Next up! Spooktacular!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A primer on downloading from Archive.org

Now I'm sure this is redundant for many of you, but in case you just hopped on the bus and you were wondering exactly how you could download any of the dozens of free soundboard recording by the band, here's the lowdown on one of the greatest resources on the internet, Archive.Org.

First things first; you google Archive.Org, open up the home page and you see this:

You select Live music Archive from the drop down menu, and put "mclovins" in the search box and the show list will open up for you.

On the right sidebar you'll have a number of search options, choosing to search "date added" assures you you'll get the newest shows as soon as they're posted on the site.

Opening any show and you'll see on the left side bar, the options for either streaming the show through your media player or downloading the show in .mp3 format or flac for conversion and then burning to a cd using Nero or any burning software.

Streaming is like it says, the show will play in order, by file name through your media player.

We'll deal with flac which is a lossless format first. Clicking on the VBR zip, you can download the entire show in flac format. This is a lossless format which has to be converted to a wav file so that is may be burned to a disc. This is the highest quality audio, and the choice of archivists.

When you download your flac files, you now have to convert them to the wav format for burning. Out of all the different decoders available, I love Traders Little Helper, a free app which allows you to convert any audio format to almost any other format. For lossless flac or shn files, this really is the best choice. They allow you to save the converted files in the same folder as your lossless files, so again, the choice for archivists.

If you have no interest in converting the files and you're just looking for the .mp3 files, the easiest way I've found is download the files directly from the http list.

You create and rename a folder wherever you want to keep the files, and then you download each mp3 file individually to that folder.

It's easy as pie, you can download the newest show in minutes, burn a disc, or make a compilation if you'd like. These show recordings are approved by the band and they're taped by a dedicated group who get nothing more than the occasional thanks for their hard work. So lets thank the tapers who first latched onto the band, Keith A., and Taper John. Dave Malloy was next on board and still tapes when he can though the torch is now carried by Greg who is the bands primary taper. The majority of McLovins recordings are SBD matrix utilizing a board feed and auxiliary microphones. It's easy to get spoiled with such an embarrassment of riches, so download your ass off, burn and give away some discs to people you think will dig the band and share the wealth of free shows we all have access to.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Legacy of Jim Cypher...

The McLovins family, and it truly is a family, lost one of it's own earlier today with the passing of Jim Cypher. Jim was an unfailing supporter of The McLovins, always willing to discuss the band and their music. His joy at this music, his photography and his love of literature touched everyone he shared it with, while his wisdom and patience were virtues well worth emulating.

I first met Jim in passing at the McLovins show last May at Infinity Hall. My wife and I were eating dinner before the show in the bistro, and he was seated at the table next to us. Right away I got the buzz that he was there for the show and could see he was so excited to see the band. We were formerly introduced at the Bearsville show when the band opened up for Max Creek and in fact, Jim had a spare ticket for the show and gave it away to another fan. That was just another example of his generous soul. Other shows followed; Gengras Motors in East Hartford and Brooklyn Bowl with Tom Marshall.

The Brooklyn Bowl show was the last time I saw Jim, though we stayed in touch via Facebook and e-mail. Jim had started mentoring Krista in the art of photography, and he had e-mailed me the other day following a blog post were I utilized some of Krista's photos.. he was as proud as he could be of his students work and her growth as an artist. So his passing leaves us with an empty space, a void that will inevitably fill in with other distractions, however, the loss will remain. He was a gregarious and witty man, sharp as a tack, drinking in all that life had to offer and making wise use of the time he had.. I would think that we could all only hope to do as well. Goodbye Jim.

"Just one thing I ask of you, just one thing for me...
Please forget you knew my name, my darling..Sugaree"

Nectars 2/19/11, come on up..

Next up on the docket is Nectars on Saturday. Last summer the band was up there and Grace Potter and The Nocturnals showed up to watch the second set, on the visit before that, Page McConnell paid a visit to check out the band.

Now Nectars is running a contest here on their Facebook page for a free pair of tickets to tomorrow night's show, congratulations to McLovinette Eve W for winning last night's set.

So however you can manage it, try and come on up for this sure to be epic throwdown. This venue is just dripping with jam-band history and you should be on hand to help make some more. The band will have limited edition copies of the poster above available at the venue, these numbered prints are screened onto a vitage green rag paper and are gorgeous.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A pair, working on three of a kind..

If we use a hockey metaphor, than it’s a hat trick and if we were talking bowling it would have been a turkey. However, we’re talking about the first 3 McLovins shows of 2011, as remarkable a 3 show set as the band has ever played. All 3 were sellouts, pushing the capacity of each venue, and each was an individual in tenor and tone.

Black-eyed Sally’s was the dark horse of the three, a homecoming and a return to touring after a 3 week winter layoff. Black-eyed Sallys and The Main Pub have become the two Hartford area home courts for The Mclovins and the familiar confines of BES seems to bring out the best in the band. The noted blues club pulls out all the stops when The McLovns come in to play and slowly but surely the venue filled to capacity as the band prepared to plow their way through a torrid 2 set show. This was to be a night of stretching and pushing, almost a warm up, as the band pushed themselves, testing if you will after their short sabbatical. Tetop into Milktoast Man kicked things off, clean and strong, setting a dreamy vibe for the night. First set standouts included the remarkable Jam->Caravan that the band have been perfecting since late summer, the continued evolution of Cohesive, and the Purple Treeprise without the customary Rappers, though Jake managed to scat and rap his way through an lithe Shakedown Street to close the set out.

The second set started off with a funky Cissy Strut and through This Town and a tense and near-lethal Deep Monster Trance. The inclusion of Ghost is a savvy move, giving the crowd another Phish cover without having to pull YEM out of the bag. Old school ruled the second half of the set as Virtual Circle, Guillotine Machine and Conundrum unspooled. Killing Time as an encore brought another pyrotechnic flourish from the band, an exclamation point on the end of another solid show.

Not a sign of creakiness or rust showed through as the band was on top of their game, bringing another balanced attack. I did note that Jason has a bit of a different tone, his sound knifing through the mix a bit more, punchier and crisper than he had been playing, pure power not distortion.

One week later and it was Northampton Ma as the McLovin army descended upon the bucolic winter calm of the Pioneer Valley. Pre-sale buzz was on their side and there was a definite crackle in the air as the chilly crowd filed into the classic Iron Horse Music Hall. This was the band’s first trip to this legendary music town as Northampton counts Pearl Street, The Iron Horse and The Calvin Theater among its many music venues, with a lineage of supporting live music stretching back decades. This was to be one of those special nights as the guys were preparing to play before a crowd that was perceptive and receptive. A crowd that was familiar with musical dynamics, familiar with the band’s repertoire and a crowd willing to follow wherever the band chose to lead.

Leisurely, the band walked up the steps from the downstairs green room, wide grins on their faces as they took to the stage; and then it was game on. A mammoth Jam->Caravan opened the set on a frantic note and expansive renditions of Tokyo Tea and Cohesive, each pushing 10 minutes in length; carried the crowd along. Milktoast Man allowed a bit of a chilldown before the second half of the song ratcheted things back up again. Killing Time was a monster as a near 20 minute YEM and Guillotine Machine brought the curtain down on the first set. An overview of the set shows Cohesive as the most notable song of the set as it continues to morph. This night it was bouncy and bright, tense but smooth, delivering a powerhouse funk sucker punch, easily the “it” song of the first set.

The second set opened with BeadHead Crystal Bugger and from there on it was take no prisoners as Deep Monster Trance and a near epic Purple Trees->Rappers led into a strident YYZ and then Break on Through. The set cooled down a tad with Conundrum though Hell Yeah closed things out in fine style. The band came back to play a most severe Virtual Circle. Looking back I'm drawn to the Purple Delight as the real moment of the second set, a near heroic effort clocking in at a staggering 18 minutes. This was probably the most intense version of this song that I have ever heard.

Similarities with the BES show abound, near-flawless technique, controlled use of power as they never let things get away from them, the band playing on an interpretive next level; always aware and always listening. Watching this band is exhausting as they weave and bob, each next step as assured and confident as the last. Jeff and Jason were continuously touching base with each other, watching each other’s fingers, Jake debasing his kit, urging this ponderous beast forward, further and further. These two shows set the table for what was to come at Cambridge, as The McLovins were joined by Otis Grove for a night at The Middle East Upstairs, promoted by The Nateva Music and Camping Festival.

The Iron Horse recording is here, try and listen to it just once, it's that good.