Greatest Bangs, vol. 2!
I just wanted to write a little bit about a "triple" release that wraps up THE LOUD BANGS catalog to date. First up, "The Never Never Forever and Ever," followed by "Get Sent There" and lastly "Kiss Me There," all releasing in the summer of 2023. The first was the best 10 remixes from the catalog, the second was the best 10 from the first 4 EPs, and lastly the best 7 from the last 4 EPs plus 3 unreleased tracks. All remastered and ground-up remixed. This is why the songs are all noted with "Remodel" after the song title, to denote that they are, in fact, different from the original release. The biggest change was that instead of an analog master, these are now 48K 24 bit digital remasters. As well the remixes are all attempts to "clean up" the sound and provide more clarity to the tracks through its mix.
Why do all this? Good fucking question.
Nice as Shoeplaze UK has been with all of their support of the band, TLB never really took off, despite the label's investment. A few blips of hope, but basically a giant commercial flop. Shoeplaze had the hunch that because we went for super blurry and analog production that when the singles were placed in playlists alongside other productions, these songs didn't jump out at people and sounded too weird. Alice totally disagreed, and fought it at first, but the label had a best-of in the contract, so a remaster was inevitable. She asked me if I could quality control it so it didn't get out of hand.
Once I had cracked open the original mixes to output at a higher bit rate, I had some new ideas about the mixes. After all a few years had gone by on some of them. I re-discovered forgotten overdubs and had other choices I wanted to highlight. So I went a little overboard. Now, these are full remixes of every song. Not dance mixes or anything, though --. I tried to make them sound close to the original, just enhanced. Though this process was arduous, I had fun revisiting the tracks and tried to bring something fresh to each. Rather than a static re-pressing of band's best tracks, these versions now are sort of their own thing.
On some songs I went a little far. For example, on "Cars Kill." The original mix was a rough that everyone loved, so we left it alone. The remodel is me basically spending a lot more time with it and, therefore, this one sounds significantly better now. Other songs like "Electroprize" are almost exactly like the original, except maybe louder and a little clearer.
When Alice heard the results, she really liked it. Thank God. Since the band was already known for remixes, and since I didn't destroy the original intention of the songs, it worked better than one might have thought at the beginning. You can hear more of the lyrics now, and we had debates about whether that was good or bad, but, you know, the old versions aren't going anywhere so this can be an alternate experience for the (few) fans who give a shit.
The band had three last songs from the vault, too, so we stuck those on the end of "Kiss Me There."
"Pretty Checked Out" is a fantastic tight pop ditty, sort of in the same class as "Anxiety Pills," "New Flavors," or "Candy Sometimes Always." Simple and light with the usual glaze, this track actually is one of my favorites. It almost made it on "Why Things Fray" but ultimately the band nixed it because it would have been the only up-tempo song on the EP, and the chosen five songs had such a sludgy groove. Oh, and the music video is very 1990.
"Avery Parkway" was the one and only song we did by passing tapes back and forth with Alice when she moved to Mexico City. ("Why Things Fray" EP was done after her move, but she came back to LA to record it.) This one was our one attempt to work remotely. There's a special treat in the tag-out in that I do some talk/singing. It was meant to be temporary but everyone liked it so it stayed. My wife and daughter are also on the track, also meant to be temp, but stayed. Part of the pros/cons of not having everyone in the same studio.
"Play Dates" was recorded in November 2022 and intended for the closer of "Salvation Memorial Hospital." The band didn't like it much at the time, though, so it was swapped out for "Playboy Tattoo," a number that had languished since the latter days of "Highway Safety Films." Frankly, I have no idea why they didn't like it. Alice was very noncommital on it. I think it's quite cool and as strong as many other strong tracks. She said the song itself wasn't "in focus," which I think means it sort of meanders and had no real strong through-line. But maybe she meant she wasn't that clear lyrically, although "Play Dates" does have one of my favorite ending phrases: "I feel drink-y, Tell me, what's your mission? I believe nobody knows I'm sinking. You can call me wild. The leader of the bad girls..." That's worth the price of admission right there.