Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Microphones: Feedback (Life, Love, Loop)/Weird Storm/Heavy Eyes 7" (The Bedtime Record, 1998)

(7" cover front, back, inside, record inner labels A and B)

The Microphones: Feedback (Life, Love, Loop)/Weird Storm/Heavy Eyes 7"

-Recorded in 1998 at the Business in Anacortes, Wash. and Dub Narcotic in Olympia, Wash. by Phil Elvrum.

-Released on The Bedtime Record (BED06) (P.O. Box 9142, Chatanooga, Tenn. 37412) sometime in 1998. In an interview in Jimi Sharp's FIB zine Phil mentions that this 7" was going to be coming out "December '98, maybe".

-Cover art by Phil and Justyn Pogue. The liner notes (which are printed on the inside of the sleeve, no other, loose, insert*) say "the cover: snow in Anacortes, 1900/the chair: Justyn Pogue. And, as such, the art appears to be a collage of Justyn's very distinctive drawing style (we'll see it again, all over the "Don't Wake Me Up" LP) and what appear to be heavily xeroxed and re-xeroxed pics, presumably by Phil.

*Ok, turns out there is an insert that came with some copies of this record. It was just a little two-sided label insert (The Bedtime Record) , black and white, photocopied. I do not at the moment have a copy of this insert and if anyone does I'd love you forever if you'd make me a copy and send it to me. But, barring that it is viewable here in some pics I grabbed from someone's ebay auction.

-Other details of note on the cover of this 7". I read over on a brothers-in-arms site (http://getofftheinternet.wetpaint.com/page/Microphones+Singles+and+EPs), that the covers were all printed in black and white but, at some point, some of the people at the label decided to "personalize" most of them by scribbling all over them in various colored crayon, as seen here:

however, this was all done without Phil's consent or knowledge. No idea how many were colored and how many left un-molested. I seem to have lucked out and ended up with an unblemished, uncolored one.

-No clue how many of these were pressed. I would guess 500 or less.

-Record plays at 33 1/3 rpms on both sides.

-These songs (same versions) would all later be collected, in order, on the "Song Islands" CD.*

*"Feedback (Life, Love, Loop)" appears in several permutations. On the back cover it appears as "Feedback (the Loop in Life and Love)" on the actual 7" inner label it loses the qualifiers and picks up a colon, "Feedback: (Life, Love, Loop)". On the inside of the cover it appears as "Feedback (Life, Love, Loop) (no colon this time). Later, on the "Song Islands" CD, it would appear as simply "Feedback" on the back cover and "Feedback (Life, Love Loop) (no second comma) in the liner notes.

-Other details of note on this record:

The vinyl on this is black, but it's that very light vinyl that, when held up to a light, appears to be a sort of translucent brown. As seen here:

This is the first time we see Phil's trademark vinyl inner label design, albeit in a somewhat earlier design and in lighter shade than the usual "old book" yellow.

We are again informed that we should contact the fine folks at the KNW-YR-OWN label for more information on "the microphones".

The cover and the song credits both have the band name as just "Microphones", no "The". But the masthead on the vinyl inner label does indeed have the "The" attached.

The track listing on the inner sleeve literally reads:
Feedback (life, love, loop) with Weird Storm and then Heavy Eyes
(This is the same format that the track list for the "Bass Drum Dream" 7" had followed as well.)

There are a couple pages in Jimi Sharp's lovely FIB zine, issue #8, where he "interviews" Phil about his upcoming life plans and record release schedule and at that time he talks about having this 7" coming up and that he and Justyn will be doing the cover art. he mentions that the possible tracks to be included were "Feedback (Life, Love, Loop)", "Where it's Hotter" plus more. This comes on the heels of him discussing the 7" which will precede it, the one on Up Records. At this time he says that the songs that might end up on that one are "Bass, Drum Dream" and "In Sleep I Float Around" plus more. It is definitely worth noting that, in the conceptual stages this 7" was originally going to feautre, among others, what would end up being the b-side the the first Microphones 7" and that this 7" was originally going to feature, the as yet unreleased track, "In Sleep I Float Around".

And lastly, the inner groove on this record, in addition to the usual info (KNW-YR-OWN BED06A and B), appears to have someone's signature engraved. It is illegible and very short. It kind of looks like a cursive "mes".


As previously mentioned, I won this from the same kid at the same time as the first Microphones 7", what a day. And, as also mentioned, this is early Phil, but not all that early. Early enough that he's still doing that thing where he literally sings about microphones and equipment. "Feedback..." feels like the little sister of the "Tests" CD. It starts out with that same "science-y guy talks about the physical properties of sound" thing before dissolving into a low-key whispery song about microphones loving speakers.

"Weird Storm" and "Heavy Eyes", on the other hand, sound a lot closer to where he must have already been headed, the first "proper" Microphones album "Don't Wake Me Up". There's more of that pretty melody in a cocoon of noise and percussion thing happening here that will become so much more prevalent on subsequent releases.

And that's that pretty much. The inside and cover art looks a lot like Justyn Pogue's stuff in the zine which accompanied the original release of the "Don't Wake Me Up" LP. It also riffs really heavily on the cover of the previous 7", "Bass Drum Dream"/"The Storm" (in fact, it uses the exact same drawing of the weird cloud). I guess, to that end, "Weird Storm" might even be some kind of follow up to "The Storm".

Like all these releases I wish I could be providing the exact numbers of how many were pressed and in what format and so on, but, alas, that info seems lost to the pages of time. I'm gonna try to look into it as best I can.

As an inexplicable side note I will add that, at some point, while downloading some of these things on Soulseek, back in the day, I loaded a version of this that had a fourth untitled track. It's clearly Phil. It's about 1:17 long and it's just noise, a passage of sound. When I got the 7", however, I was able to confirm that this track is not on it. Where it came from or what it is I have no idea. It seems very likely that it's from some other Phil release and just mistakenly tacked onto someones files for this 7". If I can ever figure this out I'll be sure to update. For the record, while the three real actual songs from this 7" have been used in mixology, the phantom fourth song has not.

And there it is. I imagine, then as now, these records must have seemed cryptic, confounding and inscrutable. They are certainly time capsules, un-crackable by those of us not inside Phil's head or at least his circle of friends and patriots.

No insert, but there is info printed on the inside of the cover. Also worth noting, on the vinyl labels, under the band name, on each side are two of Phil's little extraneous exclamation/alternate titles. Though, in this case, they are not attributed to the songs, but, seemingly to the actual name of the band. Side A's says "Something's in my head" and Side B's says "Cover me up". A song with the name "Cover Me Up" would later appear on the "Windows" CD.
(--056, --016, --049)

Side A:

Feedback (Life, Love, Loop)

Side B:

Weird Storm
Heavy Eyes


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