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What are your favorite "Lo-Fi" recordings? Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 31st December 2010
  #1
What are your favorite "Lo-Fi" recordings?

Okay, I know the word Lo-Fi has a lot of connotations, but try and get the right idea...

What are your favorite recordings that, because the songs are so good, it actually takes you (being in the profession of music) a few listens to notice the actual lower quality of the recording? Rather, what songs are so good that if somehow magically granted better audio quality, wouldn't improve the song any more than it already is, in your opinion.

For me, I'd say first and foremost, all of Allen Toussaint's productions from the 50's to the late 60's... Irma Thomas, Betty Harris, the Meters, and Lee Dorsey to name a few... The quality of those recordings fluctuates greatly from song to song, some sounding as if the tape heads were dirty during mastering or something... I always listen to them though without much thought of their fidelity, I love the songs soo much, I get completely lost in them... Only when I occasionally pop on the cans and listen can I hear their "****tyness".

I also really love early reggae recordings, which also vary greatly in quality... Some are at the point where only reggae fanatics can bear to enjoy, I'd say I'm one of those people.... Lee "Scratch" Perry is one of those producers who's output is extremely varied, some of those recording will HURT your ears, I swear, the audio quality can be so razor sharp its damaging, and to top it off the bass will be out of tune ...
Old 31st December 2010
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Gebo's Avatar
 

I really love the sound of early rocksteady records, like Alton Ellis and Slim Smith.

Guided By Voices always stand out in my mind when I think lofi.

On the first Die Kruzen 7" - Cows and Beer - the more lofi versions of the LP songs from that record sound way more intense.
Old 31st December 2010
  #3
GBV! GBV! GBV!

Also, early Sebadoh like "III" Liz Phair "Exile on Guyville" and everything by the band Further (not the Grateful Dead related project, but the California band that featured members of Beachwood Sparks and the Tyde)...all amazing stuff.
Old 31st December 2010
  #4
just about all the 70's punk bands. from all over. it pretty much happened all over all at the same time.

the electric eels from Ohio. the dead boys. black randy and the metrosquad.

some early suicide. man there's a ton.
Old 31st December 2010
  #5
Couldn't agree more about the Alton Ellis/ Slim Smith, and those Punk records aswell...

Some of those early reggae records (the ones that are a little more well produced) are some of my favorite productions of all time... I have an original pressing Trojan compilation that includes a really nice master of Ba-Ba-Boom by the Jamaicans, I have never heard such a pleasant sounding record, I love it... Some of those Maytals records (the song Funky Kingston in particular) I feel the same way about, can't top that sound (although I think that may have been a priceyer English prod.)

The Ramones debut album was what got me into producing and engineering, period. When I first realized it was mixed with Bass in the left speaker, and Guitar and the right, it interested me and I would isolate them and listen to the songs with only one channel running at a time... I soon found you could do this with the Stooges debut aswell... I never knew at first why I didn't like the following Ramones records as much as the first initially, but soon realised that it was because of their "Mix"... A producer and engineer was born... I still do that Left/Right Iso thing on every stereo record I've ever loved (who hasn't? heh)
Old 31st December 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Please Please Me
Old 31st December 2010
  #7
Gear Head
 

Ariel Pink. House Arrest, Loverboy, Worn Copy, and the Doldrums are all great albums
Old 31st December 2010
  #8
COCOROSIE La Maison De Mon Rêve
IGNATZ ii
WOODS At Rear House
also B. SPRINGSTEEN nebraska
Old 31st December 2010
  #9
Four words: Blue Cheer's Vincebus Eruptum.


They weren't a great band -- I saw them, though it was a poor way to judge, since the sound at the outdoor show was unbelievably bad, bad, bad, bad. But it was plenty clear from the studio album that they had a lot more fire in their bellies than they had chops.

A lot of the album teeters out on the edge of out of control, both musically and engineering-wise, but at its best its an enthralling, intoxicating double slug of something dangerous.

The highlight, of course, is their proto-grunge-metal version of "Summertime Blues."


Another quite lo fi delight -- and overall a more satisfying band -- from about the same era was the best swamp rock band of the Bronx produced, the Blues Magoos. Their '66 album Psychedelic Lollipop captured that musically pivotal moment as folk and blues rock bands tipped precipitously into the swirling depths of psychedlia.* The Blues Magoo's iconic mid-song freak-outs were perfect soundtracks for 60s film montages of chaos, hippies, war, and wrenching cultural upheaval. But where they really shone were the surprisingly sophisticated musical hooks married to raw, bluesy vocals and rough but very pop-conscious ensemble back up vocals.


* Not a quote -- I just think in rock writer cliches. Even though I stopped reading rock crit in the 80s. Too late. :D
Old 31st December 2010
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
bigdig's Avatar
 

favorite lo fi recordings

Lighning Hopkins-Lonesome Dog Blues is friggin unbelievable. I got the cd version at woolworths fifteen years ago when they were going out of buisness, and haven't been able to find it since. Wu Tang Clan-36 Chambers album is lo fi and awesome as well.
Old 31st December 2010
  #11
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Big Lizard in My Backyard by the Dead Milkmen. The fact that it sounds like it was recorded in someone's basement on a crappy 8 track (and probably was) is part of its charm.

Psychocandy by the Jesus & Mary Chain is another album that probably wouldn't be improved by increased fidelity.
Old 1st January 2011
  #12
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Qwel (Qwel/Meaty Ogre) - Freezer Burner album


Madvillain (MF Doom/Madlib) - Madvillainy album


1984 - There's a Wrinkle In Our Time
Old 1st January 2011
  #13
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Carol King's Tapestry.
Pretty bad recording technically, but musically a total winner.

Obviously they went for the "group take".
Seeing as it still stands as one of the most popular albums of all time, they were on the right track.


Going way back, anything by Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Les Brown, Fats Waller, Art Tatum etc.

For the young people, that was when musicians actually could play live instead of "fixing it in the mix".
Old 1st January 2011
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Four words: Blue Cheer's Vincebus EruptumAnother quite lo fi delight -- and overall a more satisfying band -- from about the same era was the best swamp rock band of the Bronx produced, the Blues Magoos. Their '66 album Psychedelic Lollipop captured that musically pivotal moment as folk and blues rock bands tipped precipitously into the swirling depths of psychedlia.* The Blues Magoo's iconic mid-song freak-outs were perfect soundtracks for 60s film montages of chaos, hippies, war, and wrenching cultural upheaval. But where they really shone were the surprisingly sophisticated musical hooks married to raw, bluesy vocals and rough but very pop-conscious ensemble back up vocals.


* Not a quote -- I just think in rock writer cliches. Even though I stopped reading rock crit in the 80s. Too late. :D
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I own that LP, golden...
Old 1st January 2011
  #15
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all studio 1 and treasure isle recordings made in the 60's and early 70's. Both were rather primitive studio's, started with an acetate writer as recorder, and moved on to 3 track and later to 8track. But they've recorded full and large rocksteady and ska bigbands with it in one take.
Old 1st January 2011
  #16
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Anything by Sam & Dave.

Fourtet 'Rounds'.

Iron & Wine 'Woman King'.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 1st January 2011
  #17
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The Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs

Incredible album.
Old 1st January 2011
  #18
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My Blood Valentine

Animal Collective - Tung Songs

Sonic Youth

Velvet Underground
Old 1st January 2011
  #19
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useme2305's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
Anything by Sam & Dave.
Fourtet 'Rounds'.
yep. there was a soundonsound article a few year ago where he explained the recording process...soundblaster live, cheap mic that came with a pc and cool edit pro.
Old 1st January 2011
  #20
byk
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric Sugar View Post
The Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs

Incredible album.
A masterpiece!
Old 1st January 2011
  #21
Lives for gear
 
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Edan - sprain your tapedeck EP
Old 1st January 2011
  #22
Here for the gear
 

Misfits 77-83 with Danzig

YouTube - Misfits - Bullet E.P. 7"
Old 1st January 2011
  #23
+1 for 69 Love Songs, and Velvet Underground

Been listening to VU lately, and man was that stuff ever awful sounding... those guys must be the first "intentionally" lo-fi band out there... hipsters.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #24
suicide commando at times gets really really gritty. i like it.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #25
Gear Head
 

There are far more awful recordings than velvet underground....I think warhol was just cheap and they were all on speed so they didn't really care as long as the songs were recorded.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelMeyer003 View Post
There are far more awful recordings than velvet underground....I think warhol was just cheap and they were all on speed so they didn't really care as long as the songs were recorded.
Yes I've heard way worse, from before and after... It's just funny to think if they had done it intentionally, it would be unsurprising. VU, being one of the most important counter-culture bands of all time, hipsters today wouldn't have strayed too far from the way of their forefathers, and there intended audio degradation.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
Unexplainedbacon's Avatar
 

Most of the Pixie's albums to me didn't sound that great, but I've grown nostalgic about how they sound.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #28
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Here's something I've been wondering: are The Smiths "lo-fi", or just "bad-fi"?


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 2nd January 2011
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
Here's something I've been wondering: are The Smiths "lo-fi", or just "bad-fi"?


Gregory Scott - ubk
Bad-Fi hahaha, A lot of my friends growing up have been into the Smiths to some degree, but I could never get pass there weird sounding audio quality...
Old 2nd January 2011
  #30
Gear Guru
 

I am not sure if distortion counts as "Lo-Fi" but if it does, Wilson Pickett's Land of 1000 Dances sure deserves a mention.



They must have bent the VU meters when they recorded this
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