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The Hidden – Chicago’s Thickest Band in the World

September 15th, 2019 Comments off

Album #: 68

Recording Dates: 1992 – 1994

Release Date: 2007

Catalog: SMR28

ScratchNotes:

This is a compilation that captures other works of the Hidden beyond “Stop. I’m bleeding.”, “Brave New Failure” and the two comps listed below. Unreleased songs recorded in rehearsal or in concert; five bonus tracks recorded for the “Brave New Failure” album; sonic anthropology of life on the road via “Ladies Night with the Hidden” and “The Turdcutter Files”, and the title track of our very first release.

The album art contains many flyers from our days on the road, as well as homebrew marketing materials and video stills of honest moments.

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Four Track Sampler

Track 03 – Are You My Daddy? (The Hidden) – I guess you could consider this the early 90’s version of a meme. We had a tendency to ask this question over and over…and I don’t recall why.  [Scratch on Daddy]

Track 15Bone of Contention (The Hidden) – This menacing track is the most experimental thing the band released – and was the title track of our debut tape. Since I’m a balanced individual I recorded multiple news reports when the crimes of Jeffrey Dahmer were revealed. Zack and I used cassette tapes to dub the sample track of these tapes with recordings of movie clips and commercials. Then just add some droning moaning madness and you’ve got “Bone of Contention”.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 16The Cleavage Enhancing Wonder Bra (The Hidden) – A really rough recording from our leaning basement. This was the final track the band came up with before going their separate ways, and features a number of slow building sections. The addition of Brian M. on guitar made us that much thicker. This sample track ends with a clip of Erik hawking the band and recounting our history on Y108.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 17Gnawing at the Stump (The Hidden) – This short outtake from the “Brave New Failure” sessions gets its point across with no delay. Sing along now! “I cut my feet, they’re bleeding…“.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Categories: 1990s - Early, The Hidden Tags:

The Hidden – Covered With Blood and Touring

September 12th, 2019 Comments off

Album #: 67

Recording Dates: 1993 – 1994

Release Date: 2007

Catalog: SMR27

ScratchNotes:

The Hidden played live for a bit under two years. Our first appearance with Brian M. was at the infamous Czar Bar in January 1993. The band largely culminated with a three week tour in late 1994 that took us to Texas and New Mexico and back through Colorado. This collection features live renditions of eighteen original songs plus covers of Pink Floyd and Pat Benatar. A lot of these recordings originate from our VHS recordings from these tours. Yes kids, our VHS recordings. Despite this limitation many energetic rock occurrences erupt with reckless abandon throughout.

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Four Track Sampler

Track 01 – In the Flesh (The Hidden) – Why not start a heavy rock show with this opening track from Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”? It even works at the Czar Bar despite the always occupied pool table providing real-time ambiance.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 04Salamander (The Hidden) – Dynamics is the name of the game as our protagonist questions his mammality. Live from Davey’s Uptown Ramblers Club in Kansas City, MO. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 15B.O.F. (The Hidden) – While latter era Hidden often delved into longer more progressive tracks, this stormer shows we could still blast out a fast track as needed. Perhaps not appropriate for modern sensibilities.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 17The Specialist (The Hidden) – Ten different parts in three and a half minutes? Damn right! It’s the Specialist! [Scratch on Guitar & Backing Vocals]

Categories: 1990s - Early, The Hidden Tags:

40 Gallons – The McLennon, Peterson, Skroch, and Webb Collection

September 8th, 2019 Comments off

Album #: 66

Recording Dates: 1991 – 1994

Release Date: 2007

Catalog: SMR26

ScratchNotes:

After finally finishing up the Hidden’s “Brave New Failure” twenty-two years after its initial recording, I got the urge to re-evaluate our piles of recordings to finish filling out our legacy of non-success. First up was the initial era when I played with Paul, Zack and Erik as IMF and then for a while as the Hidden. This crew actually saw more recording studios than the later group – including time spent with Steve Albini and Chuck Uchida in Chicago. This collection includes live shows, radio performances and studio demo recordings.

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Four Track Sampler

Track 10 – I’m Dead (The Hidden) – Acoustic guitars? Why not! The Hidden’s understanding of punk rock was indeed wide ranging.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 12How I Feel (The Hidden) – This one minute blast is the most frantic thing the band played live. A ruckus really. A beautiful beautiful ruckus.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 15I’m Your Bug (live on WZRD) (The Hidden) – In July 1992 the Hidden played a spirited live set in the Chicago studios of WZRD. It was a strange setup and I feel like maybe we were in different rooms? My poor memory aside, we delivered a rousing and thumping performance.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 16On the Mountainside (live on WZRD) (The Hidden) – This twisted love song gets a strange pulsing intro before blasting into its pre-emo big rock attitude.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Categories: 1990s - Early, IMF, The Hidden Tags:

MX Skroch – Loophole

September 22nd, 2018 Comments off

Album #: 65

Recording Dates: 1992-2000

Release Date: 2007

Catalog: SMR25

ScratchNotes:

Here is the middle release from the “InSkroMental”, “Loophole”, and “Ugly Music for Pretty Girls” trilogy. This collection was created when I decided to digitally remaster & EQ some of my best original material to optimize fidelity.

“Loophole” is primarily focused on experimentation. This is the only album of the three to include other musicians, mostly on one-off performances or looped multi-track creations.

From the 90-second whimsy of “Soundo Effecto” to the brutal cacophony of the 17-minute “Intended Sexual Assault”; “Loophole” throws something completely different and unexpected at you every few minutes. Soundscapes, industrial music, loop built tracks, recordings of pizza delivery interactions…it’s all that and more!

Four samplings from this album can be accessed below. Enjoy!

P.S. You can click the cover image for a larger version.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Track Sampler

Track 01 – Tingle (MX Skroch) – A spooky cloud moves in from the distance. Your skin begins to crawl. Something is bubbling within. Suddenly it bursts out!  [Scratch on Sequencer]

Track 03 – Sitting Duck (MX Skroch with Suneel V.)  – Piano rock turns into crushing heaviness before bridging into a dance bit that turns into satellite signals reaching out for spiritual assistance when suddenly your messages get a response and a plea as sad orchestral music begins to take shape… Also featuring a rather unique vocal performance as I elucidate the context of modern life.  [Scratch on Bass, Vocals, Drum Beats, Galactus & Space Phone]

Track 08 – Cotton Candy (MX Skroch) – A drum driven, mostly sample based slap across the face. I’d recently taken a liking to obtaining collections of samples to play with. Where they came from wasn’t important – sometimes they came from CDs I bought; boom box recordings of the TV in my living room, or a small pocket tape recorder I kept handy for those special occasions.  [Scratch on Guitar, Drum Beats & Samples]

Track 13 – We Used to Wear Toughskins (MX Skroch) – This time it’s personal as I share recordings of pizza deliveries; answering machine messages from the Chophouse and our landlord trying to throw us out, and commentary about Jeffrey Dahmer. Oh, and I guess I made recordings of my neighbor’s kids in the mid-1980s so I fit that in as well; and some movie samples from 1961. So something for all ages I suppose!  [Scratch on Recorded Pizza Delivery, Guitar, Bass, Vocals, Keyboard, Drum Beats & Samples]

The Hidden – Brave New Failure

January 1st, 2018 Comments off

Album #: 57

Recording Dates: 1994

Release Date: 2006

Catalog: SMR23

ScratchNotes:

In the Summer of 1994 the members of the Hidden booked Flat Iron Studios in Chicago to begin work on the follow-up to their “Stop. I’m bleeding.” CD. Once again Chuck U. ran the board but this time not in his own studio. We recorded for several days and mixed down close to 20 songs. We were dubbing cassettes of the master tapes over several days to listen to music on other systems. Somehow the band never got a hold of the master tapes (or even a digital copy of mixdowns) of these sessions and broke up in late 1994.

I worked hard to find the best version available when I began work in 2002 on finally releasing this album. I had four different cassettes that contained most of the recordings so I could identify the best source material (arg…from cassettes) to create the album. There was tape fuzz to deal with; some tapes had little glitches on some songs but not others, plus the songs had never been mastered so a round of equalization was needed.

A dozen songs made the album’s final running order. Looking at it 23 years later (arg…I was 24 when we recorded this!) it’s kind of an odd album – which makes it fit perfectly into this discography!

Below are three tracks that I hope get across the many moods of this record.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Track Sampler

Track 03 – Salamander (The Hidden) – Here’s a blast of distorted heft leading into purgatorial torment. From heavy to haunting in a split second the band shows a more complex style than on early recordings, and displays a wide dynamic range on this metallic track.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 07 – Pink Snow (The Hidden) – Pink Snow was a live favorite and its relentless plodding still captivates all these years later. It’s got a stop-start intro, a slow groove bass, a frightening vocal performance and that simmering buildup to the ending with the bonus drum jam. This is one of the Hidden’s better constructed songs.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 09 – Suicide King (The Hidden) – Set the manic to 11 as Brian M. unleashes a violent sermon on another dark track. I’m quite fond of how my guitar came out on this recording.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Categories: 1990s - Early, The Hidden Tags:

From the Vault: Field Recordings 1991-1994

March 10th, 2012 Comments off

Album #: 31

Recording Dates: 1991-1994

Release Date: 2000

Catalog: SMR17

ScratchNotes:

Recording equipment and techniques change dramatically every few years. Sometimes you need to dig out the long forgotten gear and see just what you recorded. The “From the Vault” series gathers these leftover oddities into one place. Much of this collection was recorded on a microcassette player – in a tour van, in my basement, and even a recording of a phone call. Add in a few sample experiments using other artists’ music and you have the stranger side of my early 1990’s compositions.

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Two Track Sampler

Track 01 – AbubicaJoe and I play Zonk. We record it. Early 1990s.  [Scratch on Talking]

Track 02  – Freerange Eruption – A crappy Vesta Fire 4-track recorder and a Van Halen record.  [Scratch on Concept & Execution]

Scratchrock Volume IX

September 27th, 2009 Comments off

Album #: 11

Recording Dates: 1994 – 1995

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR09

ScratchNotes:

Climbing aboard a shit-brown truck dubbed the “Urban Assault Vehicle Turdcutter”, the Hidden began a two week U.S. tour.  Colorado, Texas, New Mexico…the band played six shows in fourteen days for around $300 in payment.  A video tour documentary was created in tribute: “Soundmen, State Parks, and Open Sores”.  Unfortunately, the road trip intensified personal conflicts within the band.

Coupled with a quarter-century life crisis, I quit the band to go back to school.  Brian M. departed as well, and the Hidden disappeared.  I resumed delivering pizza, moved in with my parents, and began concentrating on solo work.  With a new workstation at my disposal, I focused on electronic music and pop songs.

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Five Track Sampler

Track 04 – Swell (The Hidden) – I know what you’re thinking – what would the Hidden sound like with a horn section? Find out here as the Hidden re-record this track for the “Brave New Failure” sessions with horns arranged by T.S. Henry Webb and performed by the Fazio Blasto Trio.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 7 – I Love You and You Love Me and We’re In Love (MX Skroch) – Come celebrate codependency in a disintegrating culture with this heavy rocker featuring some rather aggressive guitar playing.  [Scratch on Vocals and All Instruments]

Track 14 – Vikings (part one) (MX Skroch) – Vikings (part one) gives the listener the opportunity to create a horror film in their own mind – with this foreboding track an appropriate soundtrack.  [Scratch on All Instruments]

Track 16 – Settle For Me (MX Skroch) – Some people are looking for more than they deserve. Acoustic guitars and lead bass back up this tale of mid-90’s nightclub dwellers. [Scratch on Vocals and All Instruments]

Track 18 – The Specialist (The Hidden) – This track is a nice summary of the direction the Hidden was headed in the latter days of the band. Dissonant chords, spooky verses, stop/start breaks, manic vocals and paranoia. [Scratch on Guitar]

Capitalism…Hidden Style

September 16th, 2009 Comments off

Here is the business card of the Hidden’s front organization:

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Here are the invitations we sent out for the “Stop. I’m bleeding.” record release party that took place on 9/25/1993:

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Here is an official button from the Hidden. If you came to the record release party you just might have one…

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Finally, here are two metal sticker designs that the Hidden left a trail of across America…

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Categories: 1990s - Early, The Hidden Tags: