quiet for the majority of the show. Frontman Kurt Wagner also remained seated throughout a fascinating show interspersed with Tony Crow's jokes enlivening the atmosphere. Lambchop often throw in a cover when playing live and on that occasion it was David Bowie's 'Young Americans'.

The current album 'Flotus' is yet another change in style, this time introducing vocoder and electronic sounds to their songs. 'Flotus' is bookended by two lengthy tracks, firstly the 12-minute 'In Care Of 8675309' and the closing 18-minute epic 'The Hustle'. My only disappointment is that the band have performed edited live versions of these two tracks. So you really do need to get the official album available in the US on Merge Records and here in Europe on City Slang Records to enjoy the original extended versions.

This is a masterful performance and an exquisite matrix recording by NYC taper. He has blended an audience recording with a soundboard capture to produce what must be the ultimate live Flotus tour show. I have heard quite a few older Lambchop shows broadcast on FM radio and the engineers and mixers have struggled with the quiet and just a bit louder dynamic of the music. This show is perfectly balanced and mixed.  


01  NIV
02  The Hustle
03  Directions to the Can
04  Poor Bastard
05  Old Masters
06  Writer
07  [banter - physical comedy]
08  In Care Of 8675309
09  [band introductions]
10  The New Cobweb Summer
11  [banter - build character]
12  Howe
13  JFK
14  Relatives No. 2
15  Harbor Country
16  [encore break]
17  My Blue Wave
18  When You Were Mine [Prince]

[Total Time 1:39:16]

This post was kindly made available with the permission of NYC taper.

Digital Master Recording
Soundboard + Audience Matrix
Recorded and Produced by nyctaper 

Soundboard + Schoeps CCM4u Cardioids > Edirol R-44 (Oade Mod) > 2 x 24bit 48kHz wav files >
Soundforge (post-production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH  > flac

Please support this legendary band:

The following is from NYC taper's original post, he writes:

"In my not so humble opinion, Lambchop’s FLOTUS was the best album of 2016. In a similar regard, “In Care of 8675309” is the best song released this decade. What makes it more remarkable is that the album represents for Kurt Wagner a stylistic pivot from a twenty-five year career of eclectic americana. For FLOTUS, Wagner used modern technology juxtaposed with his intimate lyrics to create a masterpiece about the maintenance of an interpersonal connection in a world increasingly enslaved to machines.

We were fortunate to capture the live debut of the FLOTUS material at Hopscotch in September. Since that time Lambchop has toured the world and performed this material more than fifty times in a live setting, so that by the time they arrived at Bowery Ballroom last Friday, we were excited for the development of the songs. Our expectations were met early in the proceedings when Wagner sweetly crooned a subdued version of “NIV” that blended seamlessly into a guitar-driven truncated version of “The Hustle” that was transformed from the hypnotic electronic bifurcated melody on the album to a more unified alt-folk ballad live. “8675309” was placed in the middle of the set but Wagner’s intense vocal performance of the epic number was perhaps the highlight of the evening. The band’s setlist included a handful of older numbers and one cover, but this night was dedicated to FLOTUS and sans the title track, the album was nearly completely performed. The keyboardist Tony Crow provided several ace solos (and some hilarious banter) and the band also includes veteran bassist Matt Swanson and Wye Oak’s percussionist/electronic wiz Andy Stack, whose expert multitasking we’ve noted previously in this pages. But it was Wagner centerstage, and while his abundant use of vocals effects may have startled some of the old guard, the packed house was clearly on board for the FLOTUS sound and hovered on every note. Lambchop’s current tour comes to a close in the next few weeks, and they’re going back to Europe in the Summer festival season, but we expect that they will return to NYC in the Fall.

I recorded this set with the Schoeps mounted in our usual balcony spot and mixed with a flawless soundboard feed. The crowd’s great respect for this performer and this material permitted us to capture the often quiet moments of this set without distraction and as a result the sound quality of this recording is superb. Enjoy!"

The links to download this show are available exclusively at NYC taper's site, see the link below which takes you directly to his original post:

There is a review and photographs from the show available here:

 FLOTUS was released on November 4, 2016 by City Slang in Europe
 and Merge Records in the US.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017


Bootleg of the Month - May 2017 

BBC Radio 1 FM broadcast
'Lamacq Live' / 'Evening Session' programme.BBC Maida Vale Studios, London.
Broadcast on 20 March 2000

Only 'Blood Money' and Mani's track, 'Keep Your Dreams' are missing from this explosive live set. A promotional appearance for the forthcoming Xtrmntr tour, it was recorded in front of a small audience at the BBC's renowned Maida Vale studios in London.

I heard this when it was initially broadcast in March 2000 and bought a ticket for the tour, the following month. My lasting memories of the show were of the green lights that swathed the stage and the hammering thundering drums of 'Kowalski' as Bobby Gillespie leaned on his vocal stand, John Lydon style and screamed "Kowalski in Vanishing Point, Vanishing Point, Vanishing Point". (pardon the pun and don't forget to see the movie)

The album and single 'Accelerator' were Creation Records final releases, Xtrmntr the first classic album of the new millenium. Once you've heard 'Kowalski' and 'Burning Wheel', you will also be looking for the 'Vanishing Point' album released in 1997.

This BBC Radio 1 FM broadcast is as fine an example existing of how they sounded live. You really do need to 'Turn It Up' when listening to this one. It could not be more different than my last two posts. A real raging, controlled blast of aggression, year 2K style and entirely relevant in 2017.

Xtrmntr drew strong reviews, like the following:

"XTRMNTR is a biting condemnation of government, capitalism, and complacency filled with both damning lyrics and beautiful noise. "Insecticide shots for criminal cops/All jails are concentration camps, all judges are bought," rails Gillespie on the fiercely funk title track. 
Such diatribes are expressed over throbbing electro-funk rhythms, computerized firestorms, and impulsive stabs of free jazz -- imagine Rage Against the Machine as a techno band. 

In contrast to Primal Scream's best-loved album, the definitive Madchester rave-rock platter 'Scramadelica' the angry XTRMNTR builds upon the urgency and claustrophobia of the band's 1997 album, 'Vanishing Point'. 

"Blood Money" is a stealthy, horn-embellished instrumental that would have made the perfect soundtrack to a William Burroughs spy film. 
"Swastika Eyes" is a pulsing, industrial-disco barrage, and "Accelerator" sounds like the Stooges crossed with My Bloody Valentine -- in fact, MBV front man Kevin Shields provides production assistance on several tracks (as do the Chemical Brothers and the Automator), including the droning, mesmeric "Shoot Speed/Kill Light. Rarely have political albums sounded this disorientingly wonderful."

01. Swastika Eyes
02. Shoot Speed, Kill Light
03. Pills
04. Burning Wheel
05. If They Move Kill 'Em
06. Insect Royalty
07. Kill All Hippies
08. Exterminator
09. Kowalski
10. Accelerator

Time: 45 minute 16s

Lineage: BBC Radio 1 FM > ?? > Traded CD-R > EAC > WAV > CoolEdit (manual removal of gaps) > WAV > TLH (SBE fix) > WAV > TLH > FLAC 8 & .ffp


Saturday, 3 June 2017

THE WAR ON DRUGS - In Session (2014)

There didn't seem to be a bootleg of the month forthcoming in May. So this post was prepared in response to that possibility. Inspired by the new 11-minute War On Drugs single 'Thinking Of A Place'. I had spent sometime re-listening to these two radio sessions from 2004. As it turned out, the best bootleg for May was downloaded on the 31st, there was too little time to include it in this post and it will be withheld until later this month.

In 2003 vocalist, songwriter and guitarist, Adam Granduciel moved from Oakland to Philadelphia and met Kurt Vile - also a fellow multi-instrumentalist. Sharing the same musical interests particularly Bob Dylan they became firm friends and began working together as Kurt Vile and the Violators.

Adam's own project The War On Drugs officially began in 2005 but it would be sometime later, that the duo released their debut EP titled 'Barrel Of Batteries' in 2008. Later that year a full-length album 'Wagonwheel Blues' was released.Kurt Vile followed this up shortly after with his own debut, titled 'Constant Hitmaker' before focusing on his own solo work. He signed to Matador Records and over the following two year period released two albums and some EP's, all featuring his friend Adam Granduciel, who had continued to perform live as part of the Violators.

In 2011 the War On Drugs second album 'Slave Ambient’ was released to critical acclaim, appearing on the best albums of the year lists, side by side with Kurt Vile's own album 'Smoke Ring For Halo, on which Adam also appeared. 'Slave Ambient' broke the War On Drugs to a wider audience. Vile contributed guitar on two of the album's tracks. Much like the Hold Steady before them, they have assimilated these influences and synthesized their own fresh identifiable sound and perspective.

The third album 'Lost In The Dream' was released in March 2014 and built further on that success with positive and enthusiastic reviews. To promote the album, the group set out on a national US tour. Before playing at their next scheduled stop at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle, earlier that day, they dropped in to KEXP and recorded the session and interview included here. It was broadcast in 16 bit lossless.

The group are:

Adam Granduciel: guitar, vocals
Dave Hartley: bass
Charlie Hall: drums
Robbie Bennett: keyboards
Anthony LaMarca: acoustic guitar (also keyboards, not this KEXP session)

The interview by DJ Cheryl Waters was particularly illuminating, and the most salient questions and answers with bandleader Adam Granduciel follow below.

Adam, I know that the new album was born out of a difficult period in your life and maybe you've put all of that emotion in the record, but do you feel that there is a difference between this and 'Slave Ambient'?

"Definitely I guess I just wanted to be more disciplined with writing and recording. I wanted to showcase what the live band had become over the years. 'Slave Ambient' made us, like it forced us to tour for a year and a half and become a band. We were learning how to play together but also re-interpreting these songs. They weren't solo recordings but they also weren't band recordings. I really liked the way that the band changed the way that those songs happened live. 

So for the record I wanted something that could do that again, and really play to everyone's strengths in the studio. Without really, maybe making a band record the same way, that you'd think, you want to make one. So it's still the same kind of recording approach but just with the idea in mind, that I wanted Robbie to play beautiful piano and Dave to play all the sweet bass. To bring Charlie in on songs that I thought were right up his alley, anytime that happened it always transformed the recording."

I heard that you had a long time, like a year, to make this record, writing and recording it. Is that true?

"Yeah, all the songs I started in my home studio between June and December of 2012. They were all kind of sketches or just sparse, pretty loose structures and then I spent for the most part of 2013, overdubbing and stripping away and re-doing stuff."

Was that a luxury? Did you ever have that much time to work on music?

"Well 'Slave Ambient' took a long time too but it wasn't the only thing I had to do. This time around, this was the only thing. It was a luxury, it was different, with 'Slave Ambient too I realized that I couldn't make a record the way I had made that one again and I don't think I could make one, like the way I made this one. I think personally the goal is to just try to get to a point, where you can sit in a room with your band and make a record in maybe a few months. Live as a band, like all the records we love so much but I think it's a process trying to get there."

I get the idea that song writing is maybe more of an intensive process for you?

"Sometimes it's just a matter of exhausting all the possibilities. I mean pretty much all of the songs on this record were built up from all the stuff I started at home. We'd build them up and take them to the studio, just kind of build them up as we go. There wasn't really a moment when we were all together in a room playing a song. Some of the songs were written fairly quickly, 'Eyes To The Wind' I wrote that in my kitchen in like a few minutes strangely enough, but the finished recording of that took about a year. When I first had the idea I knew what the song meant to me. I knew it had a feeling, like a magic about it. I guess the recording process is about trying to unlock that feeling and also make it sound huge but also try to hold on to whatever like little naiveties, when you first had that little idea."

Do you know when you hear that magic? That seems to be what's going on with people with this album; you've just really hit it on every song. Do you find yourself questioning over and over or changing things all the time?

"Yeah, I usually know when I start the song in my house and I listen to it for days and days in a row, it's like the only thing I can think of, it might be really sparse but I can hear what the mood is. Like in that first song we played 'An Ocean In Between The Waves' that was like, it started off super raw in my house, just an organ, some guitar, a drum machine but I just knew it had something important. We were trying to chase that for a long time. How do you keep this beautiful little sound but also make it full band arrangements, because that's what I want. I want songs that sound like what this band sounds like."

You've got a lot of shows and quite a tour ahead of you?

"We do actually, we just drove from Denver to Seattle (1,333 miles / 2,145 km), we did that yesterday, pretty much. We have all the West Coast; Portland, San Francisco, LA, San Diego and over to Europe in May."

Later in the year, the band toured Europe for a second time, before flying off on their debut tour of Australia. The Studio 105 session in Paris was recorded in front of a small invited audience, as part of the promotional commitments on that second European tour. The live sound on this is different from the KEXP session, more like that of the tour where the keyboards have greater prominence.

The War On Drugs
Studio 105, Maison de la Radio, Paris, France
1st November 2014
Excellent FM

Broadcast by France Inter radio: November 1, 2014 on the "Coming up sessions" show.

01. Eyes To The Wind
02. Burning
03. An Ocean In Between The Waves
04. Under The Pressure
05. In Reverse
06. DJ and band introduction
07. Red Eyes
08. Suffering
09. Coming Through
10. I Hear You Calling (cover  Bill Fay 1971)

Lineage: Marantz tuner with a Zoom H4 > Sd card to PC, wav to Audacity (volume and tracks), FLAC (TLH)Original upload by letsgo - November 2014

The War On Drugs
In Studio Performance
Seattle, WA
March 28, 2014

01. intro
02. An Ocean In Between The Waves
03. chat
04. Eyes To The Wind
05. interview & band intros
06. Red Eyes
07. chat
08. Suffering
09. outro

Source:  KEXP-FM Windows Media stream @ 1.4Mbps > Sound Forge Pro 10.0a @ 24 bit/48 kHz
Recorded and transferred By:  Dennis Orr

Transfer:  .WAV > Sound Forge Pro 10.0a (fades & normalize) > CDWav (tracking) > iZotope MBIT+ (dithered and downsampled to 16 bit/44.1 kHz) > Trader's Little Helper (level 5) >
FLAC > TagScanner 5.1 (tagging)

Monday, 1 May 2017

Bootleg of the Month - April 2017

TINARIWEN - The Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool - 2017

Lopa Kothari presents a concert from Liverpool by Tuareg desert rock band Tinariwen. The band formed in the mountains of the Sahara over 30 years ago, and their distinctive guitar grooves have spawned a whole genre of "desert blues". This concert was recorded last month in front of a packed house at the Invisible Wind Factory, a converted warehouse in the North Docks area. Lopa also talks to vocalist and guitarist Abdallah Ag Alhassane about how the band fuse traditional Toureg music with rock and blues, to express powerful lyrics about the problems of their home land in the Sahara since new borders were established in the 1960s. Lopa is also joined by Andy Morgan, who is writing a book about the band, and who provides an overview of their development and their significance in the wider context of Malian music.

This was recorded from the BBC Lossless stream currently being tested on Radio 3 - the sound quality is stunning.

Tinariwen - In Concert
The Invisible Wind Factory,
Liverpool, England
March 7, 2017

BBC Radio 3 Lossless FLAC broadcast

* Includes 9 tracks from their current studio album 'Elwan' performed live.

Disc One:
01. intro               
02. Tinde        
03. Nizzagh Ijbal*             
04. talk               
05. Issekad
06. Tifawt
07. Tamiditin Tan Ufrawan        
08. Kel Tinawen
09. Ténéré Tàqqàl*
10. talk with Andy Morgan       

Disc Two:
11. intro               
12. Chabiba            
13. Ittus*                
14. Tamatent
15. Talyat*            
16. Assawt*            
17. Lucy Kothari introduces Ibrahim Ag Ajhabib
18. Sastanàqqàm*            
19. Nannuflay* / Tiwayyen*       
20. Imidiwan N-àkall-In*        
21. Lucy talks           
22. Cler Achel / Ourshan         
23. Chaghaybou            
24. outro               

Lineage: BBC lossless flac stream 723kbps - 48k /16bit flac / i-sound win7 / 10) / adobe audition cc > Tracks > export as 48k/16bit Flac

dbPoweramp > Wav > 16bit 44kHz flac

Musical veterans of the Sahara Desert, Tinariwen came to Liverpool to mark the start of the 25th anniversary of the African Oye festival and to promote their new album, Elwan. Set up by the team of people behind the legendary Kazimer music venue and club, and situated on the north docks on Regent Road, The Invisible Wind Factory is an interesting and vibrant gig space. It has an audience capacity of 1200 with high ceilings due to it being two old warehouses connected together, a unique lighting rig and a customized P.A. system. In the venue, there are areas separated by blackout fabric, and not only is it a music venue; it is a creative hub with a studio for artists, music production facilities, quirky avant-garde mobile art structures and an outside seating area.

Originally known by their fans as Kel Tinariwen (in the Tamasek language, this means “The People of The Deserts” or “The Desert Boys”), the formation of the group took place in Algeria in 1979, led by Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, a Tuareg musician of north Malian descent. By 1985 they had moved to Libya and had participated in military training both under the Libyan government and later by leaders of the Tuareg rebel movement. They then formed a musical collective (with lyrics which focused on issues affecting the Tuareg people) becoming known just as Tinariwen. During this period of time they made the D.I.Y. recordings that were circulated across the Sahara Desert Area.

In 1989, they had moved to Mali and, by 1990, had taken part in a revolt against the Malian government. After peace was agreed in 1991, the group became full-time musicians and a decade later gained attention from Western audiences. They ditched their camels for a tour bus and began playing at a wide range of festivals, such as Glastonbury in the UK, Roskilde in Denmark and Womad Festival, also in the UK. In 2005, they received a World Music Award from the BBC, and, in 2012, they won a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album. Over the years, Tinariwen have continued to evolve, creating an everlasting lifespan by introducing younger members to the band.

Tinariwen’s music is powerful and passionate, reflecting many moods, both acoustic and electric, ancient as well as being contemporary and modern. They have a ton of influences, from African and Arabian to fusions of western rock and pop.

Tonight’s set was varied, full of light and shade that gradually built up and down throughout the late evening, switching from a crescendo to a mellow serene swirl and back again. Nomad music, infectious, hypnotic timbres and summery harmonies filled the old converted mill.

Overall, it was a fantastic performance and, although an acquired taste (having routes outside of western culture), Tinariwen are one of the most successful and original world music acts, and one of the most recognised rebel bands in the world.
Tinariwen at Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool reviewed by Adam Hassan

 released 10 February, 2017 (Wedge‎ CD00117)

Friday, 31 March 2017

Bootlegs of the Month - March 2017

Already we pass into the second-quarter of the year. It seems to have been a relatively quiet time so far on the bootleg front. At least that had been my initial thoughts but on checking last year's notes I had accumulated a similar amount of boots, by the beginning of April.

This year, so far twelve are worthy of a place in the best bootlegs of 2017. I had mentioned the New Order stash tapes in 2016's document. Thanks to the cyclical nature of available downloads, a further four New Order titles were gratefully added to my collection, including the previously deleted 'Perth' tape - surprisingly hearing it again, it did not sound such a train-wreck performance as I had recalled.

Of the four, 'Live at Central London Polytechnic,' 6th December 1985, is undoubtedly the best. It consists of both the soundcheck - note those Joy Division classics - followed by the complete gig.

Earlier in the month I had acquired a few more BBC radio sessions. Of those, the band I am including here, Felt, surprisingly never recorded a session for the famous late BBC Radio DJ John Peel. He did play them albeit infrequently but the band strangely never captured his imagination. If you enjoy the crystaline guitar sound of 80's indie, then I guarantee these three BBC radio sessions will be on repeat play.

Finally we have a lossless rip of one of the rarest releases by the Verve, Voyager 1 released on vinyl in 1993. 

FELT - BBC sessions (1984-86)

01. Dismantled King Is Off The Throne
02. Roman Litter
03. Vasco Da Gama
04. Crystal Ball
Janice Long BBC Radio One session #1 - 30th September 1984

05. Caspian Sea
06. The Day The Rain Came Down
07. I Didn't Mean To Hurt You
08. Ballad Of The Band
Janice Long BBC Radio One session #2 - 12th February 1986

09. When The Dawn Starts Creeping In
10. Rain Of Crystal Spires
11. All The People I Like Are Those That Are Dead
12. Sapphire Mansions
Andy Kershaw BBC Radio One session - 11th September 1986

No lineage was supplied but these are from the FM master recordings.


Central London Polytechnic, London
December 6, 1985

01 Atmosphere (instrumental)
02 Atmosphere
03 She's Lost Control (breakdown)
04 She's Lost Control
05 As It Is When It Was (breakdown)
06 As It Is When It Was
07 Bizarre Love Triangle (breakdown)
08 Bizarre Love Triangle
09 Love Will Tear Us Apart (instrumental)

10 Atmosphere
11 Dreams Never End
12 Procession
13 Sunrise
14 Lonesome Tonight
15 Weirdo
16 586
17 The Perfect Kiss
18 Face Up
19 Age Of Consent

The soundcheck tracks are from a different source than the gig tracks (EQ and tonal qualities differ)

This gig is ranked by many New Order fans to be in their top ten gigs of all time, and in fact many consider this to be by far the best of the 1985 soundboards.
There are three sources: This (the best), the second is heavily noise reduced and encoded and finally a portion of the show was made available in the mid-to-late 1980's on a vinyl LP titled "More Than Despair".

Source: ATR-STASH mixer (?)
Lineage: SBD (ATR-STASH tape) > ??? > FLAC via Sam (lammah) > SoundForge (pitch correction, glitch removal, missing bits patching, levels, remove old SBEs) > > CD Wave (re-tracksplitting) > FLAC > you

THE VERVE - Voyager 1 (1993)
Live in London & New York, 1992

This album was compiled from live recordings in London and New York City during 1992. Only 1,000 vinyl copies were pressed in clear blue vinyl. Of these, 300 were damaged during transportation from the UK to the USA. This ensured its status as an extremely rare collectors item.
There are some black vinyl pressings but it is unknown how many of these are in existence, as you can imagine there are also many bootleg copies now circulating.

The release has acquired a mythical semi-official bootleg status and has been catalogued as partly unofficial! and also described as an official 'bootleg'.

'dockellisrecords' has this to say about the album:

"Out of the blue, my shop was offered this 'Verve - Voyager 1' live LP. Turns out it was a promotional tool made to look like a bootleg. We were told there were 1000 pressed up. First I ordered 25 copies. Sold out immediately. Then another 25 copies. Same thing. We sold 100 copies in about 4 months and then they were gone. About six months later I got a call from someone at Caroline Records letting me know 173 copies were found in a warehouse in LA. I know some were ruined by heat. I asked if I took them all, could they give me a better deal, they did and I scooped up the remaining stock. We eventually sold them all, meaning out of whatever the original pressing on blue vinyl that were not destroyed, we sold nearly 275 of them. Easily the best selling record ever at my shop. There are a lot of these in the Detroit area."

'dockellis' has given the best description of what this release actually is - a promotional record made to look like a bootleg and used to promote the band on their debut US tour.

The covers were created by Brian Cannon, the founder of 'Microdot' who also produced some of the best early Verve, Suede and Oasis artwork.

Note that Wiki states four of the tracks appear on other Verve albums or EP's. This is misleading and incorrect, the songs do appear on other Verve releases, but as their studio versions and not these live tracks. One of the tracks, 'South Pacific' was released on an official CD compilation "Volume Seven" in 1993.

A reviewer declared:

"The Verve were really only at this peak in the early '90s because their music, at its height, didn't seem to be humanly possible, but just for a brief moment they existed outside the realm of the rock genre."

01. Slide Away
02. Gravity Grave
03. One Way To Go
04. South Pacific
05. Already There
06. She's A Superstar

Lineage: From a vinyl rip of the original release

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Bootleg of the Month - February 2017

BROADCAST - BBC Radio & TV Sessions

01 The Note
02 Untitled
03 Forget Every Time
04 The World Backwards

05 Come On Let's Go
06 Look Outside
07 The Book Lovers
08 Lights Out

09 Long Was The Year
10 Echo's Answer
11 Where Youth & Laughter Go I Am Not Welcome

12 Until Then (cuts in)
13 Come On Let's Go
14 Look Outside
15 Papercuts

16 Come On Let's Go
17 Unchanging Window

tracks 1-4 John Peel session #1 BBC FM Radio 1 broadcast - 6 October 1996
               (recorded at Maida Vale 4 studio in London on 15 September 1996)
tracks 5-8 Steve Lamacq session BBC FM Radio 1 - March 1997
tracks 9-11 John Peel session #2 BBC FM Radio 1 - 9 February 2000
               (recorded at Maida Vale 3 studio in London on 23 January 2000)
tracks 12-15 The Queen Elizabeth Hall, London BBC FM Radio 1 - 20 June 1998
tracks 16-17 Later with Jools Holland, BBC2 TV broadcast - 20 May 2000

Lineage: CDR received in trade > Soundforge WAV > dBpoweramp Music Converter FLAC

 Around the year 2000, several albums showcased electronic music, the most well known and controversial of these was Radiohead's album 'Kid A'. It continuously cropped up on critics lists because it defined the dread, alienation, anxiety, and malaise of the digital era in the new millenium. Another album also spoke of these same themes, the band was called Broadcast and their debut album was titled ‘The Noise Made By People’. Unlike Radiohead, Broadcast were subtler, more rhythmic, and worked in a less obscure medium. Coming some four years after the group's initial single release, the debut has attained a striking classical timelessness. It has a delicate balance between the electronic experimentation and the crystalline elegance of film scores (especially the swinging basslines and jazzy percussion of the '60s). Floating above this is the ethereal vocals of siren Trish Keenan.

This set is an excellent introduction with six radio session performances from their debut. Influences from Portishead are apparent but this music has a softer and warmer edge to it.

These three BBC Radio One sessions were culled from broadcasts between 1996 and 2000. The bonus tracks were taken from a live appearance for the John Peel curated Meltdown Festival at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London 1998. Four of the eight tracks performed live are included here. The two final tracks were taken from a BBC2 television appearance, Later with Jools... these are in slightly inferior audio. The inclusion of the third John Peel session from 2003 would have made this set more comprehensive. At present a lossless version does not circulate. Despite that, this is still one of the best Broadcast bootlegs available. I also rate highly their Black session and the VPRO performance in Amsterdam, both from the year 2000.

John Peel session #3
(mp3 320kbps)

01. Pendulum
02. Colour Me In
03. Minim
04. Sixty Forty

Recorded 24 July 2003 - Maida Vale Studio 4, London, England
Broadcast 19 August 2003 - John Peel show, BBC Radio 1 FM 

Thursday, 2 February 2017

BOOTLEGS of the Month - January 2017

Prior to downloading this show, the best sounding complete live Mescaleros set I had heard was the famous Benefit Concert (Firefighters) at Acton Town Hall in London, from November 2002. In fact it originally featured as the second post on the blog in 2011. It was then removed with some others, during a restructuring of those that had been officially released during the blog's lifetime. It's now available as a digital download from Hellcat Records and also on a limited Record Day vinyl release.

The following show was discovered over the Christmas/New Year holiday break and has been selected as one of the best bootlegs of the month. January is often a quiet time and this year was no exception. The best bootlegs for each month (assuming there are any) will be subsequently posted throughout the year.

Joe Strummer, former frontman of the Clash, took to the road with his band the Mescaleros, for promotional work and live dates to publicise the release of their second album 'Global A Go-Go'. The album was released by Hellcat Records/Epitaph on July 24, 2001.

After a set of in-store appearances and a one-off show in Los Angeles on August 4, the Mescaleros returned to North America in October 2001 for a limited set of shows. The North American tour was followed quickly by a short five-date UK tour, during November 2001. I was fortunate to be present for one of those shows. It was the second time I had seen the Mescaleros and when Joe took to the stage, he strode on wearing a suit, earning immense cheers and surprise at his attire. The set list was similar to this earlier show from the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington on October 17, 2001.

Where this live recording has been previously posted, the lack of source details must surely have caused many to overlook it, believing it to be an audience recording. It is either a soundboard or FM recording and has an excellent mix. I have seen it noted as an FM broadcast on old trader's lists and some compression is noticeable on the louder uptempo numbers. Limited quality recordings are available from this tour and for those reasons I recommend it to any Clash fan.

The radio interview is a bonus track and was broadcast by the BBC earlier in the year on May 24, 2001. Joe can be heard discussing Bob Dylan's 60th birthday, along with Stevie Wonder and a rather snobbish BBC presenter, who allows Joe to sing brief snatches of 'Blowin' In The Wind' and 'Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues'

Interviews with ex members of the band mention they had misgivings over the quantity of Clash songs included in the set lists of this tour. Here there are only three Strummer/Jones compositions. The new Mescaleros album has eight of its eleven songs performed live. Most of the 'Clash' songs were actually covers of some of Joe's favourite reggae tunes.

Key Arena, Seattle, WA.
October 17, 2001

Soundboard / FM
Lineage:  Trade > CDR > EAC > WAV > Traders Little Helper > FLAC

01. Cool 'N' Out 
02. Global-a-Go-Go 
03. Rudy Can't Fail 
04. Bhindi Bhagee 
05. Armagideon Time (Willi Williams) 
06. Shaktar Donetsk 
07. Mega Bottle Ride 
08. Tony Adams 
09. Police And Thieves (Junior Murvin/Lee Perry)
10. Mondo Bongo 
11. Johnny Appleseed 
12. Bummed Out City

01. Police On My Back (Eddy Grant) 
02. The Harder They Come (Jimmy Cliff) 
03. Pressure Drop (Toots Hibberts) 
04. I Fought The Law (Sonny Curtis)
05. Bankrobber 
06. Yalla Yalla
07. A Message To You Rudy (Dandy Livingstone)
08. London's Burning 
09. Blitzkrieg Bop (Ramones) 
10. Radio Interview

                                  released by Hellcat Records/Epitaph on July 24, 2001


PiL - Commercial Zone Limited Edition
(PiL Records Inc. XYZ-007)

Vinyl, LP, Album, Unofficial Release, Limited Edition (Second pressing)
Released: USA 1984

A1 Mad Max (4:15)
A2 Love Song (4:29)
A3 Young Brits (3:43)
A4 Bad Night (3:24)

B1 The Slab (3:36)
B2 Lou Reed Part I (3:59)
B3 Lou Reed Part II (Where Are You?) (2:52)
B4 Blue Water (3:34)
B5 Miller High Life (2:44)

Recorded At - Park South Studios, Manhattan, NYC
Produced by Bob Miller & Keith Levene

Second pressing in black sleeve, retitled "Commercial Zone - Limited Edition."
On this version of "Commercial Zone" the order of the tracks on side A was changed, the song "Solitaire" was been retitled "Young Brits," and the version of "Bad Night" is slightly shorter than on the first pressing of the album. Also, "Lou Reed Part II" has been subtitled "(Where Are You?)"

Lineage: Ripped from a vinyl album released on PiL Records Inc. (XYZ 007) in 1984.

In May 1981 PIL moved from London to New York City,  their American record contract with Warner Brothers expired in October 1981 and was not renewed. In January 1982 the British music press reported that PIL had tried to record a new album in New York with producers Adam Kidron and Ken Lockie, but split instead - this was promptly denied by the band in a press release the following week.

In May 1982 drummer Martin Atkins rejoined the band and PIL started recording their new studio album for Virgin Records at Park South Studios in Manhattan, with sound engineer Bob Miller co-producing. On 29 August 1982 new bassist Pete Jones joined the band in the studio, the new line-up played its debut concert four weeks later (28 September 1982 in New York City). During the summer and autumn of 1982 the band planned to form their own record label (Public Enterprise Productions) and license its releases to Stiff Records USA for the American market, but these plans never materialized.

In early November 1982 PIL announced the imminent release of a new single "Blue Water" and a six-track mini album You Are Now Entering A Commercial Zone on their new label. This did not happen, instead the band continued recording at Park South Studios for a full-length album.

By May 1983 a new track "This Is Not A Love Song" was earmarked as a new single for Virgin Records, but PIL broke up when first Pete Jones and then Keith Levene left the band.

Keith Levene, guitarist and song writer recalls of the time “By 1983 we’d had some success and it was time to position PiL in a more mainstream yet ambiguous arena. This was an area I referred to as the Commercial Zone.” “So I went into the studio on 57th Street in Manhattan  and began writing and composing the music for the album bearing that title,”

The efforts of Levene’s labour on the first Commercial Zone demonstrate his range as a composer. Take for instance the orchestral and serene “The Slab” or the contrast of the bluesy guitar-driven Lou Reed Part I and II. Unfortunately, however, before Commercial Zone was completed, creative differences over the project resulted in Levene’s declining to continue with PiL. "It was the last thing I wanted but I had no choice really. To have stayed would have meant compromising the integrity of the project which is something I could never do,” he explains.

The remaining members, John Lydon and drummer Martin Atkins hired session musicians to fulfill touring commitments and carried on under the PIL name. The single "This Is Not A Love Song" (with "Blue Water" as a 12" single b-side), both from the Park South sessions, was released by Virgin Records in September 1983 and went to no.5 in the UK single charts.

In summer 1983, in PIL's absence, Keith Levene took the unfinished album tapes and did his own mix. He then flew over to London and presented them to Richard Branson as the finished new PIL album for Virgin Records, but John Lydon decided to completely abandon the tapes and re-record the whole album from scratch with session musicians. This new version of Commercial Zone became This Is What You Want... This Is What You Get in 1984.

Levene decided to put the album out himself on the American market and founded the label PIL Records Inc. for this one-off release. The first limited pressing was released in November 1983 and was heavily imported to the UK and European market. A second pressing (with the track listing changed around and a shorter mix of "Bad Night") followed in August 1984 in an edition of 30,000 copies, to compete directly with the official re-recorded album This Is What You Want... This Is What You Get.  Virgin Records promptly took legal actions and stopped the distribution and any further re-pressings of Commercial Zone.

Viewed by many as the last true PIL album, Commercial Zone was reviewed by Melody Maker upon release:

"THIS is not a bootleg, this is the real alternative to that other record, a private view of the Public Image, a strictly import-only insight into the way they were. This record sets the record straight from the Keith Levene point of view, a collection of original PiL ephemera which puts the tin lid on Levene's involvement in the band up to the acrimonious parting of the ways last summer. Five of the eight tracks on This Is What You Want... appear here in embryonic form, accompanied by one or two Levene works and a couple of apparently unreleased Lydon/Atkins/Levene efforts.

Of the exclusives, Bad Night (no relation to Bad Life) is the most intriguing item, Levene owning up to his Velvet's influence and Lydon wailing in a particularly discordant, yet peculiarly appealing manner. And doubtless the faithful will make the sacred pilgrimage to the local disc relic of PiL history, featuring as it does an authentic sounding Public Image, the last of the real McCoy before the advent of the last cynical studio bound release.

The Slab is a moody instrumental worthy of Irmin Schmidt which surfaced on This Is What You Want as Order Of Death. Mad Max evolved into Bad Life, and Lou Reed Part 2 became Where Are You - all different enough in execution to warrant a listen if only out of curiosity. Commercial Zone is not such a bitter PiL to swallow - perhaps this is what you want? (Andy Hurt - Melody Maker, August 1984)

                          The official release appeared in July 1984 on Virgin records V 2309
So now you know the story behind the album and are wondering, what are the real differences between the two versions? Here's my opinion:

01. Bad Life (aka Mad Max)
Compared to 'Mad Max' this is evidently more finished but it reminds me of those needless remixed versions you would get on a 12-inch single. The more minimalist Levene version is best
02. This Is Not A Love Song (aka Love Song)
Add in horns and vocal overdubs, and it makes for a too busy mix. A great song with a superb bass line, the rhythm section at times is reminiscent of Frankie Goes To Hollywood! The remix is good but the horns really detract from the song.
03. Solitaire (aka Young Brits)
A more funky disco version, a reviewer wrote 'Death Disco' without the Death.
04. Tie Me To The Length Of That 
05. The Pardon
06. Where Are You? (aka Lou Reed Part II (Where Are You))

On Commercial Zone it's as close as PIL came in the 80's to the jagged dissonant sound they had in 1978-79. Here the guitar is vanquished and replaced by keyboards with additional vocals, the sharp edges and spooky feel of the original is lost, overdubbed into excessive 80's oblivion.
07. 1981
08. The Order Of Death (aka The Slab)

The original was a perfect example of less is more. This remake has additional repetitive vocals and keyboards with the drums more upfront. Still a decent tune but Levene's version is superior.